One of the biggest hurdles VR developers have to overcome is called locomotion. As the name somewhat suggests, locomotion revolves around allowing users to move freely in VR, but without experiencing motion sickness. This has been quite a problematic part of VR development for many decades now.
VR Locomotion is Difficult To Solve Properly
There is a good reason why very few VR offerings rely on linear lateral movement, Although such movements are perfectly fine when conducted through a controller or keyboard and mouse. Things are a bit different in virtual reality. More specifically, linear lateral movement causes locomotion. There is no point in creating an app or game that makes players feel sick.
Standard locomotion controls do not apply to VR. More specifically, traditional game controls do not translate well by any means. Lateral movements can trigger motion sickness, which is a very undesirable outcome. Our inner ears are not accustomed to this sudden shift in our sense of balance and spatial awareness. The disconnect between what we see and what our inner ear experiences causes locomotion in the highest degree. In some cases, this can even lead to extensive vomiting.
One of the headsets suffering from locomotion issues was the original Oculus Rift headset. Researchers successfully figure out what triggers VR locomotion issues, though. Several different solutions exist, although there is no one-size-fits-all solution right now. It is good to have choices, but it takes some trial-and-error to cater to everyone’s needs. It also shows Vr engineers are quite ingenious in their own way.
Rest assured VR locomotion will continue to be a top priority for a lot of developers. More options to counter motion sickness will be created over time. Finding a long-term solution will be quite challenging, though, to say the least. It is not an easy problem to fix, yet it also feels this particular area needs more funding and research. It will be interesting to see how the VR industry evolves in this regard.
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