VR Sickness and the Pimax 8K

I want to start a topic of interest to VR developers, researchers and people that review headsets.

I want to discuss the implications of VR Sickness for the next generation of headsets, obviously including the Pimax which is breaking new grounds. In a morning of research which anybody here can do it looks like gen 2 of VR has some new hurdles facing it. For gen 2, most wanted increased resolution, better FOV and a somewhat less understood increase in Hz because, well, “others do it” so it must be important.

Gen 2 VR and Virtual Reality Sickness are important areas to combat.

Display Resolution
The screen door effect is the bane of many. It breaks immersion when you can see a static grid in your view. Surprisingly I have read a few articles this morning where a particular study was focused on anchoring the user within VR and (to my dismay) when there is a SDE it gives us a visual anchor, a static reference to help balance ourselves within a virtual setting. If you remove the SDE then people suffer increased nausea because you have removed the anchor.
Research “VR Nose” as an example of trying to combat this VR Sickness trigger. Another test showed that when a CG grid was overlayed on the entire VR experience then people felt less sick. Not something I wanted to hear! Could seeing any SDE actually be a reducer of VR Sickness?

Solutions: As resolution increases we will rely on software to evolve and provide more visual markers in VR. This is something that all headsets benefit from, not just high resolution ones but I think will be even more important for high res VR. Visual markers could be anything like the VR Nose mentioned above, cockpits or even extreme examples where a non moving virtual environment can be seen through the game content. Like a window to another non-moving level within the level that you are inside. RoadToVR showed an article on this study that I will try find.

I think reviewers of this headset should consider testing games that have some kind of thought to this. It is a new metric that although the SDE is now less visible (or gone) then how do games that have some kind of static UI element fair against games that do not have anything to help orient the user in the virtual environment at this SDE-less resolution?

It is believed by the US Army that FOV should remain under 140 degrees when building virtual simulators. When we can see beyond this, the peripheral plays a larger part in induced VR sickness which they discovered with their trainee pilots. Some games that aim for comfort also add a fake FOV mask that fades in a black tunnel when you teleport. How different will the increased FOV feel compared to a Rift or Vive when playing games we know about. Obviously standing still will look amazing, very immersive but when moving around, will the increased FOV actually make an experience more uncomfortable? How do we get the best of both worlds? Again I think software will need to evolve to manage this where increased FOV is concerned. Locomotion effects will have to take this into account even more on super high FOV headsets?

Hz / resolution
This is the elephant in the room, almost every single publication points to Hz (or frame time) as the biggest inducer of Virtual Reality Sickness. The faster the display the longer it takes for fatigue or other symptoms to occur. But it is not only Hz, poor animation in software that does not feel natural can be a trigger and also tracking resolution is a sickness trigger too. Faster displays are only part of the answer. Re projection and software techniques (ATW, Brainwarp? etc) are equally as important as just brute forcing an increase in panel speed. Tracking resolution needs to be as fine as possible. With Lighthouse 2 support this is one area that the Pimax can discount but Brainwarp could be hugely important to its success.

Distance to Lens
This is one aspect of VR not much talked about. When we put on a headset, our eyes are focused on an object right in front of our face, this is unusual and our eyes are not naturally at rest, we are holding a squint, our eyes are turned in slightly. The further away the lens the less we squint so less eye-strain which can lead to headaches, nausea etc. The only thing here is ergonomics, the ability to push the lenses away from our eyes, not closer. This also reduces FOV so is undesirable. If you suffer more headaches than you do nausea, it could be this. Slim padding on the display could give you greater FOV but at the expense of discomfort on prolonged usage too.

This was a surprise to read. Some studies show that women are more prone to VR sickness than men by a ratio of 1:4, this is quite worrying. VR needs to be adopted by all to be an effective medium and is even more important that research on the above areas are taken seriously. The reason why woman are more affected could be menstrual related. Are there any female VR users here that can shed more light on this?

I would like others to chime in here, talk about their understanding or knowledge. It might also help reviewers look at the Pimax 8K differently and not just another HMD to compare against the Rift/Vive but consider that breaking new grounds could bring new unforeseen challenges, challenges that need to be solved if we want gen 2, 3, 4 and keep on advancing.


Edit: some sources on FOV…

140 fov (end of page 13 continues to page 14)

  1. http://jultika.oulu.fi/files/nbnfioulu-201802091218.pdf

VR Nose:
2. How to Reduce VR Sickness? Just Add a Virtual Nose | WIRED

Dynamic FOV reduction
3. Combating VR Sickness through Subtle Dynamic Field-Of-View Modification - YouTube


I did read a study which claimed that the better the resolution, the LESS VR sickness would be, due to your brain being able to get a better grip on the virtual reality. I think that does make sense. I always figured this was the main reason why Pimax 4k users @ 60 hz generally felt less VR sickness than Vive/Oculus users @ 90 hz (at least that’s what most are reporting here on this forum)


That would be the first time I have heard that and is contrary to other studies (granted I didn’t look long). Can you find that study you mentioned so we have an opposing view?

Edit: Thinking about this some more and slightly outside the box. If people have poor vision, are they more prone to motion sickness than those with good eyesight? that would support your findings somewhat that visual clarity is important in regards to the many aspects of VR Sickness… I know that people who are deaf in one ear have issues with balance and suffer vertigo but this is about visual input.

I agree. Except for Linus, and his nausea varied in the 1st and 2nd game, so the game may have been the issue (but was likely IPD related as well), everyone that commented who tried 80Hz seem to say they couldn’t tell they weren’t at 90Hz. Not only are the clearer images offering the brain more, better faster, so is the 200 fov. I suggest most Pimax 5/8K users will likely not need 90 and anecdotal feedback would seem to bear this out. Early testers should be able to confirm.

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Its the same with SDE as an anchor. I think the SDE also causes some of the Motion sickness (sighting Psvr vs rift/vive); that being said depending on the game an anchor we do know is needed to combat motion sickness as discovered during Mirror’s Edge of which a simple dot in the middle of the screen worked nicely(anchor).

Truth as much as we all jumped on pimax on concealing the refresh issue. I suspect this was done for a couple of reasons.

  1. Beleif that it would be resolved by launch (granted if you change input to 1080p/eye should allow 90hz with the reduced bandwidth)

  2. Internal testing suggested 80hz was decent as per results as @Sjef said with 4k at 60hz. Concealing this allowed blind testing of which Linus to date is the only one mentioned vr sick. All other reviewers proffessional & not no issue. & of course we had the french reviewer in TO -state you have solved vr sickness (this fellow is obviously Vergence-Accommodation conflict based).

The end result? New updated study covering all suspected causes needs to be conducted to either confirm original conclusions or establish new ones.


If the clarity and fov are indeed needing less Hz, the only people who will be a able to study this is Pimax for a while. Guess we are the guinea pigs.

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This is the kind of thing that can really help VR succeed, Software techniques that reduce nausea. I will install Mirrors Edge and take a look at that.

Maybe we should have a “Comfort” slider in the HMD driver that can add overlays, masks, dynamic fov etc to our VR sessions. Simple to make and could really help those that are more prone to VR issues than others.

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Well with tech these days we usually are.

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I don’t have a lot of experience in VR, but it seems that I’m highly sensitive to motion sickness, except with room scale softs. I can play in The Lab or Tilt Brush for hours but feel sick after 2 minutes in PSVR Robinson : The Journey or Until Dawn : Rush of Blood.

I will definitely aim for room scale games with my 8K (but will try ED because… ED !! :slight_smile: )

So I guess motion sickness is due to locomotion system/gameplay in softs too.

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No don’t know which it was but if you google it, lots of sites/people mention it, like: https://www.vr-sickness.com/why-do-we-feel-vr-sick/

"we can explain why VR makes us feel sick:

When you have the feeling of moving because your visual system says so but the rest of your sensorial system says otherwise.
When you turn your head and the visual projected image has a tiny lag, enough to create an visual input abnormal to your expectation of movement and image-adjustment.
When the resolution and quality of the visual output is poor, creating a visual input abnormal to your expectation of reality."

I was involved in the early development trials for one of the leading HMD manufacturers of first gen headsets. One of the primary issues you have not addressed is that of depth perception, this was found to be one of the most prominent issues for launch titles. It is a difficult issue to address, the eye has the same focus to any area of the screen, which in a real world environment is impossible.

Game environments which feature objects in both close and far proximity to the user filling a majority of screenspace is guaranteed to induce nausea. Quick motion exacerbates the issue. There is work being done to try and address the issue via software supported by eye tracking technology but this is some way off.


This is also where the higher Res allows foe close & far objects to be in focus. Where as low res far objects become out of focus due to not enough resolution.

Vergence-Accommodation Conflict. Now Light field displays is another tech that is likely to solve this even further with hi res. Eyetracking on the other hand with foveate rendering serves more to reduce gpu burden until we have strong enough gpu & optimised code.

Eye tracking will of course add other layers & benefit rendering.

You use eye tracking to identify the element the user is looking at. Objects at this distance (in game space) rendered in the view port would be in focus, others nearer or further away out of focus and the scaled by offset to focal point.

I do not know how this would even look as a render process in the GPU pipeline. This cannot be done as a post-processing enhancement. The response time in focus adjustment as the user looks around the screen space will need to be incredibly quick.

Will it improve performance? I cannot say, the process itself will have overhead costs.

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Motion sickness was something i struggled a lot with in Rift Cv1 in the beginning
but after a couple of mouths its gone

i don’t think any VR headset can completely get rid of nausea
because you are fooling your brain you are moving
but the brain can also tell your body doesn’t at the same time

you have to train your self to make your brain accept it if you are sensitive to motion sickness
by keep diving in to VR and quit when it get too much
and just keep doing it until you’re brain accept it

i was very sensitive to motion sickness
but now i can be in vr racing games (which gives a lot of movement)
for 5-6 hours straight
space combat like Evve valkyrie where you are moving in all directions,
doing loops and its very fast paced
is not a problem anymore

if i had played Eve valkyrie the first days i bought Cv1 i seriously would have puked

I`m not a backer but if the 8k pulls trough im definitely going to buy
higher resolution is badly wanted :slight_smile:


Yes, the more you play the more you get used to it. It’s a shame we have that hurdle in VR. I suppose it is the same as getting used to spectacles for the first time or driving a car for the first time. We have to adapt to unnatural sensory feelings and perseverance is the answer. I get instant VR Sickness, in “AirCar”, maybe I need to keep pushing that kind of experience and just deal with it :slight_smile:

Now here is an odd one, me and a few others have recently discussed a strange disconnected feeling outside VR, in the real world, where real things seem fake! e.g. Reading a kindle and my hand holding it feels out of place and at some points I can look at my hand and see it as an outside object and not part of my body, the feeling vanishes when you move a finger though. Have you experienced that at all?


Aircar is one of the hardest ones IMO

i got so sick when i tried it the 1st time LOL

now i have to do the craziest stunts and rolls to get any motion sickness

Aircar is a good title to train away motion sickness , its Aircar that cured me actually
so yes push a little with Aircar to cure your self faster
when you can handle Aircar you can handle anything :slight_smile:

to the odd one:
yeah i actually felt weird trough my whole body
especially the first month when i struggled the most with motion sickness

i got strange feelings things wasn’t real outside the VR too

i could feel dizzy waking up, warm and sweaty even i hadn’t done any VR the day before
i think i was so heavily affected because i didnt take breaks before i almost puked
and it didn’t take long before i forced myself back into vr again
i completely overdid it hehe

being as sensitive as i was and now being cured
people shouldn’t be to concerned with motion sickness i think
as it will eventually go away, and from there its just VR heaven :smile:

if the Pimax 8k introduce extra motion sickness because of the much larger field of view
we just have to wait and see

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Yeah for most over time you will adapt but like motion sickness some will not. They are also looking into meds for vr (imho not really a good solution).

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I used to feel sick playing driving games

But now I’m cured and play any fxxx I want !!!

Lone echo with all the zero-g safety features turned off in options? You will have NASA knocking on your door.