(Am I going all too 90’s with chapter names?)
On the subject of spinning – originally I transitioned between the rooms using a simple fade through black. It was certainly a safe way of changing scenes, but after 2 or 3 transitions – got pretty tiresome. It established too much of a monotonous rhythm – light go on and off, rooms fade in and out, and so on.
I decided to try the cheapest trick in the book and used the offset effect on the renders, effectively rotating the rooms on the Y axis (yaw) while cross-fading between them. It made the transitions much more dynamic, but induced simulation sickness for many. As with many problems in VR, I looked for an answer in game development.
I recalled how nearly a decade ago, DICE had a similar problem to overcome. Their game Mirror’s Edge was a first-person parkour simulator and constant shifts in the movement caused beta testers to suffer from major motion sickness, even on the traditional 2D screens. The solution DICE came up was very simple – they placed a single dot in the center of the screen. The dot remains constant in relationship to the player’s head, even if the world rendered on the rest of the screen tumbles around. Developers of Mirror’s Edge claim they, in turn, got the idea from interviewing professional ballerinas to see how they perform spins without feeling sick.
The title cards for each of the experiments are my version of DICE’s dot – an anchor the viewer can focus on while the rest of the scene spins in transition.
A good portion of people watching the test footage felt the titles solved their simulation sickness problem. Some still would miss it though, looking elsewhere in the scene. I needed to gently guide them towards film’s North and make sure the title card was within their field of view before the room begins rotating.