10 Rules for Successful VR

VR can be complicated and there are many ways to go about it. So I put together 10 rules to follow in order to make sure your VR experience is successful. 

Interface Rules

1. Easy exit
If a viewer gets disoriented or the experience becomes too intense (ex: horror games), the viewer should easily be able to exit the environment, switching back to a calming menu interface.

2. Recenter view
When the viewer get twisted/turnaround around or headset displays are calibrated while held at an angle, a fast reset can recenter/reorient the viewer in a neutral sitting or standing position.

3. Neutral plane menus
Whenever possible, have interface menus open on a neutral plane.Avoid opening menus at the ceiling (zenith) or floor (nadir) to prevent viewer from losing balance.

4. Large typography
Current displays still have limited pixel density (the best displays right now are 2560x1440 but that’s increasing).
  • Use larger typography for easier reading.
  • Current displays do not have the pixel density to avoid the 'screen door effect', making small type hard to read.

Scene Rules

5. Camera movement should follow the viewer

Whenever possible, avoid movement counter to the focused avatar/object to avoid disorientation.

6. Don’t Force the Viewer’s Direction
Let the viewer initiate the rotation, don't change the view for them as this can induce disorientation.

7. Avoid extreme close ups
The 3D parallax effect starts to break at extreme close distances.

8. Keep virtual world scale 1:1 with the viewer

(unless needed for the story telling)
  • Viewer should feel they're at a natural height above floor when moving around.
  • When out of scale, characters and objects the viewer interacts with can feel gigantic or tiny.
9. Avoid critical action/interaction from occurring behind the viewer
  • Overall, the action should remain approximately within the viewer's field of view.
  • Use visual or audio clues to indicate when action is happening outside of the user's current FOV.
    • “He's coming up on your left!"
    • Flashing on left side of screen.
    • 3D spacial sound moving towards the viewer from the left.
10. Avoid complex scenes if your targeted base hardware cannot keep up
• Latency causes disorientation.
• The "wow factor" is lost if the system cannot keep up.


By: Kirk Membry

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Contributed by:
Kirk Membry Senior Experience Designer

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