Gaming Motion Sickness

Motion sickness afflicts a large number of gamers, and researchers are scratching their heads.

My experience:Background

I’ve been gaming since the dawn of the playstation one. Was always a geek and with my first chunk of money in the bank, right after secondary, I bought a PC.

I used to game on a regular basis for hours and hour never having any problems.

Few years ago my girlfriend buys me the game ‘Dishonoured’ for PS3. I had just recently bought the console and had very few games to play so I was as thrilled as a little boy on Christmas.

After playing the tutorial, I started to feel a bit queasy. As I played on I couldn’t cope with the increasing nausea and a massive migraine ensued.

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I had to sleep for a few hours to get back to my normal self. That was my first confirmed case of Motion sickness while gaming.

After that incident I noticed that I felt uneasy ever time I played an open world game. I googled the symptoms and self-diagnosed myself. It was surprising to see that I wasn’t the only one to tango with this condition.

Scientific literature:Background

While I had these sensations on a screen, more and more people seem to be affected with Visual Head Gear like HTCVive and Oculus Rift etc etc.

S. Davis et al. (2014) in their review of cybersickness say:

In one study by Cobb, Nichols, Ramsey and Wilson (1999), 80%
of participants experienced cybersickness within the first ten
minutes of exposure to the virtual environment. This finding
demonstrates that, at least in some virtual environments,
cybersickness could be a widespread usability issue that could
impact on both the broader adoption of the technology but also the
continued improvement of the technology

This cybersickness phenomenon was first observed in extensive training of US fighter pilots using simulations. (S. Davis et al., 2014)

I personally couldn’t find any literature regarding these same effects when using normal monitors or a TV.

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Van Emmerik M. L. et al. (2011) investigated points of view and their effects when changed in VR headset users.

While they noticed that proportion of objects in a virtual world does effect the users, the theory that is vastly believed to be true is that of Vection. Vection is the mismatch between visual cues and the vestibular sense. (S. Davis et al., 2014)

In laymen terms, your sense of balance, controlled by an organ in the ear, gets upset that even though your eyes see a lot of action and changes in landscape, your sense of balance doesn’t.

Our brain is especially put off when 3D images are used in our ‘revolutionary’ VR Headsets (Häkkinen, J. et al., 2006). A lot of research is being done in this regard, especially since most of these devices are hitting the mainstream market.

My final words:Background

I’m really anguished that little research is being done with regards to the effects of motion sickness when using a normal monitor.

If like me you suffer from the same condition, I found out that playing games that have a fixed camera point like MOBAs or platformers doesn’t make me sick. There are also over the counter medication which could help, but it sucks to take pills to play games.

Some other suggestions, thanks to Extra credits and their video about this topic are:

  • Try to remove screen bob (running movement of the camera view point) – certain games have that as an option to turn off.
  • Dim your screen
  • Change your field of view – the larger your perspective is, the better.
  • Switch off your room lights
  • Limit your play time – duhhh!
  • Ease on your caffiene addiction – don’t take coffee, tea or cola. It might help a few of you.

Ages ago I also read somewhere that by gradually increasing the exposure to games that make you sick will ultimately make you more resiliant to the sickness.

Whilst researching I bumped into a friendly blogger named Two Happy Cats  (link to his post) who like me, knows the pains of it all. Go check it out.

References:Background

  • Davis, S., Nesbitt, K. and Nalivaiko, E. (2014) ‘A Systematic Review of Cybersickness’, Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Interactive Entertainment, IE2014, New York, NY, USA, ACM, p. 8:1–8:9 [Online]. DOI: 10.1145/2677758.2677780 (Accessed 24 December 2017).
  • van Emmerik, M. L., de Vries, S. C. and Bos, J. E. (2011) ‘Internal and external fields of view affect cybersickness’, Displays, Visual Image Safety, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 169–174 [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.displa.2010.11.003 (Accessed 24 December 2017).
  • Häkkinen, J., Pölönen, M., Takatalo, J. and Nyman, G. (2006) ‘Simulator Sickness in Virtual Display Gaming: A Comparison of Stereoscopic and Non-stereoscopic Situations’, Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Human-computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI ’06, New York, NY, USA, ACM, pp. 227–230 [Online]. DOI: 10.1145/1152215.1152263 (Accessed 24 December 2017).

Malta – Lawless or Lazy?

Laws are in place but why does it take so long for justice to be served?

Headline-grabbing truck driver also faces hit-and-run charge

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171215/local/headline-grabbing-truck-driver-also-faces-hit-and-run-charge.665711?utm_source=tom&utm_campaign=top5&utm_medium=widget

Weeks ago videos of a renegade truck driver who was caught not once, not twice but three times driving dangerously on dash cams.

They went on to arrest the guy after a couple of days of these emerging.

The mind-boggling thing is that the media reported that he was “known to the authorities”. Basically, this guy drove around, with the police knowing that he could be of great danger to others.

Now that he’s in Police hands, Mr. ‘I’ve got a big truck move out of the way’ is being charged with a HIT AND RUN.

Incredible! The bike rider even took his license plate number, but awkwardly enough he couldn’t be retraced!

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Police are either underfunded and lack basic resources or are void the biggest asset of them all, motivation.

For years now we’ve seen a laissez-faire attitude on our roads.

On a daily basis, as I drive on my way to work, so many people are driving in the bus lane in Marsa. To mention another few: slow cars driving in the fast lane, people forgetting to use an indicator or swirving 2 lanes at a time, illegal parking and so one.

Our government promised new roads in the next 7 years. While this is a needed change, we also cannot forget to regulate laws that keep people on the road safe.

We need enforcement.

With the new point system, I hope people realise that this system is set in place for our benefit. With this scheme, we’re saying NO to unserviced vehicles, mobile phones usage on the go, Mongols on the street which fail to comply with the simplest of rules, non-fee payers and most importantly our culture to drink and drive.

One can only hope to see a couple of traffic policeman around.

Is Malta choosing its university students well?

Are requirements there to select the best in the field?

Education is one of the most valued assets one can have. I believe that a sound education is the pivot of any flourishing society. While not everything is thought inside a classroom, the Maltese Islands mentality gives a lot of importance to academics.

Last weekend I had a discussion on education and someone made a comment that really got pinned in my head. Entry requirement for our public University of Malta forces everyone to have a science subject at Advanced or Intermediate level.

“Whoever wants to pursue an art or language must also be proficient in a science” my friend exclaimed. “You could be proficient in a number of languages and still be denied studying them at university level.” she continued.

It does work both ways, anyone who ‘majors’ science subjects should also be proficient at least one language.

I completely got here point but counter-argued that pure academics have a strong reliance on the king of science, Maths. Statistics, especially when performing studies, are a valuable tool in the arsenal of any kind of researcher.

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Another one of my friends commented, “Sometimes, they lower the bar just so children of privileged people can get in”. Sadly, our nepotism is also prevalent in our independent university.

Criticism over, I do feel that there are many people who are truly passionate at one topic and get denied the ability to prove their worth on the subject.

Entry requirements are needed to keep check of the influx of students, especially in public free for all schools, but it definitely tarnishes any eager stars on specific topics.

Maybe we should have a place where these kinds of one-trick ponies are accepted within the higher order of academia. Everyone should get a shot at reaching for the stars in a budding country like Malta.

Shall we care for a bear?

Couple of days ago I came across this video. Heart-wrenching, to say the least.

 

Global warming is a topic which was highly debated a few years ago. Nowadays, many earthlings came to face these realities first hand.

A Polar Bear is only a small frame in this ever-changing blue and green ball drifting in space, yet this video certainly makes you think.

Now, I’m not a vegetarian or drive an electric car. In a world where we seem to be in the golden age of science, I wish I had easier and less boring options.

I wish we could all eat meat not coming from animals and be able to afford an electric city car.

While a lot is being done, it surely doesn’t feel enough. Not enough focus is being put when it comes to research for alternatives. Alternatives that are accessible to everyone, and NOW!

What can we do? Stop eating meat? Tell that to an increasing number of Chinese. Numbering at 1.4 billion people their increased quality of life is also reflected in their diet. A good alternative is eating Chicken. Chicken has a much smaller carbon footprint and can be our alternative to a world crying for change.

Turning whole countries vegetarian, will not happen over-night.

On a global warming aspect, it’s a struggle to make a huge impact. I would like to see more regulation on the topic of livestock, just like they are doing with cars.

If we don’t act quickly, nature is already showing how harsh it can be, like it did even with the softest of bears.

We deem that everything natural is loving and caring. This video truly depicts the opposite and we should never take nature for granted.

We might save polar bears from extinction or livestock from being eaten, but who is going to save us from the rising sea levels, harsher weather, and climatic disasters?

Maltese – our national language

Our love and hate relationship with our mother tongue, Maltese.

I’m a somewhat proud maltese. Even though I think that our country isn’t the best in most regards, no-one can ever discredit our language.

Most people use it on a daily basis while others tend to be surrounded by english speakers. That’s nothing wrong with that.

Nonetheless, I do expect everyone should be able to have a conversation in Maltese if you were born, taught and live on the island.

Malta has always struggled to be proud of its own language. Nowadays, we’re completely surrounded with English in our studies, media but mostly on the internet. This makes it an ever-growing struggle to justify the use of Maltese.

The thing that saddens me the most is that Maltese is always looked at as something for the lower working classes and English is somewhat used daily but the middle class.

Another thing that makes my tear ducts work over-time is spelling. Maltese isn’t an easy language to write especially where silent letters like ‘gh’ (ghajn) and ‘h’ (akka) are involved.

Bad spelling is what let me to write this post and this is what got me started:

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These online tests are getting popular on the socials recently. Unfortunately they can’t even spell ‘tajba’ or ‘zzejjed’ right. Neither did they punctuate ‘X’karattru’. This might seem trivial but adults and even worst kids, lack a sound basis in writing Maltese.

“The situation is desperate, they’re everywhere” the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote in her blog right before she was assassinated. She was obviously referring to people verging on being functionally illiterates in our national language.

“I would never hit a woman”

Does this phrase show our good manner?

Just heard this phrase being cited, and something just hit me. I deem myself to be the old-kind of gentleman. I always try to open doors for my fiancée and I like to treat her like my queen.

It would never cross my mind to mistreat her or to any other woman. I never felt that I had to say it. The same thing goes through my head if I’m in a fight with a male.

Maybe because I’m thirty or maybe because I was never such a physical type of person, but punching or hitting someone seems so distant to me.Four quote

I never thought of hitting with fists rather than words.

To be honest, I don’t know what irritates me the most. Is it the clear sexism or the whole aggressive nature of it all?

It seems crazy to me that in our day and age with all the equality and intellectual talk this phase is still used.

I do understand that men abusing of women is still very much a current issue. Nonetheless, we fail to see is that even men get abused by their partners but this goes well under the radar.

I never heard a woman say I would never abuse of a man, and it would sound wrong if she did.

It should never cross our minds, let alone have a cliché phrase for it.

Anxious Parents

Just last night, I was at one of the thousands of christmas parties we have to attend in this festive season. To my surprise, it was enjoyable but I always feel a bit awkward in these settings.

Anyway, long story short after being late like always, I ended up sitting in front of a mum in her forties. She was very nice and even though I didn’t know her much before that she was quite open with me and the others alike.

She was worrying that her 15-year-old son was secretly dating a 17-year-old girl. Everyone on the table wasn’t surprised that her son started dating girls. After that she told us that her son wants to watch a movie at home or have a sleep over with her.

It was clear that her son wanted to get friendly with the opposite sex.

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This colleague was dead worried that her son would be prone to have sex especially since the girl was almost legal.  I wouldn’t blame her, if I was in her place I would be anxious too.

For these situations, having a good relationship with your children is key. Being able to listen and guide them without brute force is the best way to deal with a growing teenager. Be a friend that isn’t be too nosey about everything.

He/she is gonna do mistakes, which he/she will learn from. Don’t be a know it all; an asscrack in your kids eyes. Let him experience life, while planting seeds of advice as he grows up to be an adult.

I’ve been a teenager and kept many secrets from my parents, but I knew I could always go back to them if I was ever in doubt or in need of help. I also remember that while I fought with them constantly, I always listened to what they had to say.

Somehow, their advice somewhat stuck at the back of my head. Even though I never admitted to it, their words were always important to me and I respected and still respect them to this day.

Thanks Mum and Dad ❤

Gaming Rage

The time I talk to Hulk and he talked back.

For years now I have been a passionate gamer but I was never really good at it. When I was a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) player, I spent countless hours playing, leveling my character and becoming better at player killing.

The environment there was always great. Spent most of those hours voice calling my allies. Cool guys, people I still keep contact with after all these years. It was always a thrill to fight together with my clan, and we laughed a lot too.

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Quite recently, while playing a different type of game (a multiplayer online battle arena), I played duo with this guy I met on the forums. These were his words before adding me: ‘added so long as it is not netflix and chill im fine with being chill xD’. He seemed nice and wanted to voice call. I agreed.

First game, he did well and so did I, but every small instance that something even seems to go wrong he would start getting rowty. Yet, he controlled it.

Second game, I play a perfect game. “I’m pissed off! I’m pissed off at this team.” he goes. Even though we pull off a really good game, he was so unsettled. I couldn’t concentrate, tried to calm him down with some words to no avail.three quote

It seemed as if he wanted to control everyone and everything.

I managed to avoid him for a whole 24hrs. The following day I thought I could give him another try.

We played the game, we did awesome but lost a fight and he went beserk.

“This is so sloppy! Everyone is so sloppy, I can’t believe it! You’re so sloppy, this isn’t gonna work!” uttering furiously.

With a calm tone I said to him, “Calm down, it was only one fight. We got this.”

“NO! I can’t calm down! I’m angry!” he barked out.

I felt like a parent to an 20 year old kid, went to the voice chat and disconnected him. I wasn’t gonna let him have that attitude with me.

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I played the game which we won in stomping fashion. Right after ‘Hulk’ unfriended me from the game and deleted the voice chat. Quite mature.

He was a good player for my rank and expected way too much out of others. He couldn’t handle a negative situation. I wonder how he handles life.

I’m sure he was in such a low rank all because he could never bounce back. That is what all rage does, it cuts the bounce to your step. Go play single-players, son.

 

Bullying and Parents

Today, I visited a medical clinic to do a small procedure. I was bullied by my parents to go but that’s besides the point.

While waiting, the bullying topic came up and everyone was telling their incidents dealing with bullies.

One parent said that her boy once got in a brawl with a child at school. His classmate later on that year organised a party and apparently this parent’s kid wasn’t invited.

“Come on, they’re just kids” she said.

Kids can be mean too. Even in their early years, they must learn that for every action there will be consequences.

I see this relaxed mentality all around me everyday. People double park, just to buy a newspaper. People poke fun at someone, “oh, it’s just a joke” they say.

Be sensible to others. Double parking might keep a man from getting to work on time. A joke can be hurtful to someone who heard that same joke over and over.

Most of all, don’t expect love back if you don’t sow happiness.

It all starts with…one

Post number one.

I’m a 30 year old soul, who’s need to express himself was not satisfied by the common social media. While others vomit words with little thought, I will try my best to fill the void they have created.

Born, raised and lives on the cursed islands of Malta. I studied Sciences my whole life and always wanted to have a space where I can release my creative demons.

In this blog, scientific objectiveness will meet the cry of different opinions and thought-invoking tales. Subjects will vary from the futile to the world changing.

Welcome.