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March 12, 2022

5 Tips to Avoid Punching Your Walls in VR

I nearly broke my hand on multiple occasions when playing my Quest 2. I’ve punched walls, ceilings, and cut my hands bad (not kidding, blood everywhere).

So how can we maintain competitive gameplay in VR without seriously injuring ourselves? I’ve got tips that should help you reduce your hand injuries to nearly 0.

1) Buy a Rug or Mat

A mat is ESSENTIAL. I’m serious, a simple mat has cut down on 90% of the injuries I’ve sustained playing VR. You simply place one at the center of your playspace (well away from walls) and whilst you’re standing on it you can feel confident that a punch won’t land you in the hospital.

Now which rug should you buy? I personally look for Kitchen anti-fatigue standing mats on Amazon (I bought this one and recommend it). I prefer anti-fatigue mats over rugs for 3 reasons.

  1. They’re cheaper than the same sized rug.
  2. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes if you have a preference.
  3. They are a delight to stand on for large amounts of time. They’re anti-fatigue standing mats, so of course they are.

That said, as Virtual Reality gets more and more popular I’d imagine we’ll see more mats specifically designed for VR. For example, this mat was built for VR. It has lines on the mat so that you know which direction you’re facing when you’re standing on it (which is a cool idea).

The main reason I prefer the kitchen mats to this is because I like the rectangular 3′ x 6′ size option as opposed to a 3′ circle. Either way, any mat in the center of your playspace will dramatically cut down on wall punches without killing immersion.

2) Leave Ample Space Between The Guardian and Walls.

You want to be able to extend your full arm outside the guardian boundary in all directions without touching a wall. And even that is maybe cutting it close if you’re looking to avoid punching that wall.

That said, if you combine this with a mat you’ll reduce almost all of your wall punching injuries. You’ll begin to internalize that big punches aren’t safe when not on the mat and so the guardian becomes more of a last defense rather than a first defense.

That said, without a mat I’d play it extremely carefully with the guardian.

3) Clear Your Guardian History Before GamePlay

I used to simply create a new guardian in the same room every time I moved some new furniture in there or wanted a larger stationary guardian.

Unfortunately, multiple guardians in the same room can confuse the Quest 2 (particularly when it’s low on power). This is how I nearly broke my hand a while back. The Quest switched it’s guardian settings mid gameplay and led me right into a wall (this is why you need a mat).

A simple fix is to simply clear your guardian history every time you create a new guardian. This way this will never happen to you.

4) Use Consistent Lighting

The Quest 2 uses its 4 cameras to keep track of where the guardian is.

If you’re playing by a window around dusk or dawn, the Quest might forget which guardian setup to use as the lighting drastically changes. Again, I nearly broke my hand when the Quest randomly switched me to an old “stationary” guardian I had setup.

To counter this, close all the blinds, turn on consistent lights in your playspace, and always clear your guardian history.

5) Find a Better Play Space

I know many of us are stuck living in the house or room we have and this isn’t an option.

But, VR is a lot more fun when you have some room to move around and you’re not going to seriously injure yourself. Definitely scout your house for better places to play or consider moving furniture around to give yourself a better playspace.

And most important, opt for a room where you can’t punch the ceiling because that happens.

Or, you could try playing outside (but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it).

Shaun works as a professional software developer while blogging about the creator economy (With a focus on Blogging, YouTube, and Virtual Reality).

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