As Summer heat sweeps the northern hemisphere, here is your guide to staying safe and comfortable when using your VR headset.
As Summer drags on, many people in the UK and Europe are sweltering under an unprecedented heatwave. As Kevin E has already noted in VR vs Scorchio article, this kind of weather can make donning a virtual reality (VR) headset and unappealing prospect. However, there are a few measures you can take to make staying in VR a bit more comfortable and safe.
The first thing to do is to properly prepare. Before you even load Steam or turn on the PlayStation 4, make sure you have a drink available nearby, preferably in a bottle or other sealed container. Also ensure you have decent ventilation, even if it is just an open window.
Wait! Nope, step away from the power button. We aren’t done yet. The next few things might involve some shopping.
Make sure your headset is clean. This can be as easy as wiping it down with a microfiber cloth dipped in some soapy water, this will ensure the nasty bugs that like to live in warm, dark places can’t get a foothold. Be sure to clean the lenses and foam surround before and after each use – this is especially important when sharing a headset.
Invest in a VR cover. These come in re-usable variants that can fit most commercial headsets, and can be washed in a washing machine and re-used, or you can buy a pack of disposable ones. Great for absorbing moisture from sweaty foreheads.
Get a desk fan or standing fan. You probably already have one, set it up in your play space and turn it towards you, be sure its in a location you won’t accidentally bump into it.
There are some specialist solutions out there, such as the ‘Vive n’ Chill’ device, which is specifically designed to help HTC Vive users keep their cool, with the added bonus of making sure the lenses don’t fog up.
For a slightly cheaper, if somewhat more ridiculous-looking solution, you can buy cooling face masks. These are designed to be put in the fridge (or even the freezer) and then strapped to your face. It is entirely possible, if somewhat awkward, to wear a HMD on top of one of these, letting it keep your face gloriously cool as you play.
Having a problem with sweaty hands making you lose your grip on your motion controllers? There are products out there that will help keep your hands dry, some of which are even specifically marketed to gamers. There is a more generic solution, however – gym chalk, or climbing chalk. Some recommend liquid chalk in order to prevent white handprints over everything, however.
A slightly more specific issue can occur for Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream users – namely, the smartphone overheating. For this issue, it’s recommended that you leave the back off your headset. While the back can prevent light glare, in this weather, it will be much more comfortable to just draw the curtains and leave the back off.
Again, there are specific cooling products designed to help keep your smartphone, or Samsung Gear VR a bit cooler, though its hard to say how effective they really are.
To re-emphasise, make sure to stay hydrated. Have a bottle of water on hand and make sure you take regular breaks. Stay safe and comfy, everyone.