Sadly, too many simulator designers fall prey to the false belief that motion is all you need. They try playing little tricks to add some haptics, like using the motion system to add shaking. The shaking doesn’t feel realistic, and it puts demands on the user’s muscles that are not necessary for the experience.
Around a decade ago, many home theater users experienced this false belief in motion. I remember the first time I tried a demo for a home theater motion system. That $12,000 seat was fun to sit in, as motion was a brand-new concept for the home. I also remember doing the demo a second time and finding the motion unattractive. After my brain started normalizing the movements, the motion system became a distraction from the movie. Often the motion had little relation to what was happening on the screen. No wonder that company never succeeded in the home theater marketplace.
Somewhere between Disney and that old mechanical pony is the rest of the world, including the world of Virtual Reality. Our work with The Void demonstrated that excellent haptic feedback can, in some situations, replace a motion system. I remember visiting The Void when they were getting the Ghostbusters experience up and flying. One of The Void managers told a story about a customer who visited the experience, and then marveled about the stage having a ground level and an upper level. When the manager explained that the attraction was only one story tall, the customer could not believe it, and exclaimed, “But there has to be a second floor. I know. I rode the elevator up there.” The elevator effect worked because Clark Synthesis Transducers under the floor accurately reproduced the vibrations that any person would normally experience in an elevator. No motion system was in play.