Saturday, March 25, 2017

VR Experiences: Room-Scale

Getting the Vive set up in a larger room was not only necessary, but inevitable. Fortunately, my wife not only accepts my geekery, but actively encourages it! I wasn't initially sure how it would work in the lounge space (apart from the coffee table having to move temporarily!), so I ordered some items from Amazon to test out the theory:

To test the placement of the lighthouses in the lounge, I set up the poles in opposite corners of the room and attached the camera mounts, which had compatible 1/4" threaded heads I could screw the lighthouses to (see the picture on the right). The cables allowed me to have a longer run from the back of my PC, through the office into the lounge and plug into the Vive's link box. As an aside, the Vive supports the use of both USB 2 and 3 and ideally I would have chosen a USB 3 cable, but I couldn't find a 5m one that had been confirmed as working on the Vive subreddit. I think the only downside to using USB 2 is there's less bandwidth available for using the built in camera and any other peripherals you might connect to the Vive's secondary port.

After I ran the SteamVR room setup, I was delighted to find I had a play space of 2 x 2.4 metres, which meant I could finally enjoy room-scale experiences. This was amazing; I could finally walk around in VR space and try out titles previously considered unplayable! It only took me a few moments to get used to the play space boundaries that are presented by the Chaperone system, which appear when you approach them. Soon I could move around with confidence, which made the games so much more immersive!

Anyway, after a couple of days, I was happy enough with the results that I decided to make the installation permanent: I ordered a couple of wall-mount speaker brackets (again, with 1/4" threaded heads) and some conduit and installed the two lighthouses in a more discreet fashion.

Now, I just have to move the coffee table out of the way whenever I want to enjoy a room-scale experience.