User Guide For Vive

Jul 5th, 2017
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  1. This is our user guide for the Vive. It contains setup preparations, steps, resources, and utilities. Read the preparational steps in order to understand what you need to get or do for your VR system outside of buying the headset, like getting working extension cables or even the right PC hardware. Our steps should ensure that you will be less likely to run into bugs and other oddities. It may be a bit long, but you should be covered pretty well by it so you're less likely to run into troubleshooting headaches.
  4. --- Table of Contents ---
  6. Required Preparation And Hardware
  7. General Steps
  8. More Preparations For The Vive
  10. How To Setup
  12. Tips, Utilities, And Extra Stuff
  14. Troubleshooting
  17. --- Required Preparation And Hardware ---
  19. General Steps (1 and 2 are shared with the buying guide, and the others are shared with the Rift guide):
  21. 1.If you don't have a gaming PC, you can build a VR-capable rig for $600. The current recommended specs is a GTX 1060 / GTX 970 / RX 480 / R9 290 or greater, an i5-4590 or greater, and 8GB or more RAM. Windows 10 is more optimized specifically for VR than W7/8, and some applications require W10. The headsets don't have good support or any support for MacOS and GNU/Linux. Laptops don't work with VR headsets unless they are labeled VR compatible (due to a hardware design problem with mobile GPUs). Easily build a PC:
  22. 2.You should want the size of the area you're going to use VR to be at least 2 x 1.5m, or else you will be somewhat limited in both the end user experience, and the actual software that may take advantage of larger spaces. The bigger, the more room you have to move around in without hitting things, and the more freedom you have to interact with VR. This is called room-scale.
  23. 3. The headset works best when hooked to your GPU HDMI port directly, so if you have an HDMI monitor, you want to plug that into another port. You may get a bug where various games don't play if you plug anything into the motherboard's ports, so only use the ports on the GPU. This may mean that you need to purchase an HDMI to Displayport or similar adapter, for your monitor.
  24. 4. The headsets can have problems with longer extension cables. It is highly recommended that you have your PC in the same room as your use area if you don't want to go through a lot of trouble experimenting with cables to see which ones work.
  25. 9. If you plan on overclocking, you need to make absolute sure you have a good cooling solution, as high temperatures will throttle the GPU and cause stuttering and possible motion sickness in VR. Do not overclock if you don't know what you're doing.
  26. 5. You will want to determine your interpupillary distance (IPD). It is the distance between your pupils. The headsets have an IPD adjustment so the lenses match your eyes better. Opticians usually can be asked to measure your IPD, for free. You can also use a webcam to do it yourself using this website:
  28. Write down the number for later.
  29. 6. Turn off XBOX DVR in Windows 10. If affects performance bad. It's in settings in the Creators Update, otherwise nuke it in the registry.
  30. 8. Uninstall f.lux if you have it.
  31. 9. Uninstall Nvidia Geforce Experience if you have it.
  32. 10. In general, turn off power saving features in Windows, or tweak settings for "high performance". Also do this for your graphics card settings.
  33. 11. Make sure there is the least amount of stuff running in the background as possible. Things that run while you use VR, even RGB lit mice and performance monitoring software, may compromise with latency, causing micro-stutters that are noticeable in VR. Or just lag in general. Use DPC Latency Checker if you want to be very sure of clearing your system from some of these problematic pieces of software.
  36. More Preparations For The Vive:
  38. 1. If you have bad vision to the point that you use glasses everyday, you will want to get lens adapters for the headset. Using glasses with the headset is doable, but not recommended since many frames don't fit inside, and you have the chance of scratching the headset's own lenses. The Vive actually contains some adjustments you can do to put the headset's lenses farther away from your own, but that reduces FOV, which means possibly less presence, so again we don't recommend it, especially when you've spent so much on the hardware, some add-on lenses aren't too much more. Still, you can try if you want, and it may work well for you. Here is a reputable lens adapter that does ship to the US:
  40. Here is a cheaper option but you need to have someone or a company 3D print for you:
  43. 2. You will want to plan out how mount the 2 base stations that come with the Vive. They send out IR signals in a 120 degree cone, which an array of tiny sensors on the headset "sees" in order to calculate their position. Since a line-of-sight needs to be maintained, the most reliable configuration is to mount the base stations on opposite corners of the room, and high up. Small movements to the base stations can affect tracking, so make sure you have a way to mount them stably. Tape not recommended. The Vive package includes 2 wall mounts that screw into the wall, so we recommend that if you can. Other wall mounts, tripods, shelves, and/or DIY methods, may help you place the sensors, and they take 1/4" threading that's standard in mounting systems. The base stations plug into power outlets and come with 2.5m cables, so make sure your mounting locations have power plugs near enough, using extensions if needed. Make sure it's clean power too. Do not put them on the same circuit as a refrigerator or AC unit, a compressor flipping on will make you lose tracking.
  45. 3. Remove or cover up all reflective things in your room. Not just mirrors, but framed pictures with glass, chrome polished objects and furniture, and even some reflective floors, can reflect the laser light from the base stations and mess with tracking.
  47. 4. Your motherboard may have groupings of USB 3.0 ports. Make sure one of the groupings has one free port to plug the Vive into, and doesn't have any other devices that take up high bandwidth (like an audio device or webcam). To get the most functionality out of the Vive, it takes up a lot of bandwidth, so anything else on the same USB grouping takes away from the Vive.
  49. 4. If you haven't already, get Steam. Then search for and install SteamVR.
  51. 5. Do not install Viveport or any software made by HTC. They are buggy and have caused blue screen crashes for users before. Just rely on Steam. It already contains the runtime and SDK software.
  54. --- How To Setup ---
  56. 1. Make sure you have everything from the preparational steps.
  57. 2. Get out the Vive controllers and immediately plug them into power. They'll charge while you set up.
  58. 2. Get the hardware out and install any lens adapters that you may have ordered. Make sure you've removed the headset's plastic lens covers.
  59. 3. Follow Valve's official guide and remember not to install any HTC made software:
  61. 4. Use the knob on the front bottom right side of the headset to adjust to your IPD which you found out from our previous instructions.
  62. 5. See you in the metaverse.
  64. WARNING: Do not let ANY amount of sunlight reach your headset. The lenses are basically magnifying lenses and the sunlight will burn your screens which the warranty doesn't cover. Even a little amount of sunlight in your room FOR A FEW SECONDS can leave a mark on the displays. Do not let yourself be that guy. Shade and cover up, and do not allow a situation in which you can even forget that you've put the headset down and there happens to be some sunlight. You WILL mess up and forget.
  67. --- Tips, Utilities, And Extra Stuff ---
  69. -Play games built with the Oculus SDK (all games on the Oculus store) using a compatibility mod:
  72. -OpenVR Advanced Settings gives you a lot of useful features in SteamVR. May or may not be a bit buggy.
  74. or
  77. -If you use in-ear headphones, loop the earpieces through the headstrap sides where it has a gap in the velcro. This makes them much more convenient to put on.
  79. -Here are some options for foam replacements and facial interface covers:
  82. -If you want a more comfortable strap that includes integrated headphones, you might want HTC's Deluxe Audio Strap ($99). It can be found on Amazon. Here is a list of official accessories and replacement hardware:
  85. -The Vive controllers last from a few to several hours, so we recommend that whenever you're not using them, you should have them plugged in and charging.
  87. -There have been several cases where users have apparently critically damaged their headset screens or inner hardware and upon investigation by HTC, determined it to be caused by water. This appeared to happen when users had a lot of sweat while using the headset. It is not known how it exactly happens, but to be safe, we suggest you either constantly wipe away sweat if you get like that, have a fan in your room to prevent too much sweat buildup from your body, use sweat absorbing foam replacements, or have some other way to have good ventilation in the headset. We also recommend you to leave your Vive with the lenses faced downward, so that sweat does not potentially flow inwards.
  89. -You may use a shirt or cloth or something to cover your Vive from dust and light when you're not using it.
  91. -The Vive's integrated microphone kind of sucks. Please do this mod for the sake of all online users:
  94. WARNING: To reiterate, do not let ANY amount of sunlight reach your headset. The lenses are basically magnifying lenses and the sunlight will burn your screens which the warranty doesn't cover. Even a little amount of sunlight in your room FOR A FEW SECONDS can leave a mark on the displays. Do not let yourself be that guy. Shade and cover up, and do not allow a situation in which you can even forget that you've put the headset down and there happens to be some sunlight. You WILL mess up and forget.
  97. --- Troubleshooting ---
  99. In case you need to replace your headset, it's better safe than sorry to contact HTC support with a polite e-mail. Do it early on as another avenue of getting your problem solved. It's their job to be support.
  101. Steam's official support page:
  104. A good number of troubleshooting tips from a Redditor:
  107. Other than Google, you'll also want to search on Reddit to try and find solutions to your problem.
  110. --- Solutions to specific problems:
  112. -controller pairing/tracking issues
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