Technology

What is Virtual Reality

FOR NON-OWNERS

What is VR?

Virtual reality is difficult to understand until you try it for yourself. It is a technology that makes you feel like you are actually inside a virtual environment- as if you have been transported to a different place.

You have a wide field of view compared to a monitor or TV, true 3D (not fake like 3D TV), the scale of objects is correct, you can look around, and in fully tracked headsets (like the Rift) even move around. With VR controllers, you can even interact with virtual objects. This image illustrates the difference between using traditional screens and VR.

What is the Oculus Rift?

The Oculus Rift is a fully tracked virtual reality (VR) headset that runs off powerful PCs. It is used for gaming, entertainment, and communication (social VR).

What is Oculus Touch?

Oculus Touch is a pair of tracked controllers for the Rift that bring your hands into VR, allowing you to grab, hold, move, manipulate and interact with objects in the virtual world, and to use tools like guns and swords.

How much does it cost?

If you do not already have a powerful enough PC that meets the minimum specifications, you will need to upgrade your PC or buy a VR Ready PC.

VR Ready PCs start at $650, or you can get a full bundle with PC+Rift+Touch for just $1099!

Rift

The Rift costs $499/£499/€589/C$679. This includes the headset, a tracking sensor, a remote, a wireless Xbox one gamepad, and the VR games Lucky’s Tale and Herobound: Spirit Champion.

You can buy it directly on the Oculus website (worldwide), or any of the following retail partners:

Touch

Touch costs $99/£99/€119/C$139. This includes the 2 controllers, a 2nd tracking sensor, and the VR games Robo Recall and Dead and Buried.

You can buy it directly on the Oculus website (worldwide), or any of the following retail partners:

What PC do I need?

The Rift requires a gaming PC with a powerful video card (GTX 960 / R9 290 or above).

The exact requirements are listed on the technical requirements for VR page of this Wiki.

So what can I do in VR?

  • Play VR games– games where you are actually inside the game world
  • Talk to friends or strangers as if they’re actually beside you with social VR apps
  • Experience something that you cannot or could not in real life in VR experiences
  • Watch VR films, which place you inside an environment and tell a story with characters and narrative
  • Watch 360 degree videos by simply looking around them with your head
  • Watch or play your existing 2D games and movies on a huge virtual cinema screen

Can I play my current PC games with the Rift?

VR games have to be made from the ground up for VR, or serious effort has to be put in to add VR support (and this is only appropriate for certain genres). The exception to this rule is games with a cockpit, such as racing and flight simulators.

You can play most of your current games on a virtual screen (even a huge virtual cinema screen!) in VR, but you wouldn’t actually be inside the game.

Can wear glasses in the Rift?

To use glasses with the Rift headset, they must fit within the following specifications:

  • A frame width of 142mm or less
  • A frame height of 50mm or less

If your glasses are larger than this, you can buy a third party facial interface (choose ‘Eyewear’ version) which will allow for using larger glasses in the Rift.

Can I try VR before buying it?

Oculus has demo booths at retail stores in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and France. You can find and schedule a demo on their website.

Can the Rift do “room scale”?

The Rift allows you to move around a room-sized space, however, with the default sensor setup included with the Rift+Touch, your Touch controllers will not be tracked when you turn them completely away from the sensors, because your body will be blocking the sensors’ view of them.

For $59/£59/€69, you can buy a 3rd tracking sensor (which includes a long extension cable) to place in the far corner of your room behind you. This third sensor will be able to see your Touch controllers even when your body is blocking the front 2 sensors, and thus will enable room scale tracking.

How much space do I need?

There is a wide variety of VR content, supporting sitting in your chair all the way up to walking around your room.

If you wish to play “room scale” content, Oculus recommends having a playspace at least 2 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep. If you do not have this much space, you can still enjoy VR designed for sitting or standing in place.

Is the Rift compatible with the Xbox One?

No, the Rift does not work with the Xbox One or Xbox One S.

Will VR make me sick?

The hardware itself does not make you sick. Certain types of VR content has the capability to make you feel sick. Whether it does or not varies from person to person.

On the Oculus store all apps/games are given a comfort rating that tells you whether it could make you sick or not: ‘Comfortable’, ‘Moderate’, and ‘Intense’.

If you stick to Comfortable content, you will not get sick at all.

Do I need a gamepad, steering wheel, or flightstick?

The Rift comes with a wireless gamepad inside the box, so you do not need to buy a gamepad.

If you want to get into VR sim racing, then you will need a steering wheel, and if you want to get into VR flight simulation, then you will need a flight stick.

I can’t afford an VR Ready PC and Rift! Can I still experience VR?

There are several options to still get a decent quality VR experience:

Positionally Tracked (Move Around)
  • If you own a PlayStation 4 console, you can get a PlayStation VR headset and PS4 Camera (required) for $450/£400/€450
Rotationally Tracked (Look Around Only)
  • If you own a Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, or Note 4 smartphone, you can get a Gear VR (2016) headset for $99/£80/€90 ($60/£60/€60 for older 2015 white model)
  • If you own a Pixel, Pixel XL, Moto Z, or Moto Z Force, Mate 9 Pro, ZenFone AR, or Axon 7 you can get a DayDream View headset & controller for $79/£69/€69

In the future, the cost of VR will decrease further and further and the paths to entry will expand!

Do I need Facebook? Are there adverts?

Using a Rift does not require a Facebook account, have any forced integration with the Facebook social network, or feature any kind of system-level advertisements.


FOR OWNERS

Technical Issues

Please see the common technical issues page on this subreddit for a potential solution to your problem.

Broken/Chewed Headset Cable

You can buy replacement Rift parts, including the cable, on the Oculus website.

Where should I place my tracking sensor(s)?

Without Touch

The best place to put your sensor is in front of you at standing head height, with the head pointed down at your playspace. A shelf or other structure would be helpful for this. If it is not possible to place it at that height, then try to place the sensor on your desk facing up at you.

The sweet spot is to get it between 1 and 2 meters (3-6 feet) from the position where you’ll be using the Rift. Closer would reduce tracking space and further can cause tracking glitches.

With Touch

You should place your 2 sensors between 1 and 3 metres (3-9 feet) in front of you, facing forwards, 1 to 2 meters (3-6 feet) apart from each other. If there is a shelf in front of you, put them up on it and point them downwards.

To set up 360° tracking so that your Touch controllers work even when turned around, follow this guide.

VR is making me feel sick!

Certain types of VR content, where your viewpoint is moved in a way that does not correspond to your movement in real life (such as thumbstick player movement) has the capability to make you feel sick. On the Oculus store all apps/games are given a comfort rating that tells you whether it could make you sick or not: ‘Comfortable’, ‘Moderate’, and ‘Intense’.

If you experience VR sickness, you should stick to Comfortable content.

Can I see the time without taking the Rift off?

The current time is shown in the top left of the Universal Menu, which you can access at any time by pressing the Oculus button on the right Touch controller or Oculus Remote, or Xbox button on the gamepad.

How do I close a VR app?

To exit a VR application, simply press the Oculus button on the right Touch or Remote or Xbox button on the gamepad, and select the icon in the bottom left. You will be returned to the Oculus Home launcher. At this stage, you can simply take off the headset if you are finished using VR for now.

How do I watch videos in a virtual cinema?

To watch your video files in a virtual cinema, you can use Oculus Video, which is available for free on the store. By default, you can only browse video files in the Windows default videos folder ‘Videos’, but you can add more folders with this method.

There are also third party applications which do the same.

How do I view my monitor in VR?

To view your desktop on a virtual monitor in VR, you need to use a third party application. The current options for this include BigScreen and Virtual Desktop.

You can also use these to watch videos and play games in VR, by simply using that content in the same way you would on your monitor.

How do I move my games/apps to a different hard drive?

If you installed the Oculus app on a system drive but you have now filled it up, you can solve this by reinstalling it to a different hard drive.

  1. Create a folder on the larger hard drive for your VR games/apps (name it something like ‘VR Apps’)
  2. Copy the contents of the ‘Software’ folder from the Oculus install folder into the folder you created in Step 1
  3. Uninstall the Oculus app via the Settings/Control Panel in Windows
  4. Redownload and install the Oculus app
  5. When the setup asks you which drive you want to install VR apps to, select the folder that you created in Step 1

What games are available outside the store?

All released (and known upcoming) VR games are listed on this wiki page, whether they are on the store or from another source.

How do I update the runtime/drivers/firmware?

The Oculus app automatically updates your runtime, drivers, firmware, and the store software itself. You do not need to worry about this at all.

Where do I get VR porn?

Sigh.

How do I create VR content myself?

The Oculus SDK is integrated into Unity, Unreal Engine 4, and CryEngine, and is a free public download if you want to integrate it into your own engine. We have more information on developing for VR here.