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Author Topic: Oculus Thrift or: How to get a cheap lay in the VR Scene  (Read 4370 times)

MoarPye

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Hey Developers! Developing for Oculus? Don't have a Vive to build a parallel stream on? You might be interested in this too... It's not perfect but it might help you kickstart a workflow.

And please, consider adding secondary controls to your game. We can pretend to be a Vive headset but we can't pretend to have the Vive controllers.




Ok, so I've only been playing with VR for about a week but I'm doing it on-the-cheap since I've only just ordered my Vive and it'll take a little while to get here. I thought it was worth sharing some of my experiences, since I don't think many people realise just how cheaply they can get a taste of VR.

Already have an Android phone? 5-inch screen or greater? 1080p resolution or better? You can get into this for less than $50, and you're not limited to just Android VR titles.

Headsets based on the Google Cardboard principal are all over the place now, ranging from $10 up to $100, roughly. We're actually already in the 2nd Generation of these things, it's pretty great... I've got a FiiT VR which only set me back about US$25 and it suits me very well.

At the moment there are two software suites I've found that combine PC and Android software to achieve some of what the expensive HMD's do. TrinusVR which, when used in combination with a 3rd Party renderer (like TriDef3D or Vireio Perception), can turn non-VR games into VR experiences by rendering two slightly shifted perspectives side-by-side; and Riftcat which emulates both the Vive and Oculus Rift's v0.6 - v0.8 SDK to let you access content designed for those systems. Both of these suites can be trialed for free if you're in any doubt about your phone's capabilities.

- TrinusVR is US$10 and you buy it from the Play Store. There is a free version of the app available which limits your session to 10 minutes.
- Riftcat is (from memory) US$15 and you unlock it though their website with PayPal or Credit Card. Until it's unlocked it also limits your play sessions to 10 minutes.

I'm gonna skip Trinus for now because it's unwieldy and complicated with its dependance on 3rd Party renderers. Also it's mainly for videogames that aren't made for VR (like Skyrim, Fallout 4, ArmA, Witcher 3, etc) and that isn't really what we're about here, right?

Riftcat on the other hand is super easy to use, and it's made for just this kind of forum where High-end VR is the name of the game. This was my basic workflow to get up and running with it:

  • 1) Install Riftcat on the PC from riftcat.com
  • 2) Install Vridge (Riftcat's Android app) on the phone from the Play Store.
  • 3) Install SteamVR through Steam
  • 4) Plug your phone into the PC with the USB cable
  • 5) Disable Data, and enable USB Tethering on the phone. (Disabling data is critical. If you don't the tether can allow the PC to access the internet through your phone, like a hotspot, which can tear through your data if you're not careful... The software warns you about this. Heed the warning!)
  • 6) Run Riftcat (PC) and Vridge (Android). The order doesn't really matter but I tend to do the PC first. Choose 'Automatic' when the connection options pop up on your phone, that way even if the tether isn't working it'll still try to make a wireless connection instead.
  • 7a) Hit the button on the PC for "Play SteamVR Games" or "Play Oculus Rift Games" depending on what kind of game you're trying to play.
  • 7b) SteamVR first run only: You'll need to complete the Vive headset configuration. Don't use room-scale, choose the standing-only option. After that you can ignore the controller and base station configs.
  • 8a) When the little SteamVR window says "Ready" in green you can run the game from any shortcut, executable or the Steam library. Make sure you still have the little Riftcat 'Hosting' window as well since that's the emulator; if you close it by mistake you'll need to hit the button in Riftcat again.
  • 8b) The Oculus button will open a file browser window and you need to use this to select the executable you want to run. Note that Riftcat only supports older Rift SDK's at the moment ( v0.6 - v0.8 ). To be honest that doesn't help us much, since the games here are mostly being built for CV1 with the v1.3 SDK. Hopefully we'll get an update some time soon, and in the meantime you can always try running a Rift game with SteamVR instead. It seems counter-intuitive but UE4 games in particular seem to work, with some quirks like offset perspectives and the calibration floor-ring following you everywhere.

Lastly, what are the downsides?
  • Not all games work, as mentioned. Especially this early in development with many of them being single-stream projects, they can be really finicky. You'll spend a lot of your time wishing on pixies, unicorns and shooting stars.
  • Your resolution and field of view are more limited, and the video is being streamed via USB so it can artifact from time to time. For me the overall quality seems slightly lower than a DK2 I tried more than a year ago, fuzzy memories notwithstanding. But it will depend almost entirely on the quality of your phone and headset.
  • You will have 3-axis tracking for your head, but not the positional tracking that the Vive and Oculus have... It's apparently possible to jury-rig a TrackIR to accomplish that, but I don't have one and it's another level of complexity.
  • But CONTROLS ARE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM! Especially with Vive projects which understandably assume every user will have the offical controllers too... If we can get the word out that HMD emulation is possible then hopefully they can start to accommodate us with alternative controls.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 12:31:02 AM by MoarPye »

 

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