VR helmets and goggles have their own connection and setup features, and they are not always obvious. We will cover how to deal with the main models, what to install and how to choose a space for the game.
Helmets vs goggles
Virtual reality devices are divided into two types: helmets and goggles. The VR helmet is designed for PC and consoles and requires additional accessories. They can either be included in the kit or sold separately. Helmets allow you to play heavy multi-gigabyte games.
VR glasses work with smartphones. Games will be lighter and graphics simpler. Impressions are also not so exciting.
According to 2019 data, PS VR, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Oculus Rift helmets became the best-selling helmets in the world.
Vive and Rift work with computers, as does the Valve Index, but the latter is not only firmly tied to Steam, but also not available for purchase in Russia.
PS VR is designed exclusively for the PlayStation 4, with support on the announced PS 5. It has been around for three years, but is still relevant to this day.
The Oculus Quest is a standalone wireless headset that works both standalone and on a PC. The downside is that you need a Facebook account to use it.
Is the computer ready for VR
The first thing to consider before connecting a VR headset is the computer configuration. Virtual reality is very demanding on resources, especially graphics.
The minimum requirements are:
- Video card: NVIDIA GTX 1070
- Processor: Intel i7-6700
- RAM: 16GB+ RAM
- Video output: HDMI 1.3 compliant
- USB: USB 3.0 (for models with base stations), 1x USB 2.0
- Operating system: Windows 8 SP1 64 bit
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
- Processor: Intel i7-7700
- RAM: 32GB+ RAM
- Video output: HDMI 1.3 compliant
- USB: USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
- Operating system: Windows 10 64 bit
There are also recommended requirements for laptops:
- Video card: GeForce RTX 2080 Max‑Q
- Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i7
- 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI
- Memory: 32GB+ RAM
Special requirements for HTC Vive
Those who are planning to purchase an HTC Vive helmet will have to take into account several features. Optimus technology on laptops, which uses the onboard graphics card for light tasks and uses the dedicated graphics card for demanding ones, is not compatible with the Vive. The Asus ROG G752 laptop advertised as VR-ready doesn’t recognize Vive headsets. This is a bug of such laptops. In order for them to work together, you need a mini display port and an HDMI adapter that supports 4K at 60Hz.
Additionally, you need to take into account that HTC Vive Pro are connected via DisplayPort, not HDMI, so first make sure that the appropriate input is available on your PC.
HTC VIVE Pro
Each helmet in the HTC model line requires its own settings. The company made sure that the software installation process was as simple as possible. The Vive website has a separate page for customizing the helmet and accessories. To get started, you will need to download the VIVE app, after which, already in it, you will need to select a specific device.
Next, you need to perform the following steps:
- Choose a place to install base stations. Stations help the helmet and controllers track the player’s location. They need to be fixed on the wall, on racks or clothespins, in opposite corners at an optimal height of 2 meters. The viewing angle of the base stations should cover the entire playing area. Considering that the angle is 120°, it is better to place the stations at a distance of about 5 meters. And be sure to make sure that the base stations see each other without obstacles or connect them with a wire.
- Read the instructions and download software for Vive and Steam from the official website.
- The SteamVR app itself will show you how much you can move around the room: step left and right, back and forth, or just stand.
- Done, Vive helmets require no additional calibration, and controllers come pre-charged. It is recommended to play with your back to the PC so that the wires do not interfere.
Vive Wireless Adapter
The adapter connects to the helmet, receiving data from the PC via a radio channel. It consists of a PCIe WiGig board and a special module. They need to be installed on the computer and helmet.
PCIe WiGig requires careful handling as it contains fragile parts. Installation is performed on a PC that is turned off from the outlet. If the computer was working before, it needs to be allowed to cool down. Installation is preferably done with a grounded anti-static wrist strap.
Holding the board by the edges, you need to insert it into the PCI slot on the motherboard, then put on the cover of the system unit and connect the PC to the network.
After the board is installed, the wireless communication module cable is connected to it. It is inserted into the hole on the board, then you need to turn the connector clockwise. A special clip allows you to fix the communication module, most often it is placed on a computer monitor. The height must be at least 125 cm, and the distance from the playing area must be at least 150 cm.
Before putting on the HTC Vive Pro helmet, you need to remove the protective film from the eyepieces and loosen the headphone mount by turning the knob counterclockwise. The helmet is pressed against the eyes so that there are no gaps left, and after that the mount is shifted and adjusted in size with the same regulators. Headphones need to be positioned as you like, then press and fix. The cable should pass through the retainer and hang exactly along the back.
The helmet can be worn with glasses, the main thing is to make sure that the glasses do not scratch the lens, and vice versa.
HTC Vive Cosmos
HTC Vive Cosmos is put on in almost the same way: first you need to completely loosen the fixation strap by turning the dial counterclockwise, you need to remove the protective film from it. The belt must be pulled up, and then press the eyepieces to the eyes until the image becomes clear. Then pull the strap down until it clicks, but make sure the cable is not caught between the strap and your head. Eyepieces should be pointed straight ahead.
The latest helmet from Oculus — Quest 2 is turned on using a mobile application that can be downloaded from the company’s website. Through the application, the helmet can be connected to a Wi-Fi network.
The Oculus Rift and Quest connect to a PC using an Oculus Link cable or its USB 3 equivalent. The helmet requires the same safety regulations as HTC.
What to play: Star Wars Squadrons, Beat Saber, Half-Life Alyx, Star Trek Bridge Crew, Skyrim VR.
Since PS VR was originally created as a kit, its installation does not cause any particular difficulties.
First you need to turn off the TV and the PS4. Then you have to pull out the HDMI cable from the set-top box and plug it into a similar port on the processor unit.
The PlayStation camera plugs into the AUX port on PS4. PS VR HDMI cable plugs into the PS4 HDMI port at one end and into the same connector on the processor unit with the other end. The cable must be at least version 1.4 if you are not using the one included in the kit. The processor unit connects to the PS4 using a micro USB cable, and the power cable connects it to the network.
The last step is to connect the helmet to the processor unit, after which you can turn on the TV and set-top box and the helmet itself.
The camera should be at a height of 1.4 meters and 2 meters from the place where you will be during the game.
Since the PS VR headset does not have built-in headphones, you will have to use external ones.
What to play: Beat Saber, Blood & Truth, Iron Man VR, PlayStation VR worlds, Skyrim VR.
Virtual reality glasses are designed to work with a smartphone. All models have screen size limitations, so it’s important to make sure the glasses are compatible with your phone. But they do not need a complex connection. Download the application specifically for glasses or with vr game, adjust the glasses to size and start playing. The glasses are compatible with both Android and iOS.
What to play: Minecraft, Zombie Shooter VR, Minos Starfighter VR, NFS No Limits VR, Skyrim VR.