This past weekend, I finally had a bit of time to sit down and play some of the VR apps that have been sitting in my Steam library, as well as make a few improvements to my overall setup that has dramatically increased the overall experience of my Vive play.
The first thing that I wound up doing was reorganizing my office and living room to improve the amount of play space that was available for the Vive. The deep cleaning in the apartment was so worth it – the play space now measures a little bit over 12″x12″ and it’s just marvelous. I had a recurring issue that I finally sat down to get to the bottom of, which has significantly improved the experience of playing with SteamVR games.
For quite some time, I’d had an occasional issue where the headset and controllers would completely lose tracking and start jumping around. The controllers would drift and the headset would occasionally just gray out – most often in the SteamVR home app, but I’d also see it a bit in games, too. Recently, this issue has gotten worse and worse, until it got to the point this past weekend where the Vive was basically unusable.
A lot of my initial investigation was around the tracking from the lighthouses based on the interference of the lasers – I have a huge set of double windows in my apartment, which I thought might be the problem despite it being nighttime. I took down my awesome Star Wars art in case it was a reflection off of the glass. I plugged in the sync cables in an attempt to circumvent a situation where the base stations couldn’t see each other.
Turns out the fix was much simpler – while perusing through the Vive troubleshooting guide, I found a note about the front-facing camera on the Vive. Turned that off, restarted SteamVR, and voila! No more tracking issues, no more gray screen. My Vive was happier than ever!
Once that was solved, I took to my next task: following Road to VR’s guide to setup supersampling for the Vive games. I have a GTX 1080, and I wanted to see if it could handle the 2.5x multipler. It did! Paired with my Intel Core i7-4790K and 16GB of RAM, the supersampling apps still ran like a dream.
This weekend, I also got to try out some new-to-me apps. I finally got a chance to play with Nvidia’s VR Funhouse and AudioShield, the first of which I felt was somewhat lacking and the latter quickly becoming one of my favorite games. I’ll do a more comprehensive review on each of those in a later post, but I did want to touch on them briefly here, especially because I’m so in love with AudioShield.
To be entirely fair, when I tested out Nvidia’s VR Funhouse, there were a few things that I think were working against me: it was before I had fixed the tracking issues, and I didn’t have headphones on me at the time, both of which led to a subpar experience due to the game not running audio through the speaker and the controls being wonky. I’ll definitely give it another go now that I have those fixed up – I liked the nature of the experience, though the experience design left a bit to be desired.
AudioShield, though, was a whole other story. I immediately fell in love with the game mechanics and couldn’t get enough of the dancing around. The entire experience was just gorgeous, and I was surprised that it had taken me so long to get a chance to go hands-on with it. It’s easily become one of my new favorites, and I’m really excited to get my music library over to my desktop to play with a better song library.
All in all, it was a delightful, VR-filled weekend and I am already thinking about getting back home to play some more. Stay tuned for more in-depth posts about Nvidia’s VR Funhouse and AudioShield! Have you played them? What were your thoughts?