The official start to the virtual reality party was kicked off with the release of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift. And its successful launch has given other virtual reality headset developers a renewed optimism to go through with their respective projects. One of those is HTC, who will join the party with the Vive, powered by Valve’s SteamVR software. However, it turned out that Valve will not be confining itself to its own product, recently allowing SteamVR to connect with the Oculus Rift.
If you are one of the few people lucky enough to get their hands on the first batch of Oculus Rifts and would like to integrate your virtual reality headset to SteamVR, then simply follow these steps to get your experience started.
- Make sure you have a Steam account. If you don’t have one yet, you can create an account here. Once you have an account, download and install the Steam software. If you already have a Steam account, simply open up Steam and check if it’s fully updated.
- Open the Oculus app in your desktop and go to the General Settings and make sure that the Oculus Rift is allowed to run with non-Oculus-approved apps. You can do this by switching on the ‘Unknown Sources’ setting. Since the SteamVR is a separate entity, Oculus will identify it as unknown software, so it’s important that you allow Oculus to detect it.
- Plug in the Oculus Rift to your PC. Upon doing so, you will be prompted by Steam to install the SteamVR. If somehow you are not prompted automatically, you can manually install it by going to the Tools under the Library menu.
- Once the SteamVR is installed, click on the VR icon located near the window’s Minimize/Maximize icons (top-right corner). This will launch the SteamVR and now would be a good time to put on your Oculus Rift headset. Simply follow the instructions until you find yourself in the SteamVR’s interface.
After everything is in order, it’s now time to find some games to play. But be careful when buying games that are listed as having VR Support. Not all of them are playable on your Oculus Rift. The Touch controllers for the Oculus Rift aren’t out yet, so you are only confined to playing games that require mouse and controller input (it comes with an Xbox One Controller, in case you forgot). And since the Oculus Rift is only equipped with one sensor for tracking purposes, only games that have Seated and Standing Play Areas are playable; games that have Room-Scale Play Areas require two sensors.
For those of you who simply want to play the regular 2D games in your Steam account, you can experience them in SteamVR’s Desktop Theater Mode, which is like playing on a really, really big TV screen. To play your 2D games, simply launch them from your library and that’s it.
Valve’s decision to have Oculus Rift support for SteamVR isn’t a betrayal to its partnership with HTC. The digital distribution giant is still very much in full support of Vive. If anything, this decision allows Valve to use the Oculus Rift as a testing platform for SteamVR, which will allow them to attend to whatever issues that pops up before the eventual release of Vive.