It’s been a huge year for virtual reality, and because of that maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land yourself a system for Christmas.
If so, you might have had a moment where you opened the box and realised it’s not quite as straightforward as you hoped. But don’t get intimidated by all the wires and power units you see in the box. Take a deep breath, and scroll down this page to the system that’s sitting in front of you.
Vive is perhaps the most complicated of the systems available because of the room-scaling aspect and the sensor base stations that need to be put in place to track your movements. But fear not, it’s actually not too bad to work with.
The first thing you will need to do when setting up Vive is clear a play area or space large enough. The sensor base stations are incredibly sensitive to any kind of obstruction, plus you don’t want to be falling over objects when you’ve got the headset on.
You should get the base stations in place early, high up and on a steady surface or firmly locked in place. This is essential as any movement, even from walking past a bookcase causing it to wobble slightly for example, will be picked up and affect the sensor’s ability to track the headset.
Once firmly set, install the software HTC asks you to in the physical manual, which you can also access here and things should begin to move smoothly. All cords are numbered and colour-coded for first time plug in too.
However, going back to space, it’s important to note that the minimum space requirements are 2m x 1.5m or 6ft 6in x 5ft. A sidenote – be sure to place the headset and controllers in the centre of your play space so they can be tracked, and look out for their green lights, confirming a connection.
Luckily, once the controllers are turned on and have been clocked by the base stations you have to “draw” out the space you want to play in – this is how the chaperone grid that protects you during play works. This set-up will tell you if the play area you’ve marked out is the correct size.
Give yourself around 45 minutes the first time you unbox and set up Vive, but should you ever have to move it and do so again, the time drops to around 20 minutes.
Very neatly driven by the software, the key part of setting up Rift for the first time is preparing your PC. Check you have enough system space and that your graphics card drivers are up to date, then update to Windows 10 if you haven’t already in order to get the best performance.
The Oculus downloader, which you can get from the Oculus website, will then guide you through the setting-up process – installing all the software you need as well as walking you through the various cable connections needed for the headset and sensor. Keep an eye out for the green ticks on-screen.
Next you will set up the sensor, where it’s important to think about line-of-sight to the headset, which it needs to see in order to track its movements and therefore give you the best experience. In an ideal world, place it close to your monitor, so it’s naturally close to where you’ll stand or sit to play.
Finally you need to connect your controller – or Touch controllers – but again this is a relatively simple process.
Once connected you are pretty much ready to go with Rift, just keep in mind storage space when downloading games and experiences, and try to use a swivel chair when playing if you can too, in order to make movement smoother.
If you have set up a games console in the past then this will be a very familiar experience to you.
In essence, the PlayStation VR headset is plugged into the console, via a link box that provides the processing power.
Unlike the other systems though, PSVR’s set-up begins with the power off, and some reorganising of your cables needs to take place – with the link box getting a direct connection to the TV via HDMI and then the console back to the link box to create the chain.
But this is a relatively simple process – don’t forget to connect the PS Camera too as this is PSVR’s version of the motion tracker.
Once you have everything plugged in – including the headset – turn on your PS 4 the traditional way, using your controller. Only then do you use the power button on the headset’s in-line controller, which switches the console to VR mode.
Expect a software update to be the first thing you have to do at this point, but follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll quickly be up and running.