So I just received my new HTC Vive a couple of days ago and as my first post I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences that I've had so far. It's not the beginning of my journey, but it is a beginning.
If you haven't tried one of the high-end headsets like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, it truly is an amazing experience. If you haven't had the chance to check out these technologies yet, the feeling of being transported to a different world or space is an experience unlike any other that I've had to date. I had tried the Vive briefly at friend's places, but owning one allows for much more exploration with what's being developed.
After pulled the papers out of the box, I was surprised with how few physical instruction came with the package. I quickly hopped on the internet and found much more detailed descriptions for set up, describing how to install the sensors (or what they call base stations) so that I can have room scale experiences.
If you don't know what a room scale experience is, I'll quickly explain: The HTC Vive is currently the only VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) that uses sensors to identify where you are in the room. This allows for you to physically walk around, translating that movement to movement in the virtual space. This brings another level of immersiveness into the experience.
The minimum room size for the room scale experience is 1.5m x 2m. My room is close to the minimum size, but I plan on getting rid of the couch to create more space for this. The ceiling is also pretty low. I can easily reach up and touch it so I have to be careful not to bang the controllers. So far this hasn't been too much of an issue. Knowing I had a room that works, I broke out my drill and proceeded to follow the instructions installing the base stations. My walls are not friendly for screwing things in, but I was able to secure the mounts enough for proper sensor stability. Drilling pilot holes were a must. I tried hand screwing, but got nowhere. Luckily I didn't have to use the dry wall anchors, having bad luck trying them in the past and usually they're pulled out very easily.
After the base stations were installed securely, I went ahead and plugged the Link Box in. This is the hardware the connects the headset to the computer via HDMI and USB cables and powers the headset as well. Like an idiot, I had the LInk Box backwards and was extremely confused when no drivers were being installed. I looked closely at the Link Box and noticed a PC and Headset indicator which is when I realized the cables were just backwards. After this was fixed, drivers installed automatically and I was ready to go.
Software installation (Steam VR and Vive Portal) went smoothly. I was led through the room scale setup, instructed to use one of the Vive controllers to walk around the perimeter of the interactive area, making sure there was no furniture in the way. I had to do this twice because the area was so small, the first boundaries didn't meet minimum specs. This required moving the couch to another wall, but once I did that, everything was good.
I loaded Steam VR, popped the headset on my head, adjusted the straps and was immersed in the loading area. Even here, before any application was loaded, I got the sense that I was transported to a different world.
To jump ahead a bit, my favorite application has been the Abbot's Book, but I'll save that for another post.