The Equipment You Need for a Successful Virtual Reality Experience
The past few years have really seen a takeoff in technology in both the functional tech industry and the entertainment tech industry. We have watches that can read our heart rates and headsets that can be played without any wireless connection. We even have devices you can fit on doors, unlocking your home to a rhythmic knock, or from the touch of an icon on the screen of your smartphone.
The entertainment industry, in particular, has seen an explosive growth in advanced technology. Computers only seem to be getting quicker and more advanced, while every year the world of gaming seems to advance in ways that we thought were impossible. One such way is through the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) into the world of gaming.
A lot of people have been exposed to VR, without fully realizing it. One of the earliest examples is that of IMAX movies, movies that were designed to be watched with 3-D glasses to give the audience a more engaging and captivating feeling. VR has evolved immensely since then and has progressed the entertainment industry to the world of gaming.
Run Down of VR Headsets
Often referred to as head-mounted displays (HMDs), VR Headsets come primarily in two forms – one of which operates from an external device, and one which operates through the integration of a smaller device into the headset itself, such as a smartphone. Examples of the first type of VR headset include devices such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Examples of the second type of this device are the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream headset. For the sake of this article, we’re only going to discuss the first form.
Using a lens inserted between the goggle and eyepiece, a VR headset expands the field of users’ views and utilizes expanded fields of view plus angle manipulation. Certain measures have to be taken to ensure that the user of the VR headset doesn’t make the user nauseous, something that could happen if the images stutter or become distorted.
Through a range of fascinating technology such as motion tracking, head tracking, and eventually eye tracking, VR headsets help make gaming and other forms of entertainment quite fascinating. Let’s take a look at all the pieces that go into creating a VR experience.
How to Create Your Very Own VR Gaming Setup
Let’s take a look at every component you need for the best VR setup when you’re gaming. From computers to the headset itself, every component plays an important part in total gaming immersion!
(Note: The Steam VR and the HTC Vive are synomous)
Gaming PC – We’ll get the tough-to-read details out of the way first before we get to the easy stuff regarding VR setup. While it can be easy to get away with mid-tier computer performance when it comes to normal gaming such as this gaming PC under 500, the lowest a computer can be run with a VR headset is exceedingly higher than that of a normal computer. For starters, you’ll need the following pieces of tech to fit in your rig: Windows 7, more than 8GBs RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 1070 or AMD equivalent, and an Intel i5 or better processor. You will more than likely want to spend closer to $1,000, and that’s not including the monitor, which is even more specific to VR gaming.
Monitor – This is another bit of information that might be hard to swallow. You’ll need a monitor that exceeds 1920p by 1080p resolution – the displays for the Oculus Rift and the Steam VR require monitors with at least 1080x1200p performance. We also have to mention the required refresh rate of 90Hz, compared to a monitor’s typical 60Hz refresh rate. You’ll need some sophisticated visuals to get the most out of a VR headset designed for computer gaming.
Spacing – The space requirements are different for the Oculus Rift and the Steam VR, two incredibly popular gaming headsets. You can get by with playing with the Oculus Rift in a small space such as your bedroom. The SteamVR, on the other hand, requires much more space for smooth operation. A basement would be ideal. If you don’t have one of those, a spacious living room might suffice.
Setup Requirements for the HTC Vive SteamVR Headset – One of the necessary items for VR to work is the setup of sensors, which usually come with the headset. For the HTC Vive, the sensors should be placed as high as possible, in the room you plan on playing in. Both of the sensors need to be placed on the opposite corners of the room you plan on playing in, for optimal effectiveness. The room should be as large as possible if you plan on using the HTC Vive; Steam wants its users to walk around as opposed to staying in one place while gaming.
Setup Requirements for the Oculus Rift – This headset is slightly different its Steam counterpart, albeit operating the same type of way. The Oculus Rift comes with two sensors, both of which need to be mounted on a desk or table, so the Rift can have the sensors in its line of sight while you’re playing it. A key difference between the Rift and the Vibe is that the Rift is meant to be played sitting down, or at least the games that have been designed for it so far are designed to be played while sitting.
A Chair for Your Rift, an Ergonomic Mat for Your Vive – Both sitting and standing can be incredibly taxing on the human body. For the Rift, make sure you have a chair that is comfortable but has limited mobility. You don’t want to accidentally roll out of sight of the sensor, without realizing it!
When it comes to the Vive, you’ll want a cushioned floor mat designed for long periods of standing. The cushioning will prevent your feet and knees from aching after hours of play.
Additional Sensors – You might want to consider purchasing additional sensors for your VR headset if you wish to playin a larger space. While this isn’t absolutely necessary for the Vive, it’s a must-do for the Rift, which is limited with its movement tracking.
Controllers – A prerequisite for VR headsets is to have the necessary handsets. The design of these handsets differs slightly from one another, with respect to the Vive and the Rift. The handsets are necessities, not additions. While other headsets such as the Google Daydream and the Samsung Gear VR don’t require them, you need to ensure that you have the appropriate controllers for the Rif and the Vive, to play them correctly.
The Appropriate Games – Unfortunately, you can’t just play any game and expect it to be an immersive, VR game. You need specific games, designed for the platform or VR headset that you’re using. Unfortunately, there isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to the games designed for VR headsets.
[Video: How To Build a $1000 Virtual Reality Gaming PC]
An Expensive, but Worthwhile Gaming Adventure
The total VR experience is costly, and you might have to spend your whole budget to get everything you need for total immersion. It’s worth it, however – this new generation of gaming will certainly wrap its arms around the current world of gaming soon enough. Why not be at the forefront of innovation? Besides, the only thing that may change in the near future with respect to both the Rift and the Vive is the type of handsets that come with each VR headset. The rift, in particular, is launching a series of new, touch-immersion handsets that should be dropping soon!
The Rift and Vive are the two dominant VR headsets in the world of virtual reality gaming. Both aim to give the user an immersive gaming feel that can make the player feel as if they’re actually in the game. While the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are slightly different with respect to several features, they operate in the same manner and mostly require the same equipment to operate successfully. The most important part of the VR experience seems to be the PC operating system, which may cause doubts in the minds of people who want to involve themselves in the world of VR gaming, due to its sophisticated requirements. These requirements may decrease, however, as technology evolves and new computers arrive on the market.
Apart from the computer, you’ll need space, sensors, the appropriate chair or mat, and an adequate set of controllers. Once you have all this, you’ll be set to start your VR adventure with either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive! The only question left is: Which game should you buy first?