SteamVR and Oculus Touch play nice together.

While an HTC Vive and an Oculus Rift run on essentially the same hardware and function in remarkably similar ways, there's some software separating the two and it leads to frustration. Exclusive apps and games, released to operate on only one headset or the other, cause a divide between Vive and Rift owners. HTC Vive owners have found ways to access portions of the Oculus Store with ReVive, but not everything is available or runs particularly well.

Oculus Rift owners have no such hurdle to climb over, because SteamVR is an open platform that supports many different headsets. With the addition of Oculus Touch controllers, this detail becomes incredibly important because it means Touch owners can play Vive-only titles without a lot of extra work. Here's a quick look at how this works!

Welcome to Chaperone

For veteran Vive owners, setting up Oculus Touch for room-scale in SteamVR is basically the same as your current setup. If you're an Oculus Rift owner that has never used an HTC Vive before, the set up process for SteamVR is going to be reasonably similar to what happened when you set up Oculus Touch for the first time. All you really need to know is you're creating the boundary system needed to make sure you don't hit something in the real world. Oculus users know this system as Guardian, but SteamVR calls it Chaperone.

SteamVR with Oculus Touch

The first thing you need to do is make sure everything is connected and your two (or three, depending on your Rift setup) Constellation cameras are able to see the Rift headset and Touch controllers. You do this by launching Steam and selecting the VR icon in the top right on the app. This launches the monitor, which will show you all of the parts in your VR setup. The goal here is for everything to light up green, which happens when the headset and controllers are visible to the camera. Once everything is lit up green, you'll see a prompt asking you to run Room Setup.

The SteamVR Room Setup process is a simple, step-by-step way to establish where you want to be in the room and line that up with how your Oculus Rift identifies position in space. You point your Touch controller in the direction you want to face when navigating the Steam interface, identify the floor of your space, and then draw the border of the space you want to play in. When you start drawing the border, you'll see dots appear on the screen as you trace your path. Unlike the Oculus Guardian system, this border will form a straight line that ultimately ends in a box. Once the box exists, SteamVR will create a virtual space with Chaperone borders.

Virtual borders in SteamVR work exactly the same as they do in Oculus. When your hand or head gets close to a border, the grid will light up and you'll be able to see the perimeter. This lets you know you need to move closer to the center of your play space, or maybe don't swing so hard when you're playing. Once you confirm the boundaries are set up the way you like, SteamVR will walk you through a brief tutorial to show you how the interface works and then you're free to play games in this new environment.

Dealing with issues in SteamVR

SteamVR almost runs like an app inside of the core Oculus software, so it doesn't have total control over the hardware you're using. As a result, occasionally it's possible some conflicts will arise that are a little confusing. Most of them are pretty easy to fix, as long as you know what you're looking for.

Audio Issues

Oculus can grab audio automatically and push it to your headset, but unless SteamVR is already set to push audio to your headset you'll probably notice audio isn't coming to your headphones. Fortunately, it's an easy fix!

  1. Click the ^ on the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Click the speaker icon
  3. Click Headphones (Rift Audio)

SteamVR has Vanished

Because SteamVR runs almost like an app from the Oculus Store, it's possible to accidentally leave SteamVR and go back to Oculus Home. If you find yourself lost between the two interfaces, there's two things you can do.

  • Press the Oculus O on your Touch controller and select the Home icon to get back to Oculus.
  • Restart SteamVR on your desktop to return to SteamVR.

There are two Grids

When you jump into SteamVR on your Oculus Rift for the first time, you're probably going to notice two very different layers of border grids. The smooth, straight border is SteamVR's Chaperone, and the free form grid is Oculus Guardian. When playing in SteamVR you probably want to disable your Oculus Guardian Grid, which you can quickly enable and disable from settings.

  1. Press the Oculus O on your Touch controller
  2. Click on Guardian Settings
  3. Disable Guardian grid and walls
  4. Press the Oculus O again