HTC has leaked the manual to its forthcoming Vive VR headset, detailing not only how to use the device, but also how new owners will need to set up their VR room. The manual starts off with a simple instruction to, “pull the headset down over your eyes,” but in reality (that’s real reality), before you get to that stage, there’s some redecorating to be done.
The Vive knows where you are in a room, letting you move around in the virtual world. To do this, the headset relies on two base stations to track movement in a space. These are included in the Vive pack, and require some effort to set up, beginning with the preparation of the room itself. HTC calls this the “play area,” and recommends it’s a minimum of 5 x 6.5 feet in size, or a meter by two meters.
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Obviously, because your vision is going to be obscured, the area needs to be cleared of obstacles or dangers. Moving chairs and other items of furniture is a given, but HTC also says it’s best to “remove or cover mirrors or reflective surfaces.” It doesn’t say this is for safety purposes — in case you go crashing into one — but mentions them at the same time as saying the curtains should be drawn and direct light minimized, suggesting they may mess around with the tracking.
Got a cat/dog/rabbit/other-free-roaming-pet? It’s got to go. Tripping over Fido when in the VR realm won’t be much fun. HTC says the computer to which the Vive is linked must be outside the play area, but the cable joining it up doesn’t extend further than five meters. Then it’s time to put those base stations up, and they need to be somewhere high up, on a big tripod, a bookshelf, or attached to the wall or ceiling. The maximum distance between the two is five meters, which could cause logistical problems, depending on the shape and size of the room. Once you’re done, the SteamVR app will finish the setup process.
If you’ve still got the energy after all that, you’ll almost be ready to experience the Vive VR. You’ll also envy anyone with the space to permanently map out a Vive play area, without calling the removal men in every time you feel like a quick game. Alternatively, the Vive can be used while seated or standing in one spot, but you will be missing out on part of the Vive’s joy.