Now I think I have a better idea.
Setup: The first thing that the instructions in the box have you do is download and run a setup program. The program step you through all the components in the box explaining what each one does and what to do with it. Each step is complete with graphics and animations to help.
Hardware: Mounting the tracker modules was the most involved step. If you can drill holes and screw things in you will find it pretty easy. The tracking modules can be at most 16 feet apart. The minimum room scale configuration is 6 1/2 x 5. Any smaller that that and you have to configure it for standing or sitting. Fortunately there is good space downstairs in my office to use for a room scale area that's about 9" x 11".
Plugging in the link box to your computer was the next step. Your computer needs to have a HDMI and USB port. Using the supplied cables you connect these ports to the link box. The link box also has a power dongle that need to be plugged in. The headset itself has a long all in one cable that plugs into the link box.
Software: Once the hardware is installed the setup program takes you through a calibration phase. You put the headset and controllers on the floor so it knows where the ground is. Then you use one of the controllers to trace out the perimeter of your play area. Once this is done it's time to put the headset on.
Before this, my only real VR experience was with google cardboard. Google cardboard was an interesting but frustrating experience. I had some problems even when using one of the slightly fancier plastic headsets, . The headset never quite fit right and would easily slip out of adjustment. I could never quite get the stereo overlap in the center to feel right and the FOV was such that I always felt I was looking down a tunnel at the scene. Now I did expect the Vive to be much better but I thought that it would require some adjustment. So I was surprised when I put it on and it just worked.
When you put the headset on for the first time you enter a little Vive usage tutorial. You start off in a virtual living room. However withing seconds the walls and furniture start folding away into the floor all around you. (If you have ever played Portal it's thematically similar.) It's a very cool first impression. Anyway soon you are left in in middle of a large empty indoor arena.
Then one of the AI cores from the Portal game appears and begins instructing you about the basics of the play area and controllers. One of the first things he does is demonstrate the chaperon system. When you approach the edge of the play area you defined in the calibration phase a grid wall will fade in letting you know where the boundary is in the virtual space.
Then he shows you how to use the controllers. The cool thing is that you see physically accurate models of the controllers in the virtual space. When he talks about each of the buttons they light up and have a text prompt attached to them. For the purpose of the tutorial the trigger fires a laser beam and the touch pad button can make balloons of various colors inflate from the end of the controller. The balloons float away and you can pop them with the laser.
I have to admit even with this little demo I'm giggling like a little kid. Really. It's that cool.
- Texas A&M UniversityComputer Science, 1984 - 1990
After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes
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