HTC Vive new user guide

HTC Vive resource for new users:

Virtual reality has finally made the leap from the pages of science fiction to homes across the world, as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and other headsets have all hit the market. The Vive in particular provides an incredible, immersive experience — but as one might expect from such a radical new device, there is a learning curve.

Once you’ve spent the money necessary to acquire a Vive you’ll want to get the most out of your new toy, so here are some tips and tricks to help you master the Vive and traverse virtual landscapes with ease.

Keep the headset clean
Anyone who has had friends over to play video games has probably picked up a controller afterwards only to recoil in disgust at a layer of grease on the device. Hands are a great transmitter of oils and germs (thank goodness most people tend to wash them at least semi-frequently). The Vive comes into frequent contact with another part of the body that’s dirtier than most people think: the human face.

If you plan to let other people use your headset, it’s a good idea to keep the thing clean. One way to keep the Vive clean is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place. A company called VR Cover makes covers for the HTC Vive; they’re designed to keep dirt and skin off the headset much like a pillowcase protects a pillow. The covers come in a variety of materials, including cloth and leather, and are machine-washable. I personally have two sets of these and I would never be without them, they are great. 10/10 little P recommendation!

If buying a cover for the Vive seems excessive to you, a little manual cleaning should suffice. To start, remove the face cushion: Grab its two ends and peel them until the cushion comes off. To clean the cushion, HTC suggests using a cloth — such as the one included with the Vive — dampened with water. If you are really worried about disinfecting the face cushion, gently wiping it down with baby wipes should work as well.

Either way, let the cushion dry out in the air. The lenses are just as easy to clean, although they are also fragile, so it’s important to be gentle. Use a damp cloth and wipe in a circular motion moving from the center of each lens outward.


One of the biggest obstacles for new Vive users is setting up a space to use it. In addition to clearing out a space to walk around in, users will also need to place the base stations (which track movement in the play area) at least six feet off the ground.

While there are many ways to do this, including wall mounting which I have done some have found light stands — such as those used for photography — to be a convenient tool. The base stations can screw into the ¼-inch mount, and light stands not only offer height but are easy to move around if need be.


The visuals on the Vive can be awe inspiring, but sight is only one part of an immersive VR experience. To really sink into a virtual world, sound is crucial. The Vive does come with a pair of earbuds, but users wanting a greater range of sound will have to provide their own headphones.

For gaming, open-back headphones are generally considered better, as they provide a better sound stage, allowing users to discern the direction and placement of sounds. This seems particularly important for virtual reality, where the placement of sounds, or lack thereof, could make or break the experience.

After three different sets of headphones I bought and returned I settled on the Logitech Artemis G933 wireless headphones. They are perfect for the Vive.

If grids are a little boring for your tastes, or if you want to have a clearer view of the objects in your space, you can use the camera to see objects around you through the Chaperone system. To do this, open the dashboard and choose Camera, then check the box labeled Use Camera for Chaperone Bounds.

Now when you approach objects in the play area, instead of seeing a grid you will see outlines of the objects the camera can see.

This is useful if you want to grab a particular object — say, a coffee cup on your desk — without taking the headset off. From an aesthetic standpoint, it also looks pretty cool.
One of the biggest concerns with VR headsets is that you can’t see where you are walking while wearing one. The Vive solves this with the Chaperone system, which provides gridlines in the virtual world that warn users when they are about to bump into something while walking around with the headset on. Users can tailor these grids to their liking. To do this, bring up the dashboard, then open the Settings menu. Next, choose Chaperone. This will bring you to the Chaperone system settings.

From here, you can choose one of three grid styles (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced). The Beginner grid is far more prominent than Intermediate, which, in turn, is more prominent than the Advanced option. You can also enable Developer mode to remove the grid entirely. By default, the Vive uses the Beginner setting.

Beginner mode

Intermediate mode

Advanced mode

Users can also adjust the color and intensity of the grid lines by dragging the appropriate sliders in the Chaperone Settings menu.

One of the Vive’s most prominent features is the front-facing camera, which lets you see what is in front of you even while wearing the headset. By default, this camera is used for the chaperone system, which creates virtual walls inside VR so you’ll know if you are about to walk into something. However, by fiddling with the camera settings, you can also bring up a video feed in the headset for a clearer picture of the world around you.

To change the settings, first bring up the dashboard by pressing the System button on the controller. It’s the small button located underneath the track pad.

Select Settings, then Camera. In the Camera settings, click the button labeled Enable Camera in Dashboard.

Now, whenever you bring up the dashboard, you should see a window next to the controller providing a video feed from the camera. This way, you can see what is in front of you, which is useful if you want to take stock of your surroundings.

Users can change the background that appears when they are browsing the dashboard, much like changing the appearance of a desktop. To do this, go to the dashboard and open Settings, then select In-Headset Settings. Under the heading Background Style, you can choose to use a solid color for the background, or an image.

SteamVR already has some images available to use right away, such as a desert background.

From this menu, you can also select an image on your computer, or browse the workshop to find a host of user-created backgrounds.


SteamVR by default provides notifications when friends come online or are playing games. These can be helpful if you want to join someone for a round of Hover Junkers, but annoying if you’re trying to immerse yourself in a virtual setting. Thankfully, disabling these notifications is easy. Press the System button to open the dashboard and go to Settings, then choose General VR. Next, check the box marked Do Not Disturb. As long as this box is checked, notifications will not appear.


Occasionally, there may be firmware updates for the Vive controllers. This is typical for most hardware, but what users may not expect is that they need to update each controller individually. Trying to update both at the same time can cause issues with the controllers.

In SteamVR, if you see the green controller icon, mouse over it to see if the firmware needs an update. If so, plug the controllers into the computer one at a time. Again, it is essential that you update the controllers individually, lest issues arise.

If there is a firmware update available, SteamVR will begin installing it automatically once it detects a controller. Once the update is finished, click Done.

If you are having issues with a controller — for example, if it is unresponsive after a firmware update — you can reset it. To begin, hold down the trigger, menu, trackpad, and grip buttons. Continue to do so while plugging the controller into your computer. Wait five seconds and release the buttons. A message should come up indicating a new storage device has been detected. Unplug the controller and it should reset.


If you are one of the many people in the world who wear glasses, wearing the Vive might pose a bit of a problem. The Vive has a dial to adjust the distance between the lenses and the user’s eyes, and it comes with a smaller face cushion that may better accommodate glasses. Ultimately, however, if your glasses are too big, they simply won’t fit. Before paying the high cost of the Vive, or buying a new pair of glasses just to use it, try to test a headset out and see if your glasses will fit.

First, try to fit your glasses into the headset, just to make sure they will sit inside and not be crushed as you try to squeeze into the headset. Loosen the straps as much as possible — if there is too much room, you can always tighten them. If they do fit inside, remember to always put the headset on front to back (put the visor over your eyes and pull the strap back over your head), and take it off starting with the back.


For immersion, nothing beats a pair of headphones while using the Vive. If you have friends over to try out VR, however, you have a problem: How can onlookers appreciate what is going on in the virtual world, rather than simply watch the user wave their controllers around? While one could certainly mimic the guttural hum of a lightsaber as they swing it around, there is a less awkward way of going about it.

Go into the SteamVR settings and select the Audio tab. If you already have your headphones set as your primary playback device, find the menu labeled Mirror audio to device and choose your speakers. Now sound will play through your headphones and your speakers, so people watching you play can hear what’s going on.


Netjun will like this one...

When it’s working as intended, virtual reality can seal you off from the world around you. This can be fun, but it can also be a problem if someone is trying to get a hold of you. Thankfully, the Vive has Bluetooth functionality built in, allowing you to connect your phone to the headset and receive calls and other notifications while in VR.

To use Bluetooth on the Vive, you’ll need to make sure you have the drivers installed. If you have not done this already, go into the SteamVR settings and choose the General tab.

Check the box marked Enable Bluetooth communication and click the box labeled Install Bluetooth Driver. You will also need to install the HTC Vive on your phone, through an app you can get from Google Play or the iTunes store.

In the desktop Vive app, go to the Settings tab and click the button labeled Set up a phone.

While the desktop app is scanning for phones, go into the app on your phone and follow the on-screen prompts. After doing so, your phone should show up in the desktop app. Click Next and follow the instructions in the desktop app to finish the process.

With your phone synced up to the Vive software and Bluetooth enabled in SteamVR, you are finally ready to receive calls and notifications in virtual reality. While in VR, notifications from your phone will appear in the virtual world, and can be viewed and responded to by accessing the dashboard. Incidentally while you are in the bluetooth menu of the steam vr settings menu you may as well go ahead and check the box that turns the lighthouses off when you shut down steam vr to increase the lifespan of the lighthouses.


In Steam vr settings on the desktop go to performance and tick asynchronous reprojection (not interleaved reprojection) if you are noticing stuttering or dropped frames. I have this ticked all the time and it only kicks in when needed. I've never noticed any negative effects but some games I can now crank up the settings and they run fine whereas before it would of been a stuttering mess. Give it a go!
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That's all for now, if anyone has any questions re: the HTC Vive feel free to ask, there's not much I or the others don't know about it now. It's an awesome piece of kit!


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Terrific write up little P.

I have one question about the HTC Vive, do you have a spare one to donate that you don't want any longer?

Also, a free PC capable of powering it would be appreciated, assuming of course you have a spare one just lying around :)

Oh, and does your wife have any sisters looking for some good 'ol Canucklelove?
HTC Vive resource for new users:

Now when you approach objects in the play area, instead of seeing a grid you will see outlines of the objects the camera can see.

This is useful if you want to grab a particular object — say, a coffee cup, or vape on your desk — without taking the headset off. From an aesthetic standpoint, it also looks pretty cool.
Terrific write up little P.

I have one question about the HTC Vive, do you have a spare one to donate that you don't want any longer?

Also, a free PC capable of powering it would be appreciated, assuming of course you have a spare one just lying around :)

Oh, and does your wife have any sisters looking for some good 'ol Canucklelove?
If those six numbers come up I'll buy a VR PC for everyone at B2O ;)

And lol nope, no sisters sorry
Since it came up on TeamSpeak, I thought I'll write it down:

The HTC Vive, iRacing and up to date nVidia graphic drivers don't go together very well. You will get screen tearing and jerky responses in VR. As far as I know, the newest driver version that does still work is v382.53. You can download them from >here<. This seems to be an iRacing exclusive problem, every other VR game works fine for me.

If you have the above mentioned setup and you also want to play Battlefield 1, it will now complain that your driver is too old and won't even start. If you want to avoid reinstalling drivers every time, you can - as a workaround - rename the file "nvapi64.dll" in the "C:\Windows\System32" directory before starting BF1. Simply rename it to something like "nvapi64.old.dll". Battlefield 1 will now work. You have to rename it back to its original name after you've finished your BF1 game session, though, as other games won't start if this file is not present.
Can anyone share what graphics settings they're using for rift/vive in iRacing? Been playing around with it but curious to see if others have a better balance.
It arrived then ;) \o/

Everybody gets varying results with VR, Especially in iRacing as it is a real CPU hog.
Except for the replay settings , max those out.
My settings on the screenshot below allow everything to be on (apart from the crowd, Eff the crowd) while racing.
Perhaps turn Anisotropic filtering down to 4 if you are struggling for frames , but you ought to be ok.
Take note of the RAM and VRAM setting at the bottom, no need to be greedy there as it wont help!

For other settings HMD specific, I have the pixel density set to 1.5 in iRacing and 2.0 for everything else. Not sure for the rift but it shouldn't be much different from the Vive .

if you have an Nvidia card then in your 3D settings make sure the transparency is set to 2x and the quality is set to "high quality " , it is just " quality " by default.

Lastly if you turn the pixel density up from its 1.0 standard you will also need to increase the size of the UI in iRacing or you will not be able to see the black boxes. you can change this in the graphics tab in 25% increments or you can do this manually in the renderer.ini in your iRacing folder in "my documents" to get it the exact size you want.

you can adjust any of these settings up and down depending on your systems specs , I am using:

17 6700k @4.4 Ghz
16gig 2600 DDR4 RAM
Nvidia Titan
HTC Vive.

Rift and Vive have fairly similar performance across all games so most of the setting should work for both , but if anyone with a Rift knows something different please note it here so we have all the info :)


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