Oculus Rift offers a polished virtual reality experience, although it does not have room-scale virtual reality or touch controllers like the HTC Vive-yet. Here we show you how to configure your Oculus Rift, and what you will need to know in advance.
The entire configuration process should take between 30 minutes and one hour. It’s much more comfortable than preparing and configuring the HTC Vive since you do not have to plan an ample space and organize base stations. The Rift is a sitting and standing experience, not one in which you walk, so there are fewer “moving parts,” so to speak.
What you will need
This is what you will need to start:
- Oculus Rift: The Oculus Rift package comes with a series of accessories you will need. In addition to the Rift headphones, it comes with a unique sensor camera that monitors the position of your head, an essential wireless remote control, an Xbox One wireless controller, 2 AA batteries for the controller, a USB security device to connect that wireless controller to your PC, and a USB extension cable if you need it for the dongle. Oculus Rift headphones include built-in headphones that work well.
- A powerful PC for games: Oculus Rift requires a powerful PC for games that offer consistent performance. It is more demanding than you would need for a regular PC game. Next, we show you how to check if your PC is ready for virtual reality.
- Additional cables and extension cords (for some people): Depending on how far your computer is from where you plan to use your Rift, you may need an HDMI extension cable and two USB 3.0 extension cables to get further. The HDMI and USB cables connected to the Rift headphones reach 4 meters (approximately 13 feet), while the USB cable of the camera sensor reaches 2.5 meters (about 8 feet).
- Adapter DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI to HDMI (for some people): I ran into a problem here: my NVIDIA GTX 980 TI graphics card includes only one HDMI port, and I had my TV connected to the HDMI port. However, my NVIDIA graphics card also includes three DisplayPort ports. I needed a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter to connect my TV to the graphics card and release the HDMI port for Oculus Rift. Be sure to check if you have a spare HDMI port available on your GPU!
It is a good idea to confirm that you have all the required hardware in advance. It’s not fun to take time out of the process to run Best Buy and buy a small adapter.
Start the Oculus configuration tool.
When you have all the hardware and are ready to configure it, visit the Oculus Rift Configuration page in your web browser, download the Oculus Rift Setup tool and run it on your computer. This tool will automatically download the required software and guide you through the entire configuration process.
The Oculus configuration tool does an excellent job of guiding you during hardware unpacking, connecting it correctly, adjusting the headset, creating an Oculus account for you, and configuring the software.
Be sure to remove the plastic protective film of everything; you will find it both in the headset’s lenses and in the camera’s sensor.
Connect the cables to your computer when you request it. Both USB cables must be connected to USB 3.0 ports on your computer. Usually, they are blue inside (but not always). If you see USB ports without blue inside, they can be USB 2.0 ports.
When connecting the HDMI port, be sure to connect it to the HDMI port on your graphics card. Your computer may have an HDMI port that connects to the integrated graphics on the motherboard, but you do not want to use that for Rift.
If you do something wrong, the installation wizard will not allow you to continue. While saying that the connection status is “OK,” you will know that you have configured it correctly.
The rest of the process should be self-explanatory. When finished, the assistant will instruct you to use the headphones and play some demos for you. Once done, you will enter the “Oculus Home” environment, a virtual room where you can start games.
While using the remote control, it is useful to use the cord around the wrist, so you do not lose it or drop it.
How to configure your Oculus Rift to reduce blur
There is a good chance that your Oculus Rift will still look a little fuzzy, even after you finish going through the assistant. Keep in mind that there are several ways to adjust the headset:
- There are three Velcro tapes, one on each side of the headset and another on the top. Undo the straps, use the headphones, and then adjust the straps until you feel comfortable and secure. It must be safe and not move, but you should not have to do it uncomfortably tight. You do not have to loosen the straps to turn the headphones on and off, so you can adjust them once and leave them unless other people also use them.
- The visor can be tilted independently of the straps. You will also want to move it up and down on your face until you find the optimal point. Do not use the headphones as a pair of glasses that rest on your nose. Move the visor down until the piece of foam on the top of the headphones is in the center of the forehead. The difference in clarity will be immediately apparent if you are looking at something in the Rift while adjusting it.
- The IPD or “interpupillary distance” can be adjusted by moving the switch on the bottom of the headphones to the left or right. This changes how far apart the lenses are. Adjust this while using the headphones until it looks better.
While using the headphones, you can press the “Oculus” button on the bottom of the remote control or the “Xbox” button in the center of your Xbox One controller. In the universal menu that appears, select the “Adjust your lenses” icon on the right side of the screen. You will see the “Adjust your lenses” screen that will guide you through moving the headset up and down and adjust the IPD using the slide switch until it looks better.
How to use Oculus Home and the Universal menu
To enter the Oculus Home environment, put on your headphones while the Oculus application runs on your PC. Automatically enter the “Oculus Home” environment, a virtual room from which you can start games and applications, as well as browse the store. The center of your view appears as a cursor, so look at something and then press the “Select” button on the remote control or the “A” button on the controller to activate it.
You can scan the available software and install it from within the Oculus Home environment in your headset, or use the Oculus application on the Windows desktop.
If you are looking for something to play, you can get “Lucky’s Tale” in the store, it is included free with each Oculus Rift. It is a small and fun platform game in 3D that will facilitate entry to the Rift.
If you want to see the demonstrations you saw the first time you put on your headphones, or if you want to show them to someone else, you can download the free application “Oculus Dream deck” from the Oculus store. Include these demonstrations, and more.
To access the universal menu, press the Oculus button on the bottom of the remote control, or press the “Xbox” button in the center of your Xbox One controller while using the headphones. You will see a menu with a variety of options, including volume control, time, and indicators that tell you whether the remote control and the controller are connected or not.
There are many other experiences and free virtual reality demonstrations in the Oculus Store, as well as more massive paid games. Explore the store to find more virtual reality content.