In the upcoming VR headset battle between the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive, one advantage that the Vive has over its competitor is that it utilizes the space around the user, whereas the Rift was designed for “seated experiences.”
We’ve known for a while that if you want to use the SteamVR-powered headset to walk around a virtual world you’ll need plenty of space, and now, thanks to HTC uploading the user guide for its Vive PRE development kit, we know exactly how much.
Before jumping into the virtual world, the manual suggests that users clear an area of at least 5 feet X 6.5 feet in size of all obstacles, such as furniture, that may prevent them from moving around freely. It also recommends removing mirrors or reflective surfaces, probably because they will interfere with sensors, and covering windows or other sources of direct sunlight. Pets should also be kept out of the room.
The computer the headset is connected to needs to stay outside of the play area, but the 16-foot cable needs to be able to reach all parts of the zone.
The final step of the physical setup involves anchoring the base station towers into the wall (or placing them somewhere high up). Barring the power cord, these sensors are wireless, which is good as they need to be a minimum of 16 feet apart to work effectively.
After completely redesigning your room, you can now experience the full HTC Vive experience. Something that I, and I’m assuming many others, won’t be able to do due to lack of space. Whether the Vive is so amazing that you’ll want to move your couch, mirrors, pets and pretty much everything else into another room every time you want to use it to its full potential, we’ll have to wait and see.