Guide: How to make a dirt cheap Steam VR headset with low lag


DIY Vive using RiftCat and Leap Motion

Guide time! If you want to kind of mess around with Steam VR but aren't ready to fully commit yet, you'll love this. In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to set up our own DIY Vive-compatible Steam VR controller using a RiftCat, any Cardboard viewer, and a free Android app. Yep, you can play many of the big PC VR games, no wimpy stuff. Optionally, if you have a Leap Motion controller, you can emulate HTC Vive controllers in thin air with a custom driver. Of course, an Xbox 360 controller also works.

An Oculus compatible 1080p headset PLUS Vive-compatible freehand motion controllers for under $50, low latency, and it's compatible with almost every VR platform? No, not exactly, but even in beta, it's the best PC-to-Android software we've tested. In the past, we've written about Trinus, which was unforgivably laggy. This is a completely different animal. You can build your own FrankenVive, motion controllers in air.

If you bought a new phone within the last year, you should probably give the Riftcat Open Beta a look. They've been updating weekly, and very recently they added hands-free motion controls that work similar to the Vive's motion controllers. I ran out and got the parts immediately and tried it myself. So how is it? Glitchy, it crashes often, very playable, and for the price it's easily the best value in VR right now. Worth getting just to freak out your family.

So, back to my FrankenVive: A modern HMV solution this is not. This does remind me a lot of DK2, the $350 Oculus dev kit made with off-the-shelf parts. If you already have a newish 1080p capable Android phone, a $10 Google Cardboard setup, and are willing to buy an older/used Leap Motion Controller you can emulate the Vive’s motion controllers, gun and thumb triggers and all.

I'll teach you how to set it up, along with photos of some of my laughable attempts to build an affordable VR headset that worked with Freetrack (other head-tracking software).

Amazon Japan delivered my Leap Motion at 8am. Half asleep I made you a video that shows how it can be used as a (pardonably laggy) HTC Vive compatible controller. It was too silly of a hack not to have it on video, despite my meat-wrecked sleepy face. Of course, some games work better than others.

Here's a video I made showing how it works:

As you can see, your hand motions will render an HTC Vive controller on-screen. That's insane.

RiftCat in 2016 - Amazing ... if you dial your expectations back to 2013

People were freaking out over low-latency 800x600 VR demos years ago at GDC, and this solution blows that out of the water. It's not cutting edge, but likely "good enough" VR for the common man giving Google Cardboard games 5-star reviews on the Play store. Remember how excited people were over Hawken in VR and later doing silly things like using screwdrivers in games like Job Simulator with Vive controllers? You can do all that without lag on your Android phone and a third-party camera. In thin air. Today. $30. Go.

You’ve probably tried a version of this. Unlike the limitations of Trinus VR setups, this guide relies on three different third-party drivers to get around some issues and also lets you track your hands in thin air as if they were real motion controllers. For me that was too futuristic for me to pass up for $30. Here's what $30 got me in the past: a crazy Freetrack setup, which uses 3 LED lights and a household camera to emulate TrackIR technology. Good for driving and flight sims, but much more limited for general use.

If you already have all of the hardware, mount your Leap Motion to your Google Cardboard like this below.  I used a piece of Velcro to make it removable.

Just for fun, and not related to this article, here's a pic of me fighting with another tracker:


Please do note that the title of this article says “TRY” not “play perfectly through the end” or “emulate and save $800.”

 You can’t do that, and though you can do some standing VR stuff you cannot finish most of the games. A quick word before you begin from Captain Obvious:

  • Who is this guide for? Poor people, tinkerers, and geeks, all of which happen to apply to me. If you’re getting Jack-Shit VR™ in 2016 you might love this. 
  • I’m not suggesting RiftCat is a replacement for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive products. If you have money to burn do go buy those, assuming they are even in stock anywhere. In Tokyo I can’t seem to find any except jerks reselling them for upwards of $1,700. Nope.
  • Don’t try this in a rush. I didn’t get it right until I had two weekends to fight with it. I’ve over-detailed the steps below so you can avoid the most common problems. You don’t have to read every word to make it work, but you’ll squeeze more frames per second out of your setup if you do put in the time, or save your time if you suspect that your gear isn’t going to be compatible or powerful enough. The quotes under the RiftCat staff page say it all: “have you tried turning it off and on?” My guide is different in that it addresses the common setup problems before it asks you to try to set it up, and leaves some of the more obvious setup stuff to the RiftCat web site or the Reddit boards.
  • If you’re going to try RiftCat, even if some of the demos work, please don’t buy Steam or Oculus games and expect them to work. Remember, this is all beta and may forever stay in beta or get blocked out. Everything described here in beta and has a very high chance of not working well or at all for you. Most people are going to want to try this one to ten years from now when it is more polished, if ever. You’re going to surely crash and not be able to finish the games. Just have fun with the free demos, don’t take it (or me) too seriously.
  • Speaking of serious business: Trying this might damage your phone, burn your house, and fax both your moms. This guide talks about beta software that is changing on a week-to-week basis. Use at your own risk. Please don’t try this if you get motion sickness, health problems, or are generally derpy. Please don’t try this if you’re related to that lady that sued McDonald's over how hot the coffee is. Please don’t try this is you are mostly made of meat and water. Basically, don’t try this. Your phone will run hotter than the sun. Don't melt your phone.
  • If you have any sort of integrated graphics board please don’t try this and go vape with Icarus. This rules out most laptop users. AMD users will need to be running Windows 8. Nvidia users will need to be on Windows 10. You’ll need a powerful computer.
  • Oculus minimum system requirements still apply: you don’t need a crazy computer, but a low-end system won’t do. Ideally, an Nvidia 970 GTX and USB 3.0 with solid cables and no hubs in-between. If you have a tiny/compact PC this likely also applies to you.
  • Some people who bought the real deal are bitching that they have trouble reading the text in some games like Elite Dangerous, so imagine the difficulty you’ll have with fuzzy pixels and small text when using your phone. That’s a Generation 1 general VR issue, not a “you” issue. To best prepare for this you’ll need an Android phone capable of 1080p resolution. VRidge requires Android 5 or newer. I'm using an Android 6.0 Nexus 5X LGE (~ $235 used). There’s no iOS version yet, but if you read the concepts explained here you can get pretty close with stuff like Gagagu. I also really like VR Streamer from Swatterco, it’s very powerful and you can roll your own head tracker with it. Props to Trinus VR for pioneering, but I have too much latency issues with it and can’t recommend it at this time. I did buy the full version and follow it.
  • You’ll need at least one of those $10 Google Cardboard setups (or) better.
  • The big one: because it works for me doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. There are way too many variables here: 12,000+ Android phones, millions of PCs, and who-knows-what is installed on your computer. If you get easily frustrated, there’s always Pornhub.
  • If you’re interested in seated experiences with head tracking, so you play on a normal 360/PC controller like Zuckerberg. If you have a Leap Motion controller ($29 on Amazon) I’ve read that it’s possible to emulate Vive motion controllers. There are other Bluetooth and Wiimote/IR hacks around this not covered in this guide.



Pregame: Buy the best optics + field of vision Cardboard you can afford

Even some of the $120 ones are barely different from the $25 ones. You don’t need an NFC chip either. Look for one that has space for wires to move in comfortably. Look for one that won’t require you to break what’s inside because it’s pressing your power buttons. I bought some random one in Japan called VR Shinecon and the field of view is bit narrow because I didn’t know any better, but it looks pretty legit and it's comfortable. If possible buy one in person because the most important factor is the shape of your giant head and your terrible haircut.

As for the Leap Motion controller, I’ve seen it sold for as much as $139 and as little as $15. There “new” and “old” models, but I don't think there's much of a difference. The one I bought looks like it was made in 2013, and I paid $29, and it works. Before you dismiss this as a valid control scheme I should point out that Oculus acquired a similar company called Nimble Sense in 2014. The official site has them for $79, so look for a bargain on Amazon if you can find it. It's pretty damn good even at retail price, I'm rather enjoying it.

Which games work? Do any games work?

However, I have tested roughly 20 playable titles, so there is content like The Lab (some won't work), the Blu, Space Pirate Trainer, and many others. Stuff I have no business enjoying on a Nexus 5X. I've had some games start upside down or stuck inside the floor. It takes tweaking.

Still, I've been able to enjoy quite a number of Oculus games, especially the early SDK 0.8 demos and I've tried a few $15 range Steam VR games like Space Pirate Trainer, which is a riot. I’ve tried about 15 games so far and many non-VR games like Far Cry 4 do run smoothly, but with lots of quirks. Like Trinus, the most common bug is head drifting, where it loses track of your center and you end up doing the hokey pokey or assigning a hotkey to recenter. If you use VR Streamer you can even hotkey phone’s back camera so you don’t have to take off the headset, but I'll get to that later. Your careful calibration does minimize this, but perhaps until camera support is added this is likely going to be an issue. Beta, ya'll.

If you think you’re very smart, skip ahead to Step 5 or just watch my abbreviated video walkthrough and fight with it yourself. Otherwise, this  fussy basic setup guide might save you some troubleshooting grief later.

Pictured above: A headset that does almost nothing, but it looks cool! Another one of my early TrackIR attempts

Just give me the short version:

I recommend you follow the steps below, but if you're in a hurry here's the short version:

(1) Optimize your phone (2) Optimize your PC (3) Get rid of cable lag/adapters (4) Install the RiftCat on the PC and Mobile (5) install the newest Leap SDK (6) Run Vridge and find the driver button for Steam at the bottom: install the SteamVR RiftCat driver while Steam is completely closed (7) install Leap's Orion SDK (8) Install the StreamVR RiftCat Leap Driver (9) install Oculus marketplace (10) install Revive (11) Launch a marketplace, calibrate, and enjoy!

Poke around with the Vridge settings at the bottom of that page's tab when you hit a bug or latency that makes you want to kill yourself. Do skim the rest of this guide for what ails you. Good luck! 


Step 1 - Understanding the general concept

There are a few of ways to go about this, and RiftCat is probably the easiest for beginners. Your PC games will usually run in a window that’s being stalked by a “server” program running on your computer and that program sends a highly detailed image to your phone like it was a mirrored monitor. What's unique about RiftCat are drivers and full configuration on the PC, so you don't have to touch your phone and fuss with tiny UI windows.

That server app, in the case of RiftCat, also comes with a driver that emulates head-mounted display so that your phone will be recognized as a headset within SteamVR. That doesn’t mean you’re going to go play Vive games around your living room in an hour. Pump yer brakes.

Sidenote about the lingo: RiftCat is the company, and the RiftCat Client is what most people would consider the VRidge server app, and also the name of their marketplace (like a simple version of Steam that has patched Oculus demos you can try for free). VRidge is the phone “client” mobile app, and also the name of their general technology. To avoid any confusion, I’ll simply refer to what they call the client as the PC app or server app, and just make general references to the mobile as there isn’t much to setup there but tethering and zoom/scale. Unlike most mobile apps like this, almost all the setup happens on the PC server app, which means you don't have to take your phone in and out of the HMV to tweak. Smart.

RiftCat’s PC server app software hooks in at a low-level and renders your windowed games to your phone. You don’t have to rely on your phone’s gyroscope to do your head tracking, but in the case of RiftCat it works very well for games that aren’t super fast-paced, and you can bring your own external tracker once you get the basic hang of this. Look into TrackIR, and there are even paper-based tracking systems. Those guides have been around since 2006 so I’m not going to cover those, as they work best for games where you're in a cockpit anyway.

Lastly, there are three drivers to install, which we’ll cover later, no need to download them right now. The latest Leap Motion “Orion” SDK/driver, VRidge’s SteamVR HMV driver, and the SteamVR Leap Driver by Christian Buchner. More info about these projects are on RiftCat’s Blog.

Sidenote: At the moment RiftCat doesn’t natively support the latest Oculus SDK yet, but when you pair it with other open-source projects like CrossVR’s ReVive as a workaround. 

If I’ve already lost you, don’t worry, this will all make more sense if you follow the steps.

Step 2 - Test your eyeballs, tweak your phone, and get the mobile app

Download the VRidge app from Google Play. Remember, it requires Android 5 or newer, but before you jump in let's reconcile something. You scanned that QR code for your correct distortion setting, right? Right? You can tweak your IPL and Scale manually in-app worst case.

I'm assuming you've had some experience getting to know your Google Cardboard headset with normal cardboard apps and have a solid idea how far your phone needs to be to simulate realistic depth.

First, let's disqualify your phone or HMV before I waste your time. If you can't see depth f field in Cardboard, you won't see it in RiftCat.  I recommend trying "Cartoon Village 3D" by Oleksandr Popov (free, Play Store) don't expect RiftCat to fix that. Some people also can't see those hippie 3D paper posters while others can, so try some eye and brain training before you go any further. Some phones have a very low pixel density and aren't suitable for this. 

Your phone and/or brain unfortunately sucks, stop here, game over, sorry.  

If your phone rocks, please continue:

Any new Samsung Galaxy phone should work, especially if you have something like a Galaxy 7 or Note 5. If you have an iPhone, you can probably get halfway to what we’re doing here with VR Streamer (iOS, free and time limit versions available) and Gagagu VR Streamer (gagagu.de). This blog post gives you some idea of the lag you're going to experience. For most people this is not worth it. My phone only has 2GB of RAM, not exactly ideal.

I was going to put all of this later under Troubleshooting, but since performance is the main point of this article please bear with me.

There are safe ways and potentially unsafe ways (rooting and overclocking) to optimize your Android phone for gaming. Try the safe type first, like unlocking the developer options in your control panel and force GPU rendering whenever possible. This will eat your battery, but you’ll be wired and your phone (not PC) will be completely offline so it doesn’t matter too much. Of course, how healthy your battery is will determine how long you play while you’re wired and playing. You cannot likely get a long play session in unless your phone is very efficient at charging and you use a powered USB 3.0 hub in-between, but there are some downsides to that obviously.

If you haven’t done so yet, uninstall all the crap your Provider put on your phone and disable as many bells and whistles as possible to free up your ram. Do limit the amount of stuff that is allowed to exist in the background. Do be careful not to have software that auto-kills processes  (use Safe mode) that the system auto-start or you’ll just eat your battery.

You’ll also need to setup USB Mobile Tethering (as if you wanted to use your phone as a modem) but with your data and Wifi off. You’ll be going in and out of these menus quickly, so making some widget bookmarks for tethering will save you some time.

Now optimize: turn off Wifi, turn off Bluetooth, turn off data, turn off NFC, turn off everything except USB tethering. Make a quick-switch profile for these settings if you know how. I turned off automatic dimming, automatic sleep, pretty much everything that would cause my tweaking settings time to be disturbed. Set your screen’s brightness to medium for now.

Keep your phone plugged in, but don’t put it in the headset yet, even when RiftCat asks you to. We have some fine-tuning to do first.


Step 3 - Optimize your PC like your life depends on it

I’m using a Asus ROG GR8 with an i7 4510U @ 2.60 GHz (not overclocked), 16GB RAM, 128GB SSD and integrated Nvidia Geforce GTX 750 Ti. This machine was announced at Computex 2014, it’s a sort of “console class” first generation Steam machine. This older stuff is cutting into my encoding, so if you have a proper Oculus-ready PC you'll fare much better.

Before you get any software or touch anything remotely related to this guide, you should go on a (totally anal) optimization vision quest to squeeze all of the power out of your computer. I know you think your computer is fast enough to run games and also run the cow that is Aero, but games will run in Windowed mode, so you’ll need all the extra power. Also turn off everything obnoxious like SmartScreen, Firewall, Application Permission, and so on. If windows pops up a dialog box your window will lose focus and, your game may pause or crash.

Grab a beer and update all drivers (at your own risk), turn off Windows Aero, turn on all the bells and whistles your SSD came with, unplug all but one monitor.

One important step especially if you’re already skipping and skimming and are trying this on a laptop: Force your apps to always use the most powerful GPU in the Nvidia control panel or equivalent. After you make this change you must reboot, if it asks you to or not. Here's a description of the problem and how to set this up.

If you leave it up to the application you’ll go into a looping crash on the phone app.

I would also recommend disabling your onboard video in the BIOS if you have an extra display adapter appearing in your device manager (even if you never use it) and switch to a single monitor for the initial test. I did this on the floor of my living room with my PC and TV. 

Last but not least, set your single monitor’s resolution to 1280x720 for starters. After you experience lag-free gameplay for a full play session crank it back up slowly, but trying to get this going with 1080p or 4k is just going to take you longer to find your phone’s sweet spot.

Step 4:  Check your wires for performance gains

Don’t even think about trying this over wifi even if you have a $600 router; it’s lag city.

Make sure you know the difference between USB 2 and 3 if your phone supports it. Not all motherboards and cases do a good job of labeling or color-coding those. If you’re using a USB extension cord, make it a short and powered one, and on a 5V+ DC hub if you must. The less crap between your computer’s fastest port and your phone, the better. Don’t use 200 foot USB extension cords either, some those even cause performance issues with normal cameras. Use some quality wires, Beavis.

Converters may also cause performance issues, avoid those. Don't use hubs/extensions.

Step 5:  Install VRidge on your PC and Phone

Download RiftCat’s VRidge PC application. When registering I recommend setting up an account with a 1-touch OAuth provider like Google Plus or Windows instead. If you run into trouble and need to reboot this will save you some time down the line.

Some people are getting loop errors after registering since the app and site require you to be logged in at the same time. It happened to me once, here's how I fixed it: I logged out of the desktop app, rebooted, logged into the website first, then started the app. Bingo.

Do get the Vridge app for your phone as well if you haven't already done so, you'll need it for Step 7.

Step 6:  Get Windows to recognize your phone tethering

When your phone is plugged into Windows 10 an An NDIS network connection should appear. Toggle back to your RiftCat window and click “VRidge” up top and connect. You should be able to see your connection. Click that, and make sure your Android phone has Vridge running and confirm your phone and authorize it. You don’t want your computer discoverable from your Phone tether, so tell Windows to go suck it if it prompts you a-la Charms bar.

Note: If this didn’t work for you check your antivirus and firewall settings, it might be a bit of a side science project to figure this out if you’ve never done tethering. Here's a USB tethering guide for Windows 8 that I found useful.

This is relatively straightforward, but sometimes I have my Windows 10 network adapters window hang if I plug the wire in first. If that happens to you, first open your network adapters using the classic-style control panel, then connect your phone via USB, then click USB tethering on in your “more” networks phone setting.

Sidenote if you want to use USB Tether and also play online/use Wifi: You’ll need to increase the metric of your network card, as explained in this guide. Otherwise, your PC will go offline while you’re in tether mode, or connect via 4G, or just not work at all. If you’re playing offline, you can skip this step.

Do confirm that it is your phone is connected, and now’s a good time to check your wire situation again. Are those wires going to wiggle and partially get disconnected, even for a split second?  Android will drop your tether and crash the app if you’re not solid. Use tape if you have to.

-- Important: don’t put your phone in Cardboard yet, don’t even touch your headphones, we're not done optimizing yet --

After you’ve confirmed, your phone stay on the Vridge tab in the app.

You’ll see two round buttons now to play games. Ignore those. You’ll also see a Find New Phone button. Ignore that too. Notice the two square buttons below that look like highlighted text squares. See the one that says “Click here to set Streaming Quality”? You are going spend a lot of time here until you know what your phone and computer can and cannot do.

You’ll see resolution settings first, with some recommendations based on your phone profile. I recommend trying a lower resolution and trying to achieve 60 FPS first, and slide the bitrate streaming quality to 14 (jaggies). If you have an Nvidia card, turn on NVENC. AMD users: you’re at a big disadvantage in this early beta Sucks, I know.

Step 7: Test a simple Unity game before you try running a Steam game

Before you try to get VRidge to work with Steam, I recommend starting with “Don’t Let Go!”, because it has a cute FPS counter on the desk and lets you test your settings without a lot of fuss.

Go to your Vridge Library in RiftCat and start Don’t Let Go, and a Unity window should pop up. Don’t let that Unity window get out of focus or your game will stop streaming.

Before putting your Google Cardboard headgear on, please stay awhile here and shake your phone a bit. Are the images perfectly in sync?  You’re going to see double if you put your phone in your headset like that. Get the left and right side in perfect sync first.

Also, you must play this game with headphones on or you'll miss all the fun.

Spend some time reducing lag and trying a few Unity demos before you move on to the next step. Get a sense of what your computer and phone can and cannot do. Keep a log on paper so you’re not trying random things in the dark. Respect that it’s a beta: know when the server is running and when you can plug cables or change your Cardboard view scale settings to avoid crashes.

Step 8:  Install SteamVR (within Steam)

Untether and find the SteamVR add-on within Steam, install it, and then shut down all Steam apps and close Steam after its installed. Don’t run the SteamVR Room Configuration setup wizard yet; it won’t detect anything. Close all games and Steam (check your system tray).

Step 8:  Install the Steam VR Driver from the Vridge Desktop app

With Steam closed, go back to the RiftCat Vridge tab on the PC. Install the SteamVR Drive. It’s located at the bottom of the app. If it appears blank then SteamVR isn’t installed correctly or is still running.

Big side note:  When you update Steam or SteamVR this driver may uninstall. If you don’t see the little square VR button on the top right when you open Steam this is the cause.

If you did it correctly, or Steam didn't "bump" your driver in an update, it should look like this:

This VR icon should be green, not gray as shown below.  Click the VR logo if you don't see it green.  If you installed the drivers in the wrong order, if Steam updated, or if you installed stuff while Steam was open (always check your system tray) then you may need to start over.


Step 9: Let’s try your first Steam Game with a PC Controller

First, let’s make a quick social contract for the sake of your sanity. Please point your index finger at your phone and repeat after me: “I will get the games working poorly first before I attempt to run them at 120 frames per second in 8k per eye.”  If you try to optimize while you’re getting the basic game working you will lose your mind. Resist! How you configure the RiftCat PC app significantly affects your frame rate and lag. How efficiently the program duplicates the contents of the game's window makes all the difference. Got it?  Good.

Run your steam game normally first, setting it to play in a Window first. Then get your settings setup. With the RiftCat Vridge app properly tethered and connected, with your Vridge Library’s Unity demos being a success, you are ready to experience the simultaneous excitement and disappointment of having a very cheap and buggy version of the development kit Oculus Rift.

Step 10: (Optional, very beta) Install the Leap Motion SDK and SteamVR Drivers

You don’t have to buy the whole dev kit though. Get the basic one and keep in mind that the bottom is rubberized, so weak 2-sided velcro isn’t going to keep it on your Cardboard. You'll have to tape the sides as well or get creative. The RiftCat-compatible Leap VR Driver was just released a few days ago, and I immediately Amazon Primed a Leap Motion controller for $29 to try it. It works stupidly well!  

Close out all your stuff, register and install the Orion SDK for Leap, then install the SteamVR leap driver. Repeat the applicable steps to get back into Steam and you should have access to both controllers. There isn’t anything special to setup, it just works. I do recommend going to SteamVR Room Setup, choose standing, and while standing punch in your actual height (don’t calibrate the floor) or your camera will be weird.

Sidenote about Leap Motion Limitations: Don't put your arms at your sides. The most important thing to remember is that the Leap Motion controller is a camera. It has a remarkably wide field of view, but your hands are behind your horse-faced HMV then your controllers become invisible, so some actions are limited. Some button presses (like menu) require specific hand gestures that also take some getting used to, and are subject to the light conditions in the room.

Do calibrate and download the latest SDKs, do mount it in the right direction, do test the Blocks app, and do keep your Leap smudge-free. There is a calibration utility and smudges on your Leap make a big difference. Keep it clean, boys!

Step 11: Playing other Oculus and Vive titles from other marketplaces

Of course, you can run non-Steam games as well. Just close Steam/SteamVR completely and browse for the .exe from the “games from my PC” button in the Vridge desktop app.

This stuff changes on a day to day basis, so it’s best to read the RiftCat posts on Reddit for the latest. SteamVR aside, installing the Oculus store and using a fictional Vive emulator is very gray area. I don’t really want to get caught in the politics of that, so you’ll want to follow the Revive community to figure out the rest.


Step 12: DIY Headtracking, Quality of life, and cord management

The cables and setup are a bit of an annoyance, and there’s a cheap workaround for that too. You probably don’t want to have a cell phone cable, a USB controller cable, and a headphone cable strung all around. Get a USB soundcard and a compact powered USB hub and route all that stuff through one extension, and tie it all neatly with tape or velcro. Headphones made for iPod Shuffles don’t even have cords, so you can plug a tiny USB sound card right into it and run the cord to a pouch on the back or top of your head with the hub.

Pictured: another DIY head tracking experiment, zero soldering, lots of duct tape.

If you’re going to do TrackIR for head tracking but don’t want to get into welding and batteries there is also another very simple solution: control the light in your game room instead and use regular LEDs. You can buy a strip of LED USB tape (red LEDs work best with Freetrack) and you can also plug that into your hub, and mask out the other LEDs with electrical tape. Works great with a normal Logitech 1080p camera, no infrared filter, no infrared LEDs, as long as my curtains are shut. The photo above was my DIY head tracker before I found RiftCat, roughly about a month ago. So ghetto! But worked quite well for Live For Speed somehow, and priced about $35. That's a Black and Decker screwdriver tip holder supporting the top, and a lot of duct tape. It was a fun experiment, I learned a lot failing.

Getting support

The most common problems I’ve seen around forums pertain to not knowing where their SteamVR folder is (check your advanced options), artifacting (play with your NVENC and driver - for performance over quality at the driver level), loop crashing or device not ready (see optimizing your dedicated GPU in my optimization tips) and this epic reddit thread for more advice. If you’re seeing a double on the HMV it means your bitrate/latency is too high, your phone is too slow or not properly configured to use its GPU, your PC sucks, or your IPV/Scale and headset knobs are at odds with each other. It took me many tries before I got get great depth of field. Put in the time.

For everything else it is best to send your questions directly to RiftCat's support tab (in the PC app). They will ask you to attach the crash bug log files located in your Program Files (x86) RiftCat folder, so you may as well send those four text files along with a description of your problem. Still I'll keep an eye on the comments and try my best to answer your questions.

RiftCat shows a lot of promise, good job Poland!  Though your work is entirely original and doesn't violate any copyrights or trademarks to my knowledge, it will be surely “frowned upon” by some, just as Little Timmy frowns upon executives that promised a $200-400 retail-grade HMV years ago (we’ll never let them live that down).

To be fair, shipping a real product is much more difficult than assembling a janky thing with off-the-shelf parts, which is what I’m teaching you how to do here.

Parting Thoughts

If you've spent a lot of time with premium current generation hardware, this post might be boring. If you don't have access to current generation VR hardware, you're probably excited as I am. RiftCat is a glimpse of what the future of broke-ass VR gaming looks like, and it's so money. 

The point is not to grief Oculus and Vive executives for not expediting a low-quality budget product. I do feel that a value-priced DK2 retail product is missing. Where is that product? I don't see it coming (and it's certainly not Gear VR) so it seems like gamers are taking matters into their own hands. They're on Reddit submitting their apps, logging commits on Github, injecting wrappers around walled gardens that honestly need more than a few warm bodies anyway. Everybody wins ... for now.

I'm cagey as media about this stuff. Any new VR thing excites me, but sometimes I'm hesitant to cover it. Half the time I blog about VR games the comments sometimes sound like I'm talking about the next Laserdisc format. There’s no reason for that, especially when so many of our readers have super powerful phones. You've gotta try this stuff if you've got a modern phone and phone back your results. I'm almost scared to hear your results.

It's an open Beta, give it a shot. Let's get more gamers into VR. The future is here, cheap!


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Niero Gonzalez
Niero GonzalezMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I keep Destructoid weird. Also I'm a playable character in Retro City Rampage, look: (along with the whole 2009 Dtoid Editorial team) Sometimes I have a villainous mustache My dog CoCo chec... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Emulators #Homebrew #Notable #Oculus Rift #Oculus VR #Previews #Virtual Reality #Vive



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