Detailed Step by Step Process for Setting Up HTC Vive - VR Life

How to Set Up HTC Vive

htc vive vr gear

HTC Vive: Step by Step Process

Despite the masses of equipment that greets you after removing your new HTC Vive from its box, the myriad cables and boxes are actually easy enough to string together. What’s more, you should previously have the software (SteamVR) pre-installed. Here’s a run through of the process.


Step 1

In terms of data, the Vive system needs just a single USB 2.0 port to link from your PC to the Vive breakout box. For optical, a lone HDMI or mini-Displayport interconnect with the breakout is needed. All cables linking from the breakout to PC are grey only, corresponding with the breakout boxes’ hues and shades. Once you’ve found a power outlet and linked up the 12V DC ‘juice’ supply to the box you’re done with the PC connections.

htc vive pre

Step 2

Take the cables going from the Vive headset (marked with orange edging to differentiate) and connect them with the HDMI, USB, and DC cords into the breakout box. You will see the Vive headset’s power LED light up a bright red. If it has, you’re set to go!

HTC Vive connect

Step 3

For the included Lighthouse base stations, try to locate an elevated placement for both (top of bookcase is ideal), but equally positions where they can ‘view’ most of the playspace and each other. Line of sight from the Lighthouse base stations is required in order to cored lessly synchronize them (though there’s an optional sync cable included if they can’t see each other for some reason). String the power cables, power them up and once the two stations are powered and can see each other they should light up green. The single issue found here was a centrally mounted light-fitting which seemed to occlude synch between the two base stations, though once placement was adjusted on one of the units slightly, all seemed good.

Lighthouse Diagram

Step 4

Then we move onto the internal side. The awesome news is that you’re probably already running the primary software component required to drive the VR experience from the HTC Vive. Valve’s SteamVR content platform already has the portal through which you’ll initiate and direct your Vive sessions inside and outside VR. SteamVR is basically an integrated application which moves the setup, configuration, and the user interface sections of the Steam-in-VR experience. If you turn on Steam with the Vive attached, it’ll ask for you to install SteamVR if it’s not previously there. Once installed and with the Vive linked up, you should notice a ‘VR’ icon in the top corner of the Steam window. Hit this to start SteamVR.

Steam VR setup

Step 5

Last but not least, you need to tell SteamVR about your real available play space, or define your room’s scale, if you can. This process feels a little less natural in comparison to all the other of the above steps.

The movements itself are well guided, with a crystal illustration wizard. Initially, you’re prompted to choose between two choices of your tracking profile, ‘Room Scale’ or ‘Standing only’. Picking ‘Room-Scale’ starts the physical room calibration process. Room-scale in the SteamVR is noted as a location over 2 x 1.5 meters (6.5 x 5 feet).

steamvr setup 1

HTC Vive: Assemble Complete

Initially, you’re asked to grab a controller and point it at your PC’s screen, then set both controllers on the floor for floor calibration.

Lastly, you’re prompted to define the borders of the room by tracing its boundaries with one of the SteamVR controllers. Despite Lighthouses’ exemplary coverage with just two base stations, by definition this step forces them to their limits and I had to restart the process numerous times after losing tracking at various points around the room.

A nice addition here however: the controller creates haptic pulses for each tracking dot drawn on the room-scale boundary logistics, with a rapid pulse if tracking is no longer there. It provides perfect feedback to let you know that you’re correctly defining the area.

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