Oculus Rift User Guide

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This page tells you how to use Oculus Rift's Development Kit. For information about Virtual Reality itself, see Virtual Reality.

Starting Guide

  • Make sure your Oculus Rift is plugged in and turned on before starting Team Fortress 2.
  • A common error is to make the head strap too tight. It's not a pair of ski goggles - you're not going jogging with it on. Comfort is important, and the right tension helps position the display the correct distance from the eyes.
  • Another common error is to not adjust the clicky adjustment things on the sides - if using the A vision lenses, most people will want to adjust it all the way out. The Rift ships with them all the way in, so make sure you adjust them so they're all the way clockwise on the left side, all the way anticlockwise on the right side.
  • In Steam, right-click on Team Fortress 2, click "Properties", click "Set Launch Options..." and then add "-vr" (without the quotes) to the command-line. You can also create desktop shortcuts with and without the "-vr" option to let you easily switch between VR or normal monitor modes.
  • Make sure you enable the developer console by going to Options/Keyboard/Advanced... and ticking "Enable Developer Console". You can bring it down using the tilde (~) key (for non-US keyboards, it's whatever key is at the top-left above Tab and next to 1). Most of the VR controls are currently on Console Variables or "convars".
  • Although you can just start playing with the default settings, to avoid discomfort we highly advise calibrating the device for your eyes. See "Calibrating your Inter-Pupillary Distance" below.
  • If you use the "A" vision lenses in the Rift, you don't need to do anything to let the game know. If you have switched to the "B" or "C" lenses, you will need to set the oculus_lens_type convar to "B" or "C" respectively.
  • If you have any questions or comments about VR mode, please visit the TF2 Virtual Reality forum.

Taking Your Time

VR is awesome and immersive, but it can't fool all your senses all the time. This can lead to something very similar to seasickness or motion sickness, which can lead to nausea, sweating or headaches. Our advice is as follows:

  • Start slow. For the first few sessions, plan to play for no more than ten minutes in VR.
  • Calibrate the device for your eyes. Having the correct IPD helps a lot.
  • Start with some of the slower characters, such as Heavy or Medic. Avoid the faster or close-range characters such as Scout, Pyro, or rocket-jumping with the Soldier - they can produce particularly intense experiences in VR.
  • Stop if you feel unwell. You cannot "push through" motion sickness, it just continues. If it gets bad it can last a long time after you stop playing. As soon as you feel uncomfortable, take the HMD off, take a break and do something else for a while.
  • Many people find that over time they become used to the effects - they get their "VR legs" - and can play for longer without feeling unwell.
  • Some very lucky folks never get any effects at all and can play for many hours. You are freaks and the rest of us are very jealous of you.

Calibrating your Inter-Pupillary Distance

Everybody's head is a little bit different. To give you the best experience, we need to set the in-game view to be the same distance apart as your real eyes. To do that, we need to know your Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD). Most people do not know their IPD, and measuring it with a ruler is very difficult. Team Fortress 2 comes with a built-in calibration utility to let you discover your IPD without visiting an optometrist.

  • Using the built-in calibration tool:
    • Images might not "fuse" into proper stereo until calibration is done - you may want to only open one eye at a time to prevent disorientation or discomfort.
    • In the main menu, bring down the console and type "vr_calibration" and hit enter. This will bring up the calibration screen.
    • Adjust the HMD's vertical position on your face until the text in the center is as sharp as possible. You will probably not be able to get the edge of the screen very sharply focused - this is normal.
    • Make sure to check the focus for each eye separately.
    • There should be a green line drawn over the text in one of your eyes. It should be vertical, near the side of the display, and in the left eye.
      • You want to move this line across to the edge of your visible field of view so that you can only just see a tiny bit of green while looking directly at the line.
      • To adjust, click the << < > >> buttons on the screen.
      • You can also use the cursor keys (hold shift to move faster) or the D-pad (hold either trigger to move faster).
      • As you move the line, it will become bent, distorted and blurred. This is normal.
      • Because of the blurring, it can be quite tricky to tell when the line is at the edge of your view. One way to do this is to move it all the way off until you can't see any green at all (just black), then move it back on until you can see just a tiny bit of green.
    • While moving the line, look directly at the line. If you look straight ahead, you will notice you can actually see more of the line because of the movement of your pupil. But while adjusting the line, look directly at it, do not look straight ahead.
    • Do not move the HMD on your face while you do this or press it closer. You want the HMD in the same place it will be as when you are playing the game.
    • Once the line is correct, click "next", or hit Enter or the A button to go to the next line.
    • Now adjust each line in the same way. There are four lines in each eye (left, right, top and bottom edges) so make sure you correctly adjust all eight lines.
    • Adjusting the top and bottom lines can be quite difficult - especially the top line. Don't worry too much about it - it is more important to get the left and right sides correct.
    • As you adjust the lines, the Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) will be calculated, but it won't be correct until all eight lines are done.
    • The final field allows you to directly adjust your IPD. Most people will not need to do this.
    • You can keep cycling through all the lines until you are happy with their position, and you can always come back and redo them if you need to.
    • When you are done, click "close" or hit Backspace or the B button to leave the screen. Your settings are automatically saved.
  • There is no need to recalibrate every time you play - once should be enough. Small movements of the HMD will not affect the calibration significantly.
  • The IPD adjustment field is useful if you happen to know it, e.g. because your optometrist has measured it. Valve would be very interested in any significant difference (more than 1mm) between the value generated by the calibration procedure and the value found by an optometrist.
  • If you have multiple users with the same Rift dev kit they will each need their own IPD setting. Just have them log into their own Steam account so they use their own config values.

Advanced Settings

The current Rift dev kit uses a fairly low-resolution display. We suggest you turn antialiasing on as high as it will go in the TF2 video settings as this will make the picture far smoother. On most modern graphics cards this will not affect your framerate in these resolutions.

VR works best when you have the highest possible framerate and the lowest possible latency. Going faster than 60 FPS is useful because it reduces the latency accordingly. To reduce latency as much as possible, we recommend:

  • In the TF2 advanced video settings, make sure "Wait for vertical sync" is disabled.
  • In the TF2 advanced video settings, make sure "Motion blur" is disabled.
  • Make sure wait-for-v-sync is not forced on by video card control panel settings.
  • Disable the "Aero" Windows desktop composition engine. Right-click on your desktop, click "Personalize" and then select one of the "Basic" or "Classic" themes instead of an "Aero" theme. An easy way to tell that Aero is disabled is that your windows don't have that translucent frosted-glass effect on their title bars any more.

Console variables (convars)

There are a lot of options in VR that we are still experimenting with. We have set the defaults to some that most people seem to like, but feel free to experiment and find your own personal preferences. All settings are set via the console and are either commands or console variables. Here is a brief list:

  • oculus_lens_type: which vision lens type you have fitted to the Oculus Rift. Valid values are "A", "B" and "C".
  • vr_moveaim_mode: options for controlling movement and aim. Modes 0 through 4 are all interesting to try. 5 and above are probably not.
    • 0: aiming and steering with your face, the mouse just rotates your "hips". This is a good mode for use with a control pad.
    • 1: aiming with your face, steering only with the mouse. This mode may be buggy and "drift" after a while.
    • 2, 3, 4: slightly different versions of aiming with the mouse within a "keyhole" in your view. 3 is the default that TF2 ships with.
    • 5, 6, 7: assorted other experiments.
    • You can also cycle to the next value with the console command "vr_cycle_aim_move_mode"
  • vr_moveaim_reticle_yaw_limit: ...
  • vr_moveaim_reticle_pitch_limit: used by modes 2, 3, 4 to define the size of the "keyhole" in degrees.
  • vr_moveaim_mode_zoom: ...
  • vr_moveaim_reticle_yaw_limit_zoom: ...
  • vr_moveaim_reticle_pitch_limit_zoom: the same as the above, but used when zoomed (e.g. with the Sniper scope)
  • vr_hud_max_fov: controls how much of the screen the HUD covers. Sensible values are 50-70. Bigger means the text is more readable, but some people have trouble seeing the corners. The default is 60.
  • vr_hud_forward: apparent distance of the HUD from your face in inches. The default is 500.
  • vr_hud_axis_lock_to_world: locks the HUD rotation to the world. It's a bitfield, so add together 1=pitch, 2=yaw, 4=roll. Many people like to set this to "4" - try it out! The default is 0 meaning the HUD is locked to your face.
  • vr_neckmodel_up: ...
  • vr_neckmodel_forwards: The distances from the center of rotation of your neck to your eyes in inches. If you have an unusually short or long neck you might want to adjust these, but it's a fairly subtle effect.
  • vr_world_scale: Scales the world up and down by playing with IPD and motion scaling. Very trippy to play with. The default is 1.0
  • tf_taunt_first_person: set to 1 to make taunts happen in first person, which is the default for VR. You can set this back to 0 to make them happen in 3rd person instead (just like non-VR mode).
  • vr_zoom_multiplier: how big you want the Sniper scope to be on the HMD. Default is 2.0.
  • If multiple people need to use the same machine, you may need to have different calibrations for each of them. The calibration is defined by the following convars, and like all the above settings they can be put into CFG files (e.g. autoexec.cfg):
    • vr_ipdtest_left_i
    • vr_ipdtest_left_o
    • vr_ipdtest_left_t
    • vr_ipdtest_left_b
    • vr_ipdtest_right_i
    • vr_ipdtest_right_o
    • vr_ipdtest_right_t
    • vr_ipdtest_right_b
    • vr_separation_user_inches
    • vr_separation_toein_pixels

Known Bugs/Missing Features

  • The calibration procedure is difficult to do with some types of glasses on. Do your best! You may also be able to do the calibration without your glasses (yes, it's blurry) and still get reasonable results. Alternatively, ask your optometrist for your IPD and set it directly.
  • The calibration procedure only works with the A set of vision lenses. It does not yet work with the B or C sets. If you wish to use those lenses, you can either:
    • Calibrate as best you can with the A set in, even though it's blurry. Calibrations done with the A set will work even if you switch to B or C to play the game (your eyes are still the same distance apart!)
    • Get your IPD measured by your optometrist and set it directly either with convars or through the calibration screen.
  • Some first-person animations do not work, or are glitchy. Gameplay should be unaffected, it just looks odd.
    • Spy's backstab.
    • Some weapon reloading anims (e.g. Sniper's SMG).
  • Some weapons are held very low which makes it hard to tell which you have equipped (e.g. Demo's grenade and sticky launchers). Try looking down.
  • Custom cursors and HUD layouts may interact strangely with VR mode.
  • Because of the low resolution, much of the text is very hard to read. In particular the loadout and store screens are basically impossible to use in VR.
  • Training mode does not work well in VR - unreadable text and "move here" labels in the wrong place.
  • Some of the indicators showing how much damage you are doing to others do not fuse correctly.
  • Does not work nicely with DirectX8 rendering - you'll need to switch to that new-fangled DirectX9 thing.