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Can Oculus Rift with Touch Controllers Run SteamVR HTC Vive Games?

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Can Oculus Rift With Touch Controllers Run SteamVR HTC Vive Games
I mean, they're both black and go on the head, right?

Virtual Reality Crash Course

If you’ve just got your Oculus Rift with Touch controllers, congratulations! You’ve just joined one big, happy, rapidly growing family. Enjoy your stay!

Now, you might be wondering: “VRBorg, can I play SteamVR HTC Vive games on my Oculus Rift with Touch controllers?”

Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got you covered, amigo!

Now, before we get into the meat of the problem, it’s important you understand how SteamVR and HTC Vive games work.

In fact, there are no HTC Vive games per se. By design, and by default, if a developer wants to make an HTC Vive game, he has to go through the SteamVR platform. There’s no other way around it.

SteamVR games and applications are based on SteamVR SDK (software development kit), better known as SteamVR Workshop Tools.

SteamVR does not discriminate against any current hardware. Any future hardware can be easily supported as well.

So, can Oculus Rift with Touch controllers play HTC Vive Games?

Of course it can. Oculus Rift with Touch controllers is fully supported by SteamVR. Even if the particular game of choice doesn’t officially support Oculus Rift, you will still be able to play it.

The absence of official Oculus support for some SteamVR games means that the developer hasn’t implemented specific control mappings for Oculus Touch, as well as some minor tweaks and optimizations. Therefore, the Oculus Touch controls are most likely wonky, but they will work.

At least on paper.

Oculus Rift Touch Controllers vs HTC Vive wands
Obviously, the ones on the left are for bludgeoning, the ones on the right for knuckle punching your neighbour’s teeth out.

Oculus has a separate, exclusive marketplace for Rift VR games and apps, which they call Experiences. Don’t let this confuse you – a lot of games there can also be found on SteamVR, and vice versa.

However, a significant portion of Rift Experiences are Rift exclusives. If you’re an HTC Vive owner, or know somebody that is, be careful.

These games can only be played on HTC Vive through the use of custom hack known as ReVive. It doesn’t work well with some Oculus games, so Googling around is a must prior to any purchase. You might want to check the community-driven wiki list detailing HTC Vive’s compatibility with most major Oculus games.

It DOES get a bit tricky though…

Obviously, there are differences between Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. If a SteamVR game doesn’t have official Oculus support, it will lack some minor Oculus-specific tweaks and optimizations. The absence of these may cause certain minor performance issues.

Real issues, however, arise from the hardware differences. Oculus Touch controllers and Vive wands are probably the most obvious example.

The issues are mostly noticeable in games that specifically rely on certain unique controller functionalities, such as a trackpad on the Vive wands or a traditional analogue stick with A, B and X, Y buttons on Oculus Touch.

After all, Vive wands are truly ambidextrous, meaning that a single unit will work in either hand. One the other hand (no pun intended), Oculus Touch controllers are designed strictly for a single hand use – one for left hand, one for right.

This is why some games that are tailor-made for HTC Vive won’t feel as enjoyable and smooth on Oculus Rift. The same goes the other way – if you are the proud owner of HTC Vive, not all Oculus-exclusive games will have smooth controls with the ReVive hack.

The upside to this whole ordeal is that SteamVR is continuously being updated. The default control mappings are regularly modified and improved upon. This closes the gap between the two popular VR headsets.

With that in mind, let’s hop back into the virtual domain and play a few rounds together, shall we?

Sore Eyes After VR Experience – What Am I Doing Wrong?

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Sore Eyes After VR Featured
Woman's eye with futuristic digital data concept for technology, virtual reality headset, biometric retina scan, surveillance or computer hacker security

Virtual-reality is yet to become mainstream, but even now there are some known unpleasant side-effects. Many users report motion sickness, nausea or sore eyes after their VR experience.

None of these VR side-effects proved to cause long-term damage and usually wear off soon after you take the headset off.

However, these issues are not to be neglected. We are sure that in future developers and engineers will do their best to nullify them.

Meanwhile, in this article we will specifically talk about sore eyes after VR, and present you with simple tips that should mitigate this VR side-effect.

Adjust the VR headset lenses

Sore eyes after VR

We’d imagine that when you first got your VR device you couldn’t wait to immerse into the brand new world. If you haven’t thoroughly examined headset’s settings, this may be the cause of sore eyes after VR usage.

Improper IPD (interpupillary distance) settings is one of the most common causes for eye strain. Usual distance between human pupils is in between 60-70mm, but can vary. If you didn’t adjust the headset just perfectly, the VR experience may be uncomfortable for you.

Most mobile VR devices don’t have IPD adjustment feature, which means that if your IPD is “out of standard” you won’t be able to enjoy the ride.

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, on the other hand, can be manually adjusted, while PS VR takes care of this with a smart software solution.

Upgrade your PC

High end VR devices like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require very strong PC configurations. One of the reasons you can have sore eyes after VR is that your PC simply can’t render all the images properly. You can check the spec comparison for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift here.

Lower the brightness

Once you immerse into virtual-reality, your brain gets overflown with sensations. While the experience is exhilarating, in the beginning it may be a bit too much for your brain to process.

Therefore we suggest that you lower the brightness level to one that accommodates you the best. This won’t affect the overall effect of VR program or game that you are running, but will give your eyes a much needed relief.

Avoid long sessions

Sore eyes after VR - long sessions

Your eyes are used to working together. When you look at certain object, both eyes focus on it and your brain puts together a 3D image. While wearing a HMD (Head Mounted Display), each of your eyes gets a separate image from two small LCD monitors.

This may confuse your eyes and cause eye strain and fatigue. Therefore, we recommend that you keep your VR sessions relatively short, not longer than 30 minutes. After each session, give your eyes some time to rest and readjust.

Move less

This goes both for your head and eye movement. The best way to protect your eyes while in VR is to look straight forward, relax and enjoy. This may seem hard, since naturally you’ll want to absorb as much of the virtual environment as possible.

The truth is, you really won’t miss anything if you keep your pupils still, and you will mitigate the eye strain and some other VR side-effects.

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR

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Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR
Dreamy virtuality... It's a thing.

Lucid dreaming is a psychological phenomenon in which the dreamer is capable of controlling his actions within the dream. In addition, you are able to immerse into the dreamworld with complete clarity. Anything that you hear, see or smell while dreaming feels as authentic as reality.

This extraordinary experience enables you to explore the astral planes, since with practice, you will be able not only to control your own actions, but the environment as well. We can conclude that our brain precedes modern VR devices, and is actually the original VR machine.

Most likely, at first, you will use this ability to fulfill your fantasies. But this phenomenon also holds the key of resolving some of your inner conflicts, psychological issues, or to get in touch with your inner creativity.

That being said, we can draw some conclusive parallels between lucid dreaming and VR experience. They can both take us places that would be virtually impossible to reach in real life. Many VR users report that they have lucid dreams more frequently after exposure to virtual reality.

Can VR induce lucid dreaming?

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR
Being aware that you are in a dream enables you to control it

Several researches found that gamers often have a better sense of awareness during their dreams. While playing, you get used to controlling something, so you are more likely to try and control your dreams as well. The basic idea behind this is that when you spend a lot of time in controllable and fictional world, you might look at the dream world through the same lens.

The truth is, while you are using a VR device, you put your brain in a state that very much resembles the REM state. Virtual environments are getting ever more immersive, and offer the experiences such as deep sea diving, flying, and many more activities that are almost, if not completely, impossible in the real world.

The one activity that can increase the frequency of lucid dreaming to engage yourself in more “dream-like” thinking. Hence it is indeed plausible, and even likely that engagement in virtual-reality programs will induce the higher frequency of lucid dreaming.

Human brain – The ultimate VR device

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR Brain
Still the most powerful VR device

There are several differences between VR and lucid dreaming which prove that, while technology is advancing quickly, human brain is still the most amazing piece of “software”. In VR experiences, everything is basically a code. Even tough it is an amazing sensation, it has its boundaries and limitations.

On the other hand, our brain, especially during the REM phase, is limitless. The tricky part is, that in order to become a lucid dreamer, some practice is required. Scientists argue that everyone is capable of lucid dreaming, it is just a matter of training and mastering the proper techniques. If you are already a lucid dreamer, lucky you! If not, you can read and learn more about lucid dreams.

It seems that dreaming is such a crucial aspect of humanity, that we are striving to develop technologies that can create these dream-like environments. The birth of the VR is certainly creating the new age of human experience, pushing its extent to yet unknown limits.

If in future we maintain the respect for both of our virtual worlds – biological and technological, and do our best to develop a mutually beneficial relation between them, we are in for an exciting and bright future!