Sorry if you’ve heard some of this before hehe…
Star Citizen is still in alpha and is unoptimised. Native VR is coming eventually but there is nothing official yet. What this does is convert TrackIR inputs to your VR headset. It is not full VR with depth, although Reshade’s stereo Depth3D option may provide a partial solution if it can be made to work alongside VorpX Desktop (tbc). The ideal solution outside of native VR would be the original vorpX app, but this is now blocked by the new Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) system used by SC.
This is my first draft for a general guide and I have no prior VorpX experience. I’ll update this over time as I learn more about optimising the setup. I have only run two full sessions in SC using VXD so far. While it is primarily for Pimax headsets, as that is what I’m currently using, I will generalise as it may ultimately end up in other places such as SC Spectrum or Discord.
Some compromise is required but you can have a pretty good experience - I’m using a bordered window for good baseline performance, but it’s large enough. Personally I must have a good stable framerate, and most importantly low GPU and CPU latency, which equals no or minimal stutter. Increased res or quality from there is a bonus.
Like most VR sims and space games, a HOTAS or HOSAS makes a huge difference for VR because you can rely far less on finding keys on your keyboard. If you are planning on trying this method without either setup, it will be difficult, although not impossible
I made a mistake before when I thought I was running at 1080p and getting 90FPS in the PU - I was not. Too good to be true I guess. The SC resolution dropdown menu can become garbled on Fullscreen through VXD and it was actually set to 1280x1024 - so this becomes my minimum baseline, as performance is 95% stable at all times with this resolution so far, even on surfaces. Normally for desktop play I use 2560x1440 and detail set to Very High, but that it is not going to be possible for VR.
I have been setting up and running native VR apps for a few years, but I am no expert in either graphics setups or VR itself. Appreciate any feedback or help to improve this guide, thanks!
Like most VR I can get this to where I like it with an acceptable balance. Everyone’s idea is different so if you don’t like my settings, just find your own. Also my headset is not your headset, and my PC is not your PC etc etc
Some things with VXD seem erratic from session to session, I have to test more and update this guide accordingly.
UPDATE - I went back and tried Reshade / Opentrack / Virtual Desktop again, because my first experience had pretty poor performance. I must have done something wrong, because I was able to run that alternative method at 1080p and it worked pretty well so far, GPU latency was a bit higher but stayed around 7-9ms on average. 11ms peak maybe. It also has two advantages: 1. A feeling of depth from Reshade 2. Proper separation of head and mouselook. vorpX provides that, but Desktop mode does not - probably requires using Opentrack and disabling Desktop’s headtracking - tbc. Need to try this in surface environments and see how well it performs.
You can check a video about setting this method up here: https://youtu.be/sPuXUwu-PzI
What I’m using:
Pimax 8KX + 2080 Ti + i9900k + 32Gb RAM + all SSDs.
OS, SC, and VorpX are installed on the same Optane C drive.
PiTool and Pimax Experience software (with VorpX Desktop imported as an app with custom settings)
FPSVR for measuring VR headset performance (SC console r_displayinfo will not tell you how your headset is doing)
Steps for configuration (once done you can leave these alone):
1. Pimax Users:
Pimax Experience VorpX Desktop application import and launch:
This is essential for Pimax users, as by default the app will run with ‘double vision’. This is a common issue for canted displays where the developers have not written the app to include support for widescreen FOV headsets. That’s another topic, the workaround is to turn on Parallel Projections for the required app within the headset software - but it is a big GPU hit. The Valve Index has the equivalent setting on at all times by default. NB The app must be manually imported as the Pimax Experience only detects SteamVR and Oculus titles automatically.
I have also turned on Smart Smoothing (Asynchronous Frames) and Fixed Foveated Rendering: Conservative - not sure if these help much yet. I am generally sitting at 90FPS for the given res.
Headset settings: 90Hz and Pimax Render Quality 1
You can then launch VXD from within PE or PT once you have set those parameters. It will load in cinematic mode by default and you must change that to FullVR mode to support headtracking before launching SC.
2. Non-Pimax Users:
Most settings have their equivalents in your headset software. Start with the most conservative options that provide maximum performance and go from there eg Render Quality 1 and Asynchronous Frames if you can handle it.
The one you can ignore is setting up VXD to run in Parallel Projections mode.
VorpX Desktop application launch:
To launch VorpX Desktop mode, first launch the VorpX app in Windows. Then once running, right click the icon in your system tray and choose “Start VorpX Desktop viewer”. It will load in cinematic mode by default and you must change that to FullVR mode to support headtracking before launching SC.
3. VorpX Desktop shortcut and settings:
The Del key brings up the VXD settings overlay once you are running VXD (and will continue to work in SC).
FullVR mode is required for head tracking. Cinematic / theatre mode is default.
Aspect Ratio Correction: Pixel 1:1
Image Zoom: 0.5
Game resolution: 1280x1024
Fullscreen vs Borderless:
When changing in game menu settings, run Borderless. Otherwise the game keeps alt tabbing out with every change, perhaps fighting for control with VXD not sure. However, once things are fully set up, switch back to Fullscreen for a bigger window and keeping your mouse locked within the window.
Quality: Low (I tried to increase this and got weird resolution changes, not sure if a one off glitch will have to retest)
Head tracking: mostly the settings that Chachi provided in his VorpX video. I need to fully test and detail these later. Meanwhile, here’s the appropriate section of Chachi’s video: https://youtu.be/Z6yVjKaPBBY
Steps to run when everything is configured:
Launch VorpX app on your desktop
Launch PimaxExperience (non-Pimax users can skip ofc)
Launch VorpX Desktop from within PE (non-Pimax users can launch this directly from your VorpX app - right click the icon in your system tray)
Run the RSI Launcher from within VXD
Launch the game
INCONSISTENT ERROR (tbc) - if you receive a VXD prompt stating it failed to hook the StarCitizenLauncher executable (not RSI Launcher), choose the option to “Exclude launcher”.
There are three game exes to worry about, now that EAC has been introduced - RSI Launcher.exe, StarCitizen_Launcher.exe (EAC), and finally the actual game executable, StarCitizen.exe.
I usually have no trouble on first launch of VXD and SC when I get the prompt above. On subsequent launches of SC it is possible for it to fail - you’ll get a cinematic screen of the EAC launcher with an error in your headset about failing to hook the exe - and then the game will just launch in 2D on your monitor.
I believe this can be solved by excluding the StarCitizenLauncher.exe as above - but tbc, needs more testing.
Resolution is not as high as I would like, but stable performance is more important to me.
VR headlook and mouse do the same thing - can it be changed? SC has a dedicated headlook key like Arma, but I can’t figure out how to set this for headtracking by default. When you press this key, literally only your head will turn, it will not turn your body. You can then run or aim in one direction while looking in another. Very useful in tactical fights. Without the key pressed, VR headlook provides the same interaction as moving your mouse.
In game menus partially cut off at my current resolution - managed to work around and get by to run missions. Not sure if this can be solved with the current game UI implementation except by switching res.
Locations with a lot of objects like forests, combined with GPU intensive effects like weather, fog, and clouds, will still cause some GPU latency and stutter. However at the given resolution it is only minor for me.
At lower resolutions in VR, it becomes harder to read HUD numbers and displays, and it’s true here. Ironically this is what Pimax headsets are good at overcoming, but not possible in this case. A higher resolution will not perform well.
Other things to note:
Edgepeek - this is an essential VXD option, middle mouse button by default. It lets you see things on the edge of your screen by converting the page to cinematic mode, and head tracking no longer moves the screen with you. Invaluable if you don’t like straining your eyes to read things on the edge of your peripheral vision
I changed the key from the middle mouse button to my left Windows key to avoid any clash in SC. The Win key does not function as a Win menu key in SC Fullscreen, so that works for me.
Reshade depth3D feature on top? I’m not sure if this is possible as enabling it will immediately give you two screens of SC within VXD, one for each eye. I wasn’t able to recombine them via SteamVR yet, but will update if it’s possible.
My final thoughts (hey it worked for Jerry Springer):
Right now I would not play the game all the time like this, a few too many compromises.
But I would happily do it from time to time - for some ambience, or delivery missions, or even a bit of bounty hunting. Being able to track targets with your head is the best thing about TrackIR / VR in any of these sorts of games ED, DCS etc.
A true native VR implementation with full quality and performance will be amazing. One thing I love about Star Citizen is how seamlessly integrated ships, FPS, and ground vehicles are, and this aspect translates just fine into VR.
Look forward to standing in that blizzard in a snow-laden Microtech forest in my cold armour suit…