Tech Talk #3 : The Best Accessories to Promote Your VR Experience

Hey,

First and foremost, I wish you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and a Happy Edi Mubarak. :crescent_moon:

The earlier discussion on OpenXR was fantastic, and everyone was eagerly anticipating Pimax’s implementation of this feature.

The Best Accessories to Promote Your VR Experience

When you’re about to enhance your VR experience with game-changing accessories, what would you recommend?

What about a decent headphone?
Or a cozy face pad?

When it comes to the tracking module, what will be your top priority in order to elevate the immersion level?

Would you consider to have HOTAS or Sim Racing Rig for the stimulation games?

Feel free to leave a comment or suggest a topic for discussion.

Regards.

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300g counter-balance: https://www.studioformcreative.com/product-page/pimax-8k-x-pro-balance-300-gram
and apache strap: https://www.studioformcreative.com/product-page/index-200-gram-7oz-enthusiast-kit

Can’t use any HMD without Studioformcreatives products!

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Expanding this to non-headset related accessoires:

  • for simmers definitely the steering wheel, yoke or HOTAS respectively are a complete game changer and have the greatest impact on increasing immersion

  • FPS benefit a lot from ProTubeVR or comparable

  • enhancements are brought by haptic devices, e.g. for simmers something like the Realteus O8 (no longer available), JetStream (not available due to Russia sanctions ?); for FPS I would recommend the bHaptics Tactot/B40 vests

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Thanks for the shoutout Erimel :call_me_hand:

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By far, the most important VR accessory is full body tracking. There’s a big jump when you go from flat gaming to VR. When you go from half body (head and hands only) to full body tracking, there’s a big jump again.

There are no other VR accessories that are even in the same class as that where they substantially change the whole experience.

For more “regular” VR accessories, I’d say the most important is VR Cover (and similar from other companies). Unfortunately, VR Cover does not make covers for Pimax’s facial gaskets. And this is a problem. On my Index, the ability to take off VR covers and wash them separately as regular laundry was important to keeping the headset hygienic. With my 8KX, nothing like that is available. I clean the 8KX’s facial gasket a lot, but there’s no avoiding it getting nastier over time.

The other accessory I miss that I had on the Index was the Kiwi fans in the frunk. This accessory greatly increases comfort particularly in hot weather and especially when performing physically strenuous tasks in VR. In my opinion, moving the stale, humid air out of the airspace in front of your face and drawing in fresh air should be an integral part of VR headset design. Barring that, it makes for a surprisingly valuable accessory.

Counterweights are helpful, but more optional in my opinion. Being balanced properly is something that should be built in to VR headset design.

Separate headphones I feel should be avoided in VR. The ergonomics and usability of wearing headphones over a VR headset is terrible. VR headsets should have built in audio of sufficient quality to make separate headphones unnecessary.

HOTAS and sim racing wheels and such are not VR accessories, in my opinion. They are an artifact of simulators and racing games. VR can be used with them, but they are not specific to VR and really are not actually part of the VR experience in and of themselves.

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Some not so obvious/common accessories that might not be mentioned elsewhere:

#1. A good set of cable pulleys by VRWire. They are simply phenomenal. The unique design of the VRwire2 system is incredibly cool. Their design is different from others and features NO tugging within an 8x8 area (for real). Its probably patented or should be. Wireless can wait! 40 bucks and I’m effectively there already (excepting of course limited number of twists). Provided you have a ceiling over the center of your play area, it really did what their videos said. I haven’t had a more satisfying accessory for my Pimax.

#2. Additional face foam. I thought washing the original was a good idea, but replacing my face foam was a real treat. It so gradually gets nasty that I didn’t realize it until swapped it for a larger one. Only to realize it was like getting a new car. Not bad for the money!

#3. The fiber-optic cable. Although relatively expensive it offered a few more feet of length and I haven’t found a single cable extension that properly carries 90 hz on the 8kx. I’ve tried active DP extenders and fiber optic extensions too. More importantly it is thinner and lighter -making the old one seem too thick by comparison.

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I cannot fully recommend bhaptics unless your main game is one of the ten that it supports…the audio-responsive feature sounds cool but fails miserably to add immersion to games and the vibration of the vibrators in the vest make an audible rattle that can be heard while wearing over the ear headphones.

As far as comfort is concerned, I also recommend a counterweight. I use this one: https://www.studioformcreative.com/product-page/pimax-8k-x-pro-balance-300-gram

In my opinion, for sims, a HOTAS, yoke and throttle, or steering wheel is required. (The peripheral depends on the kind of sim, of course.) I’ve found that my HOTAS is less than ideal for flying in MSFS 2020. The device needs to match what is shown in the game, for proper immersion.

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Well, I recommended it for FPS, and it does imho cover those quite well. Alyx, Onward, Pavlov, Contractors, Pop One, Into the Radius, etc. but also games like InDeath, Skyrim & Thrill of the Fight benefit from it; and, pretty cool, some stand-alone games on the Quest so you can really move quite freely with the Tactot vest w/o needing a PC.

You will find the full list of supported games here (slightly more than 10 - probably 50 or 60):

Experiences with TactSuit (bhaptics.com)

But it is not a game changer like e.g. a HOTAS, because the effets are really nice but I’d rather call them subtle at the end: adding immersion, but not getting you to a new level.

On the HOTAS & Co.: in my view, even if existing prior to the emergence of VR, they need to be counted in - after all, we are talking about other hardware than the headset (as provided by the manufacturer) itself, which increases the immersion beyond only the visual aspects provided by the headset. And this, to me, would be the primary controls for planes, cars, space ships, i.e. yoke & power quadrant, steering wheel & pedals and HOTAS. Playing such games with VR controllers, keyboard & mouse or gamepad would take a lot away. Of course you can enjoy a comparable gain in immersion when playing with a monitor by adding such tools, but you would have the same with VR controllers, which effectively the Kinect and Wii attempted for flat gaming. No point in trying to artificially exclude such from a list of immersion enhancers: nay new user wondering where to invest for greater immersion should be made aware of these, and not have to find out later.

The separation I would understand is which items one considers to be accessoires to the headset - then you indeed just talk about wireless kits, face gaskets etc…

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Theres a leather one on the store and a generic one on aliexpress

(post deleted by author)

Maybe they weren’t before vr, but try seeing how immersed you are driving with a joystick. For my part racing and flight gear are an integral part of the VR experience, now. Especially when positioned exactly as you see them in the hmd.

Let me explain more precisely what I mean. Because I’m not arguing steering wheels and HOTAS are useless, or no good for VR, or anything like that. Far from it! They are excellent and even arguably required equipment for simulators. But I argue that they are not actually VR accessories.

I have a full race seat, steering wheel, pedals, gated shifter, etc. It strongly increases my immersion in the simulation. But that’s not actually the same thing as immersion in the VR environment.

In fact I would argue that they actually tend to detract from VR immersion. Why? Because they do not match up with what’s being presented in VR. The steering wheel I feel with my real hands is not in the same position as I see the steering wheel in VR. The design of the steering wheel is different than I see in VR. My hands in VR aren’t doing what my real world hands are. Etc etc. These aspects tend to break VR immersion to some degree.

I’ve been using this gear since long before VR. It doesn’t need VR. It’s not actually related to VR. It’s related to the simulation. VR also gets related to the simulation by way of trying to present it. And by that association, it’s being called a VR accessory.

But if we call that a VR accessory, then the power cable for your PC is also a VR accessory. The power cable enables your PC to work. And you need the PC for your Pimax 8KX to work. Ergo the power cable is a VR accessory by that definition.

I think the definition of an actual VR accessory is that it is designed and intended explicitly for VR in some capacity. Full body tracking pucks, facial gasket covers, tactile vests… these are VR accessories.

Now if you had a steering wheel that included some sort of tracking method so that it would be displayed and positioned accurately within the VR environment… and say the steering wheel could track where my hands were touching it so that my VR hands would move to the same positions… that would be a VR accessory. Those would be features explicitly for VR which don’t work without VR.

Maybe my argument here is just semantics. But I think there’s more of a point to it than just that. Because it’s recognizing that where we are today in simulators is that VR is just something that has been grafted on to the pre-existing hardware and software. We’re still just at a level where people argue (vehemently) over whether VR or triple monitors is better. And MSFS can’t be bothered to support canted VR displays. And you usually have to set up whatever simulation you’re doing via the desktop before dropping into VR, and you frequently need to return to the desktop during the VR session because you can’t do those operations within VR. Etc etc.

We’re using simulation accessories that were never designed or intended for VR.

I feel that calling them VR accessories is giving them too much credit. It suggests that the companies that make these products can go on ignoring VR rather than building versions of their products which are specifically for VR.

This is why I think it’s worthwhile to distinguish what is actually a VR accessory and what isn’t.

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@Sargon argue this:
:slight_smile:
My favourite vr accessory is a small carpet (20*30cm), which is in the middle of my game space. When playing, I have always one leg on the carpet.
It replaces that ugly guard netz, chapperone, or whatever you call it.
Irreplacable :smiley:

The best accessories are the ones with the most support and integration. You can have a top of the line product but if no game supports it then you got a paperweight.

Heh heh. Absolutely agree about how useful it is to be able to turn off the guardian walls/chapperone/whatever. And it’s a good thing to bring up on this thread.

But I will say that your example does play right into my argument. Because this what I use:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0845PNZ9Y

This is a purpose made VR mat which is superior because it is a real VR accessory. It is designed to let you feel your position and orientation within your playspace with your feet. And it also has the right level of squishiness to keep the straps on my full body trackers on my feet from being uncomfortable.

Whereas a small piece of carpet is an ordinary item you can buy which in no way was ever intended for VR by the manufacturer that made it but is being co-opted into service for VR.

There’s a lot of every day things you can use while using VR. If we define all of them as “VR accessories”, it becomes a very broad and consequently useless term. My chair is very useful in VR, too. Is that also a VR accessory?

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It’s not really my intent to be pedantic about what constitutes a VR accessory and what doesn’t. The terminology isn’t really germane to the topic of this discussion. Rather what I’m trying to point out is that there are things that we use as VR accessories that really aren’t. Like steering wheels, HOTAS, and headphones.

But they could be.

And moreover they should be. Because impressing these accessories into VR use when they were not meant for VR has significant drawbacks which could be eliminated if they were turned into actual VR accessory products.

For example, your high end Sennheiser headphones are not actually designed for VR. And consequently they have terrible ergonomics and usability when co-opted as a VR accessory. They don’t fit over the VR headset well (or maybe don’t fit over it at all), they have a cable which is poorly placed for the purpose and way too long, you have to take the headset on and off separately from the VR headset, etc etc. I want to see companies like Sennheiser put out high end headphones that really are VR accessories designed for the purpose.

Since VR is still so new, there’s a lot of this stuff that isn’t designed for VR that we nevertheless use as if they were VR accessories. I long for more purpose built VR accessories to exist rather than putting up with the drawbacks of products that weren’t actually designed for it.

That is what I’m trying to get at.

Then some accesories, made just for VR:

  • Vive DAS Headphones, with 8kx strap. Click-clik design (off ear, on ear) is unbeatable. Pimax KDMAS (DMAS with cups) fold my ears every time I put it on. Stupid design.
    Vive headphones have soft touch on ear, which is nice and gives all sound to player, and not to angry family.

  • Valve Index Controller grip extension - a must have for big hands. If you are casual player, 30min session, that is not needed. But as hard core player, at 2 Hrs sessions my hands was hurt from playing. With 3d printed grips I have no more problems. link

  • middle strap replacement - I hate to have VR hair, so I made solid part that does not touches (or just slightly) my hair in the front middle part of my head.
    VR hair (without middle landing strip)

  • I wish I have proper glasses inserts, but I prefer my 8kx too close. And in this period of my life I see worst then before, with or without glasses, it is same to me.

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Yes.
“VR capable” if you like but then what would be the difference in a “made for VR wheel”?

The support of menu control isn’t a lack of capability of the hardware, but the software.

As for visual match up in VR that is also true of flat screen to a lessor degree and isn’t a VR support or lack thereof issue, but predominately placement of wheel or HOTAS. You can fly a spaceship with motion controllers and even though you’re using “real VR controllers” they don’t match the visual or feel.

Call them what ever floats your boat but where these legacy controllers aren’t perfect in these converted to VR sims isn’t in their capabilities to fully function in VR as needed and as the proper tool. That falls on the devs.

I think it’s worthwhile to distinguish where the VR compatibility is weak and that isn’t in the legacy controllers. Whatever you prefer to call them.

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I hear that. Fortunately (yesterday i had my 2nd eye’s cataract surgery and a 2nd IOL insert so now I am glasses free after 66 years. Not to mention the color improvement. I love modern medicine. Yahoo :smile:

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