How-to Guide: Setting Up the HTC Vive and Playing Games

How-to Guide: Setting Up the HTC Vive and Playing Games

In this article, you will get to know everything you need to know about setting up the HTC Vive and start playing games on it.

Things you will need

There are a few things you need to arrange beforehand to get started setting up your HTC Vive and start playing games on it. Here is the list of things you will need:

  • An HTC Vive VR headset along with the accessories that come with the box. You will need most of them but not all of them.
  • A Powerful gaming PC is needed as it requires a considerable CPU and GPU power to run 3D VR games.  The minimum requirements for PC are given below –
    • Processor – Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 chipset
    • GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
    • RAM – 4 GB or More
    • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
    • USB Port –  1 x USB 2.0 or newer
    • Operating System – Windows 7 and later
  • Abundant Floor Space is needed to take full advantage of the room-scale features of the HTC Vive. This will allow you to move around while playing. A recommended room size is 5 feet x 6.5 feet.
  • You should keep extra compatible cables and extension cords handy if your play area is at a distance from your PC as the cable that comes with the box may not be long enough. To get an idea, the cable that comes with the HTC Vive box is 18 feet long. So you can decide for yourself.
  • Some avid users would like to make a base station that can be mounted on the wall of your room. But, if you do not have a wall nearby your setup or you are living in a rented place that doesn’t permit drilling, you can always use Tripods, light stands, or other mounting accessories.

Step – 1 – Create a Plan for your Play Area

While you can play games on HTC Vive either seated or standing, there is a good chance that you will want to take the advantage of the room-scale play. This will allow you to move around the room for some specific gameplays.

This process of planning the space can be really difficult and consuming if your house doesn’t have much space to offer. On the contrary, if you have a big house with lots of empty space, you will be at much more ease. As the maximum range that HTC Vive supports is 15 feet x 15 feet, a minimal space of 5 feet x 6.5 feet is recommended.

Step – 2 –  Unboxing the HTC Vive

Now it is the moment you have been waiting for. It is time to unpack your new HTC Vive and take a look at the things included in the box. It is necessary to get acquainted with the accessories before connecting the HTC Vive and starting to play games on it. Here are things you will find in the box of the HTC Vive VR headset –

  • You will get two base stations accompanied by some mounting devices. Further, you will also get a long sync cable along with two power adaptors. The mounting devices will allow you to install the base station into the wall. If the wall option is not feasible, you will need to buy a tripod stand.
  • A couple of controllers can be found in the box along with two micro-USB cables and two USB Power adapters.
  • The HTC Vive VR headset will come with an alternate face cushion for narrow-face users.
  • You will also get a link box that will be used to connect to the included HDMI cable, USB Cable, and the link box power adapter.
  • You will also get fine Earbuds in the box.

You can simply gather up all the accessories and put them aside in little clusters with their correct cables. This will make the setup process easier in the steps to come.

Step – 3 – Installing the Vive Software on your beefy Rig

Now is the time to install the Vive software and it will instruct you step-by-step to set up all the hardware.

  • Visit here and click on the “Download Vive Setup” option. When the installer is downloaded, click on it to install the Vive software on your PC.
  • When the installer wizard is displaying on the screen, keep on clicking the “Next” option through the next few windows until you reach the screen where you are asked what software to install.
  • You need to make sure that the Vive software is pointed toward the correct folder for your Steam games. Now, click on the “install” button.
  • You will be prompted to log into your HTC account during the installation process along with your Steam account (if you haven’t logged into the Steam client app already).
  • When the installation process is completed, the SteamVR software will be installed within Steam.

Step – 4- Set up your Base Stations

Once the Vive software is installed on your PC, launch it. The Vive software will guide you through the process of setting up the base stations. The specific setup process can be different for different users, but you will get a general guideline from the app.

  • The base stations need to be mounted at least 6.5 feet high on surfaces like walls or onto a separate tripod. The download angle should be in a range of 30 to 45 degrees.
  • The base stations should be direct across from one another in your room or the play area.
  • If you are using the mounting hardware that comes included in the box, you can screw it into a hold on the back of the base station. Further, you can also use the wall anchors and screws to mount it on the wall of your preference.
  • Once the base stations are mounted, you will need to plug the base stations into the wall. When powered on, they should light up and try to detect each other. When the detection is successful, you will see a green light at the top of each other.
  • You will also notice a “channel” letter on the side of the base station – “b” on one, and “c” on the other.
  • If you don’t see the letters, press the channel button provided on the back. Keep pressing it until you see the letters on the base stations.
  • If one of the base stations is showing a purple status light, this indicates that it cannot see the other base station. In such a situation, you will need to connect them manually using the long sync cable that came in the box with the HTC Vive VR headset.

Step – 5 – Plug the HTC Vive headset into your PC using the Link Box

  • Connect the HTC Vive headset to your PC using the Link Box. You will see that the HTC Vive headset comes with a long 3-in-1 cable coming out of its back. You need to plug all three cables into the orange side of the link box.
  • Next, plug the HDMI Cable, USB Cable, and power cable into the back of the link box.
  • At last, plug the HDMI cable into the graphics card of the PC or the HDMI port, the USB cable into the USB port, and the power adapter into the power outlet on the wall.
  • The HTC Vive supports USB 3.0 for connection to your computer. But, many users have complained about some issues with the USB 3.0 if the USB 3.0 chipset on their system is a crappy one. In that case, a quality USB 2.0 connection should work just fine.

Step – 6 – Calibrate your Hardware

Now is the crucial step of calibrating your hardware for optimal performance.

  • For calibration click on the “Launch SteamVR” option on the Vive software. if any issue arises during launching, you might need to restart your PC.
  • Once the SteamVR opens click on the small VR icon provided in the upper right-hand corner of the window. This is how you will be launching the SteamVR every time in the future.
  • When the SteamVR app opens, you will see the app window at the bottom of the screen. If you see green icons in the bottom panel, this means that all the components are connected. Grey icons will indicate some issues with the connection.
  • If any icon is grey, you need to check the components if they are set up properly and placed on the floor in your room or the play area.
  • Further, you might need to press the bottom button on the controllers to turn them on and allow them to connect.
  • Next, using the trigger you can hover over the icons to see if any latest software updates are available. If there is one, you can click on the “Update Available” link and go through the prompts to download and install new firmware before moving on with the calibration process.
  • Now, you will see that the “Room setup” window will open up automatically with SteamVR. If that is not the case, you can double-click on the “SteamVR Room Setup” in the list of your Steam games to start the option.
  • Next, assuming that you are planning to set up a room-scale play, click on the “Room-Scale” on the first screen that displays on the PC screen
  • Now, you will be asked to stand within the play area and direct toward your monitor using the controller.
  • This will say “direct towards your computer tower” and determines the default direction that you will be facing when playing games by setting your initial position in the opposite direction of your PC.
  • When you are pointing the controller at your PC tower, press and hold the trigger button until the vibration stops.
  • Now, place the controller on the floor of the play area and click on the “Calibrate floor” option.
  • Finally, it is time to set your actual play area. This is quite straightforward and you will see the on-screen animation. This will give you an idea of what to do.
  • Click on the “Next” option and then pick up a controller. Now, drag it around the perimeter of your designated play area while pressing the trigger button.
  • Make sure you keep the controller outside the bounds of any obstacles like furniture or walls.
  • When you are done calibrating, it will calculate an area comprising the largest rectangular play area from the perimeter you assigned. Click on the Next option to agree and move forward.
  • Now, all should be set up. It does take some time but the effort will not go in vain.
  • Now, put on your HTC Vive VR headset and open the SteamVR tutorial.
  • The tutorial is pretty amazing and you will be playing games immediately.