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Use HTC Vive without Base Stations - good reasons for it

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I have searched and read the other similar posts.

I understand the CLEAR need to MUST use base stations when expecting ANY kind of tracking to be done during any game or application.

There are times where only the MOUSE and HEADSET could be used for example VIEWING a video on a large screen. There could be a Front / Center default. Watching on a huge screen could chug merrily along.

An older simpler game of flying always defaults to font/center anyway just like the Ski Down the Mountain game.  Keyboard Arrows keys move the scenery right or left but the skyer always is center screen.

Starting the Steam/Vive detection could Check For the base stations and if found go on like normal, but if NOT FOUND it could still activate the headset but only in that FRONT CENTER mode.

Nowhere I have found is anyone asking the question this way or should I say MAKING THAT REQUEST. 

I humbly do so now.     Garymatt

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Hi Garymatt,

Unfortunately, there are no "out-of-box" cases in which a Vive or Vive Pro HMD could be used without base stations. It simply isn't designed to be used without them, even for such purposes as viewing 'flat' games or videos, the headset is tracked to allow the user to move their head (and body) around without creating a feeling of nausea from the conflicting stimulii. Having a screen strapped to your face that doesn't change no matter how you turn your head, sit or stand is extremely disorienting and uncomfortable for almost everyone. It would be pretty much unusuable for 99% of the population.

I hope that helps answer your query.

Thank you,
-Jack S

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This was a thing before actually - this approach has abandoned for good around 2014 when proper tracking and high quality IMUs became available. A more recent example is the Sony HMZ-T2.It doesn't really work as a consumer product because it makes most people motion sick. You could probably just emulate this in software but there are way better ways to go about viewing 2D content in VR that take into account distortion (Virtual Desktop, OVRDrop, ect...).


Head tracking is only one of the secret sauces that make a VR experience make sensory sense to your body - a good portion of VR's trajectory is entirely based on the availability of tracking solutions and access to robust and affordable tracking.


The other core element is the SDK and the rendering compositor. Current HMD's require lenses to work - the content has to be distorted and displayed on the panels in a way that it is coherent and undistorted when viewed by the user. When you attach to SteamVR or Oculus; there's a huge software component that backs up the hardware and does all sorts of weird things to arrive at a physiologically sound VR experience. 


With all of that said - I'm sure you could find a Chinese HMD that does exactly what you'd like; that's a pretty wild market. 




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  • 10 months later...

Hi all,

I am also wondering if it is possible to use the Vive (specifically the VIve Pro Eye) outside of its tracking area.

I will run an experiment where participants will view the world with vision that has been altered in some way. Importantly, eye tracking is a must. We also want them to be able to walk around a building freely. Is this at all possible with the Vive Pro Eye? And if not, does anybody know of any other solutions available? Thanks greatly for any advice!


Edit: Just to clarify, head tracking is NOT needed because the participants will be viewing the world through the Vive Pro Eye's front cameras, with some image processing applied.

Edited by jakethorn
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I don't know about the Vive Pro Eye but I have a Cosmos Elite and I've on occasions covered my headset from view from the trackers and it fades to grey void, I imagine at least when playing Steam VR games this is default behaviour to stop you getting extra motion sick  if you're basically clawing at your eyes to get the HMD off your head. For this reason I think that having at least one light house might be a necessity. You don't know how even a fraction of a second delay for what people see will effect them and if they're going for their face to get out of VR you might be better off with those sorts of safety features active.

I would like to have a play with Pass though myself though I've got front facing and side cameras on the Cosmos Elite, so it'd be fun to do some mixed reality stuff. If you have a program in mind (and it's free) I could try it for you and turn off my base stations and tell you the results

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  • 2 weeks later...

To anyone also looking to do this, the solution I found was this:

In the json file "C:\Programing Files (x86)\Steam\config\steamvr.vrsettings", add the line ""forceFadeOnBadTracking" : false" to the "steamvr" object. (See the screenshot below).

Now the headset will continue to work outside of its tracking area. Useful if you want to use a different tracking system (i.e. OptiTrack), or have an AR application that doesn't need tracking.


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