Anyone excited about desktop-class VR has had a couple of questions about the way you set up the HTC Vive in your house. Every demo station HTC and Valve has assembled for people to try the VR headset happens in an empty space larger than most people have in their personal space, and until recently HTC has been quiet about the minimum distance required to enjoy Vive in your home.
The instruction manual for the HTC Vive Pre, which was unearthed recently, puts these and several other questions about using the HTC Vive to rest.
One of the big features to the HTC Vive is the ability to walk around in the virtual worlds being created by game developers and interact in a 3D space. It's one of the big things that sets this experience apart from any other VR experience, but HTC and Valve have repeatedly claimed support for the same sit-down VR experiences being supported elewhere, and that was confirmed in this setup manual. If you only have room for a sit-down or standing-only experience, similar to what you'd see with the Oculus Rift, you can configure the Vive to support only those modes in gameplay. This means you'll still be able to play games like Elite: Dangerous, but some of the more interactive experiences that are going to be exclusive to the Vive will require the open space to move around and will require an alternate configuration.
If you're going to be setting up that virtual space by default, HTC claims the smallest space you can configure the light boxes for is 5 ft by 6.5 ft. This space needs to be completely clear of anything but the floor, since you're going to be walking around with a mask on your face and sometimes will need to jump around a bit. The new camera in the Vive Pre helps eliminate any serious tripping hazards if you leave something in the area, but accidents are accidents so you want to clear everything out. As for a maximum set up space, HTC points out the longest cable you can use for the headset is 16 ft, which means that is the farthest you can walk away from your computer while playing a game.
The instruction manual has a bunch of interesting information about setup and cleaning, especially the part where HTC reveals the headset has a USB port for third-party input. Controller support for things like the Xbox One controller hasn't been announced, but it seems likely this is one of the things users will want to enjoy while playing certain games. There's also more than a couple of references to fragility, pointing out how careful you'll need to be with the sensor covers on the headset and controllers at all times. If you're even remotely interested in the HTC Vive, it's worth a quick read to see what you're getting yourself into.
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