How to Do Full Body Tracking VR – In-Depth Guide with FAQs & More

The full-body experience is the holy grail for many VR developers. So much so that considerable focus has been placed upon creating that 4D experience over the past ten years. Not one PAX or CES can pass by without new tech. Vibration suits, reactive seats, and even VR treadmills are constantly showcased on the show floor.

Let’s find out how to do full-body tracking VR.

How to Do Full Body Tracking in VR?

As more and more users start using the Quest 2, more are looking for ways to maximize its capabilities, including full body tracking, which was previously limited to the Oculus Touch controllers.

There isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all solution for tracking your play space, hand controllers, and VR headset. However, there are some solutions available.

We don’t recommend using this method unless you’re willing to invest some time and money into it. You might end up having to calibrate it yourself, which could take hours or even days. And expect to pay between $600-$1000 for each tracker.

If we haven’t already done so, let’s start doing this! Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ll need and why followed by instructions for setting up everything.

What Do I Need?

You’ll probably want at least three trackers: one for each leg and one for your waist; you could theoretically have as many as you wanted for elbow and knee movement, but this might be limited by the software or games you want to use full-body motion capture in.

For example, VRChat lets you track up to ten “pixels” (the headset and controller count as three pixels), so if you were using that, you’d only get 10 total tracked joints.

You can get either trackable headsets from Valve (blue) or non-trackable ones (black), or any other third-parties headset as long as SteamVR can detect them. Just be aware that you might need to purchase a specific type of base station for each one of these trackable.

You’ll also need bands to strap the trackable onto your body, you can buy these from various online retailers, including Amazon. Some of these include their own batteries so your trackable devices can stay charged as you exercise.

You’re also going to need a base station:

You technically only really require one base station, but we highly suggest getting at least two so that you can keep an eye on both sides of your vehicle. If you turn around, you won’t be able to see where you’re going.

You should definitely consider getting two 0.6 SteamVR Trackers (or any other tracker) instead of one 1.0 HTC Tracker. They will give you better tracking and less glitched controllers than what you can get from a single HTC Tracker.

Keep in touch with the 1.0 base station, you can also only utilize the trackers with the green emblem. In regards to software needs, we strongly suggest getting Virtual Desktop for linking to your PC vs Airlinks. You can obtain Virtual Desktop is $19. 99 on the quest shop.

Ensure you likewise download and install SteamVR on your PC, Ovr Advanced Settings for playing area customization (more on this later). You might also wish to acquire OpenVR Space Calibrator.

Note that full-body motion capture will only work with SteamVR titles, not with standalone Quest titles, so make sure you’re using a game purchased through SteamVR. Unfortunately, this requires a computer since this won’t work stand-alone.

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Setup

We’ll start by running you through setting up your bases. If you are using the HTC Vive 1.0 bases, change the channel (on one of them) from A to B and the other from C to D. To do this, press the buttons on the back to switch between the two.

If you’re using 2.0 base station controllers, they should be configured differently automatically by SteamVR. You can check this by hovering above them in the SteamVR Window.

You will also need some sort of device to turn your lights on or off because you don’t actually have any lighthouse-based headsets. If you’re using Android, we suggest the app Lighthouse PM or BS Companion for iOS.

If you mount them on the wall, then they won’t vibrate at all. However, if you put them on something like a tripod, then they might shake a bit when there’s vibration. So, the best place for them would be opposite corners of your room, mounted above your heads and angled slightly downward. Also, make sure they can both view each other.

You plug them into your computer via the USB port, and they don’t connect to your computer in any other way.

When the lights turn green, that indicates that they’re on. Now you should see them appear in SteamVR, and you’re ready to move forward.

Trackers

Now we need to set up your trackballs. You must turn them on one at a time and assign each one an appropriate name within SteamVR. Each trackball also comes with a dangle that needs to be connected to your PC. We recommend buying a USB hub so you can connect them all together to conserve desktop real estate.

It would be helpful to label your trackers and dongs so you could easily remember where they go and what they attach to.

Plug one dongle into the hub or your PC, and turn on one tracker by clicking the middle button for a few seconds. Right-click on the grey box next to the tracking device and click “pair” from there.

Click ‘I want a different kind of controller’ and select the headset. Hold down the middle button until it blinks blue. The indicator will change color to indicate pairing status. Once connected, the headset will show up as a solid blue icon.

We’re going to call this one Left Leg, so get some sticky tape or something and stick it to both the dongle and the tracking device.

We’re now ready to move on to the next step. First, we need to unplug the current dongles from the previous trackers and then plug them into the new ones. Next, we need to turn on the new trackers and pair them up with our headsets using the Oculus Home app. Finally, label these two trackers as ‘left foot’ and ‘right foot.

The last thing to check before you start playing, do the same for your waist/hip track­er. Plug in the final Dongles, turn on the final track­er, and pair it. Labels as hip/waist on SteamVR and you should have both controllers and your track­ers successfully running and useable all at the same time!

It’s always a good idea to check if there are any new software releases available for your trackers, especially when using them outside of their intended environment (e.g., running on Android). However, you’ll need to connect your trackers to your computer via a USB cable to download the latest version of the software.

Software

You don’t have to use AirLink if you’re not comfortable doing so. However, we recommend connecting your Quest 2 to your computer via Virtual Desktop instead of AirLink because of its “stage tracking” feature.

With a stage tracker, you don’t need to recalibrate when starting the game or leaving the guardian boundary. You can also tweak the controller latency and other settings to get the best performance out of your system.

To get started, first ensure that you have both the VirtualDesktop application on your Quest and the Launcher for your desktop, which can be downloaded from https://www.atvrdesktop.com/. Ensure that the desktop streamer is running and has no conflicts, then launch Virtual Desktop on your Quest and connect to the desktop. Launch SteamVR through the Virtual Desktop application, and turn off all but one of your Vive trackers.

When you’re ready to calibrate your headset, go into the Steam Home environment, then select the Menu button on your left controller, and then choose “Steam Dash” from the dropdown menu.

You should see your gamepads on the left and your tracking device (such as an Xbox One S Controller) on the top row. Click on the correct gamepad and select “Slow Calibration” from the menu.

When calibrating, place your tracker on your right hand while holding your right controller. Move it around slowly in a circular motion until it has been fully aligned. Now you should be ready to use your left tracker. It should automatically be placed on your left hand and aligned correctly.

VR Chat

To use your trackers in VRAuthenticate now, open your Steam Dashboard again and launch VRChat through it.

Press the Y button on your controller to open the menu, then select “Calibrate Full Body Tracking.”

Place the circles representing your trackers on top of your avatar’s body, then strike a T-position to match them. Then, press the triggers when you’re satisfied with where they are.

If you’re using an avatar, you might want to consider adjusting its position so that it lines up better with the ground. To do this, you can use the “offset” feature in the advanced settings menu.

Conclusion

We hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us in the comments below,

 

Author

  • Victor Marquez

    Victor is the Editor in Chief at Techtyche. He tests the performance and quality of new VR boxes, headsets, pedals, etc. He got promoted to the Senior Game Tester position in 2021. His past experience makes him very qualified to review gadgets, speakers, VR, games, Xbox, laptops, and more. Feel free to check out his posts.

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