Base stations are very essential for VR now. Without them, there is no way for you to know where you are in the world accurately, so the headset will always show a grey background, just as it would if it lost its connection, even though the sensors were properly set up.
Let’s go into the in-depth guide of what the base stations are.
What is a Base Station in VR?
A base station is the HTC Vive’s communications beacon. Base stations help the Vive headset and controllers locate themselves within a room.
According to XinReality,
“Base stations perform this task by continuously emitting a non-visible light into the space. The sensors on the tracking device would detect the emitted light and determine their location relative to the base station.”
Why are Base Stations important?
Base stations enable the VR experience entirely. It’s important to keep in mind that they’re the “proxies” between the computer, the peripheral devices, and the user.
- A headset provides VR visuals
- Headphones––the sound
- Controllers––the hardware
To ensure that the customer experience is seamless, these three peripherals are required. However, if there is a disconnect in the connection between the customer’s gameplay decisions and the Base Station’s output, there will inevitably lead to tracking errors and customer frustration.
SteamVR Base Station 2.0
With the new SteamVR 2.0 Base Station, you can now get even closer to the action than ever before.
- Each base station is completely independent.
- With up to 10 meters by 10 meters and four base stations and up to five meters by five meters and two base stations.
- Headsets Compatibility: VIVE Pro, VIVE PRO Eye, VIVE Cosmos Elite, and Valve Index VR
- Accessories Compatibility: VIVEPORT Cosmos External Tracking Faceplate
SteamVR 2.0 Base Station
Headphones and joypads receive signals from base stations to capture your movement in space and then translate it into virtual reality.
Play Area up to 10 Meters X 10 Meters
You need to ensure that the playing area is at least 2 meters by 1.5 meters (6 feet by 5 feet) and can support the sitting/staying/lying down positions. With four bases, the maximum area is ten meters by ten meters or 100 square meters.
Compatible with the following VR Headsets:
- VIVE PRO Series
- VIVE PRO Eye
- VIVE Cosmos Elite Series
- Valve Index
Compatible with the following Accessories:
- VIVE Cosmos External Tracking Faceplate
Not compatible with the following Accessories:
- VIVE Controller (1.0)
- VIVE Tracker (1.0)
- VIVE Cosmos Controllers
Here are some helpful hints for installing your cameras:
- Place your bases diagonally across from each other at opposite corners of your playing field.
- Ideally, the ideal height for a headset is between two and three feet above the floor, with an angled mounting surface of 25 to 35 degrees.
- Make sure you’re not overexposed when using the station. Too much light exposure will negatively impact its ability to perform properly.
How Can Base Stations Make Or Break VR Arcades?
IR Beam Interferences (IRBI) are the main issues VR Arcades face. They affect the customer’s overall gaming experiences by causing them to be less enjoyable.
- Headsets blackout
- Motion sickness
- Choppy visuals
- Incorrect tracking of the headset
If base stations aren’t set up correctly, they can cause choppy VR experiences. And if they’re not aligned properly, they can even end the customer’s VR experience entirely.
Setting up Vive Base Stations – The Facts
- The Vive Kit includes two Base Stations.
- Two base stations can be used to connect up to two headsets. (Wow! Right?) Yes, no set number of headsets can share one play area.
- A base station can either be wireless or wired. When it’s wired, there’s no need to worry about connecting it to an outlet; however, if it’s wireless, then you must connect it to an outlet.
- If your base station locations aren’t correct, then IR beams may interfere with each other.
- If you’re able to hardwire your base station, it will provide a more reliable connection by using two different channels (A and B) instead of just one channel (B).
- Segregate your game stations with a wall, booth, or signage. This will help with IR beam interference by providing increased blockage in between each station’s Base Stations––ensuring proper tracking of the headset.
- Try out the responsiveness during the first setup. You shouldn’t experience any lag or jittering.
- You don’t need to follow any specific guidelines when setting up your Base Station. It’s unique! So, set it up however you want.
- Point the base stations directly at each other’s base stations.
- Assuming you need two base stations per headband to track the user properly, two base stations, setup correctly, can track more headsets.
- Keep moving/adjusting your base stations regularly. Once you’ve found the right spot for them, keep them there as best you can.
- Place your base stations outward or in a trajectory that can cause interference with your other stations. Do your best to place them facing inward instead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you need a base station for VR?
Without those base stations to track your location, there is no way for the headset to know where you are in the real world. If the sensor isn’t working properly, the headset will display a grey screen instead of showing you the map.
Does an Oculus require base stations?
The Oculus Quest 2 works by using sensors built into the headset itself to track movement. It is only compatible with the following headsets: HTC Vive Pro, Vive X, Vive Cosmos, and SteamVR index.
Can VR base stations be used without wires?
With Wide Area Tracked (WAT) technology, Base Station 2.1 helps the VIVE Pro headset and controller pair stay connected even when they’re out of range of each other. It features wireless synchronization.
How many base stations can I use?
You can use up four base station antennas in one room covering 10 meters by 10 meters (32 feet by 32 feet)
Base stations are essential components of any VR arcade. They allow players to experience greater degrees of immersion by providing them with an immersive environment.
Let us know what you think about base stations in the comments below.