Are you looking to buy a VR headset? You need to look out for stuff.
We will guide you with that.
What to Look For in a VR Headset?
The major parameters you should research when buying a VR headset are:
- PPD (pixels per degree)
- Field of view
- Refresh rate
- Positional tracking
Beginner’s Guide To VR
Some people understand the basics of the technology but don’t know which products are currently available on the market.
Some people know about the major headset technologies but still struggle with their concepts and terms.
With this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about virtual reality (VR). You’ll understand the basic concepts, terminology, and the major headsets available today. If you’re new to VR, you’ll be able to get started right away.
What is VR?
Virtual realities allow people to be fully immersed in a simulated environment.
This is usually done by tracking a person’s movements using head-mounted hardware.
These VR headsets consist of
- A screen (or screens) housed in frames (or headsets) strapped or fitted to the sides of your head.
- Lense blocks are usually placed between the panels and your eye sockets to make it seem as if what you see through the headset is your whole environment.
All headphones track your movements so the images you see adjust accordingly. However, some tracks have more movements than others.
Most VR experiences will allow you to interact with them using controllers in both hands. Sometimes you’ll be able to use one controller in each hand to interact with different parts of the experience.
Some controllers allow you to use them to interact with the game’s environment and objects in a way similar to the real world, but they don’t always provide full body tracking.
Basic Terminology and Concepts
You’ve got the basics of VR down, but there are some terms or ideas that you’re not clear on. Let us explain them to you.
FOV (Field of View)
Field of vision (FOV) is the range of visual angles we can perceive at any one time. In the eye, the field of vision is everything we can see at any one time.
When talking about VR headsets, the field of vision (FOV) is the range of things you can see in the VR environment at any one time.
At the time of this publication, consumer-grade VR headsets have a field of vision that is smaller than what your eyes can perceive by themselves.
Degrees of Freedom
The degree of freedom refers to the number of different ways your body can move within a virtual environment.
More degree of freedom means that more of your physical actions will be tracked by the headsets and mapped onto your virtual representation.
Two of the most common terms you’ll read about when talking about the degree of freedom are 3DOF and 6DOF (3 and 6 degrees of freedom, respectively).
- 3DOF headset devices that only track your head’s movement won’t be able to tell where your head is in space.
- 6DOF is able to track not just your head’s movement but also its position in a physical space.
Most modern VR headsets today offer full six degrees of freedom (6DoF) positional tracking.
Some older devices, including some, discontinued or phased out by their manufacturers, use three degrees of freedom (3DoF), such as Google Cardboard and Google Daydream.
Every VR headset requires some kind of tracking technology.
Inside Out Tracking
Inside-out tracking systems rely on cameras built into headsets to track movements from the inside of the headsets outward.
Advanced Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (“SLAM”) algorithms use sensors to track the position of the user’s head.
Examples of headsets that track using inside-out technology include
- The Meta Quest
- Oculus Rift S
- HTC Vive Cosmos
- All Windows Mixed Reality headsets (like the HP Reverb G2, Samsung Odyssey, Lenovo Explorer, Acer HMD, etc.)
Outside In Tracking
There are also “outside in” tracking methods that involve external hardware that isn’t part of the headset itself.
With the original HTC VIVE and Valve Index headsets, these devices are called “lighthouses” — little black boxes mounted in the corners of the room.
Older VR headsets, like the original Oculus Rift headset released in 2016, use modified camera sensors placed inside your room to track your head movements.
There are several different types of interactions with simulated experiences.
Headset manufacturers like MetaQuest and HP offer headsets with two controllers, one per controller, which is also tracked using an inside-out six-degree of freedom (6DoF) system.
PlayStation Move Controllers
PlayStation VR has two different types of inputs. Most games require using a pair of PlayStation Move Controllers (PSM). However, some games don’t need them.
Standard PS4 Dualshock Controller
If you’re using a game that doesn’t require a Move controller, you can use the PlayStation 4 DualShock controller that came with the system.
Valve Index Controllers
The Valve Index controllers fit tightly around the knuckles and palms and let you fully relax them.
There’s a large grip area on these controllers and they detect finger movements and can detect some of the pressure provided by your grip, which makes them unlike other controllers currently available.
Roomscale, Seated, and Standing
There are generally three different types of tracked volume with some programs designed specifically for each type of play area.
Roomscale VR is about creating an environment where players can freely and physically move around within.
Room-scale gaming involves moving around your physical surroundings to interact with the simulated environments and objects within them.
These so-called “guardians” or “protectors” appear to indicate when the physical environment is approaching.
Seated and Standing
Sitting and standing are quite similar because they both require the user to remain roughly stationary and move their body using various different movements.
Some software developers create virtual environments for different purposes, but some experiences may only be available in one mode.
Movement in VR
There are two main types of simulated movement options available for VR applications. Some simulate movement for users who wear VR headsets, which may cause some users to experience nausea.
Teleportation is a common method of travel and it is usually the most comfortable option for everyone.
Typically, teleportation is initiated by pressing a button on a controller, followed by selecting a destination.
When used in combination with room-scale tracking, this movement option typically allows for the traversal of large simulated volumes in a generally comfortable way.
Smooth locomotor movements are the types of movements similar to traditional video games, where you push a stick and move in the direction you pushed it.
A common way to relieve motion sickness is by restricting the field of view (FOV) into the virtual world while walking through it.
Some people who wear a VR headset may occasionally experience motion sickness or nausea.
Most times when people become nauseous while playing video games, they’re sitting down or standing up and moving their bodies during gameplay.
Some people can build up resistance and develop a high tolerance level for more intense VR experiences, but others who spend large amounts of time in VR headsets may be completely unable to tolerate them because they don’t match their bodies’ sensory systems.
There are many factors that can affect your susceptibility to discomfort in VR headsets, including
- the field of view of the visuals
- the framerate of the display and software.
- headset weight
- how well you slept
- what you ate and how much.
If you’re looking to buy a VR headset, there are plenty of options available today.
You can get a cheap cardboard headset like Google Cardboard or an expensive high-end PC VR headset like the Oculus Rift.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below.