A couple months back, my buddy got an HTC Vive and I got my first taste of Virtual Reality. It was a really cool experience. I had always thought VR was cool since I was a kid, but everything was so expensive and almost no affordable software. I haven’t done a lot of gaming in my life past the original Xbox and some computer games in college, but I found this to be very intuitive. I picked it up immediately and had a ton of fun with the games we played.

I figured I’d keep an eye out for a VR headset on Craigslist and found an Oculus Rift DK1 for $20. Sweet, right? Well, It was an absolute pain to get running, and there’s little or no support for it in games any longer, but it was a pretty cool intro into Virtual Reality. I had it running after a week of evenings struggling to overcome the limitations and complexity of getting it running. The resolution was low, but the experience was amazing.

I wasn’t really satisfied and kept an eye out for an Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive or an OSVR HDK2 online, and came across an OSVR HDK2 with the Leap Motion controller for about half what it would cost new. I bought it and then ordered some parts for a new computer (Long overdue, as my computer was at least 8 years old).

I built a entry level computer, with an Intel i7 7700 4.2GHz, 8GB DDR4, Asus 1060 OC 6GB Video Card, 240GB SSD, Zalman Z1 Neo mid-tower case/735W power supply and my old wifi card. I should have done this long ago, this thing smokes. I installed Win 10, plugged in my VR headset and spent the next few nights tinkering.

Any HDK is going to be a pain in the butt to get running. It requires tinkering, and I knew this going into it. These aren’t commercially viable products on the software side. My experiences in both headsets were plagued with issues related to how Windows 10 likes to block programs and the user from admin access. Everything has to be modified to run as administrator, and even directories have to be changed from Read Only to full access. Unfortunately, it took a lot of trial and error to figure that out! I got the display working, but couldn’t ever get the positional tracking working. SteamVR however, was working!

Then I stumbled across a Beta Windows Installer. It was well hidden and not very well documented or cross-linked anywhere. I don’t know why they didn’t make this more readily documented on any of the getting started websites. I installed it and almost immediately the headset and tracking was working! After a little tinkering I got SteamVR working again, and I was pretty much fully up and running for the HDK2.

It’s amazing. Everything is so smooth, graphics are clear and crisp, the Screendoor effect is minimal and I’m very happy. I’ll see how I like it, and the support, but it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.