A major update to OVR Advanced Settings adds redirected walking to steer you toward the center of your play space and away from the edges of your room.
For those unfamiliar, OVR Advanced Settings adds a number of useful settings accessible via a dashboard while using Steam inside your VR headset. You can set supersampling values that can affect the sharpness of your picture or temporarily move or rotate your playspace and do a lot more. The software’s latest update adds a new feature that might be interesting to explore if you have an extraordinarily large playspace — redirected walking.
What is redirected walking?
The idea of “redirected walking” is for the geometry of a virtual environment to dynamically change to keep you within your physical playspace. The concept is traditionally restricted to labs and there are multiple research tracks exploring different approaches. Some researchers, for instance, have looked into whether reliable high-quality eye tracking might be used to adjust a virtual world in between your blinks, or during the momentary adjustment period when your eyes shift position. More traditionally, software could be made to nudge you away from the edges of your available virtual space without eye tracking by cleverly moving the placement of virtual doorways when you aren’t looking, or spacing out the nudges over a large enough area that you don’t notice. The problem with these methods is it typically requires extraordinarily large play spaces, and that appears to be true as well for the feature in OVR Advanced Settings.
I tried it out in a 4 meter by 4 meter room on the strongest setting and the redirection wasn’t strong enough to enable me to, say, walk from the indoors to the outdoors of the standard SteamVR Home space. The adjustment of the playspace at that setting also made me a bit uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, it is notable the feature is broadly available now. If you happen to have an absurdly large play area for VR and/or a backpack PC we’d love to hear reports of how the software works.