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Using the Base Station 2.o and VIVE Trackers without a headset


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@bkfichter - That's actually not on us. Valve manages the SteamVR tracking tech stack including the SteamVR runtime and all of the related UI elements such as roomsetup. They've designed SteamVR to work primarily with a headset and have made certain elements such as roomsetup require a headset (and controllers if not using the developer quick setup). The ownace would be on Valve to create more tooling for HMD-less use-cases and it's not really in the realm of individual OEMs licensing SteamVR tracking because at the end of the day the limitation is the way SteamVR's front-end has been built out. The null-driver is Valve's official methodology to use SteamVR devices without a headset. Via their null driver - you can technically still use SteamVR tracked devices without an HMD but there are some limitations (such as inability to preform roomsetup, inability to use basestation power management) and the fact that you need external watchman-enabled bluetooth dongles to provide the RF backbone between the devices and the PC. The null-driver works just fine technically - there are just known UX limitations (such as lack of roomsetup) hence why HTC considers it an unsupported use-case since there are known UX gaps. More experienced developers can definitely figure out workarounds for things like roomsetup but in many cases, it's faster, cheaper, and overall easier to have an HMD/controllers on hand whenever working with SteamVR tracking - especially when working with Virtual Production because the HMD becomes a window into the virtual scene.

 

If we could add more support for this - we would. SteamVR updates so frequently that building middleware solutions is very hard to maintain as SteamVR updates can be significant and can break things.

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On 10/9/2020 at 5:08 PM, bkfichter said:

@VibrantNebula

Seems like a pretty close-minded answer. You might want to consider this use case as many of your users are working with the base stations and trackers for other purposes: virtual production, research, etc. You can force the use case on users or expand your market to where it leads you. As your competition increases in the HMD world, you may consider other use cases for your base stations as you are one of the few that have that advantage. As for me, I don't own a vive headset and I would sure hate to return the two base stations and tracker i just bought and find another solution because there is no support for a use case the product should naturally achieve. Let me know now if I should return them.

Hi @bkfichter yes we are looking at use cases for virtual production along with others. Could you share more about the project(s) you are working on? 

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  • 2 months later...

We've been working with SteamVR using Vive Trackers as part of our hybrid tracking system for a couple of years now.  The null hmd driver works *most* of the time, but will fail in some cases.  Once set up properly, it's a great system for streaming position data to use for IK chains or other transformations.  Our Shadow mocap system works in hybrid mode with one or more trackers and many of our customers use the hybrid system for virtual production.  Here's a tutorial on our site with a video going over setup of the hybrid system with a Vive Tracker and SteamVR. 

We shot a demo video last year with HTC, using three trackers and our Shadow mocap system.  We rendered the results in Unreal Engine, and overlaid them with the video footage using tools all within UE4.  Here's the resulting video on Youtube.

Virtual Production Video: Shadow + Vive hybrid tracking

Some other virtual production videos - climbing a ladder, rendered in UE4:

climbing ladder  
climbing ladder, jumping   

shadow hybrid video.png

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  • 2 months later...

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