Setting up Cardboard VR



With the Covid-19 going around I’ve been staying at home way more than before - mostly due the fact that I’m working from home. This period is a really good time to experiment with things I wouldn’t really consider before, and for me one of those things was VR. While I did end up buying a headset - an Oculus Quest (a topic for another blog post), my first foray into VR was by using my phone - so called Cardboard VR. This blog post is a short retelling about things I found out that are needed for cardboard vr, and acts as a guide for people who might want to do the same.



Unfortunately VR is still not cheap. Cardboard is the cheapest way to get started, although I have to warn - you get what you pay for (and in this case - not much for a quite a bit of money):



Note that this assumes that you have an Android phone. I don’t own an iPhone so I don’t know what’s required for it.


SteamVR drivers

In order to stream your games to your phone, you’ll need software to do the streaming. I’m aware of 3 programs that can do this -

Note that switching between them is easy (go into SteamVR settings (click on the header of the app that opens when you start it) -> Startup / Shutdown -> Manage Add-ons), so you can easily test all of them without a major hassle.


After getting your headset and installing the software… That’s about it! Connect to the same 5GHz WiFi network, put the phone in the headset and run the app. It should connect and it should stream you the VR view. You can use your controller/gamepad to control things, but don’t expect much. You’ll probably end up running games directly on your PC instead of using the Steam Home too, because it wasn’t really designed for gamepad.


So how is it? Is it actually usable? Well, kind of. My headset had really narrov field of view and although there was a visible 3D effect, it still felt a lot like looking at a screen. Perhaps other headsets are better. That said it’s still an interesting experience if you haven’t really used VR before. The biggest issue was the issue of controllers - not having them really made the experience way worse than it could’ve been. As a DIY quick-vr system it definitely works though. If you’re bored and happen to have most of the things required (phone, PC, gamepad, recent wifi router) the only expense will be the headset which isn’t too bad. Otherwise I would recommend looking into an actual headset. I would say it’s a 5/10 kind of situation overall. It’s kind of unfortunate that this is the only real option for cheap VR, as the Windows Mixed Reality platform has seemingly died with almost noone making headsets for it (HP Reverb G2 is the only WMR headset coming out, and that one seems like it will be expensive). That said, if you can find used WMR headsets, those definitely might be worth looking into (as long as they come with controllers for them).

What about VR in general? Well, that’s a topic for another blog post…