The Non-Official HTC Vive Guide
Software exclusivity in gaming has been a long time standard in console gaming going all the way back to the early days. Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft have often put tons of money into holding exclusive rights to games. This has of course an added incentive to the consumer to buy their system over the competitors. Until recently this has never really been an issue in the PC realm of gaming. You don’t have games that only run on a Asus motherboard or only run on an Nvidia GPU(granted some do run better on specific GPUs depending on how they were made).
Then comes VR and the birth of PC based software exclusivity. This of course has caused a ton of backlash and debates around the PC community. Store fronts for companies are nothing new to the PC realm. While Steam is easily the king of PC store fronts many other companies require you to use their store front to play their games. Blizzard, Ubisoft, and numerous others have had their own software you needed to download for years.
Oculus created Oculus Home to better facilitate software to Oculus Rift owners as well as GearVR owners. The big difference with this new store front is it’s exclusive to the Oculus Rift/GearVR. Oculus uses a specific SDK (Software Development Kit) which only supports their HMD (Head Mounted Display) and content is being created using this SDK . The Oculus SDK has been in existence for a long time and was used to create content for the Oculus HMDs since they were just early development kits.
Oculus Rift also supports OpenVR which is the standard SDK for the HTC Vive, OSVR and the upcoming LG HMD. OpenVR HMDs on the other hand do not have support for the Oculus SDK. This allows Oculus to have exclusive content that only directly supports their own HMD.
The Birth of Revive
Not long after the launch of Rift and Vive an application popped up created by a talented coder who posts on Reddit as CrossVR. The application is called Revive. It’s a piece of software that has allowed the HTC Vive to run Oculus SDK made games. Shortly after Revive launched Oculus implemented a DRM hardware check when launching games which broke Revive. Not even a day later CrossVR released an update to Revive that bypassed this DRM. This had one side effect though; it actually bypassed the normal check to see if the software was legitimate which opened the way for pirated home games. The DRM was quickly removed by Oculus and over the past year they haven’t done anything to prevent the use of Revive.
Revive has gone through some pretty drastic changes from when it was first introduced. It has been streamlined to an easy to use application that seamlessly integrates not only with SteamVR but also Advanced OpenVR settings. Installation is also quite simple now, just follow the guide below.
How to Install Revive
- Download and install Oculus Home. Create an Oculus account and when you’re asked to setup your Rift just click on the skip button.
- Now head over to Github and download and run the Revive installer.
- Once Revive and Oculus home are installed go ahead and start up SteamVR. On your main SteamVR home screen look at the Steam and desktop buttons. You will see a new Revive button. This is where you will launch all your installed Oculus home games. Anytime you install a game using Oculus home it will show up in this revive section. Just select your game and play like normal.
Advanced OpenVR Guide
Revive has a tab directly built into Advanced OpenVR, an application we cover in the advanced Vive setup guide. One of the main drawbacks of playing Oculus made games on the Vive comes down to the difference in the controllers. The developers of Revive did a good job trying to make the Vive controls function properly playing touch games.
The Revive advanced settings tab allows you to have even more control over this like changing the controller offset and things like thumbstick sensitivity. Usually, you don’t have to mess with any of these but there are two features I wanted to talk about. First, is render target override. This is super sampling for Revive games. I’d recommend using this over the SteamVR value when playing games with Revive. Second, is grip button mode. How your weapon handling works is a bit different between the Touch and Vive. By default you need to hold down on the grip buttons on the Vive controller to hold items in your hand. For some games this works well like Superhot and RoboRecall where you are constantly throwing items. For others where you are holding something for long periods of time, having to hold the grip buttons on the Vive can be uncomfortable. This option allows you to setup a sticky grip option that will hold the item in your hand without holding the grip buttons.
SteamVR and Revive Conflicts
For the most part Revive is simply plug and play but a couple things can cause major performance problems when playing Revive games. I’d recommend turning off both forms of reprojection in Steam VR and using the always-on reprojection option. Also don’t use supersampling in Steam VR but set the value in the Revive tab of Advanced OpenVR if you want to try supersampling in Revive games.
RoboRecall is quite possibly the best game available on the Oculus store. While it does work with Revive, CrossVR went one step further adding native OpenVR support for the game through a mod. The main reason you would want to use this mod is that Revive has a small amount of performance overhead compared to native OpenVR games. This add-on patches in native OpenVR support which means RoboRecall will not be using the Oculus SDK and this can improve performance for Vive users. It also means the Oculus runtime does not need to be running in the background. Saying that, you still do need to download Oculus home to purchase the game. You can download RoboRecall Revive Link text here. Once installed it will create a desktop shortcut for RoboRecall. Make sure to launch the game from that shortcut and not the one in the Revive tab.
Oculus Runtime Workaround
The Oculus Runtime is a windows service that is automatically installed with Oculus Home and is required to run Oculus Home games. As of a recent Oculus Home update, anytime you start a VR game even if it’s a regular Steam game, Oculus Home will start up. The fix for this is to disable the Oculus Runtime when you are not playing games through Revive. To make this easy you can create a .bat file that when ran, will enable the runtime if off and disable the runtime if on. If you don’t play Revive games often you probably want to put the runtime to manual so it doesn’t start automatically with windows. To do this go to windows start menu and type in services then scroll down till you see Oculus VR Runtime Service. Right click that and under startup type select manual. Then to create a .bat script to enable/disable the runtime open a new notepad on your desktop copy this text:
sc config OVRService start= demand
net start “OVRService”
if %errorlevel% == 2 net stop “OVRService”
Now just rename the file to something like Oculus.bat and select yes when it asks to change the file type. Then whenever you want to enable or disable the Oculus Runtime just right click the file and run as admin.
A Word on Privacy
For some people having Oculus Home installed causes some concerns with privacy. You have probably read some questionable articles about Facebook monitoring data from Oculus Home. While this whole aspect is a discussion for another time (it honestly is not a concern of mine), if it’s a major concern of yours you can disable all the Oculus outgoing rules in your firewall. Going into your firewall rules you should see about 10 outgoing rules plus each game should have one as well (if game is multiplayer don’t block it). Just right click each rule then go to properties then select block connection. The problem with this is it will prevent you from downloading new games from Home so in order to do so you will need to re-allow connections to the main processes.
Revive Risks and Limitations
I feel it’s important for anyone using Revive to remember this is completely unofficial and unsupported by Oculus. Be sure to check out the Compatibility page for any current issues on specific games. Oculus Home does not offer refunds so if a game doesn’t work well for you there is really nothing you can do about it. The developers of Revive are generally very quick to patch in fixes for issues that arise with new games. Just remember, there is always a chance that one day Revive will not work so it’s a risk. However, for games published by Oculus studios it’s the only way you will be able to play that game for the foreseeable future. Games not published by Oculus studios like Superhot, for example, are generally only timed exclusives and will get a Steam release eventually so often its better just waiting for that.