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Lost in the settings

I know my way around system menus. And I love exploring how to optimise the tools I use. The fact they exist can often be a big part of whether I feel like it’s safe to fall in love with a given piece of software – is this willing to let me make it work ‘just right’?

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
4 min read
Lost in the settings

I know my way around system menus. And I love exploring how to optimise the tools I use. The fact they exist can often be a big part of whether I feel like it’s safe to fall in love with a given piece of software – is this willing to let me make it work ‘just right’?

But for most people, this is so far off the mark it might as well not exist. And if making something work – at all – means many users need to make Settings adjustments to ensure they have a good experience, your product might as well give up on those users too.

I’m testing the HTC Vive Pro 2 right now. I’m a huge fan of VR, and the HTC hardware. When the competition is basically Facebook, with Facebook accounts required to access your VR hardware, HTC is the place to be.

Having had an OG Vive for a long time now, testing a higher res, wider view, more capable headset sounded great. And right out of the box I can see that it’s better than before. But…

My original Vive never once felt like I had a motion sickness problem. Not in the slightest. And this one? Suddenly there was a slight disconnect between what I saw, the movements my head made, and what my eyes were seeing.

After some reading, I realised that it’s basically because the new hardware is too good for the 2021 high-end gaming laptop it was plugged into. Even a high-end Nvidia 30 series GPU won’t deliver everything this headset is capable of. So I need to get into the settings to find the sweet spot for today. Reduce the rez, cap the framerate, tweak and test until it doesn’t do the bad things.

I keep wishing VR would have its breakthrough moment for home use. But when the latest and greatest has problems like this, it’s still the domain of enthusiasts.

At the other end of the scale there are stand alone HTC headsets you can pop on your head wirelessly to go to a virtual meeting or experience a quick moment of serenity in the face of a doomed world. They are pitched toward ‘enterprise’ use, but we need to bridge that divide between settings-free ease of use and being able to wow people with a great experience.

If you need me, I’ll be tweaking those settings this weekend to see if I can find the Vive Pro 2 sweet spot it needs to work ‘just right’.

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Seamus Byrne Twitter

Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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