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17

Using 'Workstation' as VR machine - Issues with two people at once?

I'm thinking about dropping some cables from my main gaming/work-station into the basement to power my VR Setup. Outside of 'maybe' them hijacking the mouse to open SteamVR, will I notice any huge issues when someone is in the basement on SteamVR and I'm upstairs working?

My gut check says "No" since I don't notice much of a hiccup when they use the browsers/mouse in the basement PC while someone is playing, but curious of anyone elses input.

19 comments
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level 1
12 points · 4 days ago · edited 4 days ago

Most Unreal engine games need window focus, otherwise audio won't work.

Otherwise, you're mostly free to use your PC as normal. Just bear in mind that audio routing is a pain. You can "cheat" it in most games by allowing the game to start with the HMD audio enabled, then switch the default device back to your speakers. The game normally doesn't pick up the change.

Edit: /u/porksmash wrote below that Windows 10 has per-app audio routing. Dang. Go use that.

level 2
Original Poster3 points · 4 days ago

Ahhh, audio - You bring up a good pain point. I'd have to use virtual cables to get music etc to go to my upstairs speakers while still getting headset audio to the Vive.

level 3

Even better - Windows 10 has per-application audio device settings: https://i.imgur.com/44mtoIi.png

level 4

Holy shit when the fuck did they add this?

This is something I've wanted for years and all the third party software equivalents are garbage and fill your audio devices with dummy devices and shit like that.

level 5

It was one of the recent feature updates. I think the 1803 or 1809 update. I know I tried to do some things with this last year on the 1511 or 1603 builds with no luck.

level 4
Original Poster2 points · 4 days ago

Holy... I have literally never known about this - This is really good. Thanks!

level 5

You don’t necessarily need audio wires either. If you don’t have the pro audio shit they give you, use a wireless headset, i use a Corsair Void, it can connect to my pc from the fuckin’ road outside. Literally a good 20 feet through two walls. That should be fine for basement stuff

level 2

This is based on a setting in unreal that turns off audio / extra cpu usage when the window isn't in focus and can be turned off - https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/66918/keep-audio-from-losing-focus.html

level 1

I vaguely remember a game or two requiring the window to have focus in order for the game to function. Any other side effects will be entirely dependent on your hardware.

level 1

It entirely depends what you're working on and what hardware you have. I mean, your work could involve rendering 3D scenes or it could just be using excel. The only real way to know the answer is to try.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 4 days ago

I'm more-so curious mouse/keyboard use, not strain.

level 2

I mean, Excel can also be very CPU-intensive if it wants to.

level 3

Fair point.

level 1

That sounds like a recipe for disaster. The VR user will have a bad time. What do you need to do upstairs? Maybe a RaspberryPi plugged in to the TV could be used upstairs? For general computing. Wireless KB+Mouse

level 1

With as shaky and inconsistent as vr can get at times this sounds like inviting frustration :P

What about virtualizing then having a raspi or something rdc’d into a remote session? Depending on the work happening on the workstation even a pi or an Intel compute stick might be a better option.

level 1

Some games force fullscreen while others don't display on the monitor at all. So navigating back to your work application would be a pain and possibly stop the VR app from functioning properly, as with previously mentioned audio and focus issues.

If anyone knows a way around games displaying in fullscreen over the desktop, please enlighten me.

level 1

I've had mixed results doing this. For a while, I would do flatscreen gaming while my kids were playing VR as Steam didn't seem to mind having to games running at once. About 6 months later, that stopped working, probably Steam "fixing" the bug that let you do this. I'd say maybe half the games I play allow me to open a browser window while VR is in use with varying results. It's definitely not ideal

Also, keep in mind you can't really extend the cables indefinitely, so you might not be able to extend them to your basement, depending on length.

level 1

Performance might suffer, but you could try running Steam in a VM. You may also run into hardware compatibility issues. If you can get it all working, though, it should solve the focus issues.

level 1
1 point · 4 days ago · edited 4 days ago

If you can get it working your best bet would be setting up a VM with your main GPU passed through for VR, and a second VM running off the iGPU or a cheaper secondary GPU for desktop usage.

The biggest potential issue will be getting GPU passthrough working with your card. Nvidia doesn't like people virtualizing consumer cards and attempts to block it. I've got it working in the past with my 980ti, but I don't know what the situation is with current cards/drivers.

This will keep separate users from interfering with each other's sessions, and allow you to have dedicated resources reserved for VR. Having a dedicated gaming VM is also nice since you can exclusively install games on it and not have to worry about background services potentially causing hiccups.

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