Euro Truck Simulator 2 VR Quality Settings

Beta support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has been available in Euro Truck Simulator 2 for some time. Unfortunately, the beta default quality settings leave something to be desired. With the default settings, the image appears ‘jagged’. The image in the far distance seems often to be a jumble of pixels.

I’ve been experimenting with ETS2 quality settings on the Vive. I think I’ve achieved some significant improvement. If you’ve been struggling with the VR quality settings, hopefully I can help you out here.

This article looks at the most useful settings to change to improve visual quality.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 VR Quality Settings Config File.

ETS2 has some VR specific config options contained within a config file. You should find config.cfg at My Documents\Euro Truck Simulator 2. First of all, make a backup of this file.

Lines that I worked with were:

Vive/OpenVR-specific:

uset o_openvr_independent_timewarp "0"
uset o_openvr_interleaved_reproject "0"

These are really about VR performance consistency. You can experiment with them. Switch either to “1” or both to “0” but not both to “1” and see what works (or feels) best.

Finding the line with uset r_mode, I set it to:

uset r_mode "2160x1200x32x0"

This matches up to the HMD’s native resolution.

Also, make sure MSAA is off. It’s unhelpful for VR in ETS2.

uset r_msaa "0"

r_manual_stereo_buffer_scale.

Now, the real game-changer (pardon the pun) is r_manual_stereo_buffer_scale.

This setting can be used to increase the size of the rendered image. The rendered image is then distorted for VR. It appears the better the quality of the initial image, the better the quality of the VR image. Especially in the far distance.

There’s a trade-off though, the higher you set this, the greater the peformance penalty for your GPU. I found using a GTX 970 that a setting of “1.3” was smooth and looked better. A setting of “1.5” or more made for a very much improved scene. However, at “1.5”, there was judder depending on the scene complexity.



The trick is to find a happy middle ground between quality and performance. With at least at GTX 970 or equivalent, I recommend starting off with:

uset r_manual_stereo_buffer_scale "1.3"

…and work up from there.

Hitting the speed limit.

This setting gave the single biggest improvement in visual quality for me.

The higher the performance your graphics card provides, the higher you can go with this setting. Go too high and you’ll see and feel the framerate dropping off.

You can recover some FPS by reducing the video quality settings in the game menu. Be sure to leave ‘scaling’ at 100% and MSAA off. Most of the other settings yield a little performance improvement. With current Virtual Reality systems being more about the ‘feel’ than the overall look, you can do without some of the bells and whistles.

ETS2-VR-Screenshot
The unedited, unstretched screenshot. The instrument cluster didn’t render for the screenshot but with readable in the HMD in-game.

Due to the way screenshots work in VR, it’s not possible to directly convey how much improvement you can get. You need to try the settings for yourself and make up your own mind what works best.

Certainly, getting rid of the jagged edges in the far distance makes a big difference. This takes the simulator from playable to enjoyable with VR in my opinion.

If you find settings that work well for you, consider posting them in the comments section below.

 

 

High Fidelity VR with Vive on SteamVR

I am currently trying out the High Fidelity VR beta on Steam with the HTC Vive. I first noticed ‘HiFi’ on Steam earlier in the week before its release. Sufficiently intrigued, I downloaded the beta from the HiFi website.

High Fidelity VR

High Fidelity VR is a multi-user, multi-location open VR environment.

The underlying goal of the project seems to be to provide the framework that allows presentation of any kind of VR experience. The concept is a bit like a web-browser. You connect your HiFi ‘browser’ (called ‘Interface’) to a server. The server provides the environment, communication, physics and assets for a multi-user VR experience.

Firing up High Fidelity from SteamVR drops you in a basic introduction and orientation tutorial. The tutorial demonstrates the HiFi controls and user-interface. Vive controllers can be configured to allow touchpad movement.

High Fidelity VR Vive Touchpad ControlsTo enable touchpad movement, press the menu button on one of your Vive controllers. That’s the button above the touchpad. Now use the ‘laser’ to highlight:

SETTINGS > Advanced Movement For Hand Controllers

You will now be able to move around using the Vive touchpads.

The left pad up and down moves backwards and forwards. Left and right moves you left and right. On the right pad, left and right turns your body left and right. Up and down lets you fly up and descend. (Yes, you can fly in HiFi).

A web of worlds.

The individual ‘Worlds’ of High Fidelity have inter-linked teleportation points. This is like the hyperlinks that allow you to click your way around the web. I went through one such teleport and experienced a simulation of human cells from the inside. As of writing, there’s about 80 such ‘Worlds’. However, I’ve not had chance to visit many.

High Fidelity feels more than a little like Second Life in some ways. It’s no coincidence; High Fidelity Inc was started by Philip Rosendale, the creator and former CEO of Second Life.

Unlike pre-defined VR experiences, High Fidelity VR allows for user created assets. Upon joining High Fidelity’s ‘locations’ virtual assets are progressively downloaded. Bandwidth may constrain how quickly assets are loaded.

Meeting Virtual People.

High Fidelity VR Greeter
High Fidelity VR Greeter helping newcomers in the Welcome area.

High Fidelity Inc have thoughtfully included ‘Greeters’. These are avatars that meet and greet in the welcome area. The HiFi greeters are real people using HTC Vives. Greeters help you out with your first steps in High Fidelity.

A surreal experience was stumbling into a virtual corporate meeting being held by an avatar that looked rather like Philip Rosendale. It seems like the meeting was with the representative of another company. It shows some real faith in the High Fidelity product having meetings in there.

The detail of HiFi avatars is notable. The movements follow my tracked movements. If I wave with my hand, my avatar repeats the gesture. If I squat, likewise my avatar squats.

High Fidelity tracks your head movements (with the HMD). Some avatars seem to have moving gaze. I’m not certain whether this is mimicked or if some users have eye tracking. It does suggest on the High Fidelity Inc website that gaze tracking is or will-be a feature.

When speaking, at least some of the avatars have (presumably voice activated) mouth movements. Along with the positional audio, this simplifies picking out which avatar in a group is speaking.

An experience within an experience.

High Fidelity VR Bowling
Bowling in High Fidelity VR

At one point, a greeter summoned a ten-pin bowling alley. The interface is intuitive enough that you can simply take a ball and take a shot. The Physics of High Fidelidy is distributed over the network. If I throw the ball over-arm down the alley, everybody else sees my throw that way. Playing catch seems a common introductory pastime in the welcome area. Avatars batting beachballs around is a common sight.

High Fidelity VR is free and open source.

It’s always nice when something is free and it just so happens HiFi is both free to use and open-source. Thats not to say you can’t spend your money on HiFi. There are ‘in-experience’ payments via the marketplace for premium virtual items. There’s also the option to buy a ‘domain-name’ for your self-hosted virtual location. The payments are entirely option and not necessary just to use High Fidelity.

If you wish, it is possible to run your own High Fidelity location. For this you need your own webserver and some technical knowhow. You can create your own virtual environment with your own assets.

High Fidelity is available on Steam.

Simply search for High Fidelity within the Steam Store. The Steam install should keep your copy of Interface up to date. The welcome area has become busier since the release on steam and I did encounter some frame-rate issues. Especially while digital assets were downloading.

It is worth remembering that High Contrast is currently in beta so it may have bugs. Hopefully a greeter will be there to help you out if you encounter any.

 

Google Daydream Compatible Phones

Google’s new VR headset: Daydream View requires a suitable “Daydream Ready” smartphone to operate. Here is a list of known Google Daydream Compatible Phones.

Taking it’s lead from the earlier Google Cardboard project, the Daydream View is a polished HMD constructed largely from comfortable fabrics and designed to accept a number of smartphones. A tracked remote control allows for greater VR environment interaction.

At launch, Google’s own Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones are the only fully “Daydream Ready” phones on the market.

Further Google Daydream Compatible Phones are in the works. Several manufacturers have announced that they have forthcoming Google Daydream certified handsets.

Google Daydream Compatible Phones List

ManufacturerModelPriceDate available
Google IncPixel Confirmed$649October 20 2016
Google IncPixel XL Confirmed$769October 20 2016
MotorolaMoto Z Confirmed$624~November 21 2016 (Android 7.0)
MotorolaMoto Z Force Confirmed$720~November 21 2016 (Android 7.0)
ZTEAxon 7 Confirmed$400July 27 2016. Daydream Compatible with Nougat Update.
Asus ZenFone AR ConfirmedTBCQ2 2017 [TBC]

Google Inc.

Pixel and Pixel XL Google Daydream compatible phones
Image by
Maurizio Pesce
/ CC BY

Google lists the first Daydream Compatible phones as the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

Google lists both of these high-end smartphone handsets as Daydream Ready devices.

The two handsets are already on sale with list prices of $649 for the Pixel and $769 for the Pixel XL.

Motorola

With the update to Android 7, Motorola has announced that the Moto Z and Moto Z Force are Daydream Compatible. The updates to Android 7 will be rolled out as of the week starting November 21 2016. The Moto Z RRP starts at $624 which is slightly less than the Google Pixel.

ZTE

ZTE have confirmed their Axon 7 is Daydream compatible as of the Android Nougat update. As of mid February 2017, the Axon 7 is the cheapest Daydream phone on the market.

The ZTE Axon 7 costs $400.

Unconfirmed Daydream VR phones:

Asus

Asus announced at CES 2017 that the Asus ZenFone AR will be Daydream VR compatible. Tango compatibility (Google’s Augmented Reality Platform) is also featured on the ZenFone AR.

The Asus ZenFone AR is expected to be released around Q2 2017.

Other Google Daydream Compatible Manufacturers.

According to The Verge, Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei and Alcatel will also be hardware partners for Google Daydream.

Google Daydream Compatible phones have yet to be announced for these partners.

I will update this page as and when new information on Google Daydream Compatible Phones becomes available.