Every blog has its first post and it is often the least read so well done if you found this one. This is a first post with a difference though; i’m writing it from within a virtual environment. Specifically, I’m using a HTC Vive system with SteamVR’s virtual keyboard and built-in VR web browser.
Learning to type in VR
It’s a bit like typing on a smartphone, the Vive controller’s ‘laser’ acting as a long virtual finger or stylus. I have to admit it has some limitations.
Initially selecting the field to edit and getting the virtual keyboard to appear at the same time was tricky. Sometimes hitting the system-key to hide the display then bringing it back up allowed the keyboard to be activated. I’ve had no luck getting a carriage return from the enter key either so formatting will be fixed later with an old fashioned keyboard, mouse and rather unwearable monitor.
One useful thing I have discovered is that the SteamVR virtual keyboard has a second page of characters available. To access them, aim for the blank key on the left of the keyboard.
Taking the screenshots seen here was also a little involved. Using the Vive controller’s trigger + system button didn’t work for me. Instead, I selected the Desktop Mirror function and used the hardware keyboard ‘S’ key. This actually spits out multiple images and layers. You get a left/right pair, a single distortion corrected screenshot. You also get shots of layers which were shown on the virtual ‘screen’, in this case the web page and the virtual keyboard itself.
Now, I don’t intend to write every post on this blog from within a VR environment; it’s a bit arduous at the moment. My ideal future VR typing method would probably be something like the Leap Motion. Then I could at least finger-peck the keys with the virtual representations of my hands. This I suspect, may lead to just as much ‘gorilla-arms’ effect as waving a controller around for half an hour 😉
I intend that virtualsunburn.com be readable with VR environments so while HMD resolutions continue to improve, a simple, high-contrast design will be used.
See you in there!