Steamworks Documentation > Features > Virtual Reality > OpenVR
OverviewOpenVR is an API and runtime that allows access to VR hardware from multiple vendors without requiring that applications have specific knowledge of the hardware they are targeting. This repository on GitHub is an SDK that contains the API and samples. The runtime is under SteamVR in the "Tools" library in the Steam client.
Documentation for the API is available on the OpenVR GitHub Wiki.
More information on OpenVR and SteamVR can be found at http://steamvr.com.
Engine SupportSteamVR implements OpenVR and is natively supported by Unreal Engine 4, and is also natively supported in Unity version 5.4+.
You can find the SteamVR plugin on the Unity Asset Store.
OpenVR DriversHardware device makers can develop OpenVR drivers to easily enable support for VR content on Steam. Steam is one of the largest digital distribution platforms worldwide, with thousands of games available.
Once you have created an Open VR driver, you may distribute it yourself or directly on Steam to users.
You can read more about making an OpenVR driver here.
FAQQ.How can I make an OpenVR driver?
A. You can find information on making drivers in the OpenVR GitHub repository here: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/wiki/Driver-Documentation.
You are not required to submit your driver to Valve for certification. If you'd like to distribute your driver on Steam, you can become a Steamworks developer and set up your driver for distribution as an application.
Q. OpenVR does not support a feature of my device. Can Valve help?
A. We value feedback from hardware developers. Please submit any issues or requests via GitHub here: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/issues.
Use a VR headset with Final Cut Pro X and Motion
To use a VR headset with Final Cut Pro X 10.4 and Motion 5.4 or later, connect the headset, then install SteamVR on your Mac.
You can use a VR headset to view your 360º video while working in Final Cut Pro X and Motion. To use a VR headset, your Mac must meet the system requirements for 360º video editing and you need to install Steam software. For more information, visit the SteamVR support page, and refer to the documentation that came with your headset.
First, download and install Steam.
- Make sure your computer is connected to the internet.
- Visit store.steampowered.com/about, and click Install Steam.
- In the Finder, choose Go > Downloads. If you changed the default location for downloads from your browser, go to that location.
- Double-click the steam.dmg file.
- Drag Steam to the Application folder.
- In Finder, choose Go > Applications, then double-click Steam to open the application.
Configure SteamVR software
After installing Steam, install SteamVR.
- Before you configure the SteamVR software, set up your VR headset using the instructions included with the headset.
- In Steam, follow the prompts to create a new account or log into an existing one, then choose Library.
- Click the Games pop-up menu on the left, then select the Tools checkbox.
- Enter SteamVR into the Search field.
- Right-Click SteamVR, or click the gear icon, then choose Properties from the menu.
- In the Properties window, click Betas, choose “macos_default - Public default branch (macOS),” then close the properties window.
- Click Install.
- To create a Desktop shortcut to launch SteamVR, select “Create Desktop shortcut,” then click Next. This way you can open SteamVR directly, without having to open it from the Steam app.
- When SteamVR is finished installing, click Finish.
- In the Library list, double-click SteamVR to open the app.
- You can now quit the Steam app, and let SteamVR continue to run in the background. If you've connected your headset properly, the LED on the headset will be green. If SteamVR displays an error, or if the LED on the headset is red, visit the SteamVR support page for more information.
- In the Room Setup window, select “Set up for Standing Only.”
- To monitor your 360º video in Final Cut Pro X or Motion, choose Window > Output to VR Headset.
Manage Steam and SteamVR
To quit SteamVR, you have to quit both Steam and SteamVR.
Steam automatically opens when you log in to your Mac. To keep Steam from automatically opening when you log in to your Mac.
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.
- Select your user account, then click Login Items at the top of the window.
- Select the name of the item you want to prevent from opening automatically, then click the Remove button (-) below the list.
To manually open SteamVR, double-click the Desktop shortcut for SteamVR.
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OverviewSteamVR is a runtime included with the Steam client that powers virtual reality experiences. SteamVR is automatically installed when Steam detects a headset connected to a user's PC. It can also be installed manually.
FeaturesSteamVR lets users manage several areas of their VR experience, including:
- Room Setup - Define your play area
- Device Status and Management - Update Firmware, Pair new devices, change audio settings, mirroring, and customize features like Motion Smoothing
System ReportSystem Reports are a useful tool when troubleshooting your hardware, and you may need to generate one for customer support. You can generate a System Report in SteamVR by going to Settings->General, then click Create System Report, and click Save to File.
In-App PurchasingSteamVR supports in-app purchasing using the same microtransactions API as other Steam applications. See Microtransactions (In-Game Purchases)for more information.
SteamVR HomeSteamVR Home is the starting place for users in SteamVR. Players can launch apps, connect with friends and explore different environments in private or public lobbies, complete quests, create and customize avatars and environments, and browse the Steam store and community. Read the launch announcement for SteamVR Home here
SteamVR CollectiblesSteamVR Collectibles are 3D items granted to players based on ownership and playtime of VR games. Developers can create custom items that will drop to players to be used as decoration in SteamVR Home environments.
Currently SteamVR Collectibles need to be manually imported by Valve. If you would like to discussing submitting a Collectible, please Contact Us.
Read more about SteamVR Collectibles
SteamVR In the EnterpriseSteamVR is designed to be distributed along with Steam, and receive updates via Steam. Sometimes it may be desirable to have SteamVR running without Steam, for example if a corporate policy prevents the Steam client from being installed. Information about running SteamVR in standalone installations can be found here.
SteamVR Overlay AppsIt is possible to create applications that interact directly with the SteamVR overlay, such as adding additional tabs or enabling other functionality even when other VR applications are running. You can read more about building overlay apps on the OpenVR GitHub page: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/wiki/IVROverlay_Overview
Overlay apps can be distributed on Steam like other applications by enabling the "Launch SteamVR Overlay" launch option.
Two example SteamVR Overlay Apps on Steam:
Vr tools steam
Using SteamVR with Windows Mixed Reality
Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR allows users to run SteamVR experiences on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets. After installing the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR, users can launch their favorite SteamVR applications from their desktop or Steam library and play them directly on their Windows headset.
Get your PC ready
- Make sure you have no pending updates: Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. If updates are available, select Install now. If no updates are available, select Check for updates, and then install any new ones.
- PC requirements vary for the apps and content on Steam. See the minimum requirements per title. A PC with a GTX 1070 graphics card (or equivalent) and an Intel® Core™ i7 processor should offer a good experience for a broad range of titles.
- Set up up Windows Mixed Reality if you haven't already.
Set up Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR
- Download and install SteamVR.
- When ready, start SteamVR. The SteamVR Tutorial should start automatically.
Note: For advanced troubleshooting of your SteamVR setup, make sure you have the following software components installed:
- Install Steam and login or create a new account.
- Install SteamVR. With your headset plugged in, launch Steam and you should see a dialog prompting you to install SteamVR. Follow the prompts on the dialog to install it. * If you don't see the popup, install SteamVR by navigating to the Tools section of your library. Locate SteamVR in the list and then right-click and select Install Game.
- Install Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR.
Set up Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR in an environment without internet access
Store the necessary media on a portable storage device
- Install SteamVR and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR as directed above using Steam on a PC with full internet access.
- In Steam, open the Library section and find the part labeled "Tools".
- Once SteamVR is installed, right-click the entry "SteamVR" and in the resulting popup menu, click on the entry "Properties".
- A new window with multiple tabs will open. Select the tab "LOCAL FILES" and click on the button labeled "BROWSE LOCAL FILES".
- The directory containing the SteamVR Runtime will open. Copy this entire directory (named SteamVR) onto a portable medium of your choice (e.g. a USB thumb drive).
- Do the same with Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR, and any SteamVR-compatible apps you would like to install on the target PC.
Run SteamVR on the target PC
After plugging the portable storage device into the target PC, move the SteamVR, MixedRealityVRDriver, and other folders to a convenient place on the target PC.
Ensuring SteamVR and MixedRealityVRDriver are in the same folder, open a command prompt. For the sake of this example, we will assume the containing folder is at C:\SteamVRInstall. In that case, in the command prompt you should run:
(Note that if you're running a 32-bit version of Windows, the part of the path above should be instead.)
This will allow the runtime to find the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR driver in your custom installation.
- In order to run SteamVR you should double-click the file "vrstartup.exe" located at SteamVR\bin\win64\vrstartup.exe, or SteamVR\bin\win32\vrstartup.exe if the target PC is running a 32-bit version of Windows.
See the Steamworks documentation page for more information and troubleshooting.
Play SteamVR games
- Connect your headset to your PC and turn on your motion controllers.
- Once the Windows Mixed Reality home has loaded and your controllers are visible, open the Steam app on your desktop.
- Use the Steam app to launch a SteamVR game from your Steam library.
Tip: To launch SteamVR games without taking off your headset, use the Desktop app (Start > Desktop) to view and interact with your PC desktop inside Windows Mixed Reality.
Using Motion Controllers with SteamVR
You'll use your motion controllers differently in different games. Here are a few basics to help you get started:
- To open the Steam dashboard, press straight down on the left or right thumbstick.
- To exit a SteamVR game and return to the Windows Mixed Reality home, press the Windows button.
Changing the resolution
You can adjust the Application Resolution slider in the SteamVR -> Settings -> Applications window at any time if you'd like to play games at a higher resolution. **When using a higher resolution multiplier you can expect the game to put more strain on your PC. If you increase the multiplier and see degraded performance, readjust the slider to the default level and restart the game to ensure that the change takes effect.
Using multiple headsets
If you're a VR enthusiast, you might regularly use more than one VR headset on the same PC. If that's the case note that when a Windows Mixed Reality headset is plugged in, SteamVR games will always launch to the Windows Mixed Reality headset. If you'd like to launch SteamVR games on another headset make sure to first unplug the Windows Mixed Reality headset before continuing.
We release regular updates to improve the performance, reliability, and overall experience of using SteamVR on Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets. While none of these preview programs are required, we encourage you to join them if you would like to get updates sooner and more frequently (and give us feedback on those updates!).
Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR Beta
Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR is the component you install from the Steam Store that enables SteamVR to work with your Windows Mixed Reality headset. We publish updates to this "bridge" regularly and Steam installs them automatically.
If you want to get updates more frequently, we encourage you to join our public Beta. Updates go to our Beta audience first, and we use their feedback to make sure the updates are high quality before publishing them to all users. If you’re not in our Beta program, you’ll eventually get all of the same fixes and features, but after they've been tested by our Beta users.
- In Steam, use the drop-down under the Library menu to filter to Software.
- In the list, right-click Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR and select Properties.
- Select the Betas tab.
- Opt in to "beta - public beta" and select Close to confirm. The beta access code field should be left blank.
SteamVR is built and released by Valve and is common across all SteamVR headsets. It follows a similar model of releasing updates to Beta members before publishing to all users.
- In Steam, use the drop-down under the Library menu to filter to Tools.
- In the list, right-click SteamVR and select Properties.
- Select the Betas tab.
- Opt in to "beta - public beta" and select Close to confirm. The beta access code field should be left blank.
Windows Mixed Reality is a part of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Many fixes and features that affect SteamVR users come with the Windows OS. If you want to try the latest Windows 10 and Windows 11 preview builds, we encourage you to join the Windows Insider Program.
Enabling motion reprojection for SteamVR Apps
Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR has an experimental motion reprojection feature to make 90 FPS reprojection more smooth.
When motion reprojection is enabled, all Steam VR games will render nominally at ½ frame rate (45 fps instead of 90 FPS) while Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR uses motion vectors generated by the GPU to extrapolate the next frame. For SteamVR games that reliably hit 60 FPS+ on a given PC, this should result in a solid 90 FPS experience with occasional artifacts while maintaining a comfortable experience.
The available motion reprojection modes are as follows:
- SteamVR per-app setting: Allows you to control motion reprojection through the SteamVR Settings UI. You can then open SteamVR Settings, go to Video > Per-Application Video Settings, and select an option for "Motion Smoothing."
- Auto: Enables motion reprojection to turn on automatically when a game is rendering too slowly to maintain 90 FPS. When a game begins to maintain 90 FPS or starts rendering at less than 45 FPS, motion reprojection will turn off. Asynchronous rotational reprojection is enabled always.
- Motion Vector: Forces the application to always run at half-framerate with motion vector reprojection.
- None: Disables motion reprojection.
Expected Visual Artifacts
- When using an application resolution greater than 150%, you may experience blurring. When using motion reprojection, we recommend using a value less than 150%.
- Sharp contrast edges or text, especially on in-game HUDs or menus, may look temporarily warped or distorted because of disocclusion.
- SteamVR Home and many other games that don't reliably hit 50-60 FPS on your PC will continue to have a poor experience with this mode.
- Some games have been reported to run at 50% speed or with increased latency (lag). Report these games through the Windows Feedback Hub instructions below.
Initially we have experimental support for recent generation NVidia GPUs. We're continuing to iterate and improve our motion reprojection support on more GPUs, and we’re eager to hear your feedback.
Supported GPUs: Nvidia GeForce GTX1060, AMD RX470 or better, with Windows Mixed Reality compatible graphics drivers installed.
To enable motion reprojection:
- Make sure you've opted into the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR Beta using the instructions above.
- Open the SteamVR dashboard.
- Select the button on the left side with the Windows Mixed Reality logo to open Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR Settings.
- In the UI that pops up, select the Graphics tab.
- Select "Auto" for "Default SteamVR app motion reprojection mode" to enable automatic motion reprojection.
Motion Reprojection Indicator
The motion reprojection indicator helps diagnose issues with the experimental automatic motion reprojection feature. When set to true, you'll see an indicator in the top-left of your headset display during automatic motion reprojection. The color and position of this indicator corresponds to the current motion reprojection mode - see the diagram below for examples.
Green = motion reprojection is off because the application can render at full framerate.
Cyan = motion reprojection is on because the application is cpu bound.
Blue = motion reprojection is on because the application is gpu bound.
Red = motion reprojection is off because the application is running at less than half framerate; try reducing super sampling if enabled.
Green + Cyan + Blue = motion reprojection is in half-framerate mode or the application requested motion reprojection.
Sharing feedback on SteamVR
Your feedback is invaluable when it comes to improving the Windows Mixed Reality SteamVR experience. Submit all feedback and bugs through the Windows Feedback Hub. Follow these suggestions to help us get the most from your feedback:
- In Feedback Hub, indicate that you're reporting a new Problem in the "What kind of feedback is it?" section at the top.
- Select the Mixed Reality category and the Apps subcategory.
- Put the word "SteamVR" in the problem summary. That helps us find your feedback.
- Describe what SteamVR game or application you were using when you come across the issue.
- Consider attaching a SteamVR System Report to your feedback. This provides more logs that can help us diagnose your problem.
- On the SteamVR Window (the small windows that shows your controller status) select on the title to open the menu.
- Select "Create System Report".
- Save to File.
- Attach the generated file to your Feedback Hub entry directly.
- If your feedback is about SteamVR performance, collect a Mixed Reality Performance trace:
- Select the Recreate my Problem button.
- In the drop-down next to "include data about", select Mixed Reality Performance.
- Make sure the game is running and select Start Capture.
- Spend a few seconds playing the game to capture the trace. Don't capture the trace for more than 10-15 seconds, or it will be too large to submit.
- Select Stop Capture.
- Select Submit once you've completed the rest of the fields.
If you have questions or comments to share, you can also reach us on our Steam forum.
How can I opt-in to SteamVR Beta?
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SteamVR Unity Plugin
Valve maintains a Unity plugin to smoothly interface SteamVR with Unity. With SteamVR developers can target one API that all the popular VR headsets can connect to. The modern SteamVR Unity Plugin manages three main things for developers: loading 3d models for VR controllers, handling input from those controllers, and estimating what your hand looks like while using those controllers. On top of managing those things we have an Interaction System example to help get your VR application off the ground. Providing concrete examples of interacting with the virtual world and our APIs.
The SteamVR runtime must be installed. This can be downloaded from Steam under the Tools category. Or by clicking here. As developers we strongly recommend that you opt-in to SteamVR beta so you can test new features and verify your application works with the latest versions of SteamVR.
Follow the Quickstart guide on this site
If you want to explore the Interaction System scene you'll need to open the SteamVR Input window (under the Window Menu), click yes to copy example jsons, then click Save and Generate to create input actions.
For the most simple example of VR with tracked controllers see the sample scene at /SteamVR/Simple Sample
For a more extensive example including picking up, throwing objects, and animated hands see the Interaction System example at /SteamVR/Interaction System/Samples/Interactions_Example
This website contains API level documentation. General overview articles that explain concepts at a high level. As well as couple tutorials around specific features.
If you're having trouble with the plugin the best place to discuss issues is our github here: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steamvr_unity_plugin/issues/
If you'd like to discuss features, post guides, and give general feedback please post on the steam forum here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/250820/discussions/7/