A recent SteamVR beta release included a hidden feature that allows the user’s playspace boundary to be set up in a passthrough mode which could eventually be used for existing SteamVR headsets or a future headset from Valve.

Users of Quest or Rift S will be familiar with passthrough playspace setup. This when you outline the boundary of your playspace while actually wearing the headset and using its cameras to look at the room around you. The feature significantly streamlines the playspace setup process compared to looking an another display (like a computer monitor) while trying to create your boundary.

Despite having their own on-board cameras, SteamVR headsets like Index and others have yet to adopt this convenience, but that could soon change.

VR YouTuber Brad Lynch recently discovered a hidden playspace setup feature that was contained in a beta release of SteamVR. Unlike the platform’s existing playspace setup feature, this one guides the user through the process while they are actually wearing their headset. Similar to what we see on Quest, the setup procedure has users reach to the ground with their controller to establish the floor height. And where on Quest users trade their playspace boundary with a controller, the hidden SteamVR setup has users ‘push’ the boundary walls away from them to expand their playspace to the correct size.

The feature is still clearly in development and right now doesn’t properly enable a passthrough view, but we can be almost certain it’s meant to be a passthrough playspace setup because the user needs to be able to see the room around them in order to safely create their playspace boundary from within the headset.

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It isn’t clear at this point if the new feature is intended to be used with existing PC VR headsets that have cameras on them (like Index or Vive Pro 2), or perhaps even Valve’s rumored standalone headset.

The latter seems plausible considering that passthrough playspace setup is essentially a requirement for any 6DOF standalone VR headset, and that’s because unlike with PC VR, there’s no PC screen to relay setup instructions to the user. It’s possible this could instead be achieved using a companion device like a smartphone, though we haven’t seen any headsets take that approach to date.

Regardless of whether or not there’s a new headset to take advantage of the feature, we’d be happy to see it come to existing headsets, like Index, which have on-board cameras that have gone almost entirely unutilized. Hopefully other native SteamVR headsets will be able to tap into the feature too.

Brad Lynch also found a handful of other interesting changes hiding in the same beta release of SteamVR—check out the full video to see them all.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • It’s good to hear that people who are using $1000+ headsets might soon have access to features a $300 Quest2 has now. I hate to think of all of those poor, envious Index users, left out in the cold with their pricey, wired headsets, unable to experience the majesty of what the Quest2 can offer, out of the box.

    Someday they may even get optical hand tracking!


    • XRC

      Had hand tracking on Index for a considerable time, using HTC’s free hand tracking software for PCVR.

      Seems to work well, and there’s always ultraleap which fits very neatly in the frunk, if you want/need highest precision hand tracking.

      • ViRGiN

        yeah so what? did you get triggered?

        • Jesus fucking wept you just don’t quit, do you virgin? If you put half the effort into getting laid that you put into being a VR Troll, maybe you wouldn’t be such an incel.

          • ViRGiN

            wow talking about sex in vr thread. clearly you never got laid! lmao!

          • David Wilhelm

            You are getting to be more pervasive than that guy who puts extra Jesus in every post or the dude who has to post in bold. Grow up already.

          • ViRGiN

            found the og virgin, but let me tell you something, you ain’t holy mary

        • John Doe

          Don’t go on a shooting spree, my angry incel xd

          • ViRGiN

            are you so desperate that you are visiting over a month old comments on a thread about valve di’ckard?

    • NL_VR

      Index users can enjoy most of what Quest 2 users can experience.

    • ViRGiN

      triggered people downvoting… always the same ‘people’.

      i’m loving the desperate search of any evidence of ‘valve dickard’ existence, this is sadlyitsbradleyism at it’s finest. for every line of code, they add 100 lines of their wildest dreams.

    • ViRGiN

      also don’t forget that wireless adapter is coming to valve index… on kickstarter next year! hahaha

    • Arno van Wingerde

      No points for being nice… but points for the humor!

    • asdf

      I have both and i still go for the index. It might just be the better image quality or tracking but it doesnt matter. Both headsets are sitting here on my desk and the index get mores use than the quest 2.

      Might not be the same for everyone but yeah pretty funny reading your post. I laughed but then went ahh this guys never had both headsets or something.

      • ViRGiN

        > this guys never had both headsets

        ah yes, because every quest 2 user, if was given index for free, they would absolutetly love it.

        i don’t want that piece of shit even if i get paid to use it. it belongs to museum, and on display along with other valve failed hardware.

        “you guys” are delusional. lighthouse tracking isn’t the most accurate at all. valve index displays are absolutly horrendous, so no, it does not provide better image quality.

        • Net Shaman

          Yeah, the image is not sharp as it is thought and it is HEAVY to wear.
          There is always a tight blur that just can’t be rid of .
          And the BIG problem is that damn GODRAYS ( lens glare ) , just AWFUL !

          Tested one , after 30 min of use , i had pain in the vertebrae , also not comfortable , just because you can’t tight it even if you go to the max tight , it have still a little gap making it just don’t fit well if you a little head.
          Refunded it after all these.
          The only thing it have for him is that the larger FOV.
          Those who still say that this headset is ok, are just on a cognitive dissonance by themselves.

          • ViRGiN

            no, you’re just a meta shill who never used an index


          • Dj Arcas

            I’ve got about 25 headsets in my office, and the G2 is the go-to one unless I need something that requires better tracking, then I use my Quest2. Everything Valve’s done just gathers dust and I only use it to verify something runs.

    • Charles

      I think any standalone headset is gonna be heavier than the equivalent wired headset, which is a step backwards in comfort.

      There’s still no such thing as a truly-comfortable VR headset. Only “less uncomfortable than others”. This should be focused on by developers.

      • ViRGiN

        quest 2 weighs less than valve index. and no, valve index isn’t “golden standard” when it comes to comfort as much as fanboys would love you to believe.

    • Dj Arcas

      $300? You haven’t seen the price of the SteamDeck have you?

  • It was about time

  • Bartholomew

    I bet standalone VR headsets now are good, they don’t ruin anymore PC VR games…
    Gaben fangirls are the worst.

  • I wonder if we eventually get a standalone headset that can just initially selfcalibrate the boundaries and height. One could adjust those settings of course to their liking but as a first step so to speak…

    • ViRGiN

      yes we will, and it’s not going to be from valve

      • David Wilhelm

        Mark? Is that you?

        • ViRGiN

          gaben? is that you triggered again? did you sent this from steam deck sitting on the toilet?

  • Andrew Jakobs

    The feature significantly streamlines the playspace setup process compared to looking an another display (like a computer monitor) while trying to create your boundary.
    Huh? No need to really look at your screen, just hover the controller along the border of your playarea.

    • ViRGiN

      or like… adopt in-headset guardian drawing like quest 1 has had since day 1.

      when i used steamvr, the calibration setup required going back to pc to click ‘next’ or whatever. steamvr is so vintage in all regards.

  • Clownworld14

    lmao at the quest 2 fangirls trying to trash the index users.

  • GordonFreeman

    This sounds like a step forward, would like to see what Valve might offer if they created a stand alone.
    As far as I am concerned any progression with any headset software or hardware has got to be a good thing keeping VR alive. :)

    • ViRGiN

      “any progression” HAHAHAHAHHA
      what a delusional index femboy

      • GordonFreeman

        You make me laugh with your bitter pointless comments, every day you just try to wind people up like all trolls do.

        Feel a little sorry for you as you must be pretty bored, hey if it makes you happy or not. :)

        • ViRGiN

          if i’m trolling, then you got trolled.
          i’ll just label you as a hater so i can dismiss any ‘criticism’ you have.
          trolling would imply i don’t even believe in what i’m saying.
          i feel sorry for you for continously getting trolled.