The latest main-branch update to SteamVR adds a dashboard button which makes it effortless to redefine the ‘forward’ and ‘center’ orientation of your playspace, a simple but useful feature for certain games.

SteamVR has been around since the earliest days of consumer VR, but Valve has finally now added a simple way to reorient and recenter your playspace.

How to Recenter and Reorient Your Playspace in SteamVR

When you download the latest main-branch update of SteamVR, version 1.13, you’ll notice a new button on the SteamVR dashboard (an icon of a person with an arrow around it).

Screenshot by Road to VR

Clicking the button will start a three second countdown timer, at which point your position and looking direction will be used to re-define the center and forward directions of your playspace.

Why is This Useful?

This is exceptionally useful for certain games, especially those that expect the player to stand or sit mostly in a specific spot. It’s especially useful for smaller or very rectangular playspaces.

Beat Saber, for instance, would benefit from being able to move the ‘center’ of the game a bit further back from the center of the playspace, giving your arms more room to swing in front of you (considering you won’t be swinging behind you).

And now in seated games like driving simulators, you can easily sit down in your chair and then reset the forward position of your playspace so that your seat and head position are perfectly aligned with the position of the car around you.

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Further, some players may benefit by reorienting the forward direction of their playspace in the optimal direction for base station tracking. Especially useful in scenarios where you may be using a single base station.

Why the Wait?

While this has been easy to do on Oculus headsets for a long time now, it was only possible in SteamVR by doing a fresh room setup (which means taking the headset off and retracing your playspace) or with third-party tools.

The root of the missing feature may have been Valve’s early commitment to ‘room-scale’ VR gaming. Room-scale games, which are designed with zero virtual movement, don’t rely on a concept of ‘forward’, nor do they need an explicit ‘center’ beyond the central point of the playspace bounds. With time though, it’s become apparent that there’s practical reasons for easy reorientation and recentering, even considering room-scale gaming (not to mention that only a few VR games today are designed purely for room-scale movement). Or maybe the feature was just low on their priority list for all these years? We’re just glad to see it’s finally here.

Other Changes in SteamVR 1.134

SteamVR 1.13 also brings a handful of other changes out of beta, including an improved pass-through view for the Index headset which Valve calls Room View 3D. We detailed the feature when it first debuted in beta back in June.

Also out of beta with 1.13 is preliminary support for OpenXR standard in SteamVR, an open standard for VR development that’s designed to make it easier for developers to create VR content which can run on different headsets with minimal changes to the code.

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  • TechPassion

    Finally…. They did wait I asked. I wrote on Steam forums about it for the last 2 years.

    • Ad

      You can’t do it in the desktop view?

      • TechPassion

        This is very uncomfortable to do. First, you need to spawn a desktop and if you have game running it has that game full-screen. not possible to pop up that WMR home app to change things. Also, tiny fonts, difficult to do it and aim with controller laser. Not the way to do things.

    • DeenVR

      Switch to decaf dude

  • impurekind

    Yeah, it boggles my mind how long it’s taken them to get around to something this simple but essential.

    • vtid

      Finally! Yes same here for my cv1. I won’t have to play certain games on steam half inside a cupboard anymore.

    • TechPassion

      It took a few years to do it. 1 button, with 1 command “re-center” :)
      Microsoft still did not manage to do it in WMR Home App

    • Ad

      Because Oculus was a seated experience at first and I assume Valve thought games would just do this. A lot of them do.

      • drowhunter

        The problem not all of them do, and the ones that do do it differently. It took me quite a while to realize that in Asseto Corsa you had to push f12 on the keyboard. or dig deep into a menu.

        I wonder if this shortcut can be bound to controller , like push both menu buttons at the same time.

        • Ad

          I think I like it being in the steamvr menu, basically to avoid that very thing. Although there may be a few games where you need to do it often.

  • Daimus

    Love it. It’s oh so needed for seated gaming. It was such a bother when games would load their menus with “front” being to my left. Some titles didn’t even bother to reorient once you’d left the menu. In a cramped play space that was less than ideal (to put it mildly).
    All I want now is an easy way to completely disable chaperone, since my seated position is at the edge of the play space. If I recall correctly there’s a way to do it, but it’s not quick and easy. I might need to have another look at OpenVR Advanced Settings, which I used to have installed.. though I would prefer a native solution.

    • Ad

      fpsVR allows it, but I think Valve would not consider it for safety reasons.

      • Daimus

        Yeah I think you might be right. Here’s hoping that it’s another instance of it being a feature that’s low on the priority change list, and they’ll get too it one day. Like, you can already enable developer mode, but that (without some tweaking) keeps the play space boundary without walls enabled.

    • Kevin White

      It’s been a few years (over four now) but I recall there being a quick .cfg or .ini file tweak that made the chaperone invisible that I experimented with. Not as nice as just hitting a button inside SteamVR, but if you’re settling down for seated gaming it didn’t seem too bad.

      My buddy has a Vive Pro Wireless and does both seated games at the desk and has a driving setup, and both are at the edges of his playspace, and chaperone walls are never a problem, so I’ll ask what he does to make that work.

    • Maybe now we can actually play Portal VR Stories on an Oculus without needing Advanced OVR settings XD

    • MaXyM

      disabling chaperone is (should be) a game responsibility. Game reports to SteamVR if it’s seated one or not. Based on that SteamVR disables chaperone

  • Ad

    Now we need to be able to do room set up in the headset with passthrough, and depth aware motion smoothing. Huge steps forward.

  • d0x360

    Even room scale VR has physical movement in the play area… I don’t know why the article says otherwise.

    I have a Rift S, used to have a Rift and I’ve always loved how simple it was to reset forward and height.

    Steam vr was always weird when it came to position, it could change what forward was if you werent looking forward during loading it could screw up and it looks like this will solve that.

    • Zerofool

      Hi, a stupid question – how do you set the forward orientation and the floor height on the Rift S without redrawing the play are?

      • d0x360

        Just hit the rift menu button on the right controller and then recenter view should be right on the first screen that pops up.

        It won’t change your saved play area for every session but it will set whatever direction you are looking in as forward. It also will adjust the height for just that play session.

        I use it in Dirt all the time… Well not all the time just when needed. It’s one of the few games I play sitting and hitting that will realign the cockpit camera perfectly every time.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    That is excellent news and not fake news.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I really hate the new dashboard, I don’t want one click game starts, I want a choice between details en starting, even if details would be a small Icon on one of the sides of the whole game icon. I still go back to the library screen and mostly start/browse my games from there.

    • Ad

      Yeah this is terrible for browsing, my desktop has a million shortcuts on it for VR games. Hopefully a full solution is on the way.

  • Why the heck did it take this long? Oculus has had this feature since darn near day one, if I remember correctly

  • That’s a great pieces of news!

  • david vincent

    Again, the reset function should be accessible on evey VR headset via a physical button (I specially wish I had this button when I’m demoing VR).

    • drowhunter

      That would be god-like. Id replace the volume buttons for that any day

  • Zerofool

    While this has been easy to do on Oculus headsets for a long time now…

    How do you reset the forward orientation on the Rift S without redrawing the play area?

    • drowhunter

      on quest you hold down the oculus button 4 2 seconds, on rift you can click the oculus button and reset position

  • drowhunter

    Oh my god, this is the best birthday gift I got this year! I dont know how SteamVR has gone 4 years without implementing this. it was obsurd!

    Now if the could get rid of that kicking you out to the steam vr grid whenever the game loads they would finally be Jank Free.

  • Charles Bosse

    This is definitely a nice feature, even if I wasn’t personally missing it that often. Now hopefully they can incorporate a few things like making it easier to switch headsets.