Firestorm VR Mod 6.6.3

Firestorm VR Mod is a version of the popular Firestorm Viewer for Second Life and OpenSimulator with modifications to provide VR capabilities for VR Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) via SteamVR. Firestorm VR Mod is now available from https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/releases (Assets)

For Firestorm VR Mod community support use the Discord Discussion Channel:
P373R-WORKSHOP by p373r_kappler [Invite]

Table of Contents
Usage Settings Troubleshooting Black in HMD
SteamVR Popup Fn Keys Default View FPS Advice
Xbox Controller 3D SpaceNav Source Code VRLand Test

Firestorm 6.6.3 + P373R VR Mod: This build includes P373R’s VR Mod 6.3.3 changes merged into the Firestorm 6.6.3.67470 release branch. The VR Mod approach takes a minimalistic approach to inserting VR capabilities into the viewer in order that the maintenance overhead is decreased and the potential longevity of the approach is increased. VR Controller support is not included.

Download the release installer (for Windows only) from the “Assets” list at the bottom of the entry for the latest version available at https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha/releases/

Firestorm VR Mod is created using “GitHub Actions” (GHA) thanks to @humbletim and @thoys. Minor manual changes are made for the VR Mod 6.3.3 code for the merge, which otherwise continues to be suitable. Some of the code for performance metrics wants to be just ahead of rendering, which is where the VR Mod inject points also wanted to be. Since they are independent it’s just a matter of explaining to git they are unrelated and can exist in any order. The cmake scripts are also amended to auto-include openvr.dll.

The App name has been changed to “FirestormVR” and the Program Files and AppData directories changed so the installation can exist side-by-side with stock Firestorm if desired. Settings are stored in the different default user folder C:/Users/<name>/AppData/Roaming/FirestormVR_x64. Cache is also stored in a different default user folder C:/Users/<name>/AppData/Local/FirestormVROS_x64.

U S A G E

VR Mode instructions are available via prompts in the viewer or via information on https://gsgrid.de/firestorm-vr-mod/. In short…

  • Press CTRL+TAB to load or unload the SteamVR driver. Do this each time you want to enter VR mode after starting up.
  • Press TAB key to enable and disable VR mode.
  • Press F5 to open the settings menu, you should see a text menu in the middle of the screen. The settings menu works only when VR mode is enabled.
  • Press F6 to increase the selected value. Press F7 to decrease the selected value.
  • Press F5 again to switch to the next menu entry.
  • By pressing F5 on the last menu entry the menu will close and save the settings in a config file which is located in
    C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\FirestormVR_x64\vrconfig.ini
    and which can be edited directly. Pressing TAB for VR mode reloads the config file.
  • Hold F3 to see some debug info (example here).
  • Press F4 to disable and enable HMD’s direction changes. It may be better to disable the HMD’s direction interface when editing and flying with the camera. This may be subject to change in future versions.
  • In the camera floater two buttons has been added to offset the HMD’s base rotation.
  • Moving the mouse to the corners or the sides will shift the screen to this direction so menus can be accessed more easily.

For issues on some specific headsets you might wish to try the Firestorm VR Mod Discord Channel: P373R-WORKSHOP by p373r_kappler [Invite]. Peter Kappler also offers the following advice…

  1. Firestorm VR Mod works best while sitting and using mouse and keyboard.
  2. WindowsMixedReality users may need to press windows key + Y to unlock the mouse when the HMD is worn.
  3. If your VR hardware cannot maintain constant 90 FPS you could try enabling motion reprojection in your HMD. In WindowsMixedReality it can be done by uncommenting “motionReprojectionMode” : “auto”, in the config file located at “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MixedRealityVRDriver\resources\settings\default.vrsettings”. This will make the HMD interpolate between frames and create a smoother experience. Vive and Oculus should have similar functionalities which can be accessed from SteamVR settings. For Vive it is called Motion Smoothing.

S E T T I N G S

VR Mode Setup

Firestorm VR Mod installs into its own folder and uses its own user Settings directory so that the VR Mod viewer can be installed alongside the standard Firestorm viewer. Note that if you want to import existing Firestorm accounts/settings you have to manually copy them over between AppData/Roaming/Firestorm_x64 and AppData/Roaming/FirestormVR_x64 folders.

As usual, Ctrl+TAB initially sets up SteamVR (and HMD support as needed), TAB is used to toggle VR mode on or off, F5 lets you select and step through the various VR HMD or user specific settings for IPD, texture shift to register the left and right eye images, and focal distance to change depth perception, etc. F6/F7 are used to increment and decrement each setting selection.

Peter Kappler suggested the following process to establish suitable settings for your HMD:

  1. Set IPD to 0 (zero)
  2. Then adjust Texture Shift until image is sharp and focused
  3. Then adjust IPD which separates your cameras to left and right to get a good 3D effect

Hovertips

If you see a lot of hover tips showing under the mouse it could be that the debug setting “ShowHoverTips” is set to TRUE (the default) which may show something constantly under the mouse even for inert unscripted objects. You can turn that off via Debug Settings or via Preferences > User Interface > 3D World > Show Hover Tips. Via that same preferences panel, you might alternatively prefer to lengthen the delay before hover tips are activated.

Chat Bubbles

In VR Mode it may be useful to show local nearby chat in “bubbles” over each avatar’s head. This can be done via Preferences > Chat.


T R O U B L E S H O O T I N G

Misaligned VR Cursor

Note from Gaffe on Discord: Firestorm VR Mod’s VR cursor will have a small-to-extreme offset on Windows in particular if you are using Windows UI Scaling with any settings OTHER than 100%. To fix the VR cursor offset, set the Windows UI Scaling for your primary display to 100%

Jumbled VR Initialisation Text:

I have noted that Ctrl+Tab to start the SteamVR/HMD device software sometimes shows jumbled letters for the VR driver initialisation message, and once that occurs using Tab to launch VR mode does not give a VR display in the HMD.

After some experimentation, I found that after starting Firestorm VR Mod, rather than going straight to Cltrl+Tab to set up for VR devices, I first dismiss the onscreen message with Tab, and THEN do a Ctrl+Tab after which the full message without missing letters immediately appears, and SteamVR/Oculus is launched and when the Tab is then used the VR mode works properly. This may be a temporary situation and could be related to driver updates or SteamVR changes, but if you see the same thing, try the Tab and then Ctrl+Tab sequence once or twice to see if that also works for you.

Missing Menus and Buttons in Centred VR View

If you notice that the top menu bar and bottom and side button areas do not show in your headset when you are in VR Mode and your view is centred (i.e. mouse is positioned centrally in the 2D view) it may be that the VR settings you chose for Texture Shift and Texture Zoom need to be adjusted, or set to zero.

All Black HMD Display or Black Edges or Strips in HMD Display

An all black display in the VR HMD was an issue in earlier versions and is mostly resolved now… but it can still occur with some headsets. In case you encounter issues with a black HMD display… Peter Kappler suggests the following:

  • Create a program-specific profile for the viewer in your graphic card settings and enable FXAA.
  • Second Life only supports FXAA. Other types of Anti-aliasing can be disabled.

Firestorm VR Mod shifts the display in VR mode to an edge if the mouse or pointer is placed towards an edge or corner of the viewer window. This is to allow easier access to menus, user interface buttons and HUDs. It can be confusing though if you enter VR mode and find that part of the view is black. It is usually because the mouse is placed towards a corner or edge. Just move the mouse back to the centre of the screen and the full VR view should appear.

SteamVR Reset/Quit Screen Shows in HMD

When you switch to VR mode (after activating VR with Ctrl+TAB and using TAB), you may see a “Next Up… Firestorm” message or a SteamVR popup screen to “Reset the View” and “Quit SteamVR”. This has been observed to occur on the first run of a newly installed viewer. It can usually be dismissed with your controller if that is active, but if not the screen may continue to show the popup in VR mode in the HMD. Try another round of ctrl+TAB and TAB or if that does not work try stopping and restarting the viewer to clear this. These glitches may be more to do with legacy OpenVR + the latest SteamVR updates rather than Firestorm or VR Mod code changes.

Function Keys and Gestures

If you have issues with some of the Function keys (F5 or other Firestorm VR Mod keys) not working… look to see if the F keys involved are mapped to active “Gestures”. You can find a list of the gestures you currently have active and the keys associated with them using the “Gestures” toolbar button… or the Comm -> Gestures menu item (Ctrl+G shortcut).

Reset Default View in Firestorm Viewer

If your camera viewpoint appears to be wrong… type ESC or Shift + ESC a few times. That should reset your camera view. You could also try CTRL + 9, which does the same thing.

A D V I C E    O N    F R A M E    R A T E

You do need to ensure you have a good frame rate to have a comfortable VR experience. The Firestorm VR Mod Viewer will not work well if the Second Life/OpenSim region you visit cannot normally be displayed in 2D with a decent frame rate. In VR mode you can assume you will get 50% or less of the frame rate that shows on the 2D normal screen. At low frame rates bad flickering or texture tearing will occur in VR mode. My suggestion is to look at the frame rate (in Firestorm it is displayed in the upper right hand corner of the viewer) and to adjust the graphics settings (especially draw distance, shadows and quality sliders) until you have around 100fps (and definitely more than 50fps) and then try VR.

You may need to disable “vsync” in Settings -> Graphics -> Hardware as if this is on (the default) the FPS is capped to the frame rate of your 2D monitor (often 60fps, meaning in VR you would get less than 30fps).

Firestorm includes an “Improve Graphics Speed” performance tool and facilities to autotune the FPS which may be helpful. See advice on FPS improvement and the new “Performance Floater” and “FPS Autotune” capabilities in <a href="http://“>Beq Janus’s Blog Post (21-Mar-2022).

To improve frame rate (FPS) you might opt to set shadows to “None”, Water reflections to “None: Opaque” and use a reasonably low draw distance appropriate to the scene. Also close viewer UI windows and tools and detach any HUDs you are not actively using. The rendering of Linden Water, the water surface and its effects, can significantly reduce frame rates. Setting water reflections to “None; opaque” which gives a big FPS boost whilst still leaving the water looking okay. In an extreme situation, and in an environment that makes sense such as a meeting room, disabling Linden Water entirely can boost frame rates. Do that via Advanced -> Rendering Types -> Water. If the Advanced menu is not shown use Settings -> Advanced -> Show Advanced Menu or World -> Show More -> Advanced menu.

Peter Kappler also suggests: Particles… a fireplace is going to eat 20 to 30 fps! So turn them off for VR.

Tips from David Rowe for using the CtrlAltStudio VR Viewer (which is no longer maintained) may also be relevant:

  1. To improve your frame rate, reduce your draw distance and/or tweak other display settings such as advanced lighting model, shadows, FOV, pixel density, etc.
  2. Make sure you don’t have Preferences > Graphics > Rendering > Limit Framerate enabled.
  3. To display avatar chat above avatars use Preferences > Chat > Visuals > Show chat in bubbles above avatars.
  4. With floating text you may want to adjust the distance the floating text fades at so that distant text is not so annoying in VR mode: Preferences > User Interface > 3D World > Floating text fade distance.

C O N T R O L L E R S

Currently, specialised VR Controllers are not supported, but a range of game controllers and 3D navigation devices do work where supported by the normal viewer code.

Xbox One Controller

An Xbox One controller as used with the Oculus Rift (or an Xbox 360 controller) can be enabled, as usual, in Firestorm via Preferences -> Move & View -> Movement -> Joystick Configuration -> Enable Joystick.

You will probably find the controls are under or over sensitive, or some buttons and triggers don’t do what you expect. See this blog post and the image here (click for a larger version) for some suggestions as to how to amend the settings…
https://hugsalot.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/joystick-settings-for-firestorm-with-xbox-360-controller/

You might want to enter “-1” rather than axis “5” as an indication that axis is not mapped. With the setup suggested the “A” button toggles between the normal avatar view and “FlyCam” mode allowing you to move the camera separately to the avatar.

3D SpaceNavigator or SpaceMouse

3DSpaceNavigatorAs with all versions of Firestorm, the viewer supports other forms of “joystick”. One is the 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator (aka SpaceMouse) which is a “3D mouse” supporting both avatar motion and by clicking the left hand button the separate “FlyCam” camera control.

My recommendation is to install the SpaceNavigator just by plugging it into Windows and receiving default Windows drivers for the device. I do not install any special SpaceNavigator drivers as suggested on the Second Life Wiki, some of which are incompatible with Second Life viewers.

S O U R C E

This version of Firestorm VR Mod 6.4.12.62831 is based on the Firestorm source code at Commit r63477:5b44308aee43 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020 21:32:05). Firestorm source is available at https://vcs.firestormviewer.org/phoenix-firestorm. Look under “Commits” and select the branch for Firestorm_6.4.12 (link here).

With Firestorm VR Mod Peter Kappler uses a coding approach which injects VR capabilities into the Firestorm Viewer to make the mod easier to maintain in future and for others to repeat or adapt. The source is available from his web page at https://gsgrid.de/firestorm-vr-mod/ [Local Copy].

Impressively, the source is written in a way that it requires only some editing in the llviewerdisplay.cpp and adding 2 files to the project. All changes are marked with #####P373R##### comments. Peter also included the openvr header and lib files you will need in the rar. For information about the rest of the files you will need, read how to compile Firestorm at https://wiki.firestormviewer.org/fs_compiling_firestorm.

Note that the VR Mod source remains stable since version 6.3.3 and that no changes are needed for insertion into later versions of Firestorm to date.

The GitHub Actions (GHA) source by @HumbleTim used to combine Firestorm source and Peter Kappler’s P373R VR Mod addons and build it using Visual Studio 2019 is available via https://github.com/humbletim/firestorm-gha.

V R L A N D – T E S T   A R E A

VRLand on OSGrid is a metrics area for performance testing and to establish virtual field of view in your VR headset.

hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/RuthAndRoth/16/16/1000

More detail at: https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2016/07/20/vrland-a-community-and-test-region-for-virtual-reality-in-virtual-worlds/

Ai-Austin-with-Oculus-DK2-800x640You can also pick up a VR Headset attachment for your avatar in OpenSim on the OSGrid on both the RuthAndRoth and (if available) the VRLand regions. Or in Second Life pick up the VR HMD on the Second Life Marketplace. The 3D models of the Oculus Rift were provided for free use by William Burke (MannyLectro) and imported to OpenSim by Michael Cerquoni (Nebadon Izumi) and Second Life by Ai Austin.

This entry was posted in OpenSim, Second Life, VR and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Firestorm VR Mod 6.6.3

  1. bat says:

    Humbletim offers more advice on frame rate…

    Motion smoothing in steamvr (apparently by design) will cut the frame rate literally in half — intending in that state to upscale the frames back to full rate itself (using reprojection magic) — also note that in this state FPS reported inFfirestorm won’t be a reliable indicator anymore.

    in general seems like there are many external variables potentially affecting frame rate:
    – [ effective resolution, vsync, vr mode, transparent water (in particular) ] in firestorm
    – [ effective resolution, motion smoothing, supersample filtering ] in steamvr _system-wide_ config (General tab)
    – [ effective resolution, motion smoothing, supersample filtering ] in steamvr _application-specific_ config (Video tab; Video -> Per-Application button)
    – [ effective resolution, vsync, supersampling ] in nvidia _global_ config (nvidia control panel Global Settings)
    – [ vsync, supersampling ] in nvidia _application-specific_ config (nvidia control panel Program Settings)

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