SteamVR, the platform that encompasses the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), has an enormous selection of apps and experiences for VR. There are also some add-on apps available that look more like tools than standalone games, and they're there to boost your SteamVR experience. Here are some of the best ones available now.
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TurnSignal is really a no-brainer for anyone who's using a wired VR headset. Sure, the trend is turning toward wireless, but for now, you can take an extra step to keep from getting tangled. This minimalist free app adds what's called a "flower" to the virtual ground on which you're standing. When you turn one way, the flower pulls in on itself, making a tight spiral to show that the cable is winding up. When you turn the other way, the spiral opens to show that the cable is unwinding.
If you've ever played an intense game of SUPERHOT VR, you know how quickly the cable can become tangled. Now, instead of pulling up the headset and observing what's going on at your feet, you can simply look down and know which way you need to twist in order to get back to normal. TurnSignal should work with any SteamVR-compatible headset.
Have you ever seen someone painting in VR? How about while they're simultaneously fending off ghouls near Corvega Power Plant in Fallout 4 VR? With OVRDrop (about $15), you can bring a single window, a webcam, or your entire desktop into whatever other app you're running.
Bring a movie along for the VR ride, or check the chat of whatever streaming service you love most. OVRDrop should work with any headset through SteamVR, but it does have some issues with games that force the Oculus SDK.
The VIVR Mixed Reality Studio Calibration app (about $3) is the answer for anyone who's been pulling their hair out after trying to sync up cameras for a mixed reality capture.
Once your cameras are set up and capturing, run through VIVR's calibration steps by holding a Vive controller up to rings that appear on your screen. Most of the heavy lifting is handled by the app, and all you have to do is make some fine tweaks. After that, it's happy mixed reality recording. For now it seems like this app works only with HTC Vive, but once integrated into the upcoming LIV Client, it should support all VR headsets.
More great add-on apps
Have you tried any of the add-on apps listed above? How did they work? Are you using one that we should know about? Be sure to let us know in the comments section!
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.