Onward Adds ‘Virtual Gunstock Mode’ For Rift S And WMR Inside-Out Tracking

If you’re an Onward player with an Oculus Rift S or WMR headset you’re in luck- the tactical shooter just added ‘Virtual Gunstock Mode’ to make using scoped rifles a better experience.

The update also adds support for the Valve Index Controllers as well as improving the game’s lighting, animations, and performance.

Unlike externally tracked headsets, the Rift S and Windows MR headsets use their onboard cameras to track their controllers, via LEDs under the plastic of the tracking rings. Oculus use infrared LEDs invisible to the eye, while Microsoft uses visible light. The Rift S uses five cameras, whereas Windows MR headsets use two.

The cameras use wide angled fisheye lenses so can track a fairly wide range, but if a controller is very close under the headset it will be out of that range, or even within range the LEDs will simply be too big to uniquely distinguish.

Interestingly, this is an issue Oculus CTO John Carmack stated “is being worked on” in the Insight tracking software itself, and noted that he “expects improvements.”

For now, Virtual Gunstock Mode is the solution for shooters. When you bring a two handed weapon up to aim Virtual Gunstock Mode kicks in and keeps the weapon locked in position. Your front hand and body movement now controls the aim.

We tested the mode today and found it works as described. With the Rift S we are now able to accurately hit targets with scoped weapons without encountering any tracking glitches, although there is a slight loss of fine control.

You can enable Virtual Gunstock Mode from the main settings by changing ‘Gunstock’ to ‘Virtual’. We recommend also enabling Hold To Grip (on the right in settings).

Onward is one of the three games in VR League, the first and biggest VR esports league. The league is sponsored by Oculus, so Facebook has an interest in making sure the game is fully playable on the Rift S. While VR League currently uses the original Rift in tournaments, it seems likely they will eventually switch to the Rift S, as the original Rift is now discontinued.

Inside-out tracking greatly simplifies setup and allows for lower cost hardware. But as this update shows, its also requires some games to release patches to account for its limitations.

A similar situation arose with the release of Oculus Touch and PlayStation VR in late 2016, where developers added snap turning to account for the front-facing sensors. It’s not clear yet whether there’s a similar universal solution for inside-out, but Virtual Gunstock Mode seems to be the right move for shooters.

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