Samsung Odyssey+: How I Betrayed Linux VR for Better Resolution

I have to admit, a major reason I choose HTC Vive when I bought it was that it supported Linux. Unfortunately, there were few VR games that worked in Linux and the performance of those that worked in Linux left a lot to be desired.  After a few aborted attempts at Talos Principle and Serious Sam games, I abandoned Linux VR.

Yet VR bug had got into me… With Fallout 4 and a few other games I was hooked. I wasn’t going to stop playing VR games just because they did not work in Linux. So I kept using my Vive under windows for a year. Yet, I hoped that some day I would be able to play these games in Linux as well.

That all changed when I snatched Odyssey+ in Black Friday sales. The disappearance of screen door effect (SDE), and the improvement in resolution were what nailed the deal for me. After using Vive for a while I could not get around the fact that everything looked blocky in Vive. Imagine having a GTX 1070 and looking at graphics that were muddy. If I had to describe SDE to someone I would say it makes 1400 x 1600 resolution look like 800 x 600.

It took me all of 15 minutes with Odyssey+ to put Vive back in its box and on e-bay. The difference in visual clarity was just that great. The inside out tracking used in Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) was an impressive feat of engineering as well. Unlike Vive, and Occulus; WMR headsets don’t require stationary base stations (light house). Two cameras on the headset map and track your movement fairly accurately (under most circumstances).

That being said, tracking left something to be desired and the cord was really too short to be able to do any kind of walking, but there were solutions for all of those problems. For the cord problem, you can buy extension cords. Tracking is a mixture of factors, unlike Vive, WMR headsets require a lit room, and they don’t work well with blank walls.  Turn on the lights and put some posters up on the walls for bland walls. Finally, the light leak was a real problem. I am working on solving that problem. In the end I ended up committing further into Odyssey+ and WMR system by investing for more mods.

Long story short, I guess I won’t be playing VR games in Linux anytime soon. The inside out tracking in Odyssey+ requires Windows specific libraries… I guess some day in the future somebody can implement a compatibility layer or something… Till then, Windows it is.

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