Fallout 4 VR immerses you in the nuclear wasteland of the Commonwealth more fully than any other version of the game, but if you were worried about it being limited to the HTC Vive ecosystem then, fear not, getting it running on the Oculus Rift is only marginally more awkward.
You’re going to need a decent GPU for your Fallout 4 VR fun, so check out our list of the best graphics cards to buy today.
In fact you could probably argue that setting up Fallout 4 VR on the Vive is just as bothersome given the often frustrating effort that has to go into setting up the HTC VR system. The Oculus Rift may not quite have the same super-accurate 360° tracking, but it’s far cheaper and a lot easier to get going out-of-the-box.
Getting Fallout 4 VR running on the Rift is actually incredibly easy - you just need to get your device playing nicely with Steam VR (sometimes you will need to do some tweaking to even get that far) but then you simply have to run the game. There's no software lock limiting it to HTC hardware, you're weapons-free to game on the Rift.
Job done. Well, that was the easiest tutorial I’ve ever had to write…
Unfortunately, while Fallout 4 VR does work straight away with the Rift, it’s not the most happy of marriages. Because it was designed with the Vive in mind the menus are set for use with the wee trackpads of the HTC controllers, and that causes some major headaches for the analog sticks of the Rift’s Touch controllers.
Using the sticks to navigate around your on-wrist Pip-Boy, the various game menus, and *shudder* the settlement construction menus, delivers a frustration level on par with using a couple of bits of string as chopsticks. They’re not designed for the endeavour and just do not work.
Thankfully there is a fix. The latest version of the OpenVR Input Emulator provides a workaround which offers touchpad emulation for each of the analog axis. This allows simple navigation around the menus, though can be still be a bit awkward in the map on your Pip-Boy.
Download and install the software
You first need to download and install the OpenVR Input Emulator. The current version is v1.2, but you will need to opt out of the SteamVR Beta and switch back to the latest stable release build.
You can then install the executable and, once you’re inside the headset with SteamVR running, it will bring up a fresh VR Input Emulator settings button just below the main window.
Add Touchpad emulation to the controllers
Clicking on the VR Input Emulator button will bring up another dialog, one that gives you deeper access to the settings of your Touch controllers. Clicking on the Device drop-down will allow you to select the individual controllers as you will need to set them up separately.
Select the Input Remapping button and then select Axis0 (Joystick) in the following dialog screen. From here you can select which version of the emulation you use - either Position Based or Position Based (Deferred Zero Update). I’d recommend the former as the latter can mess up the movement controls.
Checking the Button Press Deadzone Fix will also allow you to press down on the joystick when it’s central and still have Fallout 4 VR register the click.
The most important thing to do next is click Save. If you just return the previous screen without pressing that button it won’t stick. Now you will need to go through the same process with the opposite controller.
Add a toggle for the emulation
By adding a toggle to each of the Touch controllers you can turn the emulation on and off from within the game, which can be handy when navigating around the map. Back in the Input Remapping Settings screen select the Button_A option and check the Long Press box on the following screen. There is an audio cue to let you know when the toggle has been switched.
In the drop-down box next to it you can select Toggle Touchpad Emulation and save the settings to return to the previous screen. Again, you will need to do this per controller.
You will then end up with a Remapping screen which looks like this for each of the Touch devices.
Launch Fallout 4 VR!
Once all those settings are saved you can go back to the main SteamVR window and run Fallout 4 VR for all your wasteland funtimes, safe in the knowledge that navigating the menus won’t be as fraught as navigating the Commonwealth.
From here you can go ahead and remap the button controls however you like. The Oculus Touch Controllers have a couple of extra buttons on them which can be substituted for the sometimes tricky times where you have to push the analog stick in a direction while clicking it down.
You might also want to remap one of the grip buttons to holding and picking up items for ease of use. But from there it’s really down to your personal preferences and how you prefer to play.
And that’s pretty much it, you’re now ready to hit Fallout 4 VR running… except don’t run you’ll probably smash your face and Rift into one smushy red mess.
It’s a hell of an experience, and for any Fallout fan, or VR aficionado, you really ought to give it a go. Some parts of it work better than others - the gunplay is far more immersive, while the settlement building is often painful - but it’s a fascinating window into what triple-A titles actually made for VR might be like in the future.