Turn your Google Cardboard headset into a VR gaming powerhouse using a PC, a smartphone, and VRidge.
It seems like a matter of yesterday when the Virtual Reality headsets were just a KickStarter fever. And in a few years, VR has become one of the most impressive, cutting-edge, and innovative technology of its time.
Today, almost every “Tech Giant” offers its own virtual reality solutions like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. But the fact that most of these are expensive and require high-end hardware for proper functioning, can never be denied. Google Cardboard, however an inexpensive option, isn’t as powerful as its other siblings. That’s where VRidge enter the scenario and makes your computer think that your “Cardboard + Smartphone” combo is a powerful VR headset for gaming.
What exactly is VRidge?
VRidge is, in fact, a Vive/Oculus headset emulator, that runs on a smartphone. The primary software comes in two basic components – an Android app and a PC client. It works in such a way that the steam/Oculus games run on your windows PC environment, while you can stream them on your phone with the help of WiFi connection.
The best thing about this combination is that your PC is handling all of the heavy lifting, while your phone is capturing the content, displaying it, and is streaming back the movements. This means that you do need a VR-ready PC with sufficiently strong graphics card, and a gyroscope supporting smartphone. You can check this list of best gaming laptops, if you are not what you need to look for.
VRidge lets you enjoy the feel of the best VR headsets, and that too, without having to break your bank for the purpose. With it, you can play most of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift games, including Elite Dangerous, Minecraft, Project Cars, War Thunder, and many other games in full 3D on your smartphone.
Moreover, you can pair VRidge software with any inexpensive mobile based VR headset like Samsung Gear or Google Cardboard, and get the most from your VR experience in less than $20. You can check out the minimum and recommended system requirements to run the software their official website, Riftcat.
How to properly setup and use VRidge for Google Cardboard?
- First of all, download the RiftCat PC Client for your computer or laptop.
- Open the installer, and follow the instructions on the screen to install the client.
- Launch the client, and select the VRidge download option for Google Play Store.
- Now select a connection type between your smartphone and desktop, based on your preferences. WiFi can provide improved experience, but can cause lags and instability in the connection. USB Tethering, on the other hand, provides a more stable connection. You can activate USB tethering on your smartphone by going to Settings, Network and Internet, and then, Hotspot and Tethering menu.
- Start the application on your phone, and let RiftCat detect it.
- Confirm the connection and click the “Play” button.
Note: As SteamVR is a pre-requisite to play virtual reality games offered on steam, so if you don’t have installed it yet, then it will automatically redirect you to Steam web page. In case if you are having the issue that SteamVR is reporting the drive to be not ready, then you can easily fix it by running the “Room Setup” in the SteamVR driver window.
You may also select VRidge Gear VR option, and follow the steps mentioned on this page.
Cons of using VRidge
Obviously, nothing is perfect and the same goes here. VRidge is currently in beta, and isn’t intended to act as a full-fledged replacement of the real thing, which is exactly why the developers at Riftcat strongly advise not to purchase VR games for it. Furthermore, you may also face some issues, as reported by many other users, like low quality image, choppy performance, or app refuses to load. But that doesn’t mean the end of the world for you, does it?