VR
CURATOR

We have introduced a great many people to Virtual Reality. VR is immersive and that is its strength and draw. This includes using sound (and especially spatially processed sound) to achieve a fully immersive effect. High-end headphones with noise cancelling capabilities make this all the more complete. What we and others have found is that in order to guide the uninitiated through their initial VR experiences, we find ourselves constantly trying to shout through the headphones and over the important sound of the experience in order to guide the user. In movies and plays they refer to this as breaking the “fourth wall”. All of this makes for a less than optimal VR experience and severely detracts from the wonder of it all.

VRCURATOR answers this challenge by bringing the wonder of "co-presence" to the VR environment. Now, the experienced VR user can “join” the new initiate in the experience. VRCURATOR puts your voice directly into the VR headset being worn by the user. You become a “spirit guide” and can modulate your voice in such a way that fits the experience, enhancing the joy and wonder of any VR title.

The two most important capabilities of VR are presence (being in a different place) and co-presence (sharing a different place with others).
— Dr. Richard Marks, PlayStation Magic Lab, from ROADTOVR.COM interview, 2017

Enhancing the experience

We have had a blast creating and using VRCURATOR. We can now use a calm normal voice, and guide friends, family and guests through the experience with ease.

It has been remarked to us repeatedly that it felt as if we (the curator) were an internal part of the VR experience, not external to it.

VRCURATOR is a must for anyone who regularly introduces family and friends to the exciting world of VR. It makes for a much more immersive experience for the new user. It is also a must for educators guiding students through VR experience lesson plans and health care professionals working with patients or collaborating with colleagues in the VR environment. VRCURATOR IS the "co-presence" application that enables the maximum potential of VR.

Finally, VRCURATOR is essential when you want to join in on the VR fun. It turns every single-player experience into a multi-player extravaganza!

VRCURATOR simply makes VR more fun for everybody. :-)

And at $4.99, everybody can be a curator!

 
 

VRCURATOR Overview

Welcome to the fun!! Below, you'll find a guide on how to setup and use VRCURATOR. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you run into any issues, and happy curating!

 
 
 
 

launching vrcurator

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Once you have VRCURATOR installed, you can launch it from either your Desktop shortcut or from within STEAM (if installed through your STEAM account).

Important: for the most predictable and consistent results, VRCURATOR should be launched AFTER your VR headset is running. If launched before, the audio output will likely be linked to the original Windows audio channel, instead of the VR headset.

 

 

configuring vrcurator

Selecting the microphone input

Once VRCURATOR is running, you will see a list of active microphone inputs and headsets on the left. Select the one you wish to use by clicking on it. The selection will be confirmed by being highlighted. If the microphone or headset you wish to use is not in the list, confirm that it is plugged in and active and that your computer’s operating system recognizes it. Then, press the Refresh button on the top right of the list and the microphone or headset will appear. Select it by clicking on it and verify that it is highlighted.
 
*Note to HTC Vive Owners - If you want to preview what you sound like in the VR user’s headset, you can go to SteamVR/Settings/Audio and Mirror the sound to your VRCURATOR headset. Due to a slight delay in the microphone input processing, it can be difficult to speak in a smooth fashion while constantly mirroring the audio. We suggest to use this for previewing only, and then turn mirroring off (or mirror to your television, in a group setting).

 
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Selecting the voice effect

The next option is for a number of voice effects that can be applied to the curator’s or co-player’s voice. These can be switched to any time during use and will be applied as soon as selected.

 
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Arming the microphone

Once you have selected the microphone or headset and selected the voice affect, VRCURATOR is ready to use. You arm or engage VRCURATOR by toggling the large microphone button on the interface. When the button is red with a slash through the microphone, VRCURATOR is unarmed (muted), and the curator’s or co-player’s voice will not be heard in the VR headset’s headphones.

When the microphone button on the interface is green, the curator’s or co-player’s voice will be heard in the VR Headset’s headphones and the selected voice effect will be used. The microphone button is a toggle and so the microphone can be armed and unarmed or enable and muted simply by clicking on the button. As stated, voice effects can be switched at any time just by clicking on and highlighting the desired effect.

Keyboard Shortcut: Spacebar

 
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VOLUME slider

The Volume slider in VRCURATOR affects how loud the curator’s or co-player’s voice will be heard in the VR Headset’s headphones. It defaults to maximum when VRCURATOR is started and should be adjusted for the comfort of the VR user.

Keyboard Shortcut: +/-

 
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BOOST slider

The Boost slider boosts the volume of the curator’s or co-player’s voice heard in the VR Headset’s headphones. It also has the effect of picking up more of the ambient or other noise in the area of use, including other people’s voices as well as the VR user’s voice. This can be distracting for the VR user, hearing their own voice in their headphones. Boost defaults to about 30% when VRCURATOR is launched and should be applied only as required for the VR user to clearly hear the curator’s or co-player’s voice.

Keyboard Shortcut: [ / ] (left bracket, right bracket)

 

PAN slider

The Pan slider facilitates the curator or co-player to place their voice in the specific ear of the VR user. This can be especially useful when using VRCURATOR as a curator and guiding the VR user to “look over here” or to “look over here” on their right or their left. Instead of the oft-times misunderstood or mis- executed, “look to your right” or “look to your left” you can quickly and easily guide the VR user by simply concentrating your voice in the direction you wish for them to go. Their head will turn in the direction of the curator’s or co-player’s voice.

Keyboard Shortcut: Left, Down, and Right Arrows

 

troubleshooting

No voice heard in VR user's headset

If the VR user in not hearing the curator’s or co-player’s voice in their headset, check the following:

VRCURATOR was launched AFTER the VR headset was started. If launched before the headset is powered, the VRCURATOR may not pick up the underlying OS change in audio output channel (the OS usually defaults to the USB audio output of the headset once plugged in and powered). Close and re-open VRCURATOR to fix.

The headset or microphone being used has power. If no power, replace batteries or unplug and replug into USB port. Verify that headset has power and in VRCURATOR press the refresh icon above the headset/microphone list.

The headset or microphone being used by the curator or co-player is listed, selected and highlighted in VRCURATOR. Check the headset/microphone list and select, click on the desired headset/microphone.

The large microphone button has been armed and is green. Check the headset/microphone list and select, click on the desired headset/microphone.

If your headset or microphone have a Mute button, make sure that Mute is disarmed.

If your VR Headset for the VR user has an external volume dial, make sure it is turned up enough for the VR User to hear the VR application audio.

If the VR Headset for the VR user has a Mute button, make sure that Mute is disarmed.

 

Keyboard shortcuts not working

Make sure VRCURATOR has focus on the PC.

If using a wireless keyboard make sure the keyboard is turned on and connected.

 

Voice from VRCURATOR is garbled

It can happen that over extended period of use, the voice coming through VRCURATOR may become garbled. If this happens, first try disarming and arming the Microphone button in VRCURATOR. If this doesn’t restore the voice quality, closing VRCURATOR and reopening it will.

 

VR user is hearing themselves in their headset

This is caused by the BOOST being set too high. Bring the BOOST slider down to the level where the VR user no longer hears themselves. Positioning the VRCURATOR headset or microphone further from the VR user will also help minimize this.

 

Voice of curator or co-player is looping in VR user headset

It can happen when a headset in use by VRCURATOR is unplugged in mid-use, or power to it is lost, or an additional headset is plugged into the computer in mid-use, that the voice of the curator or co-player will start looping in the VR user headset. Simply disarm and then arm VRCURATOR and the looping will cease and normal voice will return.