Experimental HTC Vive Support in Firefox Nightly

Image Credit: Christin Gilbert

As of September 1st, Firefox Nightly will include experimental support for HTC Vive headsets through the OpenVR API. This is one of several upcoming hardware support updates that we will be announcing in the coming weeks, including support for HTC Vive controllers, Oculus Touch controllers and OSVR headsets. Firefox will include support for WebVR on Mac and Linux using the OSVR API.

HTC Vive includes the Lighthouse tracking system, which can track the position and orientation of the VR headset anywhere within a room-sized volume of space. Users can now enter a WebVR site and walk naturally around.

HTC Vive Support is still experimental and support for the controllers will be added separately in a later update. To try it out early, follow these steps to enable it in the current Firefox Nightly:

  1. It is recommended that you start with a clean profile by refreshing Firefox. Some preference adjustments needed for earlier WebVR builds will cause problems with the current Nightly build.
  2. Download version 1.02 of the openvr_api.dll from the OpenVR GitHub repository. If you are on 64-bit Firefox download the 64-bit version; otherwise, download the 32-bit version. 64-bit Firefox is recommended for WebVR.
  3. Save the openvr_api.dll file somewhere on your computer where the user running Firefox can read it. For example, you could create a directory like “c:\openvr” and place the dll there.
  4. In Firefox Nightly, navigate to “about:config”.
  5. Change the value of “dom.vr.openvr.enabled” to “true”.
  6. Change the value of “gfx.vr.openvr-runtime” to the full path of the openvr_api.dll that was downloaded. For example, “c:\openvr\openvr_api.dll”.
  7. Restart Firefox Nightly.

To test if it works, try some of the WebVR 1.0 examples or sites such as SketchFab that support room-scale WebVR. To make your own WebVR sites, check out A-Frame, three.js, or the WebVR 1.0 Spec for details.