Can Enscape work without SteamVR?

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  • Hello,


    After spending some time researching compatibility between SteamVR and the Meta Quest 2 headset, I realized that SteamVR generated a lot of bugs during use. Can I launch a VR project without going through SteamVR but directly on the Oculus application? I've read that version 3.5 allows this. If so, how can I do it?


    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Official Post

    Media Help , thanks for your inquiry. :)


    The Meta Quest 2 should indeed work without SteamVR at this point (as long as it's tethered to a capable machine cabled or wireless) and you can also check out this knowledgebase article which goes into more detail regarding the overall setup and settings: https://learn.enscape3d.com/bl…l-reality-headset/#oculus


    If you run into any issues or have any further questions what so ever please let me know of course!

  • Hey good people,


    Joining this thread because The Meta headsets are currently under discounts and I'm really considering getting one.

    Problem is I have zero experience with VR, so I'm going into this completely blindly. Could someone explain what is meant by "tethering", "Airlink" and some other terms?

    From what I understand, Meta Quest headset (2 or 3) are the best choice for Enscape, is this true? I have my eyes on Quest 3 128 GB.


    And it seems there were 2 version in the shop, which I checked today - with battery and without battery, is it true?

    If it's true, can anyone tell me the difference? As I understand if you buy the battery version, you have to attach it to the headset, stick the battery into your pocket and carry it around?


    Really confused here, would be very grateful for any extra input. YouTube and Google don't seem to be able to give me the answers I'm looking for.

    Demian Gutberlet said that Meta Quest 2 is now (as of November 2023) capable of running Enscape without SteamVR. Did something change in the headsets or did Enscape change something internally in the software? Would I be safe if I buy the latest Quest 3?


    Also, planning to run all this shenanigans on a new laptop:

    Alienware M18 R1

    NVIDIA RTX 4070 8GB

    32 GB RAM

    Intel i9 13th generation

    Windows 11


    Would this be enough to ensure lag-free walkthroughs at "Ultra High" graphics?

    Thank you!

  • Hi, there,


    I'm going to give you feedback on my experience with a Meta Quest 2 VR headset on Enscape. The Meta quest 2 headset is not the best choice to have the best VR experience with Enscape. I had a lot of problems with SteamVR during my tests with my client. This software was very unstable! BUT, with the latest version of enscape steamvr has become optional. I managed to get the vr working properly, but it was laborious.

    Go for an HTC headset, which will be much better suited to your needs.


    I'll be in touch if you need any help.

  • Hey,


    Thank you for the reply. I couldn't wait yesterday, so I went ahead and bought Meta Quest 3. Tested it yesterday with 2 of my most complex scenes.


    Firstly the emotion - it is impossible to put into words what it feels like to jump right into a "picture" you made. I was quite in tears, because I checked VR on a reconstruction project of my childhood old house, which no longer exists. Walking in it again was out of this world...


    Now the problems - I did not use SteamVR. I used Airlink to connect the headset to my PC with the Oculus app and it worked well. Laptop gets very loud, although the specs are much higher than the "recommended" settings by Enscape. It's true, you don't need SteamVR for Meta Quest and Enscape. But I don't know why, the experience is very jumpy and jittery, whenever I move my head.

    The quality of 3D also seemed blurry/jagged, especially at the edges although I have antialiasing and rendering quality maxed out. But the textures are crisp.

    I tested it only for 2 hours so I can't say much yet, I will do more tests, but it would be nice if Enscape could collaborate with Meta to get whatever is necessary for a smooth VR experience.

  • As I understand it, when you’re tethered to a computer then the vr headset is simply operating as 2 external monitors with all the hard work being done by your graphics card. I don’t have one but I’ve seen the recommendation ‘to drop Enscape’s quality setting’ to reduce the load.


    I’m more than happy to be corrected but I don’t think installing another app (SteamVR) will change the situation.

  • The process should be massively simplified now


    There is a steam link app for the Meta Quest


    Steam Link on Meta Quest | Quest VR games | Meta Store



    You can install that and the headset can operate wirelessly with steam


    This actually removes the need to have Oculus installed on the PC at all and work with just SteamVR, which is actually the far nicer and more streamlined tool.

  • Hey Adam,

    forgive my ignorance, but doesn't that bring us back where we started? Whether SteamLink or Oculus PC software, there's still a 3rd wheel in the middle right?

    Or do you mean to say that Steam Link software is better than Oculus?

    I really wish the Enscape team could officially support Meta Quest and/or develop a separate app for Meta, so we could access the projects without flickering or stuttering.

  • Hey Adam,

    forgive my ignorance, but doesn't that bring us back where we started? Whether SteamLink or Oculus PC software, there's still a 3rd wheel in the middle right?

    Or do you mean to say that Steam Link software is better than Oculus?

    I really wish the Enscape team could officially support Meta Quest and/or develop a separate app for Meta, so we could access the projects without flickering or stuttering.

    I think the issue with the quest specifically was that it is a standalone headset - with it's own baby processor and graphics card for running very optimised and lightweight VR content.


    If you wanted to use it as a regular PC headset and have your PC do the hard wor - such as in Enscape, You had to install the Oculus software on your PC, which would then convert all the signals and whatnot so that programs running on the PC "See" a headset and can send/receive the appropriate information.

    For a long time the software also had to be specifically oculus compatible


    This was the only reason that you'd really have wanted the oculus software installed - it isn't as widely compatible with software on the whole, whereas SteamVR is almost universally compatible with VR software.


    I think that things have improved more recently I think you can set the oculus to communicate OpenXR now, which does negate the NEED to have SteamVR installed but from my experience that was flakey anyway and I'd rather just uninstall oculus and stick with all the Steam stuff .


    Short story is that for a Quest headset you always have to install some fluff to your PC.

    You just need to make a choice which fluff to use (and in my experience one of these works much better across the board)

  • You're quite right, I do remember the tutorial I watched on YouTube lead me to changing some settings in the Oculus software, namely the OpenXR thingie (although I don't have any idea what it is or what it does). It is quite a hassle I had to go through to set the headset up and in the end, although I was impressed to walk right into my projects, I expected to see the same quality I see on the monitor screen, because my graphic card is more advanced than the recommended requirements. Alas, that was not the case, so now I'm left wondering whether the problem is in the headset, in Enscape or in my new laptop.


    I will uninstall Oculus and try Steam Link tomorrow, to see if it handles the scenes better.

    Regardless of all of this, do you believe Meta Quest was the best choice for viewing 3D projects in VR?

    From your quote I understood that Meta Quest carries a processor inside, so it's essentially a "computer" that goes back and forth with the PC it's attached to. Does that mean that there are VR headsets that don't carry processors and therefore would be a "better" choice?

  • The Quest devices are really affordable and generally offer a good experience beyond the teething issue for setup. being wireless by default is pretty cool.


    There are definitely options that do things better - such as head and hand tracking that is harder to occlude - but for general Enscape moving around I don’t really know if that is a huge benefit.

  • The Quest devices are really affordable and generally offer a good experience beyond the teething issue for setup. being wireless by default is pretty cool.


    There are definitely options that do things better - such as head and hand tracking that is harder to occlude - but for general Enscape moving around I don’t really know if that is a huge benefit.

    Would connecting the headset to PC with a cable instead of wireless help with the stuttering/speed? I wouldn't mind trading a wireless connection with a wired one if it would improve the performance.

  • Would connecting the headset to PC with a cable instead of wireless help with the stuttering/speed? I wouldn't mind trading a wireless connection with a wired one if it would improve the performance.

    For sure - you'll need to make sure it is a very high quality cable and that you are connecting it to a high speed USB port.


    If you are doing wired - then back to oculus I think. You can turn down the quality to account for the cable.



    Try running a blank scene with just a cube to rule out whether it is performance from the model or from the connection that is causing the stutter

  • Thanks a lot for your suggestions and input! I wasn't able to find free time to test it all out yet. I think it'll have to wait until the weekend but I'll make sure to update the thread with my tests! :)

  • You're quite right, I do remember the tutorial I watched on YouTube lead me to changing some settings in the Oculus software, namely the OpenXR thingie (although I don't have any idea what it is or what it does). It is quite a hassle I had to go through to set the headset up and in the end, although I was impressed to walk right into my projects, I expected to see the same quality I see on the monitor screen, because my graphic card is more advanced than the recommended requirements. Alas, that was not the case, so now I'm left wondering whether the problem is in the headset, in Enscape or in my new laptop.


    I will uninstall Oculus and try Steam Link tomorrow, to see if it handles the scenes better.

    Regardless of all of this, do you believe Meta Quest was the best choice for viewing 3D projects in VR?

    From your quote I understood that Meta Quest carries a processor inside, so it's essentially a "computer" that goes back and forth with the PC it's attached to. Does that mean that there are VR headsets that don't carry processors and therefore would be a "better" choice?


    Worth noting that what you see on the screen always looks better than what you see in the headset - its definitely something that catches people out initially (including me!). The headset is basically a screen stuck right in front of your eyes so there is always this 'screen door' effect, where you can almost see the pixels. Meta Quest 3 is apparently better than others for this (pancake lenses?). It is something you get used to though, but yeah it can be a bit disconcerting when the VR isn't as crisp and smooth as the monitor display.


    I've done a fair bit of testing with Steam VR etc. I'm using a decent spec laptop and an Oculus Quest 2.


    My thoughts:

    • CONNECTION - A wired connection (I'm using the official Oculus link cable, but any USB 3 cable would apparently do) seems marginally more stable than Airlink. The lack of wires is nice via Airlink but the Enscape VR experience seems a little more stuttery. My use case for VR (site based) means I can't rely on a stable Wifi connection so a wired connection has to be my default.
    • VR RUNTIME - In the Oculus desktop App check what your VR runtime setting is (settings > general). Oculus wants it to be OpenXR and requests that to be set as the default - however mine is set to SteamVR. I've tested both in Enscape and not seen any notable performance or quality increases in OpenXR over SteamVR, they both seem to work well enough. OpenXR also seems to work fine if playing Steam games, ie PCVR. However! for my VR usecase, SteamVR actually adds some functionality I need (explained below!). Note, if you set OpenXR as the default in the Oculus desktop app, the only way to get it set back to SteamVR back is to set it in the SteamVR developer settings.
    • STEAMLINK - SteamLink app via the Oculus headset interface apparently wants a wired connection to the router - this is not feasible, particularly for my VR use case. It claims not to work, but seems to anyway - Enscape VR displays but it is definitely flakey with graphical artifacts. So SteamLink does not work for me
    • STEAMVR - If you have SteamVR set as the OpenXR default in Oculus then Steam VR will always open when you run Enscape VR. If you have OpenXR set as the default, SteamVR will not open
    • SteamVR does not always play nicely with Enscape. If you start Enscape VR before SteamVR there seem to be all kinds of issues with Steam VR crashing, not loading properly etc. I've had many issues with Steam VR crashing Enscape, Sketchup etc etc requiring a restart. SteamVR also occasionally gets stuck and can't be closed down, again requiring a restart
    • So if it can be problematic, why use SteamVR? The reason I use it is I've found that with Steam VR running you can bring your desktop and any documentation you like into the VR interface. Click the button on the left hand Quest controller and Steam VR opens with the option to display various desktop windows, dock them to your hands, float them in the VR space etc. This means I can have a user in the VR space and they can view a pdf with say, fitout costs, carbon impacts of a particular fitout etc.
    • If SteamVR is not used (ie OpenXR instead) then this desktop functionality does not seem to work.


    Crucially for me, when using SteamVR, the process has to be this:

    1. Boot laptop
    2. Open the Oculus Desktop App
    3. Connect Quest headset via the cable and turn on.
    4. Launch Questlink via the Quest Headset
    5. Start Steam VR on the laptop
    6. Load 3D model & Enscape.

    With these steps followed in order then everything seems to play nicely together.


    One thing I haven't tested - in the Oculus settings I've messed around with the resolution and refresh settings (increased everything, heh). Might be worth dropping all that down to the default to see the impact on performance/visuals within Enscape VR.


    Its been a journey anyway, haha.

  • Actually, an Edit to the above!


    So SteamVR works, but its temperamental. Despite my assurance that 'it all plays nicely together' above it almost immediately didn't as SteamVR started throwing up all kinds of errors. As it turns out, thanks to a tip by Kaj Burival a better solution is to use the Oculus desktop switcher in Enscape VR.


    It never worked for me previously, but you have set the Oculus.exe in the Windows display/graphics settings to use the 'power saving' mode (ie don't let Windows decide, force it to use the laptop onboard graphics card rather than the 4090). Once I did that and restarted, I could load the desktop within Enscape VR by clicking on the Oculus home button (right hand controller).


    So the functionality is slightly lower, you can't dock the desktop window to your controllers like you can with Steam VR and walk around with them, - HOWEVER! its vastly more stable and moving/resizing the window via Oculus is much more intuitive so its a nicer experience all round.


    So I've made OpenXR the default in Oculus now rather than SteamVR so it no longer opens at all when Enscape is run, again with improvements to stability.


    I've also been playing around with the resolution and refresh rates. It all runs at 90Hz/1.7x max res, but the sweet spot seems to be 80Hz and 1.3x res. I'll do some more testing but that seems to strike a good balance between performance and visual quality.

  • ok Everyone, Enscape Is running perfect whatever you use, if it is Oculus link, Steam VR or Virtual Desktop. You just need to put an ethernet cable straight into the modem where only your computer and Quest is on. Make sure they are on the same wifi network. What I don't like from Chaos Enscape is that now a quest 3 came out that is 2 times more powerfull then the Quest 2 and that Chaos did not yet made a standalone feature to upload it straight to the Quest 3. that's a bit a bummer and a bit disapointing. Envision VR ( australian Company ) can do it, so Chaos should also be aible to. I hope they will soon ,)