The Gear VR is great, RiftCat makes it better
If you’re like me, you don’t have unlimited funds in your bank account to be buying the latest cutting edge hardware on the market. As you may already know, the Gear VR was developed by the folks over at Oculus to deliver a mobile VR experience that is powered by the Galaxy S series of phones. If you have a compatible phone and $99 at your disposal, you can have a VR experience that’s good enough for most people.
Once you’ve seen all the Gear VR has to offer and want more, but don’t want to make the jump to the Rift just yet, you can unlock the Gear VR with a program called RiftCat to use programs designed to run on the rift. This does take some patience and little bit of computer know-how to get running, but when you do get it to work, it’s worth the trouble.
What you’ll need to run Riftcat on your Gear VR
Before you begin, make sure you have all of the programs installed:
On your phone
On your PC
Once those programs are installed, you can proceed to the next step. Don’t worry about setting everything up at this point, we’ll get to it in a moment.
Prepping your Gear VR to run without the Oculus Home
When you plug in your phone to the Gear VR headset, you’ll notice that the Oculus Home automatically starts up and no other programs can be used while in the headset. To bypass this, you’ll need to disable Oculus so that way you can run Riftcat.
Launch Package Disabler Pro on your phone and search for VR. You’ll most likely have a list of programs, but we’re going to check “Gear VR Service” and disable. This will prevent Oculus Home from launching when you place the phone in the Gear VR.
Setting up RiftCat
RiftCat is software that allows you to stream software designed for the Rift without actually having a Rift. The best part is that if you don’t have a Gear VR headset, you can still use Google Cardboard or something similar to stream the software to your phone.
Once you have VRidge and RiftCat installed, make sure that your phone is connected to your PC’s WiFi network and open RiftCat on your PC and VRidge on your phone. Once you confirm that the phone is detected by RiftCat, you’re good to go and can launch any compatible program from RiftCat and it will be mirrored and controlled on your phone.
Drawbacks of RiftCat on Gear VR
Keep in mind that RiftCat on the Gear VR is not an Oculus Rift replacement, but it does a really good job of giving you an idea of the Rift can provide. One of the biggest issues is that since the data is transmitted wirelessly, there is some choppiness and fuzziness when playing games that require a lot of motion. I’m still not sure if this can be remedied with getting a 5ghz wireless adapter for my PC. If both my phone and PC ran on the same high transferred speed frequency, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. For now, I can reduce this issue by lowering the resolution of the program I’m running.