Gaia Sky VR
Gaia Sky VR is alpha software and not ready to be used off-the-shelf. Some tinkering may be required to get it to run. It may also break with some configurations, and the UI is currently a placeholder. Use it at your own risk.
Gaia Sky VR is the VR version of Gaia Sky. It runs on multiple headsets and operating systems using Valve’s OpenVR API, also implemented by OpenOVR. It is developed in the framework of ESA’s Gaia mission to chart about 1 billion stars of our Galaxy. Gaia Sky offers a VR renderer as a preview, and it is considered alpha-level software. Hence, it is unfinished and to be used only for testing.
Running Gaia Sky VR
The Gaia Sky VR project is the Virtual Reality version of Gaia Sky. At the moment, only OpenVR is supported. Our tests have been carried out with the Oculus Rift CV1 headset on Windows and the Valve Index on Windows and Linux. Both work reasonably well, even though Valve Index controllers have some quirks. The rest of VR headsets on the marked are untested and thus unsupported. Expect Gaia Sky VR to break on them.
Gaia LOD datasets don’t work very well in VR and produce severe slowdowns. We recommend either curating your own datasets, or using static datasets provided by us via the download manager, like Hipparcos or GCNS5.
Currently, the regular installation of Gaia Sky also includes the VR version.
On Windows, you can run it using the
gaiaskyvr.exe file. On Linux, just use
-vr CLI flag.
The minimum system requirements for running Gaia Sky VR are the following:
OpenVR-compatible (Oculus CV1, HTC Vive, Valve Index, etc.)
Linux (only supported headsets) / Windows 10
Intel Core i5 4rd Generation or similar. 4 core or higher recommended
VR-capable GPU (GTX 970 or above strongly recommended)
8+ GB RAM
1 GB of free disk space (depends on datasets)
Software-wise, you will need the following:
Follow the provided vendor instructions and install the Oculus/Meta VR app with the runtime. If using a SteamVR headset (HTC Vive/Pro, Valve Index, etc.), just get Steam and download SteamVR.
For the Oculus Rift, you need a translation layer from OpenVR to LibOVR. You can either use SteamVR directly or OpenOVR (if it works).
SteamVR - Download and install Steam and then install SteamVR and launch it. The SteamVR runtime must be running alongside the Oculus Runtime for it to work.
OpenOVR OpenComposite - Download OpenOVR’s OpenComposite Launcher, launch it and select ‘Switch to OpenComposite’. That’s it.
The easiest way to get it running in Windows is to install the latest
version of Gaia Sky and directly run the executable
gaiaskyvr.exe file. You should also have
a start menu entry called ‘Gaia Sky VR’, if you chose to create it during
Download and install Gaia Sky, and then run:
$ gaiasky -vr
Getting the data
You can use the same data folder for the VR and desktop versions.
The download manager should show up automatically at startup. If it does not, force it
-d argument (or using
gradlew core:rund if running
from sources). Just select the data packs and catalogs that you want
to download, press
Download now and wait for the process to finish.
$ gaiasky -d
You can also download the data packs manually here.
On the Oculus Rift CV1 controller the mappings are the following:
Joystick (move) - move around.
Trigger - hold it to select an object and enter focus mode.
Jystick (push) - return to free mode.
A or X - toggle visibility of labels
B or Y - enable/disable on-screen information
A + B or X + Y - show usage info on screen
Grip + Joystick (move) - rotate around focus, only in focus mode
The VR implementation in Gaia Sky is partial and in alpha stage, as there is no in-world GUI right now. Graphical glitches and slow-downs are expected. You can move around and navigate with the VR controllers (if the mappings are right for your setup), but for most other actions (showing/hiding objects, controlling time, selecting by name, etc.) you will need to use the GUI on your monitor window.
If you are using an Nvidia Optimus-powered laptop, make sure that the
java.exeyou are using to run Gaia Sky VR is set up properly in the Nvidia Control Panel to use the discrete GPU.
If you experience low frame rates with an Oculus headset, try using OpenOVR OpenComposite instead of SteamVR. Also, using a static star catalog instead of a LOD one helps.
If you don’t see the VR controllers, check the output log for a line that starts with
VRContext - WARN: Could not [...]and attach it or the full log file to a bug report.
Make sure you are using Java 17+.
The project’s VR readme file is here.