How To Use VRChat Full Body Tracking (2023)
The latest versions of VRChat support full body tracking, which means users can not only see your avatar, but they can also see what’s going on with your entire body’s movement. This dramatically expands the number of possible interactions avatars can have with each other. If you’re just getting started with VRChat, you might be having a hard time figuring out how to use the new full-body tracking features. It can get a bit techy at times, but this article will give you all the information you need to access this awesome new feature.
What Is VRChat?
So, if you’re a complete beginner, VRChat is a social, virtual reality game that allows players to meet up and interact with each other. There are various different minigames to play and worlds to explore, which makes it a fun bonding experience for you and your friends. There is no set goal to achieve within the game, but the level of customisation it offers to players allows their imagination to run wild.
One of the reasons the game is so popular is due to the freedom to create your own worlds. Once you have spent over 12 hours in the game you will have made it past the visitor rank and are now free to upload content into the game. From here, players can use their vivid imaginations to create their own world. Some VRChat worlds that players share turn out to be social hotspots. Places like nightclubs, avatar worlds and art galleries turn into places where people of similar interests meet.
Not only that but users have the freedom to create whatever avatars they like. Using external 3D modelling software VRChat allows players to import their own custom designs to use as their virtual avatars. Not many people are sure how to make a VRChat avatar themselves and for good reason. Making a VRChat avatar requires knowledge of 3D modelling, animation and rigging which are all pretty complicated.
Because of this, a lot of people opt to buy their avatars from online marketplaces or hire a professional artist for VRChat avatar commissions. Alternatively, exploring VRChat avatar worlds is a great way to get your hands on a bunch of free avatars. If you’re not too fussed about running into someone with the same avatar as you, then this is a perfectly valid option to get a hold of an avatar.
Gathering In VRChat
What is VRChat Full Body Tracking?
VRChat Full Body Tracking is a set of new functionality built into VRChat that allows other users to see your hands, feet, head, hips and various other limb movements. This functionality is designed to make it much easier to use interactive objects in VRChat. Sometimes in VRChat, you might want to play a game of cards with someone, but you don’t want to constantly type out instructions. Full body tracking makes playing games like VRChat a lot easier.
It’s also useful if you want to try a more immersive version of things like roleplaying or dancing. These social interactions are hard to do with just basic hand movements or the use of a controller. Some popular YouTubers like ChrisQuitsReality have made plenty of videos trolling in VRChat that demonstrate the potential of full body tracking. We’re not saying you have to go to the lengths to use real props like skateboards and poles but you get the gist.
Ultimately, full body tracking in VRChat makes interactions more intimate. The way we move and our mannerisms are a huge part of the way we express ourselves. So being able to convey this in VRChat is revolutionising the way we interact within virtual reality.
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ChrisQuitsReality Using Full Body Tracking In VRChat
How To Use VRChat Full Body Tracking
Assuming you’re an avid VRChat user and you’re happy to invest in some equipment, setting up your full body tracking shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re having trouble with anything we haven’t mentioned, there are always plenty of community posts on Reddit and Steam that you can refer to. So, without any further ado, let’s get into how we use full body tracking in VRChat.
Full Body Tracking Requirements
For starters, you’re going to need a VR system that allows full body tracking and is also compatible with VRChat. Currently, the only two systems that are supported by VRChat are HTC VIVE Trackers and Tundra Trackers. People have managed to get full body tracking working with various other experimental systems but they won’t be able to receive technical support from VRChat.
Once you’ve got your VR headset for VRChat you’ll need additional trackers to place on each of the various limbs you’d like to track. The areas of the body that these trackers can be placed on are:
- Elbows + Shoulders (Note: these will be tracked by a single tracker placed above the elbow for each arm)
At this point in time, VRChat only allows for eight additional trackers not including the headset and controllers so bare this in mind if you’re buying trackers for VRChat itself.
Setting Up Full Body Tracking
Using SteamVR you can assign your trackers to each individual body part so you don’t run into any problems whilst playing. In order to do this you’ll first need to install SteamVR.
- Launch SteamVR whilst keeping your headset off and turn on all your tracking devices, like controllers and trackers.
- In the SteamVR window, click on the hamburger menu in the top left of the screen then Hover over “Devices”. You should see an option that says “Manage Vive Trackers.” click on this.
- In the window that pops up, click “Manage Vive Trackers” again. You should be presented with a list of your tracking devices. You can click the dropdown to the right and assign them to your Left Foot, Right Foot, or Waist.
- A trick to help identify them is to choose one of your trackers, and hold down the button on the other two until they turn off. The screen will show a green icon next to the trackers that are on and a red icon next to the ones that are off. Now, you can see which tracker is which and you can assign them properly
Using Full Body Tracking In VRChat
Once you’ve assigned your controllers if you launch VRChat the game will automatically detect that you are in “full body mode” causing additional options to appear within your UI. To avoid running into any problems in the game we strongly recommend calibrating your trackers in VRChat.
In order to do this follow these few simple steps:
- Enter Calibration mode by clicking the “Calibrate” button in the Quick Menu. Ensure that your “Height” setting in the Settings menu is correct. If this isn’t incorrect, your feet may go through the floor!
- Your avatar will be attached or “pinned” to the position of your headset. This allows your viewpoint to always be correct, assuming it has been set up correctly.
- Look down and ensure your real-life feet are separated by the width of your feet in the game. Because your avatar is “pinned” to your headset, your legs will sink into the ground when you look down. So, don’t worry, this is expected.
- Check your hip tracker and ensure it is in a reasonable location on your body. If you’re using elbow/shoulder tracking, align your arms with your avatar’s arms. Even without trackers, you can do this to make sure your body rotation is on point
- When it comes to calibrating your viewpoint, look directly ahead whilst pressing the triggers. If you do this whilst looking anywhere else your viewpoint will be off. After this, you should be all done!
Avatars Compatible With Full Body Tracking
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as just jumping on and expecting your avatar to relay your movements perfectly. Avatars have to be made with full body tracking in mind during their design process, which is yet another reason why players turn to professionals for help.
We’re going to outline some of the parameters that your avatar should take into consideration so that you don’t run into any performance issues. We’ll go into as much technical detail as possible without sounding too confusing.
Avatar Rigging Requirements
Rigging refers to the mapping of limbs and various moving parts on an avatar. Essentially these define the ways in which the avatar can move so if this isn’t matching up with the shapes you’re throwing, there are going to be some problems.
Full-body tracking works best when the avatar is proportional to the size of the person using it. This isn’t a huge ask as most avatars are made with this in mind. However, if you have disproportionate limbs you may experience strange behaviour when moving and problems with calibrating.
The spine of your avatar also shouldn’t have sudden bends. The IK-driven bone, are bones that are mapped in the mechanism rigging configuration screen of Unity. When the game reads this it attempts to straighten the bends in the spine as it is considered as slack. Understandably this results in weird resting and movement animations. This doesn’t mean that the spine has to be perfectly straight but at rest, it should be relatively straight.
It’s also important to bare in mind that the distance between bone values should always be greater than zero. If the value is zero for any reason this will tell the game that bones are stacked on top of each other. If this happens your going to run into some serious glitches with your avatar.
Whilst the full body tracking system within the game is quite robust sometimes tweaks will need to be made on the rigging of your avatar. Of course, this will require some basic knowledge of Unity or Blender. Most of this can be avoided by making sure that your avatar is proportionate to its user and rigorous testing from the maker of the avatar.
But, if all of this was just a bunch of jargon to you then it might not be a bad idea to get in touch with an avatar designer.
VRChat Hand & Full Body Tracking
Problems With Full Body Trackers In VRChat
As much as we’d like to say it’s plain sailing once everything is set up there are some problems that players run into when using full body tracking in VRChat. You’ll be pleased to know that these aren’t technical issues so much as they are mechanical issues.
Individual trackers or pucks are wireless sensors that are placed around your body to move each of your limbs. However, the chaotic nature of the game sometimes requires erratic movement which can cause trackers to jiggle or drift. When this happens it can really throw your avatar off-kilter.
VIVE tracker pucks used on the hip have a tendency to shake around a lot. You can overcome this by securing them in place using TrackStraps from the VIVE website. Additionally, players have managed to secure it in place using rubber bands around the puck and the TrackStraps for more security.
Trackers that are placed on the feet are secured around the ankles. When jumping and hopping around the trackers can drift to the outside of the foot which will massively impact the foot positioning of your avatar in-game. In order to rectify this, players have turned to the trusty rubber bands again and used them on either side of the puck to prevent it from drifting.
So long as you can find a way to keep the sensors attached to your body, with little deviation from their position whilst you move, you should be all good.
VRChat Avatar Poorly Calibrated
Considering VRChat is completely free, the full body tracking within the game is pretty amazing. There are thousands of games where you can mindlessly walk an avatar around and talk to each other. But, controlling an entire avatar’s body by using your own, is an experience worth trying out. It is by no means bug-free. So long as you get a compatible avatar, a set of secure full-body trackers and calibrate them correctly, you’re in for a treat!
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