If you’re considering purchasing a Valve Index, you might be wondering if you need two base stations or if one will suffice. The answer to this question depends on a few factors. Let’s take a closer look.
What are base stations?
Base stations are small boxes that emit infrared light, allowing the headset and controllers to track their position in real-time. The Valve Index uses two base stations for optimal tracking accuracy and coverage in a play area of up to 10ft x 10ft.
Do you need two base stations?
In short, no – you don’t necessarily need two base stations. The Valve Index can still function with just one base station, but it will limit your tracking coverage and accuracy. With only one base station, the play area is limited to roughly 6.5ft x 6.5ft, which may not be enough space for some users.
When do you only need one base station?
There are a few scenarios where using only one base station might make sense:
- If you have limited space and don’t plan on moving around much during gameplay.
- If you’re playing seated VR experiences where movement is minimal.
When do you need two base stations?
In general, it’s recommended to use two base stations for the best tracking experience.
- If you have a larger play area (>6.5ft), using two base stations will ensure optimal tracking coverage.
- If you plan on playing games that require more movement (e.g., room-scale experiences), using two base stations will provide better accuracy and reduce the chance of occlusion (when the headset or controllers briefly lose tracking due to being out of sight of the sensors).
How to set up base stations
Setting up base stations is a straightforward process. Simply plug them into a power outlet and position them diagonally across from each other, facing the play area. The Valve Index comes with mounting hardware for the base stations, but you can also use tripods or other mounts if you prefer.
Tips for optimal base station placement
- Position the base stations at least 6ft off the ground, ideally on opposite corners of the play area.
- Avoid placing the base stations in direct sunlight or areas with bright lights, as this can interfere with tracking.
- Ensure that there are no large obstacles (e., furniture) blocking the line of sight between the base stations and your headset/controllers.
While it’s technically possible to use only one base station with Valve Index, it’s recommended to use two for optimal tracking coverage and accuracy. If you have limited space or only plan on playing seated VR experiences, one base station may suffice. However, for most users, investing in a second base station will provide a better overall experience.