Games February 14, 2017 by Ben Pateman

How to create a shortcut to SteamVR in Oculus Home

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Oculus Rift users enjoy a smooth experience with Oculus Home, with it loading up automagically when you put the headset on, and launching Oculus Home apps painlessly. What it’s not great for, however, is easily jumping into SteamVR to load up one of your Steam games.  You have to lift your headset up and fiddle with a mouse to launch it, or first load up Virtual Desktop and launch from there (which can sometimes cause bugs and other problems).

Luckily, there’s a neat little trick for creating a custom tile within Oculus Home thats let you easily load into SteamVR like you would any Oculus app.  The process should only take about 5 minutes, and doesn’t require any technical knowledge besides navigating your computer’s file system!

Step 1

First, you’ll want to download a small app from Oculus Store, one that you aren’t interested in or have already enjoyed and don’t plan on loading up again any time soon.  We’ll use Bullet Train (not that it isn’t awesome!) for this example, but this trick works with any Oculus App.  Ideally you want to find something free and something that doesn’t require much space.  Having said that, after you’ve finished you can actually delete the game data without breaking the shortcut.  We don’t know if this will always be the case, though (if the game is patched it might redownload everything, for example).

You’ll also want to download our custom-made icons and SteamVR exe file.  If, quite rightly, you’re a bit cautious about downloading rar and exe files, you can find instructions at the bottom on how to generate these files yourself.

Step 2

Navigate to the app’s directory in your filesystem. It’ll be in your Oculus apps folder (by default this is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Oculus\Software\Software\” – yes, two software directories).  Bullet Train’s folder is “epic-games-bullet-train-gdc”.  Here you want to replace the game’s exe file with the exe file you’ve downloaded/created.  If you wish, back up the existing exe file by renaming it to something like “showup.exe.bck”.  Drop the new exe file into the folder, making sure it has exactly the same name as the file it’s replacing (in this case, “showup.exe”).

Step 3

Now we’ll replace the images so it all looks nice within Oculus Home.  Navigate to the game’s StoreAssets folder, default being “C:\Program Files(x86)\Oculus\Software\Software\StoreAssets\epic-games-bullet-train-gdc_assets”  (yes, we don’t know what’s going on with this directory structure either!).   Now copy the 5 custom image files (4 JPGs and 1 PNG) into this directory, overwriting what was previously there.

Close and re-open your Oculus Home window, and voila – you’re done!  When browsing your Oculus library on your flatscreen you’ll still see “Bullet Train” beneath the SteamVR logo, but when viewing Home from VR you’ll just get the neat little icon (pictured at the top here).

Feel free to experiment with other applications, as it’s possible to launch other non-Oculus Home apps in this way!

Instructions for creating your own exe file and images

If you’d rather not use the exe file we’re supplying, here’s how you can create one yourself.  Make a new .bat file, and open it up with a text editor.  Paste the following onto the first line: “start steam://rungameid/250820” (without quotes).  Save the file, and then convert it to an exe file using a tool such as bat2exe.  For the images, we’ve also uploaded them to imgur for those not wishing to download our .rar file.  You’ll need to rename appropriately, however.  Each image has unique dimensions, so you can use that fact to figure out which should be called what.  Or, if you’re feeling creative, go ahead and make your own custom tiles!  Just make sure the file types and dimensions are consistent with what you’re overwriting.

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