View distortion? Lack of presence? Try this

(Crossposting from Reddit)

I don’t think this is a “new discovery”, as I’ve seen people/tooltips alluding to it, but there seem to be enough people mentioning this sort of thing that I think the information might not be getting to the people who need it.

If you have

  • Major edge-of-view distortion
  • A “fishbowl” effect (sweet spot moves a lot less than peripheral vision)
  • Weird world-scale (close items look too large, far items look too small)
  • Lack of presence (world doesn’t have the same sense of being in a 3d environment as in other HMDs)

This might be a problem caused by your render scale.

SteamVR left to its own devices will automatically downrate your render scale. Even if you have a beastly PC (in my case, 2080ti + 8700k), it will knock it down to 66% or lower. With a 1080, it was at 36%.

Switching between 36% and 100% manually turns the above issues on and off like a light .

I’ve seen people mentioning ways to configure around this issue so that you can use lower render scales for performance, so if anyone knows them, please chime in. I think it’s a combination of software IPD settings + matching render scale in PiTool to SteamVR/your game?

Hopefully this thread catches the eyes of a few people who I’ve seen complaining about the above in various threads.

To reiterate: If you have all the required software installed at default settings, SteamVR is probably messing up the image in your headset to some degree.

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I’ve tried heaps of settings and my pimax is not 3d, has no immersion and just looks really bad.

Problem is a hundred people come on saying you’re doing it wrong but can’t tell you anything about the way piTool render scale works, how it differs from steam ss, how it interacts with steam ss, or anything about ‘doing it right’. People talk of needing to match pitool render scale to steam or your game and can’t give denominators which work or any mathematical explanation or even example numbers which work. Or they come out with statements of absolute/definitively best way to set rendering…and repost changes to that within the hour.

So I’m left thinking no one understands how pitool and steam interact and don’t know how to optimally set the 2 with respect to one another.

Then I think some people assume the problems others have are equivalent to non problems on their headset. Mine is just terrible. I would choose cv1 over this any day. Although it took a while to be able to brave the eyestrain and nausea I did manage to give it a good chance to get it acceptable and failed. A few things improved it…but it was still unusable…would still choose cv1 over it any day. Which leaves me thinking we’re looking at different things here. If my hmd isn’t a dud then you’re all crazy. I’m willing to give you all the benefit of the doubt and suggest I think there’s dud hmds out there that never look right regardless of render settings.


I think there’s no doubt that not everyone is seeing the same thing. I saw in a thread yesterday that somebody RMA’d a headset for an unrelated issue, and was surprised to find their new headset had no static in the view; they’d thought that was just how things were.

On top of that, everyone having different face shapes, IPD, and facial symmetry, coupled with the headset having almost no range for adjustment (no angle adjustment, straps only have two settings - stays on your head or falls off), means that we’re all looking at the lenses from different angles and distances. That surely will have an effect as well.

That’s without even getting into the possibility of manufacturing tolerance issues in the lenses and their positioning - something that even Oculus struggled with to the point of it causing massive delays early on.

I also agree that nobody seems to have the effects of these settings figured out. I was told unanimously on reddit that this effect is all in my head, or due to unrelated factors. Meanwhile on here and on iRacing’s forums, you can find quite a few people swearing that changing the render scale relationships is the only way to get the world to look right size- and perspective-wise.

My current settings are just “everything at 1x/100%” - it’s set to 1 in pitool, 100 in steamvr, and 100 in iRacing. IPD set by trial and error until it didn’t hurt, software offset untouched. I’m not going to say those are the “best settings” or “correct settings” - just that the difference between this, and all of these things the same except a setting of 36% in Steam, was ridiculous. Hopefully that means there’s some magic setting that will work for you as well.


This is why I think for folks in your position we really need someone local that has reportedly good experience where you can try there unit with them to be able to verify if it is headset or not.

I do suspect your headset is likely not within spec. As I recall someone having some issues that were reportedly fixed with receiving a 2nd headset.

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Rendering scale is same sampling or not?

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That’s really interesting. CV1 never fit my face as good as 5K+.
Also after some fiddling the settings and adjusting of the straps, my view on 5K+ is crystal clear.
Maybe because I’m Japanese? As in since Pimax is a Chinese company so the HMD fits Asian faces better? CV1 always had this big gap between my forehead and the HMD and if I tightened the straps to close it, the view just got blurry so I resorted to turning off the lights when I use the CV1. 5K+ fits like a glove.
Also Asian people generally has shallow set eyes, so could it be that people with deep-set eyes are having problems? Anyone have any ideas?


Hmmm, now you’ve got me wondering if it is face shape. I had thought it was too bad an experience to be that and must be something wrong with hmd. I can slightly improve things by changing distance and position on face but still not close to good.
But thinking about it, the picture always looks like it’s close to getting right but it’s not. The part that is way off is never feeling any immersion and feeling horrible very quickly. The picture looks like if only I could change ‘x’ a little bit then it would be right, but I don’t know what x is.
Hmmm, it could be my ugly mug (slang for face).


Mom loves me. XD
For me it was the height and the angle the HMD sits on my face. And also turning off Smart Smooting. Maybe it depends on the game but Smart Smoothing had the letters just a tiny bit smeared as if my eyes couldn’t focus enough ever so slightly. In any case, I think someone in the industry should study face shapes. Maybe consult manufacturers that do goggles?

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Man this is really where VR Cover could come to the rescue here, but I think its very telling that VR Cover even has product availavle for the valve index which isnt even out yet and no pinax product in sight even though people have asked them and sent them the CAD files.

were on our own here guys. The real benchmark of success in the HMD market is how fast you have a VR Cover.