Virtual Reality Glossary

AltSpace #

Altspace– A free virtual universe where you can hang out with friends or meet new people, attend shows, play games, take a class, go to church, and explore a variety of digital worlds.

APK file #

APK file – Acronym for “Android Package Kit”, in essence a zip file of all the files needed to run an app on your Quest. More tech-savvy users can install APK files directly on their Quest instead of going through the Oculus store, although this comes with risks including the potential of the software having malware or of being pirated, which violates the Oculus and Facebook Terms of Service and puts those accounts at risk.

AR/Augmented Reality #

AR/Augmented Reality – A real-time view of real-world places and things (e.g., your street, a storefront, or an item you might want to purchase) with an overlay of relevant information such as store hours, or a list of recipe ingredients, assembly instructions, or alternate prices.

Avatar #

Avatar – A representation of a person in VR; most VR operating systems (like the one on the Quest) and virtual gathering places allow you customize your avatar for a look unique to you.

Beta Version/In Beta #

Beta – A way of describing an app or piece of hardware that has not yet been released for use by the general public, but is ready to be tested by real-world users.  Hardware and apps that are still “in beta” may not have all features enabled, and can have technical issues. Same as “Early Access”.

BigScreen #

BigScreen – An app that recreates a virtual living room or theater where you can watch movies, play videogames, browse the web, and hang out with friends. BigScreen is also used for productivity as a tool for remote teams to collaborate together in virtual offices.

Casting #

Casting – Showing what is seen on the VR headset on a nearby phone, tablet or TV.

Co-op game/mode #

Co-op game/mode – Cooperative gameplay allows game players to work together as teammates (e.g., in an escape room or a game killing zombies).

Counterweight #

Counterweight – A weight attached to the back of the VR headset’s headstrap that counters the front-heaviness of the device and allows its weight to be more evenly distributed on your head; this may be especially useful in avoiding neck strain when working out or in long VR sessions.

Cross-buy #

Cross-buy – The ability to buy a game once and play it on both an Oculus Quest/2 and Oculus Rift headset.

Cross-play / Cross-platform play #

Cross-play / Cross-platform play – The ability of players using different VR headsets and different platforms to play with each other simultaneously.

DAS #

DAS – Acronym for the HTC Vive “Deluxe Audio Strap”, a headset strap with integrated on-ear headphones. Although not designed for the Quest/2, users can purchase a 3D-printed adapter to allow use on a Quest/2 headset (see, also, “FrankenQuest”).

Discord #

Discord – An app that lets you text or or call teammates to communicate and strategize with friends during co-op games. Depending on which Discord server is used, you can share videos, images, internet links, music, and more. Also used as a forum to ask questions and receive answers from the community – you may see something like “Join our Discord for more information”.

DLC #

DLC – Acronym for “downloadable content”. DLC is additional content created for an already-released video game. DLC can range from cosmetic content such as skins to new in-game content such as new characters and levels. In some games, multiple DLC (including future DLC not yet released) may be bundled as part of a “season pass”.

Early Access #

Early Access – A way of describing an app or piece of hardware that has not yet been released for use by the general public, but is ready to be tested by real-world users.  Hardware and apps that are still “in beta” may not have all features enabled, and can have technical issues. Same as “Beta Version”.

Field of view #

Field of view – Everything you can see within your headset at a given moment.

FPS #

FPS – Acronym for “First Person Shooter”, which is a video game genre centered on gun- and other weapons-based combat from the combatant’s point of view; FPS games are often multiplayer games.

FrankenQuest #

FrankenQuest – A play on “Frankenstein”; a Quest headset that has been adapted to use the HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap (DAS). This strap does not fit directly onto the Quest and requires a separate adapter, so the set-up is “Frankensteined” together.

Gameplay #

Gameplay – The way you interact with a VR game. Gameplay refers to the connection between player and the game, game challenges, and the game’s plot. Video game “gameplay” is distinct from a game’s graphics and audio elements.

Gaming computer / Gaming PC #

Gaming computer / Gaming PC – Compared to regular computers, gaming computers come with higher-end graphics cards and audio to produce smoother gameplay and better sounds. They often come with more memory and processors to better handle the heavy processing of graphic-heavy games compared to the every day needs of a typical person. Some VR headsets require connection to a gaming-capable computer. The Quest/Quest 2 are standalone headsets that do not need to connect to a gaming computer, but can do so for a wider selection of apps.

GPU #

GPU – Acronym for “Graphics Processing Unit”, a specialized graphics chip found in every VR headset and gaming computer designed to display realistic graphics at high framerates.

Guardian #

Guardian – Virtual wall and floor boundaries that appear when you get close to the edge of the boundary. When you put your headset on it will ask you to create a guardian to help you avoid hitting objects. If you only use your headset in the same place every time you will not need to recreate the guardian, but if you move to different spots then you’ll need to create a new guardian each time. Roomscale guardians are used when you will be moving around, while Stationary guardians can be used when sitting in one place.

Hand Tracking #

Hand Tracking – The ability to use hand motions instead of VR controllers. In the Quest/2 you can enable hand tracking in your Settings menu under Device > Hands and Controllers.

Haptics #

Haptics – Technology that stimulates the senses of touch and motion using targeted vibrations. May be used in gloves, vests, etc. to give a more immersive feeling to your game by engaging more of your senses.

Home World #

Home World – See “Oculus Home World”

IPD #

IPD – Acronym for “Interpupillary Distance”, the distance between the center of your eyes. Each lens in the Quest 2 can be adjusted to 3 positions to optimize the spacing of the lenses for your particular needs. The original Quest has a slider on the bottom left side of the headset that adjusts the spacing of the lenses.

Link/Oculus Link #

Link/Oculus Link – A feature that lets your Oculus Quest or Quest 2 play content from your gaming PC. Connecting your headset with a Link cable allows you to play games created for the Oculus Rift or games bought on Steam on your Quest headset, or take advantage of a gaming computer’s more powerful GPU.

Locomotion #

Locomotion – The manner in which you move around in VR, which varies by app or game. Some apps/games have no locomotion where you stay in one place and the view does not change (such as in basic modes of rhythm games). Apps/games that involve locomotion may use one or more of three approaches: 1) Teleportation, where you virtually jump from place to place using either a button on your controller or a joystick to indicate where to go next; 2) Artificial Movement, where you move through the scene, usually controlled by a joystick on the controller; 3) Blinks, where the scene fades to black then reappears in a new location, as if you blinked and the view changed; or 4) Snap Turns, when the viewpoint is instantaneously changed. Artificial Movement is the most likely of these to cause issues for those who experience motion sickness while using the VR headset, particularly in games that allow acceleration while moving.

Maps #

Maps – In rhythm games, choreographed patterns of targets synchronized to the music’s beat. When someone says they love the maps of a particular song, they generally mean they like the way the movements flowed with the music.

Multiplayer #

Multiplayer – A video game mode in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time. Players may compete against one or more contestants, work cooperatively with a partner to achieve a common goal, or watch other players’ activities.

Oculus Home World #

Oculus Home World – The VR environment you experience when you turn on your headset; you can set it to be a room in a beach house, a ski chalet on the side of a mountain or other environments you will find in the Settings menu. Your home world contains your app lists, VR headset dashboard, and friends list.

Party Mode #

Party Mode – A feature that lets you gather in VR to chat, watch movies and play games together (see, also, “VR Chat”, “BigScreen” and “Multiplayer”). Some games have a built-in party mode, but you can use the Oculus Party function to connect with friends and explore anywhere in VR together.

Passthrough #

Passthrough – A real-time view of the world around you while you wear your VR headset (such as when you step outside of your Guardian). If you enable the Passthrough shortcut option in your headset settings you’ll be able to manually enter Passthrough by tapping the side of your Quest headset twice at any time.

Rhythm games #

Rhythm games – A genre of music-themed action VR games, such as Beat Saber, that challenges a player’s sense of rhythm. See our Rhythm games section for more information.

Rift / Rift S #

Rift / Rift S – A headset from Oculus that needs to connect to a gaming computer for use. Some games allow “cross-play”, which means a game you have purchased on Rift can be played on Quest. Certain games, such as many flight simulators and first-person shooter games, must be played on a Rift to take advantage of a gaming computer’s more powerful GPU.

Roomscale #

Roomscale – A mode that enables you to move around a room as you play or explore within the headset (vs. a Stationary Guardian which you might select if you are keeping your body in one place). You designate the safe space to move in without hitting furniture or other objects in the room when you create your Guardian at the time you put on your headset.

SDK #

SDK – Acronym for “Software Development Kit” that lets users create content within an app. Unless you are more tech-savvy and want to create content you won’t be using SDKs (but now you’ll at least know what it means when you see the term).

Shadow PC #

Shadow PC – A web-based service that lets you remotely access a powerful Windows 10 machine from any other PC, Mac, or Android device for a lag-free gaming experience. Can be used to play non-Quest titles if you do not have a gaming PC. Get more information here.

SideQuest #

SideQuest – A desktop app that allows you to browse and install content on your Quest outside of the Oculus App.

Sideloading #

Sideloading – A means of adding content from a computer to your VR headset from sources not explicitly approved by content reviewers. For the Quest you can use SideQuest to sideload content.

SN #

SN – An abbreviation for Supernatural, a popular VR fitness app.

Steam #

Steam – A digital library of games where you can buy games and keep them stored in the cloud. Quest users who have a gaming-capable PC can buy games for the Oculus Rift here and play them through their computer using a Link or compatible cable. You may also sometimes find games for the Quest/2 cheaper here than in the Oculus store.

Streaming #

Streaming – A way of providing audio or video content to your VR headset; NetFlix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and other services “stream” content directly to your headset. Streaming can also refer to “casting” your VR headset’s content in real-time to a phone, tablet or TV, or to your friends on Facebook.

Teleportation #

Teleportation – A means of moving around a VR scene or inside of an environment in a VR app without actually moving your body – useful in small rooms (see, also, “Locomotion”).

Virtual desktop #

Virtual desktop – An app that lets you view your computer screen in your VR headset. Anything you can do on your computer you can do in your VR headset.

VR Chat #

VR Chat – A multiplayer online VR social platform that allows players to interact with friends as 3D characters.

YUR #

YURA virtual fitness watch that tracks your VR workout stats; available for several VR fitness apps.

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