Alpha 4: Some Preliminary Rift UI in the CtrlAltStudio Viewer

Chat Window and Minimap in Riftlook View

Chat window and minimap in Riftlook view. OSgrid Lbsa Plaza

This alpha, CtrlAltStudio Viewer, adds some preliminary UI capability while in Riftlook to put the “social” back into your virtual world experience while using the Rift. And test your touch typing skills!

Note the “preliminary”: the Riftlook UI provided is just that and less than ideal, but it does provide some useful capability. I originally wasn’t intending to do any UI as I thought Linden Lab’s viewer with Rift support would have been released by now, but it hasn’t been and there’s a pressing need for at least some UI so I’ve added some as a stop-gap measure.

Changes this version include:

  • Added Riftlook display of floating windows such as chat and inventory.
  • Added Riftlook display of avatar toasts and floating text.
  • Added right-click object interaction in Riftlook.
  • Changed to have the mouse operate the UI by default while alt-mouse moves the view.
  • Added option to have the mouse move the view horizontally only.
  • Fixed mouse coordinates in Riftlook.
  • Fixed teleporting in Riftlook.
  • Fixed flycam with the SpaceNavigator in Riftlook.
  • Included Latif Khalifa’s fix for the “4096 bug” that limited the OpenSim teleport range.
  • Updated to Oculus Rift SDK 0.2.5 for improved tilt and yaw correction and reduced drift.

Limitations include:

  • Menu bars and the toolbar aren’t displayed in Riftlook.
  • Context menus displayed when you right-click an object in Riftlook are always displayed in list form rather than pie form.

More details are provided in the Release Notes.

To use the UI in Riftlook:

  • Turn on “Show user interface in Mouselook” and “Enable context menus in Mouselook” in Preferences > Move & View > View.
  • You may also want to turn on “Show chat in bubbles above avatars” in Preferences > Chat > General.
  • While in Riftlook with the above settings you can use keyboard shortcuts to show and hide dialog boxes. For example, the Conversations window (Ctrl-T), Inventory (Ctrl-I), e.g., if you want to select a landmark to teleport to, Ctrl-Shift-M to display the minimap, etc. Keyboard shortcuts are displayed beside menu items in normal view.
  • Use the mouse cursor to left-click interact with windows and right-click interact with in-world objects, and Alt-mouse to move the camera view. Alternatively, you can configure the mouse to move the view and Alt-mouse to control the cursor. See these and other options in Preferences > Graphics > Display Output.

Regarding touch typing, you do get better with practice. My laptop’s keyboard is a rather monolithic array of keys with little to aid touch navigation, so I’ve cut some squares from the sticky part of Post-it Notes and placed them in strategic locations around the keyboard perimeter to provide some reference points for my fingers.


  • Windows: Alpha 4, 23 Oct 2013.
  • Mac OSX: Alpha 4. Sorry, no Mac version this release.

You can install this version over the top of a previous 1.1 alpha version.

Happy touch typing!

Comments (25) Leave a comment

  1. Pingback: My first Oculus Rift experience in Second Life | Jo Yardley's Second Life

  2. Jay Rowe

    I can’t get it to display on my Rift. When I press Ctrl + Alt + 3 all I get is rift view on my screen. I’m using a GTX780 and it sees the rift as a display. I went through the Oculus software with ease, but I can’t figure this out.

    1. David Rowe Post author

      Hi Jay. It sounds like you may not have your PC configured to have the Rift display duplicate the PC display. Doing this should fix it. You’ll find this and other usage tips in the Viewer page on this site.

      1. Jay Rowe


        That did the trick! I’ve been using the viewer since Friday and I have a few first impressions:

        1.) The “non-rift” mode (before pressing Ctrl+Alt+3) would be useful if you could see the SL Viewer’s GUI in it’s entirety thus enabling you to make adjustments, build and click menus, etc. and should be the default “camera-behind you” view of the avatar.

        2.) The “front” orientation seems to drift from where you first go into rift-look mode over time, so that the effect of crab-walking is felt. When I start out, I’m fine and facing front.

        3.) Screen door effect is pretty apparent to me and an up-sampling would be pretty cool. Also, the effect of viewing the world through a scuba mask is pretty apparent; I know both these items are inherent in the developer’s kit and will be addressed to some extent in the consumer version. Just my initial observations.

        Other observations (non-viewer):

        * It would be extremely useful if Oculus Rift had a flip-up display, thus allowing you to escape VR instantly and do whatever you need to do.
        * Lose the cord! Cord from PC to box is fine; cord from box to VR display, not so much.

        1. David Rowe Post author

          Glad you got it working, Jay.

          1. Non-Rift mode does display the full UI with menus and everything. Except … I wonder, what resolution is your display? Running on 1366 x 768 displays can cause the menu bar to disappear. I need to look into this. In the meantime, if the dialog box you’re wanting to access has a keyboard shortcut associated, you can use the keyboard shortcut, e.g., Ctrl-P to show Preferences.

          2. The drift in yaw should be improved if you update your Rift to the latest firmware. See Using the Oculus Rift’s Configuration Utility for instructions.

          3. Each eye’s 640 x 800 image is currently sampled from a 1100 x 1375 image. I too am looking forward to a reduced screen door effect in the consumer version!

          1. Jay Rowe

            I’m running a Samsung 24″ @ 1920 x 1080 and the non-riftlook mode only shows part of the screen per eye.

            My rift just came last Wednesday but I will check the firmware version for updates.

            Excellent job so far on the viewer, thank you! I hope to look into compiling it for Linux on OpenSuse 13.1 when I get it installed. It was just released last week.

            1. David Rowe Post author

              If you can send me a screensnap of the display problem (e-mail or in Second Life), and perhaps the viewer log files, we’ll sort out what’s going wrong.

              A Linux version would be great!

  3. Pain

    Gotcha, that helped out alot, also i was running the 1st version of the software (Viewer) and when i updated and changed it worked like a charm, it’s so neat wandering around the world in petit form lol. I’ll keep testing to help with progression of the viewer.

    I hope you keep up the awesome work, and thank you once more. You’ve brought my spark back to SL.

  4. Pain

    Been testing this with the oculus rift, when in riftlook mode the screen seems to be off to the left, leaving a black space for the right eye along with a noticeable (completed half picture) in the right lense, so it’s pretty much showing the 95% of the screen on the left lense (Left eye) and the remainder in the right eye leaving it out of focus for riftlook mode. Running Nvidia GTX 680 from EVGA on a 2560x1440p monitor in 1920x 1200 mode (Rifts native res) in both full screen and windowed this seems to be an issue, also when looking around even in it’s current state the top of wherever i am seems to distort and stretch. The rift is fully calibrated, and even done it in viewer to match the rift settings, eliminating the possiblity of a possibly messy calibration scenario. FOV is fine, DOV is fine,IPD is fine. Not sure what else could possibly do but i’ll be your rift tester for this viewer if you need. Thank you!

    1. David Rowe Post author

      Hi Pain … So it’s like the left and right eyes’ images are shifted over to the left leaving black on the right? … Make sure you have the viewer configured to run full screen: Avatar menu, Preferences > Graphics > General > Fullscreen mode. Then, when you start the viewer it should automatically change your display’s resolution to 1280 x 800 which is the current Rift’s resolution (not 1920 x 1200). If this doesn’t work, try setting your monitor to 1280 x 800. The distortion should go away once the images are displayed on the Rift correctly. … If the above doesn’t work let me know, and perhaps send me a photo of what’s displayed on your computer monitor (screen snaps unfortunately don’t work running fullscreen).

  5. blazespinnaker

    Yeah, depending on how you position it on your body (strap it to your chest) it can do some detection for straffing / backwards – you lean in that direction rather than actually walking.

    However, IMUs are pretty noisy unfortunately and you need several of them to get any accurate data if you want to do more than just a simple pedometer.

  6. blazespinnaker

    Pretty awesome!

    I went jogging across secondlife mainland today (well, I do this jog in place method). Started out in Da-Boom, went around Boardman a couple of times.

    Can’t wait for the Virtuix Omni!

    I hooked up my Android IMU so it sends a UDP packet to my computer and tells it to press the “W” key whenever I take a step.

    You can get the code here:

    Let me know if you have any questions.


    1. David Rowe Post author

      That’s a cool use case! It looks like your Android app can detect you jogging in place forwards, backwards, and strafing?

      Yes, the Virtuix Omni would be really great to try out in Second Life. I thought about getting one in their Kickstarter but unfortunately it’s a little too large to fit into my current accommodation.

  7. Pingback: Second Life News 2013-44

  8. Catten Carter

    this is so amazing, first time I’ve used the rift for an entire evening, now only building is better without, which will prob change too eventually.

    1. Catten Carter

      I went sailing today, I can really recommend that, really amazing, though I managed for first time to actually get a bit seasick lol. Next time I’ll try a not so realistic boat that doesn’t go up and down as much lol.

        1. Catten Carter

          It would be really great if you could “lock / pin” a GUI window. I’m not sure how to explain it, but if you could keep chat window, so you only see it when you look up for instance, and you only see inventory window, when you look right.

          1. David Rowe Post author

            Yes, I’ve had some thoughts along these lines: lock the UI to the body rather than the head as it were. Definitely a possibility; will have to see if I can find the time to implement something along these lines.

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  10. Gehn Aboraji

    Hello again! The update is looking good so far! Just one thing; holding down alt to move the camera view stops me from being able to move around with the keys at the same time, which is a major issue for me. Right now I have it set so alt moves the mouse in UI, which works well on it’s own, however. Still by far one of the better rift experiences I’ve had to date!

  11. Pingback: CtrlAltStudio: Bringing the UI to your Oculus Rift | Living in the Modem World

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