Introducing SteamVR 1.21

Introducing SteamVR 1.21

Desktop View quality-of-life improvements and OpenXR tracker support

Update Highlights

Today’s update features a couple of quality-of-life improvements for Desktop View and OpenXR support for Vive Trackers.

Desktop Views now have a button to minimize all windows on the desktop. This is especially useful when users have a single monitor and the scene app displays a full screen window. We also added more graceful handling of the situation where a window that SteamVR is unable to interact with gains input focus. We detect this scenario and trigger the Task View, which restores the user’s ability to use the laser mouse.

We added an implementation of the XR_HTCX_vive_tracker_interaction extension for OpenXR that will allow developers to support Vive trackers in their OpenXR apps. UE4 developers can use our plugin to get started. Unity developers can read through this thread for more information.

Full Update Notes


  • Fixed a motion smoothing issue that was affecting some applications.
  • Fixed a crash related to application submitted dx12 depth textures.
  • Fix for depth texture handling on dx12 causing crashes in major engine implementations.
  • Fixed a crash in the dashboard.
  • Display Task View if a non-interactable window gains input focus in Desktop View.
  • Added a button to Desktop View that allows users to show the desktop. This is especially useful when users have a single monitor and the scene app displays a full screen window.
  • Fixed a crash on app startup.


  • Fixed issue that would prevent some system UI from working some of the time.
  • Fixed webhelper crashing in OS’s with recent versions of freetype2.
  • Fixed a failure to unpack steamrt-heavy on some distributions.


  • Implemented the XR_HTCX_vive_tracker_interaction extension.


When SteamVR starts, if you have a Quest or Quest2 attached to your PC but have not started Oculus Link, you will be reminded to do so. SteamVR also will notify you to install the Oculus software if SteamVR cannot communicate with the Oculus service.


I was having some pretty regular SteamVR crashes in DCS over the last month, usually at either mission start or end. I updated both NVidia drivers and SteamVR, and things seem back to normal now.


I honestly don’t know why so many people seem to have issues with SteamVR and avoid it like the plague - I’ve been fine with it in all titles over the past 2 years. Before that I used Open Composite, not due to issues with SteamVR but purely because it was recommended for better performance in SkyrimVR.

It must be either something that doesn’t go well together with the SteamVR code/API or maybe some drivers or such-like. I even ditched all my tweaking utilities for VR because I was doing so well without them. I just thank my lucky stars - get enough silicon grief without that as well! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


@Johnny What headset do you use?
It seems to me, those running WMR headsets has to jump through a lot of hoops to get good performance.
I’ve been running Index, and now Pico 4, through SteamVR for a long time now, and everything just works…


I should certainly hope that the Index works well in SteamVR! :wink:
When I used the Oculus Rift and Rift S, the Oculus API always had better performance than SteamVR. When I got the Reverb G2, which is WMR, I had to use WMR for SteamVR to be able to play SteamVR games. This added a layer of complexity, as some settings were handled in WMR and others in SVR. WMR worked great with OpenXR in MSFS though.
I then got the Varjo Aero and that worked out of the box with OpenVR (SteamVR) and OpenXR, although performance is better in OpenXR.

OpenComposite worked great with the Oculus API because it ported the SteamVR game directly to the Oculus API and there was a significant performance increase. Same thing happened when OpenComposite supported OpenXR instead. SteamVR titles got ported to OpenXR, and performance increased…

So, it seems to me like using the API that your headset was designed for, seems to be the way to go.


Absolutely, I’m just baffled by the seemingly endless tinkering wmr users are willing to endure. I think I would have abandoned VR a long time ago, if I had to do that.

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I guess that what you’re seeing and reading about is mostly the ones having trouble setting it up correctly. You rarely hear from the ones where it works well.
Sure, there were issues that warranted a google search and maybe a browse of a forum topic, but not that bad, IMO.

Also, the tinkering is about squeezing out max performance. The ReverbG2 I had worked just fine out of the box, so to speak. Not as easy to set up as the Oculus ones, but not bad. When it came to using Oculus and WMR with OpenVR (SteamVR), they both needed tweaking :slight_smile:

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Yes, same here, I didn’t have issues with any of my headsets, but I only had Oculus and Valve headsets (and now Pico) mainly because I never wanted the hassle with WMR that everyone seemed to be having all the time.
I don’t know what is exactly to blame for it, but SteamVR seems to get all the stick - whether it is that or not, who knows, but I won’t use WMR anyway, unless there really is nothing else to do the job.

Now I have the Pico 4 I doubt I’ll get another headset for at least a couple of years - but never say “never” :slight_smile:

PS - I might add that after so many years of tweaking, modding adapting etc of configs and set-ups for all manner of hard- and software (since 1984) I’m a bit fed up of it now and prefer to take the easy route. I don’t mind a few lines in a config file, but I came here and bought this house to relax and enjoy my retirement! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

PPS - when I first bought the Rift CV1 in 2016 I did nothing but tweak, mod and test games for a couple of years, getting a lot of games to work in VR that weren’t made for it (7 Days To Die, Far Cry 3 and Empyrion come straight to mind) using either VorpX or TriDef 3D and Virtual Desktop together, mostly under consultation with others at


I think it’s about standardization, or lack thereof. But every VR dev. had their own ideas and solutions, that needed tweaking to work on the OpenVR API. If everybody went straight for OpenVR, instead of inventing their own, things would be different.
Now I wish everybody opted for Khronos OpenXR…