Valve’s SteamVR and Steam Controller Hands On

Ben Kuchera got a chance to try Valve’s Steam VR headset system using the just announced Vive hardware from HTC as well as an updated version of the controller for Steam Machines.

On the VR System:

The hardware is clearly a work in progress, and the fit and finish needs to be improved substantially before launch. The two controllers, one held in each hand, feature buttons on the grips; they feature triggers too, and a touchpad on the front that also works as a button. It’s an intense amount of hardware. We were told that to run the demos we were playing, you’d need a high-end video card and a very competitive gaming PC. Nothing about this sounds like a mass media product.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that the hardware is incredibly fucking cool.

Read the rest of his article, his experience there sounds fantastic. Mark “Gaming Jesus” MacDonald also described the Steam VR experience Valve was demonstrating last year on this week’s Giant Bombcast.

On the controller:

The Steam controller is a big part of what makes a Steam Machine a Steam Machine; we were told that running SteamOS and being packaged with the controller were two of the main things that need to be included to use that branding. The controller itself has gone through a number of revisions, but we were able to use what Valve is calling the final version during GDC.

The old Steam Controller given out at dev days was obviously a stepping stone to get somewhere else, I haven’t used it in months, and I can’t wait to try this new one. It’s particularly interesting how this newer iteration has the exact same X/Y/A/B button layout down to the color as the Xbox One controller. It’ll be $50 when it’s released this November. No price on theVive yet.

Valve’s VR Headset Announcement

HTC and Valve announced the HTC Vive today, a headset similar to the Oculus Rift. The differences are in the head tracking, a slight increase to resolution compared to the Oculus Rift DK2, and a custom game controller.

Similar to the VR room demo Valve had at Steam Dev Days, the HTC Vive will have tracking for your location relative to the physical room you’re in. The VR room demo used something similar to QR codes printed out on the walls to do this, the HTC Vive uses SteamVR base stations. The SteamVR demo at dev days was super impressive when I got to try it, and kind of ruined the experience of trying the Oculus Rift. Nothing on the Rift could match the feeling of scale I got from the SteamVR demo. It must be even more impressive on this new hardware.

Developer kit ships this spring, user version late in the year. Between this, Oculus, Nvidia announcing something soon, and Sony’s headset, some standard API will need to emerge to support all of them and I bet that’s what Valve will focus on fixing.

Great interview with Gooseman

After four years in North America, I ran out of money and a friend of mine encouraged me to come to Korea as he told me there would be many opportunities to market my game there and fund development. I spent the next two-plus years working in Korea with some really experienced programmers and some local Korean artists. The language barrier was terrible to overcome and it’s still quite challenging but we make do. Lots of screaming and chair-throwing really smooths the process out.

via GameSetWatch – Interview: Counter-Strike Co-Creator Minh’s Tactical Intervention.

Tom Francis, His Gnome, and Left 4 Dead 2

In the Dark Carnival campaign of Left 4 Dead 2, you can win a garden gnome at the fairground near the start — and there’s an achievement for carrying it all the way to the end. It is, in fact, the same goddamn gnome I carried through Episode goddamn Two, for the same goddamn reason: there was an achievement for it.

By the end of that ordeal, I prayed I’d never set eyes on his (“stupid fucking”) face again — but here he is, and here I am, and here we go.

via I Played Through Left 4 Dead 2 Holding A Goddamn Gnome, by Tom Francis.