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Reports: Valve making their own VR HMD and apparently a new VR Half-Life

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It appears Valve are truly getting more serious about Virtual Reality as they appear to be making their own headset. On top of that, apparently a new Half-Life VR game is coming.

Leaked to an imgur album, which contains multiple shots of the new hardware. These includes shots clearly showing a Valve logo:

The uploadvr website has claimed they have had it confirmed by various sources that it is in fact real. As someone who really wants to try VR, I am hopeful Valve will be able to give it a decent price. The current price for most VR hardware is simply out of reach for a lot of people, myself included.

Even more interesting, is that Valve are apparently working on a new Half-Life which will be a VR title. That certainly could be one way to push adoption, I imagine that would turn a few heads that otherwise wouldn't have been interested. Could backfire too of course, if it's VR-only. To keep expectations in check though, reportedly it's a Half-Life 2 prequel and not Half-Life 3.

Valve News Network also have this video up about the Half-Life game which is interesting:

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Considering Microsoft is making moves buying up more studios and making another attempt to fix up the Windows Store, along with some bigger players leaving Steam like Activision, EA, Bethesda with the new Fallout and all this together should make Valve at least a bit worried. Their current growth will only last so long, if others continue to leave and become exclusive to other stores.

Valve obviously need to make moves of their own and it looks like doubling down on VR is what they had in mind. The amount of people that currently own a VR headset as reported on the Steam Hardware Survey is still extremely low (lower than the Linux share) so Valve really will need a decent price on it.

It does make you think about Valve's future plans. They're doing this new VR hardware, some new games and pushing Steam Play to get more games on Linux. Would it be too far-fetched to consider a new Steam Machine? One continued to be powered by their SteamOS Linux distribution that allows VR support out of the box along with a huge back catalogue of previously Windows-only games.

That's a pipe dream of mine though really and I'm basically thinking out loud at this point, as I'm sure it's just different teams working on their own thing. However, if it did all come together, that could be amazing.

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94 comments
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Nezchan 11 November 2018 at 4:37 pm UTC
Even aside from the cost, it's a simple fact that a lot of people physically can't use VR headsets even if they can afford the hardware and a current enough machine to use it with. There's the motion sickness thing of course, and the space issue already mentioned. Plus a hell of a lot of people wear glasses and from what I've been told from numerous sources they still don't have a good answer to that with current headsets.

I can't see any way VR won't always be a niche gadget.
Seegras 11 November 2018 at 4:45 pm UTC
kuhpunkt
lelouch
kuhpunktI'm still baffled how many people think that HL3 would be a VR game. That makes no sense and would be a very very dumb idea.

No, it wouldn't. Obviously Valve is waiting for the right time - VR is affordable for everyone in the future like it was for smartphones (2007) at some point, and the internet and computers in the past and so on ....

So? That's still dumb. That's like making 2 movies and then releasing the third part of the story as a card game.

No, it's like releasing the third part for IMAX-theatres, but not for normal ones.

Every first-person perspective game would be basically better with VR, unless it needs a lot of GUI. The Problem is that some people don't realize that most games want to be played from the couch, and not while standing up and walking around the room.
MayeulC 11 November 2018 at 4:49 pm UTC
linux_gamerWhy the heck print the Logo on the PCB of a pre-series device? To me that seems to be quite negligent. The project code name and the hw revision should be well enough as only the project team and suppliers need to know.

Fair point, although that's probably better for copyright protection. I know I always write it, or the name of the company. Plys, who knows? That could be a near-final run?

I'm thrilled about this. I've been waiting for the next generation of VR experience to jump in, that sounds more like it. And I always thought a game set in the seven hours war (other wiki) of the Half-Life universe would be extremely interesting. I'd like to see Dr. Breen as the good guy, also, somehow.

Edit: about glasses, I am pretty sure most vision defects could be accounted for by the headset itself, by adjusting the focal point of the lenses, and the transform algorithm.


Last edited by MayeulC at 11 November 2018 at 4:50 pm UTC
kuhpunkt 11 November 2018 at 4:50 pm UTC
SeegrasNo, it's like releasing the third part for IMAX-theatres, but not for normal ones.

The only problem is that IMAX theatres are kinda rare, but the experience is still pretty much the same. Otherwise there are no other hurdles. You don't need to buy a 500$ accessoire to enter an IMAX theatre.

SeegrasEvery first-person perspective game would be basically better with VR, unless it needs a lot of GUI.

That is far from the truth. Imagine Quake 3 in VR. How are you supposed to move? That just doesn't work. VR is its own thing.
Mountain Man 11 November 2018 at 5:13 pm UTC
DedaleOn a more positive note, in the niche market of flight simulators, i have seen people excited by VR.
That's the one area where VR has a chance to shine. Otherwise, they have no mass market appeal. I anticipate that VR will always be a high-dollar niche product for the "hardcore" crowd.
Gobo 11 November 2018 at 7:50 pm UTC
MayeulC
linux_gamerWhy the heck print the Logo on the PCB of a pre-series device? To me that seems to be quite negligent. The project code name and the hw revision should be well enough as only the project team and suppliers need to know.

Fair point, although that's probably better for copyright protection. I know I always write it, or the name of the company. Plys, who knows? That could be a near-final run?

There are videos about the automated assembly line Valve put together to fabricate the Steam Controller, so I guess they will be able to produce some PCBs in-house. Plus there are NDAs to help with leaks. Help with, not prevent all possible leaks.

MayeulCEdit: about glasses, I am pretty sure most vision defects could be accounted for by the headset itself, by adjusting the focal point of the lenses, and the transform algorithm.

Current HMDs are OK to use with glasses. If your specs are to huge to fit the visor, most folks will be able to use contacts instead.

On the other hand, there are vision defects like Amblyopia (lazy eye), where your eyeballs are not aligned within certain limits, so your brain is unable to compute both 2D inputs to 3D vision. People with Ambliopia will therefore be able to see images displayed on the screens, but lack the 3D sensation.

So yes, there are biological barriers of entry to this tech.


Last edited by Gobo at 11 November 2018 at 7:50 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 11 November 2018 at 8:22 pm UTC
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Cestarian
TheSHEEEP
CestarianVR was basically DOA, and until we get proper peripherals for it instead of roomscale and motion controller trash, it will remain DOA.
Absolutely.
A tech gadget for those with enough money. And space, maybe space is even more important for those games with actual motion controls.
Every time a new VR gadget comes out, the "big future" of VR is announced, and yet, it just doesn't spread. I don't know how many more attempts it will take until even the most diehard fans realize VR is not "the future".
There are just too many games that would never work with VR (or gain absolutely no benefit from it), so that there's just no good reason to reach that deep into one's pockets. Not even beginning to talk about all the other downsides (discomfort, clunkiness, etc.).
It will have its niche, and that niche might even grow a bit (certainly enough to house a few VR-exclusive devs), but that's about it.

Personally I think VR can work out, for most games even, we need a middle step, where both keyboard and mouse are fully replaced by some superior peripheral (maybe something like EEG+speech recognition) and then that needs to be further improved to also be the replacement and successor of the (currently shoddy) motion control gimmick.
Yeah, maybe, some day, but I honestly doubt it will happen within the foreseeable future.

Even eye tracking doesn't really do it, because with kb&m I can do multiple things quickly without even looking.
Speech wouldn't help, either, as speaking a command would take longer than doing a few clicks.

I really couldn't think of anything that would be able to reach or improve on the precision offered by mouse & keyboard - short of "reading" one's mind and translating that into input commands.
And that just sounds like extreme scifi to me. Though if that ever happens, count me in ;)


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 11 November 2018 at 8:24 pm UTC
ScrollingSquirrel 11 November 2018 at 8:56 pm UTC
NezchanEven aside from the cost, it's a simple fact that a lot of people physically can't use VR headsets even if they can afford the hardware and a current enough machine to use it with. There's the motion sickness thing of course, and the space issue already mentioned. Plus a hell of a lot of people wear glasses and from what I've been told from numerous sources they still don't have a good answer to that with current headsets.

I can't see any way VR won't always be a niche gadget.
Space isn't an issue. It never has been and never will be since you can always use VR seated. Motion sickness isn't as relevant as you think as it only affects certain design philosophies set by developers and many people are able to overcome issues if they do get them. It's not the perfect ideal solution, but it's still not going to affect long lasting success.

Several headsets have managed to solve vergence accommodation which means glasses are no longer needed. These aren't available for consumers yet but will be in a few years.

People expecting VR to always be a niche are in for a rude awakening. It's a surefire guarantee to be ubiquitous in our civilization let alone just for gaming.
kuhpunkt 11 November 2018 at 10:06 pm UTC
ScrollingSquirrelSpace isn't an issue. It never has been and never will be since you can always use VR seated.

Games like Unseen Diplomacy or Budget Cuts need some space. You can't play those seated.
ScrollingSquirrel 11 November 2018 at 11:11 pm UTC
kuhpunkt
ScrollingSquirrelSpace isn't an issue. It never has been and never will be since you can always use VR seated.

Games like Unseen Diplomacy or Budget Cuts need some space. You can't play those seated.
kuhpunkt
ScrollingSquirrelSpace isn't an issue. It never has been and never will be since you can always use VR seated.

Games like Unseen Diplomacy or Budget Cuts need some space. You can't play those seated.
Games like Unseen Diplomacy are extremely rare. Budget Cuts is still playable in a space no bigger than 4x4 feet which a lot of people will have room for. Maybe they might not have that room where their PC is but once standalones start to really get going, you'll just find the most convenient spot in your house.

But even if you aren't able to play some of these games, you can still experience plenty of what VR has to offer.
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