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Posted by , 21 February 2017 at 11:32 pm UTC / 35009 views
Valve have put up SteamVR for Linux officially in Beta form and they are keen to stress that this is a development release.

You will need to run the latest Steam Beta Client for it to work at all, so be sure to opt-in if you want to play around with it.

VR on Linux will exclusively use Vulkan, so it's going to be a pretty good push for Vulkan if VR becomes more popular. Vulkan is likely one of the pieces of the puzzle that held it back, since Vulkan itself and the drivers are still so new.

On NVIDIA, you need to have the 375.27.10 "Developer Beta Driver", which can be found here. There's also this PPA for Ubuntu users. It's likely it needs some newer Vulkan extensions not found in the current stable drivers.

For AMD GPU owners, you need a very recent build of the open source radv driver (Mesa), Valve provide this pre-release on their github page.

Intel GPUs are not supported and it's probable it will be a long time until they are, since VR generally requires some beefy hardware to run smoothly. It's possible they may work in future, but I imagine the Intel 'anv' Vulkan driver needs more work done.

Also, you will likely need some updated udev rules, but all of that and more can be read about on their github page for it.

It's exciting to finally see VR on Linux starting to become a real reality now. I just wish the hardware wasn't so damn expensive. It will likely be a long time before I can afford a headset myself to review, but hopefully someone can send us a review unit to hold onto.

Thanks for tweeting it to me Dennis.
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slaapliedje commented on 22 February 2017 at 7:21 am UTC

I'm guessing those same Vulkan extensions is the reason that the 'Full Vulkan support' drivers I had previously (275.26) weren't enough for SteamVR.

Either way on my Debian Sid install, I get 'SteamVR is not available because a supported headset was not detected.' then onto the base stations not starting.

https://github.com/ValveSoftware/SteamVR-for-Linux/issues/2

Hopefully they can get this sorted. On the upside the 'steam-devices' package from Debian had already set up the udev rules. I need to verify if they're actually working correctly, because I have the same udev rules for the steam controller, and it always gets confused...


M@yeulC commented on 22 February 2017 at 7:29 am UTC

That's very nice, and I wasn't expecting it so early.

Now, I need moar monies...

Both to upgrade my computer, and to buy a headset. I think it won't happen anytime soon.
But this is still early adopter stuff. I fully expect the hardware to be better and cheaper in a few years.


burnall commented on 22 February 2017 at 7:54 am UTC

Can't wait to try War Thunder and Dirt in VR.


slaapliedje commented on 22 February 2017 at 7:55 am UTC

M@yeulCThat's very nice, and I wasn't expecting it so early.

Now, I need moar monies...

Both to upgrade my computer, and to buy a headset. I think it won't happen anytime soon.
But this is still early adopter stuff. I fully expect the hardware to be better and cheaper in a few years.

I was discussing this with a co-worker who has a Vive with the newer/smaller box. Mine is this gigantic pre-order box.

So improvements they've already done;

1) Storage box is much smaller.
2) Newer Vives come with a '3-in-1' flat cable instead of the giant fat one. Depending on who you ask it may or not be 'better'.
3) New Lighthouses (with one instead of two fans) are on their way out, so in theory there will be a price drop with them.
4) Prototype controllers have been seen which look absolutely fantastic, especially compared to the Oculus Touch.
5) Wireless attachments (not sure on battery life, but it would certainly rock for the room scale stuff!)

HTC themselves have stated that they don't see a 'Vive 2' until 2 or 3 more years.

People hoping for double 4k screens don't realize that current computer hardware simply isn't up to the task.


slaapliedje commented on 22 February 2017 at 7:59 am UTC

burnallCan't wait to try War Thunder and Dirt in VR.

I didn't think Dirt or War Thunder supported VR? Software definitely needs to support VR for it to really work well. But wow, Dirt would be AWESOME, I haven't tried War Thunder yet. Project Cars requires some serious tweaking for it to be nice in VR (mainly sizing up your cockpit).


TheRiddick commented on 22 February 2017 at 8:09 am UTC

You can get a 4k VR headset from Pimax I think its called, they also intend to release a bigger product in a next few months that has two 4k screens in it and FULL tracking setup. It will take time before there drivers get good but 4k with full tracking might be enough to convince me to get one.

BTW the 4k Pimax one is like $400usd so not bad. However only directional tracking

I still laugh at people with this concept that computers can't do 4k VR, its like listening to OLD people comment about tech...


Last edited by TheRiddick at 22 February 2017 at 8:13 am UTC. Edited 3 times.


bubexel commented on 22 February 2017 at 8:11 am UTC

I tried with my linux with nvidia 375.26, and works! but at indirect mode, it's the lastest drivers i guess that works on direct mode. Setup room was not working on my computer... and i had a huge tracking lag(more than 1 second) it made me feel sick so fast. Yeah, i should update udev and drivers, but i had 10 minutes before leave to work. At back i will try everything!

I bought it on preorder, and belive me, this wait was really long.


Tak commented on 22 February 2017 at 9:08 am UTC

TheRiddickI still laugh at people with this concept that computers can't do 4k VR, its like listening to OLD people comment about tech...
Most computers sold today can't do VR at the current resolutions. Resolution increase is quadratic on CPU/GPU resources needed, and that literally goes double* for VR.

It's all well and good to release a headset that has a 4k display per eye, and even do tricks with upsampling/resampling, but when your hardware and software can only maintain 90 fps by rendering at "standard" resolution or less, there's not much real benefit.




[*] Some things do support "single pass" stereo rendering, which reduces the overhead in ideal cases.


TheRiddick commented on 22 February 2017 at 9:12 am UTC

VR is not targeted at the average users except in the case of PS:VR, there is no expectation that people with mid range pc's will experience VR. Also VR only needs to render 1 image, those rendering 2 images have just not moved on.


bubexel commented on 22 February 2017 at 10:38 am UTC

TheRiddickVR is not targeted at the average users except in the case of PS:VR, there is no expectation that people with mid range pc's will experience VR. Also VR only needs to render 1 image, those rendering 2 images have just not moved on.

1 image? what you talk about? it's stereoscopic and 90 stable frames per second. 4k in VR is just a dream atm. Maybe with foveated rendering. But actual VR HMD's doesnt have it.


Last edited by bubexel at 22 February 2017 at 3:14 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.


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