Valve Virtual Reality gear to trounce Oculus Rift?

Virtual Reality gaming headset addict news

There’s a lot going on at Valve’s Steam Dev days conference, including a presentation on where virtual reality (VR) gaming could be in a few years.

While no gaming journalists are allowed to attend the conference, the many developers present have been sharing information and opinions from the event.

Valve showed off a VR demo with prototype hardware in the vein of Oculus Rift (which could be their mystery Vortex project).

At least one developer was very impressed – Game Designer and Art Director at Tripwire Interactive (Killing Floor, Red Orchestra) David Hensley tweeted the following comments:

  • (Source) “Valve’s VR demo felt like being in a lucid dream state and very much like a holodeck
  • (Source) The Valve’s VR prototype felt like playing an XBOX compared to the Oculus’s “8bit Nintendo”.
  • (Source) Resolution is higher compared to the Oculus Rift. Accurate positional/rotation tracking. Able to walk around.

Well, if Hensley can be believed, this sounds very exciting. Let’s not forget that any potential Valve-designed virtual reality gaming gear is still some way off, while Oculus VR is much closer to launching its Rift as a commercial product.

Previously, Valve’s Mike Abrash said:

“We’ve figured out what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of years, and assembled a prototype which demonstrates that such VR hardware is capable of stunning experiences. This type of hardware is almost certainly going to appear in short order, and the time to start developing for it is now.”

Also on the VR gaming schedule for Steam Dev Days:

  • Valve VR enthusiast, Joe Ludwig, will lecture about Steam’s integration with VR headsets, with a live demonstration of the Steam client and SteamOS integration.
  • Oculus Rift’s Palmer Luckey will be hosting a lecture discussing porting traditional titles to a VR environment.

In tangentially Valve-related VR news, former Valve hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth is working on the CastAR project – a set of augmented reality glasses (which isn’t quite the same as virtual reality, but equally as cool).

CastAR has successfully secured over US$1-million funding through its Kickstarter campaign, and we eagerly await news on progress.

Source: SteamDB

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  • REP

    How are they able to walk? I don’t get it.

  • The Rich

    Actually it’s quite simple – it’s just a matter of get off chair, move one foot forward then move the other foot ahead of the first one. Congrats! You’ve just taken a step!

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies


  • Devourer of Small Bunnies

    I still have my doubts over this whole VR deal. I see oculus and its ilk all falling to the wayside as 3d and kinect did. Its not the kind of revolution relevant to what the market wants/needs IMO

    When we start talking about depth of field holograms, wake me up. Not a cereal box that I strap to my face.

  • Pixel Junkie

    What a deceptive article.

    Firstly, valve are working WITH oculus, they are not producing their own headset. Second, higher resolution is easy, use an oled per eye, but that’ll add weight and almost double the cost. Since Oculus haven’t said much of late, coupled with Palmer Lucky stating on reddit that the consumer rift will be better than the valve demo headset, leads me to believe that the prototype at valve IS the current state of the consumer version rift. Obviously they are trying different types of positional tracking, but I’d imagine they mostly waiting for a) price of components to drop, and b) software developers to produce more worthy rift supported titles ahead of release.

    Valve has set out minimum requirements, almost all of which have been met, minus the resolution and low cost. Waiting until 2015, as Michael stated, will mean better components than these in the $300 goal ballpark.