Valve developer event teases virtual reality plans

Valve is holding a developer event in January, and the session list reveals some interesting tidbits about the company’s plans for virtual reality. Programming wizard Michael Abrash is holding a session on "What VR could, should, and almost certainly will be within two years." He’ll show a prototype based on the sort of VR hardware that’s expected to be available to consumers in a couple of years. It’s unclear if this means Valve intends to produce a headset of its own, though.

The Oculus Rift seems to the the leading candidate for consumer headsets, but the final version isn’t ready yet. Its inventor, Palmer Luckey, is leading a session titled "Porting games to Virtual Reality." Luckey has said in the past that the Oculus folks are good friends with Valve, so I wouldn’t expect the two firms to offer competing headsets. There’s probably plenty of potential for collaboration, especially given Valve’s desire to enable hardware makers as part of its Steam Machines initiative.

The Steam custodian is also prepping its content distribution service for virtual reality. Valve is working on a VR-specific Steam overlay, and it has plans to tweak the store and Steamworks with VR in mind. The company has already adapted Steam nicely to the living room with its Big Picture UI. A virtual Steam store could be interesting.

Of course, there are plenty of developer sessions that have nothing to do with VR. Valve will discuss Linux development, in-game economies, and user-generated content, among other topics. Steam Machines and the Steam Controller will get some time in the spotlight, too. Unfortunately, we may not hear much about what’s said. Steam Dev Days is an "off the record event," according to the official FAQ. The press doesn’t appear to be invited.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    I want Lawnmower Man-level VR. When can I have it?

    • Krogoth
    • 6 years ago

    If you get a Oculus, you get a free promotional hat in TF2!

    • sweatshopking
    • 6 years ago

    I expect this will be as meh as the steam box release info.

    • Xenolith
    • 6 years ago

    CastAR is developed by ex-Valve employees. This is better tech because it is easier/cheaper to develop, and doesn’t have the motion sickness problems that Oculus Rift has.

      • The Dark One
      • 6 years ago

      CastAR is much more limited in what it can portray. It needs a dim room, a large swath retro-reflective cloth and a completely different input/control mechanism. It’s cool tech, but it doesn’t even [i<]try[/i<] to tackle the problems that the VR people are going after.

        • yammerpickle2
        • 6 years ago

        CastAR is working on clip on reflectors that do not require the dim room, or large retro-reflective cloth as they will be on the clip on.

        I have the Rift and it’s a nice tech demo, but it has a long way to go before I consider it an alternative to my monitor. I’ve supported the castAR kickstarter as well and am looking forward to see which one delivers the best consumer VR headset. While Oculus has a jump start and big names behind them, castAR seems to be a less bulky and more flexible system at the moment.

    • brucethemoose
    • 6 years ago

    I smell a potential buyout. I know Oculus probably wouldn’t sell themselves out yet, but Valve would love to own the leading VR-headset maker right now.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    I suspect this is just Oculus and Steam announcing that Steam is providing/supporting/the overlord of the new portal for games they were promising all year long while not releasing actual release-quality hardware.

    That would explain Oculus loving Steam so much and why Steam dumping their own VR/AR efforts in a very public way.

    That said, I don’t expect Oculus Rift to actually ship now. They’ve been promising, “Just another year” for so long that I’m tired of waiting and I’ve reclassified the Rift as vaporware until they get hardware finalized and shipping. Because when they had sub-HD, they were all about 720p. Then it was all about 1080p. Recently, I heard them talking about how 4K was going to solve all their problems.

    Oh, and suddenly they’re adding Android in too? All for $300? Yeah, right.

    There’s always another technology around the bend. I think they’ve fallen into the Duke Nukem Forever, “Wow, that technology is going to make it badass, let’s go do that!” loop of doom. I suppose that’s how Carmack fell in bed with them. He’s been known to get swept up in such things as well…

      • ztrand
      • 6 years ago

      I think you are being a bit harsh with “so long”. The rift was shown somewhere in 2012 so it’s been in official development for like 18 months. And they have fully useable hardware which could be released because it is already a great experience.

        • Billstevens
        • 6 years ago

        Brand new hardware takes a lot longer to release than software… 2- 3 years would be fairly quick. The only way we will really know if the Oculus Rift has a real chance at being a revolution is if the first consumer version manages to grow beyond the core early adopter market they attracted with their demo kit.

        If they release it with a full functionality in a major Valve game that would probably be enough to give it a chance, assuming they have removed the screen door effect and it stops making most people sick.

      • Melvar
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<] I suppose that's how Carmack fell in bed with them. He's been known to get swept up in such things as well...[/quote<] When?

        • Concupiscence
        • 6 years ago

        Back in early August – he’s their new CTO. [url<]http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/john-carmack-joins-oculus-as-cto/[/url<] Word on the inside is that Carmack's sick of a lot of the id politics, and with Armadillo Aerospace winding down he wants something fresh.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    What, no HALF-LIFE 3 ANNOUNCEMENT!!!???

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    How virtually real is this Virtual Reality? We’ve been talking VR since the 90’s.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Forte VFX1 4vr!

      • ztrand
      • 6 years ago

      I was very sceptical, having been disappointed by the initial VR hype in the 90s, but I was really impressed by my 5 minutes with the oculus rift. The low resolution didn’t bother me at all (and is fairly straightforward to improve). The stereoscopic 3d combined with really good tracking and low latency makes it incredibly immersive.

      To me the oculus is what I thought VR was going to be before I tested it in the 90s: early but very very promising tech, and already a great experience.

      • jihadjoe
      • 6 years ago

      Virtual Boy is now real OG

    • anotherengineer
    • 6 years ago

    More importantly SSK how is that 50/30 bell fibreOp?

      • sweatshopking
      • 6 years ago

      Its pretty good. Its almost always fast, and I have few issues. I’d highly recommend it.

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        Loving my 260/60 Sasktel connection.

          • sweatshopking
          • 6 years ago

          I love sasktel. Canadas last public utility shows how great the model can be. They’re awesome. Cheapest cells in the country.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Obligatory “HL3 Confirmed!” post.

      • The Dark One
      • 6 years ago

      Half-Life 1 confirmed: the Black Mesa guys announced yesterday that they’re porting their existing content to a new engine and putting it up for sale on Steam when it’s done.

      • WaltC
      • 6 years ago

      I think that HL3 being “obligatory” is exactly the right word–for Valve, that is.

      If the company doesn’t have another HL left to share in its gaming universe–it’d be nice if Valve would share that information with its potential HL3 customers. At this rate, when HL3 ever does release, if it ever ships, the hue and cry will be: “H-L-3…wtf is that? Is that like H-2-O, or something?”

        • Billstevens
        • 6 years ago

        We wait 6 years for Half Life 2 to come out after Half Life 1, that’s because 3*2=6. Half Life 2 came out in 2004 and 3*3(in Half Life 3) = 9 which means we should wait 9 years for Half Life 3. 2004 + 9 years = 2013. Half Life 3 Release 2013 confirmed!

    • Pez
    • 6 years ago

    Valve having input with the Oculus would be good

    Who’d have thought id and Valve would team up eh

      • Melvar
      • 6 years ago

      Half-Life 1 used the Quake 2 engine, so it wouldn’t be the first time.

        • Pez
        • 6 years ago

        Not really a collaboration though, more an engine license.

        • Narishma
        • 6 years ago

        Quake 1, not 2.

          • Concupiscence
          • 6 years ago

          Weirder than that, even. Quake (1) was used as an underpinning, but little scraps from Quake II that fixed bugs were incorporated, and a very large percentage of the engine’s Valve-grown.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This