SteamVR Input helps bring controllers old and new into VR


Controllers for PC games are a fairly standardized deal at this point. Any active gamer surely has a keyboard and mouse, and many have a controller from Microsoft's last couple generations of Xbox kicking around. These uniform control schemes are something VR developers can't take for granted given the way the field has changed over the last few years. VR kits from multiple vendors come with unique controllers, and next-gen prototypes are being shown all the time.

Valve says its SteamVR Input beta can help developers make their software work better with multiple controllers and could even make titles work with yet-unknown control methods in the future. The company says users can join in on the fun and tailor their own control profiles based on their own needs and share their settings through Steam Workshop, too.

Valve says VR players can improve their experiences with SteamVR Input by setting up control schemes for right- or left-handedness, to overcome disabilities, or simply for personal preference. On the developer side, VR programmers can expose high-level "actions" in order to let the UI bind inputs to in-game activity. Valve says the new API works with all SteamVR applications, even if the developer hasn't updated a title to use the new API yet. 

For the time being, gamers need to opt for the beta version of the Steam client in order to access SteamVR Input's features. The company says interested players just need to dig into the properties menu in Steam to enable the beta version. Software developers should read the OpenVR SDK 1.0.15 page and the accompanying documentation. Valve has also created a driver API documentation page for hardware makers.

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