The latest SteamVR update adds a new photogrammetry environment for users, captured in the village of Fornalutx in Mallorca.
Mallorca is an island located in the western Mediterranean sea, off the coast of Spain and part of the Balearic Islands. It’s home to an ancient village called Fornalutx and, as described in this post, Valve has processed a bunch of photogrammetric data to create a SteamVR home environment featuring a path running through the village.
The data was originally captured in October 2019, but it seems Valve employees only just got around to processing and converting it now. The scene is made up of over 640 photos, which were taken handheld with a Canon EOS 5D Mk IV using an EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens.
To process the photos into a photogrammetry scene and clean up the results, Valve used Reality Capture, Agisoft Metashape, Agisoft PhotoScan, Modo, Substance Painter and Photoshop.
In last month’s SteamVR hardware survey, Quest 2 reached 47.92% of VR headset usage on the platform, creeping its way toward 50%. The Valve Index, meanwhile, climbed slightly up to 15.35% while the Oculus Rift S continued to fall, now at just 11.07%. You can read more about last month’s SteamVR hardware results here.
Valve launched a new ‘Spring Cleaning’ update for SteamVR today, version 1.11.11, featuring some new upgrades and bug fixes. The update also opens up access to the Half-Life: Alyx SteamVR Home environments which are now available to all users, after a period of exclusivity for Valve Index owners only.
Before Half-Life: Alyx launched last month, two SteamVR home environments, one featuring the streets of City 17 and another featuring Russell’s lab, were available to Index owners a few weeks prior to Alyx’s launch. However, now that the game has been out for almost a month, Valve has made these available to all SteamVR users, regardless of which headset you’re using.
Previously, others could only experience the Alyx environments through a shared SteamVR Home session with an Index owner. However, that was before the game’s release — now that the Alyx cat is out of the Valve bag, City 17 and Russell’s Lab have been fully revealed in-game. The SteamVR Home areas no longer act as sneak peeks, which is probably why they’re no longer exclusive.
Stuck indoors? Well, you should know that your VR headset is way more than just a Beat Saber machine. You can actually chat, play, and watch movies with your friends, almost as if the world wasn’t thrust into a global pandemic—or whatever is keeping you from going outside.
Here’s a few choice apps where you can connect with friends, or meet new friends too. Either way, it sure beats FaceTime. Oh, and all of them are free too!
The OG of social VR apps is still going strong, even nearly six years after its initial release on Oculus Rift DK1 in 2014. Over time, it’s created a unique culture of weird, organic memes thanks to its open avatar and world creation abilities. You can also connect with non-VR headset owning buddies here, making for an awesome meeting point for basically everyone… except PSVR owners – at least for now.
There’s a lobby now where you can hang out and chat, but really the bulk of Bigscreen’s draw is being able to sit down with friends or strangers and bond over its unlimited viewing capabilities. Anything you can access on your computer and display to your monitor can be shared with anyone, making Bigscreen the gold standard of social viewing platforms. You can also pay to watch movies now too, which is a nice touch if you aren’t already signed up to a streaming service like Netflix or Prime Video.
Chilling and chatting is cool, and you can totally do just that in Rec Room, but this cross-platform beauty unites all of the VR headset-owning community in one vibrant, fun place. There are co-op ‘quests’ to go on, a battle royale shooter, and plenty of reasons to stick around and have fun outside of shooting the breeze with your mates.
NeosVR is like the offspring of an operating system, a game engine, and a chat room; it wants to be the metaverse. That said, it’s pretty technical, but the things you can build there in-game are fantastic. It even has its own cryptocurrency, although the userbase isn’t near large enough to make it functional just yet.
Ok, I said all of these social apps are free, and that’s still technically true with OrbusVR. arguably VR’s most full-featured MMORPG. You can play for free up until level 10, and mix with the entire playerbase in the process. Play as a bard, mage, paladin, shaman, scoundrel and more as you explore the wide open world of Patraeyl.
Mozilla Hubs is a lightweight social program that isn’t actually an app at all, rather a WebXR-based social experience which makes for effortless, one-click creation of virtual rooms which anyone can join—from smartphones desktop browsers to VR headsets—directly from the browser. Just put in your room code for your private chat room and join your friends on any device.
Unfortunately for now it’s only for Rift users, although with completely customizable spaces there’s good enough reason to meet your friends in an Oculus Home space before launching off to other multiplayer games. That is until Facebook Horizons makes its way to the platform, which ought to unite all Oculus users under a single app.
No need to download anything. It’s already baked into the desktop runtime.
Like Oculus Home, SteamVR Home isn’t really a traditional chat room, although it has some of the best custom-made spaces out of all social spaces. Where else can you hang out with friends in a preview section of Half-Life: Alyx?
vTime is a bit of a sleeper on this list, as it doesn’t offer screen sharing or madcap user-generated content, but if you’re at all intimidated by any of that and are just looking for a chill place to chat with minimal setup, vTime is a great place to do it. Working somewhat like a social network, you make friends and send chat invites to people, and are then seated for round-table style chat in a variety of slick locations.
AltspaceVR includes live shows, meetups, classes, and is accessible on a number of VR headsets. Although it’s not the most lively platform as it once was in the early days of VR, you the basic functionality is all there, and the community engagement is still impressively high. Check out all the upcoming events here.
For those that pre-ordered the game, Valve has brought two Half-Life: Alyx environments to SteamVR Home, giving players their first chance to step inside the game. Even if you didn’t pre-order the game, it’s still easy to check out the new environments by joining a user-hosted room.
If you pre-ordered the game you’ll be able to launch the new environments by opening the menu in SteamVR Home and finding the ‘Russell’s Lab‘ and ‘City 17 Alleyway‘ environments. If they don’t load right away when you click on them, they will likely have been queued for downloading; both are about 1GB, so you may need to wait a little while (you can see the progress in the usual Steam download manager).
If you didn’t pre-order Alyx, you’re in luck. In SteamVR Home you can join public rooms with other players, including those with the ‘Russell’s Lab’ and ‘City 17 Alleyway’ environments. You can see a list of public rooms in the SteamVR Home interface, and once you join a room with one of the Half-Life: Alyx environments, you can save it to your own list of environments to check out later. We also captured footage to give you a glimpse inside:
City 17 Alleyway
Both environments are just a preview and don’t have any actual gameplay, but they represent real areas ripped right from the game. Granted, Valve notes that “the rendering technology available in [SteamVR Home] is different than that in Half-Life: Alyx, and the interactivity is significantly lower than what the game itself provides. So while these scenes do not have quite as much fidelity as they will in the actual game, we think they are a faithful enough translation to provide a fun VR preview of the game’s setting.”
Valve made new Half-Life: Alyx preview locations for SteamVR Home available those who own or have ordered a Valve Index.
You can view footage of the two environments embedded below.
The first location is set outdoors in City 17, “in the shadow of the under-construction Citadel”, with the second set in Russell’s laboratory. Russell is the Kiwi character seen in the initial announcement trailer, whose voice guides Alyx through the levels, as seen in the latest footage from Valve and IGN.
Valve did note that while these are preview environments of Half-Life: Alyx, they don’t represent the exact same level of detail, interactivity and graphic fidelity seen in the game itself, due to the lower capabilities of the SteamVR Home rendering technology. They do feel that the environments nonetheless are a “faithful enough translation to provide a fun VR preview of the game’s setting.” Russell’s lab also offers our first close up look at some of the glove technology you’ll be wearing in the game.
Valve encourages those who do not own a Valve Index but want to experience the environments to do so via a SteamVR Home session with a Valve Index owner, if possible.
In recent months, the Valve Index has been difficult to purchase in advance of the launch of Half-Life: Alyx. While the game will run on many headsets, the Index controllers offer exclusive interactions not possible on other headsets. The Index was unavailable after Christmas, and was recently further impacted by Coronavirus.
Valve updated SteamVR today with new device status icons and a default view into VR docked to the window.
A post detailing the update on Steam explains “the new VR View is docked to the bottom of the status window with the option to undock or go full screen. The undocked view also comes with a new “Both Eyes” mode that blends the left and right views together for a better approximation of the field of view visible in the headset. We’re also bringing you updated device status icons sporting new colors and support for high-DPI displays.”
The update includes a lengthy list of bug fixes which were tested as beta updates previously, including “Fixed passing depth through to the Oculus runtime from apps which provide it” that could be help to some Rift owners.
For folks using Valve’s SteamVR Tracking “Lighthouse” system, the update should improve “the registration of controllers to headsets when moving together rigidly coupled, such as with a gun stock accessory. This applies to all combinations of HMDs, controllers, and tracking pucks made by Valve and HTC.”
Here’s the full list of updates:
Simplified the user experience to more clearly and consistently communicate general VR and specific device status.
Added an improved VR display view, with new docked preview and full screen modes, plus new blended left/right-eye views. To display or hide the new VR View, visit the SteamVR status window menu or right-click on the headset icon, then select this item in its context menu.
Device icons updated to reflect Steam, SteamVR, and Valve Index styles.
Device icons updated to support high-DPI displays for Valve Index, Valve Index Controllers, Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Controllers, Vive Trackers, Rift S, and Rift S Controllers.
Fixed issue with only one auto-launching overlay app starting when multiple were set to auto-launch.
Added URL handler to open the Debug Commands window. vrmonitor://debugcommands
Added ‘Open Debug Commands’ to VR View menu.
Added url hander for individual debug commands (e.g. vrmonitor://debugcommands/async_mode_toggle).
Fixed keyboard placement relative to overlays so it will stop obscuring the overlay that the input is going to.
Chaperone restricts room center to be within 1km of your tracking system origin. 1km ought to be enough for anybody. (This prevents chaperone adjustment tools from accidentally moving the center of your room outside the solar system, causing floating point math issues that manifest as things like “flickering in HMD”).
Fix a case where launching a VR app from Steam that never connected to SteamVR would prevent you from launching other VR apps from Steam until that launch transition timed out.
Fix for a minor set of Index’s Bluetooth initialization errors locking out one of the two Index HMD radios. This caused connectivity issues on one of the controllers.
Fixed an issue that could cause room setup to automatically launch for drivers that provide their own chaperone bounds. This should fix Oculus users who were being prompted to run room setup after reboot.
Fixed “show controls” UI breaking when switching to another action set in certain titles. Notably, this affected “On Foot” in No Man’s Sky.
Fix a rare crash when a user hand-edits their settings file to be valid JSON but not valid settings.
Fixed Friend count not showing up in lobby panels.
Fixed a bug where in some cases on Windows 10, SteamVR Home would incorrectly claim that its files were corrupted and fail to load
Fixed Thor’s Hammer collectible not spawning in game
Fixed sorting issues with screenshot/image panels
Fixed vrwebhelper apps showing up in recent games panel
Fixed Linux crash
Added setting in binding configs called “Return bindings with X hand” that cause the gamepad or treadmill bindings to also apply to left/right hand devices when a SteamVR Input application restricts its action results by device.
For legacy input applications, when the trigger is clicked the trigger value will not be set to 1.0 if the click action is already coming from the trigger. This fixes a bug with Oculus Touch controllers in games like VRChat, where the grip trigger value would jump from partially pulled to fully pulled. For legacy bindings that put a trigger click action on another button, the existing behavior remains and the axis value will be set to 1.0.
Fixed issue that prevented ‘axis 2’ from being used as a trigger in legacy games on Index Controllers. When combined with new bindings this fixes The Forest, and possibly other games.
Fixed issue with the changed bit being incorrect when Get*ActionData is called more than once per frame.
Fixed issue with retrieving a pose from a skeletal action returning the default pose instead of whatever is bound (and also spamming the log in the process.)
Fixed unsafe conditions for games that call GetDigitalActionData and GetAnalogActionData from multiple threads.
Fixed a gpu scheduling issue with motion smoothing on AMD hardware which was causing motion smoothing to disable itself after a while due to poor performance.
Improved throttling logic when motion smoothing is enabled. Previously, throttling and prediction were locked together when motion smoothing is enabled. This update allows throttling to back off of the prediction level based on the current average gpu performance. A typical example is when an app can render at half-rate (i.e. each rendered frame takes more than a single frame to finish, but less than two), but spends an extra frame on the cpu performing the draw calls, etc. This makes each of those frames a total of three frame latent, but can still deliver a new frame every other vsync interval. Note: This only applies to Lighthouse based hmds (e.g. Vive, Index) since most other headsets (e.g. Rift, WMR) use their own compositor and associated logic for throttling and prediction.
Fixed passing depth through to the Oculus runtime from apps which provide it.
Added support for importing standing-only guardian setups. This fixes the issue where running guardian setup to set the floor level but skipping the room bounds step was resulting in the headset being stuck in the floor in SteamVR.
When the Oculus runtime returns one of its library load errors (ovrError_LibLoad, ovrError_LibSymbols, or ovrError_LibPath) and we know the HMD is present and the service is running, attempt to fix the PATH and try ovr_Initialize again. This is the case that results in SteamVR error 1114 (which currently suggests a re-install of Oculus SW or a reboot to fix PATH issues). Known causes of this PATH issue: Users manually placing Steam first in their path (possibly combined with putting unknown “fix” DLLs into the Steam folder), users who have the Oculus runtime installed but not in their path, and users launching VR from third party tools (like Unity Editor) which completely replace the path prior to launch.
Improve the registration of controllers to headsets when moving together rigidly coupled, such as with a gun stock accessory. This applies to all combinations of HMDs, controllers, and tracking pucks made by Valve and HTC.
Fix an issue where launching SteamVR with a wireless controller already connected (such as when using the controller itself to launch SteamVR from Steam) could prevent the controller from tracking.
Reduce the amount of tracking disruption caused by plugging in additional USB devices in the middle of a play session.
Changed default index controller binding for keyboard to move Shift and Symbols to the A buttons, and analog tracking to the thumbsticks+triggers.
Added brightness control, set in-headset under Display Settings (firmware update required)
Enabled column correction to mitigate vertical “screendoor” (firmware update required). Column correction is only active during SteamVR [beta] usage. Controls are available in-headset, under Display Settings -> Advanced.
Reduce default loadPriority of the Valve-supplied gamepad driver so that it loads after most VR drivers. This is to favor VR drivers in the case where both drivers want to load gamepad related DLLs and there are version conflicts.
Fixed various performance issues.
Fixed IVRCompositor::GetFrameTiming() reporting bad data when async mode was enabled, correcting the reporting of impossibly long frame times in the frame timing window.
Fixed a system hang when async compute is enabled.
Reduce CPU utilization when async reprojection is disabled.
Note to external SteamVR driver developers: The runtime now looks for icons with @2x variants and will automatically pick them up for your driver(s) if provided. See the drivers that ship with SteamVR for reference (e.g. runtime/drivers/indexhmd/resources/icons).
On first launch, if the stylized icons do not exist, they will be automatically generated and saved next to your existing icons with a custom postfix, then used for subsequent launches. You are encouraged to ship these generated icons with your driver(s) alongside your existing icons, which should remain unchanged. Doing so will enable your icons to already exist on disk for users upon launch. You also should feel free to hand-edit the automated output as needed. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Icon style changes can be reverted by setting they keys customIconStyle and customOffIconStyle to the empty string in your steamvr.vrsettings file. As always, exercise extreme caution when modifying this file as no error checking is performed.
When it comes to PC gaming sales there’s only one that most consumers wait for and that’s Steam’s. The online retail behemoth is renown for its chunky discounts on its massive range of content, and the Steam Winter Sale 2018 is no different.
For virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts who either own an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Windows Mixed Reality headset there’s a bountiful supply of experiences on offer, with discounts ranging from a mere 10 percent all the way up to a hefty 90 percent in some cases.
VRFocus isn’t going to start listing them all here – there’s way too many and Steam does that anyway. What we will do is pick out some choice cuts that are well worth adding to your library to wow the family with, extolling the virtues of VR.
Alongside all the discounts, Steam has got into the festive spirit of the season with a new theme called “Extremely Cozy Cottage of Surprises.” Jump onto Steam each day and you’ll be able to open a door on the Steam calendar to receive unique Steam Community emoticons, wallpapers and/or in-game items from community favourite Steam games – as well as some consumable digital items of questionable utility from Valve.
As an extra treat for SteamVR Home users, the platform has also released a new environment – Winter Peak. Made in collaboration with Scraggy Rascal Studios – who also helped create Gulping Goat Space Farm and Candy Emporium – the environment is available as an asset pack allowing users to remix and create their own map using its models, textures, and sounds.
“Venture forth from the cozy warmth of the rover, and feel the frost in the air as you trek out onto the snowy bluff. You may find the local wildlife somewhat shy and elusive, so please maintain a respectful distance to avoid scaring them off,” is how the studio describes the environment.
The 2018 Steam Winter Sale is on now and will end on 3rd January 2019 at 10am PT. For further Steam deals, keep reading VRFocus.
It’s hard to get tired of Valve’s SteamVR Home when the company keeps pumping out high-quality spaces like Gulping Goat and Candy Emporium as of late. Now on Steam Workshop, the company’s open marketplace for environmental additions and asset packs, Valve has pushed out a new environment called ‘Winter Peak’ that puts you in a frosty winter wonderland befitting the season.
Winter Peak was produced in collaboration with VR studio Scraggy Rascal Games, which also had a hand in Valve’s latest SteamVR Home environments Candy Emporium and Gulping Goat.
Here’s Valve’s description of Winter Peak:
Venture forth from the cozy warmth of the rover, and feel the frost in the air as you trek out onto the snowy bluff. You may find the local wildlife somewhat shy and elusive, so please maintain a respectful distance to avoid scaring them off.
Valve says in a news update that they’re making making Winter Peak available as an Asset Pack so that users can remix and create your own map using the models, textures, and sounds.
To get started making your own remixed Home environment using this and other Asset packs, check out this guide from Valve.
Das Gruselfest Halloween rückt stetig näher und um euch in die richtige Stimmung zu versetzen, veröffentlicht Valve seine neue Home-Umgebung Candy Emporium für SteamVR. Anstelle der klassischen, schaurigen Deko setzt die neue Umgebung einen anderen Fokus: Süßigkeiten. Doch der erste Eindruck könnte trügen, denn innerhalb des ominösen Süßigkeitenladens gibt es einige Eastereggs zu entdecken.
Valve versorgt seine Steam-Nutzer-/innen stetig mit neuen Umgebungen für die virtuelle Eingangspforte. So wurde erst kürzlich die Gulping Goat Space Farm in einem Update bereitgestellt, nun folgt zur Feier des schaurigen Halloweens bereits die nächste Home-Umgebung. Innerhalb des Candy Emporiums dürft ihr euer inneres Kind hervorholen und in einem Süßigkeitenparadies eurer Zuckersucht frönen. Von Bonbons über Donuts und Cupcakes gibt es im virtuellen Laden alles, was Naschkatzen glücklich stimmt.
So schreiben die Devs im Zuge der Veröffentlichung des “normalen” Süßwarenladens:
“Ja richtig, völlig normal – einfach nur ein gewöhnlicher, altbackener Süßwarenladen voller Bonbons und Cupcakes – der zufällig gerade geschlossen hat… In einer völlig normalen dunklen und stürmischen Nacht …”
Wie immer gibt es darin also reichlich zu entdecken, denn der augenscheinlich sichere Laden beherbergt vielleicht doch das eine oder andere gruselige Geheimnis im Motto des anstehenden Festtags. Und freischaltbare Goodies sind ebenso enthalten.
Wie bereits zu anderen Home-Umgebungen stellen die Entwickler-/innen das dazugehörige Asset Pack zum Download bereit, um die darin enthaltenen Modelle und Texturen für eigene Projekte zu verwenden.
As October begins to draw to a close you may be getting fed up with all the Halloween flavoured content being pushed out, whether that’s via a new update or a new horror title making an appearance. It seems as though Valve and SteamVR are of a similar mindset with SteamVR Home releasing a new environment for users to explore, the Candy Emporium – which still sounds kind of sinister.
Looking like your average sweet shop filled with delectable delights, of course not all is quite what it seems. As the creators note: “So today we’re shipping the Perfectly Normal Candy Emporium. That’s right, it’s perfectly normal – just your regular old candy shop with candy and cupcakes – which just happens to be closed right now… On a perfectly normal dark and stormy night…”
A perfect little getaway prior to or after a spot of virtual reality (VR) gaming, the Candy Emporium isn’t just somewhere nice to relax and wish it was real. Those inquisitive enough to go exploring may even find a few secrets to unlock.
As with previous releases the Candy Emporium is available as an asset pack allowing users to remix and create their own map using its models, textures, and sounds.
Earlier this month SteamVR Home launched another environment, a western themed space ranch called Gulping Goat.
In addition to Candy Emporium, SteamVR beta has been updated with the following additions:
Fixed Base Station 1.0 Power Management issues for Beta users reporting Bases that would not turn on or respond to identify as expected.
Fixed issue with dpad modes not working on force-based trackpads (like the one on Knuckles.)
Fixed formatting in the Set Up Legacy Actions tab.
As SteamVR continues to improve and further updates are released, VRFocus will keep you informed.