Valve Wants a Seamless VR Experience in Steam

Valve revealed their partnership with Oculus Rift earlier this month, and are now telling their plans with the software.

Valve aims to “provide a seamless VR experience while running in Steam,” according to presentation slides from programmer Joe Ludwig. Valve spoke to BBC News that Steam was “in a unique position to be this intermediary between hardware and software users.” According to Ludwig, once a user logs into Steam with the headset, they can “do anything that you can do in Steam,” including browse games and launch titles.

“Now, many games that support VR don’t necessarily support it for every part of the experience. It turns out that Half-Life 2 is one of those games.” The slides say “The bits of code that understand VR don’t run until after the splash screen goes away. So for those games, Steam will show whatever the game is drawing on the same virtual screen. We are calling this ‘Legacy Mode,’ and in theory you could play an entire game in this mode using Steam’s upcoming streaming feature.”

Valve currently have no plans to create their own VR hardware, but will be using the Oculus Rift with a beta version of the SteamVR.

“Valve’s goal is to enable great VR for the PC, so we’ve shared what we’ve learned through our R&D with Oculus,” Valve R&D’s Michael Abrash told. “We’ve showed them our prototypes and demos, we’ve explained how our hardware works, and we’ve provided them with feedback on their hardware designs. By showing them a prototype with low persistence, we convinced Oculus of its importance, and the lack of blur in Crystal Cove is a direct result of that.”

“We collaborated with Oculus on tracking as well. We’re continuing to work with them to improve tracking, displays, lenses, and calibration, and we’re excited about where they’re headed. If Oculus executes well, and so far they seem to be, I think they could well deliver strong presence on the PC within the next two years; we hope that happens, because it would be a huge boost for PC VR.”

Could this mean all Steam games in the future having some form of VR capabilities? Let us know what you think about it in the comments.