By year end, HTC is planning to ship the Vive VR system to consumers, powered by Valve's newly announced software and wireless controllers.
A Developer Edition of Vive is already in the hands of Vertigo, Bossa, Fireproof, Dovetail, Steel Wool, Owlchemy, Cloudhead, Skillman & Hackett and WEVR (formerly WemoLab). The Developer Edition is slated for availability to “select developers” in the coming months.
Early reviews suggest the quality of the experience beats anything public from Oculus. The “Lighthouse” positional tracking system can locate people in spaces up to 15 feet wide for walk-around VR. The headset is still tethered by a wire to a PC just like Oculus, and there's no word on the price.
Also announced: Sony's Morpheus headset is slated for early 2016, powered by Playstation 4.
Updated tools ease transition to VR content creation
Barriers keeping people from turning ideas into VR software experiences are coming down with each passing day, but this week was a doozy.
Epic dropped subscription pricing to develop with Unreal in exchange for a five percent cut of revenue, while Valve released a new version of Source, also for free. Unity 5 was launched as well, and the free version now includes all features and platforms. This means there are three strong contenders for VR content creation toolsets with zero upfront cost.
When it comes to rendering technologies, Oculus is backing LiquidVR from AMD, a “technology platform architected for immersion and responsiveness in virtual reality environments,” while NVIDIA and Valve are working with Vulkan, an “open standard API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs.”
UC Davis researcher Oliver Kreylos wrote about the power of minimalist avatars: “...our most basic avatar boils down to a floating head and a floating hand...but even so, our users have reported ‘seeing’ the other person...this bodes well for VR in the context of collaborative or social applications.”