Just a week ago, Nintendo released the “Pokemon Go“, an augmented reality game which is already downloaded by millions around the world and become the biggest mobile game in US history. AR or VR, both are making the shift in many businesses, and it’s unstoppable now.
Evolution of Steam into SteamVR
Steam has been on the battlefield for so long that it knows exactly how the battle is to be won. The brainchild of Valve Corporation, Steam knows very well how to gift gamers too. Many a time, Steam has brought that grin to our faces with great games such as Counter-Strike, Portal, Half-Life, etc. A lot of time has passed, but Steam is definitely in the match. Venturing into Virtual Reality market, Steam seems to have foreseen the future; and they have been pretty successful at it so far as a result of it.
SteamVR launched in beta in 2014 was a major step-up for Steam regarding user interface. Partnering with Oculus to test SteamVR in a beta version of Oculus Rift, Steam later moved on to partner with HTC to make the HTC Vive VR. Even though Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has become contending rivals in the VR headset market, SteamVR declaring itself to be an open platform remains open to both Rift and Vive, doing what it does best- making games livelier by the day.
Considering that the VR industry is finding its roots in gaming, the ball seems to be in Steam’s court, for now, and it is clearly winning. Steam has already released about 150 games that are VR enabled. While all of them are compatible with the HTC Vive VR, only some are compatible with the Oculus Rift. The Vive VR can scale up your room and integrate the surroundings into the game making your room a virtual battlefield or a playground!
The controllers that come in with the Vive were more than just welcome for those who are into multiplayer games. The lack of both has been a setback for the Rift, but it seems to have learned its lesson and is now shipping in Xbox controllers with every consumer version of the Rift. Let’s have a look at what both of them has to offer with
SteamVR PC Requirements
SteamVR is currently pioneering the VR industry, but that won’t hold forever. VR is yet to be explored beyond gaming. But considering that VR is still in its phase of first generation products and the need for popularity within developer communities, VR needs the gaming industry more than ever; and in that case, SteamVR is the best bet.
VR headsets can be employed in manufacturing, education, medicine and entertainment. Gaming and media come under entertainment where you can just ‘plug and play’ using a VR headset. You’ll need a computer or any visual supporting processing system with required specifications that come close to this:
• Graphic cards such as NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
• CPU Intel i5-4590 equal or greater
• RAM of 8GB or higher.
• Video Output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
• USB Ports 2x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
• OS Windows 7 or newer.
HTC Vive Setup for SteamVR:
The Vive was officially released in April this year and comes with an OLED display and a resolution of 1080×1200 per eye. A high refresh rate of 90HZ (90 times per second) ensures that you have a seamless and smooth display. The lens has got a Field of View about 110 degrees. There is an HDMI port to connect it to a monitor and also a USB 2.0 port for extending it to accessories.
The Vive comes in with two wireless Steam controllers and two lighthouses- a sensor that should be placed aptly in your room for changing it to your virtual game surroundings. The front facing camera mounted on the HMD will keep you from tripping over your cat. Steam VR is currently available only for Windows, hence limiting the Vive to the same. Whether Vive can break the shell of SteamVR is yet to be seen.
Here’s how to setup HTC Vive with SteamVR,
- Install the VR headset to your PC. You can find the instructions for Oculus Rift here and HTC Vive here. Steam and Oculus Home will take care of the rest for you.
- You can download and play VR-enabled games from Steam for both the headsets.
- For non-VR games that already exist on your PC, you can use the Desktop Theatre option in Steam to play those games using your VR headset, which is similar to watching the game on a big screen!
- The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) inside the headset consists of an accelerometer to track your movements, a gyroscope to pinpoint your location and a magnetometer to sense your surroundings. The IMU will track you with the help of infrared sensors mounted on the headset, transmitting data to the ARM processors.
- The camera and the sensors together will track your gestures and feed the data into the processors. The GPU on your PC will carry out the instructions to display the images on the wide lens with a refresh rate of 90 times per second offering a virtual experience.
- For more detail visit the knowledgebase of Steam
Oculus Rift Setup for Steam VR:
The Oculus Rift has similar specs to the Vive. The OLED display, resolution of 1080×1200 per eye and a refresh rate of 90 Hz guarantees flawless display. Even the Field of View is the same as of Vive. But the Rift lacks the room scaling sensors that could turn your room into a virtual environment, but it does create a virtual environment nevertheless. However, the Rift is mounted with integrated3D headphones, licensed by RealSpace 3D. This makes sure you experience the virtual world in all its detail and glory during the gameplay. There is one HDMI port and a USB3.0 and USB2.0 provided with an additional 3.5mm jack for an optional headphone.
Here’s how to use the Oculus Rift with SteamVR,
- Start the Oculus App on your computer and select the gear icon in the upper right.
- Select Settings.
- Select General on the left.
- Find the Unknown Sources toggle and click it so a check appears instead of an X.
- You will need to confirm this selection before it is enabled.
- Once enabled, you will be able to run SteamVR with the Oculus Rift.
- When using the Rift with SteamVR, use the Back button on an Xbox controller to bring up and dismiss the SteamVR Dashboard.
VR is not all gaming, but it provides both users and makers to explore fully the headsets and the technology, which is still first-generation. SteamVR is the ultimate shock for all VR gamers regardless of the headphones they use. However, when it comes to either HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, the choice is up to you; and that could make all the difference.
Hope you got some idea on how does steamVR works and how to setup the Oculus rift and HTC Vive with SteamVR. We love to hear from you, Please leave your comments below if we left out anything!!!