Valve reveals it’s opened up its VR platform to Linux game developers among a bounty of other announcements.
Valve and Linux have been an ongoing partnership for years, so it was only a matter of time until SteamVR made its way to the niche, yet incredibly open-ended operating system. Well the day has finally come as Valve has officially released ‘SteamVR for Linux,’ a new program that will finally allow Linux developers to create virtual reality content for the HTC Vive.
Now before you go getting all excited, know that this is merely a developmental release, or ‘beta’ if you will. This means the current build only exists to allow content creators to begin working on VR applications for the Linux platform, not for regular Linux users to access and explore. Those wishing to pursue SteamVR on the new OS will have had to be signed up for the closed public beta for Steam and SteamVR in order to participate, as well as download the necessary pre-existing drivers. Other limitations include no base station power management, zero headset audio device switching and, most glaringly of all, no switching between headset and desktop display modes.
The current release, while limited, still includes most of the important SteamVR features you’ve come to love such as the dashboard, VR status windows, room setup & tutorial software, etc. There are some slight hiccups here and there, but overall it’s a great start for VR on Linux.
Support for the OS was released alongside a plethora of other tweaks to the system during a broad SteamVR update that included improved supersampling, alterations to the desktop mode and more. No word yet on any future, more stable releases.
This wasn’t the only exciting reveal made by the infamous company. Along with SteamVR support for Linux, a new upgraded base station for the HTC Vive was also teased. The new model features a single-rotor design as opposed to the current dual-rotor system which should greatly reduce the cost of production. On top of that it looks like Valve is now making the high-tech tracking boxes purchasable as a standalone accessory as opposed to only being bundled with the $800 HTC Vive headset package.
The final announcement is a pure delight to would-be developers looking to get into building apps for the Vive: Those looking to get their hands on the SteamVR trackers no longer have to attend a $3,000 mandatory intro program before being allowed to purchase. Now anyone can get their hands on the required hardware components, download the necessary software and begin working with the trackers for SteamVR.