Valve’s got a Virtual Reality SDK…coming soon

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By all accounts, and the general zeitgeist Virtual Reality is going to be the next big thing when it comes to videogames. John Carmack, formerly of ID and now tech leader at Rift VR thinks so – and so, apparently does Valve. They’re releasing a software development kit specifically for Virtual Reality software.

Speaking to the BBC, Valve designer Brian Coomer says software company is "days away" from releasing a VR software development kit that will help standardise the way that virtual reality headsets interface with computers, which will go quite a long way in getting the tech off the ground.

Is Valve pursuing some sort of business interest with the Oculus Rift, which would tie in quite nicely with the SteamBox?

“There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design. We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements,” he says.

The SDK is expected to be released at Valve’s Steam Days even later this month in Seattle, where Half-Life most likely won’t be announced.

The newly revealed Crystal Cove prototype version of the Rift – which I mentioned yesterday – goes a long way in making Virtual Reality more viable, by removing much of that jarring motion sickness. The next big change that needs to happen with the Rift is the removal of the “screen door” effect, which somewhat kills the whole immersion effect.

I think 2014 is the year we’ll see great advances in VR – but some people aren’t quite as convinced.

"VR headsets face a significant problem that won’t be overcome in the near term," Forrester analyst James McQuivey says.

"They’re not good enough to keep up with the sophisticated way the brain processes visual and spatial information, including the user’s own movement."

"Only people very committed to a specific experience – like gaming – are able to endure the imperfections with the devices in anticipation of a reward that they value."

Isn’t that the point though? For games?

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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