Valve’s got a Virtual Reality SDK…coming soon

3 min read


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?

Last Updated: January 9, 2014

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. 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.

  • ALKi1234

    Playstation Move tech is the answer their looking for….just pay sony and start making the thing all ready. Instead of the led’s you can just have one ball tracking the Oculus rift.U can have a total of 5 glowing balls for full body tracking. One to track the rift, 1 on each shoulder to track direction and 1 on each hand. Don’t know y they are wasting time with this complicated tech. as we saw with the dualshock 4 it doesn’t have to be a glowing ball.

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      Dualshock 4 is awesome! Loving it

  • Hammersteyn

    Looks comfy

  • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    I reckon that unlike 3D this will actually be a big thing. It’s been wanted for years. I’m really looking forward to commercially available VR solutions

  • RinceThis2014

    I thought it was for porn? I suppose that IS you playing with yourself so a game, right? Hello, anyone there? Guys? 0-O

    • Admiral Chief in Vegas

      Eish, stop trying to make people be like you GingerBeard

    • Lord Chaos

      Bad Rince… 😛

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      And you already have your own joystick!

      • RinceThis2014

        Well now it’s more like a dpad 0-O

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)


          • RinceThis2014

            Button mashing? 0-O

        • Lord Chaos

          Please tell me you’re not allowed anywhere near people…

          • RinceThis2014

            Well I’m speaking to Banana so the chances of that are slim 😉

          • Lord Chaos

            I… I have nothing to say to that… 😛

  • Rags

    Is that James guy talking about the new Rift, since they addressed the head on a stick issue with motion tracking?

    Its no longer a question if Valve is perusing business interest, they are involved in its development for quite some time now.

    Anyway, give it to me already!

  • Gareth L (That Guy)

    I’m not sold on all these gadgets that we have to strap to our head. It’s meant to be about convenience and minimilism, not some 90s-era remake that we secure to our face. Bleh.

    If they can get it to be something along the lines of swimming goggle-sized escapism then maybe I’ll pay attention. Right now it’s all really big, goofy and uncomfortable.

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      It will get that way at some point, without a shadow of a doubt. This is probably the initial abominations like the first cell phone.. I guess

      • Gareth L (That Guy)

        The problem here is that the hardware design itself has barely changed in TWO DECADES. Sure, the screen and image quality has improved, but we’re still attaching two small TVs to our face with a strap.

        • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

          I saw a NextWorld episode a couple of years back where they showed that they are developing contact lenses with HUD’s, like in Ghost Protocol.

          Maybe they could use that tech to make VR..? That would still be two TVs stuck to your eyeballs

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Eish no thanks. I wear glasses because I hate even the idea of sticking contacts in my eyes. If I won’t do it to see where I’m walking I sure as hell won’t do it to play a game heh.

          • Gareth L (That Guy)

            Agreed. Like I said, convenience.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            Nothing beats coming home from a long day of work, flopping onto the couch, firing up the console/PC, and having a good gaming session. No fuss, only fun

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      I wholeheartedly agree with the great sage, the one formerly known as XCheese!

      Call me a luddite. Call me a funny nana’ Call me a Damn Saucy Minx. But the move to VR smells like Guitar Hero plastic guitars, lame brain Call of Duty and dumb-ass Kinect.

      In other words… gimmicky fluff!

      • Gareth L (That Guy)

        Hehe, thanks bud.


        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)


      • Mark Treloar

        Can I Call you an ambulance?

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Awfully kind of you, but alas, I still have a gin and tonic in my hand. 😛

        • RinceThis2014

          You mean Symantech Anti Virus surely?

    • geelslang

      Fair point, size is the price to pay right now if you want VR. For some people like you, that is a price too high. Dont know if I can wait another 5 years. I also played games in monochrome, I didnt have to wait for 1080p to enjoy it.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    That helmet is making me want to watch SpaceBalls.

    • Gareth L (That Guy)

      LOL, you’ll probably be forced to take it off after 30 seconds gasping “I CAN’T BREATHE IN THAT THING!” too.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I wonder if Valve isn’t stretching themselves too thin with their current push into hardware. Having said that, WHERE”S HALF LIFE 3 YOU DAMN BASTARDS!

    • Gareth L (That Guy)

      They’re going to call the official Steambox… Half-Life 3.

      Mass hysteria ensues.

      • Lord Chaos

        Mass Hysteria because of the name, or because of the internet imploding?

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