Tag Archive | vive

Examining the Valve/HTC Vive Ecosystem: Basic Lighthouse Operation

Introduction

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already aware of the Valve/HTC partnership where HTC will manufacture the Vive, a virtual reality head mounted display, powered by Valve’s SteamVR platform.

As part of the reveal, one new piece of technology was introduced to the public: the Lighthouse. This is a brand-new-to-VR technology which will be used as part of a system to track the position and orientation of a user’s head mounted display and controllers throughout an entire room.

With Lighthouse, instead of using VR in a chair or standing in place, its room-scale VR feature allows you to use the space of an entire room as a stage to physically walk around in a virtual environment.

Valve Lighthouse

Image Source: Valve Lighthouse Slide from “Advanced VR Rendering” at GDC 2015

Disclaimer

This article is based on publicly available information. Be aware that we are trying to explain a system that is unreleased, subject to change, and has very little publicly available information. Some elements of this article may prove inaccurate at a later date.

With any complex system, there are many rules, details, and exceptions to explore. This first article is just going to cover the tech basics (but will still be plenty meaty for many). We’ll consider more detailed issues in later articles.

A Basic Operational Review

The purpose of this first article is to clear up some of the common misconceptions concerning the Lighthouse technology. It will also serve as a starting place for additional articles on Lighthouse and on the various aspects of the HTC/Valve partnership.

By understanding how this one component works, we can understand much more about what HTC and Vive are trying to deliver to consumers. They’re not just cranking out randomly incremental or independent technological solutions here; Valve is running a very deep and highly integrated game plan.

Read More…

Competitors with Different Goals: Valve versus Oculus

The recently announced HTC Vive looks to be a strong technology competitor against the highly anticipated consumer release from Oculus in the PC space. While Oculus has long-ago stated that they are working to deliver their consumer VR headset at a lower margin, possibly even at cost, HTC/Valve has announced their entry of a premium VR experience.

A Different Focus

What is overlooked by many is that while these two companies compete in VR hardware and software, their focus couldn’t be any more different. Read More…

Gabe Newell, the Killer App, and the Metaverse

Did you catch Geoff Keighley’s interview with Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson from Valve? The fact that they covered a very large number of virtual reality topics wasn’t so surprising. The interview was recorded at this year’s E3, the event where Valve revealed their partnership with HTC to manufacture the Vive (a head-mounted display as part of a new virtual reality platform).

There were a number of notable responses from Gabe concerning Valve and virtual reality. One Reddit user, gotta_ban_them_all, slaved five hours on a full transcript of the podcast.

Gabe Newell, image courtesy of Kotaku

Gabe Newell, image courtesy of Kotaku

At one point, Gabe talks about how there isn’t a yet a killer app for VR. But they believe that they’ve set the stage with hardware that is “good enough” where someone else will be able to put something out there, and people will recognize that as what people should be doing with VR.

This is similar to what John Carmack said in the Future of VR panel at Oculus Connect 2014. “It would be sad if Oculus made the killer app.” He and Palmer go onto say that not only would they be disappointed, but really, they think that scenario is unlikely. Read More…