Valve has announced that the company will start selling SteamVR Tracking base stations directly from its online store. Separately, Valve has also announced that the company is launching SteamVR support for Linux to help developers create Linux content for HTC Vive VR headset.
Coming first to the room-scale Steam VR trackers, Valve will start selling its new single-rotor tracking models, unlike the dual-rotor tracking models that can be purchased from HTC, through its online store later this year. While the current dual-rotor models cost around $130 (roughly 8,700), Valve says that the switch to single-rotor model will bring “rapid cost reductions,” as pointed out in a report by Road To VR.
Further, the company has decided to make it easier for developers to implement SteamVR Tracking in their devices as it has changed the status its introductory course in Seattle, which costs $3,000 (roughly Rs. 2 lakhs) from mandatory to optional. Developers who want to use SteamVR Tracking in their products can simply purchase the hardware components required and download the software kit for development.
“After working with numerous third parties and updating the tools, Valve is opening more direct access to the technology and course work, available free of charge in English and Chinese. The full, in person training courses are still available for those interested,” Valve said in a statement to Road To VR.
Valve in the report also claims that more than 500 companies have signed up to develop with SteamVR Tracking technology.
It is likely that HTC will now contribute primarily towards the development of its Vive VR headset while Valve retains its underlying tracking technology, as per the report.
Now moving to the SteamVR support for Linux, the company has launched the support currently as part of a beta program and developers are required to necessarily use an Nvidia developer beta driver that’s built on OpenGL’s successor ‘Vulkan’, Engadget pointed out in its report. Further, users are restricted to a ‘direct mode’, which means they cannot have the images display on the headset as well as desktop monitor simultaneously.
Users can also choose to use an AMD graphics card but that requires some tweaking and is restricted to secondary “desktop” display mode, Engadget points out. While Intel graphics are not yet supported, Linux OpenVR game development requires the use of Unity version 5.6. Other known issues include Base station power management and headset audio device switching, which are not implemented yet, Engadget reports