Monday, November 12th 2018

Valve Seemingly Preparing Their Own VR Headset; Hints Point to Half Life VR Bundle

In June 2016 Valve announced 'Destinations', a Steam workshop not easy to find anymore, that allowed the end user to enter real and fictitious scenarios through the magic of virtual reality. The idea was intriguing, but the media was not completely sold and judged Valve's proposal as both "the best and the worst of VR". From all this, however, came a singular discovery: those who reverse-engineered its code discovered in it the HLVR acronym, which initiated a wide debate about the potential appearance of a Half Life VR (HLVR) version specifically developed for VR headsets.

Lending further credence to this hypothesis was Gabe Newell's announcement in February 2017 that Valve was preparing three big titles for virtual reality- two of them based on Source 2, and one of them based on Unity. More such signs appeared in the summer of 2018, and everything was pointing towards this project being indeed real, that it would likely be based on Source 2, and that it would offer a full-fledged blockbuster title that this generation of VR has been desperately seeking. We now have more data courtesy a "leaked email" to Reddit user 2flock that suggests Valve's work is apparently going beyond just VR game development, as images of a prototype device seen below confirm that Valve is also working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD), one whose development would also be more advanced than initially suspected.
What you see has been making the rounds in the VR community, with many digging up component details and then some. Indeed, UploadVR was able to confirm independently that this is an upcoming Valve VR HMD with a 135° field of view, which is far beyond the ~110° FOV afforded by the current PC VR flagship HTC Vive Pro out of the box. Accompanying this is lens resolution that is said to be "Vive Pro resolution" which would be 2,880 x 1,600 total. No word on refresh rate yet, which is another key factor for VR, and the padding on the headset suggests support for the Valve Knuckles controller which was detailed earlier this year.

There is no word on whether any form of hand and/or eye tracking will be supported, which disappointed some who initially thought there was spacing for a Leap Motion unit. But we do see SteamVR tracking diodes beneath the plastic for a clean look, as well as two separate cameras and an integrated headset. Valve being as secretive as they are, do not expect to hear any official details about this device until sooner to launch. We do not know when that will be, but surely Oculus's plans for the successor of the Rift will play a role here too.


No, Half Life 3 is still not confirmed. But, as Valve News Network so succinctly points out in the video above, Valve may well be working on the Half Life VR game which, bundled with the new virtual reality headset, would make for a lucrative launch title. This plays well with what we know of Valve being jealous of Nintendo for being able to combine their hardware and software titles in a cohesive manner, thus leading to combinations such as the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Half Life VR, if it is not vaporware, is speculated to be a prequel to Half Life 1 and may possibly explore more about the background of everyone's favorite silent protagonist. This title could well be powered by Source 2, with Artifact already being developed on the engine and Dota 2 having received an update patch to be ported over. Source: Reddit user 2flock
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28 Comments on Valve Seemingly Preparing Their Own VR Headset; Hints Point to Half Life VR Bundle

#1
lynx29
eh, even the Vive Pro looked too blurry for me, even after fully adjusted. I'll wait it out a few more years, tech and gpu horsepower just are not there yet. when it looks like a 22" 1080p from 3-4 feet away with some nice MSAA x4 to boot, then I will gladly do VR. but its below that by a lot when its actually super close to your eye even at that high of a resolution, can't stand it personally. but to each their own
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#2
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
This will be awesome! I can't wait to find out more in.. I hope the near future. This should be a VR game changer. :toast:
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#3
xkm1948
I agree, a major, well-optimized VR triple A title would mean big news for the consumer VR market. With the headset prices coming down and (hopefully) hardware prices coming down as well the consumer VR adoption rate will slowly pick up in 2019.


At least I wish HLVR would have a lower HW requirement. Once thing that made Half Life 2 good was that it ran well on most PC configs, not just top of the line ones, without sacrificing major story line problem. Unlike Fallout 4 VR which was unplayable on A LOT OF GPUs when it first launched.
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#4
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
xkm1948, post: 3940573, member: 50521"
I agree, a major, well-optimized VR triple A title would mean big news for the consumer VR market. With the headset prices coming down and (hopefully) hardware prices coming down as well the consumer VR adoption rate will slowly pick up in 2019.


At least I wish HLVR would have a lower HW requirement. Once thing that made Half Life 2 good was that it ran well on most PC configs, not just top of the line ones, without sacrificing major story line problem. Unlike Fallout 4 VR which was unplayable on A LOT OF GPUs when it first launched.
The rumor is that they will sell it at cost. I don't know if I believe that or not, but I hope so. The main reason I say this is because the steam boxes were high imho. It really will depend on the price if I buy one when they release. I think my plan will be to keep my Vive and add the knuckle controllers. HLVR should work on the Rift and the Vive.

I just hope I can upgrade my Graphics card when it happens. I need Valve to start making GPU's for cost as well.. lol
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#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Valve is giving a Hail Mary pass trying to keep VR relevant. Yeah...not gonna work. Like VR in the 90s and 3D in the 2000s, it's a novelty.
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#6
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
FordGT90Concept, post: 3940603, member: 60463"
Valve is giving a Hail Mary pass trying to keep VR relevant. Yeah...not gonna work. Like VR in the 90s and 3D in the 2000s, it's a novelty.
I remember 90's VR and it sucked and it's not even comparable to today's VR. I still can't get over the number of people that say this on a tech forum.. Have you tried VR with a Vive or Rift CV1? I find that most people that compare it to 90's VR and 3d TV's haven't even tried it. I mean at this point Sony has enough PSVR owners that they patented a new hmd and tracking system in the last month or two. Now, buddy, I'm not saying it's perfect by no means, but I do wish people would keep an open mind.

Also, I have to add that I saw this news Friday night when it leaked. I have to say this is the reason I bought my Vive. Now of course it's the reason I will sale my Vive to buy Valve's new HMD.. lol I hope they announce it next week for Valve's 20th anniversary. Who am I kidding, I hope they announce it this week.. lol
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#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Mindweaver, post: 3940609, member: 69279"
Have you tried VR with a Vive or Rift CV1?
Got no reason to even consider the $1000+ investment. Only a handful of the games I play support it, they work fine without it, and I'm not about to spend money on VR-exclusive games just to justify the massive upfront cost. It's a novelty and adoption rate is unsustainably slow. I can't name one VR-exclusive game that actually made a profit. Many studios created a VR game only for it to be a massive market flop.
Dean Hall of RocketWerkz
“There is no money in it. I don’t mean “money to go buy a Ferrari”. I mean “money to make payroll”. People talk about developers who have taken Oculus/Facebook/Intel money like they’ve sold out and gone off to buy an island somewhere. The reality is these developers made these deals because it is the only way their games could come out.”
Joe Radak of Eerie Bear
About ~2,300 units sold and ~$14,000 in revenue for the company (not including taxes and other royalty payments we have to pay). If you look at even the “cheapest” way of budgeting developers (cheapest in hindesight!), the way you should never do, it still wasn’t profitable. Additionally, after the April launch of the Vive, we did launch a few more update over the next few months — so more money spent there, that I didn’t even account for.
Debbie Bestwick of Team17
The next couple of years will be interesting in terms of what shifts come into the market, but what I try to do for our label partners is focus on sustainability. People bring VR games to me all the time. We’ve published one or two. But my job is to help studios become sustainable and retain IP. If I believe, commercially, they will get the right ROI for their team that allows them to continue by making a VR game, we’ll sign it. But it has to be commercially right for those teams.
Ben Kuchera of Polygon
There’s next to no money to be made in virtual reality.
Matthew Hoesterey of Tribetoy
“PSVR has a really small user base relative to non-VR games so we probably get less sales then we would making a flat game,” he writes. “That said we love VRrrrrrrr and are not doing this to get rich.”
Leila Abboud
Even so, the world's best video game makers, Activision Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft -- independent publishers that unlike Sony make only games instead of consoles and games -- aren't rushing into to the space.
Most of the VR headsets are likely being used by corporate environments for training, quality assurance, and CAD purposes. Problems, especially in CAD, can be found in the design phase that ultimately saves production millions of dollars. It's fairly easy to justify the investment costs in professional settings. Valve is not targeting professionals though. If they are considering selling it "at cost" you know they're trying to create a market where one largely doesn't exist. They did the same thing with Steam Link.

Mindweaver, post: 3940609, member: 69279"
I mean at this point Sony has enough PSVR owners that they patented a new hmd and tracking system in the last month or two.
So everyone that wants to do similar has to pay the piper. Patents will slow adaption even more.
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#8
SN2716057
Right now my experience with VR (Oculus Rift) is a mixed bag. I still see the display (horizontal lines) too clearly (too much in Project Cars, less in Lone Echo). Another issue is the heat that builds-up, fogs up me glasses.
And lastly the cables can be annoying too. But all in all it is a great experience just not easy to set-up and play.

I'll wait for the holodeck ;)
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#9
Dimi
FordGT90Concept, post: 3940631, member: 60463"
Got no reason to even consider the $1000+ investment.
You can buy an Oculus Rift brand new for 350$ at Bestbuy. Thats less than a mid range GPU.
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#10
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
And use it how many times? I'd rather spend that money on a 12 TB hard drive that gets used daily.
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#11
xkm1948
Convincing a fully grown adult to change their perspective over internet is futile. So i guess we can agree to disagree. You keep on thinking VR’s gonna fail while me and Mindweaver and others enjoy ourselves. Happy ending for us all.
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#12
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
FordGT90Concept, post: 3940631, member: 60463"
Got no reason to even consider the $1000+ investment. Only a handful of the games I play support it, they work fine without it, and I'm not about to spend money on VR-exclusive games just to justify the massive upfront cost. It's a novelty and adoption rate is unsustainably slow. I can't name one VR-exclusive game that actually made a profit. Many studios created a VR game only for it to be a massive market flop.







Most of the VR headsets are likely being used by corporate environments for training, quality assurance, and CAD purposes. Problems, especially in CAD, can be found in the design phase that ultimately saves production millions of dollars. It's fairly easy to justify the investment costs in professional settings. Valve is not targeting professionals though. If they are considering selling it "at cost" you know they're trying to create a market where one largely doesn't exist. They did the same thing with Steam Link.


So everyone that wants to do similar has to pay the piper. Patents will slow adaption even more.
I literally don't know any of your sources that say that it's not profitable. There has been a good number of successful games for VR. Also, you can't say it's $1000 investment. It's the cheapest it's ever been to get into VR. You can pick up a Windows Mixed reality hmd and controllers for under 200 bucks. You can get Samsung Odyessy for $300 during the holiday sales. Its visuals are as good as the Vive Pro. You can pick up an Oculus Rift CV1 for $350 right now as well. Also, the people that are complaining about not making money in VR made crap games. Example CCP's game which I bought wasn't good and I refunded it within an hour of play. I mean how can you mess up controls on a space sim when you are CCP and trust me I wanted that game to be awesome. The visuals were awesome, but like I said the controls and lack of content are what killed it for me.

I expect Valve to give us something great considering how successful The Lab is atm. It truly blows away everything in terms of using VR to its potential.
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#13
Octavean
I wouldn't suggest that those who are against VR haven't tried it. Some have tried it and some haven't. One would think very few VR naysayers who have actually tried VR, have used it extensively with varying titles.

That doesn't actually matter though IMO. What matters is the individual player.

That is to say, for example, some people can sleep through a thunderstorm and some people will wake at the smallest sound or typically have a hard time getting to sleep in the first place. Everyone is different.

In this case, VR shows those differences in the individual players. Some people simply cannot see past the flaws inherent in the current state of VR such as God Rays, SDE, narrow FOV and so on. Others may not ever be accepting of anything other then traditional keyboard and mouse (monitor) game play.

From my perspective, I've been playing video games for a long time. As such, I have seen a lot of flaws in games (and I am not talking about bugs). 26 years ago, I didn't stop playing Doom because the graphics were blocky and jaggy. While I knew there was room for improvement and had hoped for better games / graphics in the future I was still able to play / enjoy what are now classic games.

To me its a little like the princess and the pea. Some people are bothered to distraction over something relatively small while others can acknowledge that it is there but realize that they really cant feel it.
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#14
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
Octavean, post: 3941018, member: 52351"
I wouldn't suggest that those who are against VR haven't tried it. Some have tried it and some haven't. One would think very few VR naysayers who have actually tried VR, have used it extensively with varying titles.

That doesn't actually matter though IMO. What matters is the individual player.

That is to say, for example, some people can sleep through a thunderstorm and some people will wake at the smallest sound or typically have a hard time getting to sleep in the first place. Everyone is different.

In this case, VR shows those differences in the individual players. Some people simply cannot see past the flaws inherent in the current state of VR such as God Rays, SDE, narrow FOV and so on. Others may not ever be accepting of anything other then traditional keyboard and mouse (monitor) game play.

From my perspective, I've been playing video games for a long time. As such, I have seen a lot of flaws in games (and I am not talking about bugs). 26 years ago, I didn't stop playing Doom because the graphics were blocky and jaggy. While I knew there was room for improvement and had hoped for better games / graphics in the future I was still able to play / enjoy what are now classic games.

To me its a little like the princess and the pea. Some people are bothered to distraction over something relatively small while others can knowledge that it is there but realize that they really cant feel it.
I can agree to that, but I was only referring to what I have noticed and for the most part, I should have said: "most" of the people that say VR is like 3D tv's or even 90's VR have been ones that haven't used it. I do agree that it's not 100% because there are those people like you said "princess and the pea". It really reminds me of the start of 3d gaming. Example the original Tomb Raider's graphics were really blocky compared to 2d gaming at the time, but I was able to look over the block textures due to how good the game was on PS. That's what it's like for me in VR. It's not perfect, but it's enough for me to get lost in. Example The Lab isn't a full game but it's so well made that I forget about SDE and the FOV and God rays when I play it.

I've been hearing since this past Friday that Valve's HMD is rapidly evolving with them having the ability to manufacture it in-house. If you can't tell I'm excited over this news... lol I don't think any HMD will push VR. It will have to be Software that pushes it and I think Valve knows how to make that software.
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#15
Papahyooie
I actually very rarely use my oculus, simply because it's a pain to set up, and having some severe back problems, it can sometimes be hard to play for an extended amount of time.

Doesn't matter... it's still the most amazing gaming experience I have ever had in my entire life. After having experienced it, I'd have paid twice what I actually paid for it. Maybe more. Even knowing that it would spend most of its life sitting on my shelf, I'd still buy it. I'm hoping the Oculus Quest has some multiplayer titles that are cross play with the rift... If so, I'll buy one. Hell, I'll probably buy one anyway. VR is the future. No question about it, regardless of market share and profitability. Just needs to be refined.
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#16
lynx29
Papahyooie, post: 3941072, member: 67434"
I actually very rarely use my oculus, simply because it's a pain to set up, and having some severe back problems, it can sometimes be hard to play for an extended amount of time.

Doesn't matter... it's still the most amazing gaming experience I have ever had in my entire life. After having experienced it, I'd have paid twice what I actually paid for it. Maybe more. Even knowing that it would spend most of its life sitting on my shelf, I'd still buy it. I'm hoping the Oculus Quest has some multiplayer titles that are cross play with the rift... If so, I'll buy one. Hell, I'll probably buy one anyway. VR is the future. No question about it, regardless of market share and profitability. Just needs to be refined.
I'm looking forward to the Steam / Valve one even if it is a little blurry, we must have trust in our Lord and Savior - ALL HAIL!!!! LORD GABEN!
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#18
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Mindweaver, post: 3940867, member: 69279"
I literally don't know any of your sources that say that it's not profitable.
Polygon? VentureBeat? Those are journalists. Team17? Worms games. Dean Hall is best known for DayZ mod. There's other developers/marketers I know of personally that spoke in confidence on the subject mirroring the data/links I gave. As far as I know, the best grossing (excluding cost of everything) VR game ever made $3 million. It's not clear even that game was profitable.

Papahyooie, post: 3941072, member: 67434"
VR is the future. No question about it, regardless of market share and profitability. Just needs to be refined.
Those exact same words were said 30 years ago. Sadly, we can only live in the present.

Mindweaver, post: 3941158, member: 69279"
Yea, if anybody can do it then it's Valve.
Who here doesn't hate Steam's new chat UI? If I could transfer my entire library of games to GOG and never use Steam again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Also, I have a Steam Link and I'm not impressed. I do not share your trust in Valve. Honestly, the only thing I liked coming out of Valve is Portal but when you put that game next to the backdrop of all of the other games I have played, it probably doesn't even make the top 100.
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#19
Papahyooie
FordGT90Concept, post: 3941282, member: 60463"
Those exact same words were said 30 years ago. Sadly, we can only live in the present.
I shouldn't have to explain the irony in you using that statement to support your view, when VR today is literally the future of those pioneers 30 years ago... As I said, the present is still pretty freakin' sweet, but you ignored all of that to make that faux axiom. To each their own, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. But yet again, you've come into a thread to crap on things that don't affect you in the slightest. Which you're absolutely allowed to do... I just will never understand it.
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#20
lynx29
@FordGT90Concept they have fixed most of the bugs with it, I talk to my friends everyday on steam still with 0 issues, for multiple hours a day. you're on your own for this one, lol
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#21
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Papahyooie, post: 3941291, member: 67434"
I shouldn't have to explain the irony in you using that statement to support your view, when VR today is literally the future of those pioneers 30 years ago... As I said, the present is still pretty freakin' sweet, but you ignored all of that to make that faux axiom. To each their own, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. But yet again, you've come into a thread to crap on things that don't affect you in the slightest. Which you're absolutely allowed to do... I just will never understand it.
People on hype trains are most needing of a reality check. Virtual reality is not ready for prime time.
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#22
Mindweaver
Moderato®™
FordGT90Concept, post: 3941282, member: 60463"
Polygon? VentureBeat? Those are journalists. Team17? Worms games. Dean Hall is best known for DayZ mod. There's other developers/marketers I know of personally that spoke in confidence on the subject mirroring the data/links I gave. As far as I know, the best grossing (excluding cost of everything) VR game ever made $3 million. It's not clear even that game was profitable.


Those exact same words were said 30 years ago. Sadly, we can only live in the present.


Who here doesn't hate Steam's new chat UI? If I could transfer my entire library of games to GOG and never use Steam again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Also, I have a Steam Link and I'm not impressed. I do not share your trust in Valve. Honestly, the only thing I liked coming out of Valve is Portal but when you put that game next to the backdrop of all of the other games I have played, it probably doesn't even make the top 100.
Who are Polygon and venturebeats? I used polygon in the 90's while I was in college to get different quake models.. but I haven't been to that site in forever due to the shift in their content. I mean actually name someone that has made a good game in VR? Team17? I never liked Worms games.. but does that make Worms a failure? Also, has Dean even finish a game? It seems that VR was good enough to try again 30 years later.

30 years ago we didn't have multiple VR HMD makers, but happily, we live in the present. Also, I like the new Steam chat UI I don't even know where that came from?
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#23
Octavean
Hype

Noun: extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.

Verb: promote or publicize (a product or idea) intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits.
I see no advocates and users of VR here exaggerating or overstepping reasonable expectations. In fact, earlier in the thread, I very clearly stated a number of flaws with respect to the current state of VR which is nothing if not a hard reality and a sober look at the state of the tech.

I see no hype here. Unless it is in reference to VR not being a thing because it is indeed a thing, such as it is.
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#24
Papahyooie
FordGT90Concept, post: 3941300, member: 60463"
People on hype trains are most needing of a reality check. Virtual reality is not ready for prime time.
Says you. "Hype Train" has nothing to do with it. I own the Rift, and have spent a lot of time using it. Is it perfect? No. Is it absolutely everything I want in my wildest dreams? Nope. But that doesn't change the fact that it's the single most immersive experience I've ever had in gaming. It surpasses every other gaming experience of my life. It could be better, and will get better. But it's so far beyond "good enough" that to say it isn't ready for prime time is laughable to me. I suppose that depends on your definition of "prime time." Is it ready to be as ubiquitous as smartphones? Not really, due to cost of entry. But if "prime time" means an amazing gaming experience, then it far surpasses that benchmark.

What exactly is your issue with it? So far all you've told us is vague things like "It's not ready for prime time." What do you mean by that? You mentioned one specific, and that's cost. You're not willing to front the cost to experience it. Ok, fair. Does that mean lamborghinis aren't "ready for prime time" because you're unwilling or unable to pay for one? The fact that it's either unreachable or not worth it to you is not a reflection of the quality of the product.
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#25
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
See post #8. To add: who is going to buy VR equipment to play a remaster of a 14 year old game? No one. My guess is Valve is co-developing the remaster with the headset in order to get better VR support in Source 2 (itself an archaic engine that isn't very attractive to developers) and they'll probably include a free key for the game with headset. Really nothing exciting to see here unless you were already in the market for a headset or you already have a headset and looking to expand your game library.
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