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Valve Officially Launches the Valve Index VR HMD, Full Kit Preorder Up for $999

We knew this was coming, given Valve's own teaser confirmation from March, and then a faux pas that resulted in an incomplete Steam store page ending up public for a short time. Valve had promised more details would come in May, and here we are with a lot of information available about the Valve Index headset, the controllers, the base stations, as well as retail pricing + availability.

Name aside, the Valve Index specs that leaked before end up holding true with the retail product. The headset uses dual 1440x1600 RGB LCDs which Valve claims helps provide 50% more subpixels relative to an OLED display. This in turn should result in higher effective sharpness for the same rendering horsepower, and is further accentuated via a 3x better fill factor to mitigate the dreaded screen-door effect. The headset runs at 120 Hz with full backwards compatibility to 90 Hz to work with VR titles built around that specification and, more interestingly, also supports an experimental 144 Hz mode. PC gamers have long known the benefits of higher framerates, and this is especially valid with VR, but time will tell how the rest of the ecosystem works around this. Equally important to VR gaming is the illumination period, which allows on-screen imagery to remain sharp while you are in motion just as well as when at rest. Valve claims up to a 5x reduction here, with a rated illumination period of 0.33 to 0.53 ms depending on the real time framerate. More to see past the break, so be sure to do so if this interests you!

Valve Confirms First-Party VR Headset Titled Valve Index, Launches May 2019

PAX East 2019 brought with it some exciting news, and the world of virtual reality no doubt sees this news as the biggest in quite some time. Valve has finally made good on their promises from yesteryear, bringing in personnel to work on both the hardware and software side of the VR market. We first saw a hint of this via a prototype VR HMD late last year, with leaked specs confirming it was Valve's own design going beyond the established competition at the time from HTC Vive and Oculus. Since then, the Vive Pro has come out with an even higher-end version using eye-tracking to target prosumers initially, and also showcasing foveated rendering that will no doubt herald VR getting more mainstream and allowing for a higher graphical fidelity as well.

The so-called Valve Index has been listed on Steam now, with no other information to see than from the image below. We know it is coming in a couple of months, perhaps even during Computex although it is unlikely. It certainly looks similar to the prototype HMD, and presumably retains the 135° field-of-view and 2,880 x 1,600 total resolution. No mention of the Steam Knuckles controller here, but that is no surprise for a teaser. What we can tell is the headset has a physical slider, presumably to assist with pupillary distance calibration, as well as fairly large lenses that extend outwards which may assist with IR-based tracking. There is no mention of HTC anywhere here, and it would be right up Valve's alley to introduce this at a relatively affordable price point to then make up on software and distribution (savings via Steam) instead. Perhaps we will see the long-rumored Half Life VR as a launch title? Time will tell, and this may well be the big boost to gaming VR that is sorely needed.

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.

DeepCool Quadstellar Electro Looks like Something by Aperture Science

DeepCool, at its 2018 International CES showed off the Quadstellar Electro limited edition case. This isn't simply whitewashing the original Quadstellar the company closed 2017 with, where white metal replaces black, while contrasting black-tinted tempered glass panels take over the clear ones; but a re-styling. The primary color is silver and not white. Silver-chrome accents frame the front ends of the four lobes instead of glossy black, there are hints of orange along its feet and main LED elements. The central LED ornament, which can be configured to the color of your choice, glows orange out of the box, which makes this case look like something out of the "Portal" or "Half Life" universes (we can't decide which). If you can imagine your next big mod to appease Lord Gaben to hurry up with his Rapture (read: next installment of "Half Life,") then you better haul. DeepCool is only making 100 of these, and the one on display is already 001/100.

Art.Lebedev Optimus Wears Various Gaming Skins

Here are a few examples of Art.Lebedev being Art.Lebedev. The Russian innovator behind the OLED screen-capped keyboards showed off its flagship product, the Optimus keyboard, "wearing" various games' and software skins at the flick of a switch. We find each game getting a unique key- and icon-map. Among the examples are Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Half Life 2, a flight-sim, and a generic MMO layout. In addition, the studio showed off Optimus wearing shortcut-key maps for various productivity software such as Final Cut Pro, and Avid.

Black Mesa Coming September 14

After eight years in limbo the complete fan remake of the original Half Life game using the Source engine will finally be released. The remake will come with all the bells and whistles you have come to expect from the Source engine, including new textures, lighting effects and yes even new sounds. The only thing missing from the remake will be the "Xen" section of the game. The project lead 'cman2k' said that they are going to be releasing it later this year. They are making the "Xen" section of the game into its own expansion with new dialog added. You can already download the soundtrack here and the rest of the remake on September 14.

Valve Corporation Worth $3 Billion

Video games developer, publisher, and distributor, Valve Corporation is valued at US $3 billion. A privately-held company, Valve doesn't disclose its finances to the public. Forbes estimated its worth by consulting video game industry insiders, equity analysts, investment bankers, and technology analysts. Valve's co-founder and managing director, Gabe Newell, who owns over 50% of the company, has a net worth of $1.5 billion, making him the newest billionaire from the video games industry. He ranks 854th out of 1,226 global billionaires in Forbes' list. Apart from having largely successful game franchises such as Half Life, Counter Strike, Left4Dead, and Portal, Valve has arguably the most popular video games digital distribution platform, Steam. Steam distributes more than 1,800 titles, from 50 different publishers.

Black Mesa: Source Official Trailer Released

On the 17th of November, Valve Software celebrated the 10th anniversary of the game that pretty-much made the company what it is, Half Life. Valve used the simple 3D first-person shooter genre, focused heavily on the gameplay elements to churn out an awesome game of its time. With the introduction of the Source game engine, Valve made additions to the franchise with Half Life 2 (HL2), HL2: Episode 1 and HL2: Episode 2.

While the company itself could be working on another addition, an independent community-driven group sought to commemorate the 10th anniversary, by remaking the original Half Life using the Source engine. This is not to be confused with the simple Source-engine port Valve created in the form of Half Life: Source. The game is to be called Black Mesa: Source, which is comes in the form of a Half Life 2 modification. The levels, characters, graphics and physics get a refresh to the latest Source has to offer. The game is set for release in 2009. The Black Mesa: Source team has released its official trailer that has been posted on YouTube here. To know more about Black Mesa: Source, visit its home page.

Half-Life Turns 10, Valve Celebrates Anniversary Giving it Away for 98¢

Today, Half-Life turns 10 years old. What started off as a humble beginning for Valve software, using dated technologies licensed from id Software, now stands as one of the greatest PC games ever made. At 10, Half-Life enjoys a lavish Metacritic score of 96%, an aggregate of all known participant reviews.

To celebrate the occasion, Valve is giving away copies of Half-Life via Steam for 98¢ (US $ 0.98), to symbolize the year 1998. This offer ends 12:01 pm PST on November 21. Visit Steam Games for more details.

Go Dr. Freeman!
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