Valve’s Steam VR platform has been under constant development ever since it was first announced, and the company regularly pushes out updates with new bug fixes and features. The latest update introduces Direct Mode support for the Vive Pre.
Valve has been busy developing the SteamVR platform that will be the underpinnings of HTC’s Vive VR HMD, and eventually other VR products. With the release of the Vive fast approaching, the development team has been issuing bug fixes and implementing new features into the platform regularly.
The latest update, SteamVR Beta 1451970580, is the first version that supports Direct Mode, which allows the GPU to communicate directly with the Vive displays. Valve said that this will allow for independent rendering of the images shown on the monitor and what is shown on the Vive displays. The company said that problems such as “flashing displays upon headset detection, confused display destinations for desktop applications, and fullscreen compositor warnings are all resolved by Direct Mode.”
Valve noted that Direct Mode also enables the ability for the headset to go into standby, which will reduce power usage and maximize the life of the displays.
The current SteamVR beta enables Direct Mode on the Vive Pre, but the company said it “will be available on all HTC Vive models going forward.”
To enable Direct Mode, the latest SteamVR beta must be installed, and your graphics drivers have to be up to date. Those with Nvidia cards will need to install GeForce driver 361.75, and AMD cards will require Crimson version 184.108.40.206. Instructions for signing up to the SteamVR beta can be found in the Vive Pre Installation Guide.
Update, February 9, 2016, 1:52pm PT: Fixed minor typos.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.