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HTC Vive VR Dev Kits Are Out In The Wild

Earlier this year when Valve and HTC surprised the world with the announcement of the Vive VR headset and controls, development kits were promised for spring of 2015. The two companies just made good on their promise.

Valve quietly announced that the first wave of developer kits have been shipped. Early recipients of the free kits include movie studios, triple-A game developers and even a selection of small indie studios. Some are said to be working on their very first titles. Developer kits will continue to be deployed throughout the summer to more and more studios.

The version of Vive being sent out now differs somewhat from the version shown to the media months ago. The headset itself is almost the same, but the cameras that were located in the front are now blocked out.

The lighthouse sensors are now much smaller than the previous version and include an updated sensor cluster. Work is supposedly being done to shrink them down even further before retail release.

Also included with the dev kits are updated controllers. The new controllers have seen a slight revision in that the side grip has been moved up higher on the side, making grip while doing quick actions like throwing more viable. They are also wireless, with the option of plugging in through USB, though the micro-USB cables are not included.

Because this is a Valve product, you had to know the company would throw in something to make things a little more enjoyable. It's no secret that company documentation, such as the orientation booklet for new employees, is comprised of a series of goofy, yet highly entertaining, comic strips. These illustrations are used for each step of the instruction manual, and not only make it very entertaining, but the instructions are highly detailed and do a very good job communicating how to set up the Vive. Have a look for yourself here.

The instruction booklet sheds some light on how the headset is hooked up, as well. Similar to the Rift DK, the Vive relies on a break-out box between the HMD and the computer. HTC's solution, however, has no permanent cables, which should make storing it a little bit simpler. From the headset there is a USB, HDMI and a power plug. These three cables run down the back of the head strap and connect into the break-out box. On the other side of the box, a USB and HDMI cable will go to the computer, and a power cable will run to the wall. The break-out box includes a power switch, so unplugging the headset will presumably not be necessary.

Several developers have posted images and video with their shiny new kits, including Cloudhead Games.

There's still no update on when the retail version will be open for pre-orders; however, with the promise of dev kits on track, there's no reason to expect the launch this fall to be any different at this point.

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  • clonazepam
    #13: Glad the stripper pole in my living room will have more use.

    Now with multiple contenders in the VR space, what incentives do developers have to fork their development in either path?

    Assuming a AAA game for the masses, there's want for parity between consoles and PC as a base, and then further forking for PC in general, then VR / specific to which VR device is in play? Is this even feasible? Sounds like a big mess and 6 months of patching after release to me.

    Have we reached the point of $120 video games if VR really takes off?
    Reply
  • James Mason
    #13: Glad the stripper pole in my living room will have more use.

    Now with multiple contenders in the VR space, what incentives do developers have to fork their development in either path?

    Assuming a AAA game for the masses, there's want for parity between consoles and PC as a base, and then further forking for PC in general, then VR / specific to which VR device is in play? Is this even feasible? Sounds like a big mess and 6 months of patching after release to me.

    Have we reached the point of $120 video games if VR really takes off?

    Let's be honest, if the Porn industry takes the initiative here, it'll be a well developed technology.

    It doesn't seem too unrealistic that VR games could be developed for all VR systems, and it'd be wiser for companies to try and get some open source software that can be used for both.

    Having single purpose limited scope hardware never pays off.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Having a single purpose limited scope comment on a news article does pay off. Don't want to comment / write a book about all possible uses :)

    Porn industry barely knows how to do a steady pan from left to right, or really anything to do with sound. Good luck to them on their exploration into the world of VR. They might put a lot of effort into a single well edited clip to give the illusion that they know what they are doing, but that'll just be bait followed by disappointment to those looking for that.

    There may just be another product that functions as a simple monitor for those folks.
    Reply
  • James Mason
    16027469 said:
    Having a single purpose limited scope comment on a news article does pay off. Don't want to comment / write a book about all possible uses :)

    Porn industry barely knows how to do a steady pan from left to right, or really anything to do with sound. Good luck to them on their exploration into the world of VR. They might put a lot of effort into a single well edited clip to give the illusion that they know what they are doing, but that'll just be bait followed by disappointment to those looking for that.

    There may just be another product that functions as a simple monitor for those folks.

    If they had like those 360 globe cameras that google cars use it might work.
    Reply
  • tntom
    Wow, this device is really begging for USB-C to bring it down from three cables to one.
    Reply