Valve recently announced that it would replace the SteamVR loading environment with Valve’s Destinations VR app. The company rolled out an optional SteamVR Home Beta in May. Now the company is forcing the update upon everyone.
Valve’s SteamVR Home Beta turns the barren default SteamVR environment into an exciting VR experience in and of itself. The former SteamVR loading environment didn’t offer much in the way of customization. You could alter the background color somewhat, or you could load a 360-degree image that you could stand within. The default space was a lonely place, too; Valve didn’t offer any social VR interaction in it. You had to find a game that offered multiplayer to meet your friends in VR. Valve’s reimagining of the default environment changes all of that.
The optional May beta combined the SteamVR default environment with the endlessly customizable Destinations multi-player VR photogrammetry viewer. It allowed you to customize your default environment with detailed 3D environments that you can roam around within. The new SteamVR Home environments also support sound, animation, and interaction. Best of all, you can share your SteamVR Home environment with friends, or visit theirs.
The SteamVR Home Beta began just three weeks ago, but Valve is already confident in the progress it's made. The company said it fixed many bugs, added features, and introduced new content in that short period, and it’s now ready to roll out the new SteamVR Home to a wider audience. Even so, Valve said it still considers the software as being in the beta stage.
If you have a VR HMD and you have SteamVR installed, give yourself a few extra minutes the next time you want to fire up a VR game. The new SteamVR Home allows you to choose and customize an avatar and choose an interactive environment to serve as your new VR space.
Valve plans to discontinue the Destinations application once the SteamVR Home software leaves the beta stage. If you have content in Destinations that you would like to preserve and continue to share, Valve created a guide to help you convert your Destinations content to SteamVR Home content. Valve also offers instruction guides to teach newcomers how to create unique environments for SteamVR Home.
Valve pushed the SteamVR Home Beta to everyone, but if you don’t want to be a guinea pig for Valve’s new project, you can opt out. To switch back to the classic SteamVR environment, press the System button and select Settings. You should find a checkbox for the SteamVR Home Beta. Uncheck that box to go back to the classic look. That may be a temporary solution, though; once the beta is over, Valve will likely discontinue the classic SteamVR environment.