Steamton is an industrial town, and its residents can’t sleep unless the audible swoosh of player feedback passing through the tubes is answered by the clang of code hammers.
The Steamworks will go quiet this week, however, as its workers board the bus to Steam Dev Days – the annual conference for PC developers, where rumour has it Valve plan to present and discuss hardware and tools for virtual reality.
In a definitely-not-unrelated move, Valve chose last night to quietly ship SteamVR – an experimental mode compatible with the Oculus Rift dev kit. And there beneath it, half-buried in nondescript code, the first tangible sign of in-home streaming.
In a newly created SteamVR group, Valve programmer Joe Ludwig announced the appearance of the VR mode in Steam’s client beta.
If you’re lucky enough to be in possession of an Oculus Rift dev kit, you can try it immediately. Simply find ‘SteamVR’ under ‘Tools’ in your Steam library. Next, bring up properties on SteamVR and opt into the ‘Beta Update’ beta, and let the update download. Finally, exit the client, enter ‘-vr’ into its command line and boot it up again. Press the Big Picture button for console-like results.
Valve’s implementation of SteamVR suggests they’ve been working closely with Oculus – launching the application without the ‘-vr’ command takes users straight to the Rift’s default configuration tool.
The in-home streaming client has potentially even wider implications for Steam users. Spotted in Steam’s beta code by SteamDB this morning, the client wasn’t listed in last night’s changelog – and is suspected to be undergoing an invite-only test period.
All terribly exciting. Which part most concerns you? It’s the Steam streaming I know will have the most palpable effect on my gaming life.