Virtual reality has the potential to completely revolutionize entertainment as we know it. One day, we'll all be wearing VR headsets and enjoying our games and movies with total depth immersion. The Oculus Rift dev kit is one such headset at the forefront of VR, but Valve's own prototype is said to be "lightyears ahead" of it.
Valve isn't hiding the fact that it's heavily invested in virtual reality. But this is the first time we've heard such high praise for its prototype VR headset. In a new detailed report posted to NeoGAF, Iridium Studios developer "Feep" recounts his recent visit to Valve's Seattle offices where he was allowed to try out the company's virtual reality prototype.
The headset has a 1080p display, which is comparable to the latest "HD" version of the Oculus Rift shown at E3 last year. While the resolutions of the headsets are the same, Valve's VR headset apparently doesn't suffer from the "screen door effect", where the pixels are so large they're discernible (in a distracting kind of way).
Latency is virtually unnoticeable and the headset's low-persistence (motion blur reduction) is really good with little ghosting and smearing.
(Image credit: The Gallery)
Positional-tracking also sounds more complex than on the latest "Crystal Cove" version of Oculus Rift. Whereas Crystal Cove uses a small webcam to track head movements, Valve uses a camera attached to the headset to track lots of QR codes attached to the walls. The only downside to this is that there's no way to look down, since there are no QR codes on the floor.
Feep was treated to a variety of demos including Portal 2 and a Tron demo that put him on the Grid. Based on his report, it would seem his experience with Valve's VR headset was very positive and jibes with a similar test by another developer who likened the tech to "being in a lucid dream state and very much like a holodeck."
All of this sounds great, but it's worth noting that Feep says he isn't sure how Valve's VR headset compares to Crystal Cove since he hasn't tried it yet. Regardless, Valve's VR tech sounds like a geek's wildest dream come true. VR is the future guys. It's time to admit it. It's coming. And this time it won't have the limitations of the technology from the 1980s.
There's just one little thing you should know: Valve reportedly has no plans to ever sell its VR prototype. If that's the case then Oculus Rift will still be the VR headset to get, unless Sony's own VR headset blows our minds.