During a virtual reality event this weekend in Boston, Valve showed off the latest iteration of its head-mounted display, with one Reddit user (via Eurogamer) snapping some photos and blogging about how the technology is coming together. In short, this person--who goes by jonomf--was blown away, saying their mind was "completely melted" by what Valve had to show during the event.
Valve's VR headset has come a long way since the last time we saw it in September 2012. That earlier version of the headset looked a lot more homemade than what we see today. However, Valve has not only tweaked the design of the headset, but also introduced some new demos for it.
Jonomf writes that Valve employees said that they are working on a Dota 2 experience where you can see the entire game arena sitting on a table in front of you. In the VR space, you can then bend down to get a closer look, jonomf writes. Valve is also reportedly tinkering with a "life-size" Dota 2 VR experience where you're thrust into the middle of a lane where you can watch the heroes fight. Valve employees reportedly said this was "very scary."
Overall, jonomf was impressed by the current iteration of Valve's VR headset. It offers low persistence, "perfect tracking," and a "very high" frame rate, jonomf said. One downside, Jonomf writes, is that when they stopped using the headset, they became very disoriented. "I felt a little fuzzy and distant; and once I felt like I was going to fall over," Jonomf wrote. They got the same feeling after using the first version of Oculus Rift, but only one time. With Valve's head-mounted display, the uneasiness was sustained every time they stopped using the device.
Of course, not everyone is affected by VR devices in the same way.
This isn't the first time someone has spoken positively about Valve's VR device. In January, Killing Floor developer Tripwire Interactive game designer David Hensley said he received a demonstration of Valve's own virtual reality headset and remarked, "It's going to be hard to go back to my Oculus Rift dev kit after experiencing Valve's VR demo. Kinda like playing an xbox then 8-bit Nintendo."
Lastly, jonomf writes that no Oculus VR personnel attended the event. Social networking giant Facebook purchased Oculus VR in a surprise deal earlier this year for $2 billion. The company is currently working on the second iteration of its development kit, but there's no word yet on when the final, consumer version will be available or what it will cost.
Though Valve is clearly working on VR in a meaningful way, the company said in January that it doesn't plan to release its own headset, instead electing to partner with Oculus VR. However, these comments came before Facebook acquired Oculus VR, so it's possible things have changed.