Valve seem to be keen to push PC gaming in all directs right now, not only have they recently worked on announcing 13 Steam Machines and are beta testing the SteamOS, but are now just days away from unveiling their new SDK’s for Virtual Reality headsets.
Brian Coomer recently gave an insight into what Valve have been working on, although he wasn’t quite ready to spill all the beans.
“There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design. We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements,” says Brian Coomer.
This virtual reality SDK will be part of a much larger tool set, created to help developers make standard ways to interface controllers with games. This is a pretty important feature by itself. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 joypad works with 90 percent of titles instantly with very little fuss (providing the title supports pad, basically). On the other hand, should you own another brand of controller, and you’re likely going to be in for a far rougher ride getting it working. This is something that needs to be resolved, as one of the biggest complaints developers have with PC gaming is the lack of certain standards.
Valve have also released their own controller, which uses abstraction to fool the game into thinking that you’re using a standard keyboard and mouse set of controls. This isn’t anything totally new in terms of technology, software like Xpadder already exists, but has certain issues. The main problem being that you’ll likely have to configure for each game, and it’s not exactly a smooth process. Meanwhile, valve can simply just release sets of profiles, and you should be gaming in no time with your controller.
“Steam is in a unique position to be this intermediary between hardware and software and users,” Mr Coomer says. “Without that its going to be hard for any device to get any serious traction.”
He isn’t wrong there, and hopefully we’ll start seeing various issues in PC gaming resolved. There are a lot of new technologies being released for PC right now, G-Sync (and Free-Sync), SteamOS / SteamBox, 4K displays (unlike consoles, PC’s have the power to run these displays at native resolution), Virtual Reality, and AMD’s own mantle technology and a heck of a lot more. I have a feeling it’ll be a very interesting few years.
Via the BBC.