SteamVR Home: Steam and Desktop Panels

June 12 - Lawrence

Today we are excited to introduce two new spawnable panels to SteamVR Home: Steam Big Picture and Desktop. These are the same overlays that are accessible from the SteamVR Dashboard, but with the convenience of placing and saving them in your SteamVR Home environment.

Both of these panels are accessible under Things > Panels in the content browser. Simply click to spawn, then reach out and grab the panel to adjust its location and position.

This feature is currently only available in the SteamVR Beta. To opt into SteamVR Beta, find SteamVR under Tools in your Steam Library. Right click to bring up Properties, then select 'beta' from the dropdown in the Betas tab.

As always, we'd love to hear what you think in the discussion boards.

Controllers Controllers Controllers: Introducing SteamVR Input

May 14 - Programmer Joe

SteamVR supports a lot of different controllers, and it can be difficult for developers to keep up with all of them. Today we are excited to release the first Beta for the new SteamVR Input system.

SteamVR Input allows users to build binding configurations for their favorite games, even for controllers that didn't exist when the game was written. They can adapt the controls of games to take left-handedness, a disability, or just personal preference into account. And once they build a configuration they can share them easily with other users of the same game via the Steam Workshop.

This new input system also allows developers to adapt their games more easily to diverse controllers. Developers control the default bindings for each controller type, and can offer alternate control schemes directly without the need to change the games themselves. When using SteamVR Input, developers expose high level "actions" in their applications that control how the binding UI presents their game to users.

All of this support is built right into SteamVR. It also works on every SteamVR application even if the developer of that application hasn't updated it to the new system yet.

In addition, with the introduction of SteamVR Input, hardware designers are free to try more kinds of input. They can expose whatever input controls exist on their device and then describe that device to the system.

All of this is accomplished through an easy to use UI that is available in-headset under the Settings menu.

SteamVR users who would like to try out the new system just need to opt-in to the Beta build of SteamVR. Look under properties in Steam.

Developers should view details on our OpenVR SDK 1.0.15 page and the documentation to see how to enable native support in their applications.

Hardware developers should look at the driver API documentation to see how they can enable this new system for their devices.

We would love to hear what you think of SteamVR Input. Please give it a try in the beta and leave a comment below or in the SteamVR forums to tell us what you think.

SteamVR Home: New Collectibles

April 4 - Lawrence

Today we are making SteamVR Home Collectibles available for Skyrim VR, International Space Station Tour VR, and Payday 2: VR.

In addition, we've made the two Ready Player One themed props from the Vive Creative Labs Driftwood environment available for all players in SteamVR Home.

Per-Application Settings in SteamVR

March 29 - Alex Vlachos
SteamVR now supports per-application settings in the latest SteamVR Beta. This allows users to customize their experience for each application.

The first feature we are rolling out is per-application resolution adjustment. This setting is a multiplier on top of the current global application resolution from the Video settings tab in SteamVR. Per-application settings can be found on the Applications tab in SteamVR:

Currently in Beta

This feature is currently in beta and is available by opting into SteamVR Beta. To opt into SteamVR Beta, find SteamVR under Tools in your Steam Library. Right click to bring up Properties, then select 'beta' from the dropdown in the Betas tab.

VR Resolution Redefined

March 13 - Alex Vlachos
Today we are excited to introduce a new feature in SteamVR Beta that allows customers to get the best visual experience out of their GPU, lowers the cost of VR, and makes developer’s lives a little bit easier. We’re doing this by custom-tuning application resolution so that it is optimal for each customer’s GPU and VR headset.

How it works is simple. The SteamVR runtime measures the speed of your GPU and tells applications to render at an appropriate resolution based on the power of your GPU. There are many customers right now with GPUs that aren’t being fully utilized. These customers will now automatically have their VR application resolution up-res’ed – the end result being a clearer and better looking VR experience.

Customers who have GPUs that can’t quite render the native resolution of their headset will automatically see images rendered at a slightly lower resolution that is more appropriate for the speed of their GPU. More clarification about this at the bottom of the post.

The best part is that customers won’t have to do anything to get the correct resolution settings. The SteamVR runtime does all the hard work. Of course, if one prefers a different resolution, it’s easy to manually override this by editing the Video settings in SteamVR (previously known as supersample settings).

This resolution update applies to all SteamVR compatible headsets including the Vive, Vive Pro, Oculus Rift, all Windows MR headsets, etc. In addition, this resolution update is fully compatible with all reprojection techniques and will work with all future rendering improvements to SteamVR.

Lowering the Cost of VR

With higher resolution headsets being released, like the Vive Pro and Windows MR headsets, many customers worry about needing to upgrade their GPU. This is no longer the case. All GPUs will be set to render at an appropriate resolution for the attached headset based on the GPU in their machine. So if you already have a "VR Ready PC" or a "VR Ready GPU", that hardware will work fine even with the newest high resolution VR headset on the market.

This is exactly what most PC games have done for decades for different resolution monitors and TVs. We are now applying this same logic to the SteamVR runtime that will then set the resolution for all VR applications running through Steam on your system.

This means you can keep your current GPU if you don't want to upgrade both your GPU and headset at the same time. Of course, a more powerful GPU will provide a higher fidelity experience in-headset, but you can choose when to upgrade your GPU independent of when you upgrade your VR headset.

Making Developers' Lives Easier

Before today, developers would have to test every supported headset on every supported GPU and make difficult tradeoffs for how to render at the higher resolutions of next-gen headsets. While that sounds like a reasonable thing for developers to do, developers can’t accurately predict the future. And with over 2,000 VR applications on Steam today, it's unreasonable to ask developers to update all of their existing applications to support every new headset with a higher resolution or faster refresh rate as it hits the market. This feature does not require developers to update their applications.

This new auto-resolution system takes the headset out of the equation for developers. Developers can now test their application against the GPUs they support without worrying about what future headsets will require. The same GPU attached to different headsets will render at the exact same application resolution regardless of which headset is attached. And if a headset has a faster refresh rate than older headsets, the resolution will be scaled down based on the difference of refresh rates between headsets. Ultimately, we set the resolution based on how many "VR megapixels per second" we believe your GPU is safely capable of for the majority of applications available.

Currently in Beta

This feature is currently in beta and is available by opting into SteamVR Beta. To opt into SteamVR Beta, find SteamVR under Tools in your Steam Library. Right click to bring up Properties, then select 'beta' from the dropdown in the Betas tab. We look forward to hearing your feedback.


More Details
  • This feature takes the setting previously known as supersampling, and automatically adjusts it on startup based on the performance of your GPU with your headset.
  • This setting does not dynamically adjust per application or during application use.
  • If your GPU can't make native resolution on Vive Pro or Windows MR headset, it will scale down and bottom out at the equivalent megapixels per second as a first generation Vive or Rift.
  • If your GPU can't make native resolution on a first generation Vive or Rift, it will not automatically be set below native resolution (and it will perform the same as it did before this update).
Upcoming Windows Mixed Reality Support on Steam