SteamVR Home: Winter Peak

December 20, 2018 - Joe Prime
Happy holidays, hope everyone is staying warm! To celebrate the season, we’re shipping a new SteamVR Home environment - Winter Peak.

Venture forth from the cozy warmth of the rover, and feel the frost in the air as you trek out onto the snowy bluff. You may find the local wildlife somewhat shy and elusive, so please maintain a respectful distance to avoid scaring them off.

Big thanks to our friends at Scraggy Rascal Studios for their help with making this great new SteamVR Home environment, as well as the Candy Emporium and Gulping Goat Space Farm environments.

And as with the last few releases, we're making this environment available as an Asset Pack. So you can remix and create your own map using the models, textures, and sounds from this one. For a refresher, check out this guide.

Enjoy Winter Peak, and we'll see you in SteamVR Home!

Introducing SteamVR Motion Smoothing

November 27, 2018 - Alex V
Today we are introducing a new feature in SteamVR called Motion Smoothing. This feature enables more players on more PCs to play high-fidelity VR games and experiences.

How it works
If you have a flatscreen TV, you may be familiar with the term Motion Smoothing. TVs apply Motion Smoothing by interpolating between two existing frames to create a new in-between frame. This smooths out the frames and increases framerate, but it also adds latency – providing passable results for TV but definitely not the right way to go in VR.

The way we are applying Motion Smoothing in SteamVR is a bit different. When SteamVR sees that an application isn’t going to make framerate (i.e. start dropping frames), Motion Smoothing kicks in. It looks at the last two delivered frames, estimates motion and animation, and extrapolates a new frame. Synthesizing new frames keeps the current application at full framerate, advances motion forward, and avoids judder.

This means that the player is still experiencing full framerate (90 Hz for the Vive and Vive Pro), but the application only needs to render 1 out of every 2 frames, dramatically lowering the performance requirements. Even better, if synthesizing a new frame for every frame delivered by the application still leads to performance issues, Motion Smoothing is designed to scale further down to synthesize 2 frames for every 1 frame delivered, if needed.

What it means for you
From the player’s perspective, what was previously a game that would hitch and drop frames producing judder is now a game that constantly runs smoothly at 90 Hz. SteamVR Motion Smoothing improves upon the previously released Asynchronous Reprojection to enhance the overall experience for customers across a wide variety of VR systems. Not only can lower-end GPUs now produce smooth frames in applications that were previously too expensive, higher-end GPUs can now render at an even higher resolution increasing the fidelity of all experiences on all VR systems.

This feature is ready to kick in the moment an application starts dropping frames and shuts off when no longer needed. Of course, if you prefer to run without this feature, just look under ‘Settings > Video’ or ‘Settings > Applications’ to control when it is enabled. Motion Smoothing is not enabled when using Oculus Rift or Windows Mixed Reality headsets with SteamVR, because their underlying display drivers use different techniques when applications miss framerate.

Motion Smoothing is currently enabled for systems running Windows 10 with an NVIDIA GPU.

Beta 16: Dynamic Geometry Support

November 1, 2018 - lakulish
We've just released Steam Audio 2.0-beta.16, in which the Unity plugin now provides support for occlusion of sound by dynamic geometry. The support for dynamic geometry is only applicable to occlusion and transmission; reflections and reverb do not support dynamic geometry.

(This video contains audio; you may have to unmute it to listen.)

To make this work, Steam Audio uses Unity's built-in ray tracer, which can be enabled by attaching the Steam Audio Custom Settings component to a GameObject, and setting Ray Tracer Option to Unity. When using the Unity ray tracer, you don't need to tag objects with Steam Audio Geometry components; any GameObject with a collider can potentially occlude sound. To configure which colliders can occlude sound, you can move the occluders to appropriate layers, and configure Steam Audio to only use those layers for occlusion. This can be done in the Steam Audio tab (Window > Steam Audio), under Layer Mask. Note that materials are still specified by attaching Steam Audio Material components to the relevant GameObjects.

For more information, refer to the Unity plugin documentation.

Guide: Rebinding Games for New Controllers

October 25, 2018 - Lawrence
The team continues to work on updates to SteamVR Input, and we've made strides in the overall system and user experience.

Recently, we've updated the SteamVR beta with an improved Controller Binding UI - making it simpler to rebind games that haven't implemented the new SteamVR Input API. Now it's even easier for players and developers to create and share new bindings for VR games, for any current and future controllers.

In addition, we've created a guide that walks through rebinding three games with different control schemes and needs. You can find this controller rebinding guide here.

We're continuing to work on these features, and appreciate any feedback you may have. Let us know what you think in the SteamVR Forums.

SteamVR Home: Candy Emporium

October 24, 2018 - Lawrence
With Halloween rapidly approaching, we figured folks have probably had enough with spooky decorations popping up - both in and out of VR. Instead, we wanted to focus on the best part of this holiday - the candy!

So today we're shipping the Perfectly Normal Candy Emporium. That's right, it's perfectly normal - just your regular old candy shop with candy and cupcakes - which just happens to be closed right now... On a perfectly normal dark and stormy night...

Have fun exploring! Poke around a bit, you may even find a couple things to unlock.

And as with the last few releases, we're making this environment available as an Asset Pack. So you can remix and create your own map using the models, textures, and sounds from this one. For a refresher, check out this guide.

Enjoy the Candy Emporium, and we'll see you in SteamVR Home!
Introducing SteamVR Motion Smoothing Beta
Source Directivity in Steam Audio
Beta 13: AMD TrueAudio Next Support
Upcoming Windows Mixed Reality Support on Steam