At the Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle, Valve showcased their updated HTC Vive virtual reality system. The revamped design is slimmer and more elegant, yet is not far from the original concept. The news was leaked by via Twitter from a developer attending the event, as the press were not allowed.
According to numerous attendees at the event, one of the most prominent features of the new controller is the ability to open your hand without dropping it. It is currently unknown if there are sensors in place to track your finger movements, but the possibility remains open. A feature like that would open up a host of new opportunities for developers to mimic real hand motions, rather than generic if/then prompts from the environment that they are using now.
There was also rumors that a prototype controller exists already. There are no certain costs, release dates, or potential upgrade options for anyone who already owns one of HTC’s controllers.
The HTC launched the Vive in the Spring for those who want to jump on the virtual reality train and will run you $130. While there is not an incredible amount of support for the platform yet, development is continuing to widen as more features are available. Just recently, game developer legend John Carmack of Doom fame criticized the platform for “coasting on novelty.” Like many eager gamers, he is waiting for developers to finally approach the platform with the intention to create the next big boost rather than a quick cash grab that will soon fade away from people’s attention. If more developers continue to speak up on the matter, we may start to see change.