Valve firing on all cylinders.
Valve came into this GDC with all of their guns waiting, and made a series of extremely high profile announcements (no, no Half Life 3 just yet0. The first of these was Source 2, the long awaited update to Valve’s Source engine, which launched in 2004, and has been used in all of Valve’s games since then.
“The value of a platform like the PC is how much it increases the productivity of those who use the platform. With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity. Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games,” said Valve’s Jay Stelly. “We will be making Source 2 available for free to content developers. This combined with recent announcements by Epic and Unity will help continue the PCs dominance as the premiere content authoring platform.”
Source 2 would already have been a big announcement, but that wasn’t all for Valve- they also went ahead and announced two more major products, albeit both undoubtedly more niche than Source 2 will be.
The first of these was Steam Link, a cheap, HDMI enabled extender for your PCs that will stream content to any TV in the house. Supporting 1080p at 60Hz with low latency, Steam Link will be available this November for $49.99, and available with a Steam Controller for an additional $49.99 in the US.
The Steam Link wasn’t all, either. Valve also announced Steam Lighthouse, which is the final piece of their VR puzzle (they already announced their headset in collaboration with HTC earlier). It is called Steam Lighthouse, and it is a room scale VR tracking system.
“In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking,” said Valve’s Alan Yates. “Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices.” Valve intends to make Lighthouse freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology.
“Now that we have Lighthouse, we have an important piece of the puzzle for tackling VR input devices,” said Valve’s Joe Ludwig. “The work on the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience.”
“We’ve been working in VR for years and it was only until we used SteamVR’s controllers and experienced the magic of absolute tracking that we were able to make the VR game we always wanted to make,” said Alex Schwartz of Owlchemylabs.
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