Before there was the Oculus Rift, Valve and HTC were already dabbing with virtual reality technology. With the virtual reality market now a booming industry, meet the HTC Vive – where comfort is just as good as performance, and where virtual has never been this real.
Drown yourself in a spectrum of realism as the Vive headset lets you walk around freely and explore everything. Its Chaperone guidance system keeps the player safely within the bounds of his or her play area, while keeping everything real and surreal simultaneously.
The HD haptic feedback present in the HTC Vive mean playing games and interacting with the virtual world becomes natural. With the help of Vive’s two wireless controllers, 24 present elements and unobstructed movement means being able to move even when people are around. The multi-functional track pad gives enough precision and feedback.
The front-facing camera blends real-world elements in virtual worlds. Players will be visually immersed with a 110-degree point of view and a 2160x1200 combined resolution with a 90Hz refresh rate. Not to mention, the headset in itself offers strict comfort, with an adjustable headset strap for balanced comfort and extended use, while the foam inside is interchangeable, the nose pads provide customized support, and can fit most eyeglasses.
However, gameplay seemed explosive. Dual-stage triggers with HD haptic feedback can take experiences to a whole new level without moving an inch. The base station salvation allows 360-degrees motion tracking.
Valve, HTC, and a common vision
Valve was already working on early prototypes in 2012, where initial models were simply head-mounted display, a camera and April Tags for position tracking. Initial problems that needed solving were blurry images and inconsistent tracking, which programmers and developers that Valve invited over solved and improved upon through the years.
In early 2013, meanwhile, HTC was simply a smartphone company but knew it could be more. Their advanced concepts team was a small group that birthed both the periscope-like Re Camera and Re Grip wearable, but by far had its biggest venture in developing the Vive. This team was eventually renamed the HTC Future Development Lab.
Soon, the team has announced it would collaborate with Oculus on tracking to drive Vr in PC forward, but more problems had to be addressed.
Laser tracking offers the most accuracy but at the cost of constraints on the helmet, developers realized. Persistent improvements and modifications led the prototype to appear like how we knew the HTC Vive looked today.
Valve’s early work on VR controllers, in the meantime, was too primitive to be even considered amazing. One of their original attempts was simply an oversized d20 on top of a Steam Controller. Less than six months after HTC and Valve working together, they were immediately able to invite other developers and collaborators to improve on the Vive – which they did through constant feedback and suggestions.
In 2014, the first developer kit for the Valve was simply known as – V1, which was improved into the current model by adding a front-facing camera and a microphone. Now the Vive can display real-world images on top of virtual worlds, all at the comfort of your home.
When a customer purchases his HTC Vibe, the package also includes mounting the base station, connecting Vive components in the computer, setting up the software, organizing wires and cables, and a limited 30-day workmanship warranty.
The specialist will only contact the customer within two business days of confirming the setup, and the customer would have to clear the play area or else he might pay extra for the movement of the furniture. Commercial and retail locations are not eligible for Vive Specialist Services, and an adult of 18 years must be present during the entire installation.
However, the Vive Specialist Service does not include PC computer setup, moving furniture, concealing cables in walls, or custom wiring or mounting.
Requirements for reality
The HTC Vive includes the VR headset, two wireless controllers, two base stations, earbuds, link box, accessories, safety guide and a warranty card. Limited offer content bundles include Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Google’s Tilt Brush.
However, HTC and Valve has opened the opportunity for developers to create their own worlds to play with the HTC Vive using different assortments of programs and technology, including the Vive PRE, Unity, Unreal Engine and of course, Steam. After the success of the DOOM remake launching, developers may soon be able to create realistic renditions of a hellish Mars with monstrous creatures lurking about, with only you and your trusty weapon as the only way for humanity to survive – at least in that reality.
To use Vive, your computer must meet the following recommended minimum system requirements.
• GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
• CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-4590/AMD FX™ 8350 equivalent or better
• RAM: 4 GB or more
• Video output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
• USB port: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
• Operating system: Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or later, Windows® 10
Orders of the HTC Vive are expected to ship around June 2016, mostly in the U.S. Credit card
payments are validated upon submission and authorized shortly before shipment, and the card is only charged after confirmation that the Vive has arrived. Orders can be cancelled any time prior to shipment, and products may be returned within 14 days of the date and must be returned with the applicable proof of purchase.