GameFace Labs, one of many earliest firms to start development of a standalone VR headset, is again with the most recent model of their prototype device now that includes SteamVR (AKA Lighthouse) monitoring working on the Android-based system.
We’ve been following the GameFace development story since back in 2014 when they showed us what VR looked like at 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, lengthy earlier than the primary headsets of that decision would really hit the market. Although they meant to ship a development equipment not lengthy thereafter, these plans have been foiled by the younger and quickly altering VR market. We’d watched continued development of the headset through the years since then, and now it appears, because of a stabilizing ecosystem, GameFace is honing in on their new objective of delivering a development equipment by the tip of 2017.
Customized SteamVR Monitoring
At E3 2017 this week, I noticed the most recent prototype of their standalone VR headset—which GameFace founder Ed Mason calls the EP1—now working with the most recent model of Android and with customized SteamVR Monitoring hardware which permits the headset to be tracked utilizing a Lighthouse basestation. As a standalone headset, the device has all the pieces wanted for a VR experience straight on-board, like a display, processor, lenses, and battery—which suggests no have to depend on an exterior computer for rendering.
The corporate constructed their very own SteamVR Monitoring hardware in accordance with the tools and parts made available by Valve for those who wish to use the tech. This is likely one of the first firms we’ve seen create customized SteamVR Monitoring hardware; Tactical Haptics lately demonstrated the same for their haptic VR controllers.
Constructing the monitoring hardware is one problem, however GameFace additionally had a whole lot of work to do on the Android aspect to get it to grasp and calculate the monitoring information, Mason mentioned. He confirmed that the SteamVR Monitoring was being dealt with 100% on the headset, moderately than the extra trivial process of getting it despatched out to a PC for processing after which despatched again to the headset. With SteamVR Monitoring built-in, the headset can use the monitoring system for 6DOF motion whereas working on-board content material,without having for a PC.
The monitoring because it stands now—which works however is much from usable—is only a proof of idea, Mason tells me, to point out that they’re in a position to get SteamVR Monitoring performing on Android. Now there’s a number of optimization to be carried out, together with upgrading the headset’s present internals to one thing extra highly effective in order that there’s extra processing power available for the SteamVR Monitoring calculations to run alongside the VR software, he says.
Along with on-board SteamVR Monitoring, GameFace is creating an OpenVR driver for the headset to permit it to hitch into the SteamVR ecosystem. This may enable users to tether the GameFace headset to their computer and play SteamVR games rendered with the complete power of their PC. On this case, the monitoring processing could be dealt with on the PC, Mason says.
Along with supporting high-end SteamVR content material whereas tethered to a PC, Mason says the headset will formally help Google’s Daydream platform, permitting house owners to obtain and play Daydream games from the Android retailer. The eventual GameFace client headset will probably be provided underneath the umbrella of the standalone Daydream headsets alongside the likes of HTC and Lenovo which announced such headsets in the works last month, Mason informed me.
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If GameFace delivers what they’re promising, it will be the primary headset to help each SteamVR and Daydream platforms in a single VR headset. The development equipment, due out by the tip of 2017, will function the identical 2,560 x 1,440 decision as the present prototype however get a big bump from 60Hz to 90Hz. Mason additionally says they’re aiming to make the development equipment almost 50% smaller than the present headset which is moderately cumbersome because of the addition of the prototype SteamVR Monitoring hardware.
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