In June 2016 Valve announced ‘Destinations’, a Steam workshop not easy to find anymore, that allowed the end user to enter real and fictitious scenarios through the magic of virtual reality. The idea was intriguing, but the media was not completely sold and judged Valve’s proposal as both “the best and the worst of VR“. From all this, however, came a singular discovery: those who reverse-engineered its code discovered in it the HLVR acronym, which initiated a wide debate about the potential appearance of a Half Life VR (HLVR) version specifically developed for VR headsets.
Lending further credence to this hypothesis was Gabe Newell’s announcement in February 2017 that Valve was preparing three big titles for virtual reality- two of them based on Source 2, and one of them based on Unity. More such signs appeared in the summer of 2018, and everything was pointing towards this project being indeed real, that it would likely be based on Source 2, and that it would offer a full-fledged blockbuster title that this generation of VR has been desperately seeking. We now have more data courtesy a “leaked email” to Reddit user 2flock that suggests Valve’s work is apparently going beyond just VR game development, as images of a prototype device seen below confirm that Valve is also working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD), one whose development would also be more advanced than initially suspected.
What you see has been making the rounds in the VR community, with many digging up component details and then some. Indeed, UploadVR was able to confirm independently that this is an upcoming Valve VR HMD with a 135° field of view, which is far beyond the ~110° FOV afforded by the current PC VR flagship HTC Vive Pro out of the box. Accompanying this is lens resolution that is said to be “Vive Pro resolution” which would be 2,880 x 1,600 total. No word on refresh rate yet, which is another key factor for VR, and the padding on the headset suggests support for the Valve Knuckles controller which was detailed earlier this year.
There is no word on whether any form of hand and/or eye tracking will be supported, which disappointed some who initially thought there was spacing for a Leap Motion unit. But we do see SteamVR tracking diodes beneath the plastic for a clean look, as well as two separate cameras and an integrated headset. Valve being as secretive as they are, do not expect to hear any official details about this device until sooner to launch. We do not know when that will be, but surely Oculus’s plans for the successor of the Rift will play a role here too.
No, Half Life 3 is still not confirmed. But, as Valve News Network so succinctly points out in the video above, Valve may well be working on the Half Life VR game which, bundled with the new virtual reality headset, would make for a lucrative launch title. This plays well with what we know of Valve being jealous of Nintendo for being able to combine their hardware and software titles in a cohesive manner, thus leading to combinations such as the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Half Life VR, if it is not vaporware, is speculated to be a prequel to Half Life 1 and may possibly explore more about the background of everyone’s favorite silent protagonist. This title could well be powered by Source 2, with Artifact already being developed on the engine and Dota 2 having received an update patch to be ported over.