Valve Clarifies SteamVR Room Scale Requirements

Earlier this month at the 2015 Mobile World Developer (MBW) conference Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC announced the Vive virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The kit was revealed in partnership with Half-Life developer Valve, using the company’s SteamVR system to deliver a ‘Room Scale’ experience that allows for user tracking in an area of up to 15 feet by 15 feet. Now the developer has clarified the requirements of Room Scale, confirming that the tech isn’t limited to one option.

HTC Vive

Valve’s Chet Faliszek recently confirmed as much during a SteamVR-focused session at the 2015 EGX Rezzed event in London, UK. “I’m going to be clear as I’m talking about Room Scale which was what ours is,” Faliszek told a packed audience. “We say 15 feet, which is what a lot of people have heard. That isn’t required; that’s just one version of it. You can be seated, you can be standing, you can have a small room or big room. We like having those options.”

It’s hardly surprising to hear that Vive and other SteamVR systems will feature these options. Although the response to the system’s user-tracking has been very positive it would certainly restrict the amount of experiences made possible on Vive were it limited to just that. SteamVR tracks user’s position with the help of two ‘base stations’ that are placed in a room. Players also utilise two position-tracked controllers with the system.

Back at the 2015 Game Developers Conference (GDC) Valve confirmed that the HTC Vive isn’t the only HMD using SteamVR. Other devices aren’t ready to be announced just yet, but will be revealed in the future. The Vive will see a developer kit this spring with a consumer version launching holiday 2015. VRFocus will continue to follow SteamVR closely, reporting back with any further updates on its progress.