Virtual reality (VR) studios are anticipating the launch of a development kit for Valve and HTC’s Vive head-mounted display (HMD) in the very near future. The pair has in the past confirmed a spring 2015 launch for the kit, which will be available to some studios for free. A full consumer release is also expected for holiday 2015. One developer has already has access to the device is Owlchemy Labs, which is working on the unusual videogame, Job Simulator. In fact, Owlchemy Labs is working with Valve and HTC to organise a new Vive-dedicated development jam next month.
The Austin Room-Scale Vive VR Jam, based in Austin, Texas, takes place on 9th and 10th May 2015, with a demo day planned for 11th May. Sponsored by Nvidia, studios will have two 12-hour periods to develop their entries during the first two days at the Vuka Austin located at 411 W Monroe St. As the name suggests, the jam will focus on the Room-Scale aspect of the Vive, which uses a pair of base stations to track user’s movements in an area of up to 15 feet by 15 feet. Demos will then be showcased at a demo night on 11th May from 19:00 CDT.
Developers will have access to both Unity Engine and Unreal Engine samples to help start working with Vive. Interestingly, studios are encouraged to bring their own Oculus Rift second development kits (DK2s) for testing their projects as they work with them, later testing them out on an official Vive HMD provided by the event itself. Razer Hydra motion controllers are also encouraged to be brought along so that developers can use them as placeholders for the Vive’s own pair of motion-tracked controllers.
Valve itself will be at the event, discussing getting VR titles onto Steam. Those interested can sign up via an Eventbrite page for $30 USD but must also head to the VR Austin Meetup page to register for the demo night. VRFocus will continue to follow the Austin Room-Scale Vive VR Jam, reporting back with any further updates on the device.