It’s taken a week longer than expected but today sees Oculus VR launch its latest and perhaps most controversial iteration of the Oculus PC software development kit (SDK), 0.7. The latest version of the toolset, which enables developers to create content for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), had originally been announced to arrive on 20th August 2015, but was delayed by the company on that date. Today’s free release brings with it several new features, though also removes a fairly significant one.
As explained in the official release notes, SDK 0.7 removes support for Extended Mode, which had let Oculus Rift development kit owners operate the tech as an extended monitor. Also removed is Standalone Mode, in which the Oculus Rift would operate as the only display device. Changes such as these mean that Oculus VR is putting some strict rules in place with this latest SDK. For example, experiences made using an earlier version of the 0.6 toolset will no longer be compatible and must be updated.
There are some big additions to the kit, however. Oculus SDK 0.7 sees the implementation of Direct Driver Mode, which uses elements of NVIDIA Gameworks VR of AMD LiquidVR to render directly to the device. “This release also improves alignment between the PC and Mobile SDKs and reduces the surface area of the PC SDK,” the notes read.
The changes made with SDK 0.7 have even caused some teams such as Elite: Dangerous studio Frontier Developments to halt work on VR support until Oculus SDKs start to stabilise. Fortunately this should happen soon; Oculus VR has confirmed that it is targeting a November 2015 release for SDK 1.0, leaving around 2 months for both 0.8 and 0.9 to arrive, both of which will again require developers to update their software to support later versions of the toolset.
VRFocus will continue to follow Oculus VR’s work with the Oculus SDKs closely, reporting back with any further updates.