Back in June Valve unveiled details for its next version of SteamVR Tracking, showcasing 2.0 base stations that will be smaller, quieter, lower power, more reliable, and less expensive than their 1.0 counterparts. This week the company has revealed further details, such as a new mounting system will be used and four base stations can be employed to cover a wider area.
In a Steam posting aimed at OEMs Valve’s Joe Ludwig said that: “We are ramping up production of base stations for OEMs.” Going on to note that: “Engineering samples of SteamVR Tracking 2.0 compatible base stations are available now upon request.”
To being with the new base stations will still only work in configurations of two, but “In early 2018, we’ll expand that functionality to 4 base stations that should cover a single room play space of roughly 10 x 10 meters,” Ludwig notes. To put that into perspective, room-scale virtual reality (VR) requires a minimum of 2 x 1.5 metres with a current maximum of 4 x 4 metres – or if you prefer the current max is 11.5 feet squared so with four it’ll go up to 32.8 feet squared.
OEMs ordering the new units won’t receive a mounting solution either. “Units will not include any mounting solution. Valve is creating a custom wall/ceiling mounting solution,” the post notes. “We [Valve] will provide more information about this later in 2018.”
It’s important to note that the new 2.0 Base Stations will not work with existing HTC Vives. Valve has removed the sync blinker – which, according to the company, is the source of most of the interference between base stations and is also a significant driver of base station cost.
So with new Base Stations to begin shipping in early 2018 will there be a new HTC Vive on the horizon? The original will be two years old in April 2018 and if it won’t support SteamVR Tracking 2.0 then what will? The new system could very well be aimed at larger attractions like VR arcades rather than home use, but again a lot of these businesses use the standard HTC Vive.
As there’s no Steam Dev Days this year, or possibly in 2018 either – when Valve tends to reveal hardware details like Knuckles – when VRFocus learns more about SteamVR Tracking 2.0, we’ll let you know.