The virtual reality (VR) market looks set to fundamentally change over the next year with the introduction of standalone headsets. Devices like Oculus Go and Pico Goblin have got the ball rolling but its the introduction of Oculus Quest and its rival Vive Focus that are likely to make a bigger impression. While the former isn’t out until Spring 2019, the latter is currently available in China with a 2018 launch long rumoured for Western territories. That process looks to have taken another step closer to reality today with HTC Vive publishing a blog for developers on the benefits of Vive Wave and how to port to the platform.
Vive Wave has been designed to purely serve mobile and standalone VR headsets, whether that’s the Vive Focus or the new Pico headsets. Developers don’t need to have worked on a HTC Vive project previously, they can leverage their existing development tools using the Wave software development kits (SDKs) which include support for third-party engines like Unity and Unreal Engine 4.
Some of the features of the Vive Wave platform:
- <20ms motion to photon latency
- 3/6 DoF head and controller tracking
- Stereo rendering with Asynchronous TimeWarp
- Single-buffer rendering with V-Sync scheduling
- Columns or Rows strip rendering
- Lens distortion correction and chromatic aberration correction
- Tracking prediction
- System 2D Overlay
- Unity and Unreal Plugin support
- Safety virtual wall
As for the Vive Wave SDKs themselves, there are in fact five which can be downloaded from the blog post:
- Wave Native (Android) SDK
- Wave Unity SDK (Plugin)
- Wave UE4 SDK (Plugin)
- Wave PluginKit SDK
- Wave OEM SDK
Regarding a new platform a lot of developers will be mostly interested in porting existing content to Vive Wave as a means of increasing revenue quickly and simply. HTC Vive claims that this can be achieved with minimal effort on the developers part: ‘with some developers taking as little as a week, a few days, or even a couple hours to port to the WAVE platform’ when it comes to mobile apps and videogames. PC-based content can be a little trickier but not impossible.
There’s still been no solid confirmation regarding when the Vive Focus may officially arrive in Europe or North America. When those details are available VRFocus will let you know.