Valve just sent out a press release stuffed with multiple GDC announcements, which they’ll no doubt be expanding upon across the next couple of days.
Let’s start with Source 2. Valve has actually already announced Source 2 (by confirming about six months back that Dota 2 will be ported across to it,) but if you wanted double confirmation that the engine exists, then I guess this is it.
“With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity. Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games,” Valve’s Jay Stelly is quoted as having said.
Like Unreal Engine 4, Source 2 will be free. It will also have a “Vulkan-compatible” version; with Vulkan being the new name for the Next Generation OpenGL API being administered by the Khronos Group.
Moving on to SteamVR stuff, the press release makes it pretty clear that the HTC Vive headset will be the only VR headset we see with Valve’s name on it this year.
This press release does have a bit more about the VR room-tracking system hinted at by the HTC reveal, however. It’s code-named ‘Lighthouse’ and, says Valve’s Alan Yates, “gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices.” It’s said to offer “high resolution, high speed tracking.”
I think this is to do with mapping out rooms so that you can move around them in your VR headset and move inside the game (or whatever) at the same time, but in all honesty I’m not quite sure. I’m not sure how you avoid falling over your cat while doing this either.
Lighthouse, it’s said, will be made freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology. Valve has some sort of VR input control system in development too, which it says “the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience.” People actually at GDC will presumably be able to try these things out.
Is there more? Absolutely. It’s to do with Steam Machines.
Valve says Steam Machines from Falcon Northwest, Alienware and “a dozen other partners” will be ready for sale this November. These will “start at the same price point as game consoles, with higher performance.”
Finally, for people who have a powerful gaming PC, a decent enough in-home connection, but no secondary PC or laptop to stream to, Valve has created the Steam Link. Edit: That link used to work, but seems to have been taken down now.
Anyway, this is a $50.00 USD box which you can hook up to your TV and home network for a cheap way to stream games from your existing PC. You can see a render of it at the top of this article.
Steam Link will be available in November as well, offering (according to Valve) “1080p at 60Hz with low latency.” This section of the press release suggests that the Steam Controller (expected to be shown at GDC as well) will be $50.00 USD too.
“We continue to see very strong growth in PC Gaming, with Steam growing 50% in the last 12 months,” says Valve’s Gabe ‘Gaben’ Newell. “With these announcements we hope that we are helping build on that momentum.”