While SteamVR is practically synonymous with the HTC Vive, Valve intends it to be an open platform with multiple OEMs. At this year’s Game Developers Conference, GDC 2017, LG was showing off one of their prototypes, which the folks at Adam Savage’s Tested got some time with. The company repetitively said that this is just a prototype that can change in multiple ways.
There are some differences between this and the HTC Vive, though. One change that LG is proud of is the second app button. Apparently, the company found that developers liked to assign buttons in pairs, such as a “forward” button to go along with a “back”. As such, they added a second app button, and placed all three above the touchpad for less accidental presses. The weight distribution is, apparently, also adjusted slightly, too. The difference that Tested seems most interested in is the pull forward and flip up hinge holding the mask, allowing the headset to be moved out of the way without fully taking it off the head, and for it to be easily moved back into place around glasses. (Thankfully, I’m far-sighted, so I can just take off my glasses when I use my Daydream headset, which I assume holds true for other VR devices.)
It’s unclear when it will come to market. Tested speculated that it could happen sometime later this year, which would put it just before when we expect the HTC Vive 2, but… speculation.
My main worry is the used of
My main worry is the used of a fixed inter-lens distance. As anyone who had a DK2 and did not happen to have a 63.5mm Inter-pupillary distance can tell you, you had two options:
– One eye in focus, the other eye way off axis and with aberration out the wazoo, and an awkward shifted-to-one-wise face fit
– Good face fit, both eyes with aberrations.
This is a result of ‘solid’ (rather than Fresnel or hybrid) lenses having increasingly tiny exit pupils as the FoV increases. The same reason microdisplay-based HMDs all hit a practical limit around 45° FoV. If you push the FoV too far without increasing the focal distance and adding more lens elements (i.e. the large, heavy and expensive high-end HMDs of yesteryear) then the exit pupil gets so small that the action of rotating your eyeball to look at the edge of the scene physically translates your pupil out of the exit pupil.