Virtual reality gaming could potentially be the way of the future, but it’s still far too early in development for anyone to reasonably make that claim. With each new advancement, though, that possibility becomes all the more likely. Valve seems to making the next steps towards that with their second-generation version of their SteamVR controllers.
The Verge reports on this new development in the world of VR. Called “The Knuckles EV2”, these controllers are meant to give players a fuller range of motion than the traditional VR wand. Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the more realistic way the controllers allow people to interact with virtual environments, one example given being how a player can potentially pick something up by closing their fingers around the controller.
The EV2’s sleeker design, easier to adjust wrist strap, and improved interface compared to the older model controller already make it look like an upgrade. One feature the EV2 has over its predecessor is the redesigned control scheme, now featuring a joystick controller and a smaller thumb-shaped track pad rather than a single large track pad. This could potentially add some much-needed improvements to maneuverability in VR games, something many lack fully at this time.
Unfortunately for anyone itching to try them out, the EV2 controllers are not yet available to consumers. The only people with access to this technology are game developers approved by Valve’s Steam Partner program. While this first look at the upcoming tech will surely inspire a lot of new games, regular players will have to make due for the time being.
To coincide with the distribution of the Knuckles, Valve posted a four minute video showcasing just what they were capable of in a game called Moondust. Currently only available for play by the developers who received the controllers, Moondust appears to be related to the company’s Portal games, featuring a robot sent to the moon by Aperture Science for some kind of experiments.
In the game, the Knuckles seem to allow an incredible amount of fluidity in just what the player can do. The robot is seen crushing rocks in-hand and in context-sensitive ways with the environment, steering a buggy through use of the joystick, and building a space station by putting pieces together in the right order.
For a full list of developer resources and more information about the Knuckles and Valve’s plans for VR, the company has posted information on the Steam forums for the public and developers alike.