Valve developer claims macOS SteamVR release coming in the next few months

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Reiterated by a report on Wednesday, an executive for Valve's Steam digital delivery platform has declared that preliminary versions of the company's VR platform will be available for macOS and Linux very soon.




Noted by VR enthusiast site RoadtoVR in October, and highlighted by Hexus.net ">on Wednesday, Valve developer Joe Ludwig demonstrated a running version of OpenVR and SteamVR on Linux to the gathered audience, and promised public releases "in the next few months" for macOS.

Ludwig and Valve believe that VR should be as open a platform as possible, and neither needs nor demands a "gatekeeper" limiting platform access.

The Linux demo utilized the Vulkan graphics API, running on an unnamed Linux distribution, with a HTC Vive headset. Most VR applications are coded with DirectX currently, and OpenGL or Vulkan utilization would be required for cross-platform use.





While rumors peg Apple using VR solutions to test self-driving cars and navigation systems, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently reaffirmed his stance that AR's ability to amplify human experiences makes it more likely to succeed over the more involved VR.

Though Apple has yet to outline an official strategy on either technology, the company is making strategic AR segment purchases like last year's acquisition of motion capture specialist Faceshift and German AR firm Metaio.

The company is also developing supporting tech in-house, as evidence by a growing portfolio of AR/VR patents like transparent displays, iPhone-powered virtual reality systems, advanced computer vision tech and more.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 2 of 12
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    The problem isn't the GPU being used. its the graphics Api. Many developers don't want to use native APIs on the mac when porting from windows, instead using translated directX.

    If a VR solution can use something like openCL or metal for rendering, the gpu won't be the problem.

    The refusal to bring VR over to linux or os X comes from lazy developers.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    Maybe there is a new Mac Pro in the pipeline after all?

    Given that the minimum requirements for VR that won't make you seriously sick disqualifies all current, including the new MacBook Pro's, I'm kinda wondering what is up. The Radeon 455 Pro is at best, equal to a Geforce 1050.


  • Reply 4 of 12
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    misa said:
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    Maybe there is a new Mac Pro in the pipeline after all?

    Given that the minimum requirements for VR that won't make you seriously sick disqualifies all current, including the new MacBook Pro's, I'm kinda wondering what is up. The Radeon 455 Pro is at best, equal to a Geforce 1050.


    It would be piss poor if someone had to buy a MacPro just to do VR...that won't be a big seller on the Mac side. You're not going to get a lot of takers for a $3000+ Mac Pro just to do VR. I would hope the next iMac would have something powerful enough to do VR. 
  • Reply 5 of 12
    misa said:
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    Maybe there is a new Mac Pro in the pipeline after all?

    Given that the minimum requirements for VR that won't make you seriously sick disqualifies all current, including the new MacBook Pro's, I'm kinda wondering what is up. The Radeon 455 Pro is at best, equal to a Geforce 1050.


    I am casting my vote that new iMacs and Mac Pros are in the pipeline.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Meh. VR will forever be a niche product. Even gamers cannot be immersed in these systems for too long.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Meh. VR will forever be a niche product. Even gamers cannot be immersed in these systems for too long.
    I bought the Playstation VR. I think it's really cool, but I can only handle so much before I start feeling a little queasy. Some games are too much for me, especially the driving games. 
  • Reply 8 of 12
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    I'm hopeful based on the effort that they put into the MacBook Pros — the total redesign, the oxide display, the no-compromise on the ports, the keyboard, and most of all, the way they ended up with the fastest SSD memory in the industry. They aren't messing around, in other words, when it comes to designing for the chosen platform, in this case the PORTABLE computer with a keyboard. 

    I have the impression that they'll now be turning their attention to the pro desktop, but there is this little problem with the difficulty of getting new processors. 

    There's also the possibility that Final Cut Pro can be massaged into being faster for dealing with stereo 3D and 360 video, and the new touch input methods they've been coming out with will result in some unbeatable editing platform. But that's a hope based on no direct working knowledge of FPC X.
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 9 of 12
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    misa said:
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    Maybe there is a new Mac Pro in the pipeline after all?

    Given that the minimum requirements for VR that won't make you seriously sick disqualifies all current, including the new MacBook Pro's, I'm kinda wondering what is up. The Radeon 455 Pro is at best, equal to a Geforce 1050.


    I am casting my vote that new iMacs and Mac Pros are in the pipeline.
    Whatever comes out needs to be at least as capable as a Geforce GTX 1070 otherwise it's a pointless to do VR on. Now consider that you can get Geforce GTX 1060/1070/1080 parts for laptops:
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/08/nvidia-pascal-laptop-specs-gtx-1080/

    They're not cut down versions of the desktop, they are the desktop part with a slight clock speed reduction. Considering that they are available on MXM boards, some laptops can even upgrade to them. Dell, HP, Clevo (the gold standard for gaming laptops) and Acer all use standard MXM modules. Apple uses MXM on some of the iMac Models up to 2011 I believe. It would be kind of funny to put a Geforce GTX 1080 into a 2011 iMac.




  • Reply 10 of 12
    Meh. VR will forever be a niche product. Even gamers cannot be immersed in these systems for too long.
    A tethered VR is a joke, by the way.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,232moderator
    macxpress said:
    misa said:
    But what to run it on? ;o) This is encouraging either way. If Apple is serious about all of this, high performance graphics need to be a big part of any VR or AR solution. Maybe it is making something custom, maybe it is only for mobile devices, but it seems like some development system that officially runs MacOS would be nice or even necessary to make that work. If games alone can't get Apple to offer some GPU solutions that are competitive maybe VR/AR can. I would think we'd start to see this happening next year. Hopefully we do, because 2016 offered no hope in that area.
    Maybe there is a new Mac Pro in the pipeline after all?

    Given that the minimum requirements for VR that won't make you seriously sick disqualifies all current, including the new MacBook Pro's, I'm kinda wondering what is up. The Radeon 455 Pro is at best, equal to a Geforce 1050.

    It would be piss poor if someone had to buy a MacPro just to do VR...that won't be a big seller on the Mac side. You're not going to get a lot of takers for a $3000+ Mac Pro just to do VR. I would hope the next iMac would have something powerful enough to do VR. 
    The games consoles are doing VR and the latest MBP can match this. There are no minimum requirements, there are just recommended specs:

    http://uploadvr.com/valve-cost-vr-graphics/

    It all depends on what you want to display. If you display very simple graphics like Minecraft in VR then the frame rate will be very high.

    The reason VR developers don't want to support Linux and Mac is the same reason game developers don't. The audience is too small. The VR audience on PC is already tiny and the Mac/Linux audience is 1/20th of that. The VR manufacturers aren't going to say that hardly anyone is buying their products so supporting other platforms wouldn't be worthwhile, instead they make comments that they know will satisfy their PC gaming audience.

    The real test for VR is if it takes off with consoles because that's the mainstream gaming audience. If it fails there, it has no market.

    On the subject of open vs closed platforms, Gabe Newell in the video was talking about gatekeepers and curated outlets while he runs of one these with the Steam store. Even although this isn't an entire platform, the reason for curated platforms as he will know is quality. Entirely open platforms are best for developers to be able to experiment with new ideas. Right now, VR is a developer experiment but it's not that enjoyable from a user perspective because you are very aware of the heavy goggles. It doesn't feel like you are in a virtual world, it feels like being in a deep-sea diver's outfit and people have surrounded you with LCD monitors and you just have to sit there looking around.

    It needs a lot of experimentation to get something worthwhile so at least having access to the hardware with this Steam VR platform will facilitate this but the hardware could really use an Apple makeover, not aesthetically but functionally because the user experience right now is not nice at all.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    The problem isn't the GPU being used. its the graphics Api. Many developers don't want to use native APIs on the mac when porting from windows, instead using translated directX.


    If a VR solution can use something like openCL or metal for rendering, the gpu won't be the problem.

    The refusal to bring VR over to linux or os X comes from lazy developers.
    No, the GPU is a real problem. What you are bringing up is a problem, too. Apple making a platform that doesn't support the needs of a wave of software doesn't make VR developers into "lazy developers" if they don't target that platform. It just makes no sense financially. Why spend resources on something with literally no return? Or worse, force it to run and make people sick, tarnishing VR. It happened with 3D. Movies had 3D retroactively forced on them when the movies weren't made for it. Clash of the Titans, for instance, made 3D movies look like garbage and the price was higher at the same time. You force VR onto the Mac platform and people get sick because the cards and APIs aren't right and that's a situation no one wants. Metal is not an entire replacement for what Direct X and Vulkan are doing, btw. Apple wasn't going to wait for everyone to catch up but it also didn't solve the whole problem and it has a proprietary API with the only reasonable platform to target being smartphones. GPUs are a huge problem. Supporting developers is another. Developers and publishers aren't going to spend extra resources to hope that one day Apple might release a single piece of hardware that comes close to the minimum requirements for VR that doesn't induce vomit. It's prudent not lazy.
    edited November 2016
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