Developer Pushes Valve’s Lighthouse Tracking to its Limits


Developers Stress Level Zero, the team behind the HTC Vive shooter Hover Junkers, are known for their VR experiments. But their latest investigation pushes the theoretical limits of Valve’s Lighthouse tracking system, as featured in the HTC Vive.

Using just two battery-powered Vive laser base stations the Stress Level Zero team set up a warehouse-scale VR play space and set themselves loose in their own VR world of Hover Junkers.

HoverJunkers Menu Stress Level Zero

The team’s new, larger studio gave them “a STUPID amount of space” to get up to various room-scale shenanigans like VR obstacle course runs and even building real-world Docks out of shipping pallets.

This experiment was run using just two, tripod mounted, battery powered SteamVR laser base stations, the same number buyers can expect to receive in the HTC Vive retail box once the VR system ships at the beginning of April.

See Also:  The HTC Vive Costs $799 and Ships April 1st
See Also: The HTC Vive Costs $799 and Ships April 1st

As impressive as this demonstration is, the ‘Lighthouse’ tracking system is known to be even more scalable. As the laser base stations are ‘dumb’ devices – that is, they don’t require attachment to a PC and receive no data – by adding more base stations, and as long as the cabling to your Vive headset is long enough, you could continue to expand your tracking volume. Exact limits of the system are unknown, and it’s reasonable assume no commercial game would ever seek to target these kinds of configurations, but it’s also a reminder of the Lighthouse system’s elegance.

Google's Owlchemy Labs Teases Its First Multiplayer VR Game & It's All About Hand Tracking

The HTC Vive goes on sale 29th Feb at 10am Eastern (7am PST / 3pm GMT)., will cost $799 and will begin shipping on April 1st. Hover Junkers will be released for the HTC Vive from launch in April and is in development for the Oculus Rift and Oculus touch motion controllers – due to land in the 2nd half of 2016. You can pre-order the title at the game’s IndieGogo campaign page here.

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  • Dotcommer

    I love these guys. They’re one of the few VR indie devs with a great looking VR game right out of the gate. I hope they’ll consider Oculus as well once the touch controllers come out.

    • Brandon Toy

      They do plan to support Touch controls as well. Oculus is listed as a supported platform on the IndieGoGo page.

  • Sky Castle

    I’m really not into pvp games and was not interested in this game, but these guys make it look fun running around mindlessly doing nothing.

    • DougP

      There’s is a single player campaign mode, depending on luck/play style could last a couple of hours.
      Also, should be fun going up against bots.

      • Sky Castle

        Yeah I know about the player campaign, but games like these made specifically with pvp in mind are usually an after thought and just tact on, which the developers admit they didn’t even want to do single player mode at first. I need a long and immersive sp story in my games, but this game is pretty cheap so i may give it a try.

        • DougP

          I see. Just didn’t realize you were aware of the single player.
          I actually asked a similar question on their Indiegogo page, verifying the duration of the single player experience, as I feel the same as you in this regard – PVP not being my 1st/primary choice.
          However, I’m ok with spending $35 on this – if I get a couple of hours of single player, then some “bot play”, as well as have a cool bot/multi-player game for friends/family to play with.
          The studio behind this is REALLY keen on building new VR games, so I also look at this as supporting someone who jumped on “pure VR” (+room-scale) & hoping they’ll get to make more experiences.

          I’m also really looking forward to full fleshed single player games & believe that the potential is phenomenal with VR.

          Exciting days ahead!

  • Keep in mind, this is a promotional video for a product they are gathering money for right now.

  • Surykaty

    I cant wait to trst lighthouse accuracy.. i have some devilish plans for it

  • Andrea Castegnaro

    I am researching on the LIghthouse accuracy because of some project I am trying to set up. For all the things I have read so far the system is scalable but still that range should be impossible (the laser has a cut off at 6 m) and it requires the system to be hacked.
    THis is even stated by one of the designers Alan Yates (towards the end he gives hi suggestion)

    So I am kind suspicious about what I am seeing here.

    Any thoughts?

    • brandon9271

      If each laser can project 6m than that would mean two of them could be 12m apart, right? That seems to coincide with what they show in the video and since the game wasn’t designed for this kind of scale they have no reason to lie about it.

  • DougP

    This dev has a cool Indiegogo campaign going as well. The multi-player is all working great & they’re set for release, but few cool perks and such.
    Just thought I’d mention it as, if anyone’s got a Vive on pre-order & is keen on ordering the game – it’s a nice way to support them & get your steam lic code.

    [ Note: I’m not affiliated with them, just sharing the info ]