HTC has been experimenting with some new features in a recent SteamVR beta update which allows up to 16 SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations to be linked together to form a continuous tracking volume.

When the original Vive first in 2016, it supported up to two base stations and a tracking volume of roughly 11.5  × 11.5 ft (3.5 × 3.5 m). A newer version of SteamVR Tracking tech (2.0) that debuted alongside the Vive Pro brought new sensors and base stations, enabling support for up to four base stations and a tracking volume up to 33 × 33 ft (10 × 10 m).

Now Valve is pushing things further; a recent beta update to SteamVR introduced new tools and capabilities, allowing up to 16 SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations to be linked together to form a single tracked volume. Following the update, HTC did some experimentation with the new capability, linking a series of base stations together to create a tracked area across several rooms creating an arbitrarily shaped tracking volume with a total area of 67.5 m².

In the video the company posted above, you can see how the user steps from one room to another, leaving line of sight of some base stations while moving into line of sight of others, while the system appears to seamlessly manage the tracking transition among base stations. In this case the setup was using six base stations across three tracked areas, though HTC’s Vive China president, Alvin Wang Graylin, said the group had hooked up 16 base stations at one point.

Graylin suggested that the new capability could make SteamVR Tracking 2.0 a strong candidate for VR attractions (like The Void), which often use expensive professional motion capture systems for tracking players across large spaces.

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A Valve engineer who works closely on SteamVR Tracking, Alan Yates, chimed in on Twitter to put the brakes on a bit saying, “This release [of SteamVR beta] is mainly about beta support for the radio-based channel configuration tools,” calling HTC’s demonstration of the feature “a bit premature.” So it may be some time yet before the system would be ready for VR attractions.

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  • Ombra Alberto

    The common mortals of these things do very little.

    16 stations? what’s the pros?
    Between 1 or 2 generations there will be no need for stations to be placed here and there.

    • Trenix

      I agree, the companies in charge of VR are making dumb decisions. We need a low cost platform where we can walk in place, because the general consumer doesn’t have space to play VR. It’s like they’re expecting us to run around in a headset that completely blocks our vision, full retarded I swear.

      • Jordan_c

        So you want yet another VR treadmill? Just get a white board, a harness, and put some socks on.

        Also, the idea is to superimpose virtual obstacles over real obstacles. You never lose your perception of these things. This how multi person location base VR works. They aren’t just “completely blocking your vision”.

        • Trenix

          Your idea wont make me move within the game. That’s not how it works. Also yes they are blocking your vision and it isn’t even perfect, go watch the video. I dare this guy to run around and do the same crap, I wonder what the results would be. Also why in the hell would someone play a game in VR headset that requires an entire building? If you want a shooter there is already paintball, laser tag, and so on.

          This is all moronic, possibly as stupid as adding VR to a waterpark. These developers do not know what they’re doing, there is no creative mind behind their products.

          • JJ

            You’re obviously having a bad day. that or you’re just a pessimistic a hole…
            I oppose every one of your opinions because they’re pretty over generalized and down right wrong.
            The fact that you’ve gone to vr arcades, want to play more, but claim theyre too expensive, as well as old and new equipment is just too expensive, tells us all we need to know about you.

            You cannot afford VR because you are too poor, not because its too expensive. It’s not super expensive, they’re not just trying to gouge you, though they are being somewhat anti-consumer with their prices.

            If you’re stressing that much over the price of an HMD or a ticket to a VR booth, then you’re priorities are wrong and you should be finding a new job instead of seeking ways to play VR.

          • Trenix

            I’m too poor? I’ve already bought pretty much all of the mainstream headsets. They all had their pros and cons, but most importantly, they are all pieces of junk that are far outdated and overpriced. Whether it’s the controllers, crappy tracking (oculus), no eye tracking, no regard for people that wear glasses, heavy headset, no ventilation, garbage plastic lenses, man I can go on and on.

            At the end of the day, it’s about getting the value for my money. I spent 2k building my beast of a computer and I feel like it was actually worth it. At this point, they’re simply making you spend just to get into VR. They’re not selling you quality products, to me they’re just prototypes. Also have you been to a VR arcade? They cost about $50 for two people for only one hour. That’s value for your money? A few visiting and I already could own that crappy headset.

            Go find a job? I seem to know the value of a dollar, but you clearly don’t. For that reason, I can only assume your mommy and daddy buy you everything you own as you have no responsibilities or financial obligations. In previous response if you actually read what I wrote, I specifically asked for the new generation headsets which I would GLADLY spend $800 for if they were actually worth it.

          • JJ

            You contradict yourself in almost every line you write.
            So basically, nothing new is good enough for you and everything else is already outdated. hmmm ok that sure makes sense, not.

            You complain about no eye tracking when that hasn’t even been included in any commercial headsets yet. So wtf are you complaining about… nobody has eyetracking yet, if you want it any faster you’re going to have to make it yourself otherwise chill the fuck out.

            “Making you spend just to get into vr” Yeah because they’re just going to give you all this hardware they’ve spent years and billions developing for free…because you deserve it? what

            Plus you’re going to a pretty expensive VR arcade they range from 20-60 depending on where you go and the quality.

            Also I have a great job where I program apps and software specifically for AR/VR, and idk my parents so you couldn’t be more wrong :)

          • Trenix

            Everything I suggested is already possible. The thing is, these developers rather make money off of morons like you by making a bunch of crappy headsets instead of combining everything we know works. Oculus Go was a way to make money off of casuals who can get a VR headset and basically do nothing. Vive Pro released a headset to appeal to “businesses” which most didn’t even bother with. That and the idiots who are fine with paying an overpriced product that isn’t all that better, if at all, when compared to the original.

            What else is new that isn’t crappy that forgot mention? Also you don’t even read my responses. Since you think I said it’s $50 for one person, I mean if you’re illiterate, it’s difficult to have an argument.

          • JJ

            oh wow 25$ per person thats soooo expensive how to people even manage… Were not dirt poor like you.
            Have you ever taken one business class do you even understand how economics work? Not to mention they want these extra mechanics and features ironed out and that 2nd gen hasnt even come out yet so again wtf are you bitching? because your a whiny little brat who wants everything for free, the same way you got everything from your parents.

          • Trenix

            I have a wife, that’s $50 in total, don’t forget tax. In about 8 visits, I can buy an occulus rift. Also I did take a business class, in fact, several business classes. I have a bachleor’s degree in business management. I never asked anything for free, it’s about value. Maybe you should be the one taking business classes, because to you value means being broke. If a product or service is costing more than what I feel is worth, I won’t pay. It has nothing to do with me not having enough money to spend.

            This is basics in economics man, get out of here with this shit. You have no idea of what you’re talking about. Think you argued with the wrong person about something you have no knowledge in. Keep talking, I’m enjoying making a fool and an example out of you.

          • Jordan_c

            Please …..quit VR. You’ll be happier.

            PS. If knew anything about electronics, you would know how to get moving in game with the set up I described.

            Anyway, I’m done with you.

          • Trenix

            Because moving your feet will someone trick the base station, you idiot.

          • Fam Wired

            I bought the Vive in the beginning of 2016, Rift last year and I would have expect a true next gen headset by now. I’m trying out a Varjo headset at the moment but this is not ready for the consumer market for some time. We really need to be patient. It’s nothing wrong with the technology, we just need it to take some steps in resolution and comfort etc.

      • dk

        yeah this is not meant for people’s houses

      • brandon9271

        The obviously isn’t aimed at general consumers. :)

        • Trenix

          Yeah just like most of the VR headsets currently being released.

          • Fam Wired

            No, there are still not many people that even tried it yet. They just experienced it on youtube.

      • Kyle Adamski

        When I first got my Vive I was in a small one bedroom apartment & it was great. All it took was moving a single coffee table.

      • M Rob

        “full retarded I swear” – I love irony.

        • Trenix

          I can’t wait till you buy this, or go to a VR arcade, and then you run into a wall and become full retard. It’s as full retard as this company’s idea. Better yet, would be even funnier if you run into another full retard as you both become full retards.

          • JJ

            uhh what? If these smart companies making innovative products are so stupid then why arent you showing them up… because you can’t. You’re a sad troll with no rel skills. So keep on jerking off thinking you know anything about the VR industry because you obviously dont know shit. I’m open to debate any topic in VR with you because time and time again you just post shit that doesnt make sense and i love pointint that out.
            With all your bitching and moaning we think you’d just go back to playing pancake mode but you must deep down love vr and are obsessed with it to be posting the way you do.

          • Trenix

            VR is dying because of morons like you. Hope you’re proud.

          • JJ

            vr is dying because I support it… riiiiiiiight.
            So in your eyes, for vr to be a success all the consumers should hold out and not buy until the products are better… please attempt to use your economics major to explain how that works because we would all enjoy that free entertainment.

          • Trenix

            VR is failing because developers are derailing VRs into being standalone (basically social garbage that can’t much of anything), for arcades, and for businesses, which aren’t even their demographics. Keep buying all of their shitty headsets, even with a drop of prices people are barely buying them. You’re not everybody unfortunately. There are millions of potential gamers that are ready to make the purchase, but are simply waiting for next generation. But what do I know?

    • Jinral Tao

      Think commercially for a sec… multiple rooms upon which any myriad of VR experiences can be superimposed via programming. It cld potentially take u out of “stand/run-in-place” mode and thrust u into something like a gauntlet-type scenario.
      My imaginations going crazy just thinking about it. I’d line up for such an experience.

      • Trenix

        Yeah think of multiple people in a room, running around bumping into each other and running into walls and doors playing a shooting game, as if laser tag or paintball doesn’t exist or something. Sorry, just overall stupid. Save this technology for augmented reality, not virtual reality.

        • JJ

          No its not. I can’t find the video atm but road to vr has posted an article about it too but people have made vr programs that slightly alter/distort your view in ways that you don’t notice but change your direction and position within your playspace. They tested it live with multiple people in vr walking around using the program to steer the individuals away from each other and none of them bumped into each other without even really knowing they were there. Il post the video when i find it but your the one here being stupid, and across all of RtoVR you’ve been posting hateful shit where you call people names after you yourself say the stupidest shit ever. No need to listen to me or anyone else though, your arrogance is great entertainment.

          The fact that you say this is overall the stupid, makes it clear you’re an idiot.

          • Trenix

            K, instead of interacting in real life like a normal person, go put on a headset and go into a room with a bunch of other idiots. I use VR to play games which allow me to do things I can’t do in real life, whether if it’s because I don’t have time, don’t have the people to setup something, so on and so on. But this is just a whole nother level of stupid. Going out to be in a room with a bunch of other people with headsets… I can’t even.

            You seem like a person who’ll need a headset just to interact with someone, lol. Now if it was augmented reality, that’s a different story. But something tells me you can’t handle seeing people, lol.

          • JJ

            uh ok… you just derailed from the topic to try to make a point that i’m anti social or socially awkward. which isnt only wrong but is completely random and irrelevant to the conversation we were having. Which is hilarious because you say “I’m” the one who doesnt know how to talk to people…

            so good luck sniffing your own farts and telling yourself its roses because your head is fucked dude. Btw you’re talking shit about VR Arcades, of which you’ve said before you’re so experienced with because youv’e gone so much before, yet you talk about how lame people who go are for shutting themselves in a room… Do you see the irony here because if you don’t you really are stupid.

          • Trenix

            I went to a VR arcades mainly to try it myself and show to friends. I did not play with anyone in the arcade, we get our own room made for a single person. Trying something out is far different than going into an arcade with a bunch of people wearing headsets, roaming around in the room together, as if they can’t interact with each other themselves. Where is the irony? One person is going to try a device, the other is going to use a device to play with a bunch of people in the same room.

            If I were to pick, play VR paintball with friends or play actual paintball, guess what I’d pick?

          • JJ

            I’d choose vr because then you can play more than just paintball… and im even a fan of paintball I own two heavily modded tipmans. It’s fun but for the sake of entertainment vr wins because it hold unlimited experiences compared to paintball.

        • Cl

          I think it could work. This would be more for commercial uses than at home.

          Ar would be cool too, but you wouldnt have different environments, you would be have the same environment with overlays. With vr you could be outside anywhere, but actually be in a large warehouse or something and they can just update the program for different environments.

          You wouldn’t run into each other since you can see each other in the game. I dont see why you think you would be running into things and people when all that would be represented in the game.

    • Currently, Valve tracking is the best out there. Furthermore, with external cameras you can track a lot of props in the rooms

  • Jinral Tao

    Besides, I think its good to let the folks with the resources have freedom to experiment with VR tech. Because VR is so young, there’s much to be learned about its potential and limitations. I’m sure that it’s not every idea will stick, but…
    I say, keep on pushing the boundaries. Yes, right now we may be tethered. But it’s only a matter of time (…short, I’d wager) before VR is completely tether-free and the medium matures.

  • Jerald Doerr

    I’m I alone in thinking a couple of things here??? 1… holy shit… is that a refrigerator or a pc… 2… holy shit how long is that cable???

    • Jistuce

      “is that a refrigerator or a pc”

      Intel says: Why not both?
      (That processor demo was flippin’ hilarious)

  • MasterElwood

    Useless. Good inside out tracking (the 4 camera oculus kind – not the crappy 2 camera Microsoft kind) gives you virtually (hahaha) infinite playspace at a fraction of the cost. HTC bets on the wrong horse. Again. And again. And again….

    • Fredrik Pettersen

      Sore loser much? You act like a pissed teenager who is missing out on all the fun. No matter which HMD you support all progress in this experimental field should be considered as win for us all. If you’re still grumpy, support both HTC and Oculus as a sensible person.

    • ArSh

      There is currently no “4 camera oculus kind”. And even if there was, good luck running all that wirelessly.

      • Trenix

        If a 4 camera tracker comes out which doesn’t get into issues with colors and lighting, base stations will be history. Technically, that is the future, especially for the consumer. And seriously, the wire really isn’t an issue for me at all. It’s probably far worse for people who have a large space, but for someone who has a small cube of a space, the wire gets often forgotten.

    • Kyle Adamski

      Even Oculus doesn’t recommend using more than 3 sensors: (from their website) “…using more than three sensors can create more technical and performance issues than it’s worth. We recommend sticking with three.”

      • Miqa

        He means inside out, on Santa Cruz.

  • I’ve tried it in Beijing’s office of the company. It works really well, I’ve noticed no seams when transitioning from one room to the other. The tech is really under development and they told me that is going to even be updated in the following times

  • erik

    It would be cool if there are cheap sensors you can place on objects to be able to track them. Maybe there is such a thing already? I mean if you attach one to a door for example the door could be modeled so that you can see it in VR and use it as a real door. Or on a corner of a table and so on.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Nice experiment, but obviously useless until they can track several headsets. TheVoid did it better but having the price of a few base stations for a full place tracking would make it interesting. But then multi-headset wireless is the real challenge.

    • jj

      right this is great seeing the tech evolve in preparation for the future but until they remove that wire its pointless

    • Trenix

      For what purpose do multiple headsets need to be tracked? More incidents? It’s like playing at home is far worse than going to a place that will overcharge you, right?

      • Lucidfeuer

        So that I can see where the opponent I want to kick is in the virtual space.

    • Caven

      SteamVR Tracking 1.0 already already supports multiple headsets in the same tracking volume. I’ve tested this myself using two Vive headsets simultaneously in the same tracking volume using a single pair of Lighthouse base stations.

      • Lucidfeuer

        several =/= two. But then I’m unaware of experimentations that were done with more than 2 headsets.

        • brandon9271

          The lighthouses don’t “track” anything. They’re just beacons so to speak. If you had 50 PCs in a room, each with a Vive attached they could all use the same lighthouses. I’ve seen four opperate off the same pair of lighthouses myself.

          • Lucidfeuer

            I’m talking about the underlaying platform to track several headset on a same system or network. And yes you reminded me that Lighthouse are not a component of it since they’re just emitters.

        • Caven

          brandon9271 has it covered. Steam VR is much like GPS in that regard. The Lighthouses, like GPS satellites, don’t know or care how many clients devices are in range. They blindly broadcast their signals, which serve as a frame of reference for client devices to use. Forcing the Lighthouses to communicate with the headsets would have deliberately limited the scalability of Steam VR with absolutely no benefit for doing so. The Lighthouses don’t even need to know that a headset exists in order for them to do their job, which has been convenient for me. With no device pairing whatsoever, my Vive will happily work with the “wrong” Lighthouses.

    • brandon9271

      The lighthouses don’t “track” anything. They’re just beacons so to speak. If you had 50 PCs in a room, each with a Vive attached they could all use the same lighthouses. I’ve seen 4 operate off the same pair of lighthouses myself.

  • fdf

    If they say they can max out at 10x10m, and 16 base stations only gets you 8×8 (67.5m^2 [nice try spinning]), then it’s suffice to say that 10x10m is unreachable marketing bullshit.

    • Cl

      I believe the 10mx10m is just one single room. What they are doing is joining multiple rooms which is different than just one big room. I bet they could make the play area much bigger if that’s what they were trying to prove and had the space. Multiple rooms at 10mx10m each.

  • oompah

    hope someday
    multiple players in the
    same room/house/office
    would be able to join the
    same VR experience
    as a team working together
    say on an expedition or
    on a design