Apparently on their way to making good on the promise of the HTC Vive Developer Edition being available this Spring, Valve has opened the developer signup form for interested parties to throw their name into the hat. Valve will be selecting developers to receive the HTC Vive development kit for free, but the unit will not be openly available for purchase.
Are you a developer looking to make VR content for SteamVR? We’d recommend you go here now to get in line for the HTC Vive dev kit (note: you’ll need to be registered with Steam):
HTC Vive Developer Edition Signup Form
In an announcement made today on the official SteamVR page, Valve says that their goal is to “support as many VR content creators as possible and, to that end, we will be distributing dev kits continually, with new units going out every couple weeks. However, supplies may be limited.”
With developers clamoring to get their hands on the hottest VR hardware shown at GDC, we have a feeling that “supplies may be limited” will turn out to be quite the understatement.
After a buildup of rumors, Valve officially revealed the HTC Vive headset in March at GDC 2015, complete with the ‘Lighthouse’ positional tracking system that can track the headset and controllers in a ‘room-scale’ space of 15×15 feet. Prior to the reveal, Valve secretly met with select indie developers to create a suite of demos that were shown running on the SteamVR platform at GDC 2015.
See Also: HTC Vive and SteamVR Hands-on – A Stage of Constant Presence
Since that time, the question on many developers minds’ has been when they can get their hands on the unit to begin creating content for the system. Valve will have the final say on who will get the dev kit, selecting from a pool of developers who sign up on the The HTC Vive Developer Edition request form.
On the form, Valve asks developers to specify the development company’s name, website, a description of their VR project, when that project is estimated to launch, how large the development team is, and standard contact information.
The unit will not be freely available to purchase, as is the modus operandi of Oculus who made their first and second (DK1 and DK2) Rift development kits available for purchase by anyone. However, Valve says that the commercial version of the HTC Vive will be released later this year. The ‘Steam Universe’ page suggests that the retail unit will launch this November.
The HTC Vive headset has a 1080×1200, 90Hz refresh rate, and a field of view that feels equal to the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype. The curious looking Vive headset is cratered with sensors that detect laser positioning sweeps from the ‘Lighthouse’ tracking system which comes in the form of small square base stations.
In addition to two Lighthouse base stations, the HTC Vive Developer Edition will include two SteamVR game controllers which are tracked by the same system. The controllers have sombrero-looking crowns which position the Lighthouse sensors to reduce occlusion by the hands. The SteamVR controllers shown with the HTC Vive development kit protoype at GDC 2015 were connected by wires, but Valve has told us that the Vive Developer Edition will come with wireless versions of those controllers.
See Also: Denny Unger on Developing for SteamVR & HTC Vive: “…there’s no going back”
With the HTC Vive Developer Edition signup form now open, Valve has also rolled out the SteamVR Developer Hardware community page which will serve as a hub for developer discussion of the device. The community will be publicly visible but only developers with the Vive developer hardware will be able to participate in discussion. The SteamVR community page, however, is open for discussion to all.