Valve isn’t being shy about their support for Jules “LibreVR” Blok, the developer behind Revive, a hack which allows the Vive to play games from the Oculus store. Having patched SteamVR on more than one occasion to ensure Revive’s continued compatibility, the company has now sent Blok the Knuckles controller dev kit

Valve’s new Knuckles controllers have been widely praised by the developers who have been lucky enough to get their hands on them. The company has been sending dev kits of the controllers to select developers, and there’s presently no open way to get one without knowing the right folks at Valve.

Valve has sent one of the dev kits to Blok, the independent developer of Revive, a freely available hack that allows Vive users to play games from the Oculus store. For Oculus’ part, the company’s VR store only officially supports the Rift headset, and in 2016 had something of a standoff with Revive that prompted an update to their platform’s DRM policy which broke the hack. After community outcry, Oculus eventually reversed that decision and has been tolerating the hack since. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey (who is no longer with the company) recently pledged $2,000 per month in support of Revive’s development.

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Valve, who of course now distributes VR games through Steam, seems to have found an ally in Revive, as it opens a door for Vive users into Oculus’ platform, allowing them to play a number of major VR titles that aren’t available on Steam. Without Revive as an independent intermediary, it might seem one step too aggressive if Valve had to build and maintain an unofficial door into Oculus’ platform themselves. Valve itself is however responsible for supporting the Rift on Steam.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

In updates to SteamVR, Valve has on multiple occasions made tweaks and changes to ensure that Revive continued to work correctly. And now having sent Blok the Knuckles controllers, it seems pretty clear that Valve is supportive of what Revive is doing.

For Blok’s part the developer says that “these controllers will be very helpful to make a more natural Oculus Touch mapping,” and thanks Valve for sending them. Indeed the Knuckles controllers are more similar to Touch than the present Vive controllers, and with his hands on Knuckles it should make it easier for Blok to integrate proper support for the controllers into Revive once they are available more broadly.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Get Schwifty!

    Maybe we could also get a hack from Blok so that games that are “Vive only” designed will support Touch without screwing with the game ;)

    • bschuler

      I would expect once Fallout 4 VR and Doom VR come out, someone will make that hack. It probably won’t be Blok though as he’s got his hands full with Revive. But I can’t imagine nobody stepping forward to make it.

    • Nimso Ny

      Honestly sounds like something much simpler than ReVive is.

      ReVive essentially has to simulate an Oculus connected to trick Oculus Home into allowing you to play.
      It also has to transfer the screen to the Vive, since that comes from Home rather the drivers directly.

      Getting the Knuckles controller to work properly would basically be getting the mapping correct.
      Controller Mapping in SteamVR is ridiculously simple, as I’ve learned from having to use PSMove controllers. It’s essentially just an XML file that maps the input to SteamVR Controller Buttons and Axes.

    • Caven

      Now that he’s gotten enough funding that he can afford a CV1, maybe he’d be willing to do so if there’s enough interest. Has nobody really attempted such a project yet?

    • ummm…

      no no no. this is the first step in making oculus obsolete; being that touch controllers CAN be slightly janky with steam vr content soon everyone will just purchase a vive — was that your argument before? ;)

  • Ombra Alberto

    I really like Knuckles controllers.
    Congratulations to Vive.

    I hope Oculus does something like that in time.

    • GigaSora

      I hope they do something better and unexpected.

    • Get Schwifty!

      The reality is the Touch controllers do very well, and with the exception of completely free open hand throwing, they cover all the other bases with the other exception of all fingers motions. What I am thinking is they need a slight modification to the “ring” around the knuckles to bring them into contact with the fingers. I retrofit designed pair of pads would do the trick nicely and accomplish almost the same thing to solve the free throw problem. Beyond that a Touch 2.0 will be necessary.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, in that regard Oculus presented a better controller than Valve did, and now Valve went ahead and added their version and Oculus will come with an enhanced version of their touch controllers in the future.
      But then again, you’re never gonna get an ‘it can do it all’ controller, you’ll have to have special controllers for special handling.

  • Actually pictured this happening. Also pictured it getting the hand motion right with the in game hands controlling them with your fingers.

    Now for Bethesda to get these and anyone else making VR out of major franchises.

  • JBlok deverves it, his code and issue support on GitHub is excellent

  • DaKangaroo

    Valve allows SteamVR users to use Rift headsets (And other non-Valve hardware). So morally speaking I don’t see why they should be shy about supporting Revive to allow Vive owners to play games on the Oculus store.

    This is the way this industry needs to work for now. VR can’t afford walled off ecosystems right now, the market is too small for fragmentation. Facebook needs to realise that Valve succeeding in the VR market is a good thing for Facebook and vice versa. Anything that grows the size of the pie is a good thing for both of them because they’ll both get a bigger slice.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, you also have to consider economics in the equation, as the only reason Valve spends time on supporting other headset is purely because of selling games through their Steam platform, as THAT’S what the moneymaker is at valve, nothing more nothing less.. So it’s quite normal for Oculus to also want to have their own platform from which they can make money. Let’s not forget there are a lot of (VR-)games that are only available through Steam, so what’s the difference there? except that Steam may be your favorite platform.

      • Caven

        Yes, Valve does have economic incentive to support other headsets on Steam. However, supporting software that enables people to shop on a different storefront doesn’t help Valve directly, as it means Vive users don’t have to shop on Steam.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Unless Valve also gets a percentage of every Vive set sold..

        • biorpg

          Facebook (whom owns Oculus Rift), has other more Facebook-ey things planned for VR further down the road I read something about over a year ago. They purchased Rift to catch up to the leaders in VR, Probably the easiest 2b they’ve spent.
          HTC and Vive(and Sony, for that matter) took a bigger gamble funding their respective platforms in terms of the amount invested relative to their net worth. They may have expected more sales, or weren’t able to convince the professional studios to develop any blockbuster titles to draw in consumers. Either way, with the current state of things, they all (with the exception of Sony) benefit by allowing cross-platform access to their content simply due to the wet-noodle launch VR experienced. I doubt VR title sales have even paid for the cost of hosting those content services yet.

          If there was nothing to gain for one side or the other than you can bet there would be some anti-trust lawsuits going on along with people in dark uniforms labeling and packing up a computer, a VR headset, a couple “interesting” devices found mounted high on the walls, a pair of Knuckles controllers and glass bowl with Jules Brok’s goldfish in it befor handing him a court order banning him from using computers for 3 years!

          Oh and, there are titles exclusive to either platform, so if there was no cross-platform access, it would turn into the content war that neither side is up to waging just yet. Though, by the time they do wage that war, they’d have a much harder time banning tools like Revive after Valve supporting it for so long and Facebook willfully reversing a patch to break it.