Virtual Reality has been the predominant focus of GDC 2015, with Valve debuting its Vive headset along with a strong showing from Sony's Morpheus. Here's all the key news from the conference.
Obviously Valve's Steam VR was the main talk of the event. The Vive headset is a co-production with HTC and here's some of the most important information from our first look at the tech in "HTC Vive: This is Valve's Virtual Reality Headset"
The headset itself sports some beefy specs, including a pair of 1200 x 1080 displays that can handle video at a whopping 90 frames per second. For context, the Oculus Rift DK2 has a single 1080p panel that can refresh fast enough to support 75 FPS, and while Gear VR has a 2560 x 1440 display, it can only go as fast as 60 FPS. So this is a BIG step up compared to anything else out there, although who knows what the Oculus Rift consumer version will look like whenever it finally shows up.
The HTC Vive comes with a motion-tracking base station that can track your movement in a room as large as 15-feet by 15-feet (4.5 metres by 4.5 metres).
We also got a close look at the headset, the controller and motion tracking units in "A Closer Look at Valve's First VR Unit"
There's also a list of everyone producing software for the system in "Who's Making Stuff For SteamVR?" There are no big names on the game front, but there does seem to be a push towards entertainment and virtual tourism with groups like HBO and Liongate involved.
Not directly linked to the Vive headset is another revised version of the Steam controller, revealed in "Up Close With Valve's Newest Steam Controller." The big news there is a new analogue stick and button configuration.
We also got a final November release date for the Steam Machines of November in "Valve's Steam Machines Will Officially Launch in November."
The much-anticipated living room PCs, which have been MIA since Valve officially announced them in early 2014, will finally launch this November alongside a special Steam controller and a device called the Steam Link that will allow for game streaming from a PC or Steam Machine at 1080p/60HZ, according to the folks at Valve. The Steam Link and Steam Controller will each cost $50 (£33, exact UK price to be confirmed).
And, finally on the Valve Front, the idea that it had scheduled something HL3-related on the third day of the third month at 3.30pm was shot down in "No, Valve Isn't Holding A Press Conference Today". The reality was far less exiting.
Valve wasn't the only developer to make a big impression with VR at GDC. Sony had more to show of it's Morpheus system, which impressed a lot of those who tried it. In "Hands On: Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet" the comfort of the system was praised highly, as well as the impressive 120 fps, which rises above Valve's previously impressive 90fps with the Vive.
Morpheus also got a release date in "Sony's PS4 Virtual Reality Headset is Coming Next Year" although it only narrowed it down to "the first half of 2016."
Beyond the comfort and specs, Sony's software did much to impress show-goers. A first-person demo called London Heist seemed to be the biggest hit, as covered in "How Sony's Impressive First Person Shooter Virtual Reality Demo Works".
VR wasn't the only tech on display though. "Nvidia Announces its Own Android TV Game Console", which revealed both an Android TV console version of its Shield system, and an upgrade to its Grid tech, which is now a subscription-based service:
Grid will come in two tiers: a premium subscription level that streams games in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and a cheaper model limited to 30fps and 720p, both of which will have access to a selection of always-available games to stream. Want more games? You can buy them piecemeal, with new AAA games available on launch day and playable within seconds of buying it.
While the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip in the Shield is a powerful processor, Mike Fahey pours a little cold water on the device in "Nvidia's New Shield Console is Nothing to Get Excited About," citing Nvidia's apparent inability to decide what the 'Shield' name really applies to. He also questions the success of Android gaming consoles to date.
One other thing Nvidia gave us was a new look at The Witcher 3 via "Here's a Few Minutes of New The Witcher 3 Footage". The game was demoed while showing the Grid streaming tech in action:
As far as other games go we saw an early version of Alien Isolation in "Alien: Isolation Sure Looks Less Scary In Third-Person", discovered the real reason that Bungie Killed Destiny's Loot Cave and saw Shadow of Mordor win GOTY at GDC Awards.
That's it for now. I'll update this with anything when it happens.