Valve Index Announced

Paul Glover

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Pros:
  • Dual 1440 x 1600 LCDs, full RGB per pixel, ultra-low persistence global backlight illumination (0.330ms at 144Hz)
  • Framerate 80/90/120/144Hz
  • Physical IPD adjustment
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Base Stations required
https://www.valvesoftware.com/en/index

To me this is Gen 1.5 rather than Gen 2, what are your thoughts?
 

RobertR1

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As I said in the other thread, the index is going to be a good option for those who want a well rounded VR experience across multiple genres.

If you’re a one trick pony (simracing) doesn’t add much.

The only thing that would get me off the Pimax 5k+ would be higher pixel density, better optics and a much improved render pipeline that doesn’t overtax the system. The xtal is the only unit that gives long term promise that those things are possible and not just dreams. Just need the cost to be reasonable.
 

RCHeliguy

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This will very likely be my next VR system.

Right now I see people who are lowering frame rates until they are uncomfortable to boost resolution and then move back a bit until they are not feeling affected by the frame rate being too low.

I'd counter that when I'm in Dirt Rally with my motion system going, I'm moving around a lot and smoother head tracking with more frequent updates ( faster frame rate ) would make the experience a lot more realistic for me. I'm not uncomfortable, but I think a smoother view while driving would add to the immersion quite a bit.

One thing left off the list above is that the audio is supposed to be at another level. Reviewers are saying it has tons of bass and lots of power. 40-24kHz response 98dB/ 1cm SPL. The headphones are not resting on your ears and the sound feels more ambient and not like it's coming through headphones.

So don't discount how much better it will sound in a car with a throatier engine and sound effects that feel like they are ambient rather than stuck in your ears. It should also be a bit cooler temperature wise since they aren't touching your ears.

Also skipped for those of us who enjoy roomscale are the new Vive Index hand controllers which are better than anything else out there. 87 sensors, full finger tracking and they strap to your hand so you don't even need to hang on to them while using them. They are the first improvement since the Oculus Touch controllers which are very good.

You can use the Valve Index hand controllers with Pimax and Vive headsets as well, so they are a definite improvement that more people can enjoy.

This is all in the same shared eco system of the Vive, Pimax, and hopefully StarVR in the near future that all use the same base stations and hand controllers interchangeably.
 

Ceolmor

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£991 is a lot of money to either start in VR or upgrade to VR1.5.

What I'd like to know is whether for sim racing we must have the controllers to set up and both stations/sensors for tracking. With the Rift I previously had, the controllers and one of the two sensors just sat in the box gathering dust. If we only require the headset (£459) and one base station (£139) then it begins to be viable for sim racing.
 

Bjarne Hansen

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£991 is a lot of money to either start in VR or upgrade to VR1.5.

What I'd like to know is whether for sim racing we must have the controllers to set up and both stations/sensors for tracking. With the Rift I previously had, the controllers and one of the two sensors just sat in the box gathering dust. If we only require the headset (£459) and one base station (£139) then it begins to be viable for sim racing.
Or even better make the inside-out tracking work. They got the cameras on the HMD so kind of lazy not to do it.
 

RCHeliguy

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Or even better make the inside-out tracking work. They got the cameras on the HMD so kind of lazy not to do it.
Not at all. Those are pass through cameras for other purposes.

Think about this. What if the pass through cameras could track your hands on the steering wheel and the wheel rotation so it always matched what you were doing perfectly. What if you could map wheels to it so you could see where the knobs and setting are on them in VR.

The Valve Index was specifically designed for moding! It has an place under the removable front plate with a USB connection to add whatever you can dream up and they are publishing cad drawings so you can 3D print a device that fits the enclosure.

Inside out tracking is not nearly as good as base station tracking. The base station tracking is the absolute best out there, accurate to 0.1mm and 7ms latency for positioning information. The Rift camera accuracy is 1.5-1.9mm accuracy and Rift S inside out tracking is a step down from there.

For the SFX-100 crowd, there is a separate tracker than can be attached to your rig to track it separately from your headset and there is software available specifically for tracking the difference between your headset and your rig.

Maybe some day inside out tracking will catch up, but for the next few years the enthusiast market will be using base stations. That includes the Vive, Vive Pro, Index, Pimax 5K+, 5K XR, 8K, and StarVR if they ever release a product.

Keep in mind that base stations do NOT require USB ports. They are passive devices that paint the room. Once you set them up and put them on a shelf or mount them to the walls, you are done. Not only that but you have up to a 1000 sq foot area that you can play in if you ever dabble in room scale.

ALSO they can be shared. So if you have a larger room with two rigs set up they can run off the same base stations.
 

Andrew_WOT

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Or even better make the inside-out tracking work. They got the cameras on the HMD so kind of lazy not to do it.
No, smart, noone will buy their stations then. Well, 99% wouldn't.
It's interesting, they have cameras, expansion slot, but no real use for either.
 

RCHeliguy

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No, smart, noone will buy their stations then. Well, 99% wouldn't.
It's interesting, they have cameras, expansion slot, but no real use for either.
Surely you understand how to create an enthusiast eco system?

To attract enthusiasts you need to give them lots of hooks and places where they can create new things and modify your system. You give 3rd parties many means of attachment so that the system is only limited by the imaginations of the people who want to do things that don't come out of the box.

Contrast that with the Closed WMR system. You take what MS gives you, and that's it, you're stuck! No room for growth or 3rd parties to improve things. The Oculus system is closed too. No room to grow.

Valve already has the best tracking system by a margin. Last year they released the 2.0 base stations that can support 1000 sq/ft area areas with many simultaneous users. That is the one thing they need to keep. It's what allows 3rd parties to build controls that can use tracking devices and allows people to have as much of an area to play as they want.

It allows companies to build controls like the one in the picture below for enthusiasts.

As I mentioned earlier it is a great addition to an SFX-100 system for perfect relative tracking keeping your headset in sync with it's relative position to the moving chassis.

trackergun.jpg
 

RCHeliguy

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The point is that people have done a LOT of things with the tracking devices to add features to the VR experience because they were able to do it! What will they come up with to plug into the Valve Index? Who knows? You won't know if you want or need a new feature until someone builds it.

See what people are doing with this stuff.
https://apollack11.github.io/vive-tracker-localization.html

sawyer_full.jpg
 

Bjarne Hansen

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No, smart, noone will buy their stations then. Well, 99% wouldn't.
It's interesting, they have cameras, expansion slot, but no real use for either.
No not really! You could have inside-out for racing and flight sim's.
None or very few that has that as main VR interest will buy this headset.
I wouldn't even if the light houses was for free!
For what I use VR for Inside-out tracking is a much better solution!
Those that focus on room scale experience will go with outside tracking anyway.

I do agree with RCHeliguy that the expansion slot is a great addition if it gets proper supported!
 

RCHeliguy

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I've ordered a Valve Index and I have a Driving / Flight rig that takes 5 minutes to convert from one to the other. I have been spending more time in my rig lately, but I still think the Valve is the one to have.

flightmode_3953.jpg


HeusinkveldControls_4099.jpg
 

RCHeliguy

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You guys are completely ignoring the whole realism and immersion aspect!

Initial reports are that the 120 and 144Hz refresh rates make everything feel much more real.

Sure it's past the minimum fps that keeps you from vomiting, but I'd much prefer to have a more immersive experience that makes me feel MUCH more there.

This reminds me of the whole race for pixels with digital cameras. People only seemed to care about how many pixels a camera had. So manufacturers gave people megapixels but noise was increasing, Dynamic Range was dropping, and optics started to become more of a limiting factor.

Eventually we did get to have our cake and eat it and got higher resolution, dynamic range and low noise, but it took time and the lenses also needed to be redesigned.

Similarly this headset has more field of view, less SDE, higher frame rate and much better audio along with the best tracking available and the best ecosystem.

It is the holistic approach to making VR better.

You guys are back in the old camera days when sensor technology was still evolving just screaming for more pixels and not thinking about the rest of the things that matter.

EVENTUALLY we will have it all. Edge to edge field of view, high resolution and fast refresh rates. Then everyone will be happy. But for now a good balance will create the best experience.
 

Bjarne Hansen

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You guys are completely ignoring the whole realism and immersion aspect!

Initial reports are that the 120 and 144Hz refresh rates make everything feel much more real.

Sure it's past the minimum fps that keeps you from vomiting, but I'd much prefer to have a more immersive experience that makes me feel MUCH more there.

This reminds me of the whole race for pixels with digital cameras. People only seemed to care about how many pixels a camera had. So manufacturers gave people megapixels but noise was increasing, Dynamic Range was dropping, and optics started to become more of a limiting factor.

Eventually we did get to have our cake and eat it and got higher resolution, dynamic range and low noise, but it took time.

Similarly this headset has more field of view, less SDE, higher frame rate and much better audio along with the best tracking available and the best ecosystem.

It is the holistic approach to making VR better.

You guys are back in the old camera days when sensor technology was still evolving just screaming for more pixels and not thinking about the rest of the things that matter.
Are you ignoring the fact that apart from LFS there isn't a sim you can run at 120 or 144 Hz with current re even next gen GPU if the current 30% GPU gain stays
This headset should have had eye-tracking!
 

RCHeliguy

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Are you ignoring the fact that apart from LFS there isn't a sim you can run at 120 or 144 Hz with current re even next gen GPU if the current 30% GPU gain stays
This headset should have had eye-tracking!
There you go, yet another feature that isn't out yet.

The StarVR XTal has that feature, but to date I don't believe any of the software out there supports it, be it drivers from NVidia, or the VR manufacturers.

What the StarVR system proved was that a 5K system could have better clarity than the Pimax 5K system by not cropping the the displays as much while also lowered SDE with a 2080 (non-Ti) and couple gen old i7 running flight simulators and driving sims. It also didn't require any super sampling to look clear.

The two lens system used by the Valve Index is supposed to not crop as many pixels of the display and have better SDE. Meanwhile they have a reprojection system to handle 45 to 90 and 60 to 120 Hz. 144 is under development and is currently is "test".

So the bottom line is that they were getting 120Hz on a 980Ti in testing. Also testers were playing things like Beat Saber and Space Pirate trainers at 144Hz. I know those are not sims, but they give an indication if I compare my GPU load between those games on what I have now.

I have a 1080Ti. So when I get mine, I'll let you know if I can get 120 or 144Hz on my system in the driving simulations. I may be forced to upgrade my MB and CPU since I'm running an old i5-4690 and it is nearly 100% maxed out right now when my 1080Ti is running at 30%, driving my Rift.

Keep in mind everything is on the line for Valve. If they can't deliver the goods, this will all be over very quickly for them.
 
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Bjarne Hansen

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Valve by controlling SteamVR could very easy build in eye tracking. Code is even available open source.
They put two cameras on the front without any real plan of what to use them. Maybe on on the inside would have made more sense?
Hopefully it will come soon on a consumer headset.
 

RCHeliguy

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The one thing that I noticed in that review and in many searches since then is that people are using the term sweet spot for two different things.

This video is correct in that technically the sweet spot is how much your head can move around before the display loses clarity. They are saying you have to get the Index properly positioned relative to your eyes.

However once you get it positioned properly you can look edge to edge on the display and it will all be clear and sharp. That is a game changer. So you can glance down at your gauges without moving your head and they will be sharp and clear. Compared to something like a Reverb where you will have to move your head because it has a very small area that is sharp and not distorted.

Running at 120-144 fps and having high end audio will increase immersion quite a bit. The fact that all reviewers so far have called this the most comfortable headset they have ever worn for long VR sessions is another big plus.

The extra field of view will be nice, while not setting a best of category in that area.

Many of you may not care about tracking that is accurate to 0.1mm with a 7ms latency, but it is best of class. And many of you may not care about the hand controllers, but they are also best of class. Many of you may not care that the audio is loud, dynamic with full range, but that is best of class.

I will repeat that this is the best system out there. It is not a one trick pony. It does it all very well.