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Opinion: Larabel of Phoronix on SteamVR Beta for Linux

Posted by Norbert, 5 months agoSun, 26 Feb 2017, 18:37 (0 comments)
Phoronix has published an article by Michael Larabel titled Trying The SteamVR Beta On Linux Feels More Like An Early Alpha. Larabel's first impressions of setting up SteamVR for Linux, and trying out available games. He had no real prior experiences with modern VR headsets. He got off to a slow start:

Michael Larabel[I] assumed it would just take me a few minutes to get it working on Linux. But nope, it ended up taking hours. This is what makes SteamVR on Linux feel more like an early alpha than beta.

Roughly speaking, he ran into a "SteamVR failed to initialized for unknown reasons. (Error: Shared IPC Compositor Connect Failed (306))." problem, and a segmentation fault when starting SteamVR. He fixed the former by starting Steam with "STEAM_RUNTIME_PREFER_HOST_LIBRARIES=0". He initially used a workaround for the latter - reinstalling Steam after every single use of SteamVR - but fixed the problem by replacing his Ubuntu 16.10 installation with Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS.

Michael Larabel[It] doesn't seem to be the only issues. Take a look at the other SteamVR Linux bugs and you'll quickly find other issues outstanding and a range of Linux distributions being used from Debian to Antergos.

Trying out available games:

Michael Larabel[My wife] had a good time with the HTC Vive while playing Destinations but began losing interest when there were quality/performance oopses along the way. I only tried Dota 2 for a few minutes so far as those types of games generally don't interest me. For not being a "gamer" in a number of years now largely due to lack of time, I did have a LOT of fun with Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter.

It's unclear if Larabel tried actually visiting the playing field of a Dota 2 match. At first, I didn't know this is possible, but if you click the playing field you can watch the battles up close. Today, sat on the floor for a while, watching groups of these small creatures walk around is kind of fun.

Larabel also comments on SteamVR for Linux "requiring" Vulkan:

Michael Larabel[This] is good not only for better performance than OpenGL but also in pushing for greater adoption of this high-performance graphics API. [But,] unless we see more game studios make use of Vulkan for rendering on Windows and the Khronos industry VR standard efforts really take hold, I am concerned about the number of virtual reality games that will be ported to Linux and done so in a performant and reliable manner.

See the Phoronix article for more information and details.
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