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Report: The Talos Principle VR and SS3 VR Coming to Linux

Posted by Norbert, 4 months and 2 weeks agoWed, 8 Feb 2017, 14:28 (0 comments)
In a recent blog post, Croteam announces that VR versions of The Talos Principle and Serious Sam 3: BFE are coming to SteamOS and Linux. This is great news! We'll also be able to play The Second Encounter on Linux. All these will have Vulkan support, and VR and non-VR players will be able to join forces in multiplayer. Meanwhile, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais has tweeted a related screenshot; he comments:

Pierre-Loup GriffaisEarly Serious Sam VR and SteamVR builds are coming along nicely on RADV + AMDGPU stack!

Speculation: Two Interesting VRDC Sessions on February 28

Posted by Norbert, 4 months and 2 weeks agoTue, 7 Feb 2017, 20:54 (0 comments)
Three weeks from now, on February 28, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) at GDC will host several interesting sessions. Two stand out as being of particular relevance in the context of using VR on Linux.

The first is Refocusing on VR Innovation: Can Standards Simplify Cross-Platform Virtual Reality Development? (schedule link) Even if "cross-platform" exclusively refers to hardware, I cannot imagine Linux won't be a topic of discussion, for various reasons. The session is presented by The Khronos Group. Speakers are Joe Ludwig (Valve), Yuval Boger (OSVR co-founder) and others. According to the session summary it will be an "interactive session", so attendees can tell tales and ask questions. Maybe we'll get lucky and someone asks the Oculus software engineer on the panel about Linux. Face-wink

The second is When Vulkan was One: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (schedule link) With Alen Ladavac (Croteam), Karl Schultz (LunarG) and others. Croteam has been, and still is, a frontrunner when it comes to supporting Linux, and LunarG has been working with/for Valve to improve the graphics driver stack on Linux. Surely, the "looking ahead" portion of this session will include statements about using VR on Linux.

Report: OpenMW Fork With VR Through OpenHMD

Posted by Norbert, 4 months and 2 weeks agoTue, 7 Feb 2017, 16:20 (0 comments)
Last weekend, the annual FOSDEM event took place in Belgium. Joey Ferwerda (@JoeyFerwerda), one of the core OpenHMD developers, was present. In his write-up of the conference he writes about meeting fellow community members and exchanging knowledge. He also writes about progress made.

This progress includes his fork of OpenMW, the FOSS (engine) reimplementation of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, that adds basic VR support:

Joey FerwerdaSo, I love me some elder scrolls goodness and the OpenMW project is a great initiative. So I took it on me to implement rudimentary OpenHMD support (currently in my fork) which works fine, but is still pretty basic. There are some problems with the stereo mode in OpenSceneGraph missing very basic but essential features, like setting projection and view matrices per camera. I hope to prepare a patch soon for OSG to solve these issues, implement the lens correction shader and do some fixes to the UI and presentation that makes it more suitable for VR.

OpenHMD now also has initial support for reading the Rift CV1 camera, as can be seen in this video. This uses libuvc and doesn't require a kernel patch. Plus, OpenHMD has initial OSVR HDK2 support. The current implementation is "a bit of a hack and 'close enough'". Nice to read that OpenHMD keeps moving forward.

How-To: CNLohr Continues Reverse Engineering Vive

Posted by Norbert, 5 months agoMon, 6 Feb 2017, 21:38 (0 comments)
Early December 2016 we reported on CNLohr's efforts to reverse engineer the Vive. In a new live-stream, of which a recording is available at YouTube, CNLohr gives a recap of what's been done, and then he starts looking into tracking. "Finding intersections and the like!" His libsurvive is still being updated frequently. If you have a couple of hours, check out the video.

Report: Developer Showcases Progress Vulkan Support UE4 Linux

Posted by Norbert, 5 months agoSat, 4 Feb 2017, 21:50 (0 comments)
Vulkan is an API that will help deliver fast VR on Linux. Support for it in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is getting more and more solid. Developer yaakuro, who is working on the OpenVR SDK for UE4 on Linux, has published a YouTube video that showcases the progress. "Now works with SM4." (Shader Model 4)

Report: Croteam Ready with Serious Sam VR When SteamVR for Linux Arrives

Posted by Norbert, 5 months agoTue, 31 Jan 2017, 18:21 (0 comments)
A couple of weeks ago, Serious Sam VR depots for Linux showed up on SteamDB.
I've contacted Croteam to ask how the Linux port is coming along.
Alen Ladavac (@alenl), Croteam's chief technology officer (CTO), replied to my questions.

About the port:

Alen LadavacWe have some tests that work, and that we will have a build ready as soon as SteamVR is publicly available. I have to put up front a disclaimer that performance will be dependent on Vulkan performance, which may depend on hardware, driver and distribution used. You can get an estimate of how that works on a particular system if you check our Vulkan beta builds for Linux in The Talos Principle.

About using VR on Linux:

Alen LadavacPersonally, I'm excited to see that the progress on that front is coming up nicely, since I see Linux+Vulkan+VR as a great combination for living-room gaming in the (hopefully near) future.

OpenVR SDK 1.0.6 was released today.
It includes changes related to OS X IOSurfaces.
I asked Ladavac about VR on OS X.

Alen LadavacNot sure. Performance is a huge problem on OSX even without VR - mostly due to hardware configurations used. But if there will be changes in that respect, it's of course doable.

Valve's Joe Ludwig said about SteamVR, in mid-October, during the Steam Dev Days, that they "hope to get support for [OS X and Linux] into a beta in the next few months".
January is about to end, so Vive owners might be able to try Serious Sam VR on Linux soon.

Report: Red Hat Dev Uses Vulkan on Linux for Vive and for DOOM via Wine

Posted by Norbert, 5 months agoWed, 25 Jan 2017, 12:57 (0 comments)
Last week, on Thursday 19 January, Red Hat developer David Airlie (LiveJournal, GitHub) gave a talk at linux.conf.au 2017, about "The Vulkan Graphics API - what it means for Linux". His talk was roughly about what Vulkan is, he compared Vulkan and OpenGL, and discussed the status of the Linux Vulkan drivers.

Two excerpts from the recording. One at 39:07:

David AirlieSo, what can I run on this? As I said, Talos Principle, Dota 2, DOOM [via Wine]. That's pretty much it. And a few demos. But there's more games. Game engines that are moving, Unity 3D is out, it - it's got - we run its demos pretty well. And you can also soon, hopefully, cross my fingers, I don't have any dates for this, but... we'll be running this. [Shows Vive.] Because I got one. [Audience laughs.] Valve were kind enough to ship me one. I have been advising on what we need to get done for this to work. [...] One of the guys from Valve built his system using my driver, [...]

Yes, DOOM, the 2016 video game. Via Wine, with RADV (source, source), which was merged into mainline Mesa last October.

One at 40:25:

David AirlieSteamVR stuff is a Vulkan based rendering. So, this is what will be happening in the future. [...] Vulkan needs some extensions, it needs some work to get this working, but we have implemented it. Last week, apparently, they have the Dota 2 viewer maybe running inside.

The "Dota 2 viewer" is probably the Dota VR Hub. On the one hand, this sounds promising. On the other, if Valve got this to work on Linux "last week", we may still be many months away from seeing general SteamVR support for Linux.

Report: SteamDB Linux Depots for Valve VR and Serious Sam VR Games

Posted by Norbert, 5 months and 1 week agoFri, 13 Jan 2017, 22:07 (0 comments)
Twitter user D2KX_ has spotted something interesting:

D2KX_@gamingonlinux @michaellarabel @rustedLuke @VRonLinux but the SteamDB depots for Valve's Destination is from today and Serious Sam yesterday

Two day ago, Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter added a Linux depot.
And two hours ago, Valve's Destinations added a Linux depot.
A depot "SSVRTFE_Common_LinuxVR", sounds good!

Closer now...

Report: Developer Uses Google Daydream Controller on Linux

Posted by Norbert, 5 months and 2 weeks agoWed, 11 Jan 2017, 12:23 (0 comments)
Google Daydream, a VR platform for Android version 7.1 and newer, includes software and hardware specifications. On the hardware side, the wireless controller binds only with some smartphones running Google's mobile operating system. However, Matteo Pisani (xonoxitron), CTO and co-founder of Remoria VR, has extended the controller's compatibility to iOS (in 2016) and now also Linux.

On publishing platform Medium, Pisani explains how he managed to get the controller to work on Linux.

Matteo PisaniIn the last weeks I continued to develop my hack, on a mission to liberate the Google Daydream controller from its chains. My goal was now to extend its compatibility from iOS to other platforms. [...] Having JS in mind, I came across noble, an amazing Node.js module that facilitates the implementation of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) peripherals. [...] I started to implement the required code to make Google Daydream controller talk with Node.js.

The video below shows Pisani using the Google Daydream controller with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Site News: Freenode IRC Channel #vronlinux

Posted by Norbert, 5 months and 2 weeks agoWed, 11 Jan 2017, 10:58 (0 comments)
It might be useful and convivial ("gezellig") to have an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel to facilitate communication about using VR on Linux. If you ever feel chatty, you are welcome to join us in the #vronlinux channel on the Freenode (irc.freenode.net) network. Some IRC clients that should help you get there are HexChat, ircII, Irssi, Konversation, Quassel and WeeChat. Or, use Freenode's web chat.

As for the code of conduct,
  • be patient with and civil towards others,
  • don't distribute pirated software, and
  • try to keep your language in check.

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