Valve Index: The Future of VR

Valve+Index%3A+The+Future+of+VR

By: Jonah Goldfarb

This year has been huge for VR. The Oculus Quest got revealed which provided a 100% untethered experience. Brand new games have been announced that push the boundaries of what is possible, like Stormland, Defector, or Space Junkies. Oculus has announced their headsets which show the new direction Oculus is taking. Oculus is trying to appeal to as many people as possible by making cheaper and more accessible headsets. This means that they will not by trying to make the highest quality devices available, instead they will focus on cheaper devices.

Then, the Valve Index in announced. With it, the Valve Index Controllers (Previously known as Knuckles) have been released after a long wait. What makes the Valve Index Controllers so special is how you grab things in VR. Instead of using a grab button, the Index Controllers rest on your hand and sense your fingers along with pressure and finger placement. This means that in order to grab a sword you would grab the controller and it would sense which fingers you are grabbing with. This means that you can do a wide varieties of hand positions and apply different amounts of pressure for different effects. One game that uses these controllers is Boneworks. In the game you can do things like break items by grabbing them hard, and grabbing lighter can let you slide your hand on objects positioning your hands any way you want.

Valve Index Controllers. Source: “Valve Index Controllers.” Valve, www.valvesoftware.com/en/index/controllers.

Outside of the controllers the HMD (Head Mounted Device or the actual headset) is incredible. It has some of the most impressive spec for a cheap 500 dollar price tag. The Valve Index has 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye with a 120 Hz refresh rate (with experimental 144 Hz). This means that it looks a lot better and it a lot smoother than other headsets. This is better than the Vive which has 1080 x 1200 per eye and a 90 Hz refresh rate. The Valve Index has the same resolution as the Vive Pro. What makes the Index so much better than the Vive Pro is the refresh rate, price, and other features. For most of VR we have been told that 90 is the ideal refresh rate. The 120 Hz refresh rate of the Index is incredible. The display of the Index are low persistence when reduces blur. There is also a higher FOV on the index allowing you to see more. Instead of using normal headphones the Index has off-ear headphones that don’t go over your ears but are next to them.

A Side view of the HMD. Source: “Valve Index Side View.” Valve, www.valvesoftware.com/en/index/headset.

The Index is going to allow people who want the best available in VR to get the best headset possible. Some people criticized the Index for having many features that were available for game developers but did not have any predetermined use. I do not see this as a downside as it is better than not having anything. Some other people complain about the price range. This is not valid because the headset is extremely cheap for what it provides. The controllers are what is expensive and they provide something never seen before. You could always use original Vive controllers if you don’t want the Index Controllers. If you want to best headset for VR then the Index beats almost everything else on the market.

The Off-Ear Headphones of the Index. Source: “Valve Index Headphones.” Valve, www.valvesoftware.com/en/index/headset.

The Valve Index is related to engineering because of how it was made. There was multiple engineers working in a group to make the best device possible. They engineered many features like off-ear headphones or a slot for many possible uses. This insight from the engineers is channeled into the Index which ends up with a great end product unlike any other headset on the market.

Videos and Links

https://store.steampowered.com/valveindex
This is the store page for the Index. It has the bundle deal along with pricing for each part of the Index.

https://uploadvr.com/steamvr-index-motion-smoothing-amd/
This article talks about how amd GPUs can use motion smoothing to help make games work better.

https://www.roadtovr.com/index-specs-driven-by-valve-vr-game-dev-teams/
This Article talks about what the Index was meant to do.

https://www.techradar.com/news/valve-index-vs-htc-vive-pro-vs-oculus-rift-s-the-vr-headset-showdown
This Compares the Index, Vive Pro, and Rift S

https://www.valvesoftware.com/index
This talks about the headset, it is directly from valve and give more information than the store page.

This Video goes in depth on lots of the features of the headset along with what the controllers are like.
This Video talks about some of the same things as the first one but talks about new games that will implent finger tracking in VR.

Source For Main Image: “Valve Index Front View.” Valve, www.valvesoftware.com/en/index/headset.