Mixed Reality Could Be A Standard Feature On SteamVR

by Ian Hamilton • April 5th, 2016

Valve is now the creator of the most impressive piece of marketing yet for virtual reality, with a video featuring a number of games coming to SteamVR being played in mixed reality.

In case you’ve missed our previous coverage of this technology, mixed reality videos merge, into a single view, what a person sees in VR with their corresponding body movements in the real world. It was first shown by Colin and Sarah Northway for their game Fantastic Contraption, but it’s quickly looking like this might become a standard feature across SteamVR for both developers and fans.

“We want to share stuff with the whole community since we hope to have all games enabled for mixed reality recording by both the developers as well as fans,” wrote Valve developer Alex Hopmann on the Steam Community site.

There are essentially two approaches to mixed reality right now — one that can be done live using the Open Broadcaster Software and another that needs to be done in post-production that is far more involved. The latter method requires a third Vive controller and a stabilized camera rig but the former can be accomplished relatively easily with a green screen, capture card and camera.

In fact, I was able to eke out this test yesterday following the instructions and shopping list laid out by the Northways.

Assuming you’ve got an HTC Vive and the PC to run it the following three items will turn your room into a mixed reality filming studio.

  • $15 x3 6 x 9FT / 1.8 x 2.8M Green Background (Amazon)
  • $180 Handycam (Amazon)
  • $180 Capture Card (Amazon)

You’ll need extension cords (HDMI and USB) to get the placement of the camera where you want and eventually you’ll need good lighting too, but with the green screen, camera and capture card listed above you should be ready to do a mixed reality test in Fantastic Contraption on the Vive.

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