A recent video posted by Lee Vermeulen, the developer behind Modbox, shows how useful Valve’s skeletal input can be for developers.
For those unfamiliar, Modbox is a sandbox creation game that initially launched in early access back with the HTC Vive in April 2016. Players can create games in VR and share them with others. Vermeulen is working on a big rewrite of the game with new visual scripting features but in the meantime he’s testing Valve’s recent skeletal input features. He also used a ZED Mini with the HTC Vive to show a side-by-side of what finger movements look like in the real world compared with how they are shown in VR. The match-up isn’t perfect but it still looks pretty impressive.
Vermeulen plans to implement Valve’s skeletal input with Modbox when the feature is finished by Valve. It is useful to him because “hand animations are hard to get right — especially with the large variety of VR input devices and differences in detail.” Modbox will show just the controller model when building an environment and using the controller as a tool to shape the world around you, but when you’re in play mode and enjoying what you made then the hand graphics will be shown.
“Oculus Touch can tell when your hand is on a button, Vive controllers can only tell when a button is pressed, the new Knuckles can tell if each finger is on the grip. The SteamVR skeletal input completely handles this for us,” Vermeulen wrote. “Its also a hard thing to network online. I don’t want to have to send a status update of each finger position for everyone in-game to everyone else. The skeletal input system will eventually handle this for us.”
Update: The final quotation from Vermeulen was slightly updated after publication for added clarity.