Valve has been hard at work trying to perfect their virtual reality platform. They've just taken a big step by creating SteamVR Home, an interactive VR hub for Steam games. SteamVR Home is currently in beta, but can be accessed by simply opting into it.
What does SteamVR Home do?
Over the past year, Valve has been taking feedback from players and refining their vision for what a VR hub should be. The waters of virtual reality are still largely untested, so that feedback was critical to learning how SteamVR Home should function. Many environments and backgrounds have been uploaded to the SteamVR Workshop and creators have been clamoring for more tools so they can piece together better hub areas. Now, players will be able to create those areas with sound, better detail, animation, interaction, and even social elements.
Those better environments can now attain higher resolutions, support animation, sound, and even games in their own right. To find the perfect hub, players can teleport around areas and explore hundreds of hubs created by the community. if one of the environments suits a player's fancy, they can save it and even create special props and drawings to decorate and personalize the space.
The social integration is a huge addition. Those functions are now built into SteamVR Home. Players can invite friends into their home space or make an entire environment open to the public so anyone can join. Voice chat is possible, people can interact with the various decorations and tools in the given environment, and friends can explore new worlds together. Each player will be able to fashion an avatar for themselves, complete with accessories and props. Players can unlock more accessories by completing quests in other SteamVR areas.
Of course, these wouldn't be very good hub areas if they didn't serve as, you know, hubs! From the default home area, players can launch VR applications, scroll through their friends list, and access other rooms. Creators will also be able to integrate those features into custom hubs.
Many of the features in SteamVR Home have been borrowed from another Valve application titled Destinations. If you've been using Destinations and are worried about losing all your progress or stuff, don't fret. All of those in-game achievements and items will carry over into SteamVR Home. Destinations will cease being updated and all focus will switch over to SteamVR Home. Valve released a statement to those who have supported Destinations, saying, "We've been amazed by the incredible work the community has done in Destinations, and appreciate all the feedback you've given us as Destinations has gone from a simple photogrammetry viewer to something more. You are all veterans of this creative space and we hope you'll pass your knowledge and experience along as the rest of the SteamVR community gets access to these worlds."
If you are interested in opting into the SteamVR Home beta follow these steps: Open Steam > Find SteamVR in your Library > Right click and go to Properties > Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta.