When HTC unwrapped the second rendition of its Vive headset, dubbed Vive Pre, we were initially so impressed by its augmented reality “Chaperone mode” that everything else seemed like a bonus. Now that it’s been out for a month, however, we’re all yearning for something new — and, luckily, Valve is delivering.
With the latest update to the Vive Pre’s SteamVR platform, beta version 1451970580, you’ll be able to get your hands on Direct Mode, letting the GPU on your PC talk directly with the high-resolution displays on the Vive. As a result, it will be possible for on-screen images to render separately on both the monitor and the headset itself.
Furthermore, Valve added that Direct Mode will resolve various issues such as “flashing displays upon headset detection, confused display destinations for desktop applications, and fullscreen compositor warnings.”
Direct Mode even introduces a standby feature which, as expected, allows for both energy conservation and an increase in the headset’s potential lifespan. Other fixes include improved reliability of firmware updates, the resolution of the persistent “headset not detected” error 108, automatic detection of which controller is in which hand, and more.
Assuming you have the latest SteamVR beta version installed, and your graphics card drivers are up to date, you’ll be able to enable Direct Mode right away. The prerequisite for Nvidia cards is GeForce driver version 361.75, while AMD users need at least Crimson version 22.214.171.124.6. And, if you still haven’t signed up for the beta, worry not, because you can still do so by referring to Step 5 of the HTC Vive Pre: Installation Guide.
Although this update is only available on the Vive Pre as of this writing, you can expect it to “be available on all HTC Vive models going forward.” Assuming you’re one of the lucky few developers with the headset, of course.