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VR Here Talks – Valve Knuckles




We get to test amazing tech here, it goes without saying that we get just a little excited when something turns up at the VR Here door. One such time was when we received a pretty cool parcel containing the next generation VR controllers from Valve. The Knuckles look and feel premium, I thought the Vive controller felt great and still do but these things just ooze class. There is still a little size in the new controllers maybe just a little smaller in length but nothing like the sleek form factor found on the Oculus Touch. We were able to experience the demo which has little touches of Portal and Valve in it but also shows you the new functions of this controller, the main two stand out changes here are the introduction of finger tracking and the ultra cool pressure sensor pads around the grip section of the controller handle. 

It means once games implement the new sensors that we can look forward top even better immersive hand gestures. Take a look at what the games are doing with a game called Boneworks and it soon becomes apparent that this new controller will add so much to VR. Within the demo called Moondust we got to actually pick things up, sure we have been able to do this for a while now but using the new controllers feels more natural. Holding our palms open we reach to pick up a stress ball looking object, wrapping our hands around it and closing our fingers we are able to pick it up and then actually squeeze it to make the object squish out of its shell. It’s definitely a wow moment, we can even move our fingers off the buttons to do a thumbs up. In another part of the demo we drove a remote control car around using the built in joysticks and new shaped trigger button to race the buggy around the moon. The best part of this mini experience is that you have to hold the remote control like you would in real life to control the car, within the Moondust demo you get a few different mini games to explore but we think the grenade test is the best. In this you can adjust the gravity level, grenades float away into space but can still explode after a short time. Grabbing is just as pleasing in this section, squeezing the grenade hard will activate it so it’s time to throw it away, as mentioned there is a stress toy looking object in this mini game and it’s super satisfying to grab this and make it squish out of its shell. 

What interests us the most is how developers will use these controllers in upcoming games/experiences. We are currently testing them in current games to see how they compare to the Vive wands, not all games work as intended and we found that in rare instances the grip button remaps to the B button which is odd. Unreleased games should take full advantages of the Knuckles, the Valve Index headset is now available and ships with a pair of these new controllers but we can’t say for sure if the internal components are the same as the one’s we have used. 

We will keep you up to date on these amazing new controllers for VR, if your interested in discussing these with us or taking part in upcoming posts or videos please contact us. 

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