SteamVR Next-Gen Knuckle EV2 Controller Demo Set In Portal Universe

The Moondust tech demo shows off the unique features of the controller and the newly added thumbsticks.

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Valve is hit us all with a wave of new information to accompany the reveal of the SteamVR Knuckles EV2 controller, including the confirmation that dev kits are headed out to developers as of this week. 

For those unfamiliar, significant differentiators between the SteamVR Knuckles and other VR controllers are the tracking of each individual finger and a departure from classic gamepad/controller input and design. At its highest potential, players will realistically use their hands to reach out and touch, grab, and manipulate objects within a deeply immersive VR experience. Simplified: You won't feel like you're using a controller to do these things, it'll feel more like you have presence within a virtual world and are operating naturally.

With such potential innovation, Valve has to give developers a bit of a nudge with some examples of how it works. One of those examples, the Moondust demo, takes advantage of one Valve's most well-known properties: Portal. In it, you take control of a giant robot on the moon and spearhead the Aperture Lunar Resources Initiative. A collection of activities will have developers using the Knuckles EV2's unique inputs, including the newly added thumbsticks.

A full breakdown of the Moondust demo can be found on the Steam page. The significant changes to the updated controller are highlighted in the "What's New" blog post for the new Knuckles EV2:

  • Improved industrial design and ergonomics
  • Updated input set and layout
  • Improved strap fit and feel for more hand sizes
  • New sensors, enabling new interactions
  • Improved battery life, USB-C charging port
  • Added support for SteamVR Tracking 2.0

The design of the controller looks to have improved a great deal, but we won't have a definitive answer there until we get hands-on with it. Nevertheless, the new design looks ergonomically sound and the team states it has more room around the handle for larger hands. 

The Oculus Touch has been the premier VR input device since its launch but Valve's SteamVR Knuckles should push the bar to new heights once it arrives. If all pans out, it will be the start of the next generation of VR experiences. If you're a developer that would like to receive a dev kit, your personal Steam Partner page has information. Stay tuned to Shacknews for additional updates and a deeper dive into what the Knuckles are capable of.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty