Portal VR Moondust Demo Showcases Advanced VR Features

Valve has released a new Portal VR Moondust Demo to showcase its advanced Knuckles EV2 controller features. On display are the “high-fidelity force sensors” which enable moon rocks to be crushed into a fine powder with a powerful grip, the ability to drive using a joystick and other new inputs, the power to assemble a space station using all 10 fully-tracked fingers, and the “most natural throwing VR can offer.” This all sounds very impressive. Happily, Valve has backed up those fancy terms with actual gameplay, showcased in the trailer below.

Portal VR Moondust Demo

The Portal VR Moondust Demo tasks players with taking control of a giant robot on the moon, spearheading the Aperture Luna Resources Initiative. As teased in this article’s intro, there are four main gameplay mechanics on display:

  • Crush moon rocks to a fine powder with your powerful hands, taking advantage of the high-fidelity force sensors on Knuckles EV2
  • Practice driving a moon buggy, utilizing the joystick and the rest of the new inputs of Knuckles EV2
  • Assemble a space station in orbit, with fine interactions driven by all 10 fully tracked fingers
  • Enjoy some target practice in the throwing range, with the most natural throwing VR can offer

The primary purpose of the Portal VR Moondust Demo is to give developers the opportunity to test new features before working them into their own games.

Valve confesses that the BuggyBuddy scene “was a nightmare to create,” as it meant going through “at least 20 control schemes, mapping and remapping the buttons.” Apparently, “every playtester liked something different.” Fortunately, there is a new binding system, which allows players to rebind inputs to whatever they want.

It all looks very interesting, and it’s great to see Valve pushing VR forward. It should be noted, however, that the Portal VR Moondust demo was created specifically for Knuckles EV2 controllers and will not work with other VR inputs.

[via Steam]