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Valve’s Aperture Lab Index Demo Updated to Support Oculus Touch


Valve's Aperture Lab Index Demo Updated to Support Oculus Touch 1

Valve released a VR game recently that aims to not only put you through your paces with your brand new Valve Index controllers, but directly in the familiar halls of Portal’s Aperture Science labs. If you have an Oculus Rift and are curious to try it out though, developing studio Cloudhead Games has created a keybinding to let Touch users have a go too.

Update (July 1, 2019): Cloudhead Games reached out to us to clarify a statement that was made in the promo video linked on the game’s Steam Page. A studio spokesperson revealed to us that while Valve assets were provided to them, Cloudhead used them as “reference and inspiration to ensure that appropriate world building feel was established.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly named Cloudhead art director Jonathan Hackett as ‘Anthony’ Hackett. Both the clarification and the correction have been included in the body of the article.

Update (June 28th, 2019): Cloudhead Games took to Reddit to show users how to play Aperture Hand Lab with Oculus Touch. A developer says that while it isn’t the intended way for users to play, “at very least you should get some laughs from the dialogue.”

Here’s the instructions, courtesy Cloudhead Games:

  1. Launch the game
  2. Open the SteamVR menu and click Settings > Controller Binding (or Devices > Configure Controller on desktop)
  3. Select “Knux [Testing]” under “Current Application”
  4. Click “View” on the binding labelled “CHG Recommended”
  5. Click “Select this Binding”

Note: Selecting a binding for “Aperture Hand Lab” will not currently sync to the game. You will need to launch the game and select a binding for Knux [Testing] under “Current Application.”

The original article follows below:

Original Article (June 25th, 2019): Developed by VR studio Cloudhead Games and published by Valve, Aperture Hand Lab is aimed at the Valve Index headset and its finger-tracking controllers, which arrive on users’ doorsteps starting this week. The demo experience also technically includes support for HTC Vive, although this is because the Index controllers can be used with any headset that uses SteamVR base stations. You’ll need Index controllers to play, as they provide the five-finger tracking that the experience is built around (see update).

According to the game’s Steam page, the single-player experience also requires at least 2 × 1.5 meters of room to play, so make sure to clear some space when the big day arrives.

If you can’t wait to get an idea of what it’s all about (we have a hands-on video below too), the short game passes you through several tests administered by a number of ‘personality cores’, the very same as seen in Valve’s landmark VR demo The Lab (2016). Each of the cores give you a different gesture to accomplish to move on, but Cloudhead says that they can also react to different hand gestures too, reacting differently when you give them the middle finger, devil horns, etc.

Cloudhead Games is probably best known for their ongoing VR series The Gallery, the first of which was a launch title for the HTC Vive back in 2016. You might also know them for their early work on VR teleportation as a locomotion standard in VR games. Back then, trying to find a nausea-free locomotion standard was still a big topic of conversation, and Cloudhead made some smart choices that are still in wide use today.

While Valve is listed as a publisher of the experience, Valve actually provided Cloudhead with Portal assets, something art director Jonathan Hackett calls “sort of like Christmas.” A studio spokesperson revealed to us that while Valve assets were provided to them, Cloudhead used them as “reference and inspiration to ensure that appropriate world building feel was established.”

Valve also included original audio, which Cloudhead ‘beefed up’ to make good use of the new Index headphones.

Valve writers Jay Pinkerton and Erik Wolpaw were also on hand to help refine the game’s narrative elements and keep it squarely within the Portal universe.

Check out our hands-on (pardon the pun) below:

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