Latest SteamVR Dashboard Update Adds Controller Docking and Window Focus
SteamVR has unveiled its latest beta update which brings improvements in how users use their PC desktop in virtual reality via the SteamVR dashboard. Users can now opt to display specific applications instead of having to display the whole desktop. The new update also enables users to dock window views to their controllers which subsequently persist inside their virtual reality application.
SteamVR has always endeavored to support users’ ability to conveniently view and interact with their desktop via the SteamVR dashboard. However, the latest SteamVR beta update version 1.17.2 brings some new, powerful but also simple features.
Firstly, users are now able to add individual windows to their SteamVR dashboard. This will enable users to easily shift between specific applications as if they are jumping through multiple monitors.
The beta update has also brought controller docking. It is now possible to dock any of the virtual desktop views to a user’s left or right controller. The docking enables the window to persist inside the virtual reality application even when a user closes the SteamVR dashboard. This is important for making the background applications such as chat and video feeds to be more easily viewable even when they are inside the virtual reality headset. Users can also interact with the application attached to their hand via a virtual pointer. This is done when the dashboard is open. Check out the new functions in use below (video courtesy Road to VR): –
To preview these functions yourself, follow the procedure below: –
First, opt into SteamVR Beta. Then:
- Right-click on SteamVR > Properties >Select the ‘Betas’ tab in the Steam games list
- Select ‘SteamVR Beta Update’ in the drop-down list
- Let SteamVR update
SteamVR’s new dashboard functionality is quite useful and is also a harbinger of what we might expect in the future. For now, it only provides one room for a total of four virtual desktop views (these can be desktop or application views) and there is no room for additional views to appear as a button. In the future, the interface will likely change to accommodate more views simultaneously.
Additionally, in the latest update, applications can only remain visible while the dashboard is closed when they are docked to the user’s controller. Users may have to simply float the window at a location for some games, particularly when they are seated. It would appear that this will be the next logical step for this work that we should expect in future SteamVR dashboard updates.
At the start of 2020, Valve had revealed that it was planning to launch “SteamVR 2.0” in 2020. Over the past year, there have been several improvements in SteamVR although the company seems to have failed in its goal of launching the next version and we are still stuck with SteamVr version 1.xx. Perhaps, version 2.xx is still on the way.