The Lab was released in 2016. It had been created for roomscale VR in a world with no roomscale VR games, and took on the difficult task of building its conventions from the ground up. Now, three years later, conventions have evolved, the state of the art has progressed, and it seems fitting for The Lab to progress as well.
In the Hands-On update, we have brought the latest innovations in VR tech to the various pocket universes of The Lab.
Step aside, incorporeal controllers and abstracted input. Thanks to tight integration with SteamVR's new skeletal input system, future-proof hand presence is available for all. Whether you're playing on controllers with full per-finger tracking, controllers with binary grips, or anything in between, you will see your hands in-game represented to the highest fidelity possible.
All inputs, previously locked to particular controller buttons, are now Actions - available to be rebound at will and supporting any input configuration, forever.
The interaction system originally created for The Lab has been completely overhauled. Nearly all interactable objects can be freely poked, thrown, bashed against each other, stacked, toppled, and smashed. You are no longer a ghostly visitor to VR, your hands are physical like everything else, grounding you in the universe and raising your immersion to new heights. The Lab is a playground, and one that you can now enjoy like never before.
Audio is a huge component of immersing a player in any experience, and Steam Audio brings you the cutting edge of spatialization tech. Perfect directional audio for every sound pulls you even further into the game.
Optimizations and improvements
Thanks to extensive user testing and three years worth of feedback, we've smoothed over the few bumps in the experience to make the game even more welcoming to new users.
We've made innumerable changes to improve gameplay and performance, including upgrading to a modern engine version. Expect better performance across the board, and enjoy The Lab at higher resolutions and refresh rates. Speaking of...
Support for all Refresh Rates
The Lab was designed to run at 90 Hz, and has up to this point had some hiccups at higher or lower frame rates. Now, all game and physics code is frame rate independent, enabling seamless play on all of the diverse headsets available today.
We're so excited to share this update with the world, and we hope it will inspire you to hop back in to The Lab once again.