Valve's upcoming "Knuckles" are now in the hands of developers – finally providing a sneak peek at what the motion controllers are capable of. While a consumer release date is yet to be decided, in recent months, some prolific VR studios have already received pre-release prototypes of the devices. Some of the biggest HTC Vive games are now being adapted with support for the new input method, teasing what's to come for these motion-controlled titles.
With a few studios already posting demonstrations of their experiments, we've started to round up some of the best (and coolest) uses of the Knuckles controllers so far.
Showcasing the basics
The Advanced Knuckles Interaction System scene was first debuted earlier this year, serving as a testing ground for the devices ahead of launch. Featuring a room packed with interactable objects, the demo allows players to get a feel for how to use the controllers, and experiment with their capabilities.
The most outstanding feature of the demo is its anti-gravity machine, which suspends objects in mid-air. This is a great way to use the controllers for interacting with virtual objects and take advantage of the more precise finger-track capabilities. A virtual touch-based UI is also available to configure your hand representation and introduces another way to interact via the Knuckles.
Climbey is an existing climbing game available for the HTC Vive, which already takes full advantage of its motion controls and room scale abilities. After Brian Lindenhof, the game's developer, got access to a Knuckles development kit, he's emerged as one of the main sources for how these perform in gameplay.
After getting them up and running, Lindenhof has released over half an hour of footage, showing how the controllers perform when ported to a pre-existing title. Although the controllers seemingly take some time to get used to, the core gameplay of Climbey seems adapt well to a more precise input.
Low-latency finger tracking
Cloudhead Games is another VR developer who's been keen to showcase the Knuckles in use – having recently explained how the devices perform with their own title, The Gallery. Showing off the precision of the controllers' capacitive features, their short demo provided an idea of both how movement translates in-game and what latency can be expected.
Natural finger movement
Jonathan Schenker, the developer behind one of the HTC Vive's most popular archery titles, QuiVR, has also taken to social media to show how finger movements transfer in-game through his own title. After only a day of work, the Knuckles seem to have smoothly integrated into the QuiVR experience – adding a new level of intuition to gameplay.
Although some interesting implementations of the Knuckles controllers are emerging, we're still in the early days of the devices. With a consumer launch not expected any time soon, it will be some time before you can jump into these experiences first-hand. Have you seen any interesting application of the new technology? Make sure to let us know in the comment section.
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