steam deck, right to repair 

Valve has put out a new video showing a teardown of their new Steam Deck console. The thumbnail literally says "You shouldn't do any of this." The video itself explains the (perfectly valid) reasons why, but also shows how to do it properly if you're gonna do it anyway. They also mention that you can buy replacement parts directly from Valve.

This is honestly a really great stance for a hardware manufacturer to take on the Right to Repair movement. WARN, don't restrict.

See, Apple? Is that so hard?

Robert Yang on Quake modding history: rockpapershotgun.com/quake-ren

Gorgeous map work on display there. I especially like Alkaline with the Makkon textures.

Trying a fiber connection for the first time lately. Testing with mobile hardware makes it really obvious which sites are slow not simply because they have a lot of images but because they run tons of javascript nonsense before they display the text you want to read.

Hmm, I was thinking about getting a refurbished iPhone for quick depth map capture but I see that software exists for generating depth maps from normal stereo photos. Now tempted to just set up two identical low-cost cameras side-by-side with the same settings and then take two pictures simultaneously.

Having fun hand-crafting depth maps to make Looking Glass holograms from photos and artwork. It's actually not too hard to create a greyscale image from scratch that gives a convincing final output. I also assume an AI-driven approach would fail often when given line art and paintings.

Ideally though you do want to be using a 3D model instead of a depth map so you have more control over selecting a view point and you can see behind objects in the scene when moving your head.

I've been playing with a Looking Glass Portrait. This one turned out pretty well, made with a greyscale depth map.

Now seeing a lot of Valve patents for wave guides, eye tracking, and polarization. I wonder if any gaze-based depth-of-field functionality will actually end up in Index 2 (1-2 years from now?) or if this stuff is mostly 5+ years away and akin to 'Xerox PARC' style research.

Of course even a Deck-sized mainboard, especially with additional cooling needed for VR-level performance, would be a lot to put on a user's head. Valve's VR patents have been very comfort oriented though.

I doubt Valve would split up their store, it would make more sense for them to just present the device as being near or a little better than the usual 'i5-4590 / GTX 970' VR-ready min spec and then recommend streaming for games like Alyx.

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Interesting quote at the end, about using Deck-style hardware for VR: theverge.com/2021/8/6/22612886

"it would run well in that environment, with the TDP necessary"

Valve's x86-based handheld has merit as an entry-level PC gaming device so an AMD APU in a standalone VR headset might not actually be very far-fetched.

I'm enjoying this graphics book:
gabrielgambetta.com/computer-g

Looking at formulas still makes me wince but the information is presented in a plain visual way for the most part.

For those of you who play Blizzard games.

The employees have asked you not play them at all tomorrow as a message to the company.

Digital Strike and all that.

Well, I'm just happy to be on the first page of leaderboard scores.

Wait...what the fuck?

I just learned that there's a VR mod for The Dark Mod, a fan-made Thief-like game which uses the Doom 3 engine. It's currently meant for seated play with keyboard and mouse or gamepad but one of the developers is attempting to add room-scale support for current headsets and controllers. The dedication of modders is kind of unreal sometimes.

Interesting hybrid PC/HMD rendering patent (from 2019), seems Valve was looking ahead as they launched their first headset:

freepatentsonline.com/20210185

The PC still does the bulk of the graphics work but the near-final image and extra data are handed off so the VR headset itself can take over and use the very latest device poses to nudge the visual elements into place. The approach is meant to compensate for data loss and latency over a wireless network.

It says something about how dominant Quest 1 & 2 are that the developer of Larcenauts, a VR-only multiplayer-only shooter, felt confident launching the game without support for Index, Vive, or WMR. While I'm sure support is coming at some point to help the cross platform player base I understand them not racing to prioritize it with PC VR remaining such a niche.

Standalone HMDs aren't going away but a wireless, base-station-free Index 2 and Valve's next VR game could shake things up certainly.

This AMD laptop looks competitive, as long as you aren't a ray tracing enthusiast. The Ryzen 9 CPU seems quite good and the 6800M keeps up in non-RT benchmarks:

anandtech.com/show/16715/the-a

Laptops are probably the way to go for gaming until video card prices settle down. A desktop RTX 3070 costs about as much as that Strix at the moment.

Stubbornly refuse to use video streaming services for the most part. I'm just counting on future TVs having deep learning magic so I can output my thrift store DVD collection at 8K.

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