Valve Updates Steam VR Because Beat Saber Players Are Too Fast

Gif: Felps Live (YouTube)

Real-world data collected from Beat Saber players has changed what Valve developers had previously thought to be “humanly possible.”

In a recent post announcing the latest update to Steam VR, one of the changes listed reads: “Increase limits of what we thought was humanly possible for controller motion based on tracking data from Beat Saber experts.” In other words: Some people are so good at Beat Saber, a rhythm game where you use lightsabers to slice correspondingly colored red and blue blocks, that Steam VR wasn’t previously able to track them.

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The fix to address that shortcoming affects the Vive hardware’s Lighthouse tracking sensors which are responsible for recording players’ positions and movement while playing Steam VR. In order to be more accurate Valve increased the max threshold for how quickly a player could move one of the VR controllers.

In the comments section of the post, a Valve developer wrote that “the tracking system has internal sanity checks to identify when things go wrong.” He went on:

“For example, if our math says you are *behind* your only basestation, clearly we made a mistake, because we wouldn’t be getting any signal from behind the basestation. One of these checks relates to how fast we thought it was physically possible for someone to turn their wrist. It turns out that a properly motivated human using a light enough controller could go faster (3600 degrees/sec!) than we thought.”

To put that in perspective, rotating 3600 degrees a second is the equivalent of flicking your wrist 90 degrees, from horizontal to vertical, in .025 seconds. Like the developers at Valve, I would have guessed players with super twitch skills would be able to move fast, but not that fast.

Some Beat Saber players are indeed strong with the force.

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Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com