The Khronos Group is a consortium of over 150 hardware and software companies who help define standards for various compute, graphics, and media APIs (e.g. if you’ve worked with computer graphics, then you’ve probably already come across one of their more familiar specifications), but the work of the Khronos Group goes well beyond graphics to include OpenXR, OpenCL, and several other active standards.
Creating open standards and specifications (i.e., cross-platform APIs) requires a breadth of knowledge to ensure they provide a rich set of functionality while allowing for future innovations. Thus, the importance of having a consortium with such a large number of members cannot be understated.
OpenXR development has been advancing quickly and is becoming the de-facto API for XR. Since the 1.0 version was released last year, there are now multiple conformant implementations from Microsoft and Oculus. Minecraft, Blender, Chromium, and Firefox Reality have also all embraced OpenXR.
Last week, the OpenXR Working Group held a webinar where Brent Insko, OpenXR Working Group Chair and lead XR architect at Intel, was joined by Working Group members Brad Grantham, LunarG; Jakob Bornecrantz, Collabora; Robert Blenkinsopp, Ultraleap; Sam Robinson, Holochip; Sam Morales, Holochip; and Steve Winston, Holochip, to discuss new conformant implementations, experimental overlays and hand tracking extensions, and more.
What an amazing ride! Earlier this year, Microsoft and Oculus started shipping conformant OpenXR runtimes to all customers, with SteamVR previewing OpenXR support soon after. Since then, we’ve seen wide adoption of OpenXR across the industry: from the new RenderDragon engine in Minecraft to the WebXR implementation in Edge and Chrome – from Babylon Native to Blender 2.83. With OpenXR, you can build engines and apps that target HoloLens 2 with the same API that you use to target PC VR headsets, including Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Oculus Rift headsets and (currently in developer preview) SteamVR headsets. OpenXR lets engines write code once that’s then portable across hardware platforms from a wide range of VR and AR vendors. Learn more about Microsoft and OpenXR.
Khronos member Unity has long been a public supporter of OpenXR, but the company has yet to deploy support for the standard. As a key figure in OpenXR (owed to it being one of the leading VR game engines), it’s good news today to hear the company affirm its commitment to the standard and say that it’s accelerating work to bring OpenXR to Unity. Learn more about these efforts by Unity.
Join Brent Insko, OpenXR Working Group Chair and 6 speakers from Collabora, Holochip, LunarG and Ultraleap for this OpenXR webinar on October 28th. There will be code examples, update on a new conformant product, discussion of two extensions: experimental overlays and hand tracking, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), and available vendor services. There will be a live Q&A at the conclusion of the presentations. Register today!
The latest update to Blender 2.83 LTS (2.83.6) adds support for SteamVR! Devices like Valve Index and HTC Vive should work within Blender using the latest SteamVR. This is made possible via the multi-platform, OpenXR standard.
Watch Pablo Vazquez from Blender give an update on update 2.83.6 in this video.
The Khronos Group announces multiple conformant implementations of OpenXR are shipping from Oculus and Microsoft, leveraging the newly opened OpenXR 1.0 Adopters Program and open source conformance tests. The OpenXR Adopter’s Program enables consistent cross-vendor testing and reliable operation of OpenXR across multiple platforms and devices with OpenXR-conformant products published on the Khronos Conformant Product Registry. Learn more in today’s press release and the latest OpenXR EcoSystem Update slides.
Oculus announced that as of v19, they are officially supporting the OpenXR 1.0 implementation. Developers can now submit their OpenXR apps to the Oculus Store. For mobile, please use the OpenXR loader that shipped with v19 or higher. You can find the latest PC SDK version here and the latest version of the OpenXR SDK here. For more information, check out our documentation (PC, mobile) and join the discussion in the OpenXR Development forum. We’ll keep you updated as we add support for new extensions.
Playdeck Project has a great tutorial to help you get started using OpenXR in your apps. The tutorial runs on Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the HoloLens 2 emulator, using C/C++, DirectX 11, and the OpenXR runtime that Microsoft recently shipped. Complete code is available on GitHub. The author also has an open source C# MR rendering library called StereoKit, which uses OpenXR as its core interface to Mixed Reality.
SteamVR 1.13 introduces preliminary OpenXR support. Over the next few years, OpenXR will enable developers to ship a single build of their game that works well across multiple VR headsets, and will also ease friction in creating polished VR experiences.
Khronos member Ultraleap announces the Alpha release of an OpenXR integration with their hand tracking technology. With this integration, developers can now use Ultraleap hand tracking within an OpenXR application by utilising an Ultraleap tracking device mounted onto an XR headset. Ultraleap is calling on developers to help gather early feedback and bug reports, as well as share any projects that they have used the integration to build.
In a significant step in OpenXR’s rollout across the industry, the OpenXR Working Group has released its Conformance Test Suite, published the tests as Apache 2.0-licensed open source software on GitHub, and launched the OpenXR 1.0 Adopters Program so that implementations can be officially conformant for the first time. Products which are currently in conformance with OpenXR may be found on the Khronos website.
OpenXR was created with the goal to enable engines and developers to target a single non-proprietary SDK, easing the friction in creating polished VR experiences. Valve has worked closely with VR hardware vendors, game engine developers, and graphics hardware providers to develop this new API and we believe it represents a big step forward in cross-vendor application support. Valve expects new features on SteamVR to appear on the OpenXR side, rather than as new OpenVR APIs. Find out what this change means for both the Developers and the Users.
Christine Perey of PEREY Research & Consulting hosted a public webinar in early June 2020. Neil Trevett, President of the Khronos Group, and Brent Insko, Lead VR Architect at Intel and OpenXR Working Group Chair, presented the OpenXR architecture. They provide an overview of a typical OpenXR application lifecycle including the order of function calls, creation of objects, session state changes, and the rendering loop. The webinar video and presentation slides are now available online.