Valve Adds 'Knock Knock' Feature Aimed at Getting VR User's Attention

Knock Knock: Steam VR Introduces New Feature One Can Use to Get VR Player’s Attention

Say, you’re playing a game that has you on edge, maybe something really scary like The Brookhaven Experiment, and someone suddenly taps on your shoulder to get your attention. The effect can be quite jarring, and it will most likely get your heart pumping pretty hard.

Valve Corporation has thought of this possibility and found it to be an issue for a considerable number of users. As a solution, Valve launched the Knock Knock feature.

Valve Introduces ‘Knock Knock’ Feature for Steam Users

One of the aspects of virtual reality that newcomers find very difficult to overcome is how isolating it can be, both socially and for your actual senses. Once your VR headset and headphones are strapped on, you’ve completely blocked out the real world, so it’s hard for someone in that real world to get your attention. Of course, they can try yelling at you or tapping you on the shoulder, they might, however, not get through to you. Or even worse, they will end up freaking the hell out of you.

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Knock Knock feature

To solve this problem, Valve has launched a new feature called Knock Knock in the most recent beta build of Steam VR. Knock Knock will enable people in the real world room you’re in to get your attention without giving you a heart attack. At the press of a button, Knock Knock will send a quick alert to the headset user. The alert appears on screen in the same way that regular Steam messages pop up; messages appear at the bottom of the player’s field of view and you have to look down to read the message.

Outside Disturbance in the Face of Full Immersion

Even though virtual reality hardware is now in the hands of consumers, we’re still a long way from perfection. Developers are still trying to figure out how to best use the mechanics, while the hardware and platform designers are still figuring out best practices for comfortable VR experiences. A lot is being said about how VR requires low latency response and high framerates, along with the benefits (read: necessity) of low persistence displays. When all these pieces of the puzzle are complete in a system, it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world and forget about your real surroundings. This is of course great for becoming immersed in the content, but when someone outside of VR wants your attention, it can be a problem.

How to Get Knock Knock

In order to access Knock2, you will have to opt in to the SteamVR beta for now, although the feature will eventually make its way to the regular release channel. To join the beta, locate SteamVR in the Tools section of your Steam Library. Then under the Beta tab in SteamVR properties, select Beta – SteamVR Beta Update and click Close. A key is not needed for the beta.


Once the beta update is downloaded by SteamVR, open it and right click on the HMD icon. The Knock Knock can be found directly above the Mirror mode option, and when you click on it, a window opens up with the Knock Knock button. If someone wants to get your attention, all they need to do is click on that button.

Knock2 is available now if you opt into the SteamVR beta.

Watch the video below



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