Valve has released a new update to Steam VR to some much-needed audio controls to the dashboard.
The 1.11.11 update, released through Steam yesterday (April 20, 2020), is primarily a bug-fixing patch to fix thing5s like crashes, memory leaks in Half-Life: Alyx, and general performance optimisations. However, it also features a refreshed dashboard design that puts a few more essential features in easy-to-access areas.
Primarily, microphone controls are now immediately available, letting you mute or adjust your mic’s volume more quickly. This is part of Steam VR’s larger audio overhaul, as this update also includes further changes to its beta mirroring feature. Now, you’ll be able to control mirrored audio independently from your headset’s output, meaning you can turn up or down the volume of the game on a TV or streamed to someone else without deafening yourself in the process. Now there is absolutely no excuse to leave your microphone on while playing multiplayer games!
The other main updates are to Steam VR’s playspace settings. For those in standing-space modes, the ground circle that shows where you’re stood has been hidden by default to improve immersion, while those in room-scale setups can now also change their wall heights and dashboard distance. Personally, I would love to be able to define my playspace more easily as an Oculus user, as Steam VR will regularly conflict with Oculus’ own room setup… but I suppose we can’t have everything.
As a neat little extra, the Steam Home environments that was previously only accessible to Half-Life: Alyx players has now been opened up for everybody. These include City 17 and Russel’s Lab. While not part of the game itself, if you’re super sensitive to spoilers, you may want to avoid these new environments until you’ve played Alyx for yourself.