Half-Life 2’s excellent VR mod is almost too good to be true

Half-Life 2's excellent VR mod is almost too good to be true
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gif: Valve / Source VR Mod Team / Kotaku

As of last week, playing Valve’s groundbreaking 2004 shooter has been a longtime dream half-life 2 in virtual reality has finally come to fruition. The journey began nearly 10 years ago when a man named Nathan Andrews managed to hack together a working version of the all-time classic in VR. This was before any Vives, Indexes, Quests or Oculi. With a primitive Sony HMZ-T1 and specialized motion tracking gear, Andrews risked a resonance cascade scenario to piece together a working basis for a full one half-life 2 VR Mod. Over the next decade, dozens of volunteers would contribute to the off-then-on-again project, all hoping to one day bash enemies with a crowbar in a semi-lifelike virtual reality.

And now Half Life 2: VR Mod is ready to play thanks to the hard work of the Source VR Mod team and your Free open beta available on Steam. There’s sure to be more to do—a public timetable shows what’s to come – but the entire main campaign is already underway and is quite surreal to watch. Sharp corners and all Half-Life 2: VR Mod It’s worth checking out now if you can.

The differences are fairly immediate. The G-Man’s opening scene gives a very different sense of size since you have active depth perception. Images flash up and appear within it as fully realized 3D spaces that you can actually peer into and see with greater depth and dimension. This new presentation adds weight to the whole scene.

gif: Valve / Source VR Mod Team / Kotaku

As a video game graphics experience in VR, it’s super cool. Your eyes can track flying debris and exploding barrels with ease and speed just by turning your head. The violence and realistic physics of half-life 2 are no longer just simulations appearing on a screen in front of you; They take place in a 3D space where you feel a sense of presence and dimension. It all feels so natural that it’s easy to forget that this is the end result of a decade of hacked technology created by devoted fans.

And while there’s still work to be done on the weapons, being able to virtually hold, examine, and fight with these classic video game weapons is exciting. shattering of aggressive, flying manhacks with a crowbar in VR is so obscenely fun that I want a mini spin-off mod of that alone. And my Fitbit tells me I earn “zone minutes” by hitting these things. The 9mm pistol is fun to aim and fire (and yes, I only aim with one hand). More modern VR games tend to have smoother reload mechanics, so these mods can feel a bit clunky at times, but the action remains just as fast-paced and fun.

Half-Life 2 VR Mod brings City 17 to life

In a way it feels half-life 2 should always be like this. It’s very easy to get lost in this mod, both as a VR experience and as a half-life one. It goes slightly beyond tech demo or mod status and feels like it’s shaping up to be a solid VR game.

That Half-Life 2: VR Mod The project is currently being worked on by users from flatscreen to VR Discord servers, led by WormSlayer, whose involvement dates back to the very beginning of the project. That’s when WormSlayer saw her Andrews’ early prototypes and offered his talents, beginning with work on the weapon models.

WormSlayer’s description of the mod’s early days sounds like something you’d have to beat up to survive City 17 itself. The technical equipment included a Sony head-mounted TV, a weapon control for a console and a professional 3D tracking system [Andrews] had access,” WormSlayer said kotaku. The headset in question was the Sony HMZ-T1, which had “a stunning 640 x 720 resolution per eye and a 45-degree field of view,” WormSlayer said. The headset would be left in favor of the Oculus DK1, the first hardware that the newly incorporated Oculus (now Meta) has ever released. You can see footage from those early days in a 2013 YouTube video.

Nathan Andrews

As such an early consumer VR experiment, the project was destined for some bumps as new technologies emerged and quickly overtook existing standards. “Valve and Oculus have both abandoned the idea of ​​treating a VR headset as just another monitor,” WormSlayer said. “This was a good idea for many reasons, but it effectively broke VR support half-life 2.”

After this move, the team gave up for a while. Andrews withdrew from the project entirely. However, eager VR community members persuaded WormSlayer to reconsider dropping it all together. “[They] were confident that they could hack OpenVR support into the old project,” WormSlayer said. And so the project revived and made great strides before resuming its slumber as the key contributors moved on.

Thank goodness the nascent one Half-Life 2: VR Mod would indeed see a second resurgence when the flatscreen-to-VR community gathered a new team. Now that the public beta is out and playable, they are focusing their efforts on bringing the project to a fully polished and completed state.

As playable and entertaining as it is right now, Half-Life 2: VR Mod still has some issues, mostly performance related. “The old engine is very single-threaded and only supports DirectX 9, so even with our hacked together one DXVK During implementation, we struggled to hit FPS goals at some points,” WormSlayer said. While I still haven’t gotten to some of the more chaotic scenes in the second half of the game, I’ve found the performance to be quite good so far. However, since there is no teleport-style movement option, this mod might be hard on your stomach if you’re new to VR.

Ultimately, the physics and technology of half-life 2 are still a pleasure to play after 18 years. VR only amplifies the physicality of its world, with the ability to virtually pick up and manipulate objects. Half-Life 2: VR Mod is no Half-Life: Alyx in terms of the sheer volume of interactive objects, but it fits in well with a VR-worthy prequel. And with the addition of a crowbar and head-mounted flashlight, it has more than a few features and conveniences of its own. Being able to virtually manipulate objects in the world is a refreshing way to revisit many of the game’s puzzles.

What surprised me the most, however, was how this experience affected my perception of the game’s characters, particularly the silent protagonist himself.

gif: Valve / Source VR Mod Team / Kotaku

Gordon Freeman is a quiet guy, even when he’s frantically destroying shit. But even just nodding to an NPC increases interaction between characters by 100%. To play half-life 2 and can wave Dr Little As he screams with excitement upon seeing you, I wonder: Is Gordon Freeman even a sway? Does he give a thumbs up to show he understands? Does he shake or nod his head when people talk to him? How have I never thought about it all these years?

NPCs also look at you as equals in a very sinister way. That feeling exists in other, more modern VR games, but it’s surprising to find it so present in a game from 2004. The simplicity of the models, with smooth head animations and eyes that add a touch of personality and awareness, just barely transcends the game from the uncanny valley into something that feels realistic.

I’m not saying nods, gestures, and looking people in the eye are the hot features you list on the back of the box (that’s reserved for you viciously smashing metal manhacks out of the shit with a crowbar and this classic game in real 3D ), but it sure changes the tone of half-life 2. A nitpick here: it’s a shame you can’t see your hands while piloting the airboat. Not only did my eyes never leave the G-Man as I sped past him on my escape from the Combine, I wanted to stare and point at him as if to say, “I see you, motherfucker.” See you soon.”

I look forward to playing through the rest Half-Life 2: VR Mod, discovering the unique changes that the new format adds and inspires. There’s still some work to be done by WormSlayer and the team, including further improvements to the weapons, tweaks to make the game a bit easier for people prone to motion sickness, and even some upscaled AI textures to help the aged ones Aspects of the graphics reflect a bit of a facelift. These changes will be very welcome, but for now this first playable version is a great way to return to this classic game. If you want half-life and own a PCVR headset, you should download it yesterday.

#HalfLife #excellent #mod #good #true

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