Half-Life 2 may be coming on 13 years old but that doesn’t mean it is too old to get a taste of the latest virtual reality technology. A mod project is remastering the title for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive to give the title full virtual reality support as well as support for full motion input.
The remastering will also include all new optimized visuals and a UI that has been designed with VR in mind. The mod is based off a work done previously by HL2VR but has since sat dormant only to be reinvigorated to create Half-Life 2:VR. The original HL2VR mod turned the title into one of the best virtual reality experiences but it was limited to the original Rift development kit as Valve didn’t update the source implementation.
- Microsoft shows how virtual reality can change the way we work
- HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift vs Playstation VR: how do they compare?
- Best HTC Vive games (May 2017)
The original creators, with some new help, have revisited the mod and devised a method to make it work with the latest Rift and Vive hardware, including full controller support.
The mod team is further promising the following:
- HDR lighting
- Updated effects, textures, models & maps
- A made for VR UI
- Realistic weapon interactions
- Multiple VR locomotion methods
It will be released entirely for free but it does require a copy of Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 & 2 to work correctly. If you don’t have those, you can pick up all three, along with Portal (2007), for the low price of $20 via The Orange Box.
The mod team have rebuilt many of the weapons to opimtize for virtual reality and allowed them to be viewed from any angle. You’ll also need to actually perform the action of reloading to get more ammo as the developers have built in an extra step. The .357 Magnum Revolver, for instance, requires the player to tilt the gun up to dump out the empty cartridges then swing the chamber back into place with a flick. The devs have described the current set of reload operations as “gesture-like”, but say there are plans to build these out further over time, making them more realistic. They are also working in support for left-handed operators as currently weapons are linked to your right hand.
If you’re a fan of Half Life 2 then this is definitely something you’ll want to get your hands on if you’ve got a compatible headset but also if you haven’t played the original then this will be a great experience at a low cost.