A popular VR mod for Valve’s legendary first-person shooter is set to return years after losing compatibility with modern headsets.
Originally released in 2013 on the original Oculus Rift DK1, the HL2VR mod allowed early adopters to play through the entirety of Half-Life 2’s single-player campaign in VR with support for the Razer Hydra motion controllers. Unfortunately, advancements in VR technology would eventually render the mod useless on modern headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, much to the dismay of the early VR community.
In 2017, however, a spark of hope was ignited when the original creators announced plans to bring the mod to modern headsets alongside a suite of improvements designed specifically with VR in mind. This included additional locomotion mechanics, an optimized user interface, and other helpful changes. The team even received an official blessing from Valve. Everything appeared to be running smoothly, that is until the project hit an unexpected dead-end, much to the dismay of the VR community.
Now, it appears as though the project is back from the dead thanks to the work of a new team that includes the original creator /u/WormSlayer as well as prolific VR modders DrBeef and @cabalistic. You may remember DrBeef as the creator behind popular VR ports of DOOM and Return from Castle Wolfenstein. According to the team, the upcoming mod—entitled Half-Life 2: VR—will feature the sequel as well as Episodes 1 & 2. That being said, you will need to provide your own copies of each game in order to play.
“A couple weeks ago, @DrBeef and @cabalistic stepped up to see how we could revitalize the project and get it out the door. The goal has been to make sense of the existing work the previous team had done and to polish it enough to get some open source version released as soon as possible in at least an alpha state so that others could contribute to continue to polish it up,” said the team in a message posted to the Flatscreen to VR Mod Discord community, first discovered by RoadToVR.
“In just the last couple weeks, DrBeef has re-written almost all of the VR code to run a whole lot better and even ported the engine’s VR implementation to use Vulcan instead of DX9 with the help of DXVK! (current VR APIs only work with DX11 and above). He also has fixed a lot of game breaking issues that were in the build. Cabalistic has also done some magic and has gotten MSAA working for textures too.”
No word yet on an official release date. At the moment, the team is determining exactly which version of the Source engine in which to use. The mod will be available on up-to-date Oculus Rift and SteamVR headsets.
Feature Image Credit: Worm Slayer @ YouTube