After years in development, and many ups and downs along the way, the developers of a virtual reality mod for the original Half-life 2 have announced a public beta starting next month.
Half-life 2: VR has been in development for so long that it was originally part of Steam’s Greenlight program in 2017and it has indeed been worked on by some involved in the project since then 2013. The slow progress is largely due to the fact that, unlike Alyxthe game just wasn’t designed to be played in VR, and so there are countless sections that were difficult, if not impossible, to transfer to a headset.
However, buoyed by “overwhelmingly positive feedback from our private beta testers” in recent weeks, the developers have braced themselves and now believe that “that the game as it is now can not only be played completely from start to finish, but that it is also a lot of fun to do.”
As a result, they have announced that they will be holding next month a public beta showing everything active so far. Which, judging by the trailer below – including vehicle sections – is a lot:
By now you probably have some questions, especially about movement and vehicles, which the developer’s FAQ section has answers to:
What movement options are there?
The mod has smooth locomotion where the direction of movement can be configured to follow your head or one of the two controllers. Turns can be configured to be smooth or at fixed intervals (snap turns).
There is currently no teleport move available and it is unclear if this will become a viable option in the future.
How do you deal with the vehicle parts? I don’t think I can tolerate them in VR.
Right now the vehicle rides do indeed require strong VR legs. However, there are some comfort options available to help you survive them. A classic movement vignette is available and can be activated for the vehicle journeys. While driving the vehicles, the edges of your screen turn black, reducing your field of view and reducing the impact of motion sickness. In addition, you can choose to experience the vehicle rides from a 3rd person camera perspective. In this mode, the camera tracks the vehicle at a distance and is not directly subjected to the vehicle’s fast movements and turns, which should dramatically reduce motion sickness. However, it makes driving the vehicles a bit more difficult.
In the future we may implement an additional mode where the vehicle rides are placed on a virtual 2D screen in front of the user so that everyone has a chance to get through the vehicle sections in the game. This mode would of course be less immersive than the current one, as it would remove any 3D effect from the experience.
That virtual 2D screen option sounds ideal for anyone getting nauseous! You can read more about the project and see what areas they are still tackling, on his website.