VR gaming is a lot of fun, but for reasons that fall outside the scope of this post, finding a deep, rich experience (aka: games that won’t be blown through in a couple of hours) are rare. But now, it appears, one of the best possible “killer apps” for VR gaming could owe its thanks to a title that came out in 2004: Half-Life 2.
Valve’s support of VR has been evident over the past couple of years, with its tight cooperation with HTC to deliver and support the Vive. Even so, the company itself hasn’t released much VR content, and it’s become very clear over the years that it doesn’t care about supporting the Half-Life series any longer, either. Fortunately, though, the company isn’t opposed to fan recreations of preexisting games, as Half-Life 2: VR has just been given the a-OK on Steam’s Greenlight.
The most important aspect of the HL2: VR project is the conversion of the game so many of us cherish for VR use, which includes adding in motion support, and also overhauling the entire UI to better suit the VR experience.
If you’re not excited about playing an old looking game in VR, you may be interested to know that the developers plan to update its graphics, by updating the textures, models, maps, and effects. Because VR games need to run at such a high framerate, a graphical overhaul might not put the game on par with modern titles, but any improvements would be welcomed – the game does look dated at this point.
Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this project is that its developers plan to offer multiple methods of moving around. If you want to be seated and stick to your trusty mouse and keyboard, that should be possible, and likewise, motion support will also be added, and hopefully, gamepad support, too.
In order to play Half-Life 2: VR at release, you’ll need to own a copy of the original game, as well as Episode 1 and Episode 2, as those look to be included in this overhaul as well. The mod itself will be free, which is probably one of the stipulations behind Valve allowing its IP to be used in this way.
It’s not clear at this point when the HL2: VR will come out, but it’s been in development since 2013, so it already has quite a bit of development time behind it. One thing’s for sure: it can’t get here soon enough, and its developers deserve some mighty praise (OK, that’s two things, but I can’t make it three…)