Call it the little VR kit that could. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is getting support from all corners of gaming. Hobbyists to professional developers are coming forward with headset projects so we can watch videos of guys wearing a black box on their faces swing their heads around. Pretty good for a product that started out as a Kickstarter that still hasn’t actually been released for the general public.
After the jump, let’s check out some head-bobbin’ projects!
The Oculus Rift is getting official Half-Life 2 integration via Valve’s VR guru, Joe Ludwig. He added Oculus Rift capability to Team Fortress 2 back in March, making that game the first officially supported Rift project. (Doom 3: BFG Edition was supposed to be the first, but unexpected technical difficulties forced a delay.) Ludwig said the Half-Life 2 integration is a “little bit more raw” than the TF2 version, but that both efforts are works in progress. Support for other Valve titles, like Portal and Left 4 Dead, has been tested, but not released.
Our favorite honky-tonk, drivin’ on the left, long-haul game, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is also getting some Oculus love from the developers, although this seems to exist strictly in the experimental phase. Imagine driving an 18-wheeler with that rig on your face!
A hobbyist programmed rudimentary Rift support into Skyrim, with spectacular looking results, but the implementation is actually unplayable thanks to the menus being unusable with the headset. Still, the buzz was worth its weight in septims thanks to the enthusiasm the video generated.
Hawken, the free-to-play mech fighting shooter, received early Rift support thanks to being one of the games used as a demo during the product’s April press showing. Small issues didn’t stop most outlets from reporting positive results. Come on! It’s mechs shooting at each other in your face!
Are all these projects indicative of a VR future? It’s certainly a media darling for now. It’s a product that easily impresses. There are some hurdles before that will happen however – the least of which would be convincing people to spend money to wear something that makes them look like the monkey from Lawnmower Man. Valve has obviously gone in on VR in a big way, but even Joe Ludwig has reservations.
“We don’t know how strongly people will react to VR,” Ludwig says. “We don’t know how popular it will be, what people wanna see. It might be that we need to learn a lot more from [Team Frotress 2] before we move on to other titles. We just don’t know what’s gonna happen.”
I, for one, am looking forward to the cyberpunk future. Jacking in to the grid, putting on my sensory feedback bodysuit, and covering my head with a helmet to play my games in full VR is going to be great.
Oculus Rift development kits are available for $300 on the official site.