Half-Life 2 VR released as a public beta in September 2022. The game in its current state is fully playable from start to finish, and all gameplay elements are available to make this a great VR experience!
However, that does not mean that the project is finished - far from it! There is a lot left to do, and with your help and support we hope to turn the game into the most amazing VR title we possibly can, over time. Listed below are the major items we intend to work on after the initial public beta release.
Episode 1 & 2 support
The Episodes require a separate build of the mod. This build needs to be prepared and properly tested before it can be released publicly. Preliminary internal testing by the dev team has already found a few major issues that need to be resolved. Even so, the majority of the Episodes already works very well in VR, and after the initial public beta launch we will strive to get the Episodes fully supported as soon as possible.
All of the Half-Life 2 weapons have been modified for VR and are fully functional, including manual reloading, two-handed weapon handling and optional laser sights. However, there is still a lot of polish left to do. Most of the weapons do not yet feature hand poses, some weapon animations and effects (including sound) are missing or incomplete, and some aspects of the weapon handling could be improved. We’re working on it, and will gradually release updates as we make progress.
Movement and comfort improvements
The game currently features full support of roomscale movement, as well as artificial locomotion with all the typical configuration options you’d expect from a modern VR title: head- or controller-oriented movement, snap and smooth turning, and a configurable comfort vignette for those who are struggling with motion sickness.
Even so, the controls could still benefit from some fine-tuning to make them feel even better. We are also still investigating the possibility of teleport movement, although this is not a trivial challenge since the game and its levels were not designed for it. We are also still investigating further comfort improvements for the vehicle rides for those who need them.
Overhauled maps, assets, and textures
18 years on, and Half-Life 2 still holds up incredibly well as a game (in our opinion, anyway). Even so, nobody can deny that a lot has happened to game graphics in that time, and the game does show its age in some scenes more than others. Low-resolution meshes and textures are particularly jarring in a VR headset.
While we certainly cannot “remaster” HL2 to look like a game developed in 2022, we are working on overhauling assets and textures by a combination of AI upscaling and manual touches to give them that extra bit of detail and sharpness under the VR headset that is missing from the original. All updates are intended to stay faithful to the original. Additionally, all maps in the game will get a facelift and are being improved with updated lighting, more details and bug fixes, and VR-centric adjustments like smooth stairs and minor collision changes.
These updates are not quite ready for prime-time, yet, so the initial public beta has launched with stock HL2 assets. We intend to make these upgrades available over time as an optional download. In the meantime you are, of course, free to play with existing texture update mods if you like!