I’m happy to finally say a new version of Half-life VR built on top of Valve’s native rift support is now available for download here. The mod is still focused on integrating the razer hydra for 1-to-1 accurate weapon (and now body) tracking. In addition to that we’ve been gathering feedback both from the earlier release of the mod and Valve’s latest HL2 release and working against the most common complaints we heard that prevented it from being a proper VR experience.
Eliminating the difficult installation/setup was one of the major focus areas for this release. Previous versions required both vireio to handle processing the output for the rift and sixense motion creator to handle mapping the hydra inputs into the game. With this latest release you can now simply download and run the installer and start the game. All of the controls should have a functional binding by default, and you can now customize your control settings using the in-game menus. You can also now control the mouse in the in-game menus using the right hydra joystick and the trigger for clicking.
Calibrating the weapon position in the default mode ( a hydra in each hand ) is pretty simple, make sure you’re facing forward relative to the hydra base, hold your left hydra up to the base of your neck ( right above the collar bone ) and press the calibrate button ( right hydra start button ). When holding it up to your neck, you’ll get the best results if you align the part of the hydra where the wire comes out with the center of your neck since that’s roughly where the tracker is. If you’re using one of the other control modes (mt_control_mode option in the console), this position is where your left hydra should be permanently attached.
More than just a rift integration
Valve’s excellent rift integration was an excellent foundation to begin with for a VR setup. Now with 1-to-1 razer hydra integration for both your aim and body tracking allow you to extend the immersion to your movements within the world. The optional body positional tracking is a huge immersion boost, allowing you to lean down and examine a destroyed scanner drone, peak over a ledge is, duck behind a desk, etc. I’ll outline how to use body positional tracking settings in more detail in a follow-up post, including some ways to attach your hydra for positional tracking. Although using a hydra as a positional tracker is fairly limiting given that you give up on half the inputs available, you can work around this by using an xbox 360 controller in your left hand. I’ve opted in on the Kickstarter for a sixense S.T.E.M tracker setup and will integrate it once the dev-kits ship next summer.
Aside from the hydra integration, a lot of the work has gone into small tweaks to the game to fix things that just weren’t very compatible with the rift. Movement speeds have been adjusted, as was the player height. The game now fades out and back in during level loads to reduce the nausea that many people experienced. Wormslayer and I are working toward a cool new approach for bringing the HUD in-game (not in this version unfortunately).