Half-life VR with Valve’s native rift support released: no more gun-face

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.

Simplified Setup

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).


40 thoughts on “Half-life VR with Valve’s native rift support released: no more gun-face

  1. Congratulationa for your incredible work, just tonight have ordered a Hydra. (90euros!!!!!) and i think in your mod, camoe here and see the update. Now im totally sure that the 90 euros are well expended… thank you so much!!!

  2. is there a guide of some sorts for the installation and usage of this? I have been struggling to get this working.
    I downloaded and install the software, then I also installed the required sdk, i restarted steam so that half life vr shows in the library,I enabled “-vr” in the game options in steam. So far I get rift support but I do not feel the hydra is working correctly(do i have to be running six sense or razer hyda software?).
    also, is there a way to import old game saves so i do not have to start all over again?
    a total noob guide would be appreciated. thanks

    • You’ll actually want to make sure motion creator and the razer software are not running, otherwise you may get doubled up button bindings or the right hydra moving the view when it shouldn’t etc. It sounds like you’ve done everything necessary, I’d need more info on what’s not working for you though.

      Your old saves are under steamapps/common/Half-Life 2/hl2/save , you should be able to copy those over to steamapps/sourcemods/halflife-vr/save

      • Thanks for all your work! In mt_control_mode 2, my left hydra is for positional tracking, and my right hydra for crosshair control and joystick movement. The problem is the right hydra also pushes my head view whenever the crosshairs hit the edges of the screen (left right only, not up or down). This is the case for all control modes, which suggests it may not be the settings. You said motion creator or hydra software could cause this, but I’m not running those (as far as I know). I reinstalled the update, but got the same results. Any idea how to fix this?

      • When activating mt_control_mode, my LT hydra works for positional tracking, but my RT hydra suddenly controls head movement, and won’t stop unless I reinstall 1.1.0.. Not running any other software (as far as I know). And idea what it could be?

  3. It’s not working with me. I don’t have an Oculus Rift. Can I play only with Razer Hydra? I really want to. Because it’s the only mod I can take aim which I know. Also it’s the best game ever!

    • Technically this isnt a mod for HL2, it’s an entirely separate Source 2013 SDK game that uses all the maps and stuff from HL2. It may be compatible with other mods based on the same version of the SDK.

  4. Hey Nathan and Wormslayer, fantastic work! This was the only thing I was looking forward to experience, thank you for you amazing work.

    And now the problems part. I have calibration issues. I guess we need detailed command list and button mapping. My left and right hydra control mappings swap itself during playing. also movement direction and view area synchronization messes up during gameplay too, I cannot calibrate or sync it to it’s original state. Also gun positioning is a bit off too. for example if I want to aim down the sights, I have to put the controller back of my head, also moving it to in front of my face does not move the gun 1:1 in game.

    I might be doing things wrong, I don’t know the available calibration options to check.

  5. I know it may be a tall order, but I have the same problem: I have a Hydra, but no Rift.
    We all know that getting the concept out to people is all-important with things like VR and controller support, it’d be a huge boon to all the people who have Hydras and not much to do with them if this would work on a normal display.
    In a similar vein, I have a TrackIR system. Would it be unfeasible to try to make this version of HL2 work with TrackIR and Hydra, but on a normal display? Could the view input from an Oculus come from a different source? Obviously not as good as an OR, but perhaps with a much smaller barrier to entry.

  6. Hello, Nathan, can you give more details about the mt_control_mode’s and the calibration of the hydra?
    i am usin the mt_control_mode 1, but the positional tracking of the body is inversed, and the gun is allways next to my chest, if i extends my arm the gun keeps atached to my body.
    Thank you and sorry for my english.

    • It happened to me once. Make sure the Hydra ball is aligned correctly (plug should be facing front).
      Also, make sure you’re not running motion creator for this version. To recalibrate, simply press the middle button on the bottom of the right stick while holding it beside your ear or something (i do it this way). I hope I was helpful to you even though I’m just passing by.

  7. is it true that you have to have the rift?, i wanna play this with just my hydra and i cant get anything to work. i have the mod, sdk base 2013, and a hydra. Nothing seems to work. i really want to get this working someone please help.

  8. i can’t open half life vr with vireio running. whenever i try running half life vr it just won’t open if i have virieo open in the background, if i open half life vr without virieo running it opens but i don’t get head tracking nor does the screen couple up for the rift. What am i doing wrong?

  9. Hello again Nathan!!!
    Im on win 8, and using mt_control_mode 1, the mod is totally awesome, the positional tracking work like a charm, but when I pulse the trigger of the right hydra, the positional trackig swaps to the right hydra, and i duck, i have disabled the duck in the config file, but the error of the swaping still happens. Please help me, Im totally mad about play your mod. Thank you!!!

  10. “when I pulse the trigger of the right hydra, the positional trackig swaps to the right hydra”
    same problem here with mode 1. other modes work perfectly.

    • I doubt it has to do with the modes, this issue comes up when the hydras haven’t been identified by the base properly, later the api randomly changes it’s mind about which is the L/R (sometimes overlapping them). The next release will have more checks to avoid these types of oddities.

  11. I can’t reasonably use the mod. When I push the calibration button it goes to the windows menu. The controls seem messed, the character crouches randomly. I think it is using two control sets at the same time. I have disabled hl2 on the hydra game configuraton.

  12. HI, I’m sorry but where is the readme or brief guide to how this works? How do I calibrate the controllers, how do I choose whether to use one of the Hydras for positional tracking? Bit lost here! Thanks

  13. Very cool, but my Hydra controlers keep getting swapped out at random times when I re-calibrate. Can’t wait until next release 🙂

  14. Hi, I can’t get this working properly. My mouse does nothing and I can’t control the pointer using the Hydra. Also no idea how to calibrate. Can you provide some documentation?



  15. Hi Nathan, i am unable to move forward and backwards. I’ve plugged in my xbox controller and I am able to jump and crouch with it but both thumb sticks don’t work. This happens for all the control modes. Any ideas?

    The thumbs sticks on my hydra is moving a crosshair around the screen and some times turning my character left and right. Also couldn’t use it to move my char forward and backward on all control modes. Is this normal?

    Head tracking and body position tracking seems fine. I am not experiencing swapping of left and right hydras. I’ve also closed all razor software and six sense software (I think, unless those sneaky buggers are still running somewhere in the background without my knowledge)

  16. I have installed twice. I don’t have Half Life 2 vr in my steam library. Everything seems to run correctly just not added to steam. Any ideas?

  17. Incredible work guys !
    Only two questions =
    1st – can you add cinematic mod from fakefactory or upgrade graphics to a modern level ?:) Because original Half-Life2 don’t have a nice lighting and shading, particle effects, DOF, and other…
    2nd – is it possible to make similar mod for Crysis 1 ?) It would be the best VR project ever !

  18. Can anybody share oldest version of this mod please ? Newer version require Oculus Rift, but there is a lot of people here who have only Hydra…

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