GDC 2018: Half-Life 2 VR Is Getting Haptic Feedback With The Hardlight Suit

by Jamie Feltham • March 23rd, 2018

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the much anticipated Half-Life 2 VR port being worked on by a group of fans, but this week haptic group HardlightVR confirmed some interesting news about the project.

The game will support the Hardlight haptic feedback suit that’s expected to start shipping this month. Just like having your very own HEV suit, you can pull on the device over your chest and arms to receive tactile feedback from every gunshot, explosion and head crab assault in Valve’s classic first-person shooter (FPS). The suit has 16 haptic feedback zones that target specific muscle groups for an immersive experience.

The suit itself costs $299 and will work with other VR games, including Vertigo Games’ Arizona Sunshine, which is being shown at GDC 2018 this week. The device also offers upper body tracking. It works with both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

As for Half-Life 2 VR, there’s still no word on when it will be ready for launch, though hopefully we’ll hear more news at some point this year.

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  • PJ

    I could give two monkey about a gimmicky stupidly overpriced suit.

    Half Life 2 in VR however has my underpants area very excited

    • Raphael

      Vibration feedback is very important for immersion/realism and 299 for that level of feedback is peanuts.

      • Rick

        While i agree with you, “that level” is still to be seen

        • Raphael

          I don’t know how effective this particular one will be. I tend not to buy into promo videos with exaggerated reactions. It looks like a nice design though. Wiil wait and see.

          Re HL2… Been so long since it was approved for steam access that I thought it was deader than HL3. HL2 is still one of the best VR games I’ve played with mouse and keys (before Gabe newall abandoned the VR version).

          • Rick

            Yeah I would love to see a good haptic method, but developer integration will always be the problem. I would have no problem spending the money on one if it worked with every/most game! But alas, the only ones that do are based on sound feedback and give diminished experience.

          • Raphael

            That so-called diminished experience you talk about is far better than having no experience. I have a system that gives an eye-ball shaking ride so I tend not to waste my life pontificating on the ideal feedback system. Sound-fed vibration systems are valid even if you have a motion platform since motion platforms aren’t designed for constant low-level vibration.

          • Not dead, just taking longer than hoped XD

          • ZeePee

            I played it with the razer hydra motion controllers.

            It was the single most mind blowing revolutionary VR experience for me.

            I even got positional tracking using the razer hydra working with it.

            Felt like I stepped into the future, and the HL2 world and atmosphere is palpable. Its perfect for VR.

          • Raphael

            There you go…. Yes, I noticed detail in the HL2 you never get to see outside of VR. VR reveals a lot of detail you don’t see when the game world is flattened down and compressed into a tiny fixed TV window (50-inch+ display).

      • CHRIS

        Its like one person who wrote in another forum which i do agree with said. “You dont need a motion chair when the hmd can give you all the simulation you need.”

        • Raphael

          It’s great that you agree with something someone else wrote. As far as I’m concerned it’s absolute nonsense. I’ve been building vibration systems since 1988. You wake up one morning unable to feel any vibration…. When you sit up you can’t feel the bed. You can’t feel the floor beneath your feet. When you walk across the room you can’t feel your feet hitting the floor. When you open the bedroom door you can’t feel the door handle. You feel disconnected from reality. Nothing is real. That’s how you play games. Vibration is critical for realism with or without VR. Putting a VR hmd on your head doesn’t remove that need for vibration feedback.

          • CHRIS

            Your right! Bumps on a track need to be felt. But i was talking about motion. Now hepatic feedback is necessary exactly how you described it. For now, games like elite dangerous, the hmd can produce some stimuli on motion. As for fire blast? Its like adding 2dof. Im actually thinking oftinkering with the idea of 6dof. Maybee ill act on it and build one. Still up for debate in my mind.

          • Raphael

            motion platforms are the best solution. They’re just not practicle for many people because of the cost and or physical footprint. In actual fact a motion platform would be used with a vibration system since motion platforms aren’t designed for constant low-level engine rumble.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      Have to agree. The headline title is a bit clickbaity.

  • mellott124

    Attempted to try it at GDC but wasn’t working.

  • OkinKun

    ..ugh wut?.. Seems like big a waste of time for an accessory very few people will even TRY, let alone buy for their own VR use..
    I’d much rather see a VR version of Half Life 2 actually get released first, long before we start hearing about these special use cases.. Wish they’d work on their VR HL2 mod a bit more publicly, or release in incremental improvements or something..

  • polysix

    as if the vive itself isn’t heavy enough to have on your body. Janky POS (vive).

  • Very cool!