The now somewhat mythical Half-Life 2 VR mod, HL2VR, has resurfaced again, this time with fresh gameplay.
There’s been multiple attempts to bring Valve’s classic shooter to VR with a full mod over the past few years. We first wrote about it back in 2017 (and I wrote about earlier versions at a different publication 9 years ago now) but, time after time, promising outlooks end up turning into vaporware. In 2021, though, popular VR modder DrBeef was confirmed to be joining the project alongside fholger. Last week, the latter shared updates on their progress, including new gameplay footage seen below.
Half-Life 2 VR Mod Returns
The gameplay is taken from an early segment of the shooter, and shows full motion control support and expanded features like long-distance grabbing, crowbar attacks with physical movement, and even weapon reloading manual input.
In a lengthy Reddit post, fholger — who is currently the sole developer on the project with DrBeef on leave — explained that large parts of the project’s past work had since been erased, meaning the developers have had to start from scratch in many areas.
“The problem, though, was that every single one of those components was broken and left unfinished,” the developer said of past builds. “The input bindings for the controllers were created in the days of the OG Vive and were basically unusable on something like the Index controllers. The hand models were bulky, completely flat and unanimated and placed at a weird spot slightly in front of the controllers. They were also coupled to a partial player body without any IK that behaved weirdly and often got in the way of the camera. Not a single weapon was actually functioning.”
The issues go beyond that, with fholger pointing to the Source engine’s archaic framework and having to lose some parts of the project that had already been built. “On the upside, we will now probably be able to release the source code for HL2VR at some point in the future,” they said. Currently, the start of the game up until the airboat sequence is playable and, in the developer’s words, enjoyable but still with plenty of issues to fix. The next milestone will be to get the full game working in VR with major elements like the vehicle sections performing comfortably.
“I am not going to promise any particular timeline for this (real life would interfere, anyway), but I will try to update you on our progress semi-regularly,” the developer said. “Please do not expect a perfect VR experience for this initial release – flat-to-VR ports will always have some jank remaining, and we will still be focussing on the most critical aspects to get the game playable.”