Thanks to the efforts of open source developers and modders, you can now play the original Half-Life on your Oculus Go. Well, sort of. It actually works by importing the game’s files into Quake’s engine.
Video from MrNeitey
Half-Life’s engine, GoldSrc, was actually just a modified version of the Quake engine. That engine was written by John Carmack and Michael Abrash in 1996 for Quake itself. Coincidentally, both now work on VR at Facebook. Carmack in particular was heavily involved in the creation of the Go headset.
So modders figured out that you can import the assets from Half-Life to the VR Quake app’s directory and actually play Half-Life. It’s not perfect, but the engine is similar enough that it does mostly work.
It’s a little awkward to move around with Go’s touchpad, but that’s just the limitations of the platform. We didn’t try playing with a gamepad when testing it.
The fact that a game released in 1998 using a modified engine from 1996 can be played on a standalone VR headset from 2018 says mountains about the value of open source software. Hopefully the VR development community adopts more open source principles so 20 years from now we can play Superhot VR in the Holodeck.
Want to get this running on your Go? As QuakeGVR isn’t available on the Oculus Store (likely due to copyright reasons), you’ll need to sideload it.
To learn how to do that, follow our guide: How To Sideload Apps And Games On Oculus Go
Once you know how to sideload:
- Download the latest release of QuakeGVR on your PC
- Connect your Oculus Go to your PC and use the ADB command to sideload
- Launch Quake in the Unknown Sources section of your Oculus Go library. Make sure it works properly, then close it.
- Sideload the Amaze File Manager if you do not already have a file manager on your headset.
- Download the Half-Life 1 game files from the Oculus Browser in the headset. Alternatively, download them on your PC and then drag it into the Download folder on Go (but the USB transfer may take some time).
- Put on your headset and launch the Oculus TV app. Scroll down and open Amaze File Manager.
- In the QGVR folder delete the folder called id1
- Navigate to the Half Life files zip you downloaded. Click on it and click EXTRACT.
- Navigate to the extracted folders. MOVE/CUT the id1 and hl folders to the QGVR folder (where you deleted the old id1 folder).
- COPY progs.dat from the hl1 folder to the id1folder.
When you open QuakeGVR it should now be Half-Life. Note that the menu won’t be different and it may take a very long time to load. But we tried it and it worked, so it should for you too.
DISCLAIMER: Sideloaded apps are by definition not vetted by Oculus. You install them “at your own risk”, as they could affect the security or stability of your headset.