VRy Good: Oculus Rift Support Added To Source SDK

By Craig Pearson on June 27th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

This is the best thing I've ever made.
While the Oculus Rift is a fine and interesting thing, I think adding it to the Source Engine might also be responsible for the death of Steam. Think about it: Valve are looking to make a follow-up to Episode 2 and at the same time they’re looking to implement 3D goggles into the Source engine. Gabe decides to take charge, because he’s hands-on, and replays Episode 2 while testing out the Rift. He’s forgotten about that ending. The lights flicker across Bellevue and Steam Towers power down. All of Valve’s engineers are disconnected from their Steam pods, plasma weeping from their DLC holes. They follow the smell of cooked flesh and burning hair to Gabe’s office: he’s sat in the corner, hair standing up straight, the device fused to his face. His tears at the ending shorted out the Rift, sending his sadness into the building’s infrastructure. Steam is set to emo mode and refuses to co-operate until the ending is changed. All because Valve have just added Rift support to the new Source SDK, enabling modders to add it to their games.

It could happen. It’s part of the spangly new Source SDK 2013 that’s just been released. It’s a fairly wide-ranging update. Any changes made by the modders to the SDK can be shared, and they’ve finally enabled Mac and Linux support for mods, so the likes of Black Mesa could now be tweaked to land on non-Windows machines. Welcome to the party, everyone. This is what you’ve been missing.

I love watching the head-movement the Rift adds. It’s really relaxing. Plus one to the creator for not outputting the video in Ocu-view as well. I hate staring at the mangled view of the Rift user spread out across the screen.

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48 Comments »

  1. Snids says:

    Funny face on red lens. Good work.

    • Discopanda says:

      AGH, MY EYES! IT’S TOO REAL!

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      Smashbox says:

      Truly, I come here for the writing, but I stay for the illustrations.

    • Berzee says:

      Hoo boy, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that one!

    • rapier17 says:

      It’s blatantly the face of Gabe, mocking us & our hopes for HL3.

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      amateurviking says:

      Hidden somewhere in that face are the details of Half-Life 3′s release. It all adds up now, after PCGamer foolishly let slip they were in cahoots with Valve, Craig has revealed himself to be part of the conspiracy – the PCG connection is the key. It’s there in front of us!

      Wibble!

  2. zappeo says:

    I’m slowly surrending to the idea of getting a devkit. Even if it’s not the new HD they showed off at the E3.
    I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until the end of next year to finally put my hands head on in it.

    • Tyrmot says:

      I was just wondering this as well. What are the reasons not to get a dev kit now? What games/other software actually support using this at the moment?

      • edwardoka says:

        I remember reading somewhere that the devkit doesn’t have positional tracking. That, to me, is the killer – not being able to peer round corners.

        • kael13 says:

          This is what I would like to see. Perhaps I will have to wait until version 2. Headsets are going to be big soon, I can just tell. It’s partly the reason why I haven’t surrendered to my desire for a 27″ monitor.

        • RenStrike says:

          If programmed correctly the dev version of the rift can simulate the “peek around corner” movement, or even the “look down over railing” movement. In fact, i think this Black Mesa mod is doing it already. It just needs to check if you are tilting your head, and push out the camera to the side a bit. Same if you are looking down.

          • quintesse says:

            “If programmed correctly the dev version of the rift can simulate the “peek around corner” movement”

            But that’s exactly the kind of thing that will make most people sick as a dog. There’s should be no disconnect between how you move your head and how you percieve your head to move, when they are not the same the effect is not pleasant (for most people).

      • Alien426 says:

        Like zappeo says, there’s the HD prototype with 1080p (they didn’t want to commit to the exact resolution at E3) instead of 1280×800. According to a game journo from German mag GameStar the HD version is much better.

      • Oneironaut says:

        HL2 and TF2 have official support, along with Surgeon Simulator 2013. The F2P dogfighting game War Thunder has a beta support going, but I haven’t gotten that working yet, and Strike Suit Zero is supposed to be getting support very soon.

        Most of the games that I’ve played work with the third party Vireio drivers. The quality of the experience varies greatly with the drivers. I’ve found Mirror’s Edge and Dishonored to be unenjoyable, but Dirt 2 and GRID work very well. For shooters, I feel like official support is a requirement. Left 4 Dead 2 works well enough with the drivers, but with the weapon aim and head-look not separated, it feels like you constantly have a gun strapped to your face, and I find it uncomfortable to aim like that.

        Minecraft also works very well with the Minecrift mod.

      • quintesse says:

        I think it depends a bit on the kind of person you are and what your expectations are. I love my OR and everyone of my friends that has tried it was amazed. But the resolution *is* a problem, you have to remember that *all* the videos you see are of much much higher quality than you will percieve it with the goggles on.
        A lot of that is balanced out by the unforgettable experience of “being there”… as long as you can keep from tossing your cookies that is.
        So for me the large part of the positive experience is the “promise”, seeing that yes, this time, it might actually all work out and VR will be part of our future and because of that I might be willing to accept more of the Rift’s faults than someone who’s just looking to play a fun game.
        But right now I’m having lots of fun playing (with lots of pauses so as not to get sick) half-life 2 with the Rift :)
        So it depends.

    • fish99 says:

      You really don’t want the 1280*800 version.

  3. Alien426 says:

    Fun fact: There are people who believe that a new console generation is exciting…
    Fact: VR is exciting!

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      AlwaysRight says:

      Exciting indeed! I tried an Occulus rift at Rezzed and it was absolutely amazing/immersive (amazive?), and that was only the lower res version.

  4. smoke.tetsu says:

    If you asked the Black Mesa team if it’s now possible to port their mod to the Mac and Linux they’d probably tell you still no. Why? Because they are using Source 2007 not source 2013 and they’d have to port their game to source 2013 first and they don’t want to. That’s the indication they’ve given on the whole subject in the first place.

    Getting back to the SDK itself a bit. Personally I’d also like for them (Valve) to add OpenAL support including 3D audio for Mac and Linux. Some people in Windows with hardware accelerated sound cards would probably like that support too so they don’t have to use ALchemy to get proper 3D audio out of their source games.

    • simssi says:

      But Source 2013 is actually the same as Source 2007 – just with Rift and Linux/OS X support. There is no global lighting, dynamic viewmodel shadows, cloth physics, deferred renderer, multiblends or other new fancy Source stuff we’ve seen in Portal 2, CS:GO and Dota 2.

  5. battles_atlas says:

    In 2013, I have literally no idea how Ep2 ended

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    amateurviking says:

    I feel like there needs to be a new kind of interface for FPS in VR. Something like a WiiMote + nuchuck affair, or maybe a 360 controller split down the middle. Add hand-tracking to the head tracking and that could be extremely exciting.

    As it stands it seems like it will be at it’s best in games where you would be sitting down anyway: cars/planes/spaceships etc. Actually the thought of playing Freespace 2 with one of these just made me excited in ways I’m not comfortable sharing. Someone call the FS2Open chaps immediately!

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      Jyden says:

      Quite a few demonstrations use the Razer Hydra controller, so you’re not alone in thinking that.

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    DrScuttles says:

    But the mangled split view of the Oculus Rift is great! You can lean back and go a bit cross-eyed and see the game in 3D just like a real Oculus Rift if only you could afford it until your eyes and brain hurt.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      I do that too! Years of “Magic eye” auto-stereograms have left me with this mostly useless skill.

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        particlese says:

        Except it’s not at all useless: If you cross your eyes at two mostly-identical things, the differences stick out like a sore thumb! This can make comparing “date modified” or “file size” columns of two folders (working directory and backup, for instance) really quick. Same with comparing two revisions of a document or spreadsheet, or cheating at those “spot the differences” puzzles.

        • Mollusc Infestation says:

          I must admit, i do this too and you’re completely right. Perhaps it’s not an entirely useless skill.

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      particlese says:

      Not just any 3D — inside-out and slightly-wonky 3D! Still, I agree, they are kinda fun to watch, especially as windows into people’s brains. Unless you’re wearing a Rift while watching, in which case there’s tons of head motion you have no control over. x_x

      Youtube needs a deriftification option in its “3D” menu, methinks. (Swap views and unwarp, ignoring the resampling woes.)

  8. Terminal Boy says:

    That video looks very much like the player was using Track IR 5 to look around.

    It certainly is not the player’s eye view of anything using an original resolution Oculus Rift Dev Kit.

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      Just as well that isn’t mentioned in the article anywhere at all.

    • adoral84 says:

      Actually I made the video using an HMZ-T1 with a hillcrest tracker while waiting on my rift. I’ve posted other videos more recently using the actual dev kit. Conceptually the headtracking in the video was pretty much identical to how it works in the rift (although slightly higher latency).

  9. Audiocide says:

    Haha, this article is brilliant!

  10. Giuseppe says:

    God, what a stupid name! Every time I read about the “Oculus Rift” it makes me think of some horrible eye disease.

    “I’m sorry, madam. Your husband is suffering from severe and inoperable oculus rift. All we can do is make him more comfortable.”

  11. nimzy says:

    Ah, darn. For the past two decades I used to be able to say only the Descent series had native support for VR headsets.

  12. mollemannen says:

    would be very nice if they released the god d*** thing any time soon. or at least gave us a release date.

  13. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I recently got a 3DS for my birthday, and I was more impressed with the 3D than I expected to be. However, the big reason I got it (besides from Monster Hunter…) is that I had never had a DS, so getting the 3DS was really getting access to a huge library of games on the cheap. Had I been upgrading, I likely would have been kind of pissed that I spent my money on something that kind of gives me a headache after a while, and that newer titles for the system are locked to it.

    What I’m trying to say is that I am looking at this with healthy skepticism. Show me a reasonable price tag, show me a game that makes really good use of this (I’d try to talk Bethesda into retrofitting it to Skyrim, because that’s the kind of scale you need to really impress), and then get back to me.

    • fish99 says:

      You can play Skyrim (and every other DX9 or newer game) in stereo 3D right now with nvidia 3D Vision.

  14. Armante says:

    With Valve throwing its weight in behind supporting the Oculus Rift, this may just take off.
    Also, HL3 will have native OR support, and it will be amazing.

    I hope.

  15. fish99 says:

    Problem with the Rift is going to be game support. Your average AAA cross platform game, I doubt they’ll spend the time making it Rift compatible given the small audience. The good thing about nvidia 3D Vision is the stereo is done by the nvidia drivers not the game, so any DX9 or newer game, in theory, will work straight away without the devs lifting a finger (of course, it’s hit and miss whether a game work *well* with 3D Vision).

    I also think a VR helmet only suits certain types of game – mainly simulators – flight sims, racing sims etc. Wearing a VR helmet to play, for instance, a 3rd person game doesn’t really make sense since there isn’t any great advantage to looking around when you’re floating behind your character, and you would lose view of the action. I’m also not convinced about playing an FPS on the Rift since it introduces the problem of having two competing control methods – your head, and the mouse. The people who have tried it says while it’s more immersive, it’s disorientating and makes you worse at the game overall.

    Who knows though, I haven’t tried it.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      I don’t see how they are competing control methods given that your head motion controls your in-game head motion and the mouse (or Leap Motion or whatever) controls in-game cursor or aiming. Of course it’ll take getting used to.

  16. Foxygamer says:

    I like how Valve is thinking…for the most of the time :P