Video: Take A Short Peek At Valve’s Portal 2 VR Prototype

Industrious internet users at Reddit have dug up brief footage of Valve’s Portal 2 VR demo, the one which was playable at GDC last week and which made me so giddy.

The footage was used as part of a talk given by Valve’s Alex Vlachos, and can be seen in situ here courtsey of MaximumPC. The slides for the talk, on the advanced rendering techniques required to make games look their best in VR, can also be found on Vlachos site here [pdf].

Here’s the video, since this is obviously what you’re here for:

Aside from being designed for a virtual reality headset and being controlled by prototype motion controllers which combine to unlock a fantasy world of delight and childlike wonder, the prototype also runs on Source 2, Valve’s new game engine. It’s both shinier and free to use for developers, so long as you promise to put your game on Steam (non-exclusively) when it’s done.

This clip is just a brief, silent snippet of what was otherwise a short, five-minute prototype. In the full thing, you play the role of an Aperture repairman tasked with fixing the broken co-op robot Atlas. The clip shows the moment you first see Atlas, and the moment after you’ve slid open his head to reveal his clacking, spinning innards. It unfortunately skips over the part where you open a drawer to reveal a world in the style of Portal 2’s stick figure marketing videos.

None of this means we’ll see a new, fuller Portal game in future, though it seems safe to assume that at least this prototype will be available to play when the Vive launches before the end of the year.

Need more? Here’s an even shorter peek at another Vive game, Owlchemy’s Job Simulator.

Thanks, PC Gamer.

23 Comments

  1. Gribbstar says:

    Cross your eyes enough to make the two images merge in the middle. No need for expensive headsets! You can thank me for the migraine too.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      The 3D is inside out if you cross your eyes! You have to uncross your eyes for it to work. The migraine remains unchanged however.

      • Tinotoin says:

        Years of Magic Eye picture binges have trained me to diverge my eyes well – migraine averted!

        Wasted childhood achieved, however.

        • iniudan says:

          Same here could see Magic Eye image from across a room. Been astigmatism also helped a bit has my eyes were never truly focused, so ghost image (slight double vision) were normal thing to me, at least until I got eyes surgery, as combined with myopia it made it so I couldn’t see clearly beyond a foot ahead of me.

          • iniudan says:

            Wish there was an edit button, should have written astigmatic instead of astigmatism.

            P.S. Before someone reply about all my other mistakes, I know, but don’t feel like putting simple reply through a full feature correction software (only got a French one anyway) to counter dyslexia, but that one not the type I should had made.

      • His Divine Shadow says:

        yeah, it’s for parallel instead of cross-eyed viewing. i was never able to learn to reliably see parallel stereopairs, and frankly i think it’s shit and people should stop making it. it’s like left-handed matrices, which have to be burnt with fire.

    • BirdsUseStars says:

      Use a power drill to cut into your prefrontal cortex. Keep going until, for one brief shining moment, you see the world around you in beautiful 3D!

  2. ssbowers says:

    In related news, where is HL3?

  3. hollowroom says:

    I’m getting concerned that I won’t be able to use this VR system due to the two wands. Does anyone know if they’re essential, or just a peripheral?

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      Harlander says:

      I’ve been having a nose around and I think it’s really too early to say right now. Valve have been fairly good on accessibility, I’m led to believe, thus far, but in your situation I wouldn’t want to just rely on that.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        There have been a fair few demos on the DK2 that were built around stuff like STEM or Leap Motion, which were also built with standard keypad functionality as well. If Valve are the ones making it and the VR controllers are optional, I am sure they will put controller support in too. That said, having experienced VR, the ability to put your hands in the game is a MASSIVE deal. Sitting and using M+K or Joypad is nowhere near as good as standing up, taking actual steps and being able to really use your hands.

        • hollowroom says:

          Thanks for the replies folks. I’ve been a bit concerned that this would be goggles + 2 wands AND THATS YER LOT.

          As someone who can’t really hold anything in his left hand (and has digits missing from his right) it’s always a bit concerning when new stuff comes along – for me configurability is key. I’ve even moved away from consoles due to the lack of even basic configuration options in some games.

          I totally agree that there is no substitute for the immersion that walking around and using your hands brings, but if that’s the only way it can be configured I simply can’t use it.

          Valve are usually quite good with this stuff though, so I’ll wait and see.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Have you seen perception neuron? A configurable ‘glove’ may actually afford you dexterity in VR that your IRL hands don’t. For example you could set ‘pick up’ triggers to the sensors on your remaining digits. Not sure if they are in production yet but there is a whole host of haptics out there and in the pipeline that could be a real boon to you

  4. CookPassBabtridge says:

    This is an absolute no brainer for me. The moment these things are announced for sale I will be there inserting my credit card in every available Valve branded slot available.

  5. SuicideKing says:

    I was actually getting confused whether this was a game or a live-action thing of some sort.

  6. burpinator says:

    Here’s something I’ve been curious about in regards of all this VR thingamabob business – can I even really use these devices if I’m crosseyed? For example, 3D television and 3D cinema doesn’t work for me.

    • saluk says:

      Each eye is seeing a completely different image. Your vision in VR should be roughly the same as in real life. 3D tv and movies rely on parallax to separate the images.

      • JeepBarnett says:

        3D TVs DON’T have parallax and that’s their problem. With positionally tracked headsets you do and so even with monocular vision you’ll experience depth in the same ways that you do in real life.

      • burpinator says:

        If it’s exactly as real life, then it would actually also kinda suck – being cross-eyed in-game, too, doesn’t sound like my kind of fun :/

        • TiagoTiago says:

          If you’re lucky, someone will hack the drivers to let you manually realign the views.

  7. Jayson82 says:

    Unless they release the customer version of Oculus before this comes out it looks like Valve could steam there thunder with VR, people will only get one headset, which one will depend on who releases first and at what price.

    Also Valve has an ace up there sleeve, steam, if they make it so that any game developers who make a fully functional game for this headset gets automatic steam application they would have something that they oculus does not, games ready for it for when it goes on sale.

    Good investment there facebook