In case you're in need of a reminder, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is really, really cool. But that won't be here until the fuuuuuuture, right? You will play it atop your hoverboard, which you will rebelliously ride inside your hoverhouse, which will drift above the hoverground, which will perpetually bob above a void of infinite nothingness. Which will also be hovering. Or so you think. In non-virtual reality, however, the VR wonder device is right around the corner, with backer dev kits shipping this very month. And now, Oculus and Valve have teamed up to announce the first officially supported game for the eyeball-teleporting tomorrow glasses: the ever-experimental Team Fortress 2. Naturally, there will also be a hat involved. I hope it hovers.
Oculus confirmed the partnership in a brief Kickstarter update:
"Yes, it's true: Valve announced today that Team Fortress 2 will have a new 'VR Mode' that supports the Oculus Rift, available this week!"
"Valve has done an incredible job bringing TF2 to virtual reality. That said, it’s a fast paced, intense experience. TF2 wasn’t originally designed for virtual reality and skirting around the map at super-speed in VR isn’t for everyone. You’re going to want to ease yourself in and acclimate over time."
The new hat du jour, meanwhile, is a replica of the Rift's dev kit, which looks like it could prove quite adept at defending combatants from such pesky dangers as shrapnel and being able to see.
If you want a better idea of how Rift will integrate with Team Fortress 2's brand of colorful, exceedingly fleet-footed madness, Engadget got an early eyes-on with the update. The tech behemoth was, however, somewhat underwhelmed, rightly noting that TF2 is perhaps not the best showcase for a device whose strengths lie in immersion and detail - as opposed to speed and hyper-precise control.
Fortunately, there'll be more where that came from in semi-short order, even if demo darling Doom 3 won't be among the initial batch. And really, we're not even poking eager forks into the meat of this movement yet. Between dev kits and proof-of-concept demos, we've still got a ways to go before a killer app leaves our eye stalks gyrating in ecstasy. That said, I do believe the future is bright for VR. Very bight. We just might have to, you know, wait a bit. That's kind of the thing about the future, though: it's always closer than you think, but why does it have to be so far awaaaaaaay?