I'm a professional game developer from Wakefield, England, working for TickTock Games.
I'm married with four children and I am also the director and lead programmer of Retroburn Game Studios.
Martin 'Bytrix' Caine
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Friday, June 14th 2013 / Gaming

Day Twenty Two With The Oculus Rift - Portal VR

It's been a while since I posted my previous entry in this series, I've spent the last few weeks working very hard on Positron and Z: Steel Soldiers. I've literally had no time to even check out any new Rift demos.

Then late lastnight just before bed I saw someone mention on Facebook that the -vr flag now works in Portal, so I just had to check it out this morning!

I hit Google to check out the news of Portal Rift integration but couldn't even seem to find anything, I'm guessing it's been secretly added and some Rift users have figured out it works.

So, I loaded up my TF2 config, copied my VR settings over to the portal config, updated portal (which needed extracting as is now the norm with Steam games these days) and loaded up the game (with the -vr flag applied).

I instantly noticed there was some warping going on, not sure if that was my IPD settings now being quite right or if it's just the integration isn't quite right yet (or likely the FOV?).

As with playing Minecraft in the Rift you immediately get a sense of scale. The companion cubes look huge! When you think about it, they are pretty large in game but you don't really get a sense of just how large they are until there's one floating in front of your face!

I play for a short time, work through a couple of chambers and do notice a few problems. I'm sure these are going to be fixed as I don't think the Rift support in Portal is in any way official yet:

1. I often lost my Portal gun. When moving around and aiming with the mouse I lost the gun and was firing portals off to the side or in places I just couldn't see. Even when I did get my gun in front of me a few times my portals didn't fire where I wanted them (but that's really because there's no cursor). I think I might have been able to try some of the alternate VR aim modes though as I'm guessing it's just using a different default from what HL2 and TF2 are using.

2. Portals only render in the left eye. The first few times I went through a portal it felt very odd, at first I thought it wasn't rendering the other side of the portal at all and then all of a sudden I was through. After closing each of my eyes however I realised the view through the portal was only being rendered in one eye.

3. Major glitches when going through portals! This is a pretty major issue, when going through portals sometimes it felt like I had got stuck in the wall or came out of the portal facing the wrong way which felt kinda of odd.



Overall though it's great to see Valve working on adding the -vr mode to their other games. After previously having a somewhat disappointing Portal session with Vireio I can't wait to play Portal with official Rift support! I also hope support for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 are coming soon too, I bet those are really cool in the Rift.

Here's six minutes of gameplay footage recorded at native 1280x800 60fps:
Portal - 1280x800x60.mp4

And the usual YouTube video too:


If you found this post helpful please leave a comment below:
 
Comments
Matthew / 2013-06-22 05:40:22
I was a former rift backer that pulled out several months ago and got a refund. Man, was that dumb for several reasons I won't go into.

None the less, I cannot wait until a pure made for VR experience exists, the closest of which is 'the gallery' or EVE vr. Anyway, do you know what team 17 thinks of the rift?

I am very eager to know if they will support it in their worms series of games. Its a childhood favorite of mine. Sure, there may be support through other means, but official support is always better. If you can ask anyone in the know or just talk about it to someone at team17, that would be very nice of you.

Also, thanks for all of these blog posts. I am going to read them in my spare time between job hunting.

Happy rifting!
Matthew / 2013-06-22 16:06:21
I was a former rift backer that pulled out several months ago and got a refund. Man, was that dumb for several reasons I won't go into.

None the less, I cannot wait until a pure made for VR experience exists, the closest of which is 'the gallery' or EVE vr. Anyway, do you know what team 17 thinks of the rift?

I am very eager to know if they will support it in their worms series of games. Its a childhood favorite of mine. Sure, there may be support through other means, but official support is always better. If you can ask anyone in the know or just talk about it to someone at team17, that would be very nice of you.

Also, thanks for all of these blog posts. I am going to read them in my spare time between job hunting.

Happy rifting!
Tags:   3d   gaming   oculus rift   portal   vr
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