I'm a professional game developer from Wakefield, England, working as a senior programmer for Rebellion North.
I'm a married father of five and I a also sometimes do Retroburn stuff.
Martin 'Bytrix' Caine
Father. C++ Games Programmer. Cyclist. Guitarist.
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Friday, May 17th 2013 / Gaming

Day Six With The Oculus Rift - Half-Life 2

Yesterday I didn't have much time to play with the Rift but I did manage to play a little Half-Life 2. Since I've already covered Half-Life 2 in my configuration efforts in previous days I think I'll just show some pretty cool parts from the start of the game which look particularly good when wearing the Rift.

To start with, my Wife had a little go wearing the Rift while I was playing the game (looking at the monitor). She said this shot from within the vents was particularly cool. The detail on the broken venting looked like she could touch it.

Next up, there might not look like there's anything special about this screenshot but with the Rift on it felt so much more atmospheric. Half-Life 2 on release had some of the most complex levels ever seen and some of these simple architectural details really add depth to the scene and make you feel like you're in a real environment, not just some bog standard FPS map.

Next came a ladder! While this looks perfectly normal on the monitor it looks really trippy with the Rift on since it's warp shader (and the curve of the lens in the Rift) make it appear as if it bends over your head. Always makes me feel funny when looking up ladders and climbing them.

I then met a Vortigaunt and a Human Rebel, as with previous encounters with the characters in Half-Life 2 I couldn't help but walk up close to these guys and check them out from every angle. Very cool!

Just round the corner is a small fire, nothing special, but this did look pretty cool with the Rift on:

Enclosed spaces provide the most intense experiences with the Rift, when you're up close to objects you see more detail. The wide open areas can look cool but it's up close when you get that proper 3D depth and detail. Running in to this tunnel to be confronted by a combine guard was one of the coolest looking parts of this play session.

As with the previous mention of Architecture, Half-Life 2 did a good job of making you feel as though you were running around a desolate city and the buildings around you do a good job of setting the scale of things (especially the Citadel which is almost always in view).

Next came a few firefights, aiming and shooting as mentioned before is very easy with the Rift on in Half-Life 2. I had no trouble aiming accurately and taking out each of the combine soldiers with a double tap kill-shot to the head. Then I had to swim through some water while they were shooting at me. Watching the bullets shoot through the water past your face is pretty cool! The water and environments just look cool by themselves with the Rift on too.

I did start to feel a bit of eye strain coming on so I quit here and will play some more Half-Life 2 tomorrow. Later today I plan to check out the VR forums and download a few of the smaller demos for today's Oculus Rift update.

If you found this post helpful please leave a comment below:
Gerald / 2013-05-18 17:31:30
Very cool - it would be nice if you would post the screenshots in full resolution so one can try them in the Rift :)
Martin Caine / 2013-05-18 18:16:53
Nice idea, I hadn't thought of just looking at screenshots through the Rift. Surely the difference between my calibration/IPD and another Rift Users' would make the image appear slightly 'off' though.

A single screenshot also can't compare to truly playing the game(s) with everything going on around you ;-)
Sean / 2013-05-26 15:42:53
Nice review. I'll be reading thru your other posts today. I just got our Oculus working yesterday for my daughter's birthday. I was dying to play Half Life 2 and did a bit last night. I can't seem to last more than 15 minutes at a time but I made it to City 17 last night. That was amazing. Looking forward to getting as far as you did.
Tags:   3d   gaming   half-life 2   vr