Nathan Andrews has almost finished his work bringing virtual reality to Half-Life 2: Episode 1. His mod does a lot more than just linking the Oculus Rift up to City 17. The game’s HUD has been rebuilt so that appears naturally in the world and the game’s guns can now be aimed and fired with Razer’s Hydra.
You need to see the trailer to grasp quite how cool this all is.
You can see how Andrews has a gun’s current ammo information appear as a holographic element above the gun that’s in your hand. Similarly the stats of your HEV suit, health and shield strength, appear on your wrist, like some sort of holographic watch.
Visual displays like these are likely to be the way forward for VR games. Having a Hud appear in the corners of the screen like we’ve been used to for the past 20 years don’t feel suited to a VR experience. With VR you want all the necessary information to appear in the game world to remain completely immersed in that reality.
In other games that support VR, such as Elite: Dangerous, we’ve see that this is what developers are striving for. In Frontier’s space fighter the HUD is spread across your cockpit readouts in a manner that makes your ship seem real and functional.
There’s no word on an exact release date of Half-Life VR 1.3 but hopefully the release of this trailer indicates soon. You can still download 1.2 from Andrews’ site.