GDC 2013 will feature not one, but two talks from Valve about porting Team Fortress 2 to VR doohickies. But don’t pull on your homebrew flying goggles just yet, because it doesn’t sound like the experiment was entirely successful.
The talks, part of the Programming and Design tracks of GDC’s main conference beginning March 27th, will reflect on the research and development challenges Valve have tackled while playing with head-mounted displays and tracking systems.
Programmer Joe Ludwig's 'What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality' will dig in to the work of several Valve employees who worked on the internal project last year.
The talk will cover "what stereo support entails, rendering 2D user interface in a 90 degree field of view display, dealing with view models and other rendering shortcuts, and how mouselook can interact with head tracking in a first person shooter." Ludwig will also share his ideas on how a game specifically designed for virtual reality could avoid the issues his team faced working with Team Fortress 2.
The second talk will be hosted by Valve VR king Michael Abrash, who’ll be nattering under the banner: 'Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going).' Many of Valve’s VR issues are reportedly rooted in the relationship between head-mounted display hardware and the human perceptual system, so expect to hear more about that.
I do wonder how the coupling of the twitchiest of twitch shooters with VR could have ended in anything other than nausea. But from the sound of it, Valve have poured far too much of themselves into the field to give up on it now. Perhaps that specifically-designed VR game might wind up coming from a familiar source?