Virtual reality: say it aloud a few times, and taste the honeyed words of a better videogaming future on your tongue. We're pretty excited about the possibilities contained within the unbecoming goggles of Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive and the like, so we've equipped ourselves with a DK2 with which to peer into tomorrow and tasked Phil with seeking out the best (and most unsettling) virtual reality experiences out there.
Based on your suggestions, and new releases, he’ll be donning the goggles every Friday and will tell you what his eyes have gazed upon, what brave new futures he’s witnessed, and whether or not they made him feel sick.
After some pick up and play experiences? Check out the best VR games on PC.
4th February, 2015: I'm going to do this week's instalment of our regular VR feature slightly differently. Rather than offering dispatches from far-flung virtual worlds, this update is all about giving you the tools to go off and do your own thing in a game that everyone will make one of their first ports of call in VR: Grand Theft Auto V.
It's actually a fairly involved undertaking, and unfortunately does involve a financial outlay to get all the software you'll need. But if you're serious about adding VR functionality to games that were developed with no such platform in mind, you'll get some value out of VorpX. Which brings us to...
Step 1 - Get a copy of VorpX
VorpX is a 3D driver for DirectX 9, DX10, and DX11 applications that effectively makes them compatible with VR HMDs, and it costs £24.99. There is a free alternative, Vireio Perception, but it's lagging behind VorpX for DX10 and DX 11 support and sadly can't work the required magic to get GTA V up and running, which is what we're here for. I've tried to find a way to get Franklin, Trevor and Michael working on my DK2 for free, but have yet to find one.
VorpX, like the ENBSeries lighting software, comes with a whole host of presets designed to produce optimal settings for different games including GTA V, and that's a big help. Its creator Ralf Ostertag wrote a full config guide which you can read here, but you might not need to follow every instruction on it if you take the following steps.
Step 2 - Adjust the in-game graphics options
Load up GTA V without VorpX, head into the graphics menu and set all options to max - except MSAA, which you'll want to disable entirely as it messes with the 3D effect once you're using an Oculus HMD. Set the game to run in a borderless window while you're in there.
Step 3 - Download and install the GTA V headtracking mod and ScriptHookV
You can download the headtracking mod file directly from here without having to navigate one of those pages filled with 'DOWNLOAD NOW!' buttons of different shapes and sizes, each one leading to nothing but pain and hate. Once it's finished downloading, place it in your GTA V install directory.
Grab ScriptHookV from here, where there are admittedly a few erroneous download buttons but the page is actually fairly easy to navigate. Pop that into your GTA V directory too.
Step 4 - Add these graphics settings .txt files to adjust in-game fidelity
For high settings, grab this file, and for medum it's this one. Pop the one of your choice into your GTA V install folder with the others from the previous steps. You should have five new files in there now.
Step 5 - Launch VorpX, configure settings
Don't worry, we're nearly there. Open the config settings in VorpX by hitting [delete] while it's running. Turn headtracking completely off, aspect ratio 1:1, zoom: 1, 3D weighting: max, cinema mode: off. Now hit the middle mouse button to enter EdgePeek, and select Story Mode from the menu.
Next, launch GTA V with VorpX still running in the background, and press the middle mouse button again to turn EdgePeek off. You'll see a VR options menu pop up in front of you, which you can navigate to access VR mode. You should be all set.
Thanks to Riftinfo, who did the legwork figuring all this out. It's not an easy process, but that's the nature of VR gaming at the moment.