Half-Life 2: VR, a revamped version of an older mod which will adapt the beloved Half-Life 2 for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, has been green-lit, signifying Valve’s official acceptance of the mod for distribution on Steam.

Although Steam Greenlight’s days are numbered, the Half-Life 2: VR mod which we reported on last week has managed to squeeze through the program in just four days. That means the team behind the mod has the official thumbs-up from Valve to distribute the mod to players via Steam, making distribution, promotion, and updates of the mod much easier than releasing it directly via the web.

The mod team reports that nearly 16,000 people had voted for the mod’s approval around the time it was green-lit, with a 95% ‘Yes’ vote, they said in an update on the mod’s Greenlight page today:

Having the project on Steam will make it easier for us to develop, and of course much easier for people to install and update when we start releasing builds. We know the top question on everyone’s minds is when exactly that will be, but these things they take time, especially with a team of unpaid volunteers. The best we can do for now is “soon”, as soon as the hands of our programmers and artists allow it.

Now the developers have set off to finalize the mod, telling Road to VR that the release will be “in the ballpark of months.” In the meantime, the group has released a gallery of 4k screenshots showing off some of the remastered lighting that’s being done. To demonstrate some of the work involved in preparing the game for VR, the team also showed an example of what the original weapon models look like (consisting of only partially complete geometry), and how they are being built out fully and remastered so that VR players can view them from all angles (as they will be wielded by VR controllers):

Last week we delved into the background of the Half-Life 2: VR mod and what the team was promising with their revamped approach.

Those who have been following the modern VR era since the beginning may recall the original HLVR mod launched in 2013 that was well ahead of it’s time, offering motion-controller input via the Razer Hydra, literally years before Oculus or Valve would announce their own VR controllers. Here’s some gameplay from the original mod played on the Rift DK1.

Back then we said that the mod “turned Half-Life 2 into one of the best virtual reality experiences available today.” Sadly, it wouldn’t last. While Valve had added support for the Rift development kits to their Source engine, as the software that the headsets relied on advanced over time, Valve didn’t update the Source implementation, leading to the present situation which is that the mod can’t be played on anything but old development kit headsets.

After several years of the mod in dormancy, members of the original mod, with some new help, have devised a method to make the mod work with the latest Rift and Vive. Watch the trailer above. Not only will it allow players to step into the world of Half-Life 2 in VR, it will also add motion controller support to make the game function much like a modern VR title. The mod team is further promising the following:

  • HDR lighting
  • Updated effects, textures, models & maps
  • A made for VR UI
  • Realistic weapon interactions
  • Multiple VR locomotion methods

The mod team is sensibly calling the package Half-Life 2: VR (not to be confused with the original mod’s name, HLVR). It will be released entirely for free, though it does require a copy of Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 & 2 to work correctly. Luckily you can pick up all three, along with Portal (2007) for the entirely reasonable price of $20 via The Orange Box.

Read on to learn more about the mod and the team behind it.

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