VorpX, the highly anticipated utility that adds Oculus Rift support to many existing games, is finally available to the public. The program makes it easy to enjoy your existing game library in virtual reality.
VorpX is a stereoscopic 3D driver for DirectX 9, 10, and 11 games that adapts many existing games for virtual reality gaming with the Oculus Rift. This includes two modes of 3D for many titles, head tracking, and a number of smart VR-specific enhancements to make it easy to enjoy games in VR even though they weren’t designed with the Rift in mind.
Over the last few months, Paul and I have been providing feedback to vorpX lead developer Ralf Ostertag. Today we’re happy to share with you that the vorpX Beta is ready for the public.
“We’re pleased to announce that the first public beta of vorpX, our 3D driver for head mounted displays, is finally available. Many thanks to those who were patiently waiting for quite some time now, we’re glad you stayed with us.
Much work has been done to provide you with what we believe already is the best option to play some of your favorite games on your Oculus Rift development kit. Although this is still a beta release, we’re confident that vorpX can provide you many hours of fun.
We’re looking forward to your feedback and are eager to improve vorpX further based on your thoughts and experiences,” said Ostertag.
Z-buffer 3D and Geometry 3D Modes
VorpX is capable of rendering many games in two different 3D modes. The first of which is Z-buffer which is the highest performing of the two modes as it doesn’t require rending of two distinct views. This provides a 3D effect without a heavy impact on your system — great for when you want to keep framerates high and latency low for smooth headtracking!
Geometry 3D is ‘true’ 3D which uses two independent views to create an accurate 3D scene which has the most pronounced effect of depth and parallax. However, Geometry 3D is approximately twice as demanding of PC performance compared to the Z-buffer mode.
Note: Not all vorpX compatible games support both 3D modes
Edge Peek and VR Keys
Edge Peek is a much needed and well implemented feature for virtual reality gaming on the Oculus Rift. Because vorpX is adapting existing games not made for VR for the Oculus Rift, you’ll find that some games have important HUD elements on the edges of the screen. These can be difficult to see given that the game’s view is warped to provide a wide field of view in the Oculus Rift HMD. Edge Peek makes it easy to look at any edge of the screen before snapping back into a proper forward view. Just click in the mouse-wheel and use your head to look toward an edge. Click again to snap back to the normal view. Works great for games like Halo where shields and radar are off in the corners of the screen!
VR Keys is a universal in-game menu with easy access buttons which can be bound to key presses. This makes it easy to access complicated keyboard shortcuts without having to fumble around blind with the keyboard. For instance, in Skyrim it can be used to quickly pull up the Map or Rest menu.
Image Zooming (AKA Big Screen Mode)
Image Zoom is another great feature which let’s you zoom away from the rendered view. This is useful for zooming out to view cinematic which weren’t designed for the Rift and would otherwise have you feeling uncomfortably close. I like to call it Big Screen Mode because you can opt to zoom out and play games as though you are in front of a huge virtual screen instead of pressed directly up against it. This makes sense for many non-FPS games like Bastion* and League of Legends* where you want to feel like you are floating above the game rather than trying to emulate a wide FoV FPS scene.
You can use Image Zoom from the in-game menu (delete key) or adjust it on the fly with Shift+Mousewheel (quick adjustment may not work in all games).
*not officially supported by vorpX but have been shown to work
Tons of Settings
VorpX is incredibly feature rich, with lots of settings to let you configure each game to perfection. You’ll definitely want to hit the Delete key on your keyboard once you launch a game with vorpX to have a look at the myriad of options. Playing with the settings to get the experience right is going to be part of using vorpX, but thankfully there’s lots of options which means you can toggle things to your precise liking. Settings include the 3D reconstruction (eye separation, depth weightining, and focal distance), various aspect ratio adjustments, FoV augmentation, chromatic aberration adjustment, Image Zoom, head tracking sensitivity, and more.
Support for 90 Games, Partial Support for Hundreds More
VorpX supports a wide range of modern games. Some highlights:
- Alan Wake
- Batman Arkham City
- Battlefield 3
- BioShock Infinite
- Borderlands 2
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
- Dirt 3
- Far Cry 3
- GTA IV
- Mass Effect, 2, 3
- World of Warcraft
See a list of compatible games here. Game testing is done manually; there may be some changes and additions made to the list in the future.
There are hundreds of additional titles that may not support 3D modes, but vorpX will do its best to make them compatible anyway by adding head tracking and adapting the view for use in the Oculus Rift.
After using the vorpX alpha at various points in development for the last few months, we’re really impressed with what developer Ralf Ostertag has come up with, and excited for the larger community to get their hands on the vorpX beta. We believe that vorpX is the best way to play your favorite games in virtual reality on the Oculus Rift!
Full disclosure: Road to VR participated in testing the vorpX alpha and has an affiliate agreement with vorpX on sales through our site.