alien isolation oculus rift support hack

At E3 2014, Oculus revealed a demo Alien: Isolation with support for their Rift DK2 VR headset, and it was a hit. However, it was officially stated that game would not ship with Rift support. Turns out, the developers left the code in the game to enable VR mode and some smart folks figured out how to turn it on with a simple hack.

Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival game that integrates elements of stealth and horror, creating an immersive experience that is sure to scare the pants off of any easily-startled players along the way.

alien isolation oculus rift 3A few months back, a demo version of Alien: Isolation that interfaced with the Oculus Rift was debuted at E3 2014. The publisher made it clear that the full game would not have Rift support. Yet, reactions from the experience at E3 and subsequent shows left players with strong demand for VR support in the full game which launched seemingly without Rift support earlier this week.

See Also: Alien Isolation with the Oculus Rift is Terrible (in a great way)

However, after a little tinkering, Reddit user Wookiee81 noticed that there was still segments of the code in place that could be tapped into. A call for help was posted online which brought together other interested parties who attempted to crack the system and unlock the full potential of the game. More investigating was done by an additional a Reddit user named drkow who opened up the executable file of the experience and found that there was indeed lines of code relating to the Oculus Rift inside.

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Further collaboration by yet another Reddit user named popcorncrackle produced a couple of Settings tags that could be modified to include Rift support. This was accomplished by ‘breaking into’ the black box, which is a programming object that be can be inspected. The input, output ,and transfer characteristics can be viewed without any knowledge of the internal workings of the system and can be tested by implementing certain parameters.

Once all the pieces were put together, the Oculus Rift support, including positional tracking, was able to be turned on with the following set of instructions:

Using Notepad, change the ENGINE_SETTINGS.XML in the DATA folder to this:

<Setting name=”Stereo Mode”>
<Quality name=”Rift”   precedence=”4″/>
<Quality name=”Off”   precedence=”4″/>

  1. Set the Oculus to extended mode.
  2. In the Oculus Configuration utility, pause the service.
  3. Start the game, play and enjoy. When done, do step 5.
  4. To play the game normally (revert it back to 2D), reactivate the service by opening the display mode and set it to “direct to rift” and voila.
  5. To play the game normally (revert it back to 2D), reactivate the service by opening the display mode and set it to “Direct to Rift”

Intentional or not, leaving Oculus Rift support in the code for Alien: Isolation was a smart move by the developers because it gave the option for curious modders to uncover. This is essentially an easter egg that was waiting to be found by those with the technical expertise. If the developers wanted to, they could always turn the Rift support back on with a simple software update later if needed.

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Now that the game has been hacked, horror-driven Rifters can finally rejoice and start running away from a terrifying space alien that is tracking them. Yelling and screaming is guaranteed!

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  • Sven Viking

    Just a few notes in case they’re of use to anyone:

    – Contrary to the instructions, I needed to have only the “Rift” line and not the “Off” line in the config (i.e. just replace the word “Off” with “Rift” under Stereo Mode) to get it to work.

    – I couldn’t get VSync to work with Windowed Fullscreen mode, but switching the Rift to my secondary monitor and running the game in genuine Fullscreen with VSync enabled solved the problem.

    – Don’t forget: Press both bumpers on an Xbox controller to reset the tracking camera. You may need to do this preiodically — if your screen is black, it may be because your head is inside a solid object. I haven’t checked for a keyboard command.

  • Jacob Pederson

    This is perhaps the most exciting thing I’ve read this year! Will try it out tomorrow.