Deep Rock Galactic is a cult-favorite PC co-op game where teams of up to four players dive into perilous caverns in search of precious minerals while battling hordes of alien bugs along the way. The excellently atmospheric game has been subject to requests for VR support ever since launching in Early Access back in 2018. A major update to the game recently took the first step toward making that wish a reality by opening the door for VR modders to experiment.

Update (November 25th, 2021): Modders have been quick to jump on the newly opened opportunity to mod Deep Rock Galactic with VR support. While the first tests simply showed that the game could be correctly displayed inside of headsets, just a few weeks later modders have already demonstrated functional motion controls.

While there’s still plenty of work to do before the mod is ready for prime time, modders have also showed that things are working well enough to play through a complete mission (albeit not with motion controls or any comfort adjustments).

Even after fully functional motion controls are added, there will still be a lot of work to do to get the game’s informational UI and interactive UI into VR, followed by some reasonable accommodations for VR comfort.

The original article, which overviews the genesis of the Deep Rock Galactic VR mod, continues below.

Original Article (November 5th, 2021): Developer Ghost Ship Games this week launched a major update to Deep Rock Galactic which adds new weapons to the game for the first time, alongside new missions, enemies, cosmetics, and more.

Hidden deep in the update’s huge list of patch notes was this valuable gem:

ENABLED VR PLUGINS

Speaking of modding, we have enabled the SteamVR and OculusVR plugins to allow modders to play with them. Have fun!

While this doesn’t mean that the game can be played in VR just yet, it does mean that modders can tap into those VR plugins to begin experimenting with adaptations that could make the game fully playable in VR.

This small addition to the update appears to be thanks in part to Reddit user Elliotttate, a member of the Flatscreen to VR Mod Community, who got the attention of the studio through a post in the Deep Rock Galactic subreddit which asked the developers to enable VR plugins so that VR modders could try adapting the game. As the post explained:

For an UE4 game, the one essential ‘piece of VR modding’ that we need first from the developers (that currently can’t be ‘modded in’) is just to include the VR plugins in the project when building. It takes two minutes to do and has no negative consequences for the shipping version of the game. Recently, we asked the Mechwarrior 5 developers (PG) the same thing, they added it and now have a full VR mod for it!

In fact, modders have now already triggered the plugins to verify that the game can be rendered correctly in VR.

Of course this is extremely early work. Getting the game to play well in VR will need to go well beyond simply rigging up the game to take input from motion controllers. Anyone who knows Deep Rock Galactic knows that it’s a game with lots of erratic player movement and comfort will be a huge challenge—not to mention figuring out how to balance the game’s vast number of quickly moving enemies to not be completely overwhelming in VR.

Luckily the game also recently added official modding support; as long as VR input, rendering, and interfaces can be made to work correctly, it should be relatively easy to experiment with VR-focused content and balance changes and then distribute them to players via the existing modding system.

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  • Can take w/e this game dishes out in VR unaltered for comfort :)

    Of course it needs those comfort options.

  • Geogaddi

    That’s great, already had this game on my Steam wishlist. I think it’s on sale now actually, or it was last I checked.

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  • I’m interested to see where this goes, but really, shouldn’t the game’s designers spend the extra week or two to add VR support themselves? It’s not that hard, I’ve adding VR support to my own games in the Unreal engine, all by myself, in under a month.

    (like Alien TSA, available for free in the App Lab!) ;)

    • DjArcas

      …a week or two. To a full commercial game. Riiiight.

      • Yes, Right. I have experience doing it. BY MYSELF. And I’m a novice in making games in the Unreal Engine. It’s very easy. You think a “full commercial game” is really any more complex? They have several people working in unison, it should take them LESS TIME, not more. The game is ALREADY in 3D. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of 3D elements that are already in play and shifting over ones that are not. Menus shift to the hand, wrist, or a in-game tablet stand-in. Guns/Tools go attach to hand. It’s not rocket science.

        Of course, what do I know, as somebody who’s done several VR games in the Unreal engine? I only have my own record of ACTUAL EXPERIENCE MAKING VR GAMES. Please, by all means, DJ, tell us all about your VR game development experience in the Unreal Engine.

  • warn

    I remember talking to Ben about this like a year ago that a VR mod would be cool on Twitter

  • 3872Orcs

    So how do I enable VR on this?

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  • Rosko

    wow that’s really impressive.

  • Wow, it’s getting there!

    I would hope the game makers take note and add VR support themselves. Seriously, in the Unreal engine is SUPER EASY.