Welcome to the August 2022 edition of VR Modding Monthly, keeping you up to date about all the exciting things going on in the wonderful world of the Flat2VR Modding community!
For VR enthusiasts, the idea of picking up a brand new AAA flat game, pressing a button and then ‘magically’ being able to play that same game in full 6DOF VR natively-in-the-engine if they wanted to seems more like a thing of science fiction than reality. I would certainly thought that until master modder Praydog started to make the seemingly impossible a reality.
This has been a huge month for VR modding and in this month’s issue, we’re going talk about one of the biggest breakthroughs in Flat2VR modding history that will open up a whole new world of VR ports, and we’ll take a look at some incredible new mods that have come out or have taken steps forward in development.
If you’d like to learn more about the Flat2VR modding community itself, check out our last issue where we introduce ourselves, and if you want to get involved, check out the official Discord server.
Praydog’s Universal Unreal Engine VR Injector Mod
Okay, now this is a big deal. This mod opens the door for VR enthusiasts to play heaps of AAA games in VR (here’s a list of just a few of them) by making it easy to add initial VR support to games built with Unreal Engine.
For the longest time, we’ve been mostly limited to adding full VR support with motion controls, etc. to only certain game engines. The Unity engine for example, always ships with the VR code in a flat game and that code can be re-enabled and a modder can then start building out VR mechanics on top of that with powerful Unity modding frameworks.
Unreal Engine on the other hand, strips out all of the VR code if a game doesn’t build with the VR plugins still in it. For some of our Unreal Engine VR mods, we asked the game developers and they were kind to add the plugins in the shipping builds so that we could make a full VR mod for the game (Mechwarrior 5 and Deep Rock Galactic with full motion controls are two examples of the developers doing this for us). Larger AAA games however, like Jedi Fallen Order are already completed and the developers have moved on and there’s no easy way to even build a new version of the game even if they wanted to with the VR code. Praydog’s VR Injector changes this limitation for Flat2VR modders.
The VR Injector is added to a game by just dropping in a few files in the game directory. You then just need to launch the game and it adds back all of the engine’s native VR code and launches the game in VR.
Normally, when you activate basic VR on a flat Unreal Engine game with the VR plugins in it (if it was built with them still in), a lot is broken with the experience. Any UI that was made to overlay on top of your monitor’s screen doesn’t even show for example or it sits only in one eye at a weird angle. The VR camera often doesn’t follow the player character so that when you move the player, you might see a headless body run away in the distance. There’s a lot of other issues like these.
Praydog’s mod automatically works through all of these common issues and correctly fixes them directly in the game engine for VR since they’re all using universal functions. This makes it not only a great place for a modder to start working on a full mod with motion controls, etc. but it makes most Unreal Engine games quite fantastic to play in VR out of the box! This could even be a powerful tool for developers to try their game in VR and to help them decide whether they want to do a full VR port or not.
Loading up a racing game like Gravel, for example, feels just like playing the new Unreal Engine racing game F1 2022 that just released (and which has its own official VR support); Ace Combat 7 feels just like playing Microsoft Flight Simulator; Everspace 2 feels like playing Star Wars Squadrons, etc. I used these examples because they’re all game which don’t use motion controls and work almost identical to these official releases.
Upcoming Gravel VR Mod (Praydog's Universal UE VR Injector Mod)
You mentioned wanting to see more racing games in VR. There are some great Unreal Engine racing games that will now be fully playable in VR when Praydog's mod releases publicly. pic.twitter.com/O1fw2zQtnL
— Flat2VR (@Flat2VR) September 19, 2022
For first person shooters out of the box, you can use VR controllers like a gamepad or keyboard & mouse input, but modders will most likely want to build onto the mod with game-specific motion controls. Praydog does plan to add in a sort of universal motion control option that allows a motion controller to essentially point the mouse exactly where you’re pointing it in 360 around you. This should still be a fun way to experience many games until full motion controls have been modded in by other modders for a specific game.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the games we’ve tested so far with Praydog’s VR Injector mod.
For this game, I assigned a button to switch between first person and different distances in third person and just exploring that world was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever seen in VR.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
I did the same thing for this one, switching between third and first person cameras with a button. For saber fights, you’d probably want to stay in third person and play the game like you’re playing Moss or something, but for just exploring the gorgeous detailed environments, first person is absolutely fantastic. It’s incredible the details that you notice when you see the game in VR.
This survival game feels amazing in VR and feels like a real life “Honey I Shrunk The Kids”. It was incredible (and terrifying) walking through that world from the eyes of a person the size of an insect.
Praydog’s mod when it publicly releases will allow players to see and experience hundreds of amazing game worlds in a completely new way, give players full 6DOF roomscale abilities to walk around the game, lean down to look at things, and more. In some games, players will want to play the games fully out of the box in VR with the mod. For others, players might want to wait for other modders to do additional work to them.
For almost every VR enthusiast though, the ability to put on their headset, and experience a game world (even if you just use a godmode cheat and walked around in it like a walking simulator) is a treat and is potentially game changing for VR. I’m personally very excited to experience the upcoming Unreal Engine Hogwarts Legacy game in VR and walk around that castle to take in all of the details.