Welcome to Road to VR’s first ever ‘VR Modding Monthly’, a series of articles to keep you up to date about all the exciting things going on in the wonderful world of the Flat2VR Modding community!
What’s the Flat2vr Modding Community and Why Should You Care?
We are a passionate community of modders bringing our favorite rich flatscreen games (often with thousands of hours of content) into full 6DOF VR. We love games built from the ground up for VR, but we feel that there’s also so much potential in existing games to be played in VR. With VR still growing, we believe there’s a need for both new games and ports. Some of the games we port were made by thousands of developers over many years and VR simply isn’t at a place yet to have games built at that scale exclusively for VR.
One of our goals is to experiment, discover, and share best practices for bringing flat games to life in VR so more game developers will be enticed to create official VR ports for their games and that their ‘road to VR’ will not only be easier but produce better results. More immediately, we hope that the thousands of hours put into creating VR mods will provide the VR community options to experience their favorite games in magical new and immersive ways that only VR can do, and that their love and passion for the medium continues to grow VR as a whole.
If you’re not sure where to get started in the wonderful world of Flat2VR mods, our friend Beardo Benjo made a fantastic, highly subjective list of his personal favorite VR mods here that we recommend watching!
VR Modding Monthly – September 2022
The last month has been packed with mods so let’s get started and dig into just some of what’s been going on in the Flat2VR community recently!
Official VR port | Released
Last month, Incuvo (a Flat2VR porting company) released the PCVR version of Green Hell VR and I’ve personally had an absolute blast with it! The port had a few rough edges at launch, but Incuvo has been releasing a steady stream of updates and it’s shaping up to be by far my favorite way to play Green Hell. The feeling of being alone in that gorgeous and massive open world with just you and your wits can lead to some quite intense and unique levels of immersion, making you almost forget that you’re not there.
I’m especially impressed with how they were able to port a version of the game for the Oculus Quest 2 with the help of AppSW (Application Space Warp)—a method of rendering the game at half the framerate and then using a smart interpolation algorithm to make up the in-between frames (not to be confused with the simpler version of a similar tech for PCVR, ASW).
It also appears to be a commercial success; the game has been on the list of Top Selling Quest games since launch. We’re excited to see more and more official Flat2VR ports like this find success (hoping it encourages more game devs to follow suit).
(On this topic of official Flat2VR ports, Raicuparta [a modder in our community] made a simple Townscraper VR port about a year ago, showed it to the developer and it encouraged him to create an official VR port coming to Quest soon!)
Modded VR port | Released
The phenomenal and hilarious dry humor from The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe can now be experienced in VR thanks to the hard work of Raicuparta (creator of the Outer Wilds, Firewatch, and other fantastic VR mods).
He’s done an incredible job bringing us the ultimate way to play this classic in full 6DOF VR with motion controls. The VR mod is in beta, but already is quite polished and you should have no problem beating the game from start to finish.
Modded VR port | Coming soon
Half-Life 2 is a game that VR fans have longed to play in full VR with motion controls for years now. Almost 10 years ago now, a VR mod for HL2 began development, but the project eventually died after the lead developer got busy with a new job at Rockstar.
Many thought the mod would never see the light of day, but just last year, the incredibly talented modder Cabalistic picked the project back up and has been pouring thousands of hours into it. His work along with Wormslayer and the rest of the Source VR team has now made what we feel is the ultimate way to play HL2.
Fans following the mod since its inception perhaps questioned if this day would ever come with the rocky road, but the mod now has a release date! Half-Life 2: VR Mod will release September 16th!
Half-Life: Alyx proved how incredible a Half-Life game could be in VR and we’re so excited to finally bring this classic to the VR community soon too! Half-Life 2: VR Mod is one of the most polished VR mods ever made with the ability to pick up almost any object, manually reload weapons, a huge amount of comfort options, etc. and it’s releasing directly on Steam with Valve’s blessing!
Modded VR port | Released
After Luke Ross got us hooked on FromSoftware’s Elden Ring VR mod, he released a follow-up mod for one of their earlier games, Dark Souls: Remastered. One key difference of the Dark Souls: Remastered VR mod is that it’s an older game and can be run far more easily at 90 or 120Hz which makes for a great VR experience (this is quite important when looking at whether a VR mod is for you or not).
The mod itself is a fantastic way to experience the kingdom of Lordran in VR. There are no motion controls, but you can toggle between multiple third-person perspectives or a new first-person perspective that’s great for just taking in the world and feeling like you’re there in full 6DOF VR. You can also toggle a ‘tourist mode’ which makes you invisible to the enemies if you want to just walk around the world and take everything in.
One of my favorite options and ways to play is to use the mod’s world scale slider so it feels like you’re a god controlling a small figurine in a castle dollhouse below you. It feels a lot like playing Moss or Demeo this way and gives you a great view to be able to pull off all those last-minute dodges and attacks required to stay alive in the often unforgiving Dark Souls game.
Modded VR port | Released
Final Fantasy VII Remake is another fantastic mod that came out this week by Luke Ross. The mod is a little easier to hit high framerates compared to some of his past mods (ahem, RDR2 VR). The game is quite gorgeous and makes the 40 to 100 hours of content quite a treat to experience in VR.
If you’re new to VR and don’t have strong ‘VR Legs’ yet, I’d recommend this mod more for just seeing and experiencing some of your favorite areas in the game in VR rather than playing through the whole game with it. I personally have no issues with it, but I imagine the fast combat could be especially hard for some players.
The mod features quite a lot of options to customize your experience including controlling the camera distance, a slow motion mode to experience the epic fights in VR, and more.
Generic stereoscopic 3D injector | released
3DVision was a part of Nvidia’s GPU drivers that added stereoscopic 3D (the two cameras/viewpoints required for 3D) into games. It only officially worked for a small handful of games and was primarily used officially for 3D monitors and TVs (though it could be hacked to be played on VR headsets too).
The modding community regularly spent thousands of hours modding in support for other games unofficially, fixing sometimes hundreds of shaders to work correctly for stereoscopy. It was a rather major blow to the community when Nvidia discontinued 3DVision last year (it almost seemed like many years of work were about to go down the drain). Ever since 3DVision was discontinued, Bo3b and other key members of the community have been hard at work reverse engineering parts of DirectX 11 to create a solution to replace 3DVision, completely free of anything related to Nvidia. After thousands of hours of work, they finally revealed their free and open source injector Geo 11!
How does this relate to VR or Flat2VR modding at all?
Geo 11 by itself won’t “automatically port any game to full VR’, but it allows you to play many of your favorite games on a curved IMAX-sized screen in front of you in gorgeous 3D out of the box. It can still be an incredibly immersive experience in your VR headset (and some third-person games like Little Nightmares feel like a native VR game).
For full 6DOF VR though, it’s what modders can do with Geo 11 that’s especially exciting. Since Geo 11 is open source, a full VR mod could be created with it as a framework and could save us a bit of time with game engines that don’t have native VR already. If Luke Ross were to use Geo 11 to create a VR mod for example, it could save him some time and would allow him to create a VR port without using Alternate-eye Rendering (which can have disadvantages unless you can run the game at high enough framerates). Many of the Geo 11 games already have fixes to issues that sometimes show up in Luke’s mods that deal with temporal effects like TAA.
Add-on for official VR port | released
This classic Bethesda game received an official port a few years back, but the VR experience was a bit lacking on its own. The VR modding community however stepped up and has enhanced almost every aspect of the way VR works in the game. Skyrim VR mods enhance the experience so much that you just might mistake Skyrim for Blade & Sorcery now unless you looked closer.
Last year, the HIGGS mod allowed us to pick up anything in the game, use Half-Life: Alyx-like grabbing gestures, hold swords with two hands, and gain all kinds of amazing ways to interact with the world. Recently, this level of interactivity was further enhanced with PLANCK (which stands for Physical Animation and Character Kinetics).
PLANCK lets you physically wrestle with enemies, push them back, knock them over, and more. If you’re unsure where to get started with enhancing your Skyrim VR experience, the community has put together mostly one-click mod pack installers that automatically install all the best VR mods. Additionally, if you’re already tired of Skyrim, you can also play the entire Enderal: Forgotten Stories (a full-length campaign for Skyrim) in VR too with these mods and is also must play experience (check out the mod pack for Enderal).
Add-on for official VR port | Released
Speaking of Bethesda games, Fallout 4 VR was also released a while back officially in a wanting state and has been getting a similar VR modding overhaul from the community. In addition to full VRIK, one thing that modder rollingrock added recently was two-handed gun support. There are few things that feel worse than shooting a long sniper rifle with just one hand in VR. This mod goes a long way in improving the experience with much of the gun handling for FO4 VR.