Welcome to the August 2023 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 2023 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, 2023
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.
More VR Modding Updates Since Our Last Issue
Official VR Port | In Development
We’re always excited when a developer decides to officially port their flat game to VR. Part of why we mod games into VR is just to show what’s possible with VR ports. We spend a lot of time figuring out how to translate certain game mechanics into VR and then give developers blueprints for methods of tackling certain flat game elements in VR, encouraging developers to make that leap into VR officially themselves.
With Call of the Sea VR, the developers have spent careful attention to redesign the game for VR with new VR interactions for puzzles and game mechanics. Call of the Sea VR is releasing directly on the Quest 2 (no word yet about a PCVR or PSVR 2 port yet).
Modded VR port | Released
Our Half-Life 2 VR mod released earlier this month to an overwhelmingly positive reception and it’s been wonderful to hear just how much joy we’ve given to hundreds of thousands of players and allowed them to experience this classic all over again in a new way. This mod is quite special because it’s been quite a long time coming and Valve officially approved it to be downloaded directly on Steam. In just the first couple of days after release, the mod saw over 120,000 downloads and that number continues to grow daily.
It’s exciting to see how many people have tried Half-Life 2 VR that might not have bothered to try a VR mod otherwise. Being on Steam certainly made the mod a little more accessible and easier to install and I think it’s opened a lot of people’s eyes to just what’s possible with VR mods. HL2 VR only requires you to own a copy of Half-Life 2 (it doesn’t even need to be installed) and you can just press download and play it.
The mod features an assortment of motion sickness-prevention accessibility options, full motion controls, manual climbing, manual reloading, Half-Life: Alyx-like weapon UIs and more.
The VR mod is already quite polished from start to finish, but it’s technically still in Beta (you can read the full roadmap here). Some exciting things that are still coming are additional layers of polish, improved graphics, higher res textures, better lighting, improved weapons, the Episode 1 & 2 game expansions, workshop / additional modding support and more! Here’s a few screenshots of the gorgeous lighting that’s being reworked for the game:
A few screenshots of the updated lighting coming to Half-Life 2 VR pic.twitter.com/JpEDuCHfbP
— Flat2VR (@Flat2VR) September 18, 2023
Neon White VR
Modded VR port | Released, early access
The next Flat2VR mod that came out this month is Neon White VR. Master modder Raicuparta who has created some fantastic narrative / puzzle Flat2VR ports before such as Outer Wilds, Firewatch, The Stanley Parable, etc. has now tackled a very different genre with Neon White.
Neon White is a speed runner’s dream game, turning a whole game out of that ‘just one more run, I can beat my previous time’ element that can often be quite addicting in games. The mod features full motion controls, new 3D weapon models, and full 6DOF VR natively-in-the-engine.
Some might assume that this game would induce motion sickness because of how fast it can (which it still may be for some, so please keep that in mind), but I was surprised just how comfortable of an experience it is. The cartoon style graphics that other VR games ust, like VR grapple shooter SWARM, Windlands, etc, seem to do a lot to reduce discomfort. For those that have their VR legs already, Neon White is a can’t miss mod!
Download on Raicuparta’s Patreon here
Trombone Champ VR
Modded VR port | Released, early access
If Raicuparta’s previous mod isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps his mod for the zany and hilarious Trombone Champ rhythm game just might be what you’re looking for (though it’s hard to argue anyone was exactly ‘looking for’ this game). Trombone Champ is a game that went viral overnight when it released last month, partly because of how hilariously badly you can sound trying to play a trombone with your mouse and keyboard.
The VR mod changes how you play (though doesn’t necessarily make you any better out of the box) by allowing you to hold your motion controllers like an actual Trombone and play.
It’s a fantastic VR mechanic that’s even fun to play free-style and there’s a strong modding community for the game where you can download fun additional songs and mods.
Download on Raicuparta’s Patreon here
Jedi Knight Jedi Outcast / Jedi Academy
Modded VR port | In development
DrBeef is currently working on porting Jedi Knight Jedi Outcast & Jedi Academy to the Quest 2 with full 6DOF VR & motion controls!
Team Beef is responsible for millions of mod downloads on Quest & has been influential in helping to grow VR.
Here’s a sneak peek:
There’s no release date yet, but the team is making incredibly fast progress. You can support their work on Patreon.
Bendy and The Ink Machine
Modded VR port | Release, early access
BaggyG from Team Beef has done a fantastic job bringing the puzzle / action / horror game Bendy And The Ink Machine to VR with full 6DOF and motion controls!
The mod is already quite polished and playable to the end, but released in early access on the Team Beef Discord if you want to help test it now.
Modded VR port | Released
After a lot of polishing, the amazing Raft VR mod is now public and 100% free to download!
DrBibop has done an incredible job adding in full motion controls, VR specific mechanics, VR menus, VR multiplayer support more to the addicting survival game!
The game really feels like a made for VR game in a lot of ways and even has a lot of additional options for motion comfort (like even disabling the ocean swelling if that’s hard to stomach).
The game starts you (and any friends you play with online) on a little raft out in the ocean and you have to use a rope and hook to start gathering supplies floating nearby in the water, all the while careful to avoid a shark that likes to circle your little raft. After you get more supplies, you can expand your raft, turn it into something more of a ‘ship’, colonize small islands in the water, build farms, raise animals and more!
There’s even an MMO mod that you can download so that you’ll occasionally come across real players that you can trade with while surviving on the ocean.
The Long Dark VR
Modded VR port | In development
The Long Dark is a survival game that I’ve personally spent hundreds of hours playing. Like any other of these mods, it’s absolutely wild seeing it again in 6DOF VR natively-in-the-engine! It’s a weird feeling when you remember back being in those locations before, but it was more like you only saw them in a dream (in flat) compared to ‘being there’ in VR.
PureDark did some magic to get it working perfectly in full 6DOF VR and full motion controls are currently being worked on. You can join the Flat2VR modding Discord to stay up to date with development.
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Get Connected and Stay Up to Date on VR Mods
Well, those were some of the biggest Flat2VR updates this month, look out for another issue next month! If you’re interested in learning more, need to get help with installing/using any of these mods or just connect with an amazing community of enthusiasts follow along here:
- Join the Flat2VR Modding Community Discord Server!
- Stay up to date with us on Twitter
- Or tune into our podcast where we cover Flat2VR news, interview modders/developers and go into more details about various projects at work