Mod of the Week: Portal
As Valve have made it clear that they are keen supporters of virtual reality (VR) – with or without their once unwavering support of Oculus VR – it comes as a surprise that one of their most readily compatible videogame titles is yet to receive official support. Both Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2 and been retro-actively updated for use with a VR head-mounted display (HMD) and yet neither Portal nor Portal 2 has yet received the necessary treatment.
VRFocus states that Portal is ‘readily compatible’ as the videogame rarely breaks the commandments of good VR design. The entire adventure is played in first-person throughout and the camera control is rarely taken from the player. The ambulation is perhaps the biggest issue – forcing the player into very fast momentum in order to overcome puzzle challenges later in the videogame – however the environment design and atmosphere of Portal more than make up for any potential discomfort the player may feel after several hours investment.
Before beginning the below process ensure that you have the latest version of Portal installed. As has regularly been the case for the Mod of the Week feature here at VRFocus, we will be using DDD’s Tridef 3D to enable Portal as a VR experience.
The Tridef 3D injection driver can be downloaded from the official DDD website and used for 14 days without requiring payment, and an additional in-development Oculus Rift compatibility add-on can then be downloaded from the official Tridef 3D forums. Ensure that both of these assets have been downloaded and installed correctly before attempting to run Portal on an Oculus Rift headset.
Load Tridef 3D Ignition and select ‘Add Game’. The client will automatically detect your installation (in the unlikely case that it doesn’t find Portal, simply select ‘Add Game Manually’ and follow the on-screen prompts). Once added to the Tridef 3D Ignition launch window, boot Portal from within this client.
The videogame will automatically launch in stereoscopic 3D with headtracking enabled. In the case of Portal, the headtracking replicates the mouse look (or right analog stick) though the handheld peripherals can also be used to greater movement of the viewpoint, including sharp turns.
As with many first-person experiences, the viewer window presented by Portal may need to be expanded to fill your field of vision. Simply press the ‘0’ key on your numberpad to access the Tridef 3D menu and browse the ‘HMD Settings’ menu, adjusting the various ‘FOV’ values as necessary.