VIDEO: Here's what playing Half-Life 2 with Oculus Rift looks like

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Been wondering what it feels like to play inside those Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming headsets? Here’s a video that’s perhaps the best indication yet of what to expect when playing with one.

In short, it looks like playing head-mounted Wii, on speed. The demo (posted by developer Nathan Andrews) shows a highly modified version of Half-Life 2 running with the Oculus Rift hardware, requiring a user to wield a gun peripheral and stand and turn on the spot in order to navigate the game world.

“I’ve added full-head tracking and weapon tracking to Half-Life 2 in preparation for the Oculus Rift dev kit launch,” said Andrews on YouTube.

“Once the official Rift APIs are available I’ll integrate them, giving people over 70 hours of content [this also works for Episode 1 & 2, the Lost Coast and tons of user generated maps] that they can use to test out their Rift.”

Though the person demoing the kit looks pretty daft, it’s incredible how accurately the system seems to be able to work. While certain in-game animations seem to get busted by the inclusion of weapon tracking (look how the gun-wielding arm twists unnaturally and appears to be floating in mid-air at some points) the player seems more than capable of taking on foes, while peeking around the world with the headset.

It’d be interesting to see what physical controls are present to navigate menus and other in-game interactions, but the end result certainly looks immersive. Just imagine wondering around the icy tundra of Skyrim with this thing on. You could get lost in an open-world like that, providing the navigational controls were mapped effectively.

Oculus Rift began life as a Kickstarter campaign last year, and quickly amassed a whopping $2,437,429 of funding – ten times what the development team had hoped for. Due for release at some point this year, early backers had been promised dev kits by the end of 2012. Though that launch date has slipped, the above video suggests that the dev-kit roll out is likely now just over the horizon.

Gerald Lynch