Last week, the Half-Life community's attempts to translate Valve's new VR extravaganza, Half-Life: Alyx, to the flat screen showed very early promise. And this week, another portion of Half-Life fandom is approaching the problem in something like the opposite direction, attempting to turn the seminal, and distinctly non-VR, Half-Life 2 into a VR game, using Alyx as its foundation.
This isn't the first attempt to translate Half-Life 2 into VR, of course - an extensive VR overhaul, promising to deliver "updated effects, textures, models & maps" reemerged in 2017, having started life four years earlier - but this latest effort takes a rather different approach, porting Valve's original game into Alyx's VR-enabled Source 2 engine.
One enterprising modder, known as Vect0R (who's also spend time digging up unused Half-Life 2 content and producing a real-time raytracing mod for the game), has made enough progress - converting map files and assets to Source 2's format and adding them to Alyx - to be able to show off a little bit of a VR shooty-bang-bang run around a very old-school City 17.
Vect0R calls the end result a "showcase demo", saying there are no plans to share it at present. Even so, it's a impressive start, particularly as the project's been in the works for less than a week, having started the day after Alyx's release on 23rd March.
Unfortunately, further progress is somewhat stymied by the fact Valve is yet to share the Source 2 SDK, meaning, as Vector puts it, the "things I was able to do was very limited". And although Valve previously said it would "really like to release [the SDK] at some point", the lack of even a tentative launch date suggests it could be some time before modders have the proper tools required to adequately continue their efforts.
As such, there's no telling who'll win the race: Alyx chasing down good old-fashioned 2D or Half-Life 2 getting its new fangled VR on. Regardless, Half-Life aficionados can delight in the fact that Alyx, the first series entry in 16 years, is a superb adventure, as Eurogamer's Christian Donlan explained in his Recommended review.