Why it matters to you
If you never played Alien: Isolation in virtual reality, now’s your chance to do so on a modern headset without jumping through too many hoops.
Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation and its much-lauded virtual reality mode are back, and you don’t need a prerelease headset to play it. Thanks to the work of a dedicated modder, the horrifying space ship exploration survival title is now playable on the contemporary Oculus Rift, making it possible to experience being hunted by a Xenomorph in more detail than ever before.
Although today there are a number of high-end, beautiful-looking virtual reality experiences to pick from, back in 2014, before the release of any consumer hardware, that sort of experience was much harder to find. Alien: Isolation, with its unfinished but still incredibly well put together VR mode, was the exception to that. The only downside was that it required an Oculus Rift DK2 and was never updated to support new-generation consumer headsets.
Enter modder Zack “Nibre” Fannon, who leveraged his developmental skill and love of the Alien: Isolation VR experience, to mod the game to make it compatible with the current Oculus SDK and by extension, the Rift headset. While that is the only headset it works with right now, he is working on adding HTC Vive support, opening up the game to more virtual reality gamers than ever before.
The mod itself is called “MotherVR” and is available from Fannon’s GitHub page. It details the various stages the mod has been through already, including numerous bug fixes, but there are still a number of limitations. There is no motion controller support and there are issues with “comfort turning” (blink-like turns which can be more comfortable in VR than smooth rotations) and there are some issues with menu UI.
These and more are all being worked on. As RoadToVR highlights, Fannon is not only bringing Alien: Isolation to modern headsets, but is looking to improve the original VR mode as well. Along with adding more comfort-based movements, he’s looking to strip out forced head animations and awkward body positioning — specifically with in-game displays.
Much of the changes he needs to make, however, are related to functionality tweaks behind the scenes. Converting the original Isolation VR mode from the relatively ancient prerelease Oculus SDK to its modern version has been hard work. It’s said to involve calls to a fake SDK of Fannon’s creation, which are then translated to the new Oculus SDK.
Although he says that he’s gaining invaluable experience from the work, Fannon has also opened up a PayPal account for donations to the project if people are feeling generous.