Right now you can play Half-Life in VR for free on the Oculus Quest.

Valve’s debut game, Half-Life, was released in 1998. Now, 22 years later, the company is getting geared up for the release of their new VR exclusive, Half-Life: Alyx.  As the release date draws nearer, Valve is building the hype by letting players replay the classic Half-Life games for free.

On January 21st Steam announced that the previous games in the Half-Life series are free-to-play until the release of Alyx in March

If you take advantage of this offer you’ll also be able to play the classic Half-Life in VR on your Oculus Quest by using the Lambda1VR app available in SideQuest.

Installing Half-Life on the Quest

This guide will assume you are familiar with or have used SideQuest  before. If you haven’t, well then I’ve written a guide about that too: Oculus Quest: Enabling Developer Mode and using SideQuest. You’re also going to need a USB C cable to copy files from PC to Quest. 

First, go ahead and get a copy of the original Half-Life from the Steam store. (Free for a limited time.) Install the game on your PC from Steam—you’ll need to copy some files from the PC to the Quest in a moment.

Connect your Quest to your PC with a USB cable. Open SideQuest and Install Lambda1VR on the Oculus Quest.

Keep that cable connected and SideQuest open for a moment, you need to open an Explorer window and browse to the root folder of your Oculus Quest. This PC\Quest\Internal shared storage

Make a new folder named xash

Create a folder called xash in Quest\Internal Storage

Copy the valve folder from the Half-Life directory. (The default directory location is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Half-Life) Paste it into the xash folder you just made on the Quest. This can take quite a while to copy so be patient.

copy the valve folder into the xash folder

Once the copy is complete, you can restart the Quest (hold the power button for a few seconds and choose restart from the menu), then launch Lambda1VR from the Unknown sources library tab, and enjoy Half-Life in VR.

 

Make it Look Better

The default models for scientist and guard NPC’s are a little, um, cheesy looking. Fortunately valve also installs HD assets that you can use in a handy valve_hd folder.

You should copy the Barney and Scientist models from C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Half-Life\valve_hd\models to the models folder on your Quest: This PC\Quest\Internal shared storage\xash\valve\models

Also, you might want to check out this HD texture pack on reddit. It really makes the walls and environment much better and has some improved sounds.

Finally, edit the commandline.txt folder that is in the xash folder. (If you haven’t launched  Lambda1VR yet this file won’t be there.) 

If you try to just open the file and edit it directly on the Quest’s internal storage, it wont work. You’ll need to copy the file to your PC to edit it, just copy it to your desktop or documents folder.

If you choose to skip the HD texture pack just make it so the content says: 

xash3d -log --supersampling 1.25 --msaa 2 --cpu 4 --gpu 4

if you choose to install the HD texture pack then make it say:  

xash3d -log --supersampling 1.25 --msaa 2 --cpu 4 --gpu 4 -dev 3 -game hl_gold_hd

then save the file and copy it back to the xash folder on the Quest. If prompted, make sure to overwrite the original file by clicking Copy & Replace

To make sure the HD files are used, when you launch Lambda1 on your headset, open the Video options: Configuration>Video>Video Options and check that the box for Allow Materials  is filled. 

Have Fun!

 

 

Steam VR Games on Oculus Quest

Want to play Steam VR games like Skyrim, No Man’s Sky, and Fallout 4 (FO4VR) on your wireless headset? By unlocking developer mode and enabling side-loading on your Oculus Quest, you can install an application that allows you to do just that.

Air Light VR (ALVR) is a free opensource app that lets you connect your Oculus Quest to your PC wirelessly. It creates a server between an app on the Quest and a desktop application on your PC.

There are other applications which can also get the task done. VRidge: Riftcat is not free, but allows for 5 minute demos to see if it’s worth paying for. There’s also Virtual Desktop (for Oculus Quest)—I bought the Oculus Rift version a while back, but rarely had reason to use it after Oculus and Steam VR made virtual desktops a feature of their own software. I’ve tried Riftcat, but found that ALVR had better latency for me, and since it was free it was the easy choice.

A couple of caveats, you’ll need to be connected to the same WiFi network that your PC is on to play games, and it is suggested to use a 5ghz connection for best latency. You’ll also need to have installed Steam, and Steam VR on your PC, and purchase your games through the steam store. Before you can install ALVR on your Quest you will need to enable developer mode and install SideQuest. After you’ve done that, go ahead with the rest of this post for a step-by-step rundown of how to set it up.

Continue reading “How to Play Steam VR Games Wirelessly on Oculus Quest”

Streaming or casting Oculus Quest headset to other screens

If you’re showing off your Oculus Quest and taking turns with friends it’s great to be able to watch what the player is seeing. Streaming or Casting the Oculus Quest can let you demonstrate virtual reality apps and games for others. It’s also really helpful when introducing people to VR.

Here are two ways to mirror your Oculus Quest on another screen.

Beat Saber Custom songs with SideQuest & BMBF

One of the best things about Beat Saber is playing custom songs mapped by a community of the games biggest fans. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs to choose from ranging from Easy to Expert+, and this guide will have you taking your pick from them in no time.

Continue reading “How to Play Beat Saber Custom Songs on Oculus Quest”

Setting Up Oculus Quest for Side-loading

To unlock the full potential of your Oculus Quest headset, you need to enable developer mode and side-loading. Side-loading is just transferring files between two devices—in this case, your PC and Oculus Quest. You’ll be able to add apps and games from sources other than the Oculus Store, open up streaming options, and the ability to play some PC VR games on the Oculus Quest without having to use a wire or Oculus Link.

Continue reading “Oculus Quest: Enabling Developer Mode and using SideQuest”

Whether you’re new to modding Beat Saber, or you just need to update your mods for the latest version of Beat Saber,  these instructions will show you how to add mods and custom songs in Beat Saber—you’ll be swinging your arms and chopping blocks to your favorite beats in no time.

Notes:

  • This guide is for PC version of Beat Saber. For Oculus Quest read How to Play Beat Saber Custom Songs on Oculus Quest
  • Before using these methods you will need to have already installed and launched Beat Saber at least once, so that it will create some necessary files and sub-directories.

Continue reading “How to Play Custom Songs in Beat Saber (Updated)”

No man’s sky Beginning to beyond

A rocky release

I remember when I first heard about the game No Man’s Sky. In the summer of 2014 I was reading news of an indie gaming company called Hello Games creating a space exploration game with an endless universe that was full of procedurally-generated star systems, planets, and moons—each with unique life and materials to harvest. You’d be able to explore indefinitely, and even if you visited a planet per second, it would take multiple lifetimes to see everything. It promised to be the biggest sandbox game ever.

Continue reading “No Man’s Sky, VR, and Beyond”

Use the Oculus Tray Tool for  better vr performance and experiences

The Oculus Tray Tool (OTT), developed by ApollyonVR, is an application that takes advantage of developer options and registry tweaks to easily optimize using your Oculus Rift and Rift S. It can save you a lot of time and frustration by enabling a few simple settings. Continue reading “Use the Oculus Tray Tool to make your Rift work better”