• Check out this first-person impression of Valve's absolutely insane VR tech
01.30.14

Check out this first-person impression of Valve's absolutely insane VR tech

Carlos Montero, the project lead on Black Mesa, the HD Half-Life remake, was one of the few who were invited to go face-on with Valve’s virtual reality helm, which is apparently the next best thing to lucid dreaming. So what do the lucky ones who tumble down the rabbit hole in Gabe Newell’s personal VR cave see? 

Well, here’s snippets from Montero’s very trippy account

Space with matrix of Cubes, textured with websites

Cubes were perceptually very small, say six inches cubed. 

I could walk up to a small cube and put my face into it. Text was super crisp.

Several batshit demos later:

Standing on a street in a downtown like space with many skyscraper-sized boxes.

Sense of space and perspective was nuts

Boxes really felt like they were insanely huge.

Dude then travels to Portal:

Portal 2 turret assembly

Valve guy mentioned that they noticed Normal maps don’t work with VR - you can tell they are fake.

Machine arms were building a turret from Portal 2.

Arms were rotating wildly fast, and I was very close. It felt dangerous.

This was the first demo with textures, I could look closely at the machine arms and tell the normal maps were fake, they broke down very badly.

There was also this terrifying encounter with a robot head:

Animated robot face

Didn’t spend much time here but there was a very high-poly animated robot face. It was just opening and closing it’s mouth like an automaton. I was able to push my face INTO it and clip into it, seeing the inside workings of the face.  This was a bit creep [sic] and weird TBH.

Mother of God! Just to be clear, Valve’s experimental virtual reality technology is not the same tech found in the Oculus Rift, but a much pricier version that takes place in a carpeted room covered in “QR-Code looking symbols,” according to Montero, which makes his elaborate account seem all the more like a nerdy, shamanistic spirit walk. With all these glowing, hallucinogenic reports of Valve’s VR, I’m starting to become a believer.