We just gave the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, our Best of CES award. Guess who else is experimenting with virtual reality? Valve Software. At the 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, the same renowned video game publisher that's hard at work on the Steambox will also share its thoughts on VR, after spending a full year prototyping ways to create virtual reality hardware and software. Valve will host two 25-minute lectures entitled "Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going)" and "What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality" at the conference.
The former is hosted by Michael Abrash, the man behind Valve's mystery wearable computing hardware project... and the latter obviously features Team Fortress 2, a game that we had no idea was being ported to VR. Before you get your hopes up, it's not yet clear whether TF2 will actually be a title you can download and play on a VR headset. In fact, it's actually rather unlikely given what we've heard.
The session markets itself as an opportunity to learn about the problems that came up when trying to port TF2 to VR. "A game designed for VR could avoid many of the issues that came up with Team Fortress 2," reads the description, suggesting that perhaps game companies would be better off making brand-new titles rather than pushing out existing ones. If you've ever seen a 2D film converted to 3D, you probably know an after-the-fact conversion process isn't always optimal.
Valve suggests games might need to be built explicitly for VR
As far as we know, the verdict's still out on whether Valve will formally support virtual reality headsets at all. Asked the question at Quakecon last year, Abrash told the audience that while he was personally interested in porting Valve games over, it wasn't his decision. As of then, he also seemed unclear whether those games could offer a great VR experience to begin with.