"The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice."
In virtual reality, the Enrichment Center invites you to physically step into its world, where GLaDOS will insult you as you bungle your way through the environment of Valve's Portal VR demo for the HTC Vive.
Polygon's Ben Kuchera went through an entire playthrough of the Portal demo for VR, and the result is impressive: look at all the details present as the player looks around the virtual room. Kuchera also took time to investigate some of those objects and details to show how much "love and care went into the environment."
Kuchera notes that there are points in the video that seem hesitant with strange hand motions. This is because he was trying not to walk into actual walls of his in-home environment (as in the real world). That does add an extra component of challenge to VR gaming — having to worry about real-world walls and how to get from point A to point B in virtual reality without injuring oneself — but maybe that's why some developers plan on looking into virtual reality treadmills.
"This is almost like a short story set in the world of Portal, and the sense of place and scale is amazing when you're wearing the headset," wrote Kuchera. "Who knew GLaDOS was so big? We hope this gives you at least a little bit of a sense for how the demo looks and plays in virtual reality."
Valve promises that it plans on working on more Portal-based virtual reality tests, but perhaps the future will offer up a full game. It's likely that most Valve fans would prefer a virtual reality version of Half Life 3, but Valve already shot that idea down. At this point, though, we'd prefer Half Life 3 in any shape or form, even as a mobile game.
The HTC Vive is on sale for preorder now for a mere $799. If you've got cash to burn, it's probably worth checking out. Expect units to begin shipping in May 2016.