Retro shooters in VR. Excellent experience for pennies (DOOM 1-3, Quake 1-2, Half-Life, RTCW

Simon Brown and his team of developers clearly show how, with the right skill and the right approach, you can give new life to legendary games and put the majority of participants in the VR market on their backs.

Retro shooters in VR. Excellent experience for pennies (DOOM 1-3, Quake 1-2, Half-Life, RTCW)

At the beginning of its life, the Oculus Quest portable VR headset boasted an amateur port of the legendary Half-Life with the introduction of six degrees of freedom and full weapon tracking. The modification was so successful that many potential headset users sought it out primarily for this project. 

The huge success turned Simon’s team “Dr. Beef” Brown (the creator of the port) into real stars. The community is waiting for news about their future projects even more than announcements from major developers. Thanks to Dr. Beef owners of Quest family headsets can not only take a different look at the classics, but also get a much more sophisticated and holistic gaming experience for 1-3 dollars, unlike analogues for 30-40, which are only trying to recreate elements of the mastodons of the genre that crushed their competitors decades ago.


The first landmark work of Dr. Beef, which showed the viability of the formula. Quake is the father of modern 3D first-person shooters. Appearing back in 1996, id Software’s creation offered an honest three-dimensional environment, enemies and more sophisticated gameplay. The pace of battles has increased, a complex architectural design of levels and a fundamentally different approach to control have appeared. 

The first Quake took multiplayer to new heights, setting the standard for years to come. The project code published by the developers gave birth to numerous modifications, some of which turned into popular independent projects.

The first landmark work of Dr. Beef, which showed the viability of the formula. Quake

Thanks to the capabilities of the Quest, Dr. Beef’s team has implemented the ability to move fully in space. It is noteworthy that the port supports many modifications, from visual improvements to gameplay changes. Among the minuses, it is important to note the considerable age of the graphic design and the complete absence of a wonderful and atmospheric soundtrack by Nine Inch Nails. The ax does not record real hand strikes; the player often moves with enormous inertia. When running, it often ricochets off walls like a ping pong ball. It is worth considering that due to the peculiarities of the architecture, a huge disproportion of the entire environment is felt. In some places you don’t feel this at all, in others – such a nuance breaks the whole perception. 


The sequel to Quake stood out for its qualitative visual leap and the introduction of non-linear progression elements. In addition to the obvious improvements inherent in the sequel, Quake 2 boasted versatile enemy behavior, the presence of some kind of plot, and cool multiplayer.


Quake2Quest is a full-fledged game, completely transferred to VR with six degrees of freedom. A second-hand grip function has been added for greater shooting accuracy. The weapon itself has been redrawn for better display in VR. 

The developers took the trouble to transfer all the necessary controls to the Oculus Touh. Unfortunately, this job cannot be called ideal. Using consumable items by holding down two buttons and the right stick is a serious problem that saps the pace of the game. The port allows you to customize the player’s height, which sometimes leads to insurmountable obstacles.

The peculiar way the game works with saves cannot be excused either. The port may outright refuse to download your progress. What criteria are used to select “defective” files is a mystery. Both a manually recorded moment and an auto-save can “go bad.” The inertia of the residual movement has been removed, but there is still a slight disproportion between the player and the environment.


The legendary Half-Life. The main event in the world of first-person shooters in its entire history. Without offering anything new in terms of game mechanics, the game revolutionized the idea of ​​what the genre is capable of – telling a well-staged and complex story without a single cutscene. 


Lambda1VR has come a long way in its development. It gradually and systematically improved, getting rid of numerous bugs, inaccuracies in displaying the proportions of the surrounding world, introducing graphical improvements (including newly modeled weapons) and much more.

As in previous projects of Dr. Beef on board has a redesigned control system with tracking of hands and body in space. Unfortunately, the port only supports the original Steam version, but not the Source remaster with numerous improvements and physics. But Lambda1VR will allow you to play both Opposing Force and Blue Shift expansions with all the advantages of a VR port. Plus, the ability to enrich your gaming experience through compatible mods.

The port boasts a full-fledged and working multiplayer. True, for unknown reasons, tracking in it occurs only in three degrees.


Great and terrible. It began the history of first-person shooters and competitive multiplayer. The game is a phenomenon, to which a huge number of books and documentaries are dedicated. DOOM, completely remade for VR.


QuestZDoom is a multifunctional downloader for a huge number of games and modifications created on the engine of the first Doom. Have you dreamed of experiencing Brutal Doom? No problem! Have you always wanted to play Doom64? Please, and in VR too. Or maybe remember your childhood and destroy fantasy evil in the arenas of the Heretic/Hexen duology, but with HD textures and 3D weapons? Make yourself at home! QuestZDoom is such a multifaceted project, passionately supported by the community, that you can find a modification for every taste. There is even a variation of Alien Trilogy and a remake of Duke Nukem 3D.

Unlike QuakeQuest, the perception of worlds created on the engine of the first DOOM and painstakingly transferred into virtual space by a mass of wizards is completely different and so indescribable that QuestZDoom can be safely called not just the pearl of the solid Quest library, but also, perhaps, one of the most iconic projects to this platform.


Return to Castle Wolfenstein did not boast any revolutionary ideas or graphical revelations at the time of its release. However, this did not prevent it from settling in the hearts of fans of the genre for a long time and becoming a kind of example of how to make high-quality shooters with a good and varied campaign.


Weapons for VR have been completely redrawn, and the shooting mechanics have also been redone. The weapon must be held with two hands at all times to control the huge spread of bullets. Almost every gun has a front sight drawn through which it is necessary to conduct aimed fire.

Unfortunately, the developers have not yet come up with a universal way to cram numerous control buttons into the modest data of Touch controllers. Reading a notepad, alternative fire mode or calling tasks leads to “breaking” of the fingers and the need to press three buttons at the same time.

The creators of the port skillfully approached the process of displaying story clips, narrowing the viewing window, making the perception of a moving camera moderately comfortable. The disproportion between the player and the world around him has been completely corrected, and an almost ideal movement speed has been adjusted, turning battles into a fierce massacre. The player no longer rushes around the arenas like crazy, but tries to accurately calculate his attack.

The team plans to fully support multiplayer with all modes and modifications. But six months have passed since the release, and things are still there.


Doom 3 is a controversial project. For some, this is a qualitatively different approach, adding elements of horror, plot and unique graphic technologies. For others, this is a loss of face for the series and a lack of understanding of the postulates on which it was based. History has shown that everyone was right. But the main thing cannot be denied. Doom 3 is an atmospheric, dark, moderately scary and very technologically advanced action movie for its time.


Doom3Quest is an evolution of all the work done by the “Dr. Beef” team. Today it is the best representative of VR first-person shooters on the Quest platform.

Due to the huge excitement among VR users, the port came out unfinished – we received the full game, but without polishing the graphics and catching bugs. However, developers constantly release updates that improve graphics and fix bugs.

The main character has acquired a body and arms that can be seen. All buttons and levers must be manually pressed and physically moved. The port eliminates the need to grab the weapon with both hands, but gives the opportunity to control the flashlight as desired, placing it exactly in the player’s left hand.

The weapon itself, in addition to a more detailed redrawing, has undergone some changes. For example, a gun fires as fast as you pull the trigger. The weight of grenades has been reduced so that they ricochet off walls better. The hero’s movement speed was left as in the original, but the damage from enemies was increased, which forces him to constantly hide behind walls, firing blindly from around the corner. 

The production scenes were also reworked. The player is free to switch between the classic and the system of static observation points. The way the pocket communicator is displayed and controlled has changed. In the future, the developers promise a completely redesigned Resurection of Evil addition and (once again) full multiplayer support. 


In a year and a half, a little-known programmer turned into the main hope of the entire VR community. And if Valve or Sanzaru Games chose the classic path, building their masterpieces from scratch, then Simon Brown chose a completely different approach. Taking classic and legendary first-person shooters, he and his team painstakingly transfer them to virtual reality, reworking and adjusting the game mechanics to the technical features of the device and controls. The main result of his work is as follows. Let old, but still great games costing 100-300 rubles, transferred to VR, be head and shoulders above their pale counterparts for 1600-3000 thousand in the Oculus store.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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