The era of consumer-grade virtual reality is just dawning, but already there are format wars. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are facing off as the two main players in the PC gaming space, but just weeks after the release of both, a third-party program threatens exclusivity between platforms.
Revive, posted on GitHub, is described as "a proof-of-concept compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR". In simple terms, it means that certain games meant to be exclusive to Oculus Rift can be run on the Vive.
Currently, Revive only affects platformer Lucky's Tale, which comes with all Oculus Rift headsets, and Oculus Dreamdeck, a package of "vignettes" intended to introduce the possibilities of VR. It seems pretty simple to get either working either, with a small patch or injector to modify the DLLs for either game sufficing to get them running on the rival hardware.
"It works by reimplementing functions from the Oculus Runtime and translating them to OpenVR calls," LibreVR, Revive's coder, writes. "Unfortunately Oculus has implemented a Code Signing check on the Runtime DLLs, therefore the Revive DLLs cannot be used unless the application is patched."
The trick could work on other Oculus games too, as LibreVR adds that "the Revive DLLs already contain the necessary hooking code to work around the Code Signing check in any application. However you will still need to patch the application to actually load the Revive DLLs."
The unofficial cross compatibility could be a dagger for Oculus, which has already seen some of its exclusive games – such as EVE Valkyrie - announce official Vive releases for later in 2016. WIRED has contacted HTC and Oculus but neither had responded at the time of publication.
The seeming ease with which Oculus games can be made to run on the Vive (at present, there doesn't seem to be a facility for the reverse) is no doubt aided by both being PC formats. PC gaming has long been home to players eager to tinker with how games and hardware operate, and even if a game isn't optimised for a particular hardware set-up – Vive puts more emphasis on room-scale VR than Oculus, for instance – savvy coders often see it as a challenge just to try.
Currently, neither Oculus nor HTC has commented on the Revive workaround, though we'd be surprised if there weren't patches in the near future to try to lockdown exclusivity.