Garry’s Mod 2, Known as “s&box,” Is Coming With VR Support
When it comes to the most popular games on Steam, one game that champions that title is none other than Garry’s Mod. Originally released in 2006, the game ran on the Source engine, the same engine used to make games like Portal, Half-Life 2, and Team Fortress 2. While some saw it as just a sandbox game that was fun to mess around in, being able to build contraptions and play with the ragdolls implemented by having other source games downloaded onto the computer running it, Garry’s Mod turned into more, as servers could be set up to make custom game rules using Lua scripting.
With game modes like Murder, Prop Hunt, and RP being available for players to mess around in, other players saw Garry’s Mod as something else, a soundstage. These creators would use the sandbox mode to make machinima using the models they had and would rig the models, animate, or use puppetry to move the models around, crafting their own mechanisms to make the characters look like they’re walking in real-time. This brought about a whole new age of 3D animation, which could be easily understood due to the way that the Sandbox mode of Gmod played. However, after still going strong for over 10 years, the original creator of Garry’s Mod, Garry Newman, is working on a new sequel to the massively popular game, and one of his core features that he’s willing to implement is virtual reality support.
Garry’s Mod 2 and VR
The developer’s studio Facepunch is also behind another game that players might be familiar with, known as Rust. It’s become a massively popular survival and base-building game and could very well be the catalyst and inspiration for the emergence of games like ARK, The Forest, and other titles within the genre.
However, Garry’s Mod 2, better known by the name “s&box,” is the sequel to Garry’s Mod, and recently traction on the game has been ramping up, especially with the release of Source 2, which runs the game Half-Life Alyx, another VR title. The idea of Gmod 2 has been something that Facepunch has been thinking about since 2015. However, to make a sequel to Garry’s Mod, the game itself should be better than its predecessor. Facepunch knows this, and their goal for s&box is to “make a worthy sequel to Garry’s Mod,” as explained on their website.
“We’ve been playing with it for a long time. It started off on the Unreal Engine, but now it’s being developed on Source 2. It’s not going to be Garry’s Mod 2. It will eclipse what is possible in Garry’s Mod rather than simply be a modern version of it. The current status is “heavy development”. Some people already have access. Our plan is to get to a releasable state over the next 6-12 months then improve it over 10-20 years.”
One of those things is to implement VR functionality into the game, something that fans have already done to the original Gmod.
Enter the community’s attempt at making VR work in Gmod, otherwise known as VRMOD. The game implements the ability to use VR, from sandbox mode to playing the entirety of Half-Life 2 in virtual reality, with motion controls and gun handling just like in the original. However, the only thing holding VRMOD back from being the definitive way to experience Half-Life 2 is that maps have to be loaded in manually, rather than running the game inside of VR Mod. VR Mod also requires a small amount of computer knowledge to start the mod and use it, and while it remains buggy, it’s still very interesting to see a VR version of Garry’s Mod. However, the addition of virtual reality in s&box leaves a lot open for the future of the Gmod community.
Facepunch put out a developer blog that speaks about implementing the VR Mode into the game, stating, “I fixed VR rendering, since starting the project we had worked a lot on improving some rendering flexibilities for Source 2 and adapting it to work for what we want but never validated for VR until now. Getting VR in a good state has always been a concern for us and I’m glad now that I’ve tackled the initial work to have it supported.
This was just the first step, not much is bound to the actual s&box code yet, so right now the only thing you can do is being a passive tourist in your creations, but this opens the door for us to experiment with it and build something that everyone could enjoy and build upon.”
While this seems like the first step for virtual reality, the possibilities of s&box are going to be endless, and its community and fans are already taking notice of the title. Many of the things shown in the developer videos and blog posts from the website show references to older Gmod content, which could get updated for the new game. It seems that Facepunch knows exactly what they want to do, and with the world of gaming continuing to expand evermore, Gmod may fall to the wayside as it passes the torch onto s&box, making the ultimate moddable game for years to come.