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VR version of 'Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2' immersive and playable

Over the course of 2016, we’ve seen three major virtual reality headsets launch at retail. Now that hardware is on the ground, it’s time for the VR software library to be fleshed out — and a number of projects are demonstrating how this new technology could put a new spin on different video game genres.

This week, Unreal Engine 4 developer Adam Horvath posted a video of a VR version of the classic real-time strategy (RTS) game Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2. While the genre may not seem like an obvious choice for VR support, the clip posted by Horváth shows a lot of potential.

Anyone who’s played the original Red Alert 2 will immediately notice how different the VR version looks. The 2D sprites of the original have been converted to 3D models by a modder known as Slye_Fox in a manner which allows the player to look at them from any angle, rather than from a fixed viewpoint.

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Two HTC Vive controllers are used to interact with the game, according to a report fromTech Spot. One acts as a smartphone-like device that can be used to select units and buildings for production, while the other serves as a laser pointer that’s used alongside the device to place things on the map.

While (RTS) aficionados would perhaps be reticent to let go of their keyboard shortcuts, this video demonstrates how a VR headset could immerse players in this type of game. The Vive transforms Red Alert 2 into something closer to a traditional tabletop game, while retaining the scope of a video game.

Given that EA hasn’t shown much interest in the Command & Conquer franchise in recent years, an official version of Red Alert 2 with VR support is unlikely. However, this project proves that the RTS genre could be fertile ground for developers working with VR.