F1 2012 was released well before any consumer VR headsets were available, but despite that, it can actually be played in VR using VorpX, a program that can display older games in stereoscopic 3D in a VR headset. There are some issues with the experience, which is disappointing, because DiRT 3 (released around the same time) actually works very well in VR.
While this isn't the best way to experience an F1 racing experience in VR, it is an attractive option for anyone playing on an older computer that can't handle more demanding VR titles.
In this guide I will talk about what the experience is like and how you can set it up for yourself.
What You Will Need
VorpX - $40
VorpX is the program that can make a traditional 2D game render in stereoscopic 3D in a VR headset. F1 2012 is fully supported by VorpX, but you will probably want to download the "F1 2012 [bkoponen]" Cloud Profile to get some of the adjustments I made to improve the experience. I know VorpX has a mixed reputation, but if you are interested at all in playing older games in VR, it's an incredible tool. You can read my overall thoughts on the program here.
To play F1 2012 in VR, all you have to do is start VorpX and then launch the game.
Unlike most other VR conversions I talk about, F1 2012 only renders the 3D effect in Z-Normal mode, which works decently, but it's not perfect. The depth isn't as accurate as a true Geometry 3D game and there are some distracting visual artifacts. In many games these aren't so noticeable or sometimes don't even exist, but in this game, there is a particularly bad one. In cockpit view, the antenna at the front of the car has a constant visual distortion around it, which, of course, is directly in the center of your vision and is very distracting.
Technically, the game supports Full VR mode, but I cannot recommend using it. The scale of the world is all wrong and it quickly leads to motion sickness. The only reasonable way to play is in Immersive Screen Mode. The depth effect is far more accurate and you can actually turn your head to look at the mirrors, since the screen curves around you.
F1 2012 supports TrackIR, which VorpX can use to provide head tracking. Unfortunately, I don't recommend enabling it for this game. The camera pivots in an exaggerated way that quickly causes motion sickness. Thankfully, in Immersive Screen Mode, the FOV of the cockpit view is just right so that you can see your mirrors when you turn your head without any need for TrackIR.
To use the menus, you will want to go into EdgePeek mode. If you are using the default VorpX profile, there are still Z-Normal artifacts even in the menus, which is quite annoying. You can actually fix this by setting the EdgePeek 3D Strength Modifier to 0 in the VorpX settings. These settings have already been applied in the "F1 2012 [bkoponen]" Cloud Profile.
On the plus side, the game runs very smoothly in VR. Z-Normal rendering does not hurt the frame rate like Geometry 3D does, which means you can crank up all the graphical settings and the game really looks quite good. It definitely takes some time to get used to the depth perception. It can be difficult to judge the distance to side walls and other cars due to the way the cockpit is rendered. With some time, you do get used to this and can perform very well.
For the best experience, you will want to use these settings.
|Play Style||Immersive Screen Mode|
|EdgePeek 3D-Strength Modifier||0|
These are already set in the "F1 2012 [bkoponen]" cloud profile.
In F1 2012:
In Options > OSD:
Surprisingly, you can leave most of the OSD items on without much issue. The proximity arrows work just fine, which is probably the most important. I would definitely turn off the Driver Tags, though. These just don't look right in 3D and are very distracting.
Overall, the VR experience in F1 2012 leaves a lot to be desired. There are just too many elements that don't work for it to be a great experience. Playing this way is really more of a curiosity than anything else. If you want to drive F1 cars in VR, you are far better off using Assetto Corsa or Project CARS 2 with native VR support, or more recent F1 titles with VorpX.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions.