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Magness

Half Life Alyx VR

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So the details on Half Life Alyx are up now:

A new full length, Half Life game set between 1 and 2 featuring Alyx, VR only and will feature the new gravity gloves. All new physics based gameplay, using the Source 2 engine and free with Valve Index headset. Preorder is up on Steam ($59) and it does support all other headsets/controllers. More detail in the article including the fucking awesome trailer :)

 

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/11/half-life-alyx-will-fill-in-the-gaps-between-half-life-and-half-life-2/

 

 

 

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Very interesting-I remember when Valve first got into VR wondering if they'd do Half life 3 as a VR exclusive, but I suppose this is close.  We'll see what the state of Oculus Link is by then and whether I can play it.

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Ok so, Half Life Alyx: I’ve only been able to play 30min so far but, it’s seriously amazing. I can’t believe how smoothly it plays, how good it looks and how good the audio is, it’s all SO perfect. There are so many things you can interact with like a marker to draw on the glass in a window and everything you pick up is readable - like a newspaper or the side of a can. It’s just incredibly immersive. The movement too is just about flawless, I’m using smooth movement and it all just works. Climbing a ladder or jumping over a gap or slowly opening a door - it’s just the best I’ve ever seen. It is thoroughly “VR” and even from the beginning the use of VR is integral to everything. Again even just picking up and using the marker or shaking a box of matches is like nothing else. Really stunned in just 30min of play...

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Maybe it's just me but making the next Half-life game a VR only thing.... seems to have killed quite a bit of audience? 

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18 minutes ago, Magness said:

Ok so, Half Life Alyx: I’ve only been able to play 30min so far but, it’s seriously amazing. I can’t believe how smoothly it plays, how good it looks and how good the audio is, it’s all SO perfect. There are so many things you can interact with like a marker to draw on the glass in a window and everything you pick up is readable - like a newspaper or the side of a can. It’s just incredibly immersive. The movement too is just about flawless, I’m using smooth movement and it all just works. Climbing a ladder or jumping over a gap or slowly opening a door - it’s just the best I’ve ever seen. It is thoroughly “VR” and even from the beginning the use of VR is integral to everything. Again even just picking up and using the marker or shaking a box of matches is like nothing else. Really stunned in just 30min of play...

 

Which VR hardware are you playing this on?

 

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I have the standard Rift CV1 with 2 sensors. I would imagine this is even more mind blowing on the Index :)

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1 hour ago, AlbertA said:

Maybe it's just me but making the next Half-life game a VR only thing.... seems to have killed quite a bit of audience? 

 

It's sold a shit-ton of VR hardware, that's for sure.  Whether that offsets the loss of non-VR users, I dunno.

 

Can't wait to try it on my Quest with Oculus Link.

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Played for a little over an hour again and it really is like nothing else. I got the gravity gloves and they are incredible (Seriously). I’m sure you’ve seen vids of them but, the part that’s unreal about them is how natural it all is. After just 1 or 2 go’s I felt fluent with them; flicking ammo out of a crate on one side and a resin cylinder through a gap in a chain link fence on the other side, and all like I’ve been doing it for years. It’s just a super intuitive game mechanic in VR and on a whole other level to anything else.
 

I would say the same about the puzzles too, I’ve only had 1 door puzzle and 1 terminal to hack but, there are no step by step tutorials or anything, it just makes sense when you’re in it. The 1st door puzzle was a simple one, you follow the path and flip gates and it just seems natural whereas the terminal hacking feels “alien” and weird but, the process was still entirely natural without any hand holding (a real achievement IMO). You use the multi tool to activate it and a virtual sphere pops out and you select a node and work it around to line things up. There are vids of these too so it’s easy to visualize but, it’s the second-nature of it all that’s the groundbreaking part. It’s a sphere right in front of you and in VR it just feels natural to reach out and hold it, turn it, etc. Really amazing stuff in just the first 1.5 hours played :)

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Oh, and the doc gives you a headset with a camera on it to follow you and communicate but, it’s contextual so you occasionally see your own feed and he can be really funny... like opening a porta-potty looking for ammo and hearing him “do you need a minute?” :) Or in the lab - you can see your own feed live on one of the monitors in real-time which was weird and cool (like catching your reflection in a mirror). 

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16 hours ago, AlbertA said:

Maybe it's just me but making the next Half-life game a VR only thing.... seems to have killed quite a bit of audience? 

Yes but, think of this like a primer for the market and for the developer.  Valve has to be chopping at the bit now to make Half-Life 3. And the audience sure is.

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Played more tonight, met my first headcrab and it was just as bad as you could imagine... The weapons have a nice feel, the upgrade system is pretty cool and they have those great sound effects you remember from the HL series (the shotgun is perfect). I have 0 complaints about this game, it really is outstanding. 

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Very nice-looking forward to Link getting updated so that I can try this on the Quest.  Haven't done any VR stuff in a while since my VR space has been taken up with renovation debris for the past few weeks.  Need to get that cleared out.

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Played more (can hardly stay off it) and every puzzle, every spooky area, every combat encounter - everything is just so fun and different and interesting. Sure, 4 head crabs jumping at me while I’m running low on ammo and fumbling with my flashlight can be “tense” but, I made it :) Really just a perfect game so far.
 

As far as the underlying mechanics of stuff, the menus are very good, easily readable and are projected in front of you. The gloves are your in-game display so you can see your ammo count, health etc there and they change based on the weapon you’re using or when holding the tool. You drop objects you want to carry into your backpack over your shoulder or into 2 wrist pockets and grab them out from the same spots. You can save anytime and loading screens are pretty quick - they pop up in the middle of a room/hallway/whatever just like HL1, 2, etc and you see an overhead map of City 17 and where you are (moving towards your goal) while it loads. The VR aspects are probably the best I’ve ever played - the immersion is incredible especially with the lighting in different areas. Movement is smooth and there is no jitter or clipping through objects or anything I’ve experienced. I’m using smooth/free movement and no nausea at all, no screen tearing or jitter or anything (if it’s using ASW I haven’t seen any smearing or ghosting or anything to indicate it). With free movement, to jump or move around obstructions you can physically pick up and move stuff or you can do a pull move on the controller and teleport on/around it. In-game it works very well and I haven’t gotten stuck once. 

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I played as much as I could this weekend and got (I think) more than halfway... it’s really in a league of its own and I say that as someone who’s been playing in VR for a few years from DK2 to now. Elite Dangerous was one of the first VR experiences that blew me away from sheer immersion, then Lone Echo with its brilliant controls and movement, Senua’s Sacrifice with its inspired use of directional audio and depiction of internal conflict, Skyrim for the massive scale of the open world in VR, etc, etc - it goes on. And I feel that Half Life Alyx is in a league of its own even in this company.
 

It takes all of its own ground breaking ideas and mixes it all beautifully with physics based interactions, the best tracking I’ve ever experienced, the smoothest gameplay, some of the best graphics and you get it all on one game - the immersive world, the excellent controls and movement, excellent audio, story, everything; it lets you really experience the HL world like never before. 

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I was looking at the possibility of used headsets for PCVR and to play Alyx. While my PC meets the specs for VR (at least according to Oculus), it is quite a bit below the minimum specs for CPU, below for RAM, and right on the minimum for GPU. 

 

It put this game even further out of reach unfortunately. 

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