Half Life Alyx

So after a thirteen year hiatus there will be more Half Life. Since the announcement is a couple days old and this is Icrontic, I can only assume that Half Life is a dead franchise in the hearts of gamers, or Icrontic has finally grown up and has more important shit to do.

I'm not big on VR so I'm a bit disappointed, but maybe someone here is excited about it? Bueller... Bueller...


  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    Waiting on HL3. Everything else is garbage.

  • @Kwitko I think this is going to be a proof of concept test. Half Life 2 was proof of concept for, if we force people can we make them download our delivery service and ultimately control the fate of the PC games market. The episodic content was a proof of concept that failed in their eyes, it didn't generate the way they had hoped and they just sat waiting around for the next big thing, which I guess is VR...

    I sort of hate VR. Look, it's impossible to look cool in a VR headset. It's not much different than just sticking the "kick me" sign on your own back rather than wait for a bully to do it. I also have no idea how I'd play it with progressive lenses. So I guess, maybe I'm just too old, too old to begin the gaming... In my mind though, this is the Half Life 3 proof of concept test, they will go into development on it as soon as they figure out of they can get people to buy hardware based on the strength of a Half Life title. I think Valve has set itself up to fail.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    All of the above. I gave up on the franchise years ago. I just can't find it in my heart to be excited about this, even after the initial burst of excitement hearing the sounds and seeing the sights of City 17 again. I'm not anywhere near wanting a VR setup in my life and I'm definitely not going to buy a VR setup for one game, and I.... it's just been so many years. It's really hard to care anymore.

  • LincLinc Owner Detroit Icrontian

    It’s not gonna convince me to get a VR setup.

    But I won’t pretend for a minute I still wouldn’t buy a new Half Life game for PC and play thru it like my life depended on it.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    Same as Linc. No chance I'll buy VR for this, or any other, game. But a full-fledged PC title? I'd be obsessed...

  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian

    The fact that they are giving access to development tools makes me wonder what the modding community will do. When Half-Life was in it's heyday, a couple mods called Counter-Strike and Team Fortress Classic made a tremendous addition to the gaming world.

    I'm excite. Maybe it will happen again?

  • JokkeJokke Bergen, Norway Icrontian

    Well, at least we can be sure it wont be an Epic exclusive.

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    Bunch of grumps in here. :-p

    I'm excited about it. I certainly don't play VR games as much as non-VR games, but I've got a couple headsets. If you haven't experienced modern VR with a decent game, I don't think it's worth immediately writing VR off.

    I ended up buying an Oculus Rift a few years ago since the price for entry was reasonable. I went in with a lot skepticism. Since then, I've introduced a lot of people to VR: many who were excited, and a good chunk who were skeptical. When the Oculus Quest came out, the majority of those skeptical (and some additional new intros) ended up ordering a Quest within the next few days/weeks. The cost of entry for VR now for the experience you get is phenomenal in my opinion. Most of us already have beefy-enough PCs to handle wired VR, and if you don't, the Quest is a fantastic headset. And when you're ready for a beefy PC, Oculus Link should hopefully be in a more mature state.

    Anyway, back to HL: Alyx. I can't see this as a headset-seller, but if you already have one - or are already interested for other games/reasons - and are any sort of HL fan, I think it's great. The articles I've read indicate it should be of a similar length to HL2.

    As far as "looking cool" with VR, why not enjoy the technology instead of worrying about how you look to others? Until eSports became more mainstream, we certainly didn't "look cool" sitting behind a computer screen. We did it anyway, and we had a blast. I'll run with the "how you look" aspect, though. One thing I found important to my experience was being able to play around while alone. If you're trying someone else's system, don't do it with a large group around. Someone's going to poke at you, and it ruins the experience.

    For anyone I've introduced to VR, I try to do a few things:

    1. Make sure there are a very limited number of people around and outside the immediate area. You don't want people prodding the person in VR, and you don't want the audience getting smacked.
    2. Show them the headset and controllers outside of VR. Explain the controllers a bit, show them how to hold them, etc. They can't see outside the headset once it's on.
    3. Once they're in VR, place their hands appropriately on the controller and have them feel out the buttons.
    4. Have them move to the sides of the playspace so the guardian border pops up. Let them feel the walls (if your space has them) so they have a sense of their playspace.
    5. Run them through the tutorials.

    This is a good 15-20 minute process per person and may not be the super exciting stuff that everyone advertises, but now they know what they're doing. I let them play from there (Superhot VR is the favorite every time).

    To wrap this up, I've had some really great experiences in VR: It's amazing how a small playspace can turn into this huge, beautiful world. I've found myself just sitting there absolutely calm, admiring the world around me. Then I've stood up, fired up Pistol Whip, and turned into John Wick. After that, I became a rhythm Jedi in Beat Saber. Sure, to anyone outside VR, I looked like a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman, but I felt like a badass inside VR.

  • BLuKnightBLuKnight Lehi, UT Icrontian

    I really enjoy media that fills in a backstory. I would have been excited to play this HLA. However, VR doesn't agree with me... physically or financially. I'll follow @Winfrey on the hope that a mod is released for a non-VR version.

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited November 2019

    @Cyclonite I'm mostly tongue in cheek when I talk about the concern for looking cool in the headset. I do think that is a barrier to mass adoption though. There is a reason Nintendo never tried the power glove again. I just don't think many people want to wear a video game. It's a similar problem to 3D televisions at home. In the theater for two hours at a time, sure, people were at least facinated enough to try it, slap the glasses on for a bit, but making it part of your nightly routine? Nobody wants to pop on glasses that doesn't have to.

    Another thing I see is it potentionally alienating some people with specific eyesight conditions. I wear a multi level progressive lens. I've been diagnosed with early stage macular degeneration. I'm getting to the point where staring at things at a short distance is very difficult for me, I need correction to do it. I'm not quite sure how the headset is going to be when I have to find a specific focal point in the lens to see. I'll have to try it again sometime, the last time I tried a headset my vision was better so I'm not entirely sure if that's as big a problem as I imagine it is.

    I like that the market has an option and I suppose I don't resent certain VR specific experiences. Certain gaming enviornments are obviously made for it, but in this case it feels like Valve has this carrot on the end of the stick that they hope will force the sale of some really expensive hardware. I'm not sure it's going to work. I will admidt though, this is the first time I've ever really envied the gamers with VR.

  • CycloniteCyclonite Tampa, Florida Icrontian

    @Cliff_Forster Eyesight conditions are a fair point. I've done a bit of reading around corrective lenses with VR, as I wear single focus glasses currently. Considering that VR is technically a single distance at which to focus, I wonder if single-focus lenses would be sufficient to help you see properly in VR. I know it certainly doesn't help the cost-barrier, but you can get prescription lenses for the current headsets (as an example): https://widmovr.com/

  • kless001kless001 Midwest-USA Member

    Wouldn't turn down more of Half Life 2's magic. Highway 17 was the most immersive experience ever. Do more of that. I'm not even asking for 2020 graphics.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    I finished Alyx on Monday. It is a genuine masterpiece. Not just as a VR experience, but as a Half-Life game, it ticked all the boxes and is an essential Half-Life experience. I know many have, and will, continue to scoff at it "because VR", but holy cow. I really, really wish yall could play it and understand it.

    VR is tough because it genuinely is an "experience it to get it" thing. Like @Cyclonite was saying, I've introduced people to VR and they're all skeptics until they put the headset on and play. It changes everything once you're in. And I realize the cost for entry is high (though these days, so much lower than buying a normal game console), but once you know, you -know-. Alyx is a better game because Valve did Valve things and took VR to the absolute next level. I've seen people are trying to mod it to play Alyx in 2D, but seriously do not ruin it for yourself playing it this way. The game is completely designed around the medium of VR. To play it on a PC in 2D would be to cheat yourself of the proper experience.

    The story of Alyx is SUPER significant to the Half-Life universe, and I'd love to talk about that but I'm not gonna drop spoilers. Just know that if you're grumpy it's VR and sitting out on it purely because you only want Half-Life in 2D on the PC, you are missing out, and denying yourself of the first true Half-Life content in almost a decade and a half. I cried during the finale. It feels so good to have Half-Life back.

    Alyx is incredible and it's the kind of game we'll talk about in regards to VR as the timeline before, and after, due to the advancements the game has made the VR and gaming in general. It's so good.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    This spoiler-free review does a better job of describing why this game is so good and so important, and why its a bummer so many people won't properly experience it.

  • Oh @UPSLynx - I'll bite, tell me what hardware you played it on. I may consider looking like a dork in the comfort of my own home so I know what happens to Alyx

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    For many of us, I don't think it's "grumpiness", it's "it will cost $1000 to play this game"

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    Totes. I would LOVE to be playing Alyx right now, but money doesn't grow on trees over here, and it's a big investment into tech that has like... maybe three games released over the last decade that I'm really interested in playing.

  • Yeah, for me, I'm narrowed down to only being able to play it on a Rift S because of limited space, I can't lay cameras all around the room, so the Rift S solves that while giving a slightly lesser experience I suppose. So $400 there, then I have to ask myself if my RX590 is gonna have the chops, it's going to hit minimum spec, but... if I'm doing VR I'm probably going out and doing a GPU upgrade for another $400, the system should be fine otherwise. So that and the cost of that and a couple other VR games to justify the experience I'm out $900 and I'm not sure if I'm even going to enjoy the experience because my time in VR has been so limited. My eyesight is heavily dependent on progressive lenses so I'm not even sure if it would technically work for me.

    That said, I really, really want to play this game. I'm curious how the experience was on whatever hardware you were running.

  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian

    Apparently there's a mod out there that will allow playing without a VR headset. Might be worth checking out.

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian

    All I am aware of for removing the VR headset requirement is the console command vr_enable_fake_vr_test and the ability to enable a HUD. It breaks the glove mechanics and looks like it plays funny.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited April 2020

    "For many of us, I don't think it's "grumpiness", it's "it will cost $1000 to play this game""

    This is, for the most part, untrue in 2020. The Oculus Rift Quest is all-in-one and costs less than an Xbox and it doesn't need a PC to play at all. With the newly released link cable, you can plug it into your PC and play Rift S quality games while still having the flexibility of play where you want when you want it. I know $400 isn't cheap, but we're far and away from the days of needing $1,200+ worth of upgrades and hardware to be able to play.

    VR runs great on mid-tier PC hardware these days. It runs fine on a GeForce 1080, so if you've upgraded or rebuilt your PC in the last four years, you're probably good to go already. As the hardware has improved, the software has also lowered the previously insane high requirements to be able to play VR on your PC.

    It also helps that most VR games are priced accordingly. You won't find $60 games - most are around the $15 dollar price point. If a game is more of an hour long experience, you'll typically pay an amount that makes sense for what it is.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    "Oh @UPSLynx - I'll bite, tell me what hardware you played it on. I may consider looking like a dork in the comfort of my own home so I know what happens to Alyx"

    My current PC is:
    Not listed - GPU: 1080ti, and my M.2 is an Adata SX8200 XPG series rather than that Samsung.

    I built it about 8 months ago, so I'm not really the best person to ask in terms of scalability (I didn't build this for VR, I just wanted to rebuild with new hotness). I'm playing on the Rift S. I opted for the more "premium" experience over the Quest, though looking back I'd probably go Quest instead - Quest has gotten much better software and firmware support than the Rift S, and the freedom of playing remotely would have been nice.

    The Rift S / Quest launch was what finally got me over the line and ready to buy. Having the external sensors/cameras is a dealbreaker for me right now. I don't have the space for them currently, and in the case of the Original Rift, I didn't have 4 USB ports free for all of them. Rift S only has one cable to deal with, which splits into Display Port and USB.

    Alyx played flawlessly for me on this system, and I haven't had any issues running any other games outside of some early issues that are common with buying day one new hardware. Pretty much any issues I had around launch have been fixed via firmware and software updates. There's still a tiny bit of jank because VR still is very much in its infancy, but I'd say at this point, the VR experience has matured enough to feel like a legitimate gaming platform, rather than the "garage-made hardware for tech demo experiences" it was known for in its early days.

  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA Icrontian

    There is now an official mod for playing Alyx without VR. I would strongly suggest not playing the game like that. It really isn't worth it. The entire design of Alyx's gameplay is centered on the idea of it being in VR, so most of the game will not translate to a fun experience in 2D. The AI is dumber to account for the difficulty of combat in VR, and the game pace is quite slow because VR is largely about exploring your environment as you play. Much of Alyx's gameplay is you rummaging around in cabbinets, trash bins, and shelves looking for resources. In VR, this is fun because you're using physics to do it. Out of VR it's gotta be the dumbest feeling ever.

    If you really want to experience it and have no plans on ever getting VR, you'd be better off by watching a gameplay video on YouTube.

  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX Icrontian
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