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Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx

The big Half-Life interview on Eurogamer.net talks with game designer Robin Walker and level designer Corey Peters about Half-Life: Alyx and Valve in general. As the title of the piece indicates, this is a wide-ranging conversation. One topic of interest that comes up is a question about how they would feel if modders removed the VR requirement from the new game, which Robin interestingly says he would welcome:
I so want them to do that! I'm so excited to see that! There are a lot of people on the team who have asked this question many times. It's going to happen, and I can't wait. To some extent, everything we just described is about what does VR as a platform and experience bring to the table? And if that is not significant, then it's not interesting? We believe it's significant and interesting. And there's no better way than to play this game in non VR, I think, than to experience that. Of course, a bunch of people on the team probably will be super unhappy with me because they're worried about this. But we can't stop them. I think it would be a lot of work.
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33. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 25, 2020, 08:51  Beamer 
 
bhcompy wrote on Mar 25, 2020, 01:42:
Sepharo wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:39:
He couched it as an experiment, but he believes he knows the outcome already.

They always think they do. People designing user experiences always believe that their way is the best because of some study or some experience or some focus group. That said, there's always novel approaches to handling things, which is why modding is great, because Valve is just one very small group of people and they can't have every idea.

Again, though, this isn't a particularly special game, but its VR makes it special. Much like the motion controls made Wii Bowling special.

Porting it to something that takes away what makes it special is a dumb idea. It isn't "knowing better," it's that something is designed to be distinctive solely because of X, and removing X makes it bland and generic.
 



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32. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 25, 2020, 08:20 Undocumented Alien
 
Luke wrote on Mar 25, 2020, 04:23:
Drayth wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:51:
Let me tell you about an experience you can only have in VR.

I start the game on the railed balcony most of you have probably seen by now.

I spend the first 5 - 10 minutes tweaking settings, getting everything perfect for moving forward. From there I decided to just relax and take in the site. There's a lawn chair you can pretend sit on; a radio you can tune (the antenna works too); cans you can crush, etc.. Finally I decide to throw a glass beer bottle off the side, so I do while leaning on the railing so I can watch it fall...

...except the railing doesn't actually exist so I fall flat on my side.

No joke.

This actually happened. My instinctive desire to lean on the railing + a split second of being completely lost in the moment gave me a (dumb ass) gaming moment I will never forget.

Well guess it was worth the 1000$+ to experience that.......

Oculus Quest can do this for $399 with a PC that can run HL:A today.
 
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31. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 25, 2020, 04:25 Wesp5
 
Fantaz wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 19:38:
I actually love Trespasser, as bad as it was...

In my opinion it wasn't as bad as most people think, also there are a lot of recent games where you e.g. need to open doors manually with the mouse. The Amnesia series and many walking simulators come to mind so it's not impossible to port this from VR...
 
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30. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 25, 2020, 04:23 Luke
 
Drayth wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:51:
Let me tell you about an experience you can only have in VR.

I start the game on the railed balcony most of you have probably seen by now.

I spend the first 5 - 10 minutes tweaking settings, getting everything perfect for moving forward. From there I decided to just relax and take in the site. There's a lawn chair you can pretend sit on; a radio you can tune (the antenna works too); cans you can crush, etc.. Finally I decide to throw a glass beer bottle off the side, so I do while leaning on the railing so I can watch it fall...

...except the railing doesn't actually exist so I fall flat on my side.

No joke.

This actually happened. My instinctive desire to lean on the railing + a split second of being completely lost in the moment gave me a (dumb ass) gaming moment I will never forget.

Well guess it was worth the 1000$+ to experience that.......
 
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29. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 25, 2020, 01:42  bhcompy 
 
Sepharo wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:39:
He couched it as an experiment, but he believes he knows the outcome already.

They always think they do. People designing user experiences always believe that their way is the best because of some study or some experience or some focus group. That said, there's always novel approaches to handling things, which is why modding is great, because Valve is just one very small group of people and they can't have every idea.
 
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28. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 19:38 Fantaz
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 18:40:
You want HL: Alyx without the VR? Go find a copy of Jurassic Park: Trespasser. That's how it would play. Remember we used to call that game Arm Simulator 2000? Yeah. What fun that game was.

I actually love Trespasser, as bad as it was...
 
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27. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 19:23 Drayth
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 18:40:
You want HL: Alyx without the VR? Go find a copy of Jurassic Park: Trespasser. That's how it would play. Remember we used to call that game Arm Simulator 2000? Yeah. What fun that game was.

So ahead of it's time (and peripherals).
 
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26. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 18:40 Agent.X7
 
You want HL: Alyx without the VR? Go find a copy of Jurassic Park: Trespasser. That's how it would play. Remember we used to call that game Arm Simulator 2000? Yeah. What fun that game was.  
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25. removed Mar 24, 2020, 18:32 HoSpanky
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Mar 24, 2020, 18:48.
 
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24. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 17:52 Sepharo
 
Wesp5 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:55:
Sepharo wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:39:
His point was, you're going to see how dumb this game is without VR and therefore he welcomes that.

So what he and you are saying is that as a normal game HL:A is dumb, but as a VR gimmick it is great?

Port Mario 64 to 2D.
 
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23. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 16:55 Wesp5
 
Sepharo wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:39:
His point was, you're going to see how dumb this game is without VR and therefore he welcomes that.

So what he and you are saying is that as a normal game HL:A is dumb, but as a VR gimmick it is great?
 
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22. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 16:51 Drayth
 
Let me tell you about an experience you can only have in VR.

I start the game on the railed balcony most of you have probably seen by now.

I spend the first 5 - 10 minutes tweaking settings, getting everything perfect for moving forward. From there I decided to just relax and take in the site. There's a lawn chair you can pretend sit on; a radio you can tune (the antenna works too); cans you can crush, etc.. Finally I decide to throw a glass beer bottle off the side, so I do while leaning on the railing so I can watch it fall...

...except the railing doesn't actually exist so I fall flat on my side.

No joke.

This actually happened. My instinctive desire to lean on the railing + a split second of being completely lost in the moment gave me a (dumb ass) gaming moment I will never forget.
 
Avatar 36713
 
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21. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 16:39 Sepharo
 
bhcompy wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 16:13:
RedEye9 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 13:43:
bhcompy wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 13:15:
theglaze wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 12:43:

Convert that experience to M+KB, and you may as well replay HL2.

Granted that's what many people want. Ep3, HL3, whatever.
O.K., but Valve did not make that game.
People have been wanting a 3 for over a decade.

Yes, but that's what people want, and the game supports modding, so people will make it, which is the entire point of what Robin Walker said

You seem to have missed the point of what he said...
His point was, you're going to see how dumb this game is without VR and therefore he welcomes that.
He couched it as an experiment, but he believes he knows the outcome already.
 
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20. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 16:13  bhcompy 
 
RedEye9 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 13:43:
bhcompy wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 13:15:
theglaze wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 12:43:

Convert that experience to M+KB, and you may as well replay HL2.

Granted that's what many people want. Ep3, HL3, whatever.
O.K., but Valve did not make that game.
People have been wanting a 3 for over a decade.

Yes, but that's what people want, and the game supports modding, so people will make it, which is the entire point of what Robin Walker said
 
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19. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 15:53  jdreyer 
 
RedEye9 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 11:53:
I'm waiting on m/kb Beat Saber and Skyrim VR.


Your wait is half over, anyway.
 
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18. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 15:24  RedEye9 
 
jdreyer wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 15:12:
Tipsy McStagger wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 14:39:
People bitching about VR are like people bitching about 3D FPS games instead of side scrollers... Welcome to progression.

Luke, you mad at life? You bitch about everything.

He just likes to stir the pot.
With a fork that doesn't reach the bottom of the cup.

You already gave the best answer mr.Jdreyer
 
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17. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 15:24 Undocumented Alien
 
theglaze wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 12:43:
VR is what makes the game fun (so far). Let me describe my first death.

There were a group of barnacles blocking my path forward, long tongues touching the ground. I don't have enough ammo to shoot my way through, so I need to find objects to toss into the traps.

That's all classic HL2 gameplay.

I see a dead body, and figure, why not this guy? I teleport to exactly where I want to stand, barnacle to my left and the body to my right. I reach out with my hands and start pulling the legs of the dead guy. Then I notice a glowing collectible under the body, so I walk closer and pick that up. Back to the task, I start pulling the body again but realize now that it's stuck. I reposition myself and give it a big heave... and finally things start to move... but I'm being hoisted up! I must have backed my butt right into the barnacle, and I'm getting higher by the second.

I look up and and its teeth are chomping, saliva raining down. I desperately switch to my pistol, and fire off a handful of rounds in a panic. They all miss. My pistol is empty and I fumble to put in another clip. Things are getting darker, and I drop the ammo! I watch it bounce on the ground while sloppy teeth bite above me. I have enough time to look up and cringe to the sight and sound of my own decapitation.

Classic HL2 death, but in VR, it felt completely different.

Convert that experience to M+KB, and you may as well replay HL2.

Well said!

As a holiday present, I bought my 12 y/o son the Oculus Quest, which of course I had to try for myself. I've been playing video games since the Atari 2600 and I find myself saying, "Oh wow!", quite often with Oculus Quest as the whole VR scene is new to me and I'm blown away by how immersive of an experience it is. Vader Immortal was just amazing and really showed me what VR can do.

I will need to upgrade my home PC to play Alyx (using a link cable with the Oculus Quest) but look very much forward to it.

EDIT: I have played SkyrimVR with my PC + Oculus Quest, just an awesome experience!
 
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16. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 15:12  jdreyer 
 
Tipsy McStagger wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 14:39:
People bitching about VR are like people bitching about 3D FPS games instead of side scrollers... Welcome to progression.

Luke, you mad at life? You bitch about everything.

He just likes to stir the pot.
 
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15. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 14:39  Tipsy McStagger 
 
People bitching about VR are like people bitching about 3D FPS games instead of side scrollers... Welcome to progression.

Luke, you mad at life? You bitch about everything.
 
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14. Re: Valve on Modding VR Out of Half-Life: Alyx Mar 24, 2020, 14:23  jdreyer 
 
Wesp5 wrote on Mar 24, 2020, 11:29:
Very interesting, so why didn't Valve do it themselves? You just can't tell me that it wouldn't have been possible to develop VR and not VR side by side! Of course Valve wouldn't sell as much VR gear if this would have happened...
Because you can't make the best VR game if you compromise it to also be non-VR. It affects everything: level design, mechanics, enemy AI, difficulty, etc. etc. Some one will do this, and it won't be very good.
 
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