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Half-Life Alyx

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Hey it just popped back in my mind that one of the challenges with VR is the player's height, as that affects scale of the environment etc.

What do they do in HL:A in this regard? Are the spaces built to accommodate taller people, the whole map is scaled up in proportion...?

Edited by blackdog

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For those playing with the devkit... you still need a VR headset or can you somewhat test the maps as a normal game? My understanding was there's no non-hacky way to play without VR but I haven't researched

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1 hour ago, blackdog said:

For those playing with the devkit... you still need a VR headset or can you somewhat test the maps as a normal game? My understanding was there's no non-hacky way to play without VR but I haven't researched

You can fire up the editor in non-vr mode. This allows you to walk around the map with WSAD.

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7 hours ago, Lizard said:

You can fire up the editor in non-vr mode. This allows you to walk around the map with WSAD.

Thanks, but I guess that was to be expected, I don't think any VR developer needs or expects VR-only tools... that would suck hard I think.

What I mean, I guess there's no way you can run the fully compiled map in the game in at least some sort of "spectator mode" to see the scenes look as intended.

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7 minutes ago, blackdog said:

Thanks, but I guess that was to be expected, I don't think any VR developer needs or expects VR-only tools... that would suck hard I think.

What I mean, I guess there's no way you can run the fully compiled map in the game in at least some sort of "spectator mode" to see the scenes look as intended.

As I said in my previous post. You can run around like you normally would in HEV suit using WSAD or noclip throu level

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Finished this yesterday, decided to give it at least a day before talking about it on here.

I played it on the Oculus Rift S, which is a really amazing piece of hardware. I've had some very limited VR experiences in friends houses, but it was the very first time I've had the time to really sit down and appreciate it.... or rather stand up.

The room VR is really awesome, I love that the Rift S didn't make me install those annoying sensors on my walls, putting even more cables in the room. Never, not even once during this 14 hour long campaign had problems with controllers or headset tracking, so the sensors on this thing work really well. Also relatively impressed with the built in speakers on the headset, while not too loud or bassy, the surround sound really feels great, and it's actually useful for gameplay too.

The screen is ok, 80hz refresh rate is sorta noticable but you quickly forget about it. What I didn't like is that the resolution and screendoor effect still needs to be at least twice the quality of what we have here to really start to be impressive. I sometimes would take the headset off and glimpse at my monitor and it looks so much better there, color depth, sharpness, etc. But, the exchange of picture quality for full immersion was really worth it here I think... I mean, it's one of the most immersive experiences I've ever had with a video game, it sometimes really feels like you've been transported into another simulation, and not a very uplifting one either, the combine really fucked earth up. Lmao.

Btw, I did experience some nausea on my first day, it lingered for a few hours too, which sucked. But now, it's completely fine, I don't even feel that eerie feeling when taking off the headset and returning to reality anymore.

Anyway, the game... it took me a full hour, or probably more just to get to Russell's apartment, I was tossing bottles at the walls, throwing pots at cats, sketching penises on a glass window with a marker, reading newspapers, and just grabbing shit... I legit felt like a kid that just received the most amazing toy on Christmas morning, lol.

It's a really polished game, the level design is really well done, and it works really well for VR. Sometimes it falls on the claustrophobic side, and lacking any meaningful exploration paths. When the levels do (rarely) open up a little bit, it feels great to just move around and take it all in. But I'm also well aware of the technical limitations of the platform.

Spoiler

 

In terms of themes, I'd say it probably features one too many train stations but in good Half Life fashion, just when you're starting to get bored of the theme you're on, the game throws you into something new and fresh. The first time you see the Northenstar hotel facade is really jaw dropping, and getting inside it and finally taking that tower down it really feels like you went on a journey.

The Xen like alien fauna on those environments is really well done too, you can almost smell the stench. Seeing it wobble and shine to the light is so fucking cool. Also, when you see all that dust in the air, I felt like holding my breath and reach for my antihistamine, lol.

The combat felt really good, I played on hard and died a few times. I gotta say, getting shot at in VR really took some getting used to, I felt like a pussy peaking from corners trying to land a shot on those combine soldiers, ahah. So terrifying, but you eventually get the hang of it and start doing some Gunkata moves and feel like a badass, specially once you unlock laser sight for your guns.

I did not mind at all that the game only had 3 weapons, in fact I'm glad. It would have been too much, took me hours to master the 3 the game gave me already.

As for the VR puzzles, maybe I personally would reduce the amount of them a little bit, but I actually didn't mind them at all, was a nice break in pacing. I would at least get red of the puzzle to unlock the combine safes. I would have liked to see more typical puzzles, like the one you need to descend that corpse to pick up the shotgun, I was like. Fuck yeah more of that.

I need to stress how much I appreciated the pacing in this game, it's always throwing new shit at you and surprising you. The flashlight level gave me goosebumps, and running away from Jeff and finally fucking him up will probably go down as one of the most memorable moments that I've spent with a video game too. The first time you trap him inside that one room, and he keeps pounding at the door, you feel so smart and scared at the same time... eventually you realize you need to release him out of there to complete a electrical wire puzzle, and it's like aaahhhh, you fuckers. Lol

The story was dope, but lighter than I thought it was going to be. There still a lot of unanswered questions about the 7 day war, wheres Kleiner? What happened to Russel between this and the events of HL2? Where does Alyx go in the end after she saves her father? She does obviously returns because she's present during HL2, or did we just create another parallel universe where Eli survives the attack? I do think that bringing Eli back from the dead after 14 years felt a little bit like a deus ex machina plot device, but I never really liked cliffhanger endings in anything, so...

Gotta say, picking up that crowbar after the credits really put a grin on my face man!

 

Overall, I'm glad I updated my PC and got a VR headset for this. Don't regret it one bit, amazing experience. And now... we have source 2 to play around with, lets go baby.

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On 5/24/2020 at 8:08 AM, [HP] said:

I played it on the Oculus Rift S, which is a really amazing piece of hardware. I've had some very limited VR experiences in friends houses, but it was the very first time I've had the time to really sit down and appreciate it.... or rather stand up.

That sounds really interesting to someone who doesn't have a VR headset yet. Price seems OK, no complex setup...Too bad it's currently sold out everywhere around here :( What's the software lineup like? Any significant differences between the platforms?

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On 5/26/2020 at 11:23 AM, FrieChamp said:

That sounds really interesting to someone who doesn't have a VR headset yet. Price seems OK, no complex setup...Too bad it's currently sold out everywhere around here :( What's the software lineup like? Any significant differences between the platforms?

The great thing about Oculus headsets is that you have direct support for games from both Oculus Store and Steam. So there's plenty of options.

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Ye, all this praise, and other info I had in the running up to the Alyx release, tempted me about the Oculus, I could pay that price... problem is I would also need to upgrade my computer. This whole workshop business though is really exciting and tempting, feels like going back to the first times post HL and HL2 release.

One thing I wonder is if is possible to use your own headphones with these headsets... when you shelled out for decent ones you just want to use those, the ones mounted on the headsets don't seem able to put out the necessary punch for great enjoyment.

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1 hour ago, blackdog said:

Ye, all this praise, and other info I had in the running up to the Alyx release, tempted me about the Oculus, I could pay that price... problem is I would also need to upgrade my computer. This whole workshop business though is really exciting and tempting, feels like going back to the first times post HL and HL2 release.

You just need to make sure you have a decent graphics card.

1 hour ago, blackdog said:

One thing I wonder is if is possible to use your own headphones with these headsets... when you shelled out for decent ones you just want to use those, the ones mounted on the headsets don't seem able to put out the necessary punch for great enjoyment.

Index has headphones built it, didn't test them, but seems like they're decent. Rift S has speakers embedded with the headset band, meh sound, great surround.

Both have a audio jack on the headset itself:

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