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Half-Life: Alyx now available on Linux with Vulkan

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Just like Valve said to us they would do so, Half-Life: Alyx is now available on Linux using the Vulkan graphics API. This arrives as part of a big update that went out today which also brings in modding tools and Steam Workshop support, it's going to be very fun to see what the community comes up with for Half-Life: Alyx.

Half-Life: Alyx is Valve’s VR return to the Half-Life series. It’s the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity’s only chance for survival.

For the modding side Valve released new versions of Hammer (the Source 2 level editor), a Material Editor, a Particle Editor, Source Filmmaker and more for people to tinker with. However, these tools are usually only available on Windows. Valve did say this is only the first Beta of the Alyx Workshop tools suite though, so we may see support for that too properly in future.

If you previously used the Proton compatibility layer to play Alyx, Valve said to follow these steps to reset it to the new Linux supported build:

  • Go in the Properties for Half-Life Alyx by right-clicking the game in your Steam Library
  • Check the "Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool" box
  • Uncheck the box, and the download will properly complete.

For the Linux version, Valve are recommending an AMD GPU with the Mesa RADV driver for "best results". It may seem like Valve are giving NVIDIA the cold shoulder here but on Linux NVIDIA are missing some big quality of life features for VR. It will work with an NVIDIA GPU but the experience might not be great.

Really fantastic to see such continued Linux support from Valve. It was only earlier today in our round-up article that we listed it as an interesting upcoming game!

You can find Half-Life: Alyx on Steam, it requires a VR headset.

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anth 16 May, 2020
To explain the GPU recommendation ...

Valve's Dan Ginsberg tweeted:
QuoteI'm really pleased with how the Linux version runs on AMD RADV where we have async reprojection in SteamVR via a high priority compute queue. We look forward to getting that on NVIDIA but are awaiting driver support, so for now we recommend mesa/AMD.
I'm guessing that refers to VK_EXT_global_priority. Valve were involved with adding that to the Vulkan spec, RADV, and AMDGPU back in 2017.

Last edited by anth on 16 May 2020 at 6:34 am UTC
ElectricPrism 16 May, 2020
Celebratory Orange Box pics of my Index

Cheers, so hyped.
PlutonMaster 16 May, 2020
That was fast.
Next I need the VR set for this.
And I'll wait that game becomes cheaper.
3qET7rL9Bd 16 May, 2020
Quoting: anthI'm guessing that refers to VK_EXT_global_priority. Valve were involved with adding that to the Vulkan spec, RADV, and AMDGPU back in 2017.

I think we should take a moment here to appreciate the power of free software/open source. If AMD were locking down their drivers the same way Nvidia are it is possible we wouldn't be able to play this game today because we would have to wait for driver support from AMD too.

You hear that Nvidia and everyone else only making proprietary drivers? By allowing cooperation your products are made better.
g000h 16 May, 2020
One of my friends reckons that Half Life: Alyx is the best game he's ever played. He does play on Windows though, and has plenty of money to waste on VR equipment.
FauconNoir 16 May, 2020
I was waiting (this moment ?) to invest into VR hardware. Do you think it is now a good moment to start playing VR on Linux without having to tweak things to play ?
bubexel 16 May, 2020
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Tested on my PC with nvidia driver 4.6.0 NVIDIA 440.82.

I was expecting problems since it says it works better on AMD. But i'm really surprised, it works pretty the same as on windows, 0 reprojection at all. Only some stuttering while loading. Rest was working flawless. I didn't tried linux for VR for really long time, and steamVR now is ages from it was a pair of years ago :D now is just increible playable. I just entered to test it, and i have been playing for 3 hours XD I'm happy with this results ;D

Last edited by bubexel on 16 May 2020 at 9:14 am UTC
ironhead 16 May, 2020
Damn, was waiting for native Linux support because of some graphical glitches I experienced the middle of HL:A (which I feel kill the immersion). But I have a nvidia card, so let's see how bad it is...
Termy 16 May, 2020
wohoo, it was really hard but i wanted to wait for this :D
Time to finally try out alyx
AwesamLinux 16 May, 2020
I had no interest in VR until seeing gameplay videos of Half-Life Alyx, because the shooting parts of it reminded me of classic on-rails light gun shooters. The appeal to me is aiming like a gun with a controller. Seriously I love classic light gun games like House of the Dead, Time Crisis, Space Gun, Mad Dog McCree, and Duck Hunt. A good on-rails VR shooter would have a lot of appeal to me.

I just duck²god this and looks I'm not the first one to have thought of this. I have to do some further research on if the index controllers can be used with emulators for old light-gun games, perhaps some people here already tried it? :)
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