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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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Ehvis 16 May, 2020
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Quoting: PatolaHow do you do that? "Legacy" reprojection?

It's a setting in the per app graphics settings.
Oet_ 16 May, 2020
Som
Quoting: PatolaI bought the Valve Index because it's the only one which officially support Linux (besides being one of the best).
Same here. Unfortunately the last few months my Valve Index freezes my entire Linux system as soon as I hit that "VR" button in Steam. I remember this usedn't be the case. No problems in Windows though. Have to figure out which log file I have to post on which support site.

I wanted to test HL:A in Linux, but first have to fix this "niche within a niche" bug. Although VR is possible in Linux, it is this the main reason I have to constantly switch to Windows, which seems a bit old fashioned to me. :)
tuubi 16 May, 2020
Quoting: FaalhaasUnfortunately the last few months my Valve Index freezes my entire Linux system as soon as I hit that "VR" button in Steam.
I got a Steam client update popup this morning with "- Fixed hang on SteamVR startup." in the release notes. Not relevant for me, but maybe for you?
Oet_ 16 May, 2020
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: FaalhaasUnfortunately the last few months my Valve Index freezes my entire Linux system as soon as I hit that "VR" button in Steam.
I got a Steam client update popup this morning with "- Fixed hang on SteamVR startup." in the release notes. Not relevant for me, but maybe for you?
Thank you very much. Since this release note relates to SteamVR Beta, I first switched to Beta. It first froze (again), but after a reboot it started working! I am now downloading HL:A to test if it is playable natively.
Oet_ 16 May, 2020
Quoting: FaalhaasI am now downloading HL:A to test if it is playable natively.
Well, looks like it is. I just played HL:A natively on Linux. :)

Although, like in most VR games, Linux has a bit more stuttering in VR than in Windows overall. Might be performance related.
tuubi 16 May, 2020
Quoting: Faalhaas
Quoting: FaalhaasI am now downloading HL:A to test if it is playable natively.
Well, looks like it is. I just played HL:A natively on Linux. :)

Although, like in most VR games, Linux has a bit more stuttering in VR than in Windows overall. Might be performance related.
Valve does note that performance is not great on Nvidia hardware, like Liam says in the article.
Oet_ 16 May, 2020
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: Faalhaas
Quoting: FaalhaasI am now downloading HL:A to test if it is playable natively.
Well, looks like it is. I just played HL:A natively on Linux. :)

Although, like in most VR games, Linux has a bit more stuttering in VR than in Windows overall. Might be performance related.
Valve does note that performance is not great on Nvidia hardware, like Liam says in the article.
Yes, he did. Lately, I am getting more and more convinced to go for an AMD card next upgrade, since I am both a Linux and a VR user. Looking forward to that AMD Big Navi or Navi 2x or RDNA 2 or whatever it is called. :)
slaapliedje 16 May, 2020
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Quoting: PlutonMasterThat was fast.
Next I need the VR set for this.
And I'll wait that game becomes cheaper.
In case someone else hasn't beaten me to it...

If you buy the Index, you get the game for free.
slaapliedje 16 May, 2020
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Shit, while I don't really want to, I may have to switch to an AMD card, what's the latest/greatest at this point?
ElectricPrism 17 May, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeShit, while I don't really want to, I may have to switch to an AMD card, what's the latest/greatest at this point?

My recent GPU history is
2x GTX 970
1x RX 480
2x RX 580
2x RX 590
2x RX VEGA 64

I was thinking of getting a RX 5700 XT -- I think it depends on whether or not the juce is worth the squeeze. You can find deals. I would love a 5700 XT but I try to skip a generation between upgrades to get more value out of my card, and then hand-me down them to other local Linux users I know because I know the drivers make the Linux Experience a much MUCH better one than closed.

I really have no complaints other than the first 6 months of a new GPU release might be a bumpy ride if it's not your thing, but there is 0 chance presently that any of my Destkop Linux, Gaming Linux or Server Linux will go back to Nvidia with their closed-blob driver -- I highly recommend AMD on Linux -- the experience far exceeds AMD vs Nvidia on Windows, their open driver is just damn fucking good.

The RX 5XX is VERY stable. Vega was a little touchy at first and is Gen-1, but it's in good shape now. For me I'm gonna skip the 5700 for now -- if I was gonna get new I would definitely target 5700 XT especially if your display is 4k.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 17 May 2020 at 1:29 am UTC
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