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To celebrate one year, Half-Life: Alyx is the cheapest it's ever been

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For those who are lucky enough to have a VR kit, Valve's Half-Life: Alyx has today hit one year old and so Valve are doing a small celebration. Despite it still not advertising Linux support on the store page, just a reminder that Valve did add a Linux version with Vulkan support back in May 2020.

The community around the game has built up since Valve updated it post-released with Steam Workshop support, with over 800 mods now available for Alyx. Sifting through it, Valve teamed up with guest writer Craig Pearson to point out some of the top mods going.

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Valve noted in their celebratory post that it gained a number of awards including:

  • GameSpot: Game of the Year 2020
  • Destructoid: PC Platform Game of the Year
  • The Game Awards: Best VR/AR Game
  • VR Focus Awards: Game of the Year
  • 2020 VR Awards: Game of the Year

Since it's a Half-Life game and it was meant to really showcase a true VR experience, it's not exactly surprising that it did well overall with over 45,000 user reviews on Steam giving it an Overwhelmingly Positive score which makes it number 15 currently on the Steam Top 250 chart.

Additionally Half-Life: Alyx is 40% off until March 31 to celebrate, which is the lowest price for it yet.

Hopefully though, for those of us where VR is out of reach for various reasons that some of Valve's upcoming games that Gabe Newell mentioned will be more…flat so we don't miss out.

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Eike Mar 24, 2021
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I wonder if making Alyx cheaper is making any sense though. :-D Is there a single player that bought a VR set for many hundreds of bucks but didn't want to buy the game that's supposed to be the best for VR?!?
dubigrasu Mar 24, 2021
From what I understand there's already a way to play it on the flat screen, but the game is not gonna be fun at all.
Is not about controls and technical details, is the whole game, the whole gaming experience is designed around VR.
No matter how many clever controls are implemented to replace the VR ones, the game is gonna suck. In order to adapt it to flat screen controls, the game itself, the whole story and the flow of the events need to be re-designed. Basically, Alyx on VR is an an awesome game, on flat screen is an unusual mediocre one leaving you scratching your head, WTF is this?
I'm not gonna ruin the game by playing it on the flat screen, I'll just wait until some day I'll get a VR set, and only then I'm gonna play it.

Last edited by dubigrasu on 24 March 2021 at 8:24 am UTC
Joeg1484 Mar 24, 2021
Quoting: LanzIs VR still a major pain to get running on Linux?

Honestly, no... I just reinstalled and all I do is install Steam, SteamVR, Alyx, and pay. Im on Manjaro, so I can only speculate that its just as easy on other distros.

Arehandoro Mar 24, 2021
If only the 40% discount was for SteamVR...
Ehvis Mar 24, 2021
Quoting: TheSHEEEPEvery action you mention here could be implemented with a normal mouse click + kb. Or a chain of clicking, holding, etc.
It would definitely be doable via simplification. Valve just decided not to do it, probably because of multiple reasons.

Here a better reason then: the game is paced and balanced around you having to do a lot of physical movement. From ducking, picking up items to reloading guns and arming grenades. This makes you a great deal slower and more vulnerable than you would every be in a kbm controlled game. Playing this with traditional mechanics and without the added immersion would probably be just boring. It needs the added panic of you trying get save because it requires more than a few small finger movements.
Arten Mar 24, 2021
Quoting: slaapliedje
Quoting: Guestwish they released a version that didn't need vr. can't see it being hard to make it usable with a mouse and keyboard.
Having recently beaten the game... it is full on designed around VR. You have 'gravity gloves' that yank things into your hands from a distance. There are fights where you have to duck behind objects and shoot at enemies. It's incredibly intense, and the experience wouldn't be anywhere near as good with a mouse / keyboard. There are even alien exploding balls that you can hold in your hand, until you squeeze them, then you have a few seconds to throw them before they blow up. Even cooler, you have to try to snatch them quickly from the grasp of the weird tentacle thing that is holding them.

Even the feel of throwing actual grenades is enhanced by having it in VR.

Xen granades... i love bring box full of thease thinks with me :-)
Its another VR think. In one hand you can hold basket/box/... with items (granades, medkit),... how do this without VR?
whatever Mar 24, 2021
Quoting: ArtenXen granades... i love bring box full of thease thinks with me :-)

So I was not the only one!
Corben Mar 24, 2021
Unfortunately the new Bioshock: Return to Rapture mod from the workshop doesn't work. I had to switch to the proton version, which still has issues with crashing on level transitions. Also using Vulkan as default renderer crashes the game with proton right away.

I wish they'd either fix the mod support in the Linux version, or fix Proton to make HL:A work flawless. Atm it's a... well, you need to be patient and have a high frustration level ;)

Also it's not possible for me to capture the native HL:A Vulkan window with OBS. Capturing a Vulkan DXVK window works. I capture the VR mirrow view, but though it has a higher FoV, it's lacking some nice features like smoothing the cam movement.

Otherwise HL:A is THE best VR game out there (at least story based VR game).

Last edited by Corben on 24 March 2021 at 10:53 am UTC
Beamboom Mar 24, 2021
Quoting: LanzIs VR still a major pain to get running on Linux?
This seems to very much depend on your setup. A while ago there was an article here on GOL where the author had his fair share of issues with a multi-monitor setup (and AMD card I think?).
For me, I have a single screen and a Nvidia card on Ubuntu and it was practically plug'n'play, it all went surprisingly smooth. So I guess it "depends".

It's also worth noting that VR games - for whatever reason - seem to work particularly well on Proton. There's not many (Windows) VR games at all I've not gotten to work straight out of the box.

Last edited by Beamboom on 24 March 2021 at 11:57 am UTC
Eike Mar 24, 2021
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Quoting: BeamboomIt's also worth noting that VR games - for whatever reason - seem to work particularly well on Proton. There's not many (Windows) VR games at all I've not gotten to work straight out of the box.

Interesting observation. Wonder if it's by chance or something systematic. I guess the company's start applications don't play a big role in VR. And maybe something about the 3D they're forced to do right for VR?
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