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Thread: Half-Life: Alyx, "flagship VR game"

  1. #51
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    It's very, very good, and once more it feels like Valve are showing people how it's done.
    I too skipped Doom Eternal for this and am glad I did so.

    Graphically, it's astonishing, and that first bit with Alyx on the balcony had me gawping. Before I threw a bottle at a pigeon.
    Being able to duck and weave still feels great in VR, and the flick-catch of the Russels is, as Thirith says, just perfect.

    A few criticisms:
    The audio effect when an item attaches to your backpack could do with being louder.
    The guns are a little too fiddly for my liking. I get they're going for those panic moments, but when you first get the shotgun, it's almost too fiddly to bother with.
    And speaking of the shotgun, the first upgrade, the laser sight, looks cool when you first get it, but just plain doesn't work when you need it. In fact, it actively makes the gun worse, as with the laser sight attached, you can't see your regular iron sights. With the benefit of hindsight, I would save the upgrade material for later upgrades.
    It's incredibly linear, and quite claustrophobically narrow. Maybe it opens up a bit later, but at the moment it feels like one long, thin corridor.

    But these are outweighed by the sheer amount of polish and prowess on display. Is it finally VR's killer app? Personally, I'm not sure yet. Superhot's still probably my favourite overall VR experience.
    But I have no doubt that it will make an incredible splash, and possibly be the title that finally makes VR go properly mainstream. And given the climate it's been released in, I'm sure it'll get a lot more press and play than it would have had we not all been self-isolating.

    But really, it's just so good to see Valve back in the saddle an giving us a proper game again.

    I predict the next Half-Life will be the one with mind-control, given Gabe's enthusiasm for brain-computer interfaces

    Edit: Oh, and I'm playing on Rift CV1 with Touch Controllers. No graphical problems, and flawless controller implementation.

    Edit 2: And yes Renz, it does offer the option to move smoothly with the sticks. I'm not using that myself, instead sticking with blink, but I would imagine it's fine if you have your VR legs.

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    I would imagine it's fine if you have your VR legs.
    That's all it is really. I switched to shift for about 10 minutes but found it didnt' add anything on top of blink and made me very mildly uncomfortable. With the vive wands the continuous traversal is too jarring for me. I'm surprised they didn't include even a mild ADSR envelope to the movement, but at least you can vary your speed with the touchpad and/or analog sticks.

    This game makes me wish I could play my vive with oculus touch controllers. I like them so much better. Too bad they didn't include that weird 2 handed arm swingy method that some of those indie games are doing. I still haven't experienced that yet.

    I've been thinking about this recently. HL2 was overshadowed at launch by Halo 2. But it's definitely the more influential game in the long term. Not much fanfare about the release of Alyx compared to Doom or ResEvil3, but I think it breaks a lot more ground.

    I don't know if this means we might get HL3 someday, but if it ends up being a VR app like this. I won't be disappointed. It's good stuff.

    I only just started fighting with combine troops properly, and I haven't quite found the swing of it. I'm getting my ass handed to me, but the firefights are genuinely frantic and intense.

  3. #53
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    Edit 2: And yes Renz, it does offer the option to move smoothly with the sticks. I'm not using that myself, instead sticking with blink, but I would imagine it's fine if you have your VR legs.
    Damnit. I'm gonna have one of these damn VR headsets, aren't I?

  4. #54
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    If you do go for one, the Rift S is probably the best for price/performance at the moment. To be honest, I have no idea how the Vive or Index sell when the Rift's so much cheaper and with great controllers out of the box.
    But having said that and just doing a check, looks like everyone else thinks the same, as it's out of stock everywhere.

  5. #55
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    For the record, I'm playing on Oculus Rift S using smooth locomotion (hand orientation). It's working really well for me, though yes, compared to the Knuckles controllers you can't flip off the Combine with Touch controllers. I'll live.

    Natural Locomotion has just updated their software, and one of the additions is a profile for Alyx. I'll check it out over the weekend.

  6. #56
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    If you still have your CV1 Thirith, I'd be interested in hearing how you feel the two headsets compare for Alyx.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Oh, I sold that one last year, to a friend who then went on to buy a Rift S herself... It's difficult to compare directly, but when I'd just got the Rift S, my impression was that the black levels are worse (which is somewhat bothersome with games like Elite, but I didn't think it was a big negative), the 80Hz refresh rate makes things a teensy bit less smooth in VR and the sound solution is obviously worse, even if it means you're less cut off from the outside world (though I bought some headphones designed for PSVR, and they're fine) - but the easier setup and lack of outside sensors (which also means way fewer cables) more than outweigh that for me, and the image strikes me as clearer and cleaner, for want of a better word. Though I wouldn't be able to say how Alyx would compare specifically.

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    I just finished it.

    If you have the means, this is the reason to buy VR.

    I think I'll open another thread to talk about spoilery things. I'm still reeling from the emotional payoff at the end.

    It's real folks. If you wanted the real continuation of Half Life Valve has knocked it out of the park.
    it has flaws, but HL always did.

    It's worth the price of admission, and I get the feeling the next games in the series will be VR.

  9. #59
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Totally unimportant detail, but I love the Valve logo in VR. That slow movement of the head at the end... The whole thing somehow reminds me of the giant in Time Bandits with the ship on his head.

  10. #60
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    AAAAAAGH I CANT RESIST THE HYYYYYYYPEEEEEEEEE

    bought and downloading

    btw are you guys playing standing or sitting? I'm usually a standing guy but I think TWDSS might've converted me to a sit-guy. I think it might be better for these longer, more in-depth games.

  11. #61
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Standing all the way. I very much prefer to turn by turning my head/body, and if I did that while sitting down, I'd quickly get tangled up in the cable, added to which there are drawers that are further down and things on shelves; not sure how they'd handle that if you're sitting.

  12. #62
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2016
    Holy fuck.
    Just finished it.
    In every level, everytime I think they reach a creative peak, Valve basically goes "y'all mind if I scoot over here alittle and RAISE THE BAR AGAIN?"
    Also that ending.

  13. #63
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    Standing all the way. I very much prefer to turn by turning my head/body, and if I did that while sitting down, I'd quickly get tangled up in the cable, added to which there are drawers that are further down and things on shelves; not sure how they'd handle that if you're sitting.
    TWDSS handles it by having a crouch button. Yeah I know it sounds weird for a VR game to have a crouch button but it totally works and doesn't feel weird at all. In fact I also find that smooth locomotion is less nauseating when playing seated. Probably because at that point you feel disconnected enough from what you see in the game that your brain no longer has trouble deciding what's real or not.

  14. #64
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I can definitely see that. Boneworks also had a crouch button. For me, though, I prefer to minimise the disconnect between what I do in the game and what I do physically. Which isn't always comfortable, granted, and especially my knees aren't always happy about all the crouching.

  15. #65
    Member
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Deck 4 Cargo Bays
    Looks like this is the game that will drag me, kicking and screaming, into the VR revolution. At least I'll be in good hands with Valve. Also, props to whoever designed the title font: I see what you did there with the 'y'

  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2003
    Location: Darmstadt, Germany
    For those of you who (like me) don't have a VR rig, here's the next best thing (must have Steam running for it to work).

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    ...I'm going to start scheming to have a sleepover with my friend who has an entire room set aside for VR. And by "scheming," I mean "asking awkwardly the next time we go deep on videogames."

  18. #68
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    That's what they call "friends with benefits", right? ...Sleep over, go deep...

  19. #69
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Dirty.

  20. #70
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    That's what they call "friends with benefits", right? ...Sleep over, go deep...
    ...Pretty much.

  21. #71
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok I'm 2 hours in now. Played standing/smooth locomotion for most of the first hour, then teleport, then sitting/smooth locomotion. If your belly can handle it, I really recommend smooth locomotion.

    On the technical side, I've had 2 crashes to desktop. The game recommended I go with Low Quality settings and that's been working fine.

    As for the game itself, it's uh... what everone else has been saying. It's great. Just got to the part where you get the flashlight and the monsters introduced in that part give me the heebie jeebies.

  22. #72
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Just got to the part where you get the flashlight and the monsters introduced in that part give me the heebie jeebies.
    It's deliciously evil that they introduce that particular bastard at that point.

  23. #73
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Sevastapol Station
    I started a 2nd playthrough, this time I'm trying smooth locomotion.
    I haven't had a single hiccup as far as performance goes, other than I only had room to install it on a HDD, so loading times really suck. I didn't touch the video settings at all, so they're set to whatever they defaulted to with my system. (i7 7700K, GTX 1080, 32g ddr4)
    Zero frame drops or stuttering. Every once in awhile one of my hands wigs out for tracking, but that's just because I put my light boxes a bit farther apart than they're supposed to go. They're probably 2 or 3 feet further apart than what they say is max, but I have them connected with the sync cable, so it rarely gets upset about it.
    I changed my chaperone to minimal, so when I get close it's just the outline of the box and a single line horizontally through the center. I'm finding with smooth locomotion I am approaching the boundary WAY less often. I punched a table at one point a couple days ago using blink because in combat I seem to stop paying attention to the chaperone. I haven't had similar problems this time through.

    I really do wish that they'd give you the option of a quick ramp down when you release the d pad though. I think I'm getting more of a shock from the sudden instant stop than I am from the locomotion.

  24. #74
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok just played 2 more hours in one go, without any crashes or nausea, I'm pleased to report. I freed up a lot of space on my harddrive, that might've helped. I liked this game for the first couple of hours, but now I'm hooked. I'd keep playing if it weren't getting kinda late.

    Posted some shootout gameplay here.

  25. #75
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Arm-swinging locomotion with Natural Locomotion works reasonably well, but for a game where you use your hands a lot it's not ideal. (It's perfectly fine with something like Skyrim VR, where you spend a lot of time just walking/running.) I'm hoping that the NatLoc guys will find a way of using data from the Kat Loco devices, because then I could just walk by walking in place; Kat Loco delivers sound data on leg movement and positioning, but the software is shit.

    Obviously Half-Life: Alyx works fine with the movement options in the game, but when it works I really like VR locomotion by walking in place, especially in a game where movement doesn't need to be ultra-fast.

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