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Oculus Touch, and I imagine Index, do make a difference because of the finger tracking. It's less pronounced in Touch, as it only tracks the index finger, thumb, and then the rest as a group, but that alone is enough for Alyx to allow for grasping at objects, transferring from hand to hand, and interacting with the environment in a way that feels close to reality.


Of course, your second paragraph goes on to describe why real isn't what you want, in a way that is entirely personal to you, and there's not much argument against that!


Still, what I found best about Alyx though was the atmospheric horror that gets amplified by the increased physical presence in the space that VR brings. Translating the game to VR turned a headcrab from a puny critter that deals little damage to one of the most terrifying enemies in the game, by preying on those things that Valve know we're not good at. It's a level of horror that works best when you're fumbling for another clip, backing away slowly as the critter starts to rear up for a pounce, and one that is largely absent from the traditional controls of the rest of the series.

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The problem with VR is unless you try it, you don't always see the point. But when you do, especially in something so well done as Alyx, then it's transformative. 


It's simple things. Most games on a flat screen have no sense of scale. But trust me, the first time you see a Strider pass over your head, you realise there really isn't anything like VR done well.


It's expensive and it will never replace 'traditional' 2d gaming in the same way TV didn't replace the radio, but if you if ignore it, you are missing some of this generations finest games. 

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9 hours ago, Broker said:

I’m not playing games so I can be a person who’s as weak and bad at aiming as me. I made the analogy before but for me it’s like a life sized chess board, I can see how in theory it might be more “immersive” but it’s pushing me into a place that removes the point of the experience. For me games are about being someone else who can do totally different things, and limiting me to what I can actually physically do with my arms whilst standing it sitting in a small box removes a lot of the point. If I actually wanted to hold my arms up and learn to fire a weapon, I’d probably go paint balling or something.

 I read a dev talking about eye tracking and how it would make aiming and throwing things so much easier as the game would know what you were trying to do and exactly what you were aiming for because you were looking at it. Things can only get better :)

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  • 1 month later...

Bit surprised no-one is talking about this (unless its in another thread?)


Behind the Scenes documentary by the "Doritos King" about the making of Half-life Alyx. Also supposedly mentions Left4Dead 3 and Half-life 3 and a boat load of other titles...


Youtube Trailer


Anyone seen it?

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This 25,000 word multimedia experience gives readers an unprecedented and unvarnished look at the past decade inside Valve. From the revelation of surprising canceled projects to never-before-seen images, photos and video, The Final Hours dissects Valve’s creative process and candidly explores the development history of Half-Life: Alyx.

This interactive storybook does not use or require a virtual reality headset. It merges a 25,000 word traditional story with 3D video game technology to give customers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of Valve’s creative process. 


I was hoping to be lazy and just watch something, not have to interact with it. :D


Sounds interesting though, I love behind the scenes stuff on games, albums etc.

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I watched it (uh, interacted with it) over the weekend and it's okay. It's gimmicky, and I was hoping for something more like a book or a documentary, but it provides  more insight on what's been going on in Valve over the past decade. Basically they can't make a game because their libertarian model sucks and isn't ideal for politics let alone trying to convince several hundred people to make a videogame together. 


In their defense, I think some of the more senior people relented  on this position around the time Alyx development really kicked off, and people like Robin Walker -- who have been there since the pre Half-Life 2 days -- are game directors without the official title -- because for some reason everyone at Valve has an aversion to being called a director or a lead of any kind,  which is probably why in Left 4 Dead an entity called the director is actively trying to kill you and your friends.  


Also, the two other VR games that Newell boasted about it in 2017 -- the third would end up being Alyx -- were (surprise!) cancelled. One was a Minecraft like a game and the other was being helmed by the fine folks from the Kerbal Space Program team. They has also had an RPG they started in 2013, which took inspiration from Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, and Elder Scrolls -- Geoff's words not mine -- but didn't make it very far in development, apparently. Left 4 Dead 3 and Half Life 3 definitely existed at some point during this decade, and I wouldn't be surprised if at some point they decide to resurrect the projects. They were at least two Left 4 Deads in development, and one was an open world, which I imagine played a lot like a Left 4 Dead version of DayZ. Half-Life 3 sounded weird. It was like a base-building game with a story. Would have probably ended up becoming a battle Royale game, honestly. 


So yeah, apparently they have another game far, or relatively, in development, but I don't think it's necessarily a VR game. I think the studio is still split on whether or not they want to continue making games exclusively on VR platforms, and I wouldn't be surprised if the company continues to struggle with finishing projects because of this. The rumors, which are not address in Final Hours, about the internal struggle to use Source 2 or Unreal Engine are given some more credence since it seems like one of the reasons many of these projects ended up failing was due to the difficulty of developing Source 2, which was unusable, apparently, for a good long while, while trying to simultaneously develop a new game with it.


I hope this doesn't come off as some sort of Valve bashing since they get enough of it from the rest of the internet. They somehow got their shit together and ended up making an excellent game in the end, even if it took longer than I'm sure any of them would have hoped. I do think they have a tough decision ahead, about VR and all, but I think the company has learned plenty of lessons while, as Robin Walker put it, wandering in that Wilderness. 


One final note: the company is interested in making a full-scale, non-VR Half Life, but the scale of it is kind of a concern at the company -- they'd prefer to make something smaller like a hat. Is this the other project that Valve is currently working on? I don't know, but I'm sure will find out sooner than later when Keighley releases his next final hours in 2030. 

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Gabe on New Zealand TV talking about throwing a big party for some reason and also declaring himself Team Xbox. 

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