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Half-Life: Alyx

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What I do find interesting about the trailer, is the audio for Alyx. For all the Half Life games Gordon was mute, but they seem to have gone to voicing your player character at just the point where, because it's in VR, you are as close to being that character as possible. Hearing the pants and gasps at the beginning was weird enough, but then having the character speak as well just seems a weird thing to do. I can see they want to tell a story, but they managed to do that in HL1 and 2 without having to have the player char speak. I just think that would break the immersion. Unless I am missing something and you aren't actually playing as Alyx.

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4 minutes ago, metallicfrodo said:

What I do find interesting about the trailer, is the audio for Alyx. For all the Half Life games Gordon was mute, but they seem to have gone to voicing your player character at just the point where, because it's in VR, you are as close to being that character as possible. Hearing the pants and gasps at the beginning was weird enough, but then having the character speak as well just seems a weird thing to do. I can see they want to tell a story, but they managed to do that in HL1 and 2 without having to have the player char speak. I just think that would break the immersion. Unless I am missing something and you aren't actually playing as Alyx.

 

I wonder if they're going to use Campo Santo's dialogue system from Firewatch, so you're controlling the conversation with Murray?  That would give you more agency, rather than just listening to her speak on your behalf.

 

His "I'm with you every step of the way" in the trailer seems to suggest he's the standard videogame Radio Guidance character

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I think it would be a little odd if Alyx was a mute up until the evens of HL2. Being mute is as much a part of Gordon’s character as it is a mechanic, I guess whereas Alyx is a right old chatterbox.

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I think it's because NPC interaction will be more limited, Half Life always had a bit of a problem in that you could smash the NPCs over the head with chairs and they wouldn't care, but in VR it reaches daft levels where they can't actually design NPCs to respond to everything you can do to fuck with them without turning it into Facade.

 

All the NPCs in that trailer are seen either via screen or areas that can't be reached by the player.

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1 hour ago, Alex W. said:


Pentile pixels are the “bad” ones - five (pent) sub-pixels shared between every two pixels, instead of three independent subpixels each. It’s a full RGB array (like in PSVR) that’s the “good” one.
 

Although the literal difference is that it’s 5/6ths the resolution, so eg you still have almost twice the resolution of PSVR. And the subpixel rendering in Pentile aims to make the difference even less obvious than that. It used to matter back when it was in phone screens and the entire thing is only 240 pixels wide, not so much now.

oops my mistake - the lack of noticeable screen door on Quest is probably down to higher res (it is same as Index I think)

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16 hours ago, PK said:

Geoff Keighley chatting about it with Valve for 20 minutes

 

 

They confirm Eric Wolpaw and the Campo Santo guys have been working on it

 

In that video they talk about how a lot of people who joined Valve over the last decade have been working on it. Does anyone know if that includes Adam Foster from Minerva: Metastasis?

 

I've never gone back to replay that mod so it might have lost some of its impact by now, but the spiralling, onion-layered level designs he showed off in that mod were extremely impressive when I first played it. I know he worked on the Portal 2 ARG, but that seemed like a waste of his level design talents!

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Between having a decade-old PC, no PCVR headset or controllers, and generally suffering from motion sickness in VR... I don't think this is something I'm going to play any time soon, if ever.

 

Kind of amazed it exists, though. It's not HL3 but it's a big budget Half Life game!

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1 hour ago, Strafe said:

I think it would be a little odd if Alyx was a mute up until the evens of HL2. Being mute is as much a part of Gordon’s character as it is a mechanic, I guess whereas Alyx is a right old chatterbox.

 

I always thought that in general in FPS games your character never speaks, unless it's a cut scene that you are seeing from a 3rd person perspective (and I might be way off here, and it's only the Half Lifes and Bungie's output that do this). To me it just seems really weird that they would voice your character in VR. To be honest I think the panting and heavy breathing is actually the weirder bit.

 

For me VR is about you being there in the world, even more so that a flat first person game, to then make 'you' say things or breath heavily just seems like it would take you out of the moment.

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16 hours ago, iknowgungfu said:

I've never tried VR before - is the floaty hand thing a staple of VR gaming?

 

Just to pick up on this one, it's another example of why describing the VR experience is just about impossible. Floating hands on a flat screen pull you out of the experience but, in VR, it's like your nose: in real life your brain edits out the existence of your nose. You only notice it if you concentrate on its existence. The hands have a similar effect, in that when you use your hands for a task in real life, you don't notice your arms. Anything in your peripheral vision doesn't get the full concentration treatment from your brain, and VR works on the same principle.

 

The fact it takes a paragraph to explain that, and at the end you still can't really visualise it, makes VR such a hard sell. Like explaining how a rollercoaster feels. Or sex :)

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8 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

Get the proportions wrong and it's like you're riding an Amazonian.

 

That doesn't sound wrong.  Who doesn't like a bit of snu snu.

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23 minutes ago, Treble said:

 

Just to pick up on this one, it's another example of why describing the VR experience is just about impossible.

 

Yes, this was one of the things I noticed watching videos of VR before trying it. The accuracy of the motion tracking just makes it work. They don't look like detached floating hands because they're in sync with your arms movements. It's why lack of visual fidelity doesn't bother as much in VR, once your brain is fooled into believing you're in a 3D space it compensates for a lot of immersion.

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3 minutes ago, Hamus said:

Half life: Dog would have been more fun. Jumpy jump smash.

 

Half Life: Headcrab would have been a belter.

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3 hours ago, metallicfrodo said:

Where are you based? If you are anywhere near north west London then I'd be happy to let you have a go on my PSVR and Quest. (Assuming you aren't a psychopath who will murder me ;) )

Cheers for the offer but unfortunately I am a murderous psychopath  fellow living in Yorkshire. 

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1 hour ago, Treble said:

The fact it takes a paragraph to explain that, and at the end you still can't really visualise it, makes VR such a hard sell. Like explaining how a rollercoaster feels. Or sex :)

I used that argument in the PSVR thread shortly after it launched. There were a few posters, whom had never used the tech, spouting total bullshit based on their own assumptions about how it worked, and downplaying VR's significance/impact - exactly like a teenage virgin talking about sex. Just shut up until you've tried it yourself! ;)

 

Your paragraph about the arms is a damn good explanation. :) 

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2 hours ago, metallicfrodo said:

 

I always thought that in general in FPS games your character never speaks, unless it's a cut scene that you are seeing from a 3rd person perspective (and I might be way off here, and it's only the Half Lifes and Bungie's output that do this). To me it just seems really weird that they would voice your character in VR. To be honest I think the panting and heavy breathing is actually the weirder bit.


I think on the whole you’re right, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head, bar Farpoint (a VR shooter no less) where the playable character talks throughout.

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@JPL

 

You would need some form of tracker on your arms/back/elbows even.

You have a controller in each hand, and the head set on, so there's 3 points of erm, movement (I'm so technical!). The whole point of VR being immersion, those floaty hands and head move exactly the way they do in reality. 

If however you add arms, you would need some form of tracker to figure how you were moving your elbows/arms. Without that you'd have all sorts of weird glitches and problems. I assume the same for the torso, if for instance you were on a swivel chair, or standing and twisting you'd need something on your torso to line everything up. Without it, it won't feel like "reality".

 

tl;dr - I have no idea what I'm talking about.

 

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Saying that Batman VR does have a belt if you look down. However it sort of just floats there like a hula hoop, or like you're standing in a barrel if you know what I mean? 

 

 

 

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Why can’t the articulation of the arms just follow what the hands are doing? Just some generalised natural movement. They straighten out when you reach out and fold back when you move in.


And if you look down, why can’t they render the character’s chest? It’s not like you can move your head past your chest when you look down in reality, so I’m not sure why it’d be a problem.

 

I’m pretty sure devs must have tried it without success, but it works in my mind!

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29 minutes ago, JPL said:

Why don’t they render arms (and a body) then? Wouldn’t that feel more realistic?

 

Because it's really tough without a full mocap body suit.

 

Move your hands - easy, just have them at the coordinates of the motion controllers and your head at the coordinates of the VR headset.

 

Move your modelled arms - arm geometry now needs to scale with real-world arm length and or shoulder width, and you don't have those measurements. Get your assumptions wrong and suddenly you need your geometry to be able to stretch and deform without looking weird. Needs whole body kinematic model featuring realistic range of motion so that it knows that when you're bending your arm when crouching that you're probably bending the elbow outwards to avoid your knees rather than downwards. Needs training or hand-tweaking to move how people actually move rather than how you can theoretically move, i.e bending elbows at a 45 degree angle rather than horizontally. What happens if you get your arms slammed in a closing door, or shot up? Lots of edge cases. And what's the benefit exactly? How often do you use your elbows in a given day to do something you couldn't with your hands?

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8 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

And what's the benefit exactly? How often do you use your elbows in a given day to do something you couldn't with your hands?

Just wondering really. More immersion, I suppose.

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Just now, Mr Combo Breaker said:

they'll get to it eventually. Head then hands then genitals then they can thiink about connecting everything up.

 

You'd need a little VR helmet for your, erm, helmet.

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