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It's Here! - Half Life Alyx First Looks!

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Valves magnum opus and potential VR killer app has arrived. Here are the first looks!

 

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Just Flight Beta Tester
 
We are all connected..... To each other, biologically...... To the Earth, chemically...... To the rest of the Universe atomically.
 
Devons rig
Intel Core i7 8700K @ 5.0GHz / 32.0GB G.SKILL TridentZ Series Dual-Channel Ram / ZOTAC GAMING GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti Triple Fan / Sound Blaster Z / Oculus Rift VR Headset / Klipsch® Promedia 2.1 Computer Speakers / ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q ‑ 27" IPS LED Monitor ‑ QHD / 2x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB / Windows 10 Pro 64-bit / Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard

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Im gonna give it a go. Not much of a shooter player but I do have VR and I enjoy the trailers I am seeing so why not.

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Wow. Money well invested. I cant wait to play this more. As a VR simmer only who has tried just a race car game, I can easily see this holding my attention for a long time of playing it. 

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4 hours ago, Ident said:

Wow. Money well invested. I cant wait to play this more. As a VR simmer only who has tried just a race car game, I can easily see this holding my attention for a long time of playing it. 

Nice to hear!


Just Flight Beta Tester
 
We are all connected..... To each other, biologically...... To the Earth, chemically...... To the rest of the Universe atomically.
 
Devons rig
Intel Core i7 8700K @ 5.0GHz / 32.0GB G.SKILL TridentZ Series Dual-Channel Ram / ZOTAC GAMING GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti Triple Fan / Sound Blaster Z / Oculus Rift VR Headset / Klipsch® Promedia 2.1 Computer Speakers / ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q ‑ 27" IPS LED Monitor ‑ QHD / 2x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB / Windows 10 Pro 64-bit / Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard

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Just Flight Beta Tester
 
We are all connected..... To each other, biologically...... To the Earth, chemically...... To the rest of the Universe atomically.
 
Devons rig
Intel Core i7 8700K @ 5.0GHz / 32.0GB G.SKILL TridentZ Series Dual-Channel Ram / ZOTAC GAMING GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti Triple Fan / Sound Blaster Z / Oculus Rift VR Headset / Klipsch® Promedia 2.1 Computer Speakers / ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q ‑ 27" IPS LED Monitor ‑ QHD / 2x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB / Windows 10 Pro 64-bit / Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard

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So heres my take after spending about 2 hours last night playing it with some gaming background (which aint much!)

As a 49yrs old 20 year simmer, I've always owned a rather top en computer for as you know, we need those frames and eye candy. So I have the machine and upgraded to the Rift S which comes with the hand controllers which I didnt buy for the original CV1. As far PC gaming goes (other than flight sims) I went into a game shop to buy the 1st Grand Theft Auto the year it came out and the clerk suggested to me to try Mafia (which was made by Rock Star Games) instead. I LOVED IT! For those who dont know about it, at the time, the graphics were next level, the story line made sense and it taught the user how to do things in the game as the storyline moved on in a very natural way. There was all kinds of tasks, levels, chapters and not all of them were just go shoot things up. And the map was huge with all kinds of way to discover it from various cars, to street cars, to and elevated train in addition to just walking. I had the prefect custom made computer table with the keyboard right below the steering wheel so it was easy to jump out of a car and hit the keyboard and back. Other 1st person shooter games that I liked were Vietcong, Call of Duty 2 and going way back Delta Force

I would say that I like the slow pace of a game and not the rush in and shoot your way through. in Mafia I got to drive to and from the action and could take my time and choose my route unscripted. In Vietcong there was a lot of crouching and belly crawling in the jungle and walking carefully for long distances to avoid traps and ambushes and in Delta Force, I played with a friend who loved to play Rambo running in shooting up the place so I would sit up on a hill and snip for him which was a great Co-Op.

I bought an XBox1 about a year after it released and tried a few skateboarding games as that was my thing for the first 30 years of my life. That was okay but I never needed to learn the controller for 1st Person Shooter games. I had remained a PC guy. Back in late 2018 I brought a Playstation 4 for the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 with the excitement that it would be another Mafia feel for me. I was horribly disappointed. While the graphics we amazing and I like the idea of the storyline and game play, in practice is was more about what a movie and then be told what button(s) to push. There was an attempt of trying to teach the user of what to do in what conditions but it didnt come about naturally and when left alone there seemed to be a missing gap of direction. It just wasnt for me. Maybe I will try it again on PC as I feel more comfortable learning the controls and using them in that fashion over a game controller.  

So with my current VR setup in a very small space under a staircase where I've build my simpit having walls on both sides and a yoke in front of me, I really have no way of playing Half Life in there. Luckily with the Rift S inside out tracking I was able to use it outside of my simpit but still kinda close to stuff (I've since ordered 6' extension cables which will allow me to have plenty of movement space). So now having the everything in place lets see what this is all about since I've never played any of the Half Life prior releases.

The Valve splash screen was interesting https://youtu.be/rd78TesPUD4?t=58(some dont like seeing what appears to be a demonic 20 foot tall head that slowly rotates in the dark with a spigot on the back of the head but I like it).  UI was very easy to navigate and easy to set up the game. Upon arrival into the game the user is standing on a balcony a few strories up over looking the city and the feel of being outside in a vast open area is instantiations. All of a sudden, standing next to the railing and looking over, I'm afraid to physically drop my hand controller thinking it will fall to the street below. Yes from second one the user is in the game environment and all the detail of PBR and all the other light source texturing and effects are there giving a world of full scale with amazing detail. 

There are a couple of ways to move in the game, the one where the user can use a thumb joysitck allows fluid movement but right off the bat made me feel sick. Perhaps it was because I was standing?! I use Avatar mode all the time in VR in P3Dv4 so I am use to exploring that way but also I am sitting down and I believe it gives a walking vibe of a head motion slightly bouncing up and down, will have to check again.  Any who, looking around and wanting to explore this new world my thoughts were to want to walking it every inch of the way but the sudden stops of the "conveyor belt" movement style had me saying nope to that idea. So I used the "blink" method that they label as the best to prevent motion sickness and it is. Where I felt like I would get the feel of discovering the world around me by jumping from one spot to the next I was quickly mistaken. 

The jumps as the user sets the next place to move to happen in the blink of an eye and give no motion feel yet the user doesnt go so far as to feel they are quickly moving past all the things around them. Additionally, you can set the distance up to only so far and then use the same thumb controller to rotate the players position up landing there and able to see the feet to know exactly where they will be and in which direction they will be facing. The other thumb controller allows the user to rotate slightly left or right in what appears to be 8 moves to turn 360 degrees. This is great for keeping the user from getting all wrapped up in their physical space. Speaking of physical space, knowing I had a limited amount before I would hits a real wall, I had a plush small new bath mat that I put down to stand on with bare feet. That way I know exactly where I was in the room being blindfolded with the headset on.

The interaction with the surroundings is the first thing the user catches on too. Pick up bottles, tossing them in the air and catching them with the other hand is fun and rewarding. Pull the antenna up on a radio or rotating the channel knob, squeaking and can to crush it by pressing hard with grip as compared to lightly just to hold it. Tossing stuff around, moving things by grazing it with your hands or picking up a marking and writing. All of these things are in the opening setting allowing the user to start to get use to the controls, how to interact with the surroundings and get a feel for the basics. More importantly they are fun but would be a complete bore in non VR or not even available to do without having the physical virtual space of relationship of hand and object.

As I follow the storyline I am in aw of the rooms and worlds around me. Its like being in a high production movie on all kinds of sets with no detail missing. I take my time moving about enjoying every small detail and understanding the time and work that was put into creating a world like this that works smoothly and with no gaps in between 3d objects or weird tears in all kinds of uneven terrains. Its also what I feel the developers were wanting to see the user have. A slower pace taking time to really have the feel of actually being in the game as opposed to playing it as 3rd person.

I havent gotten far in the storyline yet having only played if for a few hours on one night but here is my take aways of why this game is a must for VR owners. In addition to what I've already said about the full scale detailed world and all the possibilities of things to do in them, there is how things are introduced to the user in a very natural and realistic manner that keeps with the storyline. The user is given just the right amount of "how to do this" at the correct times via clues, ques, pop up info or hints/directions from other AI players. The map leads the user to figure out where to go without the need of arrows or maps and in some conditions the need to "escape the room" solve your way out on forward into the storyline.

The use of special tools like gravity gloves and other things that I've seen or expect to discover also add to the buy ability of being a human in a weird futuristic world. Lastly is the timing of its release. While not planned (or God I at least hope not) with whats going on globally with this virus, there is this weird feel to stop playing the game and for me to walk into town as I live right there on a small island of Nantucket and see a bare main street which normally would have cars and people on it. Its a world I am not use to seeing as I am sure many others around the globe are feeling the same about their towns and normal life. Add in to the fact that when you do see people they are wearing all kinds of mask from expensive painters masks to make shift ones and gloves of all kinds. Overhearing people talking about toilet paper, Tom Brady playing for the Bucks or new shelter in place rules.  Yeah the timing of this game allows the user to take a part of this weird virtual world and semi caring it over into the current real world and via versa.

So yes, if you have VR, Steam account, a place to move your arms standing or sitting and the funds to buy this game...DO IT. Its worth it.

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My problem (with Occulus Rift S) is that I got the multi tool out, now I can't get the gun back. I've held the stick down and flicked. I can get an empty hand, but the gun won't come back. I have ammo, and the gun shows on the wheel. Frustrating!!!

 Sue

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9 minutes ago, Penzoil3 said:

My problem (with Occulus Rift S) is that I got the multi tool out, now I can't get the gun back. I've held the stick down and flicked. I can get an empty hand, but the gun won't come back. I have ammo, and the gun shows on the wheel. Frustrating!!!

 Sue

I think you have to move the hand upwards a bit, not just flick. At least that's how i do it and it works flawlessly.

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6 hours ago, nikita said:

I think you have to move the hand upwards a bit, not just flick. At least that's how i do it and it works flawlessly.

Agreed. Just physically move yhour hand as so your hand is behind or in the bubble to where you want to load whatever tool or weapon. Took me a few seconds to figure that out as well. We are so use to having to do those things by pushing a button or moving a joystick but now we just do it with hand motion.

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