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Half-Life: Alyx
« on: November 19, 2019, 01:29:04 PM »
Half-Life: Alyx
19 Nov 2019

Can Valve tempt gamers to try virtual reality?

Game developer Valve has announced a new title in its well-known Half-Life series of games.

The next one, called Half-Life: Alyx, will be available in March 2020. More details are due to be released later this week.

First, some history

Gamers not born when Half-Life was released in 1998 may not be aware of the hold it, and its various follow-ups, have on older players.

Half-life rejuvenated the first-person shooter by injecting it with much needed realism, a strong story and a memorable hero in Gordon Freeman. The potent combination made it hugely successful and it is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made.

The love affair continued with Half-Life 2, released in November 2004, which introduced a detailed world with realistic physics that players could exploit, via the game's gravity gun, to solve puzzles or defeat enemies. It too regularly tops lists of best games.

Valve has released extra episodes for Half-Life 2 but those who cut their gaming teeth on the two titles have eagerly awaited the third instalment.

Online, every hint about HL3 that has surfaced over the last 15 years has been dissected and pored over by fans.

Image copyright Epic Games
Image caption Gamers weaned on massive, multiplayer games such as Fortnite may find Half-Life a bit tame

Is the new game Half-Life 3?

Not quite. Ars Technica reports that it will be set after the first game and before the second. A sequel to one and prequel to the other.

Half-Life: Alyx is an entirely new game only playable via virtual reality. Valve has helped develop the Vive VR headset with HTC but it said the game would also work on the Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality VR systems.

As its name suggests, the game will focus on Alyx Vance - one of the main characters in Half-Life 2.

The original game introduced an alien technological superpower called the Combine that, once it was unleashed on Earth by Gordon Freeman, conquered the planet in a few hours.

Alyx's father, Dr Eli Vance, became head of the resistance fighting the Combine's malign control, so it is reasonable to assume that the game will deal with the early days of the fightback.

Why is it only available in VR?

Valve has a history of pushing the boundaries in PC gaming and Half-Life: Alyx continues that trend.

In addition, Valve has a vested interest in getting people to try, and buy, Vive headsets. The basic Vive model costs 499 in the UK, $399 in the US, and the higher-spec models in the range cost a good deal more.

That high starting price for VR gaming means only really dedicated, older fans have tried it.

In addition, many of the games available to play in VR have been titles that would do as well on a flat screen.

If Valve manages to make Half-Life: Alyx an immersive VR experience that exploits the possibilities of the technology it could mean new gamers give it a try, said industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls from IHS Markit.

"A Half-Life VR game will definitely increase consumer interest and awareness of the tech, and result in a bump in sales of PC-based VR headsets," he said.

Valve has experimented with different control systems for the Vive headset
Image copyright Getty Images

He doubts it will fuel an "explosive" surge in VR sales simply because the cost of a headset, and a PC to power it, is so high.

What can we expect from the game?

Valve has remained tight-lipped but there are hints about one aspect of the gameplay.

In September, a leak from Valve's core gaming software suggested it was working on a novel control system called "grabbity gloves".

These will allow players to point to, attract and control distant objects - a bit like the force powers the Jedi use. The world in Half-Life: Alyx will probably be very responsive and open to manipulation via VR controllers.

Who will play it?

Good question. The gaming world has moved on enormously since HL1 and 2. Valve is still widely influential thanks to its Steam gaming platform and other titles such as Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, Left 4 Dead and Portal.

But players' attention is now divided between massively multiplayer games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Overwatch and many, many others.

For many of these people, the arrival of Half-Life: Alyx may be too little, too late to tempt them into donning a headset and taking on the Combine.

As reported by the BBC

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Re: Half-Life: Alyx
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2019, 01:02:37 PM »
Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer
21 Nov 2019

Return to Half-Life in VR, March 2020.

Available for pre-purchase on Steam:

Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Half-Life: Alyx is a new full-length game built from the ground up by Valve for virtual reality.

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Re: Half-Life: Alyx
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 01:43:47 PM »
PC requirements


OS: Windows 10
Processor: Core i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Graphics: GTX 1060 / RX 580 6GB VRAM

Recommended Processor: Quad Core+
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or better
Additional Notes: Available USB (3.0+) Port required for Headset Pass-Through Camera

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Re: Half-Life: Alyx
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 02:00:07 AM »
Half-Life series now free to play until launch of Half-Life: Alyx!
Tue, 21 January 2020

Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March, and we are celebrating early by making all games in the Half-Life Collection FREE to play for Steam users, from now until the day it launches!

Half-Life: Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 and the episodes, but the games share characters and story elements. The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible.

From now until Half-Life: Alyx launches, visit the game page of each Half-Life game to install it and play as much as you want, right up until the day Half-Life: Alyx is released!

If you already have Steam installed, you can  start playing the following now!
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Also included in this bundle and available to play for free are:
Half-Life: Opposing Force
Half-Life: Blue Shift
Team Fortress Classic

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