What better way to ignore all the chaos going on in the world than to put on a virtual reality (VR) headset and enjoy some immersive gaming. In just over a couple of weeks when Half-Life: Alyx arrives many VR fans will probably do just that. For those really keen to step into Valve’s sci-fi universe there’s a way to do that now.
Valve has just released two SteamVR home environments which can give you a little preview of the highly anticipated title. There’s an outdoor alleyway from City 17 giving a view of the under-construction Citadel. The other is inside Russell’s Lab where he and Alyx collaborate on plans to fight against the Combine.
While these are environments taken from Half-Life: Alyx Valve points out that they do differ from the final videogame. “The rendering technology available in SteamVR’s native environments is different than that in Half-Life: Alyx, and the interactivity is significantly lower than what the game itself provides. So while these scenes do not have quite as much fidelity as they will in the actual game, we think they are a faithful enough translation to provide a fun VR preview of the game’s setting.”
There’s also the little matter of who can actually access these SteamVR environments. While the platform does support headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, you can only enjoy these locations if you already own or have ordered a Valve Index headset. Valve does note a workaround where: “you can ask an Index owner to host a SteamVR Home session for you.”
If you’ve been keen to purchase a Valve Index then the last few months would have made that rather difficult/impossible. It has been out of stock on Valve’s website in most regions no matter whether you wanted the headset, controllers or the whole kit. There will be a reprieve next Monday as stock will be made available at 6pm GMT/10am PT but it’ll likely sell out fast.
Half-Life: Alyx is scheduled to launch on Monday, 23rd March supporting Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Check out the latest gameplay videos and don’t forget that the original Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are currently free to play. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.