While the cancellation of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) hasn’t been the best news for the industry, virtual reality (VR) fans have still got plenty to look forward to this month, with Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx only a few short weeks away. Continuing to stoke interest Valve has now released three gameplay videos showcasing how movement in the title works.
In the first video, Valve demonstrates Teleportation locomotion. This is always standard in most adventure videogames as it provides the greatest comfort for all players but especially for those sensitive to nausea. It looks as though players are still able to move around a small roomscale area, when they want to move further activating a yellow arc to teleport.
The video also helps to highlight the interactivity players will have in Half-Life: Alyx with many objects littered around the levels offering some sort of interactive element.
The problem with Teleportation is that you can feel less connected with the digital world you’re inhabiting. That’s where smooth locomotion – or Continuous locomotion as Valve puts it – comes into play. Offering the best sense of presence when playing a VR title, as you can see from the second video you’ll be able to freely wander the Half-Life: Alyx world for the truest experience Valve is aiming for.
Of course, Continuous locomotion has a downside. It can make some players uncomfortable and nauseous because while they’re walking in the virtual world their body is stationary, creating a disjointed feeling. This is where the term ‘VR legs’ originates, building that comfort level over many VR sessions – although it doesn’t work for everyone.
So the third video demonstrates a kind of happy in between which Valve calls Shift locomotion. Something similar has been used in other VR titles, where players can teleport but don’t instantly disappear then reappear. Instead, the whole scene ‘shift’s’ towards that new location, keeping them in the world for an improved feeling of being in the virtual universe.
Half-Life: Alyx is set between Half-Life and Half-Life 2, offering fans a chance to step into City 17 like never before. It’s set to launch on 23rd March via Steam for Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. For further updates keep reading VRFocus.