And like any Half-Life game, the new VR project will support user-created mods for lots of chicanery, chaos, and fun. With its high-def visuals, immersive real-time combat, and realistically-reactive environments, Half-Life: Alyx looks like the killer VR app. But the real excitement could come after launch as gamers and fans alter the game with their own levels and scenarios.
The game may not have multiplayer Tucked in Half-Life: Alyx announcement is confirmation of full Source 2 modding support, effectively allowing anyone to create their own unique customized slices of gameplay.
Half-Life has a long history with modding and level-editing--the original game still has an active playerbase thanks to Sven Co-op and Deathmatch action--and it's great to see this tradition continue with the VR project. Hammer, Valve's level authoring tool, has been updated with all of the game's virtual reality gameplay tools and components," Valve writes on the official Half-Life: Alyx website.
Up until now Half-Life mods have just been in the traditional closed-off gaming space--the space where you're part of the real-world as you play. Now mods will be in your face thanks to the immersive conduit that is virtual reality, offering some incredible opportunities to really sell the power, flexibility, and fun of the medium.
In this way, modding might be the best thing about Half-Life: Alyx because it'll ensure there's not only tons of content to consume, but even more ways to tap VR's full potential. It's the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2.
Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity's only chance for survival. The Combine's control of the planet since the Black Mesa incident has only strengthened as they corral the remaining population in cities. Among them are some of Earth's greatest scientists: you and your father, Dr.
Eli Vance. As founders of a fledgling resistance, you've continued your clandestine scientific activity-performing critical research, and building invaluable tools for the few humans brave enough to defy the Combine.
Valve's return to the Half-Life universe that started it all was built from the ground up for virtual reality. VR was built to enable the gameplay that sits at the heart of Half-Life. Immerse yourself in deep environmental interactions, puzzle solving, world exploration, and visceral combat. Lean to aim around a broken wall and under a Barnacle to make an impossible shot.
Rummage through shelves to find a healing syringe and some shotgun shells. Manipulate tools to hack alien interfaces. Toss a bottle through a window to distract an enemy. Rip a Headcrab off your face and throw it at a Combine soldier. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it.
View 11 Images. We may earn an affiliate commission. Half-Life 4 announced: Valve confirms it cannot count to 3. Valve pushes out new Half-Life: Alyx update 1. Newsletter Subscription.Don't have a mixed reality device? You can install the HoloLens emulator to test some functionality of mixed reality apps without a HoloLens.
You can also use the Windows Mixed Reality simulator to test your mixed reality apps for immersive headsets. We recommend installing the Unity game engine as the easiest way to get started creating mixed reality apps. However, you can also build against DirectX if you'd like to use a custom engine.
Bookmark this page and check it regularly to keep up-to-date on the most recent version of each tool recommended for mixed reality development. Unity We typically recommend the Unity LTS Long Term Support stream as the best version with which to start new projects, updating to its latest revision to pick up the latest stable fixes.
Some developers might want to use a different version of Unity for specific reasons. For those cases, Unity supports side-by-side installs of different versions. The project is aimed at reducing the barriers to entry in creating mixed reality applications and contributing back to the community as things evolve. As of Unreal Engine 4. See the Unreal development overview to get started with Unreal development for HoloLens 2.
Native OpenXR OpenXR is an open royalty-free API standard from Khronos that provides engines native access to a wide range of devices from many vendors that span across the mixed reality spectrum. Includes a rendering loop or "game loop"a DeviceResources helper class to manage the Direct3D device and context, and a simple example hologram renderer. Available for Direct3D11 and Direct3D The project is aimed at reducing barriers to entry, to create mixed reality applications and contribute back to the community as things evolve.
This SDK is also supported on Windows 8. Note that not all tools are supported on older operating systems. When setting up your development PC for HoloLens development, please make sure it meets the system requirements for both Unity and Visual Studio. If you plan to use the HoloLens emulator, you'll want to make sure your PC meets the HoloLens emulator system requirements as well.
If you plan to develop for both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive VR headsets, use the system recommendations and requirements in the section below. The following guidelines are the current minimum and recommended specs for your immersive VR headset development PCand are updated regularly.
Do not confuse this with the minimum PC hardware compatibility guidelineswhich outlines the consumer PC specs to which you should target your immersive VR headset app or game. There are currently known issues with some hardware configurations, particularly notebooks that have hybrid graphics.
Submit and view feedback for. Skip to main content. Contents Exit focus mode. Tip Bookmark this page and check it regularly to keep up-to-date on the most recent version of each tool recommended for mixed reality development.
Note The following guidelines are the current minimum and recommended specs for your immersive VR headset development PCand are updated regularly. Warning Do not confuse this with the minimum PC hardware compatibility guidelineswhich outlines the consumer PC specs to which you should target your immersive VR headset app or game.
Is this page helpful? Yes No. Any additional feedback? Skip Submit. Submit and view feedback for This product This page. View all page feedback.This means Half-Life: Alyx will support modding, with mods likely shared and distributed through Steam Workshop.
A set of Source 2 tools for building new environments will ship with the game, enabling any player to build and contribute new environments for the community to enjoy. Source was the Valve-developed engine used to create Half-Life 2 and its episodes, as well as games like the Left 4 Dead series and Portal series. Source 2 is its successor, first used for the Dota 2 Reborn overhaul update.
Source has always had a focus on support for modding, with a huge modding ecosystem in the years after Half-Life 2 released. It has over 1. Depending on exactly how much access the new Hammer and associated tools give to users, Half-Life: Alyx could be a platform for custom VR experiences that can be created much more easily than using a game engine like Unity and Unreal.
This could be revolutionary for the kind of VR content a person or small team can deliver. If the tooling allows for it, this could even lead to new spin off games of the sort we saw from Half-Life 2.
Half-Life: Alyx could have implications for the VR games landscape far beyond the game itself. He comes from a Software Engineering background, but now writes for UploadVR, primarily about the technology behind VR hardware and software.
He believes that VR will one day become a mainstream technology that will fundamentally transform society. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website.
These cookies do not store any personal information. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Light Dark. Follow Us. The Potential Depending on exactly how much access the new Hammer and associated tools give to users, Half-Life: Alyx could be a platform for custom VR experiences that can be created much more easily than using a game engine like Unity and Unreal.Augmented Reality is getting immensely popular and is used in many different fields from industries to healthcare and more.
Everyone is familiar with this new trend and one can build great applications using Augmented Reality. Many brands are already using this advanced technology for providing an easy to use and friendly mobile application. It is used by companies to create demos for their products, real-time information and interactive advertising. Augmented reality is helpful in business because it is proved that people are more likely to buy a product if they can interact with it.
Virtual Reality Headsets: What are the Options? Which is Right For You? Augmented reality applications are broadly classified into two major categories. Marker-based applications and Location-based application. The former is based on image recognition. These types of apps use a marker of black and white color to display the AR contents. The later uses GPS technology and not the markers.
It uses the GPS, accelerometer or compass of mobiles to detect the location and then argument objects on their actual positions. For developing apps based on augmented reality, you need app building tools.
Some of the best tools to build Augmented Reality applications are listed below. Vuforia is one of the best tools for developing applications based on Augmented Reality.
It comes with a number of useful features using which one can design great performing AR applications. It also supports all the major platforms including Android and iOS.
Getting Started With VR: The Best Software Tools Are Free
It supports multiple objects like boxes, toys, images, etc. And also supports text recognition. In spite of being free to use application and it still contains some of the advanced features found in top paid tools.
It even supports both single and dual cameras. Another useful feature of this tool kit is that it supports Digital compass and GPS using which location-based AR app can be created effortlessly. Another top tool for AR app creation comes from the digital leader Google.
ARCore is a really good tool which is loaded with features. This tool works with unreal, utility and Java. Google AR supports almost all the android devices working on 7. This toolkit contains some really smart features which can create unbeatable iOS apps. In spite of being a new tool, it still works great and comes with many new features like Location-based services, 3D recognition, Smart glass integration and more.
However, you need to pay a high sum of money for this tool kit. Kundan is almost similar to Vuforia in terms of its features. It is one of the biggest competitors of Vuforia as well. It only supports uOS ad Android platform and some of its main features includes high-quality 3D graphics, marker-based and location-based tracking, etc.
It supports different camera sensors as well. It might not be very popular in the AR app development, but it is a great player which is capable of creating great Augmented Reality Applications. It supports facial detection, location tracking a real-time tracking. The tool is suitable for both iOS and Android devices.Senior Editor for Make: I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things.
I just want to revel in the creativity of the masses! My favorite thing in the world is sharing the hard work of a maker. You start with modeling software to create the things you want, and then move those things into a real-time engine to turn it into something you can experience in VR. For now, lets look at the software tools available.
Valve rolls out free VR creation tool for new destinations workshop
This is because, up until recently, most of the use cases for real-time engines were for games. While there were other uses before, virtual reality is really blowing this whole concept open and expanding on what real-time engines are used for. Unreal Engine — Cost: Free. The Unreal Engine is very well known in the games industry.
This package is incredibly versatile, allowing for creation of games from 2d hand drawn looking platformers up to cinematic almost movie like experiences. There is a built in marketplace where you can find and purchase assets to include in your projects and a very large community sharing tutorials and inspiration.
Most impressively, the Unreal Engine is absolutely free. You can download it now and get started creating virtual reality experiences with zero cost. Over the last several years, Unity has grown from a plucky little startup to go toe to toe with the likes of the Unreal Engine. The upcoming release of the first major commercially available VR headsets has only helped level the playing field as Unity has been aggressively courting this community.
You can download Unity and begin building VR environments immediately with no prior experience. Cryengine — cost: Pay what you want. Up till very recently, there were costs associated with this engine that kept it from the hands of many small developers. Now, it is a pay-what-you-want model which means you could download it for free just to try it out and see if you like it. Lumberyard was recently unveiled by Amazon.
This is a recent addition to the market, and the community is just beginning to grow. On the technical side, this is a previous version of the crytech engine, but with Amazon backing it, some tweaks have been made. All of the items that are in your virtual worlds have to be created. To build these things, you model them in 3d modeling software. Blender is an open source, cross platform modeling animation and rendering tool. It has grown to be incredibly robust and powerful, rivaling the industry names like Maya, Softimage, and 3DS max.
The feature set included with the absolutely free product is enough to take you through the entire production pipeline of game creation. There is a massive community behind this package and you can find tons of tutorials all over the web. On the other end of the spectrum is Sculptris.
Valve this week releases a free virtual reality content creation package that will allow anyone to create and share "destinations" on Steam. The software enables the creation of, among other things, virtual reality game levels and explorable VR worlds designed with photogrammetry. Destinations comes with documentation and sample worlds, plus access to the Source 2 technology and developer Wiki.
There is also a dedicated Destinations Workshop where creators can distribute user-generated "destinations. The software also supports the Steam controller. An early build of Destinations gave me a chance to visit Mars and an English church. Loading the software on Steam and popping on a Vive headset dropped me into an open space facing a giant screen. From there I had the option of loading up any of the destinations already on my system or visiting the Workshop to browse through and download other free creations.
The Mars scene was created using photogrammetry, stitched together from the photos taken by the Curiosity Rover on Mars. I was able to walk around inside the shallow crater where the Rover remains parked, checking out the landscape of the planet and the Curiosity itself. To move further than my real-world room would allow, I simply had to point with a controller and pull the trigger to teleport to that area. When aiming my teleport, the entire scene showed where I was able to move. While the original photos taken by the Curiosity are in black and white, the scene was colored using a variety of tools.
The creator of this destination also stitched those images together, created a sky and eye-balled how to throw up a backdrop of distant martian mountains. The English church was a much more informative visit.
The entire scene is loaded with placards explaining the process of first photographing the scene properly and then putting it together. At one location, as I teleported my way around a paved path that wraps around one side of the church, there's an option to see where the camera was located for each photo, giving me a sense of just how methodical and time consuming taking these photos for a photogrammetry scene can be.
While up close examination of the scenes sometimes exposed odd crops, like bits of air captured around the leaves of trees, or unnaturally flat grass, taken as a whole, the immersive scene was impressive. The launch content will also include a basic example map that users can copy and modify, which shows some of the things creators can do with Source 2 tools to add interactivity to their destinations.
Actually publishing the destination to the Steam Workshop when a content creator is ready is only a few button clicks.
Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email.Keep your finger on the pulse of the XR industry with the Daily Roundup, the most important news in one daily email. People have been building prototypes with the SteamVR version of Hammer.
It is far from perfect but it is a start. I made an arena style test map. The lack of working AI navigation has slowed down progress quite a bit however…. Another huge win for PC VR. My vr legs are strong.
I prefer locomotion and I also really enjoyed hurtling through the air in Windlands, using momentum to gain speed and height. Would be interesting to have it out there to see if that level of VR legs is something that can be acquired through acclimating over time… Hmm?
I gave up after half an hour of trying to get back into it. After Alyx everything seems like a generation out of date in so many ways, from the visuals to the controls and world interaction.
Is that a joke? Walking Dead is way ahead of Alyx regarding on body inventory, melee weapons, locomotion running, crafting. Zombies are even faster than combine soldiers. Boneworks is fun, but nauseating. It badly hurts your hands with the Vive wands.
I havbe the knuckles know and give it a go again. But I am not totally satisfyed by knuckles yet. Playing both in turn showed me that The Walking Dead does not even come close in terms of all the things that actually matter, especially when it comes to the actual level of polish and execution of such things like basic movement, controls and whatever interaction is there. I deleted The Walking Dead off my machine as I simply could not go back in and enjoy it after experiencing Alyx.
I did exactly the same with Boneworks too. I play it in short ish bursts — the creepiness gets to me after minutes! The only time that Valve has delivered something in time, there has been a global pandemic. Are you typically able to include your own 3d models in this type of level editor? That was actually the reason I asked the question above. Ben Mazurek gave a very informative answer.
So, I question from a uneducated, non-programmer.
Sorry if it sound stupid to those of you with more knowledge. When someone uses this toolkit to make an environment or scene. Where can it be experienced, will you to post it to your own server? What will they need run on there PC to experience your environment? You should be able to download it.
There are two scenarios for downloads: 1 Mods get posted on the steam workshop. There should be some sort of level selector in game for this. People will put download links to files, and others can download them, and place them in the game folder for Half Life Alyx. Scenario 1 is more likely, as Valve has said the game will come with modding support, and the way Steam deals with mods and maps is mostly through the workshop.
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