Half-Life: Alyx


Alperoot

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Yup. A new Half-Life game. Kinda bummed it's VR only but HL is the one thing that would make me buy VR.
 

PowerGod

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ok, I had a look at Steam reviews, and people are becoming crazy for the game and are justifying its VR nature, against my expectations...

So, let's say I want to play it, but I have nothing for VR (not even a smartphone), what do you propose I should buy ? I know absolutely nothing about the argument... compatibility things, etc...

I'll prefer to have a standalone visor, that doesn't require a smartphone inside... also I don't even know how many different "controllers" are out there
 

TeDaDeS

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It's a 16 hour long HL game in VR. It's developed for the Valve Index (~1000euro set) and you need a good game pc, and space to play in (I think 2,5mx2,5 is supported but not required).
So many constrains to play a single game, but personally VR games are usually more immersive. So I understand they don't release a regular version, you can't translate this experience to regular 2D screens.
In VR trivial things become fun while they aren't in usual games.

I think you at least need a VR headset with tracking and 2 tracked VR controllers, and a pc that supports VR.
Who knows if this game will ever come to a console, PSVR2 maybe?

I could buy it, but don't have time or space to play it :(
 

elvissteinjr

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So, let's say I want to play it, but I have nothing for VR (not even a smartphone), what do you propose I should buy ? I know absolutely nothing about the argument... compatibility things, etc...
The Half-Life: Alyx website is actually pretty detailed about what works with the game. At the end of the day, that is every SteamVR supported headset as long as it has tracked motion controllers of some kind.

In regards what you should buy... I'll have to say I'm kinda biased. I have a Valve Index and love it, an HTC Vive before that, so my experiences were always in the premium price-range.
Facebook headsets were never an option for me personally, but they are not bad by any means and cheaper in comparison.
Samsung Odyssey(+) is also pretty alright, especially for the price... if you can get one. iirc that device is only sold in the US.
Other Windows Mixed Reality headsets are... cheap, but workable. The pricing with PCVR headsets is really a spectrum. You get more features/comfort/quality the higher the price goes for the most part. The low-end can still play the same content, however.
The only HMD I'd really advise against is the Vive Cosmos. Tracking ain't great and neither is the price and HTC software.

r/virtualreality's FAQ page for this topic has some more info and details about the possible choices and would be a good read in this case.
 

PowerGod

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Damn, I was only thinking about the hardware and didn't even thought about the actual "physical space" required xD But it will not be an issue... I could always throw some furnishing out of the window !! :cool:

I have a Valve Index and love it, an HTC Vive before that, so my experiences were always in the premium price-range.
Price is not a problem, but maybe compatibility with other things could be... because I have no issue getting a cool hardware for that game in particular, but after I finished it, then I want to continue to use that hardware for other things.

I suppose there are already things like the old DIRECT-X that make programs work with every visor (at least with basic functionalities) ?
Or there are a lot of "only-for-that-particular-visor" games around ?
 

elvissteinjr

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Or there are a lot of "only-for-that-particular-visor" games around ?
In practice, for the PCVR space you're looking at SteamVR games and Oculus runtime games. Every relevant PCVR headset can be used with SteamVR one way or the other. HTC Vive/Vive Pro (but not Cosmos), Valve Index are supported directly by Valve, WMR (Windows Mixed Reality) through SteamVR drivers provided by Microsoft. HTC provides official SteamVR support through their software a well.
The Oculus headsets are the odd ones out. They're supported in SteamVR as a pass-through, but by Valve and not by Oculus. But as long as you get a Rift headset up running in the Oculus runtime, it'll also work in SteamVR. Rift DK1 and DK2 still work too as far as I know (may need older Oculus runtimes, not sure). In practice, they just work and this is just an implementation detail, though.
WMR exclusive titles exist in theory, but I can't think of one right now. The official Minecraft VR client supports that and Rift I think, but Vivecraft is the better way to play

For the long run there's already OpenXR that has been specified to replace the VR runtime fragmentation (well, fragmentation of targeting a certain runtime via one API to be precise). It's backed by every relevant party in the VR space, but so far there are only beta implementations for Oculus and WMR.
You may have noticed how the SteamVR headsets cannot run stuff using the Oculus runtime, which is partially true. Revive exists as a wrapper to allow SteamVR-compatible headsets to run Rift software. It isn't always ideal, but works fine for most titles.

If the studio doesn't happen to be funded by Oculus, they almost always try to get as many users as they can and either support Oculus runtime + SteamVR or SteamVR.

So overall I'd say the hardware won't become completely obsolete or unusable for years to come. VR is rapidly evolving however and some titles may require some fancy new hardware feature of the future without providing fallbacks. Not terribly different from GPUs with 3D API extensions, though.
Just don't expect it to be an investment. Your hardware will lose value fast once something better comes along. VR is an expensive hobby, but I think we're past "VR has no games". There could certainly be more and longer ones, though.


Oh and I totally forgot to talk about Alyx in the other post. Currently playing it. It's really good so far.
 

levi

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For anyone like me who doesn't think they're likely to get a VR setup in the next few years at least, but would still be interesting in finding out about this, Danny O'Dwyer is putting out a daily playthough. Here's the first instalment (he's up to ep 4 as of last night, but personally I've only got through to the second ep yet):
 

PowerGod

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I was expecting Oculus stuff to be the "standard" considering everything I heard in the past... weird stuff

I suppose that with "PCVR" you are meaning "Virtual Reality for PC", right ? (Too many new terms all in one post xD)

Now I'll have to study a bit this VR environment. Thanks for the clues.

*tries to not click on videos :eek:

EDIT:

I was missing this bit of info
Own Valve Index? You get Half-Life: Alyx free.
 

PowerGod

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So... I just installed from STEAM "Are you Ready for Valve Index ?"... run it... and the answer was "NO" :'(

Failed only ONE test.. it is required at least an Nvidia GTX 970 .... I have 960 !! :mad:

FUUUUUUU !!! I'll wait a bit then (after all I played every Half-Life games 5 years after the release)... my graphic card is still too powerful for my use to be changed now.
 

TeDaDeS

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So... I just installed from STEAM "Are you Ready for Valve Index ?"... run it... and the answer was "NO" :'(

Failed only ONE test.. it is required at least an Nvidia GTX 970 .... I have 960 !! :mad:

FUUUUUUU !!! I'll wait a bit then (after all I played every Half-Life games 5 years after the release)... my graphic card is still too powerful for my use to be changed now.
If you really want to, a 970 or 1060-3G is ~75-125euro.
 

PowerGod

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If you really want to, a 970 or 1060-3G is ~75-125euro.
I know, but it's not a price issue, it's that I try to never change things until them are broken or not anymore usable... it can handle Witcher 3 with everything maxed out at full hd... the only 2 things I have to disable are "HairWorks" and something related to shadows... it still can do a lot of things for me...

The good thing could be that thanks to Alyx success, when I'll upgrade my rig there will be a lot more VR titles worth to be played.
 

elvissteinjr

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I suppose that with "PCVR" you are meaning "Virtual Reality for PC", right ? (Too many new terms all in one post xD)
Yeah. As opposed to PSVR, standalone VR (Oculus Quest (this one can be connected to a PC too though), Vive Focus) or smartphone VR (Google killed off Daydream, so I don't even know if there's much left here).
I personally think the PCVR space is most interesting since it's an open platform. PSVR has its own share of exclusive titles though, which is a shame.

I was expecting Oculus stuff to be the "standard" considering everything I heard in the past... weird stuff
They still make up slightly over 50% of the VR headsets used on Steam (next best stats we have, quite a few might not even use Steam) and well, Oculus was the name for years when talking about modern VR, so it's no wonder. They're by no means a bad choice either, if you can stand the Facebook backing, as said.
Well, as someone who tries to avoid it, you'll see me mentioning other choices as well. Most of my friends, if they have VR at all, have Oculus HMDs (head-mounted display) as well.

Here's a downside of the Valve Index: It's totally sold out right now, so getting one means waiting.
You could brute-force running the Index on a GTX 970, setting the display to 80 Hz and reducing the render resolution... but I wouldn't do that unless you plan to upgrade.
On the topic of GPUs it might be worth mentioning that AMD is kinda behind in VR performance compared otherwise equivalent Nvidia counterparts (as much as like AMD). Nvidia also packs more VR optimization tech in newer card generations (which is not always utilized, but help performance when it is).

Oh and if Linux support is a requirement... it's supported for HTC Vive and Valve Index, but there's next to no native game support. Proton works with many games, but I've found overall performance to be noticeably better on Windows.

Might be rambling too much again. As you might've noticed, I'm one of these weird "VR enthusiast" people. But hey, I can probably answer most questions at least.
 

Alperoot

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So... I just installed from STEAM "Are you Ready for Valve Index ?"... run it... and the answer was "NO" :'(

Failed only ONE test.. it is required at least an Nvidia GTX 970 .... I have 960 !! :mad:

FUUUUUUU !!! I'll wait a bit then (after all I played every Half-Life games 5 years after the release)... my graphic card is still too powerful for my use to be changed now.
If you really want the Valve Index then yeah, your GPU really isn't up for it. But some people I know have been reporting actually playable performance on a GTX 1050ti, with one of the cheaper WMR headsets.

The high end of the market is pretty expensive but really, WMR headsets are somewhere around 200-250$ second hand in most countries, and the game supports these headsets really well. I've been playing with a Samsung Oddysey+ and an RTX 2070 gaming box (terrible purchase decision on my end, but much better than trying to run the game in my integrated GPU :D), honestly, the game is amazing. It is my personal opinion, though I've been waiting for a new Half-Life game for about 4 years now, a lot less than most people's almost 13 years.

Just seeing the headcrab zombies doing dumb shit is enough to get someone emotional...;)
 

TeDaDeS

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Can you run Alyx on a integrated GPU?

I also read the CPU might become a bottleneck when playing Alyx, as rendering 90fps+ causes many draw calls to the CPU.
 
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