As if you needed another reason to play through Half-Life: Alyx again, Valve comes in clutch once more with a peak behind the curtain.
"Hopefully, this commentary will give you insight into the types of problems we faced and how we chose to tackle them."
Released earlier this year, Half-Life: Alyx was one of the most hyped VR games we've seen yet. The first game in one of Valve's most loved series in over ten years, some were upset that the next instalment wouldn't be the fabled and heavily meme'd Half-Life 3. But after the game released, it quickly settled into a legacy of near universal praise. It has received a 93/100 score on Metacritic, a 10/10 average rating on Steam and a 92/100 rating from PC Gamer.
So it isn't like you needed another reason to pick up and play through Half-Life: Alyx. But just in case you are on the fence, Valve have come in clutch once more with a peak behind the curtain.
This week, a major update to the game brought a fantastic new developer commentary mode to the experience. The integration is flawless and, perhaps best of all, features an introduction from gaming's most lovable CEO, Gabe Newell. Here's how Gabe explains how to access the commentary modules in his introduction:
"To listen to a commentary node, pick up the floating hologram of a radio headset in front of you and simple put it on your head. Once you're done listening to the commentary, you can take the radio headset off or simply put on the next one."
As you listen, an audio player appears above your left hand telling you what you're listening to and who is currently speaking. This is a fantastic way to keep you in control of the developer commentary while not getting in the way of gameplay. To pause a tape - for instance, if a cutscene comes up - all you need to do is take the virtual headset off your head.
This also means that the developer commentary mode is still an enjoyable and largely unencumbered playthrough of the base game. It would likely be a distraction for first-timers, but more experienced players will get to enjoy the game's mechanics in full as they explore the development process. If you're not familiar with the team behind Half-Life: Alyx, this is a great way to get acquainted with them.
And they're looking for feedback, too. If you happen to have any, Gabe Newell offers his own Valve email address to anyone listening for that very purpose:
"Please let me know what you think. I can be reached at email@example.com. While I'm unable to reply to all the emails I receive, I do read them all. They're a critical part of the feedback we use to evaluate our work."
Maybe if you're going for a replay of Alyx you may need some new tech to go with it. If you're shopping for upgrades, why not start with bHaptic's new fully emersive haptic suit?