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Valve Announces new Half-Life game (for VR only)

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EDIT: Trailer is up

 

Interview with the team:

--- original post belo

 

 

Rumors say March 2020 release.  I'm both excited and terrified.  It's really difficult to make a good VR game.  On one hand the Kerry Davis VR game development presentation shows they're trying to tackle the nuances of VR interaction that really bring virtual worlds to life.  But on the other hand Valve has been very cautious about inducing sim sickness in the past.  The limitations imposed on the player to prevent sim sickness are in conflict with player agency and interaction is (IMO) VR's strongest value proposition.  One gets accustomed to the spectacle of the VR perspective and the visuals in today's headsets have just as many downsides as upsides, so you really have to do something more to take advantage of VR.  Really curious about what they're going to do.

Edited by woah
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I always knew they would use the HL IP to try to sell VR, the dreamed "killer app", even tho i've nothing against VR, is still just to damn expensive to me, PC version of course.  And like me there's millions outhere but Valve is really not making this for the quick money. 

Personally I love FPS's and VR ones even tho cool and all, are just not what i'm used to, movement in a VR FPS imo is really bad, or you just move on rails (on a vehicle for example) and just pop shoots at enemies as they pass by you or you use "jump" teleport to move around the world, the later is much better but is also much more sickness inducing (at least for me) and is just not the smooth traveling that normal "flat" FPS's provide, this unless you move on the real world, but that will never be practical outside of specialized gaming centers.  

Edited by HMart

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3 hours ago, Kurshok said:

I think they should still release it off VR for those who aren't fans of it due to motion sickness.

I think the main trouble with this is that if you're actually trying to take advantage of VR input you can't really map the interactions to flat/desktop input devices in a way that isn't clunky.  VR games seem to be trending toward highly dynamic physics based interaction methods where you need input closer to the expressiveness/fidelity that your actual hands provide.  Instead of the typical approach of defining a small set of preset actions bound to keys/buttons and animations to go along with them, the player's body (as inferred from at least the hands and head) and the environment itself are defined at a more granular level as objects in the physics engine, and then you let the physics engine play out all of the different possibilities.  If you tried to map these sorts of dynamic interactions onto mouse and keyboard, you'll basically be manipulating your character as you would 3d models in a 3d editor.

Of course we're no where near the fidelity of actual hands and fingers, the software implementations are still immature, and input is still pretty clunky because current gen motion controllers aren't able to provide a sense of directional or rotation forces (so you have no feedback beyond vibration).  But despite all of this, what the Boneworks devs and Blade & Sorcery devs are doing right now is still quite amazing.  The lasting appeal of VR seems to be the interaction mechanics afforded by this kind of input and while the spectacle of VR perspective itself is cool it's actually more important for putting these interactions in the correct perspective so they become intuitive (and of course modern VR's visuals still have a ton of issues).

 

2 hours ago, HMart said:

I always knew they would use the HL IP to try to sell VR, the dreamed "killer app", even tho i've nothing against VR, is still just to damn expensive to me, PC version of course.  And like me there's millions outhere but Valve is really not making this for the quick money. 

Personally I love FPS's and VR ones even tho cool and all, are just not what i'm used to, movement in a VR FPS imo is really bad, or you just move on rails (on a vehicle for example) and just pop shoots at enemies as they pass by you or you use "jump" teleport to move around the world, the later is much better but is also much more sickness inducing (at least for me) and is just not the smooth traveling that normal "flat" FPS's provide, this unless you move on the real world, but that will never be practical outside of specialized gaming centers.  

With respect to movement, what you say was the dominant belief in early 2016 but ever since Onward came out ~late 2016 VR games have transitioned to the regular smooth locomotion you're accustomed to in flat gaming.  What makes it comfortable is (1) controller relative smooth locomotion with careful use of acceleration/inertia and (2) a "VR legs" training period where you gradually build yourself up to that kind of movement over the span of several days.  The trick is to only play up until you start to feel strange (not sick) and then stop for several hours before trying again.  In my experience, after about 5-7 days of even a single exposure per day most people are OK with smooth locomotion and the result is that you can do so much more in VR.  After getting regular translational smooth locomotion down you can graduate to more extreme games like Windlands 2 or Jet Island.

Don't get me wrong, that training period is still a huge roadblock for VR and some people fundamentally just can't get their VR legs or won't have the patience/persistence to try.  But the dominant VR FPSs that people currently play don't even support teleportation anymore (e.g. Pavlov VR, the second most popular VR game by player numbers).  Teleportation is just too immersion breaking and clunky.  Younger people seem to have a much easier time acclimating to smooth locomotion.  And eventually there may be some hardware solutions to the problem as well.

As for the price, yeah that's still an issue--costs about $350 for a decent VR system now--but it's not unheard of for new technology.  These things start out expensive, clunky, uncomfortable, etc etc only appealing to an enthusiast market and then they gradually expand as the hardware and software mature over many years (with feedback from enthusiasts being critical).  Same thing happened with e.g. computer games and smartphones, they take a decade+ to really hit the masses.  And VR hardware still has to improve a lot in ergonomics, visual comfort, visual fidelity, haptics, etc etc and this basically has to happen in the high end.  There was way too much VR hype early on for what the tech currently has to offer.  And if anything Facebook's break even pricing is very unusual for a market that's this immature ... but I think they're trying to corner the market through predatory pricing (as well as getting impatient with the rate of VR adoption, being a publicly traded company and all of that)

Edited by woah

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apparently its set before half-life 2.

the other rumour is its set after half-life 2 when they were going to use the helicopter to get to that ship stuck in the ice.

 

the game is aimed at valves new $1000 vr kit.

Edited by stumpy
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7 minutes ago, stumpy said:

apparently its set before half-life 2.

the other rumour is its set after half-life 2 when they were going to use the helicopter to get to that ship stuck in the ice.

 

the game is aimed at valves new $1000 vr kit.

It's definitely being designed with the Index controllers in mind but it will work fine with the Vive, Rift, Rift S, Cosmos, WMR, etc etc as well, which you can get for between $200 and $400.  As long as it's compatible with SteamVR it should work.  Hell, Facebook dropped support for the old Oculus development kit but even that still works through SteamVR.  I think Valve's major ambition with making the Index was to push the technology forward.

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That'll be interesting to see what they've come up with. The guys over at Stress Level 0 took matters in to their own hands waiting for Half-Life 3 and have made their own VR fps inspired by Half-Life called Boneworks. It's definitely worth checking out, and it will be released in December this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kWBeyiXaig


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   Series:                                                                           Standalone:

Chronicles of Skulduggery 1: Pearls and Swine                     The Night of Reluctant Benefaction

Chronicles of Skulduggery 2: A Precarious Position              Langhorne Lodge

Chronicles of Skulduggery 3: Sacricide [WIP]

 

 

 

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Woah I based my experience on the few games I played on a friends PSVR system, I think I have yet to experience the smooth locomotion that you talk about, unless the Rally simulator he has can be considered smooth motion, it has indeed constant motion (no teleportation) but it makes me sick in seconds, so i didn't played it much. I also get sick very easily in real world cars for example (not when driving of course).

The only VR game I experienced that really made me appreciate it, was a third person platform game, you stay put and you just make a small character jump around, that to me was really awesome, the shark cage demo was also cool, like I said i'm not against VR and I comprehend why some people love it.  

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18 hours ago, HMart said:

Woah I based my experience on the few games I played on a friends PSVR system, I think I have yet to experience the smooth locomotion that you talk about, unless the Rally simulator he has can be considered smooth motion, it has indeed constant motion (no teleportation) but it makes me sick in seconds, so i didn't played it much. I also get sick very easily in real world cars for example (not when driving of course).

The only VR game I experienced that really made me appreciate it, was a third person platform game, you stay put and you just make a small character jump around, that to me was really awesome, the shark cage demo was also cool, like I said i'm not against VR and I comprehend why some people love it.  

Oh yeah, jumping straight into something like a Rally game would be a disaster for most people.  Smooth rotation like that is even harder to tolerate than smooth translational movement (forward, back, left, right), though sometimes the frame of reference provided by cockpits does help.  In the past I couldn't play that kind of game but at this point I'm accustomed to racing around tight tracks at 1000+ km/h in BallisticNG without any issues.  It takes some dedication to build up to that though.

Generally you want to start with something that uses pure translational smooth locomotion like Onward or Pavlov, using the "VR legs" training regimen I outlined above.  Most people can work up to that pretty quickly.  One uses instant incremental rotations of ~45 degrees mapped to the joystick to turn (this doesn't cause simulator sickness like smooth rotation would) and their head/body for everything in between.  I'm quite amazed and disappointed that no current VR platform has a built in "VR legs training" application.

Regardless, simulator sickness is still the biggest roadblock for VR.  I think we could still have millions of VR users even with this problem but at some point we'll hit a threshold where more casual users just won't bother.  Other things like the fixed focus (you can't focus properly in today's VR headsets) or the lacking haptic feedback seem solveable.

Edited by woah

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Sorry to hear that you experience motion sickness in VR HMart, some of my favourite VR experiences are ones that include a lot of motion, like Dirt Rally and Skyrim. But there are amazing games that don't do bodily movement too though like Beat Saber and 3rd person platformers like Moss. I'm sure there are good lists out there of great games that are easy on the stomach. Gently challenging your comfort zone over time is very effective and relatively painless if done right, I think woah is on the right track.

For trivia, Dark Mod VR is still the experience that has gotten me the closest to throwing up. Mouselook with a screen strapped to your face is torture, especially in the vertical plane. I also played Brutal Doom (yes, the original Doom from the 90's) in VR and I think that was a close second. 


My Fan Missions:

   Series:                                                                           Standalone:

Chronicles of Skulduggery 1: Pearls and Swine                     The Night of Reluctant Benefaction

Chronicles of Skulduggery 2: A Precarious Position              Langhorne Lodge

Chronicles of Skulduggery 3: Sacricide [WIP]

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, jaxa said:

Valve has described this game as not Half Life 3. Thus the meme lives on.

You'd think they would get tired of NOT making it already.

Edited by Kurshok
misspelling

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Just updated the topic with both videos.

Trailer

Short interview with Geoff Keighley

My early (and almost certainly premature) impressions based on just the trailer: The production values are quite insane for a VR game and the basic interactions look solid and rewarding.  However, as I detailed in the original post, I'm thinking the kinds of interactions one can perform will be quite limited by their concerns about sim sickness.  I didn't see anything in the video that involved smooth locomotion or that used VR interaction in a novel way like Boneworks.  The crowbar was also strangely absent from the trailer.  I got this vibe from the interview that the developers weren't happy about something or weren't necessarily convinced about the state of the game (or maybe they're just burned out from overworking themselves)

I think this will be an awesome first time VR experience but I don't think this kind of content will be sustainable in the long term.  It's the common tension between making a VR game interactively novel and making it accessible.  There's probably a good chance someone will be able to mod in flat support down the line.

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barney keeps the crowbar from half-life 1 to half-life 2 to to give to Gordon freeman, it maybe to only crowbar in both games. so alyx doesn't have access to it, the alyx game is set after half-life 1 and before half-life 2.

unless they just failed to show it and wanted to show of the hands loading that gun.

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While it seems like the next step at pushing boundaries, (which is what HL games tend to try and do) they intentionally didn't do this with HL3. I see this as a creative reintroduction to the series and my hopes are that we finally get some kind of EP2 sequel in the not so far future.

383976338c880c5a7e7fc169fb82aa01.png

As a major HL2 fan (that being the game that kept me in modding btw) still has me really stoked. That will however leave me very stoked and broke for the next couple months. 😆


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I think that it will be a really cool AAA title for VR, which is something that VR certainly needs more of, but I wouldn't be too quick to liken it to the main Half-Life series which had a lot of puzzles and other hallmarks that are not easily translated to VR. So it's not the long awaited prophecy of Half-Life 3, but it looks like it will be a fun time!

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My Fan Missions:

   Series:                                                                           Standalone:

Chronicles of Skulduggery 1: Pearls and Swine                     The Night of Reluctant Benefaction

Chronicles of Skulduggery 2: A Precarious Position              Langhorne Lodge

Chronicles of Skulduggery 3: Sacricide [WIP]

 

 

 

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Apparently the Index VR kit has sold out in the USA and UK, looks like a lot of people are getting it for christmas.

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