staples into the specific framework of VR. ”
Two of the AMA’s shortest answers hinted to some seriously trippy VR-specific moments: “some creatures respond to audio more than others, “and” limb dismemberment is not a factor in most combat encounters — but there is a very notable exception. ” We wonder whether this has to do with the sounds of VR footsteps or whether VR headsets’ built-in microphones will be turned on for certain moments in the game. Valve did not clarify. Both of those vague hints sound creepy , and one Valve dev, who outed himself as the team’s most timid player, answered questions about the game’s horror-scare potential within VR headsets at length:
Horror is part of the franchise, and through playtesting, we feel like we’ve gained some confidence about where to draw this line. Some of our gorier visuals tend to evoke a grim fascination rather than revulsion or panic, and apart from myself, we’ve hardly ever seen anyone nope out of a playtest, even during the creepier sections. Boo to lack of SDK, yay to Headcrab bucket
To that end, the AMA included some wonky, technical breakdowns about the Source 2 engine’s sound implementations. This included a promising emphasis on the VR game’s sound design: “Figuring out ways of making environments sonically interesting for players who want to take their time and explore, which happens much more frequently in VR.”
Speaking of wonky, technical breakdowns: Unlike the recent, uneven VR adventure game
HL: A will not include any visible body parts within players. ‘VR view beyond their hands. However, Valve says that its upcoming game actually models invisible arms and legs, primarily to stop nearby geometry (doors, drawers) from colliding unnaturally with your nearby virtual body.
Should fans be excited by the various new systems described in the AMA, particularly tweaks to the Source 2 engine for refined VR development, they’ll need to cool their heels for a while. While Valve has told fans that some VR-specific tools will be opened up for tinkerers when the game launches, the same won’t happen for the “full” SDK. “This is how we’ve done SDKs in our previous Source 1 titles as well,” Valve says. “Making the game takes precedence, and after that’s done, we start looking at what’s next.”
Valve says that one of the foundational experiments that led to (HL: A) nearly shipped as a playable mini-game in Valve’s free VR toy set (The Lab
(thus confirming fans ‘suspicions after data-mining The Lab ‘s files). This prototype, and a few others, may very well see coverage in Geoff Keighley’s upcoming Final Hours video special about
HL: A ‘s development process.
On the sillier side, Valve has confirmed that
players can do stupid stuff like pick up a bucket, place it on a Headcrab, and watch the creature skitter around as a moving bucket. “Playtesters all keep reporting it as a bug,” the team says.
For the next two months, Valve says it has designs on releasing a stream of gameplay videos, which will “showcase not just gameplay elements, but also VR-specific elements like different movement options. ” We’ll certainly keep our eyes peeled for those, as we’re still waiting on answers about more of the game’s VR-specific mechanics, particularly the Gravity Gloves and the wall-scanning Multi-tool seen in this article’s top illustration. For now, you’ll have to settle on a dump of text, and maybe furrow your brow at the questions Valve
did , answer, by flipping through the rest of the AMA right here .
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