It’s been over a year since Valve’s return to the world of Half-Life released exclusively on VR, but that hasn’t stopped any dedicated modders from trying to create a 2D/flat/pancake (or whatever you want to call it) version so non-VR users get to experience the game as well.
Well, a progress update for the official Half-Life: Alyx No VR mod shows that it is coming along nicely. It’s still not perfect by any means, but it does a pretty good job already of converting the VR version into a playable non-VR version. You can check out the development update below:
It clearly still has a little way to go before it can truly feel like a non-VR version of HL Alyx, and definitely looks a little clunky in gameplay by trying to convert VR-specific features like the gravity gloves into a non-VR environment and control set.
That said, is a non-VR version of Half Life Alyx actually a good idea? The more I look at this video the more I see how much of what made Alyx’s gameplay unique is simply lost in digital translation. Picking up items and flinging them towards yourself isn’t satisfying, and the non-VR-ifying of the 3D puzzles clearly still presents a problem for non-VR modders (as the screen conveniently fades to black just before, though they do apparently work in non-VR but still need some adjustments).
Either way, it will certainly be interesting to see if modders actually can end up creating a satisfying experience that feels just like the original games for non-VR players. There’s no doubt that Half Life: Alyx was designed to be played in VR, but if modders can actually make a competent non-VR version, that will be extremely impressive to say the least.
What do you think? Would you play a non-VR version of Half Life Alyx? Do you think it will be just as enjoyable? Or will too much of what makes HL Alyx unique end up lost in digital translation? Let us know!