A handful of Valve devs working on the upcoming VR game Half-Life: Alyx took to Reddit today to field community questions, offering up some information fellow developers may find interesting in the process.
Unfortunately for those hopeful that Half-Life: Alyx would open the door to a full release of a Source 2 SDK, Valve says it currently has no plans to release the full SDK to the masses but it hopes to reach that point eventually.
“We'd really like to release one at some point, but it's a ton of work because Source 2 is a new toolset, much of which hasn't been previously released,” writes a Valve developer.
“Any time we spend on it now is also time we could be spending on polishing the game itself, which we think is more important. As a result, we thought it wasn't appropriate to promise anything before release. Generally, this is how we've done SDKs in our previous Source 1 titles as well - making the game takes precedence, and after that's done, we start looking at what's next.”
A version of Valve’s Hammer level editor, however, is set to launch alongside Half-Life: Alyx in March, though the exact extent of the updated tool’s capabilities has yet to be fully detailed. In the AMA, a level designer on the Alyx team did share that “Hammer in Source 2 has been overhauled from the ground up. Everything from how geometry is built and textured to how asset creation is done has been improved to increase the speed and ease at which we can build and iterate on levels.”
Much of the AMA lightly explores how Valve has worked to transition a non-VR franchise to virtual reality, covering why the team opted to give players invisible limbs, how they tackled the tricky task of locomotion, and progress on accessibility features like a one handed or seated mode for play.
Some enemies, like the grappling Barnacles for instance, no longer behave quite the same as they did in previous Half-Life games due to how sudden, non-player controlled movement translates to VR.
“You'll deal with them in familiar ways, but the opportunities afforded by VR also give you new methods to use against them,” writes another Half-Life: Alyx dev. “We experimented with moving the player, but moving the player without their input in VR didn't work very well. As with many aspects of working on this game, we’ve had to find new ways to take well-worn mechanics and other Half-Life staples into the specific framework of VR.”