Yes, level editing is really cool, but the big news here is native support for Half-Life: Alyx, a VR video game, on Linux.
Half-Life: Alyx has been out for around six weeks, and it’s been very well received. It’s something of a surprise, given that Valve isn’t really known for developing games anymore, but it’s welcome. (Perhaps we’ve probably got the former Campo Santo team to thank for that.)
But when Valve does develop games, one thing that’s universally lauded is the company’s support for tinkering. While the likes of Konami and Nintendo are playing copyright whack-a-mole with fan projects, Valve flings open the doors to its engines, level editors, and modding tools. Even fan-made remakes like Black Mesa get a curt but approving nod from Papa Newell.
Prepare for unforeseen consequences, then, as Valve throws open the doors to Steam Workshop for Half-Life: Alyx. This is the first beta release of the Alyx Workshop tools; here are some of the things you’ll find within:
- Hammer, the latest version of the Source 2 level editor.
- Material Editor, the tool for creating and tuning materials in Source 2.
- ModelDoc, a tool for viewing, editing, and compiling models with animation, collision, and other gameplay attributes.
- AnimGraph, our animation tool used to create complicated animation setups with blends and transitions.
- Particle Editor, for making new particle effects.
- Subrect Editor, for creating smart texture sheets known as “hotspots.”
- Source Filmmaker, the Source 2 cinematic renderer and animation tool.
But that’s not all. In addition to Steam Workshop shenanigans, Valve has also added native Linux support to Half-Life: Alyx. That might not seem like a big deal to most users – with only 1.91% of total Steam users with VR headsets, and 0.89% using Linux – but Linux support is a growing area. A giant like Valve chucking its support behind Linux on its flagship VR title is a massive endorsement.
The latest update to Half-Life: Alyx also includes new AMD Vulkan drivers, updates to the game’s spectator mode, and a raft of general bugs squashed, including a fix for “some occurrences of the player’s in-game hands shaking” which – not gonna lie – sounds unsettling. You can read the full patch notes on Steam.