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Half-Life: Alyx: And Where Are The Vehicles?

Valve‘s new VR game lacks vehicles. Why is that? Robin Walker, one of the programmers and designers of the game, revealed it to VG247.

„At a guess, I would say a reason that never really came up seriously onto the set of things we were looking at was everything that we were seeing was telling us that players wanted denser worlds. They were going to move through space more slowly, explore more carefully, and our response to that was to add even more detail to the world. We put that in front of playtesters, and they would pay even more attention.

I remember back in Half-Life 2, we struggled to reconcile, even then, the density implications of players in vehicles. If you remember the Half-Life 2 coastline area, with the buggy, we had to establish, essentially, a visual language with players for the place you need to get out of your buggy and explore,” Walker explains.

He explains how in Half-Life 2, it already was a troublesome issue for Gabe Newell’s team, and back in 2003-2004, the worlds in the games weren’t as big and/or detailed as today. „They were just really worried about missing anything, which is a really natural thing to be worried about in a Half-Life game. You know in a Half-Life game that anything that’s there was thought about and designed and placed. It’s not just painted down by some automatic thing that’s filling the world with rocks and trees and nature.

And so, in Half-Life 2, we established this design language, which was these human structures. Things that were built by humans. Things that actually were areas that we were always going to put design and build content into. Natural stuff, rocks, trees, the beach, all that, we wouldn’t. And so, you could drive as a player along the coast, drive for a while, and then see a house, and stop at the house. Jump out, explore the house, get a unique experience, and then drive along, stop at the next human landmark,” he added.

„So, even back then where we had essentially an order of magnitude less detail in our world, you had to establish those sorts of rules to help players understand, ‘How do I know when I should explore, and when I shouldn’t?’ I think that was probably all part of the thinking in our heads,” Walker says. And it makes sense: if an ordinary PC game already caused issues about exploration with vehicles (and on foot), it would have been a different set of problems in virtual reality…

And previously, we discussed why the crowbar is lacking. The explanation behind that is both funny and sad at the same time.

Source: VG247

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