Half-Life: Alyx's Mod Scene is Officially Off to the Races

Half-Life: Alyx's Mod Scene is Officially Off to the Races

Fan-made VR creations for Valve's Source 2 engine just got the green light.

Half-Life: Alyx made a big splash by the standards of VR titles upon release, but it's fair to say the true test of the title will be to see if it sparks the same kinds of creativity that past Half-Life titles did. Today, with the beta release of Valve's editing tools and Steam Workshop integration for Half-Life: Alyx, the modding scene is officially off to the races.

Using Source 2 tools shipping for Dota 2 earlier, some intrepid modders have already gotten some Half-Life: Alyx maps up-and-running, but this official beta release should hopefully be more stable and useful. In addition to a new Source 2 and VR-ready version of Valve's level editor Hammer, the release also includes tools for materials, models, animations, and particle effects. There's also an updated version of the Source Filmmaker tool, which (for better or worse, ahem) will likely lead to all manner of new animated shorts from the community.

Furthermore, Valve's gone a bit beyond its promise of releasing a level editor for Alyx. "The entire set of Half-Life: Alyx maps is also included as editable source for reference," Valve reveals in its announcement. These, along with some sample maps, should help designers of all skill levels wrap their head around how Valve built Half-Life: Alyx, or at the very least provide a way to quickly and easily copy over interactive elements that you know should work as intended.

Additionally, Valve has started a documentation resource for the tools and pushed an update to Alyx that adds support for the Vulkan rendering API. Thanks to this, there's now a Linux-native version of Half-Life: Alyx using Vulkan, too. That's probably the last operating system Alyx will expand to in the foreseeable future, as Valve just dropped Mac support for SteamVR. Still, any headset with tracked controllers that's compatible with SteamVR will be compatible with Alyx moving forward.

Hopefully, Valve will continue to expand support for Source 2 and VR modding in the future. Official tools and support for Half-Life: Alyx is a good start, but greater freedom could help give us a breakout mod—like Counter-Strike or Garry's Mod—that takes on a life of its own. At least for now, people who have Alyx should be excited to know there'll be more levels to dive into very soon.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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