Half-Life: Alyx mod lets you play with no VR headset – here’s how to install it

Alyx Vance and Gordon Freeman pursued
(Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Half-Life: Alyx now has a mod which allows players to finish the game in full with no need for any expensive VR hardware.

You may recall that a few weeks back, it was discovered that Valve’s shooter had a built-in tool for developers which allowed Alyx to be experienced with no headset. However, playing the game with that dev tool made for a pretty wonky and unsatisfying experience – and you couldn’t actually complete Half-Life: Alyx going this route anyway – but this fresh mod claims to cure these major issues.

Now, before you get too excited, don’t expect the game to be a perfect experience by any means. It still looks a bit wobbly, and there are likely to be bugs, all of which you might expect – but we have to remember that Half-Life: Alyx was designed specifically for VR.

How to install the mod

So, bear those caveats in mind, and you should further note that the setup process is a little fiddly, and involves a driver installation. Fortunately, the steps have been laid out clearly enough in the above video, so just follow that clip, pausing it, and carefully implementing each instruction as you go.

The core steps are as follows:

  • Download and install TrueOpenVR
  • Install SteamVR
  • Unpack Half-Life: Alyx driver to TrueOpenVR folder
  • Set up TrueOpenVR
  • Set up SteamVR driver (in one-eye mode)

And as outlined on the project’s Github page, once you’ve carefully completed all the steps laid out in the video, you should also be sure to carry out the following instructions.

After installing both SteamVR and TrueOpenVR, you should navigate to the SteamVR state window > Setup room > Small room > Calibrate, and set it to 170cm.

Furthermore, there are launch options to be added. To do this, in Steam, go to the game’s properties, click on launch options, and enter the following:

+vr_gg_gesture_pull 0

Or if using a regular shortcut, you need to pull up the properties for the executable, and add the same command on the end, so for example, depending on your exact installation path, you may have:

"C:\Games\Half-Life Alyx\bin\win64\hlvr.exe" +vr_gg_gesture_pull 0

In the game settings, you also need to remember to select ‘Movement: Smooth’ for palatable movement with your traditional peripherals.

The Github page contains further important details on the controls, and also certain difficulties you might hit during the course of the play-through, and how to solve them, so be sure to check it out.

More to come?

It may be that smoother no-VR mods emerge down the line, we shall just have to see. Meanwhile, there are certainly those who are arguing that given the gameplay experience you get with this mod, you’re better off simply watching a video of Half-Life: Alyx being completed by someone in virtual reality, rather than trying to play it through with traditional peripherals.

This was certainly what Robin Walker, one of the game’s coders, predicted – that these kind of mods would illustrate exactly why Valve kept Alyx as VR-only, rather than trying to compromise the mechanics to allow for keyboard-and-mousers to have a go, too.

Still, it’s good to have the option to have a crack at the game without a headset, and this mod seems to function well enough on a basic level. There seem to be plenty of folks out there who are trying it out, and they’re thankful that they’ve got the ability to do so.

Via PC Gamer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).