Valve’s own games have long been popular not just for their intrinsic value but also for their modder-friendliness. That kind of thinking has fortunately also seeped into Steam via the platform’s Workshop feature, giving rise to countless mods, some of which grow up to be games in their own right. Now Valve is extending that to its first big VR game, giving modders the green light to take what they can from Half-Life: Alyx for their own twist on the game or even completely new VR experiences.
Valve’s announcement is quite significant even if some Alyx players have already started down the path of modding the VR game on their own. Not only does it give Valve’s formal blessing, it also actually provides the tools that modders would need to make properly-functioning mods.
In line with that, the company is releasing a beta version of its Alyx Workshop Tools suite. That includes a few components that modders of Valve’s other games are already familiar with, like the Source 2 engine level editor Hammer and the cinematic renderer and animation tool Source Filmmaker. These have been updated to support creating VR experiences, preferably with Valve’s Index system.
The Workshop also includes sample maps that modders can take apart and examine, learning from how Valve itself produced the maps and encounters they experienced in-game. The maps are also editable and contain objects and prefabs they can also use for themselves.
Valve is also taking the opportunity to announce updates to Half-Life: Alyx that go beyond the Workshop and Tools. The use of the Vulkan API not only gives Linux gamers a native version of the game but may also improve performance for some Windows users. The Spectator View also gets some new features, including two zoom levels as well as a full-screen mode so you can enjoy watching someone else play the game without any distractions.