Check out Half-Life: Alyx being played without VR

Half-Life: Alyx screenshot.
Half-Life: Alyx screenshot. (Image credit: Valve)

What you need to know

  • A streamer discovered a console command that allows you to use the mouse and keyboard to move and shoot in Half-Life: Alyx instead of VR gear.
  • The game lacks much functionality in this state, but it implies it may be easier to make the game playable without VR than originally thought.
  • Valve's Robin Walker said he "looks forward" to seeing players create mods that remove VR from Half-Life: Alyx.

On a livestream, Twitch livestreamer and Valve News Network founder Tyler McVicker discovered that you can move around freely in Half-Life: Alyx by using mouse and keyboard instead of VR tech while datamining the game's files and messing around with the code. Soon after, he discovered the "vr_enable_fake_vr_test" console command, and when he entered it Alyx's hands popped up on the screen, allowing him to fire her gun without any VR gear. You can watch the clip below:

This is huge, as it shows that Half-Life: Alyx has basic support for moving and shooting with mouse and keyboard. This discovery comes only a day after a comment from Valve's Robin Walker that he's "looking forward" to seeing the game being modded so that it can be played with mouse and keyboard; if modders can take advantage of the basic working controls that are already present in the files, he may not have to wait long.

Sadly, the console command doesn't enable any advanced functionality, such as moving objects around in the world. Still, though, it's exciting to think that the foundations for a modded version of Half-Life: Alyx that removes the VR requirement exist. We can't wait to see what happens next.

Half-Life: Alyx is available on PC via Steam for $60.

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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • This is the saddest thing I've read today.
  • Why is that?
  • People doing this are missing the true intent of the developers and what makes the experience special. Alyx is beyond just being another Half Life game. I don't think it would be that interesting if it wasn't in VR, to be honest. I wouldn't play it.
    So the guy who does this or seeks to do this is settling to play an inferior experience, that is, just a flat game, instead of striving to play it in VR. That's sad. They're bringing us a game experience, a world to truly immerse ourselves in, but all some people want of this is sitting in front of their PC with a mouse and keyboard at their fingertips, and just care about yet another game where they walk by pressing a key and they shoot a few things with their mouse cursor. tl;dr It's the wrong way to play it, and not because of a technical requirement to have the hardware, but because you're missing a memorable immersive experience. Just my 2 cents.
  • Maybe some people just want to play without having to make a large investment just to play one game?
  • You're not wrong that the non-VR version won't be as good, but at the same time, VR right now is very inaccessible to many, many people due to the cost. Also, tons of Half-Life fans have been waiting over a decade to see what's next for the series, and I sympathize with people who are frustrated that after all that waiting time, they can't enjoy it because of a financial entry barrier. I guarantee you that if people had the money to get VR to play HL:A, they would. But many do not. This will be the next best thing for them.