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Cas & Chary Present: Top 10 ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Mods So Far

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Half-Life: Alyx’s Workshop Tools for modding have been out for a while now. This is a set of software utilities that allow anyone to create and install custom add-ons for the game and there’s already plenty to choose from. We tried out a bunch of mods to find out which are worth playing.

Cas & Chary Present

Cas and Chary VR is a YouTube channel hosted by Netherland-based duo Casandra Vuong and Chary Keijzer who have been documenting their VR journeys since 2016. They share a curated selection of their content with extra insights for the Road to VR audience.

These past couple of months I’ve tried about 20 different mods. Some mods are more like add-ons to the base game and can give the original campaign a whole new experience, while some feel like entire standalone campaign levels. Playing the game again and checking out these mods is an awesome way to extend your playtime in Half-Life: Alyx.

There are so many mods now, though, so if you’re wondering which to try first, here’s a list of my 10 favorites. I tried to make this list as varied as possible because I wanted to show a variety of mods.

If you don’t know how to install a mod, check out the video at around the 9:12 minute mark. Don’t worry, it’s straightforward!

#10 – ‘Northern Star Bowling’ by Ice52

So, you’ve defeated the Combine. Now it’s time to relax, and the perfect place for that is in the Northern Star Bar, where you can dive into leisurely activities like pool. This bar also has a 4-lane bowling alley with working scoreboards and realistic feeling bowling balls. This is probably a mod you’d really only install and play once, but since it’s so different from other mods I wanted to include it as it shows what kinds of things are possible with the tools.

#9 – ‘Minigolf’ by MarioWalrus & Kaesar

The name says it already, play Mini-golf in an atmospherically designed environment built from the ground up using assets from the base game. It’s a short seven hole course that you walk through yourself. Don’t forget to take in the views every so often!

#8 – ‘Victory Mine: Map Labs One Room’ by photino1

Victory Mine is a mine level inspired by Half-Life 2: Episode 2 where you have to fight your way to the surface. You’ll go up against various types of Antlions and some Combine soldiers here and there. It’s a short campaign with intense battles that will surely test your skills, but if you have some time to look around this map is also atmospheric with beautiful lighting.

#7 – ‘Glorious Gloves’ by Epic

Glorious Gloves is an add-on that works with any part of the game. By turning it on, Alyx’s Gravity Gloves gain the original Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2. Now you can levitate, pull, or push objects away. You can also cause melee damage by punching with a closed fist. According to the mod’s developers, you can even complete 90% of the original game using only the Glorious Gloves without any guns.

#6 – ‘Sandbox’ by КотЭ

This mod adds a spawn menu, which allows you to spawn different characters and items. This can be NPCs, props, ragdolls, weapons, and entities. This mod is a great way to get a closer look at all the interesting models that Valve built for the game. Maybe you’d like a closer look at Jeff?

#5 – ‘Overrun’ by paradoxlol

Overrun is an adventure map with less exploring and more high-paced Combine action. I enjoyed my time with this one as it has gameplay elements of a dungeon game. You complete one ‘room’ by defeating all enemies, get some time to heal up before you move on to the next. These ‘rooms’ are small, but well-thought out with props and items that you can use to your advantage.

#4 – ‘Mine Break (Chapter 1)’ by SadlyItsBradley

Mine Break is a mod series that feels like a standalone campaign. The mission story is about exploring an abandoned warehouse that’s full of valuable resources that could aid in fighting the Combine oppression. The first chapter has you exploring a dark, underground mineshaft, where you’ll find puzzles, scripted scenes, and encounter various enemies. It’s a well-paced campaign with a mix of exploration and combat. This one may not be for the faint-hearted, though.

#3 – ‘Crash Course’ by SadlyItsBradley

Crash Course is from the same creator as Mine Break. It’s another excellent map that feels like a full campaign. It’s one that feels big as you’ll explore large open areas. Like the previous mod, this one also has scripted scenes and puzzles. I especially like how creator SadlyItsBradley also made creative use of the base game assets, some of which can surprise you. Overall, a fun one to go through. It’s less dark than Mine Break too, so probably more suitable for everyone.

#2 – ‘Alyx Plays Minecraft’ by Exe

Alyx Plays Minecraft is different as it’s a map that has all the Minecraft assets imported which makes it look like a completely different game.

You’ll be spawned in a Minecraft world where the Combine have stolen your diamonds and you must fight them to get them back. You’ll start outside in the forest, but soon you’ll enter the dark dungeons, which can get a bit scary, just like in Minecraft. If you’ve played Minecraft, you’ll especially love to explore this one, but even if you haven’t, the contrast between Alyx and Minecraft graphics is entertaining on its own.

#1 – ‘GoldenEye Alyx 007’, ‘Dam‘ & ‘Facility‘ by Eagle One, Jacob Hertz Da Deer, & Taek

Say Bye to Alyx Vance, you are now Alyx Bond. This is a four-part mod series with maps that are all based on the classic Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 maps. What’s interesting is that the devs of these mods decided to use the assets from the base game instead of importing their own.

The gameplay is fun, too; it feels like a complete, standalone campaign with combat that will force you to act strategically. Overall it’s impressive work and I would recommend this one to everyone.

– – — – –

That’s it! We hope you enjoy these mods. We’ll for sure dive back into Half-Life: Alyx every so often to check out new mods. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments!

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/top-10-best-half-life-alyx-mods-steam-workshop/

AR/VR

Microsoft to Acquire Bethesda’s Parent Company ZeniMax for $7.5B

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Microsoft today announced that it’s entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of game studio Bethesda Softworks. According to TechCrunch, the price was set at $7.5 billion.

The acquisition is slated to include all of ZeniMax’s properties including Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.

Once approved, this will make Microsoft the owners of some of the most influential titles in modern gaming, including franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, Quake, and Starfield.

ZeniMax’s fleet of studios have also been responsible for a number of VR titles such as DOOM VFR, Fallout 4 VR, Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, and Skyrim VR.

Image courtesy Bethesda Softworks

Microsoft says in a blog post that the inclusion of ZeniMax’s studios will help continue the company’s commitment “to deliver a breadth of amazing games to discover and play on Xbox.”

Although Microsoft hasn’t said as much, it’s likely Bethesda will be narrowing its focus to develop their long-standing franchises for Xbox—an expensive weapon in the coming battle with Sony’s PlayStation 5.

“One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios,” says Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.

Although it’s still unclear how the acquisition will affect Bethesda’s future VR aspirations—Microsoft still has no clear plan for VR headset support on its Xbox platform—Oculus’ Consulting CTO John Carmack says the acquisition may be a good thing for him at least.

Carmack co-founded id Software and was lead programmer of titles such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. Ever since ZeniMax and Facebook’s Oculus were engaged in a lengthy legal battle over the alleged theft of intellectual property developed by Carmack back when he was employed by id Software, he was understandably unable to publicly engage with the games he developed.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/microsoft-acquire-bethesdas-zenimax-7-5-billion/

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Osso VR Secures $14M Investment to Further Develop VR Surgical Training Platform

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Osso VR today announced it has raised $14 million in Series A funding to further develop its VR surgical training platform.

The financing round was led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures, with participation from SignalFire, GSR, Scrum Ventures, Leslie Ventures and OCA Ventures.

According to Crunchbase, the Series A brings Osso VR’s overall funding to $16 million, with its most recent funding round arriving in June 2017.

Founded in late 2016 by UCLA and Harvard-trained orthopedic surgeon Justin Barad, MD, Osso VR has developed a VR training platform that allows surgeons and other healthcare professionals to learn and review medical procedures.

Apparently in the years since its founding, the company has celebrated a measure of success with surgical training programs worldwide. The company now says its platform is currently used by over 20 teaching hospitals and 11 medical device companies, distributed across 20 countries.

Not only does the platform allow for hands-on learning with surgical procedures, but it also includes assessment modules, which can gauge a trainee’s knowledge of “steps, level of precision and overall efficiency throughout the procedure providing a benchmark for proficiency.”

“Being on the frontlines as a provider gives me a daily reminder that we are facing an accelerating challenge with how we train for and practice procedures in medicine,” said CEO and co-founder  Justin Barad, MD. “We set out from day one with a focused mission: to improve patient outcomes, increase the adoption of higher value medical technology, and democratize access to surgical education around the world. Osso VR has done so much in such a short amount of time, yet we have much more to do. With strategic partners like Kaiser Permanente Ventures, we are ready to work together to ensure that patients all around the world have safe access to the best care.”

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/osso-vr-investment-14-m-surgery/

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AR/VR

Emergency Preparedness for Virtual Community

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1. How to use subtle AR filters to survive your Zoom meetings?

2. The First No-Headset Virtual Monitor

3. Augmented reality (AR) is the future of Restaurant Menu?

4. Creating remote MR productions

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/emergency-preparedness-for-virtual-community-40080014e5cc?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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