Why Half-Life: Alyx is in VR – Gameplay Video 2 Review

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Why Half-Life: Alyx is in VR – Gameplay Video 2 Review

hi everyone I’m Derek Liu and I make indie game trailers and today I’m taking a look at the half-life Alec’s second gameplay clip and explaining what makes it so successful as just a gameplay clip that answers a lot of questions that people had after the announced trailer came out if you’re a game developer or publisher whatever and you’re looking to release some gameplay clips of your game I think there’s a lot you can learn from these in terms of the presentation and how it can work in tandem with something like a trailer or your store page and just answer some of those questions for the people who maybe are a little bit interested in your game but just need a little bit more to be fully invested well we’re gonna get you out here and I’ll put the road I’m working on it okay so this first part of the clip there’s featuring puzzles which nothing before except for just some small bits in the announced trailer featured puzzles so they just want to show some gameplay variety so another thing I you want to think about with these gameplay Clips is that you can actually think of them as this big overarching strategy to show the game in a certain way you can think of them as like one clip in a certain way so the first clip had a lot of shooting and exciting stuff like that whereas this one has a little bit less so you can think about like okay they started out pretty exciting and then they decided oh wait let’s let’s come back down a little bit and then you’ll see in the third clip later on that they finish in a very exciting way so there is actually an arc to the pace of the clips when you put them together so here after we’ve had the big exciting opening you know a little bit tense not a hundred percent you know Michael Bay action but they’re coming coming they’re kind of coming down and they’re sort of showing in a way the the gameplay loop because there’s gonna be combat encounters there’s gonna be puzzles of solving moments so if they just showed you know combat combat combat all the time then people would take away from it oh man this game it’s all just shooting I like the puzzly parts of half-life 2 so this is what they’re doing they’re showing some puzzling bits and so there’s this sort of digital globe that comes out and one thing that they do with this particular clip which is really successful is they really move their the head around while they’re capturing this because the person who’s capturing this knows that this is going to be appearing on you know YouTube or Twitter and it’s gonna be two-dimensional so people aren’t going to have that same parallax or 3d that the person playing it does so they’re moving their head around so then they can really get a sense of the space so they start on this part of the the globe by the end they’ve moved over here they’ve just rotated around which really lets you see how the the 3d puzzle works and also there’s just spin it around to you which lets you see it in that way because otherwise it’s a little bit harder for the people to understand Russell are you seeing this oh wow okay so there’s a few things to talk about here so first of all they’re waiting for this puzzle to resolve so they’re just looking through this peephole to see on the other side before the door opens so the door opens and there’s this really cool moment where this like machine sealing mechanism just opens up it’s very pretty and then they look over to this zombie and they yank this grenade and the zombie falls down so one thing is in the previous video I talked about how the person capturing really yanked things and then held it in front of the camera for a little bit so you could see what it is now here they didn’t do that but that’s because there were following instead the zombie falling down because that was the more exciting part to see it falling and then the other good thing about this clip is that it really shows verticality but in a downward way so one thing that is very true in VR is that even when you see a cliff that you know is not there in real life you still can’t but help but get a little bit nervous because your brain doesn’t want to fall into massive pits so they’re showing some of the verticality there and then when they look up you see this this sort of power thing here which was featured in the announced trailer you know shooting

electricity or whatever it is in this direction now this is another moment which I’m not a hundred percent sure if this was just the natural timing of this thing happening because this is this seems like a very time-dependent thing and you know they just happen to look up at the precise moment that the electricity shoots out so either they knew exactly the amount of time it would take from say the ceiling opening up to the electricity shooting out and they’re looking down in the hole here is stalling for time a little bit you know maybe they even had someone off-screen just counting with a timer saying okay electricity and three two one look up you know it could have been that they could have also done some sort of custom thing where they would like trigger the electricity to happen at the exact right time but that would have taken some extra work so maybe less likely but it’s still a really well paced moment you know there’s constantly new things happening all the time and it’s really well done and so this grenade moment here this is the moment where you get to see that the thing they that they pulled out was a grenade and this is also again a lot of these gameplay moments are to differentiate VR from non VR and people who have played first person or third person video games with grenades know that usually it’s like a button that’s either you you lob into the air or you aim at a particular spot and just throw the grenade that way but here in VR you can do whatever the heck you want you know treat the grenade more or less like it was in real life so here instead of in art they can just move like this and just drop it out of the into the pit drop it into the pit and so here they’re showing this sort of gross Zen thing which they try to use with gravity gloves but to no avail and so this is a cool little acting moment here there’s a zombie there loading their shotgun and some reason they’re holding the the mechanism here and not cocking it until the very last second now when I first saw this I thought hah that’s an interesting acting choice and this is just speculation but you know maybe they’re trying to make it seem more stealthy because if they clicked it may be the zombie would hear and get triggered who knows I don’t know if that’s actually a thing but the way they play it is it feels like that so it’s a cool little moment yeah and so this moment here is it’s pretty fun they’re trying to grab this thing with the gravity gloves but this alien hand thing is not having it so they have to yank it out as fast as they can and you can see this little acting moment here you can see the the hand is sort of moving just you know they’re going yeah so another little acting moment which is really nice you know totally unnecessary but makes it just that much more immersive to just watch this clip it feels much more like this is Alex doing this this isn’t someone at home on their sofa or in their living room just trying to do this and they give it a little toss here just this sort of thing you know tossing this orb around if you want to do this in a non vom they would just have to animate that and it would be the same animation every single time but here you can just willy-nilly just toss this thing around and just basically treat it more or less like real life and so again you know they’re really they’re really playing up this suspenseful moment for the camera they’re testing the the lock which you know the player in this would have probably known from these boards and this type of glass and this lock here that obviously it’s locked but they’re just checking it so then the audience can understand yes this is this is locked because if this were a movie or

something then people might not necessarily have that same sort of thought and you need to do that for the benefit of the audience otherwise yet people say oh why don’t you just try the door for all they know it’s unlocked and then here they really play up how the the fear of this this headcrab and they’re like oh man and they’re they’re panicking shooting it which if you look at it this this headcrab actually um I know this is playing slow motion but it sort of slides up so I think that they might have cheated a little bit here because it’s it happens so fast and maybe part of the performance was there to sell that this headcrab is what when actuality maybe they just really quick and dirty animated this headcrab just popping up like this so that’s speculation but from what I’m looking at it looks like that’s what’s happening but you know I didn’t notice until I played frame by frame so if it works it works damnit and so this is a nice little moment again just showing some like light puzzle-solving sort of thing whereas like ah there’s this gap up above I can totally just lock this grenade over there and blow up this door and then you know this little it’s cool how they sort of squeeze this orb which it would just again be you know a canned animation in a non VR game but here you know it’s a little bit more tactile you know who knows maybe the controller vibrates a little bit when that happens and as some people have pointed out on YouTube the door blew backwards instead of forwards but whatever video games I’m really starting to think I shouldn’t be leaving this stuff agreed I’d be briefly and so here you know they’re just taking their time letting the audience look at the environment art which is I mean super detailed and and beautiful you can see how like the headset gets closer and then the little things slinks away just show a little bit of the that interaction maybe briefly and so in this section here they’re just walking around and then you see where you come from just really showing the space off and then we come over to this mechanism which they’re just playing around with a gun to make sure that you understand this is some sort of hologram and so here this moment they grab this capsule thing and then the barnacle steals it just show some of that interaction and then here they show some quick thinking where they use the shotgun and then immediately grab the capsule whatever it is before it can fall down which I’m sure they probably could have yanked it up anyway even if it did but some cool coordination there and get a little close-up of the capsule oh man and so you know this is just you know finishing off this mini sort of key moment basically elevator comes up I saw a lot of comments with people talking about you know hearing the overwatch nice little nostalgia moment there which they probably you know who knows maybe that happens at this exact moment in the game or maybe they added it in post than that just to just fill the space a little bit it could have been either way but it’s a good way to just push those nostalgia buttons and then the elevator comes up look they looking for you now I guess be

careful I’ll be ready and then this is just a nice little ending it’s it feels very much like a midpoint sort of thing so again talking about the pacing of the gameplay clips as a whole you know this is a middle section and this is kind of gearing up to whatever’s in the next clip after this really good timing between the different things happening like the dialogue and the button-pushing there’s very little space in between them so it’s like you know door comes down I’ll be ready I’ll be ready BAM there’s really really good timing there they might have even had to move it around but really really well done good pacing again it’s a one take shot but it has really really good pacing from beginning to end new ideas all the time little bit of suspense some dramatic tension these are really well done gameplay clips okay so that’s my breakdown of the second gameplay clip for half-life Alex I’m just gonna do one more and then we’ll be done with it and then the game comes out you know as of this recording like next week the game will be out and then I’m just gonna dive back into VR and just play the the whole finished thing but again I hope you enjoyed this look at the gameplay clip I hope you learned something if you did please leave me comment below what you learned if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them again I didn’t work on these gameplay clips but if there’s any sort of question you have I’ll just do my best to answer it based off of just my my own knowledge of making trailers and that sort of thing I also want to give a shout out to my top patreon supporters by the way I have a patreon to help support me doing things like this newsletter and videos like these you can get early access to videos and also you can ask questions my monthly QA and also I have a monthly group call or get all together and talk about trailers I can answer your questions they’re live and just get a little behind-the-scenes look at what I’m doing in terms of making trailers making new content like this like subscribe and all that good stuff and I’ll see you in the third and final video for the gameplay clips of half-life