We've already seen a mod that made Half-Life: Alyx playable without VR, but so far any mods for the game have been made without official tools from Valve. That will change starting today, as Valve added Steam Workshop support to Half-Life: Alyx and released a set of modding tools to work with. As a bonus, the update brings native Linux support for Alyx using the Vulkan API.
Valve has a history of extensive modding support with its games, and Alyx seems to be no exception. Here's what's included in the editor tools suite:
- Hammer, the latest version of the Source 2 level editor.
- Material Editor, the tool for creating and tuning materials in Source 2.
- ModelDoc, a tool for viewing, editing, and compiling models with animation, collision, and other gameplay attributes.
- AnimGraph, our animation tool used to create complicated animation setups with blends and transitions.
- Particle Editor, for making new particle effects.
- Subrect Editor, for creating smart texture sheets known as "hotspots."
- Source Filmmaker, the Source 2 cinematic renderer and animation tool.
Modders can use these tools to mess around with various bits of Half-Life: Alyx, or do something much more extensive, as Valve suggests:
"Want to make your own VR physics sandbox or a giant Rube Goldberg machine? Design a new combat encounter featuring a dozen Combine soldiers at once? What about creating the world's longest Multitool puzzle, or imagining a whole new district of City 17? Crack open the tools yourself and make it happen!"
The tools are currently in beta, and Valve plans to continue updating them "in the coming weeks." Even if you have only a passing interest in modding, this is a good toolset to check out—there's a lot to mess around with, including some sample maps that Valve says explain "how we authored enemy encounters in the game, as well as showcase some new features of the Half-Life: Alyx level art pipeline including tile meshes, static and dynamic cables, and texture hotspotting."
If you just want to play mods, keep an eye on the Workshop page. Some cool ones are bound to show up eventually, though it may be hard to top "A bunch of cinderblocks." Wow.