Valve today launched new Half-Life: Alyx modding tools which will allow developers and tinkerers to make and publish mods and user-generated content via the Steam Workshop system. Valve says the tools will allow for the creation of new levels, models, textures, and animations for the game.

It’s been about a month and a half since Half-Life: Alyx launched and made its mark as one of VR’s most acclaimed games ever. Today Valve has released the promised modding tools which will allow the game’s community to make and distribute new content for Alyx.

Valve says the Alyx Workshop Tools are still in beta and it plans to improve them over time, but for now here’s what’s being released:

  • 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.

The tools include several sample maps which demonstrate the pipeline that Valve used to make the game’s levels.

“The entire set of Half-Life: Alyx maps is also included as editable source for reference; this includes a large collection of interactive objects and prefabs. We’ll have news on more features and some smaller additional tools and examples in an future update,” Valve writes.

Valve Explains the Deceptively Simple Design Process That Made 'Half-Life: Alyx' Excellent

Developers and modders can download the official Half-Life: Alyx modding tools here on the Valve developer site where they’ll also find documentation, though Valve notes that it’s still writing the docs.

Once published, players will be able to install Half-Life: Alyx mods through the game’s Steam workshop page.

Alongside the release of the Alyx modding tools, Valve today also released a native Linux version of Half-Life: Alyx which uses the Vulkan rendering API. This also brings optional Vulkan rendering support to the Windows version of the game.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Greyl

    This is going to be epic for PCVR and the VR modding scene.

    I want someone to make something like Garry’s Mod or VR Chat using this.

    • mirak

      Work for free ?

    • JesuSaveSouls

      That’s what I was saying too.

    • wheeler

      Unfortunately it’s not really a full SDK … yet. For devs to do interesting things like mods that provide functionality outside of HLA’s feature set, they’re at the very least going to need some libraries to program against so the engine can run their own code and so they can interface with its various subsystems. But ideally (and in this day and age) they should just release the whole engine source like UE4 or at least a good chunk of it as with Unity.

      This is actually pretty critical because in order to support the sorts of interactions that make VR interesting, you need programmers getting their hands dirty. And for actual mods and stuff you need to be able to modify gameplay and add new features.

      These tools will allow custom maps that don’t stray too far from vanilla HLA gameplay and mod makers to basically get started on content creation side of things, but you’re not going to see Garry’s Mod 2 coming out of just this. As far as full SDK availability, I’ve only heard that they *want* to make it available (not that they will) but it’s not at all clear in what form.

      • Greyl

        Yeah, for full context, I’m aware this update isn’t the release of the Source 2 SDK and won’t lead to a Garrys Mod VR, etc; I’m just excited for preliminary official mod support from Valve.

        That said, I think even with these early tools, we’ll see some interesting mods made, like wave based shooter modes, etc.

        As for whether Valve will release the full SDK, like you said, they’ve stated they want to and I think it’s a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

        • wheeler

          Agreed, the best thing Valve could do right now is express their intent to release a Source 2 SDK. Then devs could get started on the content creation workflow in the mean time. Because I imagine there are devs out there that won’t bother unless they have some confidence that an actual SDK is coming.

  • MatBrady

    Yeah, this will do more for the overall VR community than any release that has come before it.

    This. Is. Massive.

    Portal VR, anyone?

    Hey, now we just need a Blender – Hammer workflow. Let’s make that happen. ;)

  • I can’t wait to see what the community will create with it! I’m sure that at least for 2 months we’ll see a lot of releases!

  • JesuSaveSouls

    I may of been the only person who returned the game.It was visually the best I’ve played or seen in vr.I also needed the money more than another game.But I will get it again as it has a workshop.Gmod is terrific with its workshop and has a vrmod in the workshop.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    The best modded game in vr is not native.Its gta5 using either or lukeross real mod.The gta 5 mods community is loaded with mods like family friendly mod removing all guns,violence,language or damage.My fav is grand theft space but it is very difficult to get working.

    • Nads

      Seems like there are issues with playing on the newer headsets like index and rift s, so i guess you need an older vr headset to use the openVR support for gtaVR. Also you need a gta5 copy on steam? Any chance that it would work with a copy of GTA5 from the Epic games store?

  • kontis

    As expected nothing about source code / plugins / scripting.

    No way to actually modify gameplay.

    • kuhpunkt


  • 3872Orcs

    Finally! This is going to be super fun! I’m starting to map right away!

    Now hopefully Valve makes the full SDK available too. That is going to be really important in the long run for a healthy modding scene!

  • PJ

    Team fortress VR

    Counter strike VR