New SteamVR Home Environments Are Your First Look Inside ‘Half-Life: Alyx’


For those that pre-ordered the game, Valve has brought two Half-Life: Alyx environments to SteamVR Home, giving players their first chance to step inside the game. Even if you didn’t pre-order the game, it’s still easy to check out the new environments by joining a user-hosted room.

Half-Life: Alyx is less than three weeks away and Valve today released the first of the pre-order bonus content that will come with the game—two environments ripped straight from the game and converted into SteamVR Home spaces which you can explore at your leisure.

If you pre-ordered the game you’ll be able to launch the new environments by opening the menu in SteamVR Home and finding the ‘Russell’s Lab‘ and ‘City 17 Alleyway‘ environments. If they don’t load right away when you click on them, they will likely have been queued for downloading; both are about 1GB, so you may need to wait a little while (you can see the progress in the usual Steam download manager).

Watch 19 Minutes of New 'Half-Life: Alyx' Gameplay Footage & Trailers

If you didn’t pre-order Alyx, you’re in luck. In SteamVR Home you can join public rooms with other players, including those with the ‘Russell’s Lab’ and ‘City 17 Alleyway’ environments. You can see a list of public rooms in the SteamVR Home interface, and once you join a room with one of the Half-Life: Alyx environments, you can save it to your own list of environments to check out later. We also captured footage to give you a glimpse inside:

City 17 Alleyway

Russell’s Lab

Both environments are just a preview and don’t have any actual gameplay, but they represent real areas ripped right from the game. Granted, Valve notes that “the rendering technology available in [SteamVR Home] is different than that in Half-Life: Alyx, and the interactivity is significantly lower than what the game itself provides. So while these scenes do not have quite as much fidelity as they will in the actual game, we think they are a faithful enough translation to provide a fun VR preview of the game’s setting.”

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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."
  • Raphael

    And still the only movement option is crappy blink teleport.

    Nice environment though.

    • Brian Brown

      Yeah, that’s a bummer. Also you really can’t react to much in the environment, and you don’t have Alyx’s gloves. But yeah, the visuals are top notch. Some of the coolest details I noticed is when you look close at the ground. Water and moss in great detail. Super excited for the game itself.

      • Raphael

        I will give the new environment a try today. Will be buying Alyx pretty soon although I won’t be buying a new VR HMD for it.

        • Brian Brown

          I think that you have to be an Index owner to use these new environments. I could be wrong though.

          • There is a workaround in the comments section in the workshop.

      • gothicvillas

        Detail of the bicycle is simply astonishing

  • Sofian

    Looks great in my Quest with 1.5 SS.

  • Immersive Computing

    Only problem some are encountering, you need to download the asset pack otherwise like me you get a red wireframe mess.

    Unsubscribe from the environments (if an Index owner), download the asset pack, then subscribe to each again and it should load properly with textures.

    Make sure to unsubscribe first (alleyway and Russell lab) as it doesn’t seem to work if you are already subscribed and then download asset pack.

  • Master E

    Tried these out yesterday on a Rift. Though I couldn’t toy with anything the visuals have me pumped. Looks top notch. My favorite parts are the citadel in the background and the ambience. Can’t wait