When Half-Life: Alyx releases later this month, it will offer three locomotion options: teleport, shift and continuous. But that teleport option isn’t really a teleport. Confused? Read on.
Half-Life: Alyx Teleporting Isn’t Really Teleporting… Sort Of
Functionally, yes, teleport will allow you to move from one spot to the next in the game world. But, as Valve’s Robin Walker explained in a recent interview with Tested, in the context of the game world, Alyx is still walking to and fro the points you move to. There isn’t any Gravity Glove-style invention that means she can magically leap around levels; the game literally fills in the blanks of your movement.
“I think when we started we had this idea that teleport was a concession of some kind to free movement,” Walker explained. “But, as we put more work into it, we just became more and more happy with it. We don’t think there’s actually that significant a difference at all between the experience, certainly down to all the sorts of ways, like, the AI, are aware of you; they know if you teleport across the corridor they know, they saw you move across. So we’ve tried to catch all those various cases.”
Interestingly, part of the work that went into communicating this system to players was to give Alyx a “full virtual clothing simulator” that reacts to how you move.
“We have a concept of all the things that are essentially on Alyx and they are affected, the sounds they generate while you teleport, they are affected by what our traversal figures out,” Walker explained. “Like if we know that you’re going to jump down and then move across something when you do that teleport, the clothing will play that drop down/land sound as you go and stuff like that.”
Plus, of course, this contextualization makes the teleport mode consistent with the shift and continuous locomotion, which keep the game world visible at all times. You can take a look at all three different movement types in these recent videos.
Half-Life: Alyx arrives on March 23. Check back over the next two weeks for more coverage on the run up to the game’s launch.