Half-Life: Alyx

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Half-Life: Alyx
Half-Life: Alyx cover
Valve Corporation
Source 2
Release dates
Windows March 23, 2020
Linux May 15, 2020[1]
Metacritic 93
OpenCritic 92
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Gestures, Point and select
Genres Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes Eastern Europe, Horror, Post-apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Series Half-Life
Half-Life: Alyx on HowLongToBeat
Half-Life: Alyx on IGDB
Half-Life: Alyx guide on StrategyWiki
Half-Life: Alyx on MobyGames
Half-Life: Alyx on Wikipedia
Half-Life mods and fangames (series)
Half-Life 1998
Sven Co-op (unofficial mod) 1999
Half-Life: Opposing Force 1999
Half-Life: Blue Shift 2001
Codename: Gordon 2004
Half-Life: Source 2004
Half-Life 2 2004
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch 2004
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast 2005
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode One 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode Two 2007
Portal (series)
Half-Life: Decay (unofficial port) 2008
Black Mesa (unofficial remake) 2020
Half-Life: Alyx 2020


This game requires a virtual reality headset (see VR support for details).

General information

Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Icon overlay.png
All versions require Steam DRM.
The game is also bundled with Valve Index (headset only, full set, or just controllers) units indefinitely.

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Use -novid command line argument

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\game\hlvr\cfg\[Note 1]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\game\hlvr\SAVE\S*\[Note 1]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud


Performance Options
Performance Options

This game requires a virtual reality headset (see VR support for details).
Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
4K Ultra HD
See Spectator window resolution.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Configuration files suggest texture filtering is being used. However, there is no in-game option that allows adjusting this setting.[2]
Anti-aliasing (AA)
No in-game options, and always enabled by default. See Anti-aliasing (AA).
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Forced on, cannot be toggled.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Frame rate is capped at headset's refresh rate.[3]

Anti-aliasing (AA)

Use launch parameters to adjust anti-aliasing setting.[5]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -console -vconsole +vr_msaa x, while replacing "x" with the desired MSAA sample count (or "0" to disable MSAA entirely).
By default, the game uses 4X MSAA.
As an alternative, "+vr_fxaa 1" can be used to enable FXAA (Alongside "+vr_msaa 0") if a cheaper anti-aliasing solution is desired.
If the -console and -vconsole launch parameters are already being used, there is no need to add those launch parameters again.

Disable volumetric fog

Use launch parameters to adjust volumetric fog setting.[5]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -console -vconsole +volume_fog_disable 1 to disable volumetric fog.
By default, volumetric fog is enabled, but this tweak can be used to disable it, for the possibility of increased performance.
If the -console and -vconsole launch parameters are already being used, there is no need to add those launch parameters again.

Disable dynamic resolution scaling

Use launch parameters to adjust resolution settings.[6]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -console -vconsole +vr_fidelity_level_auto 0 +vr_fidelity_level 3 to disable dynamic resolution scaling, and set the rendering resolution to the headset's native screen resolution.
If the -console and -vconsole launch parameters are already being used, there is no need to add those launch parameters again.

Spectator window resolution

Use launch parameters to adjust the spectator window resolution.[7]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -w <width> -h <height> to adjust the spectator window resolution, replacing <width> with the horizontal resolution, and <height> with the vertical resolution.
This does not affect the internal game resolution, and will crop/scale the in-game view based on the width and height of the window[8]
-window can be used alongside this to force the spectator window into windowed mode.
Alternatively, the spectator window can be disabled entirely using -nowindow.[9]


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Uses SteamVR Input 2.0, which allows specific actions to be bound to buttons. Must be configured in SteamVR - there are no in-game remapping options.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Controller types
Tracked motion controllers
Button/gesture prompts
In-game prompts (such as tutorials) will change based on motion controller type, and the controller binding settings in SteamVR.
Additional information
Haptic feedback


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
"Master Volume", "Game", "Combat Music", and "Character Voice".[10]
Surround sound
Includes options for font size, subtitle width, and subtitle speed.[10]
Closed captions
"Subtitles & Closed Captions" under the Subtitles options menu.[10]
Mute on focus lost
Only when SteamVR dashboard is opened.[11]
EAX support
Uses SteamAudio HRTF, DSP, and audio occlusion.[12]


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Brazilian Portuguese
Latin American Spanish

VR support

This game requires a virtual reality headset.
Headsets Native Notes
HTC Vive
Also native Valve Index support.
Oculus Rift
Through SteamVR, no native Oculus SDK support.
Windows Mixed Reality
Through SteamVR.
Devices Native Notes
Tracked motion controllers
See Input for details.
Traditional controller
Play area Native Notes

Issues fixed

Subtitles and closed captions not working

Subtitles and closed captions will not be displayed when the selected Steam client language is not supported by the game.
Change Steam language to a supported one[13]
  • Change Steam client's language to one supported by the game, e.g. English.
Copy subtitle file and rename it to match the Steam client's selected language[14]
  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>\game\hlvr\resource\subtitles\
  2. Copy desired language for subtitles e.g. closecaption_english.dat, copy it into same folder and rename it into the Steam client language, e.g. closecaption_finnish.dat if the Steam client language is in Finnish.
  3. Navigate to <path-to-game>\game\hlvr\webui\localization\
  4. Repeat the process, copy e.g. hlvr_english.json and rename copy to e.g. hlvr_finnish.json

Right eye rendering problems on wide FOV headsets such as Pimax

Disable culling and multiview instancing through launch options[15]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -console -vconsole +sc_no_cull 1 +vr_multiview_instancing 0 +vr_shadow_map_culling 0 +volume_fog_enable_stereo 0.
If shadow culling still occurs with the right eye, it may be necessary to pause the game, open the console (by pressing the tilde (~) key), and enter the vr_shadow_map_culling 0 command every time a new map starts or when a save slot is loaded.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 11
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Audio Steam Audio
Interface Qt
Input SDL

Enabling the console

Command line[16]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add -console -vconsole.
  3. Open the console by pressing ~.
Using -vconsole will enable Valve's VConsole as opposed to the command console present in Source Engine games. To enable the older command console, just use -console.[17]

Change size of spectator window HUD

Use the +hlvr_spectator_hud_size xx command line argument, replacing xx with the desired value.[18]
By default, this value is set to 100. The scale can be set anywhere between 50 and 150
Setting the value to 0 disables the spectator HUD.

Change FOV (zoom) of spectator window

Use the +vr_companion_window_zoom_level xx command line argument, replacing xx with the desired value.
By default, this value is set to either 1.2 or 1.4 depending on the "Zoom" value in Spectator menu. However if higher FOV is desired, this can be further decreased. Setting value too low may result in artifacts at the edges of the screen. Thus the recommended value would be between 1.05 and 1.2.
Changing this value below 1.4 may result in spectator smoothing being disabled, because it works via post-processing using that extra frame data to stabilize roll.

Change movement speed

Increase or decrease continuous movement speed. For example, to increase, use the +hlvr_continuous_normal_speed 200 +hlvr_continuous_combat_speed 200 command line arguments[19]


hlvr_continuous_normal_speed is the standard movement speed when using continuous movement.
hlvr_continuous_combat_speed is the movement speed during combat when using continuous movement.

Disable weapon muzzle flashes

Use the +muzzleflash_light 0 +r_muzzleflashbrightness 0 command line arguments[20]
This may be useful when the flickering light option is disabled and when the light sensitivity option is enabled, to further reduce the amount of flashing/flickering lights.

System requirements

Operating system (OS) 10
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-7500
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
System memory (RAM) 12 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD)
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 580
6 GB of VRAM
A 64-bit operating system is required.
Official system requirements require Windows 10, however, the game can be played on Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1.
Total size after installation on March 23, 2020 was 68 GB.[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).


  1. Steam News: Half-Life: Alyx - Workshop is now open - last accessed on 2020-12-27
  2. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-25
    Looked through config files, and found a variable called "r_texturefilteringquality" in "video.txt".
  3. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-23
    Tested using Windows Mixed Reality headset.
  4. Half-Life: Alyx VR performance: How to get the best settings and the smoothest experience - last accessed on 2020-03-23
  5. 5.0 5.1 r/WindowsMR: Half-Life Alyx Blurriness - last accessed on 2020-03-29
  6. r/WindowsMR: Half-Life Alyx Blurriness - last accessed on 2020-03-29
  7. [{{{url}}} Why Fullscreen? I need Windowed! :: Half-Life: Alyx General Discussions] - last accessed on 2020-03-27
  8. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-30
    Spectator window appears more cropped on a 2560x1080 monitor than gameplay videos with 16:9 aspect ratio.
  9. Half-Life: Alyx performance analysis (or: why low graphic settings produce a sharper image) - last accessed on 2020-06-06
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-23
  11. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-23
    Tested by opening the SteamVR dashboard in-game.
  12. HalfLifeAlyxTeam comments on We're developers from the Half-Life: Alyx team. Ask us anything!
  13. are subtitles working? [FIXED] :: Half-Life: Alyx General Discussion - last accessed on 2020-03-27
  14. Half-Life Alyx: How to Fix Subtitles not working - SteamA - last accessed on 2020-03-27
  15. How to get Rid of Rendering Issues in Half Life Alyx WITHOUT Parallel Projection! - last accessed on 2020-07-01
  16. Streaming and Spectating Guide
  17. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-04-01
    Checked by playing around with launch parameters.
  18. Streaming and Spectating Guide - last accessed on {{{date}}}
  19. Steam Community :: Guide :: Increase movement speed
  20. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-04-01
    Found by playing around with console commands.
  21. Verified by User:KingKrouch on 2020-03-23
    No official storage requirements, but the Steam installation size for "Half-Life: Alyx" is approximately 68 GB.