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This video is a small, less detailed version
of Kippenoma’s guide, which you can find in this video’s description for more information,
as well as a link to the VR Discord he’s on for if you have any questions you’d like
answered. The cheapest way to play Half-Life: Alyx is
to get a Windows Mixed Reality Headset. If you live in America -and 25% of you watching
this video will be- then these can be had for somewhere between $150 and $300. In Europe,
things aren’t so good. In the UK it looks like they start from £350. All of them have
similar specs. Their screens are the standard 90 hz and generally have decent resolutions
of 1440p or above. And these cheap WMR headsets are all self-contained within the headset
and controllers, meaning that they’re easy to setup, mostly being just plug-and-play.
The downsides are that they have inferior tracking coverage, accuracy and controllers
to the more expensive solutions. But I think at this price-point you’ve got to accept
that it’ll come with some limitations and have got to consider their strengths.
Instead of other VR setups which require external tracking units, these headsets have cameras
built in to them to track where you’re looking, and where your controllers are. It makes these
systems practical, but will come with down-sides- most of which are pretty expected. To help
them track your direction, you will need to game in a well-lit room, preferably with lots
of mess or features to help it to track where you’re looking. As an example, posters will
work better than large, empty white walls. The other downside is that these cameras also
track your controllers, so if the headset can’t see these, it won’t be able to track
where your hands are. And they’re not very configurable. There’s
a thing called IPD- this is how far apart your eyes’ pupils are. As long as you’re
relatively normal then these headsets should be okay, but if your eyes are unusually close
together or far apart then these cheaper headsets generally can’t be adjusted.
In my opinion, having an all-in-one device such as these is practical to set up, but
they do get through batteries pretty quickly, the controllers requiring 2 AA batteries each!
Get a spare pack of rechargeables and maybe have the ones you’re not using on charge
so you can quickly switch them over when the first set runs out.
HP, Dell, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Medion all produce their own headsets for the WMR standard,
they’re all quite similar but be sure to look up reviews.
The Samsung Odyssey+ is usually a bit more expensive than the rest at 360 dollars, but
can sometimes be had for under $300, and is currently on sale for $230, making it a good
choice at this price-range. Using OLED, it has better blacks than other cheap headsets,
but will suffer from more screen-door effect which refers to being able to see the lines
between the rows of pixels- though this will only be noticeable when you’re actively
looking for it. It comes with headphones and better shaped controllers than other budget
headsets. And, unusually at this level, you can adjust the IPD for your eyes. Moving up the price-range to about $400 (Or
£400!) gets you to the sweet-spot, and to the well known names like ‘Oculus’ and
‘Vive’. You can expect a decent experience, and there are enough headsets to choose from
to be able to get one that suits what you want from VR. You’ll generally get better
tracking accuracy and coverage, better controllers and better build quality. But in which ways
these are better depends on which gear you choose to buy.
At the bottom of this mid-range is the Vive. It’s been discontinued so is only available
pre-owned, but is the cheapest way to get a mid-range experience. The Vive’s display
has good blacks but has visible lines of pixels, suffers from the godray effect, and has a
lower than usual resolution. This will make it easier to run on slower systems but the
clarity of your experience will be reduced. Unlike the cheaper headsets, it uses external
base-stations- these are harder to set up but result in better tracking. It doesn’t
come with speakers- only a 3.5 mm jack so you’ll need a headset of your own to plug
into it. Think of it as like a first-gen VR system, coming with the associated pros and
cons. If you’re interested then look into HTC’s certified pre-owned program, as they’ll
even come with a warranty of 1 year. In many ways, the Oculus Rift S is the opposite.
It’s a new design intended for the lower end of the market. Instead of 90 hz, it’s
only 80 meaning that motion will be less smooth and you may suffer from more nausea. But on
the plus side, its display is otherwise of high quality and it contains perhaps the best
tracking system for one that’s inside the headset itself. If you don’t want to set
up external base-stations, the Oculus Rift S is the next-best thing, being superior to
the cheaper WMR headsets. Also compared to those, the Rift-S’s controllers use just
1 AA battery each and will last for longer. It has poor built-in audio so your own headset
is recommended, but its controllers are good and you get native access to the Oculus store.
It has a fixed IPD so check your eyes before getting this one.
And last at this price-range is the Oculus Quest. It’s like an all-in-one system- it
won’t need a PC to run a number of VR games. But it’s vuilt-in hardware is not that powerful
compared to proper PCs. For Half-Life: Alyx you’ll need to link it to your gaming PC.
It has a lower refresh rate of just 72 hz, which is the lowest covered in this video.
Be warned, because of this you might experience more nausea with this device than with the
others- especially with the latency its cable adds! Regardless of headset used, you may
still experience some degree of nausea when you first try VR. Most people DO get used
to it across repeated sessions over a period of weeks or even just days, so it’s unlikely
you’ll be burdened with sickness after every VR session you ever have with the device or
anything like that. Other downsides of using the Quest are that
it’s not the most comfortable headset, and when linked to a PC, the image quality will
be worse because it has to significantly reduce the resolution to ‘fit’ through the USB
connection, which will be particularly noticeable around the edges of the display, as will the
downgrade to the colour accuracy. Those are the negatives. The pluses are that it’s
cheap, has a relatively high resolution, is easy to set up, its controllers are good and
you can adjust the IPD to suit your eyes. The Quest is good if you’re going to use
its built-in hardware to play games, but if you’re only going to use it to connect to
your main PC then there are better options to consider. And last we move onto the high-end experience.
Starting with the Valve Index, costing $1,000! Spending this much gives you the highest refresh
rate display. You can choose 80, 90, 120 or 144, so this will be the most responsive VR
experience you can get- provided your computer is powerful enough to run it! The Index has
a high resolution and one of the best FOVs, meaning the viewable area will stretch off
further in all directions to immerse you more in the game. The audio is high-quality and
extremely convincing, it has the best microphones, the best tracking system- even tracking the
controllers when they’re behind you. The Index is also comfortable and comes with ‘knuckles
controllers’. Unlike the others, you don’t need to hold onto these and they can track
each of your fingers individually. These were designed to be comfortable for longer play-sessions,
as they’re less tiring to use than the more standard controller types. The Valve Index
is what the company made and tested Half-Life Alyx with, so you’re guaranteed the experience
they intended you to have with it. And if you get the Index it will come with a free
copy of the game. And if you get it before the end of the year, you’ll get some other
small bonuses too. But all this comes at a price. That price
being $1,000. And the tracking may be good, but it requires base-systems to be set up
around your room. And the display is responsive, but being LCD means the blacks will be worse
than in some of the other headsets- even some from the budget WMR category! Although no other package at this price-point
can offer such a well-rounded experience, some do come with their own strengths. Just
be sure to do your research into them before buying.
The HTC Vive Pro supports a wireless adapter if you want to go cables free, though it comes
with compromises to the visual quality. This adapter can also be added to the normal Vive
model. The HP Reverb has a greater than 4K display.
And the Pimax 8K has THE highest FOV available. Whichever option you choose, this following
information will be important: Half-Life: Alyx is a VR-only game. You can
use it sitting down or standing up, and a play-space of 2×1.5 metres is recommended
for ‘room-scale gaming’, giving you enough freedom to rummage about and to tackle head-crabs
the way they were meant to be tackled. If you wear glasses, some headsets will let
you wear them, but with others you can get yourself a set of prescription lenses to mount
to the headset itself. Measure the distance between the pupils of
your eyes. Some headsets let you adjust their lenses, but others are fixed and won’t work
if your eyes are an extreme distance apart. Unless you’re using a wireless attachment,
all headsets will require a cable going from them to the computer.
And last, make sure your PC is up to the task of playing Half-Life: Alyx!
If you’re buying a PC today, getting something that meets these minimum requirements isn’t
hard or particularly expensive. I quickly threw together a PC full of new components
for under £500 that would be able to run it. It’s not like this requirement is much
higher than any other new game out these days. But if you’ve had a mid-range gaming PC
for 2-3 years, do check your components, as there are many which run at, or just below
this required level of performance. As we only have these requirements to go off, it
would be irresponsible of me to recommend to you anything less than this. And it’s
a real shame, since there are so many bargains to be had out there, especially on 4 GB cards
like the Radeon 570 and Geforce 1650 Super. But these fall just below the minimum requirements.
Key to an enjoyable and nausea-free VR experience is smooth framerates, and to help with this,
if anything, you should be aiming for above the minimum, especially with the higher frames
required with VR as opposed to normal computer screens.
This video has just been a brief summary of everything. Seriously, check out the links
in the description- Kippenoma really helped me to make this video and he knows his stuff.
His own guides will mention a lot more things that you’ll find helpful if you’re considering
one of the headsets he writes about. You can talk to him on the Discord server, or on the
virtualreality subreddit. All of this is listed in the description.
So, VR: not as inaccessible as you might think. If you have a mid-range gaming PC built within
the last few years, and live in America, you can just spend $230 on a Samsung Odyssey+
and say you’re ready for it. On the other hand, if you live in the UK and
don’t have a PC then you’re looking at about £850 for everything you’ll need.
But that’s for the minimum! Think about what you want, and what you have already.
There are so many choices out there, and you still have a few months to save up and to
make up your mind. Check out these other videos I’ve made about
Half-Life: Alyx. You might be able to tell I’m kind of excited about it.

100 thoughts on “Buying VR for Half-Life Alyx (Full Guide)

  1. Hey! I wanna thank Philip for letting me help him make this video and I hope you all found it informative. As he mentioned, there's some more useful resources in the video's description and you're free to chat with me and other VR enthusiasts on the VR Discord and Reddit. Cheers!

    Check out the VR subreddit here:

    Check out the VR Discord here:

  2. LMAO i can't believe that the release of this game is so stupid that there's a video like this just going over the logistics of shilling out for vr just for a half life "sequel."
    Companies like Valve/Blizzard/etc are just going down the tubes

  3. I just finished my PC build since it's Black Friday, and all the parts will be at my house next week. I don't wanna settle for less with VR, so I think I can save up for the Valve Index over summer in-between school. I'm stoked.

  4. After I saw the announcement for Alyx I was excited, then I realized that it was VR, I had the idea that I would be resigned to watching other people's gameplay, but after watching this video I've bought an Oculus Rift S, so I want to say thanks.

  5. Rights Now this is a Greatly Needed and Greatly Appreciated video. Those shopping and hoping for Vr this 🎄Holiday season🎄, will now be ahead of the game‼🤔

  6. I'm happy for you Mr. Dyer. You've been interested in Vr since you bought a TV to play 20 cm away from it, you test cheap Chinese headsets, and now you own your own Valve Index! I wish you the best week of your life once Alyx finally gets released. Oh BTW, can you ask your friend to Kliksphilip to make another How To Eat Like Me video? I'm starving for new and delicious gastronomic cuisine from him. xxx

  7. We need more people like Philip to showcase that VR isn't super-inaccessible, super expensive, novelty pieces of hardware that are unreachable for the average person. I have an absolute garbage PC and I enjoy midrange VR on my Quest for only $400.

  8. The original Oculus rift is also a pretty good alternative to the Rift S if you want better tracking and higher frames but it is also discontinued, but it supports all the games that the S does as it uses the same software, The Rift and the S dont have much of a difference. Basically

    Rift has better tracking and higher frames along with in-built headphones
    Rift S has slightly worse tracking but has internal sensors but needs external headphones. I think the resolution is also slightly higher on the S as well.

    Also I probably wouldn't go with the Quest as you have to have a capable computer in the first place and it has alot of cons, The quest is only good if the games are already on it.

  9. Let me translate this:
    "How to spend 300-1000$ on a useless piece of hardware to run ONE game that might not even be good in the first place."

  10. Hey man. So I'm hoping to get the index controllers with the original htc vive headset with only 1 base station. Is that a good idea?

  11. Let me get this straight.
    Half-Life: Alyx – $60

    VR Headset – At very least $100

    Computer to run it – Also at the very least $100

    $260 for a decade late Half-Life game. Keep in mind that's the very minimum and it will likely end up being more like $500 if you don't already have a decent PC or VR headset.

    For most people this is not much different from having to buy extra DLC just to get the full game.

  12. My PC doesn't even meet the minimum requirements for HL Alyx, though I do have 20GB ram.
    I do plan to upgrade my PC in the next 1-3 years, but it's unlikely I'll spend another 1000$ on a VR set for many years.

    In fact it appears my CPU and GPU are both about 10-15% short from the recommended minimum performance wise.

  13. I bought a rift S before HL:A was announced. Sadly my computer broke right before I could play H3VR. It looks incredibly fun though.

  14. I've had an index for 6 months now but I still love watching these videos and reading the comments of people just getting into vr

  15. Risky to buy $1000 vr headset for just 1 game without knowing if it was good or not. Plus, vr is clearly still in development. A $1k gaming device is not fot mass consumers.

    I'm not against vr, i'm against going in blind to something wich we have more to loose than to gain. Just like with game pre orders.
    If you have the money and you want to then go for it. This is my opinion.

  16. Some things to note:
    You can adjust the IPD on the oculus it is just done via software so not quite as good.
    The minimum specs for Half-Life Alyx are probably assuming you are getting an index which has much higher resolution than some of the other VR headsets so I would bet you could get away with one of the 4GB cards.
    You can also use an Xbox kinetic if you are crafty and want a full-body tracking with a none full-body headset.
    Also, I have heard many complaints about Windows Mixed Reality for bad tracking.

  17. You forgot the original oculus rift. Getting that used (the rift +touch bundle) has been said to be a better experience than the original vive (better

  18. As a quest owner, I should mention that you can also play wirelessly from your PC using sidequest loader and some developer mode magick. The experience is not outstanding, but it works at such low price and in any room without setup.

  19. The Odyssey + is right up there with Vive, Oculus and, Rift S. It also has a much nicer screen with almost no screen door effect like you describe.

  20. When you want to vr on the best set with gaming laptop asus rog strix scar 3 rtx 2070 16ram core i7 9850h (not sure it might be 9750h or 8750h) but the problem is the display port

  21. well you don't have to use vr to play alyx, you can use driver4vr tVR mode, and kinect
    quest info is incorrect , link is in beta , and have no lag, and will have higher quality vs rift s , and you don't have to use link at all, virtual desktop in some setups have 1 frame delay and it is wireless

  22. I already planned everything
    Sell my body for a computer
    Buy a computer
    Sell my body for vr
    Buy vr
    Sell my body for game
    Buy game

  23. I'm gonna buy the Valve Index. The only things worst than recommended is my graphisch card (1060 gtx) but the Rest is better, so i hope it's fine 😀

  24. Man valve really fked ppl over putting the game only for vr but of course ppl will ignore that and continue to cheer cuz it’s valve lol

  25. Hey i was planning on getting the oculus rift S originally but then took some time to look around and found out the only upside you get from the old rift and the new is a bit more comfort and higher resolution, although the refresh rate is lower and the screen type is LCD which doesn't display true blacks, the old rift has 90hz refresh rate and OLED display aswell as the ability to change IPD, it's much cheaper than the new version aswell since people are trying to get rid of it, do you recon i should get the old rift or the new one?

  26. If you have beatsaber I can recommend that you play the some song on easy to medium difficulty and beat it. After that give yourself a small break 2-5 minutes and repeat for as long as you think you need. I repeated it 15 times and never got sick from it the other day

  27. Wtf dude I still game on my 60 Hz monitor and it's enuff cuz we only see 60 fps so 72 hz of quest so stop whining about quest's 72 hz

  28. hey, 2kliksphilip. I just wanted to let you know that I was eating while I watched this, and that the images shown at 5:07 to 5:28 were uncalled for, and immediately made me lose my appetite.

  29. god damnit i have a gaming laptop with gtx 1050ti mini so below average, and 500£ roughly translates to 2100PLN so my mom's whole paycheck and i am underage so i can't go to work 🙁 my only option would be buying a new pc and a headset but ill have the money by like 2022 at which point the spoilers wouldve gotten to me, or buying a quest headset by april 2020 and having a rough experience of being broke

  30. I set myself on the Oculus Rift S, mainly for money, but also because I'm never gonna play this on the go so I might as well get the one that plugs in.

  31. Wait… But like the cheapeast headset you mention here, why would we buy it in Europe for 350 quid, if we can buy it for 150$ in us and pay 40$ for shipping?

    Unless nobody has it for international shipping?

  32. The Rift S actually has a changable IPD, except it's a setting you have to change in the Oculus software. Took a while to actually accidentally find it when we got our first Rift S-es in the workshop.

  33. Just to throw my 2 cents in, I have had the Oculus Rift S for a few months now and honestly the audio is absolutely fine, It just depends what your playing, If your into Beat Sabre then yeah get headphones. But for shooters and other games its more than adequate in my books. 🙂

  34. Why are there no WMR headsets available apart from one, and it costs the same as Oculus S? Stupid country, I'm moving.

    Also having to spend much more for a PC that can run it is kinda painful for my own wallet.

    So maybe I'll just pass, unless I feel like I can comfortably spend like 1000€, youtube let's plays will be the only way for me to experience it.

  35. Wish it was possible to get index controllers outside the 3 or so locations steam sells them. They should sell them on amazon man.

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