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Half-Life: Alyx is getting a level editor

It has finally been confirmed that Valve is currently working on a level editor mode for its new VR game, Half-Life: Alyx. In fact, the game's Steam page already lists that a level editor is available for the game, which would presumably allow players to craft their own environments and change aspects of gameplay. However, it's simply not in the current version of the game. While Valve had previously indicated that such a mode was in the works, the company has now stated that this is its development team's current focus. 

It's a good thing that Valve is finally making this clear, because some fans are clearly starting to become perturbed by a lack of information. One user on the ResetEra forums complained, "Why is Valve so terrible at communicating the most basic stuff. They said the level editor would be available at launch, so, what's the deal? If they needed more time, cool, but can't they get the intern to give a news update on that with a rough estimate on when it would be ready?"

This is when Valve's Jake Rodkin stepped in to explain that the level editor was on its way. "It's the team's focus now that the game's out," wrote Rodkin. "There will be more info soon but we're working on it. Sorry I don't have a date beyond that but I'm sure there will be more communication soon. Most of last week was spent on post-launch patching and tech support."

This makes a lot of sense. With a game as high profile as Half-Life: Alyx, there are bound to be some unforeseen issues and troubleshooting. Now that the game seems to be in pretty good shape, however, it looks as though Valve is ready to shift gears and make the promised level editor a reality. While we don't have an exact launch date, it's still a very exciting prospect.

Fans seem to be fully on board with the idea of a level editor. A few months ago, when there were the first rumblings of a possible level editing mode, Reddit users were going wild over the possibilities. As one Redditor mentioned, "This will advance VR, more than anything else."

There's likely quite a bit of truth to that statement. After all, gamers and programmers alike have shown what they are capable of when they are given the opportunity to creatively mess around in a VR sandbox. Daniel Beauchamp, Shopify's Head of VR and AR, made headlines recently when he showed off an exciting VR proof of concept he'd been working on. By utilizing hand tracking, he was able to create some smaller unique games that gave players an idea of what games could look like when they did away with controllers entirely.

Though these were much smaller applications for VR concepts, they showed quite a bit of promise and could grow into something more substantial. As Beauchamp said at the time, "One of the best ways to unlock new & powerful ideas is to build upon silly ideas ... They may seem random, but I'm learning a lot about what's possible with the tech and interactions that could be applied elsewhere." 

Beauchamp furthermore encouraged more designers to "Build many small things, no matter how silly they may seem. You'll be surprised at just how much you learn." This seems like an ethos that many Half-Life: Alyx players could take to heart when the level editor launches.

As Kotaku reported recently, people are already using Half-Life: Alyx in various ways that are very different from what the developer intended. It seems people are getting very creative with the realistic physics engines in the game. One user picked up a dead rat in the game and made the creature look like it was holding a gun, while another gamer taught an entire geometry lesson on a whiteboard in the game. Basically, people are already figure out ways to stretch the world of Half-Life: Alyx for their own silly and unique purposes. Adding a level creation mode seems like the natural next step.

Half-Life: Alyx has been a massive success for Valve, even before it was officially released. The game tells a side story within the continuity of the long-dormant science fiction series, so fans were more than happy to dive back into the storyline. This level editor will likely bring even more people to the game. We will be sure to let you know when it's available. In the meantime, you can still go dance and smooch with as many dead head crabs as you want (if that's what you're into) in the current version of the game.