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Didja miss me?

I hope you enjoyed our little Wordle interlude. I thought about extending it another week, but I was afraid it might be getting stale.

Yes. This is what I did in my time off: Half Life Alyx. It was the third major Half Life title and the first VR title for Valve.

It was spectacular.

I’m playing it through a second time beginning today, listening to the developer commentary. They spent two years play-testing the opening scene, which is walking from a balcony though an apartment. Nothing happens. But they knew it would be many people’s first experience of VR, so some would spend a lot of time picking stuff up and playing with it (yes I did).

And still they had to convey lots right away about the atmosphere, the city, the backstory, the mission, the scale of the world. Among other things, it was supposed to make me understand when the game takes place (between Half Life 1 and 2). I didn’t pick up on it until the commentary. A hard thing to do, teach things to a weasel.

They made some fantastic choices. Like, to reload your pistol, you have to thumb a button to eject the empty magazine, reach behind your head to grab a full one, jam it in the magazine well and rack the slide. While running away from headcrab zombies. At the beginning of the game, play-testers panic and fumble and die so much they wanted to simplify it, but people loved it. It you feel like you’re doing a real thing. And you get better.

It’s a shame there aren’t more fabulously wealthy AAA game companies that can afford to spend two years on a few minutes of exposition.

p.s. The weather in the real world was lovely. I sat in the sun a lot.


Comment from Armybrat
Time: May 9, 2022, 11:37 pm

I’ve been in Pittsburgh for the last 5 days. My uncle died. He was 92 and had a good run so no sadness from this quarter. Today was a spectacular spring day that the husband and I wasted eating and drinking our way thru the Strip District. I’ve been in FL 2 years now with generally great weather most of the year. I had almost forgotten how magnificent a nice sunny day with warming temps is in the northeast. All the restaurants and bars had doors and windows open. I’m headed back to the sunny Free State of Desantis tomorrow and look forward to floating in my pool and enjoying the sunshine…but I will confess that I will miss the pure hedonistic joy of spring that comes with living in the land of cold and dark.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: May 10, 2022, 3:45 am

I’ve concluded while sitting idle on breaks from pretending I’m a pioneer that most days in Texas, heat aside, are beautiful.

I think in general we miss it because we dash from place to place looking at our watches hustling towards evening when we convince ourselves the time of day allows us to slow down after the beautiful day is spent mostly unappreciated. Retirement has been enlightening, but I still feel guilty if I “stop and smell the roses”.

Comment from BJM
Time: May 10, 2022, 7:20 pm

@Durned…pretty much the same in the northern Central Valley…today we got puffy white clouds floating in an azure sky. The neighbor’s bay & chestnut lolling in rich green grass, the white rail fences and classic red barn are downright bucolic.

Of course not everyone is pleased.

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