How to Play Half-Life: Alyx Without a VR Headset

Half-Life: Alyx has been making waves in the gaming scene as it’s the first we’ve seen from the Half-Life series since 2007’s Half-Life 2: Episode Two. It may not exactly be the Half-Life 3 we’ve all been waiting for since it is a prequel to the series’ seond installment, but it’s a huge release from Valve nonetheless — due in part to it being a VR game. But this also makes it less accessible to the mainstream audience, as only a small portion of PC gamers actually own a VR headset.

However, a solution has surfaced online. A Russian software developer who goes by the username r57zone has created a mod that allows you to play Half-Life: Alyx without a VR headset.

If you’re itching to play Half-Life: Alyx, but don’t have the necessary VR hardware, follow r57zone’s steps below. Of course, before anything, you need to first purchase a copy of Half-Life: Alyx on Steam.

How to play Half-Life: Alyx without a VR headset

  • Download and install TrueOpenVR
  • Install SteamVR
  • Unpack the HL Alyx driver to the TrueOpenVR folder
  • Set up TrueOpenVR
  • Set up SteamVR driver (one eye mode)

r57zone has also uploaded a detailed tutorial video to his YouTube channel.

According to the mod’s Github page, you will need to take a few additional steps too.

After installing SteamVR and TrueOpenVR, head to the SteamVR state window > Setup room > Small room > Calibrate > 170cm.

Then, in Steam, go to the game’s properties > launch options, then enter this:

+vr_gg_gesture_pull 0

If you’d rather use a regular shortcut, right-click it and click on Properties, and add this:

“C:\Games\Half-Life Alyx\bin\win64\hlvr.exe” +vr_gg_gesture_pull 0

Note that your exact installation path may be different than the one above, so change accordingly.

Once you’re in the game, head on over to the game settings and make sure you select Smooth in the Movement options. This ensures walking and running in-game will have the same smoothness you’re used to in non-VR first-person shooters.

Should you play Half-Life: Alyx without a VR headset?

With this mod, supposedly you will be able to complete the entire game. However, based on the gameplay video, it looks and feels wonky in my opinion. That’s not to take away credit from r57zone’s incredible work. The modified non-VR experience just seems to lack the immersion the game promises.

As such, I personally won’t be trying out this mod. I only intend playing Half-Life: Alyx the way it was meant to — with a proper VR headset. Based on all the playthroughs and Twitch streams I’ve watched, it seems to be the only way to properly enjoy the game as of now. However, this may change if ever Valve decides to release a dedicated non-VR version of the game.

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