In just a few short hours Half-Life: Alyx will release and, with most big games like this, it seems poised to become popular on places like Twitch and YouTube. For those planning to stream the game, or spectate it, developer and publisher Valve has shared this guide to do just that.
“The best way to experience Half-Life: Alyx is to play it yourself. But we know that watching someone play a game in VR is an entertaining experience on its own, and many of you will want to share the game with others — whether in the same room or over a livestream. Half-Life: Alyx has a number of settings dedicated to improving the experience of watching the game being played on a TV or monitor. They can be found in the game’s menu under Settings > Spectator,” Valve writes.
The spectator section contains three settings: spectator HUD, spectator camera smoothing and spectator eye.
As certain aspects of the game are built into the VR experience – such as Alyx glancing at her one glove to view her health – spectators may miss out on some information. This section allows that to be viewed as a more traditional HUD, together with other stats such as ammo count.
Spectator camera smoothing deals with rotational jitter for viewers and is said to have ” minimal to no impact on graphical performance”. Despite this Valve recommends keeping it to low or medium.
Finally there’s spectator eye which dictates which eye your viewers will be looking through. Valve once again has a recommendation for this, and it is to set this up to whichever eye the player uses to aim down sights of guns, so that spectators experience that too.
Outside of the specific spectator section there are a couple of advanced settings that should be considered.
Full in-camera smoothing is a tool that Valve itself used throughout the marketing for the game to capture footage for the various trailers released so far. This can, however, prove to be disorientating when actually playing the game, so it’s recommended to keep this in the back pocket of content creators to make their own clips.
Finally fine tuning of the spectator HUD size is available. Both this and the full in-camera smoothing have to be modified by using the developer console (accessed by hitting the tilde key ~). The commands for this are available in the full Half-Life: Alyx streaming and spectating guide can be found on this Steam support page.