Playing Half-Life: Alyx Without A Headset Is Now Possible Thanks To A Mod Called Pancake Base

Playing Half-Life: Alyx Without A Headset Is Now Possible Thanks To A Mod Called Pancake Base
Credit: Valve via YouTube

‘Give me modding, or give me a slightly worse experience that more accurately reflects the developer’s vision of a specific title’ would be a horrendous protesting chant. An interesting one, to be sure, but it seems to have lost a bit of panache by adding the realistic ending; after all, who wants to die for modding capabilities?

However, mods can drastically extend the shelf-life of any title, no matter how inconsequential (or grandiose) the title itself may be. Users are still churning out hundreds of mods a year for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Skyrim as a whole was barely worth the cost of admission without modding the RPG-lite title into something almost unrecognizable, even on the Nintendo Switch.

To that end, Valve have released modding tools recently for Half-Life: Alyx into the waiting arms of the community, and they’ve already been going absolutely wild with the opportunities.

One specific mod has opened the opportunity to ditch the $1,000 additional price tag of Half-Life: Alyx by completing removing the necessity of having a Virtual Reality kit.

Titled Pancake Base (as VR users often call non-VR games ‘pancake games’), it’s actually a Source 2 base that can be used to bring multiple VR-only games to ‘pancake-users’; it simply works well with Half-Life: Alyx.

Admittedly, this isn’t Half-Life 3, and it shows when you make the conversion; gunfights are impressively simple (almost yawn-inducing) when you can simply point and click to kill a Combine soldier, versus needing to twist and contort your entire body to take cover while also trying to accurately engage enemies.

KonqiTheKonqueror has pushed the entirety of their project to GitHub (which can be reached here) and comes with the statement that it is not ‘production ready at this time’.

The entirety of the kit can be used by extracting the zip received from GitHub into a VR program, and removing VR from the Steam launch arguments (using the argument ‘-novr’).

Early announcements of this have been met with criticism from users who have purchased the $1,000 system from Valve (or own a different type of Vr systems, although it’s strongly recommended to use Valve Index for the experience). Whether it’s frustration that drives their comments or actual concern as the leap from VR to ‘pancake’ absolutely nerfs large segments of the game, it’s anyone’s guess.

KonqiTheKonqueror commented on an RPS article that they did not intend for the mod to be used for playing through the campaign of Half-Life: Alyx and some bugs arise in this early build of the mod. Still, it’s a fascinating look at how dedicated and competent modders can deconstruct even the most esoteric libraries.