A VR dev turned his apartment into a virtual Half-Life: Alyx game
Graham Rust has a pet head crab and Combine as a neighbor.
During the pandemic, someone had time to themselves. And an idea how you can digitally spice up your own apartment.
Artist and game designer Graham Rust created an exact replica of his home in the computer and placed it over his own four walls to fit perfectly. Now he can live in a digital copy of his pad, throw grenades around, play with his head-crabbing beast, and engage in gunfights with Combine neighbors.
The digital apartment was created over years
Experiments with mixed reality apartments have been around for a while. What’s special about the Rust recreation is the level of detail and that the apartment can be imported into Half-Life: Alyx. Those who want to see it for themselves can download it from the Steam Workshop.
The project didn’t come about overnight. Rust modeled his desk years ago with professional 3D programs and brought it into the Unreal Engine. Gradually, more objects were added. Photogrammetry was not used, everything is modeled by hand.
The curtains were particularly difficult to recreate, Rust writes on Reddit. “I started with a flat plane, then I did a 8 hour long cloth simulation in Autodesk Maya. Took me dozens of simulations before I got the cloth properties just right. It was a great learning experience.”
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Jeff as roommate
Once all the objects in the apartment were digitized, he measured their exact locations and placed them accordingly in the Alyx editor. “In the editor, it allows you to spawn the character at an exact spot within your VR playspace. As long as I don’t redo my guardian boundaries, I’m good to go every time I play,” Rust writes.
What else can you do in a virtual “Half-Life: Alyx” apartment? “I was thinking of making some tiktoks showing how terrible having Jeff as a roommate would be. You come home and accidentally drop your keys which causes Jeff to acid spray you,” Rust jokes.