A Half-Life Alyx Mod for Interactive Portal 2 Test Chambers

Bioware's VR (Virtual Reality) adapted edition to the sci-fi action thriller gaming series Half-Life, Half-Life: Alyx - back in July - was treated to a game modification that added a little more interactivity to Portal Test Chambers

Known as Aperture VR – Thinking Without Portals, the mod enables players to play without the need for a Portal Gun.

The mod features no Portal Gun but enables the use of Half-Life: Alyx-native Gravity Gloves, which will aid one in pulling objects (cubes in this case) closer. The mod does a phenomenal job of recreating Valve’s Portal 2 – despite the Portal Gun being absent from this playable mod.

What the mod is like?

In 2020, the game’s developers teased fans with a mod that allowed one to walk through a Portal 2 map. This time around, players were able to interact with the environment, thanks to the added gameplay that this mod comes with. Instead of merely exploring the map, and picking items, one encounters some challenges.

It took a team of four developers and less than a month to put the demo together. The Aperture VR mod features over 200 models, either ported or freshly created. The creators even went as far as offering a Source Pack which includes all scripts, maps, models, prefabs, etc. This is intended to enable developers to create custom test chambers in VR.

The portals seem to be a good basis for something more, and it seems the development team has similar hopes. By making the mod’s Source Pack widely available, they hoped to attract a wider team of developers to create more test chambers for the VR title. The mod can be found here.

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Test Chambers

Half-Life Test Chambers have a dark history. They were set up in, according to game history, in the ’70s by Aperture Science to test products. The Chambers required live humans. They created GlaDOS – a half-human.

The plan goes awry when GlaDOS is first activated. The artificial life form attempts to gain control of the facility housing the chambers. Her creators seize control despite the havoc she creates, but she soon breaks free of their control and accomplishes her goal. This leaves a lot of scientists trapped, and a good number of test subjects dead as a result of her unforgiving testing.

The test chambers have a sterile feel to them, looking, very much, like clinics, or laboratories. The dull, grey walls are flanked by observation room windows, likely designed to give the subject the impression that they are constantly being evaluated by an unseen person, or group. They also operate as light sources for many of the chambers.

Having gone from era to era, and the facility dilapidated, or partially demolished, and being rebuilt repeatedly, the number of chambers has increased from the first Portal era to the Portal2 era.

In Closing

The Aperture VR: Thinking Without Portals mod has brought the Half-Life Refreshment Center Test Chambers experience to life. Being immersed in the Test Chambers brings that eerily serious feel of a hospital home, the use of Gravity Gloves as opposed to Chell’s Portal Gun is also something that gives the mod an updated, VR feel.

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Ash Bonga

I'm a marginally adequate digital assets trader and writer specializing in blockchain and the crypto sphere. Occasional contributer for
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