hhrrrgh I'll make a better post about HL:A and VR later. I still feel a little weridly uncomfortable just writing whatever here, like I'll just post whatever on twocubez (which is a tumblr that i have) and it feels fine and natural, but for some reason typing in the neocities editor and updating katies-place.neocities.org just doesn't feel quite as oragnic. I almost feel like I should be drafting these posts in a google doc before I post em to this site. I guess that would actually be a pretty good idea for posts like the last one? Anyway.
On a semi-related note, I'm a little disturbed by the sheer amount of time i spend on youtube. Like my rough estimate is that I watch six video essays on average per day! A big part of that is just that I like to watch/listen to stuff while I draw and I spend a lot of time drawing, but like I kinda feel that it cheapens the visual effort put into what i'm watching if I'm watching it as a little picture-in-picture with the majoriy of my screen taken up by Sai or Krita or something, or just straight up listening without even appreciating the visual element. And I feel like splitting my attention between the video and my drawing is probably impairing my ability to be creative. And i hate Google and I'm using their services like crazy anyway so i'm a huge hypocrite and... god.
Anyway, on a happier note, I use uBlock Origin and I'm pretty sure it's been blocking all my youtube ads, as i haven't seen any on youtube on my desktop since i installed it. Let me tell you, once you've experienced ad-less youtube you really can't go back! So yeah, highly recommend.
OKAY SO I've been meaning to use this website as a repository for my weird headcanons for a while, a last night I was thinkin of a thing that's probably perfect to start this weird little bloggy thing off with, so, here is the thing: How cool would it be if the internet was still functional after the Seven Hour War and people just kept using it right under the Combine's metaphorical nose? I mean, I bet the vast majority of humanity is left without a way to access it, given that even today in our world most of us don't have access and even less did in the early 2000's when the Resonance Cascade was supposed to have happened (I think), but the few people who do have a way of getting online cherish the web for letting them stay in contact with friends and family when they're forced to relocate.
Thinking about the internet in the world of Half-Life made me think about Russel in Half-Life: Alyx mention that he managed to download all of it prior to the war, which made me think about how much I love the implications of that, which made me think about how I love HL:A, which made me think about how frustrated I am that I can't actually play it. Half-Life: Alyx is my favorite game I've never played. That's because I don't have an Index, or an Oculus, or any other kind of VR headset that's compatible with my PC. Not to mention the fact that my PC probably can't handle all that lovingly detailed Source 2 rendering! But, my god, do I want to play this game. I've seen bits of playthroughs of it and I absolutely adore how it draws attention to the small, mundane details of the world to make it all feel richer. While that sort of intimacy of everyday objects, as Jacob Geller put it, definitely isn't unique to VR, the way it's implemented in Alyx was tailored specifically to it. A flat mod for Alyx probably wouldn't work.
So... yeah, I'm bummed I can't play HL:A because spending all that money on hardware just isn't viable for me. But, I'm also kind of worried VR in general for a couple reasons. Alyx is a very experimental game in quite a lot of ways, and that was all by design. It not being the mythical Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 lets it explore risky territory, in terms of medium, gameplay, visuals, and narrative. It's Valve experimenting with what kind of stuff they can do in VR and with Source 2, using HL as a familiar prompt to work with. I'm not really worried that I won't be able to play future Half-Life games, because if I remember correctly they've stated pretty clearly that they'd like to return to keyboard and mouse in the future. No, I'm more worried about some of the unforeseen consequences, if you will, of what could happen if we continue to treat total immersion as a goal.
I was gonna write for stuff here about my fears regarding what might happen if we continue the way it looks like we're headed without considering the implications, but then I kinda ran out of steam. Stay tuned though, I will absolutely talk more about this in the future.