Valve Releases The Lab: Appliance of Science Update

    When the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD) launched on 5th April co-developer Valve also released a free virtual reality (VR) experience called The Lab. Based in the same universe as the popular Portal series, The Lab features a set of mini-games designed to utilise the features of the HMD. Today the developer has launched a brand new update titled, The Lab: Appliance of Science.

    The new update now brings some competition to The Lab by putting a set of global leaderboards for Longbow, Xortex and Slingshot. These three mini-games have also received new gameplay adjustments.

    As the Steam posting describes: “Longbow now features an unlimited number of enemy waves, along with a new scoring system to reward slaying enemies, nailing headshots, popping balloons, and more. Each successive wave includes more enemies, who will move faster and have an increased chance of wearing armor. Your exploding barrels and oil cauldrons reset every eight waves, so be sure to use them!
    “Xortex now offers a brand new way to play, Xortex Infinite, with progressively more frantic action as you maneuver your drone to collect powerups, increasing your score multiplier while gunning down enemies. Xortex Infinite also replaces the Laser with a powerful Bomb, which destroys all nearby threats. Use it wisely, however–detonating your Bomb also resets your score multiplier.
    “Finally, the rebalanced Slingshot will present you with new core calibration career opportunities. Wipe out the Aperture Storage annex with bigger, better barrel explosions, as well as a host of scoring adjustments to help you solidify your place as a world class calibrator.”

    The full changelog can be found below, and VRFocus will continue its coverage of The Lab as new details are announced.


    Longbow Updates:

    Longbow now features infinite waves and a global leaderboard, visible on the rear tower

    The first 8 waves are the same. From wave 9 onward, enemies slowly become faster, more plentiful, and have an increased chance to wear armor

    There is a break every 8 waves

    Oil Cauldrons and Exploding Barrels are restored after each break

    New scoring system added which awards points for enemy kills, headshots, popping red balloons from enemies if gate health is full, remaining oil or barrels at wave end, and for completing a wave.

    Fixed several cases where enemies would get stuck as they tried to walk past each other

    Using the -longbow launch command now places the player directly into the game, skipping the approach to the miniature

    Xortex Updates;

    Added Xortex Infinite, a boss-free score attack mode with a global leaderboard visible at game over

    Picking up powerups increases a score multiplier. The maximum multiplier is 10

    Super Laser replaced with a Bomb which destroys nearby enemies, charged by picking up 2 powerups

    Using the Bomb resets your score multiplier

    Enemies and bullets become progressively faster with time

    Added a new enemy which appears in Xortex Infinite and Classic: The Spinner, which spews bullets from its front and behind as it spins

    Enemies in Xortex now heat up and glow as they take damage, and then begin to heal over time

    Certain enemies die automatically if left alive for too long

    Scoring removed from Xortex Classic

    Slingshot Updates:

    Rebalanced Slingshot, and added a global leaderboard visible above the conveyor belt

    Adjusted point yields for towers, barrels, and tracer core boxes

    Adjusted points needed to earn an extra core

    Barrel explosions are now more powerful

    If all platforms are cleared, any remaining cores will yield bonus points

    Other Updates:

    Added voice subtitles and text translations for several languages for the Intro, Hub, Slingshot, Robot Repair, and Secret Shop. The language is set by your current Steam language. Subtitles can be toggled on and off by using the panel in the title scene.

    Added a scene selection dropdown interface to the monitor’s viewer window

    The computer screen viewer window can now be set to full screen with a launch parameter: -fullscreen

    Added more scene selection launch parameters for the Lab, Secret Shop and Robot Repair: -hub, -secretshop, -robotrepair

    There is now a haptic controller response when petting Fetchbot. Who’s a good bot?