Examining The Files Of "SteamVR Performance Test" & "Aperture Robot Repair"


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May 29, 2007
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Following the reveal of the initial price point for the HTC Vive yesterday afternoon, this morning briefly saw Valve jump the gun by releasing the “SteamVR Performance Test” a little too early. The application is used to analyse a system’s CPU, GPU, and OS performance over the course of two minutes before providing the user with a report regarding how each component fared when compared to the recommended Vive technical specifications released yesterday.

The program was only publicly available for a short time on the Steam Store before being removed. As shown below, the test, running on Source 2, takes place in a cutdown and shortened version of the Aperture Robot Repair demo with lower visual fidelity, fixed camera angles, no interactivity, no sound effects, and very few of the “core” animated sequences, including the opening of the drawers and GLaDOS’ arrival.

While it certainly isn’t all that exciting to look at, this short demo hides a lot of interesting secrets, many of which we’ve spent the last few months extracting and analysing from numerous quietly leaked builds of the full Aperture Robot Repair demo. Below, we’re going outline each of the interesting code strings or test maps. While not an exhaustive list of every single map, a bunch of the other maps are either uninteresting, too incomplete to bother showing, or broken, so we think this list will suffice! For the sections below, be sure to check out their associated videos for a closer look at the various test maps in action.

General Info
For anyone who is going to start delving into the SteamVR Performance Test files for themselves - it’s worth noting much of the unused and assets are actually taken directly from Half-Life 2 and Portal 2, so don't get too excited at the sight of "Half-Life".


Numerous Half-Life 2 assets, including models for Dog, Antlions, and more, can be found throughout several maps, with the code, animations, and models being used simply as test assets, removing the need to create everything from scratch.

Half-Life 3 / Left 4 Dead 3 / Character Textures - “dog_model”, “biped_male”, “engineer”, "adult_01"
As with most modern Valve leaks, these builds of Aperture Robot Repair also feature numerous code strings directly referencing “HL3”, “RPG”, “L4D3”, and more. Unfortunately, most of the code strings found in these particular leaks are similar, if not identical, to those previously discussed, so we won’t waste any time covering them again here, as most of these references are very out of date, and are not nearly as exciting as they sound. Here are a few examples…

That is far from all, however, as we have also come across a number of juicy pieces of evidence for characters set to feature in future Valve games. Some of you may remember seeing a high quality model of Dog from Half-Life 2 posted to 4chan a while back, which has once again shown up in this build. The model is identical to the one previously shown, allowing us to identify that the mysterious, unnamed 4chan leaker also has access to the same Aperture Robot Repair builds that we do. Here’s a preview, along with where to find the model!

dog1.png dog2.png dog3.png dog4.png dog5.png dog6.png dog7.png dog8.png

As you can see, this new Dog model is far higher quality than the one used throughout the Half-Life 2 saga of games, and features numerous new components spread across his body, including wheels, gears, wiring, armour plates, and bolts. Despite also having an updated City Scanner head complete with texturing, it’s not clear if this Dog model was or is intended to feature in Half-Life 3 or any future Valve product, but we also wouldn’t be surprise if it were the case.

Considering this model was developed by Tristan Reidford, it’s also possible this model was created to be used as a 3D reference for a toy statue of Dog hinted at by Instagram user ashleywoodart back in March of 2015. Although the model was never released, it may still be in production as Tristan previously worked on the full-scale replica of the Gravity Gun released back in 2013.


Half-Life 3 isn’t the only game to get a small preview with these leaked files, however, as textures for a playable character known as the “Retired Engineer” can also be found, with his directory referencing “L4D3” - aka Left 4 Dead 3. Here are all of his completed, high quality textures in all their glory.

engineer_head.jpg engineer_shirt.png engineer_pants.png engineer_jacket.png engineer_hat.png engineer_gloves.png engineer_boots.png engineer_backpack.png

Aside from Dog, the Engineer, and the obviously-included characters such as GLaDOS, Atlas, and P-Body, we have also come across numerous other files for unrevealed characters with unknown origins, known as “biped_male”, and “adult_01”. Here’s “biped_male”.


...and here's "adult_01"...
adult01.png adult02.png adult03.png adult04.png adult05.png adult06.png

There are also references to "nocturnal", an NPC which could very well be related to the Left 4 Dead series' infamous Special Infected creatures. Unfortunately, these builds don't feature any textures or models for the creature, so there's no way to prove this theory or to find out what it looks like.

The non-specific file directory of “vr\models\characters\npc\materials” gives us little extra means to identify exactly how these characters were or will be used, or what their exact origin is. It is possible one or all of these characters are linked to sequels of Valve games, but we’re not going to jump the gun by flat-out stating what simply cannot be confirmed. For now - just enjoy staring into their cold, dead eyes!

Secret Shop & Longbow
We’ve decided to clump the Dota 2 “Secret Shop” and the “Longbow” archery demos together in one category. It’s not because their projects are in anyway related - but because they both share a similar history of starting out as smaller projects within Source 2 before being ported and finished in Unity. This version of the Secret Shop features a vastly different layout and design than the final Unity version, with a larger room and a far more basic exterior. The Shopkeeper’s voice line is the only audible sound featured in this version.
  • buildslave\vrgdc2015_staging_win64\build\src\game\shared\vr\vr_longbow.cpp
  • buildslave\vrgdc2015_staging_win64\build\src\game\shared\vr\vr_longbow_arrow.cpp
As the video below shows, neither project got particularly far along before being restarted and ported into Unity, with various versions of the Secret Shop existing with no textures, few animations, and no real focus on interactivity of any kind.

Left 4 Dead Characters - “vr_l4d_characters_skody”
Although a brief appearance, the Left 4 Dead series is also featured in these lost files in one singular map. The map, shown below, takes place exclusively in a rundown barn and features numerous themed props, such as barrels, tables, and weapons / equipment taken straight from Left 4 Dead / Left 4 Dead 2. We believe this map was also designed to show off the new Retired Engineer character previously mentioned.

As you can see, the map’s intention was to show off Left 4 Dead characters and props in a virtual reality setting, possibly allowing the player to walk around in a small space and view Bill, Zoey, Louis, or Francis and their equipment from various angles. Unfortunately, the version of the map included with Aperture Robot Repair doesn’t feature any their character models, leaving the experience rather empty and pointless. It’s worth pointing out this map’s inclusion does not reflect Valve’s potential plans for VR games - it’s just a test bed to find out what looks good!

A previously unreleased model is also featured in the map, as shown during our video. The C4 model featured on the top of a barrel was previously only seen in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive launch trailer, but is actually accessible from within the files of Aperture Robot Repair. Take a closer look!


Aperture Prefab Spawn Test - “vr_prefab_spawn_test”
Considering this branch of Source 2 is largely focused on showing off virtual reality within Aperture Robot Repair, the majority of the included maps feature mechanical or animation tests for various components planned to appear in the final demo. One of the largest examples of such maps is a test for how Source 2 is able to load in massive prefabs worth of assets, with this particular map loading in the exterior of the Aperture labs featured in the final few minutes of the completed demo.

As shown, pressing the Green button will load in the external sections of Aperture Science, while pressing the Red button will then remove them again, showing how Source 2, like many modern engines, can dynamically load large amounts of data using prefabs. It’s worth pointing out this technique is not actually used in the final version of the demo, with Valve instead extending the draw distance to reveal the world beyond without sacrificing frame rate earlier on.

Aperture Drawer Animation Test - “drawer_anim_testmap”
Although just another of the many Aperture Robot Repair related maps included with various builds, we decided to include this particular example to better show off the “Bendy” animation featured when the player opens the drawer in the early stages of the demo.

It’s not exactly important, but damn is it cute!

Ken Birdwell’s Timer - “ken_timer_map”
Despite being one of the simplest and least interesting maps in the whole build, we thought we’d briefly show off this small timer built by Ken Birdwell, one of Valve’s longest standing software engineers.

The basic map featured a rather nice looking clock and a functioning timer used throughout multiple other maps to check the timing of animations, game mechanics or other systems. One such map includes the aforementioned “drawer_anim_testmap”, where the functional part of the timer can be seen working away in the background.

Valve Headquarters - “vr_valve”
One of the personal projects featured in the files, known as “vr_valve” appears as a partial reconstruction of Valve’s offices in Bellevue, Washington. The unfinished map is built largely from blank brushes covered in developer textures. As a player, you are able to walk around the offices, exploring Valve’s various cabals and rooms, some of which feature temporary, featureless workstations.

Although Valve’s real office is spread throughout various floors, the “vr_valve” map unfortunately only features one of them, which is then copy and pasted to create a second identical to the first.

Cockpit Demo - “testdemo_cockpit”
The most abstract and unusual demo’s featured alongside Aperture Robot Repair are tests based around “cockpits”. Designed as basic virtual reality experiences, the player would have been allowed to walk around a small room within a large spaceship or space station before stepping onto a platform which opens up to reveal a details cockpit rising from the floor. With the player stood in place, the cockpit closes and begins to lower back into the floor and out into space, where the player can see the detailed interior of the ship, a large starfield, and a few nebulae.

Although it’s easy to see how some may jump to conclusions and claim this content is clearly related to Valve’s long-cancelled Stars of Blood project, this is most definitely not the case once we examine the portfolio of Tristan Reidford, a concept artist at Valve. As shown below, the portfolio shows numerous high quality screenshots of assets featured in the demo, and even a few of those not used at all. The portfolio also allows us to identify that the assets featured in the demo are, at the very least, older than January 2015.

pit_rend1.png pit_rend2.png cockpit04_rend.png ship_rend1.png ship_rend2.png ship_rend3.png pilotrend03.png pilotrend07.png

Room Extender - “room_extender_02”
Definitely one of the most unusual, abstract, and empty maps featured with the build, this level features little more than a grey platform hovering in space, the large starfield previously shown off in the cockpit demo, and a gigantic version of Dota 2’s Shopkeeper.

Emily Test Demo Room - “emily_testdemo_room_2”
Keeping with the unusual and bizarre theme from “Room Extender”, a test room created by Valve’s Emily Ridgway, who is known to be working on experimental audio for virtual reality. Although clearly a basic map comprised of the same basic room layout many of the other levels,

If you want to know more about Emily’s work, stay tuned for her upcoming conference at GDC 2016, where she’ll speak to developers about her virtual reality-related audio findings.

Headcrab Platform Shooter - “vr_platform_shooter”
One of the most visually pleasing maps accessible in the demo is known as “vr_platform_shooter”, and was at one stage set to feature as a gameplay-focused experience which challenges a player stood atop a tower to shoot 150 headcrabs as they roam around on the ground below. While missing many assets, including foliage and clutter, the map still features ground textures, a skybox, basic lighting, and some telephone pole cables, with a road and a small river visible below.

Given we’re examining these maps outside of SteamVR, we’re able to easily jump out of the tower’s invisible walls and explore the map more thoroughly, although the lack of assets makes it pretty difficult to enjoy as is.

Defend Castle - “defend_castle”
As one of the weirdest, but most functional demo’s available, “defend_castle” challenges the player to guard a single, featureless block tower from advancing blue and green cubes. Green cubes must reach the tower to attack it at melee range, while blue cubes are ranged and fire small projectiles. As the tower is attacked, a health bar above it is reduced to 0%, where it continues to fall into negative figures. Although there’s no interaction in the version included, we imagine the map was to, at one stage, have the player swat away the advancing invaders with their Vive controllers while walking around the area in room-scale.

The red splashing X’s shown in the video are a result of missing particle effects used when a blue block’s projectile hits the target.

Dota 2 "The International" Stage / High Resolution Models
While not "test" assets of any kind, the Aperture Robot Repair files contain models representing the layout, scale, and structuring of stage featured at KeyArena during The International 2015. These were likely used by Valve during the planning stages to ensure their design was accurate and to-scale before signing off on the construction. Take a look!

ti5stage1.jpg ti5stage2.jpg ti5stage3.png ti5stage4.png

Also included in the files are numerous high resolution models for a collection of Dota 2 heroes, including Queen of Pain, Mirana, Tiny, Disruptor, Tidehunter, and Dragon Knight. It seems likely these models were used to create Source Filmmaker shorts, but exactly which trailers or shorts they were specifically used for is unknown. Credit goes to SteamDB for these images, and those from KeyArena.

dotahires1.jpg dotahires2.jpg dotahires3.jpg dotahires4.jpg dotahires5.jpg dotahires6.jpg

Bendy's Apartment
Similar to the Dota 2 assets we just highlighted, a number of SteamVR related models can also be found, which appear as various apartments set to be inhabited by the Portal series' "Bendy" character. The original models are incredibly small and appear very similar to those featured in promotional material and setup guides for SteamVR, although with some key differences (such as room layouts, etc). Increasing the model scale by a factor of 10 and loading them into a map yields impressive results, as shown below!

Thanks to SteamDB for preparing these models for us!

Another piece of miscellaneous, but still neat, content found within the files includes an early version of Portal 2’s “Smooth Jazz” song, which is revealed as “Together Again” by Dave Koz, and it’s seriously worth a listen. There’s also numerous other textures spread throughout the game files, few of which can be pointed to actual useful purposes.

It’s worth pointing out much of what we’re showing off here has been subsequently removed from builds of Aperture Robot Repair following the quiet leak last year, so you may not be able to find everything we’re showing off here if you go looking in current or future builds. Special thanks go to our friends over at SteamDB for sharing the files with us and for working closely with us on this collaboration. They have also uploaded their own dissection of this information, which also includes details of other content not covered here, so be sure to head on over to check out what they’ve got to show!
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Can't wait to read this when I get home!
So much ERROR. But still, these videos are really neat. Now I'm really curious to take the hardware test myself.
It told me to get a better graphics card :(
for anyone wanting to run it without vr you can launch it with the -novr option,
also if you load VRPerformanceTest\bin\win64Vconsole2.exe and load the convarhelp tool, switch the page dropdown to vr_public
and you get some nice dev options.
You can edit the corresponding ini found in VRPerformanceTest\core\tools\convarhelper\vr_public.ini

Running fullscreen seems to cause a black screen, even in non vr mode, but you can force screen size.
Video options are stored in \SteamVRPerformanceTest\vr\cfg\video.txt
you can set the default res to whatever you desire.
"setting.defaultres" "1920"
"setting.defaultresheight" "1080"
includes an early version of Portal 2’s “Smooth Jazz” song, which is revealed as “Together Again” by Dave Koz, and it’s seriously worth a listen.
Dieses Video ist in Deutschland leider nicht verfügbar, da es Musik von UMG enthalten könnte, über deren Verwendung wir uns mit der GEMA bisher nicht einigen konnten.

To me the biped_male just looks like a placeholder model for a male character. It's just wearing underwear.
It may be for future male characters in Source 2?
Also: Was there only the bump/specular/whatever-map Texture included from this model? That's weird.

Just minor stuff... am I the only one who thinks that a lot of effort got in to the animations but almost none in the lighting?
Everything looks almost fullbright.
Still, interesting.
for anyone wanting to run it without vr you can launch it with the -novr option,
also if you load VRPerformanceTest\bin\win64Vconsole2.exe and load the convarhelp tool, switch the page dropdown to vr_public
and you get some nice dev options.
You can edit the corresponding ini found in VRPerformanceTest\core\tools\convarhelper\vr_public.ini

Running fullscreen seems to cause a black screen, even in non vr mode, but you can force screen size.
Video options are stored in \SteamVRPerformanceTest\vr\cfg\video.txt
you can set the default res to whatever you desire.
"setting.defaultres" "1920"
"setting.defaultresheight" "1080"
Does it include sound fx ? If do pls upload a video
I might seem dumb. but how do you access these things? I'm really curious.
Could I get this? I would really like to screw around with the build you were given by SteamDB.

There is content in there that I would like to take a look at and frankly as you know I can't do that.
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Someone on r/HalfLife found a reference in server.dll to "game\server\hl3\gravity_vortex_controller".

I wonder what that might be? My guess is it's one of their attempts to come up with a cool new mechanic/weapon like the ZPEFM or ASHPD. I've always felt like relative gravity is an under-explored mechanic (there was some wallrunning in the original Natural Selection and a few other examples though). My immediate thought is it was something like the gravity switching in Ballmen which some of you might remember was a mod I worked on many years ago.

I don't think some random code and asset reuse means anything with regards to HL3 though. When I saw this all today I just sighed. Here we go again with people getting way too hyped over something that probably means nothing.
Some small interesting output from the console:

[ General ]: ERROR: Ammo (Fuel) found no CVar named (sk_max_fuel)
[ General ]: ERROR: Ammo (Uranium) found no CVar named (sk_max_uranium)

Also here's to hoping the earlier builds get out, the more eyes the merrier :)
FYI the older builds are still available on Steam, and like the OP said there's a lot of maps to try out. I think some of the earlier builds even include sound for the aperture demo too, would be nice if the actual demo leaked out from someone with the Vive development subscription though (which afaik the Vive Pre purchasers get access to)
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Ballmenmod was so ****ing awesome.