The Lab

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The Lab
The Lab Header.jpg

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Basic Information

Valve Corporation

  • Valve Corporation

Unity Engine
Source Engine 2

  • Steam
    • April 5, 2016 (INT)



Virtual reality

  • HTC Vive
  • Windows
    • Windows 7 or later
    • Intel i5-4590, AMD FX 8350 equivalent processor or better
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 15 GB hard disk space
    • NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
    • HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
    • USB 2.0 or better port
Welcome to The Lab, a compilation of Valve’s room-scale VR experiments set in a pocket universe within Aperture Science. Fix a robot, defend a castle, adopt a mechanical dog, and more. Still not sold? It’s free!
Steam Store Page

The Lab is a collection of virtual reality minigames released on April 5th, 2016 by Valve Corporation to show off the capabilities of the HTC Vive. The game's hub world is set in an Aperture Science Pocket Universe, specifically "Pocket Universe 08", populated by Bendies, and includes 8 different minigames to play. The minigame worlds are traveled to by using an Aperture Science Head Mounted Portal Sphere.

Hub World

The main hub of this game is set in an Aperture Science Pocket Universe, specifically Pocket Universe Lab 08. This world serves as a gateway to the minigames, which can be accessed by putting the relevant Portal Sphere on your head. Bendies can be seen wandering around and manning various bits of machinery in the background. FetchBot, a small robot dog that will retrieve any object you throw if you have its attention, follows you around and wanders the hub as it whines for you to pet and play with it, and throw any object you are currently holding. A female announcer speaks of other Pocket Universes and gives corresponding dialogue when you return safely from a universe (minigame), throw objects for FetchBot, shoot arrows at things, and do other tasks.

At the center of the hub, there is a table with several different objects on it from the different minigames. The objects are:

  • Rythm Core: From the Core Calibration minigame, and plays a tune when it is held.
  • Spaceship And Remote: From the Xortex 20XX minigame, you can steer this Spaceship around the hub using motion controls while holding the remote. FetchBot chases after the ship.
  • Balloon Tool: From the Postcards minigame, and blows up balloons of various colours when the button is held.
  • Sticks: From the Postcards minigame.
  • Longbow: From the Longbow minigame. Using the longbow you can shoot balloons and targets around the unreachable areas of the lab, and you can also shoot the Bendies walking around, upon which they will fizzle into pieces. Shooting FetchBot with an arrow will cause him to close into a smaller capsule shape you can pick up.
  • Roshan Figure: From the Secret Shop minigame, the Roshan is an entity from Dota 2.
  • Earth Figure: From the Solar System minigame.
  • Atlas Figure: From the Robot Repair minigame.
  • Bone: From the Human Body Scan minigame.

There is a whiteboard which is randomly generated with drawings and also displays a checklist of all the minigames. These can be erased with the eraser and the board can be written on with the markers on the lip of the board. There is also a hidden rainbow marker behind the Xortex 20XX arcade game that draws in rainbow colours on the board.

There is a hidden tiny Bendy in a jar located behind the Longbow minigame that can be picked up.



"Begin your career as a Calibration Trainee by recklessly destroying everything in the Aperture Storage Annex using the Core Calibration slingshot."

In this game, a Core Calibration Slingshot is used to calibrate new Personality Constructs by knocking them into boxes in the Aperture Storage Annex. The gameplay is very similar to Angry Birds, in that you shoot things from a slingshot at boxes. There are 32 different cores to calibrate, voiced by Laura Bailey, Steve Blum, Phil LaMarr, Nolan North, Justin Roiland, Pendleton Ward, and Wally Wingert.


"Use your archery skills to defend your noble castle gate from a rampaging but adorable and equally noble horde of attackers."

In this game, you must defend a castle's gateway from an army of approaching Bendies in battle armor. You can either simply shoot the attackers, or you can use burning drums of oil and a barrel of rocks to push back in the invading army. In the Appliance of Science Update, a global leaderboard was added, along with progressive difficulty.


"Are you a bad enough dude to become a Xortex ace? Relive the golden era of gaming -- only this time, it's all around you."

Xortex is a bullet hell game where you use the motion controls to steer a spaceship, trying to avoid enemy laser blasts, and trying to shoot down the enemy. At the end of the game, there is a boss character you must defeat. Another mode added to the game in the Appliance of Science Update is Xortex Infinite, a boss free infinite run of the game with a global leaderboard. The game takes place in a sphere in the year 26XX.


"Visit exotic, far-off locales from the comfort of your own head."

The Postcards are photogrammetry pictures of various areas that exist in real life that you can explore in VR.

Vesper Peak

Vesper Peak is a mountain in Snohomish County, Washington, U.S.


Venice is a famous city in northeastern Italy. It is famous for being a collection of 117 small islands that are connected by bridges and canals.


Raufarholshellir is a lava cave in Iceland. It is a popular Icelandic tourist attraction.


Snæfellsjökull is a stratovolcano in western Ireland. The mountain is 700,000 years old.

Valve Secret Rooms

There are 2 secret Valve demo rooms. The first is accessed by plugging the postcard wire into the red valve to the left of the other postcards. The other can be accessed from inside the first secret room by putting on one of the SteamVR prototype headsets. The first demo room is Valve's QR code-filled VR demo room, where you can play a game of VR ping-pong. The second is a plain room with Atlas standing in the corner, where balloons fall from the roof, and you can destroy them with either a spike, or a laser.

Human Medical Scan

"Explore the intricate beauty of the human body through a highly detailed model created from a series of CT medical scans."

A model of the human body that you can cut into smaller sections, and then slice away smaller parts of these sections. The model is incredibly detailed and created through the use of CT medical scans.

Solar System

"Why watch shows about the vast majesty of space when you jump in and see it for yourself? Have educational space-fun while putting Neil Degrasse-Tyson out of business."

A 3D model of the Solar System that you can walk around and interact with. The planets orbit the sun, and you can pick up and throw the planets around.

Robot Repair

"Can you repair a robot? Good, because Aperture Science's Human Diversity Outreach Program is now hiring."

The Robot Repair demo was originally shown on March 4th, 2015 at the Game Developers Conference to show off the HTC Vive and Source 2. It was released to the public on February 22, 2016 with the release of the SteamVR Performance Test.

The mini-game consists of the player, the inaugural participant in the Aperture Science Human Diversity Outreach Program, becoming a Repair Associate in the Robot Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. The player uses Dual Aperture Science Prosthetic Multi-tools to preform various tasks, including opening drawers, and repairing Atlas. The player inevitably fails at both of these tasks, by accidentally opening the Aperture Science Pocket Universe Capsule, and accidentally becoming their god, and by failing to repair Atlas in time, which leads to Atlas falling apart.

GLaDOS takes notice of the player's failures, and personally comes over to berate them, but after realizing the player is not a robot, she realizes that watching them flail around trying to complete a task is hilarious. GLaDOS then recycles the player's repair station, and assigns them a test chamber to complete. Upon entering this test chamber, however, a Weighted Storage Cube is launched from behind, and the player may or may not end up killed by a Crusher.

Secret Shop

"The fantasy equivalent of a twenty-four-hour convenience store is now open for business! Peruse artifacts, shop for familiars and cast a spell or two at Dota's Secret Shop!"