Gordon Feline: Cat-Life

By Alec Meer on December 4th, 2009 at 2:24 pm.

Scientist, soldier, security guard and now silent cat: these are the tales of Half-Life the first. The mod known as Cat-Life was announced some time back, with its concept hitting twin notes of absurdity and “that makes a lot of sense, somehow.” It’s Half-Life with a cat. I’m pretty sure you weren’t able to work that out for yourself from the name, so I thought I’d better explain it for you. It’s the first-person-shooting videogame Half-Life, but starring a domestic feline instead of an improbably athletic physics dork. Do you understand? With a cat. Oh, you still don’t get it, do you? Well, a demo of the mod’s just sprung up. Perhaps that’ll explain all.

While the idea evokes an immediate chuckle, the game itself plays it largely straight. I’d have thought the rampantly silly concept needs to be acknowledged as such, rather than pitching moggy adventures as gritty survival horror. But then, perhaps that’s all the joke it needs.

It’s certainly pulled off a cat’s perspective, the low-slung crawl and the natural night vision, but a cat pushing buttons and swiping at Headcrabs doesn’t quite ring true. Giving up upon encountering and out of reach ledge and letting out a sustained, desultory yowl or just curling up for a nap in an air vent would feel more authentic. Though a game of sleeping and screaming wouldn’t be for everyone, I’ll admit.

Essentially, it’s still a bit too Freemanesque, at least as far as this limited and very early demo goes – the key difference being the beast’s limited offensive powers. Headcrabs: fine. Everything else: runrunrun! This means the challenges are primarily environmental, figuring out ledges and jumps to progress. Which makes it slightly sad that it’s using HL1 rather than HL2, as Source’s smashy-surfaces and balance trickery would have suited feline frolics that much more. Still, I’m keen to see where this goes, and what new’n’odd challenges it heaps upon poor kitty.

Here’s a year old video that gives a good sense of how the demo moves and plays:

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64 Comments »

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  1. Mr.Bigglesworth says:

    Some “people” have too much free time.

    • Comment system, what comment system? says:

      “people”? Are you suggesting this mod is made by actual cats?

    • Antsy says:

      Touché!

    • 12kill4 says:

      Maybe Meer cats… I don’t think house cats are good at typing… (cue keyboard cat references…)

  2. Rich says:

    So basically it’s a mod where you play the entire game crouched and wave around large grey sausages to fend off headcrabs. Also, I know HL1 is positively ancient, but those maps look really dull. Maybe this would have been interesting ten* years ago.

    *TEN, FORHEAVEN’SSAKE!

  3. Duck says:

    HELL YEAH, AWESOME MOD

  4. David Drahos says:

    Does this cat meet it’s demise in a teleporter in City 17?

  5. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    meow, meow!

  6. ghor says:

    It looks so clunky in the HL1 engine. I’d like to see a mod for Assassin’s Creed where you play as a cat who assassinates dogs.

    Instead of beggars hitting you in the streets there would be people crouching down to pet you, saying “awwww what a cute kitty”.

  7. Davee says:

    THAT would be something that’d make me play it. Iv’e always wondered what happened to “that cat”.

  8. Davee says:

    Crap, reply system malfunction. That was aimed at David Drahos.

  9. dpCapital says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG! THIS IS TEH AWESUM!!!11111

  10. Mike_in_Ohio says:

    That is too funny. The one thing they missed though was an accurate portrayal of yakking up a furball….
    … there should be cat barf with fur balls laying around…

  11. Tye The Czar says:

    There had better be LOLCAT jokes in there.

  12. Gotem says:

    what’s next?
    half-life with a Crow?
    a crow bar, get it? GET IT?

  13. Calabi says:

    If I was only able to take one game onto a desert island with me then this wouldnt be it. If I was able to take two, then this still wouldnt be it. If I wasnt on a desert island but mildly bored, then I might play this.

  14. Crusoe says:

    Why?

  15. ChampionHyena says:

    Cat-Life: Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat Bat.

    Though I suppose a cat can’t exactly pick up a headcrab by the neck and shake it around ’til it dies.

  16. mpk says:

    There should be some sort of slow-mo mode to allow for your cat reflexes. Pussy time, possibly.

    And if there isn’t a meow/hiss/growl button I’ll be sorely disappointed. Also: the make-yourself-big button to scare away predators and small children.

  17. Dave says:

    If it was done in HL2, there’d be the added dimension of cat vs. D0G.

  18. Ozzie says:

    I heard you have to die 7 times before it’s Game Over?

  19. westyfield says:

    18 Half-Lives?

  20. Andy says:

    From the screenshot I thought it was gonna be a mod where you play HL as a headcrab….that would be cool.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    I wonder if there is catnip on Xen.

  22. Lewis says:

    This has been in development forever, right? I’m not thinking of something else…

  23. bildo says:

    idk…a cat vs headcrab…headcrab should be so much more powerful…they should have made it so you have to run from everything. This would make more sense if it were in the vein of Pokemon Snap or something…..

  24. Premium User Badge

    Vitamin Powered says:

    It would be a bit odd if the soldiers tried to kill you as well.

    Special Ops Sergeant: “I heard gunfire and two or three grenades going off! What the hell happened?!?!”

    Special Ops #1 “….”

    Special Ops #2 “Er, well, you see, James say a cat…”

    • Premium User Badge

      Vitamin Powered says:

      Saw. James saw a cat.

      And does this remind anybody else of those areas from Duke Nukem 3D where you’d be hit by a shrink ray, and had to quickly run around a section of the map as a 20cm high Duke?

  25. Doctor Doc says:

    That’s… that’s retarded.

  26. Jake R. says:

    I’m not at all interested in this but I am suddenly gripped with a strong desire to see a game like Mirror’s Edge from the perspective of a small athletic quadruped.

    • Chalkster says:

      OH MY GOD YES.
      I would totally play that.
      Stray cat simulator.

  27. GammaRay says:

    +1

  28. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    What a proper cat game needs:

    * Stalking mode (crouch?): Stealth, limited speed. Perhaps minigame it so that you need to stop whenever they look in your direction (but with a little fuzziness / feedback to help).

    * Pouncing: Headcrab-style targeted jump.

    * For small targets, like headcrabs: Grabbing them and shaking them around until they’re dead.

    * For large targets, like soldiers: Latching on (preferably to the back) and biting while their teammates are either afraid to fire or have a good chance of hitting them instead of you.

    * Heck, it would be nice if the smarter enemies didn’t even see you as a target unless you attacked. In fact, since the soldiers attack aliens, you could run to them as sanctuary. (Though I suppose soldiers might learn to be a bit wary if you continually run at them with a horde of aliens on your tail, so to speak.)

    * Napping: Health regeneration (limited?), retains full awareness.

    * Hearing simulation: Perhaps in the same way that games show you what direction you’re taking damage from, it could show you in what direction you’re hearing enemies. Or do it Dystopia style, with noise icons that you can see through walls.

    So far, all I’ve seen is a lowered viewpoint + melee slash attack. Cute, but could pretty much be Dog-Life or ‘Coon-Life for all its distinctiveness.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      I should add: Doing a game as a cat is also a perfect opportunity to make normal-sized traversable vents. You know, rather than the Hollywood-style “I could make money renting out this space”-sized vents.

  29. GammaRay says:

    Damn the reply function! Is there some rhyme or reason I’m missing? Somebody please enlighten me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      It’s always worked perfectly well for me. Click “reply”, wait for the page to load, you’ll be at the bottom, type in your comment, hit “opinion, away!”. And you can verify you’re in reply mode because the text above the box will say “click here to cancel reply”.

      The only reason I could see people perhaps having issue with this would be if their JavaScript or cookies were disabled.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Testing with JS disabled, cookies enabled.

    • Wisq says:

      Testing with cookies disabled, JS enabled.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Well, that’s odd. I wonder if caching is the issue, because even when I re-enabled JS and cookies, I couldn’t get the “click here to cancel reply” link on reply until I logged back in on the forums.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Personally I suspect there is a concurrency bug, that is why it shows up intermittently. Basically if two people submit at almost the same time the bug triggers.

      Maybe if they answer to the same post at the same time? If two replies get the same child id, the last one that the system tries to save gets rejected because of a database constraint, and then it gets saved as a child of the main topic instead?

      At least, that is where I would start looking if *I* was the programmer maintaining the system. (Today is wild guessing day!)
      :)

  30. Wisq says:

    Testing with both disabled.

  31. Ed says:

    Since when do cats strafe? Although I do wonder what a headcrab/cat zombie would look like.

    I must admit, a game where you play as a cat is a great idea.
    Gameplay ideas:
    – Rubbing up and down your owner’s legs for food and health bonuses
    – Pooping in neighbour’s flower beds
    – Dragging dead birds in and hiding them in hard to reach places
    – Looking down on those below from a high place, preferably a hole in the ceiling

    Include these ideas in Rock Paper ShotgUnity pls.

  32. CreamyGoodness says:

    It was the first Alien movie, I believe, when Ripley places Jones the Cat in a carrier then hears the beast and leaves the cat.

    If I recall correctly, the Alien rounds the corner, encountering the carrier. Jones the Cat arches its back and hisses, and the Alien pauses, then leaves…

    I’ve always pictured the Alien’s thoughts at that moment, thusly…

    “Ohh… morsel…”

    *Hiss”

    “WTF?”

    *More Hissing”

    “I’m, like, 20 times the size of that creature… and it’s threatening me… Me! Wait-a-minute…”

    *Ponder*

    *Alien imagination – cat turns into a 20-headed hydra that devours souls and urinates quick-time-events*

    “Check please, I’m outta here…”

    Jones goes back to washing himself, a job well-done…

  33. Vague-rant says:

    Shrodinger’s cat; Half live, half dead?

    • EaterOfCheese says:

      @ vague rant

      It took way, way too long for someone to make a Schroedinger’s crack.

      *cough*

      If you drop a coin down Schroedinger’s crack, what happens to the coin?

      *runs away*

  34. Scundoo says:

    More like: The game will either Suck, or Not Suck, the instant you play it.
    Whilst not playing the game, all you know is that it is somewhere in between Sucking and Not Sucking.

  35. Scundoo says:

    More like: The game will either Suck, or Not Suck, the instant you play it.
    Whilst not playing the game, all you know is that it is somewhere between Sucking and Not Sucking.

  36. Chalee says:

    I’ve always known half-life was a game for pussies.

  37. Lewis says:

    Ed: Since when did people strafe?

    • Weylund says:

      You’ve never spent several awkward years being coached in organized basketball, I see. Or wrestling, for that matter. Both of which teach you to move sideways efficiently.

      But you’re right. If you have to be *trained* to do it, it seems unlikely Random Guy X would be doing it upon finding a machine gun and being attacked by zombies.

  38. EBass says:

    WHY!

  39. Caiman says:

    The cat doesn’t even slink under those cubicle partitions. Fail!

  40. kwyjibo says:

    If the cat had the first person style implementation of Mirror’s Edge, then I’d get it.

    It doesn’t.

  41. LionsPhil says:

    So, a mod created by people who have never owned cats, then.

  42. spliter says:

    Hm… I think it has potential but a few things are a must if it’s about a cat like eating headcrabs/cockroaches for health, leaping (like in the AvP2 game the alien could but smaller lengths), curling up to jump higher, and of course my favorite using your claws to climb furniture.
    Also the cats seems a bit tall here…it’s more like a leopard or something.

  43. Seraphim2150 says:

    and then you shank those annoying beggars

  44. Cpt. Sqweky says:

    My questions is does the storyline run parallel to Half-Life? If so, then that could be a potentially brilliant idea. If not, then, well, it’s still an interesting idea, but I’d like to know if the story is at all engaging before trying it out.

  45. Matzerath says:

    Man, it’s gonna take forever for Cat Life 2 to come out.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      I’m holding out for the inevitable remake, Cat-Life: Source…

  46. party gowns says:

    I have always admired your point of view mate.