HEVy Metal: Half-Life 2 Gets Upgraded

By Alec Meer on January 5th, 2010 at 9:33 pm.

Someone's going to say

For all its glory back in 2005, it can be a little disillusioning to fire up the original Half-Life 2 these days – it looks that much flatter and dimmer than the worlds we’re used to from more recent iterations of Source engine. No HDR or colour correction, and NPCs with pudding-like faces. The one-time Future Of Games doesn’t look so futuristic anymore, in other words. So, one man has sprinkled modern fairy dust over the old dear – porting the entirety of Half-Life 2 to the significantly shinier Orange Box version of Source.

It’s fairly unclear what side of copyright law this lands on, as while the mod (for lack of a better word) won’t run without both HL2 and HL2: Episode 2, its 1.44Gb of recompiled maps’n’that (done, he claims, by manually comparing decompiled PC maps to a long playthrough of the already-upgraded 360 version) does seem to contain a fatted clutch of Valve assets. Whether they’re bothered about that is another matter – they’re surely aware of it by now, after all.

But it does also mean that it’s currently fairly tricky to get hold of the mod – it’s all strewn over Rapidshare, Megaupload and the like. Have a browse of the thread on the Steam forums and see if you can find a goodie.

Alternatively, wait until it spreads a bit, and enjoy this side-by-side comparison video and the update and original HL2 in the meantime:

That has at least 37 more beauty-ohms, by my count. Perhaps even 38. Hopefully Valve won’t stamp on it, as it’s good stuff, and it seems pretty unlikely at this stage that they’re ever going to do the same thing for HL2 PC officially.

Oh, and it’s got Achievements in too. Whoopie.

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107 Comments »

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  1. jsutcliffe says:

    Copied-ed and pasted-ed from the forum, because I’m lazy:

    That looks exactly like something I was hoping Valve would do for the Ep 3 package — I want recent Source graphical fidelity in all of HL2 (check!) and a way to play HL2 and the episodes seamlessly as one game.

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      @jsutcliffe: Indeed, a seamless game with HL2, HL2 ep1, HL2 ep2, HL2 ep3 would be cool.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Then you and a whole lot more people should have boycotted the episodes altogether… as I’m pretty sure it’s never going to be a seamless thing. ;)

      Also, what’s taking Valve so long to announce Episode 3 anyways?! One word… okey, 5 words; we’re Left 4 Dead !! :p

      I’m going to be blunt here, but I also have to say I actually wasn’t too impressed by the graphical update and it rather proves how little Episode 2 has truly improved graphics over HL2 and Episode 1.

      Yeah, I saw some better metal shaders, but from what I recall HL2 had those already, just not everywhere or on guns. I also saw HDR lighting, big deal… :p

      I don’t think Valve will sue anyone here.

    • PHeMoX says:

      ( don’t forget you will need HL2 and Episode 2 to be able to play this…)

  2. Linfosoma says:

    I demmand a moddb.com page with pretty pictures. I can watch videos at work!

  3. Bobsy says:

    You’re going to have to help me here. I can barely tell the difference other than the updated one seems a bit brighter.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Bobsy

      Thank you, I thought I was the only one. I went back and forth for some time with the title screenshot trying to figure out which one was supposed to be the remake. I can readily see the value of a project like Black Mesa, where the visuals of the original game (Hal Life 1) have deteriorated rather badly with time, but HL2? Really? Nothing against a free mod project, of course, but it seems slightly mental to me to spend this kind of time and energy to marginally improve the graphics of a game that still looks great.

    • Dominic White says:

      Note that there’s a much wider range of colours and highlights. The whole lighting engine got an overhaul. Character models seem to be improved somewhat as well – notice that Alyx’s face is a little more rounded?

      As others have said, there seem to have been some loss of facial animation in the upgrade though, which sucks.

    • qrter says:

      I don’t see the big difference, either. People tend to say the Source engine is showing its age and I just don’t see it, personally..

      To me Source has always been more about showing off Valve’s great art design and a lot less about representing photorealism. The art design of HL2 still looks pretty fantastic in its own engine, I feel.

    • Taillefer says:

      Some things looked slightly better, some looked slightly worse. And I think Vaseline has been added to some surfaces too, really bringing it up to date.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      I’ll have to agree as well. Sure, in a direct comparison you can see some surfaces and lighting look slightly better, but I don’t believe for a moment that I’d actually notice any difference while playing the game.

      I’ll echo qrter as well, I love a beautiful game, but for me it’s far more about design and quality art than about pure visual fidelity. Are there really people out there who constantly think about shaders and lighting while playing the game?

    • Wulf says:

      @Vinraith

      I’d go a step further than that. If it helps, call me utterly barking mad, but I actually think the original looks better than the updated version.

      I’m a Barbie Girl!

      The effects used on updated Alyx make her look a tiny bit anorexic, and with the way the light is reflecting off her skin too, giving it a reflective, plastic sheen makes her look truly ghoulish. So Alyx goes from being half-believable to a creepy plastic doll. Not only that but it looks like every little detail has been sandblasted off her face to give it a smooth, inhuman look, free of any detail.

      Alyx at least looked believable in the original version. I find her completely unsettling now, these updates make me shiver.

      In a Barbie World!

      The original one actually looks mildly realistic, whereas the updated one looks far too clean and sparkly, it looks very plastic and artificial, it looks more like a play-stage for action figures than an actual world. This is a problem I normally associate with the Unreal Engine, not Source. Perhaps they were simply overusing the effect, but it looks terrible.

      Welcome to the future, where everything is made of plastic, including skin and faux concrete roads.

      Exaggeration Nation

      The original visual effects were subtle, like some of the lighting underground. It looks like it was meant to be, and yet the modders had no sense of that aesthetic. Without understanding that, they’ve just flooded light in everywhere, and put max bloom on it. Now on the outdoor areas this looks nice, but in some indoor areas, especially in the corridors and tunnels, it completely kills the aesthetic and the non-updated version looks much better because of that.

      Sometimes things are subdued for a reason, and that reason might not have anything to do with PC horsepower.

      Bottom Line

      It looks like they’ve just layered bucket loads of tech effects over the original game without any concern as to whether it looks good or not, and that’s my problem with some modders; they have absolutely no eye for aesthetic detail. It reminds me of those mods for Morrowind that unwittingly added temperate zone trees to a swamp. It’s good for a laugh, but in my opinion anyone with an eye for detail and design can spot the issues.

      Now I’m not saying that there’s no worth in this, because the outdoor areas do look a little bit better, they just need to subdue indoor areas a bit and undo the heavy-handed bloom there, completely roll back the plastic effects, and restore the original NPCs, adding only a bare minimum of changes if it’s absolutely necessary. What they need is an artistic director, really, someone who’s got a sense for aesthetics, and how light works, someone who could advise them on what to do and what not to do.

      I’m sure this’ll go down a treat with the majority, but with a little art direction and consideration, it could be so much more than just Half-Life 2: Lolgrafiks Edition.

    • Muzman says:

      The HDR/iris biz doesn’t seem to be tuned very well (based on the low res youtube video anyway). You can see that the clouds are all blown out where they weren’t before and so on (and ordinary light fixtures too). In truth Lost Coast didn’t use it much better so maybe that’s just how it is. The curse of game characters is to have cheap video cameras for eyes (‘xept in Stalker, who seem to get everything in that department mostly right)
      Looks nice in the sewers though. Like the reflective surfaces too (if they’re not absolutely everywhere)
      Also: Aurora Borealis? Yes. In your kitchen Nova Prospect?

    • Carra says:

      The screenshot does not show much but the trailer sure shows a big difference.

      The new lighning makes it all much prettier.

    • Joseph says:

      Are there really people out there who constantly think about shaders and lighting while playing the game? – Skalpadda

      Not constantly, but I definitely notice such things, and it helps to add atmosphere if done well.

  4. Jonas says:

    Modders are awesome. YAY MODDERS!

  5. Inigo says:

    Alyx’s eyebrows appear to have been paralysed. Botox?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Inigo

      Yeah, I was wondering about that too. The relative fidelity of the facial expression initially had me thinking the one on the left was the updated one.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I noticed that as well. It’s the only thing stopping me from going out any downloading the mod right now. Do HL2 facial animations not translate to the newer models?

  6. obo says:

    The brights are brighter and the darks are darker. IT STAYS IN YOUR WASHER. ARE YOU ON THE BALL?

  7. Heliosicle says:

    seems to just affect lighting to me

    • Stabby says:

      Particle effects like fire and smoke, god rays, shadows, dynamic stuff… I saw all that stuff in the trailer.

  8. Toby says:

    If anyone manages to find a megaupload or non-queuing link for this, please post it. All i can find is rapidshare and obscure polish sharing sites with dead links. Ta muchly.

  9. Rick says:

    Valve updated the entire of HL2 to the Orange Box version of the engine, including updating models for things like the Vortigaunts, for the Xbox release of the Orange Box. I’m somewhat disappointed that they didn’t transistion their work over to the PC version of HL2.

    Some bits of HL2 feel really graphically dated now, especially the bridge scene, where the water lacks any of the beauty that was introduced for sea with the Lost Coast.

  10. Rei Onryou says:

    The weird thing is, when I picture HL2 in my head, it looks like the updated one. A mixture of nostalgia and playing HL2:Ep2/other updated Source games?

  11. caramelcarrot says:

    Seems to have lost some good colour balance in areas (like Ravenholm) with the brightening up. Good otherwise. Maybe combine this with the (fairly old) Fakefactory texture/model improvement mod.

  12. Trespasser says:

    looks pretty good. hope Valve takes notice in the good way. :D

    PS what’s the name of the song used in the video? :)

    • Dood says:

      The youtube info says its “Trying to find you” by Adam Hamilton.

  13. Sobric says:

    Looks only slightly better tbh. The HDR does make a big difference on areas where there is a strong contrast between light and dark, while the effects are slightly better too. However, the facial anims appear borked which is a disaster considering it’s one of the things HL2 does best.

    Oh, and why the aurora at the end?

  14. Rich says:

    Ah hah! This is the sort of thing I’ve been waiting for. Obviously it isn’t a huge change, but the game’s been in need of a spit shine.

    I was tempted before by the FakeFactory mod. Unfortunately the requirements are stupidly high, (4GB RAM minimum) and the guy making it throws a tantrum when anyone mentions scaling it back, or even putting in a few tastefully tuned models, rather the puffy lipped, big nosed monster he replaced Alex with.

    • Dominic White says:

      But of course a girl living on a post-apocalptic warzone for most of her life would look like a goddamn supermodel, complete with freshly touched-up makeup! What are you talking about? Do you not understand CINEMATICAGORAPHICATION!?!?

      Not only that, but she looks a helluva lot whiter.

      The Fakefactory mod is terrible.

  15. Gentacle says:

    Mentioning how much I’d like an orange box rendition of VtM: Bloodlines to upset others. :)

    • matte_k says:

      Seconded. A shinier version of Bloodlines with all the fan patch content would be very spiffing.

    • Wulf says:

      If anyone tried to turn Jack into a shiny Action Man figure, Jack would go after them, and hurt them bad. >.>

      Really, Bloodlines would be the last game to add all this Plastic World nonsense to. Does everything have to look like a child’s playset these days? That’s what the update looks like to me, like everyone’s in a gigantic plastic playset. I loved the unofficial patch (for the fixes and content, rather than the textures, the textures were God awful, but I’ll come back to that), but it’s almost scurrilous to not realise how beautiful Bloodlines graphics were in the first place. Changing the graphics of Bloodlines would only fark them up and make them far, far worse.

      I felt the texture updates for Bloodlines actually had that effect, too, they lost a lot of the little details that the original textures had, and they’d been smoothed over like Ghoulyx up there. It amazes me how often higher resolution textures seem to be textures with 80 per cent of hte original details cut out. So generally I find I don’t like graphics mods, because few of them are done well.

      The content mods and fixes for Bloodlines I loved, but the graphics mods… auugh.

      The sole exclusion to this rule I can think of is perhaps the graphics update for Thief: Deadly Shadows, by John P, I believe. Gods, his work had such an impact on me that I’ve even remembered his name (probably). The thing is, that texture pack was one of the insanely few to actually increase the resolution of the original texture and redraw all the original details, so no details are actually lost in the transition. I was very impressed by this, since most texture boosts tend to smooth things over and lose the majority of the details, making the characters look worse, and adding to the Action Man/Barbie feel of it all.

      The side by side comparison of Ghoulyx above shows that she’s missing loads of details, and the video shows that she’s missing animations, too. I thought I was supposed to be the one with bad sight. Also, if you do a side by side comparison with the textures in Bloodlines, and the updated ones, the originals look better, because despite the originals looking slightly smudgy now, they’re actually far, far, far, far more detailed, and they look better animated than the updated ones, too.

      I can’t help but think that some texture packs are more about “LOL, I can do higher resomolutions than you and therefore I need higher resomolution textures to show that!” than “Let’s increase the overall size of the texture by use artistic talent to ensure that none o the details or the style of the original texture is lost.”

      People will call me crazy, as well they might, but it’s just how it looks to me.

      Very often the original game looks better than any texture updates. Not always! John P’s Thief textures are very, very, very good, and I congratulate the man for that. But the thing is, John P is an artist, rather than just a guy playing around with textures in Photoshop, and that comes over in his work. But the Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines skins were terrible, including those and adding Orange Box features in a patch would be disastrous.

      I’d create a side by side video myself then just to show how hilariously bad it would look compared to the original. :p

      It just stuns me though how little people actually notice details getting lost, a texture upgrade is very frequently a texture downgrade. I can see that clearly on Ghoulyx there, and I thought I was the one with shitty sight…

  16. Rostov says:

    To be honest it seems to work against the overall atmosphere most of the time. In the end it looks like some cheap autocontrast filter that drags saturation up and makes the colours bright and chirpy and sort of cartoony. Half Life with its dystopian setting looses more than gains from this visual shift.

  17. Andy says:

    Looks interesting, does anyone know how it compares to Cinematic Mod 10? I’ve always wanted to try that but it seems to be 10gb.

    • Premium User Badge

      hmrf says:

      I’ve just wanted to post CM 10 and wondered why nobody seems to know it. It basically updates everything (textures, models, adds orange box source engine stuff to the old maps (hdr, etc), adds stuff to maps (eg more, more realistic trees)), and in a good way. (only annoying thing is the adriana lima alyx model, but you have the option to not choose that and a regular hd alyx instead). Only downside is its size and the need for a decent machine, preferably 64 bit with a lot of everything ;)

      I really like it and would definitely recommend it, it’s worth the huge download imho.

    • Rich says:

      That would be the FakeFactory mod to which I referred a few posts up. The guy who made it is a maniac, sticking a whopping great bridge at the beginning of the driving level and covering it in cheap distance fog. So, you’ve got to try to reach the bridge, along a heavily patrolled coastal road, so that you can launch a daring rescue. OK, so why not just use the massive, ungraded, totally pristine bridge right in front of you? Even if it is fugly. He also totally messed up the lighting, making your beach assault under the cover of darkness take place an hour after dawn, judging from the orange.

      Most of the character models are horrid.

      Plus, as I said before, the system requirements are stupidly high. He’s pushed the textured detail to beyond the point of insanity. He even had to hack the Source Engine to let him have access the ridiculous volume of memory he thinks is necessary. What the hell is the point? My eyes don’t even have the resolution to require that kind of fine detail.

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    The reason for Alyx’s expressions, the vortigaunt model, etc:

    The guy is using Episode 2 models & textures as much as possible. Ep2 has a new model for Alyx, new Vortigaunt models & animation, etc. The reason alyx’s face looks stiff in that scene is probably because the animation doesn’t exist for the new model and the scene had to be re-animated from scratch.

    If you copy the Half Life 2 maps from their original folders to Ep2 or Portal and just run them with the map command, you’ll get the old models replaced with the new models wherever Valve updated them for The Orange Box. However, this guy actually fixed up the textures and… well pretty much everything that gets broken when you try to just run the old maps in the new engine (broken conversations, a few places where you just can’t continue, etc.). I say it’s a pretty neat project, though I do hope Valve are working on their own update for the Ep3 engine, because that would be even neater (and would very much justify Ep3 taking this long).

  19. Nox says:

    The difference in the quality of the fire/flames in the Ravenholm section was quite noticeable, and impressive. Other than that, I’m not sold, especially if it introduces immersion-breaking facial animation issues as others have indicated.

    Still, I admire what the modder has tried to accomplish with this update. It’s not as if Valve would ever go to the trouble.

    Bring on Black Mesa!

  20. reginald says:

    wouldn’t “beauty ohms” mean a Resistance to Beauty ?

    I think you want beauty amps or farads or something.

  21. Stupoider says:

    I always thought Valve would update HL2 with the Orange Box graphics, as that’s what happened with the Orange Box release on consoles. :o Anyway, any Half Life related news is good news for me!

  22. GS says:

    just go and grab the cinematic mod instead, its bloody awesome.

  23. C says:

    Seriously, Cinematic Mod 10 is great and the revamped models are optional. I hated the new models as much as everyone else, but the rest of the mod is great. You can get the full mod from gameupdates.org or the like. (Torrents make that 10GB download a little easier to swallow)

  24. Rohit says:

    After finally downloading all six parts, the CRC fails. Sigh.

    • Rohit says:

      Never mind, I just had to rename the parts to a similar name. Phew!

  25. Premium User Badge

    dhex says:

    why would someone go ahead and boobicon the only video game female protagonist not already in a halter top?

    that’s so depressing. :(

  26. Rohit says:

    I’m now not sure if you even need HL2. The mod’s gameinfo.txt only mentions the appid 420, which is Episode Two. I’ll have to check this.

  27. doctorfrog says:

    Last year, I played HL2, Ep1, and Ep2 all in a row for the first time, and I can confirm, yes, the Ep1,2 Alyx has botox. She had some frown lines taken out, and her face has a paralyzed look compared to the more expressive, if somewhat careworn look she had earlier. It really irritated me at the time, as it seemed like pandering to an immature audience that demands their women meet exact specifications of hotness and/or cuteness. It also just made her look a little more fake. So, what you’re probably seeing in the ‘after’ screenshot is likely the newer Alyx model overwriting the old one.

    • Optimaximal says:

      It really irritated me at the time, as it seemed like pandering to an immature audience that demands their women meet exact specifications of hotness and/or cuteness. It also just made her look a little more fake.

      I think it’s less about ‘pandering to a immature audience’ and more about ‘they removed some animations to cut down on size’

    • Funky Badger says:

      She’s still the same simpering idiot in the later episodes though, so that’s alright.

    • Slaphead says:

      Hey, I think it’s a great move towards true sexual equality in video games, when the female lead can be both plain looking and a bit dim.

    • Funky Badger says:

      That’s a very good point, Slaphead.

  28. bill says:

    Good work, but I think I’ll save on the 1.5Gb download and just turn up the Contrast/Brightness.

    PS/ Your CAPTCHA never works first time for me, even though it’s right.

  29. Skye Nathaniel says:

    Like around ten people have said already, I have been hoping and waiting for Valve to provide PC players with the graphical improvements of the console Orange Box. What no one seems to remember is that Valve actually promised that they will do this as well as implement steam achievements… over two years ago.

    I’m not very interested in this mod. I’ll wait to see what they give us with Episode 3; it would be nice if they brought the full HL2 saga into the Ep 3 engine.

  30. RagingLion says:

    Hmm the water does look better and you could definitely notice some of the light reflections looking better but otherwise I couldn’t see a great amount of difference. I might look into this in the future though – it’s not a stretch to think I’ll replay HL2 again at some point.

  31. malkav11 says:

    I’m slightly bemused by people complaining about how HL2 looks. I mean, sure, adding the bells and whistles later versions of Source have implemented is nice and all, but the game all by itself still looks friggin’ gorgeous in a way competing games of the time (Doom 3, say) don’t.

    • Slaphead says:

      *looks at the first screenshot*

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

      What is that thing? At least it’s showing skin, so someone will be happy.

  32. PeopleLikeFrank says:

    Guess I’ll just toss in that I think the Cinematic Mod looks awful even without the terrible Alyx models. Just too many liberties taken with what was good design, slapping HDR over all over all of it in a way that certainly makes it look shinier, but like it’s also lost all of the good design sense that made HL2 great. Something similar to the way a lot of superhero movies have the problem of losing some of the original visual uniqueness in favour of a brushed-metal-blue-LED slickness that again looks fancy, but not exactly interesting.

    So even if there’s some problems with the updated models, facial expressions, etc., I’m glad someone is taking the route of ‘just’ updating the assets without painting their own on top of it.

  33. Bret says:

    Geeze, got to agree on the issue of the Cinematic mod.

    Alyx actually kinda felt like someone who, you know, had lived in a post apocalyptic wasteland ruled by fascist rent-a-cops. Sure, she’s an attractive enough collection of pixels, but she’s an attractive enough collection of pixels that feels like a person in the world the game takes place in.

    The mod? Geeze. All I’m saying on the matter.

  34. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Anorexic Alyx is fail.

    Besides, I kinda like playing older looking games.

  35. Anthony says:

    I remember seeing some stuff on the Cinematic Mod, noticing the monstrosity they’d replaced Alyx with, and closing the firefox tab. I don’t care if the creator thinks his version is better – it basically threw the very specific art direction of Valve out the window in favour of a subjectively attractive boob transportation device.

  36. GLOWi says:

    Does anybody know if it’s possible to keep original character models in the Cinematic mode and if their difference to the rest of the game is distracting?
    I know that you can switch to the original Alyx character in the CM, but it’s stil updated in not favorable way. Alyx fighting combines with naked belly, maxed boobs and pronounced nipples is not my cup of tea.

    • Premium User Badge

      hmrf says:

      Yes, you can choose which of the main characters should be replaced with a new HD model in Cinematic Mod. And you can choose whether or not the civilians should be replaced, too. So you can play it with the map and lightning changes only, too. If using low quality models is distracting…um.. I don’t know, haven’t tried yet.

  37. caesarbear says:

    Shiny floors and sunny skies at City 17? No thanks.

  38. Aemony says:

    Oh god, and I just finished replaying HL2. Gotta check out this mod and see how big a differences we’re talking about, but the HDR and/or bloom is always nice. As are the (otherwise really weird) shadows included in E2.

    And Cinematic Mod sucks. The only reasonable HD models I can even think of using is the civilians, as I tend to see them as low priority. Everyone else is pretty fucked up. Especially Mossman and Alyx. But otherwise I like some of the overhauls made, like the foggy air in C17 and the added trees along the coastline, but sadly that isn’t enough for me to play it more than a couple of minutes.

  39. Rinox says:

    Wow wtf @ Alyx’ model in the cinematic mod. It’s like they completely don’t get it…her entire reason of existence is that she’s not a Cliché Boobage Monster. She’s smart, funny, tomboyish and can hold her ground in a fight. Also, she dresses like someone in a guerilla rebel movement would: practically.

    Not that I always agree with her inexplicable fawning over you during HL2, but all in all she’s a positive and believable female character. That…thing in the cinematic mod? Fanwank.

    • Slaphead says:

      Nothing wrong with boobage in itself, but this does look like the wrong game for that. Besides, the boobage in the Cinematic Mod seems to be attached to a mustachioed goblin.

    • Bhazor says:

      I agree, Cimematic’s Alyx doesn’t look too bad (her proportions are more or less believable and the texture on her face is good though her tummy seems a bit plastic) but completely goes against her character. She didn’t get washboard abs and toned legs from dieting, she got them from living as a guerilla fighter her whole life. I have to say my favourite part of her design is the progressive scuffing of her clothes which really fitted with her tomboy scurrying about in junk heaps and shimmying up computers. Well that and her bottom.

      As for the fawning thing in the original game I think it does fit with her character somewhat. I’m sure if your childhood hero/heroine, who you’ve idealised your whole life, appeared out of nowhere and saved the world you’d be a bit clingy and at least try it on. I think her attitude to you is certainly more human and than any Bioware love story. The only part that still feels weird to me is Gordan sometimes comes across as a bit of a dick.

      Edit: Actually just saw a picture of Cinematic Alyx pulling a facial expression
      http://www.cinematicmod.com/cm_10.php#screenshots.

      Yeeesh.

      Edit Edit: Now the version of Alyx from version 7. Now that’s fanwank.
      http://www.cinematicmod.com/cm_7.php#screenshots

      Now I’m sure I saw that on rule34.
      http://hawtness.com/2009/12/30/wtf-girl-photo-more-reasons-why-half-life-is-awesome/

    • Slaphead says:

      Yeah, about those believable proportions…

      http://www.cinematicmod.com/images/cm_10/cm_10_27.jpg

      Moving on:

      I don’t think many of the people doing these type of mods get that textures are made & picked to enhance the lighting and mood of the scene. Just replacing a 1024×1024 stone wall texture with a generic 4096×4096 one doesn’t automatically make it look better. The clothing on many of the “cinematic” NPCs in this particular mod looks particularly bad because of this. The guy just slapped a high-res cloth texture there. With nothing to give visual cues that it’s supposed to be clothing.

    • Rinox says:

      Well, ok, maybe it wasn’t over-the-top boobage in itself, but the things are practically falling out of her top in most shots. Just doesn’t make sense for a character that’s constantly running, jumping and fighting…not in a game like HL2 which tries to present a believable personality anyway. It’s not like the boobage in Oni (or most action games with female protagonists) clashes with any sort of realism, because there is none usually.

      This got me thinking about female game protagonists…usually not very well done. Maybe because there are relatively little women in the industry?

      P.S. oh and lol @ Alyx pic from version 7. Playboy, meet HL.

    • Bhazor says:

      “Maybe because there are relatively little women in the industry?”
      Yeah, thats true.
      Jade Raymond’s only 4’6” and Kim Swift weighs as much as four squirrels.

      Really it’s the old comic book argument women look like surf boards with melons attached and men look like Arnie’s bigger brother. Theres a few believably proportioned women (Darci from Urban Chaos comes to mind) and theres a few men who don’t look like they come from the planet Big Bollocks (Mr Freeman natch) but they’re the definite minority.

    • Rinox says:

      Haha…I meant “few”, obviously!

      Re: generic comic book bodies, you’re right, but that last remark about presentation of women and the women in the industry wasn’t really so much aimed at the external appearance of the main characters as female characters (personality) in general. They rarely feel real. Not that I’m the expert on women and their inner worlds, but still. It makes perfect sense to me that an underrepresentation of female writers and designers would result in female characters that are a projection of a male mind rather than a real person. And even thought I’m noticing a change in the last few years, at least 90% of all mainstream game developers are still male.

  40. Owen says:

    Oh god, just no to the guys behind Cinematic Mod’s Alyx. You’ve totally missed the whole point chaps.

  41. Kadayi says:

    The OP mod update looks good. Pretty clear to me how much better the Orange Box’d version looks Vs the original (Guess the whine brigade need to get their eyes tested). Worth a download probably.

    The cinematic mod looks bloody awful though: –

    “The Cinematic Mod 10.10 again delivers a new alternative character model for Alyx Vance which is based on the looks of the Brazilian super model Adriana Lima.”

    LOL.

  42. Starky says:

    The update mod seems okay, nothing drastic, but nothing that I’m bothered about, HL2 was never really about having the best Crysis like graphics. It was about plot and gameplay.
    Sure you would notice the prettier graphics for about 10 minutes, then you don’t care anymore because you’re playing HL2.

    It’s like that with all old slightly crappy looking games, at first you can’t believe how shit and old they look, but after a few hours playing you just don’t care any more if the gameplay is good.
    With the exception of a few PS1 era early 3d games that is (such as one of my favourite saturn games Nights into dreams, which is actually unplayably ugly now).
    2D/Spire based games have fared so much better than those early 3d stuff.

    Gotta agree with everyone else also that that Cinematic mod is unbelievably FUGLY.
    It’s like he’s just decided that more = better.
    More tree’s, more 3d, more pixels, bigger textures, more HDR!!! More, more, more! Especially fog! more fog!

    It just goes to show that all the pixel pushing, advanced rendering techniques in the world won’t make your game look good when your art direction is lacking.
    A problem many texture pack/better graphics mods suffer from.

    Hell it is one of the reasons why Stalker complete 2009 is so damned impressive, it manages to look amazing without sacrificing the look and feel the game is supposed to have.
    Compare and contrast that with the Cinematic mod city images which look like they should be screenshots of Fallout 3, not HL2

  43. Barts says:

    Could someone clarify it for me:
    – is Half Life 2 bought from Steam and Half LIfe 2 bought within Orange Box (both PC versions) any different? Do we have two PC versions? How to make sure which one I am buying?

  44. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I also remember Valve promising to release the HL2 updates that they made for the 360 OB (HDR, higher quality models and textures, achievements) for PC. But Half-Life 2 was already beautiful. This mod looks interesting, but the creator of the Cinematic Mod seems to lack both taste and restraint.

  45. Cooper says:

    HDR makes some difference, but, as far as I can tell, he’s just put a very thin sheen of cooking oil over the game world.

    It was annnoyance with the later source games – concrete got shiny. The hell is up with that?

  46. Dexemplu says:

    Hey, the creator’s a Romanian. I feel proud.

  47. The_KillSmith says:

    “and it seems pretty unlikely at this stage that they’re ever going to do the same thing for HL2 PC officially.”

    Oh really? Because a few months ago I asked Gabe Newell in his office about that, and he said it was still coming. The whole thing is recorded in Episode #9 of thesteamcast.com

    • Kadayi says:

      That podcast would be a lot better if they dropped Sam. The guy sounds like he’s stoned out of his gourd and is about as organised as one. Hint: Don’t know something (like who Depeche mode is for example?) take the blunt of of your mouth & research it before the podcast.

      Still Interview with Gabe is good.

  48. Malibu Stacey says:

    because “better” graphics make better games right people?

  49. mcw says:

    Can this be completely uninstalled? I’m worried that the official patch will interfere with this mod. If it ever comes out that is.