Half-Life Free Running: An Amazing HL2 Speedrun

By Craig Pearson on July 9th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Alyx Face-Poser settings have been  set to: The Rock
It’s only taken 600 days and 14 people, but Half-Life 2 has finally been completed in under 1 hour and 28 minutes. The speedrun I’ve embedded below is the product of Source Runs team, and it reduces Valve’s opus to a dramatic, comedic relay of astonishing keyboard gymnastics. Each player passes off their best run through to the next, completing the game as a team. There are 200 segments covered in the same time it would take to watch Paranormal Activity. In fact, some might say what you’re about to see is parano – [*snip* We’ll have none of that – segue Ed].

What cracks me up are the pre-canned remarks that just float into the air like a child’s lost balloon. Marc Laidlaw slaved over those lines, the actors probably spent hours in a booth recording them, the animators tweaked the face to match the line. It was all lined up perfectly, and the intended audience zoomed on past like a freight train in trouble.

Things to look out for: the guy covering a fair chunk of Ravenholm with only 1 health and 0 suit strength. The fantastic way the Lost Highway is traversed is probably my favourite speedrun, ever: he leaves the car behind and instead runs and jumps backwards. It’s absolutely exhilarating. It could do with snipping the inappropriate buzz zooming and teabagging in the quiet moments, though.

Via the regretful Tom Francis.

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55 Comments »

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  1. Njordsk says:

    Ha, they shouldn’t hurry that much, HL3 isn’t coming any time soon.

  2. baby snot says:

    Clearly the lesson here is to give the player no freedom of any kind. Turns out Homefront was ahead of it’s time!

  3. 1Life0Continues says:

    This was just…insanely beautiful…

  4. MarcP says:

    Half of the video consists of zooming in on Alyx’ boobs or poking her bottom with a stick. Half of this website is rants about women being objectified in video games.

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      Harlander says:

      Together, they form….

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      Clavus says:

      It’s sort of an in-joke in the speedrunning community from what I’ve read. Doesn’t stop it from reflecting badly on them though. Makes them look immature.

    • Phendron says:

      Gamers objectify women! Liberal games journalists don’t get indignant! What a whirlwind!

      • Snids says:

        This is one guy, doing a thing in a video of a speedrun for one particular game. It’s a bit different.

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          phuzz says:

          Several different people put together the whole run, the name is at the bottom of the screen.

    • Ernesto says:

      To be fair, everybody get’s poked (or hit with something in the head). Not just Alyx ;)

      • Pemptus says:

        Objectification for everyone!

      • LionsPhil says:

        I love how he donks the guy on the head with a piece of broken crate in the fight after Ravenholm to make him teleport further along his scripted path.

    • Pemptus says:

      Everything should be mature and proper. The objectification of virtual women and vortigaunts must stop. I propose yet another verbose comment thread on this very subject.

      • 00000 says:

        The portrayal of Vortigaunts as submissive battery chargers is disgusting.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I didn’t watch every moment of the video all the way through, but I did see both Kleiner and Dog getting their asses checked out at one point as well.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      I always find the butt-shot to be a rather amusing trope (Mass Effect has waaaay too many), but it started to get a bit too uncomfortable here…

      and then Dog got a butt-shot and they redeemed themselves.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Massive knockers!

    • GameOverMan says:

      They treat objects like women, man.

  5. Simon Hawthorne says:

    The Lost Highway part starts here http://youtu.be/NV-AWxqYAgc?t=46m24s at 46 minutes and 24 seconds.

    From Tom Francis’s website:

    “YouTube commenter nobody960814 explains the trick:
    “To prevent bunny hopping, valve created a system where repeated jumping should slow you down. Unfortunately they implemented it by applying a force on you in a direction opposite to the way you’re facing, not the way you’re going. So by bunny hopping backwards, you can accumulate ridiculous momentum.””

    Smacking NPCs on the head with stuff also seems to skip their dialogue.

    • max pain says:

      *Fortunately

    • wheeelbarrow says:

      One of them explained the tapping on the head somewhere there. To make sure that no NPCs get stuck, the pathfinding just teleports them ahead if it thinks their path’s blocked. Tapping them on the head’s enough to trigger that.

      It looks like the backwards bunnyhopping bug’s fixed in an updated version of HL2 now, sadly. I can’t get it to work.

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      c-Row says:

      Smacking NPCs on the head with stuff also seems to skip their dialogue.

      And in the game.

  6. Low Life says:

    Why did no one tell me that the HEV suit has flight capabilities?

  7. Pich says:

    With the amount of effort required to make a speedrun like this, i think they earned the right to zoom at some tits.

  8. Kollega says:

    This is completely insane. And i like it. The lines about Gordon “making it so quickly on foot” take on a completely new meaning in this context.

    • Phendron says:

      And then he gets an airboat…

      • LionsPhil says:

        The airboat section is almost kind of disappointing. There are some very cool jumps and sequence-breaks in there, but a lot of it is just corner-cut racing, almost as designed.

        Especially when you then compare it to the latter half of the boat section, where they’ve left the boat behind at the checkpoint…

    • Low Life says:

      NPC: “He won’t last five minutes on foot, it’s spawning season for the antlions.”
      Gordon: “I won’t need to.”

      • Sleepymatt says:

        “Things would go so much faster if we had someone with your training”.

  9. El_Spartin says:

    The real reason Gordon has a degree in Theoretical Physics is to understand how to do these sort of things. Others with similar degrees are simply too afraid to try.

  10. Sharza says:

    I hope one day I will ride a barrel like this!

    (Awesome speedrun btw.)

  11. DiscorderlyChaos says:

    DO A BARREL ROLL, i didn’t know boats were capable of such extents

  12. Dowr says:

    Now you’re thinking with barrels.

  13. Kaira- says:

    It’s pretty impressive, but diminished (IMO) by the fact that it’s a segmented run where they just keep doing that one part until they get it perfectly, save, and then do another segment. I’ve always been a bigger fan of singe-segment runs.

    • Syra says:

      I guess but there’s too many variables in the way the physics can go in each segement, to get a single perfect segment must have taken dozens of tries. In any case the game is broken down into those segments so it’s not really ‘cheating’ the speed run to change over at natural breaks. There’s probably a bit of editing going on in all speed runs of games with ‘levels’.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I think I did notice the name changing once or twice during a level, which must have been a challenge to synchronize.

        • Kaira- says:

          I remember seeing the runners doing a post on Reddit, where they basically said that they do a segment, save, and send the save to next person and so forth.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sure, but simply having to hit the save key at the right moment whlie doing precise high-speed maneuvering, and the next person having to be ready to be going going going on the same the moment the game loads, must be quite challenging.

            Or maybe I am just a befuddled old man who takes a second to get his bearings when the load screen is replaced with a virtual world.

          • fish99 says:

            Not really, the next person can reload it as many times as he wishes, and have thousands of tries at his segment.

      • MarcP says:

        There are games with distinct levels in which people still make full game runs without segmenting, i.e. [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q3QDmOMnNc]this Doom 2 Nightmare speedrun[/url].

        It’s a shame tool assisted runs have become so common the assumption you’re making is reasonable. I find single segment runs much more interesting, because this is what a real human being can actually do, as opposed to what the game engine technically allows.

    • Timothy says:

      A single-segment run could never be as close to perfect as this run. Segmented runs are a kind of compromise, for doing something like a TAS when doing a TAS is impossible. Which leads us back to the whole TAS vs non-TAS argument, which is quite a silly argument as both have their own place.

    • Grygus says:

      I don’t know; they all seem capable of the same tricks and a high level of proficiency. I took the segmented run as a way to credit each speed runner for the segment he mastered, rather than a statement that none of them were able to put a run together.

  14. cunningmunki says:

    There goes my lunch.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Holy…that’s brilliant.

    • edwardoka says:

      Yeah, that’s the best part of the video by a significant margin. I watched it four or five times. Incredible. Done by the same guy who trickjumped past the entirety of Highway 17 as well.

      If I were one of these guys who invested so much time and effort into such an endeavour, I’d be pissed off by being associated with the one or two guys who ruined it by acting like 12 year olds (one, every single time he was in control, and the other, right at the end)

  15. The Random One says:

    I tried watching this, randomly skipped ahead, and three times ended up watching the speedrunners getting bored throwing random objects around while they waited for a non-custscene to finish. This just reminded me of reason #17 of why I hate HL2.

  16. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    FAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. ZombieJ says:

    Awesome. The final battle could almost be a remix track. Fav glitch – endless barrel hopping!