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Half-Life

6 days ago

Half-Life mod Echoes pushes both its engine and players to their absolute limits

While Black Mesa may be rebuilding Half-Life's world on a slightly more modern foundation, modder James "MrGnang" Cockburn reckons there's some life in Valve's old GoldSrc engine yet. Half-Life: Echoes is an impressive mod released last Friday, putting the player in the shoes of a scientist elsewhere in the Black Mesa facility when everything goes to hell. Cue the usual running, gunning, fighting soldiers and weird…

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2 months ago

Black Mesa’s vision of Xen is bigger, bolder & nearly done

Sometimes, things just take time. When an amateur team remake an FPS classic up to AAA standards in a modern engine in their spare time? Yeah, that'll take a while, but the patience seems to be paying off for fans of Black Mesa. While so so far the ambitious (and Valve-endorsed) Half-Life remake has mostly adhered to the structure of the original, developers Crowbar Collective reckon…

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3 months ago

Feature: The worthiest reticules of all time

The 50 best FPS on PC

The best shooters endure. While the state of the art moves on in other genres and leaves old designs in the dust, it's as fun to fire a well-made shotgun from an early 90s FPS as from one released today. For that reason, this list runs the gamut from genre classics to those released in the last year. There's bound to be something for you…

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5 months ago

Project C is an MMO from the folks behind Dishonored, Thief, Half-Life 2

One of my favorite parts of getting a press release is getting a press release that doesn't reveal any information about the game itself. You get a vague promise about a game that might happen someday if some people get together. Normally, I don't give that much of my time. This announcement is different. There's a new MMO and the folks behind it represent some…

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6 months ago

Commercial Half-Life fangame Hunt Down The Freeman launches to a less-than-glowing critical response

Folks, I think we're going to have to let Half-Life go. It's been over a decade since Valve did anything with the license (beyond cross-promotion deals), and the seemingly posthumous leak of the sequel's planned story beats cemented the sense that the series wouldn't be returning any time soon. Seemingly disinterested in using it themselves, Valve have been approving the use of the Half-Life setting and assets (if…

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Final Fantasy XV getting demo next week, also adding Gordon Freeman cosplay

A proper playable demo of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is coming next week, containing the RPG's first chapter, following the recent benchmark tool. A demo! In this day and age! Bless their hearts. Square Enix have talked a lot about wanting to do the PC version right, mods and all, and they do seem to be going for it. They're even teaming up with…

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9 months ago

Black Mesa’s Xen chapters delayed again

If your Christmas plans include gathering the family around the meat tree and singing songs celebrating the return of our saviour, Gordon Freeman, I have bad news: Black Mesa is delaying the launch of its final chapters. The sanctioned fan-made Half-Life remake had previously planned to launch the remade Xen levels in mid-December but yeah, that's not happening any more. Why? Because they're still not…

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Feature: The Loose Canon

Best PC games of all time

There are more wonderful games being released on PC each month than ever before. In such a time of plenty, it's important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Thankfully, we're here to help. What follows are our picks for the best PC games ever made.

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11 months ago

Ex-Valve chap launches Half-Life mod C.A.G.E.D.

While Valve Software are unable to continue Half-Life in a way they like, some former employees seem drawn back to HL after leaving. Former Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw recently leaked a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot idea and now Cayle George has released a new Half-Life mod. Available now free through Steam, C.A.G.E.D. [official site] is a short singleplayer episode set in a prison. I…

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12 months ago

Er… so Half-Life’s writer maybe just revealed the complete plot of HL2: Episode 3

The lesson here is "never go to sleep." All sorts of things happen while people sleep. Cats go on adventures, presidents threaten nuclear war and, well, ex-Valve writers post thinly-disguised plot summaries of the unreleased and, so far as best guesses go, long-cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Long time Half-Life scribe, the excellent Marc Laidlaw (who left Valve last year), casually tossed out a link…

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1 year ago

Half-Life gets new patch, almost 19 years after launch

Though Half-Life [official site] is almost nineteen years old and its sanctioned fan remake Black Mesa is nearing completion, Valve have launched a wee patch for their pretty okay or whatever vintage FPS. The patch fixes a few crashes and exploits, and hit other Half-Life engine games too, such as classic Counter-Strike. Given how much of modern PC games history connects to Half-Life and its…

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Black Mesa is dreaming of a Xen Christmas

So committed is third-party Half-Life remake Black Mesa [official site] to emulation of its much vaunted inspiration that it has now fully embraced ValveTime. Black Mesa was first released as a free mod in 2012, followed by a spit'n'polished paid version two years ago, but still with the notorious jump'n'fail alien world section from Half Life's final act missing. Plan was to rethink rather than…

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19 years later, Half-Life is uncensored in Germany

That's a long time to wait to find out what really happens when you shoot a Barnacle creature. Germany has long been notorious for the strict limitations it placed on videogame content, and the noble Half-Life was a particularly infamous victim of the censor's stamp. Until now. That means no more robots instead of soldiers, no more barnacles spewing nuts and bolts instead of blood…

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2 years ago

Dear Gordon… Black Mesa shows first peek at Xen

The Black Mesa [official site] gang have shared a first look at Xen in their Half-Life remake. You might remember that they launched Black Mesa without Half-Life's oft-maligned final chapter, set in the alien world of Xen, because doing it right was taking yonks. You might further remember they're planning to launch Xen in summer 2017. You might... well, I was surprised by this first…

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Black Mesa’s Xen Coming In Summer 2017

The makers of Black Mesa [official site] have announced plans to add the final section of their Half-Life remake, Xen, in summer 2017. They explain that it's taking so long because they're really fleshing out that alien world. I do admire the confidence to declare you're making Xen bigger, given how unpopular that section is with some players. They might be happier to hear you've…

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Novel Approach: Laidlaw’s Younger Self Talks Half-Life

Marc Laidlaw posted a fascinating blog entry from a younger version of Laidlaw about the development of Half-Life from the narrative perspective. By "a younger version" I mean that it comes from his own hand but via a file timestamped the day after Half-Life was shipped and is thus far closer to the game's... ground zero? than the Laidlaw of now.

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Happy Birthday! Valve Turned 20 Yesterday

Happy 20th birthday, Valve! Yesterday. Happy 20th yesterday. Sorry, I only just saw the Facebook notification. On August 24th, 1996, ex-Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington made a beautiful baby who was mighty eye-opening. In the dreamy game of "What if...?" one curious hypothetical is: what if Valve never existed? There can't be many companies who've had nearly as much impact. Steam (eventually) revolutionised…

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Feature:

Have You Played… Half-Life: Blue Shift?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Gearbox's Barney-starring add-on is the black sheep of the Half-Life family, although at the time I never encountered any reason why that should be the case. My teenage tastes were perhaps less discerning then, but more importantly any return to Black Mesa was…

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J.J. Abrams: Half-Life & Portal Movies “In Development”

Half-Life and Portal movies are "in development", according to JJ Abrams. The director told IGN that "We've got writers, and we're working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update." Which means clearly Abrams isn't familiar with Half-Life fans, who can see excitement in a cloud shaped like Gordon Freeman's face.

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3 years ago

Feature: Archipelagos and Sentinels

A Few Of My Favourite Monsters

We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I'd be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy,…

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