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Half-Life

2 weeks ago

Experimental Half-Life rave album Panopticon is out today

Earlier this week, Alice O pointed out the work of Graham Dunning, an artist who creates improvised dance music in Half-Life by replacing the game's audio with clips from 90s rave tracks and sample CDs. Now, Twitch isn't known for being the greatest music-streaming platform about, so this weekend Dunning released Panopticon - a moody album of experimental noise arranged in Valve's seminal 1998 shooter.

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This artist uses Half-Life to generate experimental dance music

I've just watched an experimental dance music gig created by an artist playing Half-Life. Graham Dunning has replaced every single sound in Valve's shooter with samples he says come "from 90s rave tracks and sample CDs", giving Gordon Freeman drums for feet, making sentry turrets loop vocal samples, turning ambient sounds into pounding loops, blasting drum breaks out guns, and all that. So he creates…

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2 months ago

Now Play This livestreamed virtual field trips and hiking tours last weekend

As with many other events in the year of Covid-19, Now Play This—the yearly exhibition on experimental game design—transitioned to a virtual space last weekend. Although not every planned part of the exhibition could be shown off in the new format, they still appeared to get up to some neat stuff that you can now watch back yourself. Game designer Gareth Damian Martin took players on…

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Record-breaking Half-Life speedrun briefly trades crowbars for lightsabers

Half Life's introduction is famously slow. Long tram rides and lengthy speeches from co-workers preparing Gordon Freeman for an experiment that would destroy the world. An atmospheric start, for sure, but it's a pain for folks trying to beat the game as quickly as possible. For one speedrunner, though, those dead minutes aren't an obstacle - they're the perfect opportunity to start practising for a…

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Feature: What it means for Half-Life 3 and where VR goes from here

We talk Half-Life: Alyx with Valve in “the meanest interview ever”

It's taken 13 years, but we finally have a new Half-Life game. It may not be the long-awaited Half-Life 3, but as you've probably seen from our Half-Life: Alyx review, Valve's first foray into virtual reality shows they're a developer that are still very much at the top of their game. But Half-Life: Alyx isn't just the work of a talented team of developers. It's…

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Valve haven’t made Half-Life 3 yet because their attempts weren’t good enough

Half-Life: Alyx is out today and, as you'd hoped, it is good. Graham-certified good, in RPS's Half-Life Alyx review. For all its goodness, Alyx is not officially Half-Life 3, which Valve still have not made. There are a few primary reasons that the fabled "3" hasn't made an appearance, Valve have now explained. Chief among them, they just weren't happy with what they came up with.

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3 months ago

Feature: Spit and shine, Mr. Freeman

Black Mesa review

What is the half-life of Half-Life? I would have long ago described Valve's first-person shooter as my favourite game, but revisiting it last month in preparation for Half-Life: Alyx made clear how many parts of its design have aged. Enter Black Mesa, a fan-made remake of the original Half-Life, inside Half-Life 2's Source engine. Over 8 years since we first reviewed its earliest release, the…

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Black Mesa will finally launch on March 5

After fifteen years in development in various forms, Black Mesa will finally launch in full on March 5. Started as a mod, the Valve-sanctioned remake of Half-Life eventually became its own commercial game and entered early access in May 2015. Since then, they've been working on remaking the much-maligned final chapter of Xen, overhauling and fixing bits, and generally tweaking. Which they've now about finished.…

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Feature: Roll on Half-Life: Alyx

It’s the simple actions that make Half-Life 1 in VR so convincing

A new Half-Life game is only a few weeks away, but it occurred to me that there was no reason to wait for Half-Life: Alyx if I wanted to experience Vortigaunts in VR. I thus spent some time this weekend fussing around Black Mesa in the Valve Index, using a Half-Life 1 VR mod. It's impressively feature packed and easy to set up, but it…

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4 months ago

This Half-Life mod ran the dialogue and signs through Google Translate until they became nonsense

You know the cyberjape of running text back and forth through Google Translate in different languages until it comes out as wacky nonsense? Someone has done to that Half-Life. The new mod Half-Life: Google Translate Edition has garbled Valve's game, from changing sign textures through to recording new lines of dialogue. I played a bit (and recorded a wee video) and yeah, I still find…

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The whole Half-Life story is free to play on Steam right now

It has come to my attention that some people have not played the Half-Life games, to which I can only say: mate, I think you might really like it. Valve will soon return to the series after thirteen years with Half-Life: Alyx in March, and ahead of that they're inviting everyone to catch up on the story so far. From now until the launch of…

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6 months ago

Half-Life: Alyx is a VR prequel to HL2, coming in March 2020

Valve today formally announced Half-Life: Alyx, a "full-length" game exclusively for VR. Half-Life is returning after 12 years, though Gordon Freeman seemingly is not and this isn't Half-Life 3. Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, this one stars future sidekick Alyx Vance in the years before Gordo's return when she and her dad were building the resistance. And yes, this really is…

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7 months ago

Feature: The worthiest reticules of all time

The best FPS games on PC

The best shooters endure. While other genres warp beyond recognition, there is something solid about the first-person shooter that makes it as dependable as a nice big AK-47. Maybe it’s the gung-ho simplicity - look down a barrel and pull the trigger. It's as fun to fire a double-barrelled shotgun from an early 90s FPS as the slick shotties of today. For that reason, this…

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8 months ago

Half-Life 2’s downtrodden NPCs have been unable to blink for five years, until now

Oof, imagine not blinking for half a decade. My eyes shiver at the thought. But this is what the NPCs of Half-Life 2 have been suffering. The dry eye epidemic was first reported to Valve's GitHub repo back in 2014 and since then it turns out only a select few have felt the joy of smashing their eyelids shut. But after almost five long years,…

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10 months ago

It’s crab-fighting time: Black Mesa’s Xen beta is diving into the Gonarch’s Lair

It feels like only yesterday that Half-Life remake Black Mesa was a joke. The highest-profile vaporware of the Source modding community. That thing had been milling around since 2005. Nobody thought it would ever actually come out. I remember feeling properly shook when eventually did in 2012, seven years later. Except, it wasn't exactly done. Crowbar Collective have been trying to figure out Xen, Half-Life's…

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11 months ago

Black Mesa launches its first three Xen maps into public beta

The long-delayed Xen chapters of Black Mesa - Crowbar Collective's remake of the original Half-Life - feel tantalisingly close now. In a Steam blog post yesterday, the devs warn that "If you want the polished, complete Xen experience, you should wait. It won’t be long!", but if you're ready for your first taste of their re-imagined alien world, you can try it now. The first…

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1 year ago

Feature: Listen now (or watch it)

Podcast: Watch us acting silly at EGX Rezzed 2019

I say “watch” because this week's podcast takes place in a real room in front of a real audience (don’t worry, there’s an audio version too). At Rezzed in London this month, we thought it’d be fun to re-enact three of the most memorable scenes of PC gaming, exactly as you remember them. So strap on your eye-wideners and prepare for some wonderful acting. Including…

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Two Point Hospital headcrab pandemic heralds trial weekend

A calamitous crossing of worlds has occurred in Two Point Hospital, the spiritual successor to Bullfrog's Theme Hospital, with Half-Life headcrabs glomping onto heads and all manner of decorative doodads from Sega PC games scattering around hospitals. If you've not yet played the wacky hospital management sim, hey, you're invited to try the whole thing for free this weekend on Steam. The trial weekend has…

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2 years ago

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