Posts Tagged ‘Half-Life 2’

Everything I’d Forgotten About Half-Life 2

It’s over ten years since Half-Life 2 was released. The other day I found myself arguing that there still hadn’t been a first-person shooter released that was better. Then wondered if I was talking out of my hat. In an effort to learn whether Half-Life 2 is as great – nay, as perfect – as the version in my head, I’ve replayed it, and realised there’s so much I’d forgotten.

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Grav Gun Rocketjumping In HL2 Mod Transmissions

Zapping Combine soldiers with the supercharged gravity gun was a right lark, a fine moment in Half-Life 2. Today I’ve been larking around with a different type of turbo gravity gun in a new mod, and I think I prefer it. See, it lets me ‘rocketjump.’

HL2 mod Transmissions: Element 120 [official site] is a short singleplayer mod introducing a new zapgun. It blasts balls of concussive force that send enemies and physics objects flying (and its levels are heavy on blastable props) and, of course, you. Look down, jump then blast a ball, and go sailing through the air like a beautiful murderous butterfly.

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Pretty 17 – Half-Life 2: Update Comes To Steam

a 620 wide image probably not the best way to demonstrate this stuff, eh?

Oho, ‘Half-Life 2: Update‘ is an extremely cheeky name for a mod. Write it on the internet and a few thousand ears will immediately prick up. “Is more Half-Life? Means Half-Life 3? Check file structure! One file will have a 3 in its name! Is Half-Life 3! Rabble rabble rabble!” So no, this is not an official Half-Life 2 update, but it has got the nod for a free standalone Steam release tomorrow.

Designed to take fuller advantage of what more recent updates to the Source engine can do, this apparently final version of the community-made mod includes graphical updates and ‘countless’ bug fixes, plus a new fan commentary mode. You’re probably going to want it.
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The Long-Lost Characters Of Half-Life 2

Better than kings - gods!

The leaked Half-Life 2 beta is an old, old story – and how it happened, and what happened next was documented masterfully by RPS chum Simon Parking a few years back – but a recent fan compilation of all the characters in it who never turned up in the finished article is fascinating. This is the Half-Life 2 that never was, and yet, to some extent, it does exist after all.
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Freeman Rush: HL2 RTS Lambda Wars Free On Steam

What a cute little Citadel!

Way back when RPS was a wee bairn, Alec gurgled and waved his flabby babyfists at Half-Life 2: Wars, a mod turning Valve’s FPS into a Company of Heroes-ish RTS. Pistol squads facing off against headcrab zombies, breaking out RPGs to take down Combine gunships, and all that. Well, RPS has grown a lot since then, as has Alec, and so has HL2: Wars too. Having renamed itself Lambda Wars (it tried Spike but the other mods at school were merciless), it’s matured over the years and is now available on Steam as a standalone game free for all. You don’t even need to own Half-Life.

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Steam Music Player Out Of Beta, Valve’s Soundtracks Free

In almost every strategy, management or sim game I play, I will immediately turn off the music which comes with the game in favour of my own. That means that Steam Music Player sounds like a good idea to me even if I long ago abandoned mp3s in favour of streaming. The built-in functionality, which lets you browse your music library and control playback from in-game using the Steam overlay, has just left beta after its initial announcement back in February.

To celebrate, Valve have made the soundtracks for some of their games freely available to those who own the associated games, including Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and its Episodes, Portal, Portal 2, and the Dota 2 documentary Free to Play.

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Tunnel Vision: Actual Games

I’m three columns into this series of Oculus Rift round-ups, and it’s telling that so far I haven’t covered anything that would fit the formalist description of a game. No, I’m not getting involved in anyone’s tiresome war about Proteus or Gone Home, but sticking to a more universal whipping boy – the first-gen Oculus’ issues with readable text, usable HUDs and motion sickness. Clearly VR still being the wild west plays a major role in keeping devs from making large-scale games for it, as does there being a limited install base for now, but the real problem is getting any of this stuff past experiment status. Let’s look at some of the games which try to regardless.
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Half-Life 2 Mod NeoTokyo Now Standalone On Steam

Japan best country.

Every dog has its day, but can the same be said of mods? For every celebrated success story there are twice as many polished, lovingly crafted amateur works that never found the audience they deserve. NeoTokyo is one such example: a Half-Life 2 mod set in a near future Tokyo inspired by Ghost In The Shell. It had lush, detailed maps, a soundtrack of “brooding cyberpunk electronica” (Spotify, Bandcamp) that one listener (Alice) called “redonc”, and combat mechanics that one player (me) called “tops guns.”

Five years after its original release, NeoTokyo is now available as a standalone install via Steam. It’s still free and mostly unchanged since its last major update in January 2013, but hopefully this brings a new audience to the game. Perhaps every mod does have its day. Trailer below.

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Rise & Shine: Games Drawn As Children’s Book Covers

I don't have kids, but I do have a house full of kid's books.

Consider this your daily dose of nice. Artist Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot, draws films and videogames as the covers of children’s books. His game work includes imagined covers for Half-Life 2 (above, in part), Skyrim, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect and more.
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Half-Life Free Running: An Amazing HL2 Speedrun

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].
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Half Life 2 Magnifici-Mod MINERVA, The Director’s Cut

Hello?

I hate Adam Foster, creator of last decade’s rapturously-received Half-Life 2 mod series MINERVA (not to be confused with BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den) and more recently a Valve employee. I hate him not because he is talented, not because he works at a cool place and not because I have a pathological distaste for people called ‘Adam.’ (Smith, you’re fired). I hate him because today he has made me feel SO OLD.

One of the first long-form pieces I ever wrote for RPS was an interview with Mr Foster about his excellent, thoughtful mod, and its fine accomplishments in level design and mood. That was in 2007. Now it is 2013. Six years later. And I am posting about MINERVA again. He now works at Valve, and meanwhile I’m still typing words into the same CMS, but older, grimmer, fatter. At least I’ve changed my chair twice since then. Something Foster has also done is repackage and spit’n’polish his mod for a well-deserved re-release on Steam today.
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Half-Life 2 Walks The Dinosaur: Jurassic Life

If The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.

With Black Mesa Source somehow now actually released, maybe we need a new impossible mod dream to dream. How about this Jurassic Park-themed mod for Half-Life 2, now six years in the making without any danger of issuing a release date? That’s how PC gaming rolls.

It does have some great footage to show off, though. Clever girl.
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Here’s How Garry’s Mod Will Work With Kinect

It's a shame we never came up with a more concise name for that.

I probably need to leap back into Garry’s Mod. For about a year, it was one of my go-to games/game-like things. If I was feeling bored, I’d find the most elaborate ways possible to pit a single, pistol-armed human NPC against hundreds of languidly slithering legless zombies and cackle until my mental health was severely in question. Eventually, though, I squeezed all the grim carnage I could from even the juiciest of scenarios, so it stopped being my time-waster of choice. But now, it sounds like Garry’s wonderful toybox – in much the same fashion as an infinitely multiplying army of single-frightened-human-hungry Ant Lions – has expanded quite a lot. And more’s on the way. Kinect support, for instance, is right around the corner, and Garry’s released a video of how exactly it’ll work. Flail your arms wildly at the break until something happens. Or just click on it.

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Garry Announced Kinect Support For His Mod


Haha. Yeah, Garry knows what to do. I’ve posted videos of his Kinect experiments below, and you can see exactly why the infamously aberrant Half-Life 2 mod actually needs Kinect support by watching those. Readers with memories will recall that we talked to Garry about his plans for the mod earlier in the year.

The Kinect support will apparently arrive “this week or next”.
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Wot I Think: Black Mesa

he's probably not a problem, probably

Half-Life is back. Back in Black Mesa, the fan-made, Source-powered remake that’s been years in the making. It was never going to happen, and then suddenly it did. After all that, is it a polished recreation of Valve’s beloved shooter, or an awkward perversion? I’ll be waiting for you, in the word chamber.
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! Black Mesa Source: A Release Date !

I have the most terrible guilt about gazumping Jim’s sterling Sunday Papers, but I do so with signficant news. SIGNIFICANT. So significant that I’m attempting to post this from my phone while on the train. Will it work? Will you ever see these words? Such a vague, mysterious situation draws certain parallels with the subject of this post – the fabled, long-delayed, oft-accused of non-corporeal status Half-Life 1 fan remake Black Mesa Source. Which, would you Adam & Eve it, now has a release date.

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A Brief History Of Garry’s Mod: Count To Ten


“It was never meant to be a big deal. I was just fucking about!” says Garry’s Mod creator Garry Newman. His innovative physics-based mod for Half-Life 2 turned out to be a remarkably big deal, not least by being a forerunner in iterative and community focused design, and a game that’s perennially in Steam’s top twenty game stats. It’s an exercise in giving gamers tools and no direction, one of the few games that makes just messing about a core goal. Its strength is a flexibility that makes it a platform for people to make things like comics, maps, weapons, even gamemodes. It might have grown by enabling sexually suggestive poses of Valve’s stoic game characters, but six years on there’s so more to GMod than just fucking about. Here’s how it got there.
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Half-Life 3 To Be Announced At Gamescom? Who Knows

UPDATE: Guess what! Gamescom are now saying that Half-Life 3 and Dragon Age 3’s appearances on the list was “a mistake”, according to Eurogamer. Although they won’t say how that mistake happened. Also, Lamda Generation heard from Valve (a rare treat) saying they weren’t showing any games this year.

Another Half-Life 3 confirmation rumour? Why not. T3 have spotted, on the Gamescom pdf designed to show press what games are appearing, the Half-Life 3 is listed as Valve’s entry. You can see it for yourself right here.

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You Should Improbably Play This: Mission Improbable


There are a few Half-Life 2 mods that basically constitute The Further Adventures of Gordon Freeman. Sometimes these isolated chapters make me want to dive headfirst back into the unfinished trilogy, and sometimes they’re just a reminder of what Source did well. Other times, though, they manage to articulate More Half-Life 2 while at the same time having a strong whiff of first-order originality, served with their own own flourishes of design brilliance. Minerva was one such outing, and Mission Improbable is another.
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Gordon Bennet: Black Mesa Source In Probable Action

I think I've been writing about this one game for more of my life than any other. That ain't right

Allegedly, at least. This footage of the aeons-in-the-making Half-Life 1 remake seems far too elaborate to be a hoax, so the real question mark hangs over whether it’s out there by accident or not. ValveTime.Net say they received it from an anonymous reader, and have no clue as to whether the footage represents a recent build of the Source Engine-based mod or not.
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