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Apparently it's been released today. How the fuck did that sneak up on us?? I guess I got so b0red of HL2 news I stopped reading any of it.

But I've ordered it.

So what's the verdict from the homies?? Discuss tha shit here.
Not Enough Mancubus 
no spoilers
or type this first before your spoiler:


Quick Bit 
Well I hope up at 6:00 a.m. so that I could play for a while before my 8:00 a.m. class. After unlocking the game which took 5-10 minutes, even on my super rig, then another 2 minute load I was into the game.

First off all those previes that mentioned the facial expressions made by the characters are spot on. The characters really seem to portray a life that hasn't really been accomplished yet. Doom 3 did a very admirable job, but HL2 really emotes feeling from the players.

Beyond that game seems pretty sweet. You'll see some returning characters on the way. I haven't gotten very far but you can already see how Valve is attempting to give you freedom within the environment in respect to what you can pick up and move. So far, very postive experience.

Exciting stuff, looking forward to the rest of the campaign. I'll comment more when I'm further. 
It's Neato 
Just played for about 4 hours. I'm in the canal section right now. Setting is good. Environment looks good. Characters and stuff look good. The puzzles are good.

It's good! 
Which Bitch. 
Censored the title?? Eh?? Justify yourself you power-mad reptile. Don't you know tongue-in-cheek irony when you see it (in which case, I'm assuming it was an american...). 
Unlocking HL2 Steam Files. 

...argh! :D 
it was me

now eat me 
RE: Unlocking HL2 Steam Files. 
Looks like tonight I'm gonna be "unlocking" a little "steam", and I'm not talking about Half-Life 2, gnome sane?

not sure what you are saying there, Kinn ol' bud. 
I Think 
he's got a whole bunch of poo stored up cookin' in his bowels. it's hot and steamy. he needs to poo. 
Good luck with that Kinn. 
Impressions So Far 
Graphics are pretty. Not a technological feat like Doom 3 was, but they are functional. Nothing here we haven't seen before.

Atmosphere; AA+++*++. It's like Soviet Union circa 1981 with aliens in the future! ( )

Physics are awesome. Period. Not sure if they are "better" that what we've been seeing in Doom 3, but so far they've certainly been put to much better use. (Albeit there are a few overly obvious setups.)

The facial expressions thing that people are gawking about is truly gawkable. Impressive stuff, looks totally convincing.

Gameplay is kinda ok-ish atm. So far I've just made it to the end (I think) of the canals section, so I've got quite a way to go yet. There are some great moments when you're running around and you're like OMG GUARDS, and you hop off into somewhere and like OMG MANHACKS and then you run into some exploding barrels and you like OMG EXPLODING OMG BARNACKLES! Excellent!
But inbetween those moments, sadly, it's walking along some place, oh hello guard, bang dead repeat.

Finally, Barney is fucking sexy ^_~ 
I have minimum spec to play the game. Weeeeee. Maybe I will buy it after all. ;) 
CZG got fanbw0y0xr3d! 
To Clarify 
I don't think it's fantastic. It's good tho. 
is in need a hottie. Is it possible to have attractive (read sexy) MALE videogame heros? Is Valve note only breaking gameplay barriers, but also the social barriers of our very exsistence? 
I Can't Get The Fucking Thing... 
To start up dammit! I start it up and after about 2 minute's of hard drive access it stops and freezes up. Fucking steam can bite my ass. 
i wonder... will this work on a 1.80ghz celeron with no "real" video card? (just a 64mb intel graphics thing) hehe. damn :( oh yes, 512mb of ram. :)

*me goes to die 
It'll run I'm sure, just don't count on it being as pretty as the screen shots you've been seeing. Your intergrated video system is probably only a DX7, maybe 8 class card. As a result you won't get the reflections to look that great as all the 9.0x cards. I would suspect you would also have to turn down most of the details and resolution, and forget about AA and AF. Still it might run, I get the feel that it is a fairly scalable engine. 
Authentications Shiiznit 
Errrr, how have people got on with the "You must download an entire HDD full of Steam technology and suck steams dick for 24 hours before being allowed to play" stuff?? Seeing some bad reports from Blues, and as someone who has no interest in Steam and never will have any, is it possible to get the game working in a simple conveninent manner?? 
Warez It 
Only way to avoid steam.

Me personally haven't had any trouble with steam, but it sitting in my systray, me knowing that within lies the possibilities to play CS...
It makes me feel so dirty! 
Gotta find a no-steam crack then I guess. I find it offensive that Valve think they're so fucking special that they can force paying customers to go through some tedious extra rigmarole just to promote their damn Steam service. 
I've seen that HL2 will be proposed on X-Box near May 2005, but what about other console platforms (PS2 particularly) Does Anybody know if HL2 will be proposed on PS2.. or not ?? 
Be realistic. PS2 is just too old and has weak hardware for that kind of a game. Doom 3 ain't coming to PS2 either and neither did Thief 3. 
It seems that either I have to buy a X-Box, either to wait about E3 2005 and the PS3 release... grrrr... another good idea should be to "boost up" my PC adding more RAM.... well.... well.... well...... let's go for a PC upgrade, that the less expensive solution... 
just go and buy proper new pc dammit 
My PC is only 1 year old, and only need more RAM to be able to run both Doom3 and HL2... it's not a big deal to upgrade it so ... 
forget about consoles ffs 
Had absolutely no problems with Steam - I preordered HL2 through it shortly after it and preloaded all the files as it suited me, and the game uncorked itself happily yesterday morning, with none of the problems connecting to the authentication server that lots of people reported.

Personally I far prefer online content delivery and product authentication to the kind of pointless, fucked up CD/DVD copy protection that has blighted 90% of the PC games I've bought on physical media in the last year or so.

Oh yeah, the game was pretty impressive by the way. Engine is more functional than spectacular, story sagged in places (a lot of spending ages getting from A to B without really knowing why you want to be at B), nice facial animation. Oh, and check your graphics settings before you start playing: Wierdly, the game defaulted to medium texture quality on my 256MB graphics card, but has no noticable slowdown when notched up. WTF? 
HL2 System Requirements 
For thos of you who have played it already: how well does it run compared to Doom 3? Is it around the same or is it noticably faster? 
Serious Problems 
I have serious issues with HL2. The game stutters every 5 seconds or so, sometimes the game will hang for 2-3 seconds before returning control. It seems to be audio releated, but nobody knows (lots of others reporting the same problems at steampowered forums).

I also reject to this whole "let's force Steam on every paying customer" idea. It's repulsive, to say the least.

Besides, so far, the game doesn't even reach Doom 3 to it's ankles. 
To Clarify 
Not that I'll have HL2 anytime soon but I prefer to buy my games on physical media. If I bought the game on CD or DVD, is Steam required or is the on-line authentication something else (like XP)?

How are level sizes and load times, BTW? Also, are the environments interesting and compelling? 
RE: To Clarify 
STEAM account and activation are required even if you only want to play singleplayer. Yes, you heard that right. 
Tef Johs: Check you aren't preloading HL:S or (even worse) CS:s in the background, gameplay seems to be much smoother for me now that both of those stoppped going.

Scragbait: Steam is basically built into HL2 completely, it's how it browses for multiplayer games, how it authenticates you, how you get patches/localisation. It even has a backup facility so you can burn a copy of the game to CD or DVD, which is kinda sly of valve seeing how everyone's reason for buying the hard copy is so you have said disks : - ). So yeah, you authenticate it through steam, and you need to have a steam account. But it's not as bad as it seems, steam isn't anywhere like as buggy as it was, and you only need to authenticate once, then you can go offline. 
Try putting snd_mixahead 0.4 (or something) instead of 0.1 in your config file. (Or write it on the console.) This has apparently helped some people with the sound issues. 
Just Completed It 
Great fun, really gets crazy towards the end, wont post any spoilers though.

On steam, I do prefer it to physical media, it aint perfect but it beats getting on a bus & train to get near a game store to buy a game, only to find that the cd protection software doesn't like my pc. I had no issues with preloading and unlocking with steam, smooth as silk, the only little niggle I had was that it took about 10 minutes to unlock the files, with me sitting there shouting "come on bitch I've waited long enough for this thing!" :D

I hope more developers start using internet delivery systems, I would have no problem with that. Perhaps Valve have been a little over-zealous making EVERYONE require steam and to download files in order get it working, but simply buying and then downloading a game from the developers website is a very good idea imo. 
Not only are you forced to use steam and activate your product even if you only want to play single player, but if you buy the CD version of the game, you are FORCED to install Counter Strike-Source, there is an option not to install CS-S, but if you choose that option, the install will abort with .cab errors/Fatal errors, causing you to uninstall. then reinstall with CS-S selected. I had this problem last night, and that apparently is the solution, I am about to find out. Sometimes I think I should of stuck to my promise not to buy HL2, but I guess you got to try it. 
Oddly enough, I am digging this. I agree with czg on the graphics, and on the vibe of the game (which I am really liking), and a ditto with everyone who have been amazed by the character animations and the rather good gameplay. I'm just impressed with how you have to think so much =D Whoda figured... 
I understand 3 different packages for hl2 are available. Is the 'silver' one available retail? I have only seen the basic hl2+cs:s and the uber-collector edition that comes with a fucking t-shirt for 90$ in stores. Please to be buying your game, valve. I would rather not download 34623462346 gigs of data over steam unless absolutely positively necessary. 
Just get the Bronze. HL:S isn't worth it, by most accounts--it's a graphics upgrade, sure, and ragdolling, but HL is still 6 years old. :)

HL2 is amazing, though, I have to say. Easily the best FPS of the year, IMHO, unless it falls apart at the end like Far Cry did. (I'm up to Sand Traps now.) The graphics aren't as flashy as Doom 3's, but somehow they're more attractive, to me. Go figure. The foliage is downright horrible, though. Far Cry spoiled me for that.

(I wonder if the sawblade area was inspired by Painkiller?) 
you only need to authenticate once, then you can go offline.

That true? I've heard (several times, posts on Blues) that you have to be online and logged into Steam even to play the SP??

it beats getting on a bus & train to get near a game store to buy a game

Like you never go shopping normally?? Besides there's always Amazon...

You steam whore.

but if you buy the CD version of the game, you are FORCED to install Counter Strike-Source

That true for the DVD version too??

Glad to hear the game is good. Less glad to hear of all the bullshit that goes with it. 
Having Fun 
on the coastline right now, oh BABY is it fun fun fun. 
it seems that people are complaining about having to log on without actually knowing that it is not necessary to do so. AFAIK, you need to complete the authentication process the first time around and then can play sP without having to logon. 
You only have to authenticate once per install, then you can play offline with no problems, as long as you have selected or not selected certain checkboxes. (no big problem) People complaining about having to be online to play singleplayer, just must not have read the little card in the box. (And talking about Singlplayer, thats all there is, there is no HL2 multiplayer)

That true for the DVD version too??

Don't think so, but they seem to be having there share of troubles. Among other things, apparently Some are being asked to insert discs that don't even exist, which would tend to bring things to a screaming hault I would imagine :) 
Installing CS-S 
You could always uninstall Counter Strike - Source after the installation process is complete, If the stench of it is so repugnant to you. I chose to just leave it there, and play with a peg on my nose
But I guess at least HL2 was able to install in the end I guess 
Since some people have mentioned it... I bought the Silver package and Half-Life: Source is OK but not worth worrying about if you feel you're missing out. It's really just the old levels recompiled with 95% less sparkly cracks (those always pissed me off, they were so common in HL), old textures, old models, tarted up with a arbitrary set of detail shaders and specular effects, and a smattering of new sound effects replacing a few of the slightly cacky ones. It breaks a few things - notably, where a music track starts before a load it doesn't continue playing in the next section, there were some set-piece marine vs alien fights I came across where they seemed to be kicking off when the level loaded instead of waiting to be triggered, and aliens sometimes appear before their teleport/spawn effect. The only really cool change I've noticed so far - if you remember the terrifying vertigo-inducing bit in Surface Tension where you pop out of a sewer pipe half way up a cliff, and have to work your way down, around, and up it on tiny little platforms, well, the skybox that used to be below that cliff has been replaced with a more or less identical brushwork version. I didn't try it but I imagine you can fall all the way down...

Silver also includes Day of Defeat: Source, no idea how much of an update that is because it isn't available yet. Hopefully it will be more along the lines of CS:S with extensively rebuilt levels, new models etc. because some of the levels that were in the original DoD had abysmal visuals, even allowing for the fact that they were running on the old HL engine. 
Shambler, Good Man 
You might want to check today's news on PlanetHalfLife on the subject of Warez.

This from Gabe Newell:

We're running a bit of an experiment. We're keeping track of the accounts that do this and will be shutting them off.

Gone are the days you could fire up the old hexidecimal editor, remove a few lines and have a fully operational game :( 
Cheers for the heads up, Headthump, but I don't warez stuff and have no intention of warezing HL2 - I've ordered it a couple of days ago.

If the Steam stuff was completely intolerable and I couldn't get around it, I wouldn't play it. But that's not going to happen.

On the other hand, I wouldn't object to a no-steam crack... 
Gabe Newell Is Full Of Shit 
That is a classical scare tactic. He claims that they are banning people who use the cracked version from STEAM. Well, how about the fact that all the cracked releases of HL2 out there emulate Steam bypassing any and all things that could make you "get caught"? 
It's Been Said Before But... 
Anti-piracy measures usually end up causing more trouble for the people that get the product through legal channels than those who get it illegally.

For example, how many times have you heard stories of games not installing because the user has a CD copying program on their machine (wtf? you could install the game first and then install the cd copying software, so why bother with that sort of protection in the first place?) There are also plenty of games that have been incompatible with the cd drives of legitimate customers thanks to anti-piracy software on the disc. The old Amiga/PC games that had copy wheels, or manual checks only caused hassle for legit users. There are plenty more examples I could mention.

Still, I suppose the copy protection is just trying to stop casual users copying the disc for their mate or something, and to that extent it does work...

The people tearing apart the security features of new releases and putting the games on the net, and all those people downloading it are hardly affected at all - in fact I'm sure the crackers enjoy the challenge and kudos they must receive.

I hardly suspect it funds terrorism, as cinema warning might have you believe. 
Having Said That 
I don't have a huge problem with Steam. It seems ok to me. Downloading several gigabytes of game is a bit daft though, but at least you can buy the game on disc from the shops, albeit in a horrible DVD case with no manual.

Vivendi's UK HL2 advertising and promotion is terrible. The TV ads are selling the game to people who were going to buy it anyway - everyone elses see the ad and says to themselves "what the hell is Half-Life 2?" The promptly forgets about it. The box isn't the worst I've ever seen, but you kind of expect a bit more from such a high profile game... and a proper manual would have been nice. Oh, and we didn't get a collectors edition shop release in the UK (yet, at least) How shit is that?

I have completed HL2 now and thought it was bloody good - certainly compared to Doom 3s anti-climactic, tired retread forgetability. 
Non-intuitive Install Required 
Bought the DVD from HMV today. Ran home.

Pop the DVD in the drive and a usual install window appears and I say that I do not want to install CS-S. Install crashes with a can't-find-file message. Try twice, still the same. Third time allow CS-S to be installed and it loads. (You buggers!)

Then monkey around with this Steam thing (I haven't a clue what this is all about) but eventually am asked for my CD Key - enter it and it retorts with 'Invalid CD key'. Try again, and again, and again. Make sure I am not confusing Oh and Zero (why on earth do they insist on using 1, I, O, 0?) I am not confusing it.

Go on the website to see if anyone else is having this problem. Read at least 550,000 pieces of drivel and yes, I am the only one in the world with this problem.

No booklet with the game, so no help-line numbers. I am getting annoyed.

I have read and re-read the CD key umpteen times and checked and re-checked my input. I know I am not an idiot and I know I am keying it right, but I still check it. I am most definitely getting annoyed: I am not a nice person when I am annoyed.

So, I kid you not, I then went and got my magnifying glass and looking like Mr Magoo himself, I re-check the CD key.

For Christ's sake, it's not a zero, it's not an Oh, it's a bloody Q with the shortest tail you've ever seen right next to a bloody X with no space between them. Stand him/her in front of me and I swear I will slap their faces right off their inconsiderate heads. The worst font, inadequate font size and poor printing. You buggers!

Finally, it all runs OK except for the fact that I seem to have to load MeggaBytes of data from the Steam site - so why have I got a DVD? It's frustrating but I am keeping my cool.

So, finally the game is running and I am on a train pulling into a station. It looks great, really Big-Brotherish. I get off the train and follow the workers. Oh, I know it's going to kick-off in a minute. There's a knock on the door. My front door. It's my OAP neighbour. The gutter is blocked and it's flooding her kitchen and would I be SO kind and help her... in the pouring rain... up a rickety step ladder... when I want to play HL2...

Oh, bugger, bugger, bugger!! 
Mike Woodham 

Ahem. That sucks mate. 
pull out a violin for this guy. ;) 
That Sounds 
A lot like my Doom 3 story, only I drove 7 hours that day before I got a working copy of the game.

I understand your frustration, I am with you. 

Ahem. That also sucks mate. 
There's your answer,

"Pop the DVD in the drive and a usual install window appears and I say that I do not want to install CS-S. Install crashes with a can't-find-file message. Try twice, still the same. Third time allow CS-S to be installed and it loads. (You buggers!) "<\q>

Apparently you do have to install CS-S with the DVD Version.

Half Life 2 MP 
The short
Console Commands

sv_lan 0
deathmatch 1
map (mapname)

The Long 
I have a feeling that very few people who collect warez games actually are interest in playing them beyond the point needed to convince themselves that they can brag to others about having a working copy. Ditto for cracked engineering, desktop publishing etc. That's my impression anyways, I could be wrong. Since I lag technically most of the time, I just end up buying my games for cheap after the hype has worn off. I agree that legit users get the hose and things seem to be getting much worse.

For those who have finished, is the length of HL2 a 1) One night stand, 2) Summer fling or 3) You need a lawyer to split?

Just curious. Until I can play I have to live through you guys. 
Is it legal that if i buy a product iam obligated to have an internet access to be able to play the game? 
Is it leagal that if I buy a car, I am obligated to have fuel to be able to drive the car? 
I have only done decompliation touch up work to old games like Crusader and Shadowwarrior that are no longer available commercialy or that I could not get to function on my system otherwise.
For me, I just like to play old games.

Besides, though you are probably right that for some people it is an ego tripping matter, I see nothing to brag about being able to read a hexidecimal text parser and delete the offending code; it is hardly a work out for the gray matter.

Coding a 128 kilobyte fully functioning third person shooter, now THAT blows my mind! 
considering that you are posting that question on an internet message board, I think it answers itself.

Anyway, as far as Valve's concerned, there would be only a miniscule amount of people interested in HL2 and dont have access to the internet. 
For People Who Have Played HL2 
[1]is it better than half-life 1?
[2]and if so, why? 
My vote would be Yeah, it's better, Having said that, although Half Life was a good game, it wasn't good enough to make me want to finnish it. Half Life 2, I can see myself finnishing it a number of times, that's of course if it doesn't die in the arse between now and the end.

Why, it looks very good, maybe the 'quality' of the graphics aren't up to the standard of say DooM3, but some of the environments surely are, and more. Some places look absolutely beatiful, and believable. Best looking water I have ever seen. The weapons, well the weapons I have come across so far are all good. The shotgun is extremely satisfying to use, as is the sixgun thing. The feel coupled with the sound of the weapons is just so satisfying, it just leaves me with a smile. I don't want to give to much away, but the gravity gun is awseome, the ways you can kill with it, lol, the things you can do with a sawmill blade :). And there is something to be said for killing your adversary with a plastic milk crate, or a besser block/brick for that matter. The physics are simply awesome, and put to good use. It's sure got some nice water.

While the sound doesn't provide you with the same type of emersion that I got from DooM3, it is still very good, I am using a 7 point surround system, and its just a treat. What can I say, so far the game has been a pleasure to play, a blast, fun, fun, fun, and at the end of the day, after all the graphics, physics, sound, etc, etc, isn't that the most important thing? Fun and enjoyment. And the water sure does look good.

Half Life 2, it's a hoot!! 
HL2, Steam And All That Bollocks 
I have only played an hour or two so far, but I'm loving it so far. What a wonderful game!

I bought the silver package via steam... apparently the only way to get the rights to play the new Day of Defeat is to get silver or gold from steam (which is pretty dodgy, but anyways). Also, I never did buy or play through the original HL, so I figured I might as well grab that and have a play after I'm done with HL2.

I have to say, I'm pretty damn pleased with how painless it was to buy the game and grab it via steam. I already had steam installed and had my own account, so all I had to do was log on and click the HL2 thingy, choose silver, enter my credit card details and hit 'download'. That was it! Took me less than 5 minutes to get it started...

Very painless, it took quite a few hours to download of course, but I just set it off before I went to bed and came back in the morning, and it was ready to go. I was able to un-check the boxes to make sure I didn't download camperstrike and all the other shit I didn't want (I'll download HL:Source at a later date).

The whole process was surprisinly easy, and it certainly sounds like I had a smoother run than some of my friends at work who bought the boxed copy (takes an hour to install off 5 cd's, 40-60 minutes to 'unlock' or authenticate or whatever... arse!)

Who really cares about a box and a CD? You can back up the game files if you're paranoid (or if you need to wipe your drive), but you can also just log on to steam (from anywhere) and download the game again if you lose the data. Sure, if Valve goes out of business and steam dies you're screwed, but that's life huh!? 
You'd be screwed if you had the cd copy and Steam went under anyway :) Of course, that won't happen, but supposing it did, I'm sure Valve would release a no Steam / cd patch.

I do agree about Steam in that it's quite good when it's working, although it does suck if you have no internet access or a slow connection. 
Nitin: It's true that almost everyone has internet access nowadays, but i don't like the idea that i am obligated to do certain aditional things apart than buying the game to play it.... but anyway i think i finally will have to do it, it's HL2

VoreLord: Ah no no man, you know that it's not the same, although it's a very good response =). 
Yes, Do It 
It is very much fun, and steam is rather painless. 
Avoiding Steam 
If you don't want to log in to steam any longer than you have to, there are three things you should do once you've authenticated:
1. Ensure it's set to save your login details
2. Find clientregistry.blob in the steam folder and set it to write only, so it won't forget you
3. Block steam with your firewall(you do have a firewall now, don't you?)

I don't do any of this stuff, but it's there if you really only want to sign in to authenticate. 
Steam or not steam, it's the same, people involved in that game have put a lot of effort and also have had a lot of problems, and the final product looks awesome, i'll buy it for sure, they deserve it!.

Only hope that all the new games don't use this thing too. 
Fuck Valve 
i have slow, pay per minute inet access. fuck em. hard. shit.

*runs off seeking what some people call niveau* 
I'm Loving This Game, But... 
...there's an odd inconsistency at work here.

I'm actually enjoying this game much more than Doom 3 (which I liked a lot), and I can already tell that I'll be playing through at least one more time just to screw around with stuff and try different things (which I have no interest in doing with Doom 3).

But does anyone else think that someone forgot to do the last polishing pass or something? I'm in Ravenholme, and so far I've spotted quite a few cases of z-fighting, floating models, and just plain fucked-up level construction (e.g. pipes that don't reach the wall, sort-order issues on objects). I've also gotten stuck (where I couldn't move) three different times, and have had to load a quicksave, and also had the G-man disappear into thin air right in front of me at a point where they (obviously) didn't expect you to be able to get to him. :)

I wish one sharp-eyed QA guy could have taken one more run. This is a truly great game, and little piddly stupid shit like that makes me sad. 
On Z-fighting... 
i've noticed a lot of this in Vampire: Bloodlines, maybe this is something to do with the engine..? Bloodlines was finished earlier than HL2 was, but was delayed until HL2 was finished, so i would assume that whatever final polishing was needed was done on Bloodlines...
0.0002$ ;) 
Just Got To Anti-citizen 
and I havent noticed one bit of z-fighting, no floating models, and I haven't gotten stuck. I'm also one of those extra curious types who will try for 10 minutes to stack boxes and get myself somewhere I shouldnt be only to find the bastards have clipped off damn near everything!! haha.
What I have noticed is sometimes is when you kill a guy his body will fall right through an object he was previously reacting to. I thought that was a shame since everything else reacts so wonderfully.

The music so far has been just wonderful. It comes at points and sets the perfect mood. Beneath the bridge was calming and made you feel alone.

some sound effects do irritate me (ant lions & vehicle guns) but everything else is just spot on.

your partner pathfinding is also kind of shabby in some areas. Not that my own is very good at those points climbing over rubble, it gets tricky sometimes. 
Playing this game, at any given time I was having lots of something: either intense frustration, or fun. Mostly fun.

And the good bits are just *so damned good*. 
Nothing but spoilers below. Well, mostly.

The game really shifts gears and tries to do very different things along the way. Sometimes you are just shooting people, sometimes it's more of a racing game, or jumping or stacking puzzles, or squad combat, or a movie, or.... I wish it managed to mix things up a bit more. By the time I got rid of the airboat, I was literally sick of it. I had airboat sickness. By the time I got out of Ravenholme, I could never see another headcrab, zombie, or sawblade again.

The game really hit its stride on the drive up the coast for me. The abandoned houses, the bridge, and fighting with the resistance against the gunships and dropships were my highpoints. Me and my dunebuggy vs. the world.

I can't say enough bad things about the end. The very very end that is - right up till then it was fine. Great even. I also disliked the game's penchent for making you think you were getting somewhere and then dumping you in a sewer with some headcrabs and those ceiling hanging, uh, guys, and if you got through you could meet up with so-and-so on the other side. I was constantly meeting up with people, and then they'd send me off to meet somebody else or meet me somewhere else later. After awhile I didn't really feel welcome when I did manage to get somewhere.

I think I was spoiled by Doom3's consistent treatment of every surface. In HL2 I was constantly noticing how different surfaces were flat shaded while others had fancy shaders. While some of the environments were very well done, the engine kinda makes me feel like I'm playing the fanciest version of the Q3 engine ever. The game is about twice as fast as Doom3, but the stuttering problem got very severe towards the end of the game.

I have a feeling people will soon loath physics based stacking puzzles the way jumping puzzles are hated now. 
Still Diggin' It. 
I'm up to Anticitizen too, and it rocks. Those walkers are spooky, and I am still taken aback by the atmosphere of this game. I've noticed the z-fighting and the repeating textures (my least fave visual bug), but the whole clash of technologies, and realistic settings and the solid and constant gameplay are just awesome. This game has it all over D3, I really hate to say. 

I personally enjoyed the physics in HL2 a lot. The early stuff before you have the gravity gun is fun and gives you some idea of what you can and can't do.

I particularly thought the floating barrels under the see-saw ramp was cool, although I think I've seen something similar in another game... Far Cry had a few similar puzzles to HL2 anyway.

Also, there was a bit where you go over a jump on your hover boat and hit a bit of scaffolding, knocking it over. From here, you know that you can knock all the combine on scaffolding into the river, which is pretty good fun.

Well, I don't want to get into a rant, but it was a damn sight more fun than shooting imps in a flickering dark room at 15fps 640*480 all the while suspicious of every doorway because of cheap tricks so tired that a whole packet of pro plus couldn't make them look interesting.

Back to HL2. I do kind of agree with Xoltan about the Ravenholm section - that did get old quite quickly. I guess I'd seen enough zombies in Doom 3 to last me a lifetime. Also, the super fast zombies were very irritating, along with the headcrabs (hey, but at least no 1/4 size translucent ones like in the first game, eh?)

Personally I thought that although Doom 3 appeared a bit more polished than HL2, HL2 had a generally more pleasing look, with MUCH more interesting and varied environments. I also felt that the shaders and effects in HL2 were generally put to better use than those in Doom 3.

The ending was a little bit crap, but I enjoyed the run up to it, and I don't think the lack of a huge end boss bothered me that much in retrospect. I'm just annoyed that it didn't last a little bit longer and feel more conclusive.... unlike a certain other game, which I became sick of by the end =] 
Half-Life Source 
I saw HL2 in the store and they had a normal boxed HL2 and a special big boxed HL2 which was more expensive. This big box mentioned Half-Life Source. Does that mean that the original HL SP gets a facelift (along with CS which is of no interest to me)? Playing through the original HL with some source visual improvements might be worth paying more for the deluxe set. Does anyone know anything about this? 
Not Really 
No real updates to graphics besides engine stuff. In other words, the models, weapons, textures, sprites, enemies, etc look EXACTLY the same. The only real thing is that there are physics, some nice water effects, and I think that's about it. Not worth it from every source (haha) I've seen. My dad says it's not worth it, and someone else here posted saying it was garbage as well. 
the cows give much milk to the valve... 
Opposing Forces 
Would make a good source port. Good variety of situations in that one, as opposed to Blue Shift which was one damn and damnable flip a switch to align boxes puzzle after another.
If I am going to be flipping a lot of switches it should be in some place pretty like in Myst.

Anyway. the Squad based areas of Opposing Forces may play even better with source AI.

I wont be getting the game until after Thanksgiving though. 
Helo Closet Guys 
`greed with `zg
settings, atmosphere, people animation - rock
gameplay.. kinda bleh so far. Hope it will pick up the pace. And man, it linear as a rail (shame for such realistic environment).
And this 'telekinetic item manipulaton - its just plain fuckedup. Really ruins the masterfully crafted realism of the game. Couldnt they modell a hand? 
fuck realism
we're here to play funneh games, not play fucking reallife... 
Chalk Up Another Vote 
Vondur for world domination! 
Ummm Okay... 
So my copy of HL2 arrived....where the FUCKING HELL is my manual?? Do I email Amazon or Vivendi to get them to send me the fucking manual that should be in the fucking case?? 
Lol Sham 
There is no FUCKING manual you ass clown. I heard there is a simple insert with key commands listed on it. But thats it, there is no manual, awesome huh? You should of just used Steam and gotten over it.

you can buy the strategy guide that also serves as the manual! 
This post is slightly off topic but...

I don't know about you, but I fucking hate it when I fork out �30-�40 for a game, only to find there is no manual, a shitty quick start guide or "on-line manual", or worse still, the manual has clearly been designed to be printed in colour, and no doubt is in colour in American copies, but has been printed in FUCKING BLACK AND WHITE!

WHAT!? You spend all this time and money on making a game, only to package it in a plain DVD box with a crap render and poorly chosen screenshots adorning it, and can't even be bothered to give me a colour manual, when the FUCKING JUNK MAIL THAT COMES ON A DAILY FUCKING BASIS THROUGH MY MAILBOX IS PRINTED IN FUCKING COLOUR.

But Erm... 
I bought the game on Steam after seeing the shit vivendi had pulled with the packaging. People at work had already downloaded the cache files, and all that was needed was to copy them over the lan and authenticate them to my Steam account.

Also, having had my little rant, I don't mind that there was no HL2 manual too much. It does bug me a LOT when the manual that comes with a game is poorly designed, uninteresting, black and white, or not printed and instead included as a FUCKING PDF on the cd... FORCING ME TO INSTALL ADOBE ACROBAT (which I already have installed, although I would have a problem if I didn't want to install acrobat :)

I really liked Return To Castle Wolfenstein's manual. Interesting development facts etc. are great and should be in more manuals. Likewise, the manual that came with Speedball 2 (going back a bit, I know) was AWESOME. Seriously, it was one of the best manuals ever. The game came with a season guide and history of Speedball, but it was written as if Speedball was real. It contained lots of "facts" about the most violent players, weapons that were allowed in previous iterations of Speedball and why they were banned, plus a heap of other info. IT WAS GREAT.

Making a nice manual to go with a game isn't THAT much effort, and can really make a buyer feel good about their purchase as they pore over the contents of the box on the train ride home (or whatever), eagerly awaiting the moment they first start playing.

HALF-LIFE 2 WAS GREAT. Just staying on topic. 
Y'know, I always liked the Mega Man manuals, cuz they always had the artwork for the bosses, which was sweet. I got Megaman anniversary, but it was preused, so I didn't get the supercool artbook that came with it. Oh well, they got all the bosses in there anyway. But seriously, MegaMan PowerBattles is just plain week. But, I'm trying to find all the secrets I can unlock (they got a ton of em I hear.)

HL2 is ok. 
Da Fuck? #2 
Right. So let me get this right. I just bought a game that doesn't come with a manual at all.

Every other fucking game I've ever bought came with a manual. It's just the way things are. Manuals are fun, give a bit of character and anticipation, give you something to read on the bog or waiting for it to install.

So why the fucking hell have Valve decided they're not including one in this game?? 
Valve are Nu-skool! They dont do manuals, and they dont do games that work out-of-the-box.

jezz, stop the whining
if you dont like it - return the game and demand your money back.

plz stfu about it already, every one knows there is no manual ( and I bet you knew it as well) 
I still have my koolass Quake and Quake expansion pack manuals, but not the original CD's.

You no more need a manual to play an FPS than you did to play Contra in an Arcade, but given that, I still would expect a manual with all the fun extras like high rez concept art, and instructions on making a pipe bomb without blowing your hands off.

So, lets start a huge letter writing campaign that will make them feel so guilty Gabe Newell will send us all personalized apologies and a discount card going to our next purchase. 
...are nice when they give you gameplay tips. DooM and Quake featured tips for secrets, in-fighting etc. I scoured the Painkiller manual for secret hunting tips and was dissapointed that they were'nt even mentioned.

I can see no manual for Steam orders (but at least a pdf) or for bargain bin reissued software with an on-CD pdf but no manual with media in a high profile full price game is a customer snub that the bean counters chose to overlook.

But I still get 30lbs of full colour junk mail each year... 
Or whoever the fuck you are, STFU n00b.

I had no idea there was no manual, and I am not impressed with Valve dicking around with the tried and tested method of gaming presentation just because they think they're fucking god because a load of crack-smoking gaming mag editors gave HL1 "Best game there ever was and ever will be in the entire universe" and 14,000,000 pre-pubescent brats fell for whatever pretence CS uses to sell itself to the foolish masses. Understand??

Anyway, this just the start of the whining (which believe me I will continue with if the irritation justifies it). Wait until I try to install it... 
Two Massive Cheers 
The Squeeky Wheels of the World Unite!

I Concur 
my very first impression was "WTF NO MANUAL?" then I looked at the 5 haphazardly thrown in cd's in their loose paper envelopes. I'll admit I was very dissapointed. They did however make sure to include a fat variety of advertisements to gaming magazines and other crap I don't need/want/afford. Then I found the ALL USEFUL quickeys sheet... wonderful, that served me for 3 or 4 keys that I didn't reassign.

So, No manual, tons of ads, worthless quick keys sheet, ass steam forced authentication system. This was utter tripe on the publishing end. This however has little to do with the actual developers as the publisher is a seperate entity in its own.

Once your in the game however.... oh the deeeeeeeeelight! 
however has little to do with the actual developers
Vivendi would be quite happy for Steam to just disappear. It's Valve that are behind it. 
Steam... great if you have a fast net connection, I have to say. It pisses me off that I can't play at home (no internet), but my home pc is a bag of shite anyway, so it would probably not run HL2 if I could install it.

Steam should block the shit heads intent on spoiling the fun of others with cheats in multiplayer games, whilst providing a very simple interface for keeping HL2 up to date and adding mods (and perhaps maps later on.)

I have no big issues with Steam so far, although it was a bit slow on launch day, and it took me about half an hour to get HL2 authenticated after getting the cache files (from another machine on the work lan.) 
Loose CD's? 
So you need to buy cases to protect your original game CD's? Cases that get provided with blank CDRs that are less then $1/pc.

That's just cheezee. A great way to discourage piracy is to provide a sense a value for the buyer. No manual or cases and ad grabs for more of your money is not respectful to the buyer. If the game wasn't so great (I'm sure it will be anyways), a lesson could be learned if gamers rebelled. As it is, I'm sure HL2 will be a great success and with it will go the continued deterioration of the buyer as someone worthy of gratitude. 
My Impressions... 
Right now I am at the latter parts (I think( of Water Danger episode (or whatever it's called, you are riding that water/ground vehicle). So far, the game looks pretty "meh" to me. The graphics do not rival Doom 3, though some of the enviroments look very nice. There is nothing in the A.I. of this game that I haven't seen before either. The physics are the most interesting part so far, I was driving that vehicle near a burning barrel and the explosion sent me high up spinning the vehicle in the air multiple times AND my POV with it. That was cool.

I also find some spots in this game to be ridicuosly annoying. Like where you are in a room and you think you've looked everywhere for the exit and then you notice that valve/switch whatever that does not stand out in any way and open the way to another part of the level. 
Yeah that bit annoyed me too.


Just wait til you get to the bit in nova prospect where you're supposed to defend yourself with turrets from wave after wave of combine troops. After 7 tries I fucked off and turned on godmode. (I'm impatient)

Also there are some parts where you think you've got to stay put and fight off an attack, but actually there's just a slightly hidden exit and an infinite stream of enemies. Yeah, highway-underpass-in-anticitizen-one-with-neverending-stream-of-manhacks-flooding-from-
, I'm talking about YOU!

--------------END SPOILER-------------

BTW Barney is so sexy! 
Hello Hyphenated String Breaker! 
how r u? 
Their decision not to include the manual could has been made only for saving costs.... it's the only logical reason i can see. 
Oi, I wasn't expecting to be really blown away by HL2 ... and I wasn't. Basically what I expected. 6 years for cool looking water and physics puzzles that are not at all hard to solve and are just to fill up time. The action scenes are cool, scripted sequences are great. Story is pretty good. My biggest complaint is that there is really no correlation between HL and HL2; Nothing is ever explained. I loved the ending. Though most people won't. But enough about that.

Other complaints (don't read if you don't wanna know about this stuff)

Combine Soldiers: repetitive
Where'd all the cool Xen monsters go to? We get fuckin headcrabs and ant lions? Bull shit.
The aresnal, like Doom 3, was sorely lacking. Nothing special here at all, cept MAYBE the Zero-Point Force Manipulator (whatever its called), but that got old pretty fast.
Puzzles are simple, not very fun.

Good things:
Interesting, windy level design. Cool to see an area then come up on it time after time... this I thought was very good, seemed like a real place, but it was "convenient" there were so many fences and gates, etc...
Uhhh... there's a bunch of generally cool stuff, everything overall is welldone.

So, I thought it was good, but definitely over-rated by most people imo. I would give it somewhere around 90%. After all that time, they got rid of all the cool alien organisms, the cool organic weapons, and gave us "soldier, shotgun, car." But still, it's pretty good. Ravenholm was the best fun I had in the whole game.

Good stuff. 
90% would count as a great game rather than a good game. 
not on a scale from 0% - 5000% 
In That Case 
90% would be an extremely crap game and not a good game :) 
not if you skip from 100 - 4800% 
Note To Self 
don't get in an argument with Zwiffle when there is math or stats involved. He has some real good ones up his sleeve. 
HL2 @Loose Cd's 
The only things I didn't really like about Half Life 2 were having a team with you. Even more than that, the fact that you just couldn't blow their heads off when the annoyed you(which was all to frequent for me), they just get in the way to much, I would much rather not to have had them. I know you could send them away, but they always come back.

And there were places that were just frustrating, and places where I just didn't know what to do next, easy enough to just plug away and work it out, but frustrating for me none the less.


That place with the turrets was a bit annoying/frustrating. Until you realize what triggers things off etc. If you don't set up the turrets first, and just look around, you have plenty of time to notice a dead end type thing on the 2nd floor, you can stack the crates up so you can climb up there. Place the turrets at the bottom, then just lift them up with the gravity gun, place them on the second floor, sit back and let them do there thing, toss down a few grenades................

==============END SPOILER==============

An all to common thing these days, but I guess with the amount of discs in some games, and the trend towards smaller boxes etc..........
I get DVD versions when I can, but even then you get that DVD type case, I prefer the old CD cases, so I can stack them in my CD towers.

Familiar Names
Did anyone notice any familiar names (names known to people around here) in the credits at the end of Half Life 2 ? 
Dario Casali
Yahn Bernier
for example ;) 
err. the gravity gun got old? wtf, its the most versatile weapon in any fps ever! The gameplay possibilities with it are potentially endless, either you missed pretty much everything you could do with it or... well I dunno :) I just cant understand that comment...

HL2 rocked my world, all other shizzle out of the way, its amazing and should be played religiously by every fps fan. apart from a few duff areas (nova prospekt turret fight etc) its great all the way through. 
I'm pretty surprised people generally found Doom 3 to be a better game, or even better looking than HL2. 
Familiar Names 
Iikka Keranen, of course. 
Grav Gun 
Pick things up. Shoot things. Of course, you could pick things up and stack them. Mmmmm... fun. 
I guess the grav gun can get boring after a while. FallOut 2 let you shoot heroin, does Half-Life 2 let you shoot heroin?

If not, perhaps the interactivity isn't all it is cracked up to be and falls way behind even a 1997 title. 
A Better Game 
Not sure I know what constitutes a better game, but although I really, really liked Half Life 2, I think I will be still playing DooM3, and Quake's for that matter, long after Half Life 2 is just a memory. I guess I am just old and stick with what I like the most.

A meandering wander into the seemingly unrelated
To me it's like the standard answer that gets given when people ask the question, "Whats the best telescope to buy?"
Answer "The one that you will use the most"

The Grav gun was a blast, I especially liked carving creatures up with those saw blades

Did anyone think that the sound that they used for the Buggy, was, well better than most sounds you would get in a dedicated driving game. I thought it was just awesome 
Than #119 
You'd have to be joking... right? 
Familiar Names, Cont. 
Don't forget Ikka Keranen, teh Fingered One =D

Finished the game yesterday, btw -- and it was great. Have to agree with DaZZa on the Nova Prospekt standoff with the Combine, but overall the game was engaging without being too simplistic or difficult. I'm replaying it again, and waiting on that damned SDK... 
Just saw BlackDog's post. Gah. 
who was it? His uncle? That is a hell of a thing to be known for. 
Well, on my machine at work, Doom 3 looked nice, but was very samey the whole way through. The composition of the views you would often see didn't seem to be as interesting or generally accomplished in Doom 3. I guess because you spend most of the game in a military base.

I didn't think that all the fancy shadows in Doom 3 really made such a huge difference, apart from making the game feel a bit more solid. The lighting in HL2 wasn't as technically dazzling, but had a much more real world and gritty look. Doom 3 just looked a bit shiny.

Also, I couldn't run Doom 3 at ultra high res with all the fancy stuff turned on, so perhaps I missed out on a few things (the warping effect on glass for one.) I ran HL2 at 800*600 with most effects supported by the GF4 on. Doom 3 I ran at 640*480 low quality settings.

I don't think you need me to explain why I thought HL2 was a better game to play. 
Hardware Affecting Gaming Enjoyment... Re #128 
I borrowed a Geforce FX 5700 from a friend for a week or so when Doom 3 came out. I have an Athlon 64, so I ran the game at 800x600 at high quality, which seemed to be the same speed as medium quality. I never benched it. I thought the game was ok.

I have a GF 6800 now, and have since replayed the game. With a higher resolution and double the frame rate (maybe) I found I very much enjoyed sections of the game a more, even that I react differently and use different tactics.

Half life 2 just set itself to run at some crazy resolution with AA and everything going, and it always seemed to be running very fast - 60+ fps I'd guess. Near the end of the game the stuttering bug got horrendous though. After Valve fixes that I'll give it another try. Anybody else suffer from that problem?

I'm thinking that Doom 3 has more room to grow. I'd like to see a cavernous Hell, uh, cavern with 50 odd imps to run around in with. 
Stuttering Bug..? 
Audio Stuttering: Many Half Life 2 gamers are experiencing small pauses or "stutters" when playing the game, regardless of their hardware and/or settings. You hear stutters in speech, sound effects. The problem is that the game continuously loads textures into the RAM whenever you go aroudn a corner or see an enemy. This is not an audio issue, so don't throw away your sound-card just yet. The problem is the engine. This issue has been fixed already via a steam update.
The main change from the fix is the addition of a new command variable: mat_forcemanagedtextureintohardware , I will come back to this command in a bit.
stupid line breaking thing...

mat_forcemanaged texture into hardware
(remove spaces) 
Just thought I'd chime in and say:

- I'm *really* enjoying this game so far. I just got to 'entanglement', i really enjoyed highway 17 and ravenholm was pretty good. I really like the weapons so far, especially the shotgun and the gravity gun, which serves many purposes with puzzles, etc. Maybe I'm dense but I did feel there was a bit of a discrepancy between the very noticeable linearity and how you were for the most part forced into following task by task, but at the same time some of the puzzles have left me frustrated as I had no clue wtf I was supposed to do or where to go.

- I still haven't finished doom3. Got bored after hell. Meh. 
HL2DM Released 
Restart steam and it will auto-update the game as per usual, this could be interresting :) 
It Is Interesting 
I played it last night for about a half hour. While the lag was pretty terrible, everyones ping hovered between 300-400, it was still tremendous fun. The weapons all feel about right, with the exception of the Magnum perhaps. I mopped the floor with that thing, even with my ping and ended up with a score of 40-12, pretty rediculous for as much lag was on the server. I think the server tries to over compensate aim or something because it was rare that I missed with that weapon, and I know I'm not that great of shot.

One moment that stuck out in particular in my mind was when someone was about to toss a exploding barrel, which there is an abundance of, I shot it with the Magnum and it exploded in his face giving me a kill. I thought it was pretty funny.

Anyways I suggest everyone checks it out. An interesting note is they are holding a mapping contest. Entries must be submitted by Jan 15th I believe can be worked on by a group of people. They are looking for some DM maps of course. First place is 5,000, 2nd and 3rd each get 3,000. Not bad, I may considered it after I get done with this semester of school and do a map over break.

I suggest everyone take a stab at it, even as laggy as the game is now. I believe it was just the servers were having too many on at a time, I think it should be capped for the time being to 8 or less, similiar to Doom 3.

Check it out. 
Best FPS For A Long Time. 
Enjoyed it a lot. Last level has wow factor with regards to architecture / atmosphere. The hovercraft levels went on a bit (*not a fan of driving games). Could have used more interesting hidden sh*t, but that sort of thing just isn't in vogue these days - shame.

Anyway, played, done, deleted, back to Quake1. :) 
Played it at work this lunchtime. There were only 6 people or so playing, but it was utterly brilliant. I so much prefer this sort of thing to overly stressful competition over fun deathmatch found in most other games.

The magnum does seem a bit stupid though. It's like a rapid fire rail gun ffs. The other weapons don't seem too imbalanced though, I got a kill or two with pretty much everything. It's also quite interesting to start with such a potent arsenal. Grav gun, pistol, smg and grenades is certainly a change from axe and the worst projectile weapon :)

The grav gun is such a brilliant laugh. We had some grav gun duels going on, where we deflect stuff thrown at us using our own grav guns, then throw it back.

Does anyone know if you can use the grav gun to grab the projectiles fired with the alt-fire on the combine assault rifles? Can't remember if it was possible in SP before the last chapter anyway. 
yeah, it rocks
tossing barrels around is endless fun ;) 
I was playing the overwatch level earlier and watching someone smack a car wreck down the road with the grav gun and get about 4 kills by crushing players with it. Absolutely hysterical.

yeah catching stuff that other players throw at you is great too, endless fun.

Dont get me started on shooting exploding barrels, it brings me out in giggles of joy :)

Great stuff, but yeah its such a shame about the lag, it does ruin what would otherwise be such a classic mod. And just 2 maps, that could get old fast, luckily both are quite different and require different srats to be successful. 
I Just Wanted To Say 
How glad I am that I bought Doom 3 silly it would have been to save the money for HL2 instead...I mean it seems like everyone is playing Doom 3 and that HL2 is just a boring repetitive game that people aren't even compelled to finish.

On top of that, Doom 3's deathmatch is simply flawless, compared to HL2's overbalanced weapons and scattershot layouts that are nothing more than small snippets of map spliced together with pieces from the single player game. 
pull back your sarcasm, it's biting me. 
My theory is that the internet was invented to allow us to bludgeon each other to death with toilets.

That is all. 
Gah, Not Enough Time In The Day... 
Gonna have to wait till this weekend probably to try out HL2DM -- got Hammer working fine now since I reinstalled the whole ball of wax directly to the C drive instead of through the Program Files directory. 
And About The Lag Bit 
The lag from the first night is pretty much gone now. What I've gathered is the first night was a bunch of 12 year olds running listen servers and as a result the playing experience was less that stellar. Now that more deticated servers are up it's much much much better. Very smooth and predictable.

I hope they get some more maps tho. The lockdown man, from the prison area is pretty decent. But the second one has rather a rather poor layout but is okay for teamplay games. Hope some kids around her seriously consider mapping for it, or working on a quality mod... such as mine :) 
I recall you talking about the story part of your mod in #tf. Care to give some more info? 
I Ran Some 
hl2 dm last night and today...
ping was never an issue

its fun DM thats for sure. Even tho I am currently having bad videocard issues that corrupt alot of poly. I CAN SEE THROUGH WALLS!!

yes you can catch the 2nd more fire on the combine standard issue plasma rifle. There are lots of neat little things that can lead to some strategies. Like in a less hectic match you can build yourself a litte bunker and as people get close 1st mode the grav gun and send
parts flying everywhere.

One golden moment I've had so far I worked to get a car all the way up to 3rd floor of a building... (it took a while and Im surprised nobody nailed from behind) then i left it teetering and it happened to fall just the right moment and land front end down on another player. I was awestruck. 
Is huge fun -- played some tonight on an Atlanta server, and it kicked ass. It was so funny, watching everyone wandering around with a big chunk of junk at the ready.

Back to mapping, tho -- anyone know of any tutes for working with displacement meshes? All that I've seen mainly has to do with creating terrain, and I want pipes, dammit. 
actually, it's starting to piss me off quite a lot now.

Does anyone know how to make steam just fucking get updates as they become available AND THEN FUCKING VALIDATE THEM, RATHER THAN WAITING FOR THE TIME I WANT TO PLAY THE GAME?

It seems that Steam is only updating files when I try and run the game, which, as you can imagine, is a bit annoying. When I want to play a game, I don't want to wait 5-10 minutes for fucking updates to be applied... especially not at the rate they are releasing them atm. It seems that EVERY time I try to play, I have to wait for an update. FFS.

And why is it that all the update news is FUCKING OUT OF DATE ALL THE TIME?

There have been about 3 updates since HL2DM was released, and I don't see any updates listed on Steam since the 30th of November. WTF is that about?

I hope Valve get all this shit sorted out soon.

Or maybe I'm just not doing something right... anyone got any ideas? 
Oh Yeah 
and some fucking piece of shit has already registed MY LEGIT Half-life 1 key, so it's either buy another copy of HL from the shops (at the risk that the cd key is also already registered) or UPGRADE to HL2 Silver... but this doesn't seem to be possible at the moment.

Oh, the other option is to mail my HL1 CD and CD key to Valve, at god knows what cost for postage, then also pay a $10 administration charge and then wait for my HL CD to be mailed back to me.

It's a fucking disgrace. 
wtf with the HL1 CD key? You have got to be fucking kidding me. What you're saying is that Steam has made it possible for some twat to stop you playing your own 6 year old game? WTF? 
I can no longer play HL1 online as far as I am aware. Besides, when HL1 is registered on steam, it should unlock some of the other old HL related content, such as Opposing Forces, which I never played.

Whether or not you were taking the piss with your post, Kell, I don't know, but it's a shitty siuation nonetheless. 
I wasn't taking the piss ( hence the icon ). You can still play through the SP game though? If it's only HL1DM that's locked that's no sad loss really :/ But I do think Valve has taken something of a liberty if, because of Steam, gameplay that people paid for, six years ago is now inaccessbile. 
Taking the piss? 
Sort Of Like Being An Asshole 
kell: you don't need steam to play HL normally. only over the steam network. you can still play HL over lan and whatnot without needing steam -- HL is still the quake engine at heart, so you can just write "connect #.#.#.#" in the console if worse comes to worse.

the thing is, steam tries to incorporate HL into steam by itself if it detects it. it copies the whole game over from the original install folder into the steam folder, so you actually end up with two copies of hl... 
Oh Yeah, 
i bought hl2 yesterday. 
HL2. Good Isn't It? 
eh? eh? EH!?


Fucking SCUM.

Of course, I could be mistaken, and it's entirely Valve's fault. 
Send me your email address to quake.terminus (*), and I will send you a totally legit CD key for HL1. It's actually my key which I have never used, and never intend to use to play online (being too busy, old, usually drunk, shit at counter strike, etc etc...)

P.S. The key has obviously never been tested in Steam. 
Oh Never Mind.... 
I got your email address from

Check your email. 
HL2DQ Video 
Anybody seen this yet:

I went ahead and got the big .avi -- it's hilarious, the guy shakes and nods the camera fro Gordon's responses, and the scarecrow and Alyx-skating is funny as hell, too. Obvious spoilers to anyone who hasn't finished, tho. 
Your Planetquake email address doesn't work. Email me.

Not sure if it's just me Than, but your map links don't work either.

I suggest changing them from h**p://
I always nod and shake my head when I'm playing HL 1&2. I thought I was normal ... 
HL2 Movie 
So where is the high-quality movie?

I have downloaded the 677M file but there is supposed to be 1.5G file somewhere. The 677M is not too good quality-wise but still fun to watch. 
I Found It Boring... 
but the link should be on the bottom of the list. (High Quality Version - 14xxMB
spoilers eh? so i could watch the movie rather than playing the game and then know wtf people are talking about? 
not really, there aren't "spoilers" regarding steam being a piece of shit.

Just in case anyone who hasn't played HL2 is wondering, HL2 > Doom 3 :) 
I've been playing HL2 a bit, and I have to agree with than, HL2 >> D3... =)
Its just so much more fun, and the gameplay is rarely repetitif from what I've seen for now (I'm in Nova Prospect), which definatly isn't the case for Doom3.

What I quite like is the sense of location some of the maps have, it just feels right, and very atmospheric. Like when you're climbing around on the large bridge, or just driving the buggy around (you really feel like ur traveling, first time I felt that while playing an FPS). 
Blue Grav Run 
Bal: I read in the Raising the Bar book (which yes, I went ahead and bought this weekend) that they had to tweak the car/boat physics severely, since it would induce motion sickness the way they first had it ;D

Anyways,*SPOILERS to anyone who hasn't finished the game (and why the hell haven't you yet?)*

Saw a way to go back through the whole game with the blue gravity gun you find in the Citadel (which can pick up practically anything, as opposed to the one earlier on): just start your game, bring down the console and type changelevel d3_citadel_03, which is right where you get the blue GG. Then type changelevel d1_trainstation_01, which puts you at the beginning of the game, and then give_weapon_physcannon to re-give you the gun. Now, head out there and get physical! 
Hehe, I nod and shake now -- I used to only try to get some nice buttshots of Alyx... 
Alyx Is Ugly. 
just finished hl2... interesting endgame 'battle'. thank god it wasn't some stupid clich�d boss fight. :P
don't know what to say about the ending though... the lack of finality bothers me, but i like happy endings so i guess i deserved that. ;)

this game actually makes me want to map for it. i think a horror oriented map would be amazing in there. maybe better than d3's horror handling. ... maybe ;) 
Oh Yeah 
and the beginning sequence is pure genious. it was really cool and set the mood perfectly when you are trying to escape for your life, not to mention all the little touches that are scripted into the guards ("pick up the can" :P) 
HL And HL2 Story 
I've found a very nice site that tries to explain the events in HL and HL2 with great detail, providing background information. This site obviously contains major SPOILERS. Read it all here: 
Nothing Special 
downloaded the cracked HL2 game

Bugger Steam IMO

Works a treat

I wouldnt pay for this game though. Its NOTHING special

Give me a good RPG any day

You're a knoblord.

Don't waste our time posting inane comments on here based on playing a w4r3z version. 
Would be you be so kind as to provide a list of features that the legal version of HL2 has over the warez one? Except for Steam and multiplayer, that is. 
Moral superiority.

Now STFU, n00b. 
another feature I really like is that Valve get paid the money they deserve. 
Gabe Newell Ate All The Money! 
And all the babies!
And all the cattle!
And all the alien hive queens!
And all the muffins!
And all the russians! 
I mostly agree with you. It took ~6 years to develop the engine. ~1 year to develop the game content. Only 1 year. While I admire the engine and the effort put into it, the content didn't seem all that spectacular to me.

But then again, I agree with Shambler: don't warez. :( 
Heh, Weird. 
I am of the complete oposite opinion of Zwiffle here.
I think the source engine is utterly amateurish (perhaps a bad word, but whatever) and awkward compared to Doom 3.
Source supposedly being the ultimate engine for modmakers sounds highly dubious to me, since all game content is kept locked away in secrat files that you need to go through steam to do anything with. Level scripting is done with a complex array of obscure entities linking together in ungodly ways that make adult jesus cry.
Compare this with Doom 3 which is completely open, just about all game assets are easily editable tga files or plain text documents, everything is open to the user, even the maps. Scripting is done with a very user friendly (if you know programming, which you ought to do if you're making a mod anyway) scripting language that is easy to get an overview of.
The one thing I'll give Source some credit for is it's physics system (which isn't even't Valve's own doing, but Havok) which is much more flexible and versatile than Doom 3's.
Source is clearly the last iteration of the quake generation of 3D engines.

On the content side though, HL2 is completely awesome. The environments are realistic, lush, gorgeous. Models have amazing animation and look gorgeous. (PS. Barney I love you!) Sound, although imho not as immersive as Doom 3, is gorgeous. The setting... ...OMG the setting, the atmosphere, the world, the premise... I am socked and awed! Gorgeous!
Doom 3 was pretty, but got a bit monotonous, and formulaeic (sp?).

Anyway, that's just my �2.
And of course HL2 gets a lot of credit for bringing us that gorgeous hunk Barney. <3 <3 
And Just To Clarify... 
Being socked is almost as good as being shocked, only better! 
Yeah I agree with czg, finished it last night, and this is the nicest game I've played this year despite the steam annoyance.

Was a bit dissapointed there weren't any more funky weapons, I liked the strange alien weapons in Half-Life, but they wouldn't have quite fit in as well in this one I guess. Fortunatly the grav gun was there, oh and Dog rocks. =)

I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this game so much. 
so how do i make maps? O_O 
How Do I Shoot Web? 
You install the SDK through Steam, then you let it install CS:Source and HL2:DM, then you launch the SDK through Steam and then you launch Hammer from the SDK, then you make your map, then you've got to configure your Hammer setup so all the paths are correct, then you try compiling and see if the paths were correct, then you play the map and murder a kitten. 
Doom3 is a long game, how is HL2, compared to D3? 
I beat both in roughly the same amount of time, HL2 took a little less time for me than Doom 3. I liked Doom3 more, but HL2 had a much better ending. 
About Half As Long Maybe? 
HL2 was weird for me in the length department. I thought some parts of the game were too drawn out, i.e. the airboat and bits during the buggy stuff. Beyond that I thought the game was wonderfully paced.

Doom 3 felt longer, but that's probably because I couldn't play that game in long sittings. I'd really get too hyped up, anxious, nervous, upset to play that long. Generally I still think Doom 3 was able to create much more tension and real emotion than HL2. Except when Barney was around, God he's a hottie.

I think they are both quality titles though that really can't be compared that well to one another. I think that you'll see more mods for Half-Life 2 in the end however. Content creation is just so time consuming for D3 I'd assume I'd grow bored with it. If I ever go through with this mod I'm writing a doc for, it'll be for Half-Life 2.

Fun wise, I enjoyed myself more playing Half-Life 2, but at the same time enjoyed being scared during Doom 3. 
Ah, Good 
i wasn't the only one who thought the vehicle bits were too long. i would have prefered half the length of both with more regular walking maps... 
Vehicle Sections 
The airboat took waay too long, and I was motion sick for about half of it.

On the other hand, they could release an expansion pack, Half Life 2: Buggy Exodus and I'd snap it up. It made me wish there was an entire open world of coast to explore, just me and my buggy. And my Ant Lion friends. 
Still Haven't Played Half-Life 2 

How does the buggy portion of the game stack up against the FarCry (so far my favorite FPS this year) jeeps? 
Do you play Far Cry multi at all? 
I'm Afraid Not. 
At home I only have dial up. 
Which Is Nutty On My Part 
my cable package would only be 12 dollars more with an internet connection. Maybe after Christmas. 
between the two... i'd say i liked the handling on the FarCry vehicles more, but the actual gameplay involving the buggy in HL2 *is* pretty fun. there are lots of places to stop in between for some shooting action. it was much better than the water part anyway. 
Just ignore him, you're only encouraging him. 
For Anyone Even Remotely Concidering Editing For HL2 
You know, since we're supposed to be an editing community and all; This pace is pure gold: 
Above Post Begs The Question... 
Who is editing for Half-Life 2? I'm working on a test map currently to play around with stuff and get some solid ideas for my mod's direction. I'd be interested to see what people are coming up with. 
i'm still trying to get used to this hammer thing. no hope of GTKRHL2 i guess... 
Just A Thought... there any similarity between the map files created by Hammer for HL2 and the files created by a Quake1 edtior. Anyone that far down the road yet? Conversion possible?

Having just read some of the Hammer Documentation, it looks very interesting. In particular, Displacement Surfaces seems to be a far better way to get my terrains laid out than the method I currently use :-)

It also has some visual similarities with BspEditor, which was created by Yahn Bernier for Quake1, who then went to work on HL2.

Just a thought... 
You can convert from q1 to source pretty nicely I think, just open .map in old worldcraft, save as .rmf and open that in new hammer.
I believe it would be very hard to convert from source to any other game, because hammer and the compilers use ONLY their own .vmf format, (yes, the compilers read the .vmf files directly) so there is no way to export to .map as there was in previous worldcraft/hammer.

(... 1 minute later...)

Actually, I just opened up a .vmf file in textpad now, and I was expecting to just see a binary mess like the .rmf files were, but these are very nice and clean text files, very much more readable than the q1 .map files. I think a skilled programmer (hello aguirRe!) could convert these to quake1 fairly easy, maybe even perhaps the displacement surfaces too.
And frankly, the displacement surfaces here would be the only thing making hammer for q1 even vaguely interesting. 
It also has some visual similarities with BspEditor, which was created by Yahn Bernier for Quake1, who then went to work on HL2.

Ben morris, author of Worldcraft, was hired by Valve for HL1. Which is why WC2 was for HL, not Q1; it's what Valve themselves used to make HL1.

Yahn Bernier was hired I-don't-know-when, but presumably for similar reasons.

I tried both WC and BSP when I started, and prefered WC by a long way. Dario Casali, otoh, used BSP to build Prodigy SE.
One wonders who polishes whose ego now they all share the same office space :P 
i think it would be more complex than converting q3 to q1 format or whatever. while some syntax is sort of the same (classname, angle, etc) the actual layout of the brushes looks wierder than before... each face has settings and things like that... 
Is It Really That Bad? 
04:17:11 Zombie : ydnar: if you were to do anything in the way of a HL2 bsp compiler
04:17:22 Zombie : start with the vis tool it's shocking
04:17:48 Zombie : I've got really basic geometry which would normaly take lik 5 seconds in q3map2
04:17:58 Zombie : takes about 2mins in HL2's vis tool
04:22:08 Mr : hmm maybe that explains my 5+ hour compile that I had to stop because it was taking so god damn fucking long.
04:22:19 Mr : It was on 2.. for about 3 hours straight. 

beta source engine compilers for those interrested, but I didn't look at the details... 
HL2 Cookies =)......... 
Just Tried The Demo... 
Here's my impressions. It starts out rather rhetorical but I wrote this to be posted at a non-gaming forum anyway... 
That's Not A Post 
That's a short essay. I'm just not willing to read through so much junk I already know. Can't you just sum it up in a few controvertial sentences people can fight over or something? 
The physics and lighting are more impressive with this game but I still got the feeling of been-here-done-that with even just the demo gameplay. 
How dare you say such things about the second coming of christ? You've made me really mad.

Fight me if you dare. I'll be waiting for you on the corner of 5th Avenue NY* Feb 01st 2005 11:00pm for a proper bare fists to the death fight.

*if such a location exists, and if you want to pay for my flight. 
writing a review on a demo of a game thats been out for a month is like writing a story about this mornings bowel movement

it's viscocity
it's texture
it's aroma
the angle it went down the bowl
the tas... you get it 
The Right Profile 
Go get them Than! 
What Blackpoop Said... 
Aren't demos supposed to be meant for people who can't be bothered to read reviews, and want to try the games themselves instead? That's what I thought anyways... So yeah, kinda pointless writing a review about it since the full game was out before. 
What Struck Me The Most About HL2... 

- Atmosphere is great, almost all locations are very convincing.

- Eastern European / Big Brother flavour for the city and stuff is very cool and quite refreshing for a A-list game.

- Water is amazing, first water I've seen that looks properly wet.

- Lots of nice locations. Favourite bits including the dam, the bridge (awesome), the ride through the combine tower.

- Art direction is generally great.

- Physics is great. Lots of fun to play around with.

- Feel of the game and controls are good, surprisingly solid.

- Facial animation shizznit is top notch. The expressions when Alyx is handing you the gravity gun made me replay it just to see it again.


- Totally linear.

- Barely relenting real-life theme. The tower was cool but I'd like some more outlandish stuff.

- Lack of variety in enemy. 90% of the gameplay is against soldiers or headcrabs / zombies. Stalkers were great, but where's the rest?? Cool monsters, exciting combine constructs??

- Different sorts of gameplay (boat, jeep, zombie town, team stuff) were spoonfed to you in specific sections, made them seem artificially set-up and lacked organic gameplay.

- Some areas, i.e. the team gameplay in the urban enviroments was a blatant and shameless promotion for the style and feel of CSS - if I wanted to play that, I'd play CSS.

- Other gameplay aspects obviously derivative from HL itself. Gameplay ended up being a "Best of HL remixed with detatched vehicle sections and sponsored by heavy CSS advertising".

- AI didn't seem to be particularly exciting.


- Shadows are cheap hacks and show their b0rkage easily.

- Lighting from the sky also shows it's cheapness on occasion.

- A few other effects are weak. 
And Overall... 
I did like it, a lot. A lot of it was very impressive, and most of what it was p1mped on (stylish locations, great physics, very effective art design) it succeeded on. However the gameplay did get wearing after a while, as did the non-linearity. I kept waiting to see some COOL enemy or to feel I had some choice in how I played the game. But for all of that, I still had a great time playing it.

Better than HL? Fo sho, w3rd. Now games have the technology to pull off what HL wanted to with enough style and convinction. And despite being a sequel, HL2 feels like it's pushing gaming further for the time than HL did.

Better than Doom3? Not sure. I think I prefered playing Doom3, in a different way. I found Doom3 gripped me more, made me feel I was part of something. HL2 made me feel more like I was being shown something. D3 was "woah", HL2 was "wow". Hard to compare. I like the style of D3 more. I think given the technology and atmosphere in both games, it's quite a personal choice.

Best game of the year? Quite possibly. Yeah why the hell not.

Best game ever? Not in my view.

But it's a damn good one. I don't feel assraped by the hype and vaguely blahhed about the game like I did about HL, I feel Valve have released a proper flagship game with this one. 
I Do Hate Steam 
I'm not going to tell again what many people has said, the same problems as anybody.
The game has a Big Brother feel and in real life, Steam system itself is another Big Brother.

The game... without Big Brother, is excellent. 
hm, i just played like 3 -5 hours at a friends, always different bits throughout the game and watched like 3or 4 more - sorry, didnt like it.

- the art wasnt that good at all imo - go play myst: uru to see how good art looks. granted, the engine may be slower ( but thats a technique thing), but what the designers do with their given poly count and their textures is amazing (from the 4 levels ive seen :))

-models look shitty in hl2. yes, even barney, he wasnt sexy at all. combines look better tho. of course that may be influenced by seeing d3 and all..

- scripted sequences feel way too scripted for me - sorry, in hl1 i felt like the action was going on around me independently - in hl2 its action arranged for me

- no story feeling whatsoever for me - but everyone i spoke to couldnt tell me what the story was at all (besides aliens attacking earth or sth) also i felt reminded to elite force - same stupid story shit to justify stupid gameplay sequences

- gameplay. gameplay? yeah, guess there was some; not interesting or tense for me tho. worst sniper scene ever seen in a game.

-physics. i dont care that the physics are convincing if the world im running in is sooo unconvincing by being absolutely linear. didnt add a single thing for me. grav gun was fun for the first minutes, felt way too gimmicky to be convincing. inconstistencies with it broke the game world (no humans/bodies ? wtf. i need an upgrade to do it, yeah, right).

-soap opera feeling (e.g. stupid headcrab thing)

-water looked good yeah, but far cry's looked equally good, every game using pixel shaders has nice water. radioactive slime looked horrible tho, wasnt even moving.

-weapons /weapon balance felt totally broken from hl1. no fun weapons. that might be because i always was dropped in the game with like everything already picked up/discovered tho.

-ending had the worst gameplay ever. use healing, have everything full, take out enemies, be full again, repeat. also - they have these nice laser walls i cant walk trough - why don'\t they just block the one way thats always open with em ? bad. very bad. 
You Are So Evil! 
Evil like a hitler tsunami! 
You are wrong about:

- the art wasnt that good at all imo

-models look shitty in hl2.


-water looked good yeah, but far cry's looked equally good, every game using pixel shaders has nice water.

-weapons /weapon balance felt totally broken from hl1.

The other points are fair, though. 
shambler: k :) 
HL2 Story 
everyone i spoke to couldnt tell me what the story was at all

I liked that no character came out and spoon fed the story to you. That would have been contrived. After all, they don't know you've been away so it's easy to assume you would have noticed the Earth being attacked. If you pay attention to what's said and look at the cork boards you can easily piece the events together. You get back what you put into it, so if you don't understand the story you probably don't care so it's just as well. 
A Couple Of Things: 
1. Thanks to speedoo for pointing out the Half-Life full game speedrun in SDA's "we refused for years to host any other game runs when people were finding all sorts of runnable stuff and asking us, and then out of the blue we randomly start hosting a whole load of console game speedrun's shit" Other Games' section: pretty entertaining, a few great tricks and a lot of deviant stuff. There's also a HL2 run but it's currently slow (2 hours) so I'm gonna wait till it gets caned a bit.

2. Watching that HL run reminded me of one thing: The HL1 monsters piss all over the HL2 monsters from a great height, with the exception of the Striders. The standard alien grunts, the big alien grunts with the bee weapon, the gargantua, the bulltoad things, the cute things that do a sound shockwave, the snarks....all of them very cool in aesthetics and character. Now THAT is something HL2 is missing for sure. Also cool in the variety of gaming options, too... 
Hl2 Would 
REALLY benefit from large bio/mechanical enemies. Say take something 'DOG' size and have it tossing debris at you. That would of been spectacular in the wider vehicle levels. 
HL2 Did Have Large Biomechanical Enemies 
And they fucking owned. The gunships/dropships were one of the best things in the game. 
I'm Tired Of Biomechanical 
We've seen that since Doom, boring. 
I'm Tired Of Biomechanical 
We've seen that since Doom, boring. 
pretty much all generic looking bipedal soldier things...
i couldn't understand why they got rid of the bulltoad. that was a cool monster, and with some of the new ai, could have been really fun. 
man, HL2 should have been more like BGE in the mean of player freedom and game progression
just imagine.. 
Freeman Got No Hands 
btw any1 finds it funny that u operate objects via the powers of telecenesis or some other majik, or maybe u get smal grav gun just from the start 
well its a small price to pay, making custom hold anims for all the different sized objects would have been REAL fun Im sure ;) 
thought of that
could just make objects closer to the player view, to make it seem that the holding arms are offscreen
and it really behaves like small grav gun too, not like hands 
and it really behaves like small grav gun too, not like hands

Exactly. Gameplay before realism. 
Bullsquid In HL2 
It would have been neat to see some hl2 monsters back as sort of ambient wildlife. Not everything eats humans, surely. Might bullsquid not just roam around sewers and aquatic areas doing their general water face-sucking thing, and disregard Freeman after having grown tame around so many humans? Houndeyes, too. Wouldn't a herd of those grazing in a field look cute? Or a guy with a domesticated one as a pet. 
I Remember Reading In An Interview... 
that someone wrote to valve asking if they had any inflateable hound-eye dolls. By inflateable dolls, I mean a sex doll.

Don't remember where I read it though - it was a long time ago.

I bet it was CZG 
I obviously would have asked for Barney dolls. (Or the real thing.) 
Steam just updated with news about a upcoming HDR showcase level called the Lost Highway. Additional game content is certainly welcome, but to my mind the interesting bit is this:

"it will be made available free of charge to Half-Life 2 customers that meet a specific set of high end hardware requirements."

And presumably won't, to those that don't.

I just spotted that myself. What actually is High Dynamic Range lighting anyway? I don't really under... fuck it, I'll go google it ;)

Ok, done that. HDR lighting seems to be what fitzquake's overbrights are to standard glquake. Standard gl looks lifeless (or shit, to most people) because of the low range of brightnesses in the lightmap. I assume fitzquake multiplies the brightness by two to get the overbright stuff and gives a much more satisfying appearance.

HDR lighting seems to be doing the same sort of thing, but I don't understand exactly what it is.

Someone intelligent please explain! 
So, You Want An Intelligent Explanation 
Oh well.

Overbrights are a compromise. They allow you to push up the colour range of your scene at the expense of precision, which leads to teh fugly when things get very bright or very dark. What HDR does is increase the dynamic range - the ratio of brightest representable pixel to darkest - by adding more precision to colour calculations. That means you can light things very brightly or darkly in the same scene, and still get correct colours without the banding and blotchyness that normal precision rendering suffers from. 
I Thought HDR 
was just increased colour precision.

Basically people started to realise that 24-bit colour isn't enough - not because you actually need more than 16.7 million colours but when you start to perform lots of funky operations on your old 8-bits per colour channel values the precision loss in the calculations of the final value is big enough to result in colour banding effects. 
So Spake The Bear 
not because you actually need more than 16.7 million colours but when you start to perform lots of funky operations on your old 8-bits per colour channel values the precision loss in the calculations of the final value is big enough to result in colour banding effects.

Brian Hook was saying this long ago, and none of the silly video card fanbois paid attention. 
It's Not The Precision 
Overbrightening is HDR (albeit not very high HDR :P). The extra precision just makes higher ranges practical by reducing banding. 
that's that then. Maj has spoken.

Brian Hook is cool by the way. I don't know why exactly. Maybe because the Q2 netcode was great! Hook is a cool name too, makes me imagine that he's a pirate, albeit one that is a hardcore programmer. 
Another Explanation 
What makes HDR different is that your calculations are all done in high precision (presumably floating point) until the last step. Normal, non-HDR rendering clamps all intermediate results to the low-precision range of the final result (i.e. 24-bit color.)

Things that make HDR cool:
- extreme gamma correction without banding
- very bright lights reflected in very dark mirrors will be the correct brightness, rather than way too dark.
- multi-pass shader effects without quality loss (including overbright lighting beyond 2x) 
fuck this hdri crap
how bout better monsters, Valve?
and HANDS!
racing games had hands on the wheel 5 years ago 
but racing games only need the hand to interact with the wheel, not any possible pickupable object in the game.

but agree with the better monsters comment. way too little variety, too many bipedals. 
See Trespasser. Then repent. 
Maj, excellent point, very well made!

Jesus that was horrid! 
Bollox Point. 
FFS having some hands on a wheel in a game isn't rocket science. Valve really should have done this - how did that slip through QA?

Actually, maybe it was one of the things that was making testers barf and giving them fits and stuff when testing the vehicles... 
I totally agree, the lack of hands really ruined HL2. Had valve put hands on the wheel of the buggy, and when picking up physics objects, I would have given HL2 9.7 out of 10. As it stands, I'd give it about 7.3. Let's hope valve releases a hands patch in the near future.

Or maybe we'll have to wait until HL3 :( 
It's pretty easy to see why they didn't include hands:

On the buggy - you can look around about 90 degrees to either side of the front of the buggy, so if you added hands you'd also have to add arms, and probably shoulders, so at what point do you stop rendering things? The arms would also obscure the view quite a bit, which would be irritating given the lack of control you have over your viewpoint in an FPS compared to real life. Plus, even assuming you could work all of this, the extra polys/texture memory for a high resolution pair of arms would probably has been the first thing to get cut again when you start looking for optimisations.

Holding objects - Basically thiswould be really, really hard to do. If you think of how many different ways you use your hands to hold different objects, that should give you some idea of why. Even if you could program some very flexable code that would make the hands grasp things intelligently, adapt to different sizes of object correctly, and not look stupid 90% of the time, it would very likely be a very large hog on resources. Remember that the objects still interact with the world while you carry them, so when they start colliding with things you'd have to keep updating the hands, and that's when it'd get CPU intensive.

As an aside, I personally don't think valve originally intended you to be able to pick up objects with your hands, as the gravity gun was a neat way around the problem of hand grasping animations. But then seeing how well people responded to the interaction with physics in the game meant they decided to add the current method to allow for physics stuff in the early parts of the game. I could be (more) wrong about this bit, but it always seemed to me like a 'gameplay first' decision - as much gameplay as you can get out of stacking crates... 
Hands are missing for immersion's sake - your hands are on the keyboard and mouse (or if you're czg at a barney bit, on your schlong). Seeing someone else's hands on the steering wheel or crates you pick up and etc is a cue that you're controlling someone else, not being them.

This post brought to you by italics
if they put hands on every object you could pick up, that object would have to be close enough to reach with your arm, which means it would totally obscure your view, and the entire object would not even be on the screen. Since the player needs to be able to walk around while holding stuff, and needs to be able to position the object correctly before letting go of it, it's better for the objects to float at an unrealistic distance for the player, rather than an arm's length away.

You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you're sincere
When you feel nobody wants to know you
You need hands to brush away your tear
When you hold a brand new baby
You need tender hands to guide them on their way
You need hands to thank the Lord for living
And for giving us this day

Singalongamax, 1865 
slime: but objects already obscure the view
its not just the lack of hands - its more the way the object is floating in the air about half a meter before your view

I cant recall any situation where you had to place the object with precision ( didnt play till the very end yet tho) And you could throw anyway.
Maybe its really more a problem of the view and the ease of manipulation, rather than the technical one. Many 3d view games have animations of player interacting with the world, including more than the grabbing and throwing of the objects. And the argument about polycount and texture mem is just laughable, sry preach. Btw you get to see the hands of HL protagonist, just as u put on the suit.

Lun: yeah sure, remove the hands holding guns and grenades too plz!

Valve should have made it a part of the plot - freeman had both hands cut off, but gained the ability to manipulate objects at a distance, just using his will (BS yes)

Anyway it�s not that much of a problem if you dont focus on it.

There are other shite moments, like the areas where you _could_ get, just piling few nearby crates, yet you cant - thanks to the clipping everywhere except the place where you are supposed to climb.
And the general lack of interactivity, that really ruined immersion so masterfully created by the environment designers and artists

Yeah, I love how it looks, dont like how it plays 
Kudos To Speeds 
Many 3d view games have animations of player interacting with the world, including more than the grabbing and throwing of the objects.

I can think of many FPS titles, No One Live Forever (where's my lip stick case!), Blood, MOH, that had some interesting hand motion actions other than just holding a weapon. If it really destroyed the emersion to have the player represented outside of the body then Max Payne for one would have never worked. 
Seeing your hands is about as useful as seeing your feet. And what fps game can you see your feet in? Gore. And Gore sucked money ass. I rest my case. 
Money Ass 
is even more expensive than monkey ass. 
Fallacy of equivocation. You should be ashamed of yourself! 
Ladies And Gentlemen Of The Jury: 
If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! 
Oh Yeah... 
i forgot...

What if you're holding a gun and you want to pick up a crate that needs two hands to pick up? And what if you're holding a two-handled gun and want to pick up anything?

Do you guys want to play a game or a simulation? 
I Just Want To Pump Some Holes 
in that crate, man 
a game with physics should support a basic grabbing action ( d3 had this crane... )

also, i loved to see hands (and tits with health bar) in that jurassic park game. just that the handling sucked. im pretty sure the hl team could do better than that. :) 
In Riddick 
you see your feet and stuff 
In Ultima: Exodus 
You have to buy food or else you'll starve to death! So, Valve should add that too. 
Oh Man, 
that was Ultima III right? Those games take me back. Good God, some of those were difficult. Scenerios like having to use a high level teleport spell to move through a series of enclosed caverns, and then resting up after every jaunt. If developers made games that difficult these days all you would hear is bitch, bitch, moan, moan from the candyass critical community (rocking on my porch, shaking my cane). 
Oh, The Fine Feathered Folk 
of Quake level reviews excepted from the above, for what I have in mind

and the ladies of Game Player Magazine who can't be bothered to put out their Virginia Slims while using a keyboard. 
Phalic Fallacy 
That title has nothing to do with anything but I thought it sounded cool.

In the last few months I've read several articles about why game journalism sucks. There are plenty of people out there already doing something about it. Nintendorks, Game Girl Advance, and Grand Text Auto are a few of the cooler indy game sites out there. 
HL2 Lately Played 
This is not a resurecting thread, it's just my humble opinion about HL2 I lately played (compared to you guys) these last days...
I finally found the time to play HL2, and what a good surprise ! Like many of you said previously: this game is really better than Doom3. Doom3 is very very (very ...) linear, and all the game is based on the fear ambiance, and the darkness... HL2 is rather on the opposite side (like difference between the Force, and its dark side...). Even if the ambiance is not as good as in Doom3 (the game are rather different on this point), the gameplay is much more impressive (you have many possibilities of interactivity with your environment), the textures are quite similar, while HL2 have more outside textures, and it's not so dark !!! In fact, I found much more fun here !... I was very far to think it was so good... and I really prefer HL2 to Doom3 now... Well, I'm playing in SP mode, and after 6 or 7 levels, I'm not even satisfied: I want more and more... hoping it's endless ;)
Thanks to Valve and Siera for this fun moment... I'm now waiting for HL3 ! 
Funnay Dominoes 
Okay, so it's very, very obvious, but it's also very, very cool. Respect to him and respect to Valve for making such things possible. 
That Rocks 
Now let's see the D3 version >:} 
D3 Domino 
D3 domino would be build with exploding barel ... 
Hi-res Textures Pack 
I just found it:

What is this:

- The Cinematic Modification adds Hires-Textures to all human characters, some non-human characters, nearly all items, walls and vehicles (and the vending mashine of course). (Hint: If you prefer the original Low-Res Textures, delete or rename the "materials" folder inside the Mod.)

- It replaces the original HL2 music with a more classic score in the style of large Hollywood productions, that fits to the specific game-situations. More orchestral, more ambient, with unique themes for combines and Alyx. (Hint: If you prefer the original HL2-music score, delete or rename the "sound" folder and the "scripts" folder inside the Mod.)

- It adds a new weapons-balancing and strengthens all the weapons to a more realistic level. No more firing numerous rounds at the combines; kill them with 3 to 5 direct hits, just like in real-life combat, but beware: Your opponents weapons are comparable. After 3 to 5 direct hits (or 1 direct headshot) you *will* be killed. (Hint: If you prefer the original Weapons balancing, delete the file "skill.cfg" inside the Mod's cfg-folder)

- The additional Insane Hires Props are previous unreleased Hirestextures for nearly all props in the game, even little items like binders, computerparts, doorlocks and so on. The huge amount of details will give your HL2 virtually the look of a render-intro, but be warned: The amount of new textures will tax your hardware to the limit. Better don't use this pack with outdated DirectX8 cards. Don't even think about it, unless you are using a 256+ MB card.

I can't test it since I don't have HL2, but I would love too :> 
Oh, Some Fan Made Asset Replacement 
Which is not only free of any real substance, but doesn't stack up to the quality of the original art.

wd texture sharpening dudes, make something orginal and useful next time. 
Looks Better Than The Q1 Texture Peplacement Packs 
At least it's a step in the right direction for the texture-replacement trend. Just going by the shots, it looks pretty consistent with the original content. 
looks like they added layer of dirt/damage over some. well, not much difference, but atleast they look NOT worse :) 
Dear Esther 
An interactive narrative built using first-person game technologies

This looks quite beautiful and atmospheric. I still wish there was a non-Steam HL2. 
Looks Cool... 
...but how do artists learn to write these terrible Artist's Statements? It "interrogates the very notion of interactive narrative itself?" Really? Is there some required course in art school that teaches advanced thesaurus mining, torturous sentence convolution, and principles of applied pomposity? 
No There Isn't 
you just develop the instinct for it because it's the easiest way to veil that you're bullshitting your way through the latest assignment.

/me interrogates the very notion of some tequila 
My Favorite 
Is in the 'trailer' ( watch it, it has to be heard to be believed ):

"doomed as a syphilitic cartographer" 
I just played through (I guess) most of Das Roboss and I must say that is so much more like I thought HL2 would be. Fantastic mod, highly recommended! 
Just Played It 
that was pretty good!

I actually liked the sections before the end best - heavy but not overly challening combat in an environment that was kind of HL1ish. 
Playing Some Mods Now 
Whoopservatory is cool but a bit short and sparse. 
Still got a copy of HL2 on steam that I can give to anyone as a gift, so if you still dont own it for some reason and want to play it, just link me your steam account page :) 
yeah, I liked it but wish I could really have wandered around the place and taken it in at leisure - really only got to see the observatory in bits and pieces - felt pretty roped in...
one of those lower order issues that's not really an issue, in a way...

Still prefer mission improbable 1+2 
yeah although it was very well built, felt a bit too linear and roped in. Also, the cool ending was way too short (very neat idea though).

I have MI 1+2, as well as quite a few others downloaded. Will start playing through them, have the HL2 bug atm. MI3 shouldnt be far off apparetnly. 
Bless his soul.

Nothing so far can compare to the quality of Minerva:Metastasis, in my opinion. 
How many mods are broken with the May 2010 update? Is HL2 itself even playable? 
HL2 is playable, I don#t think Valve would leave their own game broken since 2010 :P

As for mods, I have not found any in my collection that are broken, tho I've heard a few were affected :( 
What Daz Said 
some HL 1 mods have issues though, since they came out before steam etc. 
HL2 Is Fine 
not sure about mods, what did this update do? 
Not Sure Exactly 
But I think some code changes broke maps and mods built using an earlier version of the hl2 engine, can't be any more specific than that though I'm afraid. 

Another well made Ep1 mod but again feels too sparse and lacks the engagement that HL2 at least appears to offer what with the numerous setpieces and scripted events. 
Mission Improbable 
This is more like it, very high quality stuff and long enough to get immersed. 
Just Played Through Siren 
Very creepy atmosphere, top marks in this department. Limited health and ammo add to the tension but the ending is just...unfinished. Shame, because this is a quality custom mappack otherwise. 
most broken mods can be fixed, see here for details: 
Better Link 
Dangerous World 
extremely high quality mod thats quite satisfying but needed to be better playtested since its not exactly easy to work out what to do next. 
Lack of playtesting (or listening to playtesters) is the downfall of many otherwise great mods, or games. 
Eye Of The Storm 
This is one the best I've played so far, very professionally built, good combat, no bugs and nice setpieces. 
Random 17 
another good one although goes overboard with light bloom in some areas and also lacks a proper ending. I believe the author is working on a second map that will link to this when it's done. 
Thanks For Posting These 
i know i'll be doing a hl2 marathon later during the winter. :) 
No Probs 
have another 9 lined up to play :) 
Outpost 16 
Like Whoopservatory, way too short.

But what's here is borderline amazing! The whole map's essentially a setpiece and a very memorable one. 
If you're comparing it to Whoopservatory, then I've got to check out Outpost 16 asap. :p

Have you checked out Research & Development yet btw? 
i've played that one, and if you haven't i'll just chime in and say you should play it too. ^_^ 
nightmare house 2 is good if you like horror mods 
I was comparing it length wise, both Whoopservatory and Outpost 16 were too short IMHO.

Whoopersvatory is a little more polished but Outpost 16 has a killer setpiece.

R&D is in the remaining 8, as is Minerva Metastasis. 
is a great mod.

R&D has a very good design and interesting puzzles, but I got stuck somewhere near the end I think and gave up. 
<Avenger_> half life 2 is neat
<Avenger_> im playing it now 
So Vaguely Related: this is the coolest gaming related thing I've seen for quite a while. 
Some serious Source wizardy on display there, and I'm looking forward to playing the whole thing beginning to end.

I do hope that this version of Xen gets even weirder further in. The bleak/incomprehensible vibe of the original Xen was pretty cool (even if it may have just been an accidental result of rushing the development). 
Well I Love That. 
Also wondering how long until Bal remakes it in Quake in 1:1 scale. 
Breathtakingly Beautiful 
I never finished Black Mesa. Seeing this made me want to do it just so I can experience Xen! 
I feel sorry for the person who had to sculpt all those displacements. yikes. 
Re: #317 
My thought on those was they likely developed some sort of script to generate a displacement from a mesh. I couldnt imagine any other way to allow for iteration other than that, so i hope theres a script for it :P 
The guns feel updated too! Absolutely jawdropping. 
Something like 15 years in the making, 4 of which were after it hit Steam. Kind of a shame that any game would take that long to make but at least Xen looks incredible. 
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