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HL2 : Episode 1
Listen up Ritual, THIS is how you do episodic...

Best 4 gaming hours I have had in a long time, take all the best bits from a 12 hour game and cram them into 4 hours of fun, this is what Valve has done and it works great.

Ok I'll be a little more objective...

1) The plot is thicker, better and a lot more interresting than in HL2.

2) The graphics are sooo much better than in HL2 (HDR, some funky new effects.. etc)

3) Single Player Co-Op with an AI, this works so well.

4) The opening 10 minute in-game sequence is probably the coolest game sequence I have ever seen.

To compare... Sin Episode 1 was like the pilot for a TV show that never took off, HL2 : episode 1 is the 3 part epic with all the cool people in it :)

Seriously, get this.

/Valve fanboi
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I dunno what you're talking about in point 1, but I agree overall.

I came. 
The music pwnz j00 etc..

ambient distorted monolithic drums ftw, ie. the music before you fight the first zombies with Alyx. Absolutely rocks. 
I doubt my 6600GT can run the game with HDR...will try the game out because HL has always been my favorite and the coments above really get me... 
Wack It With The Crowbar, Just To Be Sure... 
1) What czg said - thicker plot? not much, but good storytelling as always from Laidlaw.

2) My hardware dunt support HDR :~(
What sort of specs does one need for it anyway?

3) Not the first time it's been done, but one Alyx > any number of dipshit marines.

4) You mean the entry into the citadel? With Dog and the van? That was inspired. I dunno if it's superlative, but it was fun. And unexpected, which is an achievement.


5) Configuring a model's ragdoll thingumy is an art, right? compared to both D3 and Q4, HL2's ragdolls are so much more convincing:
RPG @ Combine = gas-masked bastards flung across the rooftops OMFG THAT WILL NEVER GET OLD!!! XD

6) Mini boss combat thought through and playtested; not a symmetrical arena.

7) Characterisation + dialogue; I sometimes feel embarrassed that Alyx credits me/gordon with far more than I/he actually deserves. And sometimes I suspect that, despite the MIT education, Gordon isn't as smart as Barney. Top stuff ^_^

8) Despite their size, antlions are weak and easy to kill. That's because they appear in potentially infinite numbers. This is proper monster design

9) Seeing a gunship up close - fantastic design, unlike the derivative scifi cliches of Q4.

10) Dr. Kleiner's 'now would be a good time to shag' You just don't get that sort of imperative in other games :D

Disappointing stuff:

a) Zombine grenadiers - shoot/switch/grab/throw...say what? o_O A bit overwhelming for me.

b) A few too many claw mines.

c) Nope, that's all I can think of.

note: what I love most about Valve - what sets them apart from, e.g. id, is their wit...
in the 'pitch dark and fighting zombies' bit, find a quite corner, turn off your flashlight and listen to Alyx. She's a larf innit :P

/Valve fanboi 2 
Well it seems lots of guys are complaining about crashes in EP1 so I'll wait for a patch. 
I dont like coop/sidekicks. Will I enjoy it? Can I play ignoring sidkick, or leaving it to wait me? 
Alyx Mostly Takes Care Of Herself 
She never died on me once even when I left her alone in the dark with half a dozen zombies. 
hmm I had no trouble what-so-ever with Ep1 at all, haven't heard about any crashes either???

Either way, the game is updated automatically over Steam so there will never be a "patch" :)

You get a cool "next episode" video when you complete episode 1, looks very interresting with lots more outdoors and natural stuff.

CZG : What new alien race???? 
The One From The Next Episode Teaser, You Minge 
that is so obviously a combine enemy, just look at it! It was also in one of the video window cutscenes in ep1. 
Daz My Arse Is Flaring With Delight And Caring 
alyx once died on me in the garage where i didn't manage to cover all the bug holes with cars in time...

ep1 rocks!

kell, for hdri u need 6xx hardware i think 
HDR works fine here on a 9800 pro. I'm not sure exactly what Valve are doing, but I don't think it's the OMFG-FP16-buffer-supershizzle that is so expensive to use even on high end cards. 
I Think 
on older cards the HDR implementation is less advanced with equates to less visual quality, but honestly on my old 9800xt lost coast looked very similar to what it looks like now on my 7900gt, there may be some more stuff going on behind the scenes but I cant see it.

Bring on Fullscreen motion blur for episode 2 then! 
Bring on Fullscreen motion blur for episode 2 then

are you serious? o_O 
Bring On Fullscreen Motion Blur For Episode 2 Then 
just buy an LCD 
I Already Got One :) 
Valves next technology update to source is dynamic depth of field and fullscreen motion blur. You can check out a wicked video on steam titled dod:S Predlude to victory.

Dunno how they are gonna do dynamic DoF in an fps but the motion blur looks fucking awesome and gives everything a more realistic look.

Back to EP1, I just played through it again with the commentry track turned on and its cool, they discuss a lot of gameplay ideas and there are quite a few things they talk about that had not occured to me before. I just missed more "video like" commentaries like in Lost coast where they take control of the camera to show you something, although they do happen once or twice. 
motion blur makes picture worse, DoF is bullshit too. how about some effects that actually improve quality, like AA for alpha transparent textures 
i have to agree with you there. i always turn off wierd full screen effects because they obscure more on the screen than anything else.

playing hl2:lost coast with hdr bugs me as well, because it feels like someone is constantly playing with the brightness on my monitor. it's very distracting, and adds nothing. i prefer a straight light bloom effect. 
Full Screen Motion Blur 
I discussed this idea way back in IRC with guys, I think it was Black Dog at least. Blurring the frames between the shown frames, not blurring the shown frames like LCD:s do, could actually improve visual quality. Don't know, it could also make it worse.

If it works anyway, then also your fps wouldn't be tied to the monitor refresh rate and LCD:s could have decent smooth movement too.

One can see some of it (although overdone and in slomo) in the start of the quakeworld malfunctioned movie available from blueyonder. The project offset trailers might have had some of it too, dunno. 
project "Offset" 
there's some motion blur in project offset video clips. the thing is that it works and looks fine, because that's all it is-- a video. i don't want my screen going blurry every time i turn my view quickly. it's not like i get motion blur every time i move my eyes around. 
I'd imagine they'd use motion blur more for actual moving content on the screen, like an enemy running, or something falling, etc, no? Hard to say how that would feel/look without really seeing it in action though, I'm not convinced it would be good. 
Motion Blur In Modern Games 
is quite a lot more fancy than bluring the entire screen from one frame to the next. I don't know how it works, but if you look at the project offset videos, the blur seems to be computed locally depending on how an object is moving. The motion blur is created as an actual part of the scene somehow, so when they pause the action, they are able to move the camera and the motion blur is still in the correct place.

I think motion blur is a really cool effect actually, and one that could add a lot if used well. It would seem to add that extra bit of immersion to those jungle scenes in crysis, as the foliage blurs and it can make you think you saw something you didn't.

Mind you, I often mistake parts of the scenery for enemies in games as old as Quake, so maybe it won't add that much :) 
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