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Half-Life 2

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Kotaku

30,000 People are Going to Play Half-Life 2 as a Protest Against Half-Life 3Or is it a protest for Half-Life 3? Whatever.



The point being, This weekend over 30,000 members of a Steam group will sit down and play Half-Life 2. Calling themselves "A Call for Communication", the group says "we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message: Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."



That "better communication" would come in the form of any communication as to the whereabouts of Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or as it's more commonly believed to be these days, simply Half-Life 3.



Will it work? Probably not. But hey, any excuse to play through Half-Life 2 again is a good excuse!



A Call for Communication [Steam]



30,000 People are Going to Play Half-Life 2 as a Protest Against Half-Life 3


Kotaku





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Reader Michael has spent over 100 hours putting together this music video, in which the narration from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's The Dead Flag Blues is played over visuals from Half-Life 2.



Impressive stuff.


Kotaku

The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2Since we ran a feature on Duncan Harris, the groovy "video game photographer" behind the website DeadEndThrills, I've been sharing some of his work each week here.



This week has some great stuff, focusing largely on Mass Effect 2 and the Half-Life 2 mod/ghost story Dear Esther. Let's get to it!



First up, at top, we've got one of several shots from Dear Esther, which will see its official Steam release on February 14th. I for one can't wait, and this kind of shot is why.



"This Old House"


From Harris's notes:




Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"For Tomorrow"


The first of several Mass Effect 2 shots, this one is simply… space. They say it's the final frontier. I can get with that.




Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected max quality FXAA 3.11 w/ texture pre-sharpening), 2160p rendering.




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



Writings on the Wall"


Alas, poor Veetor. Driven mad by the collector attack. Poor fellow. I hope none of you heartless bastards turned him over to Cerberus for testing.




Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected ‘Ultra' quality SMAA + 4xMSAA), 2160p rendering.




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"Almost Human"


I call this one "Miranda's Super-Hot Posterior" because, well… I also think of this sequence in the game not-so-fondly because I've seen it many a time after having to re-roll my Shepard after realizing that while he/she looked fine standing still, things got ghastly once the game got going.




Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected max quality FXAA 3.11 w/ texture pre-sharpening), 2160p rendering.




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"Vulcan"


In a break from the two main games for the week comes one last shot from Star Trek Online, this one of the planet Vulcan. That's a big q-tip that fella's got there.




Tools and tricks: Cryptic demo recorder, 2160p rendering, free camera, custom FOV, timestop, offline antialiasing.




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"The Ghost That Walks"


Hoo, buddy. Yet another gorgeous shot from Dear Esther.




Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"Highlander"


Another Dear Esther bit of amazingness.




Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



"In The Temple of Love"


Dear Esther. Don't have much to say for these other than "wow."




Tool and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).




The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2



Spirit Level"


Look at that business! Look at it! Man, I can't wait to play Dear Esther.




Tool and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).



Kotaku

Hey, Valve, What’s Going On, Eh?Republished from Rock, Paper Shotgun.



Valve have created themselves an interesting situation. Presenting themselves as bastions of consumers, remarkably accessible to gamers, regularly inviting in groups of modders – often to give them jobs – and always being present to offer a quote on how customers deserve to be treated with more dignity, they establish themselves as being our friend. And then from that position, they sure do like to muck about. And as Eurogamer's Tom "Tom Bramwell" Bramwell mentioned on Twitter this morning, it's hard not to sympathise with a growing body of Valve's customers who are asking for better communication.



If Episode 3 went horribly wrong, it would be fascinating to know.

No one has a clue what they're up to. Games are sometimes announced moments before release, or years in advance and then nothing but silence. Sometimes when they tease it's obscure, frustrating ARGs that eventually end in a new pretend hat. Other times it's a complete open door and everything revealed. They hide clues in so many places that people end up scouring everything they do for a hint, a glimpse, of something that might suggest they'll eventually return to the Half-Life universe proper. They've turned gamers into pseudo-schizophrenics, people frantically trying to find patterns in the random, believing there are hidden messages within their communications. But does anyone have a "right" to know what's going on with the Half-Life series.



Clearly not. It's absolutely Valve's prerogative if they want to never make another Half-Life game again, and concentrate only on adding new hats to TF2. And should they tell us they're doing that? No – why should they? They are a privately owned company, without shareholders to answer to, not required to reveal their plans to anyone.



Should they tell anyone what they're up to? I think it's probably about time they did.



For many years Valve have ridden a wave of remarkably good grace. Developing and releasing extraordinarily good games gets you a long way, and Valve have consistently proven themselves to be the best in the world at what they do. From the astonishing shake up of gaming that Half-Life caused, to the zenith of the FPS, still unbeaten seven years later, Half-Life 2, and then the excellent Episodes, both Left 4 Deads, the Portal games, and TF2… there is no other record like it in gaming. There's a reason Valve has the reputation it has.




But their peculiar secrecy doesn't seem to do them any obvious favours. When they revealed the existence of DOTA 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the gaming press was obviously extremely eager to give this as much coverage as possible. They're Valve games, so there's an extremely good chance they'll be very good. (Not guaranteed of course. There's always Ricochet, conspicuously absent from their Games page.) Readers want to know about them, sites want details about them, and Valve wants the coverage. It all works.



So when they go quiet, after two episodes of a promised a three part episodic series of Half-Life games, it's understandable that people get annoyed. No, no one has the right to know – it's absolutely their private business, and they may keep it as underwraps as they wish. But I'd suggest at this point, this many years into what is now appearing quite a farce, it's doing damage to their reputation.






More top stories from Rock Paper Shotgun



Interview: BioWare's James Ohlen On SWTOR " I think it's because story is timeless – people love to live through story."

Killer Instinct: A Hitman Absolution Preview "Oh, we are skeptical souls at RPS. Though we loved Hitman: Blood Money, we have been somewhat wary of Hitman: Absolution."

Delicately Debating Darkness II's Demo "Immediate thought: it's so noisy! It's so sweary! It's so violent! Does old man Doom know that his kids have turned out like this?"






Clearly the actions of Axel "Ago" Gembe were absolutely unjustifiable, and the leaking of Half-Life 2 scarred Valve very badly. Gembe's given motivation was his frustration about the lack of information being released about the game, and his eventual discovery that Valve weren't revealing quite how far from finished the game was. Leaking the code was a stupid and cruel act, and Simon Parkin's wonderful article about his attempts to broker peace between the two many years on shows that Valve are still hugely angry and upset about it. None of it should ever have happened, but what I find peculiar is that Valve apparently learned no lessons about the frustration they generate in their most dedicated fans.



The silence over Episode 3, or what for seemingly no reason most now think will be Half-Life 3, is infuriating. And not because we deserve to know about it, nor because Valve have any obligation to say. But unfortunately, Valve have confused us. They act in an extraordinarily open way in so many cases, with remarkable access via email, and an engagement with the community that's the envy of the gaming world. While they of course receive backlashes, and there is a contingent of Angries who will always hate them, the goodwill they receive is enormous. This, combined with their more recent engagement with complex ARGs and hiding clues everywhere, has given the impression that they want to share what's going on with us. And that confuses us.



If Episode 3 went horribly wrong, it would be fascinating to know. If they developed the game and it was complete arse, it wouldn't damage Valve's reputation for saying so. If it's been in ongoing development, constantly iterated and improved upon, perhaps even morphing into Half-Life 3, everyone would be so excited to hear. If they just ran out of ideas, or got bored of Freeman, we'd love to know why.



So no, of course Valve has no obligation, and we have no right, to know what's happening. But I'm struggling to think of a reason why it would harm them to keep us up to date. Were they a completely secretive organisation, unreachable, who only announce a new game the day it comes out, then our expectations would be somewhere else. But it is the confusion of the contradiction of Valve's surprising openness and closed secrecy that leads to the bewildered frustration of their audience.



John Walker is a writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the world's best sites for PC gaming news. John is Britain's leading adventure gaming specialist. Follow him on Twitter.

Republished with permission.
Kotaku





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Harrison Krix's replica Half-Life 2 gravity gun looked incredible, but it was never destined for his shelf, or that of an international adult collectible retailer. It was built for charity, and it's for charity it was auctioned.



Awesomely, the gun went as part of a Child's Play auction for a whopping $21,000. That'd be a bargain if the thing actually worked.



To celebrate, he's posted a lengthy explanation on how it was built over on his website, along with the above snappy video showing it in action.



Half Life 2: Gravity Gun [Volpin Props]


Kotaku

Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 MovieIf you've ever wanted to see a live-action Half-Life 2 movie, these mock posters are only going to make you want to see one a lot more.



They're the work of British graphic designer Sean Keenan, and are, for the most part, wonderfully tasteful and subdued.



He's based them on the posters for Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Batman movie, if you think the colour palettes and design are familiar.



Sean Keenan [Portfolio, via Elysha]



Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie

Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie

Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie

Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie


Kotaku

Half-Life LEGO? One Man Made It Happen.Custom LEGO builder Brandon Bannerman doesn't wait for due process to take its course, he makes his own damn LEGO. And this week he's made this wonderful little Gordon Freeman.



It'd look great with that last set of Half-Life LEGO we saw, give those Combine someone to chase after.



You can check out more pics of Lil' Gordon, and some of Brandon's other work, at the link below.



Catsy [CSF]'s photostream (1,103) [Flickr, via Toycutter]


Kotaku





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Good evening, Kotaku. I hope you weren't trying to get any sleep tonight.



This Garry's Mod masterpiece is a little bit Dead Space, a little bit Half-Life 2, and a whole lot of never going to sleep ever again.



It's the work of postal123 and craptasket. Thank them, if you must. Or blame them.



[thanks Moskeeto!]


Kotaku

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real WorldMaster craftsman Harrison Krix has built himself a replica of Gordon Freeman's Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2. It's really something.



Made internet famous by similar projects based on the weapons of series like Mass Effect and World of Warcraft, the gun has that post-apocalyptic finish you'd expect, along with some amazing lighting effects that bring the whole thing to life.



If you actually want to own it? It's being auctioned off at a Child's Play dinner in Seattle. Details on how you can take part (and more photos from Dan Almasy, who took all the snazzy pics) at the link below.



Gravity Gun for Child's Play [Volpin Props]

Dan Almasy's photostream [Flickr]



A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World

A Half-Life Gravity Gun That Exists In the Real World


Kotaku





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Escape From City 17, a 2009 short flick from The Purchase Brothers, was and still is the best piece of fan-made Half-Life cinema we've ever seen. Over two years later, it finally has a follow-up.



Escape From City 17 - Part Two has the same top-shelf special effects (and reportedly the same shoestring budget of $250) as the first, only this time it's a lot longer, clicking in at around 15 minutes (as opposed to the first movie's five).



The extra time means more room for a story, in this case the relationship between an American and Russian resistance fighter, but sadly also more time for things to slow down and cracks appear in the writing and budget.



Still, it's definitely worth a watch, especially for the amazing effects.





You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
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