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Half-Life 2

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

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

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

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

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

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

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

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

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

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

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

This is the kind of image my mum probably thinks is at the top of RPS all the time.

Scaring someone is a fine art. Scaring someone when they’re expecting to be scared makes it even trickier. So Grey is a big task for the Deppresick team of modders. A total conversion mod for Half-Life 2, it’s a horror game that borrows liberally from every other horror game, movie, book, and scary painting you once saw. I put on my bravest trousers and had a look.>

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Joe Martin is a Half-Life 2 obsessive who often wells up with actual tears when he thinks of the content Valve cut during development. Imagine his joy at finding the Missing Information mod, which collects workable snippets from the stolen HL2 beta and assembles them into a Steam-compatible mod. Joe takes a look at the parts of HL2 Valve didn’t intend for us to see, and wonders if the game we got was the best it could have been.>

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

ICONIC IMAGERY.

The rumors of Black Mesa‘s death have been greatly exaggerated. It has, however, been over three years since Gordon Freeman went for an all-too-brief jog in his shiny new hazard suit. No, gaming’s favorite man of zero words and 1000 crowbar swings per minute hasn’t suddenly affixed a chainsaw to his gun or moved his adventures to an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern setting, but a lot’s changed.

Once upon a time, this was Valve’s firstborn with a fresh coat of paint. Now, though, the Black Mesa team’s pouring its own blood, sweat, and tears into one of gaming’s most sacred holy grails – for better or worse. Only time will tell. But how much time? One more year? Two? Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (aka, a billion)? And what state is the remake in now? I spoke with project lead Carlos Montero about all of that and more.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Back in Black Mesa.

The universe has a weird fondness for improbable coincidences. Name your franchise Half-Life, and it takes half a lifetime to come out. Create a robust mod based around a game in that franchise, and its development mirrors that of its crowbar-wielding, hazard-suit chic father series nearly one-to-one. The lofty promises, the incredibly lengthy periods of radio silence, the incessant cries of “vaporware” and “it’ll probably be a huge letdown” – all of it.

Maybe, though, that part’s not such a coincidence. To hear project lead Carlos Montero tell it, Black Mesa‘s an obsessively redesigned, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up love letter to Valve’s opus. The goal, then, is to improve> on something already considered by many to be perfect. And that, as it’s turned out, has been a lot harder than Montero and his constantly fluctuating team first assumed. So, first up, we’re delving into what exactly has taken so long – especially in light of 2008′s rather stunning trailer that promised a release date of, er, three years ago.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Gordon always looked like a bit of an areshole in that picture, I must admit

The appearance of Valve’s Gabe Newell on the inaugral Seven Day Cooldown podcast seems to have generated all the headlines in the world. Apple’s new boss didn’t really visit Valve, DOTA2 will use a brand new kind of free-to-play and, now, why ‘Ricochet 2′ has been so long coming. There is, I’m afraid, absolutely no way that ‘Ricochet 2′ is a veiled term for another game rather than a sequel to weirdo Tron-like jumpy multiplayer mod Ricochet. And doubly-definitely not a game that might have a ‘Half’ in the title. No sirree. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

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.

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