Half-Life

Though the chances of us ever playing a new, official Half-Life game again are slim, Valve’s seminal series still has its hooks in us, as evidenced by the latest issue of PC Gamer. Ex-Valve employees are similarly plagued by visions of Gordon Freeman, the latest being Cayle George, whose free Half-Life 2 mod is now available on Steam. 

Half-Life: C.A.G.E.D. follows hot on the heels of the game jam inspired by the tweaked Episode 3 story synopsis from Marc Laidlaw, though it has nothing to do with Episode 3, instead being a prison escape mod, full of shooting and environmental puzzles. 

George’s worked with Valve, Monolith and Guerilla Games, and was a designer on Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2, as well as being a Half-Life modder before that. 

The short, single-player episode comes with developer commentary, along with a soundtrack from Lazerhawk. You can download it from Steam for free, but you will need a copy of Half-Life. 

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

While Valve Software are unable to continue Half-Life in a way they like, some former employees seem drawn back to HL after leaving. Former Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw recently leaked a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot idea and now Cayle George has released a new Half-Life mod. Available now free through Steam, C.A.G.E.D. [official site] is a short singleplayer episode set in a prison. I found parts frustrating but if you’ve missed the Half-Life look, feel, and weapons, this is a pretty flashy reason to return. (more…)

Half-Life

Has it really been ten years since we last partnered with bespectacled scientist Gordon Freeman, and his daring sidekick Alyx Vance? It has! Which is why PCG UK 310 has that gorgeous luminous orange lambda scrawled over its cover. 

Inside The Half-Life Issue, Andy chats exclusively to the makers of third-party remake Black Mesa, and we celebrate Half-Life 2 with analysis, stories and jokes in our five-part retrospective. 

Elsewhere, you'll find the second half of our massive history of FPS games feature, and Steven gets to grips with the first MechWarrior campaign in 15 years. Previews this month include the new-to-PC Final Fantasy 15, Biomutant, Anno 1800 and more. And if that's not enough for you, this month's issue comes with free games: Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate, and a Sudden Strike 4 demo. 

Issue 310 is on shelves now and available on all your digital devices from Google Play, the App Store and Zinio (they may be slow to update—look for that glowing Half-Life logo on the front). You can also order direct from My Favourite Magazines or purchase a subscription to save yourself some cash, receive monthly deliveries and enjoy our exclusive subscriber covers. This month's is an absolute belter:

This month:

  • Andy gets exclusive access to Half-Life remake Black Mesa. 
  • We celebrate Half-Life 2 in our five-part retrospective.
  • Steven plays the first MechWarrior campaign in 15 years.
  • Part two of our colossal history of FPS games feature.
  • Tom recreates the PCG team for his review of XCOM 2's new expansion.
  • XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, Rez Infinite, LawBreakers and more reviewed.
  • Final Fantasy 15, Biomutant, Anno 1800 and more previewed.
  • Our CPU cooler group test.
  • And much more!
Half-Life

In the spirit of "why the hell not", a group of five modders is recreating Half-Life 2 in the Half-Life engine. There may be practical reasons for using this mod – maybe you don't own a copy of Half-Life 2 but you do own a copy of Half-Life – but these demakes are usually done just to see if they're possible. 

So far, so good: the team has already completed the game's first chapter, but they need help – especially from programmers and modelers. The mod's demo is currently available on ModDB, where you can also follow its progress.

"You might be aware that this has already been attempted already, but none of these have actually panned out," the description reads. "With Half-Life 2 Classic, we hope to communicate more with the community, so that even if we don't manage to recreate the whole game, we can still release a substantial part of it, which can be continued by someone else in the future."

Meanwhile, whether the mod will be a deliberately retro-styled outing, or whether they'll try to match Half-Life 2's fidelity, is yet to be seen. "We're still debating if we should stick close to Half-Life 2's graphics, or if we should downgrade them on purpose, and if so, how much. We may even make optional high-res models for the hd model pack, while keeping the base game's models low-res. But it depends on what most people want."

Check out the mod in action below. Cheers, Kotaku.

Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

hl3

The lesson here is “never go to sleep.” All sorts of things happen while people sleep. Cats go on adventures, presidents threaten nuclear war and, well, ex-Valve writers post thinly-disguised plot summaries of the unreleased and, so far as best guesses go, long-cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Long time Half-Life scribe, the excellent Marc Laidlaw (who left Valve last year), casually tossed out a link to his website last night, which led to a short story about Gertie Fremont, Alex Vaunt and their climactic battle against evil alien invaders the Disparate. (The site’s having a wobble, but the page is archived right here).

While that might sound like satirical tomfoolery, the actual story very much> sounds like how the final chapter of Half-Life 3 could have played out. It involves time-travelling cruise liners, resurrected overlords, the heart of the Combine and the fate of one Doctor Gordon Freeman.

This is really happening. (more…)

Half-Life - Jason
A small update for Half-Life is now available:

Engine
  • Rate limit hltv commands to prevent connection issues
Counter-Strike - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Though Half-Life [official site] is almost nineteen years old and its sanctioned fan remake Black Mesa is nearing completion, Valve have launched a wee patch for their pretty okay or whatever vintage FPS. The patch fixes a few crashes and exploits, and hit other Half-Life engine games too, such as classic Counter-Strike. Given how much of modern PC games history connects to Half-Life and its mod scene, I’m glad Valve are still tinkering a little. Earlier this year, they finally got Half-Life an uncensored release in Germany too. … [visit site to read more]

Half-Life

Half-Life got a new update today, which is significant for only one reason: the game is old. Old to the tune of nearly 20 years. So it's cool that Valve is still supporting it, despite Valve clearly not pulling its weight in other areas (releasing or even working on Half-Life Fricking 3).

The update addresses some small bugs the likes of which don't seem too gamebreaking, but since Valve probably wants to keep this game evergreen on Steam, it makes sense to address them. 

And yes, I've read the patch notes several times and there's no clear or obscure reference to any much-anticipated third instalment. Just take my word for it. Don't waste your precious time on this earth deconstructing the below published patch notes.

Here they are:

  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Half-Life - alfred
We have updated the public release of Half-Life.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console. Thanks to Marshal Webb from BackConnect, Inc for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file. Thanks to Grant Hernandez (@Digital_Cold) for reporting this.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder. Thanks to Vsevolod Saj for reporting this.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable. Thanks to Sam Vanheer for reporting this.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals
Half-Life

Half-Life: A Place in the West is a webcomic series set in Valve's esteemed Gordon Freeman-housing future world that's set between the events of the first and second games in the wake of the Seven Hour War. Created by Michael Pelletier, Ross Joseph Gardner, Heath Heil and Rachel Deering, issue one launch onto Steam towards the end of last year, with issue two landing in February this year. Now, issue three has a launch date: July 21. 

And to mark the announcement, Half-Life: A Place in the West Chapter 3 has a pretty nifty trailer. Observe:

Following the story of Albert Kempinski and his search for his kidnapped daughter, A Place in the West explores life and the trials and tribulations faced by the world's new cast of characters caught up in the dystopian city of New Franklin. The incoming third entry—named 'The Pit'—continues the exploits of Kempinski and his companion Leyla Poirier as they delve deeper into New Franklin's secrets. 

"The Pit is a culmination of everything we learned from the first two chapters," says writer and co-creator Gardner in a statement. "At a total of 30 pages, the condensed narrative is sleeker, much more focused, and really aims to bring the city to life."

Half-Life: A Place in the West in its entirety will run for a total of 13 issues—with chapter three due on July 21 for $1.99/£1.49. If you'd like to know about A Place in the West's origins, this article of Gardner's makes for pretty interesting reading. 

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