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Gabe Newell, the beloved chief of Valve, has proven many times that he is really kind to fans. So it did not take a long for him to agree to pose for a very special photo this week after giving a talk at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. This photo involves one of those notorious horse head masks, and it proves that Gabe Newell, as ever, is a good sport.
For more on what Newell was talking about at the school, see here. Newell will also be delivering two keynotes at next week's DICE conference in Las Vegas. We'll have full coverage on Kotaku.
Gabe Newell having fun with a fan [YouTube]
The Half-Life 2 Cinematic Mod has been around forever, and in that time has proven fairly divisive. Sure, it adds some lovely effects to the game, but it also makes so many changes that some feel it loses a little of Valve's original vision for City 17 and its surrounding countryside. The "improved" character models are a particular bone of contention.
I could never get past the latter, with almost everyone in the mod looking like a Baywatch reject, but if all you care about are environmental effects and the crusade to make a game that's nearly ten years old look brand new, you might want to watch the new video below and see how far the mod has progressed since its inception back in 2005.
If you can meet its surprisingly hefty specs (at least for the full range of effects, considering the game's age), you can download the mod below.
Gaming Heads, a company that's been making Valve-related merchandise for a few years now, will later this year be brining out this impressive (and huge) Gordon Freeman statue.
Standing 20" tall and available in Q3, the regular edition will sell for $320, while a collector's edition (that comes with an extra weapons, the SMG) will sell for $340.
Gordon Freeman [Gaming Heads]
Earth's Special Forces is a mod for the original Half-Life's engine (not Half-Life 2's Source) that transforms Valve's shooter into a massive arena for Dragonball Z battles.
It's a third-person fighting game with a few different modes (you can team up for deathmatches, etc). Being a mod it's a constant work-in-progress, and comes with a warning that "there is a learning curve so newbies beware", but if that doesn't deter you, the mod can be downloaded below.
For years now, there have been rumors and reports of a now-cancelled Half-Life 2 episode called Half-Life 2: Return to Ravenholm. The project, an overview of which can be found at the Combine Overwiki, was to be a collaboration between Valve and Dishonored-makers Arkane, and would, presumably, take players back to the creepy, zombie-infested village of Ravenholm. The existence and cancellation of Return to Ravenholm was confirmed by Valve's Marc Laidlaw in January of last year.
The folks at ValveTime have posted what they claim to be some new unearthed prototype screenshots from the long-cancelled project. They've compiled them into the video above, as well. For clarity's sake: These screens are old, and no one has any reason to think the project has been un-cancelled or anything like that.
Seeing as how the images come from an unconfirmed (by us) source and the game apparently never got very far into development, I'd suggest taking them with a grain of salt. I've reached out to both Arkane and Valve to ask about their authenticity, and will update if I hear back. Still... absorption? Interesting.
It wouldn't be an article about Half-Life unless I closed with some sort of Half-Life 3 joke, so… no, you know what? This one time I'm not gonna do it.
New Images of Half-life 2: Episode 4 / Return to Ravenholm [ValveTime, thanks Glenn]