Some members of the PCGH community may still remember 1998. It was the heyday of 3D fast-paced action games (Epics Unreal also came out in 1998), and the Voodoo developers at 3dfx were also to blame for that. Valve’s first game was released in the US on November 19, 1998, and the groundbreaking first-person shooter was also released in Europe on November 27, 1998. PCGH remembers this.
The beginning of Half-Life
Valve was founded in 1996 by two former Microsoft employees, Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington. With a license for the Quake engine, which was obtained from ID Software, work on Half-Life began in late 1996. The actually planned release date of late 1997 was not reached, but the time came in late 1998. By today’s standards, it is difficult to imagine such a short development time. To date, 9.3 million games are said to have been sold at retail alone. There are also sales through Steam, which cannot be quantified.
Speaking of Steam: Although Valve’s gaming platform launched only a few years later, Half-Life naturally ended up there at some point. As part of its 25th birthday celebrations, Valve is giving away Half-Life 1 for a short time, so it’s worth hurrying. There’s also a surprising update for the shooter with new content (four maps plus a mini campaign) and technical improvements (UI scaling, revised effects, and Steam platform verification).
Of half-lives and indices
The title of the video game has an important meaning: there is a direct allusion to the technical term half-life from nuclear physics. The game’s symbol is a lambda (λ), the symbol for the decay constant in physics. Lambda can be seen in many Half-Life artworks. German players did not have normal access to the original version of Half-Life for a long time. Soon, the shooter ended up on the index; According to Wikipedia, violence against human enemies was classified as “brutalizing and socioethically disorienting.”
Thus, in the German version, the player fought against robots, “the aliens no longer bled, the corpses of killed opponents slowly dissolved, and in this version, the investigators who were shot sat on the ground shaking their heads.” head”. In April 2017, almost 20 years after its publication, the indexing was deindexed.
What was trapped in the story?
It is well known that the player, as MIT physicist Gordon Freeman, conducts secret research at a top-secret missile testing base called Black Mesa. When a daring experiment fails, hordes of aliens flood the facility and make life difficult for more than just Gordon Freeman. The player encounters the mysterious G-Man on his way through Black Mesa. His unclear role and mysterious appearances of him in the game have given rise to many speculations and theories among fans.
The main character is named after a real Valve employee and his appearance is based on several Valve employees who served as models for the character’s design. Freeman has no speaking role, a conscious decision to increase the player’s immersion and identification with the character. The skipping of scenes can be explained in a similar way: the entire story is explained within the game, which contributes to a more immersive gaming experience. The enemy AI was revolutionary for the time: generic soldiers sought cover, threw grenades, and could position themselves strategically. The puzzle and platforming elements were certainly notable in Half-Life. Intelligent interaction with neutral NPCs and the use of secondary firing modes for weapons were also maintained.
Half-Life as the basis of many modifications.
Through numerous mods, the community ensured that Half-Life and the Quake engine served as a foundation for other games. The best known are undoubtedly Counter-Strike, Team Fortress Classic and Day of Defeat. At that time, Valve took over many developers and mods and continued them as commercial products. It wasn’t until 2004 that Valve switched to its own Source engine with Half-Life 2. In 2015, several versions were released with the new engine, including Counter-Strike Source, Team Fortress, Portal, and more. In 2015, Source Engine 2 was announced and used in Dota 2 for the first time.
On page 2 of the article, after reviewing the gameplay and meaning of Half-Life, it’s all about technology. How should the 1998 Half-Life engine be classified? What else can you get out of 25 year old ham in 2023 with path tracing and crazy anti-aliasing? Read on, because there is much more for you on page 2.