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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Half-Life 2 Finally Activated 736

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-a-video-game-apparently dept.
Thomas Scovell writes "After over half a decade of development, stolen source code debacle, a promised deadline that was missed by a year, and a feud between the developer and the publisher that is still in court, Half-Life 2 has finally started to activate for those who have purchased online via Steam online or who grabbed the boxed version at the retailers that let it slip early. Go play!" Reviews are available via Gamespot, Gamespy, HomeLAN Fed, and IGN.
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Half-Life 2 Finally Activated

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  • No net connection (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psergiu (67614)
    So this game is unplayable if i have no internet connection ?
    • by RonnyJ (651856) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:48AM (#10828158)
      So this game is unplayable if i have no internet connection ?

      I'm not quite sure how you've got first post then ;)

      • Do not underestimate the power of the RFC 1149 [faqs.org]. They need careful fine tuning, but if done right, the results are mind boggling. :-)
    • Re:No net connection (Score:4, Informative)

      by jaxdahl (227487) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:57AM (#10828375)
  • timezone (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bog Standard (743863) *
    I was wondering if this was going to be 12.00 AM GMT, EST or PST. Looks like it was PST.
  • well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:36AM (#10828106)
    Duke Nukem Forever will be better !!

    ahem...
  • by d2_m_viant (811261) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:37AM (#10828111)
    Yeeeeeehaaaaaa!

    So much for the rest of this college semester. Between this and Halo2, I'll be lucky if I even come in contact with a female during the next 3 months...
  • by citizenc (60589) <cary@NOspAM.glidedesign.ca> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:38AM (#10828115) Journal
    I've seen a number of reviews say that Half-Life 2 is the best FPS of all time. After playing it even for only the hour that I have (I have a Social Psychology mid-term tomorrow morning ;), I can tell you that it is, hands down.

    I have to commend Valve for doing it right. They didn't rush. They didn't over-hype. They didn't fuck it up. =)

    I believe Valve deserves a round of applause. Half-Life 2 is a masterpiece.

    *Applause*
  • Hell yea! (Score:3, Funny)

    by cloudkj (685320) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:42AM (#10828128)
    Yeah! Halo 2, WoW Beta, and now Half-Life 2! Say good bye to my GPA!
  • by MightyPez (734706) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:44AM (#10828140)
    I remember all the previews and special edition magazines that had the same theme, "Who will come out on top: Halo 2, Doom 3, or Hal-Life 2?"

    To be honest, I was rooting for Half-Life 2. I always respected Valve's commitment to their community in their support of their game(s). Halo 2 was more of the same (yet somehow more fun than the first). Doom 3 was pretty, but had the personality of a tray of ice cubes.

    I guess what I am trying to say in my own biased way, is, I'm glad I was backing Half-Life 2. So far I am not disappointed.

    And by the way, has anyone noticed the excessive use of exploding barrels yet? It's like City 17 is a giant nitro nitro plant and they can't seem to keep track of the product.
  • by NotAnotherReboot (262125) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:45AM (#10828146)
    I started up Steam precisely at 3:00AM, and had it tell me it was 'unlocking' (decrpyting) the files for the game. Minutes later, I was in game.

    I played about 45 minutes when I swore to myself that all I would do is the intro. The game is just plain amazing, and runs pretty damn well on my computer with detail turned up (this is a 1.5 year old laptop).
  • Wow.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:45AM (#10828147) Homepage Journal
    Been playing it for the last 2 hours, simply Amazing.

    AMD 2600/ATI 9700PRO and I'm getting 60-100FPS with 2X AA, at 1024x768. Smooth as silk, fast, and great.

    Only problem, Its a tube chaser so far, just run and run and run. But damn if it dont look amazing.

    BTW, she looks cute in those Jeans, Good job Valve.. ;)
  • why $49.99? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vaylen (566986) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:47AM (#10828153) Journal
    I don't understand why downloading it through Steam costs $49.99 when you can get it from places like http://www.yesasia.com/ [yesasia.com] for $39.99. I thought using Steam was going to cut out the middle man and save the buyer money while also increasing Valve's profits. So much for their great idea of direct downloading...
    • In UK pounds (and I suspect this applies to other countries that can take advantage of a weak dollar and fast connection) that's £27, slightly cheaper than I can get it at amazon.co.uk and slightly faster than in the shops.
    • Re:why $49.99? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyPez (734706) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:57AM (#10828204)
      When I buy over Steam I get a few things for my dollar. For starters, the game right now. But that's neither here nor there.

      For this demonstration, we'll follow the train of my thoughts with the package I selected, the silver package. At the price of $59.95 USD, I get the following:

      1. The Half-Life 2 game (duh)
      2. Counter-Strike: Source, the multiplayer component
      3. Half-Life (original) Source
      4. Day of Defeat Source
      5. The complete Valve catalogue, including all expansion packs and modifications
      6. And most importantly, the satisfaction that my dollar went towards the actual developers of the game, and not a middle man that printed a bunch of boxes and slapped their name on it.


      Sure you may be able to get it cheaper if you are looking at the bottom line. But with Steam I am getting value.
    • Re:why $49.99? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:12AM (#10828259)
      That was my thought too. There are no printing, distribution (see note) or stocking costs, the middle man and the retailer have been removed from the equation and the end user is expected to use a large chunk of their bandwidth allowance to grab it online and burn the game if they expect to keep it.

      $29.99 seems fairer. That's $29.99 of money that goes to Valve as opposed to the $8 or whatever it is that goes with the retail version. Everyone wins except the legacy distributors - Valve because they get 4-5x the profit, the customer because they get the game for less.

      Okay, so there are some distribution issues surrounding online downloads, but these can largely be mitigated with P2P. For example World of Warcraft uses a (very sucky) custom Bittorrent client to download the game. I have no idea what the savings are for distributing via a .torrent but I can well imagine that bandwidth consumption is slashed to 1/50th.

      Expecting people to pay what they could reasonably expect to pay in the stores, is a non-starter as far as I'm concerned. Norton / Symantec do something similar.

      As an aside, the WoW custom torrent app is so abysmally slow (as in broken slow) and requires various open ports, that I followed the advice I found somewhere, and split the .torrent out of the executable to download through a normal BT client. It was about 5 times faster.

      • Re:why $49.99? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gonzoxl5 (88685) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:43AM (#10828336)
        I'm sure there are elements of the contract with Vivendi that prohibit Valve undercutting the retail price when distributing via steam.

        The same type of restrictions stopped valve from activating clients purchased via Steam before the in-store release date

        However, that doesn't stop me disagreeing with the previous poster about the price of the game.

        I personally think that $49.99 is a pretty good price for a game like this irrespective of the distribution medium.
    • Re:why $49.99? (Score:3, Informative)

      by strider44 (650833)
      heh, I live in Australia. At the cheapest place it'll be saving me $30.
  • What about those who paid a lot of money and ordered it over steam, to get it "before people buying it from retail stores"?

    IF you pay for a premium service you should also get it. In this case everyone got it at the same time. I would be pretty pissed right now.
    I know people who paid $75 for it, with the promise they would get it before everyone else.
  • Ive downloaded it, unlocked it and get the menu page but when i start the game it crasheds.

    Oh the humanity! (and being in london, i was late for work as well (release 8am GMT) )

  • Insomnia tonight (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcknation (217793) * <{moc.liamg} {ta} {reirracon}> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:51AM (#10828170) Homepage

    Couldn't sleep and I was sick of infomercials so I decided I would try this steam thing...seeing as it was unlocked today. I dusted off the copy of HL1 a few months back and got aquainted with steam. Steam got HL1 down and playable on my machine in notime. They must be getting SLAMED. I have 4 meg down and steam (when used for HL1) saturated my bandwidth. As it sits now I bought the game and started downloading it at 4am. It's now 4:45 EST and I have 6% of HL2 downloaded. Ready to play in aprox. 321 minutes. So maybe this stint with insomnia will be spent watching the progress bar. If you are planing to buy HL2 as much as I'd rather the money go to Valve I would have to suggest you get a boxed copy....and leave Valve content server 18 alone...:P

    /-McK
    • Re:Insomnia tonight (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KapnShak (472020) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:00AM (#10828218) Homepage
      Strange, the Steam Status [steampowered.com] says their using less then half their available bandwidth. Maybe its just a really big download?
      • Re:Insomnia tonight (Score:4, Informative)

        by jasoncart (573937) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:08AM (#10828248) Homepage
        The max bandwidth stat they use on that page is very theoretical - the actual max is a lot lower.
      • Re:Insomnia tonight (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcknation (217793) *

        Well I don't know if you would consider a 838 Meg download a big download. However I just checked and the steam download is jumping from 20KB to a max of 95 or so. It's all over the place. It's not steady and it's not saturating my bandwidth. I guess I can't argue though as other people are downloading just like me :)

        /-McK
      • Re:Insomnia tonight (Score:3, Informative)

        by TomServo (79922)
        I would imagine that, at this point, the vast majority of people buying it on Steam have already pre-loaded the game, as I had. I had the entire thing downloaded over a week ago, just sitting and waiting to be unlocked with what appeared to be only downloading some keys for decrypting, not any real content. The rest of them probably bought it retail, so they already have all of the files necessary, they just have to get the keys as well.

        The only one that's getting me is that I didn't realize that I had
  • by King_of_Prussia (741355) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:51AM (#10828173)
    I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Valve fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Linux box (a PIII 800 w/512 Megs of RAM) for about 35 minutes now while it attempts to Install Half-Life 2. 35 minutes. At home, on my Pentium Pro 200 running NT 4, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Linux box, installing Doom 3 took about 15 minutes. In addition, during this install, Mozilla will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even Emacs Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

    I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while installing Valve products, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a Valve product that has run faster than its ID counterpart, despite the Valve products faster optimised code. My 486/66 with 8 megs of ram installs windows faster than this 800 mhz machine can do Half-Life at times. From an ease of installation standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that Valve is a "superior" company.

    Valve addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Valve product over other faster, cheaper, more stable games.

    • I don't think you can really comment on install speeds when you are using a Linux box to install a Windows game. It won't run anyway since it is heavily reliant on DirectX 9 Technology unlike Doom 3 which uses OpenGL.

      Your computer is below the minimum requirements too. :: Half-Life 2 Requirements

      To play Half-Life 2 and other Source add-ons you need at least the following specification PC.

      Minimum Requirements

      * 1.2 GHz Processor
      * 256MB RAM
      * DirectX 7 level graphics card
      * Windows 2000/X
    • by rootofevil (188401) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:09AM (#10828250) Homepage Journal
      Even Emacs Lite

      i think i found your problem...
      try using vi or pico and save approximately 100% of those resources ;-)
    • by spuzzzzzzz (807185) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:11AM (#10828416) Homepage
      Water looks sweet, but the humans look a bit flat compared with the dynamic shadowy bump-mapped goodness of Doom 3.

      Maybe I'm just biased because this bloody game is Windows-only.
    • by strider44 (650833) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:13AM (#10828426)
      actually I think the half-life humans look like crap. It's their skin - there's no pores and it's too smooth. Doom 3 did a whole lot better representing humans, though there wasn't many of them.

      However, I haven't played the game, and if the animations are done properly it may account for the bad texturing.
      • If you are talking about screenshots - yes, Doom 3 looks better. However, given that I am playing the game at around 100 fps I can tell you that the characters in Half Life look better than those in Doom 3. Why? They move properly, and they actually seem to display emotion. In fact, right at the beginning in the train when you go up to the others in the train the people look disturbingly real. Their eyes follow you, their whole faces change, you can SEE that they are miserable, and you just know by how they
  • I've been playing... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mtrisk (770081) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @04:53AM (#10828183) Journal
    I was on #halflife2 on IRC for the countdown. Then I started playing. In the hour that I have played Half-Life 2, the only thing I can say is that I am in complete awe.

    First off, If you've played CS:Source, you don't even know the half of it. Half-Life 2 is one hell of a single player. It manages to scare you in broad daylight. It scares you not just by monsters, but by the dystopia/authoritarian thing going on. It's really freaking scary.

    The voices, facial movements, physics, "Civil Protectorate", it's all awesome. After just one hour, I've forgiven Valve. Half-Life 2 is just as revolutionary as the original Half-Life was. You really have to play it to believe it. I can't even begin to describe in words the euphoria and the terror it strikes in your heart.

    Not bad for a company's second game.
  • Is there any?

    I didn't play HL1, but think that while the single player mode is great and pretty, I fear it gets worn out pretty quickly? :-/

    A major factor when I buy games is nowadays is the amount of replayability.
    • by HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:50AM (#10828356)
      The first Half-life only stuck around so long because there were so many mods for it.. Valve has surely made HL2 mod-friendly (I think the SDK has been out for at least a month), so if you're tired of the original game, there will be several more new ones you can play for free.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by JakeD409 (740143) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:04AM (#10828232)
    I feel like I am truly alive for the first time ever. It's like my life itself was finally fully activated at midnight PST on November 16th, 2004. Infanthood, toddlerhood, preschool, elementary school, middle school, puberty, high school, these were just pre-loads.
  • Opening.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fishmasta (827305) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:07AM (#10828241)
    And the opening train ride took less than 10 minutes! Thank you, Valve!
  • Awesome tech support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by junkgrep (266550) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:08AM (#10828245)
    So mygame kept crashing loading the very first level. I wanted to cry. Not knowing what to do, I did the only geek thing I could think of: I simply posted my tears on Shacknews [shacknews.com]. But within minutes a Valve guy showed up asking if he could help. Then Erik Johnson himself popped in and started troubleshooting. I practically had Valve guys fighting over who could help me fix the problem first. And all this at like 2am in the morning. That's some pretty sweet support kids: they tracked ME down instead of me having to beg them to help.
    • by TheLoneDanger (611268) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:50AM (#10828535)
      I practically had Valve guys fighting over who could help me fix the problem first.

      Valve's next press release: Valve regretfully announces that Team Fortress 2 has again been delayed due to injuries sustained by our techs during a massive free-for-all brawl. "Bob totally knew that glitch that guy was experiencing with his Gefore 6400 was mine, man. He already got the one with the problem that guy in Iowa had with the crashing during installation, and that was one sweet bug to fix. Bastard."
  • Playing it now *WOW* (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:12AM (#10828257) Homepage
    The only reason I am typing this is because during the first 30 min my system locked while playing - I had to hard reset. No big deal (I am one of those dangerous overclockers ;)

    But *WOW* This game has already destroyed Doom 3 in the FIRST HALF HOUR OF PLAY!

    You will excuse me, I have uh, important uh, stuff to uh, go and do now...

    *starts steam again*
  • by FluffyPanda (821763) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:16AM (#10828273)
    ...did they have to release HL2 on my girlfriend's birthday.

    Now I'll be looking over a candle in a romantic restaurant picturing gordon freeman's beardy mug.

    I wonder if macdonalds would do...
  • Linux (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kirth (183) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:51AM (#10828359) Homepage
    And what the hell am I going to do with that? Does it at least run in wine/cedega? Or does it look like this:
    - Half Live 2: 59$
    - Windows: 250$
    - Having to repartition harddisk: fuck you.
    Even the additional cost of windows (Microsoft-Tax), is very discouraging, but the general behaviour of said operating system raises the cost even more. I can't for instance just install windows on the third disk.
    --
    • Re:Linux (Score:3, Funny)

      by CortoMaltese (828267)
      An alternative looks like this:

      • Half Life 2 (X-Box): 59$
      • X-Box: 149$
      • Having to wait until May, 2005: fuck you.

      But hey, at least the Microsoft-Tax is 100$ smaller!

  • by JollyFinn (267972) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:18AM (#10828447)
    Now it has taken ALMOST 2 hours since this came online, and no other stories in slashdot coming. Is this coincidence, or is there some correlation between those too.
  • by Jakhel (808204) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @09:35AM (#10829741)
    6:15 am opens steam =|
    6:17 am unlocking game and taking a shower =O
    6: 45 am half life 2 logo comes up =)
    6: 46 am menu screen =..)
    6:50 am starts a new game =D
    6:52 am starts playing =..D
    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
    7:30 am craps his pants =|
    8:02 am takes another shower and gets ready to go to work =(
    9:32 am posts on slashdot

  • Hahahaha (Score:5, Funny)

    by NitroWolf (72977) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @11:22AM (#10831076)
    Hahahaha Steam is so slashdotted...

    Oh wait... maybe it's not slashdot, I suppose it's *MAYBE* possible it's the million people trying to download multimegabyte files to activate HL2?

    Naaa... gotta be slashdot.

  • Steam Must Die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koreth (409849) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:30PM (#10832988)
    I played the game for an hour or so before I went to bed last night. Wanted to play it again this morning, but I made the idiot mistake of disconnecting from Steam in the meantime. Now (presumably because their servers are getting hammered by thousands of users) I can't connect to the Steam server at all. Which means I can't get to the list of games. Which means I can't play the goddamn single-player game I paid $60 for and that's sitting on my computer, already unencrypted.

    When I try to launch the Half-Life 2 executable on its own, I get an error that it can't find filesystem_stdio.dll, which indeed does not exist anywhere on my hard disk. There is a filesystem_steam.dll, though. How helpful!

    Is this what I have to look forward to? Buying a game and being able to maybe play it from time to time, whenever their servers happen to be up and not too terribly busy? Way to go, guys.

    I can understand requiring Steam for multiplayer. Fine. No problem at all with that. But I should not need to connect to their servers every time I want to fire up the game on my own.

    The first hour of my experience with this game was incredible. So far, the second hour of my experience is frustrating, annoying, and completely dissatisfying.

    • I PAID FOR THE GAME. I AUTHORIZED THE GAME AND UPDATED STEAM (ANOTHER 20MB IN ADDITION TO THE 5 CD'S.) I UPDATED HL2 TODAY (ANOTHER 20MB) SO I COULD FINALLY PLAY IT. I CLOSED MY CONNECTION (I DO NOT LIKE MY GAMING PC ONLINE.) I DOUBLE, TRIPLE, QOUDROUPLE, ETC, ETC, CHECKED MY SETTINGS SO I COULD PLAY IN "OFFLINE" MODE. I CANNOT. THE EXACT ERROR IS ...
      Steam - Error
      This operation cannot be completed when Steam is in offline mode.

      I will never buy VALVe software again, I don't care if they make a game where Tr
    • Re:Steam Must Die (Score:5, Informative)

      by grangerg (309284) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @06:49PM (#10837092)

      I'm sort of in the same boat; extremely frustrated. I, however, have not been able to play yet. I have been able to waste my entire afternoon and I'm not happy in the slightest.

      My first problem came attempting to install it. I made the mistake of de-selecting Counter-Strike; the install fails on disc 4 if you do. It can't find "hl2.ico1". Well, Duh! It's on disc 5 retard! After waiting for the forums on steampowered.com, I found the problem was that I had chosen to not install Counter-Strike. Wasted time: about an hour and a half.

      Next, I fired up Steam to create an account. Oh, my living hell! Who coded that thing? What requires 100% CPU time? Was someone at Valve experimenting with spin-locks? It seems like every click means a 2-minute wait while it pegs the CPU---then it finally does something. Another hour and a half---maybe 2---wasted.

      Finally, after it decided to create my account, it got stuck validating my CD-key. I let it attempt to validate for---I kid you not---1:45 before I killed the stupid thing. Thereafter, I get the

      Error:Steam error: SteamProcessCall(Login)(0xab0002,0x15efc04,0x15efd 0c) failed with error 200: Failed to find Master AuthenticationServer
      error in the logs. I guess the servers finally melted down. The scary part is, when they come back online, will I have to call customer support to fix my account? I shudder to think there are more suprises like this waiting.

      The forums at steampowered.com are now officially offline and I have yet to find anywhere else (well, through Google at least) with help. It seems the entire support/authentication system has melted.

      It is now almost 7 hours since I bought Half-Life 2 and I still cannot play it. I'm just now barely getting myself back to the state where I don't want to kill/maim/destroy something; I'm extremely dissatisfied with Steam. It was not up to the task, and has left a bad taste in my mouth. I hope Valve can fix this soon, but the damage is done.

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