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The Crafting of Half-Life 2 - Episode Two 39

Posted by Zonk
from the headcrab-connects-to-the-zombine dept.
Now that they have some time to stop and think, the folks behind Half-Life 2: Episode Two are making the interview rounds. Halflife2.net has up a discussion with HL2 scribe Marc Laidlaw. They discuss some of the world-shaking events in this latest chapter of the game, with plenty of spoilers. (So be forewarned.) RPS, meanwhile, has an interview with project lead David Speyrer. The developer talks John Walker through the process of playtesting at Valve, what it's like to work at such a creative company, and the decisions they made regarding DX9 vs. DX10 tradeoffs during the dev process. "RPS: You chose to not use DX10 for the new games. Why was that? DS: For this set of products we decided to use some DX10 features, but not through the API itself. It's because we didn't want to be Vista only. We didn't feel there was an enough of an install base for the Orange Box launch. I'm sure we will use it - it's pretty much inevitable. But this time, things like the hardware face morphing is implemented via a back-door API. RPS: DX9 can do what DX10 offers then? DS: Yeah, but through driver-back doors. And I'm sure we'll rethink it at some point. For this roll out it was fine to do it as we did."
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The Crafting of Half-Life 2 - Episode Two

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  • by cthulu_mt (1124113) on Monday November 12, 2007 @05:14PM (#21328119)
    Go to OpenGL you idiots. Don't lock yourselves into the Combine's propritary format.

    WWGFD?
    • by Durrok (912509)
      Shhh... talking about anything that could possibly involve linux support and valve can get you banned. ;)
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by MSFanBoi2 (930319)
      How many times does it need to be said...

      OpenGL does NOT have the same feature set of DirectX.

      yes, OpenGL contains some of the same functionality of a subset of DirectX (namely DirectX Graphics, and its Direct3D API), but DirectX is a lot more than just 3D. It contains a LOT more... In fact in order to reach the functionality of DirectX, you need to include such goodies as SDL, OpenAL, OpenGL and more than likely a bunch of others.

      We won't even get into the functionality that XNA gives the develope
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Chosen Reject (842143)
        XNA? Do you honestly think a company like Valve is going to use XNA?

        Regardless, it's a moot point as the Orange Box is going to be on the PS3, which means that the engine has already been ported to use something other than DirectX. So at this point it doesn't really matter if DirectX had only Direct3D or was so powerful it could produce a Half-Life 2 type of game with a point-and-click interface.
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        direct sound is useless for any devs who want to use EAX, so they will already be using openAL
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        you need to include such goodies as SDL, OpenAL, OpenGL and more than likely a bunch of others.
        Or we could just use SDL which includes everything for sound, graphics (handled by OpenGL in SDL usually), input, networking etc.
      • by ischorr (657205) on Monday November 12, 2007 @06:12PM (#21328925)
        Okay, fine, then use OpenGL for the 3d rendering, and platform-specific stuff for the rest. It's still MUCH easier to port, and breaks you out of the Vista lockin (unless the audio and interface handling APIs in DirectX 10 really ARE that much better/required).

        However, I cringe when I hear this argument for the same reason that I cringe every time I see someone correct someone saying "Linux" with "GNU/Linux". Yes, you may be technically more correct, but you KNOW what they meant, and in 99% of cases the pedantism doesn't change the point of their argument one bit. (Please, let's not get off on this tangent)
      • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Monday November 12, 2007 @06:38PM (#21329265) Homepage

        In fact in order to reach the functionality of DirectX, you need to include such goodies as SDL, OpenAL, OpenGL and more than likely a bunch of others.

        So... what's the problem? When you use those things, along with that set of OpenGL extensions that are implemented in the video cards that people have, you've got basically the same capabilities as DirectX - minus the proprietary lock-in.

        • by Xenolith (538304)
          No, there isn't a problem. Id software does just fine without using DirectX components. Portability of games based on Id's engines to linux is relatively easy. There are rumors that Valve is thinking of porting over to linux. http://valvesoftware.com/job-SenSoftEngineer.html [valvesoftware.com] . Note the section that says, "Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform."
          • Note the section that says, "Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform."

            That could just be about dedicated servers, so I wouldn't get your hopes up too much. On the other hand, given Playstation 3 ports there's really no reason left *not* to do Linux (and Mac OS X) ports.

        • Plus with the amount of work valve have put into using "driver-back doors" the cost of using these libraries shouldn't be prohibitive. And if they do need to work around limitations in these libraries they can even contribute their changes back to the community so that other game developers can benefit from their work.
    • WWGFD?

      I'm not sure, but it would probably involve a crowbar.

      Regards
      elFarto
    • by mike260 (224212)
      No-one's locking themselves into anything - each SKU of the game uses the target platform's native APIs. For better or worse, on Windows boxes that means D3D (or whatever they're calling it nowadays).
      If you need to play an OpenGL build, get the PS3 version and eat your heart out.
  • I like the Little Rocket Man [f2s.com]. I thought it was hilarious when I found out about it.
    • I spotted it before I looked at the achievement and was like, "wtf?"

      Sent the little guy in to space on my third playthrough (second one was for commentary).
    • by coldcell (714061)
      I think it's one of the marks of a fantastic game, when you enjoy it so much that you'll happily relive the moments with added challenges. Undertaking tasks so amazingly frustrating as carrying a gnome through a railway while being shot at by a helicopter, and actually ENJOYING the game is an astounding achievement.

      Though I liked Ep1 simply for the return to the HL2 world, Ep2 managed to get me to play all the way through at least 3 times (and many more times through certain enjoyable sections) specificall

  • I don't understand why the folks at Valve still keep talking about their two irregularly released expansions as "episodic content". I would expect episodic content to be released at some reliable (intervals, and more than just two "episodes". This isn't "episodic content" they're just expansion packs.
    • The only reason I played HL2 Ep2 was because it came with the Orange Box. It was fun, but there is no way I would pay $30 (the cost on Steam) just for episode 2. I beat it in four days and by its nature it has zero replay value.

      If Valve wants any chance of HL episodes making it big time, the price needs to come down to $10 or less.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        I beat it in four days and by its nature it has zero replay value.
        It took me only five hours... And I'm not really a gamer.
        • Well, if you left it on the default "easy" mode, and you aren't the type to explore the maps, then you could beat it quite quickly, I'm sure. I think it took me about 8 hours, all told. I'm not the type to play for five hours straight.
          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            Well, if you left it on the default "easy" mode

            Default is medium, not easy.

            and you aren't the type to explore the maps, then you could beat it quite quickly

            Oh, I do, but that's when I play the game a second time.

            I think it took me about 8 hours, all told. I'm not the type to play for five hours straight.

            Neither am I. I didn't say I played the game in five hours straight. It took me in all five hours from start to finish.

        • Not everyone plays a game five hours a day. I managed to spread it out over two days.
          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            Not everyone plays a game five hours a day. I managed to spread it out over two days.
            As I said in another response to this thread:

            Neither am I. I didn't say I played the game in five hours straight. It took me in all five hours from start to finish.
      • by Bryansix (761547)
        Do you need the original HL2 to play Ep2? If not then it's obviously not an expansion pack. I agree about the price. That's why I got the Orange Box as well. Also they do make improvements to the engine and graphics with each episode so that is good.
      • You obviously haven't completed the Gnome achievement [f2s.com]. That should add a few weeks of gameplay. ;)
        • My Gnome playthrough was much faster than my first one, AND I managed to get the "cache checker" and "pinata" achievements in the same game.

          There are only a few parts where you have to carry it, as you can drop it any time you are somewhere that you'll be returning to.

          The ONLY hard part was the car, and even that only had ~5 minutes of play that were really, REALLY hard.
        • by jmccarthy (228531)
          Well, assuming you don't get it on the first playthrough, it at least doubles your playtime by nature. It's just annoying, though. The real challenge is Neighborhood Watch. What a vicious achievement it is.
          • by Seakip18 (1106315)
            Oh man. I remember driving as fast as possible, trying to take out hunters with the cars, then jumping-out-grav-gunning-then-throwing-the-damn-magnson in about 2 seconds in order to save a building.

            The gnome was kinda fun, but I, um, accidentally took him with me down to the ant lion den. Not fun running like woah with a gnome in your hands.
            • I left him on the side of the river before you cross and jump the car back over.. then i realized there was no way to retrieve him from under that big door you raise so the vorgaunt and alex can join you.. so i said screw it...

              I was gonna carry him through the whole way on my first time playing (fun taking out zombies with a gnome lol) as i looked through the achievements before playing and spotted the gnome right away (prolly cuz i was looking for him).
  • I often times mused how the 3d engine was created, and I vow to create a superior engine if given the time and resources.
  • Look at their hardware survey

    http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html [steampowered.com]

    Its not completely accurate because only a % (unknown) actually respond, but look at the ratio of XP to Vista: 11/1

    Now take a guess why they didn't do a Vista only release...

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