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Echoes of Episode Two 47

1up is carrying an interview from the latest CGW, talking with David Speyrer (Half-Life 2: Episode Two Project lead) about what we can expect in the next episodic content release. Typically, Valve is not exactly forthcoming with information on the title, which is expected around Christmas. Just the same, Speyrer has some interesting things to say about Valve's design process. From the article: "It's cool to realize that so many of the elements that we take for granted today, like the gravity gun or our companion A.I., were risky R&D projects during the development of Half-Life 2 or Episode One. Continuing at that rate as we release more episodes is pretty exciting for us as designers, and for our customers. We'll bring many elements from Episode One forward into Episode Two, but we expect to use dynamic scripted sequences extensively. They allow close interaction between NPCs during combat--such as Alyx wrestling with zombies in Episode One--and because they happen spontaneously, every player will see different interactions at different moments in the game."
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Echoes of Episode Two

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  • by cluke ( 30394 )
    Well, it's nice that the NPCs are interacting with each other. Maybe someday they can interact with the player too!
    I guess we will have to wait until EA release their latest innovation : Intelligent A.I. []!

    "The defining moment of EA's press release, however, is the boast that FIFA 2007 features "intelligent A.I". So that's intelligent Artificial Intelligence. IAI. "
  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @12:33PM (#15874642)
    With how much chatter there is about these quasi-sequels I have to assume the game gets better after you throw the soda can away (I always get intrupted in the blank blank train station).
    • You must complete it! If I could recommend only one game to people, it would be HL2. I completely fell in love with it from the moment I stepped off the train and started throwing garbage at the metrocops. It's the only chance you get where they don't shoot at you.
    • The game is much better if you throw the can at the guard instead of throwing it away.
      • You know, I just realized I never tried this -- can you kill enemies by launching soda cans at them with the gravity gun? I'd like to load that level with the gravity gun enabled just so I could show that bossy gaurd where to stick that can.
        • I'm pretty sure you can't kill anything with a soda can (at least, not in one hit like a saw blade or cinder block does, it might work if you hit a target a couple hundred times), but you can use heavier objects as projectiles with the gravity gun. Most of the Ravenholm chapter was meant to teach the player about the use of the gravity gun as a weapon. In fact, there are people who intentionally try to only use the gravity gun from the point they receive it until the end of the game as a challenge.
          • I am one of the people who likes to use the gravity gun whenever possible. Not only is it challenging, but it also gives a better show with the engine's ragdoll physics. I've just never tried with the soda cans (I know the glass bottles will not, making me assume the soda cans also do not... but that doesn't mean I won't try when I get off work).
          • You can't kill them with the g-gun and a soda can. I'm just talking about throwing it when you are just holding it.

            I've loaded up the game with the super g-gun to play with. You do it by first loading a map where it is given to you, using the all weapons cheat, and then loading an earlier map, if I remember correctly. One of the more interesting side-effects of this is that scripted NPCs are duplicated when you grab them, so that you're holding the NPC with the gun, but their script continues working like i
        • No, you can't hurt them - you just piss them off. They'll come at you with their electro-batons and give you a couple of good whacks. Though, until you have your HEV suit, I don't think they'll kill you.

          The point of the 'pick up the can' scene is the games' way of teaching you how to pick things up and throw them with some accuracy, and in a non-lethal setting. You can keep trying over and over until you get it right. HL2 does this with almost every new item or character in the game (as mentioned in the
    • 5 minutes after the can scene you start running and you don't stop until the end. The opening hour of HL2 is very hectic and absolutely engaging. I highly recommend playing the whole game, but at the very least check out the first hour. They introduce a great variety of gameplay and story in that short span.

      While you're at it, check out Valve's free tech demo level The Lost Coast. Not only does it showcase the awesome high dynamic range lighting effect used in Episode One and feature some cool level
      • Oh you stop running alright. The two "driving" seqences are waaay too long. The novelty has been crushed and run over several times by a dune buggy by the time they finish.
        • To each their own I guess. I thought the driving levels were awesome, and would not have minded more of them. The physics involved in the driving were better than any I've ever seen.

          The thing I liked best about HL2 was how immersive it was. Part of this is the realistic physics, and part of it is the engaging story and environment. I don't remember ever getting so immersed in a game environment before.
          • Amen to immersive physics. In HL2 there's a lever puzzle, where you've got to put enough weight on one end in order to use the lever to get to a higher ledge. That was a fairly cute little puzzle to demonstrate picking up and dropping of objects as well as the power of in-game physics. (There's actually a couple different variations of this puzzle throughout the game.) Ep1 has a similar puzzle, but no where near enough weight lying around to keep it counterbalanced. So you've got to come up with a diff
  • A whole lotta land (Score:4, Informative)

    by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @01:11PM (#15874954) Homepage Journal

    Last month's issue of PC Gamer magazine (the US edition) had a great preview of Episode Two which stated some pretty nice design elements. For instance, Gordon and entourage will cover a LOT more ground - even more than in Half Life 2 - in a 4-6 hour timespan. There will also be more open forested areas which will push the Source engine in new ways, and AI will be adapted to accommodate these arenas. More friendly NPCs will work with Gordon to move him forward and keep him safe. Some NPC-heavy battles will be reminiscent of Call of Duty where good guys yell orders and observations to one another and assist Gordon in combat. There will also be at least one new enemy, gun, and vehicle!
  • Episode 2 (Score:5, Funny)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @01:36PM (#15875156)
    I suspect that episode 2 will introduce a clone army, have one of the main characters get revenge after his mother dies, and have a secret marraige.

    Oh, wrong Episode 2?
  • Portal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iwanowitch ( 993961 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @02:54PM (#15875789)
    Well... It doesn't really matter for me what Episode 2 is all about, as long as this [] is included...
    • Re:Portal (Score:3, Interesting)

      That is exactly what I was going to say. Prey []'s got nothing on Portal.

      BTW, have you played Narbacular Drop []?

      As I went to the web site to confirm the URL, I just noticed that there are 15 new fan-made levels. I must play them when I get home.
      • There are allready (a few) mods which do the exact same thing as done in Portal: Fully dynamic, you can create an entry portal, an exit portal, and then they're usable. Sometimes it's still a bit buggy, admittedly: But it definitely works.

        Also, Prey has the, imo, great ability to switch the gravity within the game (besides the wallwalking), which created some nice puzzles, and has great possibilities for mods.

        I might be opinionated because I bought the game (and currently creating a small mod, based on
  • ...because Valve cannt code for shit and their game crashes all the time.
    • How is the game crap since your system can not run it? I played through with a relatively low end system and completed the game without any issues. 2.66 GHz P4 1 Gig ram 128 Radeon 9800
      • The game crashes all the time for no reason and no my system is not low end, I have an evga 7800 GT, AMD X2 4400, and 2gigs of ram. If thats a crappy system then please tell me what a good one is.
        • The game crashes all the time for no reason and no my system is not low end, I have an evga 7800 GT, AMD X2 4400, and 2gigs of ram. If thats a crappy system then please tell me what a good one is.

          It's probably got overheating problems, dodgy memory, driver conflicts, or something.

          I've played through on three entirely different systems (ranging from near-obsolete to gaming-behemoth, via an Apple laptop on the way), and had no crashes or serious glitches whatsoever...
        • Try installing AMD's dual-core drivers, if you haven't already. I don't have dual-core myself, but I hear that it can be an issue for some programs.

          Barring that, try turning off the dual-core from the BIOS. Most people's systems work fine with all programs running dual-cores, but turning off the feature is not an uncommon fix if your machine isn't running right.
      • 2.66 GHz is low end?

        Oh fuck, I'm old.
        • For gaming, yes, but I think he's more referring to the other components (RAM, vid. card).

          He's probably like me, with a second-gen P4 running 533MHz FSB. This is as opposed to current P4s which run at 800MHz+ on the FSB. This was back in the days before AMD started selling Athlon 64s.
  • Bundling sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bobtree ( 105901 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @07:33PM (#15877445)
    So you have to buy HL2: Episode 2 to get Portal and Team Fortress 2. Maybe bundling makes sense for retail box copies where it's cheaper than multiple product launches, but why require it for downloads? Couldn't they sell plenty of downloads at $5 or $10 each and let the bundled versions be a discount? You'd think that an alternative distribution channel like Steam would want to provide advantages over retail, rather than stick you with the same thing either way.
    • Strangely enough, when epsidoe 1 released, I bought it at best buy for $15 retail whereas the steam download was (and still is $20). I don't understand why steam costs more for a digital download. There's no way the cost of the bandwidth used equals (if not exceeds) the manufacturing, material, and shipping costs for the retail copies.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."