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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

10 Years of Half-Life 182

intenscia writes "After 10 years of Half-Life and dealing with its silent protagonist Gordon Freeman, ModDB looks back at everything that Valve made possible with the release of its first game. The freedom and flexibility the Gldsource platform gave modders resulted in a plethora of user-generated content such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. In this article they take a brief look at the mods that made the jump to retail as well as the top non-commercial mods that have become perennial classics." Planet Half-Life used the occasion to look back at the history of Valve. Valve is celebrating by offering the original Half-Life for less than a dollar on Steam.
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10 Years of Half-Life

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  • Valve is celebrating by offering the original Half-Life for less than a dollar on Steam.

    Not trying to be smarmy or anything, but is there anyone out there who hasn't played this already? Didn't it sell like 400 million copies? Looks like they stand to pull in about $6 off the deal (yes I know that's not the point).

    What I'm saying is just a testament to how incredibly awesome and groundbreaking this game was.

    • I've got some friends who haven't played it. It's not so unheard of for people to miss classics and just never get the chance to go back to 'em, or for people to gain interest in gaming after Half Life's time has started to fade.
      • by DanWS6 ( 1248650 )
        Tell them to skip buying the original and wait for Black Mesa Source [] to be released.
        • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

          Not to be snarky, but the ETA on that seems to be just after DNF is released.

          • by DanWS6 ( 1248650 )
            At least they released new media today. They also claim to be working on a trailer that will be out "soon".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I've been waiting for and watching Black Mesa since it's inception, and with it's history of set backs and (relatively) slow progress I'll keep my original plan of recommending the original to my friend. If BM is even half as good as the original HL it'll be worth another go through anyways when it's released. I the BM team luck and mean them no offense, it's just they're no where near close enough to justify waiting for the original any longer.
          • by DanWS6 ( 1248650 )
            Fair enough. I bought the original long ago and have it still. I was looking forward to playing through it again, except on the source engine and then I saw that Valve wanted $10 for it, with no new models or textures. :( Since I have plenty of other games to keep me busy I'm patiently waiting for Black Mesa.
          • Then if it'll be still worth it to go through again, why not just plunk down the dollar to begin with? You can go without a cup of coffee for the day.

            • I plunked down the USD$50 back when it was still fresh and played through it a half dozen times since. The difficulty is in trying to convince my friend, et al that it is worth going without coffee for a day.
      • I bet there are a fair number who bought the game and still haven't played it, and an even larger number who bought the game and just played the single player story for a few minutes.

        What did they play instead? Counter-Strike...

        Must be thousands of kids in cybercafes who just click the "Play Counter-Strike" shortcut on the desktop and don't even realize that Half-Life has a single player game :).
        • Lies..

          I bought HL2 solely to try the mods (specifically Insurgency; NOT CS:S) .. same reason I bought UT2004 (specifically for Red Orchestra, and some of the other UT2k4 mods) and UT2007 aka: UT3..

          I think I put a total of 10 hours into both CS and CS:S over my entire life.
          As for HL2, I've only gotten like an hour into it (the stage where you're escaping via sewers/aquaducts).. although it's a compelling scenario (semi-post-apocy distopia, hell ya!), the linear-story FPS as a whole has lost most of it's appe

    • Marketing technique. Get more people to download Steam, increase the chances that someone will buy other things off Steam.

      Steam isn't the demon people say it is, although the DRM (having to have a recent internet connection to play games) can be annoying on the (rare, for me) times you haven't been able to get on the internet recently (like following a move w/o having an internet connection). Otherwise though I've had no trouble with it and being able to reinstall everything easily on multiple computers o

    • by Sinryc ( 834433 )
      I never bought it. Played it for 10 minutes on a pirated copy once... but I lost interest. I figure this is the way I can play a lot of the mods and stuff. yay.
    • Well it certainly revolutionized jumping.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Actually iirc it only sold about 9mill copies. The best selling FPS of all time are apparently Halo 2 on the XBox and Goldeneye on the N64 sitting at about 11 - 12mill copies. Certainly not what one would expect seeing as both these consoles are often thought of as the losers of their generations due to the enormous sales of the PS1 and PS2. That seems to be key in a way however, if your console is the loser of the generation one good game means it'll probably stand right out and everyone with that console

    • by Dolohov ( 114209 )

      I bought it a year or so after it came out, but have since lost the install CDs. For a buck, I'm kinda tempted to pick it up again and play it again on a better computer.

  • Late nite (Score:3, Funny)

    by kvsnut ( 68323 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:49PM (#25827919)

    I was newly married and this game kept me up to all hours. My wife would come into the basement at 3 am and reprimand me.

    I've notices hl2 for original xbox used at gamestop and I hesitate to buy it. It may take over my nights again - and i have three kids now.

    • I think the original is still the more fun of the two. I've beaten it probably eight times, compared to maybe three times for HL2. The play was more linear, but the story seemed to be a bit better and a little less contrived. The enemies were also more varied instead of just more heavily armored.

      And who can forget the covert ops girls dying and falling forward on their knees? :) You just don't get that with rag-doll physics.

      • A true innovator (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:47PM (#25828325) Journal

        A lot of people forget how generally unprecedented it was at the time for an action game to begin with half an hour of context and tone establishment instead of throwing you right into the fire.

        Traveling through the massive subterranean tram network, checking in at the desk and grabbing your equipment to start what would have been a normal day's work... As the tension is slowly built, something goes wrong, and then aliens show up out of that, the effect is something vastly more profound than jumping into Quake and shooting stroggs straight off the bat.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Elsan ( 914644 )
          Thanks for ruining the start of the game for me, you insensitive clod!
        • Never has the /. "story" tag been so appropriate...

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Grimorous ( 807868 )

          I always thought it would have been funny to mod the game so your "work" did not start a resonance cascade and everything went as normal, and they made you go back to your desk and do tons of paperwork for the rest of the game.

          Btw.. here is the real Gordon:

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )

          A lot of people forget how generally unprecedented it was at the time for an action game to begin with half an hour of context and tone establishment instead of throwing you right into the fire.

          I played Marathon, which manages to both throw you right into the fire *and* establish context, and has a more compelling story to boot. The real shame is that Valve gets the credit for something that, frankly, Bungie had already mastered... just because Bungie released their game for a less popular platform.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IorDMUX ( 870522 )

      I received Half Life 2 for Christmas, a few years back, and had it completely finished by December 28th. I did the same when Ep. 1 came out, and then again for Ep. 2--which is not to say that I was done with the game when I completed it. I'm currently in my 3rd(?) replay of the entire series (HL1, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, ..., Portal, Ep. 2) [I'm on PC, so no HL:Decay], and have played HL1 and HL2 themselves more times than I can remember. Even though I can quote Dr. Breen word for word, the
    • Kids are awake during the day right? So you play by night and sleep by day. I fail to see the problem. ;)
    • I've notices hl2 for original xbox used at gamestop and I hesitate to buy it.

      It's much better on PC, as are all FPSs.

      However, I can sort-of recommend buying the original Half-Life for PS2, because it has a platform-exclusive co-op mode.

      • >However, I can sort-of recommend buying the original Half-Life for PS2, because it has a platform-exclusive co-op mode.

        You mean like sven-coop or did it have a story to accomodate the multiple players (IIRC sven just let multiple users play on the original levels)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iworm ( 132527 )

      When newly married other things normally keep you "up", if my fading memory serves me correctly. You sir are a true geek (albeit a married one, which knocks a few points off again, of course)

    • "It may take over my nights again - and i have three kids now"

      At least that would stop that kid having problem you have.

  • Open up the engine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:57PM (#25827983) Homepage Journal

    When a new Quake comes out, they open up the old engine. The original Half Life was OpenGL if I recall, and could be ported by the community to Mac, Linux, etc. etc. etc. Selling the game for $1 is a nice move. Opening the engine (a decade old engine that won't hurt Valve in the least) would be a better move.

    • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

      However, given the original engine is actually Quake I with heavy modifications, even though a version of the Quake engine has been opened, it might not be their call on opening it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by barzok ( 26681 )

      IIRC, a hybrid Quake1/2 engine was the basis for Half-Life's engine. Their license with id Software may not allow them to release the source, even though the Q1&2 sources were released quite a few years ago.

      • by lmnfrs ( 829146 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [srfnml]> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:59PM (#25828417) Journal

        The Quake engine was the basis for both the Half-Life engine and the Quake2 engine, so they are related but there was no 'hybrid' per se. The Quake and Quake2 engines were released under the GPL. If the Half-Life engine source isn't available, it's likely due to it being a pre-GPL fork of the Quake engine (or something like that).

        Uncle AC wonders if releasing code will expose vulnerabilities. Since so much of the engine has been available for years (since 1999, IIRC), there is relatively little risk. There was when the source for Quake was released. All kinds of hacks and cheats flooded around (for all Quake-engine games).. But that was long ago; perhaps people have forgotten.

    • They can't open the engine, they purchased the engine from id software, sure it's heavily modified chunks of Q1 and Q2 code but none the less it's not theirs to sell.
      Not every business can run the way carmack does, Valve still support developers very well anyhow.

      Furthermore there's 2 versions of HL on steam now anyhow, the original with the old id / valve code and the new one with fairly fresh source engine code - again something they wouldn't want to give away.

  • /salute (Score:5, Interesting)

    by duckInferno ( 1275100 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:06PM (#25828053) Journal
    Half-Life wasn't the first FPS game to capture my attention but it was the first to enthrall me to such a degree that I went out and bought the damn thing. Years of Counter-Strike, Natural Selection, Rocket Crowbar and other various interesting mods later, I'm damn glad I did. I garnered a metric fuckton of fun from that game and it feels like it's been a lot longer than 10 years since its release.

    But then I guess that's what one can expect from a Valve game. Blizzard has a nice attitude: "when it's ready". Valve goes one further: "when it ready and only if it's fun". When HL2 was delayed by a year or so there was a lot of complaining... but nobody was complaining when that thing was released.

    Here's to one of the best games ever released!

    • Re:/salute (Score:4, Informative)

      by JonTurner ( 178845 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:16AM (#25828545) Journal

      >>but nobody was complaining when that thing (HL2) was released.

      Wha? I guess you've forgotten the Great Steam Activation Debacle where millions of geeks were all trying to activate HL2 on the brand-new Steam network, overwhelming the servers with a giant self-induced DDOS. It took me two days to activate. Others, on dialup, much longer.

      People were complaining bitterly -- not about the game quality (I agree with you -- GREAT game) but instead due the inability to play the game they just plunked down fifty dollars for. What a mess that was.

      • Steam is a steaming pile of crap IMO which is why even though I own a legit copy of HL2, I run a non-steam version that I downloaded from a torrent site. I assume it's still not legal for me to run the non-steam version, even though I own a license for the regular version, but I don't care. They got my money and now I play their game, without having any extra crap installed on my machine.
      • Uh.. well.. yeah. But the game itself, no complaints :D
  • Grr... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tickenest ( 544722 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:12PM (#25828093) Homepage Journal
    The freedom and flexibility the Gldsource platform gave modders resulted in a plethora of user-generated content such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress.

    User-generated? I don't think so. The original TF mod for Quake was made by TFS, which was just a group of players at the outset, but they were hired by Valve. Team Fortress Classic was a Valve product.

  • Team Fortress? (Score:3, Informative)

    by davisk ( 664811 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:14PM (#25828105)
    Quake 1 gave us Team Fortress, not Valve, not Half Life. (yes, Valve hired the dev team behind TF, but that doesn't mean they gave it to us originally)
  • They should have done it EA way by making them freeware.
    (EA released C&C and C&C:Red Alert as freeware at C&C 12th and 13th birthday)
    • Steam shoulda done it the EA way

      Good lord! It must be backwards day on /.

      Go Microsoft!

      But seriously, with all of the mods out there $1 hl is a better value than free C&C

    • I think the idea was that they'd make you register your credit card for the $1, making it one less step for you to buy something else on impulse.
      • I have to put my info in every time I buy something on there, and I've never seen an option to save any of it.

        Am I doing something wrong?

  • by florescent_beige ( 608235 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:02AM (#25828803) Journal

    ...former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, instrumental minds behind nearly three generations of the Windows operating system.

    And I have nearly three eyes.

  • I bought Half-Life "Game of the Year Edition" on sale at CompUSA for $9.99 in the spring of 1999. It has spoiled me. When I think of all the fun I've gotten out of that $10 over the past nine years (I still play CS and DoD) it is just staggering. I'll venture out on a limb and say that was the best $10 I have ever spent.

    • Half-Life is definitely tops for modding and sheer entertainment value for money.

      But please don't forget Dooms 1 & 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Quake 1 through 3, Unreal Tournament and UT2004 as well - plus a few more I've missed out. All of them at budget prices (some even Open Source and free now from perspective of the game engines) and choc-full of expandibility, community mods and levels.

      Plus honourable mention to Total Annihilation...

  • Carbon 14 appears to have a less flighty fanbase.
  • I remember playing it when it first came out and the bloody three tentacles and having to crawl around and toss grenades to distract the thing. Still have my unreal (gorgeous levels and I think the first game with decent AI for the baddies but really rubbish story and the series went dead with II) and quake II (kill lots of things, get key, open door, shoot boss much like the first one except with an actual boss at the end) discs from that time too but the original HL was the game that stood out simply beca

    • I have to admit that Half-Life is the only game ever where I've actually got a slight flutter in the stomach from "virtual vertigo" when doing the bits of jumping and climbing along the cliff face and jumping between the moving platforms on Xen.

  • ..but the original TF was a Valve product from day one. It even came on the original disc. You know, the software version where the guided RPG had not yet been nerfed. The version where I dominated _any_ map by just standing on a RPG ammo spawn point with a good view of the level and killed everything in sight or just out of sight. Sadly, they 'fixed' this in the very first patch :(
    • by Aereus ( 1042228 )

      You're thinking of the poorly named Team Fortress Classic for HL1. The ACTUAL original "classic" Team Fortress was for Quake1 5 years earlier ;)

      I have to admit I was partial to the MegaTF mod for TF1. Things like caltrops, magnetic mines, etc. were a great addition to the game. And I miss the fact that it actually had SHADOWS which are sorely missing in TF2 and most of today's FPSes.

  • ...Duke Nukem Forever will be 1 year old - if it's ready...

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972