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Thread: ****official Half Life 2 Thread----

  1. #1
    RGX's Avatar Unstoppable
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    I reckon as soon as november hits we will be in undated with people asking Q's and requesting hashes of HL2, so I have created this thread in a hope that the talk will stay here, apart from the official hashes

    So, any info or questions you may have, put em here

  2. Games   -   #2
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    the last release dat i heard just to let u know was Sept 30 2003

  3. Games   -   #3
    Colt Seevers's Avatar P()()p!3 $CR/-\P3R$ BT Rep: +3
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    imo Kinda jumping the gun a bit here?

    I mean November? September?.... Whatever, eithier way....it's a good few months down the line.... at least

    Can't we just deal with it nearer the time, or else people will be starting these threads constantly....years in advance.

    Oh and BTW whats with the "Official" I take that meaning as Officially endorsed by VaLvE hmm

  4. Games   -   #4
    RGX's Avatar Unstoppable
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    yes, I am infact a developer for valve, and i indorse this thread fully


    No, I meant it as in if you wanna talk about it, to save the forum from being flooded with new topics keep it here, rather than flooding other topics about other games, similar to the "official" movie threads in movie world, which is what this was inspired by, and keeps everyone happy.

    anyway, screenshots I could find (Ill post them as links incase we have some 56k users who dont want to wait half hour for the page to load)


    1)shot of some bugs, cant remember what they are called

    bug shot

    2)City 17

    City 17

    3)Enemy ops soldier by the look of it, artwork not in-game

    Enemy ops artwork

    4) Great shot of the flame effects

    Flame effects, level layout

    5)One soldier in a bad situation....

    Soldier takes on bug, fantastic graphics

    and finally for now...


    6)Another fantastic shot of the flame effects in action

    flame effects 2, attack of the flame effects

    I will try and update this regularly with new screenshots and news

    EDITics fixed now, all in full size

    BTW, I was going by the release date in PC Gamer, but it seems its been changed to September, cheers

    FINAL EDIT hopefully, browsers been screwing with link 2

  5. Games   -   #5
    Colt Seevers's Avatar P()()p!3 $CR/-\P3R$ BT Rep: +3
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    Originally posted by RGX@25 June 2003 - 20:32
    I will try and update this regularly with new screenshots and news
    Well, best of luck to you!


  6. Games   -   #6
    RGX's Avatar Unstoppable
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    Thankyou

    here is a preview taken from the pczone website, from CVG magazine by the looks of it, not very long, but there are better ones around, ill post them soon

    15 Jun 03 Konami has blown us all away with Snake in the jungle and Bungie's city-based marine battles left us gibbering for more Halo 2, but now we've seen the real future of shooters, and it's called Half-Life 2.
    As we told you in last month's exclusive story, you can take it as read that the plot, graphics and atmosphere are everything you'd expect from the sequel to the most influential PC shooter the world's seen in years.

    When you actually see the game up and running, you know you're witnessing gaming genius. It's fast and stylish, with a brooding apocalyptic atmosphere and some dark humour. Every few seconds, it seems, you're presented with the sort of gameplay, AI and physics that make everything you've seen until now look like something a gibbon did on a ZX Spectrum.

    Not all of this is instantly obvious, but as you begin to understand just how complex and interactive the environments are, you also start to realise the potential for offering the sort of freedom to tackle objectives that other shooters have been talking about for years.


    EXCITEMENT FACTOR 11/10
    Sure, there are scripted moments, but much of the action is AI-based and unprompted - Freeman could have gone about the scenarios in different ways if he could think of them. Some day, all shooters will have this stuff as standard. Until then, you'll just have to play Half-Life 2. Here are a few anecdotes to whet your appetite...

    *Incoming fire shatters windows and the impact makes blinds stand on end. Meanwhile Freeman uses a magnet-like gun to wrench up a radiator as a shield to assault a staircase, then tosses it into a guard, knocking him over and triggering drinks cans to tumble down the stairs!

    *Freeman shoots a part of a crane to send a huge girder crashing down on enemies, before blowing the legs off a massive metal container which topples onto their heads. Moments later he uses a giant fixed rotor blade to dice enemies, who keep on coming even though their legs are missing!

  7. Games   -   #7
    RGX's Avatar Unstoppable
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    New excellent preview, taken from www.pczone.co.uk

    Martin Korda travels 6,000 miles to uncover the game the whole world's been waiting for

    28 May 03 This is it. This is the day you've been waiting for. For four and a half years you've wondered, you've speculated, you've guessed. You've talked about its existence endlessly with friends, family, strangers, your pet dog and even Rodney, your hamster. But today, all that will come to an end. Because today is the day you find out all about the game which every gamer has wanted to hear about more than any other PC title in history. No more speculation. No more hoping. It's time for your questions to be answered.
    I was lucky enough to spend a day at Valve's HQ in Seattle, where director of marketing Doug Lombardi and Valve's managing director Gabe Newell took me through just about every element of a game that simply belies belief, that realises the dreams of every gaming vision you've dreamt about. So join me now as I recount what I saw and try to share with you my excitement at the sheer beauty, innovation and magnitude of a game that is about to reinvent the way we look at games forever.


    SO IT BEGINS
    "Once again, you play as Gordon Freeman," began Doug Lombardi as I sat in silence, soaking up his every word like a crusty sponge. "A certain amount of time has passed since Half-Life, and you've moved well beyond Black Mesa. However, the alien threat has now spread to various reaches of the world, and a great deal of it takes place in a fictional city called City 17 in north central Europe, although you won't be restricted just to this area." He was being purposefully cagey, clearly not wanting to reveal too much about the plot too soon. "The alien invasion is on a far grander scale this time around. In Half-Life they were just sending in the scouts, so to speak. This time, they're bringing in the big guns."

    At this point, a tired looking Gabe cut in. "When the game starts, you'll be a little confused about what's going on, but you'll soon start to find out. There's going to be a set of NPCs that are going to be really important to you, some of those will be people you already know from Black Mesa, while others you won't have met before." And what about the sinister suited man, known as the G-Man? "Don't worry, you'll find out much more about what the G-Man is up to and what his plans are for you." My head was filled with questions, hankering to be satisfied after so many years of unsubstantiated rumours and personal speculation. I didn't know what to ask first. How about the length of time HL2 had been in development? Six months? A year? "We actually started work on Half-Life 2 right after we shipped the first game (1998). We've been really very quiet on purpose, as we found ourselves with an interesting opportunity. Given the sales and critical reception of the product, and the online and mod community that's developed around it, we had a rare opportunity with Half-Life 2, a chance to shoot for the moon so to speak, and we've already spent twice as much time on HL2 than we did on Half-life, with a much larger team, and much more understanding about going about creating an FPS." Gabe's features, lined with sleep deprivation (he and his team are currently working round the clock on the project) couldn't hide his excitement and passion for the game. It was hard to believe that Valve had managed to keep the biggest game of all time a secret for so long. His next comment stunned me. "So we're in the unusual situation of announcing the product at E3 this year and then shipping it on September 30." That's September 2003 right? "That's right." No, that's incredible.


    BREATHLESS
    I needed time to catch my breath, but Gabe was keen to push on, every minute precious with Half-Life 2's shipping date just five months away. "We wanted Half-Life 2 to be a much larger leap forward than Half-Life was. There's been no external funding, no external producer looking at a milestone list or telling us what to do. We've been able to isolate ourselves from those kinds of constraints and concentrate instead on building what we believe to be the right game."

    But why leave it so long to tell the world? "A lot of games get announced and a year later, you're still waiting to see it. And we've certainly fallen into that trap in the past. Typically the product is announced before you have a clear idea of how you're going to resolve all the complicated issues of how to build everything and get it to work.

    Clearly Half-Life 2 is reaching completion, and is currently in a stage of extensive play testing. The deep-set rings under the eyes of Valve's talented team testify to that. With Gabe's introduction to HL2's development background done, it was time for him to return to work, leaving me in the hugely capable hands of Doug. As he started loading up the game, I caught myself gripping my chair, knuckles drained of colour and sweat beads marking the leather covering of the arm rests. This was the moment I'd travelled 6,000 miles and waited my whole career to see. The screen went momentarily dark, and then slowly came to life. We were in...

    THE LAWS OF PHYSICS
    "The first thing I'm going to show you is the tech engine, which we're calling Source. We've decided not to come up with a big engine name. First off, I'll show you the physics," began Doug as he panned around the tech-level on screen. Barrels, cans, bullet casings, bottles and dead bodies lay discarded on the ground, all boasting a level of detail I'd never seen in any game before. Although sparse, the environment was crisp and convincing, beautifully textured and shaded. With an object manipulation device (which won't feature in the game itself) he picked up a barrel and dropped it from a height. It slammed to earth, sending a hollow metallic crash resounding round the room, as it wobbled onto its side and began slowly rolling towards the edge of the screen with a satisfying grate. "Basically, we wanted to have this great environment where things look, feel and act as they should. One of the great things about Half-Life was that everything around you told you that you were in a world which felt real, and that you were immersed in it absolutely, rather than just being in a shooting gallery." So how has Valve achieved this ambitious goal? "We want to have physics that just lend to that realistic feel. We don't want it to be an over the top display which shows how well we can do physics, but rather we wanted to make them organic, so they feel part of the gameplay world. We wanted to design a physics system which kept the mod makers in mind, so they can use our physics tools in a way that is convincing and fun for gameplay and designing, without burdening them with physics properties." (For more information on the mod capabilities of HL2, check out the A Half-Life Beyond The Shelf panel).

    ORDER AND CHAOS
    Suddenly something unexpected happened. The rolling barrel, which we'd both assumed had stopped, had somehow gained enough momentum to drop into a pit on the other side of the level. "Wow, I've dropped that barrel a thousand times and it's never done that before." exclaimed Doug, a wide grin spreading across his face. Chaos Theory in a game engine? Now that's quality.

    Over the next ten minutes, Doug let me play with a series of objects, each of which reacted exactly as they would in the real world. Bottles clunked and bullet cases rang as they hit the floor, each material and object making a different sound depending on what it came into contact with, and from what height it was dropped. But it was the rag-doll physics of the dead bodies that were most impressive, spinning and bucking when thrown against walls, sliding convincingly off a ledge when placed precariously on the edge of one. Taking a shotgun, I blew a wooden box to pieces, and watched as it splintered into a heap of jagged-edged planks. Then, walking over the wood-chippings, Gordon's movement became hampered by the irregular surface as he battled to maintain balance. "Both you and the NPCs will be weighted, and have physics properties simulated. Jay Steloy, our lead programmer since 1996, has been working on this technology for the better part of four years." Clearly it's been time well spent, and despite Doug's understated comments, Half-Life 2's physics system is without a doubt the most life-like I've ever seen.


    REAL CHARACTER
    With the tech level done, it was time to see something even more impressive. No amount of staring at the screenshots on these pages and no matter how many superlative-laced statements I write here can come even close to doing this next part justice. Doug had loaded up a level, an office with a woman standing by a desk, who he introduced as Alyx. "Is that in game?" I asked, stuttering more violently than a scratched Gareth Gates record. "Yeah, this is all in game." Incredible. For the first time ever, here was a game character that looked real. Not gaming real, but REAL real. The way she stood, the subtle sway of her hips as she shifted her weight, the way her upper body rolled as she put her hands on her hips. Most extraordinary of all, though, was her face. Exuding a subtle beauty, her eyes strayed around the room, arching round to stare at us with a look of genuine disinterest. Her face sported faded freckles and different depths of shading, furnishing her with a personality before she even spoke, something I was now incapable of doing. Fortunately, Doug still retained the power of speech. "Characters are probably one of the biggest investments we made in the game. In Half-Life we put in rudimentary characters as a test, to see how it would work if they actually spoke to you rather than you having to read a load of text. Something we hate more than anything is the idea of stopping the action to watch a movie. We tried to keep the story pretty simple in Half-Life and people loved it, but many said there weren't enough of those characters. A lot of people said that the first time Barney or a scientist died, they felt bad, that they felt a personal connection with those characters. So we've taken pretty much all of the money that we made from the first game and invested it into this one, most of all, into the characters." I urged Doug to continue with a near inaudible grunt.

    I'M ON YOUR SIDE
    "Alyx is your ally. Story-wise, she is the bridge from Half-Life. There is an African-American scientist in Half-Life (who's also in HL2) and she is his daughter. Ken Birdwell, one of the lead engineers on both games, decided that we were going to put shaders on each character's skin, but not so that it's ultra shiny and waxy like in most other games. After all, no-one's skin is blemish free, is it? Another thing that we wanted to address was this feeling that when characters move, they always feel like they're just these pegged together hockey stick players. So we've built an entire musculature system, so that when, for example, Alyx puts her hands on her hips, there's a rolling between her breasts, shoulders and arms. These subtleties make her more realistic." "The other thing Ken researched was how game characters look at you. And he realised that they always look like they're looking over your head or are cross-eyed. So he studied why that was and there were a couple of things he learnt. First off, eyes are not circular. In most games they're round. Also, people's field of views aren't straight. You always look slightly sideways, which is why a lot of game characters look like they're cross-eyed. So we adjusted their eyes accordingly. Then we separated the layer of sheen that's over the eye and the layer for the actual pupil, to give it that depth and shininess of a real person's eyes." This was all getting too good to be true. How many times have we all dreamt of life-like characters in games, with believable movement, action and reaction, a sense that we are truly in another world, one so believable that you never doubt it's reality? Half-Life 2 is that dream. But wait, there's more.
    "We then wanted to make these characters able to deliver lines with emotion," continued Doug. You mean with proper facial expressions? "Exactly." With a press of a button, Alyx started cycling through her facial repertoire. Happy, sad, angry, coy, assertive. The list just went on. But did they all look convincing? You'd better believe it. "We wanted the characters to be emotive, so if they're angry or suspicious, or they want to give you a kind of 'Hey, look over there' gesture, they can communicate emotions just through their facial expressions."


    DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
    Once again, a great deal of time, money and research went into making this stunning system. "There's a guy called Dr Paul Ekman (www.paulekman.com) who did a bunch of research on the mentally ill, to find out what it means to look mentally ill. He came up with this whole language of facial expressions, incorporating the 40-odd facial expressions we all make, which can be mixed to create a sub-set of facial expressions. We basically took things from his research and made it applicable to Half-Life 2's facial animation system. So we have these simple sets of facial animation fonts, and they can be applied to Alyx, to an alien or whoever we want." Later on in the day, when I caught up with Gabe again, he expanded on the process Valve went through to achieve complete authenticity for their character's facial expressions. "There's a part in the brain which figures out where other people are looking. So we've tried to make the characters as real as possible so that when they react to you, your brain will tell you whether they like you or not, or whether they're looking at you or somebody else."


    SPEECHLESS
    But I hadn't heard Alyx speak yet. After all, what's the point of a character looking realistic if they deliver a line less convincingly than a Home And Away extra? Again, I wasn't disappointed. "Do you want my help or not?" Yes please Alyx. Hold on, I'm talking to a bloody computer game. "If you want my help, we'd better get moving." OK, I'm ready when you are. Shit! I'm doing it again. In fact, I nearly did say those things out loud. She really was that convincing. Her eyes gave me attitude, her body swayed as she gesticulated to make her point, and as she spoke her lips formed every syllable to near lip-reading standards. "After we got the faces and expressions right, we decided we had to go beyond the standard puppet, one-bone mouth look that we had in Half-Life, when characters spoke. Creating realistic lip-synching and acting was a really hard thing to do. We came up with a system that can go through and take the basic structures of a WAV file and extract the data for the mouth movement. So you can extract your sound or line of dialogue, inbed it into a WAV file independent of the game's language, and play it back across the facial animation system. This system identifies the sounds and volume which dictate the size of the opening and closing of the mouth. So you could drop in a line in English or Spanish and it will lip-synch it accordingly."


    THE OLD MEETS THE NEW
    So onto the more specific areas of the game, starting with the cast, which is a mixture of the familiar, the new and mixture of the two. "We've taken some of the generic characters from Half-Life and evolved them here by giving them names and specific faces" began Doug as he loaded up a whole new level full of characters. "So for example, the African-American scientist who was in every third room in Half-Life (check out the Scientist Makeover panel for more on this), is now Dr Eli Vance, Alyx's father. He's the guy who'll tell you what happened between the end of Half-Life and the start of Half-Life 2. You'll be seeing a lot of tie-ins like that, where you'll find out who certain people were from Black Mesa." Sounds intriguing, tell us more. "Eli has brought Alyx up to be a bit of an inventor. As a result, she's built a side-kick robot called Dog." Doug homed in on Dog, a large yet friendly looking robot who will no doubt pack some hefty firepower. Strafing left, the camera fixed on a familiar looking individual. Barney, the fat security guard. "We've made Barney a defined guy with pretty noticeable characteristics. There won't be loads of Barney's this time round, just the one." Doug also showed me the G-Man, looking sinister in his sharp attire, and some Alien Slaves. Alien Slaves? In the good-guys room? What was all that about? "In the last game, Alien Slaves were the bad guys, but they've moved over to your side." I pressed him for specifics on how this will come about, but Doug simply flashed me a smile which said it all. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

    After this we moved to an area which Doug referred to as his Character Zoo, a series of rooms filled with enemies new and old. Reprising their role as cannon fodder are the Bullsquids and Head Crabs, although this time there's a whole family of the latter, ranging from the tiny to the unsettlingly large. Likewise, Zombies reappear, the symbiosis of the face-hugging Head Crabs and the hapless humans they infest, as do the ceiling hanging, string-on-a-mouth Barnacles, boasting incredibly detail with their multiple moving parts, which made them look little short of horrific. Apparently, there'll be more than 50 different enemies in all.

    ANTS AND LIONS
    Finished with the familiar, Doug moved onto the new, starting off with Starship Trooper-like aliens called Antlions and the Antlion Guards - a larger, tougher and altogether more terrifying prospect than its smaller, generic cousin. The light shone off their armour plated backs as they twitched, ready to spring a deadly attack. Moving into another room, Doug introduced me to a host of new, biomechanical enemies. Scanners are small flying units, with the ability to track you if you try to escape or hide. A host of turrets and hulking biomech troopers stood menacingly by them, while the gas mask clad police (the replacements for Half-Life's marines) looked instantly hostile. "We're trying to make it really obvious who's positive and who's negative in the game," stated Doug as he moved to an outdoor area, where the really heavy-duty enemies were based. I looked on in awe as we rounded a corner, to be met by a 90ft high, three-legged Strider, towering into the sky and armed to the fillings with machine guns that could fillet a whale in seconds, let alone a speccy ginger scientist. They stalked backwards and forwards, each step sending shudders through the level and chills down my spine. "As you can see we're doing full animation on these guys. One of the interesting things about them was getting the collision detection correct, so that it looks right when they're taking steps. These guys may need to climb stairs, or walk over uneven terrain, and all the while there's a whole load of work that's going on under the hood to make sure all this stuff comes to life, which we think will make the game really unique."

    Finally, sensing my impatience to see the game in action, Doug quickly showed me a room full of extras, citizens of City 17 who will go about their lives around you. "These people won't have quite the level of facial animation that the main characters will have, as they won't be delivering any heavy duty lines. They'll all be unique, but many of them will be variations of each other." And on that note, he quit out of the level. It was time for me to get my hands dirty.


    LIGHTS. CAMERA, ACTION
    I've never been so nervous, or as excited about playing a game. I looked around, to find I was standing on a basic but sturdy wooden bridge spanning the gap over a river, whose shimmering water lapped serenely against the wooden beams. Suddenly, tranquillity gave way to panic, as two hideous, faceless zombies came shambling towards me. As they approached, one of them picked up a barrel and threw it at me. Instinctively I fired, the power of the shotgun shell sending the barrel back at its attacker and making it reel in pain. But the second zombie was still advancing. One well-placed shot to the head sent it flying off the bridge, coming to rest facedown in the water where it bobbed with the tide. But there was no time to celebrate. The other zombie had recovered and was once again advancing, intent on ripping out my lungs and using them as bagpipes. And then, an idea (a first for me). Aiming at the bridge just in front of my assailant I fired. Shards of wood flew into the air just as the zombie stepped into the now gaping hole, flailing wildly as it sunk into the water, helpless as I finished it off.

    I looked over at Doug, who was grinning, and realised I was panting like dog in a sauna. Even in that one, short minute, the combination of many of the elements Doug had shown me had came together in one sublime whole.


    MORE, MORE, MORE
    I wanted to see more, but first, remembering my journalistic duties, I asked Doug about the weapons and the multiplayer games, but was told that Valve isn't talking about either of those things at this point. So instead, I asked what we can expect from the AI. This time, he was more than happy to elaborate. "We're taking the old AI system from Half-Life and adding some things to make it more intense and real, so that it has more layers and dimensions. The two most notable things that are really important are the AI combat pathways and NPC behaviour. In the original game, enemies didn't jump to grab you. So you could jump over a waterway and you'd lose the threat behind you. Not this time though. Now the enemies can look for you, they can jump onto and walk over complex surfaces. If you're running away, jumping on crates to get away from a Head Crab, then it'll chase after you, so that you have to deal with it. The other thing was, in Half-Life, characters like Barney, wouldn't follow you for long. That was because Barney couldn't get to certain parts of the level and so would have to stay behind. Which of course won't happen in Half-Life 2." And what about the actual combat AI, what nuances can we expect there? "If an enemy sees you as a threat, but there's also another creature in the area that's also a threat, the AI will work out which is the greater threat to it and attack that target first."

    To prove his last point, Doug fired up a recording he'd made of one of the levels. In it, Gordon attacked an Antlion Guard before running away and taking cover under some rocks. In a show of canny determination the Antlion probed the makeshift shelter from every side, trying, struggling, but ultimately failing to reach its quarry. From the distance came the rhythmic pulses of an engine. Seeing his opportunity, Gordon sped off towards the sound, pursued by a now incensed Antlion Guard. Within seconds, they were in sight of an armoured vehicle guarded by marines. The terrified soldiers opened fire on sight at the Antlion Guard, who waded in viciously, clawing rabidly at its new targets, and ripping them to shreds. Then it turned to the vehicle. Sniffing at it at first, it gave it a tentative shove, sending the APC rocking sideways onto two wheels. A blue flare arched from the vehicle into the sky, as the marines desperately called for reinforcement. Seconds later, the APC was sliding down a ravine, toppled by a ferocious attack by the Antlion Guard. While it was still occupied, Gordon unloaded a clip into the beast, and as it slumped to the ground, exhaling its last and sending a cloud of dust spiralling into the air, a drop ship full of reinforcements arrived.

    ENTER THE G-MAN
    "That was all AI, came a voice from the far end of the room." It was Gabe, who had come back to sit through the final parts of the demonstration. "If you played that level yourself, it could have ended up completely differently. Nothing you just saw was scripted." I must have looked amazed, probably disbelieving, as Gabe took a seat next to me, and explained how HL2's AI system has been designed in order to give the player a sense of total freedom and immersion. "Because the AI can react in so many different ways, you'll never know what it's going to do. Is it going to smash through a door, open it, cut a hole in it? This makes them seem scarier and more consequential than your average AI. The way we see it is that if a creature is no more than a weapon's delivery system, then that creates a really narrow choice of interaction possibilities. If humans can climb ladders and open doors, you have to let them be able to do it. There are other creatures that can do things you can't do, like the Antlions who can jump to places that you can't. This will also influence how a creature can get to you and will let it vary its attack strategies." But how does this translate to a sense of freedom within the whole gaming world? "We wanted our characters to act very realistically and naturally towards you. We also wanted to create an immersive experience. So you want everyone around you to react realistically to you, as well as feeling that you're immersed in a very strong narrative. One of the things we had in Half-Life were scripted sequences on the other side of locked doors so you couldn't interfere with them. But now we feel that if you close off choices to the player you're making a mistake.

    We had many challenges in getting the AI to talk to the level design. How we could hint to the AI that there may be something interesting in the level for them to interact with. So if a radio says something interesting and a character hears it, they may walk over to it, to hear it better. If you then shot the radio, the AI would ask itself what a reasonable reaction would be and act on that decision." It was all getting too much, and what's more, everything Doug and Gabe had claimed about the game was being backed up with hard evidence - with in-game footage.

    Another pre-recorded scene showed a firefight in City 17, with locals battling two gargantuan biomechs. In an attempt to avoid a confrontation, Gordon ran through a nearby door, closed it and crouched down. Silence. Then, a mechanical buzz infected the air. Gordon looked up to see that a camera had been thrust through the letterbox and was scanning for him. A couple of seconds later, it disappeared. The door buckled, then shattered as the biomech burst through. Hostilities resumed. The next level saw Gordon fighting six Antlions, which jumped on ledges to get to him as he desperately tried to get away. Then, to show off the particle effects, I was shown a level on a burning cargo ship, the flames licking at the scenery and spreading like a disease as it consumed the vessel. But before what Gabe and Doug referred to as the 'Finale' I was given one more chance to take the controls and pit myself against easily the most unpredictable and life-like AI of any FPS to date. Leading a prison break-out, I had to get past two guards, who were taking cover behind a set of barrels. There was only one thing for it. Crouching down I rolled a grenade into their position, and watched in awe as their bodies hurtled through the air and over the barrels, coming to a rest, lifeless and crumpled, on the other side.


    A HARD DAY'S PLAY
    And so to the 'Finale...' Day had begun its slow decent into dusk as Gordon walked slowly towards a majestic, 60ft-high archway. From a distance, something caught the eye. The sound of machine parts and heavy footsteps replaced the tranquil calm, as a 90ft, three-legged Strider appeared, pausing in front of the now dwarfed archway. It tried to shift it with a round of machine gun fire, but realising that force wouldn't work, it ducked under instead. "Follow me!" came from behind. Wheeling round, Gordon spotted Alyx, who was gesturing for him to follow her into a sewer. Once inside, the two characters stood breathlessly staring at each other. Alyx was smiling. Then, slowly, her eyes moved from Gordon to look at something behind him and her smile morphed into a look of genuine horror. Gordon swivelled, just in time to see a giant blue tentacle reaching for a policeman who had clearly followed them into the sewer, but unaware of what was behind him. The tentacle wrapped around his body, snatching him into the murky depths below. As the demo faded the room fell silent, and I was convinced that I had just witnessed one of the most cinematic, atmospheric and realistic moments in gaming history. A fitting 'Finale' indeed, I thought, blinking violently as Doug switched the lights on, signalling the end of an incredible day.

    TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
    Words failed me. My body felt exhausted as I relaxed my taught muscles, drained from the tension of watching a game which is re-writing the rule book and making a mockery out of every other first-person shooter I've ever seen. If you don't believe me, buy a ticket to E3, and find out for yourself. One thing's for sure though, come September, the world of gaming will change forever, and just like four years ago, it's Valve that is showing us the way. With 40 hours of gameplay promised, it's going to be one hell of a ride. All of a sudden, September seems like a very, very long way away... Martin Korda

    lol, hes a little excitable, but an excellent preview

  8. Games   -   #8
    Poster
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Arizona
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    i know this is a little off subject but where can i get the Counter Strike add on for Half Life? i know theres somewhere u can download it from and i was wondering if someone knew anywhere i can get it. thanks

  9. Games   -   #9
    anyone know where i can get a half life rip kit

  10. Games   -   #10
    RGX's Avatar Unstoppable
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    3,072
    As far as I know counter strike is difficult to get working as keys are checked, and working online ones are rare to non-exsistant, to my knowledge

    will post more later, something just came up

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