Half-Life - 20 years on

Discussion in 'PC Games' started by CAPT-Irrelevant, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. power

    power Member

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    A truly groundbreaking game, i loved and played HL not long after it came out (still got my platinum collection box) and so many mods as well. It seemed every week there were community maps in whatever mods you played out every other day and random mods too. Oh man HL2 though, wow I played this and finished it right around release, it ushered in Steam (which i never had the weird issues many had at the time) and felt so next level from the sound design to the world building it was like nothing else.
     
  2. Catweazle

    Catweazle Member

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    I love Half Life. AND the sequel. AND it's a shame Chapter 3 never eventuated. But I just don't 'get' the grandiose statements about it being the 'best' or being the 'first' or whatever else fandom gushes out about it. It's a fantastic, story-driven and immersive game. But it was by no means the first to be so, no matter what fans might claim.

    Half Life used scripted in-engine sequences to advance story, instead of cutscenes. Couldn't skip them, either. It did levels a tad differently, but it still had boss-fights. yada, yada, yada...

    Great game. Still immensely enjoyable to play. But IMO the 'ground-breaking' and 'seminal' gushings about it are overdone.
     
  3. power

    power Member

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    I'd go as far as ground breaking show me another title that was even close at the time?

    that train ride in, so memorable.
     
  4. Catweazle

    Catweazle Member

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    Horses for courses and strokes for folks. For me, at first encounter that train ride in had me all "you're fucken kidding me. is there a game in here somewhere?" first time through, in a way that cutscene intros never did.

    Dark Forces II, a year earlier, was probs the game that 'did it' for me back in the day. But, again, I wouldn't gush about it being the 'greatest' or the 'first' or whatever else of the ilk. Like Half Life, it was a game which built upon games and gaming concepts which preceded it.

    Peeps can enjoy it whatever way they wish to, of course. For me, I'm just happy enough that both DF2 and HL1 will run just fine on my shitty old lappy, for another play through while I'm out and about exploring the country :D
     
  5. r3s

    r3s Member

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    I think Unreal was also just as Important for setting large scale worlds as the future rather then corridor>corridor>corridor.
    Problem with Unreal was that you needed a BEAST of a system at the time to really appreciate it which many probably didn't have, HL was tweaked better to run on lower end systems and be truely accessible.
     
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  6. power

    power Member

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    nah just needed a VooDoo card ;)

    Half Life had a special something, Unreal was good don't get me wrong but it never felt like a place that could actually exist imo anyway.

    i found the train ride in very immersive, if you aren't that type of player i can see why there'd be no appeal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  7. p3t0r

    p3t0r Member

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    This series would have to be one of the best games of my life. Makes me want to go play Black Mesa now :D
     
  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I think one thing that really stood out for me in Half-Life was the sound design. Effects and ambience in that game were like nothing I'd heard before, and really helped the immersion factor, despite being so unique and even weird at times.
     
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  9. FerrisXB9R

    FerrisXB9R Member

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    Yeah agreed Elvis, the echoing gunshots and explosions in open areas with walls was fucking groundbreaking for its time.
     
  10. miicah

    miicah Member

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    But would Half Life have existed without Quake?
     
  11. power

    power Member

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    yes, they would have just started with another engine. probably unreal.

    but engine aside that's not a game, that's a tool.
     
  12. FuzwaldQO

    FuzwaldQO Member

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    Would Quake have existed without Doom?
    Would Doom have existed without Wolfenstein?
    Etc... :)
     
  13. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    It's a shame A3D met it's end because it was so much better than EAX in my opinion.

    EDIT: It really seems sound tech died in the ass when Aureal went under. We're still suffering from god awful audio in games. Visuals have moved leaps and bounds but audio is still just fucking terrible with little innovation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I think so.

    iD were a clever bunch of folk from a technical standpoint. I think their artistic creativity was immature at best. As I said above, I still liked their stuff (I'm sure everyone of my age put a lot of hours into Doom), but ultimately the creativity of delivering a work of art is abstracted from the technology (even if the technology somewhat defines the art, the art is still a bigger idea).

    Again repeating myself - Doom and Quake were technical marvels, but something else would have come along had they not. It was inevitable that gaming move to 3D, because (a) humans exist in 3D and understand that as a story telling medium, and (b) hardware accelerated 3D was being worked on in all sorts of fields at the same time (Silicon Graphics, Pixar and many others were all fiddling with this stuff before they turned to media/animation/movies/VFX, mostly for scientific/engineering/medical visualisation).

    Doom and Quake were tech demos, and amazed us at the time because of the seemingly exponential jumps in technology. But both were very much "right place, right time", and IMHO not as amazing as we remember with rose coloured glasses. Important technologically, and maybe even as inspiration to a bunch of kids who would later become professional game developers, but I think something like Half-Life was bound to happen.

    Indeed, we can probably thank Microsoft for Half-Life more than any other third party. Without them annoying key Valve employees enough to quit their jobs and make a games company of their own, we'd never have this masterpiece. :)
     
  15. power

    power Member

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    Carmack even said once himself that the engine is just a tool for anyone to create things. The tech is only a small part of the story.

    look at todays games, all running on Frostbite, UE4, Cryengine or Unity.

    Would you ask if Batman Arkham City would exist without UE3?? No, because that's just silly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  16. BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    Can't tell if troll or serious.
     
  17. Tinian

    Tinian Member

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    For me it was how immersed I was in the game. It wasn't pretty like Myst, but it felt like a computer version of Alien - eerie with the threat of violence. That combined with the puzzle solving aspect made it fell like it was a complete game.
     
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  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Good comparison. The tension of both was what made them great. As did the fact that neither had a protagonist that was some sort of super-hero commando.

    Each to their own. Different people liking different things is what makes art great.
     
  19. Catweazle

    Catweazle Member

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    Quite possibly serious. Some people just can't be bothered with story. They just want full-on action and bugger all else :)
     
  20. bart5986

    bart5986 Member

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    This doesn't make any sense.

    Today you have a wide range of engines available to use.

    Back then there was very little available and even if it was avaliable, it doesn't mean it would be available for other companies to use, for example Frostbite is an EA only engine they don't share.


    Without the quake engine Half life either wouldn't exist, or would have come out much later due to Valve needing to make their own engine, and by that time it wouldn't have near the same effect as many other games would have released before them.
     

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