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Half-Life 2 Preview

Computer and Video Games' Half-Life 2 Preview has been posted, this is the online version of the print preview that appeared in a recent issue PC Zone UK magazine. The article is based on getting to check out the game first-hand, offering impressions, screenshots, developer quotes, and more, all spanning no fewer than 11 pages of text. Here's a bit of breathless anticipation: "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..."

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133 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 1.
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133. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2003, 02:19 Xombie
 
I think you're a little taken with the buzzwords Xom. SYSTEMATIC LEVEL DESIGN!
"Systemic Level Design" is the name for it. What in the hell else would I call it, that wouldn't take up several sentences?

ADJUSTABLE TRANSPARENT HUD!
And what in the hell would I call a HUD with adjustable transparency besides a "hud with adjustable transparency"?
These are not buzzwords. This is english.

But saying a game "has" something, implying that others don't, is sort of silly. Many games now, perhaps taking a nod from DX, have more open-ended styles of play.
Absolutely no action or FPS game to date has met the same standard of open problem solving that Deus Ex has.
And if you say GTA 3, I'll laugh at you.

They were hampered by the lack of a real physics system,
There were very few, if any, real physics engines when DX was released.

Greatest game ever made? That's a pretty silly statement, as everyone has their favorites, it's a very subejctive determination as to what's the "greatest." It was, objectively, a great and well-put together game.
No, it was the best game ever made, and anyone who disagrees has bad taste. I'm not sure why people people even try to argue with me about this issue. Getting me to say that DX was anything less is like converting a Cardinal to Islam.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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132. Re: No subject Jun 5, 2003, 02:13 Xombie
 
Actually, the term commonly used is "systemic", not "systematic".
Doh. I didn't know "systemic" was even a word :/
Yes, I read the lecture thing.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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131. No subject Jun 4, 2003, 17:42 speechrut
 
Greatest game ever made? That's a pretty silly statement, as everyone has their favorites, it's a very subejctive determination as to what's the "greatest." It was, objectively, a great and well-put together game.

I think you're a little taken with the buzzwords Xom. SYSTEMATIC LEVEL DESIGN! ADJUSTABLE TRANSPARENT HUD! Companies can have ambitions and concepts, and follow through to certain degrees. But saying a game "has" something, implying that others don't, is sort of silly. Many games now, perhaps taking a nod from DX, have more open-ended styles of play. Now I think the Deus Ex mappers really did a good job, most of the time, of giving you an open-ended experience (though the game really begged for far fewer forced story paths and unkillable characters, but they just couldn't do it with the time and tech they had to develop the game). They were hampered by the lack of a real physics system, meaning that interactions had to be limited to just what they explictly programmed in. Which may be why some people playing it years after it came out feel like it gets old fast. For the time, though, it was a revealtion. Hopefully DX2's new physics and lighting system will allow the designers to really spread their wings as far as offering not only solution variants but basically the ability to just plain fool around and figure out new stuff. I see this as being a great strength in both HL2 and DX2, but then both taking it in different directions: HL2 having lots more creative and wide-ranging encounter experiences (both battle and non), while DX has a much greater RPG, chatting, and puzzle solving capability. The Valve team really seems to have a knack for adding neat in game events and encounter-types: they get all sorts of different creatures that work in different ways. but their stories are very simple and very subtle (at least they were in half life.) The Ion team has a knack for engrossing conspriracy stories and puzzle-solving, though their action sequences get somewhat repetative after awhile (which is fine, because playing the game as straight action isn't really where it's at: basically you want to NOT get in big fights). That's why I say that both games seem to be overlapping more: HL looks to have much more dialouge and character interaction, while DX2 seems willing to spread out a bit in terms of action events.

 
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130. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2003, 14:51 X-Vector
 
Actually, the term commonly used is "systemic", not "systematic".

http://www.gamasutra.com/features/slides/smith/index.htm

I'm not sure if you have access to that link if you're not registered at Gamasutra, but that's Harvey Smith's GDC 2002 lecture on systemic level design.

We're on an express elevator to hell... going down.
 
We're on an express elevator to hell... going clown.
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129. Re: No subject Jun 4, 2003, 14:35 Xombie
 
Picture what it would be like to play in a huge cardboard box and you'll understand what the level design is like in Deus Ex.
Yes. It's a cardboard box. A big fucking empty, open cardboard box. As opposed to Doom or Quake where you're on rails at all times.
DX uses SYSTEMATIC level design. It employs a large open area, sets rules, and allows the player to choose their own path through it. That is what makes Deus Ex the greatest game ever made.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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128. No subject Jun 4, 2003, 14:31 Xombie
 
DX2 and HL2 are closer in terms of design and gameplay than DX and HL, from the way it sounds. HL2 seems to be taking more to DX's "solve things your own way" approach, and DX2 is taking out the skill system and replacing it with a deeper augmentation system.
The difference is in that HL2 revolves around the static character Gordon Freeman, while DX2 allows you to play a character of your own design.

And anyone who thought Deus Ex sucked is wrong. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a DX fanboy I am, and that there is no possible circumstance in which I would back down on this statement. So don't bother replying.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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127. Re: Half-Life vs. Deus Ex Jun 4, 2003, 07:59 Midnight
 
I love Half-Life, I love Deus Ex. Two of the greatest contributions to the FPS genre ever, and sequels to each coming out in a matter of months.

I, for one, am not complaining.

 
http://www.crimsondark.com
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126. Re: Half-Life vs. Deus Ex Jun 4, 2003, 02:11 speechrut
 
"- everything looked peachy to me, except when the girder smashed the Combine into the wall. They gibbed blood all over the wall the instant they touched the wall, a split second too soon, and it looked unnatural."

As it turns out, that wasn't even because of the engine itself, but rather the way demo playback works. As Gabe explained it, the demo recording system they have in right now runs at a fairly low sampling rate, meaning that when the demo is played back, it has to be interpolated. So it's not a frame for frame, pixel for pixel copy of the actual game events: the timing of various events doesn't quite match up, as you can see if you DO go frame by frame. But the actual game has no such problems. Gabe said that they figured the demo system, even with its srtange artifaces, would be "good enough" for e3, since they wanted to show an actual computer actually running the game (and then be able to directly start playing for real when necessary), but they also needed to have the footage be predictable so his narration would go smoothly.

 
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125. Eh? Jun 4, 2003, 01:47 speechrut
 
DX was definately a step up from HL in terms of working a story into a FPS, with characters that could actually talk at length and interact. But it also came out later: after HL revolutionized the idea of what a FPS could be. And DX still didn't do what HL did in terms of scripted sequences: in DX it was all "run to here, talk to this guy" while HL had all sorts of special animations that fit characters into new situations (the CPR bit was one of the best). HL didn't have anywhere near as many of those as it could have, and yet today still very few FPS games have implemented similar effects, preferring to stick with the simple run/talk/shoot format and putting story in cinematics. It's a really good mix, and I hope HL2 has much more of it, along with the more interactive nature of scripting that they've been playing up.

DX2 also sounds good. I would disagree that HL2 and DX2 are fundamentally different game genres, as they both seem to be creeping into each other's genre territory more than their predecessors. Still, I think they should be very different playtime experiences, with HL2 emphasizing tactical action and in game events with a few very realistic characters, while DX2 should hopefully have an even deeper cast of people to talk to, its RPG feel, and a more Theif-like gameplay.

Doom3 of course has its shadows (though doesn't DX2 promise them as well?), and I don't know how I feel, given that id has never really shown good single-player potential in recent years. They DO seem to have realized this, and taken steps to move away from the "rooms and corridors filled with monsters" model to "progression of plotted out events and encounters" model. But thus far, they're still unproven as far as getting it all together. I'm hoping for the best, and I'm definately going to give them another chance, not to mention just to get my hands on Carmack's new engine.

 
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124. Re: blank space Jun 3, 2003, 08:36 Von Helmet
 
I've played all of them.

I like all of them.

Whatever.

 
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123. Re: blank space Jun 3, 2003, 02:10 Wilf
 
compare DX, HL & Doom ? they are all excellent in their own ways 40% of u peeps probly aint played al em IMO.
peeps always want to limit themselves to dis/dat "its the only, its the best, it owns ALL" gimme a break we are all lucky if we are alive to play Part 2 of these games @the end o year cuz "they" will rock. scuse me while i craw back in my hole & keep OyOing.
What, in God's creation was all that about?
Did Alta Vista get around to implementing GobShite in to Babelfish yet?

 
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122. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 3, 2003, 00:01 pancreas
 
Maybe it's just me but I found DX lacking atmosphere.

I think this was more due to technological limitations than a lack of artistic vision. The colors and the scale of the levels were fairly convincing, but the scenery and characters were too simplistic in appearance to convey any sort of gritty, post-apocalyptica. Despite this it still ran like crap on my former system.

I hope the sequel will have some truly immense open spaces with vast foreboding structures of unimaginable proportions and functionality. The kind of scenery we've all seen in futurist-inspired movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, and those anime flicks.

That mission in DX2 we've read about concerning a two-tiered Seattle sounds about right.
 
"Nothing livens up a robotic hymn of doom more than an amazing pair of jugs." - Brak
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121. Re: blank space Jun 2, 2003, 23:36 Bronco
 
scuse me while i craw back in my hole & keep OyOing.

Thank you Gus, without your vital contribution this thread would die an early death.

Your co-operation along with thousands of other people that speak in some language that sporadically represents English, this thread will live one more day.

(Insert picture of indigenous people crying)

-TPFKAS2S
http://www.braglio.org
??????
 
Avatar 10139
 
-TPFKAS2S
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120. blank space Jun 2, 2003, 23:23 Gus
 
compare DX, HL & Doom ? they are all excellent in their own ways 40% of u peeps probly aint played al em IMO.
peeps always want to limit themselves to dis/dat "its the only, its the best, it owns ALL" gimme a break we are all lucky if we are alive to play Part 2 of these games @the end o year cuz "they" will rock. scuse me while i craw back in my hole & keep OyOing.


 
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119. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 2, 2003, 22:49 Nonicknameforme
 
I'm playing it over and the AI sure is scary, in so far as it's so dumb its scary. Why? Because the first time I played the game I thought it had great AI. How our perception changes over time...

 
"I'm too much of a narcisist to really hate stupid people."
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118. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 2, 2003, 11:58 Panick
 
But....DX isn't supposed to be scary...

 
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117. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 2, 2003, 03:13 SirAnthony
 
Maybe it's just me but I found DX lacking atmosphere. It was a pretty good game but I didn't finish it because I lost interest. To me DX was a SS2 type game but lacked the scary atmosphere SS2 had. The whole conspiracy theory plot didn't do it for me like the sci fi horror plot did. I hope they mak it scarier.

 
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116. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 1, 2003, 15:04 LordSteev
 
Amen, Wilf.

Those are the 3 games I'm looking most forward to, along with Thief 3, Quake 4, and Ravens new Jedi Knight game. They are all going to be blockbusters, and I'm going to buy and play them all. And really, till then, we don't KNOW which is going to be "the best". Fact is, none will be the best, each person will have their personal favorite, and thats the way it should be.

Von Helment, I LOVED the first DX. I've seen shots of the new one where it looks nothing like quake, too, that's just a stupid comparison. BUT, all the new screens have that ugly console hud in them, and frankly that worries me. It looks WAAAY too much like a console game with that on the screen, and since all the newer shots have it, well, they must either be very proud of it, or else you're stuck with that monstrosity being on the screen for the whole game.

 
-LordSteev

Supporter of the "Unleash the Fredster!!" Fan Club
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115. Re: Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 1, 2003, 10:15 Wilf
 
To their credit, the makers of Deus Ex 2 are not trying to compete with the big FPS titles like D3 and HL2.
Brands such as Doom, Half Life and Deus Ex are all in competition with each other.
You might hear the developers say otherwise but sure as eggs is eggs they want THEIR title to be the dominant one.
Once the frenzy over id's new graphics engine has died down it's still all going to come down to what the actual game delivers.
Personally I will be buying all three.

All we need now is another System Shock title

 
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114. Well, if you're an RPG player, Jun 1, 2003, 05:44 chili pepper
 

and I am not, you probably won't care about the graphics that much. To their credit, the makers of Deus Ex 2 are not trying to compete with the big FPS titles like D3 and HL2. The first DX looked relatively terrible but it did well as an RPG game. Many enjoyed the story aspect of the game without getting bored to tears like I did, so I don't want to slam it too much (though the levels still look pathetic).

But the Deus Ex players need to quit trying to compare it to the HL games! They are two different genres with two different goals and target audiences in mind!:o

 
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133 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 1.
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