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Valve Celebrates Half-Life 25th Anniversary With Major Update, Documentary, & Making it Free

Valve Celebrates Half-Life 25th Anniversary With Major Update, Documentary, & Making it Free - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 December 2023 / 6,762 Views

Valve is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Half-Life by releasing a documentary, a major update for the game, as well as giving the game away for free on Steam for a limited time.

The update for the game improves the graphics settings, fixes lighting, adds widescreen field of view, controller and Steam Networking support, and Steam Deck support. It also adds four new multiplayer maps and restores some content, including the original main menu artwork, and some early prototype player models.

View the Half-Life: 25th anniversary documentary below:

Read the patch notes below:

New Content
  • Now Verified on the Steam Deck (and our native Linux runtime has been set as the default).
  • Half-Life: Uplink — the original standalone Half-Life demo — has been added to the game, and is accessible through the "New Game" menu.
  • Added four all-new Half-Life Deathmatch maps: contamination, pool_party, disposal, and rocket_frenzy
  • Added three old Half-Life Deathmatch maps formerly available only on the "Half-Life: Further Data" CD: doublecross, rust_mill, xen_dm.
  • Added Ivan the Space Biker, Prototype Barney, Skeleton, and Too Much Coffee Man as player models to Half-Life Deathmatch.
  • Added dozens of new sprays formerly available only on the "Half-Life: Further Data" CD.
  • Added support for Steam Networking, allowing easy multiplayer via Steam's Join Game and Invite features.
  • Added support for Steam Friends Rich Presence, allowing your friends to follow your journey through Black Mesa.
Nostalgia
  • Brought back the original Valve Intro video. Can be skipped with the "-novid" launch command.
  • Updated main menu to a design inspired by the game's original 1998 main menu.
  • Changed the default models to the original (non "HD") models.
Gameplay Changes
  • Improved physics for throwing grenades.
  • Improved randomness for initial spawn points in multiplayer.
  • Improved satchel charge controls: primary fire now always throws a new satchel, and secondary fire always detonates.
  • Fixed push-able entity movement being based on framerate.
  • Fixed players with high framerates freezing in place on death in multiplayer.
  • Fixed some cases where the player could get stuck in place on level transitions.
  • Fixed some cases where characters would interrupt important dialogue with their "greetings" dialogue.
  • Fixed weapon view-bob angles.
  • Fixed red barrels at the start of Surface Tension not launching as intended.
  • Fixed Snarks attacking FL_WORLDBRUSH entities (such as func_walls).
  • Fixed players sometimes failing to deploy a snark while crouching and looking down.
  • Fixed certain convars ("pausable" and "sv_maxspeed") being set to incorrect values when entering a singleplayer game after a multiplayer game.
  • Fixed singleplayer auto-aim setting being changed when entering a multiplayer game that disallows auto-aim.
  • Fixed the flashlight HUD showing empty after loading a savegame.
  • Fixed rockets in CONTENTS_SKY not always detonating.
  • Fixed incorrect bullet impact sounds for NPCs.
  • Fixed gauss gun making a loud static noise if it was charged across level transitions.
  • Fixed a crash in mods that display keybinds in their UI.
  • Fixed singleplayer weapons not auto-switching away when exhausted (grenades / snarks / satchels / etc)
  • Fixed interpolation artifacts when animated models are moved by other entities.
  • Fixed some buffer overflow exploits.
UI Changes
  • Main-menu background and buttons have been reskinned, and now scale based upon screen resolution without stretching, supporting background image layouts up to 3840x1600.
  • In-Game HUD now uses double or triple sized sprites when playing at higher resolutions.
  • UI dialogs and in-game fonts now scale to improve readability at high screen resolutions.
  • In-Game HUD HEV suit display has been shifted to the left of the screen, and no longer changes position at larger screen resolutions.
  • Added an "Enable texture filtering" setting.
  • Added an "Allow widescreen Field of View" setting to correct non-anamorphic FOVs, for widescreen and ultrawide displays.
  • Re-organized all the Settings screens to improve legibility, and support controller navigation.
  • Updated the Pause menu to be aware of the current gameplay mode.
  • The default server name and multiplayer player name are now based on the player's Steam Persona.
  • The Steam platform menu has been removed, now that all its features are in Steam itself.
  • Fixed application icon rendering incorrectly when using the software renderer.
  • Fixed player and spray images not updating their coloring on the settings screen.
  • Removed the now very unnecessary "Low video quality. Helps with slower video cards." setting.
Input Changes
  • Improved support for keyboard and controller navigation everywhere.
  • Added "Lower Input Latency" option: Synchronizes the CPU and GPU to reduce the time between input and display output.
  • Fixed issues that caused jerky mouse / joystick input.
  • (We basically rewrote it all - if you've got a custom Steam Input controller configuration, you should rebuild it from our newly published Official Configuration).
Multiplayer Balancing
  • Increased the 357 damage from 40 → 50.
  • Hive Hand reload time has been reduced from 0.5s → 0.3s per shot, and it will be selected at higher priority than the pistol on pickup.
  • MP5 now always starts with full ammo when initially picked up.
  • Players no longer drop empty weapons, and any that are dropped are reloaded by what's in the dying player's backpack.
  • Improved client-side prediction to reduce "ghost shots". Like Counter-Strike, consider hitboxes and not just bounding boxes for hits on the client.
  • Fixed network predicted crowbar swing damage being incorrect.
Rendering
  • Added setting to turn off texture filtering when using the OpenGL renderer.
  • Default gamma has been decreased from 2.5 → 2.2, now that we aren't all playing on CRTs.
  • Restored OpenGL overbright support.
  • Added support for UI Sprites and Texture files larger than 256x256.
  • Added support for UI Font special render modes: "blur" and "additive".
  • Default resolution is now based on the resolution of the desktop, instead of a 640x480 window.
  • Software renderer will now correctly filter out incompatible resolutions, unless there is only 1 resolution available on the display.
  • Fixed fullscreen software renderer crashing on systems that don't support 16-bit color.
  • Fixed software renderer being stretched when using widescreen resolutions.
  • Fixed skyboxes and sky color incorrectly carrying over when transitioning maps in multiplayer.
  • Fixed the game appearing too dark after modifying video settings.
  • Fixed MSAA in windowed mode.
  • Fixed mipmap rendering on studio models.
  • Fixed gluon gun sprite rendering in multiplayer.
  • Fixed gluon gun sinusoidal noise being incorrect.
  • Various optimizations to support the newly increased engine limits.
  • OpenGL optimizations for the Steam Deck.
Engine Improvements for Mod Makers
  • Increased maximum limit of dynamic sound channels from 8 → 32.
  • Increased maximum limit of sentences in the sentences.txt file from 1536 → 2048.
  • Increased maximum number of entities (MAX_EDICTS) from 900 → 1200.
  • Increased MAX_PACKET_ENTITIES from 256 → 1024.
  • Increased MAX_GLTEXTURES from 4800 → 10000.
  • Increased software renderer geometry limits: max spans 3000 → 6000, max surfaces 2000 → 4000, and max edges 7200 → 14400.
  • Cycler and func_button entities can now be the entity target for scripted_sentence entities, and are allowed to speak in multiplayer.
  • Incorporated func_vehicle entity support from Counter-Strike, for mod-makers to use. Full SDK update will come later, but level designers can use it now.
Native Linux Build
  • Added support for the software renderer.
  • Improved font rendering.
  • Many stability and behavior fixes.
Other
  • Localization files updated.
  • Miscellaneous security fixes.
Notes
  • The previous version of the game has been archived to a publicly visible Beta branch named "steam_legacy", with the description "Pre-25th Anniversary Build." If a mod or feature is behaving in an unexpected way, you may need to run this archived build until the issue is resolved in the default build.
  • We now consider this anniversary version of Half Life to be the definitive version, and the one we'll continue to support going forward. Therefore, we'll be reducing the visibility of Half Life: Source on the Steam Store. We know Half-Life: Source's assets are still being used by the Source engine community, so it'll remain available, but we'll be encouraging new Half-Life players to play this version instead.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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20 Comments
KLAMarine (on 17 November 2023)

Half Life 3 would be nice

  • +4
hellobion2 KLAMarine (on 26 November 2023)

in a millino years.

  • 0
Slownenberg (on 18 November 2023)

oh that's cool. I'm downloading it right now. Played through this game 18 years ago, will be cool to play through it again, for free!

  • +3
BraLoD (on 17 November 2023)

Got it for free, thanks!

  • +3
2zosteven (on 17 November 2023)

half life remasters
half life remakes
half life 3

imagine the $$$$ any of these would bring in

  • +3
Zkuq 2zosteven (on 17 November 2023)

Probably much less than Steam, which is kind of unfortunate.

  • 0
hellobion2 Zkuq (on 26 November 2023)

very true

  • 0
Pemalite (on 17 November 2023)

Should also mention that this game was literally given away for free if you owned an ATI Radeon for many many many years. - It's how I got my copy.

Valve and Blizzard show the industry that you can support a game indefinitely, rather than abandoning them and shutting down servers after a few short years.

It's good for us, seems to make business sense for them as well as they keep selling more copies.

  • +2
mjk45 Pemalite (on 17 November 2023)

Yes they really support games like team fortress and even now looking at the latest steam online player numbers they are still successful, now while that kind of long term support is understandably steam driven, it's still a pity that making new games or even a modern remaster/ remake unlike maintaining TF etc is now seen as something from their past and no longer important, unless it's in support of their own hardware ie Half - Life Alyx, so I looked at Alyx in the hope that they would follow suit by use their own games to push the steam deck and even if it was just done to push new hardware knowing it still presented an opportunity for re engagement with their gaming side.
On the free stuff there's always a caveat in Valves case they got paid for every copy given away as part of the Radeon marketing deal just like everyone else who did similar deals during that period where bundling games with Ati and Nvidia cards was common

  • 0
Pemalite mjk45 (on 18 November 2023)

Even after the Radeon marketing deal concluded, they were still giving away copies.

You literally just went to the Steam store by a special link and added it into your cart and you were done.

They must have forgotten about the link for a long time as it was literally free for many years.

  • -1
mjk45 Pemalite (on 18 November 2023)

Maybe it simply was the case of them finding it easier to leave it open rather than having to handle later pickups through customer service since so many of those deals could still be found and picked up new long after the next series card had arrived along with second hand cards with unused games leading to a lengthy activation period.
Still by the time the deal was finished it's rrp sales days were long gone so it would have been a good way to introduce more gamers to half- life.
Talking of bundled games the only one I can recall getting was a thief game with a Nvidia card but that was in the box on disc. some others had games that I already owned so were never activated ,what about you you would have had a few from various cards over the years.

  • 0
hellobion2 (on 26 November 2023)

half life 2 still brings back memoreis but i never got to half life 1

  • 0
tslog (on 17 November 2023)

Half Life 1, hell even The whole Orange Box, desperately needs a Next Gen update for modern consoles. I'd even accept a lowly 60fps patch. And would gladly pay for those games again. There is literally nothing like Half Life games.

And that fan remake of HL 1 needs to be released on consoles too, Hope Sony & Xbox are working on that.

  • 0
G2ThaUNiT tslog (on 17 November 2023)

Unlikely. Valve hasn't released a game on console since CS:GO in 2012 and Valve quickly abandoned the console version. Valve won't even port Half-Life: Alyx to PSVR2 lol. I agree though that it really should happen. Half-Life is too special of a franchise to not have it shared to everyone.

  • -3
deerox G2ThaUNiT (on 17 November 2023)

What about the Portal collection on Switch?

  • +4
G2ThaUNiT deerox (on 17 November 2023)

Oh, duh lol. So about a decade between console releases.

  • -1
UnderwaterFunktown tslog (on 17 November 2023)

I mean it would be up to Crowbar Collective to bring Black Mesa to consoles, would be great if it got more people to play it. Definitely fits best on PC though.

  • 0
UnderwaterFunktown (on 17 November 2023)

Holy shit, I've actually been thinking replaying it, so, awesome!

  • 0
Azzanation (on 18 November 2023)

You have to love Valve, All this work they put into an old game and not even charge you for it. They could have easily charged a fee for these improvements.

  • -1
hellobion2 Azzanation (on 26 November 2023)

valve is the king of milking money

  • 0