Half Life 2

Ok. I have a secret. A dirty, naughty game developer secret. No, it’s got nothing to do with Jessica Abla’s underwear (although if you catch me at GDC and give me a beer, we can most assuredly have a conversation about that).

I never played Half Life 2. *gasp*. Shock! Horror!

I just never got around to it. I played Half Life 1 till about the Zen parts, and then lost all my save games when I left EA.

Anyway, Orange Box is proving to be a great source of value for me, since I am *finally* playing through Half Life 2.

And wow. Just wow. A Great Crafted Experience. It’s got a high level of polish, and some of the vehicle stuff is the best I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, some of it is the worst I’ve ever seen too. The buggy’s physics are just Terrible. I lock the damn thing up against the environment all the time – it’s just a pain in the ass to steer and avoid stuff.

The engineer responsible for doing *actual* world collision against *each wheel* needs to be taken outside and shot, since it’s not fun. Here, I’m going to say it again because it needs to be said twice. individual wheel collisions against the world is not fun. There, you got that Valve?

On the other hand (that’s a 3rd hand?) some of the atmospherics in Half Life 2 are just inspired. The bridge section is just stunning – you really feel the vertigo and the immersiveness is just damn impressive. The quality and attention to detail is flawless. Very impressed Valve.

It makes me wonder how much the ambient sound sets make a difference to a game – lighting, mood and ambient sound sets matter greatly – whomever is setting these at Valve is worth his weight in gold.

Anyway, just wanted to add my voice to those applauding the success of Half Life 2. It’s well deserved.

I wonder how many brick textures there are that game though? :)

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