Author Topic: Half Life (2001) question (also general Half Life thread I guess, why not)  (Read 1758 times)

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
Hey guys, I'm currently playing the original Half Life on the ps2. It's good fun but I've got a bit stuck on the "Surface Tension" level, at the bit where you have to skirt around the building with the landmines and tripwires laid around it and the fucking bastard snipers firing at you all the time. I'm at the bit where there's a sort of low obstacle course thing that you have to crawl under to get to the next bit, but you get shot by a sniper before you can get far. I don't have any projectile/explosive weapons left snd I can't find any way to backtrack to somewhere where I can get new ones. I've read that it's possible to kill the sniper with small arms by "firing at the silhouette", but I can't for the life of me work out which bit the silhouette is supposed to be. If any Half Life heads out there have any wisdom to offer it would really be appreciated cos I just keep getting shot. Thanks!!!

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
You got any crossbow ammo? I just had a quick look to refresh my memory, and I seem to recall using that to take out the snipers.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
You got any crossbow ammo? I just had a quick look to refresh my memory, and I seem to recall using that to take out the snipers.

Cheers, I've got a few bolts left, yeah! Might just try running back and forth in front of the nest, taking potshots and quicksaving/loading when I run out of ammo until I manage to fluke it.


Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Also, if you enjoy it, "Black Mesa" (the third party remake of the first game) is excellent too.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
On a sidenote, the bit I recently got past where Gordon Freeman is captured and knocked unconscious by the military guys who then decide to get rid of him by dumping him in a very slow-moving trash compactor piled up with crates just made me think of Dr. Evil purposefully choosing to put Austin Powers in "an easily escapable situation involving an overly exotic and elaborate death." Just shoot him in the head!

The opening post in this thread gave me a really nice nostalgic Games Master feeling.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
I thought I hated Half Life when I first played it on them playstations but I think it had a lot to do with how it played on a control pad

St_Eddie

  • LIKES: Deviled eggs DISLIKES: The Devil & bad eggs
    • St_Eddie's YouTube Channel
I was going to ask, why are you playing Half-Life via the PS2 port, Old Nehamkin?

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
I was going to ask, why are you playing Half-Life via the PS2 port, Old Nehamkin?

Well my laptop isn't really up to playing games but I do have a ps2 and I remembered playing the ps2 half life as a kid and I saw it for a fiver on ebay so I thought yeah, fuck it. I'm having fun with it so far though. I guess I'm not really well-versed enough in the different versions of the game to recognise which elements of this version are subpar, although it was a bit annoying having to get used to the inverted Y-axis which, unless I'm missing something, cannot be changed.

I still haven't managed to kill the sniper guy but don't worry everyone, I will persist.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
although it was a bit annoying having to get used to the inverted Y-axis which, unless I'm missing something, cannot be changed.

fuck

Lemming

  • I'M GONNA GET ME SOME LIPOSUCTION
If it's the part I'm thinking of, you can shoot the explosive barrels up ahead, which opens the way up to the roof. You can then actually crouch-jump on top of the barbed wire bit and run across it. You'll get shot like 9 out of 10 times but it's slightly quicker than crawling, so should be possible, especially if you coax the sniper into firing and wasting a shot before you attempt it.

The silhouette is a really crappy low-poly model in the PC version, not sure about the PS2 version. They're usually just around the corner of the window, not where the muzzleflash shows up, though I never knew you could take them out with bullets.

H-O-W-L

  • Front Toward Enemy
The silhouette is a really crappy low-poly model in the PC version, not sure about the PS2 version. They're usually just around the corner of the window, not where the muzzleflash shows up, though I never knew you could take them out with bullets.

Not even an actual model, just a brush (world geometry)

They're made out of the exact same thing that world objects are, they just have a unique object property that means when they take enough damage they break (along with their rifle, which is similarly a brush), cause a bloodstain to appear on the wall, and play a generic HECU choking sound.

There's no true AI involved in them, just a generic turret entity that tracks the player and fires when there's no physical obstruction. Infact if you disable AI tracking via the notarget cheat they will still fire at you because they're not AI.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
Thanks for the insight, guys - very helpful.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
If it's the part I'm thinking of, you can shoot the explosive barrels up ahead, which opens the way up to the roof. You can then actually crouch-jump on top of the barbed wire bit and run across it. You'll get shot like 9 out of 10 times but it's slightly quicker than crawling, so should be possible, especially if you coax the sniper into firing and wasting a shot before you attempt it.

I tried this technique and have now successfully made it through. Hooray!!!

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Hmm yes, I need to replay again soon I think. Good larks all around.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
One thing that's struck me playing through this is just how much I prefer its minimal, unobtrusive and straightforwardly pulpy storytelling compared to the overwrought prestige-straining wannabe cinematic posturing that dominates modern AAA titles. Feels like at some point it fell out of fashion for video games to just unashamedly be video games.

Zetetic

  • I wasn't supposed to be around this long, so…
I think it probably got a lot cheaper and easier to make video games that are 'just' video games - so you don't find them in the 'AAA' market.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
It's just a shame that effort isn't put into new game engines and dynamics rather than cinematic storytelling.

Zetetic

  • I wasn't supposed to be around this long, so…
There's far more time and effort spent on those things now than 20 years ago, I'd guess.

But again, less visibly so in the 'AAA' market for obvious reasons.

It's just a shame that effort isn't put into new game engines and dynamics rather than cinematic storytelling.

Engine development is probably the single most invested-in part of video game development.

One thing that's struck me playing through this is just how much I prefer its minimal, unobtrusive and straightforwardly pulpy storytelling compared to the overwrought prestige-straining wannabe cinematic posturing that dominates modern AAA titles. Feels like at some point it fell out of fashion for video games to just unashamedly be video games.

This is sort of interesting to me because HL1 took lengths to be less "video game"-like I think, with its lack of discrete missions or levels, lack of power-ups, cinematic scripted sequences, etc.

Lemming

  • I'M GONNA GET ME SOME LIPOSUCTION
This is sort of interesting to me because HL1 took lengths to be less "video game"-like I think, with its lack of discrete missions or levels, lack of power-ups, cinematic scripted sequences, etc.

This is a big part of its success, I think - it came in an era before the "cinematic" elements of today's games were really a thing, so its vision of being less videogame-like still involves a focus on game mechanics above everything else, and trusts the player to experiment and direct their own experience (albeit within the very, very linear and strict guidelines set by the designers).

If Half-Life were made with the worst elements of modern action games, it'd probably repeatedly take the player's control away for the sake of things like totally non-interactive cutscenes, quick-time events, or "press F to ____" moments.

One example I could easily see being changed in a hypothetical modern remake is the train crash at the start of Apprehension. In Half-Life, you can move freely during the whole sequence, which means you can leap off the train early, fall to your death if you jump off at the wrong moment, die in the train crash, drown after getting trapped, etc. In a hypothetical worst-elements-of-modern-gaming remake, it might do something like lock your movement and fix the camera on some melodramatic animation where Gordon's hands grab onto the safety rail as the train plummets into the water, and then there'd be a "tap F repeatedly to free yourself from the wreckage and swim to the surface" sequence.

It's also easy to imagine the enemy introductions being altered. For example, in Half-Life you meet the first Headcrab Zombie when you see the Barney at the top of the elevator shaft shooting at it, and the game lets you join in the fight, run away, potentially walk the wrong way and miss the zombie altogether if you're an idiot, etc. If we again imagine the worst trends in modern games applied to this scene, devs would probably want to ensure the player can't miss the zombie introduction, so you'd end up walking into a trigger point and then get a dramatic animation sequence where you lose control and watch Gordon get thrown around by the zombie in first-person before smashing F to batter it with the crowbar.

Gordon being silent also stands out as a dated, videogame-y thing nowadays. Even in modern games where the protag is silent, there tends to be a sidekick or ally wittering on non-stop and explaining every detail of the plot. Letting Gordon be a complete void to be filled with the player's own personality and reactions is the kind of thing that doesn't seem to be as much in fashion these days.

A lot of these trends aren't inherently bad or anything as long as they're not overused, but compared to more recent titles, Half-Life definitely feels distinctly videogame-y in the way it always leaves things completely in the hands of the player (except for that very brief scene where you get dragged to the Trash Compactor of Pain) and teaches the player a set of consistent, unchanging game mechanics which can be used to overcome every obstacle.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
This is sort of interesting to me because HL1 took lengths to be less "video game"-like I think, with its lack of discrete missions or levels, lack of power-ups, cinematic scripted sequences, etc.

Yeah that's fair enough. I guess what I was trying to get at is that I like how it finds ways to tell its story using means that are unique/inherent to the video game medium rather than trying to ape the form/conventions of cinema as seems to be the fashion with big titles today.

I was going to ask, why are you playing Half-Life via the PS2 port, Old Nehamkin?
You can plug in a USB keyboard and mouse if you wish, meaning you don't have to play with a pad.  Also has a fun 2 player Co-op mode.  All in all a fairly decent port.

I enjoyed most of the HL mods - everyone knows the big ones, but I ended up buying Natural Selection when it went retail (the same team who did Subnautica), there was even a HL engine narrative story game about a refugee breaking out of a asylum seeker camp in Australia that got funding from the Australian government

One example I could easily see being changed in a hypothetical modern remake is the train crash at the start of Apprehension. In Half-Life, you can move freely during the whole sequence, which means you can leap off the train early, fall to your death if you jump off at the wrong moment, die in the train crash, drown after getting trapped, etc. In a hypothetical worst-elements-of-modern-gaming remake, it might do something like lock your movement and fix the camera on some melodramatic animation where Gordon's hands grab onto the safety rail as the train plummets into the water, and then there'd be a "tap F repeatedly to free yourself from the wreckage and swim to the surface" sequence.

Yes, I can easily imagine that. I remember Bioshock (one of the most overrated games ever imo) was the first game I played that did that kind of thing - it really pissed me off, it was like they'd played HL1 and HL2 but missed the point entirely

Quote
Gordon being silent also stands out as a dated, videogame-y thing nowadays. Even in modern games where the protag is silent, there tends to be a sidekick or ally wittering on non-stop and explaining every detail of the plot. Letting Gordon be a complete void to be filled with the player's own personality and reactions is the kind of thing that doesn't seem to be as much in fashion these days.

For a certain kind of game (ie Valve games), I strongly prefer a silent protagonist, though you're totally right that it's gone out of style - not even Valve did it in the last HL game. I think having your character speak adds a weird philosophical complication to the whole experience, and I find it annoying at worst and redundant at best. But Erik Wolpaw, one of the HL Alyx writers, is very pro-speaking-protagonist.

So HL: Alyx has Alyx is nattering away to another character via radio link-up throughout the game. I really enjoyed Alyx - though my feelings about it are so complex and unresolved I still haven't got round to typing my very important opinion up on this forum. But the chit-chat is the only thing about the game I really disliked.

There's a specific (non-spoiler) point in Alyx where it really bugged me. You know the Combine Overwatch announcements, with their fun creepy euphemisms? "Cauterise and expunge", that kind of thing? Brilliant bits of writing and set-dressing I think. There's more of that in HLA, which is great, but Alyx and Russel make fun of it in response, basically saying "LOL did you hear that? those Combine guys are so creepy and weird!". It just ruined the moment for me. Get out of the way! Let me interpret the game myself!

To me, Gordon being silent is a bit like how you don't see Gordon's hands animating with ladders or valves or steering wheels and so on. It doesn't bother me that his hands aren't there - I accept the metaphor. I'd rather concentrate on other things than be made captive to some elaborate animation, or fight with whatever physics a real-time solution might create.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 04:33:05 PM by popcorn »

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
You can plug in a USB keyboard and mouse if you wish, meaning you don't have to play with a pad.

really??? that's so neat

H-O-W-L

  • Front Toward Enemy
I think what fucks my granny when it comes to Alyx speaking in Half-Life Alyx is well, one, I think Alyx and Russell's quippy Marvel dialogue is shit for cunts (much like how I despise Portal 2) but I also think that it's now more dissonant, since the other HalF-Life: Not Starring Gordon sidebars like the first Portal, Blue Shift, and Opposing Force all have silent protagonists too. Granted, Blue Shift and OpFor were made by a different company but still! Barney from Blue Shift is the same Barney in HL2, and he speaks in HL2 but not in Blue Shift, so it would be fine for it to work inverted in Alyx, IMO.

There's a specific (non-spoiler) point in Alyx where it really bugged me. You know the Combine Overwatch announcements, with their fun creepy euphemisms? "Cauterise and expunge", that kind of thing? Brilliant bits of writing and set-dressing I think. There's more of that in HLA, which is great, but Alyx and Russel make fun of it in response, basically saying "LOL did you hear that? those Combine guys are so creepy and weird!". It just ruined the moment for me. Get out of the way! Let me interpret the game myself!

Fucking hell I can speak fluently in Overwatch lingo because of Half-Life 2 Roleplay (yes, that's a thing).

Attention please. Unidentified person of interest, confirm your civil status with local protection teams immediately.



I think Alyx and Russell's quippy Marvel dialogue is shit for cunts

Yeah it's cringey. A lot of it in Naughty Dog games too. Everyone speaks in that same "sassy cute" register.

Old Nehamkin

  • You won, Jane.
I got an Oculus Quest 2 the other day and I've managed to get the unofficial VR port of Half Life 1 up and running on it. I only had a go at the opening trolley section last night and the novelty of the VR experience is still very fresh for me but fucking hell, it was cool. Something very exciting in the feeling of experiencing this world all close up from the inside, as it were. It brings a much grander sense of scale to the whole thing. I'd love to see some other classic shooters getting the same treatment - Goldeneye would be very high on my own list.

GoblinAhFuckScary

  • still freaks my nut to this day
dyin for some non-mechanical reproduction simulation

Yeah it's cringey. A lot of it in Naughty Dog games too. Everyone speaks in that same "sassy cute" register.

it's the dreamworks face personified


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