H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

Half-Life 2 developers have given a great amount of detail on the modding capabilities of their new engine and in the process offered many details about the game as well. Details range from the use of Steam to deliver card-specific resources to AI and physics, and BF 1942-like mods. An interesting piece of information that resulted from the extensive transcripts on the Mod Database web site is that Valve have finally resolved the anti-aliasing problems with all makes of cards, a piece of information which does create the impression that the problems with anti-aliasing may have not been as great as initially suggested.

Although most of the transcript contains technical information, we have selected some excerpts which you may find interesting.

On FSAA

"What about FSAA?" - Anti-aliased has been fixed on all cards

On Modding and AI

The blades cutting zombies in half is physics and AI as well. They've been modelled so they can be cut in half, but other than that they walk into the blades and the physics causes damage and they get split in half.
We'll ship all of the HL2 AI code to mod authors as a reference for creating their own AIs with physics behavior.
Some of HL2's NPCs use physics as their basis of movement and interaction with the world.
The AI has lots of interactions with physics. You can control the AI collisions and collision response, navigation around/with physics objects, and specific behaviors involving physics (exerting forces on objects, etc).
The zombie is aware of objects in the environment. His AI realizes when he can throw an object at you and applies the appropriate physics forces to make it happen. The zombies are not scripted to throw specific barrels; it's all tactical...
AIs are aware when squad members die.

On Half-Life to H-L 2 Mod Conversion

Models, animations, and textures just need to be compiled with the new tools. The maps can be loaded into Hammer and saved in the new format (VMF). The code should be pretty familiar to Half-Life mod authors, but there is some porting of the code as some specific engine features are implemented differently usually - much more generally.
Map editing for the Source engine will be very familiar to those who did mapping for Half-Life. We've always tried to extend rather than reinvent whenever possible. The main challenge will be digesting all the new tools and capabilities to get the most out of them.
The rough structure of the map is still BSP-based, built from brushes, but the details are fleshed out with more props that are built in XSI, Maya, or Max.

Creating a BF 1942 Style Mod

First, BF1942 has pretty large maps, so you'd probably want to scale your units down to allow for a multiple mile x mile playing field.
We have some additions to our outdoor rendering, including a realtime occlusion system for dealing with issues unique to outdoor environments. We still maintain a BSP-tree based system for dealing with more traditional indoor environments. So, you can now do extremely large outdoor environments which seemlessly transition indoors. I'm excited to see the mods go nuts on this stuff.

On Facial Expressions

We have a really neat tool called the "Half-Life Face Poser" which allows you to control all of the facial muscles on our humanoids' (could be faces on Alien legs in a mod though...) faces. In particular, you can store set poses as facial expressions or you can animate the face muscles in timing curves. These primitives can be placed together on a timeline to have your actors act out a scene.

On Card-Specific Resources

"How can we use Steam to deliver card-specific resources?"
We can deliver special versions of content to users with particular hardware based on the hardware that they have in their machines. Using this, you could conceivably make a mod that really pushes the limit of hardware and requires specific hardware to run. With the flexibility that you'll have with rendering, I could see mod makers go nuts with this.

You can find the full trancript by following the download tab above.

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Comments

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

I knew they would fix it... and when this issue was brought up (about a week after it was found out....) all the ATi "fanboys" were goin Nvidiot this they make crap cards...now im glad to see you have shut up... i would love to see the smug grins wiped off your faces...TheRook(nobody has firstpost in this comments list so ha all you people that think it makes you big!)

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

hey man i solute ur ass..! i had an nvdia gf mx 32 mb before i bought my radeon 9500 pro.. this game is gonna be more for the radeon cards because its still 'sponsord' by ati.. it has the 'get in the game' or some shit like that logo.. so i would rather play that game with a radeon card than an nvidia one..

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

umm... 2nd post! :D still good.anyway, it's a good thing they fixed it i guess, not that i would care since my comp is so crap FSAA isn't an option for me. but i'm glad for other ppl. now send me a new comp. ;)i just hope CS2 will be out soon [after HL2].

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

I agree, Steam is BAD!!! I live in australia and have limeted internet, Im also on a LAN doing internet shearing with 2 other gaming computers, I dont what to have to download everything 3 times each!!!!! that would kill my internet, Steam is bad!

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

I kinda agree that HL2 will be just like HL2 except with better graphics and sound but even a worse then HL and we all know how crappy HL story is.Monsters can throw objects, yay, thats fantasic!!!. dumbass, thats been done already.oh wow, make facial expressions, gee, its already been done.nothing is innovative in HL2.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

This is a feature list from HL2.-HL 2 will be even more moddable then HL 1, you will be able to port maps from HL 1 to HL 2 and do a little retexturing.-Fully integrated physics and AI, HL 2 is the closest to real life you will get on a computer, throw a crowbar into a machine, it will stop and break, but it you miss a gear, nothing significant will happen.-AI is highly advanced so there is minimal need for Scripted sequences, and the few scripted sequences you will see are highly open to intervention.-Physics effect every single object in the game right down to the pressure on a log holding a house up. You can set wheight limits to object so if such and such wheight goes higher than the limit, it breaks at different levels of destruction depending on extra wheight.-The headcrab alone has 3000 polygons, while bigger, humanoid characters have up to 7500.-As for modders who are moving to HL2, you can import everything to half life 2 with a bit of coding and entity modifications to the maps. .WAD files CAN be converted to you can use HL textures.-Last but not least; entities talk to each other, so if a door falls on a window, the window will break, this needs NO SCRIPTING!!!. Those are just 10% of the new features in HL2, we still have a lot to find out about it. Now, you kids please shut up, HL2 does have lots of new features, its not just HL with better graphics.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

bad news, for all... specially mindfirenvidia is now also supporting this game, but i haven't heard any thing about ati helping with DOOM IIIso, welcome to the puppet show,they make a game that needs a higher and better graphic card, and the price for thoes card will go higher and they will make more money $$$you see ATI and NVIDIA, don't give a damn about there "customers", all they want is to make money...

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

You guys love to slag stuff off dont you?'ooh throwing things and facial expressions - its all been done before - how shit!'You guys are just jumping on a bandwagonto look cool. You guys are gonna be the death of gaming and inovation (maybe). The physics engine in HL2 took 4 years to program for a start, then theres the 27 muscles in the main characters faces and the proper lip synching, the character AI, controling the Ant Lions witht he spores, the 70 ft tall striders, the shaders to create the environments, and the realistic water effects that actually look like proper water for a change. OK some of you have a point about the HL story ending in a bit of a crap way, but I hope this will be addressed in HL2. At last we will be able to use the environments properly in a game instead of having to use scripted or pre-programed props. This game is gonna rock, regardless of all you people who think its just a cash-in. Do any of you know that Valve have re-invested almost all the profits from the first game into the sequel? I hope they do make loads of money too, also how did any of you get the idea that id and valve are only going to support certain graphics cards? Carmac has said that Doom 3 will not support Ati or nVidia specific features, only the features that are DX8/9 standard features common to all cards. Sorry about the long post but Ive got a lot to say :)

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

ummm. this means that not only the radeon 9000 series work with AA, ALL games will work with AA. AA is only used on gf4 ti's, radeon 9000 series and gffx b/c they dont get slow b/c of AA and AF as other models do.dr_s99, how is this bad news? the game is perfectly workable with any card out. hell, the min reqirements for HL2 are 700mhz and a TNT2 card.this is GREAT news, especially for me b/c i have a 9700pro(ask me questions if u want know stuff about the radeon 9000 series(aim: uberl33tjarad).HL was great, and i just started playing the game a 2nd time.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

no, valve were only on HL2 for 2 years and not 4 and those 2 years also include the making of the engine.They spent of there money on worthless patchs and a dumb program they made called Steam and the rest of the money went into the lameass cheat detection called Vac which cant detect a cheat even if I used aimbot on it.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

nvidia sux munky balls, every gforce card i had, are all shitty and there were way to much driver issues, ati rox, i discovered when i made the switch, and with valves new half life engine its gunna run silky smooth with my beefed 9800 pro,,,

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

I posted earlier saying that Im not bothered about AA/AF, but that was a few days ago when I still owned a Ti4600 128... I am now the VERY happy owner of a 9800 PRO 256 MB and I LOVE AA to bits!!The improved image quality is well worth it, and I now use it all the time (even in the doom3 alpha). My monitor will only do 1280x1024 max res, but this is more than nice enough. The card runs like a dream in all my games on maxed out settings with 6xAA and 16xAF.Sorry nVidia but the FX is just too damn expensive in comparison - I know the FX benches higher, but the price difference between £377 for the 9800 pro and the FX at £450 is too much.I have mainly owned nVidia cards ever since I replaced 2x Voodoo 2 12mb cards (SLI'd up) for a 16MB Riva TNT. The difference in quality was massive and well worth the money, then the upgrades came thick and fast with the TNT2 Ultra 32mb - GeForce 256DDR - Geforce 2 Ultra 64MB - Radeon 8500 64MB- Geforce 4 Ti 4600 128MB and now with the 9800 pro. Thats a lot of money as I have always purchased the cards from their original release date. Also this 9800 pro is the card I have been most impressed with in regard to improvement from my previous hardware :)

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

To the guy who thinks Valve is just slapping on HL name for money: WTF is wrong with u. If you make the most advanced physics engine ever and make it a sequel to a great game you are not slapping on a name you are making a sequel now either get ur head outta ur ass or go away.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

Slim, its cause there dumbasses. Valve even said at E3 they were working on HL2 for 1 year and 10 months at the time but now, its 2 years since we are a few months after E3.I never got the spark in the first HL that everyone else got so I doubt I will get the spark in HL2.See, no one played the full version of HL2 so how do you know it will rock or not?. Yes, Valve just probley want to cash in on the name of HL. Who wouldnt?. It's very easy, see, nowadays, its all about graphics and if people see that it has top of line graphics, people automatically think, thats gonna be 1 awsome game until they try. So, Valve just make semi alright engine and just produce top of the line graphics.Yes, HL2 wont flop in sales, thats for sure because many of you will buy it because it says HL2 on the front so valve can make a crappy game and makes loads of money from it because it says HL2 on the front. Most gaming review sites will not give it a bad score because it says HL2 on the box.Yes, I'm a anti-Valve and anti-half-life because I believe most of you have been brain washed by valve and half-life and saying that hl is the greatest game in history is completely stupid when there is tons of games that are 100x better games then HL. Not to the mention that Valve and HL are 2 overrated pieces of crap.I hope valve goes bankrupt and has to go out of the gaming business and when that happens, I will be the happyist person on earth.So to my conclusion: Valve make crappy sequal with awsome graphics and HL2 name on the box and they will make crap loads of money cuz you see it has good graphics and see it is a sequal to the most selling pc game in history that is HL.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

This game is perfect for modders. I hope to see a lot of mods for this game. And good ones. I've never done any modding or anything with games before, but maybe I'll learn how to with this game. Should be fun. And there's so much you can do now with this game.

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

oh, boyyour are all brainwashed....well, i have a advise...get up and see the string connected to your wallet....if ATI and NVIDIA say they have the "best technology"then make a graphic card that has the same power and quality as Geforce FX and ATI radeon 9800...but with out a heat sink and a fan....It does sound impossible, but its not....and hey....now that they have fixed all the problems ( ex drivers and "graphics)NOW SHOW US THE GRAPHICS....and they should start to amaze us by the graphics of the games not by words....

H-L 2 AA Fixed, Modding Details

Nvidia still ownz. They were the first to many people to see awesome graphics on a PC when the geforce came out. And they Nvidia still makes me happy today.Oh, and Half-life 2 won't dissapoint, they WON'T f*** it up. They know how important, and itelligent the video games industry is, and the communtiy for it, by having your half-life2 moddable from day 1.

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