H-L 2, New Details Revealed

H-L 2, New Details Revealed

In an extensive interview on Trepid.net, Valve's Gabe Newell volunteered some information on a variety of issues regarding Half-Life 2 and commented on many aspects of the game including H-L 2's choice of graphics card, the future of the XBox version, how the game will compare with other games such as Doom 3, the issue of a demo and the MOD community.

When a project has been in development for 5 years it is natural for fans to expect a great deal. Fulfilling those expectations is the daunting task facing everyone working on H-L 2. Gabe Newell, asked about which aspect of the game was his favorite replied : It's a toss-up between the work Ken Birdwell did with acting and emotions, and the work that Jay Stelly did on physics.
Although he chose to play down the impact of the original H-L on the gaming world he did claim, with little hesitation, that : Yes. It's a much better game.

Much controversy and even more speculation has surrounded the possibility of Valve joining forces with ATI in order to optimize the game for ATI cards. Much of this noise was sparked by Valve's decision to present the game with ATI at this years E3. Gabe Newell remained vague but did state that the most interesting issue is that of scaleability. That is, the creation of a game that will run on DX 6 based cards but which will also fully exploit the latest and greatest DX9 hardware (R350-based and NV35). This last statement does suggest that Valve will not fully optimize the game for one manufacturer thus avoiding sacrificing performance on the other's products.
According to Newell the XBox version, which apparently is still go, ...fits into the middle of our scalability goals for the PC product. It's more of a question of how much we want to optimize for the console than anything, he commented.

When asked on how he expects H-L 2 to compete against other great forthcoming titles such as Doom 3 and Deus Ex 2, Newell played down competition, even though he did accept the excitement it brings to gamers, and suggested that the more good games that are out there, the more every developer benefits by growing the number of people who regularly buy PC games.

The multiplayer aspect of the game has remained a closely guarded secret and Newell refused to comment on it, he did say however, that the netcode had been completely re-architected, offering ...two benefits - it performs much better, and it is much easier for MOD teams to use. He did confirm that Half-Life 2 will be available via Steam.

Half-Life 2 environments promise to be breathtaking and have already gotten gamers extremely excited and although 2K by 2K texture resolution will be supported, Newell was disappointed that the game will miss some really cool image-based rendering technology that Gary McTaggart prototyped. It would have given us some super-cool capabilities for apparently complex environments. We weren't able to get it sufficiently integrated...

The Trepid.net interview also revealed that Valve do not plan to release any playable demo before Half-Life 2 hits store shelves.

As far as the possibility of a quick sequel is concerned Gabe Newell did say that We don't really have much trouble figuring out what we want to push next... he did however, add that the long development had worn the Valve team out and that We're going to recharge a bit on short fun projects once HL-2 goes out the door. So don't expect a sequel anytime soon.

You can find the link to the full Trepid.net interview by following the download tab above.