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Attention PC gamers! We’ve got a giveaway so momentous that it stands to eclipse epochal moments in history going all the way back to the discovery of fire by an unfortunate troglodyte in a lightning storm about one and a half million years ago. In fact, it’s so spectacularly massive that it may create a singularity unimagined by even Stephen Hawking at his most fanciful after a fifth of bourbon. What could be so huge? How about this: a magical Steam code that will grant you free, permanent access to Valve’s entire catalog—which includes some of the finest PC games ever made—and every game Valve ever will make. That’s right: you can win Portal 2, Dota 2 and even Half-Life 2: Episode 3.* It’s the prize that keeps on giving, year after year! But wait, that’s not all! Click through to see what else, and how to win it! Update: Winners have been drawn, and notifications are going out. We'll post the list of winners soon!Update 2: Winners posted!
In the fast-paced world of PC gaming, Half-Life 2 may be considered 'getting on a bit', but its fan base still stands strong. No better evidence could be found than this great fan-film, telling the story of a resistance fighter opposing the rule of the Combine. Found by the guys over at RPS, Singularity Collapse features some spectacular looking props and costumes that perfectly capture the atmosphere of Valve's iconic shooter, as well as some great CGI work using assets from the game itself. Gunfights and aesthetics aside though, it's really the gunship vs buggy chase that makes this a must-see.
Peter Molyneux, one time hero of the PC, one-time head of Lionhead, now doomed to make Fable 3, 4, 7 and 9* appears to really want Half-Life 2: Episode 3. So much so that he's prepared to make his son, his own flesh and blood, ask Valve for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. And then put that very video on YouTube. It's kinda cute. And embedded below.
This Saturday the 28,000 members of this Steam group are planning to play Half-Life 2 together. It's single player, of course, but there's nothing stopping fans from getting together to stroke their chins and nod slowly in mass mutual appreciation for one of the best shooters ever made. The group hopes that the massive play session will shoot Half-Life 2 up the Steam most-played list and let Valve know how many people are still waiting for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Valve certainly know this already, and probably receive dozens of emails every day asking "WHERE AM HL3?" but the group hopes to deliver the message in a more appreciative way.
"You can call it the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator if you really want to," Half-Life 2's Alyx Vance said by way of introducing the Gravity Gun, one of the most memorable physics-twisting tools of PC gaming. Now, you'll soon be able to lug around your very own triumph of science. Collectible manufacturing company NECA announced a 1:1 Gravity Gun replica available for purchase in spring 2013.
You can always count on modders to use Half-Life 2 as a canvas for interesting genre combos. Empires exemplifies this as one of the oldest total conversions, bringing Battlefield-style warfare onto the Source engine with three-faction multiplayer mayhem and a commander mechanic akin to Natural Selection 2's system. The first update to the mod in two years, 2.4 adds five new maps, new models, and a small army of fixes.
The only thing missing from Alan Edwardes' Half-Life 2 mod Estranged is a cryptic introduction narrated by Rod Serling, possibly with a door flying into your face from a starry sky. But Estranged's "key of imagination" still unlocks plenty of mystery involving a wrecked ship, a puzzling island, its eccentric inhabitants, and a moonlit beach.
Robert Yang's experimental Half-Life 2 mod series Radiator is due to be repurposed as a pack of short-form single-player games, starting with a "slightly longer" standalone remake of the original episode, Polaris. The "go-on-a-lousy-stargazing-date-and-then-get-dumped-at-the-end" simulator is expanding out with new graphics, voice acting, Oculus Rift support, and full-frontal male nudity. A trailer has been released, teasing its planned August release.
I've not much sympathy for "things were better in the old days" reminiscing. For instance, those who prefer the twitch action of 'old-school' shooters still have valid options for their acrobatic rocket-spam. Far better then, are those retro-pastiche projects that filter the philosophy of nostalgia through something entirely more ridiculous. Take Half-Life 2: Deathmatch mod Jaykin' Bacon 3. As you'll see in this trailer, its Instagib mode will let you play a flying Solid Snake shooting his deadly electrified finger gun.
Gabe Newell been talking about the Valve sequel everyone wants, Half Life 2: Episode 3, in terms of the Valve sequel no-one wants, Ricochet 2. With almost audible air quotes around each mention of a possible follow up to Valve's year 2000 disk-lobbing multiplayer arena title, Newell told Seven Day Cooldown that the silence surrounding the next Half-Life is intended to spare fans from the unpredictable "twists and turns" of Valve's iterative development style. "We'd like to be super transparent about the future of Ricochet 2," said Newell, "but the problem is that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than being silent about it until we can be very crisp about what's happening."
The sky churns with deadly energy. Looming above, the stricken Citadel claws into the heavens, its tip crackling with transdimensional discharges. The stage is set. Lights, camera—wait, hold everything. I almost forgot to switch on the Cinematic Mod which adds a bevy of high-quality textures, shadows, and a film-style lighting filter to the works. There we go. Now I'm Director Freeman.
If you’re in the world-record setting speedrun business, your job got a little bit harder this weekend. On Saturday, the evil geniuses at SourceRuns posted a new world record speedrun video of Half-Life 2 completed in 1:27:51.09.
How many protestors would it take to get Half-Life 2: Episode 3 news? Newell: "If they'd like to come out we could find out."
[bcvideo id="1116552932001"] Owen has been talking to Gabe Newell at Gamescom about a recent incident at Valve HQ, where two protesters turned up with cardboard signs asking for more news on Half Life 2: Episode 3. Newell went out to meet the protesters, gave them pizza and soda, and then invited them in for a tour of the studio. They ended up sitting down to test Dota 2 and didn't leave until two days later. Newell was tight lipped when we asked him about Episode 3. "No, we don’t have anything," he said. "If the the protesters couldn’t get it out of us..." Then how many protesters would it take to get some Episode 3 news? "I don’t know," Newell replied, "but if they’d like to come out we could find out." That sounds like a challenge to us. We also asked Gabe about Origin, EA's disappearing Steam games and Dota 2, a game he's played for 800 hours. You'll find a picture of Gabe Newell with the two protesters below, as seen on Kotaku. Half Life fans, you might need this.
Adam Foster, creator of the brilliant Episode One mod Minerva, works for Valve now. Clearly then, the temptation for this Director's Cut news is to lead with the implication that Valve are releasing a new Half-Life game on Steam. I'm not that mean - plus, it's early in the morning, and I'm worried the shock and subsequent disappointment would be too much for you all. Admittedly, then, it's not new, or even particularly official, but the Steam release of Minerva does promise to be the definitive version.
Some clever clogs at Reddit has discovered how to get Steam to install Codename: Gordon, the 2D flash game originally bundled with Half-life 2.
If you're looking for an excuse to take another trek through City 17 and points beyond, and you've got an Oculus Rift developer kit handy, you can now opt in to a beta build of Half-Life 2 with support for the VR peripheral. It's as simple as adding "-vr" (without quotes) to the Set Launch Options line in the game properties, and making sure you've opted into the beta for SteamPipe.
This is actually a teaser trailer for an upcoming teaser trailer for a fictional CGI movie telling the story of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. So a trailer for a bigger trailer - he isn't making an actual movie, you understand. That said, it's stunning. Embedded below: