Emails from Valve

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Jun 8, 2003
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Through the forum I have seen that Valve has been responding to many peoples emails. People that have got responses should post them here.

Hy Gabe, (I can call you gabe right?)

Some rumors are going on about the video card on the dell machine (the one
that ran the e3 tech demo) featured the Ati radeon 9800 pro 256mb version
Is this true, and does the 256 mb version has an advantage in Half-Life²
over the 128 mb version?


And does Half-Life² uses a SOF2 kind of damage system?

thnx for your time Gabe



The way Source is designed, hardware manufacturers can update materials to
take advantage of new hardware as it comes out by shipping updates (probably
via Steam). So if they come out with a 512 MB card or double the number of
instructions possible in a pixel or vertex shader, then customers who have
that card can be updated to take advantage of that.

Specifically to answer your question, I think the cards were actually 128 MB
cards but we do take advantage of 256MB cards. If I'm remembering right, we
froze the hardware for the demo before ATI had sent us the 256 MB cards.

No, HL-2 doesn't have a SOF-2 style damage system.

I think its how soldier of fortune had models where you could blow limbs off and such. May be wrong, but I know SOF2 kicked ass.

EDIT: Crap, gooch beat me too it.
the sof2 damage system enables to shoot a model into peices.. you can shoot at the skull and the skull just breaks and you see brain etc. pretty gory. you can slo shoot arms off after you have shot at a certain point for like 3/4 times. i really liked the SP damagesystem. ahwell.. maby its a bit to goory and bloody for the gamers.
Is evil the only one who e-mails gabe ? lol, come on people we want more! :LOL:
I emailed him.... but I got a reply from someone else.... Chris his name was and very helpful he was too :)
The physical interactions look perfect, but some sequences felt at little strange. Frame-by-frame analysis of the e3 videos showed exactly what: objects were reacting to impacts prior to the actual, visual impacts. For instance: there's a splash before a box hits the water, boards break before the crowbar reaches them, soldiers start flying away from a girder before it actually contacts them.

The physics behaviors you point out are an interpolation artifact during demo playback, not of the physics system. They aren't there when you play. It didn't really occur to us that people would be doing a frame-by-frame analysis of shaky cam video of demo playback. Demo playback is NOT even vaguely pixel or frame accurate to actual gameplay - if you want that you
need to make a movie instead and be really careful about how you manage time in your production pipeline (and you will have to ignore pixel and motion artifacts introduced by your compressor). The current demo playback behavior is good enough for our uses.

-sparks appear to show right through other objects (barrels in tech demo sequence, and when manatee thing is shooting at you through cars) They also seem to happen too easily: slow moving barrels bumping into each other don't generate sparks.

-Dying creatures go limp too fast, like puppets whose strings have been cut. For creatures like headcrabs, you can't even tell if they've actually died, because they just stop moving: there's no twitching, clutching, or flipping over like there was in HL to let the player know that the creature is dying.

Both the remaining issues are on our list.

Thanks for the mail.


The guy's a prince: taking this much time out of his day to answer what I now see are kinda stupid and demanding questions (like, THEY wouldn't notice things like this, playing the real game for 5 years with a horde of in house playtesters?)
Can you post his email please?! It can't be that much of a freakin secret when he's got the public emailing him!
I feel a bit bad about all of us bothering him, with our "silly" questions (well, sure they're important to us). He's a real saint (see other thread;)) for actually responding to what must amount to a large number of emails from fans. I hope Valve has some PR people to help him out. He does have a company to run, and the best game in the world to ship by Sept 30.
yeah... we should all mail him and tell him that we are sorry. :p
Good idea BaNDiT !
Gabe seems to be a really nice guy :cheers: answer fan-mail wouldn't be high on any other game-creator's priority list (I think;))
btw, showing his e-mail here was a little unneccesary (you know what I mean) .. people who really wanted to ask him something could've searched for it themselves.. well, well, let's hope Gabe won't get any unusual amounts of, stupid e-mails tonight (yes, it's 02.05 here)

Good Thread :cheers:
Originally posted by aohus
i have his phone number. anybody want it?


Hey guys, any of you asked about player model. I mean will we be able to see our legs while looking down. Also what about reflection in the water?
Hey guys, any of you asked about player model. I mean will we be able to see our legs while looking down. Also what about reflection in the water?
good one! I think I'll e-mail that one tomorrow (if no one else does it before me, if you will, please tell me :))
wooooooohh, too tired to write...schleeepz0rs!:sleep:
if they arent smart enough to find it themselves, they're not worthy. I mailed him about removing it from wherever its listed, but he said he doesnt mind us calling him, at reasonable hours :E

I'm working on recovering the mail btw.

EDIT: meant the phone no :eek:
Maybe, to ease things up on Gabe, we should make a list of questions we would like answered if possible, then after we have a list of things, someONE can send the email, so gabe just needs to reply to one email instead of a squillion (yes, a squillion).
sounds like a plan, from here on, all of u write ur questions down, and i will collect them all in a week to send to him. so ask away :)
I just emailed him a couple of the more interesting ones from this forum.
dont forget to post the responses and original questions
Can whoever started this thred edit the first post to include all the new e-mails. I know it's too much to ask that people not post comments about the e-mails in this thread but if we could just have the e-mails and the responses at the top it wouldn't be as anoying to sort through.

I would, but im not too sure how to edit my posts. yes im a newbee. And guinny, here is my question: is the water a flat surface or not. thanks.
i can answer that one for you, no its not. if u notice in the e3 video (if u saw it) when the zombie knocks him into the sea, you see ur vision distort as if u were underwater
Ok, thats a good idea of having this site ask a list of questions...I will start it.

1) Whats the average polycount on weapons and player models? (Probably been asked a million times, but I searched for it and to no luck)

2) What date will we probably see the SDK?

3) Do you have any idea on how many LOD's are used on each object?

...I know some of these arent the most important or probably been asked before...but hey It was just to start a list ;-)
Ask if they had anti-cheating in mind sinse the beginning of the engine's development. I'd like to hear what they have planned for the MP side of things.

Also, ask about the sound engine. Is it fully 3D (ie, does it not only sound like people/enemies are around us, but also above and below us?)? What quality is the sound (I'd like to see an improvement over the 8-bit sounds in HL1). Is it designed for EAX? etc.

Hmm, maybe I should e-mail.
More on the sound engine - does sound passing through the material alter the sound? ie, bullets above water sound like POW, bullets underwater sound like VOIP as they rip through the water

Will there be unfinished sections of code in the engine that mod makers can make calls to? As in features that were left out of the actual game.

What are the general requirements for a mod to be picked up by Valve as retail?

I read in a magazine that Half-Life 2 will have a musculature system. How editable will it be?

Will a modder be able to enable the 2048X2048 size textures?
Gabe already said that maximum texture size is 2048x2048, why would it be disabled?

Genreal requirment for mods to be picked up by Valve, lets see being the most popular online game sure helps. So does being set in WWII aparently...
I was sure that Gabe said the engine could support 2048x2048 textures, but the current hardware was not capable of this yet. Therefore, it is disabled. I can't cite him on this though. Comments?
no he said that there are even larger sizes that harware couldn't handle, but their source artwork is really hi res so they can release hi res updates. I dont think you would need to alter the engine. The problem is with video memory most hi end cards have either 256Mb or 128Mb, all the textures have to fit in the video memory (for good performance) and there may be 100 textures in a level so this limits you to say 1.28Mb per texture. Later on when we have 512MB or even 1024MB viedo cards Valve could send us larger textures to make HL2 look better.
I see. So while you're creating your map you could create and use textures of 2048x2048 size, but you would have to make sure it fit within a certain videocard's video memory.
yeah, i'm guessing they said maximum of 2k by 2k to be sure that textues would in most video cards, maybe the engine scales down textures (or uses sub-mips) for older GFX cards. the came is said to run on old dx6 halware that may only have 16mb memory

hmmm, now i'm not usre of the 2k by 2k limit, maybe it is an engine limitation perhaps due to the internal of the engine (data structures used to store textures etc)

I'm sure the game wouldn't be playable on old TNT cards if you platered 2k x 2k texture everywhere if the engine didnt scale down textures (this is the simplesty of LOD controls it was even used in quake) so it ssems odd that there is a limit
I think all of the good questions have been asked :(, lol I bet gabe's gonna snap when he gets the same question everyday a million times :LOL:
oohh.. and ask gabe the thing about if you can see the leggs etc if you look down :) instead gordon being 2 fleying eyeballs :)

edit: ooh and what kind of damagesystem the models have, if you can shoot heads into pieces etc. because it is realistic. and if they have a perpixel damage thingy like doom3 has
and dont ask the amount off poly's question because they already said that it is a design thing not a technical limitation. so you can make pretty high reso weapon and player models. i think the LOD system takes care off the high poly models and converts them to the amount off poly's suited for the hardware :)
I just sent an e-mail to Gabe asking about the visibility of the player model...
awaiting answer... :) I'll post it here as soon as he responds (IF he responds :))
Well, Ive asked him about the damage system (with the perpixel system and the thing if you can shoot and see their intestines and blah blah blah) still waiting for a response though...I dont mind if he wont reply at all, would be lovely to find out 30th Sept.
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