Half-Life's lost feature, glowing textures


Retired Content Creator
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Jun 11, 2004
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In today's article, we're going to talk about Half-Life's lost feature, glowing textures. In Half-Life version 0.52, a pre-release build dated September 8, 1997, there are special types of textures that glow in the dark. These textures do not require another form of light to be lit up.

This is actually a more complex version of a technology that was present in id Software's Quake, the engine that Half-Life is based on. Unfortunately, this feature is only available in the software mode, which works if you set your computer's color depth to 16 bit from its display settings.

Half-Life uses 256 color images as textures. The last 32 colors, minus the last one, can be used as the glowing parts of the textures. In addition to this, the filenames must have the prefix used for either animated (+0~filename) or switchable textures (+a~filename). While this feature is not available in the final release of the game, the textures still carry the color data used for the glowing parts.

Example #1

texture01.png texture02.png

Example #2

screenshot02.jpg screenshot01.jpg

Special thanks to Tom Schumann for the help.