Info received from Valve ONLY - NO questions/discussion


May 14, 2003
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As the thread title says, please only official info in this thread: emails from Gabe or other confirmed Valve sources about the game and engine. And please check to make sure there are no duplicates. The point of this thread is to have easy readable access to confirmed answers on HL2 questions about the engine and game mechanics NOT the game's story, NOT what Gabe had for breakfast this morning (even if Gabe emailed you about it), and NO spoilers.

Remember: if you want to discuss them, use OTHER threads that raise a specific topic, or start your own thread. Don't clutter up this one.

Also, PLEASE try to put only the Valve answers in bold if you know how. And if you're copying someone else's posted email, remember to credit them so they don't get mad.

Message from Munro, admin:

No one here is guaranteed to get answers from Gabe. If he isn't answering you, he isn't necessarily going to answer because several people spam him the question for you.

Again: this isn't a thread for begging people to ask questions: it's a thread people can go through and read the ANSWERS to.

Again: DON'T post questions that you've sent to Gabe that he hasn't answered yet. That's NOT the point of this thread.

Any off topic posts will be deleted and the user banned if repeated.

If you want to ask Valve a question, please find the relevant person (ie. General game specifics/detailed engine question/Steam question etc.) at this site:

You'd probably get most luck in e-mailing one of these three people though:

[email protected] (Managing Director of Valve, has answered hundreds of questions already)

[email protected] (Senior Engineering Lead - Has a great knowledge in game specifics and engine elements)

[email protected] (Director of Marketing - Has great general knowledge of the game)

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.

The physical interactions look perfect, but some sequences felt a 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.
Could you please tell me what the big flying manatee-like thing in the E3 video called?

It's the Alien Gunship.

I have another question. In the E3 technology demo, Gordon uses a different kind of manipulator (one that moves objects around with a blue beam as opposed to throwing them). Will this weapon be in the final game? Is it like a secondary attack for the regular manipulator?

It's a different weapon.

Also, in the video Gordon drops his shotgun in order to pick up the RPG. Does this mean we would only be able to carry a certain amount of weapons at the same time?

We're tinkering with inventory and weapon management.


Many questions remain unanswered though. Gabe must be busy. Or my questions were stupid ;(
From MOD

Here goes the small man's pickering:
The E3 demos are amazing.
Just one thing that bothered me, the birds. There is a gun battle going on, birds don't want to be there.
If the birds can fly around, and fly the hell away when gunshots sound, that would be amazing (and not too easy to code). {meant hard, `doh}

GJ on HL2, it truly is looking amazing.

Voice (Home): 206-***-***

is this correct? if i were you i'd take it off @%&@$& databse o_O


We had the birds hanging around in the demo cause we theought they were cool. In the game they are more skittery.

Yeah, that's my home number. I don't mind talking with people so long as they realize that calling me at 4:00 am is not a good idea.
From Lemures

"Hello. Honestly, im just really bored right now, and
with 94 days left until HL2... im just way to
pumped up to just sit here lol. I had a few questions
for you, you dont have to answer any of them i guess,
but it would be cool

1. How many emails per day do you think you get from people like me?

a lot

2. The source engine is scalable.. is that dynamic,
like if its starting to run sluggish it lowers the
polys, or is it set when you start the game or

yes it is dynamic

3. When is the SDK coming out

it will be staged; some people have it already

4. Is it possible to convert any of the maps or models
from the HL1 engine to HL2?

we've made this as painless as we could

5. Are there any... um.. ambient(?) creatures other
than birds that we will see? i will probably never
stop laughing if i see a couple chipmunks running away
from a strider...


6. The crowbar. is it just like.. damage straight
ahead, or does it sort of swing, like a bat, and it
depends at what angle you hit something?

it's physically simulated - it's a bar swinging through air

7. Inverse kinemetics or whatever. i just like sayign
that outloud. no this isnt really a question.

deformation mesh is also fun to say

8. can i have HL2 early

depends. what can I have in trade

-- your devoted fan (how many times have you seen

he sent me this response in about TEN MINUTES from when i sent him the email. then i replied with another question..

"lol... deformation mesh....

i didnt expect you to respond so quickly! wow!

one more quick question.. in the e3 demo, it says you
can essentially build the guys out of water by
applying the right shader or whatever. well, if you
make the guy out of water.. when you shoot him, does
he still bleed? or will it splash? it would be cool to
see them sort of melt or whatever when they die, but
thats not gonna happen. could that sort of 'splashing'
thing be easily programmed in? (probably, its jus the
sprite and sound right..)"

his response:
"Yes, they would splash, at least that would be the easy thing to do given the material. Splashes aren't sprites actually."
From jhero:

Q: I was just wondering if there would be a visual difference between a dx6 card and above type of cards when visual goodies are turned up full? Also I heard that Source would the lod lower automatically if the game was playing at a below playable frame that true? One more thing, in terms of sound, will the engine take full advantage of an audio card such as audigy2 and will there be music played during singleplayer campaigns and possibly multiplayer?

A: Yes, there will be a big visual difference between DX6 hardware and DX9 hardware. Yes the LOD changes dynamically. I'm not sure what it means to "take full advantage of an audio card such as audigy2" but we do have a very sophisticated sound engine. Yes there is music for singleplayer. We haven't said anything about multiplayer.

Q: ok, thnx for replying! well I myself have a radeon 9700, so lets say somewhere outside during half life 2 my fps goes like to 15....will the engine change the LOD so it will boost my fps? Could you give me an example of a big visual difference between DX6 hardware and DX9 hardware? One last thing, I heard some talk about releasing a direct feed of the e3 demo shown at this years e3(like a video of the demo). Would you mind spilling some light on this or is it just speculation?

A: Yes, we dynamically change LODs.

Pretty much everything looks better on DX9 across the board.

Yes, we will be releasing the videos over steam in the next few days.
i guess you put it up ;)

Q: ok so I got steam, when I go on steam the day the video come out, will it download automatically? thnx

A: Yep.
STEWART: In the e3 demonstration, you showed the manipulator weapon... now, I was wondering what the restrictions are for the weapon... i.e. Could I pull an enemies weapon from his hand, and is there a "weight" limit to the objects that can be picked up? How will you know which objects are manipulatable? (is that even a word?) I was just worried that it would be like all these other games where, for example, your character can climb walls... but wait... ONLY "special" walls that have the texture "w_rocks1" (just an example)... and then there are walls that have that texture but can't be climbed. :(

GABE: The manipulator "opens" when you can pick something up that you are pointing it at. There is a weight limit. Most everything can be picked up. I hate special cases, too.

STEWART: Sort of indirectly related to the above question... what restrictions are there to the physics... I noticed in the vehicle driving scene that there is a wooden bridge that the player must drive up... was/is it possible for the bridge to be destroyed? And... if so... what then? Are there alternate routes?

GABE: If you can destroy something it may be useful but it can't be critical to completing the game.

STEWART: Finally, will there be a co-operative mode? (I'm probably pushing my luck here, since you said you want to keep the multiplayer side of HL2 a big secret... but hey... you can't blame me for trying...)

GABE: We aren't doing a cooperative mode, but a couple of MOD teams want to do one so we'll work with one of them.
From me:

Q: when can we expect new official info?

A: Pretty soon!
from sharp

Hello Gabe,

With the current HL 1 netcode / engine I can easely play HL DM or a mod like CS with no lag (ping 60 for example). I use now ISDN 64K (sometimes 128K) and CS for example is well playable with ISDN. But here is the question: People who can't get broadband in their region, are they able to play HL DM with ISDN without lag?

I heard STEAM is broadband only (they recommand atleast 512kb/s download rate)

Does that mean that people who don't have a broadband connection can't play multiplayer with HL2 anymore? I would be disapointed because even CS is playable with isdn...


There are two issues - content delivery and playability.

HL-2 has better netcode than HL-1 thanks to Yahn and Mike Dussault's new approach. It takes less bandwidth for the same game on HL-2 than HL-1.

For content delivery, it's a question of how soon do you want it? If you leave your Steam connection on all the time and we deliver a 10 MB update, it's going to be delivered in the middle of the night so you won't even know that it's happening. If you turn it off and you have to wait for the update when you turn it on, then it's entirely a function of your bandwidth as to how long it will take to be delivered. The reality is that Steam will do content delivery over an arbitrarily slow connection - it's more a question
of whether or not you leave that connection active all the time.
Links to interviews with Gabe are fine too (don't post fulll interviews for copyright reasons, but you can summarize the basic info):
(talks about physics, "soundscapes," eyes, facial expressions and human animation, AI more context aware, cites system min. requirements as "800 MHz P-III and a DX6 level hardware accelerator (TNT)"
(talks about hating bunnyhopping, TF2 design, creating your own "material," confirms usable alien weapons, denies mp3 playback capability, interpenetration "is a bad thing.")
From planethalflife:

Rumor: A Half-Life 2 SDK (Software Development Kit, what mod makers use to help make mods) will be released before the game is released.

Erik says: "Yes, we will be releasing an SDK for the Source engine for MOD developers before the game is shipped."

Considering the SDK for the original Half-Life wasn't ready until months after the game's release, this is great news!

Rumor: The Day of Defeat team is already working with Source.

Erik says: "The Day of Defeat team is currently working on the follow up release to Day of Defeat 1.0, which will be version 1.1. They are not yet working with the Source engine."
from: Timm

The physics in the single player part (judging from the movies from E3) look absolutely fantastic, but how will physics work in multiplayer? Won't there be a problem with sending all the physics information packets to all the players? Are you perhaps scaling the physics engine down for multiplayer?

"Well, the simple answer is that there are client-side and server-side physics behaviors. You use client-side when maintaining cross-client coherence isn't important. This cuts down network traffice while maintaining the appearance of physical simulation throughout the world.

Yahn, anything you'd elaborate on?"

Yahn (follow up on Gabe's question)
"No, that's basically correct."

Me (asking for clarification)
"So basically what you are saying is that the physics appear to the player just like they do in the single player game without scaling it down, but objects that aren't required to have a correct placement in the world (like soda cans, small rocks, and so on) will be handled client-side, but bigger things (like a crate that's thrown on a player with the gravity gun, or a mattress falling down to block a hole in the ground) will appear in the correct spot for all players?"

"Yes, it's definable per-object, so exactly what's client vs. server simulated is tunable."
Found on Shacknews Messageboards:

Mad Brahmin Disease: hell yeah and how the ship plowed right through them (the downed aliengunship plowing through the busted cars in the desert/buggy sequence)... I'd like to know if that was scripted BTW.

No, that's the kind of thing you get with physics.

From Gamespot audio interview I'll update my transcript of this over time, so check back):


It's been a pretty interesting 5 years.


So, for HL2 we really don't want to... part of what we think is going to be great about the experience for people is that they get to discover it again. There are going to be some surprises. There are very definately some pretty significant surprises. Some of the issues that were raised in HL1. You're going to learn a lot more about the G-Man for example.
But you may not.. you may be surprised about... there are going to be some questions raised in your mind right away. It's like... "this isn't entirely what I expected. This is different than I expected."


The thing that I want to see people react to...
I think the part of it that's going to really shock people is how they feel about the other people in the game: the emotional reactions they have to the characters in the game. And at the end of it they are going to look back and say: I didn't think I could have that experience with a computer character. And that more than anything else was what I think was the biggest risk for us, and the one that paid off the best at the end of the day.


We've had far more time to work on HL2 than HL1 and we were starting from with HL1


There's always this challenge of, there's sort of this fault-to-design goal of making everything simulatable. Like everything that occurs in the world occurs because of some basic set of rules out of which entertainment is supposed to emerge. That's sort of a doomed strategy.

On the other hand, the degree to which the hand of us as a designer becomes apparent to the player... It can really... you know I'm going through and I'm fighting and I'm worried about what's going on and worried about what's happening to my partner and there's all this time pressure on me to do someone and all of a sudden I have to move a chessboard to get a door to open. It's like "I was doing great right up until..." It's like watching a boom mike come down during a movie. It's like, wait a minute, don't do that, it's sloppy and lazy.


Seamless transitions in space. Where you don't ever want to go get some coffee. The world should feel as seamless and continuous as possible. And idealy we should structure the autosaves so that you're not always thinking about quicksaving and quickloading: you're going to trust us. This is something that I think Miyamoto does really well: you can trust his game design.

You just play the game you don't worry about... I mean quicksave/quickload is great, but it would be better if you could just sort of say, if I'm playing well, and working hard, even if my health is getting low you know we're never going to trick and then say "tada" and drop you into a pool of lava. That's the sort of thing both as a designer and a player that makes me completely insane. We want to say if you play well, and you're thinking about what's going on, you can trust the game to be your partner in being entertained. We're not trying to beat the player, we're trying to have fun. Not us triumphing to say "whoo-hoo" we killed you 407 times while trying to play the game.


With HL1 when we actually talked to people the amount of time it took them to play varied emormously with their skill level. But it should be a similar length with HL2. We're reorganized the chapter structure a little bit so that there are actually fewer chapters than there were in HL1, but the actual amount of game experience should be comprable to HL1. When we sat down and watched people play, they were getting around 40 to 50 hours for a typical core gameplayer: that's what we're going to see with HL2.

As a gamer I'm kinda dissapointed with the lack of progress in PC gaming. I think we're seeing a lot of fairly uninspired rehashes of experiences that people have already had.


We're going to do much better with the modmakers. We're going to give them options, like if they want to options to liscence the technology, release the SDK to them before the product ships rather than after the product ships.


We've worked with softimage to create much better integration between SSI and Hammer, the world authoring environment that we have. So that people that wanna work in both environments will find that assets, you know, you can work on world geometry and move it into SSI and tweak it and move it back and and all your shaders are gonna look correct in both environments and things like that.

And then we're also working with softimage to bundle together a set of tools for people... you know ordinarily a product like SSI is incredibly expensive, but we're triyng to work with them to make that affordable and approachable for all those people who want to work on HL2 mods.

Jay Stelly:

You experience the whole world as Gordon Freeman. Every bit of the story is told visually through those characters and through the environment. So really, it's in their actions. But also acting isn't just in the story, it's in the AI, they'll have facial expression they'll speak, and you'll know what they're feeling as their behaving in combat situations and other sorts of gameplay situations.

Most of the advancements have been made have been in animation. Obviously we've doen some things with rendering as well. Just to bring the level of visual quality up. Higher res textures, higher res models, more sophisticated shading: skin shaders, eye shaders. We're more reaslistically modeling things like muscles on characters so that they behave realistically, they can animate realistically.

But the big advances have all been in how we do animation of faces, bodies. And how we make all of that dynamic so that it can coexist with all the dynamics in the game.

Like the AI is going on telling the character... you're fighting, you're serious, that needs to be reflected in your face and your body posture. But there's an enemy over there and he's moving left to right and you can't just play a canned animation. You're tracking him with the gun. The whole body responds to that, the eyes respond to that, the face respond to that. Everything is being driven by the dynamic situaiton of the game.
Or in a story section you've got to maybe move while delivering lines, making gestures at the player wherever the player may be. So the player can move around whever he wants to go and the character has to be able to play just the right animation to deliver their lines and gestures at that this kind of moving target.


Some of the things we've done with animation will make them more engaging. And in a situation which you're likely to replay it several times and it's richly interactive like a tactical combat scenario you'll obviously see lots of different ways. The allied characters will fight differently based on how you fight and now its reflected in all their animation and their acting in that context.


Everything is reflected back in physics. It's totally integrated into our game. We have weapons that allow you manipulate objects with physics. All of your conventional weapons are reflected in phsyics. You can throw a grenade bullets exert force player exerts force. You can push things and rolls things and jump on top of things and have them react to your mass. All of those things are integrated into the gameplay and you can do things at a level that you're couldn't do before.


Using combat as an example again: enemies will react to you changing the position of physics obejcts, and if you knock something over maybe they can get behind it and use it for cover, or maybe you could knock it out of the way and they're not in cover anymore. That kind of thing really makes the situaiton more dynamic and more replayable.


On the whole engine we've made a lot of investments for freeing people who are artists. We moved things more to being scripted to being configurable by our artists. Without breaking what's already there.

In audio, we've totally embraced that kind of thinking. It's much easier to get new audio in the game, they don't have to write code to make things happen. There's one thing I talk about called soundscapes, where as you move through the environment, an audio designer can script what's happening, how the sound is being presented to you. It's almost like scoring, the tone, you know, like, there's a low rumbling in this room, and as you get closer to this thing maybe this part of it gets louder to kind of emphasize that there's something interesting about this object. Almost like film-scoring but in an interactive sense. You have a scripting language where you are doing that.

We have all the things we had in HL that we've extended our own bsp systems so we have pretty believable reflections of the environment.

We've done the straightforward, all the sounds sound better now, it's all super-high quality of course. And we've gone toward embedding lip-synch instructions into wave files so as we've said before characters can speak in different languages We can do automatic close-captioning: things that aren't exactly audio features but work with the engine.


In a lot of cases we still have source material from HL that's really useable.


We'll happily liscence code as we've done in the past to solve problems wherever we can. But really we were trying to solve a lot of problems that had never been solved, that you couldn't purchase solutions for. It's not like "well, we can save time by buying this" cus we wanted to do things with characters that had never been done before.


With phsyics there were a lot of things that you could already purchase, so we liscenced code to do the core of that, and built the things that couldn't be done with the that technology on top of that.
WOOHOO! Here is some new info from Gabe!

Sorry to bother you again. But could you please tell me when we would get new media for Half-Life 2 (i.e. screenshots and videos)?

The E3 movies will release in the next day or so.

Also will the game be simultaneously (wrong spelling probably) released on Steam and in retail stores or will Steam users get it quicker?

Half-Life 2 will be released worldwide on Steam simultaneous with the US retail release.
Q:When will be updated?
When will be touched...
The site says:
© 2002 valve, all rights reserved.
I mean hey it's 2003 :p

A: We're more interested in letting fan sites publish information than making everybody go to our sites.

Not directly that much info... but hey, i got the mail like in 2 hours :cool:
from Abom|nation

Subject: Strider-Combine Relations

Q: I don't know if you can distribute this information yet, but are the Striders a part of the Combine forces, or are they of another race?

Thanks for your time.

A: They are part of the Combine.
From Me:
I was wondering,

Will Half-Life 2 support Hyper-Threaded CPU's?
In theory shouldn't it take alot of load of the system?

Example, the first processor does all the physics, while the second does some other tasks, like AI, 3d Sound etc

Any Thoughts?

Hyperthreaded CPUs attempt to extract thread-level parallelism, as opposed to traditional pipelined architectures which attempt to take advantage of instruction level parallelism. Hyperthreading can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of the performance impact, as you can, in some cases, run slower.

Implementing and maintaining a "deeply" multi-threaded version of Source would be a pain (i.e. multi-threading the renderer). Implementing a hacky version (e.g. having a discreet physics thread or running the client and server in different threads) is something we may do depending upon how much bandwidth we have before we ship. Right now we don't get nearly as much bang for the buck working on hyperthreading as we do on other optimizations. That may change as we run out of things to optimize.

64-bits, in contrast, is a one-time cost and is fairly simple to take advantage of. It's a huge win for tools as it not only gets more work done per instruction, but it also gets us past the current memory limitations, which are a problem for us today on tools.

Distributed computing is harder than hyperthreading but it has the potential to increase performance by a huge amount (8X on our tools) as opposed to hyperthreading (30%). All of our tools are going to a distributed approach.

So the taxonomy looks like this:

- general algorithmic optimization (general good thing to do)
- DX9 optimization (big gains, long term direction)
- 64-bits (not that hard, solves memory problem as well as performance gains)
- hyperthreading (hard initial cost, on-going code maintainence cost, limited unpredictable performance gains, benefits in multiprocessor environments as well)
- distributed computing (hardest to do, biggest potential gains, great for tools, may be great for servers, not sure how it works with clients)

Hope this makes sense. Jay, any corrections?

yay sdk

hey, Gabe,

i read a quote from you today concerning the release of the HL2 SDK: 'it
will be staged; some people have it already'. i was wondering how valve
determines who gets the SDK right now. personally, i am a programmer for a
mod team and would love a chance to get an early start. if it's possible for me to get the SDK now, for the love of all that is good tell me how to get
it :D

Chris Evans

Talk to Chris Bokitch "Lord of SDK Distribution".

hey, Mr. Bokitch :D

below is an email conversation i had with Gabe Newell. i was hoping you
might be able to answer my questions.

Hi Chris,

I'm not sure which teams have it right now, but it's quite limited. I know
that the Day of Defeat team has access to it. We are working on the public
version, to be released "as soon as possible". We are still working out
what will be included in the SDK. More information will be released soon.
When it is, it will be sent to major gaming and Half-Life news sites, and it
will appear the second it's available at the Collective

I emailed Gabe Newell about this one just a few hours ago and he replied just now.

What program are the vehicals for Half-Life 2 designed in? Hammer or XSI? Or could it be both?

you could use either, but we used XSI. We're working with Softimage to release a free version of XSI over Steam.
The Source SDK will be similar to the existing Half-Life SDK in that it will be C++ based, not a using a proprietary scripting language.

Erik Johnson
This just in from Gabe...

My message:

How complex will the physics engine be exactly? Is there a limit before things start clipping and not doing what they're supposed to be? Such as some of the ideas going around about making a map with just a huge building made out of wood. Will shooting the supports out from under the building make the rest of the building react? Same if other objects, i.e barrels were put on top of the wood building. Would it all react physically, or is there a limit to the engine? Thanks.

Gabes Answer:

The two scenarios you describe are actually pretty easy. Jay's physics system pretty much does that automatically. We're doing a lot with physics, but we're really curious to see what the MOD community figures out. Where you run out of gas is with lots and lots of objects.
Here's a copy of an e-mail that was forwarded to me. (I was the one joking about this with a few other people.)

E-mailed to Gabe:
Okay, my friends want to know (not me, honest!) whether or not the HL2 physics engine will be applied to the finer parts of the fairer sex -- that is, will the boobies jiggle realistically?
Granted, I think they were joking when they asked, but I said I'd send you an email, so here it is :)

Thanks for your time,
-Luke, a.k.a. Rabid Llama

Gabe's responce:
We aren't going to do this. I think we'd do cloth and hair before worrying about physics based model deformation.

If someone were doing a fighting game MOD and wanted to replicate DOA style breast movement, it would be pretty simple to do this with Source.

Edit: fixed up spacing issues
lip sync

Hello. I just wondered how do the people in Half-Life 2 know how to move their mouth in time with the speech? And can you make them sing? Thanks.

From Ken Birdwell (Valve):

Yes, they could sing, though I've never tried it.

They move their lips based on data in the wav file that we add with our animation system. The first step is to type in what they're saying, then there's an automatic process that finds exactly when they say each phoneme and how long each phoneme lasts. All this gets written back into the wav file. When each character is told to "play" a sound, they'll move their lips based on the phonemes in the file.

You'd still need to add their facial expressions and body movements to make the performance believable.
/me new to forums
i sent this and got a response in about a minute

i am reading through a forum with links to interveiws and email replies and there was a comment about moveing things useing direct movement from the player and with relevance to the mass of the object. in the E3 video there was a table that was pushed against the door. if you stood on the table would the table collapse because of the weight? would the result of an interaction depend on the mass/volume of the supports? would the material [E.G. metal, wood, glass] change this?

thanks in advance

No, the table wouldn't collapse, simply because you don't weigh enough. Yes, you could make a table that would collapse under your weight. Yes, the material does affect the strength. Yes volume drives physical properties (e.g. weight, buoyancy)
-----Original Message-----
From: Fredrik Idestål [mailto:*****]
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 12:28 PM
To: [email protected]

Hi, again.
Whould you like to comment this pic:

We know the truth!
(btw here's the real pic )

I recomend you ask peter jacksson to make the first HL film, the man is dedicated to his movies, not in profit.
And yeah, forum goers want Charlie Sheen to play gordon...
Maby the guy who plays the smoking man in X-Files whould be good as G-Man

And finally, a question, IF Hl whould be a movie, what whould be the best movie, HL1 or 2?

// figge

ha ha ha that's great

I keep pushing for Noah Wyle (EDIT:,+Noah )and everybody thinks I'm insane

HL-2 would be easier to make into a movie as the characters already have more depth to them
-----Original Message-----
From: [me]
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:11 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: HL2 and Alt-Tabbing

Just a little question that has been lingering on my mind recently Gabe -
Will HL2 support alt-tabbing out of the game? I know it wasnt supported in
HL1 but technology has changed in the years so i thought i would ask.
Personally i like it and think most people prefer to have that option
available, but i know sometimes its not possible with some games.


Gabe's reply: "Yes."

(Yay! Alt-Tabbing!)
My message:

Gabe what's your family like?

Gabe's Response

Wow. I didn't think anyone would care! Haha. My wife is good, expecting a child in a few months. By the way, I recieved your message on my machine. The Half-Life2 media will be released tomorrow, July 1st.
-----Original Message-----
From: ReZeroX
To: [email protected]
Subject: HL2 Demos

Hey Gabe!

I was talking with my friend today, and we were discussing HL1 and demos. He is considering making a movie out of demos and it got me thinking about HL2. Demos were a popular thing in HL1, where you can record your sweet moves in multiplayer games and such, and i was wondering what kinds of things will HL2 be doing with demos? Will there be more support for them? Maybe a menu for it or will HL2 be saving demos as AVI's to avoid the painful process of converting them? Any info on what demos are like in HL2 would be appreicated, thanks for your time.


Gabes Reply:
Yes. There will be an in-game demo editor.
-----Original Message-----
From: Jason
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:57 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Question re: HL2

The water seen in the E3 demo video looks amazing but it leaves me with 1 question.

Can you define how "thick" water is? As in how deep light penetrates or how murky it is? Or will you always be able to see straight to the bottom regardless of depth or distance?

On the dock when the zombie knocks the player into the water the player was able to see underwater far further than would be possible in real life. Just curious.


>From: Gabe Newell <[email protected]>
>To: 'Jason
>Subject: RE: Question re: HL2
>Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 14:59:17 -0700
>We made it clear to make it easy to see out of the water to the zombie that
>knocked you in.

I seen the videos and I was very impressed of what I saw.
It simply looks stunning to say the least, and the strider...OMG,
its so friggin cool. But you know what would have been even cooler!

To experience the strider first hand when you actually played the game.

So if you guys have more aces like that up your sleeves, dont let
us gamers know them (at least not all of em).

Of course I could choose not to watch the videos, naah, that is a lie, I dont
have the will power for that. So please, please save some surprises for us.

Can you do that?

"Up the irons"


We will. We're very careful about that.
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 7:46 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Water & deformation

I'm impressed, you guys really set the new standards for games,
I was kinda depressed about the game developments lately, not
a single game could really surpass the fun i had playing HL 1 and
its mods, until i saw HL 2.
Great job!!

Now for the questions:
-Maybe a harder one :)
If I were to create a map in HL2 and build a giant wooden
container, containing water and i would shoot out one of
the sides, will the water flow out of the container?

Could i make my map completely destructable?

Could I make a mod where if i shot a rocket at the ground,
the ground would deform as a result of the explosion.
(maybe via displacement mapping)
Or maybe this can be set as a material property?

Sorry to bother you with all these questions,

Thanks a lot, i can't wait for HL2.

no yes yes
I have a question about the are the cables/wires (which look FANTASTIC). Especially the way they move in nearby "wind." How does this effect play into map making/model design: do models (like the Alien gunship) have a special flag that means they generate a wind disturbance in their general area? Or does this require some sort of special scripting in C++? Can we make other objects in the game beside the cables/wires react to "wind" or is it an automatic factor of their weight?

From: Gabe Newell

From: Mike Dussault
Currently, blowing ropes around like the gunship requires specific code in the entity that wants to do it. There is an entity that can create a global wind force for non-rope objects, and it has parameters like wind speed, direction, and noise.

Wow, thanks. I have to say that of all the advances we fans have seen so far, the ropes really "make" many of the visual scenes: they give maps that extra degree of realism that makes them feel truly complex and inhabited. I can't imagine the dock scene or the city scenes being as impressive as they are without them, and the fact that they not only have slack but also can
bounce and twist is truly amazing. How easy are they to create: can you just define two endpoints and give them a certain length or degree of slack?

Yep, that's exactly how they're specified. Here's a little breakdown I wrote about them a while ago:

The ropes are simulated as a set of springs in between the endpoints (usually between 5 and 10 springs). So internally, they look like this:


where the *'s are the nodes that the engine cares about. It simulates those nodes, then makes a curve through them to draw the rope.

The nodes respond to gravity and wind. Entities can apply force to the ropes to make them sway. The gunship does this continually, and the strider does this when it takes a step.

For a mod maker, it's easy to make a rope between things (like a grappling hook). You call a function and specify what entities you want the endpoints attached to, the rope length, and the rope material. Level designers can place entities at the endpoints.
-----Original Message-----
From: sharp
Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 3:32 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: low bandwidth and HL2 multiplayer

Hello Gabe,

With the current HL 1 netcode / engine I can easely play HL DM or a mod like
with no lag (ping 60 for example). I use now ISDN 64K (sometimes 128K) and
for example is well playable with ISDN. But here is the question: People who can't get broadband in their region, are they able to play HL DM with ISDN
without lag? I heard STEAM is broadband only (they recommand atleast 512kb/s download
rate) Does that mean that people who don't have a broadband connection can't play
multiplayer with HL2 anymore? I would be disapointed because even CS is
playable with isdn...

There are two issues - content delivery and playability.

HL-2 has better netcode than HL-1 thanks to Yahn and Mike Dussault's new
approach. It takes less bandwidth for the same game on HL-2 than HL-1.

For content delivery, it's a question of how soon do you want it? If you
leave your Steam connection on all the time and we deliver a 10 MB update,
it's going to be delivered in the middle of the night so you won't even know
that it's happening. If you turn it off and you have to wait for the update
when you turn it on, then it's entirely a function of your bandwidth as to
how long it will take to be delivered. The reality is that Steam will do
content delivery over an arbitrarily slow connection - it's more a question
of whether or not you leave that connection active all the time.
Q: Hey,

I heard that your wife was expecting a child! Congrats! I was just wondering, what are you gonna name him or her? lil' Gabey? lol



A: Erik Johnson is, not me.

And I'm hoping Erik will name his daughter "lil' Gabey."

Q: oh, im sorry for the confusion! Oh so congrats to Erik! hehe, if he named his daughter lil' Gabey that would be so cool! Are you busy right now to answer a question that the answer is very unclear to many people right now?



A: uh sure

Q: Ok here goes;

Many people on boards are eagerly waiting the arrival of the HL-2 Media in Steam. Now they are so curious to know when it will come out that many of them are calling or sending emails like this one. :p So my question is, could you shed some light on if this media will be released today or anyday?



A: Fileplanet people get Steam today. Next Monday is when the media gets released.

I also sent the same reply to Erik Johnson and got this

A: In less than a week.

Next week boyz ;(
-----Original Message-----
From: Robban GeeK [[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 11:28 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Rumors..

It's a rumor that the videos won't be released today. Is it true or is
just a rumor :)

Thx // geeK

That is a true rumor.

But rumor has it that they'll be released via Steam in less than a week.