There is a saying in architecture that no building is unbuildable, only unbuilt. Structures may be impossible in the here and now, but have the potential to exist given enough time or technological development: a futuristic cityscape, a spacefaring megastructure, the ruins of an alien civilisation. However, there are also buildings that defy the physical laws of space. It is not an issue that they could not exist, but that they should not. Their forms bend and warp in unthinkable ways; dream-like structures that push spatial logic to its breaking point.
26th March 2015
12th November 2012
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Have you ever wondered what video game cities would look like as Ordnance Survey maps? A new project is working on turning the likes of City 17 from Half-Life, Los Santos from Grand Theft Auto and New Vegas from Fallout into city maps, so we may soon find out.
We may never get to play the long, long-awaited Half-Life 3, or Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or whatever Valve once had planned for the future of its legendary series. But we might now know how its story would have unfolded.
There exists an officially-licensed Half-Life comic - and this month Chapter 3 comes out.
A group of modders have picked up the once-dormant Half-Life 2 VR project and set about making it playable with modern virtual reality headsets.
Chet Faliszek has brought his 12 year career at Valve Software to a close, our sister site GamesIndustry.biz has revealed.
There was once a plan to flesh out Half-Life 2 with multiple episodes. Valve itself created Episode One and Two. It announced a third. But this third episode, and others from other developers, failed to materialise as Half-Life 2 follow-ups were lost to the sands of time and became myth.
One of these non-Valve developed episodes was once in the works at Junction Point, the studio founded by legendary game maker Warren Spector (Deus Ex, System Shock). Spector has spoken of this before, telling Game Informer Junction Point was working on an episode "that would fill in one of the gaps in the Half-Life story".
Junction Point's episode involved a new tool called the Magnet Gun. Here's Spector:
Last month I reported on Valve's Steam Awards, which fans used to tell the company to make Half-Life 3.
People are using the new Steam Awards to remind Valve that, yes, pretty much everyone wants Half-Life 3.
Valve was once working on a Half-Life-related game with Three in the title. No, not Half-Life 3. Threewave.
There's a cheeky Half-Life 3 poster here at Gamescom - but all is not as it seems.
A jury ruled in favour of defendant Valve on 2nd November 2017, finding the plaintiff was not discriminated against for transgender or disability reasons, nor dismissed for such.
On 22nd May 2006, Valve put out a press release promising an episodic trilogy for Half-Life 2. Eurogamer wrote a news story, authored by one Ellie Gibson, with the headline: "Half-Life Episode 3 confirmed."
Earlier this week Valve released its very own SteamVR Performance Test, and now people are fussing over Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3. Again.
Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw has left Valve after 18 years at the company.
UPDATE 13th November 2015: Valve has updated the Steam beta client so Mac users can use the Steam Link and Steam Controller.
All GAME stores in the UK will soon get a dedicated Steam section, Valve has announced.
Richard Seabrook woke one morning and realised his life wasn't where he wanted it to be. He was 23 years old, he'd graduated from university and he'd taken a job he thought would lead to his dream career in games. But it hadn't quite worked out. He was stuck in the British seaside town of Bournemouth, in quality assurance testing, where months were sprawling ominously into years. "You know what?" he said to himself that day. "I'm sick of this. I'm just going to go for it." He set his sights high: Seabrook wanted to go for a job at Valve.
Half-Line Miami is exactly what you think it is: a combination of Half-Life and Hotline Miami. Developer Thomas Kole combines the gravity gun and setting of the former with the top-down gameplay of the latter.
A new fan-made mod, Half-Life 2: Update, will be released for free on Steam tomorrow.
The Valve-blessed add-on brings improved lighting, effects, textures and bug fixes to the first-person shooter classic.
This will be the final version of Half-Life 2: Update, which was previously made available in earlier forms outside of Steam.
Valve has partnered with Taiwanese smartphone and tablet maker HTC to make its virtual reality headset.
A mod that turns one of Valve's games into a real-time strategy set in the Half-Life 2 universe has been released on Steam after six years of development.
Half-Life 2 is a game built of great moments, and of its designers' desire to change the pace, the structure, and the feel of the challenge while you move from one sequence to the next. As a celebration of City 17's 10th birthday, we asked a handful of developers to tell us about the specific moments that stuck with them the most.
Half-Life 2 has met the fate of all exceptional games. The 'classic' moniker almost instantly embalms them, gradually fossilising to a few forever-parroted talking points while the living entity is obscured. Physics, story, environmental design - Gravity Gun, City 17, Ravenholm. The game is shorn of context, too, and compared with successors that stripped its bones of ideas and sometimes improved on them. The keenly-felt absence of Half-Life 3 helps with this impression, but Half-Life 2 feels like a game on a tightrope - not stuck in the middle, exactly, so much as a pioneer of the modern first-person shooter that still contains much of the 'old' first-person shooter.
Valve has launched the Steam Music Player, which lets you listen to your music collection while you play games on the digital platform.
VR headsets and motion controllers are nothing new in the world of gaming. It's not even rare to see them together. But what is exciting is Valve's new VR mod for Half-Life 2 that recalibrates the game to take advantage of this emerging tech.
Free and standalone Half-Life 2 mod NeoTokyo has finally arrived on Steam after a long old Greenlight campaign.
Hardware developer Nvidia has brought Valve's classic titles Half-Life 2 and Portal to its handheld device, the Nvidia Shield.
Ah, Half-Life 2. Remember that? This November it's 10 years old.
Valve will demonstrate its own Virtual Reality hardware early next year, it's announced.
Valve has revealed the specifications of its Steam Machine prototype.
In the middle of the sixth floor of the Washington State Convention Center is a man running in place inside a bowl-like surface with a plastic gun controller in his hands, motion sensors on his limbs and head, and an Oculus Rift VR headset strapped to his face. Above him, Gordon Freeman's gun bobs around a beach shooting giant alien ants. The man in the machine is controlling Valve's machine of a man - and this culmination of motion sensors, VR goggles and high-tech exercising equipment is touted as the closest man has ever come to the Matrix.
Valve, maker of Half-Life and the hugely popular Steam, has been praised for its famous flat structure that, as the story goes, means Gabe Newell isn't the boss of Valve because Valve has no bosses.
Adam Foster tells me he's "faintly terrified" by the response to his old Half-Life 2 mod Minerva being released on Steam. Tens of thousands have downloaded it in a couple of weeks and he didn't expect that, he insists. But then he also didn't expect the chain of events that unfolded after he first released Minerva back in 2005. Back then he worked for the European Railway Industry doing web development and programming. Today he talks to me from within the hallowed walls of Valve.
Half-Life 2 now has official support for Oculus Rift, or at least a beta for it anyway.
A single-player story by a fan-turned-Valve-employee.
Half-Life 2 mod Minerva - the project that landed Adam Foster a job at Valve - will be added to Steam later today, and will be free.
Source code playground Garry's Mod has raked in $22 million in seven years, creator Garry Newman has revealed.
Valve's Santa Claus I mean Gabe Newell will be the video game hero awarded a BAFTA Fellowship this year.
Update: It looks like this was more than just a gag as J.J. Abrams is actually in talks with Valve about developing movies based on Half-Life and Portal.
New screenshots of Dishonored developer Arkane Studios' Half-Life 2: Episode 4, aka Return to Ravenholm, have emerged.
What happens when you add PC Kinect support to renowned sandbox Source game Garry's Mod? Happiness!
Half-Life scribe Marc Laidlaw has said he would like to see a film version of Valve's game series helmed by Guillermo del Toro.
Such is his influence on the world of videogames and computing that it's a wonder Gabe Newell hasn't been inducted into the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame already. This coming February at the 2013 D.I.C.E. summit will be his moment.
Gabe Newell has confirmed what we all suspected: that Valve is working on a new game engine, undoubtedly Source 2.
When members of 4chan popped over to Valve's office to deliver Newell's 50th birthday present they also asked him some questions. The most pertinent was this:
Is Valve potentially already working on a new engine? Source 2? Could or… could not be?
Valve is "frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space" - "so we're jumping in".
Black Mesa - the Source-powered, modder-made re-imagining of Half-Life 1 - will be released 14th September.
Project Leader Carlos Montrero announced the news on the Black Mesa forum.
"On September 14th, you will see the first release of Black Mesa!" he wrote. "This will include our re-envisioning of Half-Life all the way up to Lambda Core. We believe this is a great way to provide a complete-feeling 8-10 hour experience with a solid ending, make our fans happy and help us make the best overall game possible."
Some of it, and not in glorious real-life-like resolutions.
A picture of Viktor Antonov posted by the French Bethesda blog in March this year."/>
If there's one question Valve must be sick of hearing it's this: where is Episode 3? No-one's saying anything - not yet. But inquiring minds might find their own answers by playing through the preceding two episodes.
The employee handbook that hit the internet earlier this year pulled the curtain back on Valve, suggesting staff float about the company's Seattle offices working at desks made of gold and sitting on chairs made of clouds.
That the closest touchstone for Dishonored should be BioShock, a game from 2007, speaks volumes to the stagnating creativity of video games. As celebrated art maestro Viktor Antonov put it to Eurogamer: "It's been a poor, poor five years for fiction in the video game industry." And he should know - he created Half-Life 2's iconic City 17, not to mention he's now making Dishonored.
Valve Time - the term coined by fans to describe the seemingly endless development of the Half-Life maker's games.
Update: It's a hat! Of course it's a hat.
Upcoming Valve games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will support the Razer Hydra PC motion controller.
As the wait for news on the next Half-Life game goes on, Valve boss Gabe Newell has explained the famed developer's current strategy on revealing new titles.
Last week, 10,000 people took to Steam to play Half-Life 2 as part of a gentle protest against Valve's silence on the development of the series' next instalment. It's part of an ongoing campaign that rose from the background noise of forum discontent to deliver an open letter to Valve.
10,000 Valve fans logged on to play Half-Life 2 en-masse in an attempt to make their campaign for more Half-Life information heard.
A fan campaign designed to encourage more Half-Life information from developer Valve plans a mass gameplay session this Saturday.
Steam group A Call for Communication (Half-Life), which boasts more than than 29,500 members, has organised a huge Half-Life 2 play session this weekend, designed to raise awareness of its campaign by boosting the game up Steam's most-played list.
The fan collective aims to encourage information from Valve on when the Half-Life series might return, be that in the form of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or a fully-fledged Half-Life 3.
More than 10,000 gamers have joined the Steam Group campaigning for more Half-Life communication from Valve.
A Valve employee has been spotted out in the wild sporting a Half Life 3 T-shirt.
Valve co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell believes piracy stems not from price, but from convenience. And as Steam boasts fast access to a dizzying selection of games, so piracy has become "basically a non-issue" for Valve.
For some, a video game doesn't stop when the power is turned off - their gaming experiences are bleeding into their day-to-day lives.
Code possibly belonging to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has been spotted in the leaked beta client for Dota 2.
Garry's Mod has passed the one million downloads mark, six years after it was first made public.
Steam today represents a billion-dollar operation staffed by hundreds. But has the platform's meteoric rise restricted Valve's capacity to actually create games?
Garry Newman set a trap within Garry's Mod to expose people pirating his work.
At 6am on 7th May 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers. Automatic weapons were pointing at his head and the words, "Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard," were ringing in his ears.
Digital download platform Steam controls half to 70 per cent of the $4 billion market for downloaded PC games, according to a new report.
Beyond Black Mesa took 2 years to make.
Lucas Molyneux makes YouTube plea.
Actor Robert Culp, who played the role of Dr Wallace Breen in Half-Life 2, has passed away aged 79.
Valve has bundled a whopping Complete Pack of games together on Steam for a quite ridiculous discount price.
Valve has announced that Steam Cloud will launch this week.
Steam Cloud, announced at the end of May, centralises configuration data online so that you can access your controller and multiplayer settings (like spraypaint images for Counter-Strike) from any computer.
In future, Valve intends to centralise save-game data - the idea being that you could delete a Steam game and all its files and still be able to pick it up from the same spot, on any computer, years later.
EA has sneakily released a beefy patch to address problems with The Orange Box on PS3.
The 1.10 update is 128 MB, and unhelpfully has no associated documentation to outline the changes.
Early reports suggest friends not appearing on lists and certain accounts not connecting to the EA servers should no longer be a problem.
On a recent trip to Germany to see Left 4 Dead, of which more soon, we sat down with Valve's VP of marketing Doug Lombardi to talk about things. Things like Portal, and whether we'll see an Orange Box 2. Like everyone at Valve, Doug's job title is a bit misleading; he does a broad range of things across the company, and has even - as he points out here - dabbled in development to some extent. He also plays Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead with us when we fly over to see Valve, which is nice of him (it's nice of him to let us win all the time, too). Anyway, enough being nice about Doug - here are a few selected excerpts from our discussion, with more to come when we're allowed to talk about what the developer was actually in Germany to show off...
NVIDIA has struck gold by entering into a new agreement with Valve to collaborate on development and distribution of its games.
Google "Valve's Gabe Newell and PS3" and you'll see why I approached this review with some trepidation.
Valve's Gabe Newell comes down hard on PS3
Valve: PS3 a "total disaster on so many levels"
Those of you with brains like computers will probably have worked out that you can use your Portal gun in other Source-powered games like Half-Life 2 and its pair of episodes.
You'd best look away now if you're already pretty familiar with the mod scene. The following isn't for you - it's for folk bored of Half-Life 2, bored of Counter-Strike, and now not sure what to do with themselves while they wait for BioShock and Crysis to show them fun new ways to kill a man. Honestly, there's plenty to do in the meantime. True, for every good mod there's ten incredibly tedious, amateurish or over-familiar ones, but modding is one of the foremost forms of independent gaming. This is where the ace developers of tomorrow are born, throwing as many new ideas as they can at an established template until it becomes completely unrecognisable.
We'll be looking at mods for other games and genres over the coming months, but for now, let's start at the most obvious place. As the premier FPS on PC, and with its developer actively encouraging third-party modifications, Half-Life 2 is the centrepiece of a vast number of fascinating examples. What follows are simply five of the most interesting - not necessarily the best, definitely not all the most recent, but all worth a look to see what someone just like you can do when they raise the motivation to make their own game.
But first, a quick FAQ in case you are an ill-tempered veteran mod-player about to unleash all manner of nasty shouting.
Hardware giant AMD has signed a meaty deal with Valve to offer Radeon graphics cards owners free games.
Despite the massive acclaim and the shower of awards thrust upon Valve in the wake of Half-Life 2's release in November 2004, the developer listened more than ever to the feedback from the community, meticulously cataloguing thousands of hours of playtesting feedback from hundreds of playtesters and setting about to continue the Half-Life 2 story episodically, but while also fixing many of the niggling issues that fans had with the game.
After spectacularly 'raising the bar' (with a gravity gun) of the FPS genre in 2004, Valve last week turned its attention to extending the Half-Life 2 universe episodically with the release of the first in a trilogy of episodes that finally reveals what happened to Gordon and Alyx after the destruction of the Citadel.
A pair of big American game retailers reckon Half-Life 2 is coming to Xbox 360 in the not utterly distant future - and Valve's not denying it.
The Half-Life 2 modification Garry's Mod is to be sold through Steam for $10, author Garry Newman's confirmed - with money split 50-50 between the mod team and distributor Valve.
Valve's reportedly confirmed that the second in its episodic series of Half-Life 2 expansion is already underway.
Valve's announced the release of 64-bit versions of Half-Life 2 and super-shiny HDR add-on Lost Coast through Steam.
One of the central problems of the first person shooter is we've pretty much been there, done that so many times, we're a little travel-weary. It's not so much a case of having the T-shirt, as having a bin bag full of XL ones.
Half-Life 2's initial arrival almost exactly a year ago on PC certainly didn't reinvent the wheel as many expected and demanded, but it grabbed hold of the stagnant genre with a gravity gun and purposefully thrust it into a compelling new direction. The wonderful Source engine not only looked truly next-generation (fully 12 months ahead of time) with hugely impressive character models and wonderfully immersive environments, but its innovative use of physics allowed Valve to give us new toys to play with and come up with new gameplay possibilities into the bargain.
But technology can only dazzle a gamer for so long. Eventually it has to have substance behind the glitz and justify the hype. For the most part it did just that - constantly surprising the gamer and reinventing itself with a seamless adventure that is as memorable an FPS as there has ever been. This constant evolution was consistently underpinned by Valve's masterfully understated storytelling techniques, wry, self-referential humour, warm characterisation and some of the most epic scenarios gamers have ever been pitted against. Despite some of its flaws, Half-Life 2 remains a thrilling sci-fi road trip that provides a tantalising glimpse of the possibilities of gaming.
Xbox 360 may be the number of the hour, but those of you 359 behind will be pleased to hear that the Xbox port of Half-Life 2 has GONE GOLD IN BIG LETTERS and will be released worldwide, according to Valve, on November 15th. Smashing.
Valve has hinted that Half-Life 2: Lost Coast will feature a bit of mystery content when it's released in the near future, and that work on Day of Defeat: Source is almost complete.
Ever thought what a good idea it would be to remake a scene from classic military flick A Few Good Men as if it was actually a scene in Half-Life 2?
UK hardware review site Bit-Tech, home to old-school Eurogamer staffer Geoff Richards [woo! - Ed], has some spanky new screens from Half Life 2: Lost Coast up, plus an interview with Valve's Doug Lombardi. You can check it all out here.
Half-Life 2 is a game I always wanted to review but never got the chance to [Ed snips 4,000 words]. In the end it was a science-fiction first-person shooter - usually a very narrow-minded genre - that managed to encompass many themes on many levels, but the thing I probably liked most about it was the way it applied "less is more" logic all over the place.
Both Half-Life 2 Xbox and Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast will be on show at E3 next week according to developer Valve Software, which made the announcement as it rolled out a service update on its Steam content download service.
HL2 Xbox will be on display on Microsoft's E3 booth rather than Vivendi-Universal Games; Valve having recently broken off its long-term publishing relationship with VU to the extent that none of its games will be handled by the publisher beyond August 31st.
Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast will be on display too. We're not sure where yet, but most of you aren't even going so it's hardly a big deal. The Lost Coast, in case you're confused, is a high-definition one-level episode for HL2 which takes a specific area of the game and makes it look ridiculously good-looking.
A new trailer for Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast is now available for download from good old Eurofiles.
It might take a while to download at 179MB, and you only get a minute's worth of footage for all that, but what pretty footage it is - the trailer is designed to show off the High-Dynamic Range rendering that's being used in the expansion.
You can read a full preview of Half-Life 2: Lost Coast here.
A British Microsoft source has claimed that Half-Life 2 on Xbox is now likely to ship in September in Europe, quashing rising rumour that the port is to grace Microsoft's next generation console as a launch title later this year.
As refreshingly optimised as Half-Life 2 was to run on low and mid range PCs, there's no doubt that a hugely significant chunk of its owners went out and upgraded their rigs with the specific intention of playing Valve's game without compromise, in all its staggeringly gorgeous glory. But while many of us went out and upgraded to a gigabyte of RAM, stuck in a high-end Radeon or GeForce and spent a fortune, it's pretty clear that our PCs had plenty of headroom left - and now Valve wants to take advantage of that with the forthcoming release of a specially designed level called 'The Lost Coast'.
We know the exclusive presentation has now leaked out onto the net, but any game that makes us physically shake with excitement deserves some measure of evangelism nevertheless. With Half Life 2, Valve has taken the FPS by the scruff of the neck, whirled it around its head, and drop kicked its sorry arse into another dimension. The five years of quiet hype-free development have positioned the US team so far ahead of the competition it's almost embarrassing. Better than Doom III and Halo 2? Yep. But how?