Half Life 2

I got Half Life 2 for Christmas. It arrived this afternoon. So far today I’ve spent about 2 hours playing it, and so far I’ve gotten to two “exposition points” where you meet somebody friendly and you think they are going to explain everything to you, but really all they do is say “You’ve got to get to so-and-so’s lab, RUN LIKE HELL”. I’ve met a lot of those ghoulish looking “Civil Protection” guys, and those flying buzz saws, and just a minute ago I got cut to ribbons by a helicopter gunship of some sort. I’ve got my crow bar, a pistol and a submachine gun. Ammo for the SMG is darn scarce, which is annoying. Back in HL1, it seemed you used the MP5 all the time – I find myself having to be more careful about this SMG.

Technically the graphics are stunning, the AI looks way better, and so far I’ve seen some very cool things. One of the interesting things was the way the NPCs would keep turning their head towards you as you walked around them when they were talking.

Of course, all this technical sophistication comes with a cost. The original came on one CD, this one comes on 5. I played the original on a 300MHz Celeron 300A overclocked to 450MHz and a 16Mb TNT graphics card. This one is a Athlon XP2400+ processor and an 128Mb ATI graphics card, and I get the impression I’m barely keeping up. The hideously slow loads as you move from one area to the next are still there, and they seem longer. One of the strangest things is that some mobile objects fade away as you walk half-way across a room away from them. The smaller the object, the sooner they fade away. One thing that was a little annoying to me was the lack of an Obstacle Course or Boot Camp to get used to the movement controls. Instead, as you progress you get little prompts the first time you are likely to need something, like “Use Z to zoom”, in a box on the screen. (Speaking of which, I wish I could shoot when I’m zooming.)

I’m only playing at medium level this time, which is just as well – I keep getting my ass nearly shot off, and then finding a big cache of health/ammo/armour. As a matter of fact, just before I quit, I found one that got me from about 17 health and no armour up to 100 health and 30 armour. Laura remarked “You know you’re being prepped to hit something really nasty”, and she’s right. So I hit save and decided to call it a night.

I can tell that this game is going to be fun. I don’t know if it’s going to be as much fun as the original, but it’s looking good so far.


One of our Christmas visitors was making me crazy yesterday, because he wouldn’t shut the fuck up about wanting a throwing star. (Yeah, I really think a 13 year old with poor impulse control (but I repeat myself) needs a sharp and possibly lethal weapon.) So I tried to remember times when I probably drove my parents nuts by whining and begging for something.
Continue reading “2001”

Micro Rant

If you’re new to the project, don’t start telling me that the way I’m doing something isn’t automatic enough and I should just tell our translators that they should do this, this, and ths so that we can automate more of our process. I’ve been through 7 previous rounds of sending stuff off to the translators and dealing what they sent back, and it’s hard enough to get them to remember the corrective action report you sent them the last time, never mind getting them to use 100% consistent file names.

That is all.