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Half-Life 2 on Steam

Come play through Half-Life 2 with the Cheerful Ghost community! Whether this is your first time playing the game (like me!) or if you're an experienced veteran, come join the discussion!

This event includes Half-Life 2 Episodes 1 and 2.
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Travis   Admin wrote on 03/29/2015 at 10:08pm

It's still weird to me that people haven't played this game! :) Glad you're going to finally experience it. The plot between the first and second is definitely related. There's some larger mysterious plot going on that we have bits and pieces of. But overall you don't need to have played the first game to follow this one. If you want to catch up on plot, here's a link. It was kinda light on plot (Half-Life 2 has way more plot) so I'm surprised there's this much:

Follow-up: Does this event cover episodes 1 and 2 as well? They're much shorter and can be completed in a few hours.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 03/30/2015 at 12:23am

I haven't ever played any Half-Life game, that is until I started the demo recently. I decided to join the event, even if I only play the demo. I might be tempted to get the game (and all related content). I'm not sure yet, I'll have to play the demo more as I only spent a little bit of time with it so far.

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 03/31/2015 at 06:13am

Thanks for the link! I haven't played the first one, so I'll have to read through that to get caught up. I don't know what episode 1 and 2 are about, but I'm open to including them.

rettisawesome wrote on 04/01/2015 at 04:01pm

Those are just sequels to hl2. And are absolutely amazing.

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/01/2015 at 06:21pm

Cool, I'm good adding them then. I'll update the description.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/01/2015 at 08:02pm

Think of them like standalone DLC. There were supposed to be three of them, but ... well, Valve can't seem to count to three.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/01/2015 at 09:58pm

Greg if you decide you want to play the full game let me know, i've got an extra copy of The Orange Box I got as a trade for a Steam Holiday Card.

My first question is how are people going to play the game this time? I have the Orange Box on PS3 and Half-life 2 on PC. I thought the PS3 version was quite good but will more than likely hit the PC this time.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/01/2015 at 11:19pm

I'll be playing it on PC, as soon as I get the mod downloaded. I'd like to experience the updated textures and whatnot :).

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/02/2015 at 12:31am

Thanks, Jon, you're awesome! I can't decide whether to accept or decline, yet I kind of feel like I shouldn't pass it up. =) I still haven't played the demo for a while. I got side tracked by the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls event. Now that it's over, I'm disappointed because it's over, but still playing it. I got my Monk up to level 86 and beat the game (and Ros) on Torment II. I did die once by Malthael. I just created a new character, a Witch Doctor. Anyway, I figured I'd start playing the HL2 demo again once this event got under way.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 01:24am

Well, if you do let me know.

I am playing it on PC too. They have a controller setting as well as the standard keyboard and mouse. Originally I played the Orange Box on PS3 but prefer the keyboard and mouse this time around. That said, I was streaming it to my TV earlier to play on the couch and it was a fine controller experience, I am more effective with key/mouse though smile

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 01:41am

Ah and if anyone didn't know, you need to start your game in the Half-life update mod you can't pick it up after you have a save in the regular game. I started in the regular game as the mod was downloading and unless I move the save(which I won't do because I am lazy and the game still looks incredible).

That said, the game looks incredible and is buttery smooth and 60fps maxed out on my monitor. Older tech games still look and play well and come with the bonus of great frame rates smile

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/02/2015 at 02:21am

I'm thinking I should take you up on the offer. I might as well not pass up a free game, especially one that's as popular as Half-Life 2. I had friends that were playing it during its release, but my PC at the time didn't meet some of the system requirements. I think that would be a cool idea because I can then fully participate in this event. =)

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 03:01am

The PS3 Orange Box wasn't great. The 360 version was way better. Once you get to the final areas it starts dragging in a major way on PS3. The problems were more apparent in TF2 and Portal, but Half-Life 2 suffered as well. This was back when Valve said the PS3 was essentially worthless, and farmed out the development of the Orange Box on PS3 to a third-party, before eventually integrating Steam into the PS3 version of Portal 2. :)

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 03:24am

I played The orange Bix all the all the way through on PS3 and beyond some audio crackling thought it was fine. Portal, in my experience ran the best out of the lot. I went to try TF2 the other day and the servers weren't up, which isn't surprising.

EA published Half-life 2 and I think they ported it.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 05:13am

Looks like Valve and Sierra published the game and EA distributed versions of it.

With that if you have the PC copy play that, it's far superior.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/02/2015 at 12:42pm

Yeah they did the port job on it. TF2 had the launch content and nothing else. The 360 version kept growing with the 360 version for a while, but the PS3 version never got any of that new content.

When I got to the area moving into the final boss fight in HL2, where it's really hazy/smoky, my framerate dropped to like 2fps, and it wasn't much better during the actual boss fight. There were pretty bad framerate issues throughout the game, but nothing gamebreaking until you try to fight the boss with really bad stuttering.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:15am

Greg, I sent over the game on Steam.

So I just got to Black Mesa East after the chopper fight and I figured that is a pretty good place to rest for a bit.

I forgot how great Half-life 2 is at establishing the dystopian future tone. It's like a totally depressing future but one that's so compelling I wouldn't mind going to. That said, the Combine REALLY like burning people alive. As I continue on with the game there are torched corpses scattered here and there

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:36am

A few hours in, just entered Ravenholm. The first time I played through the HL2 games was on XBox 360, and, though playing on the PC now, I'm sticking with the 360 controller. The smoother, sweeping motion of the controller, I think, allows for a more cinematic experience. Definitely not optimized for a controller, and the default configuration is frustrating at times (how do you equip a grenade?).

I forgot how much of a maze this game is to run through. Level design is stellar, but it's a pretty simple formula: run through extensively long corridors, shoot some stuff, (load screen), solve a puzzle, maybe swim a little, (load screen), awkwardly drive a hover-boat through extensively long hover-boat-sized corridors, (load screen)... Then I remember that this game is over 10 years old(!), and it still looks amazing, the writing is solid, voice acting is spot on. It's that attention to detail that elevates Half-Life 2 to the classic that it is.

I want to talk some about the actual story, but I'll wait until I know more people have started and at least gotten to Ravenholm.

Zach_Foster wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:38am

As if i needed an excuse to play this game again! I've been a huge fan of the franchise since the very beginning. I still have all the original discs for Half-Life, Opposing Force, and Blue Shift from my old Windows '98 computer.

Zach_Foster wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:43am

The first time i played these games was on PC, several years ago. I played Half-Life 2 shortly after Episode 1 came out, so i played the two back to back and i remember how frustrated I was waiting for Episode 2... Now I will actually be playing through on Orange Box for 360 for the first time. I'll be deciding whether I like playing with keyboard or controller better.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:55am

@scrypt: I think waiting until people are starting up Ravenholm is a good time to talk story. I haven't started that yet, I don't really want to go there any more...

I think this is an easter egg to the then unreleased Portal game. I could be reaching I suppose smile

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/03/2015 at 02:56am

Oh and as an aside, the Linux port of Half-life 2 is superb. I'd say it's on par with or better than the Windows one. Valve did a great job, I might continue playing the game on Linux to the end.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/03/2015 at 07:11am

I am now downloading the game thanks to Jon. I played the demo a bit more recently. I got to an interrogation room where a couple of friendlies helped me get out the back door. I climbed over some stuff and went to the plaza. From there, I wasn't sure what to do, but many paths were blocked. I think I ended up going into a bathroom and the demo seemed to point me to another part of the game. This time, I had weapons and there were a few creepy looking monsters to kill. I exploded some fuel tanks (or something) and didn't know where to go from there.

After I get the bundle installed, I'll check out the mod Travis shared and get that installed, too. Then I'll jump in.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/03/2015 at 03:33pm

That's funny, @jdodson. I took that same screenshot of the "Portal Wars," and wondered the same thing.

I'm kind of in the same boat with Ravenholm. It's not a happy place. In fact, all this talk of portals has me longing to hear GlaDOS coyly belittle me while I put her in her place...with science.

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/03/2015 at 08:15pm

I'm a little over an hour in so far. I decided not to install the graphics update to get the total "2004" experience. I gotta say though once I turned all the graphics settings up everything looks pretty darn good. And of course since I'm running a fairly modern PC I get a perfectly smooth frame rate. Awwwww yeah.

Other than reading up about the storyline in Half-Life 1 I went into this knowing pretty much nothing about the game, so I was kind of surprised to run into some physics based puzzle elements. :) I was expecting a straight forward FPS experience.

Oh, and those barnacle things are really creepy and gross. I felt pretty clever when I decided to try rolling an explosive barrel into a group of them and, not only did my plan work, but I earned an achievement for it as well. Score!

I'm still very early in the game but so far I'm liking it a lot!

rettisawesome wrote on 04/03/2015 at 09:22pm

This game really does hold up. I think a lot of modern gaming has a lot to owe to hl2. And if you guys ever want one of the hardest gaming experiences of your life try hl1 . haha . but hl2 is so great and short enough to enthrall. Mp is great too. A lot of the mp mods are great. Install man classics where I come from.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/03/2015 at 10:52pm

I've made it out of the mine, which is passed Ravenholm, it seems. It's cool that you kind of have to figure out where to go and how to get there with a few snags along the way. Some how, it seems, most of this is a bit intuitive. By the way, Ravenholm was the second part of the demo. Anyway, I seem to love the crowbar, I tend to use it a lot. I'm kind of stuck where I am now as there are snipers above me. I found out how to take out one of them, but the next is where I'm at. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/04/2015 at 05:14am

To answer your questions about "Portal wars," the game released in 2004. The game that inspired Valve to make Portal, Narbacular Drop, didn't release until 2005. In fact, they hired the developers of Narbacular Drop to make Portal!

So it's a nice coincidence but not an intentional easter egg.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/04/2015 at 05:37am

More info. It's actually a pretty good game for what it is. Not much there, but you can see the Portal concepts.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/04/2015 at 05:47am

That's where they got the idea for the actual portal mechanic, but I thought Valve had been working on the story of the game prior to approaching the NB team?

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/05/2015 at 05:14am

It looks like the story came after after the Narbacular Drop team joined up, and the tie-in to HL2 was chosen since they could save money by reusing assets.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/05/2015 at 05:25pm

Right on. Thanks for the clarification! :)

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/05/2015 at 05:52pm

Wow, think about how different the game could have been if it had more money. I'm really glad they had the restrictions on them, because the final was a masterpiece for what it was, and it led into Portal 2, which I wouldn't want to be any different.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/05/2015 at 06:29pm

Often, restrictions and adversity can make the end result pretty special. OBLIGATORY Star Wars comparison.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/05/2015 at 09:05pm

Absolutely. The things Lucas managed to pull off on ping pong tables is amazing. The things he pulled off with green screen and millions of dollars are not as compelling.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/06/2015 at 12:02am

All I can think now is, "I thought I'd never..." Such as, I thought I'd never get passed those snipers. I thought I'd never take out that first gunship (aim red cursor at it to guide rocket). I thought I'd never get my buggy flipped right-side up (use "special g weapon"). Some times I thought I was stuck, but managed to figure out how to progress. Like I said before, the game seems a bit intuitive. At one point, I wasn't sure how to get passed a barrier, but used the "special g weapon" to push a heavy transport to break the power line. At another barrier, I found out that I could get under the bridge and make my way to the other side, pull a plug with the "special g weapon," and then head back to get my buggy through. Also, I thought I'd never find that third car battery to get that one gate open. Anyway, I'm done with the buggy, I made it to my destination and now have to go on foot.

I like that the game auto saves. There are really only a couple of "issues," which are hardly issues, that I've found. When the terrain, or whatever, is shaking, the graphics get kind of odd looking, it's not smooth. I noticed this at the beginning on the train and while crossing under the bridge (previously mentioned). Loading between areas takes a few seconds or so. I am playing the "update" mod.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/06/2015 at 12:39am

You keep saying "special g weapon." Did they call it that at any point? I always just thought it was the gravity gun.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/06/2015 at 04:40am

No, I just called it that hoping to avoid spoiling the game for anyone, although I may have with my last comment. I'm in City 17 now.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/06/2015 at 06:47am

Well, I'm done, at least with Half-Life 2 Update. Next is Episode 1, 2, and Lost Coast. I thought that was Michelle Forbes as Dr. Judith Mossman. I think I first saw her in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I saw her again in Battlestar Galactica.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/06/2015 at 03:45pm

Mossman REALLY sounds like Michelle Forbes and... yep according to the ol' Internet she did play her.

She has a really unique voice.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/06/2015 at 09:33pm

Ravenholm is spooky! Glad that's over with. A few questions about that reverend: What is he living off of? Raven meat? Head crabs? I suppose he could take trips out to the city at some point for a Combine burger, but if that's the case, why continue to go back to Ravenholm? Not that I don't appreciate his help and weaponry. Maybe he's the last survivor of what went down there, or he feels responsible in some way? Also, he seems to be the only person in the game who doesn't know who Gordon Freeman is!

I've switched over to the keyboard/mouse configuration. Much easier to play that way. I'm surprised they didn't to a proper implementing of the Xbox 360 controller, especially after releasing the Orange Box on that console.

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/06/2015 at 09:55pm

Michelle Forbes is sci-fi royalty. Next Gen, Battlestar, Orphan Black. She was incredible in The Killing, but that's not sci-fi.

The 360 controller works ok for most things, but it certainly does NOT work well with driving controls.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/07/2015 at 12:00am

I liked the guy in Ravenholm, he had a cool name, hehehe. I thought I'd never make it out of the Sand Traps, either. I have had to consult a walkthrough a few times. Anyway, Episode One complete.

Zach_Foster wrote on 04/07/2015 at 02:11am

Well i'm sad to say that i'll be out of the running until i can find a new copy of Orange Box, or get the game running on my laptop. For those of you who follow me on twitter, (Jon), you can see the issues i'm facing with what I call "HL2: Disco Edition". There is an error on the disc and my 360 will not process the active graphics, which makes the game nearly unplayable.

rettisawesome wrote on 04/07/2015 at 02:45am

Well guys. Am I first across the finish line? Also about narbacular drop a cool story. Those guys were presenting their game at an event for their school. And the dudes from valve literally walked up, and pulled the plug on all their stuff so no one else could see and offered them all jobs on the spot.

I don't know how true that is. But I heard it in an interview with them.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/07/2015 at 05:04am

I just finished Episode Two. Did you finish the game and the extra stuff, rettisawesome?

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/07/2015 at 06:23pm

Dang, I'm lagging way behind everyone, lol. I'm still on the run from the Combine trying to get to... uh... well actually I don't really remember. I just know I'm suppose to be heading somewhere and I'm being chased, heh. I just recently got a hold of an airboat type vehicle and been driving that around for awhile. Part of the reason I'm not very far is I've been doing a lot of exploring around and kind of taking my time with it.

rettisawesome wrote on 04/07/2015 at 09:50pm

Nah. Just hl2. Been farting around on Gary's mod now. Remembered how great all that stuff is.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/08/2015 at 12:20am

It's funny that you mention Gary's Mod because while I was playing HL2, my son kept saying that it's like Gary's Mod. He ended up watching me play at times and even offering some help.

Lost Coast was very brief. In fact, it is essentially a tech demo. I did run the video stress test and it said my frame rate was about 291 fps. Info Source:

rettisawesome wrote on 04/08/2015 at 01:56am

Yeah it's a demo for bloom lighting I think.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/08/2015 at 02:10am

From wikipedia: "Lost Coast serves as a technology demonstration, specifically showcasing the high-dynamic-range rendering implemented in the Source engine. The level was designed with a variety of appropriate environments to emphasize these effects."

rettisawesome wrote on 04/09/2015 at 10:38pm

Ah hdr

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/15/2015 at 10:05pm
dannytron wrote on 04/16/2015 at 02:44am

I'm kind of late to party but I'll try and catch up. I'm halfway through Ravenholm. I forgot what a masterclass in level design it is. I love how the game just drops you straight into a horror film. It almost feels like a seperate game. I wish more horror games could achieve what this one level does.

It's been a while since I last played Half-Life 2 and I'm having a blast.

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 04/16/2015 at 02:58am

Welcome to the club, dannytron! You nailed it with what you said about level design, which I think is one of the greatest aspects of the game. I mentioned, twice, that the game seems pretty intuitive and that certainly points at level design. I think it was definitely designed well in a way that getting through it was some what obvious. I did get stuck a few times and referred to a guide, but otherwise I found the game mostly easy to traverse. It wasn't always extremely obvious what to do or how to progress, but in many cases it certainly makes the player think a bit. So, I think aspect of it was certainly done well.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/16/2015 at 03:35am

I love how the game just drops you straight into a horror film. It almost feels like a seperate game.

So true. There is very little in the way of cheap shocks in this level. It's more a deeper feeling of lonlely terror, that maybe your character could be trapped here, joining the soulless masses, if he doesn't follow the voice of a slightly crazed preacher. In fact, just by putting a preacher in that role adds a gravity of the supernatural to the whole situation that might not otherwise be felt. Brilliant!

dannytron wrote on 04/16/2015 at 03:45pm

Yeah the horror doesn't feel cheap at all. It has an almost serene and tranquil quality about it as if your fate is inevitable. Then the pastor shows up. And to keep running with the religious metaphor I really like how the ground around you is on fire and you literally have to ascend from the flames toward the pastor and salvation. It may not have been intentional but it certainly feels that way.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 04/19/2015 at 01:27pm

Saw this recently on Reddit. Gordon Freeman playing w a headcrab.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 04/19/2015 at 03:26pm

Horrifying, and yet adorable!

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/02/2015 at 09:52pm

Hello fellow Cheeful Ghosters! Thanks for another great games club! Our HL2 event is over but our Guild Wars 2 is still on going. I've heard some rumors floating around that Terraria 1.3 is planned for a June release, so I'm going to hold off on announcing our next games club until later this May. If Terraria comes out I know we'll be setting up a server and we'll all be busy with that. If no official release date is announced then we'll fire up Last of Us for June. :D

Thanks again everyone!

Travis   Admin wrote on 05/02/2015 at 09:57pm


Also yeah, it was nice seeing other people's reactions to this classic. :)

Azurephile   Super Member wrote on 05/03/2015 at 05:05am

I was glad to join and glad to play a seemingly classic and obviously very popular game.

Terraria 1.3 is expected in June, although officially I only saw that a June release was their goal. Hopefully soon they'll give us a release date or just release it. I found out about it in late November and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival ever since (like a kid waiting for Christmas again). I'm still playing Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and the way I'm playing might hold me until then. If not, Terraria 1.3 will get my immediate and primary focus. =)

Since it's already May and Terraria 1.3 is expected in June, I think it's safe to go ahead and start another Games Club month, but that's just my opinion. I don't know anything about Last of Us, except I only recognize the title.

Timogorgon   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/03/2015 at 05:22pm


Greg: The Guild Wars 2 games club is still ongoing through May, so I figured the next Games club would start in June. Depending on what news we get from the Terraria camp will determine if we start Last of Us in June or if we start up our next Terraria server. :) In either case, we'll get to both Terraria 1.3 and Last of Us eventually.

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