Valve has celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Half-Life by dropping a huge update for the game. The update brings improved graphics, new content and bug fixes. The game has also been verified to run on the Steam Deck. Valve has also made the game available free for this weekend. Here is more information below…
We launched Half-Life on November 19th, 1998. We are very proud of what we built back then and we remain extremely grateful for the community of players who have been enjoying it ever since. The game hasn’t received as much attention in recent years as many other titles in our catalog, so we thought this milestone was a great opportunity to spruce up the player experience and add some fun new ways to play the game.
The same game you played in 1998 – restored, augmented, and revitalized
We created a new webpage to showcase all the updates in detail, but here’s a quick rundown of the updates to the base game:
• Updated graphics settings, including lighting fixes and an actual widescreen field of view
• Controller and Steam Networking support
• Steam Deck support – officially Verified!
Also including lots of cool new (or restored) content!
The 25th Anniversary Update includes added content from Half-Life Uplink as well as four (4!) new multiplayer maps. We’ve also restored some content for the true nostalgia-seekers, including original main menu artwork and some early prototype player models from the alpha builds of the game.
And a short film to mark the occasion
We invited the the original development team to get back together to reminisce about what it was like working on Half-Life all those years ago. (For those of us who worked on it, 25 years is, after all, literally half a life.) The fine folks at Secret Tape captured the reunion on film. If you’re so inclined, please take a stroll down memory lane with us or just hop back in to the game and enjoy (we hope!) the updates, new maps, and more.
Thank you, everyone, truly, for 25 years of Half-Life.
For those new to the game, Half-Life is available for free this weekend – grab it now and keep it forever, and check out discounts on the whole franchise.
Bug Fixes and Change Notes
- Now Verified on the Steam Deck (and our native Linux runtime has been set as the default).
- Half-Life: Uplink — the original standalone Half-Life demo — has been added to the game, and is accessible through the “New Game” menu.
- Added four all-new Half-Life Deathmatch maps: contamination, pool_party, disposal, and rocket_frenzy
- Added three old Half-Life Deathmatch maps formerly available only on the “Half-Life: Further Data” CD: doublecross, rust_mill, xen_dm.
- Added Ivan the Space Biker, Prototype Barney, Skeleton, and Too Much Coffee Man as player models to Half-Life Deathmatch.
- Added dozens of new sprays formerly available only on the “Half-Life: Further Data” CD.
- Added support for Steam Networking, allowing easy multiplayer via Steam’s Join Game and Invite features.
- Added support for Steam Friends Rich Presence, allowing your friends to follow your journey through Black Mesa.
- Brought back the original Valve Intro video. Can be skipped with the “-novid” launch command.
- Updated main menu to a design inspired by the game’s original 1998 main menu.
- Changed the default models to the original (non “HD”) models.
- Improved physics for throwing grenades.
- Improved randomness for initial spawn points in multiplayer.
- Improved satchel charge controls: primary fire now always throws a new satchel, and secondary fire always detonates.
- Fixed push-able entity movement being based on framerate.
- Fixed players with high framerates freezing in place on death in multiplayer.
- Fixed some cases where the player could get stuck in place on level transitions.
- Fixed some cases where characters would interrupt important dialogue with their “greetings” dialogue.
- Fixed weapon view-bob angles.
- Fixed red barrels at the start of Surface Tension not launching as intended.
- Fixed Snarks attacking FL_WORLDBRUSH entities (such as func_walls).
- Fixed players sometimes failing to deploy a snark while crouching and looking down.
- Fixed certain convars (“pausable” and “sv_maxspeed”) being set to incorrect values when entering a singleplayer game after a multiplayer game.
- Fixed singleplayer auto-aim setting being changed when entering a multiplayer game that disallows auto-aim.
- Fixed the flashlight HUD showing empty after loading a savegame.
- Fixed rockets in CONTENTS_SKY not always detonating.
- Fixed incorrect bullet impact sounds for NPCs.
- Fixed gauss gun making a loud static noise if it was charged across level transitions.
- Fixed a crash in mods that display keybinds in their UI.
- Fixed singleplayer weapons not auto-switching away when exhausted (grenades / snarks / satchels / etc)
- Fixed interpolation artifacts when animated models are moved by other entities.
- Fixed some buffer overflow exploits.
- Main-menu background and buttons have been reskinned, and now scale based upon screen resolution without stretching, supporting background image layouts up to 3840×1600.
- In-Game HUD now uses double or triple sized sprites when playing at higher resolutions.
- UI dialogs and in-game fonts now scale to improve readability at high screen resolutions.
- In-Game HUD HEV suit display has been shifted to the left of the screen, and no longer changes position at larger screen resolutions.
- Added an “Enable texture filtering” setting.
- Added an “Allow widescreen Field of View” setting to correct non-anamorphic FOVs, for widescreen and ultrawide displays.
- Re-organized all the Settings screens to improve legibility, and support controller navigation.
- Updated the Pause menu to be aware of the current gameplay mode.
- The default server name and multiplayer player name are now based on the player’s Steam Persona.
- The Steam platform menu has been removed, now that all its features are in Steam itself.
- Fixed application icon rendering incorrectly when using the software renderer.
- Fixed player and spray images not updating their coloring on the settings screen.
- Removed the now very unnecessary “Low video quality. Helps with slower video cards.” setting.
- Improved support for keyboard and controller navigation everywhere.
- Added “Lower Input Latency” option: Synchronizes the CPU and GPU to reduce the time between input and display output.
- Fixed issues that caused jerky mouse / joystick input.
- (We basically rewrote it all – if you’ve got a custom Steam Input controller configuration, you should rebuild it from our newly published Official Configuration).
- Increased the 357 damage from 40 → 50.
- Hive Hand reload time has been reduced from 0.5s → 0.3s per shot, and it will be selected at higher priority than the pistol on pickup.
- MP5 now always starts with full ammo when initially picked up.
- Players no longer drop empty weapons, and any that are dropped are reloaded by what’s in the dying player’s backpack.
- Improved client-side prediction to reduce “ghost shots”. Like Counter-Strike, consider hitboxes and not just bounding boxes for hits on the client.
- Fixed network predicted crowbar swing damage being incorrect.
- Added setting to turn off texture filtering when using the OpenGL renderer.
- Default gamma has been decreased from 2.5 → 2.2, now that we aren’t all playing on CRTs.
- Restored OpenGL overbright support.
- Added support for UI Sprites and Texture files larger than 256×256.
- Added support for UI Font special render modes: “blur” and “additive”.
- Default resolution is now based on the resolution of the desktop, instead of a 640×480 window.
- Software renderer will now correctly filter out incompatible resolutions, unless there is only 1 resolution available on the display.
- Fixed fullscreen software renderer crashing on systems that don’t support 16-bit color.
- Fixed software renderer being stretched when using widescreen resolutions.
- Fixed skyboxes and sky color incorrectly carrying over when transitioning maps in multiplayer.
- Fixed the game appearing too dark after modifying video settings.
- Fixed MSAA in windowed mode.
- Fixed mipmap rendering on studio models.
- Fixed gluon gun sprite rendering in multiplayer.
- Fixed gluon gun sinusoidal noise being incorrect.
- Various optimizations to support the newly increased engine limits.
- OpenGL optimizations for the Steam Deck.
- Increased maximum limit of dynamic sound channels from 8 → 32.
- Increased maximum limit of sentences in the sentences.txt file from 1536 → 2048.
- Increased maximum number of entities (MAX_EDICTS) from 900 → 1200.
- Increased MAX_PACKET_ENTITIES from 256 → 1024.
- Increased MAX_GLTEXTURES from 4800 → 10000.
- Increased software renderer geometry limits: max spans 3000 → 6000, max surfaces 2000 → 4000, and max edges 7200 → 14400.
- Cycler and func_button entities can now be the entity target for scripted_sentence entities, and are allowed to speak in multiplayer.
- Incorporated func_vehicle entity support from Counter-Strike, for mod-makers to use. Full SDK update will come later, but level designers can use it now.
- Added support for the software renderer.
- Improved font rendering.
- Many stability and behavior fixes.
- Localization files updated.
- Miscellaneous security fixes.
Source: Half-Life Steam page