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Half Life is shit

Dr1f7

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30517.jpg
 

SumDrunkGuy

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Doom sucks. Worst game I ever played. Everything looks like crap and it doesn't have a story. GAY!
 

samuraigaiden

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RPG Wokedex
If only you could talk to the demons in Doom, then perhaps you could try and make friends with them, form alliances... Now that would be interesting.
 

Cassar

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Agreed on Red Faction, that's the game that really stands out to me as a direct Half-Life "clone", so to speak. As for the others:

Is Halo influenced by Half-Life? Halo boasted of larger and more open maps, plus a focus on vehicles. Neither present in Half-Life.
NOLF is debatable - they no doubt looked to Half-Life for guidance, but Monolith was already trying to make games like that pre-Half-Life. Shogo and Blood 2 feel at times like very poor attempts at doing NOLF.
DNF 2001 build does look very shit, but not in a way that I'd consider Half-Lifey.
MOH:AA is interesting. Again, they probably did look to Half-Life, but it's also kind of codifying its own relatively new genre. Many of the levels are remakes of levels from the original 1999 Medal of Honor, which I assume wasn't heavily Half-Life influenced due to their development times overlapping.
No comment on Turok 3, can't remember any of it.
I'm not sure I could identify any specific lessons or level design tricks RTCW took from Half-Life.

Are these bad games, though? Red Faction is a fun diversion, I think NOLF is typically overrated but it's alright, MOH:AA is good for what it's trying to do, RTCW is fine except for a few standout awful levels. None of those really suggest a negative trend in FPS games to me - most examples of that come after the release of CoD, especially CoD2.


All of those are influenced by Half Life. Influence doesnt mean copy/paste everything. It means imprinting a direction for everyone else and have them take various cues from your game and adapting them to their project. Monolith's entire dirrection at the end of the 90s was due to Half Life. They even mention it:

"Half-Life confirmed our growing conviction that presentation is more important than innovation:[...]What makes it so influential is that it does everything so well. The pacing is sublime, the situations inventive, the AI incredible, and the overall level of polish unprecedented. It's a game made up of unforgettable moments. Polish, therefore, was our chief mandate. We felt it was better to release a comparatively humble game that got all the details right than an ambitious one that fell short in numerous areas."


Half Life's influence is in everything from Allied Assault to COD all the way to Resident Evil 4, Uncharted and so on. Neil Druckman claimed Half Life was the game that made him want to make games.

Even a game like this indie Silent Hill copy cat takes cues from Half Life, in a way thats not neccesarily obvious: “I’ve tried to take cues from games like Half-Life in the way that Valve uses environment design to naturally develop the narrative,”

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1257030/Heartworm/


System Shock 2

"we realized that our design time and budget were very tight and that we would not have time to carefully hand-script complicated game-play sequences in the engine. Instead, in an attempt to shift the battlefield, we chose to focus on simple, reusable game-play elements. The success of Half-Life, which launched while we were in the middle of System Shock 2 confirmed our intuitions in this respect. We simply didn't have the time, resources or technology to develop the scripted cinematic sequences used by Half-Life. We consoled ourselves with the knowledge that we were not even trying to do so.

Motivated by the dramatic scripted sequences in Half-Life, we attempted to introduce similar elements into System Shock 2. In doing so, we broke one of our rules: we tried to step outside the bounds of our technology. Although we attempted relatively simple sequences and ultimately got them working, they were time sinks, and the payback was relatively slight.[...]We confirmed our intuition that the Dark Engine does not support complex scripted sequences well because the toolset (AI, moving terrain, and animation) is not optimized for this sort of behavior."


Like i said, influences are often not in your face or a copy cat game. When Thief 1 was nearing the end of development, devs looked at tha success of Commandos. They considered that game a peer in stealth design. But most people would never associate Commandos with Thief. And then Commandos 2 gets released with a sound mechanic. Wonder where they got it from ;)
 
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Half-Life confirmed our growing conviction that presentation is more important than innovation...Polish, therefore, was our chief mandate.

Those 2 sentences hit pretty hard looking at the output of the big budget game industry roughly 25 years later. It feels like most of the major innovations have been related to graphical fidelity and profit extraction since the late 90s.
 

Lemming42

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Like i said, influences are often not in your face or a copy cat game. When Thief 1 was nearing the end of development, devs looked at tha success of Commandos. They considered that game a peer in stealth design. But most people would never associate Commandos with Thief. And then Commandos 2 gets released with a sound mechanic. Wonder where they got it from ;)
Good points in this post, but I still challenge the idea that's often thrown around that Half-Life had some kind of uniquely negative impact on FPS games. For example, Monolith's quote:
"Half-Life confirmed our growing conviction that presentation is more important than innovation:[...]What makes it so influential is that it does everything so well. The pacing is sublime, the situations inventive, the AI incredible, and the overall level of polish unprecedented. It's a game made up of unforgettable moments. Polish, therefore, was our chief mandate. We felt it was better to release a comparatively humble game that got all the details right than an ambitious one that fell short in numerous areas."
Half-Life was just the first game to consolidate a bunch of existing trends and present them in a very successful, polished way, attaining mainstream success. Monolith were already trying to do games in the vein of Half-Life prior to November 1998, but ended up making dodgy low quality stuff like Blood 2. Half-Life showed how this formula could actually work when done well, but the shift from Doom style games (large maze-like levels, minimal story, combat focus) to Half-Life style games (smaller linear levels, story focus with "cinematic" style, mixed genre gameplay) was already well underway prior to Half-Life.

But the narrative that's emerged online often seems to go something like "FPS games featured sprawling and complex levels before the release of Half-Life, after which they all instantly turned into Call of Duty".
 

SumDrunkGuy

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Half-Life wouldn't exist without Doom and Wolfenstein, so technically it's the latter two games that are truly responsible for the decline of gaming.
 

Cassar

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Good points in this post, but I still challenge the idea that's often thrown around that Half-Life had some kind of uniquely negative impact on FPS games.

Of course not. Half Life is a tremendous game. It didnt negatively impact anything, because HL was a game unlike anything before it. I have a local game magazine where the editorial staff played the demo, HL Day One, then wrote their impressions. It was a game of numerous firsts. How the soldiers were rappeling down the helicopter, how crunchy the weapons sounded. How you would take cover behind something and a soldier would throw a grenade to flush you out. How every room had something to say. How the soldiers comunicated. Everything after playing just the damn demo was having people completely flored. Just a few months before the fps genre was running around findind keys and killin monsters. For near a decade. If succesive games fumbled the lessons from HL, its their fault, not Valve's.

Other games might have dambled with more story heavy stuff or other bits and pieces, but they were not going anywhere. Kinda how the first person perspective was around since the 70s, but FPS as a "genre" didnt exist until id nailed a blueprint for it. Same with Half Life - the sophisticated and complex scripting, the creative scenarios, the realism, dialogues, script, action, setpieces. It all gelled with such expert crafstmanship that it instantly changed the industry. It killed the classic fps genre for a few years and made everyone else look up to it when they were making new games because they all knew they'd be compared against it.

Cory Balrog, the nuGod of War director, was working on his first game when HL's demo came out, Requiem Avenging Angel. He said the way they were aproaching the gamedesign. It was how it was expected. They werent trying to reinvent the wheel, they were making an FPS the way FPS games were being made at that time. Keycards, run and guning. Then he says the HL demo got released, the entire office started playing and then ... a heavy silence was felt in the studio. Because the demo they had just played he said was better than their entire game. And i suspect pretty much every developer in the world felt like that.
 

Unreal

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I'd think that's more of Requiem being worse than everything that wasn't Blood 2 or Trespasser than Half-Life being that good.

I am a pitiful little zoomer, I wasn't there, but if people were really praising Half-Life as if it were the first to do everything, it just sounds like they never actually played any other games. Unreal already had cool enemy behaviours, even Duke Nukem 3D was already half-way to Half-Life with its own scripted events and interactivity. And at the time you'd also have a bunch of other games releasing that did the same things (but nobody plays them because HL is the easiest to get into). Of course I get that it only seems that way in hindsight and at the time everyone would have played Half-Life first and rode that hype train but, liek, that doesn't even matter.
 

Lemming42

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I'm just old enough to have clear memories of Half-Life's release, and the hype before it, and it was considered pretty massive. It did feel like a revelation at the time, even though, as you say, an objective retrospective look at the genre nowadays reveals that it didn't really do anything uniquely new.

I remember as a kid I was endlessly amazed by the tram ride. I used to delay the actual resonance cascade just to walk around Black Mesa and marvel at it. The idea that you were just going to work one morning before being thrust into the usual massive gunfights and explosive action was insane to me. In Doom you just start in the hangar with no context, in Duke you just spawn on a rooftop while your car crashes, but in Half-Life you get to go to work!!!! I was so hyped when Blue Shift came out and let you walk around another extra little bit of the facility pre-disaster.

It was also an age of shovelware crap (like fucking NAM), so getting the game and starting it up for the first time and being greeted with a professional, tightly-made, quality product rather than a pile of shit was a thrill in itself.
 

Cassar

Savant
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Messages
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I'd think that's more of Requiem being worse than everything that wasn't Blood 2 or Trespasser than Half-Life being that good.

I am a pitiful little zoomer, I wasn't there, but if people were really praising Half-Life as if it were the first to do everything, it just sounds like they never actually played any other games. Unreal already had cool enemy behaviours, even Duke Nukem 3D was already half-way to Half-Life with its own scripted events and interactivity. And at the time you'd also have a bunch of other games releasing that did the same things (but nobody plays them because HL is the easiest to get into). Of course I get that it only seems that way in hindsight and at the time everyone would have played Half-Life first and rode that hype train but, liek, that doesn't even matter.


I didnt say they were the first to do everything. It was the best game that fused a lot of high quality ingredients in a fantastic end product. Also, keep in mind the effect of Half Life's release is a hard fact. Its something that happened. We trying to nit pick and rewrite history right now saying how Unreal or other unknown game did one or two things before doesnt change the hard fact of Half Life's impact.

Sure, Unreal is also an excelent game. Sin is also a very similar game to HL. Doesnt change the fact that nobody gave the slighest fuck about Sin and it reviewed pretty mediocre and Half Life was a game that shifted the entire industry. I mean, i read at some point a NOLF 2 review and it was still being compared against Half Life. Almost half a decade later, in a time where everything was moving super fast.

Try to find a Half Life clone before HL if you think others did it before or it wasnt that impressive. Like i said, you have bits and pieces in other games. But you dont have that sort of cohesive whole that HL brought. Just look at its setpieces. They're better than games today, who are on rails. Look at the tentacle monster or the heli fighs on the mountain. You're in complete control, you can do whatever. You look at an Uncharted setpiece and its just an onrails straight scene where you're a spectator
 

Unreal

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I didn't say that you said that, I said that everyone else says that. Half-Life of course still did what it did first, but it also did it last. What made it so impressive was also something only Valve could ever do, and everyone else apparently just took it as proof that cinematic shooters were indeed the future without actually imitating what made it special, instead still doing things the way they were already doing them (because that's they do), ending up making things like Soldier of Fortune and Call of Duty and whatever (because they are retarded). But it was also a kind of simultaneous development, every game tried to do its own version of the same things and Half-Life is the one that got first place. Which I guess means it was the only participant according to most people. Codexers aren't most people, of course, but they aren't developers either, and everyone knows developers are retards who instantly forget what makes their own games good, let alone other games.

Btw Sin is fucking excellent, don't care that it was broken, reviewers can get fucked, and also the most Half-Life-imitating game is Duke Nukem Forever (both versions)
 
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