Half-Life celebrates its 25th anniversary with an unexpected update. And if for some reason you didn’t like this masterpiece yet, you can download it now for free on Steam with all these fantastic new features like new multiplayer maps and improved graphics.
Half-Life 25th Anniversary Patch Notes
- Now verified on Steam Deck (and our native Linux runtime set as default).
- Half-Life: Uplink – the original standalone Half-Life demo – has been added to the game and is accessible via the New Game menu.
- Added four brand new Half-Life Deathmatch maps: Contamination, Pool_Party, Disposal and Rocket_Frenzy
- Added three old Half-Life Deathmatch maps that were previously only available 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 previously only available on the Half-Life: Further Data CD.
- Added support for Steam Networks, allowing for easy multiplayer via the Steam 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 using the “-novid” startup command.
- Updated main menu with a design inspired by the game’s original main menu from 1998.
- The standard models have been changed to the original models (not “HD”).
- 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 explodes.
- Fixed issue where movement of pushable entities was based on framerate.
- Fixed issue where players with high frame rates would freeze upon death in multiplayer.
- Fixed some cases where the player could get stuck in place during level transitions.
- Fixed some cases where characters would interrupt important dialogue with their “Greeting” dialogue.
- The weapon’s viewing angle has been corrected.
- Fixed an issue where red barrels would not launch properly at the start of Surface Tension.
- Fixed issue with Snarks attacking FL_WORLDBRUSH entities (e.g. func_walls).
- Fixed an issue where players were sometimes unable to use a Snark while crouched and looking down.
- Certain convars (“pausable” and “sv_maxspeed”) were set to incorrect values when starting a single-player game after a multiplayer game. This bug has been fixed.
- Fixed an issue where the auto-aim setting would change in single player when starting a multiplayer game that doesn’t allow auto-aim.
- Fixed an issue where the flashlight HUD would appear blank after loading a save game.
- Fixed issue with rockets not always exploding in CONTENTS_SKY.
- Fixed incorrect bullet sounds for NPCs.
- Fixed an issue where the Gauss Cannon would make a loud static noise when loading across level transitions.
- Fixed a crash for mods that display keyboard shortcuts in their UI.
- Fixed issue with single player weapons not automatically shutting down when exhausted (grenades, snarks, satchels, etc.)
- Fixed interpolation artifacts when animated models are moved by other entities.
- Fixed some buffer overflow exploits.
- The main menu background and buttons have been redesigned and now scale based on screen resolution without stretching, supporting wallpaper layouts of up to 3840 x 1600.
- When playing at higher resolutions, the in-game HUD now uses sprites that are double or triple the size.
- UI dialogs and in-game fonts are now scaled to improve readability at high screen resolutions.
- The in-game HUD HEV suit display has been moved to the left side of the screen and no longer changes position at larger screen resolutions.
- Added the “Enable texture filtering” setting.
- Added the “Allow Widescreen Field of View” setting to correct non-anamorphic FOVs for widescreen and ultrawide displays.
- All settings screens have been reorganized to improve readability and aid controller navigation.
- Updated the pause menu to reflect the current game 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 as all of its features are now available within Steam itself.
- Fixed bug in rendering application icons when using software renderer.
- Fixed issue with player and spray images not updating their color on the settings screen.
- The now very unnecessary “Low video quality” has been removed. Helps with slower graphics cards.” Setting.
- Improved support for keyboard and controller navigation everywhere.
- Added Lower Input Latency option: Synchronizes CPU and GPU to reduce the time between input and display output.
- Fixed issues causing jerky mouse/joystick inputs.
- (We basically re-wrote everything – if you have a custom Steam input controller configuration, you should recreate it using our newly published official configuration.)
- 357 damage increased from 40 → 50.
- The Hive Hand’s reload time has been reduced from 0.5s → 0.3s per shot and it is selected with higher priority than the pistol when picked up.
- MP5 now always starts with full ammunition the first time it is picked up.
- Players will no longer drop empty weapons, and any dropped weapons will be reloaded by what is in the dying player’s backpack.
- Improved client-side prediction to reduce ghosting. As with Counter-Strike, consider hitboxes and not just bounding boxes for hits on the client.
- Fixed issue where network predicted crowbar damage was incorrect.
- Added setting to disable texture filtering when using OpenGL renderer.
- The default gamma has been reduced from 2.5 → 2.2 since we don’t all play on CRTs anymore.
- OpenGL Overbright support restored.
- Added support for UI sprites and texture files larger than 256×256.
- Added support for special rendering modes for UI fonts: Blur and Additive.
- The default resolution is now based on the desktop resolution rather than a 640×480 window.
- The software renderer now correctly filters out incompatible resolutions unless there is only one resolution available on the display.
- Fixed a crash in the fullscreen software renderer on systems that do not support 16-bit color.
- Fixed an issue where the software renderer was stretched when using widescreen resolutions.
- Fixed skyboxes and sky colors incorrectly applying during map transition in multiplayer.
- Fixed an issue where the game appeared too dark after changing video settings.
- Fixed MSAA in windowed mode.
- Fixed mipmap rendering on studio models.
- Fixed the rendering of the Gluon Gun sprite in multiplayer.
- Fixed an issue where the sinusoidal sound of the Gluon Gun was incorrect.
- Various optimizations to support the newly increased engine limits.
- OpenGL optimizations for the Steam Deck.
Engine improvement for mod makers
- Maximum limit of dynamic sound channels increased from 8 → 32.
- The maximum set limit in the sets.txt file has been increased from 1536 → 2048.
- The maximum number of entities (MAX_EDICTS) has been increased from 900 → 1200.
- MAX_PACKET_ENTITIES increased from 256 → 1024.
- MAX_GLTEXTURES increased from 4800 → 10000.
- Increased geometry limits for software renderers: maximum spans 3000 → 6000, maximum faces 2000 → 4000 and maximum 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.
- Integrated Counter-Strike func_vehicle entity support for use by mod makers. The full SDK update will be available later, but level designers can use it now.
Native Linux build
- Added support for the software renderer.
- Improved font rendering.
- Lots of stability and behavior fixes.
- Localization files updated.
- Various security fixes.
- The previous version of the game was archived in a publicly visible beta branch called “steam_legacy” with the description “Pre-25th Anniversary Build”. If a mod or feature behaves unexpectedly, you may need to run this archived build until the issue is resolved in the standard build.
- We now consider this anniversary version of Half-Life to be the definitive version and the one we will continue to support in the future. For this reason, we are reducing the visibility of Half Life: Source in the Steam Store. We know that Half-Life: Source’s assets are still being used by the Source engine community, so it remains available, but we will encourage new Half-Life players to play this version instead.
This was the most unexpected love letter from the developers, but we still received it and couldn’t be more excited about it. You can pick it up here for free until November 20, 2023. It might be the best time to revisit a classic, and you can even add ray tracing if you feel like it!