{{Youmayd|the first game|the overall series|Half-Life and Portal universe}}
{{Game Infobox
|developer=Valve Corporation
November 19, 1998{{IA|20000115234952/http//headline.gamespot.com/news/98_11/19_pc_half/index.html|Half-Life Released}}. WikipediaGameSpot|GameSpot.
*'''PlayStation 2'''
November 14, 2001http//ps2.ign.com/objects/015/015631.html Half-Life (2001) on PlayStation 2. WikipediaIGN|IGN.
|genre=WikipediaFirst-person shooter|First-person shooter
|mode=WikipediaSingle-player video game|Single-player, WikipediaMultiplayer video game|multiplayer
|platform=WikipediaMicrosoft Windows|Windows, WikipediaPlayStation 2|PlayStation 2, WikipediamacOS|macOS, WikipediaLinux|Linux
|rating=WikipediaEntertainment Software Rating Board|ESRB M (Mature)
|distribution=Sierra Entertainment|Sierra On-Line (previously)
Electronic Arts
WikipediaSteam (software)|Steam |system=500 WikipediaHertz|MHz WikipediaCentral processing unit|processor, 96 WikipediaMegabyte|MB WikipediaRandom-access memory|RAM and 16 MB WikipediaVideo card|video card |input=WikipediaKeyboard (computing)|Keyboard and WikipediaMouse (computing)|mouse (PC) |engine=GoldSrc |series=''Half-Life and Portal universe|Half-Life'' |designer= |writer=Marc Laidlaw |composer=Kelly Bailey |previous=''Half-Life Day One'' |next=''Half-Life Uplink'' }} {{Quote|Run. Think. Shoot. Live.|''Half-Life'' tagline|Half-Life}} '''''Half-Life''''' is a WikipediaScience fiction|science fiction first-person shooter played from the perspective of scientist Gordon Freeman. Designed for Microsoft Windows by Valve Corporation|Valve Software, the game uses a heavily modified version of the wikipedia Quake engine|''Quake'' engine, called GoldSrc.http//store.steampowered.com/app/70 ''Half-Life'' on WikipediaSteam (software)|Steam{{cite web | url=http//www.gamespot.com/features/halflife_final/index.html | title=The Final Hours of ''Half-Life'' Behind Closed Doors at Valve Software | publisher= GameSpot |accessdate=2006-09-03 }} ==Plot== {{Main|Half-Life storyline}} In ''Half-Life'', players assume the role of the protagonist, Gordon Freeman|Dr. Gordon Freeman, a recent WikipediaMassachusetts Institute of Technology|MIT graduate in theoretical physics, and also a recent employee at Black Mesa Research Facility|Black Mesa. After an experiment that goes horribly awry when an unexpected Resonance Cascade (an apparently completely fictitious occurrence) rips dimensional seams that devastate the facility, Gordon must fight to escape the now alien-infested facility as creatures from another world — known as Xen — subsequently enter through these dimensional seams. The game is set during 200-|May 200- in a remote area of wikipediaNew Mexico|New Mexico, USA at the Black Mesa Research Facility; a fictional complex that bears many similarities to both the WikipediaLos Alamos National Laboratory|Los Alamos National Laboratory and WikipediaArea 51|Area 51. As Freeman tries to make his way out of the ruined facility to find help for the injured, he soon discovers he is caught between two sides the hostile aliens, and the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, a military force dispatched to cover up the incident — including eliminating Freeman and the rest of the Black Mesa Science Team. Throughout the game, a mysterious figure known as the the G-Man regularly appears, apparently monitoring Freeman's progress. Ultimately, Gordon uses the cooperation of surviving scientists and security officers to work his way to the mysterious Sector F|Lambda Complex, where a team of scientists teleport him to the alien world Xen, where he must destroy the Nihilanth, the creature keeping Xen's side of the dimensional rift open. ''Half-Life'''s plot was originally inspired by the computer games ''WikipediaDoom|Doom'' and ''WikipediaQuake|Quake'' (both produced by Wikipediaid Software|id Software), WikipediaStephen King|Stephen King's novella ''WikipediaThe Mist|The Mist'', and an episode of ''WikipediaThe Outer Limits (1963 TV series)|The Outer Limits'' called "WikipediaThe Borderland|The Borderland". Valve’s in-house writer and author, Marc Laidlaw, who wrote the books ''WikipediaDad's Nuke|Dad's Nuke'' and ''WikipediaThe 37th Mandala|The 37th Mandela'', later developed and expanded the plot. However, the most distinctive aspect of the game is not the plot itself, but rather the way it is presented to the player. The game tells the story by flowing into scripted sequences that are integrated as part of the game rather than as cutscene intermissions. These sequences range from the introduction of major plot points such as the Resonance Cascade to bringing the player into a particularly difficult part of a level. Two of the intended results of this style of presentation were to increase immersion and to maintain a contiguous narrative that keeps the player's interest throughout. This differed from games at the time, making ''Half-Life'' distinct, as well as defining conventions that would last for years to come. Valve implemented other factors to heighten the feeling of immersion, such as preventing the player from seeing or hearing their own character, who remains a silent protagonist throughout the game, and ensuring that the player rarely loses the ability to control Gordon Freeman|Gordon, even during monologues. This constant experience of the game allowed players to totally fulfill and customize, almost, the role of Gordon, whilst letting them know who they were playing as. The scripted sequences maintain flow by keeping the player immersed in the game, whereas cutscenes in other contemporary games had often been a diversion from previous segments of gameplay. The levels for ''Half-Life'' were also divided into small sections to minimize long interruptions from loading. ==Development== FileHLbaby.jpg|right|200px|Early promotional poster, with a Lambda logo in a baby's eye.|thumb ''Half-Life'' was the first product for Kirkland, Washington-based developer Valve Software, which was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. They settled on a concept for a horror-themed 3D action game, and licensed the ''WikipediaQuake (video game)|Quake'' engine from id Software. Valve eventually modified the engine a great deal, notably adding skeletal animation and WikipediaMicrosoft Direct3D|Direct3D support; a developer later stated that seventy percent of the engine code was rewritten.PC Accelerator magazine At first Valve had difficulties finding a publisher, many believing their project "too ambitious" for a studio headed by newcomers to the video game industry. However, Sierra On-Line had been very interested in making a 3D action game, especially one based on the ''Quake'' engine, and so signed them for a one-game deal. The original code name for ''Half-Life'' was ''Quiver'', after the Arrowhead military base from Stephen King's novella ''The Mist'', which served as early inspiration for the game. Gabe Newell explained in an interview that the name ''Half-Life'' was chosen because it was evocative of the theme, not clichéd, and had a corresponding visual symbol the Greek letter Lambda logo|lambda, which represents the WikipediaExponential decay|decay constant in the WikipediaHalf-life|half-life equation. The first public appearances of ''Half-Life'' came in early 1997; it was a hit at the WikipediaElectronic Entertainment Expo|Electronic Entertainment Expo that year, where they primarily demonstrated the animation system and artificial intelligence. Valve Software hired science fiction author Marc Laidlaw in August 1997 to work on the game's characters, story, and level design. ''Half-Life'' was originally planned to be shipped in November 1997,http//www.thefreelibrary.com/Half-Life+ready+to+radiate+at+E3.-a019499355 Half-Life ready to radiate at E3 to compete with ''WikipediaQuake II|Quake II'', but was postponed when Valve decided the game needed significant revision. In a 2001 "Making of..." (Issue 105) feature in ''WikipediaEdge (magazine)|Edge'', Newell discussed the team's early difficulties with level design. In desperation, a single level was assembled including every weapon, enemy, scripted event and level design quirk that the designers had come up with so far. This single level inspired the studio to press on with the game. As a result, the studio completely reworked the game's artificial intelligence and levels in the year leading up to its release. At E3 1998 it was given Game Critics Awards for "Best PC Game" and "Best Action Game" at the expo. The release date was delayed several times in 1998 before the game was finally released in November of that year. ==Reception== FileHL PS2 Cover.jpg|right|200px|PlayStation 2 cover.|thumb The game had its first major public appearance at the 1997 Electronic Entertainment Expo, where it was widely acclaimed. On its release, critics hailed its overall presentation and numerous scripted sequences, and it won over 50 PC Game of the Year awards.{{cite web |url=http//www.valvesoftware.com/about.html |title=About Valve |accessdate=2008-02-28 |publisher=Valve Corporation}}{{cite web|url=http//www.valvesoftware.com/awards.html|title=Awards and Honors|publisher=Valve Corporation|accessdate=2005-11-14}} Its gameplay influenced first-person shooters for years to come, and it has since been regarded as one of the greatest games of all time.{{cite web | url=http//www.gamasutra.com/features/20060901/quantum_01.shtml | title= The Gamasutra Quantum Leap Awards First-Person Shooters | accessdate=2006-09-03|publisher=Gamasutra }} As of November 2008, ''Half-Life'' has sold 9.3 million copies.{{cite web |url=http//www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52849-2004Nov15.html?nav=rss_technology |title=Half-Life 2's Real Battle |author=Mike Musgrove |publisher=Washington Post |date=2004-11-16 |accessdate=2008-02-28}} As of July 14, 2006, the ''Half-Life'' franchise has sold over 20 million units.http//store.steampowered.com/news/2039 Half-Life is 10 Today on Official Steam website (November 19, 2008) According to GameSpy, ''Half-Life'' is the most played online PC game (excluding MMORPGs), ahead of ''Half-Life 2''.{{cite web |accessdate=2008-09-26 |url=http//archive.gamespy.com/stats/ |title=Top Game Servers By Players |publisher=GameSpy}} In celebration of the game's 10th anniversary, Valve lowered the price of ''Half-Life'' from $9.99 USD to $0.98 on November 19, 2008 for three days.http//gamespot.com/news/6201390.html Half-Life decays to $1 on GameSpot (November 19, 2008) ==Half-Life (multiplayer)|Multiplayer== {{Main|Half-Life (multiplayer)}} The game was shipped with a free-for-all type of deathmatch. This was seen again is Opposing Force with the Capture-the-Flag mode. It was received very well by fans and has spawned countless mods and maps. It is much more faced paced than the campaign. It still has a large amount of players today. ==Half-Life ports|Ports== {{Main|Half-Life ports}} After its initial release for Windows systems, several Half-Life ports were developed for additional platforms. Some of these would go unreleased. ==Expansions== {{Main|Half-Life expansions}} Two expansion packs made by the developer Gearbox Software have been released for the PC version ''Half-Life Opposing Force'' (1999) and ''Half-Life Blue Shift'' (2001). ''Opposing Force'' returns the player to Black Mesa during the events of ''Half-Life''’s storyline, but this time from the perspective of the U.S. Marines sent to cover up the incident. It introduced several new weapons, new characters, both friendly and hostile (Otis Laurey the security guard and the Race X aliens, respectively) and new, previously unseen areas of the facility. The expansion is much shorter than ''Half-Life'', having eleven chapters to the original's nineteen. ''Blue Shift'' returns the player to ''Half-Life'''s storyline once more, this time as one of the facility's security guards. Originally developed as a bonus mission for the canceled Dreamcast version, ''Blue Shift'' came with an optional ''High Definition Pack'' that could update the look of ''Half-Life'', ''Opposing Force'', and the new ''Blue Shift'' content. In particular, the models' polygon count and texture resolutions were increased, and some changes were made to the in-game sounds, most notably the Shotgun (Half-Life)|Shotgun. ''Blue Shift'' had relatively little new content compared to ''Opposing Force'' aside from a few models (jacket-less scientists and security guards, Otis, and Rosenberg|Dr. Rosenberg), all content was already present in the original ''Half-Life''. ''Half-Life Decay|Decay'' was another expansion by Gearbox, released only as an extra with the PlayStation 2 version of ''Half-Life''. The add-on featured co-operative gameplay in which two players could solve puzzles and fight alongside against the many foes in Black Mesa. ==Sequels== The sequel ''Half-Life 2'' was merely a rumor until it was finally revealed at E3 in May 2003, which ignited a firestorm of hype surrounding the game. The player again takes the role of Gordon Freeman, this time several years after the Black Mesa incident in the dystopian City 17, where he must fight as part of a rebellion against an oppressive alien regime. After a series of controversies and delays, ''Half-Life 2'' was released on November 16, 2004. ''Half-Life 2 Episode One'' continues the story plot, along with ''Half-Life 2 Episode Two'' which was released in October 2007. No date has been set for the release of the final episode, which will end the ''Half-Life 2'' story arc. ==Mods== After its release, ''Half-Life'' saw fervent support from independent game developers, due in no small part to support and encouragement from Valve Software. Valve Hammer Editor|Worldcraft, the level-design tool used during the game's development, was included with the game software. Printed materials accompanying the game indicated Worldcraft's eventual release as a retail product, but these plans never materialized. Valve also released a software development kit, enabling developers to modify the game and create mods. Both tools were significantly updated with the release of the version patch. Many supporting tools (including texture editors, model editors, and rival level editors like the multiple engine editor WikipediaQuake Army Knife|QuArK) were either created or updated to work with ''Half-Life''. ''Half-Life'''s code has been released and is being used as a base for many multiplayer mods such as the immensely popular ''WikipediaCounter-Strike|Counter-Strike''. Other popular multiplayer mods include ''WikipediaTeam Fortress Classic|Team Fortress Classic'', ''WikipediaDay of Defeat|Day of Defeat'', ''Deathmatch Classic'', ''Action Half-Life'', ''http//www.moddb.com/mods/firearms Firearms'', and ''http//www.unknownworlds.com/ns/ Natural Selection''. ''Team Fortress Classic'' and ''Deathmatch Classic'' were both developed in-house at Valve Software. Some mods, such as ''Counter-Strike'' and ''Day of Defeat'', that began life as the work of independent developers (self-termed "modders"), later on received aid from Valve. There was even a free team-based multiplayer mod called ''Underworld Bloodline'' created to promote the Sony Pictures film ''WikipediaUnderworld (2003 film)|Underworld''. Numerous single-player mods have also been created, such as ''USS Darkstar'' (1999, a futuristic action-adventure on board a zoological research spaceship), ''http//www.moddb.com/mods/xeno-project-i-ii The Xeno Project 1'' and ''2'' (1999-2005, a two-part mod starting in Xen and again including spaceships), ''http//www.planetphillip.com/posts/edge-of-darkness-half-life/ Edge of Darkness'' (2000, which features some unused ''Half-Life'' models), ''http//www.moddb.com/mods/absolute-redemption Half-Life Redemption'' (1999, which brings back Gordon Freeman for four additional episodes and another encounter with the G-Man), ''They Hunger'' (2000-2001, a survival horror total conversion trilogy involving zombies), ''http//www.poke646.com/ Poke 646'' (2002, a follow-up to the original ''Half-Life'' story with improved graphics), ''http//www.moddb.com/mods/point-of-view Point of View'', the player controls a Vortigaunt, and ''http//www.moddb.com/mods/half-life-zombie-edition Half Life Zombie Edition'', where the player plays as a Headcrab). Some ''Half-Life'' modifications eventually landed on retail shelves. ''Counter-Strike'' was the most successful, unexpectedly becoming the biggest selling online game to date and having been released in five different editions as a standalone product (2000), as part of the ''Platinum Collection'' (2000), ''wccounterstrikeCounter-Strike Condition Zero|Counter-Strike Condition Zero'' (2004), and the newest addition, ''wcCounter-Strike Source|Counter-Strike Source'', which runs on ''Half-Life 2'''s Source engine. ''Team Fortress Classic'' has had a visual upgrade to the Source engine, becoming the stylized ''wcteamfortress2Team Fortress 2|Team Fortress 2''. ''Day of Defeat'' also received the Source treatment becoming ''WikipediaDay of Defeat Source|Day of Defeat Source''. ''WikipediaGunman Chronicles|Gunman Chronicles'' (2000), a futuristic Western movie-style total conversion with emphasis on its single-player mode) was also released as a stand-alone product. ==Soundtrack== {{Main|Half-Life soundtrack}} ''Half-Life's'' soundtrack consists of specially composed tracks by Kelly Bailey, who also composed much of the music for the rest of the series. He was also responsible for the game's in-game sounds. ==Behind the scenes== Early in the game's development, the humorous idea of a food fight was proposed to occur in a cafeteria, idea eventually rejected.''Half-Life 2 Raising the Bar'' ==Trivia== *The ''Half-Life'' series draws some inspiration from various adaptations of H. G. Wells's ''WikipediaThe War of the Worlds|The War of the Worlds''; the Vortigaunts who appear throughout the series are almost identical to the Mor-Tax aliens from the ''WikipediaWar of the Worlds (TV series)|War of the Worlds'' TV series. *''Half-Life'', as well as its three expansions, are named after scientific terms. "Half-life" refers to WikipediaRadioactive decay|radioactive decay. *When Gordon puts on his hazard suit in the first level, there are two empty hazard suit slots. According to ''Decay'' developer Gearbox Software|Gearbox's CEO Randy Pitchford these belonged to (or were used by) ''Decay'' protagonists Gina Cross and Colette Green. *''Half-Life'' holds the record for the "Best-Selling First-Person Shooter of All Time (PC)" in the ''WikipediaGuinness World Records Gamer's Edition|Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008''. *There is a special Censored versions of Half-Life|censored German version of ''Half-Life''. ==Gallery== FileHl conback.png|The console background. FileHl loading.png|The loading screen. FileHalf-Life earlybox.png|An early box cover. FileHL page 1.jpg|First page print ad for ''Half-Life''. FileHL adturnrunpage1.jpg|Another version. FileHLbaby2.jpg|Promotional poster. FileHLbaby3.jpg|Ditto, in French. FileHL page 2 and 3.jpg|The two-page fold out revealed when opened. FileHL adturnrunpage2.jpg|Ditto. FileHL outdoor.jpg|Another ad. FileHL E3 1998 splash.gif|Early main menu background used at E3 1998.{{IA|20000311172524/http//contaminated.net/wavelength/models/articles/e3_1998.html|E3 Report on ''Half-Life''|Wavelength (June 25, 1998)}} FileGold master.jpg|Gold master. ===Menus=== FileHalf-Life WON menu.png|Original main menu, used before Steam. FileHalf-Life Steam beta menu.png|Main menu, used during Steam beta test. FileHalf-Life Steam menu.png|Current version of the main menu. ===Screenshots=== FileCascade4.jpg|Destruction reigns, moments after the catastrophic resonance cascade. FileC1a1 ionization.jpg|Unforeseen consequences aliens start entering the facility. FileEli help.jpg|The scientists are still in shock after the explosion. FileC1a1c canal02.jpg|More aliens get in, forcing Gordon to take to the maintenance areas. FileTentacle_pit.jpg|The aliens just keep getting bigger. FileApprehension_vort_attack.jpg|Vortigaunts start attacking. FileHL BMRF ResidueProcessing.jpg|Glowing vats of radioactive waste. FileLand_mine_explode.jpg|Security measures start trying to kill the wrong people. FileBlack Mesa valley goldsrc.jpg|Precarious leaps and narrow ledges are all that's between Gordon and death. FileC2a4d cage.jpg|What have those scientists been doing in secret? FileC3a2e0000.jpg|A descent into new, mysterious territory. FileLambdaTeleportationSystem.jpg|The Lambda Complex, where Gordon finally enters Xen. FileC4a20004.jpg|Strange alien worlds that float by some unknown means. ===Other=== FileHalf card01.jpg|Unpublished trading card. FileHalf card02.jpg|Ditto. FileHalf card03.jpg|Ditto. FileHalf card04.jpg|Ditto. FileHalf card05.jpg|Ditto. FileHalf card06.jpg|Ditto. FileHalf badges.png|Unpublished badges. FileHalf emoticons.png|Unpublished emoticons. ==References== {{Imagecat|Half-Life images}} {{Reflist}} ==External links== *{{IA|19981205094204/http//www.sierrastudios.com/games/half-life/|Official website}} *{{Steam|url=70|text=Half-Life}} ===Videos=== *{{YouTube|s1JupoC4-EI|Early ''Half-Life'' teaser released in 1997}} *{{YouTube|PU5mSUN8HF4|Early ''Half-Life'' trailer}} {{Games}} {{Multiplayer}} deHalf-Life esHalf-Life plHalf-Life CategoryGames CategoryMultiplayer games CategoryHalf-Life