View Full Version : Interview with Bill Van Buren of Valve about Half Life 2

12 December 2004, 03:34 PM

12 December 2004, 04:19 PM
"In 1998 we had pretty oppressive performance limitations on the pc platform. We couldn’t push very many polygons or pixels – I think it was under 5000 triangles for a whole level. We had some basic skeletal animation with rigid vertex assignments, and jaws that moved when characters talked."

" Flash forward to 2004.....As you move from iconic stylization and toward greater visual complexity you have to multiply everything that you’re doing - more work, more people. As an example consider all of the work that goes into a character, each with 30 or so facial keyshape targets, complex rigs and envelopes and libraries of custom animations."

I replayed HL1 last week and was amazed at how much animation was going on for a game that was over 7 years old. There are games now that still don't do some of the basics exhibited in HL1. The stakes and complexities for developing PC games has been multiplied and so have the hardware compatability issues. I wonder how long the PC gaming market will be a economicaly viable medium for developers to produce for?

12 December 2004, 07:00 PM
Dunno, I think the animation in HL2 is very very good, but not as good as some people are making out. IMO what HL2 has is a reasonable plot, a cohesive gaming world and physics that actually move the story forward rather than just being "tick-box ragdoll". It's a very well balanced game. It's the balance a lot of developers seem to miss out on, certain Dull 3 got the mix wrong.

12 December 2004, 07:40 PM
The story was the an issue I had with HL2. There really wasn't one and the ending blew any chance of making up for the diverse journey. While I was playing, there were times I felt like I was playing into a gimmick which I am sure took them a long time to engineer but at the cost of story telling. Your right, it was a better well ballanced presentation than Doom3.

I'll admit I went nuts over HL2 multplayer. I talked with Valves Billing dept and purchased 6 licenses over Steam yesterday :bounce:. Its going to be an interesting holiday.

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