Esta informação vem da PC Gameplay Bélgica.

PCGP : After the source code got leaked you took some distance. What did valve specially do in this period?

G.N. : The source code leak was a real disaster for us. Just the fact that we had to measure the damage that was done by the leak cost us the necessary time. When we realised how this could affect the whole game in the future (multiplayer) we decided to rewrite a brand-new source code. The time that we had after the delay was mainly used to rewrite a new source code. We were terrified by the idea that someone behind the scenes could mess with the game while others were playing it. With the new rewrited network code we can insure online gamers that no one will be messing around with the game. Rewrite, test, rewrite, test,… We repeated this process for several uncountable times till we were satisfied with the result.

PCGP : When can we expect Half-Life 2 to be released?

G.N. :Half-Life 2 is currently in pre-alpha fase. It means that the all game content is basicly finished. We are now in the process of fine tuning and balancing the gameplay : The number of enemys, the impact of weapons, the quantity of available healtpacks… We are targetting for a summer release.

PCGP : The summer starts in June and ends in September, can you be more specific?

G.N. : No, sorry. Somewhere in the summer. We can’t and we don’t want to be more specific about this.

PCGP : Did you add special moves to the game? Like duck away or the famous bullettime?

G.N. : Many of those special moves and special effects were added to the game, but they were quickly removed. They didn’t match with the typicall Half-Life environment and they took to much attention of the player.

PCGP : Is Half-Life 2 better then his predecessor?

G.N. : Undoubtedly. I’m aware that this a rather daring pronouncement, but I fully support it. I like to make the comparison with the J.J.R. Tolkien books, Half-Life is similar with “The Hobbit” while Half-Life 2 is the biggest adventure and continuation of the first one, “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

PCGP : Can you tell us what Half-Life 2 has cost so far?

G.N. : The last time I checked it was 40 million dollars.

– Even though the reporter has watched the high-res E3 videos numerous times, he is still surprised by the graphical splendour of the HL2 engine. He mentions the beautiful effect of light falling through a window and creating shadows on the walls of the cramped room he starts in and the wealth of detail on offer even in such a simple environment.

– Valve have attempted to bring some familiarity to the player by retaining some particularities of HL; much (if not all) of the standard keyboard configuration stays the same and a number of player feedback sounds such as the “closed door” warning has also been carried over from HL2’s predecessor.

– Facial expression of NPCs is so effective that simpler forms of communication, such as a warning to keep your guard up, can take place even without conversation.

– Especially at the start of the game (when you’re unarmed), the player is forced to escape certain potentially hostile situations rather than engage in conflict; this greatly ups the already tense atmosphere.

– The outside locations are wide open and lively, with City 17 being full of birds flying all about, citizens walking by and “scanners” patrolling the area; their main function seems to be to scout for potentially hostile creatures. Freeman still isn’t percieved as such at the start of the game, but as it turns out there is still more than enough reason to be careful; apparently combine soldiers are a bit ‘socially challenged’ and will give you a good dose of the ol’ shock prod if they think you’re sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong.

– Again, the liveliness of HL2’s environments is mentioned; most games offer scripted sequences at set times to enhance the atmosphere, but in HL2 similar non-core gameplay events are everywhere.

– HL2 features a flash-bang type effect; stand too close to a grenade detonation and you’ll be disoriented and deaf for a small while.

– The manipulator can be used to cause mass destruction; where the PCZ preview mentions the saw blades as a handy means of decapitation, the PCGP reporter flings a fuel barrel over a group of zombies and watches them burn.

– Valve have attempted to put a higher than usual amount of interactivity into the game, which allows for varied gameplay solutions. One example is the crane scenario that is also mentioned in PCZ; transporting the buggy to the opposite side of the canal by using the crane arm magnet is a bonus rather than a requirement, simpy knocking the arm against the bridge suffices to bring it down and allow passage.

– The reporter concludes that HL2’s strength seems to lie in a combination of factors; apart from the great visuals and exciting action, it also offers a sense of adventure and opportunities for creative problem solving, which add up to what he calls “first-class gameplay”.

Interview (comments by Gabe Newell):

– We’ve decided to stay faithful to the weapon arsenal in HL, for one thing because we want the player to feel familiar with the weapons , but also because we like the variety they offer(ed) and because we prefer quality of quantity in this respect. We want to keep the alien weapons under wraps as much as possible though, they are too much intertwined with the plot of the game and we don’t want to spoil any surprises.

– HL2 will stay faithful to the play tempo of its predecessor, it would be a shame to rush through the game when there’s so much to see and especially do. Of course, there are times when you have to push the pedal to the metal in order to escape certain dangerous situations.

– What we *do* want to focus the player’s attention on is interactivity and AI. We want the player to be stimulated by his/her surroundings; what if I stack those boxes?; would it be possible to enter that APC and drive off?; what is the meaning of that expression on Alyx’ face or that of the G-Man?; how will that NPC react when I stop him from entering this room? That’s what it’s all about in HL2; let players discover interesting gameplay situations by having them interact with their surroundings like no other game has allowed before.

– We’ve never seriously contemplated including teamorder functions and complicated menus, because we let the interactivity of the AI and the environment react to the actions of the player. An “e” [= “use” – X-V] button suffices, because the AI will react more to the intention than the position of the player. Let’s say you’re walking towards a closed door; a friendly NPC could be aware of a threat that lies beyond and will therefore take up position to be able to give you cover. Alternatively, the NPC could offer advice on how to handle, now that he or she knows the intent of the player. On the other side of the door, the enemy AI can also react to the situation that evolves when the door swings open; is the player alone?; what are my chances against multiple targets?; is there an opportunity to call for backup? In the ideal situation, even the “e” button would not be necessary. Consider it an extra means of communication or assistance for the player. The AI never ceases to keep notice of the player’s actions and reacts appropriately without the need for specific orders.

– STEAM will be in the background during play, doing all kinds of complicated things with your PC. Not with the intent to ‘snoop’, it won’t even affect performance, but strictly to eliminate foul play. We are fully aware that cheating can ruin gameplay and we want to keep that from happening at all costs. Whoever gets caught cheating will be prevented from playing the game online for a while; repeat offenders will be banned for six months and the truly incurable cases could even risk a permanent ban. These are some harsh measures, but we want to keep the game enjoyable for those who play by the rules. The only way for us to enforce this at the moment is to have STEAM access the PC of the online player; the benefit being that we can monitor online play sessions better and continually implement updates and improvements.