Valve rolls out a beta patch for Half-Life 2, includes long-awaited bug fixes and Vulkan...

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
What just happened? Valve, and most other game developers, typically don't give much attention to its legacy titles, like Left 4 Dead, Portal, and the Half-Life series (barring Alyx). The company might fix the occasional bug if its developers (who seem to work on whatever they please) feel like it, but that's about it. That changed recently, with the unannounced release of a new Beta update branch for Half-Life 2.

The Beta update makes several small but important changes to Half-Life 2, most of which seem geared toward making the game run and look as good as it possibly can on Valve's upcoming Steam Deck handheld PC. We'll get to some of the bigger changes in a moment, but first, credit where credit is due: YouTuber Tyler McVicker spotted the Beta branch update and dove into the game to find out exactly what was changed.

This is notable because Valve itself has not yet uploaded a full changelog for this mysterious update. As such, McVicker's findings might not even be exhaustive -- other changes could be waiting somewhere in the game but are currently undiscovered.

At any rate, most importantly from a playability perspective, McVicker states that the Beta branch brings a "significant number" of fixes to long-standing bugs that have been pointed out by the community for years. He doesn't offer many specific examples but notes that the Buggy (or Scout Car) available in the Highway 17 level is no longer a "copy-paste job" from Half-Life 2: Episode 2. I'm not entirely sure what he's referring to here; it has been so long since the last time I even touched this series, but... Good for Valve, I suppose. We'll have to take McVicker's word on the other bug fixes.

Also important are changes to Half-Life 2's UI. It finally supports ultrawide resolutions, and the HUD now scales properly to different screen resolutions. In fact, the HUD and game aspect ratio can be altered independently, if you prefer your UI elements to be sized and positioned a bit differently than the default layout.

Half-Life 2's FOV cap has also been increased to 110, and the game now supports the Vulkan graphics rendering API, which should work far better with the Steam Deck's custom Linux distro, SteamOS (and Linux distros in general). Vulkan also has the potential to increase performance in some games, as it's less CPU-heavy and generally offers superior cross-platform support compared to older APIs.

Half-Life 2's beta branch update still has hiccups. McVicker notes that the game suffers from some micro-stuttering while running the patch, and there are undoubtedly a few other problems he hasn't discovered yet. Still, we hope that that minor issue (and any others) will be ironed out by the time the patch fully releases, whenever that might be.

Permalink to story.

 

Irata

Posts: 1,812   +3,053
That‘s actually pretty nice. I bought the game when it was new but never actually played it (much), so if I find the time I might give it a go after the update is complete.
 

Yenega

Posts: 302   +202
I find it refreshing when company maintains its product through the years. No matter what you install from Valve it will work on any operating system and that's bloody brilliant.

Yeah on paper, however in reality there's huge differences in performance and bugs. Only with Windows you are guaranteed to play the game right. Most games that "work" on Unix/Linux does not run anywhere close to the Windows version.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,365   +7,167
Always good to see an update of a game that is a legend ..... now if they would just get back on Halflife 3 and world would be a better place; at least for the gaming community!

Just downloaded it and playing it now ...... the upgrades are pretty impressive! Nice Job Valve .....
 
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0dium

Posts: 283   +337
Yeah on paper, however in reality there's huge differences in performance and bugs. Only with Windows you are guaranteed to play the game right. Most games that "work" on Unix/Linux does not run anywhere close to the Windows version.
There's no guarantee even on windows
 
Yeah on paper, however in reality there's huge differences in performance and bugs. Only with Windows you are guaranteed to play the game right. Most games that "work" on Unix/Linux does not run anywhere close to the Windows version.
As if anybody forces you to install Linux instead of Windows. And in any case, you're not likely to check your email while playing. So it's perfectly fine to have a double-boot system.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,947   +1,133
There's no guarantee even on windows
Exactly. There is no shortage of games that came out for a earlier version of Windows, and are now absolutely useless on anything other than the hardware and software from the age they were released (not even VMs will save you). Having any game work through nearly a half-dozen different major revisions of an OS is pretty astounding when you think about it.
 

0dium

Posts: 283   +337
Exactly. There is no shortage of games that came out for a earlier version of Windows, and are now absolutely useless on anything other than the hardware and software from the age they were released (not even VMs will save you). Having any game work through nearly a half-dozen different major revisions of an OS is pretty astounding when you think about it.
True. That's why I have a win98 pc
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,054   +875
Exactly. There is no shortage of games that came out for a earlier version of Windows, and are now absolutely useless on anything other than the hardware and software from the age they were released (not even VMs will save you). Having any game work through nearly a half-dozen different major revisions of an OS is pretty astounding when you think about it.
I’ve never encountered a game that was released for a previous version of windows that I haven’t been able to run in compatibility mode on windows 10. And I have a lot of old games, I opened my steam account on the day steam was launched. Which games are you having these issues with?

I do have some games that will not work because it needs Games for Windows live. But that’s not the same thing.
 

0dium

Posts: 283   +337
I’ve never encountered a game that was released for a previous version of windows that I haven’t been able to run in compatibility mode on windows 10. And I have a lot of old games, I opened my steam account on the day steam was launched. Which games are you having these issues with?

I do have some games that will not work because it needs Games for Windows live. But that’s not the same thing.
Well of course you had no issues running games that are on steam. Try something older and less popular
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,054   +875
Well of course you had no issues running games that are on steam. Try something older and less popular
My apologies, I did think we were talking about steam games.

Although, I do have a lot of older and less popular games and they all work. Ive actually been playing Black & White 2 recently. Admitedly Warcraft has issus due to the CPU being too fast for it.

What games cant you get running?
 

0dium

Posts: 283   +337
My apologies, I did think we were talking about steam games.

Although, I do have a lot of older and less popular games and they all work. Ive actually been playing Black & White 2 recently. Admitedly Warcraft has issus due to the CPU being too fast for it.

What games cant you get running?
Well I surely don't have a list of incompatible games, but those which I remember now are Bladerunner and Gorky 17