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Highlighting HL2 Episode One's Commentary Track

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the worth-it-to-play-through-again dept.

44

Via GameSetWatch, an article on Waxy.org highlighting the great audio commentary for Half-Life 2: Episode One. The article includes a few excerpts from the experience, via flash movies. From the article: "Most of the game's 115 nodes are audio only, pointing out interesting tidbits about the scene you're currently in, such as the visual design, character dialogue, or gameplay. Some of the best examples discuss the iterations a stage or puzzle went through, why original versions didn't live up to expectations, and how they reached their final design. It's a fascinating glimpse into the minds of the developers, very much like sitting next to them as you play through at your own pace. But a few commentary nodes do much more, taking over the player's view to show them something hidden or entirely new. I've captured video from some of my favorites." Completely worth it to play through a second time to experience.

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Do you have to install this? (4, Interesting)

Future Man 3000 (706329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055373)

Granted, I've always enjoyed easter eggs, but I have to figure audio commentary takes up a huge chunk of HDD space -- space that's already all-too-scarce when games now take multigigs to install. It's not bloat if you want it, but if you don't want it can you get rid of it?

Re:Do you have to install this? (5, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055414)

Nope, its part of the package. Extracted from 1.19 GB GCF, for my out of game listening enjoyment, however it's only 68.4 MB. Not massive and I suspect the GCF has some sort of compression that means it's not really that much space.

Re:Do you have to install this? (3, Informative)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055424)

It's part of the game's data files. I'm sure they're compressed highly, since I've compressed (to MP3) voice only sounds to really low bitrates with little perceptable loss in quality. tbh, it's probably nothing compared to the rest of the gamedata.

Re:Do you have to install this? (0, Redundant)

jar240 (760653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055458)

Not only do they take up the disk space, they also take memory, and I'll bet contribute to the already-horrible load times of the HL2 games.

Chris

Re:Do you have to install this? (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055498)

I didn't experience any extra load time when I played through with commentary on...and it's turned off by default anyway. You have to check a box to enable it when you begin a new game.

Re:Do you have to install this? (2, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055475)

HL2 shows as 841 MB on my HD; EP1 shows as an additional 606 MB (the games are independent of one another, and when you delete a game, you're free to download it later).

The Source engine core is probably another 2.5 GB. All told, my SteamApps folder, which includes Valve's ENTIRE catalog (19 games, including the entire HL and CS series) + 2 3rd party games is 15.2 GB.

Direct answer to your question: as others have said, no. This is included with the game.

Re:Do you have to install this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16055506)

For years I have tried to figure out what Linux needs, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until now.

THIS is EXACTLY what the Linux kernel needs!

Re:Do you have to install this? (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058127)

Imagine: ALSA or something causes the kernel to lock up, and you hear commentary from Linus: "Those ALSA bastards couldn't code if they had a etc etc etc"

Re:Do you have to install this? (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16056193)

Stop complaining about diskspace of the commentary track. It's relatively small and definitely a feature. Instead look into the "sound" folder and replay all the sounds that are there.

Developers sure didn't care to remove development, testing and obsolete files.

There's LOTS of quite lengthy sequences including at least two versions of every single sentence said by most major characters, including something that was scrapped from the game (secret shrine with Breen's busts collection anyone?), plethora of random sentences to be said by your squad (you get a squad of 1 or 2 for a really short piece of the game), and lots of other sounds you're never going to hear.
I really wonder if the situation is similar with the rest of the game data. Seems likely.

Re:Do you have to install this? (1)

DaFrog (703113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16062957)

Yep - You have to install it the same way you installed a bloated OS and a few bloated apps - A word processor (Textor) used to fit on a single 5"1/4 floppy... (darn, I must be old) - However, a Gig is less than $1 today, so, is this really a problem? -DaFrog

It needed it. (2, Insightful)

wileyAU (889251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055561)

Completely worth it to play through a second time to experience.
I beat the game in less than 6 hours. Playing again with commentary added some much needed value to the package.

Re:It needed it. (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16056006)

Ditto for movie DVDs. Of course, I'm not sure if I'd watch some movies again just to hear the commentary.

Re:It needed it. (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057641)

For some films it is worth it, particularly comedy films as the people commenting are often very funny. Spinal Tap actually has an 'in character' commentary with the three main characters looking back at the time they were followed around by a documentary crew, it is like a whole extra film and is (unsuprisingly) very funny.

Re:It needed it. (1)

imboboage0 (876812) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057116)

Today I started playing Episode 1. Let me rephrase that. Today I finished playing Episode 1.

No, really. I found it to be an altogether enjoyable experience. It was much more fun to work with others (namely Alyx) throughout the duration of the game. Speaking of, I clocked in at just under 4 Hours, including a 30 minute dinner break. The length was kinda disappointing, but such is life. as a side note, I am an avid FPSer, and it will likely take most people much more time, such as the 6 hours the parent post mentioned. I play to play through again tomorrow with the commentary on, seeing as how much good I've heard spoken of it.

Re:It needed it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16062612)

It was $20. Quitcher bitchin'.

i agree; it was entertaining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16055569)

it also pointed out some things that HL2:E1 did wrong, and that they went back and fixed. I noticed that Sin:E1 had some of the same problems but apparently no one cared to play test that game and/or go back and fix those issues.

One of those issues is the female character annoying you with "hurry! we are in a hurry! gogogogo let's go! hurry!" for a large portion of the game.

Commentary (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16055689)

I played a bit of Episode 1 with the commentary on and found it interesting, though not enough to finish the entire episode a second time. I'm looking forward to Episode 2, which looks better in every way.

Game Commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16056619)

Chronicles of Riddick: escape from butcher bay and F.E.A.R (directers cut) had something similiar.

--

"It's been 23 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment" is the SRM* of slashdot, and as effective.

*Slashdot Rights Managment.

Re:Commentary (3, Informative)

l33t gambler (739436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057038)

How about playing it with a slow-motion button so you can study the physics in greater detail?

http://jooh.no/clips.html [jooh.no]

Just add this
bind "g" "host_timescale 1.0"
bind "q" "host_timescale 0.3"
to
Steam\SteamApps\username\half-life 2 episode one\episodic\cfg\config.cfg
You may need to enable cheats, add a sv_cheats "1" line too.

If this is software then I'm really excited about what a PPU like Ageia PhysX can do. Wreak havoc with explosive projectiles and bullet-time ability among hordes of monsters with no dip in framerate or realism. Of course, as business must grow, GPU makers like nVidia and ATI doesn't want consumers to shift focus on a dedicated physics processor and discover the fact that GPUs aren't much more then antialasing and texture effects. Gameplay is king, imagine Battlefield 2 with improved physics and twice the framerate.
Sorry off topic but us single-issue activists love to have our hot buttons pushed.

Re:Commentary (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16059690)

The problem with the commentary for me was that there was no way to fast-forward, skip, or rewind. Some parts I found tremendously boring, while others were fascinating. I only want to hear the fascinating parts. Going slower by watching physics is not something that I'm interested in. I'm good enough at FPS games that I can typically just do something a second time if I want to see it again.

User Created Commentary (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16055817)

Here's a great 47 minute video of great player commentary of some of the best moments of Episode One.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-779199230 4107970746 [google.com]

Unpleasant truth. (2, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16056062)

The idea is nice but it reveals some of the internals which are NOT pleasant. What do I mean? "Player gets rewarded by the view of...", "Here we get an opportunity to display some Alex's emotions, making her more believable", "we tried [some horrible, really dumb idea] but we got reports from betatesters that they didn't like it, so we changed it." "It is important to reward the player with praises from Alex"

The story is not a result of a talent. Talent makes the story feel real, be believable because it feels like "if it ever happened, it would happen just like this". But both HL2 and EP1 felt simply fake - engineered, where characters follow script and play emotions, where events happen from script, because you entered a trigger area, not because they should happen about then. When you enter the car you -know- the crane will fail. When you enter the house and see the lift down and a button by it, it's like it was labelled "call lift and zombies". Places, devices, locations, layouts that make no sense but play well as puzzles. (HL1 is guilty of this heavily too).

The underlying script - the concept - is good. But when it left hands of the writer, it wasn't implemented with the game written around it. It got in hands of game designers and they hammered it into the concept of a game, mangling it beyond recognition. Real world isn't split into physics puzzles, vistas, combat arenas and storytelling locations. The commentary track just makes it painfully obvious.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16056196)

The commentary made it very clear that the designers aborted what they wanted to do with the game - you were not supposed to have a weapon other than the gravity gun until the final third of the game (partway through Urban Flight). That would have made it a very different and unique game. [This is stated as late as the commentary node about pulling the boards of so Alyx can snipe the zombies in Urban Flight]. Given they had to fudge their concept back into something more traditional, it's not all that surprising it seemed like a somewhat muddled halfway-house of a game - it was one.

It also revealed a few odd quirks about the developers.

For instance, the developers in the commentary talk about a vista being a reward, but they never talk about a fun action sequence as a reward. This seems wrongheaded - a player is unlikely to make a save so they can go and look at a vista again; they might well make a save so they can go back and replay fighting off horde of zombies in the dark using only exploding gas cannisters. The vista is not a reward, the action piece is the reward. The vista is just a short break in which the player is probably thinking more about "how cool am I" than looking at the view.

Episode One also spoke reams about the demographic of their playtesters - whereas in HL2 Alyx was mildly interesting as a dramatic character, in Episode One she spent half her time overtly fawning over the player as a teenage-fantasy girl.

As for the "zombie lift" -- playing to genre conventions is usually seen as a good thing in movies and games because it works as very simple foreshadowing to build tension. You see the too-inviting-looking lift; you know what's coming.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

garyok (218493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16056300)

The underlying script - the concept - is good. But when it left hands of the writer, it wasn't implemented with the game written around it. It got in hands of game designers and they hammered it into the concept of a game, mangling it beyond recognition. Real world isn't split into physics puzzles, vistas, combat arenas and storytelling locations. The commentary track just makes it painfully obvious.

Sometimes I think game designers shouldn't listen to the focus groups. Like Dilbert said, "What users want is more better stuff for free." I like challenges, so I like games that have sometimes have me stumped for a day and a half trying to work out a puzzle. It's the challenge that makes a successful resolution rewarding. Pretty pictures and affirmations are nice but no substitute for the feeling that you persevered and did it on your own. I hate the thought that a good game is being emasculated because designers are listing to (stereotyping at an international level) whiny, lazy little brats with the attention span of brain-damaged goldfish who want everything for nothing. I'll keep playing, cos it's still a unique and great take on the genre but they need to work on re-introducing quality puzzles for Ep2.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

goodbadorugly (837673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16056676)

Im not sure I understand your complaint. A game like half life 2: episode 1, which has a set script, can really never be made any different way than with a massive amount of triggers. The entire game is able to tell a well thought out story by leading the player through an environment with only minimal hints at what they should do. If anything, thats what I got out of the commentary track, that they went through a great many iterations of the same scene to make it feel like more fluid an experience. I usually describe the more dynamic scenes in half life 2 and episode 1 as a controlled chaos. Triggers give the player direction in the madness and allow the game to move forward. One things that the commentary stressed was that they were trying at all costs not to make the player feel bored. This is a goal I believe they accomplished. Playing Half life 2 for long stretches of time can actually make the person feel tired, according to many accounts (I can attest to this as well). That they achieved this without making gameplay feel repetitive is an accomplishment in itself.

Also, concerning your last point, that the real world isn't split so categorically into different locations that serve a purpose. I was under the impression that the point of a game was as an escape from the real world. The experience of a game would greatly suffer if it weren't so carefully paced out into different segments. Any good script writer knows that when you write an action film, you don't make the entire thing action. There has to be a defined pace to the movie. Slow periods (physics puzzles) must precede fast segments (zombie killing). Build up has to occur before you can get to the boss battle. The half life series achieves the cinematic experience without at any time wrenching control from the player and forcing them to watch a cut-scene. Are they perfect games? Thats a matter of opinion. My personal belief is that valve is one of the few game makers out there that cares about the players ultimate experience.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057165)

A game like half life 2: episode 1, which has a set script, can really never be made any different way than with a massive amount of triggers.

There is nothing wrong with a bunch of triggers, the throuble that I had with Half Life 2 (or better the Ravenholm Demo, since I haven't played the full game) however was that the triggers where all to obvious. It looked and feld like a tour in a theme park, you visit some interesting places, have some fun, but you aren't allowed to leave the trolley. There simply was little to no freedom on where to go, you had to follow the path, since it was really the only thing you could do. Interaction with NPC was also very lacking, they interacted with you, but you had no way to interact with them, you had to follow their orders, again without any freedom. All of this made the whole experince rather empty for me, since it simply didn't feel like I am part of the game, the game acted along and I could walk by to have a look, but wasn't allowed to intervene.

Now maybe thats just the way Half Life is, I already had the same issues with the first part, but its certainly a style of game that can't get me all that excited. I normaly don't mind linearity, but with Half Life that linearity just felt way to obvious.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057102)

When you're developing a game, you rely upon certain techniques to create emotion, a sense of forboding, etc. These techniques can be as simple as "your robot pal dies here" or as complicated as having multilayered reactive music enter and drop out as conditions change. But they're all techniques. A well-scheduled plot twist here, a stat-driven character building dungeon there... all thought about down to the moment, all heavily planned, and all relying upon a simple batch of techniques that the devleopment team picked up over the years.

Of course you switch up your pacing between puzzles, vistas, combat arenas, and story-focused areas. If you were attempting to tell a story while gravity gunning a stack of laundry machines to flip a swith and police were swarming in to shoot you, you'd be at a loss for what to do. Sure, you want intense action sequences followed by relaxation points, a rollercoaster of tension and release. And of course these have to be scripted out in painstaking detail in a completely non-spontaneous way.

As I like to tell the incoming QA: "You have to give up the illusion of magic to become a magician."

Welcome to the wizard's guild, kid.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057745)

A well-scheduled plot twist here, a stat-driven character building dungeon there... all thought about down to the moment, all heavily planned, and all relying upon a simple batch of techniques that the devleopment team picked up over the years.

When you write a book or a story, you may lay out the plot schedule on paper, plan every piece of action and interaction, apply plot devices at strategical points, then wear it nicely in words and you most likely get a horrible, boring, unreadable pulp. Or you write as you feel the action would progress, try to feel what the characters would feel at different points, make smart decisions for both sides of the conflict, set up traps then let the characters foresee and avoid them instead of pushing them into them, and you get some great reading.
The golden rule of GOOD books is: Know the genre conventions, then BREAK them in original and interesting manner. Same is true about good games: make the player used to certain idea then turn everything upside down. If you just follow the old tools of the trade, the result is boring.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058301)

The golden rule of GOOD books is

Yeah, but.

Good books require good writers. Games, generally, don't have good writers. A number of years ago, I played a few games and I was impressed with a number of technical things that were beyond my comprehension. "There's some mighty clever programming, there" I thought to myself. I also thought to myself "but some complete idiot wrote this script. I could do better myself."

I could have done better myself. Though all my paid writing had been nonfiction, the crap that passed for game "plots" was just too silly to stomach. I was sure I could do better, so I did some research. In short order, I came across a short piece (no, I can't find it now and I wish I could) by a famous game developer that covered who did what in making games. The flow of game development was briefly discussed in light of what each job contributed. Each job was respectfully outlined with due attention paid to just how important even small contributions to the whole could be.

Then, as an afterthought, the job of writer was discussed. This noted authority in the business completely dismissed the vocation, saying that every developer, every marketer, every intern and janitor at game companies had a script knocking around in their head and that any of them could do the job of writing a (high-level, conceptual) game script that the developers could flesh out.

I was reminded of the movie business where everyone loathes the writers. They are loathed because they aren't glamorous, aren't "show-business-y", and aren't cool. (Yes, I know that's begun to change recently, but stick with me.) They just don't fit in. However, no good movie gets made without a good idea put on paper by a good writer. That's where it all starts and the Hollywood machine just hates being dependent on that. Whenever moviemaking tries to sidestep the need for real writers, the result is inevitably crap. (There are too many examples to count, but my favorite was "Cannonball Run". The initial script would have made a decent movie but the director actually told the writer "Fuck the script; let's wreck some cars." The resultant mess stands as vibrant testimony to the quality of movie you can make if you care nothing for the writing.)

Game companies are relatively new artistic entities. It's not surprising that they're making the mistakes they see their elders making. I wonder how long it will take them to gain some wisdom and begin to value the contribution of writers?

Re:Unpleasant truth. (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058825)

Most of the gaming companies I know hire writers specifically. The problem isn't that writers aren't involved, the problem is that writing for games is very different than writing for other mediums.

For a short run-down: Dialog needs to be very, very short in games. It needs to be visual. You need to define characters in ways that don't conflict with player initiated actions. You need to integrate real gameplay sequences (which would normally be terrible writing). You need to establish and stick to a palette of expressive animations. You need to write your plot for all of the possible ways that the player can traverse through that plot, and ensure that conflicting information and worldstate is never achieved. It needs to be paced for 20 - 40 hours. It needs to be technically possible to implement on a budget, which means paradoxically that flying through space is OK but fabric falling to the floor is not. It needs to be modular enough that when you cut two sections for time from the final game, the plot still makes sense. And it needs to "feel" right when you've moved your sequence from ten lines on a page to eight months later when you have a character running and jumping and dying.

A friend of mine just finished a project which had hired a big-name and well skilled author to write scripts for his game, and the results were functionally unusable. He just didn't get the structure of gaming, the non-linearity of it, and the types of things which can be effectively communicated or done in the digital realm.

Game writers need to have strong backgrounds in game design, and more than a little programming, art knowledge, and production. Oh, and they have to be amazing writers. That's a pretty rare overlap of skills. They had to dump him, hire a lesser known hollywood writer, dump him, then hire a game designer with a writing background to finish up.

Most gaming companies that I've seen "get" that they need writers. They just have a terrible time finding the right ones.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

MuNansen (833037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057468)

Wow. This post and the replies to it have to be some of the most sanctimonially ignorant game critiques I've ever seen. And that's saying something.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (0, Offtopic)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057787)

Please reword or apply parenthesis. This sentence is way too ambigious.

sanctimonially ignorant game critiques:

- critiques of sanctimonial and ignorant game
- sanctimonial and ignorant critiques of game
- sanctimonial critiques of ignorant game

especially considering how sanctimonial the commentary track is, and pieces of real ignorance show through. (Alyx, with her piss-poor AI, leading the player through half the game and nagging him to hurry up continuously?!)

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058363)

It's only ambiguous to overly pedantic cunts. Normal people know what he's talking about.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16058515)

I'd add you to foes list but you already start at -1. Which kind of speaks about validity of your opinions.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058428)

This objection seems kind of... missing the point?

You complain about the commentary system breaking immersion. Fine - turn it off. It's like complaining because DVDs ship with a director's commentary as an optional extra - you don't like it, don't listen to it.

The whole point of these kinds of commentaries is to give the playter an insight into the "behind the scenes" processes that went into making up the game - developer motivations, how and why the action is paced, things they did to tighten up the plot or player-experience, etc. Complaining about this in a commentary is like complaining that you need to click the mouse and press keys to progress the story in a computer game - it's kind of the whole point of the exercise.

"But both HL2 and EP1 felt simply fake - engineered, where characters follow script and play emotions, where events happen from script, because you entered a trigger area, not because they should happen about then."

Well, that's kind of the penalty for having a scripted game, isn't it? If you don't like scripted events, I'd stick to playing "sandbox" games like Sim City or Spore.

"When you enter the car you -know- the crane will fail. When you enter the house and see the lift down and a button by it, it's like it was labelled "call lift and zombies". Places, devices, locations, layouts that make no sense but play well as puzzles... The underlying script... is good. But when it left hands of the writer, it wasn't implemented with the game written around it. It got in hands of game designers and they hammered it into the concept of a game, mangling it beyond recognition."

Well, when you're making a game you should... make... a game. Plots are written like stories or movies, and then adapted to make a game out of them. Games where this doesn't happen are called "movies" or "books".

Games live or die on their entertainment value. Games which have a brilliant plot and nothing else often end up boring most gamers. Just look at Myst - good plot, boring-as-fuck game mechanics that kept it much more niche than the plot deserved.

And a little tip: even novels and movies are plotted out to conform to some "narrative structure [wikipedia.org] ". Movies and books are edited, tested and re-edited to precisely pace them, with moments of intense action or drama, quieter reflective periods, climaxes, twists-in-the-tail, etc.

"Real world isn't split into physics puzzles, vistas, combat arenas and storytelling locations."

The real world isn't entertaining, or you'd go running around playing "tag" or "army" on deserted beaches and factories for fun, instead of sitting at home paying $$$ to do essentially the same thing on the computer.

The whole point of fiction is that it's carefully and precisely edited "real life", designed to get rid of the boring bits and present a well-defined story arc.

"The commentary track just makes it painfully obvious."

I think that says it all - all the commentary did was make you aware of what anyone with a passing interest in literature, lit-crit, game design or film direction already knew. The difference is, it spoiled the immersion for you.

Simple answer - stop watching developer commentaries: you're clearly not the person they're aimed at.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064160)

Not to take too much away from your commentary, which seemed otherwise dead on, but Myst is the third best [ownt.com] selling PC game of all time. In sales, it only trails The Sims and Counter...err... Half-Life 1.

It was truly, insanely, ridiculously profitable in the way that only a very few games have managed. The mechanics did not hinder sales numbers.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16059977)

I'll ignore the discussion on HL2 for a minute and mention that when HL1 did this, it was revolutionary. A huge improvement over games that came before it, such as Quake 1, that didn't feature any scripted events at all. Back then, it was real innovation.

Re:Unpleasant truth. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16064562)

Most of essential pieces of HL1 weren't directly scripted. They depended on game physics, enemy AI and player wits. I could sneak VERY slowly with the crossbow and shoot the assassin's kneee as soon as I saw it sticking from behind a corner, without them seeing me. I could drop a grenade down some pipe then see dead headcrabs on the bottom. Lots of it vanished in HL2. I run into a building and lob a grenade into a tiny locker. 20 seconds later I get ambushed by two grunts walking out of that very locker. If I run into it, I see them materializing from thin air, ready to fight. Trigger, scripted ambush sequence, no amount of player wits can overcome the cheating engine.
Back in HL1 days the triggers were new and were used relatively sparsely. They were meaningful and believable or logically predictable. HL2 definitely abuses them. They are predictable due to player knowing the "game vocabulary" - jump down without a way back means a boss fight, right? Slow-moving device means "hold your ground" style battle. A crate of rockets? Watch out for gunships! Things no longer come as a surprise.

how are movies better? (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 7 years ago | (#16073245)

The idea is nice but it reveals some of the internals which are NOT pleasant. What do I mean? "Player gets rewarded by the view of...", "Here we get an opportunity to display some Alex's emotions, making her more believable", "we tried [some horrible, really dumb idea] but we got reports from betatesters that they didn't like it, so we changed it." "It is important to reward the player with praises from Alex"
Movies are shown to test-viewers and scripts are changed according to their suggestions
so: no difference to movies there
The story is not a result of a talent. Talent makes the story feel real, be believable because it feels like "if it ever happened, it would happen just like this". But both HL2 and EP1 felt simply fake - engineered, where characters follow script and play emotions, where events happen from script, because you entered a trigger area, not because they should happen about then. When you enter the car you -know- the crane will fail. When you enter the house and see the lift down and a button by it, it's like it was labelled "call lift and zombies". Places, devices, locations, layouts that make no sense but play well as puzzles. (HL1 is guilty of this heavily too).
there are lame an predictable movies, too. there are movies that don't feel real and beleivable
want proof? watch the house of the 1000 corpses... at one point i even thought "that girl in the dark tunnel will get a shocking event in THREE, TWO, ONE" bojeah, a corpse fell in front of her feet
want more proof? see "Cutthroat Island" (the movie that bankrupted carolco) you know EXACTLY that the whole gunpowder will explode just in the moment when Geena Davis and Matthew Modine jump off the ship
The underlying script - the concept - is good. But when it left hands of the writer, it wasn't implemented with the game written around it. It got in hands of game designers and they hammered it into the concept of a game, mangling it beyond recognition. Real world isn't split into physics puzzles, vistas, combat arenas and storytelling locations. The commentary track just makes it painfully obvious.
There are screenplays that are brilliant, but must be changed, because producers want it to be hollywood-like... happy ends, the bad guy survives in horror films, the good guy doesn't kill the bad guy intentionally - only in self-defense, bankrobbery mustn't be successful unless the "bad guy" has to invest VERY MUCH money and skills, the bad guy may only win if the police are crooks or he has good intentions, romance, trouble in the romance...
watch the commentary on 12 monkeys... terry gilliam talks very openly about how producers tried to force him to make a happy end for "brazil"

Re:how are movies better? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16079132)

Agreed - games suffer all of the current illnesses of the movies, plus a handful of their own. The only really crappy scenes in Lord Of The Rings - the movie - were the ones inserted by Jackson. Wherever he kept to Tolkien's script, the movie was good.

Maybe this would be more interesting (1)

Desolator144 (999643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057591)

Perhaps they should get the mystery science theater characters' commentaries too. Or maybe those guys from cheap seats. Or me, I can comment on anything funnily! Yup, that's a word.

Instability (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16057800)

When I tried to play through the game the second time around, it would crash every 15 minutes or so. I think my power supply is to blame, but still... with those load times, it's not fun.

Re:Instability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16060431)

When I tried to play through the game the second time around, the flakey power supply on my computer caused it to crash every 15 minutes or so. With my unreliable hardware, coupled with the long load times caused by my slow disk drives, it's not fun for me.


Fixed that for you.

Gaming and Film/TV overlap (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#16058234)

Irrespective of its pros and cons, this just highlights the fact that the lines are blurring between gaming and traditional film and television entertainment.
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