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Half-Life 2 Episode Two Stats Now Online

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-died-there-and-there-and-twice-there dept.

PC Games (Games) 96

To go along with its recent hardware survey, Valve has released stats from Half-Life 2: Episode Two . The page notes the most common achievements, as well as the deadliest places in the game. Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog spells out a few of the results for us: "The median completion time hits at exactly five hours, with some noteworthy variance between four and seven hours. Average play session time logged was 27 minutes. The average number of deaths spikes significantly at two specific maps during the final two levels with an average of 11 deaths per section, as well; and looking at the topographical maps at some very specific locations on the maps as well. 73.1 percent of users playing were doing so with Direct X 9.0 SM3, and 72.6 percent played the game on medium."

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I'm guessing (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409601)

I didn't read the stats yet but I can guess the deadliest place is when you have to defend the missle silo from the stikers (those huge walkers with a little body up top and two massive guns.

Re:I'm guessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410187)

I'm pretty sure they're called "striders", dude. Just a heads up.

Re:I'm guessing (1)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411125)

Actually the Striders are the 3 legged ones, Hunters are the 2 legged ones.

Re:I'm guessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411775)

[quote]Actually the Striders are the 3 legged ones, Hunters are the 2 legged ones.[/quote] While this statement is factual, it is irrelevant as the Parent made no mention of leg count. Also, both Striders and Hunters appear in the scene in question and I did die there a couple of times.

Re:I'm guessing (1)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413285)

I didn't die there too much, but I did fail it several (5+) times (lucky I had a save, but it was still cutting it close). I couldn't figure out what was destroying my Magnusson devices. Of course it was those bloody Hunters. I had ditched the car at the beginning, and it was only when I listened to the commentary I found out you could run the Hunters over with it.

Re:I'm guessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21414037)

..... I only figured it out cause I got massively angry that they freaking expected me to somehow kill 30 something freaking hunters WHILE stalkers walked by.

So I got angry and decided to get revenge on them by driving into them, and over them...

Then I realized I was dumb, I didn't think it would work due to the massive size of them.

Nitrous+stalkers=cackeling

Re:I'm guessing (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412639)

uhh actually that is not a 3'rd "leg" you see.

Re:I'm guessing (1)

Wooloomooloo (902011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414377)

I haven't played the game on hard yet, but that part isn't difficult if you run over the hunters with the car. I find the Combine trap at the inn to be much more challenging.

Vista adoption higher among gamers? (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409657)

I'm assuming that the 73.1% using directx 9 means that 26.9% were using directx 10. If that's the case, doesn't this mean that vista adoption is higher among gamers, those who are usually more technically adept? IMHO, that's the most interesting tidbit right there.

An alternate interpretation is that a large number of the computer playing HL2:2 were bought from a large retailer rather than built by the owner. I'm seeing a lot of potential with those statistics if combined with more information, like the rate of old OS reuse, etc.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (2, Informative)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409753)

Another recent Steam survey showed that less than 15% of gamers use Vista. Source, the game engine used to build Half Life 2 and its episodes, scales down to DirectX 8 for lesser video cards. That's where the other 30% resides. Source does not support DirectX 10 effects.

Source and DX10 (1)

Matthew Bafford (43849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21415463)

Source does not support DirectX 10 effects.


The commentary mentions that HL2 EP2 does use some of the features that are supposed to be limited to DirectX10 through some "back door" calls in DX9. I don't know enough about the architecture to know exactly what's going on, but it did sound like they use some of the DX10 features on the graphics cards, without requiring the DX10 API it (and thus Vista).

Re:Source and DX10 (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418649)

I think I chose my words poorly. I meant to say that the Source engine doesn't support DirectX 10 natively. In fact, if I understand this correctly, DX10 doesn't introduce any new effects but merely enables more DX9 effects to be used onscreen at one time. DX9 cards and software are perfectly capable of performing any tricks DX10 cards can do.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Dublius (1143663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409757)

If you check out Steam's latest hardware survey, http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html [steampowered.com] , about 14% are playing on Vista.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412143)

From your own link..

DirectX10 Systems (Vista with DirectX10 GPU) - 7.14% of users

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412871)

From the same link:

Windows Vista 40,235 13.97 % ##############
You only counted systems with a DirectX 10 GPU. Not all GPUs support DX10. Feel free to apologise.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413041)

My mistake, I got your post and the GGPs post [slashdot.org] mixed up..

I'm assuming that the 73.1% using directx 9 means that 26.9% were using directx 10.
Nope it's 7.14% not 26.9% GGP!

You only counted systems with a DirectX 10 GPU.
It's interesting the amount of people without a DX10 capable card that are running Vista. I wonder if these are new steam users that bought new machines and valve's orange box?

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416191)

Potentially. To be honest, not a lot of cards (even new ones) actually support DirectX 10 APIs. Quite a few people are probably content with their 7600GTX (or equivalent ATi card) and those aren't DX10 based GPUs. You made the mistake of assuming that Vista automatically meant DX10 (which is understandable, but a bit hasty) while the GGGP made the mistake of assuming that (!DX9) == (DX10).

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21419403)

It's also possible that people with Vista/DX10 setups are playing Crysis instead of Steam distributed ones... :)

Translation: up to 14% are playing on Wine! (1)

radimvice (762083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21420339)

I just took the hardware survey through my Ubuntu desktop a few days ago, and got lumped together in the Vista category since that's the Windows version my Wine config reports to Steam. Considering Steam doesn't include a Linux option in their survey, anyone running Steam through Wine (which works very well btw) will be reported as whatever version they have chosen. (I tried setting my config to Windows 2.0 to fill out the survey, but Steam refused to start...) Of course it's probably not too significant of a number overall, but it does need to be mentioned that there was no way to specify that you were running under a different OS than automatically detected. I would guess that Wine users would skew the Vista percentage upwards compared to the XP results, if they are anywhere near evenly split (I forget the default Windows version setting in Winecfg but I think it might have been Vista).

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409795)

There are some Vista gamers out there, but not that many. Looking at some of the data, about 14% of the players were still using some variant of DX8.

http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html [steampowered.com]

Windows Version
Windows XP 234,100 (84.45 %)
Windows Vista 38,760 (13.98 % )
Windows 2003 64 bit (2,544 0.92 %)
Windows 2000 1,793 (0.65 %)
Other 24 (0.01 %)

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410065)

haha, I'm one of those 1793 people.

That is until I hit a brick wall with 2000 on something called ATI Driver 8.43 and another something called Enemy Territory Quake Wars. You basically need the latest ATI drivers to play the game without getting immediate crash dialog.

My solution was to install Fedora 8 on my spare Linux partition and use the Linux client. With some tinkering on the config file, I get pretty good performance out of the game. I had a brief experience installing XP on another partition which ended in SP2 upgrade, SP2 downgrade, system unbootable.

Fedora 8 PS: Sapphire x800pro couldn't run the installer X server and had to be installed in text mode. This is fine for a Linux guru like me, but not for most 'trying the waters' types. Please fall back to VESA if the radeon drivers barf please!!

Fedora 8 PPS: It would be -really- cool if you'd allow grey library support for packages like ATI / Nvidia at install time without too much hassle. I don't know you're legal position of explicitly embedding links to "not legal in USA" repositories, but it would REALLY improve the end user experience.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411437)

Now I'm curious. What exactly are the other 24 people using?

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412179)

Ubuntu? I know I've connected to steam through wine but it probably detects me as Windows XP..

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21409905)

You would be wrong. The actual figures are:

DirectX 9 Shader Model 3: 72.95%
DirectX 9 Shader Model 2: 12.17%
DirectX 8.1: 9.31%
DirectX 8: 5.36%
0: 0.12% (? It's on the chart.)
Other: 0.03%

Valve doesn't bother supporting DirectX 10 because they can do everything it can using DirectX 9, although I understand that they have to use some card-specific extensions to do so. As for number of gamers playing Vista, I can say that no hard-core gamer will touch Vista because it lowers the framerate a couple of percentage points. (From say 60 to 58 - not a terrible amount, but enough.)

There are only two types of people using Vista right now: new computer owners who didn't know enough to get XP, and Microsoft fanbois. Serious gamers and Windows users in the know are sticking with XP.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21415871)

Valve doesn't bother supporting DirectX 10 because they can do everything it can using DirectX 9, although I understand that they have to use some card-specific extensions to do so. As for number of gamers playing Vista, I can say that no hard-core gamer will touch Vista because it lowers the framerate a couple of percentage points. (From say 60 to 58 - not a terrible amount, but enough.)
I certainly don't know the exact definition of a hard-core gamer but I play quite a few games and have Vista. If you're talking about a hardcore-gamer card that can support DX10 you're talking about going from 120 fps to 116 fps so losing a couple percentage points isn't an issue.

I rather like Vista actually. My computer is more stable than under XP and I rarely get the UAC stuff anymore now that I've had it for awhile.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410133)

Hahah, only on slashdot would somebody consider "gamers" to be "technically adept".

These are the same fucking morons that put every last computer spec in their posts, no matter how irrelevant - I'm talking about what kind of thermal paste they have on the CPU, and what RPM and sound level their extra fans run at.

There's a whole industry sprung up around taking these morons money, and you consider them adept?

Oh well, get back to work OC'ing that watercooling rig with all the neon lights. That's some really technical shit youse gots goin' on rite there!!

Hey! I resemble that remark! (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411271)

And trust me, never again will I go through the trouble of installing pretty things into my computer. It's just not worth the effort. It only gives an awe factor once for about 30 seconds. I'll save the rice for my car (assuming my wife will allow it... whooped I am).

However, the liquid cooling is well worth it. In order to get my 13% overclock previously, I had to install some AC fans that sounded like a lawn mower, I kid you not. And it caused so much dust I had to clean out every month. With the liquid cooling (fluidXP = no maintenance unless it leaks, for up to 3 years) I spend maybe $50 more than those fans and get an almost silent PC with the same overclock. And if I really want to kick it up a notch (BAM!), I can turn up the speed of the fans and get even more "value" out of my CPU.

The way I see it, if a mere $50 doubles the value of my CPU for a fourth the price, it's worth it.

Re:Hey! I resemble that remark! (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412415)

THANK YOU for making my point for me.

Your 13% core speed increase is not really an increase in anything. You have no real understanding of the real bottlenecks, how the buses operate, etc. You spend hundreds for a barely measurable gain.

Hint: If you can only see the results of your technical hacking by comparing 3DMarks scores, you really didn't accomplish anything worth while.

The real gains are made in software and firmware, and are usually measured with big O notation, and generally show increases in orders of magnitude.

Overclockers are the epitome of non-technical wannabe tools. Even Geek Squad employees chuckle when one of you dopes comes in, wondering why their uber-speed overclocked machine is blue screening all the time.

Re:Hey! I resemble that remark! (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413449)

Hmm, back when I had an easily OCable CPU, I noted that a 50% increase in CPU speed was worth about a 20% increase in 3DMARK performance. Not terrible, but not worth the effort for me on future machines with CPUs that were less OCable.

System ran at a 50% overclock for 4 years with no stability issues.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410375)

Actually if you could read numbers you would know that Vista penetration is aprox 15% and that dx10 penetration is aprox 1%. Just because people are on vista doesn't mean they are running dx10. And just because 73% are running dx9 Shader Model 3 doesn't mean the rest are running dx10. It means the rest are running dx9 shader model 1, dx9 shader model 2, dx shader model 1, dx8, even dx7, and yes 1% of the total surveyees are running dx10.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410833)

I'm assuming that the 73.1% using directx 9 means that 26.9% were using directx 10. If that's the case, doesn't this mean that vista adoption is higher among gamers, those who are usually more technically adept?
If you had taken the 3 minutes needed to glaze over the Full article, you would have known that the Directx 9 SM3 is at 72.96 as of this reading, with Directx 9 SM2 consuming 12.6 percent. Direct X 8.1 accounts for 9.36 percent, leaving the "Other" category at 0.03 percent. DirectX 10 would likely make up a *portion* of this percentage, not the full thing.
So perhaps Vista adoption is lower among gamers who play Half Life in thier underwear. This would make complete sense because people in their underwear definitely don't want Microsoft spying on them.

Link for the dynamicly lazy: HalfLife 2 Ep2 Stats [steamgames.com]
-
This message posted in full clothes. Maybe.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411165)

DirectX 10 doesn't make up any number in that graph, because Episode 2 doesn't use/cannot use DirectX 10. The Other category is probably DX7.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411581)

Certainly not here. HL2 ep2 runs wonderfully under Linux thanks to Wine.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412241)

I'm assuming that the 73.1% using directx 9 means that 26.9% were using directx 10.

You forgot to count the people that still use DirectX 8 (I just checked the Steam Survey and was VERY surprised to see that they still list DirectX 7)

From http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html [steampowered.com] :

Cards which default to DirectX 8 Path on Source (31994 of 285082 Total Users (11.22% of Total) )

Cards which default to DirectX 7 Path on Source (10073 of 285082 Total Users (3.53% of Total) )

14.75% of steam users surveyed use either DirectX 7 or DirectX 8.

Cards which default to DirectX 9 Shader Model 3 Path on Source (184832 of 285082 Total Users (64.83% of Total) )

Cards which default to DirectX 9 Shader Model 2 Path on Source (50875 of 285082 Total Users (17.85% of Total) )

82.68% of steam users surveyed use DirectX 9 (either Shader Model 2.0 or Shader Model 3.0)

Which means 97.43% of steam users surveyed use either DirectX 7, 8 or 9, so that only leaves 2.57% for DirectX 10.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414919)

An alternate interpretation is that a large number of the computer playing HL2:2 were bought from a large retailer rather than built by the owner. I'm seeing a lot of potential with those statistics if combined with more information, like the rate of old OS reuse, etc.
Combine'd!
Narf!
I kill me!

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416405)

Hell no.

From their recent hardware survey:

Windows Vista 14.06 %
And

DirectX10 Systems (Vista with DirectX10 GPU) - 7.36% of users

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417723)

Bad assumption. Source doesn't use directx 10 yet.
From the stats:
http://steamgames.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php [steamgames.com]

72.91% are dx9 sm3
12.17% are dx9 sm2 (i.e. old radeon x800's and the like)
9.36% are dx8.1!
5.38% are dx8

with 0.18% unknown. This doesn't tell us anything about vista takeup, but it does tell us a number of people playing hl2ep2 are doing so with old technology. nvidia 5900's default to 8.1 for example (their dx9 shader performance sucked), and that's a 4 year old card. Native DX 8 cards are even older!

http://www.steampowered.com/status/survey.html [steampowered.com]
from the hardware survey, directx10 capable (vista with dx10 cards) players make up 7.38% of steam users, while 14.10% overall took the survey on vista.

Re:Vista adoption higher among gamers? (1)

Kattspya (994189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21420063)

You assume wrong. It says right in the summary that 73% used DX9 SM3 which means that the rest had nvidia cards older than the 6600 or ATI cards newer than some product line I can't remember.

primary sources (3, Informative)

KatTran (122906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409767)

When a submitter writes a sentence like "Valve releases game stats" then one would think that would point to the site where Valve actually released the game stats. A more accurate sentence would be "Arstechnica 'analyzes' Valve's released game stats".

Or you could just link to the actual stats:
http://steamgames.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php [steamgames.com]

I'm not buying this game. (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409809)

I play FPS games often and I like well made single player action (I rarely play commercial games online). It seems to be a trend that the length is cut down to a few hours gameplay, usually in the last years the avarage length was about 10-15 hours (which is not very long) for a linear shooter game.

I didn't play episode 1 and 2 (because I wasn't satisfied with HL2 anyway), so 5 hours gameplay seems to be a rip-off for me.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409935)

Episode 1 and 2 are so short because they are exactly that...episodes. Valve said (can't recall a link to the interview, I'm sure someone will chime in with it) they considered episodes 1 2 and 3 to be the equivelent of half-life 3...just released in three parts.

Assume it takes between 12-15 hours for Half Life 2...now look at the episodes. So far we have 3-4 hours for Episode 1, 4-7 hours for episode 2...assuming the short end of both of those, episode 1 and 2 combined are already gaining on the length of half life 2...add in another 4-7 hours for episode 3 and you have a game that is longer than Half Life 2.

Out of curiosity, why didn't HL2 do anything for you? Did you not play the first game/not play to the end?

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410101)

> ...just released in three parts.
To take 3 times the price for it?

> Out of curiosity, why didn't HL2 do anything for you? Did you not play the first game/not play to the end?
I played HL1.

HL2 was fun to me in the first levels (the Ravenhome level was most fun and pretty well made). The Jail level was also ok. Then I remember driving around, kill some monsters, driving around, kill some monsters, go over a broken bridge in 200 meters height to press a button, go back, drive home...
The fight in the streets with some other mates was refreshing, but too easy and too short. The last level(s) were just "where the frag am I?". I dont like structures and enemys 100 times bigger then me (why do they need humanoid sized enemys anyway when they can destroy everything with a big monster?). Maybe I ask too many questions.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410175)

why do they need humanoid sized enemys anyway when they can destroy everything with a big monster?

Excellent point! Why do we need foot soldiers and tanks when we have nukes and bombers?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic but if you put it into the frame of your question it makes sense.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411175)

Why even have a big monster when you can simply send in the Vogons and wipe out the entire planet.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410297)

To take 3 times the price for it?
I'm sure that had something to do with it, but the primary reason they gave was so that people didn't have to wait as long to continue the story line...might be bullshit, but it still makes sense. Besides, episodes 1 and 2 have some great experiences in them, as well as good plot development.

As far as your last reasons...they would need humanoid sized soldiers so that they can direct individual humans on a person-by-person basis. A strider would hardly be good at giving people specific instructions and communicating with the "enemy" on a personal level.

Total destruction is communicating on a personal level, but if you are destroying everything then you are controlling nothing. You are just destroying it. The combine's motives are to capture and use earth as a remote base...a well established remote base. Destroying everything and everyone would hardly provide any sort of advantage, as humans could be used as workers and whatever else they needed labour/organic material for.

For me, Half Life 2 was so enjoyable because of the high production values...facial animation, physics engine, the puzzles (easy as they may have been, they were original and entertaining while never being frustrating) Not to mention the voice acting and the script...all top-notch stuff. It even has a fairly extensive backstory, if you are willing to read up on it. It certainly isn't anything epic, but it's still quite good and in depth.

Profit is always primary (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411487)

To take 3 times the price for it?

I'm sure that had something to do with it, but the primary reason...

I'm pretty sure profit is the primary reason. It almost always is. Any additional benefits would be secondary.

Valve is a for-profit company. If they did anything else, they would be failing in their mission.

Re:Profit is always primary (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411609)

I would disagree with that. It is quite obvious when you play a game in the half-life universe that a LOT of time and effort went into it...take a step back and just look at the level designs used throughout the entire series...they are spectacular.

Yes, their goal is to make money...but it's not their only goal. It is important to them to put out a quality product, and they have yet to dissapoint (Steam...well, I'll leave that to personal experience. People have as differing a view on Steam as people have on Sony and Microsoft.)

Re:Profit is always primary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21412085)

I would disagree with that. It is quite obvious when you play a game in the half-life universe that a LOT of time and effort went into it...take a step back and just look at the level designs used throughout the entire series...they are spectacular.

People do seem to go on about that Episode 2 was short. Well, any fool can make a game longer by adding more of the same. I was playing F.E.A.R yesterday: go along corridor, get shot at by some soldiers, go along another corridor get shot at by some more soldiers, mildly scary cutscene, get shot at by some soldiers.

The point is: whilst playing time is a factor, it's not the only factor, or even the most important one to me. What I dislike most in gaming is being half-way through a real grindy game, and feeling I want to find out how it ends. Others with more time and less money may think differently.

Profit can be a good thing (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21437083)

would disagree with that. It is quite obvious when you play a game in the half-life universe that a LOT of time and effort went into it.

Where did I say otherwise?

Yes, their goal is to make money...but it's not their only goal

"primary" != "only"

Producing crap usually cuts into one's profit quite a bit (unless you're Microsoft or a phone company, ha-ha). Indeed, in a competitive free market, making the best product is often the best way to make the best profit. A great many professionals take a lot of pride in their work. That doesn't mean profit isn't the primary goal.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410793)

I played Half-Life 1 and 2 pretty much back-to-back. Half-Life 1 had the best storytelling I've ever seen in a game, but I found Half-Life 2 to be a bit of a disappointment after the first.

I liked the schmuck-in-a-suit aspect of the first one. He's just a nerd with a cool suit and a crowbar, trying to survive. In the second your character takes on all this heroic importance, just like any other game, and the crowbar takes a backseat to more exotic devices like a gravity gun (an awesome weapon from a gaming standpoint, it just didn't work at a dramatic level as well as the crowbar). I also thought the Xen aliens were way cooler than the Combine. They and their world were eery, strange, and oddly beautiful just like you'd expect from interdimensional beings, the Gonarch was thoroughly disgusting, and the Nihilanth evoked a weird mix of fear and pity. The Combine are just like some big multinational (or more accurately, multidimensional) corporation, and Dr. Breen comes across as a sort of malevolent Dr. Phil... equal parts self-help advice and world conquest... the Combine are sort of mundane, rather than really frightening. Yeah, I know they use headcrabs as biological weapons and turn people into stalker-zombies, but somehow I felt that Microsoft at the apex of their power were more terrifying than the Combine. I still enjoy my encounters with the G-man, though. He's a great character- where is he from, who the hell is he, for that matter, *what* is he, and what the hell is his agenda? He's sinister, even Satanic.

My biggest issue is the storytelling. Half-Life 1 didn't tell you what was going on at the beginning, but they fed you the occasional nugget of information that allowed you to slowly piece together what was going on, until you knew the entire story at the end. Half-Life 2 took this too far. All the sudden there's no Xen aliens, the Combine dudes are there instead, and the game was so stingy with information that I found it was impossible, from the gameplay alone, to figure out what the hell had happened. You kind of figured that Gordon would have said, "Uh, hey, WTF?" and asked for an explanation. The graphics are awesome, even beautiful, though.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424025)

"You kind of figured that Gordon would have said, "Uh, hey, WTF?" and asked for an explanation. The graphics are awesome, even beautiful, though.

It seemed to me that every time Gordon was about to say "WTF is going on", the other characters said "OMG LOOK OVER THERE *points*" and then shuffled you off to some new "important task".

Spot on with your post tho.. i felt the same way (although i think we are some of the only few who did?)

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410111)

Assume it takes between 12-15 hours for Half Life 2...now look at the episodes. So far we have 3-4 hours for Episode 1, 4-7 hours for episode 2...assuming the short end of both of those, episode 1 and 2 combined are already gaining on the length of half life 2...add in another 4-7 hours for episode 3 and you have a game that is longer than Half Life 2.

And? That just means Half-Life 2 is just way too short.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410167)

::shrug:: To me, 12-15 hours for a shooter is just right...especially when you have no form of progression (i.e. your character doesn't get stronger and you cannot modify your weapons (excluding the short stint with the overpowered gravity gun towards the end))

Anything longer than 15 hours while playing a static character is too long, I think.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414013)

IMHO, you're spot on. It's very easy to drag a game out (and HL2 definitely has some of those moments... the vehicle sequences, for example, are much too long, if you ask me). Proper pacing is an artform, and I would rather a shorter, more evenly paced game, than a piece that's clearly been stretched to meet gamer's playtime expectations.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413483)

>>Out of curiosity, why didn't HL2 do anything for you? Did you not play the first game/not play to the end?

HL2 was just a giant Havok physics puzzle.

I'm actually curious what they worked on in the game for the four years before they licensed the Havok engine.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410303)

You know the episodes are cheaper than the full game, right?

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410731)

Yeah but not by much. That seems to be why they released the Orange box with everything in it and not just Ep2 by it self.

Re:I'm not buying this game. (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412403)

Well, they did release it on its own. Just go look it up on Steam and it's there for individual purchase. Alhough I think you'd be crazy to do so because Portal and TF2 are fantastic.

Interesting... (1)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410027)

These processors are odd... 1 0.00 % Unspecified 1 0.00 % CentaurHauls 5 0.00 % GenuineBMCpu 1 0.00 % Also, is there any way to tell the number of WINE users from this survey?

CentaurHauls? GenuineBMCpu? Unspecified? (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411721)

Also, is there any way to tell the number of WINE users from this survey?
I'm thinking you probably just did...

Re:CentaurHauls? GenuineBMCpu? Unspecified? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412979)

CentaurHauls is a Via processor. Not sure about GenuineBMCpu. Transmeta maybe?

No Wine at all.

So.. (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410029)

...they're tracking your gaming? And we're left to hope that they don't track much else? Does anyone else find something suspiciously wrong with this? Is there anyway to turn it off?

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410103)

just uninstall it. i hear that wearing a tinfoil hat decreases your accuracy in counterstrike anyway.

Re:So.. (3, Informative)

Borgschulze (842056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410205)

It's a "Survey" you simply don't participate when it asks you to.

Re:So.. (1)

Dred_furst (945617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410547)

also read the EULA, this sorta stuff has to be specified in the EULA, thats why valve havent been busted for it like microsoft have been :rolleyes:

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21410801)

You have a website. Are we expected to hope that you don't track everything that we do on the site? Is there any way to stop you from logging everything?

Seriously, if you're THAT concerned, don't play the game. Don't download Steam. It's that simple.

Re:So.. (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410853)

Valve has done a lot of things that sound funny. But I have yet to see them do anything that was actually bad. I was aggravated by them at first with steam being DRM and all. But now I would rather get a game on steam then on a disk. Their idea of DRM is actually MANAGING digital rights instead of restricting them.

Re:So.. (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413043)

I'm having a hard time thinking of anything I do in a game as being "sensitive" information that I will be ruined if people see. Well, I don't think they logged all those times I tried to shoot Magneson in his big stupid face, so yeah, I'm safe. What in-game activity would you be afraid of Valve knowing about? Naughty sprays in CS?

Re:So.. (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413077)

It's the principle of the matter. I don't recall ever being warned that my activity will be monitored while I play a single player, offline game.

Re:So.. (1)

Aaul (695153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414297)

The hardware survey is voluntary and it displays the data it sends to Valve at the end (though that doesn't mean they don't collect anything else about your machine). The gameplay data, I *think*, is done behind the scenes while you play although it might be stored on disk and sent with the hardware survey. I understand the importance of the principle of being able to opt-out on something like these surveys; however, from listening to the in-game commentary from Lost Coast, EP1, and EP2, and Valve's reputation (they have been around since 1996 after all), the gameplay data they collect is innocent and I personally believe it really does help them fine-tune their games much better than simple in-house testing. One perfect example of this is the underground carpark elevator zombie fight in Episode 1. Based on the data they were receiving from folks playing that particular section Valve was able to determine the map needed to be tweaked further because of how many people were dying and subsequently not finishing the episode, presumably because they were tired of trying. They released an update quickly which I think added some more health, ammo, and flares/explosive barrels. I remember playing through EP1 the day it was released and getting to that section and barely making it through (on hard mode of course). Later, I played through it again after they patched it and I noticed a definite difference in the difficulty.

It wasn't clear to me until they released the stats for EP1 that Valve was even gathering the data. It might've been in the EULA or some other obscure notice I didn't bother to read, but if the gameplay data is collected automatically there definitely should be an option to turn it off, either in Steam (for all games) or in-game for the particular game.

Players not finishing the game (2, Interesting)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410465)

Here's an interesting bit from the achievement stats. Apparently many players didn't actually finish the game. There are numerous achievements that you will get if you get to a certain point in the game. Let's see:

Acid Reflex: 81%. While you *may*, I believe, get through those levels without killing an acid antlion, it's extremely difficult. With 19% of players not getting this achievement, I'd bet that's at least 17% that never got far enough, and that's close to the beginning of the game.

Twofer: 63%, and you'll get this achievement when you progress far enough. Ditto for "Meet the Hunters", 61% - here it looks like a third of players didn't make it this far.

Gunishment and Quiet Mountain Getaway, 59% and 58%. Looks like those who make it past the first third or so of the game mostly continue to go forward. You can complete the game without getting Gunishment but it's tricky and is a glitch.

Finally: Defense of the Armament, at 48%. You get the achievement for winning the game's last (and truly spectacular) battle. So it'd seem like half the players who started the game didn't finish it, interesting.

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410609)

or are like me, and just haven't had time to get that far yet. I'm only at the acid part right now. I have limited gaming time, and TF2 is taking most of it up :)

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411231)

Ditto. Like many people I bought the Orange Box, so I started Episode 2, but then got distracted by Portal and TF2, and then the free Sam and Max episode that was available on Steam... I'll get around to finishing Episode 2 sometime in the next few months :).

Re:Players not finishing the game (2, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410807)

I haven't yet finished the game (last night I quit after sampling the final battle), however I do know from playing around with Portal that you STOP receiving Achievements if you turn cheat mode on.

In Portal I got to a certain section where I had to use consecutive portals to get somewhere and just couldn't get my gun to aim well enough to get the next portal laid down before I would fall. Although I completed the game by switching on noclip for that short section and then turning the cheats back off, I stopped getting any achievements after that.

It's quite possible that the people who haven't yet gotten those achievements are a mixture of people who are still working on completing it or have attempted to cheat past a section.

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

Kelerain (577551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411277)

Looking at the other stats page:
http://steamgames.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php [steamgames.com]

There is a chart for:
Highest Map Played (percentage of players)

Which probably is a more accurate representation of exactly how far most people have gotten. As mentioned in other comments this includes people still playing through, but my hunch is those numbers aren't going to go up a whole lot. I wonder how other forms of entertainment where leaving is easy suffer from it? Say television movies? Or TV series with high continuity?

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416525)

So according to the stats, only 44.41% got to the last level.

May have just not recorded them (1)

samwh (921444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412335)

You don't get achivements if you are cheating or in commentary mode, or if you are playing the game without an active internet connection. I know this is how I played Episode 2 so I don't have that achievement.

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412461)

I haven't finished it yet and I can't see how anyone could enjoy it in 5 hours. I tend to spread my play of these sorts of games over a few months. I still haven't finished Ep 1 but decided to get Ep 2 anyway :) On Chapter 2 or 3 now and I must have put in at least 5 hours. Got quite a few achievements though!

Re:Players not finishing the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21414333)

Unfortunately, the stats will be somewhat skewed by the fact that for about 2 weeks there was an intermittent bug of achievements for HL2:2, TF2, and Portal of stats not being recorded properly.

All my HL2:2 stats are there, but I went through a few days of playing as Engineer on TF2. My stats show me as never having played as one.

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

Trevelyan (535381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418095)

If you play with steam 'offline' your not credited with any achievements. They are only awarded iff you have steam logged in. I would guess this is some sort of anti-cheat protection.

Re:Players not finishing the game (1)

MidVicious (1045984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21437039)

I would bet that the statistics of the 52% that didn't finish the game and the 19% that didn't even make it past the first part probably had something to do with not only the Orange Box, but the heavy game releases that happened between October and November.

I could easily see some players starting Episode-2 but then getting sidetracked by the equally great games Portal or Team Fortress 2 that was bundled in the same package. I would bet those percentages would be a bit higher if more people bought this as a stand alone game the way I actually did since when you buy a game, you generally want to play it start to finish (unless it's incredibly difficult or it just plain sucks).

In this case, these last few months have given gamers a variety of offerings, including that 19%.

Why I didn't finish (3, Interesting)

cbc1920 (730236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411101)

It's obvious to me why not many have finished this game- the orange box! The first game I played when I got it was Portal, then I played an hour or so of Episode 2. I'm more likely to revisit Portal for the challenge levels then slog through the second two thirds of Episode 2, though I'll probably get around to it in the next few months.

What really sealed the deal against finishing the game was TF2. Every time I think about finishing Episode 2, I think of how much more fun it would be to play a few rounds of TF2 instead. Even though there are only a few maps, the team-based play never gets old. I would really like to see a stat of hours of TF2 played vs. Episode 2, for those players that have both installed.

Re:Why I didn't finish (1)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412833)

I was almost in that boat. I immediately played Portal and beat it within three hours of getting home with my purchase. Then I played around in all the bonus maps and commentary. I still haven't unlocked everything yet but I'll get around to it. Some of them are hard...

Then I went to Episode 2. I really wanted to play TF2 but I knew if I did, I would likely never get around to Episode 2. So I beat EP2 and got all the achievements except for two (because I played when the servers were down and they weren't uploaded). Now I'm just waiting on them to create the fix so I can get both of those. One is beating the two antlions...

TF2 has been amazing. It's pretty much what I do for a couple hours every day. I love how many of the achievements involve multiple classes such that you have to play them to earn them. I wish there were some operational one for the demoman and spy (like sapping devices). I love the soldier and heavy but the medic and scout are really growing on me a lot. I'm really getting into the bat kills. I love the pyro too but multiple servers I've been on have complained about the new range.

I really want to get voice chat and posted in the previous thread about whether to get a mic or headset and although I agree a headset is more courteous, I've always had problems with the headphones and pressing my glasses earpieces into my head uncomfortably. Without voice chat I feel like it's a lot harder to be helpful, especially with spies and locations of things. I'm welcome to any suggestions on brands, especially from anyone that wears glasses and a headset. I suppose my head just has a weird contour since my optician complained about fitting my earpieces a couple years ago in a joking way.

Re:Why I didn't finish (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413945)

Without voice chat I feel like it's a lot harder to be helpful, especially with spies and locations of things

Meh, in the old days of TF on the Quake engine, we just set up lots of keyboard macros with various canned phrases ("incoming", etc), which take care of most of the common situations (I assume this is possible in TF2... I haven't gotten into it deeply enough to check). Other than that, just type quickly. :) TBH, I never play with voice chat, and for larger games, I can't imagine it being worthwhile... it's tough enough getting a group of strangers to work in a coordinated fashion without having everybody speaking at once. But, maybe that's the old fogey in me coming out...

Re:Why I didn't finish (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416925)

i don't use VC for tactical stuff, i prefer to play on global (both teams hear) servers so everyone can shoot the shit while playing. it really does make things a bit more fun especially when the server population is a bit too low for a good match.

Re:Why I didn't finish (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414629)

Why not try a desktop mic, and use in ear headphones?

Hardware Recommendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21411747)

I currently have an AMD Athlon X2 3800+ with 2GB RAM and a GeForce 6800 XT but the game seems really choppy at times, even in 1024x768. Can anyone give me a recommendation of what video card that I can purchase which will make Halflife 2 (mainly TF2) quicker? I don't want to spend more than about $200, just need something that is a little quicker. Thanks.

Re:Hardware Recommendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21412887)

ATI x1950 xt, 150 off of newegg. Getting around 100fps with 2GB ram and amd x2 6000

Re:Hardware Recommendation (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413641)

Heh, I used to use a 6800 with a 3800+. Replaced it with a 7950 and it was a huge, huge step up in performance. I also replaced my CPU with a dual core 4800+, which helped a fair amount, too, especially with background activity going on.

Get an NVIDIA 7950 ($160 on Newegg) or a 8600GTS ($149 for a 256MB / $179 for a 512MB). Even though the 7950 is actually faster on a lot of games, I'd go with the 8600GTS -- it's a very fast card for the price, and runs DX10. It also has a higher nominal 3DMARK score than the 7950, even though game benchmarks are a bit lower.

I'm using a 8800GTS, which is nice and fast, but is incredibly hot. It generates huge amounts of waste heat, meaning I actually have to run the AC in my room or it gets uncomfortable sitting next to my computer.

Re:Hardware Recommendation (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21424109)

"I'm using a 8800GTS, which is nice and fast, but is incredibly hot. It generates huge amounts of waste heat, meaning I actually have to run the AC in my room or it gets uncomfortable sitting next to my computer."

the 8800GT would be the successor to the 8600, runs like an 8800 GTS (for the most part) but with less power or heat and at a 150-200 price point.

Median Game Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21414153)

By the chart, it looks like 5 hours is the most common game completion time (i.e. mode), not the median completion time, which appears to be above 5 hours.

Alyx map? (1)

McP (5183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21414751)

Similar to those "death maps", they need to show all of the common places where players zoom in on Alyx's butt.

Re:Alyx map? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418269)

Alyx might look pretty but I just can't get along with her, especially in Episode 2 when there's any work to be done she's off before you can say Jack Robinson. "You need to go and get the car Gordon, I'll just wait here and, well just wait really" - it doesn't need 2 people to operate that sniper rifle and the Vortigaunt looks more than capable. "That pesky alarm is going off again, I'll just wait here and sip coffee while you go down and sort it all out". "That gun turret will need to be taken out Gordon, I'll stay here and watch these guys fix up the car *someone* has broke while you'd better get off and do it".

As soon as you get the chance to execute her, she's gone.

Death map (1)

Nahor (41537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21415079)

I love the death map of the first level [steampowered.com] (red spot at the bottom right): all those people jumping off the cliff like lemmings

And this one [steampowered.com] (green spot at the bottom left, where Dog fights the Strider): "Oooh, robot fight! Let's watch... uhoh! *squish*"

And last [steampowered.com] (greenish blue at the top, where the rocket takes off): it seems that several people wanted to become astronauts, they even went through walls just to get on that rocket ("Wait for meeeee...!")

Re:Death map (1)

G4Z (865584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453003)

hehe, I did the exact same thing on that first map and leaped off the cliff. Can't quite remember why I just found it amusing.

due to a glitch in steam (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21423579)

i killed all of the grubs halfway before i noticed that the achievement wasn't being properly recorded.. apparently you can't play in offline mode and track achievements (even tho i was), it looks like steam thought i wasn't connected to steam and therefore ignored the tracking..

When i resumed playing a day later it did track the events but i was already a good ways through the game...
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