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Holy Crap, Valve is Still Patching Half-Life

By Heather Alexandra on at

Half-Life is one of the best games of all time, but it’s not without flaws. First released on CD-ROM in 1998, in the early days it wasn’t always easy to update. It’s easier these days. This week, Valve updated the game, even though it’s been two decades since release.

A new patch for Half-Life released on Steam yesterday, making a few tweaks to the landmark first person shooter. Some of the changes are small, but a few of them fix surprising issues. Chief among these is a change to the MP5 submachinegun’s bullet spread. It turns out that the current version of Half-Life had incorrect values: The bullet spread pattern for multiplayer was being used in single player, and the single player version was used in multiplayer. Another interesting issue affected by the patch prevents players from changing the value of the console command “sv_cheats” in multiplayer. As you might guess from the name, “sv_cheats” is a console command used to turn on cheat codes. Many an old-school player, eager to mess with the game, has set the value to 1 and then toggled god mode or used the “impulse 101” command to have every weapon in the game. Yesterday’s change prevents players from turning on cheats while in a multiplayer server, instead letting the server owner dictate that.

Another change theoretically affects speedrunners, although in practice things will mostly remain unchanged. In early versions of Half-Life, it was possible to make characters such as scientists and security guards to turn faster if you limited your framerate to 20 frames per second. This made them turn and head to objectives faster. The new fix adjusts turning speed on modern versions of the game. Since most Half-Life speedruns are done on much older version, this won’t affect much, but the idea of Valve somehow patching out an old exploit after 20 years is exciting.

Half-Life isn’t the only game in the series to be patched recently. Half-Life 2 received a patch last month which finally allowed non-playable characters to blink again. And while I’m totally sure that Valve is working on Half-Life 3 for the PlayStation 6, it’s reassuring to know that the older games still get some love.

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