Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
Hen God Said, "Let there be light, and there was. And god saw that it was good. And he divided the light from the darkness. When god wrote the bible all those years ago, he wasn't modest about possibly his finest creation after man and Coco Pops - light In the industry's perpetual quest for photo-realism in games, Lost Coasts interpretation of light is the next logical rung on the graphical ladder. Using never before seen levels of lighting effects, Gabe Newell and his band of merry men designed this map for Half-Life 2, to showcase their new HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology. Through a series of commentary nodes dotted about the map, the guys talk you through the exact science behind lighting the in-game world, and ramble on about game design ideas, how certain aspects of the map came to be and generally interesting points about the map's gameplay.
The Light Fantastic
So is it worth the download? Well it's free, so of course it is. But if you're looking for more action, you might be disappointed -the map can be completed in less than ten minutes, and aside from a few combine soldiers, it doesn't offer anything new in terms of gameplay.
Instead, Lost Coast is really just a vehicle for showcasing Valve's fancy new lighting techniques; it's a tech demo. That's not to say you shouldn't take a look, as the HDR effects are astounding (even if they seem a little over-the-top at times), and will no doubt become standard (in some form) over the next decade. Indeed, a bit of research will reveal that true HDR monitors are already in development, meaning future games could literally blind you with brighter than white pixels and ultra-high contrast ratios.
Bleary-eyed graphical effects aside, Valve is also showing off its new commentary system, which it plans to implement into future releases. Wandering around the Lost Coast you'll see floating speech bubbles, which when activated prompt a developer, an artist, a designer, a janitor, or some other Valve employee into giving a short spiel usually regarding something nearby. Granted, the Valve chaps don't have the charisma of HL2's characters, but it makes for some interesting listening. And besides, we need something to tide us over until Aftermath.
Download Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP