Half Life 2: Lost Coast Impressions

So the level finally went live today. Its about a 300 meg download which took me about 45 min to get. It actually ran a lot better then I thought it would and it lookd pretty damn good.

A64 3500
1gig pc500
1650x1050 max settings 2xAA 4xAF

I figure I averaged about 35fps in the outdoor areas and then it fell pretty fast once I got in to the church area. I was very very impressed with the window refraction they used and playing the level with the comments on was great. The HDR was a little bright for my tastes but all in all it looked amazing.

I figure I should be set for Oblivion if this level is any indication as to what tech they are using in that game :)

I am having a wierd thing going on. I have ran Steam 3 times today. Each time it has done the “Updating Steam” thing on start. At the end, I cannot find anything for Lost Coast anywhere.

How are you supposed to get it?

I’ve got the same proc as you. Did it bitch at you and say “you don’t meet system specs?” It want’s a 2.6 or AMD 2800 or higher, but I got a “processor not good enough” warning.

Nope the only thing it yelled at me about was that my drivers are out of date… which I would assume they are because I hate updating drivers.

EDIT: I Would also assume it would have run a lot better if the game was loaded on my raptor drive and I wasnt downloading a 12 gig file off of bittorrent that has been running for the past 5 days.

AMD 1600+ , 1 gig of RAM and a GeForceFX 5200. DX8 ( I’m going to try DX9 in a minute or two ) and everything on medium except shaders which is on high. Average of 17 frames per second.

Some… interesting results.


(flick between the first and second shots… it’s wierd. )

Impressions: Meh.

The first 30 seconds are actually amazing. But as you go past the fisherman even the level design and general polishness goes down a lot.

If the deal was to show the HDR I think they did a better work with DoD.

Boy I sure am glad Far Cry and HL2:LC are preparing people for HDR for the rest of us. If it was a small name developer like us we’d catch all sorts of hell for this kind of performance hit.

Should I even bother with a P4 2.4ghz and 9800 non-pro?

No. I think it needs an x800 or higher.

Ok. I figured out what it was. Due to the wondrous nature of rounding, my proc shows as 2.19. The best part was it said “minimum proc-2.2” and then “my proc 2.2,” but mine was in red.

I had some crashing issues on my x800xl. Backing off either VSYNC or AA/AF seemed to solve it. It was a given right as I looked up at the wooden stairs, it would crash. Those breakable stairs are a pain in the ass.

Steam told me that my system wasn’t up to snuff, but I was able to run the level at a playable framerate on my system:

1 Gig RAM
ATI Raedon 9800pro

The level was fun, but it was extremely short. It was designed as a tech demo and directors commentary test, so the gameplay wasn’t focus. It was basically a spin off of the cliff battle from Half Life 1, with a small indoor church battle at the end.

The HDR stuff was pretty neat, but I didn’t see much that I thought was worth the preformance hit. The water and shiny wet rocks were nice, but I was more impressed by the effect of your eyes adjusting from dark areas to sunlit areas.

The directors commentary is definately something I would like to see in future releases. Basically little word ballons appear throughout the level. Pressing the use key while pointed at the balloon triggers the commentary. In some cases it is just an audio clip, but there are times when it takes control of your view and narrates a specific feature. The commentary highlights some of the technical improvements in the engine and also gives you insight into the level design.

Didn’t they do the commentary thing with Riddick on the PC?

Most overhyped tech demo ever.

They’ve been doing press on this thing since last February.

I got some pretty weird glitches too but… I am running an AMD 2200, 768 megs of ram with a 6600GT and I have to say i was pretty happy with the results… a bit clunky but then most of my settings were on high… but yeah, overhyped-- yeah, short, yeah but dang it looks good.

Heh, ok, on the fourth running of Steam, it told me about Lost Coast. Yes, it bitched at me that I didn’t meet the requirements, but it played ok. The best example of the new tech I saw was in the church. I really didn’t notice anything else anywhere.

But its always fun to blow those combine guys up in different ways. I will be replaying it a bunch, just to find new ways.

In HL2 long coast, Are all the rocks suppose to look like this:

/edit and the same place zoomed out

It just looks wrong. I have an ATI x800 with the latest drivers and it says HDR is supported but with it on, its like someone brought back a jungle vine texture from 5 years ago back. Do you people with Nvideo 6800 and 7800 cards see anything different?

I dont think they looked like that on my system.

6800gt here.

I am 99% sure they didnt actually.

X850 XT PE here, and the rocks here looks the same as yours. The light sure is pretty though. After all the hype, I was expecting this to be a full, playable level, but free is free.

It is not, at all.

Two completely different engines, and two completely different games. Each are doing different things with AI, with how the environments are built, with rendering, streaming in the environment vs. discrete level loads, you name it.

Valve has implemented a HDR sceme where they don’t use floating point blending, and a few other floating-point-rendering related things that are typical with “most” HDR implementations. The result is that it runs faster so more people can enjoy it, and you can use AA and HDR at the same time (only the Radeon X1000 series can do floating point blending and multisample AA at the same time). But it also makes their HDR a little lower quality than you see in stuff like Unreal Engine 3.

I’m downloading it now, mostly to see how my computer will handle it (P4 3.6 ghz, X800 and 2 gigs of ram) but I have a general question first that bugs me like crazy.

What is the deal with drivers? Steam says you should get them, ATI says you should get them if you have some graphics issues, and then posts all sorts of ominous warnings. Can anyone say something that will ease my paranoia regarding drivers destroying my computer?