10 Things You Didn't Know About Half-Life

Ivan the Spacebiker > Gordon Freeman.

barnacles half life

There's a reason Half-Life is considered one the best games at all time.

A revolutionary first-person shooter with great environments, fun gameplay, destructible physics and an intriguing story - it's a must for anyone to play.

However, what you might not know about Half-Life is that behind the scenes of the game, there's loads of hidden gems that really make you see the title in a different light.

Did you know, for example, that Gordon Freeman wasn't Gordon Freeman once and instead had significantly more of a beard? How about the fact that there's even an enemy in the game's script which was meant to get far, far too friendly with Gordon and was left on the cutting room floor?

Let's take a look at some of the bizarre and downright cool things that went on behind the scenes in the original Half-Life.

10. The PA System Uses Only Single Words To Create Sentences

barnacles half life

In Half-Life, there are sometimes announcements over the PA system as you wander around. What you may not know about them is that these PA messages are all constructed by developers using someone speaking a single line of dialogue.

Known as the Black Mesa PA system, incredibly every single line is recorded separately, then the developers spliced them together afterwards to create full sentences.

Why was this done? It allowed the developers to create messages on the fly without relying on someone coming in to record new dialogue. They simply accessed the bank of pre-recorded sounds they had, meshed them together, and formed a sentence. Given the PA system is likely an AI, any distortions or weird sounding takes on a word more than likely added to the foreboding atmosphere of the original Half-Life, rather than detract from it.

The developers have a huge amount of sound files recorded for the game, many of which are never actually heard as they weren't needed.

A full list of the sounds has been ripped off the disc and uploaded to Youtube.

In this post: 
Half Life
Posted On: 

Dan Curtis is approximately one-half videogame knowledge, and the other half inexplicable Geordie accent. He's also one quarter of the Factory Sealed Retro Gaming podcast.