Half-Life High Definition Pack
The Half-Life High Definition Pack (also commonly abbreviated to several other forms, including the Hi-Def Pack, or simply HD Pack) is a content pack consisting of new and upgraded material, but mostly models, for games in the "Half-Life" series. It was created by
Gearbox Softwareand originally included with the PC release of '. It includes content for the original "Half-Life", ', and "Blue Shift", as well as content for " Team Fortress Classic" created by Valve Software.
The improvements coming from the High Definition Pack mainly stem from the increased polygon count over the default "Half-Life" models. However, despite the increased level of detail, the style of some of the models, most noticeably the HECU soldiers, has been changed. Subsequently, while the models are improved in terms of the level of detail, it remains a matter of opinion as to whether they look better.
The upgraded character models in the High Definition Pack included the scientists, security guards, and HECU soldiers, as well as several of the Xen creatures. In addition, all of the weapon models were upgraded as well. This included some notable changes from the game's original arsenal. The
Glock 17was replaced with a Beretta 92FS and the MP5 submachine gun was replaced with an M4 carbine rifle.cite web| url = http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/halflife/news.html?sid=2811529&mode=previews | title = Half-Life Updated Preview | publisher = GameSpot| date = 2001-09-10| accessdate = 2007-11-08] To reflect some of the weapon changes with the high definition models, new sounds were given to the shotgun and assault rifle, as well as new sprites for the game's HUD.
"Team Fortress Classic" is upgraded with completely re-designed character classes (minus the civilian) and weapons. The animations for the player models have also been revised. Yet, this update was released separate (included in a regular "Half-Life" update) and some time before the High Definition Pack as this material was created by Valve. This upgrade can be activated by the console command "tfc_newmodels 1".
The High Definition Pack spawned from the cancelled
Sega Dreamcastversion of "Half-Life", in which "Blue Shift" was included as a bonus addition to the game. The Dreamcast port boasted improved graphical content, and these models were eventually carried over to the PC after the game's cancellation. However, they were evidently not directly converted as the models that appeared in the Dreamcast port appear to be earlier versions of what would finally comprise the High Definition Pack. The leaked version of the DC game included models that possessed some very noticeable differences from the finished high definition models, and even had some improved models not made part of the High Definition Pack at all. Earlier preview shots of the Dreamcast version shows yet even older incarnations of some of the high definition models.
PlayStation 2remake of "Half-Life" saw even further improved models to the game, also created by Gearbox. This included full facial animation and individually-animated fingers. As such, they're considered a continuation of the High Definition Pack. The PlayStation 2 port took advantage of an LOD system, allowing these very detailed models up close without sacrificing performance. They were never officially released for the PC version of the game. However, modders have since converted the models and improved them even more, thus making them popular replacements in the community for those looking to graphically enhance their games. Because the PS2 models are seen as the highest-quality versions available, greater than the original High Definition Pack, they are often referred to as "super definition" among some parts of the community, while the original "Half-Life" models are called "low definition".
On August 25, 2005, the High Definition Pack was made available for free through Steam by Valve. [cite web| url = http://steampowered.com/v/index.php?area=news&id=438& | title = PHL Steam Client Update Available | publisher = [http://www.steampowered.com/ Official Steam website] | date =
2005-08-29| accessdate = 2007-11-08] However, Valve was criticized for not using the fixed version of the models, which were already available in Gearbox's patch for "Blue Shift". [cite web| url = http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/fullstory.php?id=99576 | title = Opposing Force & Blue Shift Patches | publisher = Planet Half-Life| date = 2006-03-11| accessdate = 2007-11-08] These patched models re-included animations missing from the high definition models that, although did not appear in any of the official games, were commonly used in custom levels and modifications. Without these patched models, many modifications will act erratically, as the missing animations can interrupt scripted sequences, possibly preventing the player from continuing or even crashing the game. Many also complained at how the High Definition Pack was implemented in the program. When enabled, Steam automatically disables the use of any other custom content.cite web| url = http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/fullstory.php?id=105708 | title = PHL High-Definition Pack for Steam! | publisher = Planet Half-Life| date = 2006-08-30| accessdate = 2007-11-08] Players wanting to use both the High Definition Pack and their own models were prevented from doing so unless they manually extracted the high definition models from the GCF file. Over a year later, on August 30, 2006, a staff member of Planet Half-Lifereleased a fixed version of the patched High Definition Pack for use in Steam.
* [http://store.steampowered.com/news/438/ Installing the Half-Life High Definition Pack for Steam (official)]
* [http://www.hl-improvement.com/forums/ Half-Life Improvement Team Forums] – A forum dedicated to improved "Half-Life" models.
* [http://ambientimpact.hl-improvement.com/index.htm Ambient.Impact.Design] – An example of popular PS2-version based models for the game.
* [http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/fullstory.php?id=105708 "Fixed" PHL High-Definition Pack for Steam] – A Steam-compatible version of the fixed HDP from the Blue Shift 188.8.131.52 patch. Unlike the official Steam version, this HDP is fully compatible with Half-Life mods.
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