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Josiah Flores
Josiah Flores

Half-Life 2: Update

Half-Life 2 has seen a few small, minor updates over the years. But in advance of Valve's new handheld PC (opens in new tab), the company has spruced up their seminal shooter with a major beta update to ensure it looks as smooth as possible on not just the Steam Deck, but all other contemporary PCs.

Half-Life 2: Update

While not publically announced on the game's store page, the update to Half-Life 2's beta branch was spotted by Valve-centric YouTuber Tyler McVicker. The update supposedly includes numerous bug-fixes that have sat unresolved for years, increases the FOV cap to 110, and adjusts the UI to support ultrawide resolutions.

Perhaps the most notable (if less flashy) additions, however, is support for the Vulkan rendering API, which pointedly plays much nicer with Linux-based operating systems like SteamOS. Valve brought Vulkan support to Portal 2 (opens in new tab) back in February, and with the Half-Life 2 games now on-board, McVicker now reckons we can expect most of Valve's back-catalogue to be updated to work well on the Steam Deck.

Compatibility has been a major concern both for customers and Steam itself, with Valve recently beginning efforts to catalogue the entire platform for compatibility (opens in new tab). While most games won't run on Linux, Valve has been working to ensure its Proton compatibility layer supports as many Windows games as possible (opens in new tab). An early issue saw games with Easy Anti-Cheat struggle to run with Proton, an issue that was remedied with an update last month (opens in new tab).

Half-Life 2's beta update isn't quite ready to go live. McVicker notes that there's a micro-stuttering issue with the current build, though you can download it yourself by selecting the Beta tab under Half-Life 2's properties in your Steam library. Hopefully, the landmark FPS will make for a great showpiece by the time Steam Decks start shipping in December.

Half-Life 2: Update is a new standalone mod released through Steam today that aims to improve on the original game released by Valve in 2004. In addition to a number of bug and behavior fixes, the community-made mod updates Half-Life 2 with all-new lighting, shadows and other visual effects. Most are surprisingly subtle; this is not a total overhaul of the original, but seemingly designed to bring out the best from Valve's seminal shooter.

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As seen above, the latest Half-Life 2 update is not extensive but instead focuses on a few fixes. By the way, if you missed the changes that came with the previous versions, released a while ago, you can check out its patch notes below.

Oho, 'Half-Life 2: Update' is an extremely cheeky name for a mod. Write it on the internet and a few thousand ears will immediately prick up. "Is more Half-Life? Means Half-Life 3? Check file structure! One file will have a 3 in its name! Is Half-Life 3! Rabble rabble rabble!" So no, this is not an official Half-Life 2 update, but it has got the nod for a free standalone Steam release tomorrow.

Designed to take fuller advantage of what more recent updates to the Source engine can do, this apparently final ve