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Half-Life cover
Valve Corporation
Sierra Entertainment
Valve Corporation
Release dates
Windows November 19, 1998
macOS (OS X) January 25, 2013
Linux January 25, 2013
Half-Life guide at StrategyWiki
Half-Life at Wikipedia
Half-Life 1998
Half-Life: Opposing Force 1999
Half-Life: Blue Shift 2001
Half-Life: Source 2004
Half-Life 2 2004
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch 2004
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast 2005
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode One 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode Two 2007
Half-Life: Decay (unofficial port) 2008
Black Mesa TBA

This page is for the original game. For the Source engine port, see Half-Life: Source. For the unofficial remake, see Black Mesa.

General information

Unofficial Half-Life Wiki
GitHub Issue Tracker for Half-Life and other GoldSrc-based games
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
Disc only needed to play CD music.
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Green Man Gaming
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macOS (OS X)
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macOS (OS X)
All non-Steam releases can be redeemed on Steam.
Soundtrack is available for free here.
Steam Edition has been updated to have full OpenGL support with texture filtering and smooth dynamic lighting.


Half-Life: Uplink[edit]

The official public demo for the game, it includes an exclusive chapter (and a training level) with content not found in the full release.

It can be downloaded here.

Note that the demo uses an older version of GoldSrc and may have compatibility issues with modern systems. For full compatibility, the SteamLink mod reworks the demo as a Half-Life mod.

Half-Life: Day One[edit]

A pre-release demo exclusive to OEMs, it contains the chapters from the full release up to and including "We've Got Hostiles" (5 chapters and a training level).

It can be downloaded here.

Note that the demo uses an older version of GoldSrc and may have compatibility issues with modern systems.

Version differences[edit]

Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition[edit]

Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition comes with both the base game and Team Fortress Classic

Half-Life: Dreamcast[edit]

An unreleased port of Half-Life to the Sega Dreamcast, it includes various major and minor differences from the PC release (ex. modified levels, new models, adjusted difficulty, etc.)

A mod that ports the Dreamcast version as a Half-Life mod is available on Mod DB.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

-nointro[citation needed]

Use the -nointro command line argument.

Higher definition models[edit]

The High Definition Pack[1] was created by Gearbox and first released alongside with Blue Shift on June 12, 2001. It was released for free on Steam on August 30, 2005, with a fixed version released a year later. This pack replaces most weapon and player/enemy models with higher polygon versions, substantially altering the style of some of them in the process.

For other options follow this guide.

Enabling developer mode[edit]

Enabling developer mode will allow use of in-game cheats and various console commands.
Turn on the developer console[citation needed]

Use the -dev command line argument.


The developer console can be opened by pressing ~ (Note you may have to turn it on in the in-game settings). You can use the console command sv_cheats 1 to allow the usage of console commands such as god and noclip. Note that you might have to reload a save-game after enabling cheat-mode for certain commands to work.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\Half-Life\valve\
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game>/Half-Life/valve/
Linux <path-to-game>/Half-Life/valve/
*.cfg store the configuration.
This game does not follow the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\Half-Life\valve\SAVE\
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game>/Half-Life/valve/SAVE
Linux <path-to-game>/Half-Life/valve/SAVE/

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings (Steam version)
In-game video settings (Steam version)
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
4K Ultra HD
Both in-game and menu UI become very small.
Field of view (FOV)
Use the +default_fov ### command line argument.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use the -window -noborder command line arguments.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Steam version comes with anisotropic filtering turned on by default. Default is set to 16 samples. Lower-end systems might have it set lower by default. Can be customized with gl_ansio command (i.e. gl_ansio 16 means 16 samples anisotropic filtering).
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Steam version comes with 4x MSAA turned on by default. Lower-end system might have it turned off by default. Can be overridden from graphics card control panel. You can use -nomsaa command line argument to force anti-aliasing off.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS
120+ FPS
Capped at 100 FPS (72 fps if vsync is disabled), use +developer 1 +fps_override 1 +fps_max ### command line arguments. Disabling the cap affects enemy turn speed and has other side effects.[2][3]

OpenGL texture filtering[edit]

Disable OpenGL texture filtering[4]
By default the filtering is enabled (not in Software rendering mode).
  1. Go to <path-to-game>.
  2. Create a file called autoexec.cfg.
  3. Add new line gl_texturemode gl_nearest.
  4. Save the file.

Overbright lighting[edit]

The retail version supports this feature for improved dynamic range of lighting.[5] In the Steam version, this has been regressed since the removal of the Direct3D renderer.

Input settings[edit]

In-game key map settings (Steam version)
In-game key map settings (Steam version)
In-game mouse/joystick settings (Steam version)
In-game mouse/joystick settings (Steam version)
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Intended for single sticks like a flight stick; controllers like an Xbox 360 Controller will only use the left stick.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Additional information
Button prompts
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings (Steam version)
In-game audio settings (Steam version)
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Lost with Linux update.[6]
Use Half-Life: Subtitles mod
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
A3D 2.0[7][8] and EAX were supported.
Both have been removed during the transition to SteamPipe.[9]


Language UI Audio CC Notes
Censored (enemy soldiers replaced with robots, gore removed).
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese


In-game multiplayer settings (Steam version)
In-game multiplayer settings (Steam version)
For more information, see the "Half-Life Dedicated Server" section of our GoldSrc article.
Steam Edition actively supported via Steamworks.
Small, but dedicated community.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
32 Versus, Co-op
Use Sven Co-op for co-op (see the FAQ).
Online play
32 Versus, Co-op
Use Sven Co-op for co-op (see the FAQ).

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Servers are hosted using a separate "hlds.exe," which can be downloaded with SteamCMD.
Only LAN, by default. Use sv_lan 0 in the main menu and, if you have port forwarding set up, others can connect with the connect "ip address" command.
Direct IP
Open the console (~) and use connect followed by the IP and port.


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
UDP (outbound) 6003, 7002, 27010, 27015, 27025

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
TriDef 3D
Headsets Native Notes
HTC Vive
See VR.
Oculus Rift
See VR.
Devices Native Notes
Tracked motion controllers
Supports Razer Hydra.
Novint Falcon
The official game-specific 3D Touch Add On is required.


Install Half-Life-VR Mod[10]
  1. Install Half-Life VR Mod into game root.
  2. Add -game vr -dev -env -insecure -nomouse -nojoy +sv_lan 1 +sv_maxspeed 125 to launch options
  3. Set opengl32.dll to Read-Only in root directory.
  4. Set game to windowed

Issues fixed[edit]

Fatal Error - Available memory less than 15MB[edit]

Run the game in compatibility mode for Windows XP[citation needed]

Windows 7/Vista Performance Fix[edit]

In Windows 7 or Vista, some users may experience extremely low frame rates during gameplay, even if their PC can run modern games perfectly.
Set HL.exe to high priority[citation needed]
  1. Open Half-Life.
  2. Press Ctrl+Esc+ Shift in order to open the Task Manager.
  3. Under the Processes tab, find HL.exe and right click it.
  4. Set its priority to high.

Missing Voice and Multiplayer Tabs under Options[edit]

Replace the liblist.gam file[citation needed]
  1. Make sure you've exited out of Half-Life
  2. Download the replacement liblist.gam file from here (Download starts immediately).
  3. Extract into the valve folder in the installation folder, replacing the existing file when prompted.

This should bring the Voice and Multiplayer tabs back to your Options menu.[11]

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 7 Lost with Linux update.[12]
OpenGL 2.1 3DFX MiniGL included (retail version only).
Software renderer
64-bit executable
OS X and Linux only.[citation needed]


Middleware Notes
Audio Miles Sound System
Multiplayer WON, Steamworks WON for retail, Steamworks for Steam. WON has been shut down on July 31, 2004; fans have since recreated the network as WON2.[13]

Console commands[edit]

Games running on the GoldSrc engine can utilize GoldSrc Engine Console Commands for various tasks.
The console is enabled by default in GoldSrc games, press ~ to open it.


See Half-Life Crosshair Changer.


They Hunger[edit]

Install They Hunger Trilogy[citation needed]
  1. Download They Hunger chapter 1,2,3 and install to your Half-Life installation folder.
  2. For the Steam version, also install Steam menu fix and SteamPipe patch, and overwrite any files when prompted to.
  3. Run Half-Life with the -game Hunger command line argument.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95 98, NT
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 133 MHz Intel Pentium 166 MHz
System memory (RAM) 24 MB 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 400 MB
Video card (GPU) SVGA, high color (16-bit)
Sound (audio device) Windows-compatible sound card
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.6.3
Processor (CPU) Intel Core 2 Duo
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 8xxx series
ATI Radeon X1600
Intel HD 3000
Operating system (OS) Ubuntu 12.04
Processor (CPU) 2.8 GHz Dual Core
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 8600/9600 GT
ATI/AMD Radeon HD 2600/3600
OpenGL 2.1 compatible
Sound (audio device) OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
Other Graphic Drivers: Nvidia 310, AMD 12.11


  1. Enabling the Half-Life Hi-Def Model Pack
  2. How to get 144hz/fps?
  3. Strange bug in Half Life 1, making the game much more frustrating
  4. How to remove texture filtering in OpenGL
  5. Half-Life overbright compatibility
  6. Steam HL1 5.1 sound - Steam discussions forums.
  7. Tech help: Half-Life - Vortex of Sound (retrieved)
  8. Half Life Aureal A3D Fix - Aureal A3D Central
  9. Half-Life 1 updated.
  10. Half-Life VR (goldsrc) newest release with working weapon models
  11. "IF you are Missing Voice and Multiplayer Tabs under Options" Steam Users' Forum Thread (retrieved)
  12. Steam HL1 5.1 sound - Steam discussions forums.
  13. WON2 Server Network