Half-Life 2

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Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 cover
Valve Corporation
Sierra Entertainment
Valve Corporation
Release dates
Windows November 16, 2004
macOS (OS X) May 26, 2010
Linux May 9, 2013
Half-Life 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Half-Life 2 on Wikipedia
Half-Life 1998
Sven Co-op (unofficial mod) 1999
Half-Life: Opposing Force 1999
Half-Life: Blue Shift 2001
Codename: Gordon 2004
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
Portal (series)
Half-Life: Decay (unofficial port) 2008
Black Mesa (unofficial remake) TBA

Key points

Installing the Update mod is recommended to fix numerous bugs introduced by various later updates.
Numerous mods are available for the game, including new levels and completely new game modes.

General information

GitHub Issue Tracker for Linux bugs in Half-Life 2 and other Source-based games
Unofficial Half-Life Wiki
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Icon overlay.png
European copies also include SecuROM 5 DRM.
Collector's Edition copies can bypass Steam if you launch hl2.msi directly.
macOS (OS X)
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (see notes)
DRM-free when launched directly from the executable.[citation needed]
macOS (OS X)
A demo is available.
All versions require Steam DRM.
Soundtrack is available for free with purchase here.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Enabling the console[edit]

A list of console commands can be found here.
Command line[1]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Use -console then in the console write bind F2 "toggleconsole"


You can replace F2 with any key of your choice.
Options menu[1]
  1. Go to Options, select the Keyboard tab and click on Advanced.
  2. Check Enable the developer console and open the console by using ~.


For additional, nonessential mods, see Additional mods.

Half-Life 2: Update[edit]

An unofficial update that fixes bugs, improves the lighting, draw distance and adds new effects among others.

Half-Life 2 Upscaled Model Textures[edit]

Textures for all NPCs, some weapons, some items, some crates, and some vehicles, upscaled with Topaz A.I. Gigapixel.
Upscaled textures are faithful to the original textures.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Steam <path-to-game>/hl2/cfg/
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Steam <path-to-game>/hl2/save/

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

In-game general video settings.
In-game general video settings.
In-game advanced video settings.
In-game advanced video settings.
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
4K Ultra HD
Interface scales poorly.
Field of view (FOV)
Values between 75° and 90° horizontal can be set via ingame slider.[2] For higher values use this guide.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Borderless fullscreen windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Up to 8x MSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Frame rate cap can be changed by changing fps_max in the developer console.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
Rendered image uses SDR color space. In-game HDR option refers only to HDR Rendering.

Borderless fullscreen windowed[edit]

  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Use -window -noborder


For the Oculus Rift, set vr_force_windowed 1 in the developer console.

Input settings[edit]

In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.
In-game mouse/gamepad settings.
In-game mouse/gamepad settings.
Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Use the console command exec 360controller to automatically setup Xbox controller support (if not already configured at startup).
Full controller support
Use Controller UI Mod for a console style menu that can be navigated easily with a controller.
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Impulse Trigger vibration
DualShock 4 controllers
Tracked motion controllers
Supports Razer Hydra.
Button/gesture prompts
Generic/other controllers
Additional information
Button prompts
Use Controller UI Mod to get a choice of button prompts such as Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3/4, Switch, and more.
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Steam Input
Steam Input API support
Hook input (legacy mode)
Official controller preset(s)
Steam Controller button prompts

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Game volume and music slider.
Surround sound
4.0, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Under a check box in the Audio menu.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Fandub, download.
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Original localization by SDL here
No explicit setting. Steam client has to be in Swedish.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
32 Users will need to open the developer console and type "maxplayers 4; sv_lan 1" and "map d1_trainstation_01" in the console. Do note that the game will not load an autosave, but you and your partner will respawn instead.
Online play
10 Use Synergy.

Connection types

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
See also Helix Mod: Half Life 2:Update.
TriDef 3D
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Headsets Native Notes
HTC Vive
This game might be playable with the Revive Compatibility Layer (compatibility list).
Oculus Rift
Available under Video Settings. See the Oculus Rift forums for further instructions.
Windows Mixed Reality
This game might be playable with the Revive Compatibility Layer (compatibility list).
Devices Native Notes
Tracked motion controllers
See Input settings for details.
Traditional controller
See Input settings for details.
3RD Space Gaming Vest
Novint Falcon

Issues fixed[edit]


TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game which can be found here.

Purple and black textures[edit]

See missing textures.

No lighting after Black Mesa East[edit]

Activate the High Dynamic Range in the Advanced Video Options[citation needed]

Stuck in Black Mesa East[edit]

Walk into the elevator, Quick Save F6, then Quick Load F9.

Not enough space on disk (retail)[edit]

Copy the files[1]
  • Copy all the files from the disc to a new folder, then run setup.exe

Available memory less than 128 MB[edit]

Setting the compatibility mode[1]
  1. See compatibility mode.
  2. Go to <path-to-game> and find hl2.exe
  3. Set the executable to run under the Windows XP (Service Pack 3) compatibility mode.

Half-Life 2 stuck on DirectX v8.0[edit]

Command line parameter[1]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Use -dxlevel 95, start the game and configure the desired video settings.
  3. Remove the command line before starting the game again.


Not removing the command line will cause the game to set the options to their default values.

Cyrillic Font Issue in Linux[edit]

Cyrillic Font Issue in Linux[citation needed]

Find and remove the Helvetica font.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 6, 7, 8, 8.1, 9
OpenGL 2.1 OS X and Linux only.
Shader Model support 1.x, 2, 3
64-bit executable
OS X and Linux only.[citation needed]


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok Heavily modified variant.
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video Used for startup videos and in-game movies.

Launch options[edit]

A list of command lines can be found here and here.
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Enter your commands.

Additional mods[edit]

An extra list of mods can be found here. To view the most-rated mods, click here.
A discussion of various graphic improvement mods can be found here.

Half-Life 2: Survivor[edit]

An unofficial port of the Japanese arcade version.
This mod does not require Steam in order to run, but it requires you to use old files from Source SDK Base 2006. Click at the link above for more info.

Half-Life 2: MMod[edit]

Enhances visual effects, weapon animations, sound, and gunplay. Most features can be toggled on and off.
Compatible with all official Half-Life 2 titles, MINERVA and the FakeFactory Cinematic Mod. Compatibility patches made by the community for other mods and games based around the Half-Life 2 gameplay and various other addons can be found here.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
Processor (CPU) 1.7 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4.6 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce FX 5700
ATI Radeon 9500
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 8.1 compatible
Windows 98SE, ME, and 2000 were previously supported operating systems for the game, but as future updates for this game and Steam occurred; the support for these operating systems were dropped with non-Collector's Edition retail copies.
Must be run without Steam to play on XP and Vista.
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.5.8, 10.6.3
Processor (CPU) 1.7 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4.6 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 8000 Series
ATI Radeon X1600
Intel HD 3000