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Something many guessed was coming, Valve has released the Half-Life 25th Anniversary Update and it's pretty exciting with lots of goodies.

From the announcement it mentions updated graphics settings including lighting fixes and an actual widescreen field of view, Controller and Steam Networking support and Steam Deck support with it now officially Steam Deck Verified!

Pictured - Half-Life: Uplink on Linux

Not just that though they've added in content from Half-Life: Uplink, four new multiplayer maps, and there's restored content for "the true nostalgia-seekers, including original main menu artwork and some early prototype player models from the alpha builds of the game".

On top of that there's in a documentary to mark the occasion from folks at Secret Tape (known for their work as NoClip Media):

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The older version of Half-Life is now in a Beta branch named "steam_legacy", and they're now considering this the definitive version of Half-Life and the one they will "continue to support going forward". So Half-Life: Source is getting reduced visibility (store page will be hidden) but it will remain available for the Source engine community.

Grab it free until November 25th on Steam and see the special page here.

The full changelog:

New Content

  • Now Verified on the Steam Deck (and our native Linux runtime has been set as the default).
  • Half-Life: Uplink — the original standalone Half-Life demo — has been added to the game, and is accessible through the "New Game" menu.
  • Added four all-new Half-Life Deathmatch maps: contamination, pool_party, disposal, and rocket_frenzy
  • Added three old Half-Life Deathmatch maps formerly available only on the "Half-Life: Further Data" CD: doublecross, rust_mill, xen_dm.
  • Added Ivan the Space Biker, Prototype Barney, Skeleton, and Too Much Coffee Man as player models to Half-Life Deathmatch.
  • Added dozens of new sprays formerly available only on the "Half-Life: Further Data" CD.
  • Added support for Steam Networking, allowing easy multiplayer via Steam's Join Game and Invite features.
  • Added support for Steam Friends Rich Presence, allowing your friends to follow your journey through Black Mesa.
  • Brought back the original Valve Intro video. Can be skipped with the "-novid" launch command.
  • Updated main menu to a design inspired by the game's original 1998 main menu.
  • Changed the default models to the original (non "HD") models.

Gameplay Changes

  • Improved physics for throwing grenades.
  • Improved randomness for initial spawn points in multiplayer.
  • Improved satchel charge controls: primary fire now always throws a new satchel, and secondary fire always detonates.
  • Fixed push-able entity movement being based on framerate.
  • Fixed players with high framerates freezing in place on death in multiplayer.
  • Fixed some cases where the player could get stuck in place on level transitions.
  • Fixed some cases where characters would interrupt important dialogue with their "greetings" dialogue.
  • Fixed weapon view-bob angles.
  • Fixed red barrels at the start of Surface Tension not launching as intended.
  • Fixed Snarks attacking FL_WORLDBRUSH entities (such as func_walls).
  • Fixed players sometimes failing to deploy a snark while crouching and looking down.
  • Fixed certain convars ("pausable" and "sv_maxspeed") being set to incorrect values when entering a singleplayer game after a multiplayer game.
  • Fixed singleplayer auto-aim setting being changed when entering a multiplayer game that disallows auto-aim.
  • Fixed the flashlight HUD showing empty after loading a savegame.
  • Fixed rockets in CONTENTS_SKY not always detonating.
  • Fixed incorrect bullet impact sounds for NPCs.
  • Fixed gauss gun making a loud static noise if it was charged across level transitions.
  • Fixed a crash in mods that display keybinds in their UI.
  • Fixed singleplayer weapons not auto-switching away when exhausted (grenades / snarks / satchels / etc)
  • Fixed interpolation artifacts when animated models are moved by other entities.
  • Fixed some buffer overflow exploits.

UI Changes

  • Main-menu background and buttons have been reskinned, and now scale based upon screen resolution without stretching, supporting background image layouts up to 3840x1600.
  • In-Game HUD now uses double or triple sized sprites when playing at higher resolutions.
  • UI dialogs and in-game fonts now scale to improve readability at high screen resolutions.
  • In-Game HUD HEV suit display has been shifted to the left of the screen, and no longer changes position at larger screen resolutions.
  • Added an "Enable texture filtering" setting.
  • Added an "Allow widescreen Field of View" setting to correct non-anamorphic FOVs, for widescreen and ultrawide displays.
  • Re-organized all the Settings screens to improve legibility, and support controller navigation.
  • Updated the Pause menu to be aware of the current gameplay mode.
  • The default server name and multiplayer player name are now based on the player's Steam Persona.
  • The Steam platform menu has been removed, now that all its features are in Steam itself.
  • Fixed application icon rendering incorrectly when using the software renderer.
  • Fixed player and spray images not updating their coloring on the settings screen.
  • Removed the now very unnecessary "Low video quality. Helps with slower video cards." setting.

Input Changes

  • Improved support for keyboard and controller navigation everywhere.
  • Added "Lower Input Latency" option: Synchronizes the CPU and GPU to reduce the time between input and display output.
  • Fixed issues that caused jerky mouse / joystick input.
  • (We basically rewrote it all - if you've got a custom Steam Input controller configuration, you should rebuild it from our newly published Official Configuration).

Multiplayer Balancing

  • Increased the 357 damage from 40 → 50.
  • Hive Hand reload time has been reduced from 0.5s → 0.3s per shot, and it will be selected at higher priority than the pistol on pickup.
  • MP5 now always starts with full ammo when initially picked up.
  • Players no longer drop empty weapons, and any that are dropped are reloaded by what's in the dying player's backpack.
  • Improved client-side prediction to reduce "ghost shots". Like Counter-Strike, consider hitboxes and not just bounding boxes for hits on the client.
  • Fixed network predicted crowbar swing damage being incorrect.


  • Added setting to turn off texture filtering when using the OpenGL renderer.
  • Default gamma has been decreased from 2.5 → 2.2, now that we aren't all playing on CRTs.
  • Restored OpenGL overbright support.
  • Added support for UI Sprites and Texture files larger than 256x256.
  • Added support for UI Font special render modes: "blur" and "additive".
  • Default resolution is now based on the resolution of the desktop, instead of a 640x480 window.
  • Software renderer will now correctly filter out incompatible resolutions, unless there is only 1 resolution available on the display.
  • Fixed fullscreen software renderer crashing on systems that don't support 16-bit color.
  • Fixed software renderer being stretched when using widescreen resolutions.
  • Fixed skyboxes and sky color incorrectly carrying over when transitioning maps in multiplayer.
  • Fixed the game appearing too dark after modifying video settings.
  • Fixed MSAA in windowed mode.
  • Fixed mipmap rendering on studio models.
  • Fixed gluon gun sprite rendering in multiplayer.
  • Fixed gluon gun sinusoidal noise being incorrect.
  • Various optimizations to support the newly increased engine limits.
  • OpenGL optimizations for the Steam Deck.

Engine Improvements for Mod Makers

  • Increased maximum limit of dynamic sound channels from 8 → 32.
  • Increased maximum limit of sentences in the sentences.txt file from 1536 → 2048.
  • Increased maximum number of entities (MAX_EDICTS) from 900 → 1200.
  • Increased MAX_PACKET_ENTITIES from 256 → 1024.
  • Increased MAX_GLTEXTURES from 4800 → 10000.
  • Increased software renderer geometry limits: max spans 3000 → 6000, max surfaces 2000 → 4000, and max edges 7200 → 14400.
  • Cycler and func_button entities can now be the entity target for scripted_sentence entities, and are allowed to speak in multiplayer.
  • Incorporated func_vehicle entity support from Counter-Strike, for mod-makers to use. Full SDK update will come later, but level designers can use it now.

Native Linux Build

  • Added support for the software renderer.
  • Improved font rendering.
  • Many stability and behavior fixes.


  • Localization files updated.
  • Miscellaneous security fixes.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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You know, I wonder why Half Life 2 Episode 1 isn't deck verified.
sonic2kk Nov 17
I was never keen on the "re-imagining" of Half-Life that the Black Mesa project ended up being, and Half-Life: Source just felt off, so this is an extremely welcome update.
mZSq7Fq3qs Nov 17
I fucking love HL1, one of my first true gaming experiences ever. Played it without sound cause it was some craced version, but when I was old enought to gain some weekly money It was one of the first games that I bouht. Love it.
CatKiller Nov 17
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
QuoteFixed the flashlight HUD showing empty after loading a savegame.

kuhpunkt Nov 17
Very very nice documentary.
Lofty Nov 17
This game is so easy to run, it would be good if they added some experimental Raytracing / pathtracing support. Even if it was just through a bruteforce method. Not only that they could add Ai upscale textures to modernize it. there are modder's creating some incredibly good upscaled Retro texture packs for older consoles, using tools like ESRGAN, Waifucaffe, & GIMP (or photoshop), It's not like the olden days where valve would of have to redraw the whole lot. they could even hire one of these modders to do it for them for pennies.

Still i suppose this is a good start. maybe they will add more of that stuff later on down the line.

Last edited by Lofty on 17 November 2023 at 11:07 pm UTC
chickenb00 Nov 17
Quoting: LoftyThis game is so easy to run, it would be good if they added some experimental Raytracing / pathtracing support. Even if it was just through a bruteforce method. Not only that they could add Ai upscale textures to modernize it. there are modder's creating some incredibly good upscaled Retro texture packs for older consoles, using tools like ESRGAN, Waifucaffe, & GIMP (or photoshop), It's not like the olden days where valve would of have to redraw the whole lot. they could even hire one of these modders to do it for them for pennies.

Still i suppose this is a good start. maybe they will add more of that stuff later on down the line.

Have you checked out
Come to think of it, this might be outdated with this latest big patch to HL, but the OG version prior to this release is now in the Beta tab in Steam, so it remains installable. Digital Foundry even did a video on it:
Pengling Nov 18
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Did not expect to get to GOL this weekend to hear about Half-Life getting a 25th anniversary update out-of-the-blue, AND it being given away for free for a limited time. I last played Half-Life (briefly, due to my motion-sickness issues with first-person games) at a friend's place back when it was new, and never bought it myself*.

*For anyone thinking "But everyone owns Half-Life!", you've now met the exception.

With small bursts of FPSes on the Steam Deck not making me queasy, there's no time like the present to actually play it for myself.
Has it really been 25 years? Wow.
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