Who says you can’t make it big just with game modding? While some game developers frown upon the act of modifying a released game, and even more on the act of releasing said mods, others have embraced the reality of this gaming sub-culture. And others, well, they might even reward you for it. Valve has not only sanctioned the mod that is now officially known as Half-Life 2: Update, it is even allowing it to be distributed on Steam. Provided, of course, you own the original game on Steam as well.
Half-Life 2 is a seminal classic as far as First Person Shooter (FPS) games go. Although it has not aged as gracefully, at least in terms of the franchise, like other now popular FPS titles, it has gained a cult following, thanks to all the mods that have sprung up around the game, giving Half-Life 2 a different flavor, sometimes even an almost totally different game. Like Lambda Wars, which turns it from an FPS to an RTS (real-time strategy) game.
Since 2009, modder Filip Victor has been working on this particular version, which attempts to breathe new life into the title, both for veterans and first-time players alike. The mod offers improvements over the original such as a lightning overhaul including full HDR, improved particle effects, and bugfixes. All without heavily modifying the original style and gameplay of Half-Life 2. And as a nod to the community-oriented nature of the game, Half-Life 2: Update even includes voice commentaries from popular YouTube gamers.
What makes this particular mod different from all the other mods is the amount of support it has garnered, both from the community as well as from game companies. It has earned the sponsorship of the likes of NVIDIA and Origin. And its release on Steam is probably the biggest thumbs up that Valve can give to this fan-made customization of its own game.
Half-Life 2: Update launches this March 27. While the mod itself is available for free on Steam, it does require you to already have the original Half-Life 2 on Steam, which sells for only $9.99 at the lowest.