Several images from early in the development of Half-Life 2 showcasing the first ever iteration of the Gravity Gun have been making the rounds on social media platforms including Twitter and Reddit. The weapon was apparently made using what became known as the GoldSrc Engine, a heavily modified version of the Quake Engine by id Software used by Valve to create Half-Life, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, and more. The software was eventually succeeded by the Source Engine developed alongside Half-Life 2.
The news comes from the user known as RichterOvertime on Twitter. “So, the first ever iteration of the Half-Life 2 Gravity Gun from 1999 just leaked,” RichterOvertime remarked. “It seems to be based off the same design seen in this concept art of Eli Maxwell,” the user later pointed out, posting a picture of the character in question.
“Development for Half-Life 2 started almost immediately after Half-Life 1,” the user going by the name of Soliera commented on the post. “The earliest footage ever for Half-Life 2 is called Get Your Free TVs and it’s running in what looks like the earliest build of Source out there (basically GoldSrc) with Half-Life 1’s HUD and dates to 1999.” Soliera noted that “development was very troubled during that time and the entire storyline up to that point was scrapped in either late 2002 or early 2003. The Half-Life 2 that we know today really started development in 2003 and had basically just a year to finish.”
Valve started working on Half-Life 2 only six months after Half-Life was released, beginning development of the game in June, 1999. President at Valve Gabe Newell gave the game a “virtually unlimited” budget, saying that if Half-Life 2 “isn't viewed as the best PC game of all time, it's going to completely bum out most of the guys on this team."
The developers implemented the Havok physics engine at some point in 2001, creating a now famous minigame, Zombie Basketball, which involved using a physics manipulating device to throw zombies through a set of hoops. This would of course later become the Gravity Gun. Valve however seems to have been experimenting with the weapon as early as 1999.
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