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

Half-Life cover
Valve Corporation
1998-2005 Sierra On-Line
2005-present Valve Corporation
Russia (Half-Life 1 Anthology) Buka Entertainment[1]
Retail (Brazil) Brasoft
Release dates
Windows November 19, 1998[2]
macOS (OS X) January 25, 2013
Linux January 25, 2013
Metacritic 96
Monetization One-time game purchase
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS, Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes Contemporary, North America, Sci-fi
Series Half-Life
Half-Life on HowLongToBeat
Half-Life on IGDB
Half-Life guide on StrategyWiki
Half-Life on MobyGames
Half-Life on Wikipedia
Half-Life mods and fangames (series)
Half-Life 1998
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
Half-Life: Alyx 2020


The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

Half-Life is a singleplayer and multiplayer first-person action, FPS and shooter game in the Half-Life series.

The retail release was published by Sierra Entertainment up until the publisher lost all publishing rights to Valve's titles in 2005. The macOS X and Linux versions were released in 2013. On November 17, 2023, to celebrate the game's 25th anniversary, an update was released which added new and previously exclusive content, as well as improving Steam Deck support. The update initially broke compatibility with many mods (including other GoldSrc-based Valve games), but mod compatibility was fixed in the days following the release of the update.

Like most of Valve's library, the game still receives bug fixes and general maintenance updates. It also enjoys a large community base, and various mods are released regularly.

General information

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
The original release of the game uses a simple disc check and key authentication.
Icon overlay.png
DRM-free with some exceptions (notes may include more details)
The "Game of the Year" edition and later patches remove the authentication and disc check. The disc is only required for the Redbook-based soundtrack.
Icon overlay.png
Icon overlay.png
CD key
Half-Life 1 Anthology, and 2005 Jewel-case. Game data is stored inside GCF files on the disc. If extracted, it is possible to play offline without Steam, by following this guide.
Icon overlay.png
macOS (OS X)
All non-Steam releases can be redeemed on Steam.
Soundtrack is available for free here. FLAC files are also available if "Download high-quality audio files" is checked in Steam's music settings.


Half-Life: Day One

A pre-release demo exclusive to OEMs. It contains the first five chapters from the full release and the training level. It can be downloaded here.
Note that the demo uses an older version of GoldSrc, which may have compatibility issues with modern systems.

Version differences

Half-Life: Game of the Year Edition comes with both the base game and Team Fortress Classic.
The version of the game before the 25th Anniversary Update is available as a beta in Steam titled steam_legacy - Pre-25th Anniversary Build. This version has the best mod compatibility since the 25th anniversary made big changes that some mods may not be compatible with.[3]

Essential improvements

Official retail patches

These are not needed for the Steam version as that already contains the latest version. The Steam version is even more up to date than the Retail version.

An archive of all official patches for Half-Life and its expansions can be found on ModDB.

Skip intro videos

Retail version.
Use the -console command-line argument[4]
Steam version.
Use the -novid command-line argument

Running in 24-bit or 32-bit color depth (retail version)

The retail version of the game defaults to 16-bit color depth, with no option to adjust in-game.
Run game with -32bpp argument[5]

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Half-Life\
Steam <path-to-game>/valve/*.cfg
config.cfg is the main configuration file.
This game does not follow the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux.

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\valve\SAVE\[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) <path-to-game>/valve/SAVE
Linux <path-to-game>/valve/SAVE/

The file names follow the pattern:

  • autosave.sav
  • half-life-000.sav
  • half-life-001.sav
  • ...

The magic number (the file signature at the beginning of the file, consisting of two or more hexadecimal values) is JSAV in ISO 8859-1 encoding (4A53 4156 in hexadecimal).

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud


Video settings (Steam version)
Video settings (Steam version)

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Retail and pre-25th Anniversary Update Steam versions are Vert-; see Field of view (FOV) for a workaround.
Use Half-Life WON Resolution FOV MP3 Patch for non-Steam versions
The 25th Anniversary Update version has a setting for Hor+ called "Allow widescreen Field of View".
Retail and pre-25th Anniversary Update Steam versions are Vert-. Increase FOV to compensate. See Field of view (FOV).
The 25th Anniversary Update version has a setting for Hor+ called "Allow widescreen Field of View".
4K Ultra HD
Both in-game and menu UI may become too small on displays with a high pixel density, see 4K Ultra HD for various fixes.
The 25th Anniversary Update version provides native in-game and UI scaling for up to 4K.
Field of view (FOV)
90º by default. See Field of view (FOV).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use -window -noborder.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
16 samples by default in Steam version. Use gl_ansio X[sic] in the console, with X as number of samples.
See OpenGL texture filtering to disable texture filtering altogether.The 25th Anniversary Update version provides to activate or deactivate it.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
4x MSAA by default in Steam version. Use -nomsaa to force off. Enhanceable to HSAA on Nvidia systems.[Note 2]
High-fidelity upscaling
DLSS 3.1, FSR 2.1
See Half-Life 1: Ray Traced.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Triple Buffering.
Lower input latency forces a Double Buffering Vsync.
Always on for the retail version.
60 FPS
120+ FPS
Capped at 100 FPS (72 FPS in retail version) by default. See High frame rate.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See OpenGL overbright lighting to increase the rendering dynamic range.
Ray tracing (RT)
See Half-Life 1: Ray Traced.
For a list of console commands, see here.

4K Ultra HD (Retail/pre-25th Anniversary Update)

Assets for retail and pre-25th Anniversary Update versions are designed for 640x480, and UI may be too small at higher resolutions.
25th Anniversary Update updates the GUI to adaptively scale from 480p (640x480) to 4K resolutions.
Increase font sizes[6][7]
  1. Open <path-to-game>\platform\resource\TrackerScheme.res in a text editor.
  2. Under "Legacy_CreditsFont", change "tall" as desired to change the size of the in-game credits font, used for the opening credits, level titles, and tutorial prompts.
    Recommended settings for a similar font size to that used in 640x480 are:
    • "30" for 720p or 768p
    • "40" for 960p, 1024p, or 1080p
    • "50" for 1200p
    • "60" for 1440p
    • "70" for 1600p
    • "80" for 2160p ("4K")
    • "120" for 2880p ("5K")
    • "135" for 3240p ("6K")
    • "180" for 4320p ("8K")
  3. Save the file.

Field of view (FOV)

FOV adjustment may be necessary at widescreen resolutions on non-25th Anniversary Update versions.
Field of view[8]
  1. In the game's launch options, add +default_fov ###, replacing ### with the desired FOV.
  2. While in game, open the console (~).
  3. Type default_fov and press Enter to confirm the changes have taken place in-game.


Weapon models are affected by changes in FOV.
To maintain identical vertical FOV to the 4:3 FOV at 16:9 resolutions, use 106. At 21:9 resolutions, use 121.

High frame rate

Use +developer 1 +fps_override 1 +fps_max ###[9]
Disabling the cap may reduce the speed at which the player moves objects.[9] NPC turn rate bug was fixed.[10]
Disabling the cap will cause the train at the beginning of the game to get stuck easily , the elevators take life away from the character and that the sample in the antimatter spectrometer cannot move [11]

OpenGL texture filtering (Retail/pre-25th Anniversary Update)

By default the filtering is enabled (except in Software rendering mode).
Skyboxes are always bilinear filtered, regardless of texture filtering settings.[12]
Disable OpenGL texture filtering[13]
  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.


Using the line gl_texturemode gl_nearest_mipmap_linear instead will enable mipmapping to prevent some textures from flickering at a distance, but will be blurry if not combined with anisotropic filtering.

OpenGL overbright lighting (Retail/pre-25th Anniversary Update)

Overbright lighting increases the rendering dynamic range, resulting brighter and more colorful visuals. This also fixes chromatic aberration on brightly lit lightmaps.[14]
The 25th Anniversary Update fixed the overbright lighting and deprecates gl_overbright in favor of gl_use_shaders.[15]
Overbright lighting normally only works on the Direct3D and software renderers.[16][17]
Nvidia GPUs: Enable the GL extension limiter[18]
  1. Download and run Nvidia Profile Inspector.
  2. On the Half Life profile, set Extension limit to On. Apply changes.
  3. Go to <path-to-game>.
  4. Create a file called autoexec.cfg.
  5. Add new line gl_overbright "1".
  6. Save the file.


Doing this disables ALL OpenGL extensions, not just the offending extension! This has side effects:
  • Disables non-power of two texture support; some textures will have uneven rows of pixels.[19]
  • Disables multitexturing, which is used for detail textures, which may effect the appearance of other games and mods that share hl.exe, including Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Day of Defeat.
Doing this disables the Steam version's built-in MSAA. On the Half Life profile, change Antialiasing - Mode to Override any application setting and Antialiasing - Setting to the desired level of antialiasing (such as 4x [4x Multisampling] for a vanilla look, or 32xS [Combined: 2x2 SS + 8x MS] for maximum antialiasing).
Intel/AMD GPUs: Use this GLIntercept config[20]


As this method uses a custom OpenGL32.dll, it should not be used in VAC-protected servers.
Doing this also fixes performance issues with dynamic lights on Intel graphics.
Use this Python script[21]


As this method modifies hw.dll, it should not be used in VAC-protected servers.
Does not disable OpenGL extensions.
Mesa drivers on Linux: Disable GL_ARB_multitexture extension with environment variable[22]
  1. Right click on Half-Life in the Steam library and choose Properties.
  2. Go to General tab and add MESA_EXTENSION_OVERRIDE=-GL_ARB_multitexture %command% to launch options.


For retail and older versions running through Wine, simply add this environment variable right before Wine command.
For example: MESA_EXTENSION_OVERRIDE=-GL_ARB_multitexture wine hl.exe +gl_overbright 1.
Proprietary Nvidia drivers on Linux: On the retail version, write __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=mesa before everything else[23]
  1. Open terminal and go to the Half-Life directory.
  2. Launch Half-Life using this command: __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=mesa MESA_EXTENSION_OVERRIDE=-GL_ARB_multitexture wine hl.exe +gl_overbright 1 -console.


Mesa drivers might need to be installed first for this to work.
This method cannot be used to play Half-Life on the Steam version. The game refuses to work otherwise.
Other drivers on Linux: Use Zink and disable GL_ARB_multitexture extension[24]
  1. Right click on Half-Life in the Steam library and choose Properties.
  2. Go to General tab and add __GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=mesa MESA_LOADER_DRIVER_OVERRIDE=zink GALLIUM_DRIVER=zink MESA_EXTENSION_OVERRIDE=-GL_ARB_multitexture %command% to the launch options.


Requires a GPU that supports Vulkan.
Driver-independent, can be used on any Vulkan driver.
Mesa 23.2 or higher is recommended for best performance.
__GLX_VENDOR_LIBRARY_NAME=mesa is only necessary on proprietary Nvidia drivers.
Use HLFixes[25]


Fixes other bugs like music stopping during level transitions.


Key map settings (Steam version)
Key map settings (Steam version)
Mouse/joystick settings (Steam version)
Mouse/joystick settings (Steam version)

Keyboard and mouse, touch State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Touchscreen optimised
See Xash3D.
Controller support
Only Analog Movement and Joystick Camera are supported.[26]

The Pre-25th Anniversary Update versions only support single sticks like a Flight Stick.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Can be rebinded via Steam Input config.[Note 3]

Alternatively: Game Actions can be manually assigned via controller.cfg file.[27]
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
PlayStation controllers
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Tracked motion controllers
Supports Razer Hydra.
Button/gesture prompts
Generic/other controllers
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
See Xash3D.
Digital movement supported
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Steam Input
Steam Input API support
Hook input (legacy mode)
Official controller preset(s)
Steam Deck, Steam Controller, DualShock 4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch.

Gyro Aim versions of the same preset is also provided.
Steam Controller button prompts
Cursor detection


Audio settings (Steam version)
Audio settings (Steam version)

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Lost with Linux update.[28] Can be restored in retail version with DirectSound 3D restoration software (Creative Alchemy or dsoal).
Use Half-Life: Subtitles mod.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
A3D 2.0[29][30] and EAX were supported.
Both have been removed with the January 30, 2013 update.[31]
See MetaAudio for Steam version.
Royalty free audio
Red Book CD audio
Deprecated with MP3 playback since Current release still supports reading from CD when available.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Subtitles mod.
Fan translation, Download. Please note: this is only for the main game, expansions/DLCs are not yet translated.
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Fan - #1
Originally altered (enemy soldiers replaced with robots, gore removed). An uncut DLC was released after BPjM cleared the game, but it has since been delisted and in 2017, with model overrides being removed.[32] Players can still play in English, edit their registry, or ask the Steam Support to remove all Low-Violence tags from their GoldSource games.[33][34]
Fan translation, download.
Fan translation, [2] [3] [4].
Brazilian Portuguese
Fan translation, download.
The official localisation for 25th Anniversary Update is not complete, due to lacking translation for new lines of the user interface Anniversary update comes with.
For 25th Anniversary Update version use this localisation. For pre-25th Anniversary update use its older version.
Fan translation, download.
Fan translation by TSF, download.


Multiplayer settings (Steam version)
Multiplayer settings (Steam version)
For more information, see the "Half-Life Dedicated Server" section of our GoldSrc article.
Steam version is actively supported via Steamworks with a small but dedicated community.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
Versus, Co-op
Use Universal Split Screen.
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 port forwarding is 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 6003, 7002, 27010, 27015, 27025
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support

3D modes State Notes
User created game profile, (openGL) see vorpx forum profile introduction.
Note The profile also works with Half Life Opposing Force, Half Life Blueshift, Half Life Counterstrike (taken from Half Life - Generations).
See Half-Life: VR.
Oculus VR (LibOVR)
See Half-Life: VR.
Windows Mixed Reality
See Half-Life: VR.
Forte VFX1
Tracked motion controllers
Supports Razer Hydra.
See Input for details.
Traditional controller
See Input for details.
Novint Falcon
The official game-specific 3D Touch Add On is required.
Play area

Issues fixed

InstallShield progress bar hangs and does not load main setup window (Retail version)

The InstallShield used for the early releases can lock up waiting for a resource held by another process.
Find the offending process and terminate it[35]
Can be done using Resource Monitor (Vista or later) or manually terminating non-Microsoft processes one-by-one.
Core FTP server has been observed to cause this issue.

Run the game at screen refresh rate (Retail version)

The retail version of the game defaults to 60 Hz when running with Direct3D renderer in fullscreen mode.
Use the -freq <rate> command line argument[36]
Example: -freq 120 forces a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Input Lag in Direct3D (Retail version)

On certain graphics cards, using the D3D renderer can result in severe input lag, even with disabled VSync.
Set gl_d3dflip 1 in the console[37]

Missing Decals in Direct3D (Retail version)

Use gl_polyoffset -0.01 in the console[citation needed]

Logo Movies At Startup Play Inconsistently (Retail version)

Run with administrator privileges[38]
  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>.
  2. Right click on hl.exe and click Properties.
  3. Click on the compatibility tab.
  4. Check the box that says Run this program as an administrator.

No music playback (retail version)

Switch from CD playback to MP3[39]
  1. Put the MP3 soundtrack of Half-Life Steam version (see here) into <path-to-game>/valve/media/.
  2. Add ID3v1 tags to the MP3 files (see instruction here).


Make sure Half-Life is updated to v1.1.1.0 (see patch), adding MP3 playback support.
This requires a Steam account and Steam platform installed to access the content.
Burn the soundtrack on a separate CD
  1. Open the preferred CD burner utility program.
  2. Create a new audio project.
  3. Place a dummy file as track 1; since track 1 is data, the game skips it and moves straight to track 2.
  4. (This action requires a Steam account and Steam platform installed to access the content) Download the Half-Life soundtrack through Steam (see here) And begin placing the soundtrack from 01 to 27.
  5. Burn the CD.

Main menu issues (Retail Version)

In modern versions of windows the menu is usually not seen in full screen in addition to crashing when loading the game.
Run the game in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2)

Fatal Error - Available memory less than 15MB (Retail version)

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

Missing Blood & Gore (Steam version)

There is an issue with the current Steam release of Half-Life, it can end up downloading a few of the cut content from the German version regardless of the player's location.
Download this file to restore the lost gore[citation needed]

Black screen on startup (Steam version)

Disable FBO rendering[40]
  • Add -nofbo in the game's launch options.

Windows 7/Vista Performance Fix

In Windows 7 or Vista with modern hardware, some users may experience extremely low frame rates during gameplay.
Set HL.exe to high priority[citation needed]
  1. Open Half-Life.
  2. Press Ctrl+ Shift+Esc 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

Replace the liblist.gam file[41]
  1. Make sure Half-Life is not currently running.
  2. Download the replacement liblist.gam from here (download starts immediately).
  3. Extract into <path-to-game>/valve/, replacing the existing file when prompted.

Performance issues with dynamic lights on Intel graphics (OpenGL)

Dynamic light sources being present, such as the flashlight or flickering lights, causes significant frame rate drops and lag spikes on Intel graphics.
Use this GLIntercept config[42]


As this method uses a custom OpenGL32.dll, it should not be used in VAC-protected servers.
Doing this also fixes overbright lighting.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 6 Removed in the January 30, 2013 update.[31]
OpenGL 2.1 3DFX MiniGL included in retail version.
Software renderer
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
[43] Xash3D has a 64-bit build. Refer to this file for instructions on how to use it.[44]
macOS (OS X)
[45]. PowerPC requires Xash3D.[46]


Middleware Notes
Audio Miles Sound System
Input SDL
Cutscenes WebM Used in post 25th anniversary version of the game.
Multiplayer World Opponent Network, Steamworks WON for retail, Steamworks for Steam. The WON servers were shut down on July 31, 2004; fans have since recreated the network as WON2.[47]



Xash3D FWGS is a custom open-source Half-Life-compatible engine, made to overcome the limit of the GoldSrc engine, fixing compatibility issues for the original non-Steam versions too[48]
It also includes quality of life options fit for modern systems, including HUD scaling.

Quality Of Life Fixes (Steam & Retail)

These fix certain small things without significantly altering the experience. Compiled from FWGS hlsdk-portable.
  • Fixes some viewmodel animations.
  • Fixes "rapid fire" crowbar when hitting certain corpses.
  • Fixes tripmine beam duplication.
Read the changelog on the GitHub page for more fixes.

Half-Life: Dreamcast

Port of the Dreamcast version's original and modified content.

Yet another PS2 Half-Life PC port

Port of the PlayStation 2 version's content.
Does not include Half-Life: Decay.

Half-Life 1: Ray Traced

Half-Life 1: Ray Traced uses Xash3D: Ray Traced engine which is a variation of the Xash3D FWGS engine, with a custom path traced renderer.


Alternative audio pipeline for GoldSrc. Re-implements 3D audio without replacing entire rendering pipeline. Combines A3D’s HRTF and Occlusion with EAX’s reverb.[49]
Not compatible with software renderer.[50]
Currently incompatible with the latest 25th Anniversary update[51]. A workaround for 25th anniversary update is to use MetaHookSv and load MetaAudio with it, see the instructions here.
Do not use on VAC secured server.

Higher definition models

Included in the Steam release. For the retail version of Half-Life and its expansions, the Official HD Pack can be found on PcGamingWiki.
The High Definition Pack replaces most weapon and player/enemy models with higher polygon versions that resemble the PS2 models. For other options follow this guide.
The option to enable the pack in-game is in the options menu, and the game must be restarted for it to take effect.
The effect changes the art style dramatically, and whether or not it's desirable is up to personal preference.

Full Audio Remaster

Makes all of the bit-crushed sounds & voices much more clear.
Requires Xash3D or MetaAudio.

Restored logo playback via ffplay (Steam & Retail)

This is an alternative way to get the logo movies playing like they should, but without using the engine itself. This uses a series of VBS, BAT, and PS1 scripts which will make the logos play with FFplay then launch the game. This allows higher quality videos to play and other formats that otherwise would not work in normal Gold Source.
Because this uses an external method not tied to the engine, works on all PC versions of Half-Life including the Pre-25th Anniversary version.

This will replace the existing Valve logo with a higher quality and newer version of the classic Valve logo (Open your eyes from 2004). Found within the files of the Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer. Available for Retail and latest Steam 25th Anniversary update.
Recommended to use with Sierra Studios splash mod.


See Half-Life Crosshair Changer to customize the crosshairs.
HD Half-Life Crosshairs
Upscales crosshairs to make them more visible when using Full HD or 4K resolutions.
Optionally changes color of the crosshairs for Blue Shift to better match add-on aesthetics.

WON styled menu text (25th anniversary update)

This modifies the main and pause menu text for Half-Life and expansions to look more like the WON version of the menus and fixes inconsistencies with Blue Shift's and Opposing Force's menus. This simply changes the text and does not change the menu colors, looks, or add/modify menu functions.

Enabling developer mode

Enabling developer mode will allow use of in-game cheats and various console commands.
Use the developer 1 in console[52]


The developer console can be opened by pressing ~. It may have to be turned on in the in-game settings first.
To allow console commands such as god and noclip, use the command sv_cheats 1.
A save-game might have to be reloaded after enabling cheat mode for certain commands to work.

Console commands

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

Play Half-Life 1 Anthology / 2005 Jewel-case release offline without Steam

Older version of the game which runs better on slower machines
Supports more advanced mods than the WON version
  1. Use lessmsi to extract platform.gcf from the on-disc steam.msi.
  2. Install the game from hl.msi on the CD.
  3. Go to <path-to-game>\SteamApps folder.
  4. Move the aforementioned platform.gcf into here.
  5. Using GCFScape extract the root folder of each .gcf file into a desired folder, except platform.gcf
  6. Open platform.gcf in GCFScape.
  7. Highlight all the folders on the right and extract them to a new folder on the desktop.
  8. Rename this new folder to platform and move into the folder containing the rest of the extracted game data.
  9. The game requires a Steam.dll to run. It can be acquired from any complete version of Steam (standard modern Steam, 2004 Steam, etc.), or a 2004 retail copy of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
  10. Place the Steam.dll into the folder containing the extracted game files.
  11. The game also requires a FileSystem_Stdio.dll to run. This can be acquired from a digital Steam copy of any Half-Life based game (steam_legacy beta) or a 2004 retail copy of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
  12. Place the FileSystem_Stdio.dll into the folder containing the extracted game files.
  13. Run hl.exe to start the game.
  14. Input the CD-key to play the game if asked.

The game can now be uninstalled from the control panel without losing the extracted files.

System requirements

Retail ("WON") version

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, 98, NT 4.0
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 133 MHz
System memory (RAM) 24 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 400 MB
Video card (GPU) SVGA, high color (16-bit) compatible display (software mode)

Steam version

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7
Processor (CPU) 500 MHz
System memory (RAM) 96 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) 16 MB of VRAM
Windows XP (and possibly Vista) are no longer supported since the 25th anniversary update.[53]
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 Graphics 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
Other Graphic Drivers: Nvidia 310, AMD 12.11


  1. When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).
  2. SGSSAA is also technically possible, but a GPU driver bug results in affine textures becoming extremely blurry in OpenGL games such as this title, especially noticable when texture filtering is disabled.
  3. However, the default config provided by Valve heavily relies on Keyboard/Mouse bindings.


  1. [1] - last accessed on 2023-03-22
  2. Half-Life Released (retrieved) - last accessed on 2023-06-17
  3. Half-Life: 25th Anniversary Update - last accessed on 2023-11-18
  4. Verified by User:Tecc on 2021-04-10
    Intro files will be skipped by using this command-line argument. (only for the retail version)
  5. Verified by User:AlphaYellow on 2024-01-28
  6. Increased Fonts For HL1 addon - Half-Life - Mod DB - last accessed on May 2023
  7. Verified by User:SirYodaJedi on 2020-03-04
    Figured out more vanilla-esque settings
  8. Is there anyway to change the default F.O.V.? :: Half Life General Discussions
  9. 9.0 9.1 How to get 144hz/fps?
  10. Steam Community :: Half-Life :: Events - last accessed on May 2023
  11. Half life bugs - last accessed on 2024
  12. [HL1] Skybox texture is always filtered in OpenGL mode · Issue #2606 · ValveSoftware/halflife - last accessed on 2023-06-05
  13. How to remove texture filtering in OpenGL - last accessed on May 2023
  14. gl_overbright — Landy on YouTube - last accessed on 2023-08-07
  15. 25th Anniversary Update: Overbright not working · Issue #3424 · ValveSoftware/halflife - last accessed on 2023-11-18
  16. VOGONS • View topic - Half-Life overbright compatibility - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  17. gl_overbright & OpenGL · Issue #230 · ValveSoftware/halflife - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  18. Half-Life with OpenAL (EFX, Surround Sound, and HRTF!) : HalfLife - last accessed on May 2023
  19. Verified by User:SirYodaJedi on 2023-08-11
    This is prominent when texture filtering is disabled (as it should be). If texture filtering is enabled, this will result in textures with transparent sections having smaller transparent sections.
  20. [citation needed]
  21. [citation needed]
  22. Mesa3D Documentation: Enviroment Variables - last accessed on May 2023
  23. How to use mesa while Nvidia module is loaded ? - last accessed on May 2023
  24. Mesa3D Documentation: Enviroment Variables - last accessed on November 2023
  25. [citation needed]
  26. Verified by User:Al2009man on 2023-11-17
    Tested by disabling Steam Input completely and use DualShock 4, DualSense and Xbox Controllers on both Wired and Bluetooth. Seems to rely on SDL2 to handle overall Controller support.
  27. Verified by User:Al2009man on 2023-11-20
    Tested by adding bind "Joy1" [InsertGameActionHere] on the file. For reference: Joy1 is the "Gamepad A" Button.
  28. Steam HL1 5.1 sound - Steam discussions forums.
  29. Tech help: Half-Life - Vortex of Sound (retrieved)
  30. Half Life Aureal A3D Fix - Aureal A3D Central - last accessed on May 2023
  31. 31.0 31.1 Half-Life - Half-Life 1 and Counter-Strike 1.6 updated - Steam News - last accessed on 2023-06-24
  32. Half-Life German (Depot 74) - History - Change #M:4270101312314046852 - SteamDB - last accessed on 2023-02-20
  33. Half-Life goes uncensored in Germany, two decades after original release - Polygon - last accessed on May 2023
  34. German version uncensored now? :: Steam Community Discussions - last accessed on May 2023
  35. Half-Life GOTY (non-Steam version) on Windows 7 64-bit - last accessed on May 2023
  36. Command Line Options - Valve Developer Community - last accessed on May 2023
  37. - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  38. Verified by User:Scottvordem on 2023-1-1
    Tested this several times by starting the game over and over again and the movies played every time.
  39. Half-Life WON (CD) does not have music :: Half-Life General Discussions
  40. Steam Community - last accessed on May 2023
  41. "IF you are Missing Voice and Multiplayer Tabs under Options" Steam Users' Forum Thread (retrieved)
  42. [citation needed]
  43. Verified by User:Vetle on 2016-10-22
  44. Xash3D FWGS engine - last accessed on 2023-08-04
  45. 45.0 45.1 Verified by User:Faalagorn on 2019-11-09
  46. Half-Life running on PPC Mac for the first time - last accessed on 24 March 2023
  47. WON2 Server Network - last accessed on May 2023
  48. - last accessed on May 2023
  49. Half-Life w/ EAX and 3D spatial sound in MetaAudio (OpenAL Soft HRTF) - YouTube - last accessed on May 2023
  50. Half-Life - 3D spatial sound comparison: Stereo, CMSS-3D, DSOAL, MetaAudio HRTF - YouTube - last accessed on May 2023
  51. Stops working with the recent Half-Life 25th Anniversary update - GitHub - last accessed on Nov 2023
  52. Verified by User:AlphaYellow on 2024-01-28
  53. Steam CS1.6 on Windows XP in 2024 - last accessed on 2022-03-25
    "Half-Life binaries are no longer compatible with Windows XP after the 25th anniversary update. To play Half-Life and its mods, you'll have to roll back the 25th anniversary version to steam_legacy."