There are few games which stir gaming passions or memories as strong as Half-Life 2. Valve’s Source Engine powered sequel was a masterpiece of emergent first person shooter design and ushered in a new era of gaming for many. Well, you can now explore the opening environments of this beloved title, gloriously up-rezzed via Epic’s cutting-edge Unreal Engine 4 in virtual reality, courtesy of one industrious 3D artist.

Half-Life 2 was the title which propelled Valve and their then fledgling digital content portal Steam into the stratosphere when it appeared way back in 2004. The game introduced not only a new level of technical fidelity for games, in particular physics, it also represented a generational leap in gaming narrative, at least for the genre. The dystopian world woven by Valve’s artists felt so complete, with first rate production, sound design and writing coming together to form one of the best games ever made.


For those reasons and more, the news that you can now wander through one of HL2’s opening environment, remodelled with spiffy textures and rendered with the technical prowess of UE4, gazing upon it all with an Oculus Rift VR headset, should be treated with some excitement. That’s precicely what 3D Artist ‘PogoP’ has done in re-creating the famous City 17 apartment area, featured during Gordon Freeman’s pursuit by the Combine.

I’ve chosen one of the apartment stairwells to re-make, primarily just because I wanted to try making a small environment getting out of my usual sci-fi comfort zone, and I want to attempt to make a scene entirely using Substance Designer and Painter. I’m also going to expand this scene into an exterior too as that will be good fun! I’m not giving myself any time limit on this scene, I just want to have fun with it in my spare time.

Unsurprisingly, this is a time consuming project and as yet, just the apartment’s stairwell and attic area are complete, but the designer has plans for more – including:

  • Block-out exterior. I have started on the Attic section, but I want to expand on this and create an exterior including a City 17 vista and streets down below. Lots to do for this!
  • So far I’ve only been blocking out materials and only really started on creating props. I want to add a little more unique detail such as plaster decals, paint decals and just generally break up the surfaces a bit more.
  • Make loads more props for the interior! Cardboard boxes, carpets, rugs, more junk such as takeaways boxes, trash, newspapers etc.
  • More HL2-specific stuff. I’ve got the basics in and next I want to re-create some Combine posters and eventually, get more Combine machinery in this scene.
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A taste of what a modern HL2 would look like then and perhaps, dare we mention, Half-Life 3. PogoP plans to release the recreation with Oculus Rift support soon. We’ll let you know when it appears.

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  • illuzion

    fantastic job, looks amazing :)

  • kalqlate

    BEAUTIFUL!! True talent! True passion! It would be cool if Valve would get behind this, even if it is produced in another engine. Imagine this with Vive support where you could walk around a little. Oh, and then you hear the moaning zombies and frantic, growling creatures. … Ahh, the memories :D