If we are talking about the Valve classic released in 2004, then we are talking about one of the best games in the history of the PC and a story that is still incomplete, although in this case it is not to talk about a third part that concludes the story that stayed. halfway, especially after the abrupt end of Episode 2. The latest? Almost 20 years after the game’s releasewe can now play Half-Life 2 on a Raspberry Pi.
Although it may seem surprising to you, Half-Life 2 has already appeared several times on platforms that are not based on PC technology. For example, we once had a version for SONY’s PlayStation 3, based on the CBEA processor, of the popular Orange Box. Also a few years ago NVIDIA released a handheld console, the Tegra Shield, which was based on an ARM instruction set processor.
Half-Life 2 comes to Raspberry Pi 4
Well, said ISA is the same one used by the Raspberry Pi, however, the origin of the source code is not the version that was released years ago for the failed NVIDIA laptop since the code of said version had optimizations for unique elements. from the green company hardware. Rather its origin is found in a leak of the source code of Team Fortress 2 that occurred in 2018, however, despite the fact that they have managed to make the game work, it cannot be said that its performance is optimal, indeed, it can be considered unplayable under current standards.
such a feat we owe it to Reddit user zbioswho has also compiled another version of the game for Apple’s M2 processors, but with different results.
It is not a version that we recommend playing
And it must be taken into account that Half-Life 2 under Raspberry Pi only works on the fourth generation device and that the integrated GPU is extremely simple. Not just in terms of raw power, but in terms of the API supported. And it is that it cannot even run the game with its best clothes, which are the graphics under DirectX 9 or OpenGL 2, but rather it has to be done under the first version of OpenGL. Which completely lacks graphic shaders and the visual aspect is quite noticeable.
The other point is the frame rate and resolution, the game does not manage to exceed 20 FPS at 720p resolution and we should not expect a big improvement by overclocking. This reminds us of the infamous version for PS2 that came out in the mid-2000s and was unplayable due to lack of power. In any case, it is understood from the moment the Raspberry Pi was not thought for Half Life 2 and its list of possibilities goes beyond running video games, despite the stubbornness of reducing its usefulness to running ROMS of old games.
A version for Apple M2 has also appeared
As we have said before, whoever has compiled the source code has also made its corresponding version for the Apple M2, here the difference in performance between the two chips is noticeable and with a difference. And it is that the processor for the computers of Cupertino is capable of moving the graphics with all the visual options to the maximum, at a much higher resolution and at more than 300 FPS
All this opens the door for Homebrew versions of Half Life 2 and not only for the Pi 4 and Apple computers, but for any system based on a processor that is compatible with the ARM instructions. For example, the Nintendo Switch, which has recently received a version of Portal using the same engine, or even the PlayStation Vita come to mind. In any case, remember that they are not official versions of Valve and rather come from the community. Be that as it may, it is always welcome to play a classic like this on any platform, even if it is not, let’s say, conventional.