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Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast
(hx) 07:54 AM EST - Dec,22 2005

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast is a single-stage extension level/ technology demo of the blockbuster Half-Life 2. The level included shows off Valve's High Dynamic Range lighting commonly referred to simply as HDR, with new gameplay to demonstrate the new effects.

So what is HDR lighting? Here's a really technical detail into what HDR exactly is, from our friends over at
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and is also sometimes referred to as High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) or High Dynamic Range Rendering (HDRR). The Dynamic Range is the ratio of the largest value of a signal to the lowest measurable value. Current 16-bit integer-based formats use colour component values from 0 ("black") to 1 ("white"), but don't allow for what is known as "over-range" values, for example, a whiter-than-white highlight glinting off a piece of metal.

HDR facilitates the use of colour values way outside the normal range in an effort to produce a more realistic rendering of a typical 3D scene. If you have ever driven through a dark tunnel in your car, and then emerged out the other side into blazing sunshine, temporarily blinded by the difference in light levels - that oversaturation is one example of what is possible with HDR.
So basically, HDR makes the lighting look bloody good! :) Of course, you can download (free for Half-Life 2 owners) and play Lost Coast if you don't have an HDR-capable video card, though you won't be able to run with HDR enabled.

The actual gameplay in Lost Coast is pretty short. You wake up on a rocky beach, and an old fisherman nearby tells you that the Combine have built a huge gun atop the seaside cliff that's shelling the town nearby. He unlocks a gate for you, and you must battle your way up the stairs and the cliff to get to the monastery that houses the gun. There are a lot of Combine to deal with and they have a new trick or two that may surprise you.

The included level only took 15 minutes to finish, minus the commentary. That's why I won't rate Lost Coast - it's NOT an expansion pack, nor does it offer any significantly new playable content. It's tech-demo, so don't get all mad and disappointed if you download it and finish it pretty quick. Still glad they are showing what to expect from the first full-featured Half-Life 2 expansion - Aftermath (now slated for March 2006).

release: October 2005
developer: Valve
publisher: Half-Life 2 homepage

last 10 comments:

Anonymous(08:14 AM EST - Dec,22 2005 )

devilhood(08:25 AM EST - Dec,22 2005 )

Lost Goat tbh
It's a cool map though.

xxxx(10:23 AM EST - Dec,22 2005 )
Bill Gates> HX won't rate it but I will. I give it 98%... i deducted 1% because Doom3 still remains slightly better, and the other 1% because Valve still persists on supporting ATI cards? I mean... why?! :p

Clueless. Doom3 looks better? Go back and play your smurf game you loser. I agree with HX, but I'll say Lost Coast is a joke if you consider the time it was in development. Source also has the lousies SDK on the planet. UT2K4 is still the best engine imo to develop a mod on. Valve, Source, VAC, HL2 and Gabe Newell are all a total joke. Over rated trash imo.

Bert(01:46 PM EST - Dec,22 2005 )
HL2:Lost Coast is a tech demo. Doom3 is great no question, however most levels are played in the dark, in tight corridors, with extreme shadows. Can't express too much in that. HL2:Lost Coast, expecially if your video card is relatively modern, the textures, the sky, reflections, refractions, the contrast are much more vibrant whether you are standing on a cliff ledge or inside in the church. It looks fairly real. The screenies give an idea.

xxxx(06:09 PM EST - Dec,22 2005 )
If your saying this looks real, then you need to get out more often.

Bert(08:53 PM EST - Dec,22 2005 )
I wrote "fairly real". If you can link screenies of another game thats more technically impressive, by all means do.

Jelster(03:59 AM EST - Dec,23 2005 )
xxxx we understand you're sore at Valve for some personal reason but to constantly slam the HL2 engine and anything they produce is a bit close minded.

Valve have, in Lost Coast, implemented a new technology and created a level to show its various features off. Its by no means going to bring about a huge leap in graphical realism but its certainly one element that needs to be implemented into ALL engines.

I also like the way the level has the commentary points, it would be nice to have director's editions of games in the Deluxe releases which would allow you to run through the game with similar commentary tags.

In all I like the HL2 engine, I think its a very lean and graphically impressive engine which will no doubt be built upon like the Q3 engine was. For some reason MP games based on the engine just don't seem to be my cuppa but thats a more personal choice.

ps. someone really needs to get a sarcasm sensor for xmas. :)

KingArthur(02:40 PM EST - Dec,23 2005 )
Screen shots can't do it justice but I think the lost coast looks pretty good...




Nosferatu(03:52 AM EST - Dec,24 2005 )
xxxx, what's so disgusting in this screenshot:
I think it DOES look FAIRLY real too.
Source looks prettier and prettier, they don't let it age that fast, that's a really good policy.

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