Today I had a thought, wouldn’t be nice to play the original Half-Life on Mac again? Once a year I open Steam with the hope that Valve releases 64-bit support for their greatest titles. But no.
Turns out, some good people reverse-engineered the 32-bit engine, and then Mac Source Ports owner rewrote it for the 64-bit architecture and released the signed native build for Apple Silicon Macs! I played through the tutorial, and it still surprised me, I forgot that the game has physics-based puzzles. There’s some scaling issue which I couldn’t fix, the biggest problem is that aim is almost invisible. Hopefully, it will be ironed out as it looks like the work is still in progress.
The game runs great with no other issues. 450 MB for the game from Steam which Valve allows to download even though it is marked as incompatible and 14 MB for the notarised launcher. Amazing!
Oh yes, it even registered with Steam and counted my playtime. Although I wouldn’t put too much trust into that because it also says that I played just 2.9 hours of the Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, and I know I played more than that a long time ago.
I also learned that there was an ill-faited Half-Life Mac OS 9 port which was cancelled. Gabe didn’t want to compromise on the auto-update feature and multiplayer. The Mac port was cancelled weeks before its release, while it was in beta. It even bankrupted the developer. It was bad for Apple too, but I can understand the motivation to deliver the whole package. I find it very interesting.
Now there’s still the newest and greatest Half-Life game I never played through because it requires VR, and I keep wondering if is it going to be ported to Sony’s PlayStation VR2, or maybe even the speculative VR device from Apple? But this discussion is for another time, it’s getting late here.