Developer: Valve Software
Release Date: November 19, 1998
Source Code Release Date: Not released to the public
For the 100th game on Mac Source Ports, I wanted it to be something special. It turned out to be a quite a doozy as well.
It's not an overstatement to say Half-Life changed everything. It challenged what we thought first person shooters, narrative content, and gaming atmosphere in general were capable of. It spawned spinoffs, sequels, and launched Valve software into the massive force it is today. It says something that in a world filled with tons of games to choose from, everyone is still begging Valve to make another entry in this series to tie off the now fifteen-year cliffhanger of Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
Half-Life and the Mac have an interesting history, as well. Long before Steam was even a thought in their head, Valve announced and began work on porting the game to Mac OS 9, but it was eventually canceled. Then in 2013, Valve decided to release Steam for the Mac, the first non-Windows computer platform for it, and ported their games to Steam in the process, so now finally Half-Life was available on the Mac. However, the releases were 32-bit apps so when macOS 10.15 Catalina cut off support for 32-bit apps, Half-Life became unavailable to anyone who upgraded, and Apple Silicon Macs never had a chance to play it.
Meanwhile, a project arose called Xash3D. Since the engine for Half-Life, now retronymed GoldSrc for various reasons, was derived from Quake and Quake II, and the SDK for mods was also available, theoretically someone could reverse engineer the game with a lot of effort. The Xash3D project and the later successor project, Xash3D-FWGS, appear to have done exactly that over the course of many years now. The result is a fascinating Frankenstein project meshing various id Tech engines and source ports together, the net effect of which is Half-Life can be played on everything from an Android phone to a Raspberry Pi.
In 2019, the Xash3D-FWGS project dropped any official support for macOS and iOS due to Apple's deprecation of OpenGL and decision to move towards signed and notarized code. As a result, I've had many people ask me to build this project so I figured I'd eventually do it and the one year anniversary of the site and the 100th game seemed appropriate to me. However the one year anniversary of the site was a month ago, but if there's an appropriate project for Valve Time to affect, it would be this one.
There are some known issues - like how the menus can only be maneuvered with the arrow and return keys, and some in-game text is small. I'm working with the maintainers to sort these out.
They're waiting for you. In the test chamber...