Post news RSS Half-Life: Enriched - Features and FAQ

Half-Life: Enriched aims to update the look and feel of Half-Life with reworked maps and artwork.

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Curious about the highlights on the front page? This article goes futher into detail on the features, plans and Frequently Asked Questions surrounding Half-Life: Enriched.


- Full overhaul of Half-Life's singleplayer campaign

Half-Life: Enriched aims to rework all of the original Half-Life maps in the singleplayer campaign. This means you'll see larger, better looking maps, with more details. It will look and feel like the original Half-Life but better looking and with various gameplay changes.

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- 50% less loading points

Half-Life was one of the first games to have contineous gameplay with the use of loading points inbetween maps. Half-Life: Enriched cuts down on these loading points by merging maps together. This gets rid of many of the issues surrounding the loading points and sometimes opens up new possibilities for gameplay.


- Chapter selection menu

Jump right into your favourite chapter or start from the very beginning.

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- Upscaled texture resolution

Using AI software, all textures in the original Half-Life have been upscaled from the original 128x128 to a higher resolution of 256x256 pixels. Thus, Half-Life: Enriched will look twice as sharp.


- Completely retextured with over 400 new texture variants

Due to the texture upscaling, all maps had to be completely retextured. By doing so, many errors and inconsistensies have been fixed. Next to that, many new variants to older textures have been created to improve the visuals of the maps.

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- Completely reworked lighting effects
The upscaled textures create a much sharper lightmap which gives shadows and light more pronounces effects than in the original Half-Life. Nearly all lights now rely on much more realistic texture lighting and have soft glow effects.

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- Detail overlays for every texture

Half-Life: Enriched will have full support for detail textures. These overlays will greatly increase the sharpness of the textures and can be toggled on or off according to taste.


- Updated weapon, NPC and monster models

All original models will recieve and update to their texture resolution and poly count, while retaining their original 1998 style.

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- New 3D skyboxes

All low resolution 2D skyboxes have been replaces with actual 3D modeled landscape.

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- Partial support for old Half-Life versions.

Half-Life: Enriched comes with extra files for the old retail version of Half-Life, also known as WON Half-Life. Most of the campaign will be playable with these files but there might be some missing features, noticably the random monster placements and the co-operative version.

Frequently Asked Questions:

(or rather: Answers To Questions I Presume People Might Have)

Q: Who is working on Half-Life:Enriched?
A: Me (Hezus). That's everyone.

Q: When will Half-Life: Enriched be done?

A: There is no set release date, but I've made it a habit to release Alpha builds containing new content regularly (every few weeks, mostly). You can imagine it will take a long time for just one person to completely remake Half-Life, so I don't even dare to put a release date on it.

Q: There have been loads of Half-Life improvement MODs. What makes this different?
The main difference lies in the maps. Other MODs have mostly just changed the artwork (models, sounds and textures) but were not able to change the core of the game: the map design. This gives me the chance to change Half-Life in more ways than just the looks.

Q: How did you get the original map sources? Do you know someone at Valve?
A: I do not know anyone at Valve and I do not have the map sources. These sources were created from decompiled maps from the Half-Life:Source port. I was able to reverse engineer back to the original sources using the entity information from decompiled Half-Life maps. This is a lot of work.

Q: Why aren't you merging more maps together?
A: The Half-Life engine (also known as Goldsource) is very limited. Merging too many maps together will make you break those limits and the map cannot be compiled or loaded.

Q: Are you expanding the Half-Life maps?
A: Mostly no. I'm adding extra details and add background scenery but in most cases I keep the original designs intact. You'll not be finding new corridors and rooms. One exception is when maps overlapped eachother around a level change point. Then I was forced to make some adjustments to make the maps fit again. I've taken most liberties with outdoor areas. You'll find that landscapes have been redone fully from scratch.

Q: Are you adding Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Uplink or any other expansion?
A: No. Because of Half-Life:Source I was able to get somewhat intact sources to the maps but these do not exist for Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Decay and Uplink. These would have to be redone fully from scratch. Too much for my self to take on, unless I have 10 years of non-stop free time ;).

Q: Are you adding any lore from Half-Life 2 or the Half-Life expansions?
A: No. I'm keeping to the 1998 version of Half-Life. I'm not retroactively changing things according to whatever was added in other Half-Life games.

Q: Are you making big changes to Xen just like Black Mesa did?
A: I've taken some more liberties with Xen but not as far as Black Mesa. You'll find that all landscape has been redone from scratch and I've mixed up the order of some of the maps for gameplay and story purposes.

Q: Are you releasing this MOD on Steam?
A: Maybe. I do like the idea of getting my work released on Steam, but that isn't a one-click process. First, Valve would have to review my content and allow it on their platform. I don't expect them to block my MOD for any reason but it's not a guarantee. Secondly, there is a $100 fee that I would have to cover.

Q: Why aren't you upscaling to 512x512 pixels textures? Half-Life supports those!
A: Half-Life supports them but it comes at a high cost. The engine has many limits and one of them is the lightmap allocation. If you pick 512x512 as your standard, you'll need a 0.25 lightmap scale. With so much light information, I often won't be able to merge maps and stay within the engine limits.

I'm also not relying on high definition detail textures to replace the default textures. These will only work for later Half-Life versions that support detail textures and videocards that can render them. If I went this route, I could not release it for legacy systems.

Q: I don't have Steam. How can I play this on the old retail (WON) version of Half-Life?
A: Just unzip all contents to your Half-Life folder. Then open the WON folder in the package and copy that content into the Half-Life folder. Overwrite files when prompted and you should be good to go.

Q: Are you using XASH3D?
A: No, I'm not using Xash3D, because I want this project to run on legacy hardware within the original engine. Also, the Half-Life SDK license says that the game assets from Half-Life can only be used with the Half-Life engine. First and foremost, I want to honour that agreement. Valve has supported the MOD community for a long time and I greatly respect them for it.

Valve has allowed their intellectual property to be used outside their own engine(s) but they are known to frown upon XASH. Valve would probably not send lawyers with a C&D order if I did use Xash, but my chance of ever getting the MOD on Steam would then be zero.

Even though I'm not officially supporting it, Xash3D should be able to read the old WON dlls, so you could put together your own build if you know what you're doing.

Q: Does this MOD work with Half-Life's 25th Anniversary version?
A: Yes.

Q: Does this MOD work with Half-Life RTX / Half-Life: MMOD / any other MOD?
A: It could work but it's depending on the amount of code differences between Enriched and other mods. If you want to try, feel free but I'm not going out of my way to support all these MODs.

Q: Are you supporting Linux?
A: I do not have the knowledge to create builds for Linux at the moment. I might do so in the future or find someone to help me with this task. My initial goal is a Windows release.

Q: Are you planning a multiplayer mode?
A: Once the singleplayer is done, I would really like to adjust the campaign for co-operative play (with a small group). This is not easy to do however and requires a lof of engine upgrades. We'll see if it's possible onces the time comes.

Q: Why aren't you using this or that model/art/texture pack?
A: I often get linked artwork packs from other authors with the message to use it for my MOD. I always decline because I like to create things myself. I enjoy working on these maps and models. I also enjoy having the creative freedom and control over said artwork and I can only truely attain that if I rely on my own sources.

Q: What code base are you using?
A: I'm using Solokiller's Half-Life: Updated SDK for the Steam version of Half-Life. I'm also keeping a second code base which uses the original HL SDK, compiled with Visual Studio 6, to support older (Windows 9x) builds of Half-Life.

Q: Do you need any development help?
A: So far I've been doing great on my own. I could really use the help of an experienced coder, since this is not my strongsuit. If you are interested and able, please let me know.

Q: Can I be part of your test team?
A: I'd like to keep a small test team, so I'm not actively looking for new testers. I do refresh the team every now and then, so keep an eye on the news posts. I might call for another round of testers at any time.

Q: I've tested an alpha build and it has bugs! How is this possible?
A: That's why it's called an alpha release. Before I release builds, I test if they are stable and playable but I do not thoroughly test every aspect. This means there can be the occasional error or bug. I release these builds for people who like to play something without having to wait years for it. Next to that I enjoy sharing my work and it keeps me motivated to work in the project if I get to release small bits at a regular interval and get feedback.

Q: Why did you change X? Why did you remove Y? Why don't you add Z? Who do you think you are changing Half-Life?
A: I enjoy receiving feedback on my work and I generally take advice to heart. I also enjoy writing articles about my motivations and like to explain my alterations to the game. However, I want Half-Life: Enriched to be my MOD. I want it to be Half-Life, the way I envision it. I want to enjoy myself while working on it because I'm doing it mainly for myself. I do not get paid for this, I do not ask for money.

This also means that there will be people who disagree with my choices or wanted to see things differently. Especially with such a pinnacle of gaming history, certain people can become very hostile when someone dares to even consider changing a minor things. If you do not like it, that's alright. Half-Life as we know it still exists. I'm not looking to replace it. This MOD is for the people who want to play something a bit different and I invite everyone to be part of it.

I will be updating this post with new information and questions regulary. Be sure to check in!

PsyWarVeteran - - 1,885 comments

I'm so glad that this runs on GoldSRC and isn't Xash only.

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lucianoends - - 147 comments

Yes, I agree.

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saviddub - - 4 comments

I mean it's the same principle, just reversed.

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Vyolette13 - - 221 comments

When its eventually finished I hope this project can get on steam!

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Hezus Author
Hezus - - 563 comments

I might do so if I can get it polished far enough. There's also a $100 fee to get it on Steam, so that's also something to consider.

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PsyWarVeteran - - 1,885 comments

I say don't bother, if your mod is good enough (which it certainly looks so) you'll get noticed, with or without Steam.

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kimilil - - 48 comments

That's some HUGE flourescent tubes in the Office Complex screenshot.

Also, are you aware about the photo sources of Half-Life textures that Karen Laur released? Have you considered using it as the source for the texture upscaling? Using original sources is always better than creating detail out of nothing as is the case with general AI upscaling.

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Hezus Author
Hezus - - 563 comments

I'm aware of those photo sources but those only take up a small part of the entire Half-Life WAD. Turning those sources into useable textures again will take a lot of work. And then recreating the other 2500 textures with the same quality level.. that would take forever.

Plus, if I then scaled down those photo-based textures to a level that the Half-Life engine can hanlde (256x256) I would lose a lot of detail anyway. There would only be a very small gain in comparisement to the upscaled variants.

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kimilil - - 48 comments

> Plus, if I then scaled down those photo-based textures to a level that the Half-Life engine can hanlde (256x256) I would lose a lot of detail anyway

You can have up to 512x512 if you use detail textures. It's an 18 year old feature now. And there's already a good tutorial on how to make it look really good: (moddb is dumb so here's a shortened link:

You can't say upscaling is comparable to that.

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Hezus Author
Hezus - - 563 comments

I'm only using detail textures in the way their were intended: as overlays for existing textures. I want my MOD to be playable on old HL versions on legacy hardware. Those might not be able to display higher resolution textures (or lack video memory to load them all).

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Jonex. - - 568 comments


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ritafudec - - 2 comments

Woah! This is impressive. Trying out the alpha now

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Guest - - 693,146 comments

In my experience, Valve doesn't really care about Xash, so it'll be nice to support it anyway.

Even if not, would like to help you with Linux builds.

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Hezus Author
Hezus - - 563 comments

From what I've heard, the Windows 9x DLLs seem to work fine with Xash, so it's possible to put together your own Xash version. I know Valve doesn't actively hunt down Half-Life MODs on Xash but I still want to honour the license agreement. Especially if I ever wanted this to be released on Steam. So, I'll never officially support it.

I would like to take you up on the offer of Linux builds! It'll probably still take a while before we're at that point, though. If you have a moddb account (or make one) make sure to PM me.

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fry2bums - - 62 comments

the 2003 leak also has vmfs for half-life 1

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Armored_Ork - - 83 comments


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Guywithanexistance - - 135 comments

if its okay i can make half life blue shift enriched?

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Hezus Author
Hezus - - 563 comments

No. I'm ok with people using my assets for a new original mod (if they've asked for permission). But just slapping the Enriched brand to Blue Shift is a no-go.

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Mistirius - - 2 comments

This looks amazing my man! Keep up the good work

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That_Janitor - - 4 comments

Someone here please help. I copied this into the folder like every other mod but it changes nothing in the game. How do i get it to work?

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ellilldan - - 3 comments

How install other mods (models/textures) on Enriched? In custom folder.

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Guest - - 693,146 comments

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