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Valve Patches Half-Life 2 to Ready it for the Steam Deck

Valve Patches Half-Life 2 to Ready it for the Steam Deck

Valve’s ambitious handheld gaming PC, the Steam Deck, is still on track for release in December 2021, just in time for the holidays. They just recently launched “Deck Verified,” a rating system for testing and verifying the performance of Steam’s numerous games on the Steam Deck. Of course, Valve can’t very well be judging other developer’s games without making sure their own are ready for prime time, which is why Valve has patched Half-Life 2 to ready it for the Steam Deck.

This morning, eagle-eyed Steam users noticed that Half-Life 2, Valve’s generation-defining physics shooter, had begun a new beta update branch. There hadn’t been any official updates on this, so whatever it was, Valve was keeping it on the Q.T. 

Valve Patches Half-Life 2 to Ready it for the Steam Deck

Upon inspection, the beta update features a laundry list of improvements to Half-Life 2, all made in the interest of ensuring the game has the best performance possible on the Steam Deck. The improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Proper resolution display in the game’s interface
  • Larger, more customizable UI
  • Customizable aspect ratio

As Valve has explained in promotional materials regarding the Deck Verified program, an important factor in verification is whether or not a game’s UI elements are still clearly legible, even in the Steam Deck’s smaller, slightly skewed aspect ratio. Users have connected the dots that these updates to Half-Life 2 are to ensure the game fits that criteria itself, lest Valve accidentally shoot itself in the foot when the Steam Deck release.

Interestingly, in promotional material for Deck Verified, users noticed that Team Fortress 2, Valve’s other major shooter, is marked only as “Playable” rather than “Verified,” indicating that it’s not at 100% compatibility yet. Some are expecting to see a stealth update for Team Fortress 2 before the console releases, in a similar vein to Half-Life 2.

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