Valve has quietly released an update for Half-Life 2 which seemingly adds a number of new features and repairs some long-standing bugs.
As spotted by Valve YouTuber Tyler McVicker, Valve has added a beta branch to the game on Steam which seems mainly designed to prepare the game for the Steam Deck handheld, but also adds some new features better suited to PC players.
McVicker points out that because the update is still in beta form just now there are no patch notes yet, but he did note that the main focus of the update appears to be adapting the resolution scaling and the UI to make sure the game looks good on Steam Deck’s 1280×800 resolution.
The HUD has now been unlocked and scales to whatever resolution the game is being played at, and if players are using a widescreen display the HUD elements are now much larger and easier to see.
“This is how the game was intended to be seen, and because Valve never took the time to fix it we’ve been playing an inferior version”, McVicker claims.
Players can now also increase the game’s field of view to 110 without having to modify the game’s .DLL files, and the game now also supports ultrawide monitors.
Perhaps most telling is the newly added support for the Vulkan rendering API. Vulkan is compatible with Linux, which the Steam Deck’s SteamOS uses, and offers lower CPU usage and more direct control of the GPU compared to other AIs.
Valve also added Vulkan support to Portal 2 earlier this year, leading McVicker to suggest that the company is planning to add Vulkan support to many of its own games to prepare them all for the Steam Deck.
Valve announced this week that it’s launching a new rating system that will let Steam Deck owners easily tell which games are best suited for play on the Deck.
The company is in the process of reviewing the entire Steam catalogue, and is marking each game with one of four ratings designed to show how smooth the experience will be when playing that game on its upcoming handheld.
Announced in July, Steam Deck is described as “a powerful all-in-one portable PC” capable of running the latest AAA games.
Steam Deck runs the latest version of Valve’s SteamOS software – which is based on Linux – allowing players to access their Steam games library and all the platform’s features.
However, Valve insists Steam Deck is also an open PC with the ability to install any software or connect with any hardware.