This subject is related to a real world perspective.
This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.

Half-Life: Day One

From Combine OverWiki, the original Half-Life wiki and Portal wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This subject is related to a real world perspective.
This subject is related to the Black Mesa Incident era.

Doll2.png Warning! This article has yet to be cleaned up to a higher standard of quality, per our Cleanup Project. It may contain factual errors and nonsense, as well as spelling, grammar and structure issues, or simply structure problems. Reader's discretion is advised until fixing is done.

You can help clean up this page by correcting spelling and grammar, removing factual errors and rewriting sections to ensure they are clear and concise, and moving some elements when appropriate.
Please notify the administrators before removing this template.

HL Day One menu.png
Half-Life: Day One

Valve Corporation

Release date(s)

Fall 1998[1]


First-person shooter






Valve Corporation

System req

500 MHz processor, 96 MB RAM, 16 MB video card


Keyboard and mouse





Previous game


Next game


Half-Life: Day One is the initial pre-release demo of Half-Life. It was designed for OEM partnerships to be bundled with devices like sound cards, graphics cards, and game controllers[1] and also sent to reviewers[2][3] before the release of the full game. It was later sold as part of the Half-Life: Initial Encounter compilation.


Day One begins at the same point as the full game, but ends after the player completes the chapter "We've Got Hostiles", at the end of the first day of the game's plot. Although sometimes marketed as such,[4] Day One was never a demo version in the traditional sense, as the developers considered that at 250 MB it was it was too big to release on the Internet at the time and that it offered too much of the final game to be given away for free.[5] Half-Life’s proper demo – Half-Life: Uplink, available free to the general public – was released several months after the full game.[6]


After the successful presentation at E3 1998, where the game earned awards for "Best PC Game" and "Best Action Game", various games-related hardware manufacturers were interested in partnering with Valve to include Half-Life with their products.[1] However, due to the long lead times associated with hardware manufacturing, the OEM version had to be finished earlier in order to be shipped at the time of the retail release. The decision to only include one fifth of the single-player campaign meant that no extra work was created for the developers.[5]

The game was also sent out to several reviewers and got leaked almost two months prior to the game's release,[7] the community's reaction made Valve further realize the level of anticipation for the game.[8]


Some of the known products that bundled Day One are:

  • Diamond Multimedia's Monster Sound MX300 sound card,[1]
  • Guillemot International's Maxi Gamer Phoenix Voodoo Banshee video card,[1]
  • Thrustmaster's Frag Master joystick,[1]
  • ATI Rage Fury video card,[9]
  • Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! sound card.[10]

Since the late 1999 Day One was sold as part of Half-Life: Initial Encounter compilation, which also included a standalone version of Team Fortress Classic.

Known builds[edit]

Build number Exe date Readme date Product bundle/source A3D support Direct3D support
676 August 31, 1998 August 26, 1998 Game magazines No No
703 September 27, 1998 September 18, 1998 3dfx Voodoo Banshee Yes No
727 October 21, 1998 October 28, 1998 Thrustmaster Frag Master Yes Yes
742 November 5, 1998 November 24, 1998 ATI Rage Fury Yes No
742 November 5, 1998 September 18, 1998 Diamond Multimedia Monster Sound MX300 Yes Yes
750 November 13, 1998 October 27, 1999 Half-Life: Initial Encounter Yes Yes
852 February 23, 1999 February 23, 1999 Creative EAX sound cards No No


  • The console cannot be activated, and, since the game doesn't recognise the sv_cheats command, cheats can't be used.
  • Direct3D and A3D are only supported in some of the builds.
  • The files stored in the .pak files have priority over the files placed in the actual folders.
  • The HUD doesn't display information like items picked up, damage type from environmental hazards, and such.
  • The 9 mm pistol (Glock) secondary fire isn't available. Its magazine, however, gives thirty rounds on pick-up. Pistols spawned by crates or dying security guards have just three rounds in them. If reloading while the magazine isn't empty and there's enough ammo, the player will end up with eighteen rounds loaded due to having an extra round chambered (which differs from some release versions).
  • The 9 mm SMG (MP5) gives a full magazine on pick-up (fifty rounds) instead of twenty-five rounds.
  • Neither the pistol nor SMG reload automatically after emptying a magazine.
  • The shotgun gives just its own capacity (eight) in shotshells on pick-up. However, an ammo box contains thirty. (The release version would give twelve shotshells in both cases.)
  • The shotgun's pump sound is always heard at the correct time.
  • The player can carry twenty-five hand grenades.
  • HUD sprites found in the Day One files feature an early RPG icon, an unused battery-style armor indicator from E3 1998, less sprites for 320 screen width, and 320x sprites that do not feature the bar near the man showing suit power.
  • Personal information of the player (e.g. saved games) are split into profiles, however, as there is no multiplayer settings menu in the demo, profiles cannot be switched.
  • Names of six of the game's chapters are different, although none of them appear in the demo. The changed names are: Screams and Whispers for Blast Pit, Footfall for Power Up, Abandoned Silo for Apprehension, Chutes and Ladders for Residue Processing, “You’re on Your Own” for “Forget about Freeman!”, and Down and Out for Lambda Core.[11]
  • Upward looking is limited, like in Quake.
  • Day One, similar to Quake, uses built-in particle effects (small colored squares), instead of sprites for the blood effects.
  • Autoaim is enabled by default and cannot be disabled.
  • The later builds feature an early halflife.wad file containing different and unused textures, including the layout of an earlier iteration of the Hazard Course.
  • Build 727, bundled with the Thrustmaster Frag Master, contains a config file for the Frag Master as well as custom Hazard Course strings referencing the controls.
  • Build 676 features the uncut introduction to the Long Jump Module, mentioning that you will not be using it often.
  • Build 703 onward features an updated map set compared to build 676, with most map files modified as well as some new ones: c1a1g, c1a2d, t0a0b1, t0a0b2.





  • It is not possible to activate the console, however it's possible both to enter console commands and to see console output.
    • To enter console commands, "gfx\shell\kb_act.lst" file should be extracted from "valve\pak0.pak", a new line in "command" "any name" should be added to kb_act.lst, kb_act.lst should be added to "gfx\shell" of pak0.pak, and a key should be bound to a new command in the main menu.
    • To see console output, the game should be launched with -condebug command line argument. The output will be written into "valve\qconsole.log".
  • The console can be forcefully activated by hex editing the hw.dll and/or sw.dll files, however the console hotkey won't work and the game will crash when opening the pause menu mid-game.[source?]
  • The earliest Day One DLLs were built on August 31, 1998, and the executable file was built on September 1. Its build number is 676. It is OEM Release Candidate 4,[12] however, the text in top-right corner of the console (cannot be seen in game but can be seen inside engine DLLs) says "Half-Life 1.0 Alpha build 676", possibly a leftover from alpha builds. Executable file version is, possibly referring to its Release Candidate number, but version range 4.x was later taken by dedicated server version of Half-Life.
  • Builds 703 and 727 were also compiled before the retail version (build 742).
  • Surprisingly, all of the differences are still present in builds compiled after the retail release.
  • Continuously crouching while in mid-air makes the player gain height. This can be used to "fly" over obstacles.


External links[edit]


Half-Life: Day One
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Half-Life: Day One.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Half-Life News on Sierra Studios' official website (September 8, 1998) (archived)
  2. Sierra pursues Half-Life OEM pirates by Robert Mayer for
  3. Sierra's Opinion on Half-Life OEM posted by Sean Jordan, Editor-in-Chief of eXscape
  4. Box art of Half-Life: Initial Encounter
  5. 5.0 5.1 Q&A with Valve's Managing Director Gabe Newell on Blue's News
  6. hluplink.exe on Blue's News
  7. Half-Life preview on The Adrenaline Vault (archived)
  8. Valve's Handbook for New Employees, page 19
  9. RAGE 128 FAQ on ATI technologies official website (archived)
  10. Sound Blaster Live! User Manual, section 5, page 11.
  11. titles.txt file
  12. version.txt file