Dota 2 update contains weird Half-Life 3 references


Some slightly unexpected .txt files have popped up in one of the more recent Dota 2 updates.

SteamDB take credit for spotting that a bunch of files – rpg.txt, ai_basenpc.txt, lights.txt, and the rather more prominently named hl3.txt – have popped up in the \dota 2 beta\game\core\tools\help\fgd directory.

Okay, yes, hl3.txt isn’t really a big OH MY GOD HALF-LIFE 3 thing on its own unless you’re an overreacting idiot. The files themselves contain some interesting bits and pieces, though.

A lot of hl3.txt’s stuff appears to be essentially porting over of stuff that was in Half-Life 2. There are numerous references to the Combine, including flags talking about whether NPCs are neutral to the Combine or not, along with “Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret”. There are references to squad mechanics, and antlions, and probably lots of other stuff I’ve missed, because seriously, these four files span about 11,000 lines of text. The few things that I’m pretty sure are new are mentions of ziplines, and some talk of “quests”, with quest NPCs and so on.

The other three are a bit more generic. lights.txt offers bits and bobs on realistic day/night cycles, and ai_basenpc.txt looks like… well, generic AI stuff. Although there are, again, mentions of rappelling NPCs. I forget if that’s been done in Source already. rpg.txt is possibly the most generic of the lot, but simultaneously it’s the most interesting – the notes within there basically seem like a very basic setup for building a single-player RPG.

These look like help files related to Valve’s Source 2 engine, to which Dota 2 recently moved, and in which any current Valve games are presumably being built. Like Half-Life 3. Which might actually still be under construction at Valve, when they’re not having money fights.

That said, I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. The most it does – and even this is speculation – is indicate that any work being done on Half-Life 3, and/or some unnamed RPG, is being done in Source 2. It’s slightly peculiar that they’ve popped up in this, though. General Hammer update, or accident? Are these projects that are in development, or just stuff Valve is tooling around with, or stuff that’s already been scrapped? Hmm.

Very sudden update: Almost immediately after publishing this I noticed that the Valve Time forums have a couple of excellent write-ups analysing each of these files and what they might actually mean. If this interests you at all, I strongly advise you have a read of them over here, not least because it’ll give you a pretty good idea of what’s relevant and what isn’t. They also noted that these files were released on 9 October, which is one day off the eight-year anniversary of The Orange Box‘s release. You may now begin your conspiracy theories.

Tim McDonald
About The Author
Tim has been playing PC games for longer than he's willing to admit. He's written for a number of publications, but has been with PC Invasion - in all its various incarnations - for over a decade. When not writing about games, Tim can occasionally be found speedrunning terrible ones, making people angry in Dota 2, or playing something obscure and random. He's also weirdly proud of his status as (probably) the Isle of Man's only professional games journalist.