Valve Archive - Half-Life: Uplink Demo
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Half-Life: Uplink Demo

Half-Life: Uplink was the second official demo for Half-Life, released on Febuary 12th, 1999. Unlike the Half-Life: Day One demo, Uplink was distributed freely over the internet. It contains 3 short levels not seen in Half-Life. They follow an alternate timeline Gordon Freeman as he fixes a transmitter dome and sends a signal to the USNRC, to open a set of doors at the beginning of the first level, supposedly leading to safety. The demo ends with Gordon being trapped behind rubble as a Gargantua walks toward him. The screen fades to the black with the message: "Current evaluation: uplink completed. Require further data."

Half-Life Demo Tomorrow

Febuary 12th, 1999

BELLEVUE, WA (February 12, 1999) -- Sierra Studios, Valve Software, and PC Gamer Online will launch Half-Life: Uplink, the official public demo for the worldwide smash hit game, Half-Life, Friday at noon at

"Half-Life: Uplink is a free never-before-seen Half-Life mini-mission," said Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve. "In creating the demo, we wanted to give new players an experience that captures the essence of what makes Half-Life the Game of the Year, plus provide current Half-Life players with exciting, all-new content."

Half-Life, Valve's debut title, was released late in November, 1998. For the month of December in the United States, Half-Life generated more revenue than any other PC game.* PC Gamer, the world's best-selling PC Games magazine, named Half-Life the "Game of the Year" in its March, 1999 issue.

John Guthrie

Chat log with John Guthrie explaining some of the development of Uplink. Source.

Josh: What ever happened to HL1: Uplink levels? Were they ever apart of the original game?
Guthers: no, uplink was created over a couple week span by myself and kelly bailey.
Josh: Wow
Josh: Really?
Guthers: Yeah. The one with the satellite dish you have to position, right?
Josh: yes
Josh: You did a great job!
Guthers: yeah. you wouldn't believe what a pain it was to get that dish to rotate.
Josh: Really?
Guthers: we didn't get any code support for uplink.
Guthers: we just had to get it to work with what we had in the HL1 code base..
Josh: wow
Guthers: and we didn't have much to support a rotating dish.
Guthers: wow indeed! say, you're my favorite chat bot.

"We had two goals for Uplink. The first was to introduce new players to the essence of the Half-Life experience. The second was to give current Half-Life players a brand new experience. Creating a mini-mission that wasn't part of the core Half-Life story served both purposes. It was a blast to go back and create a "missing" mission, with all the energy and intensity of the full game, but sad to say there aren't any "unknown" missions lying around waiting to be discovered...with the possible exception of any that designers in the custom map community might be putting together!"

- Marc Laidlaw

Source: Half-Life 2: Raising The Bar (Uncorrected Proof) (Page 158).

"By the time we finished Half-Life, we wanted to streamline the development process. The Uplink mission pack tested that out. One person built the world, another did all the entity work to create a whole experience; a handful of people who put it together with audio that we had left over. There were a bunch of scenes in Half-Life that we wanted to do and weren't able to pull off. In some cases we already had audio. So Uplink was a separate mission about tuning the antennae to the satellite you launched when it was up there. From there we thought, 'Let's build the next game this way.'"

- Marc Laidlaw

Source: PC Gamer Interview.