Revolutionary first-person action game to demonstrate stunning technological and gameplay achievements

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Sierra On-Line announced today that Half-Life, the recently-announced debut release from Valve, will premiere at CUC Software's spectacular exhibit at the Inforum in Atlanta during E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Exposition, June 19 - 21). Half-Life takes the next step in the evolution of 3D first-person action games by combining the most advanced, proprietary technology with genre-breaking gameplay elements. It is scheduled for a November 1997 release on PC CD-ROM.

Visitors to the CUC Inforum can expect to see many of the ground-breaking technological and gameplay features that will make Half-Life the year's most exciting action game. Examples include sophisticated rendering technologies, including 16-bit color, sophisticated colored lighting and environmental effects such as translucency and blurring. All of these features are implemented in software so gamers don't need special hardware accelerators to see them. "By building these features into the software, we can make them an esssential part of the gameplay, rather than just eye-candy," said Gabe Newell, managing director of Valve. "For instance, we use breakable glass everywhere. We use colored lights to convey mood, and even clues. Our force fields cycle in and out of existence, giving the player a blurred hint about a different part of the game, or a temporary bridge to run across. The designers can do all of this without worrying about fitting every monster, texture, architectural detail and effect into a single 256 color palette."

Half-Life does contain support for Open-GL, Direct 3D and MMX hardware acceleration and E3 attendees will be able to see a 3Dfx version of the game. "Half-Life looks amazing without hardware acceleration," said Ken Williams, CEO of Sierra On-Line. "But those who have the additional hardware are going to be shocked by the realism that's been achieved."

The Half-Life demo will also feature monsters created with Valve's proprietary skeletal animation system. This system gives game characters the most fluid and complex motion seen in a first-person action game. It also allows them to be much more structurally complex than ever before. For instance, while current action games have difficulty handling monsters with more than 500 polygons, Half-Life will contain monsters with over 6000 polygons.

E3 attendees will also see Half-Life's advanced artificial intelligence system at work. This system lets Half-Life's non-player characters demonstrate remarkable cunning, including organized group behaviors, progressive strategic movements, and the ability to assess risks and take cover if necessary. "Monsters in current action games are pretty predictable," said Steve Bond, Valve game developer. "Once they see you, they simply turn and attack. We wanted to make an experience that was more alive and unpredictable. Half-Life's monsters aren't on a suicide mission: they don't want to die and they'll do some unexpectedly crafty things to avoid getting killed."

As a player of Half-Life, you'll find yourself assigned to a top-secret experiment at a decommissioned missile base where you've made an amazing breakthrough, an alarming discovery, and a stupid decision. Now, with the pieces of your colleagues scattered around the lab, you must fight your way past crafty alien monsters to the surface, where a full-scale battle has erupted between the invaders and government troops. Safe at last? No way. The military is just as interested in silencing you as they are in eradicating the alien menace. You must make a last ditch attempt to reach the alien world, foil their monstrous schemes, and figure out how to make peace with your own murderous kind. Along the way you'll discover fantastic experimental weapons, diabolically cunning death squads, and grotesquely beautiful worlds. It will take a fast trigger finger and a faster mind to survive, as not every monster is your enemy and not everything is as it seems.

Half Life, on PC CD-ROM, is scheduled to ship in November, 1997 and will be available at most software retailers, as well as through Sierra Direct at (800) 757-7707.

Half-Life will be demonstrated at CUC Software's exhibit in the Inforum at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Private meeting rooms for retailers and the press will be available. To arrange a demo appointment, please contact Eric Twelker at 206-649-9800 x5862 or [email protected].

Founded in 1996, Valve develops games software. Based in Kirkland, Washington, the company consists of more than 20 leading artists, game designers and programmers. More information about Valve is available through the company's web site at www.valvesoftware.com.

Sierra On-Line is one of the original developers and largest worldwide publishers of interactive entertainment, productivity and educational software. The company recently merged with CUC International, a technology-driven, membership-services company that provides access to travel, shopping, auto, dining, home improvement, financial and other services to 66.3 million consumers worldwide. The company's common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol CUC Intl. Sierra's corporate headquarters are located in Bellevue, WA.

Check out Half-Life's Screen Shots

More press releases