Thursday, June 22, 2006

Half-Life 2 Demo Retired

As we continue the process of upgrading our website, it's clear that our high definition page is way out of date and we'll be adding WMV and 60fps VC1 versions of our Xbox Live Marketplace trailers to the site. That said, it's a bit of a shame to lose the Half-Life 2 demo trailer we crafted way back in the day.
This demo was created in August 2005 to test our prototype HD capture tools and hardware. Since then, Digital Foundry HD's user-friendliness and picture quality have improved substantially. For our initial tests, in the absence of Xbox 360 hardware, our games PC was configured to mimic the output of Xbox 360, and we used this for calibration purposes - it was such a close match that when we had Xbox 360 retail hardware, we were able to get up and running within five minutes.
The demo was also a cool testbed for getting to grips with Microsoft's high definition WMV files. The three minute demo was eventually scrunched down to an internet-friendly 99mb and still looks superb (even running at 30fps).
So any way, while our Live Marketplace demos take priority on the main site, we've archived off the old WMV demo here so feel free to check it out.

Click for BMP file of this frame from the Half-Life 2 demo at the full 720p resolution. Quality was excellent even on the prototype hardware, but these days we work using the wonderful CineForm HD codec.