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First post, by bionicle_159

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Hi, I'm pretty sure this hasn't been covered before on Vogons so here it is for the people who haven't seen this.
I managed to get around the dumb DRM Valve put in for the HL2 episodes + lost coast by swapping around files from my own legit steam copy to the modified version of the base game. This guide is only intended for people who own a copy of the game and want to get it working on XP.

I took the modified version of the base game and installed it on my XP system.
Use an Ad-Blocker and retry the download link if it sends you to a different page than the HL2 download link, I prefer to not deal with MEGA so I used the torrent, be prepared for pop-ups and all sorts of nasty redirects, use a VPN if you feel it's necessary.

I then dragged the episode folders to the created directory in the Half-Life 2 folder, from then I messed around with folders from the steam release and the modified version until I came up with a combo that still worked with the base game but actually let you play the extra campaigns, you take the modified release's 'bin' folder and replace it with the steam version, make sure to keep the folder inside the modified release's bin named 'steam', the modified release checks with that folder in order to run the game. put the folder labelled 'steam' into the steam download bin. All that's left is to create separate hl2.exe shortcuts, with the additions of '-game (e.g lostcoast)' + '-appid (e.g 340)' after the quotes with only spaces inbetween them (e.g " -game lostcoast -appid 340).
If you own the game + the expansions, then you just need to check with your desktop shortcuts when inputting the corresponding '-appid'.

Any advice or feedback for me then please then let me know by replying to the post. This is not promoting piracy, this is using the game copies we bought and getting them to work on the platform it was released on.

Last edited by bionicle_159 on 2020-04-07, 22:12. Edited 1 time in total.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
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Reply 1 of 25, by DosFreak

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Link removed for obvious reasons. HL2 has always worked on XP and the game is DRM free as long as you use the switches with no file swapping required..

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Reply 2 of 25, by bionicle_159

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-04-07, 21:44:

Link removed for obvious reasons. HL2 has always worked on XP and the game is DRM free as long as you use the switches with no file swapping required..

Not when I've tried it, what switches are you talking about? My Steam copy doesn't work with any commands I've found online. This method allows you to use your copy on XP without entering in a load of commands that the steam hyperlinks take care of. Is there something I'm missing, because I did a lot of research before figuring this method out.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 4 of 25, by bionicle_159

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kolderman wrote on 2020-04-07, 22:16:

I had it installed on XP Steam before the Steampocalypse, and it still works fine (offline mode).

New Steam builds have an offline cap of 2 weeks, this is just a different way of launching the game and not promoting piracy, there isn't any guide online or on Vogons from my research detailing how to get the base game from Steam working in XP in 2020, nevermind the expansions which aren't even listed anywhere useful online. This method involves no kernel workarounds for Steam, no cracking steam to run in XP, and as a result not having it tank your PC by running in the background.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 5 of 25, by DosFreak

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The below assumes build >v5135. Verified on XP 32bit 1/11/2020

HL2 hl2.exe -game hl2
HL2 EP1 hl2.exe -game episodic
HL2 EP2 hl2.exe -game ep2

HL2 Lost Coast hl2.exe -game lostcoast
HL2 Source hl2.exe -game hl1
Portal hl2.exe -game portal

For the multiplayer HL2 engine games use SmartSteamEmu

TF2 can load without steam using a switch but it's pretty useless
Use SmartSteamEmu for old builds. Use Goldberg for the latest builds.
Note that Goldberg requires Vista+ unless you use XomPie or OneCoreAPI to fix the ws2_32 issue.
I brought this up in the thread on cs.rin.ru but was given shit for it so I gave up.
It's possible newer versions of TF2 require Vista+. Unconfirmed.

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Reply 6 of 25, by bionicle_159

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-04-07, 22:26:

The below assumes build >v5135. Verified on XP 32bit 1/11/2020

When requesting the build version, the Steam release gave '5377866' and the GameTrex release gave '2257546'. Either I'm reading it wrong or you've got a really early build. I tried those commands when I installed my copies onto the SteamLibrary folder in my XP disc from Windows 7, it didn't launch in XP, instead complaining about Steam and failing the DRM. Only the Steam workaround is successfully getting all the HL2 games to run on my system.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 7 of 25, by DosFreak

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The version the # of days since Nov 7, 1998, not sure how the new versioning works for steampipe builds

Any build of HL2 after v5135 only needs the switches to play the game. Versions before or equal to that version require Revolution Steam Emulator.

v5377866 works fine without Steam using the switches.

I don't give a shit about "Gametrex".

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Running DRM games offline

Reply 8 of 25, by bionicle_159

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-04-07, 23:49:

The version the # of days since Nov 7, 1998, not sure how the new versioning works for steampipe builds

Any build of HL2 after v5135 only needs the switches to play the game. Versions before or equal to that version require Revolution Steam Emulator.

v5377866 works fine without Steam using the switches.

Just to prove a point, I went and downloaded HL2 from Steam to the XP drive, restarting the PC in XP - I used your commands and was met with 'Error reading application ID.', still happened after I added the appid to the shortcut commands and still happened when I went digging in the appid txt file. The DRM is there and Valve has made it so casuals can't play it offline or without Steam.

I don't give a shit about "Gametrex".

Pretty rude, I'm trying to give a working solution to a problem no-one has an simple answer to.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 9 of 25, by DosFreak

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Sounds like either a corrupted copy or the game is using a steam emulator with no configuration file to specify the app id.

You come in here posting a link to a website to download full versions of games with a bunch of BS in a post that no one can make sense of and I'm the one being rude?

Value used to require the Steam client for HL2 but once they went to Steampipe the steam client was no longer required. Fix your shit.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
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Running DRM games offline

Reply 10 of 25, by bionicle_159

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-04-08, 01:02:

Sounds like either a corrupted copy or the game is using a steam emulator with no configuration file to specify the app id.

You come in here posting a link to a website to download full versions of games with a bunch of BS in a post that no one can make sense of and I'm the one being rude?

First off, I literally just said that I reinstalled the game like you're supposed to when you own it on Steam, it worked on Windows 7 but not at all when run on XP.

Next, anyone who can read English knows what I was on about, I literally gave every basic step. If anyone was confused then I asked them to reply for help. The website's version is the only copy of Half Life that actually installs on XP without Steam, and plays without any dumb DRM. I researched and tried other copies, Orange Box is encrypted, Steam versions need paragraphs of code to even have the potentiality of working, which of course turned out to not be true whatsoever.

Finally, I was open and respectful throughout, you created a flamewar for no reason other than to dismiss the solution for people who need it. The files that work around the problem without bottle-necking or installing bloatware should be available on a hosting page for people to access, as you just have to google the problem online to see that there are countless more people running into this issue where the code that you and many others before you suggested didn't work.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 11 of 25, by cyclone3d

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-04-08, 01:02:

Sounds like either a corrupted copy or the game is using a steam emulator with no configuration file to specify the app id.

You come in here posting a link to a website to download full versions of games with a bunch of BS in a post that no one can make sense of and I'm the one being rude?

Value used to require the Steam client for HL2 but once they went to Steampipe the steam client was no longer required. Fix your shit.

I'm with bionicle_159 on this one. You are being very rude to somebody that is trying to help other people.

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Reply 12 of 25, by bionicle_159

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-04-08, 01:42:

I'm with bionicle_159 on this one. You are being very rude to somebody that is trying to help other people.

I've gotten a lot of help from this community, I'll listen to any advice as I'm still new to the forum - I could have just kept it to myself but I wanted to share a fix for a game that people actually care about. Since someone was yet to post a more universally helpful fix, I thought this was the best alternative to having to jump through hoops to get over a heavy-handed protection system. I stand by my post but I'll leave it to the mods to decide.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 13 of 25, by krcroft

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bionicle_159,

With some countries using force to keep people in their homes, it earily reminded me of the Combine Civil Protection service.

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Back when I played HL2 I didn't pay much attention to their chatter.. but this video revealed how much work Valve put into this dystopian police force:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B-jjWvJeb60

Thanks for the post, and looking forward to getting it up and running again.

Reply 15 of 25, by Srandista

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I don't want to discourage the community from helping each other, but DosFreak does have a point here.

Not only you can still play Source games under XP from Steam directly (and yes, you can still get Steam to work under XP despite Valve saying otherwise) like I just did with Portal, but you can also run them completely without Steam, since current builds of Source games are DRM-free (and I just did that with Half-Life 2 under XP without Steam running, only with those command line switches, which DosFreak posted here).

Socket 775 - ASRock 4CoreDual-VSTA, Pentium E6500K, 4GB RAM, Radeon 9500@9700, ESS Solo-1, Win 98/XP
Socket A - ASRock K7S41GX, AMD Athlon XP 3000+, 512MB RAM, GeForce4 Ti4200, SB Live, Win 98

Reply 16 of 25, by bionicle_159

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Srandista wrote on 2020-04-08, 07:11:

I don't want to discourage the community from helping each other, but DosFreak does have a point here.

Not only you can still play Source games under XP from Steam directly (and yes, you can still get Steam to work under XP despite Valve saying otherwise) like I just did with Portal, but you can also run them completely without Steam, since current builds of Source games are DRM-free (and I just did that with Half-Life 2 under XP without Steam running, only with those command line switches, which DosFreak posted here).

I understand, this post was for people who couldn’t get the commands to work or didn’t want to deal with Steam on their XP machine.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 17 of 25, by bionicle_159

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krcroft wrote on 2020-04-08, 04:08:

Thanks for the post, and looking forward to getting it up and running again.

No problem, I only wish I discovered the series years ago, I was a console gamer for the longest time before I got a decent PC to run games on 😀

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500

Reply 18 of 25, by Srandista

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bionicle_159 wrote on 2020-04-08, 12:02:

I understand, this post was for people who couldn’t get the commands to work.

It's just about editing shortcuts. Hardly more difficult then your guide.

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Socket A - ASRock K7S41GX, AMD Athlon XP 3000+, 512MB RAM, GeForce4 Ti4200, SB Live, Win 98

Reply 19 of 25, by bionicle_159

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Srandista wrote on 2020-04-08, 19:53:

It's just about editing shortcuts. Hardly more difficult then your guide.

I don't think you understand the issue with the Steam way, in cases like mine - it just doesn't work when installed via Steam to an install of XP. If it did then this post wouldn't be necessary, but for some reason my Steam copy doesn't work on XP with any of the suggested workarounds. That's why I posted this alternative for the people in the same boat as me.

Work Rig - Ryzen 2700X, 16GB 3200Mhz, MSI B450 LN91340, HD 7970 Ghz (I know...), SB 1500
XP Rig - C2Q Q6600, 4GB 800Mhz, GA-P31-DS3L , GTX 750Ti, SB 0820
98SE Rig - AthlonXP 1700, 512MB 166Mhz, NForce A7N8X-X, V3 2000 PCI, Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500