First post, by maximus
I was recently delighted to learn that, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to install an old boxed copy of Half-Life 2 and play it without using Steam. There are a number of reasons to do this:
- You want to play the original release of the game without later engine and content updates (new Vortigaunt models, different physics, etc.)
- You want to play the game on an older machine that can't handle the new engine
- You want to play the game on Windows XP or another platform Steam doesn't support
- You have a slow or unreliable Internet connection
- You do not want to interact with Steam
This guide documents the steps I used to install Half-Life 2: Game of the Year Edition, a five CD set that also includes Counter Strike: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, and Half-Life: Source. I have no idea if this procedure will work for other releases of the game.
1. Copy the CAB files from the CDs to the target machine.
In my case, these files were named hl2.cab, hl22.CAB, hl23.CAB, hl24.CAB, and hl25.CAB. These files need to be in the same directory for the next step.
2. Extract the contents of the CAB files using 7-Zip.
I used Engrampa Archive Manager, but standalone 7-Zip should also work. In my case, this step yielded the following files:
counterstrike_source_client.gcf (3.4 MB)
counterstrike_source_shared.gcf (1.3 GB)
css.ico (22.2 kB)
halflife_2_content.gcf (879.4 MB)
halflife_2_deathmatch.gcf (147.3 MB)
halflife_source.gcf (804.0 MB)
hl.ico (4.7 kB)
hl2.ico (12.4 kB)
source_engine.gcf (72.7 MB)
source_lv.gcf (2.5 MB)
source_materials.gcf (1.1 GB)
source_models.gcf (471.1 MB)
source_sounds.gcf (1.0 GB)
uninstall_hl2.exe (111.5 kB)
3. Extract the contents of the GCF files using GCFScape.
Extract all the GCF files to the same directory. Once this is done, you should have all the game files in the proper directory structure.
If you try to run hl2.exe at this point, you will get a popup with the following error:
This application failed to start because steam.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.
The next steps fix this problem.
4. Download and unpack the latest version of RevEmu.
This is a Steam emulator, so I'm pretty sure I can't link to it here. Use Google.
5. Copy Steam.dll from the garysmod subdirectory of RevEmu to your Half-Life 2 root directory.
6. Run hl2.exe with the -game hl2 command line switch
Congratulations, you should be running Half-Life 2!