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Valve Does Sign Lanuage for HL2: E3?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 34 comments
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Joystiq is reporting that Valve Software is researching sign language for the next episode (3) of Half-Life 2 by conducting a focus group with deaf individuals. The company is looking to understand the language and how it can be used in games. Valve's first use of the new sign language technology will be implemented into the backstory of Alyx as explained in this YouTube video with Gabe Newell.

"[Alyx] had a crush on someone who was hearing impaired, so she taught Dog how to sign so she could practice," Newell said. "Something happened, maybe, the person is off fighting the Combine someplace else, but that's why she and Dog would start signing with each other when they wanted to communicate without making noise, or communicate without other people knowing."

The largest aspect of virtualizing the use of sign language is not only the unique hand movements, but the facial expressions as well. While Valve Software has been one of the more prominent developers in regards to character facial movements, taking on sign language and its nuances is a huge--but ultimately a beneficial--project. Ultimately Valve wants to create a believable, authentic experience, a believable backstory for the heroine.

"It gave us the excuse to build the technology for signing," he said.

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  • 14 Hide
    doormatderek , August 11, 2009 1:40 AM
    good excuse for the delay! :) 
  • 14 Hide
    meatwad53186 , August 11, 2009 3:06 AM
    @false_dmitry_ii

    This isn't for deaf gamers,did you even read the article? It's about making a more believable, realistic, and enveloping experience out of the game, something many developers don't give two shits about these days.
  • 12 Hide
    xc0mmiex , August 11, 2009 2:00 AM
    seems like the valve is at the cutting edge of game innovation and creating something much deeper and meaningful experience unlike some other game companies that are just trying to rake in a quick buck
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    doormatderek , August 11, 2009 1:40 AM
    good excuse for the delay! :) 
  • 6 Hide
    Sushi Warrior , August 11, 2009 1:58 AM
    Wow, +50000000 cookies for Valve. What a great idea, this will be a deaf gamer must have. I remember seeing a site with reviews of games for deaf people....
  • 12 Hide
    xc0mmiex , August 11, 2009 2:00 AM
    seems like the valve is at the cutting edge of game innovation and creating something much deeper and meaningful experience unlike some other game companies that are just trying to rake in a quick buck
  • 12 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , August 11, 2009 2:35 AM
    For actual deaf gamers it's called subtitles. They arent blind. I'm fairly certain the majority of games have that. I turn it on all the time, cause sometimes gunfire is too loud to hear the voices, or there's talking going on too far from the player to hear, but the subs show it anyway.
  • -1 Hide
    megamanx00 , August 11, 2009 3:00 AM
    Cool, but pointless. Still, it could have implications latter on. Just as gamers appreciate voice acting over text perhaps signing will be a better way to interact with def computer users than just plain text.
  • 14 Hide
    meatwad53186 , August 11, 2009 3:06 AM
    @false_dmitry_ii

    This isn't for deaf gamers,did you even read the article? It's about making a more believable, realistic, and enveloping experience out of the game, something many developers don't give two shits about these days.
  • 3 Hide
    maigo , August 11, 2009 4:25 AM
    Dog doesn't have fingers, don't you need fingers to sign?
  • -2 Hide
    amdgamer666 , August 11, 2009 4:50 AM
    +1 @ false_dmitry_ii

    The first thing that came to mind when I read this was, subtitles would make deaf people hear what's going on in the game. Still pretty interesting though
  • -1 Hide
    ahslan , August 11, 2009 4:52 AM
    Quote:
    Valve Does Sign Lanuage for HL2: E3?


    Really? Is it really that hard to catch that typo?
  • 2 Hide
    adrums63 , August 11, 2009 5:05 AM
    Seems like they're putting a lot of thought into this EP, let's hope it lasts more than the 2hrs EP2 took to complete...
  • 7 Hide
    randomizer , August 11, 2009 5:26 AM
    ahslanReally? Is it really that hard to catch that typo?

    Apparently it is because only you noticed it.
  • 5 Hide
    magicandy , August 11, 2009 6:50 AM
    I think if I were deaf, I would definitely opt for the sign language over plain old subtitles. I would imagine it would increase the atmosphere a bit.
  • -6 Hide
    anamaniac , August 11, 2009 7:22 AM
    I think Vavle should accept paypal debit accounts, not just credit. -_-
    ... They would have had my money (getting ready tp purchase, then I discover...).
  • 2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , August 11, 2009 7:39 AM
    I think people are kinda failing to see the point. Its not only to advance the game to a new group of players, yes there are deaf players out there, but its also to develop Alyx's back story.

    If you remember, VALVe is huge on having a back story for all but of course Freeman and G-Man.

    Think of when you played EP2 and the ending. How did you feel? (to those who beat it). Didn't you feel that remorse and anger all at once? VALVe just wants to deepen Alyx to a new level. I find nothing wrong with that as the HL series itself has a very deep story thats become more wide open with the OB but also has a lot of mystery to it, such as who the G-Man is or what happened to Freeman those 7 years.
  • 3 Hide
    justcallmeben , August 11, 2009 8:08 AM
    Just mentioning it: the game in the background is Left4Dead 2
  • 3 Hide
    salsoolo , August 11, 2009 9:02 AM
    im gonna need to re-play ep2 and probably ep1 to remember what happened, before ep3 is released xD

    i seriously forgot the storyline.
  • 3 Hide
    day player , August 11, 2009 10:06 AM
    I was so hyped for E3 news about Ep3 I played the whole damn series again. Even "Decay". Then, pfffffft.

    We have been so so starved for Ep3 news. Lest we forget Portal 2. Just make it worth the pains of withdrawl, Valve.
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