Valve Does Sign Lanuage for HL2: E3?

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.

  • dingumf
    old news yawn
  • doormatderek
    good excuse for the delay! :)
  • Sushi Warrior
    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....
  • xc0mmiex
    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
  • 7amood
    should be on the title...
    Now I won't have the 'waaaw' feeling when I play the game...

  • False_Dmitry_II
    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.
  • megamanx00
    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.
  • meatwad53186

    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.
  • maigo
    Dog doesn't have fingers, don't you need fingers to sign?
  • amdgamer666
    +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