Valve’s learning sign language for HL2: Episode 3

Valve’s Gabe Newell has been practicing sign language, and is looking at how to implement it in videogames, most notably Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

Why is Gabe doing this? First of all, it’s a bid to develop and improve animation in videogames. Secondly, it fits in with Half-Life heroine Alyx Vance’s backstory. She knows sign language, and Valve wants her to pull it off convincingly.

"[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Alyx] had a crush on someone who was hearing impaired, so she taught Dog how to sign so she could practice," explains Newell. "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 … It gave us the excuse to build the technology for signing."

This sounds like it’ll be an incredibly ambitious undertaking for Valve’s animators, especially given the nuances of sign language. It would be a very positive step forward for videogames, with potentially far-reaching implications, so I hope they pull it off.

Click here to see Gabe in action!

Source: Desctructoid


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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. XanderCz

    Dont think Gordon will be able to that.

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  2. stranded

    Yeah probably some short part in the game when Alyx “talks” to someone and obviously to Dog. Maybe we’re gonna talk to Dog somehow using the sign language (as Gordon)?

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  3. glubbar

    @stay: yeah they do have subtitles, I use english subs in every Valve games.

    But I think this is different…
    If I got it right, this will be a sub-feature that Alyx may use at some point in the game… or something.

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  4. slay

    Doesn’t all valve games have subtitles? I remember, that they have.

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  5. popovich

    Wow…imagine the graphics quality required to show in detail all fingers and fists performing sign language…imagine the quality of animations…just wow. :o
    This will take gaming (especially in-game animation) to a whole new level if the pull it off. And, of course, nothing short of an Nvidia GTX295 would do. :)

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  6. XanderCz

    Besides, it looks kinda mystical to ppl who dont actually know sign language, so that might be a nice part of the game

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  7. stranded

    I know the sign language pretty good, but do we need it in games? Probably yes, I bet there are plenty of deaf players out there who would like to see some elements of their language in games.

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  8. wiak

    hey its good they try something new, everyone will learn from it ;)

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