At this year's ECTS, managed to get a sneak peak at Valve's highly anticipated Half-Life 2.

With the original half life some five years old, the chaps at Valve have been busy, busy creating a new fully interactive experience akin to not what we are used to in a first person shooter.

Whilst the idea of interacting with your surroundings is nothing new a la Metal Gear Solid and THQ's Red Faction the attention to detail is. Graphics have been improved immensely, and understandably so, after all Half-Life weren't the best around when the game launched and a lot has happened with graphics cards since then. Water ripples, reflective surfaces reflect and all-in-all the "Source" gaming engine allows the developers to bring the game to life.

The attention to detail has been taken beyond Metal Gear Solid's wet footprints and now your scenery is one that lives and breath's with you. If it looks like wood then the likelihood is that it will react like wood. Soft mattresses take on the physics of soft mattresses floating if throw on water while the heavier objects sink.

Gameplay sees you once again playing Gordon Freeman again under the pressures of zombies and mutants taking over a European styled city called City 17. Aliens and the breeds that the game offers haven't really moved on, however their AI has and both friends and enemies are considerably cleverer than before. Now friends will offer covering fire when you attack an enemy's position, while using pheromones can confuse your enemies into working for you.

Weapons are your usual array of small arms firepower to more powerful devices and Valve has taken a leaf from other games and included vehicle interactivity, allowing you to control certain vehicles within the game.

The other thing we noted from the demos is that this going to be a power sucking game with rumors abound that to run everything at its fully strenght an ATI 9700 with 2 GHz P-IV employed to do the job.

VU Games hope that the game will be finished for the end of September, but with no word yet on whether or not the game is even near to going Gold (the master copy for before burning begins), the industry is doubtful of whether or not this deadline is actually do-able. At the show, we weren't shown any playable code, merely a presentation that was shown to a select few at E3 back in may of perhaps the best bits. So near to the deadline can only really suggest that perhaps more time is needed and the September 30th deadline a whimsical wish rather than hard fiction.

Half-life 2 is scheduled for release on the 30th September