Motion Blur in Episode Two

28th August 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I’m not the smartest person in the world nor the dumbest but I’ve just noticed that Episode Two has motion blur. This could have been included weeks or even months ago but I only noticed it a couple of days ago.

Makes me wonder what other features I’ve missed.

I suppose I could look through the Steam updates but it doesn’t always list everything. What we need is some enterprising reader to create a nice list of all the player-related updates in the engines since the first release. Might make for interesting reading, unless of course the list is already available, in which case, GIMME THE LINK!

Something that doesn’t just list the new updates but explains and demonstrates them. If any hardcore mapper wants to collaborate with me on this, please contact me.

I see that Motion Bur is mention in the Wikipedia page for the Source Engine but it’s not dated and I don’t have time to look back through the edit history.


  1. Asskicker

    I’m quite sure it has been there since release. 😛

    1. If that’s true I really have been asleep!

      1. Jack

        it actually was since the release

        1. Dam! That’s not the answer I was looking for.

  2. Re2deemer

    Yep, it’s been there since the release and is in other Source games too. It’s just fairly subtle – they mentioned in some Portal interview that more motion blur would cause motion sickness in gamers.

    An easy way to confirm is to noclip out of the map and then fly towards it – for some reason, motion blur seems to be extra-intensive in the edges of the screen then.

    1. How could I have never noticed it before? I’ve played enough maps and mods in Ep2, so it’s not as if I just started!

      1. Cameron:D

        I suppose it doesn’t really matter how many maps/mods you play, its how often you go into the advanced graphics options.

        1. I haven’t made any changes to the settings. I noticed it when I played Canal maybe it somehow changed the settings for me.

          1. You slipping old man ! 😉

          2. Cameron:D

            The default cfg file provided with the mod probably had it enabled in that case.

    2. clunkfish

      “more motion blur would cause motion sickness in gamers”

      That’s an interesting point, and indicates to me there is perhaps too much emphasis on what can be done with the technology rather than how we actually perceive the world. If you run around or turn your head quickly, there isn’t really any motion blur because you move your eyeballs to track whatever it is you are looking at. Motion blur occurs in films because of the shortcomings of camera technology. Including it in games may make them more cinematic (which the designer may consider desirable), but less realistic.

      I think head bob is a similar issue – I find it very off-putting in games, and although it is jolly clever to be able to program it, it is not how we see the world while walking or running, so in my opinion should not be implemented. It’s what you get if you strap a camera to your head, but our eyeball control is, fortunately, a lot cleverer than a camera.

      1. but our eyeball control is, fortunately, a lot cleverer than a camera

        Or not, in my case!

        1. Your eyeballs are fine… it’s what’s behind them that’s suspect… :p

      2. Kyouryuu

        The thing is, if you don’t have some kind of bobbing – whether it’s the weapon bobbing or the physical view – it tends to look like you’re gliding through the environment like a ghost rather than having some foundation in the world.

  3. Fearlezz

    Hahaha, fail :p

  4. Yeah motion blur when you turn and move forwards/backwards has been in it since release in both Ep2 and Portal only it’s very subtle and also very abrupt (ie. it starts at a certain speed threshold instead of blurring very slightly and getting stronger as you go faster) so if it was too noticable it would also too jarring.

  5. Following the Valve update, the NPC A.I. improved and the graphics have better definition.
    It’s the same for all the retail games

    The improved definition make the motion blur that little bit more obvious.

    Given the dearth of HL2 mods since the update, it’s no surprise that some have not noticed.

    Load up “Water Hazard” in HL2 and get to the water.
    Spin the airboat. Don’t get giddy 😀
    It has ever been thus.
    The better definition subconsciously raises graphics expectations which magnifies the effect.

    I’m off to get my doctorate in Psychiatry.
    No, no. I mean trick cycling of course, silly me.

    1. the NPC A.I. improved and the graphics have better definition.

      It’s stuff like that, that I find so unhelpful. (Not you, but the actual updates). I want examples, explanations etc. Maybe a video showing a before and after etc. Screenshots at the very least.

      1. Before and after screenshots and videos are impossible from a single Steam account. If your updated, your updated, that’s it.
        If it were otherwise, you could do it yourself.

        Steam update details do not have details at the level of minutiae you require.

        I can only suggest you post a thread at or hope that a member/visitor here happens to know.

        1. Before and after screenshots and videos are impossible from a single Steam account. If your updated, your updated, that’s it

          I think you misunderstand. I’m not asking you to provide them but Valve. I want Valve to provide proper information, rather than simple text lists. I am sure many players would find it interesting.

          1. Got you.
            We’ll be lucky.

  6. The new HL2 uses the particle effects and improved textures/models that Episode 1 and 2 had. There isn’t going to be anything in the “updated” HL2 that you haven’t seen in episode 2 so it isn’t a huge update it just means that the enemy skins and blood effects look nicer, I think they also threw in tone mapping (mild HDR but without the bloom effect).

  7. Beez-one

    Talking about unnoticed!
    I just played through Ravenholm to the point there you get buggy. Right there Alyx is contacting with you through crappy TV.
    Guess that? I could swear there is glimpse of G-man in that transmission! It appears in the left part of screen, sliding from center to side. Watch for yourself, but don’t forget to zoom-in!

  8. You can disable motion blur in your advanced options and take some before and after shots that way. At this point I don’t see what all the hubbub is about over the feature.

    you can also notice motion blur if you noclip way outside the map, way way way up into the black void, then look down at the map and start flying downward. the motion blur will have a seizure around the edges.

    1. At this point I don’t see what all the hubbub is about over the feature

      The fact that I’ve only just noticed it and thought it was new.

      You can disable motion blur in your advanced options and take some before and after shots that way.

      I’m not talking about this feature in particular when I say I want more details. For example, Jasper mentioned “NPC A.I. improved”. I would like to see a video of some NPCs before the update and then exactly the same scenes after. Exactly “what” has been improved. Perhaps it would be useful for modders to see the difference too, it might make a difference to how they are placed/used/scripted.

  9. Improved A.I.
    It certainly would be good to know the differences for both players and mappers alike.
    Videos would be best but even text from Valve would be better than nothing.

    I replay the retail games and the classic mods a lot. I know them very well and saw the differences.
    The differences are small though.

    All NPC behaviour in all HL2s, and so the mods, as well has improved.
    Movement is smoother and a bit faster, enemy seem more aggresive, direction changes are smother and faster.
    This is especially true of the Helicopters
    In short, HL2 and EP1 now seem to have EP2/The Orange Box A.I..

    For sure, pre-update, we all noticed these improvements in EP2 with improved rebel A.I. being the most obvious of all.

    ID & Crytek are rather more forthcoming about things. For their new games anyway.
    I doubt Valve will follow their good example.
    Including mucking up people’s mods and just leaving it motivated, knowledgeable and benevolent members of the community to sort out.

  10. The problem is most of the changes are subtle tweaks or technical fixes. I’m pretty sure that originally enemies would only shoot at gordon if they could see his origin point so if you couldn’t see them (for example, if you held a can in the way of them) they wouldn’t shoot you. I’ve tried this with the new HL2s and they still shoot me so I’d assume that was fixed. Shotgun soldiers were also backported to HL2, which is easily the biggest change.

  11. Hec

    Ehh??, sorry for my dumbness, but how can I activate this so called “motion blur” do I have to write commands in the console, or just put a key to activate that thing???’, someone help me!, please

    1. Hec

      OH by the way as u can see, I also miss that scheme….

    2. Load Episode Two, go to Options, then to Video, then to Advanced. In that tab are a number of options and Motion Blur is one of them.

      1. Hec

        Ohh im going to try it right now, thanks buddy!!!

  12. czeapek

    :)) I didn’t now that….strange

  13. Anon_227805

    I thought motion blur was in all of the source games but maybe it was disabled by default in ep2.

  14. Patrick

    When I first saw the motion blur in EP2 I thought it was the bee’s knees. I spun my mouse as fast as possible, because at the time it was pretty impressive to see in games. It’s more noticeable in TF2.

    In regards to the motion blur causing motion sickness, one commenter above mentioned that we don’t see motion blur with our own eyes, which is true. An interesting point is that we would see it when shifting our gaze if it wasn’t for the curious effect of Saccadic masking. The brain actually selectively turns off your vision for a split second when your eye moves to eliminate blurring. Go ahead, look at one object, and then quickly at another a short distance away. Your vision pops instantly to the new position, but if you watch a webcam recording of yourself doing this, your eye movement is smooth. Neat, huh?

  15. WolfeR

    Isn’t it an option in the settings? You could have had it set off if so.

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