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Half-Life 2

From AppleGamingWiki, the wiki about gaming on M1 Apple silicon Macs
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 cover
Valve Corporation
2005-present Valve Corporation
Release dates
macOS May 26, 2010 [1]
Metacritic 96
Series Half-Life
Half-Life 2 on HowLongToBeat
Half-Life 2 on IGDB
Half-Life 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Half-Life 2 on MobyGames
Half-Life 2 on Wikipedia

macOS Compatibility

Method Rating Notes
Native Playable Can be run with an EP1/2 installation with -game hl2, saves and achievements do not sync. See #Fixes & Tweaks[2] [3]
Rosetta 2 Unknown
Compatibility layer
CrossOver Runs Installed via Steam on CrossOver 21, extreme fps drops during shootouts and explosions.
Wine Perfect Tested on M1 max with settings set to high and resolution set to 2056x1329. Runs at over 120 fps with no vertical sync. Slight stuttering in load areas.
Parallels Perfect Playable.[4]


Guides originally written by James Hug. This method builds a native port for older Source engine games, such as Half-Life 2, its episodes, and Portal.

Enter these commands into Terminal, Homebrew & Xcode Command Line Tools are required:

1. Install prerequisites from Homebrew and clone Repository (added the jpeg-turbo dependency from instructions):

brew install sdl2 freetype2 fontconfig pkg-config opus libpng libedit python3 jpeg jpeg-turbo && brew cleanup
git clone --recursive && cd source-engine

2. Set pkg path:

export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="/opt/homebrew/opt/jpeg/lib/pkgconfig"

3. Configure, build and install the game into your Documents Folder:

python3 waf configure -T release --prefix='' --build-games=[game folder] && python3 waf build && python3 waf install --destdir='~/Documents/Build/[game folder]'

Valid Game Folder Names:

  • cstrike (Counter-Strike Source)
  • episodic (Half-Life 2: Episode 1)
  • ep2 (Half-Life 2: Episode 2, can be played without python3 waf build)
  • hl1 (Half-Life: Source)
  • hl2
  • portal
  • dod (Day of Defeat: Source)
  • hl2mp (Half-Life 2: Deathmatch)

4. Open your "Half-Life 2" Folder. (Portal and/or Day of Defeat Source, if you're installing those games) (Right-Click > "Browse local files" on Steam.)

5. Modify Installation Files (If you're installing multiple games, you only need to replace the files from "[game folder]/bin"):

  • Delete the root and game folder "bin" directories and "hl2_osx" executable
    • Move your "bin", "[game folder]/bin" folders and "hl2_launcher" executable to your Half-Life 2 folder,
    • and rename "hl2_launcher" to "hl2_osx"

Congratulations! You (hopefully) successfully built a working Native Source Port!

Fixes & Tweaks


  • MBP Notch Fix. Initiates the game in windowed borderless mode, allowing the game to render beneath the MacBook's notch, ensuring interface elements and aiming are correctly displayed. (put these in your Steam Launch Options, Right-Click > "Properties..."): -noborder -windowed
  • Cap FPS to a specific value, if using 120hz monitor (add this to your Steam Launch Options, Right-Click > "Properties..."): -refresh 120

Console commands

THESE CONSOLE COMMANDS WILL NOT SAVE (so need to be ran at the start of each game session or after reload)!


  • Asynchronous Audio. Forces audio asynchronization. Removes audio stuttering in some cases: snd_async_fullyasync 1; snd_async_minsize 0; snd_noextraupdate 1
  • Texture Quality Improvement: mat_picmip -1;mat_antialias 4;mat_forceaniso 8
  • Software AA: Maximum Quality (Helps to remove further aliasing, such as power lines.):mat_software_aa_quality 8; mat_software_aa_strength 2;mat_software_aa_strength_vgui 2;mat_software_aa_blur_one_pixel_lines 0.5;mat_software_aa_edge_threshold .8
  • Disable nearby culling: r_lod 0
  • Enable motion blur (some people prefer it disabled): mat_motion_blur_forward_enabled 1
  • Default Macbook Pro 16 resolution (can try this if the game is still not rendering under the notch): mat_setvideomode 1728 1117 1
  • More Space resolution (can try this it the game is still not rendering under the notch): mat_setvideomode 2056 1329 1


  • HL2 Flashlight Fix: r_newflashlight 0 (Replaces buggy HL2 flashlight with HL1 counterpart. HL2 flashlight typically causes various artifacts when interacting with shadows.)

Known bugs

  • When playing with Airpods, the audio starts stuttering randomly. Fix: Mute and unmute the audio on the Macbook.
  • Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch and Day of Defeat: Source show a black screen has no HUD on macOS Sonoma


  1. News - Steam For Mac Launch: Week 3 - last accessed on 2023-07-02
  2. Verified by User:PBeGood4 on 29 April 2023
    Device: M1 MacBook Pro
    Method: Compiled Source Engine Leak
    Resolution: 1920x1080
    Settings: high
    Framerate: 120+ FPS
  3. Verified by User:mokMan23 on 2023-09-25
    Device: 16GB M1 Mac Mini
    OS: macOS Sonoma 14.0 RC2
    Resolution: 2560x1440
    Settings: Very High
  4. Verified by User:gp on 7 Sep 2021
    Device: Mac M1 16 GB RAM
    OS: Windows 11 (latest Insider ISO)
    Method: Parallels 17
    Resolution: 1080p
    Settings: Medium
    Framerate: 50~60 FPS