hl2ep2 Kai Axford was beating me up the other day on my lack of current games for my PC.  As I indicated to him and others, I was waiting to grab Valve Software's upcoming release of Half Life Orange Box.  Well, it's now out and I purchased a copy last night while picking up the HD-DVD version of Transformers.

I am happy to report that Steam and The Orange Box installed cleanly on my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p which is of course running Windows Vista Ultimate x64.  So now you can add another set of applications and games to the list at http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2007/10/05/applications-i-m-running-on-windows-vista-x64.aspx.

If you weren't aware, The Orange Box includes Half-Life 2, HL2: Episode One, HL2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal.  Portal has been getting high marks for fun and innovation.

After the install and updates all completed, I launched Episode 2 to try out the game and see how well the NVIDIA Quadro 570M video does on the laptop.  As usual, it launches the game initially in a 4:3 aspect 1024x768 session with decent but not full on graphics, texturing, shading and water refection support.  So I decided to boldly go high end.

I updated the video settings to 16:10 aspect ratio, 1680x1050 resolution, full screen, maximum shading, textures, water reflection, etc.  WOW!!!  I was shocked how well this laptop handles that.  It's definitely my new benchmark.  There was very slight tearing on quick turns but nothing laggy or obnoxious.  I simply could not believe it.  It was a quick test but it looks like I have a great new set of games to play at home and on the road.

Oh, and I was really surprised after the install.  The Steam and Valve guys state after all of the activation and updates I am at liberty to run the games associated with my account on any PC I have.  That is so very cool.  Something other software makers should think about.  It certainly made me happy.