This article is non-canon.
The subject matter of this article does not take place in the "real" Half-Life universe.
Get Your Free TVs! was the very first Half-Life 2 test level to be created in 2001 when the Valve development team had only a rough script of the game, some concept art and was experimenting the new technology. It consisted of a test sequence designed to highlight all the new technology created for the game and test the NPCs and physics, not to be included in the final product. Based around a very early version of the Source engine, this sequence was the real start of the game's development.
The concept was to simulate a street war between rioting citizens and the Metrocops sent to contain them. Such a sequence would test the engine's ability to create a vast, believable world and lifelike characters. There would be APCs and tanks rolling down the streets. Citizens would throw Molotov cocktails at the vehicles, which would then explode. Other characters would start looting stores and yell, "Get your free TVs!". There was even a hand-to-hand fighting system so the Metrocops and Citizens could get into fistfights, a feature never implemented or seen in the final game.
A user named Pokeymanz123 emailed Mr. Laidlaw himself, and he got a response with the script of the supposed get your free tvs map shown of at siggraph in 2001.
"The video as I recall was of the viewpoint character moving through some dingy buildings on a deserted street, when around the corner run two citizens carrying old-fashioned boxy television sets. The first one shouts, “TVs! Free TVs!” as he runs past. The second one says, a bit more of a fast mutter, “Get one. Get a TV. Get yourself a TV!” I think as the viewpoint keeps going, you round a corner and see a citizen and a cop in a very awkward scuffle, where the cop tries to konk the citizen with his nightstick and the citizen is trying to protect himself with his fists. Somewhere in here (maybe a different map?) another citizen hurls a molotov at a building and starts a small fire. I think there might be alarms going off the whole time? It was a pretty short clip, and I’m not even sure what it was supposed to demo considering it was SIGGRAPH and not a gameplay demo." -Marc Laidlaw [April 13th, 2018]
- The Citizens had the original "gas mask" design shown in Raising the Bar and in the map "
- The small map can be found in the WC mappack under the name "
city_test", with several versions ranging from "03" to "09".
These screenshots were taken from a fixed version of "
city_test03.vmf". Broken links to textures, models, the skybox, and sprites have been fixed.