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The Physgun shooting sticky Grenades

The Physgun, or Physics Gun, is a weapon cut from Half-Life 2, first seen at E3, 2003. It can be found in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta. It is the predecessor to the Gravity Gun.


Eli proto physics

Concept art for the early "prototype physics manipulator" being held by Eli Maxwell.

  • The Physgun model is very similar to that of the Gravity Gun. The differences are some texture variations, a red wheel turning when operating in the place of the orange (or blue) glowing parts of the end of the Gravity Gun, and a beige pipe above. The gauge is very similar, and is held with the same tape in both weapons. The pincers are quite different, and simpler. However it has no worldmodel.
  • Using its blue beam, the Physgun is useful when the player is unable to reach objects too far to be taken with the Gravity Gun, acting as a long range version of the latter.
  • While holding the primary fire and the Use key, the mouse scroll button can bring the target towards and away from the player.
  • The version of its model is v35, which needs to be converted to v37 to appear.
  • The Physgun's beam is also able to kill enemies and allies. It will also push Antlions extremely far.
Dangerted car

Sending a car flying with two weld tanks attached to it in the map "dangerted.vmf".

  • The Physgun's secondary fire (with a red beam) produces a Sticky Bomb-like ball (as it is the same model) that the player can use to "weld" two props together, when throwing a ball on each prop (the balls need to touch each other for the welding to work). When two props are weld together, using the primary fire on one of them will have the ball of the other produce sparks. The ball(s) of a prop will also change its color when the prop is selected. Gameplay wise, this option is very unstable and difficult to use efficiently. Sometimes the red beam will change and attach the prop to the ground after a few seconds. When the attachment is achieved, a flare sound also used by the Flare Gun and the IRifle will be heard. This feature is reminiscent of what can be achieved in Garry's Mod, and hints at a possible sandbox physics feature (even multiplayer) removed from Half-Life 2. Indeed, in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta, the Physgun is able to perform simple to complex physics contraptions similar to those featured in Garry's Mod, and without making changes to the game settings. The WC mappack map "dangerted.vmf" (named after the Citizen ragdoll present in the map, male Citizen 02, Ted) for instance is a sandbox map that the team used for testing physics with the Physgun.[1] Furthermore, two canister models, "W_WeldTank.mdl" and "W_WeldTank2.mdl", were apparently designed only to be welded to specific objects and make it fly away when ignited, as they contain volatile gas. They were removed from the retail files, hinting at their purpose being nil in the final game.
  • In some concept art for gameplay in Nova Prospekt there is a caption stating that a physics barricade is to be dismantled with the 'phys-gun'.[2]


  • The Physgun is featured in popular mods such as Garry's Mod and SMOD, though both use the Gravity Gun's model for it. Its functions remain the same except that it is able to freeze objects. Another Garry's Mod feature is the ability to rotate objects.
  • The physgun in Garry's Mod once reused the blue supercharged Gravity Gun model, but in a later update players were able to change the color. The Gravity Gun remains orange.
  • In the Half-Life 2 files, several texture files for HUD weapon icons can be found, most of which still containing the icons for almost all of the cut weapons. The Physgun is among them.
  • Portal 2's version of the ASHPD has a Physgun-like functionality in the Sixense Motion Pack, a DLC available only to those who own a Razer Hydra motion controller.[3]
  • It is possible to re-create the experience of the weld tanks in Garry's Mod by welding thrusters that look like the W_WeldTank model to a chosen prop. The thrusters must have to have the option 'Ignite when damaged' enabled for this to work.
  • At first glance the HUD icon seems to be the same as the Physics Gun's model, but it is most likely not of the Physgun, but more than likely it is of an earlier Physics Manipulator model, and the HUD icon had never been updated since then. This may imply that the Physics Gun had been cut quite early in development, but kept in the leak build code only for physics testing.
  • When browsing through the hl2_game_sounds_weapons sound script, one may be able to find a section devoted to the physgun. The first sound effect, physgun_loop1.wav, is named Physgun.LockedOn. loop2 is named Physgun.Scanning, with loops 3 and 4 being LightObject (loop3) and HeavyObject (loop4). This shows that the physgun possibly would tell you how heavy the object is via some sound effects, and that it would have a lot of use for it's sounds.
  • The physgun is still in the files for the source SDK, it can be reactivated ingame with importing physgun.cpp, and c_weapon_gravitygun.


List of appearances


  1. Physical Gameplay in Half-Life 2, page 6
  2. Top-right picture on page 237 of Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
  3. Portal 2 with the Razer Hydra on YouTube
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