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Steam Success Holding Up Half-Life Development?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the freeman-is-coding-the-whole-thing-himself dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 235

donniebaseball23 writes "Steam is a huge success, and it's arguably the leading digital distribution platform for gamers on the PC. But has the growth of Steam's business led to a slowdown in Valve's own games development? Is the so-called 'Valve Time' actually a symptom of Steam's hogging Valve's resources? That's the argument that Stardock's Brad Wardell made this week. 'If you were to look at a timeline of games developed in-house by Valve – not developed externally and then acquired – and you look at before Steam and after Steam, it's definitely had an effect,' he said." It's probably also slowed by the imminent launch of Portal 2, which is due out next Tuesday in North America.

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wat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815618)

It took them 6 years to make Half Life 2. It took them ONE year to make left 4 dead 2.

Re:wat (2)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815644)

It took them 6 years to make Half Life 2. It took them ONE year to make left 4 dead 2.

Yes, you're right. Remind me how long it took for HL2 Episode 3 to be released...

Re:wat (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815682)

What did they release before Steam? No more than just Half-Life and a handful of bought-in mods, no? I don't think there's a real difference between pre-steam and post-steam output of Valve. If any, the output has increased with titles like HL2, Ep 1, Ep 2, L4D, L4D2, Portal, Portal 2, TF2 and the upcoming DOTA.

Re:wat (3, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815812)

The key is that Valve have always focused on releasing quality products rather than masses of them.

Not every game company wants to be a cash grab house, sometimes they actually want to produce products that keep customers. I can't say that I've ever felt a Stardock game was of any quality, so maybe they're just cracking this shits that they can't churn out crap while trying to keep their horrible store online.

I don't think Gabe Newell is worried at all by these comments, they'll keep making money off other people's games to fund quality games of their own.

Re:wat (1)

LastGunslinger (1976776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816580)

Galactic Civ 2 and Sins of a Solar Empire are both Stardock, and they're solid games. I wouldn't put them in the same category at Valve's stuff, but there are worse companies out there. That said, I think Valve should keep doing what they're doing whether or not it causes a delay in the frequency of game releases.

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35817266)

There are worse companies... but not many.

Stardock is bottom of the barrel crap.

Re:wat (1)

Dails (1798748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816662)

For the most part it isn't up to the developers. The funding comes from a company that expects a product on a certain timeline. Valve has the advantage of being financially self-sufficient (in the beginning Gabe Newell was paying all of his programmers out of his own pocket - he was one of the original Microsoft Millionaires), so they don't have to answer to anyone but their customers. Valve is quite the anomaly among game developers.

Re:wat (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816774)

For the most part it isn't up to the developers. The funding comes from a company that expects a product on a certain timeline. Valve has the advantage of being financially self-sufficient ... so they don't have to answer to anyone but their customers. Valve is quite the anomaly among game developers.

Sounds alot like 3d Realms, let's hope Ep3 isn't the new DNF.

Re:wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815652)

L4D2 vs L4D: Slightly reworked engine, different maps, characters, voice overs, weapons. The engine is the hardest part and they save a lot of time and money not re-working the whole thing. The remaining things can be done in parallel. From one AC to another, your post is pointless and you've completely missed the facts of reality and the article.

If anything, you're strengthening his point about the success areas driving the business rather than concentrating on their initial core goal - making games.

Re:wat (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815684)

I am still disappointed that they released l4d2 that quick. Franchise milking is reserved to Activision and EA.

Re:wat (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816908)

I am still disappointed that they released l4d2 that quick. Franchise milking is reserved to Activision and EA.

at least they haven't announced 3...yet.

Re:wat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815918)

Half Life 2 is still one of my favourite FPS'. I recently replayed it, and think think the atmosphere is tuned really well. I usually get bored by today's FPS' - even though they obviously look a lot better. I think the big outdoor environments where you could choose to just explore, or try different strategies in certain stages (I like to see how little ammo I can use to clear a level) add to the experience. Games like CoD that try to push you along all the time ("yeah, yeah, let's do it!!!! Go Go Go!!!!!") just get a bit wearing for me at least.

Re:wat (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815982)

I agree. I did enjoy CoD4 but no where near as much as the HL2 series. And the 'always being pushed' thing did make me feel tired of the game frequently. I could only ever play CoD4 in small bursts.

Re:wat (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816214)

And where HL2 does push (the helicopter chasing you through the storm drains for instance) it is well paced with frnetic runs broken by slower spots when you are progressing under cover. Pacing and encouraged (rather than forced) progression seems to be something Valve do particularly well - we'll find out next week if they have kept that nack in the development of Portal 2...

Re:wat (1)

SirMasterboy (872152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817022)

Portal 2 will probably be released tomorrow actually.

Re:wat (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816282)

Half Life 2 is still one of my favourite FPS

Oh, it was brilliant. There was just never anything like it.

It always seemed like there was one really strong element of games before HL2. Either it was great storytelling or great atmosphere or great action or whatever, but HL2 put a lot of these elements together.

If it says "Half-Life", it's one of the few games I'll buy without reading a review.

Re:wat (1)

rasmusneckelmann (840111) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816122)

Seen from a technical point of view, first person shooters are some of the easiest games to make, provided you're using an existant engine. The bulk of the man hours needed goes into making graphical content like textures, maps, models, and animations.

Provided your team got an efficient pipeline for producing art assets, stocked with skilled artists, there's really not that many things which can delay the project unexpectedly.

On the other hand, if the project involves building an entire engine from scratch (like in the case of Half Life 2) you got yourself an endless source of unexpected bugs and problems you'll need to deal with. It's much easier to predict how much work is needed to create a model of a zombie than to predict how long it will take to code a core component of a game engine.

Re:wat (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816148)

It took them 10 years to make TF2 as well. This article is really quite especially retarded, Valve have long had a history of missing release dates by a matter of years well before Steam even came about.

Re:wat (2)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816176)

It took them 6 years to make Half Life 2. It took them ONE year to make left 4 dead 2.

L4D2 is hardly the same level of work though. Designed primarily for co-op multiple player play with paper thin plot they didn't have to plan narrative elements of any complexity, the engine and was basically there already (as it was for L4D, but not HL2) as was the game framework on top of it. The amount of work needed on just EP3 is much higher then L4D2 - getting the story elements right will be a massive task compared to another chapter of zombie onslaught as there are many plot points to close (plus presumably a few to leave open enough for another sequel down the line), new ideas to develop for this instalment, all while staying tru to what has gone before and maintaining a quality that won't leve the long-time players feeling let down. If there are genuinely new things going on in EP3 then there may be much more significant engine and game framework tweaks than there could have been between L4D and L4D2. Considering how much extra work EP3 is compared to L4D2, you can see why HL2 was a ball-acher of a project relatively speaking: they were writing the core engine pretty much from scratch at that point, rather than making evolutionary changes, on top of developing the game around that engine.

Re:wat (1)

parlancex (1322105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816968)

That's because Left 4 Dead 2 barely qualifies as an expansion pack by almost any standard.

Simple (3, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815634)

If you can make bucketloads of money with very little effort, why try to do something hard?

Re:Simple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815656)

I doubt running Steam is "very little effort". Sure to the usual idiot it may look like so, because they don't see or know what actually is required to be done behind the scenes.

I'm actually happy Valve is concentrating on Steam. Half-Life would be passing fun, while Steam provides me great service all the time (and has done so since 2004). From the games front, I actually like Portal more than HL. It's something different and fun. Half-Life is kind of seen already.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815672)

Steam? Sorry, I actually meant hats and crate keys.

Re:Simple (5, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815740)

I have to agree.
I had stopped buying games years ago. Not playing them entirely, but stopped buying them entirely.

Steam, despite the misgivings I shared with many others, has turned out to be a great service. I have now bought a metric shitload of games (by jumping on the sales, the $2.99 deals, etc.)

I'd sworn publishers would never get another cent of my money especially if there was DRM, but I have TONS of steam games because it's so easy, and CHEAP (provided you wait for sales... which, for top titles, can take a year or two. Year or two? Big deal. I'm middle aged now - two years is nothing. I've got t-shirts ten times that old.

Shit, a 2 year old game is "new" to me.

Re:Simple (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815864)

Steam has managed to find a sweet spot in pricing (although I only buy deals, for new games Steam is less interesting because of localization ... mainland Europe gets screwed hardcore) and the level of intrusiveness of DRM I can live with. The DA:O business for instance would not have happened with pure Steam DRM ... a game which has been activated can be played offline (you do not have to be online to enter offline mode, that's a myth ... try it out, just "pull the cable" and restart Steam).

Of course developers can use extra DRM beyond the Steam DRM, but I find it hard to blame Valve for that ... although I think they are almost at the point where they have enough leverage where they should just tell developers to knock it the hell off (it negatively impacts Valve image as well when a Steam game stops working).

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816050)

(you do not have to be online to enter offline mode, that's a myth ... try it out, just "pull the cable" and restart Steam).

Close but not quite. Steam used to barf if you tried to start it in offline mode without setting it to "offline" whilst you were still connected, it would immediately prompt to connect to the server then complain that it couldn't. Valve have fixed that now but it did use to be a real problem, I remember being bitten by it when my Internet was offline for 2 days, I couldn't get Steam to play ball with the offline mode until the network came back on.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816256)

you do not have to be online to enter offline mode, that's a myth ... try it out, just "pull the cable" and restart Steam

Only if you saved your password.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816450)

>Steam has managed to find a sweet spot in pricing

Steam prices are NOT cheap, except for the sales. You can find almost any new release cheaper by just looking around. Well, except maybe Valve games which you can only buy online from Steam.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35817094)

(you do not have to be online to enter offline mode, that's a myth ... try it out, just "pull the cable" and restart Steam).

It's wonky. Some games will run fine, others won't.

Steam is worst when you have a poor internet connection. Logging in is unreliable, and downloading often results in corrupted game files or hung downloads.

XKCD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816830)

Mandatory [xkcd.com]

Re:Simple (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817138)

The best part about a 2 year old game is that if there is a tricky part you just can't get around, there have been enough creative people to show you exactly how to get around it - with video.

(A couple of my Portal videos on Youtube have gotten a few recent comments. I find that a little strange. Has there been a recent upsurge in advertising; or, perhaps, pre-orders for Portal 2 is coming with a license for Portal?)

Cat's got my tongue (1)

Vitani (1219376) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815638)

No. Next question?

lame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815640)

I am tired of waiting for these stupid HL2 episodes, the whole idea was to make development cycles faster but Valve has abandoned the franchise so it can work on Stream UI...

Re:lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816208)

The first two episodes were fine. EP1 was released June 2006 and EP2 was released October 2007; they had a reasonable amount of content considering the (relatively) short development cycle. At that pace EP3 should have been released around February 2009; unfortunately it is now April 2011. The thing that bothers me is that we haven't really heard ANYTHING about EP3 (or Half-Life in general) other than tidbits like this [escapistmagazine.com] . Hmm, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, Duke Nukem Forever. My personal belief is that they have given up on episodic content and incorporated whatever they already had for EP3 into HL3, though we probably won't see the fruits of that labor for another couple of years.

Nothing to do with Portal (5, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815668)

The timelines for HL2: Episodes 1 and 2 slipped by more than a year each and that was before the main Valve dev team touched Portal (Portal was almost entirely done by the Narbucular drop team that Valve hired). The HL2 episodic content is one of the things that destroyed the idea of Episodic content for me. The whole point of it was to deliver content more frequently instead of a whole game every 2-3 years, but Valve can barely get out 1/3rd of an Episode every 2-3 years.

I suspect they are either suffering from Dukeitis (a condition where developers keep iterating because they need to live up to their previous smash success) or the major designers have their fingers in every pie instead of working one or two projects at a time and are slowing everything up.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

DrSpock11 (993950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815760)

I think the real problem is money. Despite the critical praise of Half Life, it doesn't sell nearly as well as the other stuff Valve has gotten their hands into.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816258)

I think the real problem is money. Despite the critical praise of Half Life, it doesn't sell nearly as well as the other stuff Valve has gotten their hands into.

Says who? I submit that the Half-Life series is their most successful franchise. Portal is a part of that franchise, by the way.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816530)

The "Other stuff" would be Steam.

It's easy to get lazy when you're skimming profits off of the top of every game sale. There was an article not-too-long-ago that described Valve as being the most profitable company on a per-employee basis, twice that of Google. That cash ain't coming from Portal and HL2 sales.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

Ganthor (1693614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816106)

HL2 was fantastic and my wife endured a few weeks as a gaming widow while I played it through.

I got Ep 1 and was disappointed at how short it was. It was priced like a full length game. I felt burned and I lost interest before Ep2 got onto the shelves.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816310)

It was priced like a full length game.

I don't know where you live, but here in the US it was $30 compared to the normal $50.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816532)

I assume you're both talking about The Orange Box set, and not the episode itself.

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (3, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816312)

The Episodes also destroyed the idea of episodic content for Valve. They said, when they first announced them, that the entire thing was an experiment. They've now said that "episodic content doesn't work for this type of game, we're scrapping the idea, episode 3 will basically be a full-length game".

Re:Nothing to do with Portal (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816406)

To be fair, episodes 1 and 2 of Half-Life 2 were longer and better made than most of the crap that passes as a triple-A title these days. These episodes could have easily been full games on their own, so to me they don't really represent what episodic gaming is all about.

"a symptom of Steam's hogging Valve's resources?" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815674)

Probably, it certainly hogs mine.

half life expansions not by valve (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815688)

Valve made the original half life, half-life 2 and the episodes. But all the expansions to the original half life (opposing force, blue shift and decay) were made by gearbox software.

Re:half life expansions not by valve (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816316)

And while OpFor may still be the best FPS expansion ever, I seriously doubt Valve would give up control like that anymore.

Re:half life expansions not by valve (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816438)

I didn't know about Decay. Thanks!

Re:half life expansions not by valve (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816976)

I didn't know about Decay. Thanks!

Decay was PlayStation only (or PS2 only). Which is why most people have never heard of it.

Guess Valve development... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815690)

....Has a half-life :)

it had unforeseen consequences (1)

gargamelo (1044456) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815722)

i dont buy any more from steam here in sweden, since steam forced me to buy in € , makes the games 20-30% cheaper to buy steam games on physical stores, which is ridiculous since online should cost less to deliver.

Re:it had unforeseen consequences (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815910)

The problem is that publishers have this fantasy market separation still in place between the UK and the rest of Europe ... which doesn't exist in the real market because the UK is in the EU common market, imports will force reality on prices in shops. They force Valve to keep the fantasy alive on steam though.

If developers could they would raise the prices in shops too, the EU common market benefits us in this regard.

Stupid? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815742)

Sounds stupid to me. A company of Valve's wealth and size could attract and support enough talent for doing both game dev and steam dev, surely?

Re:Stupid? (1)

jkmartin (816458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815968)

Activision and EA probably thought the same thing at one time...

Re:Stupid? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816138)

Valve is owned by Valve employees. They do what they love doing, there are no external shareholders to force them work faster. Everything Valve does makes sense when you replace greed as primary motivator with desire to make great products.

The exact opposite to Valve would be Activision with it's leader Bob Kotick. You should read up on him.

"Kotick doesn't play his games, and it shows" - Ben Kuchera, Ars Technica

Re:Stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816778)

Oh, look. An "anonymous" Valve Public Relations astroturfer. The classic combination of praising yourself and denigrating the competition.

Re:Stupid? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816346)

The "division" of Valve responsible for Steam is about 5 people - a few programmers, an interface designer, and someone to add new games every so often. Compare that to the 15+ people still working on Team Fortress 2, or the huge number of people working on Portal 2.

No shit! (3, Insightful)

mattbee (17533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815758)

Yawn, another fine morning at Valve! Shall we slog on with another episode of our popular game franchise for the fanboys, or shall we work a bit harder at our store front that takes 30% of EVERY PC GAME SALE ON THE PLANET? It's not quite that dramatic, but if >50% of PC games sales were downloads last year for the first time, Steam must be taking the lion's share. And last I looked they were only 150-odd employees - still quite impressive.

Re:No shit! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816328)

Do you know if the ~150 employees just counts core developers, artists, etc. or does that include the receptionist and the guy who swaps drives on the steam servers and so on?

Unless large parts of the backend are outsourced(which wouldn't be a complete surprise, trying to beat one of the dedicated CDNs at delivering large files to customers all over the place isn't obviously a sensible move when they'd be happy to deliver them for you for a modest fee...) , I have to imagine that steam's physical infrastructure alone would consume a reasonable amount of time and attention, never mind the software development, or the work that goes into figuring out how to make the client hog more system resources.

subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815774)

Valve released exactly one game, before releasing Steam. If you don't count mods made by other people, that is.

I think the reason they're not working on Half Life so much is because they're allowed to be so much more creative and expressive with Left 4 Dead and Portal, or they were. Half Life must follow certain expectations, it is believed. Now they have so many franchises, like Blizzard, that they're susceptible to a comfortable, creative retirement. But it must kill the soul.

And Duke Nukem Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815804)

is holding up George Broussard getting off his fat ass, taking a shower, and going outside.

Ohyes, this makes sense... (4, Interesting)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815806)

This makes sense: All the leveldesigners, modelers, texture- and concept artists; They all work on Steam...

I assume that the sarcasm is noticed.

There's no need for Valve to work on Episode 3 in a hurry; Whenever it will be released, it will be sold by the millions.
And to be honest; I rather wait some more (actually, I'm not missing it), and get yet another awesome game, whereas I don't get the feeling that something is incomplete because of rushing it out for a certain date.

Other than that, I also have a theory in which I think that right now, they might be working on HL3, and just skip the whole Episode 3.
Then again, pure speculation of course.

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816086)

This makes sense: All the leveldesigners, modelers, texture- and concept artists; They all work on Steam...

Don't forget the programmers themselves. I'm sure Valve thought it made complete sense to take the developers working on a 3D game engine and put them to work on an Adobe AIR container for a lobotomised web browser. It's practically the same thing, right?

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817066)

You say it as a joke but plenty of companies do that. Here programmer fix this; there can't be that much difference between GUI design and embedded systems or you would need a different degree to do one or the other.

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816332)

If they were to release HL2 - episode 3, it would have been released after Portal 2 anyway. I believe Portal 2 contains some references that will get the worlds of Portal and Half-Life 2 closer together - Portal 1 already had references about Black Mesa.

Also, from a marketing point of view, if you want to release a game, you want to release it just like big Hollywood movies are released - either when children come back from Summer holidays or towards the end of November - early December, when parents start buying Christmas gifts.

So I wouldn't be surprised to hear Half-Life 2 - Episode 3 is already done or in some beta stage and just waits for the right time to start advertising it.

Smart move from Valve imho would be to get around December both Episode 3 * and * some kind of updated Orange Box, containing the whole Half-Life 2 episodes and both Portals. It would be an excellent gift.

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

shirque (1335717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816940)

If you thought Portal's fake ending in the incinerator was cool, wait till you escape the Aperture complex in Portal 2, only to find yourself right at the start of HL2:EP3 ...

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817088)

Gordon Freeman is Chell?

Gordon Freeman is the co-op bots wearing a man-suit?

Black Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35817158)

They might release a Black Box:

- HL2:Ep3
- Black Mesa Source (hence 'black box')
- L4D1 and 2
- a fluff piece out of the Portal universe

I'd pre-order it today!

Re:Ohyes, this makes sense... (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816994)

Considering Episode 3 is the final installment of the story arc, I'm fine with waiting... as long as we get some feedback. I sincerely hope they do not stop making Half-Life games. It's very disappointing when someone owns the IP rights to a franchise but does nothing with it, or worse, doesn't treat it with the respect their fans desire.

Incomplete Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815832)

Should be: Steam success holding up half life development suggests rival.

Omnomnomnom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815866)

"After nine years in development, hopefully it'll be worth the weight." --Gabe Newell, 2007

Basically Nonsense (1)

Hach-Que (1524899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815892)

It's been previously said by Valve that they only actually have about 9 - 10 people working on Steam at any given time (no I do not have a citation for that either, it was quite a while ago by my memory).

So basically, the idea that Steam has been holding Valve up in producing games is total crap.

Re:Basically Nonsense (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816796)

Well, from one perspective it's possible that having an almost guaranteed source of income takes off the usual pressure to rush a game out the door. Looking at it that way, perhaps Steam does delay releases, but if it means a more polished product that's hardly a bad thing (we hear enough complaints about poorly designed/developed/scripted games being rushed to market).

HL3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35815900)

left 4 dead 2 is just a mod/update. Yes valve needs to do something because HL3 is taking way to long.

Episode 3 (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35815960)

Will it be released before, or after Duke Nukem ...

Re:Episode 3 (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816022)

Depends on how many additional rounds of Release Date Shuffle we're facing.

I bet Portal 2 comes out early... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816006)

It's going to be funny when Portal 2 launches early and totally contradicts this article.

Valve is dying? (1)

thetagger (1057066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816052)

Valve has been releasing one awesome game after another for the last 12 years. Clearly something is wrong! Valve get your act together!

My guess is.. (1)

valentingalea (1039734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816060)

They are working on a totally new version of the Source engine - that's why it is taking so long..

Re:My guess is.. (1)

Dexy (1751176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816336)

Thanks, Captain Insightful

Re:My guess is.. (1)

valentingalea (1039734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816414)

Well, current Source engine is very modular and has seen lots of incremental improvements, see TF2, L4D2, Portal 2 - one would guess HL-EP3 or even HL3 would follow the same - but the new HL's are taking way to much long for that :) maybe they ditch it all and started a new..
Or maybe not and Valve just hasn't enough valuable guys to go around and they all scattered around for the current projects - and the Half-Life 3 team is left with just the concept guy filling sketchbook after sketchbook:)

Valve time == testing takes time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816108)

Especially with limited numbers and reusability of test subjects.

Say What? (5, Informative)

Majikk (60247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816250)

Here is the list of games published by Valve, according to Wikipedia. I have checked each description to make sure everything was done by whom I thought it was done by. Note that Steam gets released in 2002:

1998 Half-Life
1999 Team Fortress Classic
1999 Half-Life: Opposing Force (Not valve!)
2000 Deathmatch Classic
2000 Ricochet
2000 Counter-Strike (Not valve!)
2001 Half-Life: Blue Shift (Not valve!)
2002 Steam
2003 Day of Defeat (Not Valve)
2004 Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (Not Valve)
2004 Counter-Strike: Source
2004 Half-Life 2
2004 Half-Life 2:Deathmatch
2005 Half-Life Deathmatch: Source
2005 Day of Defeat: Source
2005 Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One
2007 Half-Life 2: Episode Two
2007 Portal
2007 Team Fortress 2
2008 Left 4 Dead
2009 Left 4 Dead 2
2010 Alien Swarm
2011 Portal 2 (Coming out Tuesday)
2011 Dota 2 (Not yet released)

First of all, how the hell could you possibly know that game development has changed in any meaningful way since the introduction of Steam? The only thing Valve had really released was Half Life. Everything else was just a mod or a third party expansion they had nothing to do with. Secondly, if anything more games have come from Valve since Steam. They haven't pushed out Half Life 3 yet, but it would be hard to claim some logistical problem when they have released Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal.

Please remember that Brad Wardell is a business man, and he just sold his own game distribution network to Gamestop. His next action was to badmouth his (former) competition for continuing to be in the business he just got out of. Stay classy.

Re:Say What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816372)

Don't forget either their constant updates to TF2; they've got a handful of employees who only work on that game.

Here, I de-duped that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816554)

1998 Half-Life
1999 Team Fortress Classic
1999 Half-Life: Opposing Force (Not valve!)
2000 Deathmatch Classic
2000 Ricochet
2000 Counter-Strike (Not valve!)
2001 Half-Life: Blue Shift (Not valve!)
2002 Steam
2003 Day of Defeat (Not Valve)
2004 The Orange Box (Source Engine / HL & mods)
2008 Left 4 Dead (and the Service Pack)
2010 Alien Swarm
2011 Portal 2 (Coming out Tuesday)
2011 Dota 2 (Not yet released)

Re:Say What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816702)

Day of Defeat was released prior to steam being released. that date is likely the date that they bought DOD from the initial developers. Back in my early dod days we were still using the crapp halflife style mplayer interface.

You buried the lead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816252)

...PORTAL 2 is being released next Tuesday!!!

Re:You buried the lead... (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816806)

Actually, the current somewhat substantiated rumor is that Portal 2 will be released early on friday [1up.com] .

Re:You buried the lead... (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817132)

I have it preloaded but I will be heading for a camping trip on Friday. If that's right, I'll probably just stay home. Who needs friends when you have Valve games?

Episodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816264)

It doesn't make sense for them to release the game in episodes if it's going to take them this long to get one out. One of the biggest advantages of episode releases is that you can expect pieces of the full game every few months - but every few years? That's kind of ridiculous.

Blizzard? (1)

grizzifus (2021406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816382)

Blizzard and Valve both make great games, and take many years to do it. Steam is of little relevence to this.

Steam? Half-Life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816398)

For a couple of seconds I thought this was about Fukushima again...

Portal 2 is needed for EP 3 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816708)

Playing EP2 without playing Portal 1 left me with "What the hell is Aperture Science ?" . After they blended the storylines together it made more sense after playing Portal 1.

Being the boat is gonna be in Portal 2 (I assume.. and assuming due to the XBOX360 achievement as well ) I'm guessing we'll know how the story is going to blend in with EP3 (if it releases by end times(December 2012 and/or May 26th's "rapture".).

More Likely Explanation: Consoles (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816720)

Instead of blaming Steam, a more likely explanation on why the next set of games is taking longer is that Valve is embracing cross platform development including the trickier console platforms. I am not suggesting "Consoles are bad!" but that cross platform systems are inherently more complex and take more time and money to do.

Yup. All the level designers are working on Steam (1)

6350' (936630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816762)

Brad Wardell, as always, is full of shit. The vast majority of Valve developers do not work on Steam. If I understand it correctly, the Steam team is actually rather small, given it's impact. And please, Brad is telling us that a crew of, say, designers and level designers has not been working on HL2 dlc because ... they are working on Steam?! Yeah. Sure. Those poly-pushing level monkies are all hard at work coding up Steam transaction backend software.

I Pity The Fool (1)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35816886)

...who attempts to shit on valve/steam for any reason, if it takes em a little longer (it hasn't, see previous posts) then you can go play a quality game like dragon age while you wait for them... oh wait nvm....

Damn that Valve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35816990)

They are so incredibly successful!
Every game they release is totally awesome and a big hit!
The digital distribution platform they made defines digital distribution for videogames and is super profitable!
I want more half life waaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaa!

How can you diss them about their release schedule? Every game they release is a very profitable hit. Compare them to duke nukem all you want, I'm sure they'd love to read your whiney blog posts from the satellite internet they have on their yacht. People used to (still do?) complain about blizzard's slow release schedule and lack of release dates, but like valve, they only put out hits. I once heard some game dev for some no-name company say "We like to watch what blizzard does, because even if it doesn't make sense to a lot of people, they must be doing it right". If you're ever in doubt about that simple fact for companies like blizzard and valve, just look at the money.

In the immortal words of AC/DC: "Money Talks."

Hmm.... (1)

SoCalledNotion (1548979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817188)

Does anyone else find it strange that some guy from Stardock is speculating about how Valve runs their buisness, based off how Stardock ran theirs? This article would be more relevant if they actually had some facts from the horse's mouth (Valve) rather than some guy at a competing company blowing smoke.

yes..this totally makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35817220)

Yeah so Im willing to bet that 90% of the company has nothing to do with steam, as in the game company I work for we have a similar service and you know what its like 5 people working on it out of 300+, this is just another company bad mouthing a competitor

Stones and Glass Houses (2)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35817312)

Someone reeks of sour grapes and lame duck.

Last time I checked, Valve hasn't rushed a game out the door and had to do the walk of shame once everyone realized the sad shape the game was in.

Valve is one of those few developers who are in a position to say "When it's done" and take the time to polish/complete the game to the quality standards they set for themselves... and gamers expect. If there's a reason for Ep3/HL3's delay it's because they've been busy with improving the Source engine (or building a new one?), L4D, L4D2 (Brad conveniently disregards L4D2 was 100% Valve), Portal 2, and oh yes, continuing support for TF2.

He also conveniently left out the fact that while they did acquire Turtle Rock (and later let them leave) and a couple of student teams from Digipen, there was still level of involvement from people already at Valve. In particular, Chet and Erik were writing for the Half-Life episodes and were moved onto the L4D and Portal projects.

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