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Half-Life 2 Preloading from Steam 534

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the chomping-at-the-bit dept.
Nos. writes "For those of us using Valve Software's Steam platform, we can now begin 'preloading' Half-Life 2. The article explains that this will download an encrypted version of the game that you can unlock when you purchase it. They only say that purchase options will be available soon."
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Half-Life 2 Preloading from Steam

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  • Don't bother trying (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:30AM (#10085329)
    It's been pre-Slashdotted. You get an error saying their servers are already too busy doing preloads and to try again in a few hours. If you want to see the in-steam announcement though, go here [steampowered.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:36AM (#10085386)
      I just got it to start pre-loading despite failing during earlier attempts. I can't wait to start not playing it.
    • by NotAnotherReboot (262125) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:49AM (#10085695)
      I wouldn't exactly call it a slashdotting.

      If you look at their status page,
      http://www.steampowered.com/status/status.h tml
      you will see that they have plenty of bandwidth available. The 'available' bandwidth is actually pretty accurate from what I've seen. They can pump out more than they're doing right now.

      It asked you to try again long before it came onto slashdot.

      They are intentionally throttling the number of downloaders for it because there is no great rush to make sure everyone has it right now (it won't be coming out for a few weeks at the very least, many retailers are speculating Nov. 1st, but I wouldn't hold much weight in their dates). They are throttling them because they don't want to degrade the quality of service for games already released on Steam (HL series of games).

      Try again in a few days, and you'll be no worse off.
    • It's been pre-Slashdotted. You get an error saying their servers are already too busy doing preloads and to try again in a few hours.


      They should really find a better way to distribute these huge programs. Maybe they could press it to a CD and put it in a box at the store so we can just pick it up there instead of downloading it?

  • TFC2 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Redge (318694) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:30AM (#10085336) Journal
    As long as the Sniper rifle still has the red dot, I'll be happy!
  • Hrmmn (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085340)
    "You get Half-Life 2 yet?"

    "Yup!"

    "Boy, I can't wait til next year when we can play it"

    • Now all thats needed is for them to announce the price for the online version. I mean surely they will knock a couple of dollars off for not having to ship a box with media in it to stores... :)

      tick.... tick... tick.. tick.

      • Re:Hrmmn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eliza_effect (715148) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:51AM (#10085459)
        Incidentally, I think there's a good chance that they won't knock off a few bucks for an online purchase. AFAIK the boxing/duping/printing outlay is done by the publisher and in the end is removed from the profits of the studio. I think Valve may see this as a very good way to make back what the publisher takes. I remeber Sierra not being to happy when plans for Steam were announced, and now it's obvious why.
        • Re:Hrmmn (Score:3, Interesting)

          by halowolf (692775)
          Yes I very much expect this to be the case. However for once, for a major release, I won't have to be bothered with putting the CD in my drive when I wan't to play it. That will truely be refreshing, as will not having to wait for the box's to hit shelves in Australia. Though Doom 3 coming out on August 3rd was a nice suprise, take that Europe! :)
        • Re:Hrmmn (Score:5, Informative)

          by xenocide2 (231786) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:28AM (#10085625) Homepage
          It also puts Sierra in the not so enviable position of selling a product directly to the customers while also selling it to retail. Retail isn't happy when they get undercut by the guy giving it to them. Especially places like walmart. Of course, they're also building a way to eventually circumvent the retailers AND the publishers, which Sierra isn't happy about, as you noted.

          Of course, not every game can be sold via steam like scenarios. The FPS market comes with a lot of assumptions about the demographic. Dominately technical, online (broadband)and expensive computers. Take out any of those and steam just doesn't make sense. If Valve wants to branch out to a broader demographic by making games in the vein of Popcap, you really need something tied much closer to the browser than a standalone app just for shopping. Or if they want to sell something like Deer Hunter to people that don't live on the internet or read PC Gamer magazines, then a nice orange box at walmart is still your best bet.
        • Re:Hrmmn (Score:5, Insightful)

          by abandonment (739466) <mike,wuetherick&gmail,com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @03:14AM (#10085962) Homepage
          valve had a 50/50 deal with sierra for distribution of half-life 1, and while i'm sure that they have come up with some kind of deal about what expenses are deducted from the gross before this split, i highly doubt that valve is going to offer the game for any cheaper than the game is in stores.

          couple of reasons for this:

          1) sierra probably forced them to keep the price similar enough so that it's worthwhile for them to sell the game at retail.

          2) half-life1 continues to sell for near-full price (30+$ here in canada) almost 6 years after it was released. i don't consider bundling 2 mods that valve didn't have to pay for development (and that can be downloaded for free) exactly worthwhile of a full-priced game...

          whether gamers fall for it (ie buy the game online for the same price as retail) remains to be seen.

          i personally think this is the stupidest thing that valve could ever do - how long will it be before their 'encryption' is hacked and hl2 becomes a pirate version (potentially) long before retail.

          as well, why the HELL would anyone download a game that they can't play? steam is brutal in it's management of system resources and bandwidth as it is, let alone having it download endless games that you can't play...
  • Torrent... (Score:3, Funny)

    by EvilCabbage (589836) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085341) Homepage
    ... available in five, four, three, two....
  • To put it mildly... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085344) Homepage
    As if we didn't have enough problems getting Steam and the patches - they don't /. on their servers too!

    And anyone who actually plays with Steam knows what I'm talking about.
  • yay (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rotkiv (807314) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085345) Homepage Journal
    I felt my heart jump, just from the word soon. A tear came to my eye too, but that's because my eyes hurt from staring at a monitor too long.
  • by rambo_command0 (807765) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085346)
    I wonder how long it will be till hackers find away to spoof half life 2's pre-loading authenticiation and users can play hl2 without actually buying it.
    • if you compare it to Id's Doom 3 roll out.
      After all the hype I think it is better to be able to provide it to everybody at one time.
    • by kagaku (774787) on Friday August 27, 2004 @02:01AM (#10085749)
      As far as I know, it's only preloading stuff that won't change between now and the time the game ships. Graphics, sounds, levels, anything that's done. The actual game engine itself probably won't load until you pay for the game. I'm sure someone will eventually figure out how to decrypt the cache file, but it won't do much good without the game engine itself.
    • by Lord Kano (13027) on Friday August 27, 2004 @02:33AM (#10085841) Homepage Journal
      Two words

      "Steam Authentication"

      I misplaced my Half-Life CD case when I needed to freshly install WinXP. I used a key gen to get the game to work. WON's server wouldn't authenticate my bogus key. I was left not playing for about two weeks when I finally found my CD case and put in a legit serial number.

      I don't think that Valve is going to use a more lax authentication regimen for HL-2, especially after the "source theft" that happened last year.

      LK
      • by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Friday August 27, 2004 @03:13AM (#10085959) Journal
        They've been pretty lax before, recent examples:

        Condition Zero) For about 2 months, you could use hlds(halflife dedicated severver)'s update tool to download the conditon zero server files, which included every single client file. All you had to do was put it in your half-life directory and it would load as a third party game, and play online with anyone that bought it.

        CS:Source) If you knew the appid (which is in your blob cookie file) you could force it to preload even if you didnt meet the requirements (being a lan center at the time). They patched that after two days, but that preload was unencrypted and easily extracted. Of course, they did encrypt the preload of Codename Gordon, a free buggy/crappy flash game.
    • I'm not worried about anybody cracking it before HL2 is released. If Valve was halfway competent with encryption, it will be pretty much uncrackable without the keys. However, once the game is released, Valve has to release the decryption keys so people can play it. I don't see how they can do this in a secure way unless they encrypt it separately with a different key for each person, which would be computationally expensive for their download servers. If they use the same key for any two people, one of
      • Well, alternately they could just use a single pre-load key for all of the static materials, music, graphics and the like, and use an individual key for the much smaller executables and such that will likely drop over the network when the game is actually bought online.

        But I think you're right, the possibility of the preload getting cracked is nearly zero if it's done properly (which they've certainly had ample time to work out :) - and if it IS cracked, it still won't be playable without the executables w
    • by bobbis.u (703273) on Friday August 27, 2004 @06:51AM (#10086591)
      Congrats guys - our comments have made the BBC News [bbc.co.uk]! (last paragraph)
  • by mikeymac (801110) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:31AM (#10085347) Homepage
    Now if i could only find that damn ati coupon thing, *looks at desk*, shakes head.
  • Bah, Steam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:32AM (#10085349)
    I stopped playing CS when Valve force-fed their DRM, buggy, memory-intensive heaping pile of poo they call "steam" onto their userbase.

    With Doom 3 who needs them!
    • by nuclear305 (674185) * on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:38AM (#10085392)
      Don't you mean STEAMing pile of poo?
    • by stealth.c (724419) on Friday August 27, 2004 @03:17AM (#10085971)
      Way back in I-don't-remember-when, I had heard so much about this "Counter-Strike" thing that I finally broke down and bought a $30 retail copy at GameStop. Loved it. I quickly relalized this was just a mod for the full game called Half-Life. Always wanted to play Half-Life, but it was never worth the extra $20-30 bucks to me to be able to play it. So I pirated my roommate's copy until I almost beat the game... Then there was a hard drive format, so no more HL.

      Steam comes along and with my CS reg key, I at last get the full version of Half-Life LEGALLY, and quick and easy access to other popular mods, and a server Favorites list (don't remember if original CS allowed this. I used to write down the IP of a good server to play there) so I can find good games faster, and keep it updated VERY easily. I've installed older CS numerous times and version compatibility was a constant headache, even WITH the seemingly appropriate patches. With Steam, all that business is managed automatically. It's heaven. As for buggy or memory intensive, I encountered one bug so far (input lag playing havoc with my keyboard) and that lasted only a few days. And I don't know how little RAM you have, but steam barely scratches my 512mb, which I presume is common for todays FPS player.

      As long as you didn't pirate the game(s), Steam is wonderful, IMHO
      • by frostbane (660953) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:03AM (#10086634)
        Favorites list (don't remember if original CS allowed this. I used to write down the IP of a good server to play there)

        Using Half-Life's in-game server management did allow you to toggle a server as a favorite and even allowed you to browse favorites only. The only problem was that it seemed buggy as hell and would frequently "forget" your favorites from another session (which can really piss you off), but it was there.

        With Steam, all that business is managed automatically. It's heaven. As for buggy or memory intensive, I encountered one bug so far (input lag playing havoc with my keyboard) and that lasted only a few days.

        Steam had way to many problems on release. It was no where near ready for release and shouldn't have been implemented. I didn't use steam for a long time (pissed off at Valve for buying out (ruining) HL mods), but I know plenty of CS players who were left without playing their precious game for days at a time because problems with content delivery and detection. If you know some young CS players, you know it can be more addiction than heroin for them. It pissed the shit out of them. I can remember hearing, "Steam sucks" every five minutes. At the moment Steam seems to have settled down and most of the bugs are worked out, but there are still problems. A month (or two) ago I was locked out for a week because Steam forgot to remove/update a file. While the system might seem to a nice way to update a game I still prefer just downloading updates off mirrors like the old days. Unfortunately as more games go to Steam (especially since Valve took down WON), less and less use their own sites and mirrors for downloading their mods.
      • Way back in the day when Half-Life came out, I played on a 300MHz AMD K6-2 (With 3D Now beotch!) I had 32 megs of ram and some 2MB video card not capable of hardware 3D acceleration. Half-Life ran fine in 640x480 in software mode. Eventually I bought a 3DFX Banshee, started playing the game with hardware acceleration and it ran perfectly at 1024x768 (max fps all the time shown in net graph). The game took a little while to load maps and that was pretty much all it would have to do to connect to a server
        • by rd_syringe (793064)
          I will get Half-Life 2 to see where the story goes, but I won't be paying for it.

          Wow, you'll pirate the game illegally. You sure showed them.

          If you were really so righteous, you just wouldn't play the game. You bitch about them then outright admit you'll still be playing their game. But hey, as long as you get to reap the benefits of their work without giving back, right?
      • by Plutor (2994)
        Stealth.c, I would mod you up if I had the points. Steam was _extremely_ buggy at first, but it's been a fantastic idea from the beginning. In the past six months or so, it's become a fine piece of software and it's a great way to serve data. When the time comes, I plan on buying HL2 through it, and I know other people who have purchased Counter-Strike: Condition Zero through it and are planning on doing the same thing for HL2.

        The beauty is that Steam recognizes what parts of the game data will be neede
  • QCrack.exe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jwlidtnet (453355) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:32AM (#10085354)
    Interesting...does anybody here remember the a vaguely-similar route taken with id for the Quake shareware release? An encypted version of that game (and essentially every past Id game) was on the shareware CD, and could be unlocked when purchased. And then along came QCrack.

    Valve's distribution idea is interesting, but I hope for their sake that the security's very strong, requiring all sorts of authorizations and whatnots. If not, Doom III's slightly-premature leaking to the internet might seem like a far more ideal scenario than a Valve-aided distribution of compromised content.
    • Re:QCrack.exe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spezzer (101371) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:40AM (#10085400)
      The pre-load most likely does not include core game files like the executable, just the static libraries of models, maps, textures, etc that will not change until the game's release. When the game is 'released,' Steam will probably just download the rest of core game files (which should be a relatively small download), and then will launch the game.

      It seems like the only danger of breaking the encryption is getting access to files that may spoil the plot, but I've heard there's already a file out there that does that.
    • Valve's distribution idea is interesting, but I hope for their sake that the security's very strong, requiring all sorts of authorizations and whatnots.
      Aren't cracked versions of all games available via p2p anyways, for people willing to go that route? If this game is somehow "uncrackable," it would be a first. Even if the game is cracked, limiting official distribution to CD or DVD wouldn't change a thing.
      • Considering that the entire product is software based and in the users possession, the term "uncrackable" becomes relative. I would imagine that the "online" experience could very readily be crippled without properly registered software but the "offline" experience could most probably be very playable.

        Until of course cracked servers exist for the cracked clients and then all bets are off.

    • Re:QCrack.exe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xepo (69222) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:59AM (#10085505) Homepage
      I dunno what everyone's worried about. I mean, it says encryption...not like, product key and verification crap. If Valve was actually worried about it, then they would have put some 128-bit, maybe even 256-bit single-key encryption in there, stuff which would never feasibly be broken. Now of course, that assumes the scheme only has one working key, which if they did do it like a product key thing, wouldn't work.

      But, at least, if I was valve...encrypt a seperate copy for each player, with an id to identify which key valve needs to give that player when they buy the game. ::shrug:: Practically unbreakable. I don't know if that's feasible under steam either, but my point is that all it takes is some easily found strong encryption (gnupg stuff, even) to make this practically uncrackable until the game is released.
  • Thats fine.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cr0y (670718) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:33AM (#10085359) Homepage
    Well if you can 'pre-load' HL2, Wouldnt that suggest that it is totally done? Unless you are just downloading libraries and such. This sounds promising, But what on earth is Valve waiting for?
    • Re:Thats fine.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Radish03 (248960) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:47AM (#10085442)
      what on earth is Valve waiting for?

      Fixing bugs as many little bugs as they can, especially in level design I believe. They've said its very close to being complete, it's just being playtested to death at the moment.
      • Re:Thats fine.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by eliza_effect (715148)
        There are also some engine tweaks that need to be done, both from Vavle's side and from ATI's side. ATI cards aren't functioning at their best at the moment. I assume the last thing download when your purchase it will be the executable and some key engine files.
  • Its an evil plot.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:33AM (#10085364)
    How can we delay HL2 again?

    Lets release it with a fancy encryption scheme, when someone cracks it, we'll pull the shame-shame bs, sue some 'hackers' and the push back will 'teach everyone a lesson'.

    Give me a break
  • by MightyPez (734706) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:34AM (#10085369)
    The download servers are already at max capacity, but I have a little hypothesis. Since Half-Life 2 is such an anticipated game, and since everyone and their cousins will be downloading it, Valve realized this will cost entirely too much in bandwidth, especialy on days like today. To compensate, they set a user/bandwidth limit.

    What will happen is this. Currently, Steam acts as a peer to peer hub (remmeber Valve hiring Bram Cohen, Mr. Bit Torrent?). Anyone with a sizeable LAN Cafe will know this because empty chairs with a copy of Steam running kills their bandwidth. Once people have the preload completely downloaded, they will begin uploading it and add more bandwidth to the mix. The more people that have it, the more it becomes available. I get the feeling LAN Cafes get a little more sway in terms of firsties since they generally have better connections than Counter-Strike junkies at home.

    Not that getting the pre-load at this point is a necessity. There will be waves of preloads with content. This first one just being some static art that won't be changed, like textures, voices, and some models.
    • Currently, Steam acts as a peer to peer hub

      No, currently Steam acts as a worthless piece of crap which makes it impractical to play the latest counterstrike at an offline LAN party since you can't just download a specific version when you want.

      It also forces you to spend 20-30 seconds each time you connect to a game server to download a 'security module' to prevent cheating. Needless to say, counter-strike is full of cheaters once again despite this security module garbage. However at the rate Valve

      • by xenocide2 (231786) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:39AM (#10085663) Homepage
        I almost never find any cheaters while playing DoD. It might be a case of a less popular game catching fewer rodents, but I like to think the challenge-response mechanism helps a lot. Eventually I think people will figure out a way to circumvent such attacks, as you appear to have noticed. If Valve is worth their salt, they'll have to move to limit the information sent to players, giving them only what they should be able to observe and nothing more. Sending only the character positions you can directly observe would be one method, which would destroy wallhacks, but leaves aimbots unscathed. I think the only good way to counter aimbots longterm is to offload rendering to a server, but that's borderline insane. Both of these suggestions mean an increase in lag, but that's what we get for using a system where failures to transmit mean waiting for random milliseconds. If you've got a better way to stop cheating, I'd love to hear and patent it.
        • by asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) on Friday August 27, 2004 @02:07AM (#10085767)

          If Valve is worth their salt, they'll have to move to limit the information sent to players, giving them only what they should be able to observe and nothing more. Sending only the character positions you can directly observe would be one method, which would destroy wallhacks, but leaves aimbots unscathed. I think the only good way to counter aimbots longterm is to offload rendering to a server, but that's borderline insane. Both of these suggestions mean an increase in lag, but that's what we get for using a system where failures to transmit mean waiting for random milliseconds.


          This strategy is frequently discussed w.r.t. cheating, moving more stuff onto the server side, but that's impractical for performance reasons. Performance (network in particular) is pretty important in games.

          When I first started playing the Steam versions of Valve's games, I thought this 'security module' was a big, critical piece of the game's code, and you had to download it all the time because Valve changed it frequently to stay one step ahead of the reverse-engineers and there were many versions in rotation at once. But apparently that's not how it works.

          A shame too, that method might actually work. You can't prevent people from reverse engineering code running on their own computer, but reverse engineering takes time. If someone on the other side is releasing new versions faster than they can be reverse engineered, then they've effectively thwarted the reverse engineers. I don't think there will ever be a machine which can prevent a human from reverse engineering itself. But if there's another human constantly changing the machine, working against the reverse engineer, they might succeed. It would just be a question of which human can work faster. I doubt we'll ever see this from a video game company though. That would require they have programmers employed to do this. They'd rather just sell the game and be done with it.

  • Back in the mid 90's, when Quake came out they had a CD that had EVERY ID product on it (and demos of them). And you could unlock it?

    Took a few weeks to crack it, then we had every ID product for free (tuff to download on a modem) for the cost of a 5$ demo cd.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:34AM (#10085373)
    So this will be the cause of the big internet blackout, not cyber-terrorist but gamers downloading HL2. :-D
    I knew it when Valve delayed the preload.
  • by tiny69 (34486)
    ... someone breaks the encryption or guesses the correct key? Since they will probably allow for seperate keys for each person who purchases a key, the number of valid keys should be fairly large.
    • While this thought was the first thing to come to mind for me, and probably lots of other people, I dont think its such a huge deal. It requires you to download a copy of the game, and illegally unlock it. Its not really any different to getting a cracked copy from p2p.

      And id imagine everyone gets a uniquely encrypted version with a different public key, and they give you that public key. You quote the public key to valve/steam whatever, and they give you the private key.

      So it actually prevents piracy a l
  • This sounds dangerous. It's only a matter of time before someone cracks the encryption rendering Valve the medium by which pirates obtain an illegal copy of the game.

    We all know how [i]efficient[/i] Valve is in their security endeavors, ha.
  • by Landaras (159892) <neil@nOSpam.wehneman.com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:40AM (#10085403) Homepage
    OK, this isn't on Half-Life 2, but it is on the concept of pre-loading / pre-releasing aspects of a game.

    One thing I've never understood is why the publishers of highly anticipated role-playing games (I'm thinking Baldur's Gate and NeverWinter Nights here) don't pre-release the character generator.

    By the time a specific release date has been set, the character formats should be firmly decided. Allowing players (or potential players!) to pre-create their characters is only going to create buzz and give people a reason to want to put those characters to use. It's a realizable benefit for the publisher without a significant financial cost.

    But alas, I have never seen this happen.

    - Neil Wehneman
    • by nhaines (622289) <nhaines AT ubuntu DOT com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:39AM (#10085664) Homepage
      Actually, Maxis just did this about three months ago for The Sims 2. The released "The Sims 2 Body Shop" which lets you customize the appearance (eyes, nose, mouth, forehead, etc., all with sliders) and such of your Sims.

      The tool also allows you to export a couple sample clothings items. Naturally, you then grab the textures and can customize your own clothing and such, as well as skin tones and other various things. Now that the game releases on the 17th, there'll probably be a ton of features on the fan sites, and everyone's excited about how customizable their Sims are.

      Heck, I am just a casual player who was intrigued by the new AI, and *I* even have the Sim that will be "me" prepared.
    • Speaking of which... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by solios (53048) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:56AM (#10085721) Homepage
      I know this is OT, but this has bugged me for YEARS.

      When the Playstation came out, I creamed my pants at the potential of memory cards- finally, a company could make an RPG.... and release "add-ons" or "expansion packs" that would be new games or side games but which would use your already existing character. Or a sequel to a game that was ACTUALLY a SEQUEL- picking up where you left off... exactly where you left off, levels, equipment, and everything. I figured games like this would be out within a year.

      Boy, was I FUCKING WRONG. Aside from some in-game tricks in games like Metal Gear Solid, memory cards are basically just an itty hard drive that serves as a dumping ground for save data that doesn't overlap or play between games.

      WHERE IS THE INNOVATION IN THAT?

      Shit, if I knew I could move my NWN character into NWN2 (without, you know, creating a new one...), I'd spend a couple of weeks prior to release leveling like a bastard. And if the game's built right, it should be just as challenging at level 20 as it is at level 3. :P (the fact that NWN characters can be ported- gear and all- between NWN expansions is a major bonus. It's things like this that have completely killed console rpgs for me.)

      Woo. Rant complete.
  • haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by josh crawley (537561) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:52AM (#10085465)
    Maybe if they used that encryption before they wouldn't have got their source code stolen... ZING!
  • Torture (Score:5, Funny)

    by thebroken (761356) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:57AM (#10085491) Journal
    Valve should get the war for The Game Company That Managed To Torture Its Fans By Having Code Stolen, More Release Dates Than Jerry Seinfeld Had GirlFriends, Leaked The Plot, And Gave You A Game You Could Download But Not Play Until They Let You Award. Wonder what the award would look like...probaly a figure of Duke Nukem.
  • by venomkid (624425) on Friday August 27, 2004 @12:58AM (#10085498)
    Has anybody *ever* been gotten away with distributing encrypted files without somebody cracking it?

    It's like giving the entire geek world a good, hard puzzle with an irresistable payoff.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:52AM (#10085701)
      The problem with a CD like Quake 1, or a copyprotection scheme like safedisc, is that the ability to decrypt the files must be included on it. They can convolute it all they like, it's gotta be on there to do any good. Well, seeing as it's on there, you can find it and use it. Good crackers can do this with less effort than the game industry would like to think.

      However in this case, it's different. What they could do is generate an AES key, say 256-bit just for extra parinoia, and then encrypt the data with it. They then send out ONLY the encrypted data, not the key. The key (and utility to use it) doesn't get released until they actually sell it.

      In that case, my friend, you are fucked. This is the same way SSH works. Only you and the remote server have the AES key. Someone else can log all your data, but without the key, it's worthless since the computing power does not exist to crack that in a lifetime (much, much, much longer actually). So if this is how they are doing it, they are secure.

      Now, when they release the key it is concievable that people could pass it along to friends to decrypt copies that haven't been paid for but so what? The game will be copied anyhow, as all games are, it changes nothing really.

      Remember: Encryption is the tactic of keeping everyone EXCEPT the keyholders out. Copyprotection fails since it must give the key to the end user on the disc to work, but intends to keep the end user out. This can succede since they withhold the key for everyone, until a particular date.
  • steam = SUCKS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:01AM (#10085515)
    The only reason Valve is getting away with this steam crap is because of Counter-Strike. They've made it so you MUST download Steam in order to play CS because they shutdown WON last month. Any other game in the world and the gamers would have said "fuck you Valve", but becuause it's CS we have to put up with it.

    I don't want to run your crappy Stream POS in the background all the time. I don't want to be required to play the newest version all the time. I want to be able to play the game I BOUGHT on a LAN without authenticating over the net. I JUST WANT TO PLAY THE GODDAMN GAME I BOUGHT. But Valve can't let me do that, they have to push their crap on me. Valve, you can suck my dick you bitches.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:06AM (#10085545)
    Selling vaporware to the consumer, sounds profitable.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday August 27, 2004 @01:58AM (#10085734) Journal
    Is "Half-life 2" logically equivalent to "Full-life 1" ?

  • by chrullrich (111050) on Friday August 27, 2004 @02:13AM (#10085784) Homepage
    ... steam ware. Not much change, is it?
  • predownload? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet (120004) <mark@nOspam.seventhcycle.net> on Friday August 27, 2004 @02:46AM (#10085877) Homepage
    So instead of "loading" the level we're now... "prebuffering" ? Doesn't this sound familiar?
  • by JTunny (653851) on Friday August 27, 2004 @03:21AM (#10085980) Homepage
    Each official copy of Half-Life that's sold is associated with a Unique Steam ID.

    Valve has started banning accounts which cracked Steam to obtain the recently released CS:Source.

    They could easily to the same to people who get Half-Life 2 in that way.
  • pre-loading (Score:5, Funny)

    by roalt (534265) <slashdot,org&roalt,com> on Friday August 27, 2004 @03:31AM (#10086006) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm, pre-loading...

    Will they do that for Duke-Nukem Forever also?

  • Why Bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by samsmithnz (702471) on Friday August 27, 2004 @07:47AM (#10086774) Homepage
    Its obviously not finished yet, so you'll probably just end up downloading it a couple times as they fix bugs, change the media, and recompile everything...

    Its a waste of steam bandwidth and yours. I'd understand if it was gold, but its not.
  • Yawn... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scottder (27901) on Friday August 27, 2004 @08:03AM (#10086838) Homepage
    Trying to get some publicity now that Doom3 is out. Valve, just get the game out already.

  • by twbecker (315312) on Friday August 27, 2004 @09:28AM (#10087484)
    So let me get this straight: Valve is allowing you to grace your hard drive with a huge pile of useless encrypted bits that will lay there undisturbed until the still unknown release date of HL2, at which point you'll have to download still more shit (This isn't the whole game they're preloading), or just go buy the game on CD. What a joke. This sounds like just a big paper launch to combat the notion that HL2 is vaporware.

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