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First Person Shooters (Games)

Half-Life 2 - Aftermath 467 has word that the expected expansion pack for Half-Life 2 is already in the works. Reporting on information gleaned from PC Gamer UK, the site has learned that the expansion will be entitled 'Aftermath' and is currently slated for a summer release. Aftermath will deal with the fallout from the events at the close of the PC title as the residents of City 17 make for the hills in an attempt to get to safety. Alyx Vance, heroine and robot wrangler, will play a larger role in the expansion, but the article doesn't give specific details on what exactly her relationship to you as the player will be. From the article: "The reason we're able to do this, and why it's so exciting is because of Steam. If we were doing this without Steam we'd have to put it in a box, we'd have to start figuring out shelf space over a year beforehand. You'd see it six years from now..."
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Half-Life 2 - Aftermath

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  • Wrong Focus (Score:3, Informative)

    by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:03PM (#12178965) Homepage
    What? Steam is the only direct-to-consumer internet-based game delivery service. Insomuch as a direct client-to-server experience with direct payment capacity in the client. You trash it because it is the only one available and the only one that has performed.

    Like it or not, Steam has been a huge success and through the sale of HL2 (and subsequent server almost-meltdown) they have learned a lot of lessons. I never have problems playing any Valve games, from HL2 to Counter Strike. Any and all patches are applied quickly and easily with no input needed from me.

    Call me what you like, but I -love- Steam and being ingrained in the independent game industry, I really like how it has been accepted, sometimes begrudgingly, by the game-buying public and geeks at large. I see its flaws, but I'm more of a silver lining guy myself.

    This is the kind of service/platform that independent developers need, not shelf space. Games are becoming risk-adverse, and that means creativity suffers. Don't slam a great leap in technology and delivery. Instead, use it, provide some constructive criticism, but don't dismiss it.
  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:07PM (#12179012) Homepage Journal
    here []
  • by xTK-421x ( 531992 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:08PM (#12179027) Homepage
    Here's the site with the pieced together story: [].
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:13PM (#12179097)
    > You can buy Half-Life 2 in your dead tree packaging


    > Steam is just a second method of distribution.

    False. You must *register* with Steam, you must be *connected* to Steam. Or your dead-tree package doesn't work.

    Chris Mattern
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:3, Informative)

    by Grand ( 152636 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:15PM (#12179118)
    reassurance that I will be able to play it years down the road.

    I am the opposite. I have many old games that I can not play anymore because of scratched discs or lost manuals with Keys printed on them. Yes this is my fault for letting the discs get scratched, losing the manual, or misplacing the CD. Tribes 2 had the best of both worlds. You could install from the CD, and not have the CD KEY. All you needed was your username/password. For myself, steam is the way I want to buy games.
  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:22PM (#12179189)
    What? Steam is the only direct-to-consumer internet-based game delivery service.

    In a word, no. Trygames [] is not only much less intrusive, it also offers far more games.

    Several other publishers and developers have also launched similar services. Paradox Interactive [] (Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis) and Atari [] are the two I can recall from the top.

    Yahoo also offers games on demand, but will only accept customers from North America. I'm sure there are plenty of others, it's just that nobody else has the name of Half-Life 2 to help them market their service.
  • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mazem ( 789015 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:25PM (#12179207)
    Enable console, and type fov 90. 'nuff said.
  • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:33PM (#12179286) Homepage
    Wasn't the lack of physical distribution supposed to lower the price of this game? Why was it the same price when purchased online?

    Just pointing out an answer to this, even though I hate Steam anyway. The price of the game if bought through Steam is the same as retail because of the deal Valve has with Vivendi, in which Valve was not allowed to undercut the retail value of Half-Life 2 as opposed to the Steam version of it.

  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Loco3KGT ( 141999 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:35PM (#12179298)
    You list a lot of great things about Steam, but you forgot the important one -

    I don't play Counter-Strike unless Steam says I can play Counter-Strike. Whether I want to play it or not is a moot point, because the Steam authentication servers have to give me permission either way.
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:38PM (#12179337) Homepage Journal

    Due to problems experienced at previous LANparties hosted by the Texas Gaming Festival [], the upcoming 1,000-person lanparty in Austin, Texas will not feature any tournaments based on games that depend on Steam technology. This means no CounterStrike [].
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:4, Informative)

    by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:42PM (#12179385) Homepage
    Not true. Offline play requires a token to be set on your machine, which expires. You occasionally need to reconnect to play offline.

    Also, while I was playing the game, there was a fairly severe bug in the process-- the order of events in authentication went like this:

    1. check for network connection
    2. if present, delete offline token
    3. get new token from server

    If the server happened to be down, but you left the ethernet cable plugged in, you'd lose your offline token and be unable to play. It locked me out for a solid weekend, and all I wanted to play was a singleplayer physics mod.

    This bug may be fixed now-- I haven't played in several months after finishing the game and getting too busy with other things.
  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:44PM (#12179406) Homepage
    I don't play Counter-Strike unless Steam says I can play Counter-Strike. Whether I want to play it or not is a moot point, because the Steam authentication servers have to give me permission either way.

    It was like that with the old WON-authenticated Half-Life for online multiplayer stuff.

    But everyone seems to forget that, along with the big WON downtimes etc...
  • by packeteer ( 566398 ) <packeteer@subdim ... m ['sio' in gap]> on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:50PM (#12179484)
    You can even play without any internet connection whatsoever.

    That is a very misleading thing to say. You can't simply put HL2 on an unconnected computer and get it to work. You can however turn OFF your internet connection and get the game to work AFTER it has bene installed.
  • by cyxxon ( 773198 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:06PM (#12179679) Homepage
    But then there will be Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, if you'd check your link again. So it cannot be about Steam...
  • by br0ck ( 237309 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:11PM (#12179735)
    Also, in my experience trying to help a modem-encumbered family member make use of their Christmas present, Steam just stays in offline mode until it detects that the computer is online again and magically switches back to online mode.
  • by Meest ( 714734 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:13PM (#12179751)
    I was one of the poor people that paid for the colectors edition.... I choose not to think how much i wasted on that. Then when i go home to play it, I'm not able to play it until the day after i buy it because of decrypting the game... And yes i had pre-downloaded it on steam also for you that are wondering.

    Then on top of that I'm not able to play without a disc, but yet my friends that bought it on STEAM are able to do that? I can't say i remember the last time i had to put a disc in my computer to play a game. I have ISO backups i just mount in a virtual drive to do that. Makes life simpler.

    Granted all you that claim you've never had a problem with STEAM, Have you ever gone to a big LAN and tried to use it?? Can you say disaster??

    Granted if a LAN does have Internet half the time its limited and all the STEAM Clients just kill it. And if you don't have internet well... lets just hope you remembered to saver your client information.... I know i don't because i have different accounts for my different games.

    For those of you that have said the patching works great. Have you actualy tried to play right after a patch? usualy something is always wrong that they have to release a patch for the patch. I also remember at least 2 instances where they had to re-call the update because it actualy messed more stuff up than it fixed.

    What about when the authentication servers went down?? Half of the STEAM users were not able to log in for a day or two. I consider that a big issue.

    Also I play Counter-Strike in online leagues. Steam creats so much more hassel than counter-strike ever caused before Steam was released (version 1.5). Your clientregistry.blob is bad. oh well time to restart and delete all your content on your computer so it downloads correctly again.

    Also lets look at STEAM's Friends list. Now i must not have any friends cause i dont remember the last time that piece of coding worked on the system.... I haven't been able to log into the friends server for the past month, maybe month and a half. I've just given up on that.

    For the casual gamer its ok for. But for those of us that enjoy playing it on a daily basis, we're punished for wanting to play a game we love. They refuse to give us other options, (they took the WON Servers down) and so we're stuck with the STEAM'ing pile of Coding they call an inovation....

    Any Game developer can look at STEAM and realize this is what not to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:22PM (#12179906)
    I've left Half-Life 2 on the store shelves. I'm not paying money for something that might spontaneously break for no legitimate reason if my network connection isn't working, or if I have a machine that is air-gap isolated for some reason, or if it mistakenly thinks I'm a pirate. I'm also not interested in turning over information to the company to get it to work. If I bought it, I'd prefer not to register it. The whole thing is an encumberance I would rather do without, so I have chosen not to buy it. Yes, Steam is a nifty and potentially valuable distribution mechanism, but I just don't want to pay that much for something so fussy. Maybe I'm being silly, but managing the usual hardware and driver incompatibilities is sufficient hassle for me.

    However, I would pay a few dollars more for a box CD that did not need an umbilical attachment to Valve to function properly. Hopefully Valve will be interested in this market again eventually. They make great stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:47PM (#12180296)
    >>You can however turn OFF your internet connection and get the game to work AFTER it has bene installed.

    For a while, anyway. My install wakes up every few weeks and demands to "phone home" before I can play again. not good.
  • by Yaotzin ( 827566 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @05:40PM (#12180920)
    ...and total lack of Anti-Cheat that they have had so far...
    Perhaps you haven't been reading the update news but they're testing the new version out and it'll be out pretty soon, banning cheaters just the way we like it.
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:2, Informative)

    by chris_eineke ( 634570 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:27PM (#12181464) Homepage Journal
    by A Boy and His Blob (772370)

    That was an awesome Gameboy game. :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @10:52AM (#12187098)
    Actually you can bypass Steam and the EULA completely and install the game. There are decryptors out for the encrypted GCF files that will allow you to install and run the game without ever installing steam and connecting to the internet. Start by searching the forums of everyone's beloved Game Fixes site.
    Also these work, as I've gone through the process myself. A bit of a pain to work out at first, but after that it's a breeze.
  • by Donald Ferrone ( 863523 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @08:40PM (#12190012)
    Actually, thanks to piracy, you can crack Steam and both download entire copies of any Steam-based title as well as play it online. Multiplayer is NO problem :D.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian