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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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  • by Neophytus ( 642863 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:55PM (#12178857)
    If they followed the lead of Epic Games, and gave out their expansions for free, then they wouldn't have to preach about the virtues of using steam to sell their content rather than putting a box on the shelf. It's not ever caused them any problems...
  • Letting Steam Off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A Boy and His Blob ( 772370 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:55PM (#12178859)
    You'd see it six years from now...
    Six years from now? With logic like that the expansion pack for the original Baldur's Gate should be coming out about now. That's just silly.

    I really hate steam and the direction in which video game distribution is headed, it's the whole reason I refuse to buy games like Half Life 2. I would be willing to pay a little extra if I got a nicely packaged product with a large dead tree manual and the reassurance that I will be able to play it years down the road.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of consoles use a steam like system as well, ala the Phantom Console. Count me out.
  • Steam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Orgazmus ( 761208 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:55PM (#12178867)
    Even tho many of its early users hate steam, its an interesting way of pushing out software. Saves the gamemakers money, and the gamers legs.
  • by LiNKz ( 257629 ) * on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:57PM (#12178896) Homepage Journal
    The end of the game left the question and the real only possibility was she died -- So she lived? Does anyone have a storyline write up about all this? I did find a few sites that tried to piece together everything, but anyone know anything else?
  • One of the few annoying bits of HL2 was keeping Alyx and Barney from getting killed when they charged blindly ahead into danger. The same goes for the other NPCs, but at least their deaths didn't end the game...
  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:02PM (#12178947) Journal
    What more can be said? I won't have any problem entertaining myself with puzzle bobble, doom, nethack, and starcraft for many many years to come. If the game industry decides it doesn't need me, I sure as hell don't need them.
  • by patdabiker ( 710704 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:02PM (#12178949) Homepage
    I find it interesting that so many people here on Slashdot are so averse to new technologies like this. Steam seems like a logical progression with the advent of broadband, but a lot of people feel safer with that past.
  • by MatthewNewberg ( 519685 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:05PM (#12178987) Homepage

    How many people do you know still play DOS games? After 10 years support for the API's and the old hardware disappears. Realisticly most people dont want to put up with the issues of playing older games, so if steam disapears most people wont care.

    What I dont like about steam is the fact it will automaticly update you game, if that game update is bad then your stuck with the update till the next update.

  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:05PM (#12178988) Journal
    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...

    They managed to release about 900 jillion addons for the first Half Life, even without Steam, and they didn't take 6 years to hit the shelves. They hardly took 6 weeks.

    See how much you love Steam when they decide people shouldn't play Half Life 2 or it's addons anymore, because it'll cut into the market for Half Life 3.

    Just say no to crappy schemes like that. Sorry, I want to know the game will be playable 10, 20 years from now, provided I still have the right hardware to play it on.

  • All hail Steam! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:16PM (#12179120)
    All Hail Glorious Steam! The answer to and cause of most of Valves problems it would seem...
  • by Cplus ( 79286 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:17PM (#12179138) Homepage Journal
    That was taken care of the first day of release. I've always been impressed at how quickly the crackers work.
  • Here's an idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:18PM (#12179143)
    Because this technology is not balanced. It allows the creator much more control over it than the end user, which is the problem.

    Here is a fact: Right now Valve is watching you every time you play, and gathering information on your user habits, play times, durations of play, PC settings, hardware configuration, and storing it for market research data.

    It's so much not the distribution method as it is the software in question. There is no reason for me to have their software running on my desktop with an active connection while I play. There is no reason for me to have to activate a store-bought version of the game online. Oh yeah, I forgot I might be a potential thief!

    Now let's look at it from their side. Here's a group of people who now have an administrative piece of software on your machine. What else can they send through its active connection? What can they take away?

    The liberties awarded to Valve when their software is installed on your PC are too much to ignore.
  • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UWC ( 664779 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:18PM (#12179145)
    I've seen a couple of other people complain about nausea while playing the game, too, which really surprised me. I imagine it might be something like car sickness, maybe caused by a disparity between what you see and what you feel. I know several people who claim that they have trouble reading in cars because they get sick if they do so. I also heard stories about people getting sick when playing the first Descent game, which I guess was among the first full freedom full 3D games.

    I guess I should count myself as fortunate that I apparently don't seem to have problems with immersive 3D games, or reading in cars. Now if I had a computer that would run HL2 well... and space to put the giant case in which I'd have to put the hardware.

  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:19PM (#12179154) Journal
    Lets take some quotes from this.

    Steam is the only direct-to-consumer internet-based game delivery service.

    So, http based delivery doesn't count? Look at UT2k4 and the ECE expansion installer released to the public.

    Any and all patches are applied quickly and easily with no input needed from me.

    Is that a good thing?

    I really like how it has been accepted, sometimes begrudgingly, by the game-buying public and geeks at large.

    We didn't choose it. Steam was forced on whoever bought HL2. That's not called acceptance.

    There are much less intrusive ways to release update packs and expansions than through Steam.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:20PM (#12179171)
    Really? Who is going to pay the designers, graphic artists and musicians who are needed for the content? Unlike programmers, they aren't stupid enough to work for free.

    Oh wait, I forgot - they can sell tshirts or support. Or the engine could be free and the graphics/music etc could be pay! Thats great! We still don't have to pay those pesky programmers!
  • Uhhh huh.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MortisUmbra ( 569191 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:24PM (#12179205)
    "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..."

    Boy they must really think we are retarded.

    Much less than a year after HL2 is released and its going to be ready, but we'd see it 6 years from now if it wasn't for steam.

    I'm well aware he is exaggerating but it still doesn't remove the bullshit quotient.

    So, the fact that at the launch I couldnt play the game I bought, the fact that months later at a LAN party only half the people could log in because steam puked, all that is supposed to be instantly negated by the wonderfull fact that Steam saves Valve some work.

    That will mean a lot when they ditch steam and I can no longer go back and play my "vintage" copy of HL2.
  • by bmw ( 115903 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:26PM (#12179215)
    How many people do you know still play DOS games? After 10 years support for the API's and the old hardware disappears. Realisticly most people dont want to put up with the issues of playing older games, so if steam disapears most people wont care.

    Key words: most people

    What about those of us that do still play these older games? At least we have the option of doing a bit of work and still playing these games. With systems like Steam we don't even have the choice.
  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:30PM (#12179244)
    While I agree with what you said, I have 1 distinct wish, that they would drop the sale price from buying off of steam 5 bucks. Seems like if they sold it for $5 less, they'd still make a killing, by not having to pay for packaging, cd's, trucks to deliver them, stores cut of profits, etc.. And I would love to see them publicly state somewhere that if, some day in the future, they decide not to keep a game working with steam, (abondonware?!) they will release a patch that lets it still work standalone.
  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:31PM (#12179261) Homepage
    Steam is the only direct-to-consumer internet-based game delivery service.

    Umm... no. I bought a lot of games by going to a website, paying with a credit card, and downloading the game. That's "direct-to-consumer" and definitely "internet-based" game delivery to my hard drive.

    Insomuch as a direct client-to-server experience with direct payment capacity in the client.

    And why do I want a direct payment capability in the client? I don't. My web browser gives me all "direct payment capability" I need.

    You trash it because it is the only one available and the only one that has performed.

    LOL. It hasn't performed and that's why a lot of people are trashing it.

    But anyway, my problems with Steam are not performance. They are that Steam doesn't want to be just a "delivery service". It wants to have ongoing control over what I do at my machine.

    Why in the world don't I get a say in whether my game on my hard drive get patched or not? And why in hell would Steam throw a hissy fit if I decide to mess with game files -- again, my game files on my hard drive?

    I want games that I will play on my own terms. I don't want a piece of software that will decide what's good for me and what's not.
  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alnjmshntr ( 625401 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:37PM (#12179321)
    I don't think anybody is knocking the direct-to-consumer part of steam, which is definately cool and the way to go.

    What people don't like is that once they pay for the game and it's on their pc, then it should no longer be reliant on steam or steam servers to operate. I think consumers should also be in charge of updates if they want to be, just like windows update.

    What's so hard about that?
  • Re:Steam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:41PM (#12179373) Journal
    Nope, I want the box, dead-tree manual, and the original game disc to play, even 10 years after valve has gone bankrupt.

    SNK is dead and gone. My Neo Geo still works great. 3DO is dead and gone, my 3DO still works great (well insomuch as you can call 3DO great). Sega's feeding tube will be removed any time soon, but my Master System, Genesis-voltron, Saturn and Dreamcast will all still work.

    I play a pretty even mix between "hot new latest and greatest", and older "classics", or even not-so-classics that I enjoyed.

    I find that good video games age well. I recently replayed Crystalis for the NES, for example, and found it every bit as good as when I was 10.

    My 10 year old bugs me every day to let him play Samurai Shodown on the Neo Geo, despite the fact that he has brand new copies of Dead or Alive Ultimate, Soul Calibur 2, Tekken 300, etc.. He's also logged more time playing Yoshi's Island on my SNES than I have.

    I'm sure the industry hates that. I'll go into EB or Babbages and drop 50 bucks, and rather than one overpriced new release, I'll come home with an assload of older SNES, Genesis, or whatever they have.

    A store bought copy of HL2 won't work when Valve is gone, or else they've decided not to support it anymore. It seems to me, that's the whole point of Steam, that's the only thing it offers over another delivery vehicle like HTTP for instance.

  • Re:Wrong Focus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BaudKarma ( 868193 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:42PM (#12179391) Journal
    Valve would really piss off the distributors and retail outlets if they offered HL2 direct for less. It wouldn't be much different then if iD offered Doom 3 for five dollars less if you bought it mail-order direct from them rather then getting it from Best Buy. You hack off the retail outlets, and they won't carry your game any more.

    Once people stop being so phobic about technology like Steam, you'll probably see a much wider range of game prices from all sorts of different companies.

  • Fixed that for ya (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:42PM (#12179395) Journal
    ...but a lot of people feel safer with [technology that works and doesn't take away your freedom].

    Needing to authenticate to play a game offline is the greatest crime against gamers I can think ok. Fact is if this wasn't Half Life for that reason alone the game would have tanked otherwise.

    But I suppose next your going to tell me how DRM is just the next "logical progression" to "protect users" and that people who buy will only buy CD's are just being silly for hanging on to the past.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:43PM (#12179398)
    Please don't characterize individuals who disapprove of Steam as luddites. It raises a straw-man argument that is also irrelevant to the arguments actually made.

    Individuals who disapprove of Steam do not disapprove of it because it is new, involves online distribution, or anything of that sort. Rather, they generally disapprove of it because it unjustifabily and unethically attempts to transfer product ownership rights from the actual owner of the product to the producer.

    It wouldn't matter if Steam was in a box, in the mail, or tunneling through the water. It's the IP control issues that most individuals disapprove of. Any complaints about the distribution process is just icing on the cake in my mind.

  • by Novotny ( 718987 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:46PM (#12179436)
    I can understand why people hate Steam. But I have rarely had any problems at all with it, and furthermore, I am delighted to be able to give the entire price I paid for HL2 to Valve, and not a penny of it to a publisher.
  • by Jester998 ( 156179 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:49PM (#12179469) Homepage
    It's not that we're adverse to new technologies. It's largely due to the fact that we have come (with good reason!) to distrust the motivations of corporations.

    Consider: What would happen if Valve went out of business? What if they got bought out and the company that purchased them decided that they no longer wish to use the Steam platform, opting for their own distribution/authentication method? Would you be willing to say "Oh well, I guess the $50 each I spent on all those Steam-based games went to waste since I can no longer access them." ?

    When you buy a board game, you can play it indefinitely regardless of the continued existence of the manufacturer. Why should computer games be any different?

    PURELY as a distribution method, Steam is a step in the right direction. In terms of forcing you to login to Steam in order to play single player... no thanks.
  • by MooCows ( 718367 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:54PM (#12179538)
    It should be noted that Steam's offline mode is a very buggy and very 'sensitive' feature.
    Steam in offline mode often just stops and starts asking for an internet connection.

    Also you need internet to move into 'offline mode' .. too bad for people without internet.
    Also patches are now 'conveniently' sent through Steam, so no more delivering patches on CD.

    Internet for everyone! (or: Steam simply sucks and should've been an optional component to begin with)
  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:11PM (#12179730)
    I call BS. Valve isn't the CIA, their system is not inscrutable. There are enough people out there that know enough to be able to 'crack' that even assuming that everyone in Valve suddenly become gamer hating Christian Fundies who pull the game to save our souls, come 2015 you'll still be able to play the game the same way you play your old DOS games now.

    Launch your Athalon/ATI emulator, load up the latest release of FreetosXP, launch your Vapor Steam Server emulator and then run HL2.

  • by AtOMiCNebula ( 660055 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:14PM (#12179778) Journal
    One of the reasons Vivendi is allowing Valve (or not been able to stop them, or whatever) to distribute Half Life 2 over Steam, is because Valve has agreed to keep the price the same as the retail price.

    Vivendi is a humongous company. They handle all the grunt work of packaging it, promoting it (in-store posters, etc), and getting it to the stores. Steam worries Vivendi, because it completely eliminates them (and any publisher) from the picture, because with Steam, publishers don't exist. If people had an incentive to buy Half Life 2 through Steam, as opposed to at retail, Vivendi would be pissed.

    Valve would love to lower the Steam price, but there's a contract in place saying they can't. All the HL2 fan sites covered the lawsuit between Valve and Vivendi about HL2 publishing rights and Steam a few months before HL2 hit stores. There's a lot more to the pricing scheme than you realize.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:21PM (#12179893) Homepage Journal
    "FUD you."

    Translation: I really like the game and don't want to hear legitimate complaints about it.
  • by SpecBear ( 769433 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:25PM (#12179966)
    I was a drooling fanboy chomping at the bit to get HL2, but I won't be getting this expansion pack unless I can play it offline without asking Valve's permission each time. I think online distribution si a wonderful thing, but the way Steam does it is a ripoff for consumers. Valve gets:

    - Decreased distribution costs
    - Decreased production cost
    - No inventory issues (shelf space? not a problem)
    - Presumably a dramatic reduction in piracy due to increased authentication

    But none of these savings were passed on to users. Valve doesn't give you a CD or manual, they take your money, and spy on you in exchange for the privilege of using their game. Valve gets more, the customer gets less.

  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:42PM (#12180226) Journal
    When Steame dies, you'll have to get the crack for the games. Doesn't sound that bad.
  • by Twanfox ( 185252 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:43PM (#12180247)
    Steam is not simply about downloading the software. If it were, this debate would not exist.

    Steam is about downloading software, constant updates, decrypting data files before First Use, downloading executable files before First Use (the product you buy in stores is incomplete. How's that for smart). Steam is about them having the ability to revoke your right to play just because they feel you did something wrong, regardless of the truth of the matter.

    You know what Steam doesn't do? It doesn't even stop in-game cheating. It doesn't stop hacking. It doesn't even make game playing any better. It doesn't even let you play at all if the servers crash or start feeding bad data to your client. Advanced, my ass.

    Sadly, I did enjoy playing Half Life 2, even though I found it to be somewhat short and the ending abrupt and far easier than Half Life 1. I do enjoy playing Counter Strike: Source, except for physics issues (I manage to, according to my client, move fully out of the field of view, yet someone shooting at me with high ping times still "sees" me and gets the shot) and except when cheaters get online (Where exactally are those mystical 'secure' servers that Steam is capable of providing?). Only reason why I play those two games? They were a gift.

    Steam is not simply a distribution method. Sony Online Entertainment does simple online distribution of expansions for Everquest. Steam is far nastier a beast.
  • by MrNiCeGUi ( 302919 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:55PM (#12180413)
    What if I try to run it five years from now and Valve's servers aren't there anymore?
    Steam is not about piracy. It's about control. Although I had a valid licence for if from my 9600xt box, I still got the warez copy because it didn't suck as much. My net connection is crappy, my computer isn't on 24/7 so it would have taken me about a month to download the game via Steam anyway. But it still wasn't the point. Even if I had broadband I wold have never installed Steam on my computer. It's DRM pure and simple, and my rights don't need to be managed by some company.
  • Steam Sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * < minus poet> on Friday April 08, 2005 @05:11PM (#12180599) Homepage Journal
    Why? Because it stopped working for no reason at all, and now I can't play the game that I paid for (I bought the retail version of CS a few years back, which has no offline single-player mode)! Here is the email I sent Valve support (no response yet):
    On March 26th I enjoyed a game of Day of Defeat.

    Tonight, April 06th, without having installed anything or otherwise changed my system, Steam no longer works. Intead, it displays a Windows OS message window [] that says:
    Debug Assertion Failed
    File: Src\SteamInternal.cpp
    Line: 3224

    pClientAccountInfo->m_pAccountEntry->m_pAccount- >I sLoggedIn()

    Then I see the good ol' "Could not connect to Steam" message.

    I am using a Win98 (version 4.10.1998) box, PII 500 Mghz with a RAGE128 32MB graphics card. However, I don't think it is a hardware problem as I have been playing CounterStrike for the last 3 years on this box.

    Steps I have taken (all failed):

    - Reset my Steam password
    - Deleted ClientRegistry.blob
    - Ran Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software (nothing found)
    - Configured my Router firewall to allow traffic to Steam UDP/TCP ports
    - Uninstalled & Reinstalled Steam
    - Rebooted multiple times

    Did you guys do anything between March 26th and April 6th that I should know about? :(

    I only use this PC for gaming, and I didn't install any new hardware or software - or even used the pc between my last successful gaming session and when this situation started. I know my account isn't hijacked or banned, because I was able to reset my password multiple times.

    W T F?
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @05:12PM (#12180614) Journal
    Once supporting HL2, or any other title, on Steam start's *costing* them money, watch the rules change.

    You're probably quick to accept the scenario if I replace Half Life 2 with Windows XP and Half Life 3 with Longhorn.
  • by Elminst ( 53259 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @05:25PM (#12180759) Homepage
    We so need a paranoid moderation...
    Although I think it might get overused, especially in an YRO article... ;)
  • Cheaper on Steam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Salis ( 52373 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:01PM (#12181172) Journal

    Will they give a discount of ~$5+ for people who d/l it off Steam? I didn't mind paying full price for HL2, but for the expansion ...

  • by mrbooze ( 49713 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:26PM (#12181453)
    So what's the solution for online delivery? You just spent $50 million dollars and many years making what you think is the best game your company ever made. You'd love to let people download it so they don't have to buy from a distributor.

    Now, how you you do that *and* get paid? What stops the first person who pays from letting everyone else download it from them for free?

    How do you deliver content online without just pissing away any hope of ever feeding your children from your work?

    For the record, I'm not a huge fan of some elements of steam either, but I AM a huge fan of eliminating distributors and publishers from the world whenever possible.
  • by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:49PM (#12181724)
    Here is a fact: Right now Valve is watching you every time you play, and gathering information on your user habits, play times, durations of play, PC settings, hardware configuration, and storing it for market research data.

    OH MY GOD!!!!!

    Wait, how does this negatively effect me?
  • by EvilSporkMan ( 648878 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:55PM (#12181783)
    Seeing the next movie costs at least 5 times less than the next game, in addition to the fact that the next game is likely to require new hardware.
  • by Whoozit ( 162620 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @01:43AM (#12184834) Homepage
    The difference: Half-Life 2 is a single player game. With a MMOG, you need to have an account since you need to pay the company for the ongoing cost of developing plot updates and maintaining servers. People accept that.

    (As an aside, you can in fact transfer your licence for many MMOG games - the new owner would still have to pay subscription fees, but not the initial fee).

    When a company forces you to do the same thing with a game they expect you to play on your own machine, it's a whole different story...
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @02:01AM (#12184915) Homepage
    On the one hand, I can see how that would be scary.

    On the other hand, I really want to know what that data is showing. What resolution are most people playing at? Does everyone use inverted mouselook or not? What difficulty level does the average person play on? Does expert even get touched? Did the average player furiously pound the space bar every time a cinematic came up? Did they spend longer than they probably should have in one section or another? Did players just drive around in the dune buggy or stay up in that magnetic crane throwing crates at people? Did they just play the mods? Are half-hour long playsessions the norm, or are most people playing in 4-hour chunks?

    Maybe it's the sociologist in me, or the game developer, but I'd really like to know the answers to those questions. Sometimes you feel like you've got nothing more to go on than a guess and a couple of magazine reviews.

    When I install a piece of software on my machine, I accept that I'm giving them control. My virus scanner has admin priviledges, and it auto-updates. They could send anything they liked down that pipe. My firewall is set to accept that the virus scanner changes itself every now and then, and to download and install updates to itself automatically too. What stops these things from taking over the computer? What stops that bittorrent client from being a trojan, or that copy of Dekart Private Disk?

    Any software installed to your machine gives your machine to that company. BOINC auto updates, auto downloads new data, auto-allocates resources. And for what? Because I trust them, and I'd like to help out with einstein@home. Steam is finally stable, convienient, and always there. I believe it's not uploading my porn collection to uncle sam because I know that Valve has a bigger reputation and bigger goals to uphold than that. I trust that if Valve's servers go black forever, they will make good on their word to make the last update unlock everyone's machines. And if they don't, I can just download an unencumbered version from Kazaa. What did Anarchy Online install to my machine? Nothing that Ad Aware and Spybot think is nasty, but it's definitely sending stats back home when I connect. But I trust them.

    I'm not particularly happy with the whole activate-online if you bought a box-scheme, but I can understand that they didn't want to fork their development time, and they needed an autoupdater for online play. Quite frankly, if all it requires is online sign in that's a lot less painful than requiring a physical Disk.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...