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First Person Shooters (Games)

Half-Life 2 - Aftermath 467

Eurogamer.com 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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  • The big question? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:55PM (#12178861)
    Will it have an ending? Because Half-Life 2 sure as hell didn't.
  • No its not... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) * on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:56PM (#12178872) Homepage Journal
    Steam is probably the most hated delivery system currently in existence.

    The real reason Valve decided to release HL2 expansion packs is because it has the name "Half Life" preceding it. And if Valve had decided to release it six years later, there would be no interest, atleast not nearly anywhere as it is right now, and they would have to infact "fight" for shelf life. Right now, retailers would love to offer shelf space for a product, that they know will sell half a million copies, especially for a game which left us all hanging.

    In six years, a lot of things can happen. Valve wouldnt be so stupid to wait six years.
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kdark1701 ( 791894 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @02:57PM (#12178880) Homepage
    If valves suddenly stops supporting steam in an X number of years, I suspect they'll release a patch that will allow steam to function unhindered.
  • by DarthVeda ( 569302 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:00PM (#12178929)
    Well you have to think about the developers. Systems like steam are ideal for them. It allows them to cut out publishers and middle men entirely.

    And when they want to stop support for a game, they can just yank it. That's bad for you, but good for them. I mean they're really only selling "licenses" to the game anyway, right?
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kdark1701 ( 791894 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:08PM (#12179035) Homepage
    My word is absolute.
    Even if Valve dosn't release a patch for Steam, someone will. I doubt that the warez copies of Half Life 2 try to connect to the internet, so it dosn't strike me as unlikely that someone will make a patch that eliminates steam's need to 'phone home'.
  • Exactly. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:10PM (#12179051)
    You will probably get dozens of people replying to this post claiming that you're just another person whining about nothing. Ignore them, because they're unable to see the future of where this kind of distribution is headed.

    I'm not so against online distribution in general, but I don't see it necessary to install this extra chunk of software on my machine that then connects to the net for the duration of my playtime.
    Oh yeah; paranoia. Sorry about that, but I guess thousands of other peices of similar softare designed to monitor end-user behavior wouldn't be a good enough reason to fear this change. It doesn't matter that the developers have a goldmine worth of interest in pursing a path like that themselves, considering all the potential consumer research data and advertising possibilities once they have an established user base of apathetic and willing targets.

    So, for people who are okay with Steam:
    Why would Valve lie to you about these things? Take a look at the last several decades of the master-slave relationship between production of goods and consumers; the ads that fill your television, your web browsers, your news paper and your drive to work. Companies are greedy. They will not stop there when they can pipe it onto your desktop.

    Wasn't the lack of physical distribution supposed to lower the price of this game? Why was it the same price when purchased online? Why did you ignore that fact and buy it anyways?
    Because you are all tools.
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fred Or Alive ( 738779 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:11PM (#12179070)
    Doesn't Half-Life 2 still need Steam even if you get the retail version? If Steam dies, you're screwed, at least if you want to reinstall (does Steam let you play games single player in offline mode indefinatley?)

    Personally I think Steam is a nice system for getting games, keeping them up to date and the like, but this sort of thing does have the "What if Valve go up the spout / decide to screw you." sort of thing.
  • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:15PM (#12179114) Homepage
    Probably the most internally consistent interpretation of the Half-Life storylines is Chan 'Ventro' K.'s summary [fragfiles.org] - plus it sticks to what actually appears in the games and doesn't wander off on flights of fancy.

    As for surviving the explosion - if the G-Man can muck about with time for Gordon, I wouldn't be surprised if he were to carefully remove Alyx from the vicinity of the blast as well, even if it's just back to ground-level. The Citadel's quite big, after all - in this 'ere Hammer, Combine_Citadel001.mdl is 8430 units high, and each unit corresponds to 16 inches for a skybox model, so 3.5km could help a bit...

    Although I'd definitely run away, very quickly. The thought of accidentally giving a wasps' nest a good kick springs to mind - and the article suggests that some previously-unfought enemies might appear too. ;-)
  • It's a mixed bag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by war3rd ( 650566 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:25PM (#12179213) Homepage
    I actually acknowledge the convenience of Steam for some folks, but requiring Steam-based activation is abhorrent. While I am supportive of any company trying the counter piracy, there are limits to what they should require of customers. I know it's easy to sit here and complain without offering another solution, but it's not my job to come up with a solution that makes customers happy, it is the developer's/publisher's and they would be much better of if they were to work out a more sensible solution. I bought HL2 and I'll probably pay for the addon, but if there were a method that did not require Steam (and were legal) I would use it in a heartbeat. But it is really not all bad, when I reformatted my machine and reinstalled HL2, I only needed to reinstall Steam and Steam did the rest. Now I can play HL2 without the CD and without using a no-cd crack, so I have done nothing immoral/illegal. So it's in interesting blend of freedom and restriction, in my opinion.
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChristianBaekkelund ( 99069 ) <draco AT mit DOT edu> on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:30PM (#12179252) Homepage
    I really hate steam and the direction in which video game distribution is headed

    You are solidly in the minority on this though. When polled, the vast majority of gamers say that they would rather download their games, and pay a little less, than get a boxed version, and pay a little more.

    In fact, many people would rather download their games, even if they didn't have to pay a little less, just to skip a trip to the store. To those people, downloading + paying less is a double-win situation.
  • Issue... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Robotron23 ( 832528 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:34PM (#12179292)
    The issue with Half Life 2 was that it largely relied on action. For example, you'd spend X amount of time running around sewers/canals, and would be happily playing the game...

    Only to be thrust into a ridiculous scene where you must shoot dozens of combine/aliens to progress (this happened a LOT more during the second half of HL2, culminating in the ironically unconclusive conclusion), compared with the very short scripted scenes in HL1 with the soldiers (which actually made me hope for more action!).

    If Aftermath could somehow integrate the more "old school" system of HL1, and perhaps even introducing alternate routes throughout the game, which generally happens little in FPS's, then it could be an expansion worth having. If its just new uber-aliens and C&C Renegade-like combat then it will be of less value.

    In short, games shouldn't have to rely on action which, while expensive/time consuming to create, ultimately leaves dissapointment in part of the audience. (Please don't mistake this for a troll, its just a reterospective opinion.)
  • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:37PM (#12179324) Homepage
    Alyx and Barney never gave me a problem, but the squad mates drove me nuts.

    I recently finished replaying HL2 with my ultra-cack-handed increased-difficulty tweaks. Somehow, that section of the game became way better. Instead of hundreds of squadmates excusing themselves as I tried pushing past them in narrow corridors, everything became ... scarier.

    Other things improved too, and I got to see bits of the game I didn't know existed, and saw battles how they were presumably meant to occur. The strider battles became awesomely awesome, for a start, with holes being blown in walls of buildings I thought were invulnerable, etc.

    My theory is that HL2 was playtested on people not so familiar with FPS games - for instance, Combine soldiers do take cover and flank the player, but on standard difficulty settings a decent FPS player is likely to have shot them dead beforehand. Bump up the difficulty, and ... Woo. :-)

    I'd release my 'fixed' difficulty settings mod (basically just a tweaked skill.cfg) but I'm sure there are more numbers in the game DLL that can be 'adjusted'. But I ain't got no Windows C++ compiler - anyone want to help?
  • Re:No thanks. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @03:40PM (#12179352)
    "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."

    In Descent you flew a robot ship through tunnels and mines. There was no gravity and you could rotate on every axis. It was extremely easy to get disoriented in the game, see there wasn't really any true up or down. I never had a problem with space oriented games that used this type of control, but I guess it had something to do with the enclosed spaces.
    I never threw up but I do recall bouts of nausea. I remember one head to head match I was playing over direct modem connection with a friend. After a particularly hairy match he just had to stop and go lie down, being on the verge of puking.
  • by joeytmann ( 664434 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:08PM (#12179704)
    I thought the game was ok. Yeah a little linear and stuff. My biggest complaint was the ending. Was that just the biggest let down or what? I thought Dr.Freedman and Alyx where going to get some going....hell she was flirting with ya the entire game....
  • by SpecBear ( 769433 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:13PM (#12179759)
    This is often brought up in discussions of Steam, but unless they've changed it in the past few months, this is only partially true. I used ZoneAlarm to keep Steam from phoning home, and I could play in offline mode, but after a few days of this HL2 would complain and refuse to start until it had a chance to update.

    So yes, you can play in offline mode. For a while. But eventually you have to be connected to the Internet to play the game.
  • Re:Letting Steam Off (Score:2, Interesting)

    by diplomaticImmunity ( 855769 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @04:25PM (#12179959)
    You are solidly in the minority on this though. When polled, the vast majority of gamers say that they would rather download their games, and pay a little less, than get a boxed version, and pay a little more.

    Citation please? And show me that it's a truly random sample?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI