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How Opposing Force Dealt with the Expansion Pack Problem

An examination of the strengths of Half-Life's weapon system, and how the Opposing Force expansion pack both compromised and built upon them.

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A History of Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike A History of Counter-Strike

This started out as a part of my upcoming review of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but I have decided to release it on its own, as a sort of prelude or companion piece, to the aforementioned review. I would like to thank my awesome colleagues here at LambdaGen: Erebus; Flamov; and Mimaz, for their invaluable assistance and input, during the creation of this article.

In order to properly discuss Global Offensive, we must first delve deep into the dark (okay, maybe not dark – slightly poorly lit) history of Counter-Strike, as a whole!

Vic’s Thoughts On: The Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC; Or Why Portal 2’s Future Is Looking Very Bright

Portal Vic’s Thoughts On: The Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC; Or Why Portal 2’s Future Is Looking Very Bright

As you may or may not know, I wasn’t exactly pleased with Portal 2’s first DLC outing – “Peer Review“. While the Challenge Mode added much-needed replay value to the game, it really should have been in the game from launch. The only other bit of content in there, the new “Art Therapy” co-op course, was rather disappointing, with poor writing and plot, as well as some meager and poorly balanced gameplay offerings.

I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that all free DLC is automatically good – you have to draw the line somewhere. And solid feedback will help make future releases better. For instance, the poor reactions to L4D1’s underwhelming “Crash Course” almost certainly helped Valve build better L4D DLC in the form of L4D2’s “The Passing” (although later on they did let us down again with “The Sacrifice“). So we needn’t be afraid to voice our opinions.

But enough about all that. Here we are, with Portal 2’s second, and perhaps final DLC release almost upon us. The Perpetual Testing Initiative promises to turn Portal 2 into a never-ending house of pure science, providing it with enough replayability and content to feed 5 full-priced Call of Duty games. But does it fulfill that promise?

“Return To Ravenholm” – A Cancelled 2007 Half-Life Project By Valve Software And Arkane Studios, Developers of Dark Messiah, Dishonored And The Crossing

Half-Life “Return To Ravenholm” – A Cancelled 2007 Half-Life Project By Valve Software And Arkane Studios, Developers of Dark Messiah, Dishonored And The Crossing

The oh-so-long wait between Episode Two and… whatever the next Half-Life will be, is starting to be very tough for the Half-Life fanbase. During the 6-year wait between HL1 and HL2, we at least had the modding community and the active HL1 multiplayer scene, but we also had official spin-off games like Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and Decay. Whereas now… we’ve sort of got… well, nothing. I’m sure some sort of Half-Life game released during this wait would have tided everyone over a bit.

But maybe that was the plan. Sure, the plan has changed, but what if Valve did intend to do just that? Well, today, we might have evidence pointing towards that.

Phillip Marlowe, Creator of RunThinkShootLive.com Lets Off Steam About Valve’s Silence

Valve Phillip Marlowe, Creator of RunThinkShootLive.com Lets Off Steam About Valve’s Silence

Phillip Marlowe is the founder of the Half-Life singleplayer modding website RunThinkShootLive.com, formerly known as PlanetPhillip.com. Phillip has been running his site for 13 years, and within that time he has become a well-known individual in the Half-Life modding community.

Phillip got in touch with us recently to voice his opinion regarding Valve’s customer care in relation to the lack of communication about the future state of the Half-Life series, and we thought we’d share it with you. You can discuss your own thoughts on this in the comments after the article. All views expressed in this article are his own.

‘Mods Going Retail.’ Sounds Fantastic, but at What Cost?

Steam ‘Mods Going Retail.’ Sounds Fantastic, but at What Cost?

Many moons ago, you might remember an article we posted about how Valve had given the Black Mesa team (now known as the Crowbar Collective) the opportunity to sell their mod as a full retail product. Despite announcing that a Source SDK 2013 version of Black Mesa would also be available for free, the announcement was met with mixed criticism. There was an overwhelming amount of support for the team, but there were a number of people who were concerned with what ‘ethical’ implications this choice to go retail might have. Should community made content that has always been available for free suddenly be given the chance to be monetized?

Vic’s Thoughts On: Dear Esther, Or Why A Video Game Can Be Much, Much More Than Just Entertainment

Gaming Industry Vic’s Thoughts On: Dear Esther, Or Why A Video Game Can Be Much, Much More Than Just Entertainment

At their core, video games are essentially entertainment – designed to be fun. They accomplish these two objectives through all sorts of ways, within the various genres of the gaming world. Most of the games we play are, ostensibly, mere entertainment – created to be fun, enthralling and, perhaps, little else beyond that. But recently, many have contemplated and whether or not video games truly are art. But this debate goes beyond gaming itself: for instance, can we classify the Roundhay Garden Scene as art? While we’re at that, can we classify the Mona Lisa as entertainment? Is all entertainment actually art, or is all art somehow entertainment? It’s a multifaceted argument that might be going on for a very long while. I, personally, am of the conviction that, video games are art. Of course, there are some games that simultaneously represent both entertainment and art (Portal 1, Half-Life 2). There are also some games that lead more towards the art side, but they still maintain the basic framework of a video game. If they didn’t, we’d have a tough time calling them video games.

But in comes something that might shake up the way we look at video games. That something is Dear Esther. Originally designed as a free HL2 mod in 2008, Dear Esther was a terrific, if flawed experiment regarding interactive, non-linear storytelling conveyed through a video game. Almost 4 years later, the same team, plus one master level designer, have returned to remake and reimagine Dear Esther, almost from the ground up, as a independent Source game. That which was primitive is now beautiful, and a whole new audience could be exposed to this interesting creation. But is it more than just an experiment, or, perhaps, is it more than just a video game? Well, read on to find out!

The Problem with Steam Trading Cards

Steam The Problem with Steam Trading Cards

With Valve having recently released the full version of their new ‘Steam Trading Cards’ feature, after a surprisingly short beta period, there has been much discussion around the Internet about the purpose and usefulness of the system. Some have praised the system as another way for allowing users to get more involved in the Steam Community, and rewarding dedicated Steam users; others, however, have criticized the system as being gimmicky and even exploitative, and nothing more than a money-making scheme on Valve’s part.

A quick run-down for those of you who are unfamiliar with the system: Steam Trading Cards allows users to receive random trading cards for playing various games, which they can then craft into ‘badges’ in order to increase their ‘Steam level,’ a new, RPG-like feature added to Steam. Higher Steam levels grant users additional Steam features, such as the ability to customize their Steam profiles further, or have larger friends lists. Trading cards can obviously be traded with other users, and can also be sold for money. At first glance, the system seems like a fantastic idea: it rewards you for playing games you like, which you can then use to unlock additional features; meanwhile, people not interested can simply ignore the system altogether. Thus, everybody is happy. The truth is not that simple, however.

All Things Lambda – Episode 13

Other All Things Lambda – Episode 13

It’s Episode 13, ‘The Unlucky Episode‘ of All Things Lambda – The LambdaGeneration Podcast. In this episode we discuss Filip Victor’s Half-Life 2: Update mod, Dota 2’s The International 2015 Tickets, an upside down Half-Life speedrun and much more!

The next live record date is April 26th at 12pm (PST) on our Twitch channel.

We look forward to having you in the chat, you can also ask questions to be discussed on the next show in the video comments or in the chat on the record day. If you enjoyed the show, make sure to subscribe to the LambdaGeneration YouTube channel and also follow us on Twitch!

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