It happened again. Another bit of what we want to believe is Half-Life 3 has appeared in the wild. But how big of a deal is this?
Dividing Profits: The Community’s Reaction to Paid Mods on Steam
On April 23rd, Valve dropped a bombshell when they announced that community contributors on the Steam Workshop could now put a price tag on their mods. This announcement, however, came as a bit of a shock to much of the community, with many people being in disagreement with the new feature. In this article we take a look at how the community responded to the move.
Gabe Slice – On Half-Life 3’s Release and Context
This is an editorial by Lilgreenman discussing the community’s reactions to Gabe Newell’s most recent comments about the future of the Half-Life series that were made at GDC 2015 as part of the first episode of the GameSlice podcast hosted by Geoff Keighley. All views expressed in this article are his own.
Playing Medic in Team Fortress 2
When I’m the team’s Medic, I have a golden rule for choosing which teammates to heal:
“All heal targets are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Unlike other classes who can remain effective even without a clue as to how capable their teammates are, the Medic is wholly dependent on his teammates being able to intelligently use his heals to accomplish objectives, kill teammates and keep the medic himself alive. And that’s going to require the Medic to serve as something of an arbiter, judging his teammates and deciding who gets special treatment. It is impossible to play Medic and heal everyone equally, as much as our altruistic natures impel us to.
Questionable Ethics: The Problems With Demanding Half-Life 3
This is an editorial by Lilgreenman which analyses the recent development of the “We Want Half-Life 3” fan campaign from a retrospective standpoint. All views expressed in this article are his own.
Peeling Back the Layers – Looking at Maps Differently
Many of us will have played through most of Valve’s titles and enjoyed them. When we’re wrapped up in the action or the story however, the rules of the game we’re playing are almost invisible to us.
As a level designer it often pays to take a step back and look at the purpose of the content of a level. Why things are placed where they are, what do they add to the gameplay and what can we learn from them.
Cat in the Hat Simulator: Valve and the Decline of Humor
This is an editorial by Lilgreenman which discusses the involvement of humour and comedic elements in Valve’s more recent games. All views expressed in this article are his own.
With all the noise Valve makes about Team Fortress 2 being “The world’s number 1 hat simulator”, their creative staff seem to have neglected a grounding in hat-based literature. Specifically, it seems they’ve never picked up a copy of the best selling hat-based book of all time (eat it, Oliver Sacks!), Dr. Seuss’ 1957 classic The Cat in the Hat.
Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read C-I-T-H: The moral of the book is related to the two young protagonists by the titular feline, after he helps them clean up after a rowdy playtime session; “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.” Which brings me, in my roundabout way, to my point. Valve’s top writers – internet comedy alumni Erik Wolpaw, Chet Faliszek and Jay Pinkerton – don’t seem to know how to have fun.
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.
The Sale Happened, and We Barely Noticed
This is an editorial piece written by Jon “Tyk-Tok”, one of our new writers and editors (you might remember hearing him in many episodes of the recently hiatus’d Podcast 17). It focuses on last year’s Steam Holiday Sale, which just came to a close earlier this month; and the criticisms aimed squarely towards it, by some of the Steam userbase.
With tongue firmly in cheek (and wallet trapped in a state of existential chaos), Tyk-Tok looks at the 2012 Holiday Sale, and offers some of his thoughts.
I remember my first handful of Steam Holiday Sales, and just how magical the whole experience felt. Right on down the line of your friends, acquaintances, and who-is-this-persons, you would see their green-highlighted avatars playing the new daily deal, which they had been craving all-year round. I remember taking my holiday bonus and just going on a virtual rampage of five and ten dollar steals. But that was a good few years ago.
Looking at the experience nowadays, I might see something very different.
The Shirt Heard ‘Round The World
This is an editorial piece written by Lilgreenman, longtime Half-Life obsessive and Valve community member. It summarizes and recapitulates the events of December 2011 – when it seemed like the whole Internet was aflame with rampant Half-Life speculation. Just in case you didn’t catch that little episode of community history, or maybe if you’re still wondering how the hell we fell for all that fake ARG gibberish.
Oh, and Happy Holidays!
To me, at least, it feels like it’s been much longer than a year since the anticipation for Valve’s Half-Life 3 really kicked off.