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"We're going to launch the product at E3 and we're going to ship it on September 30, 2003"
November 13, 2004 12:23 PM   Subscribe

The Final Hours of Half-Life 2: A fascinating look at the development hell that HL2 went through in the last year and a half. (via, of course, PA)
posted by hughbot (33 comments total)

 
More people here please.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:25 PM on November 13, 2004


This article was excellent, if you can kind of squint your way past the early comparisons between the war in Iraq and the development of HL2. Thanks!
posted by xyzzy at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2004


it's a long read, but worth it. thanks a lot.
posted by joedan at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2004


What xyzzy said.

What's with none of the screenshots working, though?
posted by rafter at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2004


Weren't they just sitting on their asses since October 3 last year? It was working then, according to people who played said illegal software...

I guess this article proves otherwise. Strange it doesn't mention about that, though...
posted by shepd at 3:07 PM on November 13, 2004


The people who stole/downloaded the code said exactly the opposite — that the leaked version was nowhere near done, and that Valve's demos were all smoke and mirrors.

The article actually goes into some depth about it. You just have to get to page 18 or so.
posted by rafter at 3:13 PM on November 13, 2004


what rafter said. It's a helluva big article.

I enjoyed it, though.
Doom 3 looked great, but bored the hell out of me.

HL2 ain't looking like that at all.
posted by Busithoth at 3:19 PM on November 13, 2004



I enjoyed it, though.
Doom 3 looked great, but bored the hell out of me.


I thought doom3 was pretty cool, but man did it get repetitive. And a map system would have been nice, since I have the worst directional intelligence of anyone I've ever met.
posted by The God Complex at 3:51 PM on November 13, 2004


Ahhh, I must have missed it.

I have a person rule. If you post content to the web, and it goes beyond two pages, I usually quit reading it unless it's actually a book (which would, of course, merit a webpage per chapter). :-)

Learn to use #anchors, "webmasters", if you really feel the need to split up your content. They're there for a reason.
posted by shepd at 4:17 PM on November 13, 2004


Too long; read anyway ; )

Great article. I started to play through HL1 in preparation for Tuesday's release, but I realized I'm getting HL:Source, so I should just wait and play it all pretty-like.
posted by ruddhist at 4:47 PM on November 13, 2004


I usually do the same, but kept getting drawn in by a line like "Valve was now spending a million dollars a month to develop the game" and this was a year ago already, soooooo my mind reeled at the money involved in developing these things. Not surprised, just humbled by the enormity of it all...
posted by Busithoth at 4:48 PM on November 13, 2004


Good article, sounds like a lot of drama behind the scenes, really curious how this Vivendi/Steam thing resolves itself...

The article's long but I bet there was lots of stuff left out... hey Geoff Keighley, if you're reading, see if you can write a whole book about Valve, throw in a DVD of those early tech demo videos and I'd buy it.
posted by bobo123 at 5:10 PM on November 13, 2004


the screenshots work you just have to scroll your horizonal bar thing.
posted by Satapher at 5:37 PM on November 13, 2004


i salute the guy working in the toll road booth who smiles and insists that "you have a good night for me alright?"
posted by Satapher at 5:39 PM on November 13, 2004


Whoops — thanks Satapher, it turns out I had image.com.com blocked in my hosts file.
posted by rafter at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2004


I adore this page, showing how someone can be so clever with computers and yet so intensely stupid with real life.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:59 PM on November 13, 2004


One of the prerelease magazine reviews recently referred to the game as 'our Citizen Kane'. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be unlocked on Steam in two days and counting...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2004


Ah, it turns out "Nihilanth" was the name of his sledge!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:40 PM on November 13, 2004


rhuddist: but I realized I'm getting HL:Source, so I should just wait and play it all pretty-like.

except the Source version of HL1 isn't an entire update - just some minor physics and new water effects. the rest of the game will look absolutely the same.

however, it is inevitable (and already rumored to be in the works) that some bootstrappers are converting it with new textures and character models. i'm going to wait, since i already have HL1.
posted by NationalKato at 6:41 PM on November 13, 2004


Gentlemen: Start your Bit Torrents!
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:15 PM on November 13, 2004


Gentlemen: Start your Bit Torrents!

Actually, I'm amazed HL2 isn't out on the internet yet, seeing as you can go to Best Buy and get a boxed copy right now. Those Eastern European crackers need to get their shit in gear...
posted by SweetJesus at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2004


HL2 needs to check in with the mothership at Valve before it will let you play, so even those folks who got the boxed copy are out of luck until somebody flips the switch and says go. Not that this is an infallible form of copy protection, but it does seem a little more hardcore than, say Q3A's online cd-check.
posted by mmcg at 8:02 PM on November 13, 2004


HL2 out of the box will not work unless it can contact Valve? That seems foolish, surely there are still enough people who do not have internet connections where they play their games that this will become a huge hassle?
posted by bargle at 8:32 PM on November 13, 2004


bargle, id probably say no... anyone whos gonna shell out 50 bucks for a sequel, prolly has an internet connection

i imagine if they completely isolated their non internet having customers.... wouldnt phase them at all
posted by Satapher at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2004


although, it is those with internet connections that end up hurting game companies the most.
posted by Satapher at 9:13 PM on November 13, 2004


HL2 needs to check in with the mothership at Valve before it will let you play, so even those folks who got the boxed copy are out of luck until somebody flips the switch and says go.

Yeah Valve has to be really happy with how Steam is working, every other "major" game this year (Doom 3, GTA: San Andreas, Halo 2 (well the French version)) had been in the hands of pirates before people who had reserved the game, but this is looks like they kept the pirates at bay.

Of course I'm sure within hours of the game being activated there'll be cracks and torrents available but it looks like they got the problem of EB employees leaking copies early beat.
posted by bobo123 at 9:19 PM on November 13, 2004


the other plus with Steam is that once their lawsuits with Vivendi Universal (VU) is worked out, they'll be able to distribute future games themselves - and reap more than just 7% of profits.
posted by NationalKato at 9:44 PM on November 13, 2004


I actually paid for a game today: Battlefield Vietnam. I didn't know why; I had $30 and I saw the box. I am surprised I did, because I stole it already on my computer. Maybe I am just getting old or something.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:51 PM on November 13, 2004


What does this mean to the future of Red vs Blue?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:55 PM on November 13, 2004


perhaps i'm a bit jaded because i work for a small, struggling video game company, but really. it sucks that someone jacked your source code. but you have a $40 million budget !! and your game is over a year past due !? and you still have a job!? cry me a frickin river.
posted by gnutron at 9:56 AM on November 14, 2004


I didn't know why; I had $30 and I saw the box. I am surprised I did, because I stole it already on my computer. Maybe I am just getting old or something.

You know, I've made a habit of picking up games I got off the net, if I see it in stores at a discount. I chalk it up to guilt, myself.

I like the idea of bettering copy-protection for games.
The CD-check ain't exactly working. And I find it a HUGE pain in the ass to keep all the game discs nearby, just to run the damn game.

If I really trusted my hard drives, I'd download HL2 instead of going to B&M store to get it.
posted by Busithoth at 10:24 AM on November 14, 2004


Busithoth: Steam lets you re-download any game you have registered on it; all you need to trust is your ability to remember your login (and Valve's database backup strategy).

Pondering buying it off Steam, but it's pretty steep; as in, more than I'd pay retail. The bastards are trying to exploit my laziness and impatiance! Hmm, maybe they deserve it.
posted by Freaky at 10:43 AM on November 14, 2004


I like the idea of copy-protection, too.

It makes me feel better when I warez a game. I figure if the publisher wants to pick a war against consumers, anything is fair game.
posted by shepd at 3:57 PM on November 14, 2004


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