Former ValveTime staff members Ross Gardner and Michael Pelletier finally released the second chapter of their Half-Life fan comic, A Place in the West, as a paid downloadable content for the first chapter on Steam. The second chapter, titled "A Very Modern Major-General", features 50 new pages, and picks up where the first chapter left off. The team is currently working with volunteers to translate the comic to other languages.
Here is a summary of Gabe Newell's AMA, which took place on Reddit's r/The_Gaben on January 17, 2017.
On their new offices
Yes. We move into the new offices on July 22nd.
On Source 2
We are continuing to use Source 2 as our primary game development environment. Aside from moving Dota 2 to the engine recently, we are are using it as the foundation of some unannounced products. We would like to have everyone working on games here at Valve to eventually be using the same engine. We also intend to continue to make the Source 2 engine work available to the broad developer community as we go, and to make it available free of charge.
On Steam Support
Yes! We are continuing to work on improving support.
Since the last AMA, we've introduced refunds on Steam, we've grown our Support staff by roughly 5x, and we've shipped a new help site and ticketing system that makes it easier to get help. We've also greatly reduced response times on most types of support tickets and we think we've improved the quality of responses.
We definitely don't think we're done though. We still need to further improve response times and we are continually working to improve the quality of our responses. We're also working on adding more support staff in regions around the world to offer better native language support and improve response times in various regions.
The issue with Half-Life for me is that I was involved in a much higher percentage of the decisions about the games, so it's hard for me to look at them as anything other than a series of things I regret. There's no information in my response about what we'll do in the future. It's simply easier for me to be a fan of things that in which I was less directive.
On Left 4 Dead
Products are usually the result of an intersection of technology that we think has traction, a group of people who want to work on that, and one of the game properties that feels like a natural playground for that set of technology and design challenges.
When we decided we needed to work on markets, free to play, and user generated content, Team Fortress seemed like the right place to do that. That work ended up informing everything we did in the multiplayer space. Left 4 Dead is a good place for creating shared narratives.
On Half-Life and Portal movies
Yep. They're coming.
On Half-Life 3/Half-Life 2: Episode Three
The number 3 must not be said.
On what he regrets about Half-Life
If you are involved in a game, everything ends up being a set of trade-offs. Anything in a game is a sacrifice of things not in the game. I just feel those more personally about Half-Life for a bunch of reasons. And Xen.
On possibility of a new IP in the Half-Life/Portal universe
While no one from ValveTime.net was able to attend the event this year, that doesn't mean we still can't provide some summaries from Steam Dev Days.
There are no official live streams from the event's speeches and panels, so getting detailed information is difficult. Indeed, a lot of small information has leaked, and we leave you to read about most of those at SteamDB, but we wanted to just briefly cover the meatier bits for now.
The social media platforms have been abuzz with content on #SteamDevDays, and below is a summary of just a sliver of what we've learned from the event.
If we didn't cover something else you are excited about, let us know at @ValveTime or [email protected].
VALVE WILL REVEAL NEW VR CONTENT IN 2017
"Although we're not going to treat Dev Days this year as the place or time to make big product announcements related to the content that has been in development at Valve in virtual reality," Greg Coomer, Valve's Product Designer, told an audience today, "I do think that when it comes time to do that next year, that nobody in this room is going to be disappointed about what we have in the works..."
VALVE IS INVESTING IN WIRELESS VR TECHNOLOGY
Sven Mesecke, Nitero's Co-Founder and President, told UploadVR that Valve invested a “significant amount” in the company. Nitero has been developing a 60Ghz transmitter and an encoder, both aimed at providing high-fidelity images at low latency costs in VR.
This is a tall order, and has been expressed as such by Valve and other industry experts in the past. In order to mitigate the nauseating effects from VR latency, Nitero's solution has to seamlessly transmit a 2160x1200 image at 90 frames-per-second.
OTHER CONTROLLER SUPPORT THROUGH STEAM CONTROLLER API
No, not the "Steam Controller" API, but think of it as the Steam "Controller API." Well, actually, this is a new feature built upon the existing Steam Controller API. This feature provides support for multiple types of controllers, first providing support for the PS4 controller. Slides detailing this new feature are at Gamastura.
STEAM 360 VIDEO
Sean Jenkin, Engineer at Valve, announced Steam 360 Video. In partnership with Pixami, Akamai, and other leading content providers on the Field of View Adaptive Streaming Open Projection Format (FOVAS), Steam 360 Video enables 8K to 10K resolutions with only 1080p bandwidth. This is built upon the Adaptive Streaming Format used in Steam Videos today.
A big thank you to the attendees of Steam Dev Days for providing all the information leads from the event!
Following the announcement of the Boston Major tournament for Dota 2 earlier this week, Valve have released the Fall 2016 Battle Pass, which acts as both an event Compendium and additional gameplay incentives. For £5.99 / $7.99, the Fall 2016 Battle Pass features many of the same features and item types as the one used to fund The International, only with a smaller level cap and fewer rewards.
Returning features to the Battle Pass include leveling, quests, match wagering, achievements, the community Battle Cup, and event-specific items such as terrain types, taunts, wards, couriers, and cosmetic sets. With only 60 levels available in total, the Fall 2016 Battle Pass features four different treasure types and four courier styles, meaning there'll definitely be a lot less long-term progression this time around. This fact is further cemented by the lack of gems available on the store, something which previously allowed users to artificially boost their pass level for more items if they wanted to splash a little bit more cash.
Unlike the Battle Pass released annually for The International, seasonal Battle Passes such as this one do not actually contribute towards the prize pool of a major tournament in any direct fashion, meaning you're only really buying access to the rare items and gameplay incentives rather than to support the professional competitive scene.
That said, we've already picked up our Battle Pass and are ready to begin adventuring with it tomorrow, what about you?
Former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw recently published several never-before-seen documents from the development of the original Half-Life on his personal website. You can read the documents from the links below.
Marc retired from Valve early this year after working at the company for 18 years. For the past few months, as part of his post-retirement purge, he's been organizing his archives and looking for the occasional piece of information worth saving. Ending up with a stack of 3.5” floppy disks, he bought an external floppy drive and found several Half-Life development documents from 1998 on one of the disks.
While not mentioned on his website, Marc also revealed that, for a time, the last section of the game was to take place inside a gigantic alien organism.
Writing for Half-Life
Created on November 9, 1998.
Created on June 4, 1998 and last modified on July 21, 1998.
Created and last modified on July 21, 1998.
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