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.
We recently discovered concept art from a space marine-themed Valve game that did not ship. These images were created by Harry Teasley who worked at Valve as an artist and designer until his departure in June of 2002.
The images show the character designs for an alien assassin, a marine with a powered exoskeleton, and other generic human and alien soldiers. One of the images mentions a campaign mode, so it is possible that the game was to feature a single-player mode. The appearance of the characters was to change throughout the campaign based on the player's direction as they gained more experience.
The character designs slightly resemble the space-themed iteration of Team Fortress 2 that was in development around the same time. Harry mentions that he did concept drawing, character design, and texture work for the early versions of Team Fortress 2 on his resume. It should be noted that the alien creatures are wearing what resembles human military gear, something that can also be also seen in Chuck Jones's early Team Fortress 2 concept art.
Hayri "Barnz" Yurdakul and Rikki "Marphy Black" D'Angelo
Harry Teasley for the images
Although not a conventionally busy week, the past seven days did see Valve crack down on two very different forms of exploitation and cheating! The first involved an update to the way Steam Reviews are managed and filtered, while the second caused over 11,000 users to be banned from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for hacking!
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UPDATE 1 [09/15/2016]: As of right now, the number of accounts that have been banned has more than doubled since this post was first published; 11,000 have been affected so far. This number is likely to rise even further as more offenders log into their Steam accounts.
ORIGINAL: According to reports, one of the largest VAC ban waves in years has hit. A little more than 4,000 accounts may have been affected.
Graph showing number of bans over the last year - today's spike on very right
That number comes from VAC-Ban.com. To corroborate with that data, a thread on /r/GlobalOffensive references posts from a couple of cheat provider forums. Some posts show staff stating that their hacks have been detected, and others are from users themselves complaining about being VAC'd.
If anything else needs to be said, it's "HA!"
Valve has released an update to the Steam customer review system. Building off of what it released last May, today's update is looking to improve the filtering of recent game reviews.
To be specific, Valve has made two major changes: (1) a new sorting interface has been added, allowing users to fine-tune the types of reviews they see, and (2) a preventative measure to curb review system exploitation has been implemented, targeting reviews from users that obtained the game through Steam product keys (as opposed to direct Steam store purchases).
The new sorting interface isn't especially granular in its options, but it's a great start. You can filter by the review type, purchase type, and the language. By default, only helpful reviews in your target language are shown.
The largest change, the one that is attempting to curb the review system exploitation, is specifically targeting a type of review manipulation employed by game developers. To quote Valve:
Valve has a more detailed explanation of today's Steam customer review system on their blog, as well as some notes about the next steps they're taking to further improve the system, so check it out.
News Source: Steam News Blog
Image Source: Steam News Blog
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