Valve to Evaluate Episodic Approach

kupocake

Tank
Joined
Nov 26, 2004
Messages
6,127
Reaction score
11
Very interesting topic, i want to think about this. Episodes would be nice but a real nice big game would be nice as well.
It's like choosing between having loads of small presents all year round, or one big present at Christmas time :p
 

Sloth

Tank
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
2,833
Reaction score
5
I like the idea of episodes - in small terms it also keeps this community alive and talking about the games, not just babbling in Off Topic.

The wait between Episodes is annoying, but worth it. In my mind Valve should aim to release a Half Life Episode and something new - like Portal - within this cycle of release.
 

Adabiviak

Space Core
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Messages
4,235
Reaction score
22
I'm down for more episodic content, the theory being that they can crank out more content now that they have a pretty solid engine (and that creating content with an engine you're familiar with will go faster, and need less polishing time to be excellent). I think the inclusion of Portal and TF2 added a lot of time to the release date for Episode 2. If they just stick to writing episodic content and only focus on incremental tweaks to the engine, they should be able to release the content relatively quickly, no? Not to mention the fact that they have a very well developed universe/characters to work with that certainly have marketing value left.
 

Buveed

Newbie
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
But they aren't expansion packs at all. Simply because they are billed as 'Episodes' doesn't make them 'expansions'. You could apply that logic to the next in the saga of anything. An expansion pack just adds mundane stuff like new weapons, enemies and doesn't really go anywhere. Episode 2 continues the story, continues the gameplay and manages 6-8 hours of play - very much the length of other games on the market, too - but does that make it any less of a game?
If the new weapons and enemies weren't mundane, you'd still call it an expansion pack. And don't act like Episode 1 didn't have any of that, either. The police zombies that run with a grenade in their hand is a perfect example of the types of mundane enemies that are introduced into expansion packs. VERY small changes without tampering with the core design of the game is what expansion packs intend to do, and that's what Valve did with Episode 1. And the roller mines or what ever they were being changed to help you was another perfect example. In fact, i remember seeing that for the first time and realizing that this is expansion pack material. Really, there weren't any new siginificant models introduced other than Alyx getting some more poly's. Most expansion packs i've played over the past 10 years always offered new weapons. Ep. 1 gave me better batteries for my flashlight.

yes, ep. 2 is 30 bucks for supposedly 6-8 hours of gameplay, much like expansion packs are. The only difference is that Valve makes it themselves because they want full control over the storyline (something i imagine they learned after Opposing Force came out) and they see it as profitable. Other companies hire a third-party companies to do it for them.

Either way, it comes down to semantics.
 

soulslicer

Tank
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
4,624
Reaction score
8
frankly, as long as valve continues producing games of the fps genre..I am fine.
 

Asus

Newbie
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Messages
10,346
Reaction score
0
I suppose you could attempt the make a similar comparison with HL2 if you tried to imagine it divided up into 3 parts. "Oh it's the same thing but with simple weapon/enemy additions." Lets see, in the 2nd part you get the gravity gun. And in the last part you get pheropods etc...:rolleyes:
And yet even if you divide HL2 into 3 parts you still wouldn't consider it an expansion. I wonder why that is?

The additions to the HL2 episodes over what was in HL2 are going to be spread out obviously. And that doesn't make them expansions.
 

Avoidist

Tank
Joined
Sep 10, 2006
Messages
1,242
Reaction score
1
The only real problem is that Episodes will always start with that bit of "lets get you trained up again". Admittedly that's a relatively minor issue given that Valve's games actually do this repeatedly with every new game mechanic that gets introduced, but there is still that stop-and-start problem because they are in fact individual products.

A full monolithic release is self-contained in plot and gameplay, and that's why they will generally win out over episodes.
 

Operational

Newbie
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
4,306
Reaction score
2
I reserve judgement until after Ep3 comes out but at the moment I'm very pleased with the Episodic structure Valve has. Without it we'd never have gotten Portal and had to wait even longer for TF2. And while we don't know yet I'd like to think that Source can continue to have additions to it which keep it on par with modern games and keep its modest system requirements.

All I want to know from that interview is whether or not Gabe ever took the December 06 release date seriously, for Episode Two.
He was only off by 10 months :p
 

czrsink

Newbie
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Messages
996
Reaction score
0
Let's face it, what we really want is Half Life 3 and Counter Strike 2.

Unless it happens in Episode 3, we should toddle off to the Combine's home planet and take out the main Combine infrastructure and the 'top man'. This could be the foundation for Halflife 3 - it will take place a few years after Halflife 2 ends (on Earth). We've mastered the portal technology and we send soldiers to the Combine home world to take them out using advanced vehicles and weaponry we've researched from the stuff they've left behind. Gordon comes out of stasis once more to lead the final assault on the Combine's own turf.

I know, sounds a bit Quake 2 ish, but then we could finally put the series to bed. I think we'll learn a lot about technology through Crysis and a lot of the techniques used in the Cry 2 engine should start filtering down to other, future engines.

And CS2 comes bundled with it, now with the ability to lean (finally) added in, it's slow down, and has more emphasis on team work and a slower, more tactical approach.
 

FatboyTim

Newbie
Joined
May 19, 2003
Messages
160
Reaction score
0
Imagine for a minute if Valve had decided not to do these 'episodic' releases. Say they had instead taken the storyline they had for Ep1, 2 & 3 and put it into one monothilic game and called it Half-Life 3.

At this point they would still only be 2/3 of the way through the developement cycle of this game, much of their new technology would be untested, and it is unlikely we would have many engine upgrades, or any of the forthcoming 'bundled' releases.

Steam would likely not be half as successful as it is, and therefore Valve would have far less money for future game development. There would be no HDR updates to CS:S. No forthcoming release of Portal. Probably no TF2.

In short, Valve's 'episodic gaming' experiment has brought us so much more than just their episodic games. Long may this continue. :cheers:
 

-smash-

Content Director
Staff member
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
340
Don't know about that one... Valve were supposed to shell out a tech level, like Lost Coast, every few months or so (What happened to those? Wasn't LC successful?). These were to introduce new technologies to the engine that would be applied to current/future Valve titles.

Lost Coast came out before the episodes were announced, IIRC.
 

DarkDamo

Spy
Joined
May 19, 2004
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
I didn't hear that tech demo's (like LC) were supposed to be released every few months...

I think that a balance of Episodic and Monolithic releases is best. For example, make a game (eg. hl3) then have 2 episodes (or more) as expansions/continuation of the game yet it is not required to get the story (like dont have half the story in the full game then to see the 2nd half you need to buy the episodes)....

If you get what i mean (that was very badly worded)
 

-smash-

Content Director
Staff member
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
340
I didn't hear that tech demo's (like LC) were supposed to be released every few months...
It was said in a lengthly Gamespot editorial released day of HL2. It was a piece that described the development process within Valve from Half-Life, to Half-Life 2; what went on inside the company.

They were called "ATI Levels" then.

Can't find the article (don't remember the name).


/EDIT: Found it!http://www.gamespot.com/features/6112889/p-24.html I guess it doesn't say 'every few months,' but it does say there would have been more than one...
 

FatboyTim

Newbie
Joined
May 19, 2003
Messages
160
Reaction score
0
Lost Coast came out before the episodes were announced, IIRC.
My point being that if there were no episode releases, Lost Coast would probably have been Valve's most recent content release! :eek:

The development of the episodes has allowed them to roll out new technology updates (to the benefit of the mod community) and bundle extra content (TF2, Portal) that we in all liklehood, wouldn't have seen othewise until the next full chapter [ep1+2+3] was completed and released in 2008 or later.

Of course, we'd all like to see these episodes delivered a lot more frequently. ;)
 

Sandman

Newbie
Joined
Jul 13, 2003
Messages
318
Reaction score
0
Of course, we'd all like to see these episodes delivered a lot more frequently. ;)
Seems like Valve is just spread too thin. They have a ridiculous amount of software in the works. Either that or they are all just too busy playing video games to get any work done!
 

Asknoone

Newbie
Joined
May 15, 2004
Messages
0
Reaction score
50
Really, there weren't any new siginificant models introduced other than Alyx getting some more poly's.
Haha, yes, because more models is clearly tampering with the 'core design'. I disagree with the rest of your post, because I do think that whilst certain elements of Episode 1 were simply more Half-life 2, it did continue to elevate the gameplay in an interesting way, and arguably more so than so-called monolithic releases we've seen recently. There's a flaw in the idea that you need to make your next game completely different from the last.
 

Crispy

Newbie
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
0
Although I think the Episodes Valve are putting out are great in terms of length and quality, I cant help think that if they went more towards mappacks that didn't try to be so clever with putting in new gameplay and instead were tangental to HL2's story and enriched the HL2 universe, they'd be able to bring new content much quicker and I'm sure HL2 fanboys and SP junkies would still keep buying it. If you had a 'side quest'-style expansion pack you'd also be able to add in new weapons and enemies that would not necessarily be expected to appear in continuations of the main storyline, because they could be confined to a specific character or domain. With more weapons, more enemies and more art assets there would be much more scope for SP mods. Although you can also argue that if you're imaginitive enough you can already accomplish a great deal with the existing HL2, Lost Coast and Ep 1 assets.

I think one of the biggest problems with the Episodic thing is that even though they're coming quicker than a full game would, as far as story's concerned a full game usually reaches conclusion by the end. The way the episodes are panning out it's like watching a film's sequel with 1-2 year intervals in-between. I got to the end of Episode 1 and was like: "Aw man, just when it was getting good". I felt more than satisfied with the gameplay experience but the story seemed to be just cut short and I was left expecting more instead of wanting more. If some less significant but all the while enriching side expansions were developed that maybe told us more about some of the key characters or perhaps filled in blanks between HL and HL2 as long as the story was good and the combat were average to above average I think it would still be accepted by many.
 

mchammer75040

Newbie
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
4,008
Reaction score
1
I pretty much agree with samon's and crispy's posts, I would love to see more episodes. Do you guys think they will do something like the orange box again with episode 3? Maybe put ep3 in with whatever the day of defeat team is working on?
I think what they have is perfect cause they are able to manage several teams all focused on individual projects rather than one scatterbrained project. Just like Im sure hl2 wouldnt have been as epic had they not let other teams just port cs and dod to source instead of them making a whole new entire MP. Hell who knows if they didnt we might still be waiting :p
 

sp0tz

Newbie
Joined
Feb 27, 2005
Messages
39
Reaction score
0
i don't care if the final product fulfills my expectations... :smoking:
and valve games have always done that for me...
 

Gusdor

Newbie
Joined
Aug 20, 2005
Messages
243
Reaction score
0
New technologies are very easy to incorporate into the Source engine. It'd be crazy to write an entirely new engine just for a new game.
But the SDK - at least the one we are using - and tools are pathetic
 

Gorgon

Newbie
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
6,684
Reaction score
0
I want E2 to be the last one, and Half life3 is their next project based on new Source engine maybe Source2.

I don't support Episodic content.
 

Apocalypse89

Newbie
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
1,299
Reaction score
0
I support Episodic releases until Part 3, but after that I want another ground-breaking monolithic release. Maybe keep the episodic content for side stories, etc.
 

Krynn72

The Freeman
Joined
May 16, 2004
Messages
26,079
Reaction score
915
As much as I would like a huge game, I dont think I'd be able to take the wait. If they manage to get out an episode every year or so, then I'd be happy with episodes. If they could release a Half Life 3 in 2-ish years, then i'd rather have a full length game.

But seeing as they take so long with episodes, I would fear it would take like 4 years for them to do a full game.

I'd vote to stay with episodes.
 

wilka91

Newbie
Joined
Oct 11, 2004
Messages
854
Reaction score
0
IMO, Episodic game is a failure.

I would have preferred to have HL3 in 2008 or 2009 than some 3/4 hour episodes that come out with a 6-month delay.
 

Polaris

Spy
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Messages
3,137
Reaction score
1
Outdated engine, graphics? OMG Crysis FTW, Source is old, lololol. :rolleyes:
Outdated weapons? MP7 for example, is very modern weapon. :p
Story? Wait....GTFO, idiot!
 

Pi Mu Rho

ValveTime Admin | Enemy of fun
Staff member
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
9,355
Reaction score
161
It's wilka, just ignore him.
 

Beerdude26

Party Escort Bot
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
10,357
Reaction score
1
But the SDK - at least the one we are using - and tools are pathetic
Hence why people write their own tools ;) (Although there isn't an alternative to Hammer, though, I'll give you that :p)
 

Kadayi

Newbie
Joined
Oct 6, 2003
Messages
6,035
Reaction score
0
Hence why people write their own tools ;) (Although there isn't an alternative to Hammer, though, I'll give you that :p)
Coming from a pro cad/3d background I have to say I find Hammer an incredibly unintuitive program to use. I know some people who've used it for years swear by it, but I think that comes down base familiarity. Truth is though the application is long overdue a complete re-imagining and one that is not only more user friendly, but also provides real time feedback so you can identify problem areas on the fly. If they coud make Hammer as easy and quick to use as a simple 3D program like Sketchup, I think the would of had a bigger pickup in terms of developers buying the engine.

With regards to episodic I think the tech updates have been very good so far and there is still life in the Source engine, but there is more scope for RPG than further FPS imho.
 

CyberPitz

Party Escort Bot
Joined
Aug 23, 2004
Messages
24,818
Reaction score
7
I've not really had a problem with the length it takes for them to push out a game. Simply because when they do, it's one of the highest quality games out there. It's nice to have someone actually working on a game that's got an awesome story with great game play, then the usual run and tag and gun shit that's pumped out every couple months.
 

Iron_cube

Newbie
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
1,895
Reaction score
8
Episodes are great since the current MP mods can easily update to the newest engine features.
 

dogboy73

Tank
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
0
I think it's fair to say that episodic content has been a failure in terms of the time scale it takes to get each episode out, regardless of quality. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. Why do you think Valve are to evaluate it?

Episode 1 was okay. It offered more challenge, which I really craved for after the cake walk that was HL2. But it didn't really offer anything new. Why did it take so long? No new weapons, no new vehicles, no new characters. It progressed the story ..... a bit! It was quite short as well. I enjoyed it but like someone else said earlier, it was just like an expansion pack. It needed more.

EP2 looks like redressing the balance but that's taken even longer so again it goes against the whole point of episodic content, which was meant to deliver content quicker than what we have seen it. EP2 will be longer, have a new vehicle, a new character, new environments, new enemies, new graphical FX. I think it's going to wipe the floor with EP1. Let's hope EP3 really blows us away. Then we'll all be wanting more episodic content ....... then Valve will probably decide to do something else!! Roll on HL3 ;-)
 
Top