Edit, GitHub Mirror: https://github.com/Jackathan/MarcLaidlaw-Epistle3/blob/maste...
Valve isn't a monolithic entity nor a top-down controlled company though. This argument doesn't reflect how they make decisions.
They have spoken on a few related points in the past:
* Their projects often change dramatically during development, even being scrapped or started over again from scratch (Half-Life is a rework of a scrapped project, Team Fortress 2 was completely rebooted)
* They prefer not to talk at all about things that are very hyped because they believe it's more painful to the community to go through those twists and turns than have radio silence
* If they aren't happy with the quality of something they produce it doesn't see the light of day, rather than release something that isn't great
* For it to happen requires enough people within the company to decide to work on it, and see it through
This is very important. If HL would have been a EA game, you would have had it years ago. And it would have sucked, but everybody would have bought it and EA would have made bank.
Valve cares. Sometimes that means you will not have what you want, because they know they can't provide it.
I might get downvoted, but cares about what? Valve didn't manage to release HL2 Episode 3. That's a miniscule effort compared to pretty much anything.
Valve is just like EA, i.e. perfectly content milking the Steam and DotA cash cows.
It really is a sad state. Valve used to be the bastion of the gaming world, because players and other developers alike looked up to them as a role model of what it meant to care about releasing a good game, no matter what it took. That they would give it all up simply by allowing their reputation to languish - not with a bang, but with a whimper - really breaks my heart. I hope other game devs do not forget Valve's story and remember that there are customers and fans who really do respect and value when time, care, and true effort is put into making a game fun and meaningful, not just profitable.
I suspect their next game, the Dota 2 themed collectible card game, is going to go down a similar route, since Hearthstone has already demonstrated how a gambling-based business model can be applied with overwhelming success to a collectible card game.
At this point, I doubt they have any interest in investing in any game that's not amenable to that ethically appalling, but probably overwhelmingly profitable business model.
[EDIT: to all the people responding to me, I'm answering the parent's question of what the GP's 'cares' was referring to, which is clearly indicated by the comment they are in turn responding to. I'm not making any point or argument about Valve's commitment to quality or lack thereof]
As a dota fan, I can tell you that they are doing a LOT of things in there.
They have limited number of devs and designers and so many projects. Just maintaining the steam infra is madness.
Look at blizzard, and see how often they release stuff.
Good things take a lot of resources.
I can't speak to the F2P card game because it does not exist yet.
Where are the games for those of us who loved Half-Life and Portal? The last thing I want to do at the end of a long day is be yelled at by college kids and teenagers for an hour.
But a Card game based on DotA can only mean one thing:
- A F2P game. I can't imagine there being a different model
- A collectible card game. They won't innovate here.
- Buyable cosmetic, but not community made. It's not like they'll allow visual clutter on your cards.
More concretely, would HL fans rather have a HL3 that is merely a game, flaws and all, or are they waiting for the second coming (third?)?
If HL3 gets made, is a game with warts and all, that's not necessary a bad thing. It may be that the dev team is holding themselves to an impossible standard rather than users holding them to an impossible standard.
But it's unfair. They have a limited set of resources like everybody and they are working they ass off on so many projects already.
E.G: The whole international event on dota is just such a huge piece of work.
I can't stand multiplayer games-as-a-service. Any of them. Team Fortress, Overwatch, Dota, on and on it's all the same rehashed ideas with the same business model at it's core; continuing to make money well after release by releasing a trickle of low effort, easy to market in-game assets that are all worth exactly NOTHING when the next popular one comes out (or in the case of Destiny, even the sequel).
I've never touched any of these stupid things because it's all artificial; artificial scarcity of items by way of limiting the rate they come out and not allowing trades; artificial hype by employing the very best of marketing sleaze and artificial competition of various groups/clans/teams all pitted against each other in a dance of noise and anger signifying nothing.
And then the next one comes out and everyone goes to that, leaving all the achievements, collected items, won prizes and earned trophies to sit in the digital dust until the publisher gets tired of hosting it, pulls the plug, and then it's gone forever. Nothing was learned, nothing is retained, nothing is remembered, all packaged up and shipped off for the next set of customers.
It's the most cynical and hollow business model and hopefully will someday piss off so we can get more good story driven titles again.
Valve cares so much that they provide us with all these hats, skins, trading cards, and microtransactions because they know they can deliver a great hat or trading card?
In this case Valve has been completely unable to deliver a new, good videogame since at least 2012, which is when many online say most of the good writers and developers left. In that case it'd be less hurtful for the community to hear the truth than "radio silence."
Another example is TF2.
It was! I know EA are the go-to bad guy in these comparisons, but EA is the distributing publisher for physical copies of Valve games, and Valve are on record as loving working with EA.
They make a ton of cash on Steam and DOTA2.
It's sad for the fans, in the recent DOTA international tournament, Valve announced a new game to the crowd who were whipped up into a frenzy.
The new game, to the collective groan of the audience, was a DOTA2 card game
Valve has released just one game this decade that wasn't built by external developers or by mod authors brought in: Portal 2.
Valve doesn't make their own games. They had to make HL back when they were struggling. It's their model, and it's one of the most lucrative in the world.
I think it's mistaken to say they have nothing to prove. They're held to the highest standards by the community, and they work their ass off to deliver quality content. Icefrog certainly has something to prove.
they could be riding clowns while coding hl3, all I care about is for hl3 to be released someday
Valve is also likely waiting for their new game engine, Source 2, to be completed because Source 1 is hideously outdated by today's standards.
And finally, they're going to have to come up with something truly great to live up to nearly 10 years of hype
Source 2 was patched into Dota 2 years ago, and being patched into CS:GO this year.
Furthermore Source 1 didn't really get outdated as such, it got iterated on numerous times before introducing Source 2, which I assume will not be "completed" until Source 3 gets named the next version.
Haven't you heard? Valve never releases a third version of anything.
>Furthermore Source 1 didn't really get outdated as such, it got iterated on numerous times before introducing Source 2, which I assume will not be "completed" until Source 3 gets named the next version.
The main outdated thing about Source 1 is the authoring tools, which haven't changed much since Half Life 1 was released. Source 2 is supposed to fix that.
Source does rely on several other technologies (i.e. Miles, Blink, Havok) that you must license from their respective license holders, however Source is free to use if you're distributing on Steam and you only need to license the Source Engine for distribution off Steam or if you choose to distribute the SDK's tools with your game.
So with that in mind, I doubt the rely much on licensing fees as a source of revenue.
Do you have source for this?
Although this is from the Chinese press conference, and Valve hasn't confirmed it officially, it's at least credible.
Nope, they are making too much money from Steam and microtransactions for CS:GO/DOTA/ etc. Now Valve is like a fat pig to which gets lots of good food everyday. No reason to get up and "fight"/make games, the money gets to them anyway.
They're revolutionaries within an entirely new industry, and they're spending a lot of resources trying to get it to the point where it'll go mainstream.
They're definitely not phoning it in
Everything Valve does is half-arsed. For example:
- SteamOS is half-arsed: It barely gets updated and considering the vast resources available to them, they can actively fix all the problems upstream and pressure/encourage/incentivize game devs to release their games on SteamOS on day 1.
- Steam Machines are half-arsed: Instead of releasing a high-end, premium, subsidized, perfect flagship machine, they just told PC vendors to take SteamOS and do whatever. Couldn't be more half-arsed if they tried.
- Steam Controller is half-arsed: Same as above, they can afford to offer really good incentives to game developers to make the controller a first class input method in their games.
- Vive is half-arsed: At launch, Vive had only one Valve-developed software and it was a simple & forgettable demo. They've been promising to release full, Valve developed games for the Vive since before the release and all we got so far is hot air.
- Steam is half-arsed: Bugs that do not touch money making features have been left unfixed for years. People have been asking for library management improvements for a decade now and Valve simply doesn't care.
I could go on for quite a bit more, but it's probably best to leave it here.
It may sound like a small detail but... when was the last time you saw a macOS app that's not retina? Steam's browser is not retina. Retina Macs have been around for 5 years. Five years.
As far as I can tell, SteamOS did the job it was meant for: be a big enough threat to push MS in a game-distributor-friendly direction, away from pushing a Windows Store only environment.
> Vive is half-arsed: At launch, Vive had only Valve-developed software and it was a simple & forgettable demo.
The vive, hardware, was a full product when it came out. Not half arsed
The lab isn't exactly what I'd call forgettable. It's basically the wii sports of the wii, which depending on who you are is either high praise or damning criticism.
>They've been promising to release full, Valve developed games for the Vive since before the release and all we got so far is hot air.
The fuck you expect? They've promised 3 full games, they're not just gonna shit 'em out.
Do you want them to half-ass it or not?
I'm pointing out that, in my experience, Valve are not this rebel revolutionaries you make them out to me. To me, they have become just another lazy, greedy company who wants to do the least amount of work possible to make the most amount of money possible.
> The vive, hardware, was a full product when it came out. Not half arsed
Wrong. I enjoy my Vive, but it's barely more than an internal engineering sample. For the price they are charging, it's too uncomfortable, the display is way too weak and it lacks polish in general.
Given that, Valve could have chosen to dramatically subsidize Vive to make sure VR becomes the revolution they claim they want it to be. I would personally have much less to complain about if they sold it for, say, $200. Make no mistake, they could easily afford that, they chose not to.
Instead they invested more in gambling & cosmetics sold with microtransactions in their 3 existing, old games (Dota, CSGO, TF2) and the only new game they've announced in a decade? A trading card game, like Heartsone, set in Dota lore. Wow, truly revolutionary indeed.
> The fuck you expect? They've promised 3 full games, they're not just gonna shit 'em out.
> Do you want them to half-ass it or not?
They have also promised HL2 Ep3 in ~6 months after Ep2 released. After waiting more than a decade for it, forgive me if I don't put my trust in their promises.
It's sturdy as fuck though. I don't think you're giving the design enough credit for what they were trying to do with it. Function over form
> the display is way too weak
It was literally the best display available for mass production at the time. And they've even tweaked it to be brighter than it initially was (compared to the same screen, in the rift)
> lacks polish in general.
What kind of polish?
> Given that, Valve could have chosen to dramatically subsidize Vive to make sure VR becomes the revolution they claim they want it to be. I would personally have much less to complain about if they sold it for, say, $200. Make no mistake, they could easily afford that, they chose not to.
Yeah or they could give it away for free. Or pay you to use it.
> They have also promised HL2 Ep3 in ~6 months after Ep2 released. After waiting more than a decade for it, forgive me if I don't put my trust in their promises.
That's fine, but I don't think there's any reason to think that they're sitting on their thumbs when they've said they're actively working on 3 projects.
A history of products that have failed to materialize is an excellent reason to be skeptical of their claims about future projects. The Vive was unveiled almost 2.5 years ago, and has been in customer hands for over a year. So, how long should customers wait for those claimed games?
Further, HTC is rumored to be looking to either spin off or sell their Vive business, and they've dropped the price by $200. This suggests that HTC doesn't expect the Vive to be a money maker for them and are trying to get out now before they lose more money on it, which is another reason to question whether or not the Vive has a future.
I doubt Valve is working on Gen 2 in cooperation with HTC, so the Vive is basically dead
Currently LG is working on a SteamVR headset that looks ok
To add the relevant context I do know, I use both the Rift and Vive routinely at work. The Vive definitely has functional advantages with the lighthouses, but that's really it. The Rift is so much more ergonomic, comfortable, and polished. Looking at these two devices, I cannot believe they shipped at nearly the same price point. I have no idea what "sturdy as fuck" means in this context since I've never considered the Rift fragile in any way and it certainly feels less janky and dev-kit-like than the Vive does. The Rift's controllers are an exemplary model of form and function and absolutely waste the Vive controllers as VR input devices.
Valve's engineers made some really impressive contributions to the field of VR with tech like the low persistence display. However, that smacks to me as the product of the part of their engineering team that has passion and motivation to complete new challenges. As soon as we're back to the same old challenges - developing a compelling narrative game experience - Valve drops the ball again. As others in this thread have pointed out, their fountain of money from the steam platform offers no incentive to innovate. As far as I'm concerned Valve and Oculus are both behind on tracking technology now, since Windows MR's inside-out tracking is a completely superior solution that doesn't require staying in view of real-world sensors, rearranging my house, or screwing hardware to my wall.
I feel Valve gets way too much credit just because they run a digital Walmart with cheap games.
Do you disagree that they're revolutionaries when it comes to VR? Every headset out there right now is based on the prototype tech they developed
> Imagine for a second if Nintendo or Sony had released a peripheral like that and had released nothing but a demo disk in over a year.
Imagine for a second that Valve had ten times as many employees as they currently do. Then maybe it would be comparable?
A F2P DOTA CARD GAME!!!
IIRC, they were asked about it in this interview and confirmed it:
Might not be that exact video but I recall it being in one of the ones VNN did.
Another 5 or so years for both should be plenty.
I have always expected Valve to come up with Half Life 3 to boost one of their new toys. For example, release it for Steam Box with VR support and something new/cool in the gameplay; having the portal gun in a more open world game would be awesome...
Never releasing Half-Life 3 won't be because Valve is lazy, if they cancel it I think it would be because the current generation of gamers haven't even played Half Life 2, so the market for it might have disappeared.
Well, time to close the steam account. Nothing to see here.
Valve's structure doesn't feel very supportive of this sort of creative game making even if it's perfect for running infrastructure and creating storyless games like Dota and TF.
Why valve will never release Half Life 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50lSIaSR3zc
Plus, it would be a really sweet game.
HL2 launched Steam, HL3 would launch SteamOS.
Steam came out 1 year 2 months before Half Life 2.
They didn't really 'bribe' people, it was more to do with 1.6 CS only working on steam and patching was done via steam.
That's a pretty good "carrot" to use Steam if you ask me.
I only had Half Life, and Counter Strike was free when I started playing so I only got HL / CS. I didn't get the others free until HL2 came out...
I can confirm it worked with HL1, CS Retail and Blue Shift keys.
This feels a lot like Marc talking about Valve, no?
> "I expect you know... the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it."
points to the hope that people will take this story and create fan games with it. Having seen the tremendous quality and effort put into the Black Mesa  remake, I have great faith that the inevitable fan-made Episode 3 will live up to expectations.
One wonders how much that piece of paper at valve is really worth.
The story laid out here by Marc is much closer to what you would expect from Episode 3 rather than HL3.
If 'Epistle 3' does not mean 'Episode 3', then 'Gertie Fremont' does not refer to 'Gordon Freeman'. That's what the author called it, whatever the internet at large thinks at any point in time is less relevant IMO.
Maybe the best move now is to just move on directly to HL3 and reference part of this released story line as flashbacks.
I can dream, right?
Gabe Newell talks about abandoning the episodic schedule here: https://www.develop-online.net/analysis/the-valve-manifesto/...
My assumption has been for years that "HL3" is as much a joke inside Valve as it is outside of it.
> Gabe Newell talks about
This was six years ago.
Add the inherent disappointment of not having the portal gun that everyone's expecting to be in there somewhere, and it could feel like it was bound to disappoint.
HL1 & HL2 did a very good job of switching genres and game mechanics from level to level, while still keeping everything clear and centred on a simple familiar mystery plot. The levels were able to establish their genres very fast -- usually from the first scene you saw as the doors opened or you rounded a corner. Everything was clear, and in both cases the motivating story was very simple, and the "plot" was setting. You've got to get help; you've got to get to Lambda Complex, We've got to get you through the portal to shoot what's on the other side...
This HL3 plot seems to have got a bit "Lost" (sorry, tv series reference) as people's motivations are uncertain and there's exposition, and an attempt to partially unfold the mystery while always adding new ones... and still trying to make those bug-pod things work as a villain that didn't work in Ep1 or Ep2.
Still, the bones of a good game are there. From my amateur eyes, it just looks like it needed to stop trying to resist/subvert the viewer's expectations, and just hit a few of the notes the player's been waiting for so they can have a note of satisfaction on the way to the new mystery.
The 'structure' of the puzzles you could use that with would need to be very tightly controlled (enemy position vectors, amount you can travel backwards in time, maybe some sort of energy mechanic you have to pick up as you go along, etc). But still, WOW! Jumping back to the start of a level at the very end and you must manipulate time to accomplish the level, there is a LOT of possibility to talk about there. I have no idea what jumping forward in time would look like except if you went back, say 5 minutes, and then you could only go forward again up to that 5 min mark.
However, you can't use this in a PvP manner very well, only co-op. Maybe you could have the players ALL jump back in time except the user of the time device who got to essentially teleport around. However, the cheesing of that mechanic would be frustrating in the extreme.
Marc Laidlaw left Valve in January 2016. The end of the post is also probably about Valve, as others have already figured out. I wonder what else there might be to discover.
Edit: Fixed now, and the title changed.
.. Ha-ha, 2 downvotes and no explanation. Is this about so-called 'copy right' bullshit?
I also suspect that if no game is going to be released, Valve will not bother with legal action; they look bad as it is already.
In that spirit there's probably a good argument to be made that it's in the public interest to add to clearly incomplete bodies of work that appear to be abandoned. Whether that's practical or does more harm to the public good is the question.
Also they owe you for the thing they made already. If you forced them to complete works on your timeline then you're indenturing them.
Can someone give a short summary of what happened?
TD;CU (too dumb, can't understand).
The Borealis is phasing in and out of reality. Rescue Dr Mossman from the Combine, she has details to make the Borealis phase in for enough time to get Freeman+Alyx+Mossman on board, chased by Combine.
While on board, discover Borealis is moving through Time as well as Space. Mossman wants Borealis recovered for the Resistance, Alyx wants it destroyed. They fight, Alyx kills Mossman.
Borealis reconfigured to fly through Space to Combine planet to try to destroy it with explosion, as they arrive G-man takes Alyx off the ship, Vortigaunts take Freeman.
Combine world too massive, powered by a Dyson sphere, Borealis explosion does nothing.
Freeman back on Earth sometime in the future, won't take part in any more conflict with Combine.
"And here we are. I spoke of my return to this shore. It has been a circuitous path to lands I once knew, and surprising to see how much the terrain has changed. Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish. At this point, the resistance will have failed or succeeded, no thanks to me. Old friends have been silenced, or fallen by the wayside. I no longer know or recognize most members of the research team, though I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it. Expect no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final episode."
No more HL2:Episode N coming, the development team is too different.
- Freeman and Alyx Vance, acting as an advance party for a larger Resistance force, seek out Borealis, the Aperture Science research ship which Eli Vance charged them to find and destroy shortly before his death. Their helicopter crashes near the site, and they make the last few miles (?) by probably somewhat frostbitten foot.
- On reaching the location in Antarctica where Borealis is last known to have been, Freeman and Vance find the ship is phasing in and out of spacetime, and a Combine garrison has been established to capture it at earliest opportunity. They also find a surprisingly alive Wallace Breen and kill him, and a captive Judith Mossman who, despite her earlier actions painting her as a Combine quisling, insists she's actually a Resistance double agent. She also has the plot coupon required to access Borealis. Freeman and Vance break her out and bring her along.
- The party succeeds in boarding Borealis, as do some of the Combine troops from the garrison. The ship immediately desynchronizes from local spacetime again, both isolating the boarding parties from the Combine and the now-arriving Resistance forces, and exposing them to severe disorientation as distant times and places impinge upon the tenuous reality aboard the ship.
- Borealis's situation proves to be caused by an incomplete long-distance teleportation system, the "Bootstrap Device", which was being developed aboard the ship prior to the Combine invasion. As Combine forces seized the graving dock which housed Borealis during the Bootstrap Device's development, the science team on board favored the possibility of escape over the certainty of capture, and activated the untested Device with a target destination of Antarctica. It sort of worked, but left Borealis unstuck in spacetime. The fate of the science team is unknown.
- Two options emerge for what to do with Borealis. Mossman favors permanent resynchronization with the ship's destination spacetime, allowing the Resistance to study and exploit the technology aboard. Vance favors rigging the ship's reactor (or something) to explode, and synchronizing her with the major Combine military staging area that's been a recurrent feature of her shifts through spacetime - thus fulfilling Eli Vance's final instructions and likely achieving an immediate and significant strategic victory, at the cost of whatever longer-term benefit the ship's unique technology could offer. Mossman attempts to disable Vance and implement the former option; Vance shoots Mossman dead and implements the latter.
- The G-man rescues Vance, but leaves behind Freeman, for whom it appears he has no further use. The Vortigaunts rescue Freeman immediately before Borealis materializes in the middle of the Combine base, which is gigantic on a previously unappreciated scale, and the ship explodes to no meaningful effect whatsoever.
Here the plot ends, and Freeman's story - or at least our involvement therein - apparently with it.
Valve doesn't have a monopoly in gameplay quality - they're just very consistent about it.
They also had the entirety of HL1 to build the game from. Obviously they created a ton of unique assets and reworked stuff, but they had an entire game to work from.
Trying to make a full 'mod' of Episode 3 is nothing like Black Mesa and would be an incredible amount of work. With that said, I would love to see someone try.
Sometimes its simply not possible to do things and fans understand but Valve just shuttered the series and turned their back on fans. It's like Game of Thrones suddenly deciding to close down for no obvious reason and with no explanation to fans.
This reeks more than a little of the arrogance of success and it's in some ways a betrayal of all the gamers who appreciated Half life for what it was and propelled Valve to its initial success.
If this had been released as episode 3 a couple of years after episode 2? Sure it could
The opening was laden with every disaster movie signal (up to and including "Nothing will go wrong" said in emphatic tones). The lift doors in Office Complex open to archetypal zombie horror. The scientist getting gunned down by the military cover up in We've Got Hostiles hits any number of movie tropes while clearly signalling the next bit is Rambo-style action...
It's fairly similar to the first Star Wars movie, in that because it is hitting the tropes quickly and clearly, and jumping from setting to setting, it can tell the story very efficiently.
I would argue that what you said is all about show vs tell. Which is a good thing for visual media.
> It was impossible to hold a coherent thought, given the baffling and paradoxical timeloops, which passed through the ship like bubbles.
I would have loved to have seen what Valve would have done with this.
Yes, or at least I did. Very much so. I loved the story so much that I would probably be quite happy watching a Half Life 3 movie.
Fun fact: there IS no "Half-Life story bible", so it's not like they're witholding story from you, they just literally haven't written it: https://twitter.com/marc_laidlaw/status/899511161145573376