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Half-Life 3 Trolling?

A photo posted on Twitter by Uber Entertainment's Chandana Ekanayake shows a t-shirt with a Half-Life 3 logo, saying: "All I'm saying is I saw this at a local game developer event worn by a Valve employee." Whether this is significant, or just trolling is not clear yet. The two hash tags he uses for this are #HalfLife3 and #ValveTrolling. Thanks Computer and Video Games.

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92. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 20:48 Sepharo
 
Dev wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 20:44:
Sepharo wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 20:12:
You do name some enhancements that would be nice to have in Steam but I don't know if you've really explained what is about the current UI that you don't like.

You keep going on about how they need a UI specialist and such but I'm pretty sure they have one and I'm pretty sure they're doing a fine job. I actually like the UI.

I don't like that its missing so many obvious feature improvements that would make life so much easier using steam. They haven't done much with the UI in forever. Even the supposed "upgrade" a while back to a new browser interface didn't really change much.

The overall UI is fine, it just needs a lot of tweaking. It shouldn't take me hours to figure out what co-op games I own. It would be like shopping for things on amazon and newegg with no way to narrow things down except by the first main category. It makes it tough if you can't specify that you want to find motherboards for an intel 1155 pin CPU.

I think we just have different concepts of what "UI" pertains to. I would consider everything you've mentioned to be application features, the UI (and UX) is how those features are presented and accessed. Given the existing features I find them to all be very accesible and aesthetically pleasing, so good UI
 
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91. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 20:44 Dev
 
Sepharo wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 20:12:
You do name some enhancements that would be nice to have in Steam but I don't know if you've really explained what is about the current UI that you don't like.

You keep going on about how they need a UI specialist and such but I'm pretty sure they have one and I'm pretty sure they're doing a fine job. I actually like the UI.

I don't like that its missing so many obvious feature improvements that would make life so much easier using steam. They haven't done much with the UI in forever. Even the supposed "upgrade" a while back to a new browser interface didn't really change much.

The overall UI is fine, it just needs a lot of tweaking. It shouldn't take me hours to figure out what co-op games I own. It would be like shopping for things on amazon and newegg with no way to narrow things down except by the first main category. It makes it tough if you can't specify that you want to find motherboards for an intel 1155 pin CPU.
 
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90. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 20:12 Sepharo
 
You do name some enhancements that would be nice to have in Steam but I don't know if you've really explained what is about the current UI that you don't like.

You keep going on about how they need a UI specialist and such but I'm pretty sure they have one and I'm pretty sure they're doing a fine job. I actually like the UI.
 
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89. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 17:46 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 14:38:
Most people don't just consider the negatives, they weigh them against the positives. Glossing over the rest appears to be the same ol' broken record stuff so insert the usual responses there
I've gone over valve's positives before too.

They tend to make overall great games with lots of potential that tend to need a bit of polish to be awesome. Such as L4D introducing the lobby system that took about 6 months to be reasonably playable. Didn't stop the game itself from being loads of fun though. Similarly as a game and platform company they tend to be overall great for customers, but with a little time and attention they could be awesome for customers.

Because of steam, they've single handedly done more for PC gaming and indie companies than any other company since steam came out (and possibly period). Doesn't mean they don't have stuff to improve (both as game developers and platform developers). And the steam stuff to improve would be absurdly easy and absurdly cheap in terms of resources (aka time) to do. Its the kinda stuff that any good UI specialist should be able to point out and do. The only reason that comes to mind for me for them not doing simple things like that is that they do NOT have a good UI specialist. Instead they have great generalists who just aren't interested enough in the "boring" UI stuff.

This comment was edited on Dec 5, 2011, 18:01.
 
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88. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 14:38 Verno
 
Most people don't just consider the negatives, they weigh them against the positives. Glossing over the rest appears to be the same ol' broken record stuff so insert the usual responses there  
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87. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 12:47 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 10:17:
The way they are now is extremely good for employees, not so much for customers.

Nope, it's been pretty good for customers too considering all of the great work they've done over the past ten years in the PC space
Well some of the decisions they've made with their own game development aren't. Such as breaking promises on L4D1 (it wasn't interesting to valve anymore), which I could probably forgive if they were supporting L4D2 as good as TF2, which they aren't. L4D2 is mostly getting ports from L4D1 and community campaigns. Pretty sure L4D2 isn't interesting to much of valve anymore. Portal 2 has gotten 1 DLC and nothing added to store (like new hats), but TF2 has gotten multiple content additions in that time, as well as tons of new store content. Guess which game is more interesting to valve employees?

Not hiring some UI specialists for steam isn't good for steam customers. There's SO MANY small tweaks that would make it a much better and easier program to use. I've mentioned some in the past such as a way to search friends list. How about a way to sort games (both in store and in library) according to features such as co-op? They are listed on an individual store page, but no way to search for them (such as if one wants to buy co-op games, or wants to pick one and play it from the owned steam library). I'd have to go through my hundreds of steam games INDIVIDUALLY looking at each store page for each one (its not even listed in the library page, which even if they don't have a search they could at least list it there, so instead of clicking multiple times on each page to goto the store page and having to wait for it to load, then going back to library and having to remember where I was, I could just click once on each entry).

Now that EA has entered the realm, steam should be jumping at the chance to make some easy improvments to steam UI and brag (aka advertise) how much better it is than the competition. And all of the things I mentioned would be EASY to implement. The code for searching is already there in library to copy to friends list. The features (such as co-op) are already in the database since they show up on the store page. Etc.

Having a few dedicated employees working on something like the steam UI would probably be better than stumbling around in the dark and adding a feature to steam when it gets interesting.
 
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86. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 10:28 Beamer
 
Verno wrote on Dec 5, 2011, 10:17:
The way they are now is extremely good for employees, not so much for customers.

Nope, it's been pretty good for customers too considering all of the great work they've done over the past ten years in the PC space

Agreed.

It isn't like we don't have enough to play right now. Would you rather a very good HL3 was out there on top of all of this? Or would you prefer an incredibly good one come out in 2012 or 2013?
 
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85. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 5, 2011, 10:17 Verno
 
The way they are now is extremely good for employees, not so much for customers.

Nope, it's been pretty good for customers too considering all of the great work they've done over the past ten years in the PC space
 
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84. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 4, 2011, 11:44 Dev
 
SXO wrote on Dec 4, 2011, 09:35:
Over 500 games on Steam?! Wow Dev, your EBS (Extensive Backlog Syndrome) must be atrocious compared to mine. I just recently went over 200 (and I have two friends that are over 300), and already I'm losing sight of the light at the end of the backlog tunnel.
Yeah, how did you guess? BTW, Prez has it even worse than me, hes at I think 900 games? Something like that. But I think he's tried a higher percentage than I have.
Prez wrote on Dec 3, 2011, 15:48:
Both Valve and Blizzard have unique work cultures that "normal" mortal companies simply can't afford to have. Each company has earned the right to their specific culture through proven excellence in their releases, but these cultures make being a fan of either studio's games extremely frustrating (10 years for a sequel to Starcraft??? 6 years without any closure to the HL2 story??). While it's hard to argue with success, one has to wonder if a happy medium can be reached in such cases. One where a more structured, and dare I say it, more professional work environment could be maintained, which would presumably lead to more timely updates and releases, ideally without comprising the aforementioned excellence. There's no universal law that I'm aware of that states creative greatness can only spring from groups devoid of any structure or focused leadership.

And that is precisely what I criticize about valve's style. You've put it more succinctly than I did though That valve needs to tilt slightly away from the no management extreme, and get a little direction from the top (gabe if he can do it, but since he's "obsessed" about it, they probably need a VP playing the role who will take the heat for being the bad guy), so they can get some games out, and get some good improvements in steam by hiring some UI specialists, etc. The way they are now is extremely good for employees, not so much for customers.
 
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83. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 4, 2011, 09:35 SXO
 
Over 500 games on Steam?! Wow Dev, your EBS (Extensive Backlog Syndrome) must be atrocious compared to mine. I just recently went over 200 (and I have two friends that are over 300), and already I'm losing sight of the light at the end of the backlog tunnel.  
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82. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 15:48 Prez
 
Both Valve and Blizzard have unique work cultures that "normal" mortal companies simply can't afford to have. Each company has earned the right to their specific culture through proven excellence in their releases, but these cultures make being a fan of either studio's games extremely frustrating (10 years for a sequel to Starcraft??? 6 years without any closure to the HL2 story??). While it's hard to argue with success, one has to wonder if a happy medium can be reached in such cases. One where a more structured, and dare I say it, more professional work environment could be maintained, which would presumably lead to more timely updates and releases, ideally without comprising the aforementioned excellence. There's no universal law that I'm aware of that states creative greatness can only spring from groups devoid of any structure or focused leadership.

This comment was edited on Dec 3, 2011, 15:54.
 
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81. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 13:12 Mr. Tact
 
While I understand and somewhat agree with the logic of the doubters about nothing getting done without any management, I wishfully want to believe it might be true. Compared to what they have done and the money they have taken in, Valve is still an amazingly small company at 260 employees.

Small companies rock. If you can find motivated, talented people -- you can get amazing amounts of work done. My personal experience is the bad side of being a corporation starts creeping in at around 200 employees. At that point, you start getting too big to be picky enough to get the same kind of quality employees for every hire.

Maybe Valve has been able to maintain the small company feel up to 260 employees. Possible.
 
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80. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 11:04 Mad Max RW
 
Did everyone have a massive brain fart and forget about Ion Storm Dallas with John Romero?  
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79. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 01:38 Sepharo
 
Just remembered that Double Fine had that experiment that probably resembles how Valve works. Schafer had them all meet up and pitch game concepts, they took the ones they liked and broke into small teams to prototype them. From there they pared down the games further until they were left with the three or so they wanted to make and then fully developed those.

Take that short term experiment and just make it the basis of your company since, unlike Double Fine, Valve has no money worries. They don't need to make games.

... But they are making HL3 and statements concerning the death of traditional SP games don't mean the death of HL3.
 
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78. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 01:07 Creston
 
Cutter wrote on Dec 3, 2011, 00:55:
Even Gabe isn't going to pay people to sit around and do nothing day in and day out, or do things that don't amount to anything except wasting time and money.

But that's the whole thing. He hires people that aren't likely to do that. They screen (apparently pretty effectively) for people that ARE self-motivated and will get things done without management having to threaten to fire them every other week.

Not everyone in the entire world is a lazy asshole who wouldn't do anything if given the choice. There are some who just enjoy what they do, and so they work because their work is what they like doing.

While it's certainly very unusual, I'm not sure why everyone keeps trying to convince everyone else that Gabe MUST be bullshitting.

On a planet of 7 billion people, there can't be a collection of a few hundred that can just self-motivate and get shit done WITHOUT some dipshit manager having to "guide" them all the time?

I'm in a job right now where we're 99% self-managed, and the fact that I DON'T get hassled by some cock-gobbler who doesn't know shit is enough to keep me motivated to get all the work done.

Creston
 
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77. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 00:55 Cutter
 
Dev wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 21:21:
Sure, Bill from accounting would explain why they always have server overloading issues (actually its the load balancing servers or something in that path, the content servers always have plenty of reserve according to the stats, which means valve has no excuse as to why it keeps happening, they have plenty of money to get a few more load balancing servers in there).
The sales though, that's experimental on valve's part (they've said that before), and it has to get permission from the publisher (such as EA, which is why EA stuff rarely goes on sale). Valve has mentioned how they make up the sales stuff as they go along.
Ed the attorney is probably on a retainer from a legal firm, so he doesn't work at valve and doesn't have a wheeled desk there, so is not involved in coding.

And didn't you read the interviews? They DON'T hire that way, they hire generalists, not specialists.

Its not just Gabe saying this is the way they work.

Look, if they hire EVERYONE this way, and everyone hired there has a good collective sense of responsibility (as someone else put it in this thread), then yeah, I can see it working. Maybe not working so well for the customers, but the employees? Yeah fantastically well for them. Valve has more money than they know what to do with anyway, with a steady income guaranteed from digital steam income for the foreseeable future, so they don't even need to do any more game developing.

As I said before, there's a bell curve of management styles and autonomy. At one end you have crazy micromanagement like MS seems to have, yet they are wildly successful. At the other extreme end... you have valve with no management. There's gotta be at least 1 successful company in the world on the edge of that graph, that has an extreme lack of management.

Ok, look at their careers page. Seems like the positions are pretty specific and clearly defined to me. Why would they need to do that if anyone can just do whatever the hell they want anyway? Dev, regardless of what Gabe says, and no matter how fast and loose they actually play it, it's not the freelove utopia you imagine it is. Someone has to make sure shit actually gets done. Lawyers must deal with legal matters, accountants must make sure bills and taxes get paid, and coders and artists must acutally produce stuff to justify drawing a salary. Even Gabe isn't going to pay people to sit around and do nothing day in and day out, or do things that don't amount to anything except wasting time and money. If they really behaved the way you think they do they'd be 3DR - which is to say broke with nothing to show for it.
 
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76. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 3, 2011, 00:20 Cabezone
 
You live in some kind of fantasy land.  
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75. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 22:56 Sepharo
 
Mad Max RW wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 22:17:
Dev, what video game company do you work for or have worked for in the past? Since you seem to be the expert here, you must have experienced life inside the industry first hand. Nobody can make such long posts based on assumptions, right? Not on the internet!

He's just going off the quotes and interviews.

Is it really that hard to believe that they don't have management? They miss every single release date so badly that they joke about "Valve Time". They restarted development on TF2 "probably three to four" times. That's what HL3 is doing right now... They probably started Episode 3 at least once, scrapped it, and I wouldn't doubt they're on (or throwing around ideas for) a second try already for HL3 proper. "Hey guys take a look at this experiment, think we could use this for HL3?"

You guys act like everyone is sitting at their desk doing jack shit. No imaginations or insight into motivated agile development. I pity you if you don't work with a great team daily but it's definitely possible. Valve likely consists of informal teams working on supporting and maintain their various products. When those products mature or they become bored with them they likely get together in early exploratory meeting where people pitch plans for enhancements, mods, or whole new games. That's how they decide what to work on and they don't need formal management for that, certainly not when they have zero financial risk. They have project leads and team leads even if they might just arise naturally and not formally. A very exclusive interview process, amazing pay, and enjoying the shit out of your job coupled with respecting your team doesn't let people slack off. That's why Gabe is so concerned about their health, they're likely voluntarily working themselves to the bone, which is probably even more stressful.

Sorry for the ramble, I don't feel like spending that much time with this just not seeing my viewpoint represented.
 
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74. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 22:17 Mad Max RW
 
Dev, what video game company do you work for or have worked for in the past? Since you seem to be the expert here, you must have experienced life inside the industry first hand. Nobody can make such long posts based on assumptions, right? Not on the internet!  
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73. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 22:09 Dev
 
Dades wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 22:00:
I doubt you've ever worked with a large group of people if you think that approach would ever work. What people say to the press and what actually goes on are two very different things. Googling a handful of interviews and reading second hand things that probably don't even apply to 10% of their total workforce.
Except its a small company by employee size. Only 260. So yeah I can see it working with that size. And if this style only applies to 10% of their workforce, then that one interview musta been fantastically lucky to have the over 5% of workforce they interviewed be inside that 10%.

If they contract out stuff like legal and janitorial/building services, yeah I could see this working out (for the employees at least) for at least 1 company on the planet.
 
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