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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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52. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 16:39 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 16:25:
If people literally did whatever they wanted all day nothing would ever get done. You don't seem to understand you're reading PR. There is management, there are structured teams and not just rogue people all making their own games. I'm sure senior people get more freedom in this regard and their financial position lets them all pitch ideas to work on but to act like there is no oversight or larger company goals is kinda silly.

Google employs a similar approach where they allow employees time to develop ideas and small projects but there is structure and organization beyond just that. All of which again says nothing about HL3 either, just that Valve works on other things which is something they've done for awhile now. If an engineer can find porting a game to the PS3 interesting then I find it amusing you seem to think no one at Valve finds working on Half-Life interesting.

How is it PR when EVERY SINGLE VALVE EMPLOYEE that talks about it says the same thing?

You criticize me for taking things out of context, then when I put it into context, you refuse to believe something if it goes against your belief in how a system must work.

Don't believe their words if you don't want to, watch their actions. All the odd things they've done in the past 10 years is a lot clearer and explainable under this philosophy. They take this philosophy to an extreme. Most companies are in the middle of the management bell curve, some are on one extreme end with massive micromangement (I'd put MS into this category), and valve seems to be on the other extreme end with no management. Is it impossible to believe that there's at least one successful company out there at the end of the bell curve with a non-traditional style like this? A company could be even more focused on a style like this if they contract out all the work that no one is interested in doing like janitorial duties.

Valve is at a point that they DON'T NEED management to survive as a company off of steam profits. Anything they do with their own games is just gravy, and doesn't even come close to the steam profits.

Its similar in idea to google labs and the interesting and funky stuff that comes out of that, none of it changes their ad revenue, but in some cases people are interested in it so google furthers its development, and in others they stop it entirely. Its just that with google, we see a lot more of what goes on with these projects. With valve, we only see the projects they retail release (and what they do in steam).

My explanation for the seeming lack of HL3 work is the "cult of the new." You see this a lot with games, more people become more and more interested in something new, something thats latest and greatest. Well DOTA 2 is certainly new, not the direction valve has gone in before.

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2011, 16:46.
 
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51. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 16:25 Verno
 
If people literally did whatever they wanted all day nothing would ever get done. You don't seem to understand you're reading PR. There is management, there are structured teams and not just rogue people all making their own games. I'm sure senior people get more freedom in this regard and their financial position lets them all pitch ideas to work on but to act like there is no oversight or larger company goals is kinda silly.

Google employs a similar approach where they allow employees time to develop ideas and small projects but there is structure and organization beyond just that. All of which again says nothing about HL3 either, just that Valve works on other things which is something they've done for awhile now. If an engineer can find porting a game to the PS3 interesting then I find it amusing you seem to think no one at Valve finds working on Half-Life interesting.
 
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50. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 16:13 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 15:10:
Gabe being a good boss who cares about his employees doesn't mean he lets them run around doing whatever they want all day. If you don't believe there is any authority or management at Valve then I have some land and a bridge in Africa to sell you.
Another interview from with valve employees, this time a dozen of them, and still the interviewer found it hard to believe that there's no management there.
http://www.develop-online.net/features/1184/The-Valve-manifesto

Nobody is a manager at Valve, he says pointedly. When told he must nevertheless carry seniority, his expression hardens.
“Having someone tell someone else what to do would just be completely destructive to Valve. We’re completely allergic to that,” he says.

But he goes further; he says that Valve, one of the most successful technology companies in America, doesn’t even have a formal management structure.

“No one here decided to do anything about PS3 development, and the way we vote to do something about it is to simply start working on it.
“That’s why we’re working on the PS3 now, because we had about four engineers – some of which have worked here for a few years – who were annoyed that we hadn’t developed for that platform, and they were willing to cross over.”

Develop spent a full day at Valve to meet, dine with and interview over a dozen of its talented and inspiring staff. There was a lingering sense of disbelief throughout the occasion.

For this to work to its fullest potential, Newell says, any strict chain of command must be abolished, and people cannot be forced into the confines of a single duty.

So, wot then, Develop asks, happens when Valve has a deadline to hit? How does a studio with no hierarchy meet a product launch date if no one’s there to whip developers into shape?

What seems implausible, extraordinary and remarkable is, for Newell and his 260-odd colleagues, as instinctive as muscle memory.

“A lot of people here at Valve didn’t really take a proper look at the first Portal until it shipped,” says Erik Wolpaw
[...]
“I think that’s why eventually we got a lot of interest internally about working together on the sequel.”

Interestingly, the interview also talks about how people are free to work internally on starting any projects without oversight, and only when they feel they have enough to show off (such as levels and art) do they show it off, and then only to get other people interested in working on the project with them (not to get approval).

Notice how portal 2 only came about because some people at valve who enjoyed playing portal 1 were interested and wanted to make a sequel?

The multi-billion dollar company has a mere 260 employees. Pretty sure that yes, valve can afford to take EVERY ONE OF THEM, to hawaii for a week. Even the janitors (and that's assuming they have specific people hired for that, and don't let everyone take care of their own trash).

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2011, 16:23.
 
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49. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 16:07 Verno
 
Dev wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 15:59:
Here's a very appropriate quote from a recent interview talking EXACTLY about this point. And it DOES indeed relate to hl3.

Nowhere there is Half-Life 3 or episode 3 specifically mentioned. He's just saying that their approach isn't to burn people out working on Half-Life or the same projects every time like other studios. Hence their large gap between releases in general and Valve's forays into other things. They could have forced the team to knock out all three episodes in a row and obviously they chose a different route. I don't see how that automatically leads into the assumption that no one there finds Half-Life interesting anymore and that Half-Life 3 isn't being worked on. I don't think we're quite into DNF territory yet. But hey, if you want to believe that, go nuts I guess obviously we aren't going to convince you.

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2011, 16:13.
 
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48. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 16:03 SXO
 
Unfortunately I can't track down the interview, but I distinctly remember Gabe being asked at what point in the dev process the next HL was in, and he said they were still in the concepts and ideas phase. That lead me to believe that they were still just tossing ideas around for how to make the next game blow our minds, but weren't actively designing it.  
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47. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:59 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:10:
Dev wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:01:
Various stuff unrelated to HL3

You know what Valve and Gabe like more than fun? Money. Half-Life titles make them a bundle, both directly through game sales and providing value/attachment to Steam. Valve working on other titles or going into other markets (most of which are actually properties they purchased along with the employees) has nothing to do with episode 3/HL3. You've offered a lot of sniped quotes and text but nothing of substance that points to HL3 not showing up.
Here's a very appropriate quote from a recent interview talking EXACTLY about this point. And it DOES indeed relate to hl3.
http://www.ausgamers.com/features/read/3037280

we’ve been really, really fortunate that we’ve been able to work on things that we truly are interested at working on. We haven’t ever flipped the bit and said “well let’s just make fancier versions of Half-life for the rest of our lives and collect all the money”. We’ve actually done the opposite, sometimes to our fan’s chagrin.

But going off and doing things like Portal and Left 4 Dead, sort of pushing in different directions -- and now DoTA 2 -- rather than just doing the flat obvious thing that you know is going to make money, but maybe isn’t always the most interesting thing.
Emphasis added.
This is an interview from Doug, confirming what gabe says (as do all the other interviews regardless of who they are from), and speaking to your very point. It is NOT about the money with valve. Its about interesting things to work on.
 
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46. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:54 Cutter
 
Yes, but does Gabe's "obsession" apply equally to all his employees or just the top rockstars in the office? Is he taking the janitorial staff, QA people, etc. to Hawaii? How much are they paid above industry standards? Benefits? Profit sharing? Who looks after the office after they're gone? How do they ensure that people are pulling their weight for their salaies and not just goofing off all day? Quite frankly this all sounds like some false utopia to me.
 
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45. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:45 Verno
 
I consider it strange when people use this logic in a debate. You want me to provide specific quotes where they talk about development, but then state they haven't said anything.

No, my inference is based on them saying that Half-Life is a trilogy and them producing iterations of it The coy silence when asked about HL3 is what drives my assumption other than the obvious already stated by others. I didn't mean that they literally said "we are working on a half life game" because they never really do that.

You said you followed the news closely and saw some text "giving the gist" that they weren't working on it actively. All I asked you to do was provide the context or basis for that because I follow the HL stuff pretty closely and I've seen nothing beyond "no comment" for years now. If they actually said something like that I'd like to know so I can join others in their outrage

What do you get from me? It depends if/when HL3/ep3 comes out. If it takes more than a couple years from now, I'd say that's an indicator it wasn't under much development at this time, and I was right. I dunno, what would be appropriate? Kicking in towards a purchase of HL3? but I'd need some type of reciprocal agreement, such as the other person kicking in towards a valve game if HL3/ep3 doesn't come out in that time frame.
Given that the longest between hl games has been 6 years between hl1 & hl2, and that 2013 will be 6 years since last hl game came out, I think 2013 is a fair deadline to have.

I'm just messing with you Dev, I meant more along the lines of "I'll eat a hat and post it on Youtube" or something.

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2011, 15:51.
 
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44. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:36 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 15:10:
Gabe being a good boss who cares about his employees doesn't mean he lets them run around doing whatever they want all day. If you don't believe there is any authority or management at Valve then I have some land and a bridge in Africa to sell you.

Now enough dodging, what do we get from you when HL3 comes out?
GABE is the authority and management at valve. They aren't publicly traded, so they have no shareholders to be responsible to. In those quotes, he just described in detail how the company works (everyone decides for themselves what to do even during crunch time, desks on wheels, hire generalists not specialists, etc), at a minimum that interview is worth a read. The portal 2 book about its development with interviews with many top valve employees and gabe confirm that's exactly how all this works. Its not just this one interview.

A good boss is one thing, but valve carries it to an extreme. Like gabe says, its literally an "obsession" with him. It's a GREAT model for the employees, at the expense of customers. I'm not saying they should abandon this model, just a slight amount more direction from the top, and hiring of specialists (such as UI people for steam) would do wonders.

And hey, valve could never develop a single game again and rely on solely on steady and growing steam income, and be just fine as a company. I'd be disappointed in this outcome as would every one of their fans.

Fortunately, they ARE doing some game development, even if it doesn't seem to be on the HL series.

Valve may well go back into the HL series, I just don't believe they are doing that right now.

What do you get from me? It depends if/when HL3/ep3 comes out. If it takes more than a couple years from now, I'd say that's an indicator it wasn't under much development at this time, and I was right. I dunno, what would be appropriate? Kicking in towards a purchase of HL3? but I'd need some type of reciprocal agreement, such as the other person kicking in towards a valve game if HL3/ep3 doesn't come out in that time frame.
Given that the longest between hl games has been 6 years between hl1 & hl2, and that 2013 will be 6 years since last hl game came out, I think 2013 is a fair deadline to have.

Alternatively, I could just post and admit I was wrong. I'm not always right.
 
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43. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:33 SXO
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:30:
I'm not going to argue it any more with you Dev, you're again taking something out of context (that story was about Gabe giving a long time employee time off when he had a life threatening illness) but let's put that aside. What do we get when HL3 comes out? I mean from you specifically, will you eat a shoe or something?


I'm actually in agreement with Dev, and I've been following every little blurb about HL since the very beginning. Basically the jist of what they've said is that they still have plans for more HL, but when or what form that will appear in is up in the air.

What are you referring to? Which specific quotes? They've had a pretty hardcore "no comment" for quite some time now. They generally don't say anything about their games until they are close to release, that's been standard for a long time.
I consider it strange when people use this logic in a debate. You want me to provide specific quotes where they talk about development, but then state they haven't said anything. And knowing this you infer that they in fact are working on the game. So let's see the quotes where they have stated they are working on the game. Can you provide them?

Let's face facts, all of this debating is just speculation on both our parts. You've heard what they've said regarding the future of the franchise and believe they are working on the next game. I on the other hand have heard the same things and have taken it to mean that they will get back to the series when they have the desire to do so, and I just don't believe that flame has sparked yet.
 
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42. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:30 Fibrocyte
 
deqer wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:48:
Fibrocyte wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 11:10:
Techie714 © wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 11:07:
Better have a new engine on par with BF3 or Crysis!

Agreed. The BF3 engine is quite nice.
No, let's not. The Valve engine is based on the id Software engine, which is one nice solid piece of a technology. The DICE(BF1-3) engine has always been experimental, and currently with BF3 it is DX12 2012 crap.

The valve engine is quite capable of doing the graphics(which is probably the only thing that you are referring to) as what you'd get with the DICE engine.

Look at the upcoming game OverDose, which is based off a custom(and now highly enhanced) build of the id Software engine, tech 2. See all the new graphics/effects that have been added while maintaining optimization on your hardware.

However you want to slice it. I won't talk for Techie714, but the only point I was trying to make is BF3 is a very nice engine and undoubtedly superior to the HL2 engine when HL2 was released.

If Valve wants to take that same engine and push it forward, whatever - as long as it is on par with what the BF3 team did.
 
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41. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:14 Beamer
 
"What's something useful we can do for them" != "we're going to create games for Facebook."  
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40. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:10 Verno
 
Gabe being a good boss who cares about his employees doesn't mean he lets them run around doing whatever they want all day. If you don't believe there is any authority or management at Valve then I have some land and a bridge in Africa to sell you.

Now enough dodging, what do we get from you when HL3 comes out?
 
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39. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 15:03 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:30:
I'm not going to argue it any more with you Dev, you're again taking something out of context (that story was about Gabe giving a long time employee time off when he had a life threatening illness) but let's put that aside. What do we get when HL3 comes out? I mean from you specifically, will you eat a shoe or something?
Its not just that one employee. He talks about how he worries about his employees dental health after one employee had to get a mouth guard, and how he he's worried that the release of portal 2 will by a Pyrrhic victory at the expense of stressing employees.

Here's some examples of quotes for you (complete with any appropriate links so you can check out sources to verify I'm not taking it out of context):

http://www.develop-online.net/features/1192/Gabe-Newell-on-Valve
But, seriously, if fifty awesome people knocked on the door, we’d hire them all. We don’t hire to specific positions, we hire to standards.
Emphasis added. I'll bold all gabe's words to separate them from the interviewer questions.

So, essentally you're saying that Valve needs autonomous developers.
Yep. We don’t really have titles here; people decide for themselves what their role should be. People self-organise here.

That’s why Valve is organised to find people that are cross-disciplinary. [Valve developer] Ken Birdwell is a fine-artist that taught himself to program. He did the skeletal animations for our games starting all the way back from Half-Life 1.

The interesting thing is, that approach leaves you with so many avenues to go down. And as stretched as you are with resources, I have no idea why you don’t hire 50 new people to get more done.
Well, we’ll hire anyone who walks through the door who can pass our review process. The problem is very few people can do that successfully.

In other words, we don’t say they’re working on project X and it will ship in three years.

It’s a very different environment than normal. A lot of the time our new hires ask us, how do decisions get made? How do you pick which projects to work on? People think there must be some secret cabal somewhere in the company that’s making all these decisions. But after about six months in they get it.

What about when you’re in full production though? What about when you have six months before a project is released?
And so people pick up their shovels and start digging. Since everybody gets used to this idea and no one tells them what to do, everybody gets used to this idea of picking what’s best for them to work on

After Half-Life 2 you had openly discussed the health and wellbeing of your staff, and how you were going to attack this problem by adopting a less intense episodic production model. During that five-year Half-Life 2 project, did you personally feel a sense of impact you were having on your teams’ health?
Oh, absolutely. I’ve become obsessed with this issue now. In fact that’s why we’re all going to Hawaii in a week.
We do it every year.

Am I right in thinking there have been two attempts in changing the way Valve works since Half-Life 2? The first being the episodic model, the latest being the ‘entertainment as a service model’?
Yeah we’re thinking of this all now as entertainment as a service.

Is Facebook a viable platform for Valve?
We tend to think of things in terms of our customers, so if our customer is a heavy Facebook user, we have to think about how Team Fortress 2 or Portal 2 can be better for that customer.
So when we look at Facebook we see a collection of services, and a lot of our customers there, so what’s the useful thing we could do for them.
The point is, too many of our customers use Facebook for us to ignore it. The same way too many of our customers have iPhones and Android phones for us to ignore it.


And that's just from ONE interview with gabe. Seriously, read what the guy is actually saying, don't take my word for anything. HE is the one (not me) that used the word "obsessed" when talking about employee health. HE is the one (not me) that said they switched to episodic development for employee health reasons, and now are going to entertainment as a service model. I usually don't bother to quote all this since it becomes a wall of text, and instead just paraphrase, but here you go, from the mouth of gabe (aka valve) himself.

This comment was edited on Dec 2, 2011, 15:13.
 
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38. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:59 Cutter
 
MajorD wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:36:
Blah, blah, blah, blah......believe me, Gordon Freeman is alive and will emerge soon. Enough said!


And we will all rejoice and feast on english muffin pizzas!
 
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37. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:48 deqer
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 11:10:
Techie714 © wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 11:07:
Better have a new engine on par with BF3 or Crysis!

Agreed. The BF3 engine is quite nice.
No, let's not. The Valve engine is based on the id Software engine, which is one nice solid piece of a technology. The DICE(BF1-3) engine has always been experimental, and currently with BF3 it is DX12 2012 crap.

The valve engine is quite capable of doing the graphics(which is probably the only thing that you are referring to) as what you'd get with the DICE engine.

Look at the upcoming game OverDose, which is based off a custom(and now highly enhanced) build of the id Software engine, tech 2. See all the new graphics/effects that have been added while maintaining optimization on your hardware.
 
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36. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:39 Beamer
 
Prez wrote on Dec 2, 2011, 14:34:
I got all a-twitter and let out a little fan-girl "squeeee!!!!!" because somebody who supposedly works for Valve has made some ephemeral gesture that Half-Life 3 might actually exist. Somebody shoot me.

It's one thing to not hype your games to the heavens. It's another to pretend neither it nor the franchise's previous games ever existed for years.

I can't blame them. It's probably annoying as shit for Valve employees to be asked about HL3 all the time. Imagine how much worse it would be if they acknowledged it did. The questions would go from "does it exist" and "why haven't you discussed it" to endless questions about details, then annoyance that they weren't discussing it enough, then annoyance about hype, then annoyance at some new feature or lackthereof, and after launch annoyance over things they discussed, like Mr. Friendly or the blue tentacle, that got cut for simply not being worthwhile.

They announce when the game is in testing. When features and content have been locked. When they're sure what they show is representative of what people will get, and when they're sure the stories they tell will be part of the game.
 
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35. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:36 MajorD
 

Blah, blah, blah, blah......believe me, Gordon Freeman is alive and will emerge soon. Enough said!

 
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34. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:34 Prez
 
I got all a-twitter and let out a little fan-girl "squeeee!!!!!" because somebody who supposedly works for Valve has made some ephemeral gesture that Half-Life 3 might actually exist. Somebody shoot me.

It's one thing to not hype your games to the heavens. It's another to pretend neither it nor the franchise's previous games ever existed for years.
 
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33. Re: Half-Life 3 Trolling? Dec 2, 2011, 14:30 Verno
 
I'm not going to argue it any more with you Dev, you're again taking something out of context (that story was about Gabe giving a long time employee time off when he had a life threatening illness) but let's put that aside. What do we get when HL3 comes out? I mean from you specifically, will you eat a shoe or something?


I'm actually in agreement with Dev, and I've been following every little blurb about HL since the very beginning. Basically the jist of what they've said is that they still have plans for more HL, but when or what form that will appear in is up in the air.

What are you referring to? Which specific quotes? They've had a pretty hardcore "no comment" for quite some time now. They generally don't say anything about their games until they are close to release, that's been standard for a long time.
 
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