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Half-Life 2 Held Hostage?

Half-Life 2 held hostage on GameSpot has more information from the ongoing legal battle between Valve and Sierra/Vivendi, indicating that it's possible that the release of Half-Life 2 could potentially be delayed by as much as six months as a result of the spat. The following was entered into the court records by VU Games' deputy general counsel Eric Roeder:

"Valve has announced that it will deliver a release candidate version of Half-Life 2 (HL2) (a game required under the 2001 SPA) to Sierra/VUG within the next few weeks. If Valve delivers a release candidate version that complies with the contract and is a Final Milestone, then VUG will have six months to release the product under the 2001 SPA. Valve is pressing VUG to release the product early within that six month window, and its representatives have made a number of public statements without our consent or concurrence that the product will be published and released to the general public in September of this year."

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157. Re: I like Oct 15, 2004, 04:29 hebrew_national
 
That is not truth, that is your assumption. While you are well known around here for being one of those guys who is absolutely convinced he is always right, it could very well be that this whole Valve / HL2 / Steam fiasco turns every other developer off the whole idea, and get raped into contracts with Publishers that specifically outlaw the whole thing.

Creston, coming from you that is just rich beyond belief, the know-it-all part

Actually, I came off cold on my original post. And as for Steam, I should have qualified my comment and said that Steam [or another service like it] will eventually usurp going out to the store for buying games. I stand by that. We'll sit back and let the numbers speak for themselves over the next 2 years and see what happens

 
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156. Re: No subject Sep 29, 2004, 13:49 Teddy
 
Actually no i'm saying EA and Codemasters are good publishers. I personally dont care for what they bring out, i agree it's all a load of shite. BUT what i am saying is that in the business sense they are excellent.

I almost forgot I had intended to comment on this. While it's true that EA generally meets it's release deadlines it does it by a do or die method for the developers. They force the games to be released at the expected time and if the game is not ready and buggy at release and doesn't sell well as a result, EA pulls the funding in a heartbeat. Ask anyone who played Global Operations about how 'good' EA is as a publisher.

Granted, it is the developers responsibility to meet their deadlines, but EA's methods are not what I would call ideal for their customers. The result is, you can never trust an EA game to play cleanly out of the box unless it is part of one of their major franchises, and even then that's not always true (BF:V anyone?).

 
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155. Re: No subject Sep 29, 2004, 13:35 Teddy
 
But the thing is that at the moment to download a game you have to wait in queues, trail the internet for hours trying to find a place that "serves" the game then download it mostly at a stupidly slow rate.

Unfortunately for game makers, this is not remotely true. You can find every single game that comes out in one place and the download speed is limited only by the speed of your connection. There are no queues, no slow download rates and for most no cost involved (dependant upon ISP). Much like everything else in the computer world, software piracy has evolved as well and has moved beyond www, ftp and IRC as base methods of transfer. The ISPs could interfere with one of the two major methods, but they just don't care enough to do it. In fact, I'm of the belief that some allow it to exist unhindered because it draws customers to them.

And for reference, I just did a quick search and both Barbarossa and Afrika Korps were made available through both these methods. I would agree that if EVERY company would go and sell only online then only the major names would be cracked. It wouldn't stop the system, but it would certainly slow it down from it's current pace. As well, to the best of my knowledge, more often than not, it's corrupt employees of the publishers that deliver the games more often than store salesmen.

I wonder sometimes what it is that video game companies are doing in an attempt to stop piracy. Nothing they've done so far has even made a dent and it's relatively easy for anyone to get information on how it's all done. They need to think up something better than the CD security that they're using now (safedisc, etc) because those don't even slow the pirates down for more than 5 minutes, which is somewhat silly considering how often they cause problems for people who actually bought the game. CD-keys for multiplayer games work decently as a deterrant, though private server patches eventually show up that allow limited MP usage for pirated copies.

Punkbuster did something useful about it with Raven-Shield, albeit inadvertantly by using their MD5 tool to check user's main .exe files for changes. While it annoyed some people that legitamitely owned the game and used No-CD stuff, it effectively made it so that anyone with a hacked, non-clone copy could not play online on PB run servers. Maybe that's part of the answer then... internal MD5 checks by the game to compare the server's executable with the clients, any that don't match are disconnected. Combine that with an automatic and forced update system for those who wish to play online or even for single player games on systems connected to the internet and that will interfere with the cracks that are shipped for a time, so long as the updates are frequent enough.

Steam may even be part of the solution as well. It's method of uploading files to your system in such a way that you can play the game without the complete content could end up working as internet connections become faster in the future. You buy a cd key, connect online and their system sends you the encrypted files that you need to play the game complete with a one time public/private key. The files only stay on your system for as long as you are playing, then they are removed automatically when you exit and the cycle starts all over again next time you want to play minus the need to pay again. With the way Steam works, allowing you to play before the download of the content has completed, it may make it take only a matter of minutes to begin playing a game.

Of course it all sounds very intrusive and inconvenient just to play a game, but in the future it will be possible to make it a seamless process.

 
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154. No subject Sep 29, 2004, 06:50 Malakai
 
Actually no i'm saying EA and Codemasters are good publishers. I personally dont care for what they bring out, i agree it's all a load of shite. BUT what i am saying is that in the business sense they are excellent.

When they say something is going to come out on a specific date, it comes out on that date. They have hundreds of games released under them, granted few are any good or popular, but at least they have managed to release them, and i haven't seen many (if any) examples where a very highly awaited release is delayed by oh what is it now with HL2? A year near enough? I had high hopes for HL2 to be realeased a year ago, they didn't and i thought "Bugger this to hell, when i see it on store shelves i'll buy it."

I response to your statement of "They already do [crack and download games]" how very true. But the thing is that at the moment to download a game you have to wait in queues, trail the internet for hours trying to find a place that "serves" the game then download it mostly at a stupidly slow rate. With the advent of "preloading" you can basically cut all that crap, download it legally and most probably quickly, and then download an extra under 10mb file and play the game. Of course no matter how you release a game it will appear somewhere on the internet for download. But thats the nature of the internet "Share for one and share for all" (I just made that up...i'm so proud of myself :D)

Personally if i was going to do anything, i'd do what Combat Mission: Barbarossa did. Offer it for sale ONLY on the internet. Thus meaning that no "corrupt" store salesman can provide the game to a group to crack. Only way to get it? Order it through the companies website, pay money, receive a hard copy. Problem (basically) solved. No group is going to want to pay money for a game and not receive a return on it, especially if there are many games they have to pay for.

Hope this clarifies some things for ye squire.

 
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153. Re: No subject Sep 29, 2004, 03:12 cronik
 
Haha yea, surely Codemasters and EA would be bad examples.

Both put out trash that they try to pass off as full priced games but are merely updates.

This comment was edited on Sep 29, 03:16.
 
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152. Re: No subject Sep 28, 2004, 23:43 Teddy
 
Bad points:
Games released in parts and over the net (just like HL2 at the moment) will be cracked. No doubt about it. I predict within 2 or 3 days of all the preloads being on steam, someone somewhere will have cracked the Steam(or however it's released) protection and will offer a small 1 file that allows you to play without pay.

And that's different from store bought games how? They're cracked and released on the internet the day of or in many cases before the game hits shelves.

Publishers do suck, true, but only a minority. Look at Codemasters, look at EA. Need i say more?

I'm confused... you were talking about bad publishers being a minority, then you put EA up as an example of a good one? I sincerely hope you are joking or that I've misread your intent with that somehow.

 
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151. No subject Sep 28, 2004, 16:35 Malakai
 
There are good points and bad points about things being released over the internet.

Good:

First and foremost it will allow hermits who sit on their computers all day the opportunity never to go outside and see the light of day.
It can potentially contact many many more people than a retailer could. For example if you're nearest retailer was over 2 hours away and to go there was a once a month treat.

Bad points:
Games released in parts and over the net (just like HL2 at the moment) will be cracked. No doubt about it. I predict within 2 or 3 days of all the preloads being on steam, someone somewhere will have cracked the Steam(or however it's released) protection and will offer a small 1 file that allows you to play without pay.

Systems, whether it be an FTP, HTTP or basically P2P can be notoriously slow. Now i've never used Steam, i don't want to, but from what i can understand when something major is released on there, all the "geeks" (i can say it because i am one. But i'm not a hermit) will instantly log on and start downloading. I'm not some tech guru, but say if around 100 million people have something like Steam, there's gonna be a huge bandwidth problem there, especially if it's a large (over 100mb) file.

I would and probably could think of more good and bad points, but im too tired right now (hence the sarcastic comments) to really try to think too much.

Publishers do suck, true, but only a minority. Look at Codemasters, look at EA. Need i say more?

 
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150. Re: No subject Sep 27, 2004, 16:32 Gandhi
 
I can't believe this thread is still continuing

That and the fact that I wanted to be the one to push it over to 150 posts


You cannot make anything fool-proof. The fools are too inventive
This comment was edited on Sep 27, 16:33.
 
Avatar 11944
 
You cannot make anything fool-proof. The fools are too inventive

GW: Tr Gandhi (Ra), Shiva Sung (Mo), Mangal Pandey (Ne), Rana Pratap Singh (Wa), Boddhi Satwa (Ri), Bhagat Singh (De), Bahadur Shastri (Pa)
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149. Re: No subject Sep 27, 2004, 14:25 Moog Operator
 
"Any one make the Steam arguement that if Valve goes out of business, those with a Steam-only game library are going to be a bit upset if they need to do a re-install of the game?

It's not exactly far-fetched that an established gaming company dies off, is it? Call me a luddite, but I'll stick with with the box for now. I'd rather push to advance to DVD game media than for broadband content- at least until US broadband catches up to heavy hitters like Japan and S. Korea. "

Simple Solution: Install Steam, Email Valve with about 200 of your friends and coplayers, and DEMAND they make your steam-downloaded media burnable to the media of your choice (as specified in your steam settings), hard-coded with your CD-key. Then you get the physical copy for storage/posterity, Valve gets the money they deserve.

Vote for Bush and find out
 
STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE, GET OUT OF THAT BED AND GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR, GET OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE: GET DOWN ON THE CEMENT, I DONT CARE IF YOU'RE NUDE, GET DOWN ON THE CEMENT, I DON'T CARE IF ITS FREEZING! WHERES THE DRUGS, WE KNOW YOU GOT THE DRU
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148. Re: Hehe Sep 27, 2004, 14:22 Moog Operator
 
"notice all the people who support Steam only because they consider publishers the scum of the earth, without stopping to consider that VU still profits off Steam"

Steam only provides VU with profit as far as their current SPA is limited. At the end of the SPA, all the money you pay for your Valve games goes directly to Valve - no more paying Vivendi Universal to fuck over the Developers(that's right we are actually paying for it).

"Steam merely exerting pressure on retailers isn't enough to change them. Steam is delivering one game, HL2, which is guaranteed to sell most of its copies through retailers"

First, the only reason Retailers are going to be the foremost sellers of HL2 is because they are a part of the status quo. If HL2 turns out to be great, thus indicating Valve is going to be a long term force in the gaming industry, you can be assured that they will have nothing to do with any publisher on earth after the last year. What's that mean? If you want Valve games, you're getting them from Steam. Endy story. Want to know more? Valve is a company. Companys by definition exist to make money. In 2 years (or 6 or whatever) when Valve is fucking retailers and publishers out of their scratch with Steam (if they turn out to be good devs), keeping the difference and making oodles of cash compared to other houses currently paying publishers (and by extension retailers) what do you think the reaction of the other game producers is going to be? Sign 15 year SPAs with Vivendi Universal? Not likely. If HL2 is a good game, expect to see every game company (even ID) to be using a steam style system shortly thereafter for PC games - at least.

Cutting asshole publishers like Vivendi out of this magic system we call Capitalism is AOK with me. I'm all for letting game developers make every damn choice involved in a games production, and am convinced without publishers around to press for retarded development decisions (like making games Console Friendly), we will get better games all around, and our choices to purchase or bypass a certain game will have a much more direct influence in the creation of future games - instead of funding 4 major publishers who then decide how our games should be made to maximize profit.

Call it steam, water vapor, distillery v666 - online distribution is the best for gamers' games especially compared with our status quo, and if Valve pulls off steam without pissing their customers off (which, if they totally cut out publishers, is in their absolute best interest as our satisfaction with steam will pretty much dictate their future as a company), and makes tons of cash at the same time, we can expect lots of steam to be in our future.

What can you do now? Bitch and whine, then wonder why game after shitty game is released full of bugs, obviously early, and full of ass-quality (gabe's ass, not some hot chicks) thanks to some fucking publisher wanting that console-friendly edge, or that family friendly shine to them, or start using steam (the message-board induced panic subsides when you use it for... 6 seconds and realize it works fine), and start bitterly complaining to valve until it works how YOU want it to. They'll listen - they're betting their future on Steam (or so it would seem) and want it to satisfy every one of you.

Vote for Bush and find out
 
STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE, GET OUT OF THAT BED AND GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR, GET OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW, RIGHT HERE: GET DOWN ON THE CEMENT, I DONT CARE IF YOU'RE NUDE, GET DOWN ON THE CEMENT, I DON'T CARE IF ITS FREEZING! WHERES THE DRUGS, WE KNOW YOU GOT THE DRU
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147. Re: Empty Quotes Sep 27, 2004, 08:50 nin
 
Valve on the other hand doesn't even have the balls to make false promises.

Um, where were you when they said it would be out Sept 30th, 2003?




http://www.johnwaitethehardway.com/index2.htm
 
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146. Empty Quotes Sep 27, 2004, 01:19 Communist
 
"We're confident that DNF will be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, game of 1998. And this confidence is not misplaced." - Scott Miller, 1997

"Duke Nukem Forever is a 1999 game and we think that timeframe matches very well with what we have planned for the game." - George Broussard, 1998

"Trust us, Duke Nukem Forever will rock when it comes out next year." - Joe Siegler, 1999

"When it's done in 2001." - 2000 Christmas card

"DNF will come out before Unreal 2." - George Broussard, 2001

"If DNF is not out in 2001, something's very wrong." - George Broussard, 2001

"DNF will come out before Doom 3." - George Broussard, 2002

Valve on the other hand doesn't even have the balls to make false promises.

 
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145. Re: Umm Sep 26, 2004, 23:29 Tanto Edge
 
If an individual is on dial-up, they are not always behind the times.
Realistically, their city could be behind. Or perhaps their area of a city. Or even just their neighborhood.
Either way, they are limited by circumstance.

Besides that, if a company expects to reach MORE customers by releasing across the interenet, they'd better recognize that even those on broadband may not like the idea of downloading gigabytes worth of data.
I'd much rather just have the CD/DVD hardcopy that I can install from at a moments notice. Perhaps I wish to install the program upon a machine that has NO internet connection! And maybe I live in a hut, on the west side of a mountain. Four hundred miles into international waters. And I use a sattelite connection to monitor for extraterrestrial signals by government contract.

Thus I would need to download my software, and I'll need a hardcopy.
And considering I'm on satelite, you can be assured that my connection is not as fast as ADSL. Though frankly, I don't think I'm behind the times.

This comment was edited on Sep 26, 23:30.
 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705LEH3j2g0&t=0m24s
http://www.youtube.com/user/tantoedge
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144. No subject Sep 26, 2004, 23:23 Tanto Edge
 
One thing to consider while you're making predictions:
If HL2 is released across Steam, people will want a hardcopy.
If this is adressed it will be done with a CD-Key. Obviously.
However, it is fully plausible for the Steam delivered version of HL2 to have distinctive features. Such as boot cycle, or even just a splash screen.
Sure, these things can be hacked out by somebody with the motivation.
Security can be circumvented, etc.. but in the beginning, the company is trying to deal with the community.
It's when rogues take advantage of the situation that things become nasty.

 
Avatar 13202
 
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143. löl Sep 26, 2004, 19:33 Panick
 
I thought about it for a bit S_DOG34, and decided you were right!

--------------
Always expect the worst and you will never be dissapointed
 
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142. Re: uhm? Sep 26, 2004, 16:21 S_DOG34
 
Sell a game burned at home on a cd? You think anyone would actually buy that? Wow, that would mean I could download an ISO or Bin, burn 100 copies, and sell it for $50 and no one could prove if it's the legally download steam version or not.

Don't be stupid....well, that's probably asking too much. When anyone resells a game all they are really selling is the CD key (computer games are intellectual property...cd key gives the owner the right to use the software). In fact, I just checked ebay and there are over 200 auctions for CD keys w/out the actual game. So don't tell me that it never happens, because it does.

And of course you could burn an ISO use a key-gen and sell 100 copies. But nobody would pay $50 for a secondhand game, and most would rather have the peace of mind of a working product rather than a couple of CD-R's and a key from some Joe.

no one could prove if it's the legally download steam version or not

Hello...anybody there? That's exactly why ISO games work. No one can tell if it's been legally purchased/downloaded or not. If servers/computers could tell when someone tried to run a game illegally, piracy wouldn't exist. Thank-you for adding absolutely nothing to this thread. Take a bow, and join the others.

My question still stands. If HL2 turns out to be crap (possible) and Valve folds as a result (likely) then would people who downloaded the game from Steam be able to burn it to a disc so they could play it 5 years from now? That alone is worth buying the game at retail and not downloading it.

 
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141. No subject Sep 26, 2004, 08:59 space captain
 
vampire will be released on time - coz you know that troika and activision probably forsaw this kind of bullshit and licensed the engine for use REGARDLESS of valve and sierra's claim to HL2, which is just another game using the Source engine... the current legal brouhah is only pertaining to HL2 THE GAME, not the Source engine itself

i desperately hope that vampire outsells HL2 - just for the poetic justice

greed = enslavement


This comment was edited on Sep 26, 09:00.
 
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No one realizes until the television breaks down..."

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140. uhm? Sep 26, 2004, 05:43 Panick
 
"On another note, will we be able to burn the game onto a CD after it's been downloaded from Steam? That would ensure you have a copy no matter what happens to Valve, , and, as Creston noted, give you the chance to resell the game if you wanted to."

Sell a game burned at home on a cd? You think anyone would actually buy that? Wow, that would mean I could download an ISO or Bin, burn 100 copies, and sell it for $50 and no one could prove if it's the legally download steam version or not.

I dont see how you would be able to sell a Steam-bought game.

--------------
Always expect the worst and you will never be dissapointed
 
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139. Re: Umm Sep 26, 2004, 03:11 KilrathiAce
 
If you are on dial-up then you are behind the times.

 
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138. Re: I like Sep 26, 2004, 00:26 SmyTTor
 
Sounds far too much like getting an ISO from torrent. I don't think the suits would allow that to happen. Must protect the holy IP and all that.


 
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