A Rare Glimpse
Someone, or someones I suppose, managed to get their mitts on the source code for not only Half Life 2 but apparently Steam and Team Fortress 2, which looks as though it might make up the multiplayer portion. Then Gabe wanted to discuss it on some rational level, which was, you know, embarrassing for him. I’m thinking about just releasing him into the wild, maybe putting out one of those feeders so he doesn’t eat one of the neighborhood cats.
The concern I’ve seen voiced about the stolen source code is that the game will be a non-stop carnival of cheating and hackery because of it, and I’m not any more worried about that now than I was before. Half-Life 2 will attract top-tier hacking talent because it’s going to be a great market for their “services.” Imagine a shadow market that exists as a reflection of trends in the actual one, total user base being the key figure - the work that these dark developers do has much greater potential to distort games and such in a context rich with players. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling HL2 will do alright at retail. Like the source code itself, the compiled game’s online community will be an irresistible target for stupid, evil assholes. The best minds of the aforementioned shadow market will be hard at work trying to ruin our fun, and even a head start doesn’t alter that fundamental principle. At least with this delay, there’s a chance Valve can move the target a bit.
I would have made this post a bit earlier than I did, but I was embroiled in intense fantasy combats on Saturday from four-thirty in the afternoon until two in the morning, skirmishes that made me really appreciate the detail that Troika brought to Temple of Elemental Evil’s battle system, if nothing else. It also reminded me to mention that Atari had recently put out a press release saying they’ll allow a patch for the game, as though they were digging deep but they knew it was the right thing to do. Gamespot even referred to the patch as an “upgrade,” which is a pretty charitable description. In the spirit of rough candor attributed to the youth of this age, fuck Atari, Infogrames, whatever they’re calling themselves now. Musta stung a little bit to see the players, your customers, beat you to the punch, huh? I’m not even vouching for that patch, I’m saying that their game was so screwed up that just two-and-a-half weeks after release, the community decided to take matters into their own hands while Atari counted their money.
Gabe felt bad that people who don’t give a fuck about Scott Kurtz - a set which includes every thinking person - didn’t really get a comic on Friday. I suggested that we do a new comic, I told him I’d even do a post to accompany it, and that seemed to cheer him up a bit. As for Player Vs. Player, this episode has been highly instructive for me. Scott is like some vagrant who draws on a brick wall with a stream of his own pee, he is no longer relevant in any quantity that I measure. He taunted us, and we took the bait. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I really, really like bait.
now we must pick up every piece