Kotaku

30,000 People are Going to Play Half-Life 2 as a Protest Against Half-Life 3Or is it a protest for Half-Life 3? Whatever.


The point being, This weekend over 30,000 members of a Steam group will sit down and play Half-Life 2. Calling themselves "A Call for Communication", the group says "we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message: Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."


That "better communication" would come in the form of any communication as to the whereabouts of Half-Life 2: Episode 3, or as it's more commonly believed to be these days, simply Half-Life 3.


Will it work? Probably not. But hey, any excuse to play through Half-Life 2 again is a good excuse!


A Call for Communication [Steam]


30,000 People are Going to Play Half-Life 2 as a Protest Against Half-Life 3


Eurogamer


A fan campaign designed to encourage more Half-Life information from developer Valve plans a mass gameplay session this Saturday.


Steam group A Call for Communication (Half-Life), which boasts more than than 29,500 members, has organised a huge Half-Life 2 play session this weekend, designed to raise awareness of its campaign by boosting the game up Steam's most-played list.


The fan collective aims to encourage information from Valve on when the Half-Life series might return, be that in the form of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or a fully-fledged Half-Life 3.


Group numbers have swelled from 10,000 members since the campaign first hit the headlines two weeks ago.


A Call for Communication's Half-Life 2 play session begins at 7pm UK time this Saturday night.


"Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message: 'Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication,'" the Steam group's description reads.


"Hopefully such attention will be recognized by Valve, and the community's voice will be heard."

PC Gamer
Half-Life 2 let's play
This Saturday the 28,000 members of this Steam group are planning to play Half-Life 2 together. It's single player, of course, but there's nothing stopping fans from getting together to stroke their chins and nod slowly in mass mutual appreciation for one of the best shooters ever made.

The group hopes that the massive play session will shoot Half-Life 2 up the Steam most-played list and let Valve know how many people are still waiting for Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Valve certainly know this already, and probably receive dozens of emails every day asking "WHERE AM HL3?" but the group hopes to deliver the message in a more appreciative way.

"Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message: Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication," they say on the Steam group page.

Even if you're not interested in sending Valve a message, any excuse is a good excuse to dip into Half Life 2 again, so why not join in? You can join the Call for Communication to add your weight to their message, or you can boot up and play a little for old times' sake and spend some time with Eli, Alyx and the crew. It's set to kick off at 7PM GMT / 11AM PST this Saturday. Thanks to Brett and Smash for the heads up.
Kotaku

Reader Michael has spent over 100 hours putting together this music video, in which the narration from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's The Dead Flag Blues is played over visuals from Half-Life 2.


Impressive stuff.


Kotaku

The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2Since we ran a feature on Duncan Harris, the groovy "video game photographer" behind the website DeadEndThrills, I've been sharing some of his work each week here.


This week has some great stuff, focusing largely on Mass Effect 2 and the Half-Life 2 mod/ghost story Dear Esther. Let's get to it!


First up, at top, we've got one of several shots from Dear Esther, which will see its official Steam release on February 14th. I for one can't wait, and this kind of shot is why.


"This Old House"

From Harris's notes:


Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"For Tomorrow"

The first of several Mass Effect 2 shots, this one is simply… space. They say it's the final frontier. I can get with that.


Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected max quality FXAA 3.11 w/ texture pre-sharpening), 2160p rendering.


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


Writings on the Wall"

Alas, poor Veetor. Driven mad by the collector attack. Poor fellow. I hope none of you heartless bastards turned him over to Cerberus for testing.


Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected ‘Ultra' quality SMAA + 4xMSAA), 2160p rendering.


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"Almost Human"

I call this one "Miranda's Super-Hot Posterior" because, well… I also think of this sequence in the game not-so-fondly because I've seen it many a time after having to re-roll my Shepard after realizing that while he/she looked fine standing still, things got ghastly once the game got going.


Tools and tricks: free camera, timestop, no-HUD, custom FOV, JeanLuc761′s hi-res character textures, in-world HUD textures blanked, antialiasing (injected max quality FXAA 3.11 w/ texture pre-sharpening), 2160p rendering.


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"Vulcan"

In a break from the two main games for the week comes one last shot from Star Trek Online, this one of the planet Vulcan. That's a big q-tip that fella's got there.


Tools and tricks: Cryptic demo recorder, 2160p rendering, free camera, custom FOV, timestop, offline antialiasing.


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"The Ghost That Walks"

Hoo, buddy. Yet another gorgeous shot from Dear Esther.


Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"Highlander"

Another Dear Esther bit of amazingness.


Tools and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


"In The Temple of Love"

Dear Esther. Don't have much to say for these other than "wow."


Tool and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).


The Week in Unbelievably Gorgeous Screenshots: Dear Esther and Mass Effect 2


Spirit Level"

Look at that business! Look at it! Man, I can't wait to play Dear Esther.


Tool and tricks: free camera, custom FOV, 2160p rendering, antialiasing (injected SMAA).


Kotaku

Hey, Valve, What’s Going On, Eh?Republished from Rock, Paper Shotgun.


Valve have created themselves an interesting situation. Presenting themselves as bastions of consumers, remarkably accessible to gamers, regularly inviting in groups of modders – often to give them jobs – and always being present to offer a quote on how customers deserve to be treated with more dignity, they establish themselves as being our friend. And then from that position, they sure do like to muck about. And as Eurogamer's Tom "Tom Bramwell" Bramwell mentioned on Twitter this morning, it's hard not to sympathise with a growing body of Valve's customers who are asking for better communication.


If Episode 3 went horribly wrong, it would be fascinating to know.

No one has a clue what they're up to. Games are sometimes announced moments before release, or years in advance and then nothing but silence. Sometimes when they tease it's obscure, frustrating ARGs that eventually end in a new pretend hat. Other times it's a complete open door and everything revealed. They hide clues in so many places that people end up scouring everything they do for a hint, a glimpse, of something that might suggest they'll eventually return to the Half-Life universe proper. They've turned gamers into pseudo-schizophrenics, people frantically trying to find patterns in the random, believing there are hidden messages within their communications. But does anyone have a "right" to know what's going on with the Half-Life series.


Clearly not. It's absolutely Valve's prerogative if they want to never make another Half-Life game again, and concentrate only on adding new hats to TF2. And should they tell us they're doing that? No – why should they? They are a privately owned company, without shareholders to answer to, not required to reveal their plans to anyone.


Should they tell anyone what they're up to? I think it's probably about time they did.


For many years Valve have ridden a wave of remarkably good grace. Developing and releasing extraordinarily good games gets you a long way, and Valve have consistently proven themselves to be the best in the world at what they do. From the astonishing shake up of gaming that Half-Life caused, to the zenith of the FPS, still unbeaten seven years later, Half-Life 2, and then the excellent Episodes, both Left 4 Deads, the Portal games, and TF2… there is no other record like it in gaming. There's a reason Valve has the reputation it has.


But their peculiar secrecy doesn't seem to do them any obvious favours. When they revealed the existence of DOTA 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the gaming press was obviously extremely eager to give this as much coverage as possible. They're Valve games, so there's an extremely good chance they'll be very good. (Not guaranteed of course. There's always Ricochet, conspicuously absent from their Games page.) Readers want to know about them, sites want details about them, and Valve wants the coverage. It all works.


So when they go quiet, after two episodes of a promised a three part episodic series of Half-Life games, it's understandable that people get annoyed. No, no one has the right to know – it's absolutely their private business, and they may keep it as underwraps as they wish. But I'd suggest at this point, this many years into what is now appearing quite a farce, it's doing damage to their reputation.


More top stories from Rock Paper Shotgun


Interview: BioWare's James Ohlen On SWTOR " I think it's because story is timeless – people love to live through story."
Killer Instinct: A Hitman Absolution Preview "Oh, we are skeptical souls at RPS. Though we loved Hitman: Blood Money, we have been somewhat wary of Hitman: Absolution."
Delicately Debating Darkness II's Demo "Immediate thought: it's so noisy! It's so sweary! It's so violent! Does old man Doom know that his kids have turned out like this?"


Clearly the actions of Axel "Ago" Gembe were absolutely unjustifiable, and the leaking of Half-Life 2 scarred Valve very badly. Gembe's given motivation was his frustration about the lack of information being released about the game, and his eventual discovery that Valve weren't revealing quite how far from finished the game was. Leaking the code was a stupid and cruel act, and Simon Parkin's wonderful article about his attempts to broker peace between the two many years on shows that Valve are still hugely angry and upset about it. None of it should ever have happened, but what I find peculiar is that Valve apparently learned no lessons about the frustration they generate in their most dedicated fans.


The silence over Episode 3, or what for seemingly no reason most now think will be Half-Life 3, is infuriating. And not because we deserve to know about it, nor because Valve have any obligation to say. But unfortunately, Valve have confused us. They act in an extraordinarily open way in so many cases, with remarkable access via email, and an engagement with the community that's the envy of the gaming world. While they of course receive backlashes, and there is a contingent of Angries who will always hate them, the goodwill they receive is enormous. This, combined with their more recent engagement with complex ARGs and hiding clues everywhere, has given the impression that they want to share what's going on with us. And that confuses us.


If Episode 3 went horribly wrong, it would be fascinating to know. If they developed the game and it was complete arse, it wouldn't damage Valve's reputation for saying so. If it's been in ongoing development, constantly iterated and improved upon, perhaps even morphing into Half-Life 3, everyone would be so excited to hear. If they just ran out of ideas, or got bored of Freeman, we'd love to know why.


So no, of course Valve has no obligation, and we have no right, to know what's happening. But I'm struggling to think of a reason why it would harm them to keep us up to date. Were they a completely secretive organisation, unreachable, who only announce a new game the day it comes out, then our expectations would be somewhere else. But it is the confusion of the contradiction of Valve's surprising openness and closed secrecy that leads to the bewildered frustration of their audience.


John Walker is a writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the world's best sites for PC gaming news. John is Britain's leading adventure gaming specialist. Follow him on Twitter.
Republished with permission.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Valve have created themselves an interesting situation. Presenting themselves as bastions of consumers, remarkably accessible to gamers, regularly inviting in groups of modders – often to give them jobs – and always being present to offer a quote on how customers deserve to be treated with more dignity, they establish themselves as being our friend. And then from that position, they sure do like to muck about. And as Eurogamer’s Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell mentioned on Twitter this morning, it’s hard not to sympathise with a growing body of Valve’s customers who are asking for better communication.

(more…)

Eurogamer


More than 10,000 gamers have joined the Steam Group campaigning for more Half-Life communication from Valve.


In other words, fans want to know when the series will return, be it via Half Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3.


"The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience," stated the group. "While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return.


"So, Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message:

"Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."

A Call for Communication, Steam Group


"Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."


The Steam Group, named A Call for Communication (Half-Life), added that, "Waiting patiently for over four years is a daunting task, especially when E3 comes and goes without any beat of a Half-Life pulse, time and time again."


"Valve had stated that information was scheduled to be released towards the end of 2008, and we believe that if they have chosen, for whatever reason, to withhold this information, fans should at least be acknowledged in some way, regardless of developmental plans for the next Half-Life project.


"The entire trilogy of episodes was supposed to be completed and released by 2007, and if Valve have decided to do other things for the time being, that is fine; all that we ask for is a basic response on the matter, and to let fans know whether or not the current story arc is scheduled to conclude at another point in time.


"In addition: This message is in no way, shape or form attempting to rush the development of the Half-Life series; in fact, most members agree that Valve should take the time needed to deliver a complete and polished product."


The post concluded with a line asking gamers to join the A Call for Communication Steam Group if they agreed with the sentiment.


"Hopefully such attention will be recognized by Valve," the post closed, "and the community's voice will be heard."


Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released alongside Portal and Team Fortress 2 in autumn 2007. Since then, Valve has produced Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Alien Swarm and Portal 2.


Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are in development.


Few of those games originated inside Valve, however - most were ideas that belonged to external teams or creators Valve eventually hired.


Some observers suggest that Steam's development has hampered Valve's game development; in building the world's most successful PC game digital distribution service, Valve neglected to create new games of its own.

Kotaku

Harrison Krix's replica Half-Life 2 gravity gun looked incredible, but it was never destined for his shelf, or that of an international adult collectible retailer. It was built for charity, and it's for charity it was auctioned.


Awesomely, the gun went as part of a Child's Play auction for a whopping $21,000. That'd be a bargain if the thing actually worked.


To celebrate, he's posted a lengthy explanation on how it was built over on his website, along with the above snappy video showing it in action.


Half Life 2: Gravity Gun [Volpin Props]


Kotaku

Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 MovieIf you've ever wanted to see a live-action Half-Life 2 movie, these mock posters are only going to make you want to see one a lot more.


They're the work of British graphic designer Sean Keenan, and are, for the most part, wonderfully tasteful and subdued.


He's based them on the posters for Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Batman movie, if you think the colour palettes and design are familiar.


Sean Keenan [Portfolio, via Elysha]


Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie
Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie
Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie
Half-Life 2 Movie Posters Make You Wish for a Half-Life 2 Movie


...

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