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Half-Life 2: Episode One

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Code possibly belonging to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has been spotted in the leaked beta client for Dota 2.


The lines of code are for something called "ep3". Take a leap and transform that to Episode 3, and the code suggests the project lives on.


Not only that, we're also given an insight into some weaponry - an ice gun, a flamethrower and a "weaponizer".


    /src/game/server/ep3/weapon_icegun.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_concrete.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_liquid.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_metal.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weapon_flamethrower.cpp


Half-Life 2 was released in 2004; Episode 1 in 2006; Episode 2 in 2007.


Four years and many Valve games - Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2 - have passed since. And now Valve concentrates on Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.


The absence of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 from Valve press releases, coupled with suggestions that the runaway success of Steam may have impeded Valve's game development, have led many to give up hope.


Has the boat sailed for Episode 3? Should Valve instead concentrate on Half-Life 3?


The Dota 2 beta client link comes from Vietnam. Lambda Generation has rounded up the data mined from the leak.

Video: Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

Eurogamer


After a no-show at E3 last week, Portal 2 maker Valve has confirmed it will present at August's show gamescom.


Valve joins Capcom and Sega on the list of attendees, according to a Go Nintendo report.


But what, exactly, will Valve present?


More information on DOTA 2, Valve's only currently confirmed project, is widely anticipated.


DOTA is a custom scenario built for Warcraft III using the game's world editor. The idea is to destroy the opposing teams' Ancient boss using a squad of hero units, which can be levelled up and decked out in better gear throughout the course of the battle.


Valve's gamescom presence may, however, feature an announcement regarding downloadable content for superb first-person puzzler Portal 2.


And then, whisper it, there's always Half-Life 3.


gamescom runs from 17th to 21st August.

Video:

Eurogamer

Steam today represents a billion-dollar operation staffed by hundreds. But has the platform's meteoric rise restricted Valve's capacity to actually create games?

We haven't had a proper Valve-bred IP since The Orange Box games Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 arrived more than three years ago.

Brad Wardell - leader of Stardock, the company behind Steam rival Impulse - drew on personal experience to argue that yes, Steam's success has "definitely had an effect" on Valve as a game maker.

"Even though Valve is in Seattle, where you can get developers everywhere, [Steam's] had an effect on their own development schedule. There's not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that," Wardell explained to IndustryGamers.

"[Valve has] had their own challenges getting new titles out the door, and a big part of that I'm sure is the same problems we've had. When one of your groups is so ridiculously profitable, every business instinct you have is to throw all your best people at it, because that's what's making the money. That's just sound business. At the end of the day, again you have decide if that's what you want to do.

"Steam and Valve - of the companies out there I would say we're the most similar. Obviously they're bigger and far more successful than our games unit is, but culturally they're pretty similar. If you were to look at a time-line of games developed in-house by Valve – not developed externally and then acquired – and you look at before Steam and after Steam, it's definitely had an effect," he added.

"I don't argue that that's a good thing or bad thing, but I do know the effect that's had on us, where I've had to put some of my top developers over the years onto Impulse to make sure it was getting better and better."

Since the 2007 release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2, Valve has launched Portal, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 and Alien Swarm. Portal 2 is imminent and DOTA2 (Defense of the Ancients 2) has been announced with a tentative 2011 date.

Look at those games again:

  • Portal was created by a group of students Valve went on to hire.
  • Left 4 Dead was created by a developer Valve went on to hire.
  • Alien Swarm was developed by a mod team Valve went on to hire.
  • DOTA2 (Defense of the Ancients) is being created by a modder Valve has hired.

What happened to Half-Life 2: Episode 3, Valve? And more importantly, is there a Half-Life 3? There are few announcement platforms on the scale E3 this summer. Is it Valve's turn this year? Maybe, just maybe.

Video: Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - the last Valve thoroughbred.

Eurogamer


On Valve's website sits a profile page, and on that profile page sits an entry for Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek. It reads: "We are all still trying to figure out exactly what it is that Chet does at Valve, but at the very least he occupies office space on the 11th floor as self-proclaimed Mr. Awesome."


Mr. Awesome? Where does that come from?


"So our old HR person wrote that for me, and it was the example of a really bad profile to put up," Mr. Awesome told Eurogamer. "Then she wouldn't let me change it."


"The day of Half-Life: Episode 1," he continued, "that's where it came from. They were handing out recognition for Episode 1. No one knew what to say, so the first three or four people fumbled around. I just went up and I thanked myself for being awesome.


"Then other people who didn't know what to say just thanked me for being awesome."


So, what does Mr. Awesome do, apart from co-write alongside Erik Wolpaw on games such as Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 and the upcoming Portal 2?


"That description came after Half-Life: Episode 1. A lot of people didn't understand the part I played in that, with the response rules speech, which is on the fly speech.


"It was semi-accurate at the time. Now people know what I do. I walk around the hall with my iron fist, keeping people in line."


The Mr. Awesome description has been on Valve's website for five years. "I have to re-write it," Mr. Awesome said. "We don't even have an 11th floor anymore. We've moved buildings. But I don't want people to be able to find me."


Faliszek and writing partner Erik Wolpaw have been with Valve for six-and-a-half years. The duo, who grew up together, were hired after bumping into Valve through their website Old Man Murray.


"Out of the blue, in 2004, Gabe [Newell, Valve boss] just emailed us and said, do you want to come work for Valve?" Faliszek revealed.


"Gabe's initial email really was one line. We asked, can you explain more? "No. Just come out."


"I figured, what the hell," Wolpaw added. "We were just like, we'll just give it a shot and see what it's like. Seven years later, it's fine."

Video:

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