Valve knows how to slowly drive a geek insane.

So I log into my PC this morning to check my email and right away this window pops open with a big announcement about Half-Life 2. The popup came from the Steam Client I have installed which Valve hopes to use to distribute many of their games in the future including HL2. Already you can use it to download and install the original Half-Life and all the major mods for it such as Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat and then just enter the CD Key off your original CDs and play away. This makes keeping the game updated easy as updates are downloaded automatically whenever they release one.

So anyway, the big announcement turned out to be that I could now preload Half-Life 2 through Steam in anticipation of its imminent release. The idea being that as soon as it’s released you can purchase it online and just enter a key code and start playing it within seconds of buying it! You can’t get much more instant in your gratification than that.

Of course preloading also means that once I’m done I’ll be sitting here with a PC that has a copy of Half-Life 2 on its hard drive that I can’t play yet. Now, if you’ve been jonesing for this game as bad as I have the idea of having a copy of it just sitting there tantalizingly out of reach; taunting you with its proximity and lack of availability is enough to put the guys in white coats on high alert. Additionally, there’s the possibility that for me preloading the game may be pointless. Thanks to some PC support I provided awhile back I already have a hard copy of the game on preorder from my Amazon Wishlist which will arrive at my door within a couple of days of its release. Once it gets here I may have to install it off of CD anyway because there’s no word on if owners of the CD version can just enter their CD-Keys and start playing like we can with HL1. So not only could I be sitting here with the game on my hard drive unable to play it, but I may have to install the game off of CD anyway once I do get it making the preloading a pointless exercise in bandwidth consumption.

Oh what the hell, I’m a glutton for punishment. Let the preloading begin!

Update: And if that’s not enough torture for you, the guys over at Half-Life 2 Fallout have a lengthy article up speculating on what the possible storyline for HL2 will be.

12 thoughts on “Valve knows how to slowly drive a geek insane.

  1. Sweet torture, isn’t it?

    I have just decided that once I finish my exams and my project work (on Nov 10, still a little bit away) I am going to get myself BOTH a new computer with HL2 AND a cat.

    The cat should be getting used to me sitting a a PC making weird noises anyway wink


  2. That should be the *computer* making the weird noises. Though if Half-Life 2 is half (bad pun) as good as it seems…

  3. oh yeah i saw that last night when i jumped on to day of defeat. i personally cant wait, especially after those fantastic screenshots!

    word: waiting(of course)

  4. It appears to me, that this Valve deployment technology will provide hacks with a jump-start on getting codes out there.

    What I don’t want to see happen is to have games go the way of Micro$ost where you may potentially only be able to advance to the next level with a correct license key.  Or even worse, a pay as you go scenario.

  5. Of course preloading also means that once I’m done I’ll be sitting here with a PC that has a copy of Half-Life 2 on its hard drive that I can’t play yet.

    I’m not even a gamer and I can sense how sadistic that is!  Those screen shots were amazing.

  6. My feelings exactly about the cracking jumpstart.

    As far as pay as you go is concerned, forget it. There just isn’t a game that captures my attention long enough to make me shell out cash on a continuing basis.

  7. DS, the files are encrypted on the hard drive so I don’t think there’s too much risk of it being cracked just yet. Not that it matters, HL2 was the one that had its source code stolen so any head start has probably already happened.

  8. Heh, heh!  Just sitting there taunting you.

    I imagine with the encryption only a few hardcore hackers will be able to capitalize on this distribution and according to this article, Valve is going to go after anyone hacking and/or cheating pretty hard.

    Via a post on a Half-Life 2 fan site, Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell has confirmed the developer’s intentions to begin mercilessly pursuing cheats, commencing now with a round of legal action against individuals and companies assisting cheating in Counter-Strike. Software and websites will be their major targets, and this new approach indicates the opening of a new front in the war against cheating – so often the scourge of legitimate online play.

    Indeed, the action has already rattled one firm – OGC (publishers of a cheat-software website) – who are seeking legal advice regarding Valve’s assault on their business. This latest measure marks another step-up in anti-cheating techniques by Valve, who have also introduced new software to Counter-Strike via Steam which assists in the rapid banning of players caught cheating.

  9. deadscot, the article doesn’t say anything about cracking the preload version. i think it’s ok to go after those cheating people as they really make online games worse.

    anyway, as it seems Valve is pretty selfconfident again after everything that happened in the past…the source leaking, the awful delays….it’s not a matter of how well this thing is encrypted, it’s just a matter of some skilled crackers to take a closer look at it. i mean with all the whining about the source leaking Valve just made a new UNSECURE decision and i personally doubt that it has anything to do with “preload-and-play”. Valve has been in the business way too long for such mistakes…there is something going on….

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