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News Valve may reconsider episodic games

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 26 Sep 2007.

  1. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    So many things wrong.

    The plot for the episodes was laid down as far back as Half-Life 2, it just had to be broken up in the natural places. Marc Laidlaw did it all.

    Ep 2 is taking just as long to develop because the engine difficulties of making Source do open spaces and cinematic physics. Portal was finished a while back IIRC. It's TF2 and Ep2 which are slowing THAT down.

    Ep 2 is going to be 5 hours maximum, the same as Episode 1 (which took me 3 1/2 hrs). Portal has been completed by FPS noobs (literally, mums who've never played a game took part in the testing) in under four hours.

    That's $45 for maybe 8 hours of gameplay and TF2, which shouldn't have taken so damn long and was bundled in to make up value.

    Bear in mind that in the time it took Ep2 to be made, a single guy called Garry made all of Garry's Mod and progressed it from a community mod in version 8 all the way to a retail product called GMod 10. Then amateur modders used that to make SWEPS and replicate all of Portal that they could in a mod, whilst also developing dozens of multiplayer game types. They did that in their spare time.

    I'm not saying Valve are lazy or anything, but the don't fully understand what episodic means. It should be closer to 4 hours of gameplay every two or three months with just a single game that costs a proportionate amount. If 10-12 hours of HL2 cost £30 then Ep1 and 2 should cost about a tenner each and they should be regular, say 3 a year.

    As it is, they cost closer to £15 at start and then drop in price very fast, are very short and take far too long to develop bearing in mind that most of the textures and engine work is already in place. A company the size of Valve should be able to do things faster, IMO.

    They need to remember it was never the tech which pushed HL forwards (Hl1 was on the Quake 2 engine practically!), it was the story. Stop fiddling with the engine and give us more Freeman, more regularly.
     
  2. completemadness

    completemadness What's a Dremel?

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    I would like to see something like this

    You pay £50, and you get 1 episode everyone month/4weeks/whatever for a year, that would be quite fun :)
     
  3. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Unless I was getting a fixed amount of reliably good content, I'd never sign up to that. I doubt I'd do it even for Valve. They can't even deliver on current release dates, so I'm not risking cash.
     
  4. Hamish

    Hamish What's a Dremel?

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    episodic gaming could've been great if they'd chucked out a new episode every few months for relatively cheap
    ie, if it has been properly episodic as opposed to being expansions in all but name
     
  5. Bungle

    Bungle Rainbow Warrior

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    I doubt Episodic content will take off on Computer games. The industry is too inconsistant with titles of the same series let alone ones that would continue a story. The best we can hope for is maybe games that play from a different perspective within the same storyline. Something like what Starcraft did.
     
  6. completemadness

    completemadness What's a Dremel?

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    even if they only delievered 2 epsidoes, it would still be better value then the current system, plus valve gets to sit on our money for most of a year
     
  7. Bladestorm

    Bladestorm What's a Dremel?

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    At least as for why they did it, my understanding went as such :

    They spent most of 10 years making HL1, at the end a lot of the staff decided they would retire/move to easier jobs instead of starting from scratch and grind away to make a sequel.

    They then spent most of another 10 years making HL2, including building the team back up, making everything from scratch again.

    After HL2 they decided they really didn't want to start from scratch, throw away the tools, engine they'd spent 10 years on and lose a part of the team again to start over and spend 10 years making HL3, so they went for the more relaxed option of making HL2 episodes where they would get to keep using the engine and tools they had, presumably they relaxed the staff hours and such at the same time - sort of a valve developer's semi-holiday if you will ;) (Where holiday means not having to work 16 hours a day to try and get something out anywhere near a release date)

    For myself I'm susprised at the time numbers being thrown out, HL2 took me some 20 or so hours and Ep1 something like 6 (maybe 7/8) hours I think, though I am the sort of person that investigates every nook and cranny and sight-sees a bit along the way.
     
  8. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    I agree with Joe completely. There should a steady stream of short episodes at a lower cost. As well as advancing the main story it would be nice to have short episodes were you play as Alex, Barny or even Dog which fill in the parts of HL2 when you were separated from them.
     
  9. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    i agree with him

    edit: just want to add, what about sin episodes? they were episodic and now they are gone.... can anyone make a game using that story and idea?
     
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2007
  10. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Sin Episodes was one of my fave games - I loved how accessible it was and how well the dynamic difficulty worked. I was constantly in the sweet spot of gaming.

    Unfortunately, since Ritual was bought out bu MumboJumbo it means the copyright is still owned but that the project will not be completed.
     
  11. Bungle

    Bungle Rainbow Warrior

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    Do you think Episodic gaming is best suited to RPGs? Would help the emersiveness if you could continue your character through to the next chapter. Guildwars is something along the lines of what I'm thinking. Extra titles that expand the story but allow you to revisit the begining should you have missed something (or forgotten due to inactivity). Seems to me RPGs are the way to go with this type of content.
     
  12. Silver Shamrock

    Silver Shamrock What's a Dremel?

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    I'm sorry, but you're saying they stated work on HL1 in 1988? And they then started work on HL2 four years before HL1 was finished?
     
  13. Bladestorm

    Bladestorm What's a Dremel?

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    Looks like I've mis-remembered the dates, it's probably just that they reckoned that an all-new HL3 would take 10 years, after (having now looked it up) the first took them almost 3 years and the second 6 years. I'm fairly sure I remember the reasoning right though, including a lot of team members quitting after the first, including one of the co-founders/lead developers.
     
  14. woof82

    woof82 What's a Dremel?

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    I agree with this.

    Personally I really like the episodes. I don't want to see "hl3" on the same engine as hl2, that's not right. I want hl3 to come out in 2012, to be brand new, to be, once again, revolutionary in FPS, pushing the 3d world to its limits. I'm so fed up with manufacturers pretending to have produced a new game but it's just the old engine with a few extra features and slightly more progressed story line. (re: GTA which got more and more boring after GTAIII until it was unbearably bad).
     
  15. woof82

    woof82 What's a Dremel?

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    If ep1 took you 3 hours you CLEARLY weren't playing it right.

    Everyone likes the puzzles, that's what made it so successful. Did you even play ep1? It was mostly puzzles ya'know...


    Ep1 cost me £9.99
    They add bits to the engine, it's not like they're just pumping out maps with predefined AI and generic story lines. HDR? yeah... and new challenges models and textures.
    If they gave you more freeman more regularly there would be nothing exciting and new and you would whine about it being bland and boring.. "too much of the same," etc. This is what I like about valve so much, they don't release crap, they have the stones to make us wait until they have finished something GOOD. Think about how much they scrapped from hl2 beta. Yeah, it wasn't good enough, so they made us wait. And guess what? It was amazing.

    It is not possible to have a good game that comes out quickly and doesn't cost much. That's like asking for a new ferrari for £29,995 and you want to pick it up tomorrow.





    He's playing it right.
     
  16. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    The puzzles in Ep1 were ridiculously easy for starters and the point about the tech is that it isn't needed. If they want to fiddle with the engine then they should give it a big overhaul and make a big game. If they want to make small, regular games then they need to see that they'll have to leave the engine as it is for a bit and not try and advance it in a load of small areas. The commentry section I can forgive, but parts like HDR add essentially nothing to the game.

    As for the whole "releasing it regularly would make it less exciting" thing, well if that were true then it would be fairly indicative of a bad story and bad game. There are plenty of regular, timed and similar releases in all media (especially tv series and comics or books) that continue with the same limited budget and are still utterly enthralling. Have you watched Lost or Heroes?

    For the record, I look in every nook and cranny too. I play my games to death, over and over again and with a great deal of attention. You don't want to know how long I spent on Deus Ex. As it is though, there's very little hidden extras in a game like HL and a lot of the story is actually told outside of the game and HL doesn't tell you a lot of the story at all (why are the combine here, what relation was Nihilanth to the combine, why is Gman not in Ep1, why are the vorts now free, etc). I know the answers to these questions, but a lot of it didn't come from the game.

    In fact a lot of the extra stuff is hidden where everyone finds it easily anyway. The clipboards in Elis office and clicking again and again on the Vortigaunts and Barney.

    The only thing I can think of that I had to go out of my way to find was the hidden vortigaunt in HL2 and even then he doesn't say anything new.

    I spend ages admiring my games and I love HL to death - but I still did HL2 in 9-10 hours (2-3 hours short of the expected time, even on hard mode) and I still finished Ep1 in 3 hours, an hour shorter than most.

    As for the textures and new models etc, a lot of that was just reused in Ep1. Ground textures, character anims etc are mostly the same. That's why there's only two new badguys (stalker and Zombine) and no new weapons to balance. With that in mind, the dev time should have been dramatically less.
     
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2007
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