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View Full Version : Wild speculation: Valve is experimenting with this game, as they did with Portal.


shackanaw
07-17-2010, 12:01 AM
Just a bit of wild speculation that popped into my head, and everyone else has probably already considered.

The gist of this is, Valve is expanding community involvement in their games, is becoming more experimental in their gameplay, and might be interested in expanding into new genres, such as RTS.

http://store.steampowered.com/news/4081/
However, we never forgot about Alien Swarm and the team has spent a lot of time bringing the game to Source in between their contributions to the other Valve projects.

At first, I figured this was simply a way for the Alien Swarm developers to give something to their loyal fans. However, it seems strange that they would keep their hiring by Valve a secret if the situation was as simple as that. Now that the game's page (http://store.steampowered.com/app/630/) is up on Steam, Valve is listed as both its publisher and developer. These things lead me to believe that Valve didn't just want to hire the developers, they wanted their product as well.

Valve has also hired (http://www.playdota.com/forums/blogs/icefrog/264/great-news-dota-fans/) another developer, IceFrog, who maintains the DotA RTS mod, apparently to work on "some very exciting stuff that [DotA fans] will love." Now, I have never played DotA, but it looks like it is a top-view strategy game, like (not completely similar, of course, but similar in that it is not an FPS, and has the top down view) to Alien Swarm.

Valve has a long history of hiring mod teams, and with the possible exception of Ricochet and their own deathmatch games, I think all of their multiplayer IP have roots in the mod community. More recently, they seem to be stepping into more experimental waters, rather than just hiring up teams and making their games Valve's games (i.e. Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Day of Defeat, Left 4 Dead). They are now hiring teams and putting them to work on completely new IPs. AS isn't a new IP, but I suspect some elements of the game might find their way into new Valve products.

This has me thinking of the examples of the DigiPen teams behind Narbacular Drop and Tag: The Power of Paint, who were hired to work on Portal and its sequel, respectively.

I am going to borrow several quotes from GameInformer's article "Opening The Portal: Exploring The Game's Development (http://gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2010/03/10/opening-the-portal-exploring-portal-s-creation-and-its-ties-to-half-life-2.aspx)":

Experiments are a dangerous proposition. Valuable resources can be wasted if a creative idea is poorly implemented. At a glance, Valve’s 2007 release Portal might have seemed like a risky gamble. While it came from one of the most respected development houses in the industry, the actual team was small and the gameplay featured novel mechanics difficult to convey in simple screenshots. Even the creators didn’t know what to expect from Portal until it released – that’s when Valve’s experiment turned into a phenomenon.

Valve saw great potential in the student project, but it kept the Portal team small, because it didn’t know if that potential would be realized.

As Portal neared its completion, the company began to wonder what they were going to do with the title. Should they package it as a standalone game, or release it for download only? Since Portal was so much shorter than most retail releases, no one knew how much they could expect people to pay for the game. In the end, Valve combined Portal with Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two to create The Orange Box.

As you can see, Valve didn't want to expend too many of its resources working on Portal, even though they liked the ideas behind Narbacular Drop enough to hire the team. They wanted to keep their risks small, and test the waters with the game before contemplating a sequel. Once Portal's success was sure, they hired another team with unique ideas to help out with Portal 2, and brought more of their veteran developers into the project.

With Alien Swarm, Valve kept the team small, perhaps no longer than the original mod team themselves, and kept them working on other projects to lessen the risk of devoting too much time to the game. Once they released it, they didn't package it with another game, as they did with Portal and The Orange Box, they simply released it for free, and threw in the source code and the Source SDK. They don't have to worry about fans being upset about paying for a new game, and the mod community gets some new tools to work with.

From what IceFrog said and the fact that he was hired by them, it seems that Valve has some interest in expanding into new genres, and also in supporting community involvement in their games. The latter is starting to show as a broad strategy, especially with Team Fortress 2 adding a site for community contributions, then hosting a competition (http://www.polycount.com/team-fortress-2-polycount-pack/) to create content packs for official inclusion in their games, and now letting the community compete to detail their map for them (http://artpass.tf2maps.net/).

Xenoyia
07-17-2010, 12:11 AM
Nice. Would be nice to see different genres of valve games around. Only FPS games gets a little boring.

Schopenhauer
07-17-2010, 12:14 AM
Good speculation. I think this could be the way to go for some PC developers in general. Give your fans the tools to create, pick out the best, and reward both the creators and the fans of the game by releasing great content. It's a win/win/win situation, for the FanCreator/developer/GamingConsumer. Mods have existed for a long time, and it's always nice to see when a mod is sponsored in such a way that it becomes "official."

Marcem7121
07-17-2010, 12:24 AM
Yeah, I'm thinking it's experiment, and trying to make mod developers make decent stuff.

ğMλRCOĞ
07-17-2010, 12:45 AM
I played Dota and i never get it

derrman0426
07-17-2010, 01:09 AM
Well Alien Swarm is a 4 player co-op game and Valve hired the mod team to work on the Left 4 Dead series another 4 player co-op game, so I see Left 4 Dead was the experiment and they just want this game to be reborn cause the mod team do work for Valve now, it is like any mod that Valve take under their wing, it will get a professional treatment from a professional team.

Zurack
07-17-2010, 01:10 AM
This can be very possible. I doubt that Valve will just ignore this game if it's a big success.

I played Dota and i never get it

[offtopic]
You should check out League of Legends if you are interested, it's similar to DotA, but newbie-friendly and it's a real game, not a map for Warcraft.

Ankh
07-17-2010, 06:52 AM
Sure seems that way - a bit of an experiment, a bit of publicity, an excuse for a tools update and something to show off the new engine improvements Lost Coast style. It also lets more people experience the Source Engine's inner workings, while also letting them play with things like the tile map editor, making it more appealing for new developers. It works well from a lot of angles.

GodlikeGER
07-17-2010, 06:59 AM
Lol
I wanna have DotA:Source :D

Mike_Bson
07-17-2010, 07:11 AM
I just got Dota Source, (as a zip), extracted the files, what do I do with them now? Sorry for being a little off-topic.

Nekomancer
07-17-2010, 07:12 AM
http://dotasource.de/

There you go ;).

drunkenrobot
07-17-2010, 07:16 AM
Valve made RTS would be incredible.

Mike_Bson
07-17-2010, 07:17 AM
http://dotasource.de/

There you go ;).

Eh, I was not able to navigate myself to the English page.

Could I just be informed as with what to do with the files?

Rave Zero
07-17-2010, 07:17 AM
It's an experiment for a later first-person-shooter-version of this game, Left4Aliens :-) ;-)

jasonz777z
07-17-2010, 07:19 AM
Wild? Naah. Totally agreeable, more like.

Shamanno1
07-17-2010, 07:22 AM
Rts games by Valve, now that's something to look after ^^

911Donkey
07-17-2010, 11:28 AM
+rep for the best OP I've seen here in a while.

shackanaw
07-17-2010, 01:31 PM
Oh look, a private DotA Steam group full of Valve employees, including the Alien Swarm guys: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/DotA

Rumina
07-17-2010, 01:47 PM
It should be noted, with a free price tag there won't be a lot of complainers and whiners (not nearly as many anyways). Instead what Valve will get back is more valuable feedback and criticism than usual for future endeavors.

1Crazyman1
07-17-2010, 04:20 PM
Let's be honest, they made quite a bit of money off the sales. So they don't really have to worry about cash-flow for now. So this is win-win for both parties. We get a free game, they get to see whether the game works, if it needs improvements, what needs improving etc.

WIN-WIN


I wish more developers would do this though.

Nikos the great
07-17-2010, 05:05 PM
Let's be honest, they made quite a bit of money off the sales. So they don't really have to worry about cash-flow for now. So this is win-win for both parties. We get a free game, they get to see whether the game works, if it needs improvements, what needs improving etc.

WIN-WIN


I wish more developers would do this though.

*sigh*

they do make money from Alien swarm in the long run, there's no company that creates games for fun just because they got money to spare.

1Crazyman1
07-17-2010, 06:40 PM
*sigh*

they do make money from Alien swarm in the long run, there's no company that creates games for fun just because they got money to spare.

Well .. yes, that's what I said. "We get a free game, they get to see whether the game works, if it needs improvements, what needs improving etc."

Watchtower
07-17-2010, 07:58 PM
Honestly I think they are doing this because they respect the work of their employees and because the mod was initially a conflict of interest when they got hired, it died.

To me, this is the reason why Valve is the best gaming company in the world. What other game company would or should I say, could, do this for their employees?

I can see why all the hush hush too. If word got out that the Alien Swarm guys got hired by Valve when they did, they never would heard the end of "omg when is A.Swarm coming out omg omg plz omg" from stupid fanboys.

Metro
07-17-2010, 08:41 PM
Valve has some interest in expanding into new genres, and also in supporting community involvement in their games.

That's been patently obvious for years.

shackanaw
07-18-2010, 04:11 PM
That's been patently obvious for years.

They've never strayed from the first-person perspective, however.

Portal was uniquely a puzzle game with very minimal combat, but even the puzzle aspect wasn't a radical departure for Valve, since they are well known for including puzzles in the Half-Life series.

Hiring an RTS developer seems rather intriguing, as does the release of a top-down shooter.

kraid08
07-18-2010, 08:33 PM
I'm sure we all are going to expierience something with an incredible impact by Valve within the next years.

Oh, and +1 for you, OP :)

bloodypalace
07-18-2010, 08:51 PM
Explanation of PersonGuy (Valve employee who has worked on AS):

It's been a long long time in the works trying to figure when/how we'd release it. Yeah, we considered a million other options. I think it was around March that we settled on this plan [releasing it for free] and began the final development push.

http://www.facepunch.com/showpost.php?p=23457640&postcount=295

BoBo2
07-19-2010, 12:13 AM
I'd like to see Valve do more "smaller" games.

Duerkos
07-19-2010, 12:35 AM
Also, releasing a free game is interesting for Valve:

A- Consumers will like the company even more.

B- If a sequel -or a game from the same team - is released, this free game serves as advertisement (like when Portal was free for a month , to remind us Portal 2 was coming and lots of new people playing it that will buy the sequel)

C- As it has been suggested, they can try new things and see if they work.

D- Last but not least, if you have steam and like the game you'll bring more friends to steam, to play this free game. That is very good for Valve, as they'll probably buy some games in the future.

Fel
07-19-2010, 01:20 AM
Valve has also hired another developer, IceFrog, who maintains the DotA RTS mod, apparently to work on "some very exciting stuff that [DotA fans] will love." Now, I have never played DotA, but it looks like it is a top-view strategy game, like (not completely similar, of course, but similar in that it is not an FPS, and has the top down view) to Alien Swarm.
Oh dear god, DotA. One of the saddest games on WC3 in that it's actually mediocre compared to some good stuff on there, but overplayed to infinity.
If you're a diehard wc3 fan who's been around for years, you will realize how bad (and frankly unoriginal, the AoS genre is played to death) DotA is as a game and how many other games on WC3 are so much better than it. And I sure hope icefrog (who did not, in fact, develop the original dota but rather made a spinoff =\) has better credentials than "developed dota" because the WC3 editor is incredibly simple to use and probably has no reflection on actual developing skills. And I know this because I have done extensive work with it myself and developed a semi-popular mod for WC3.
...Ranting aside, I think Alien swarm is just amazing publicity for Valve and a hook to get people into steam.
Which is awesome in my view, because free game from my favorite developer.

shackanaw
07-19-2010, 09:43 AM
I'm not sure what AoS stands for, but I did make a point of saying that he maintains it, rather than developed it. My understanding was that somebody else developed it, then eventually IceFrog took over the responsibilities.

Bobby Road
07-19-2010, 10:20 AM
Kinda off topic but if your interested in DoTa get "League of Legends" instead. It's made by some of the original DoTa team, it's newbie friendly. Free to Play (except for custom skins), and has more players.

GordonFreeman12
07-19-2010, 10:33 AM
A wild speculation appears!

w00ties
07-19-2010, 11:21 AM
I approve of Valves experimentation, I have enjoyed every result of it so far.

Motanum
07-19-2010, 11:30 AM
Soo, valve makes a 3d perspective view for the source engine and they have the Dota guy.

Fcking sweet, this is going somewhere! I love VALVe

shackanaw
07-22-2010, 01:01 PM
I'm going to go ahead and bump this, now that the forum is a lot more active and the game has actually been released.

battlefrank8
07-22-2010, 01:08 PM
This sounds a lot better than any of the IW horror stories I keep hearing.

Amafoo\Amarkir
07-22-2010, 01:10 PM
Valve is the last man standing in the PC gaming department. It makes sense that they would want to monopolize all areas of gaming.

shackanaw
07-22-2010, 01:13 PM
Valve is the last man standing in the PC gaming department.

Well, them and Blizzard.

Whiteblade999
07-22-2010, 01:34 PM
Well, them and Blizzard.

This is debatable. As of late they have been doing some rather questionable things like putting out a $25 reskin or giving the option of selling mods which completely kills the concept of free user-added and regulated content.

shackanaw
07-22-2010, 01:41 PM
Actually, I really don't follow Blizzard very much. I just know that their games' communities are still huge, and StarCraft and Diablo still sell plenty of copies, not to mention WoW.

Actually, I've only played the 3 RTS WarCraft games, StarCraft, and briefly the StarCraft II beta before going back to TF2, my drug of choice.

PSG_Mud
07-22-2010, 01:46 PM
Its called making service games instead of product games.

Instead of spending 7 years to make a game. They make a game with bare bones, and if its successful they update it overtime to a product game. Or, make an entirely new full fledged game of it.

It allows teams to many benefits, such as releasing games with up to date graphics, style, themes of pop culture, etc. Gabe Newell talked about this alot, fortunately for him, other companies are just to dumb to catch on. Imagine a service game that takes off and then DLC charges, in the end you would be spending 100x more for the game.

Gabe also wants a following on steam, so is more than willing to make people happy here. Business is still business though.