Valve Software is one of the few developers that can effectively control their own destiny. Their games (Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2) have been huge sellers. Their Steam online delivery system allows them to bypass the normal retail channels and allow other developers to use it as well. Finally their Source graphics engine not only powers their current games but upcoming third party titles. Firing Squad got a chance to ask some questions to Valve's marketing director Doug Lombardi to find out more about Source, Steam, Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and more.
FiringSquad: First, Valve will have a booth at this year's GDC expo. What will the company be demoing at their booth both in front of and behind closed
We're actually not demo'ing a thing. We're simply setting up a booth with a few meeting rooms so we may speak with anyone
interested in utilizing Steam, the Source engine, or maybe working at Valve.
FiringSquad: Valve has secured a number of licenses for its Source engine from both big and small developers. Overall is Valve happy with the amount of
interest in the engine and does it plan to expand its licenses in the future?
We feel like this effort is just beginning. We're very interested in getting the word out to the community that Source is
available for 3rd party licensing, it's a flexible set of technology, and we'll be announcing a next generation console version (created in house at Valve) very, very soon.
FiringSquad: Even more attention is being made over Valve's Steam service. Has Valve been surprised by the amount of interest in using Steam to
What's been surprising is how successful Steam has been for the 3rd parties. The Red Orchestra team saw their project become profitable through Steam pre-orders alone. It's always nice to turn a profit before your game has shipped. The Introversion guys made more from Steam sales of Darwinia in two weeks than from months of retails sales of the same product. Also, after forming a relationship with us to ship their games via Steam, both the Rag Doll and Red Orchestra teams found retail distribution deals.
FiringSquad: In a recent article you mentioned that Half-Life 2: Episode 1 will be more complex and have more depth than Half-Life 2. Can you be more
specific on how Episode 1 will accomplish this?
It's just a matter of having a tighter focus, really: The Episode One team is focusing on delivering a strong new single player experience, designed to be four to six hours in length. Freed from having to tie together 15-plus hours of gameplay into a cohesive experience, the team now has the ability to pack each room, each set piece, etc., full of primary and secondary interactions, story reveals, and more.