Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Valve Software is a Bellevue, Washington-based video game developer made famous by its first product, Half-Life released in November 1998. The company has continued in the footsteps of HL's success by developing mods, spin-offs, and sequels including Half-Life 2.
Long-time Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington founded Valve in 1996. After securing a license to the Quake engine (through the help of friend Michael Abrash of id Software) in late 1996, they commenced working on Half-Life. Originally planned for release in late 1997, Half-Life eventually launched on October 31, 1998. Valve acquired TF Software PTY Ltd., the makers of the Team Fortress mod for Quake with the intent to create a standalone Team Fortress 2 game. The Team Fortress Classic mod was released as in a 1999 update to Half-Life, yet TF2 is supposedly still in development.
Valve continued work on Half-Life, releasing several more extensions to the game and collaborated with other developers to port it to other platforms. They also took on-board the development of the highly popular Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat Half-Life mods.
Steam and lawsuits
Valve announced its Steam content delivery system in 2002. At the time, it looked to be a method of streamlining the patch process common in online computer games. Steam was later revealed as a replacement for much of the dated framework of WON and Half-Life multiplayer and also as a distribution system for entire games.
Since 2002, Valve has been in a complex legal showdown with its publisher, Sierra On-Line (who was later bought by Vivendi Universal Games). It officially began on August 14, 2002 when Valve sued Sierra for copyright infringement, alleging that the publisher illegally distributed copies of their games to Internet cafes. They later added claims of breach of contract, accusing their publisher of withholding royalties and delaying the release of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero until after the holiday season.
Vivendi fought back, saying that Gabe Newell and marketing director Doug Lombardi had misrepresented Valve's position in meetings with the publisher. Vivendi later countersued, claiming that Valve's Steam content distribution system attempts to circumvent their publishing agreement. They are seeking to prevent Valve from distributing Half-Life 2 via Steam and be awarded the Half-Life intellectual property rights.
In November 29, 2004, Judge Thomas S. Zilly, of U.S. Federal District Court in Seattle, WA, ruled that Sierra/Vivendi Universal Games, and its affiliates, are not authorized to distribute (directly or indirectly) Valve games through cyber cafés to end users for pay-to-play activities pursuant to the parties' current publishing agreement. Valve games such as Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Day of Defeat and the recently released Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source are all popular in cyber cafés. In addition, Judge Zilly ruled in favor of the Valve motion regarding the contractual limitation of liability, allowing Valve to recover copyright damages for any infringement as allowed by law without regard to the publishing agreement's limitation of liability clause.
The company created a stir at E³ in May 2003 by debuting what appeared to be a surprisingly complete Half-Life 2 and its Source engine. Originally scheduled to be released in September 2003, the game's first delay was announced just weeks before its scheduled release. Valve later admitted that the game was far from completion. Just before the delay was announced, Valve garnered community support due to a leak of Half-Life 2's source code. Half-Life 2 was released on November 16, 2004.The hacker who stole the source code was a German who went by the name of Axel G. and has been tried and convicted in America. April 2005 and an add-on pack for Half-Life 2 has been announced called "Aftermath"; during a discussion with Valve's Jess Cliffe about Aftermath, he also reported that news of Team Fortress 2 was coming soon.
- Official Homepage of Valve Software
- Official Steam Site
- GameSpot: "The Final Hours of Half Life 2"
- GameSpot: "Valve vs. Vivendi Universal dogfight heats up in US District Court" (20 Sept 2004)
- GameSpot: "The Final Hours of Half-Life: Behind Closed Doors at Valve Software"
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