Valve, You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourselves

20th September 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Lord has recently released his unfinished sequel called Eye of the Storm 2. He released it unfinished because he became frustrated with Source tools constant crashes and problems. Personally, I don’t blame him because any work you do in your spare time for others should be enjoyable.

There have been some comments on that mod about his decision and the situation in general and whilst I posted some about Get Mods Working I hadn’t addressed the issues directly.

To my knowledge, Valve has neither acknowledged nor openly discussed the Source update that broke a lot of mods. To me this is shameful. Valve was created by executives but built by modders. If I understand the origin and history of Valve correctly, they took modders from the Quake community and hired them to build Half-Life.

Valve do a lot of fantastic things but in this case they seem to have let the community down and perhaps as importantly let themselves down.

It really doesn’t matter if the engine update is the most important project in Valve right now. Whether they have taken on new staff, have allocated man hours or finances to fix the issue. What matters is that they have said nothing about it.

I’m not even expecting them to fix it, but I’ll come on to that, all I expect (yes, I actually EXPECT this) is that they acknowledge the issue and apologize. I don’t care if it was on purpose or an accident. I don’t even care if it is part of a long term plan that outweighs the current situation.



I challenge any authorized Valve employee to stand up and be a man. Are you reading this Gabe?

When that hacker stole your Half-Life 2 source code, which was completely YOUR fault, WE, the community helped YOU. The least you could do is let us know what’s happening.

Of course, I also believe that they should fix the issue too but in some way I am less worried about that. Shit Happens. I accept that. That don’t have to fix free software but of course their success is built on the use of that software. Geez, it can’t be impossible to fix, can it?

As you probably know I have no interest in multiplayer mods, so I have no idea if any or how many MP mods were affected by the update but I feel confident that if nearly every MP had stopped working like SP mods the community would have gone crazy. In fact, that makes me wonder what the percentage of play time for Source SP games, Source SP mods, Source MP games and Source MP mods is.

Do we doubt that the SP mods would be at the bottom? I don’t, although I could be wrong. What I am trying to get at is that the play time of both MP and SP mods must be pretty significant compared to the games. If they completely break a game they fix it pretty damn quick, but not so with mods it seems.

Lord is one example of a modder who has given up and I am sure there are others. Most probably just stop using Source tools and move onto other games and engines. I suppose it depends on how far you are along with development. Some mods are just too far along for the modders to think of stopping or switching engines. Better to persevere and hope that Valve fixes things.

Potential modders are possibly the biggest loss. Why start to learn something when it’s broken. In fact, with the Unreal Development Kit available why bother with Source at all? I am only interested because I want to tell stories from within the HL universe, but I know most modders don’t give a hreadcrab’s fart about stuff like that.

They want a stable, easy to use and popular engine. If other retail developers can supply that then great. That’s where they will go.

The PP community is made up of more players than developers but we need each other. Players can’t play if modders don’t make anything and modders won’t make something that won’t be played.

Eventually Valve will release something or the next engine will allow the goldfish modders to move on, but this whole incident leaves a sour taste in my mouth, that ultimately makes we wonder if Valve really do care for the community any more.


  1. NykO18

    We’ve been waiting for Left 4 Dead fixes for over a year and a half without any result, we barelly managed to release our I Hate Mountains campaign even using hacks and exploits to work around the gazillion issues with the tools and engine. Get over it, they don’t seem to care anymore, just like they released Alien Swarm without any content, told people to build their own game and call it a day without actually doing anything for modders. I think the modding era comes close to its end, at least for me, it’s over. I just gave up on Source engine.

    1. I think the modding era comes close to its end

      I hope you are wrong, but who knows, maybe things are about to change. You know, I thought that modding would be around forever, but now you have me thinking. Is modding just a phase? I don’t think so, but its form may change over time.

      Interesting thought. Plenty of scope of articles etc.

      1. Rog

        There are a lot more free or open source tools available for independent game development now. There are almost monthly announcements of well-made engines. Unless it’s shooter based, why limit yourself to Source or UDK when you could go with Ogre3D for a truly free license?

        There’s also overlap in crowd-source level editing, ala Little Big Planet and Mod Nation Racers. Mind you, that’s always existed, how many of us came into modding via games like Adventure Construction Set?

        I get the feeling that Valve themselves are standing at a fork in the road. They could possibly go with more light-modding, they’ve kind of leaned that way with L4D and Alien Swarm. Or they could be sitting on a new updated engine + tools and go full force modding again. I don’t think they’re ready to talk about any of those possibilities yet, but they’ve hinted at a lot of news over the next year.

        I’ll agree with Bramblepath, it would be an odd time for anyone to give up. I don’t begrudge any modders who’ve found other solutions tho, waiting always sucks and there are lots of other directions to take right now.

      2. Herr_Alien

        I don’t think modding is/was a phase. There will always be some features that somebody will want to add to a game.

        Don’t get me wrong, with Unity and UDK out there, I can see plenty of modding teams deciding to make games instead of TCs for the Source engine. That doesn’t mean though that there will be no more fans of a game, fans that will want to change or tweak the game.

        Thing is, that game that the fans will change, does it have to be a Source based game?

        1. I don’t think modding is/was a phase. There will always be some features that somebody will want to add to a game.

          Yes, I agree that it’s not a phase. Nut gaming and modding is very young, even if it doesn’t seem that way and over time, things change. Who knows what will be happening in ten or twenty years.

          Modding is only possible because developers release tools to do it. What if Valve decide that the hassle of providing these tool is just not worth it? If that happens modding dies almost instantly. We may think that will never change but a lot of things were like that and have changed.

          Modding is certainly getting more complicated and the time and effort required to make the mods greater. That alone seems to have dropped the number of releases. There are still so many variables that we just don’t know.

          1. Kasperg

            That’s a very important point. Right now it’s up to Valve to make the tools stop working whenever they want.
            Heck, I can only run Hammer and a game if I’m connected to Valve’s servers, which I fail to understand.

            Could you imagine any of these problems coming up in the pre-Steam version of Half-life 1? Impossible!
            You could decide NOT to install the latest patches and have a stable version of the engine no-one would touch and a standalone Worldcraft editor which again was out of Valve’s reach in terms of forcing updates. You could live 10 years in your basement making Half-life 1 mods and nothing would prevent them from working on your friend’s computer.

            If an “illegal” version of the tools ever shows up, don’t think I’ll turn away from it.
            Actually, I think the current version should be considered illegal.
            Game companies think this “Big brother” attitude won’t come back to bite them, but they’re in for some surprises in the coming years.

    2. Anon_229504

      Lololololol alien swarm is THE most modable valve game yet. It features an ingame level editor. + its free so valve DOES NOT owe any maps to us for alien swarm. You cannot complAin about a free game.

  2. ollo83

    you’re totally right, phillip!

    i stopped playing HL2 mods a while ago and just when I wanted to play a few never ones there was this update… as I don’t want want to hassle around fixing stuff myself I just stayed cool and wanted to wait until its fixed… yeah, haven’t touched that “Half-Life 2” buttons since then….
    shame on you, valve….

  3. andyb

    I too think they should fix it.While I am handy at fixing some of them myself,a few are not fixable without source files and none of the mod groups seem to let them out.

  4. Rog

    I dunno.

    It’s nice to get communication updates from Valve, but I’d rather they work on what they work on. I realize there are people waiting on things and that it’s productive to know what’s getting fixed and what isn’t.

    Who wants to roadmap their own development if they aren’t sure on the status of the tools?

    I just don’t think communication has ever been Valve’s strong point. They provide tools, continual updates of the games / engine, plus the carrot of possible Steam publishing. I’d like them to be more about community support, but they’re really coder centric instead (IE: Valve Time and whatnot).

    Insisting on an apology tho is more likely to stifle communication. Like the L4D2 “boycott” thing, it’s counter-productive. The more petulant the demands, the easier they are to dismiss.

    Maybe it is my different perspective. I was away from the mod community for a long while and coming back right now, Hammer, etc. seem to work nicer than it did a few years ago. So I don’t have this feeling that it’s gotten worse, instead I’m feeling charged and enthused.

    UDK is doing well right now and I suspect that’s part of the anxiety of mod developers, because the grass is always greener. IMHO their tools aren’t any less crashy or buggy and while convenient for formally trained 3D artists, they are otherwise not as friendly for just straight-out map creation. Pros and Cons.

    Regardless with more options for modding and engine development everywhere, I think there’s this expectation that Valve should “step up”. They just just as easily fall back on games and distribution, that’s where they make their money. We’d all prefer if they revitalized modding, I’m sure all of us are hoping there’s just a big engine update on the horizon and they’re just buried in the work. *crosses fingers*

    Now excuse me while I run VRAD again, it appears to have borked while I typed this. =P

    1. Insisting on an apology tho is more likely to stifle communication. Like the L4D2 “boycott” thing, it’s counter-productive. The more petulant the demands, the easier they are to dismiss.

      I understand what you are saying but I’m not insisting. I’m not saying I won’t buy EP3 unless they apologize. Geez, it’s three words (no, not he “I Love You” ones), “We are sorry”. It’s not hard to do and goes a long, long way.

      I don’t care how much work they have, it doesn’t take much to make that announcement. There are NO excuses for not doing this.

  5. Rosco

    You know, inclusion of released UDK mods in PP would be great. I looked on the main UDK site and it’s difficult at best to figure out what is even available except for their “Showcase” which only highlights 8 mods (the UT3 demo should not count).

    I’d like to try out some single player UDK mods, but have no idea where to look for them, if they exist at all.

    1. You know, inclusion of released UDK mods in PP would be great.

      Sorry, never gonna happen. Although, it’s a great idea for a website. I won’t even think about it because I don’t have enough time to run PP properly.

  6. Bramblepath

    I don’t think it’s time to give up yet. They’ve been silent, yes, but this is Valve and they have served us very well over their time. They wouldn’t give up on such an integral of their games” fan bases so apathetically. I’d like to think that they’re cooking something up, but there’s no way to tell.

    We should try and stay faithful to Source after all they’ve done for us in the past, and hope that they do release some fixes.

    1. I don’t think it’s time to give up yet.

      I haven’t given up on a fixing appearing, just on getting some honest communication.

  7. toops

    Just let it go.
    Mod supporting Valve died after they released L4D and sold millions on console.(Why bother and support the pc mod tools if they can yearly release a skin pack for 50/60$)

  8. Remember everybody. In this rant I’m not really talking about them fixing the damn thing, just saying something like “Yes, we broke it and are sorry.”

  9. Radiatoryang

    E-mail Robin Walker. Sometimes you’ll get replies and it’s awesome because he’ll say “here’s this secret engine feature that you can use that’ll fix your problem” and then you’ll feel all special and gooey inside.

    (What unfixable unspeakable problems did Eye of the Storm face, btw?)

    Usually if I encounter something Source can’t do, then I change my design OR design around it. Every engine has its quirks; don’t work against those quirks, but take it in stride. You’ll be a better designer for it. It’ll make you more creative and more resourceful.

    1. (What unfixable unspeakable problems did Eye of the Storm face, btw?

      Not sure, to be honest. Maybe Lord will tell us. I might even email him about it.

      Usually if I encounter something Source can’t do, then I change my design OR design around it. Every engine has its quirks; don’t work against those quirks, but take it in stride. You’ll be a better designer for it. It’ll make you more creative and more resourceful.

      Excellent advice.

    2. Kasperg

      Learning how to work around design problems that come out of the conflict of what I want to do and what the engine lets me do are always a great learning experience.

      However, the type of problems Lord and other designers (myself included) have been getting these pasts months are the Why did they break this when it worked fine?, Why did they change this when it wasn’t needed?, Why wasn’t this optional? and a long, very long etc.
      As I mentioned in the Eots2 thread: Why did the Fallingwater map I released in January of 2006 stop working in May 2010? Why do brushes dissapear in the first maps of The Citizen when they were working just fine on November 2007?
      No matter how much improvements you add to an engine, how many new computers (macs etc) you can get the games working on, the truth of the matter is that you’re extremely lousy at it if you need to break previously working things on the way.

      I’m determined to finish The Citizen Part 2 (three years working on it deserves it), but I will still say the Source Engine that Valve was going to update over the years turned out to be nothing but a big mess they could never handle properly.

      1. Hec

        Good for you, man!!!, I think your going to give an excellent work!!!!, and don’t giving up after 3 years of hard work is an example of what valve doesn’t want to understand, that people like kasperg mantain alive this big hl community, good for you thank you kasperg for sustain the spark of hope!!

  10. I’m a newbie (noob?) at mapping and SDK: 2009 has lost chunks of my 5th “practice” map.
    Hammer crashes are a pain and you lose your thread. Sometimes it crashes when you open it; although that seems to be happening less frequently now.
    The experienced mappers may know work-arounds but I’m still learning.
    I’ve now got UDK and working with (it works fine if a little ponderous).
    I’ll get back to SDK when the darned thing works properly.

    Yes, they could have at least said ‘sorry’.

    Mappers continuing with SDK have my admiration. This includes Lord who obviously got hacked off.
    There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he stopped before he tried to finish it many times. EOTS was very obviously a work close to his heart.

  11. Zonbie

    Well folks, that’s [a] Valve in your eye.

  12. Cameron:D

    Actually half of the problem does lie with the creator of the mod. The mods that broke are the mods that mounted the EP2 content as the primay content whereas it should have been the SDK base. When the EP2 binaries changed, their content wasn’t compatible with the 2009 engine so it broke.

    And I thought Valve did mention this somewhere.

    1. Kasperg

      I’ve never modded for Ep2 and have had my share of problems…

      If starting a mod based on the SDK Base was the way to do it, Valve could’ve made sure the “Create a mod” tools worked on that basis from start, which of course they didn’t back when a lot of people (myself included) decided to make mods for Half-life 2.
      And Valve didn’t have to mention it somewhere if it was important. It should’ve been a big pop up window in Hammer or the SDK menu. I get tons of Steam popups for games I care nothing about. Why can’t Steam notice I use the SDK more than anything and keep me informed of changes and recommendations?

      I won’t accept placing half the blame of modders, and I’ll explain why:

      Let’s say my mod had been working flawlessly for 30 months, under a supposedly wrong configuration.
      If it worked (and hundreds of people who played it over the years can confirm it did), then the setup was fine. That’s just a plain and simple fact.
      If someone decided to change the engine 30 months later and my mod (or even some standalone maps after four and a half years) stops working, then I think anyone can tell who messed up what and when.
      I guess the If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it hasn’t reached all corners of the world yet.

      1. Rog

        There’s a catch-22 at work with mod developers though. You want the latest and greatest features, but you also don’t want a moving target.

        I know one of the reasons people love Valve is because of their support of their older products. They don’t fire and forget. There’s a fair amount of backporting to keep things running and it’s natural they would concentrate on the engine first and the SDK second.

        At this point, has Valve corrected the moving target problem with the 2006 & 2007 SDK bases? Will mods created with the 2007 base still work down the road? Is there a snapshot of the tools for these versions (I honestly haven’t looked, but I believe the tools are always updated instead)?

        I guess the complaint is that 2009 shouldn’t be the moving target either? Valve clearly has two moving targets, their internal working engine (ala Portal 2) and the 2009 SDK which gets some backports.

        If you fully license UDK from Epic, you will end up in the same exact scenario, choosing between the current or stable versions. They just don’t have an inbetween version for backporting AFAIK. The “free” UDK is basically comparable to Source 2007 (not in features, I mean in development stages).

        1. Kyouryuu

          All the Half-Life 2 games forced themselves into the 2009 version in the Source SDK and, as mentioned before, we still lack a Source SDK Base 2009. Since that’s obviously where Valve intends for us to be modding now, where is it? That’s all I really want to know. Because, fundamentally, I’m modding in a black box right now. I’m hoping that Valve eventually releases this Base so I can create a proper mod and stop “unsafely” using the games themselves as the base. But if months pass and there’s still nothing, then I’ll be in the exact same boat Lord is.

          I think that the least you can do for your fans – the absolute least really – is to acknowledge the issues in the Steam forums. It would take, what, a couple minutes of your time? I hope that’s not too much to ask.

          The concept of unifying all of the Half-Life 2 games into one engine sounds like a good idea on paper. The engine has made some progress in the last few years and it’s great to see it backported into HL2 and Episode 1 like a fresh coat of paint on a nice house. But it seems to me that the problem is that they only applied the primer and stopped midway to go work on something else. So, now our house looks ugly and this first layer is peeling and chipping while we wait for the contractor to come back to finish the job.

          And what if they never come back?

          1. I think that the least you can do for your fans β€” the absolute least really β€” is to acknowledge the issues in the Steam forums. It would take, what, a couple minutes of your time? I hope that’s not too much to ask.

            Exactly. A lot of the comments have been focused on the issues themselves but I hardly touched upon them. I just feel those few minutes you mention would make the community feel so much better.

            That said, in the incredibly unlikely event that my rant is actually the catalyst for an apology too be issued, I will feel that they only did it to “shut us up”. If you have to ask for an apology it’s not the same as it being given freely.

        2. Kasperg

          There’s a catch-22 at work with mod developers though. You want the latest and greatest features, but you also don’t want a moving target.

          Not in our case. We didn’t want the latest features (maybe a couple) and for that reason we were mapping for HL2. Not Ep1 and certainly not for Ep2.
          You’d think after four and a half years they would leave the HL2 engine more or less stable… But then they decided it really did look bad and Mac users deserved something that didn’t look like it came out on Nov 2004.

          Source SDK base is an inferior engine to the AppID 220 we were using and has lower vertex drawing limits which affect almost all of our maps. Why are we suddenly forced to map for it?

          I could go on about how the console versions of the games added ridiculous steps to the process of close-captioning which used to need only a .txt file, but why bother… πŸ™

      2. What maps aren’t working? o.o

        I haven’t tested any maps, assuming that they all work fine.

  13. MrTwoVideoCards

    Working with City17 Episode 1, we’ve only encountered the same problems with the numerous sdk updates around the month of may, each seeming to break things more after another. This already on top of the fact the tools are unstable as hell.

    Quite a lot of people at Interlopers have been feeling the same way, and have been moving to other more flexible engines like Unreal, and Cryengine. I’m giving up source myself more or less after City17’s release. I don’t really think Valve is going to get their act together anytime soon.

  14. AzzX

    A lot of issues and work arounds are posted on the Valve Dev wiki: including the fix
    Including the reset game configurations you mentioned in another post:

    I guess with an evolving engine like Source these things are bound to happen. Maybe they should do away with incremental updates aka the Unreal engine – I don’t know.

    What I would put money on though is a massive engine update coming soon – perhaps a completely new revised source engine.

  15. bobdog

    PP, why don’t you also email Gabe himself? That’s who you really want to apologize. Send him your discussion, and a link to this thread. Who knows?

    1. Firstly, to be honest I’m not really worried about an apology. I was just posturing. The situation hasn’t really affected me, since I don’t currently use Source tools. I don’t need to play old mods yet, so really the whole issue hasn’t caused me any problem.

      I do feel strongly that they should apologize to the community though.

      Secondly, I don’t see why I should have to contact a company to get an apology. My point is that it should have been given freely.

      Lastly, of all the emails I’ve sent valve, not many but around 5 or 6, I’ve only ever received one reply. That greatly disappoints me. EVERY single email I receive that is a legitimate mail that requires an reply gets answered. No Exceptions. If you pout your email on a website you should answer every single message. Sure, they receive a lot more email than I do but I don’t care. Can you imagine finding out that they only answered 1 in 6 phone calls?

      Many companies behave this way and it’s wrong.

      1. Also, Gabe invites players to contact him right in some of the games themselves. Why bother if he hardly ever replies?

  16. clearly valve has a public relations person. or even a secretary who could answer the question with out giving any “trade secrets” away.
    I have been very busy last part of the year and when a great mod came around I loaded it into steam and would get to it when I could. I lost the ability to play 13 large story lined mods made by great people. when I review I try to be fair and say why I like them and what I did not. I do what I can to help other gamers who get stuck as others who post here do to. it is not too much to ask for something from valve.

  17. Pingback: Accursed Farms » Visual update

  18. Hec

    Totally agree with you phillip!!, it was about time that some one with enough weight as you into the HL mod playing community tell those valve’s big fishes nothing but truth..

    Moreover I would add, or better, I would want to rise my voice to all HL mod gamers, in a kind REVOLUTION scream, I mean, a revolution for the truth, I demmand as a gamer and steam user, that valve publish or reveal what they are triyng to do with the engeines, and mainly also that they reveal details about the HL ep 3 development, I think that valve developers also let themselves down, and I think they are so ungrateful with the concept and game that made them sooo rich…., I mean if were not for that HL game that the community helped to became the greatest game ever, those valve developers were NOTHING in the industry,, otherwise they reveal many updates even blogs for other products, but let HL series just rot on the shelf!!!!, thats so UNFAIR, and a demonstration of that fact is what is happening right now with all the trouble modders are experiencing.

    Also I join to phillips demand and as a gamer and usser, I ask to valve at least an appology, because with all those rough moves you are demonstrating that HL universe (which owes you all what you are right now) just don’t care at all……., valve is more interested in keep their big mouth shout, just to make “easy and whealty hits”, than to have a big moding and gamers community pleased.

    Finally, I said it once, and I am saying it again VALVE’s SILENCE IS THEIR BIGEST SIN, and mistake…….

    pd: Valve revolutioned the game industry once due to it’s sense of communtiy that now it seems to stop or just destroy…..

  19. As many have said, the idea of updating the engine is great in theory and on paper but the reality is a lot different.

    If we had know about all this we might have chosen to not auto-update and shouldn’t the ability to backdate be also part of the concept?

    I would have prefer fixed engines, that I know are stable and work. Even if that means 5 different engines with 5 different sets of tools, at least we know where we stand.

    It’s times like this that you can almost understand people using pirated software.

  20. Shadowmancer471

    The modding community is dying?
    Well, I think it’ll take it a long time to dwindle away considering how huge it is.
    I think we’re still good for a while yet, many people are still mapping (I myself am in map 2 of my 5 map pack), and it only takes a quick look at FPSB to see how well HL2’s community is proliferating.

    Sure, every modding community dies out, but I still think there’s a little (or a lot of) life in this one

  21. I think past the way that the HL2 games have been coded (expecting a company to restructure their entire codebase to make modding easier is completely unreasonable, of course) this issue boils down to a couple of major points (excluding the rare rate of bug fixes):

    The wiki is too unofficial, there needs to be an official listing somewhere that has more technical details of SDK updates. Occasionally someone at Valve will respond with valuable information somewhere on the mailing lists or wiki but it’s too rare and too hard to find.

    Updates are forced on us, we should be able to chose to install updates to the sdk, and to single player games in general. Should people with poor systems be forced to install the multi-gigabyte HL2 update? Of course not, yet Steam forces you to do so. I’ve had the first Modern Warefare uninstalled for a few months because it just kept reinstalling and murdering my bandwidth because Steam was erronously detecting it as out of date. A simple “An update is available for this game, would you like to install it?” or “An update is required in order to play this multiplayer game, would you like to install it now?” would make such issues far less annoying. I still consider this something high on the priority list. Just a few months back the SDK was completely unusable because of a failed update, fanmade fixes work fine but the fact that Steam necessitates that the tools reinstall from Valve’s broken copies means a hell of a lot of work copy files back and forth every time you want to get some work done. The ability to use the tools without being connected to Steam would also be a plus, there’s no real need for you to be.

  22. Simon

    I’ve never understood the concept of an apology. What does it do? Nothing at all, just makes you feel better thats all. Come on people, we aren’t children any more.

    1. I find your comment insulting. Apologies are not just for children and I find it hard to believe that you can go through life without making apologies for the mistakes you made. When you do something wrong you should admit it and apologizing is part of that.

  23. Hec

    Just think if some great projects would go to rubish due to this issues, like black mesa mod or the gate 2 total converssion, that would be a shame, and I surelly would be so pissed of to death, with valve……..

  24. geekofalltrades

    ITT: Gamers with entitlement issues (surprise surprise). Valve doesn’t owe any of us anything.

    1. Yes they do. I paid for a product with certain features. Those features no longer work.

      1. Hec

        Yes, also if we are costumers, we have costumers rights, not demand them is just nosense…..

    2. Ross

      I don’t think you understand what’s happening here if you believe that. Depending on your perspective, this is causing more harm than if Valve completely abandoned all support after release. It’s one thing to just not fix bugs, that happens to all companies. It’s another thing to add new changes that create bugs, never fix those, then have no legal means of reverting back to the version that worked before it was broken.

      As for entitlement issues, an analogy would be say you bought a house, then found out it had some problems. You can’t expect the former owner to fix that. But you can expect the former owner not to come back after you’ve already bought the house and set fire to it.

      1. Gradius

        Yes, why exactly some of the tools appear to have actually been broken, and then instead of being rolled back or god-forbid FIXED is really beyond me. That’s extraordinarily poor, more so in my mind than any of the code changes that create issues and incompatibilites.
        I can only guess that part of the issue lies in the thousands of emails they probably get a day calling Gabe overweight, reading through them all must be quite a task but then again they have an official mailing list…


        I do consider some of the complaints to be annoying but I really can see where they’re coming from when stuff is outright broken and completely unusable. The fact that the black-screen-of-death Hammer managed to get released to the public with seemingly no internal or public-beta testing is absolutely bonkers.

  25. John

    I definitely don’t think that this means that modding will come to an end, as modding has been around for much longer than this and will continue to persist as long as people have the will to mod. Considering that the oldest mods I know of are literally as old as I am, from back when Wolfenstein 3D was first released, I’d say that modding has lasted too long for it to drop because Valve abandons the modders. It does, however, seem likely to me that Half-Life 2 modding will take a big hit from this that will cause both quality and quantity of Source mods to drop.

    With my predictions out of the way, I want to express that while I see myself as a Valve fanboy who can’t help but kiss their asses, there’s really no other way to look at this other than as a dick move. Valve set up a platform where people could work hard to make mods based on the Source engine, all the while making comments that modders are a huge part of what keeps them alive. It seems they had nothing but praise, appreciation, and respect for modders not too long ago, so when they suddenly break the modabilty of their game (and quite a few mods with it) and not really say anything about it, it seems like nothing but betrayal.

    I hope that Valve does something to right this wrong. Only time will tell if they do.

    1. Kyouryuu

      I think you are correct to say that Half-Life 2 modding would take a hit. There is no shortage of modding interest in other games. Heck, people still make WADs for the first Doom.

  26. ANonEntity

    LOL! Valve is more interested in buying and selling games now, alÑ “iGames/iTunes”. Just bought -Trine- at Steam.


    Wow… You Know What? Valve Will Never Fix it as long as there is “Nothing Wrong” With it and we need to All Email/Call/Skype/SteamMSG/Gmail/YahooMSG/ And Send Letters To Gabe or VALVE… Because Until It Gets Big Enough, Nothing will Happen…
    I Sent Them an Email NO REPLY, But if we Send Enough E-Mails. they may not have to answer about 5 or 6 emails about sdk in a day but if it jumps up into Double Or Triple
    Digits Every Day They Will Have To Answer… So Will This Ever Happen? Who Knows…
    Valve Has Also Probaly Fell Victim to “THE NEW GUY” Syndrome XD
    Shawn W. Givens

    1. Ross

      I’ve run into countless bugs, but I’ve never bothered contacting Valve about it. What discouraged me was that on the Wiki itself, for the bugs that HAVE been documented and fixed (from my perspective, most haven’t), users list the actual code solution to fix it. Yet, revision after revision of the engine goes by without these fixes. When they can’t be bothered to fix it when it’s handed to them on a silver platter, I doubt emails would have much more effect. Besides, the problem is it’s not just ONE bug that plagues things, it’s many of them.

      I think the bottom line here is that modding and engine licensing simply isn’t turning out very profitable for them, so they’re probably pushing it to the back burner indefinitely while newer games and multiplayer updates take priority.

  28. Crash-Override

    I agree with you completely man. I’ve been working with source now for ages, and everyday I deal with the same crashes.

    To many custom textures loaded in (crash)
    STILL waiting for the alternative ladder option to be fixed (since about 07)
    Prefab bug
    As you and many others have pointed out, broken codes
    They took out the ability to compile maps without being in hammer in the latest update

    The list goes on….
    I Sometimes think there trying to kill off their pc market (or atleast their modding community)

  29. Vic

    Excellent post, Phillip!

    I’ve been thinking of doing a more in-depth article on LG, maybe see if we can get a bigger push on this subject.

    Can I do it, or do you have other plans?

    1. Feel free to write an in-depth article. My post was more about my expectations, rather than the issues with the tools themselves. I *may* create a video about the rant in collaboration with a well-known machinimaist (is that even a word?)

      1. Vic

        Wow, that’s pretty great!

        And I imagine it would be… machinimist? Hmm. I’ll have to meditate over that one.

  30. As a Mac user, I entered into the current Source engine only just this year as running/virtualizing Windows on my machine in 2004, when HL2 was released, wasn’t possible. I got in on the free Portal download and bought the full HL2 series as they because available for Mac. It didn’t take long for me to realize that these Source games just didn’t run as well or fast as on the PC counterparts of my much older iMac, with ATI x3100 hardware.

    So, I turned to Crossover Games, which is basically virtualization without the overhead of the Windows OS, in order to play these purchased Source games on my Mac – but using the Windows executable of both Steam and HL2. What I discovered was that the update that Valve had put in place to make the Mac version look/run nice or bring the two platforms “into sync” as I’ve mentioned before actually had the effect of breaking a good number of things in the untouched Windows version of the original HL2 game.

    Most notable was that Valve had incorporated some bloom lighting effects that were previously not available into some maps of Half Life 2, which worked fine on Macs, but for a good number of the original Windows user base, resulted in broken light maps that wouldn’t load. The effect of this was all of map was evenly and brightly lit – ugly and not appropriate for game play. Keep in mind this has nothing to do with my using Crossover Games. This is a documented problem (easily found using Google) which could only be fixed by hunting down an older version of the HL2 Content GCF file to extract out older versions of the affected maps and put them into the right sub folder of your steam user data folder for Half Life 2. At this point it’s been a couple of months since I had to do that, so I’m not sure if Valve ultimately fixed that problem, but it remained a problem for some months after the HL2 Source files were updated in May and then June.

    My point here is that the changes made to the Source engine earlier this year don’t only affect the proper running of HL2 series mods, but also the original game itself. Another reason I moved from running HL2 natively on my Mac into Crossover was to gain access to the multitude of mods which have been created over the last 6 years – since Valve has shown zero support for mods on Macs running HL2 up to now. You can imagine my dissapointment once I discovered that many of these mods – the result of hundreds or thousands of hours of work – had been broken by this year’s updates. Even the first mod I tried – Minerva: Metastasis – was plagued by issues created by the updates, after some hours of pulling my hair out on it crashing 25% into the game, I finally got a hold of older GCF files to perform a idiotic custom install of some of those files and the original install of Minerva in order to start the mod from the beginning again to finally get it to work for me.

    The thing that bothers me most is with all of the users out there posting questions about these kind of problems – both with the original HL2 game itself as well as the mods – there has been little or no explanation as to why there are so many problems or what users (or developers) can do to rememedy them. If I’m wrong on this, please post the links, but this is why some very kind people – like Gorpie – have taken it upon themselves to share what they know from their experiences that may help other users to get things working again. I know that Valve doesn’t take any responsibility for the installation of 3rd party mods by users, but then they have both provided the tools to create mods and forced the modders to register their mods with Steam to get them to show up (as I understand it.)

    It seems to me that with Portal 2 coming soon, and HL2 Ep3 still in the works, Valve should be doing everything they can to keep the mod community alive, as it continues interest in the platform and can even help to be a driving reason for people to buy the games. However, if they believe that they must work towards satisfying the lowest common denominator of user customization – being consoles – then they should stop fooling the users and remove all tools for modding, because they ultimately won’t be supported. It’s the lack of communication on their plans which is the most maddening thing, because how can we decide whether it’s headed for being a closed or open development gaming engine?

    1. Gradius

      Minerva being broken could be considered a blessing since it’s creator, Adam Foster, actually works at Valve now so there’s a chance that the issues will be passed to the actual engine programmers.

  31. mr.Valve

    This comment has been removed as it broke the Comment Guidelines .

    1. At the end of the day they are just business men…They are what they are bro. Don’t let them get you all worked up..They are NOT worth a stroke or worse..

  32. I think Valve need to take a good long look at the foot they’ve shot themselves in. The Half Life series has had probably the longest life of any FPS thanks to the modding/mapping community; many of the modern games of whatever genre seem to be in the spotlight until the next big thing comes along.

    I’ve been playing Half life since it came out in 1998 and after reading the comments from modders/mappers who are regular contributors on PlanetPhillip, I can see why there could a migration away from the game we visit this site for. This year seems to have seen a sharp slowdown in quality mods/maps.

    I’m not qualified to comment on the technicalities of the issue, but reading the comments of those who are, I cant help but wonder how much longer I will be able to carry on playing games I have paid for, at this point HL2 EP1 no longer works at all.

    1. Are you using steam? They are still selling them, Eps 1&2. The Steam client is free and you can add non-steam games, I’ve done it. Some work some don’t, but Eps 1&2 are working in steam just fine.

    2. There is one person I’ve been trying to help in the Steam forums who’s done almost everything to get Ep1 to run. He(?) is the only person who has posted in the forum who continues to have trouble. Everyone else (who has posted) has managed to get it running.

    3. If you’re not the same person whom I’ve been trying to help in the Steam forums, you can see this thread if you want. It’s finally working for them. Also, if you want help, post a topic there.

  33. EricFong

    Good point, city 17 episode one mod was suppose to be release early until VALVe update the engine and seen like they don’t care about modder anymore.

    1. Perhaps a modder strike is in order. Most of us as far as I have seen will, have and would buy a game just to play the mods. Lesser things have worked, If you think about it, with all the mods out there, what if suddenly there were no mods. The game they put out would get old quick. Without mods I think the industry would take a hit. One they should feel.. It might take time, but with little to lose and not even that (mods could be worked on in dark labs in dank basements around the world while they figured it out) An all out boycott would really smack’em upside the head.. Passive resistance works.. Just a thought.
      peace out

  34. Harry Bob

    Hoorah man, i’ve been waiting for fixes for such a long time, and nothing is going to happen unless they’re actually bothered about it. Those big companies seriously don’t care about the average players opinions, unless it’s something big. We, the community have to make it big. That is what we intend to do

  35. coldroll

    I’m giving it two more years and I will probably give up too.

  36. ArEsTuS

    Try to get a time where there are no problems, or an old patch, then turn your steam to Offline.

  37. I’ve actually received hate mail over this post. Amazing. Almost made me want to walk away completely and not look back.

    1. Hate mail!
      How disgusting. How abhorrent.

      Remember though that there is a small part of any society that enjoys this sort of thing; just for the sake of it.
      They are insignificant and know it and that’s why they do it.
      Best ignored.

      By the significant, you are esteemed (if not always agreed with πŸ˜‰ ).

      1. Hate is of no value bro. I get riled up at time too. I feel you…

    2. AI

      Maybe it’s time to end this section?? If that’s some of the cr*p some resort to! I’ve been going thru some of the HL2 mods I have stored, and all I can say is “I’m not too pleased!” with the results so far!! πŸ™ But Valve is a big company and Valve is going to do what Valve is going to do!! Sorry to read that your upset, you don’t deserve any of it!! Hey how about forwarding some of to me, I can give ’em a reply they won’t soon forget!(hehe)

  38. Let no one take your peace.. Valve us a corporate octopus. Don’t expect any words from them,
    For me some of the fixes have worked, some have not. I read some where that if you have the original vintage disk, you can create a new folder to run those good old amazing vintage mods. I remember one where you had to jump down these shutes. If you chose wrong SPAT. If you picked the right one you landed in water and could clime out. Not to get off topic, but does any one remember the name of that mod?
    peace out

    1. Back on topic here, The mod lover community must be huge. Do we have any numbers? How many of us ARE mod fanatics that just wait for the next mod to come out? Seems from reading around the community these numbers would be quite large. Has any one ever taken a head count? Maybe we could do this with a poll
      Do you prefer mods and play them?
      Not a mod player in general?

      with the usual button for yes/no. Could be done with Poll Daddy.

      Out of here for the night.. But I think this should be polled so we have some idea of how many of us there are. There is power in numbers. If the game makers started getting sacks of snail mail (the best way to get their attention) we might make some real noise.
      This works on the political front, why not here?

  39. Derposaur

    I too hate everything about the horrible publicity stunt the recent engine updates were.
    I demand the old Half Life 2! The way it looks now is disgusting. The engine is updated but the maps aren’t altered to suit the new lighting. The environment is way brighter than the skyboxes are, for starters, and many ambient shadows are broken.

    If you also miss the old source engine, please join my Steam group; Knights of the Old Source, and help spread the word; Orange Box engine sucks!

  40. 2muchvideogames

    valve is both developer and modder, they already made so many other mods for their own game (l4d, ep1,2, etc.) Of course they would want to change the engine for their own needs. The problem, is STEAM. With this piece of crap, you are forced to update your game whether you want to or not. (WON didn’t have this problem) But of course Steam is delivering valve lotsa money, so sucks to be us (I’ll stick with goldsource.)

  41. qwuke

    yeah, this entire discussion is partly true. a ton of mods have been broken. but thats the thing about the valve community. we communicate. whenever there is something broken, we complain, they fix it[most of the time]. whenever there’s an overpowered class in TF2 from some odd update, they overpower a different class[its true]. whenever there is a boycott for trolls who decide they dont like a game, but complain about the game for no real reason at all, and then join together to make a unified trolling community to make valve a less than ideal looking group of people, they bribe the leaders of the boycott to make some sort of break up inside said community of trolls. whenever they break the mods to the source engine, they decide to fix it… wait a moment here….

    1. Kyouryuu

      The difference is, it’s pretty obvious that Team Fortress 2 and the Left 4 Dead series are where Valve’s attention is right now. Case in point – when something goes wrong with the L4D tools, there’s an update in about 48 hours.

      It’s not like people haven’t complained or questioned when they’ll get to fixing up HL2. But all inquiries have been met with universal silence. And this has gone on for almost five months now.

      If it’s their prerogative that they don’t plan to release an SDK 2009 base, that’s unfortunate, but fine. But SAY SO. Don’t leave everyone hanging like this. Show some common courtesy to your fan base! Modders dump dozens, if not hundreds of hours, into making a mods for YOUR game. Least they could do is spare two minutes for an update.

  42. Clyde

    What really awful about modding with their tools is there glitching and crash, some of the stuff doesn’t even work, like the model browser in l4d2. This is starting to make Valve’s look really helpless. They can’t even fix their own tools, let alone add new features to them.

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