- The choice by Valve Software to develop their own game engine
- The inclusion of realistic physics and articulate characters
- Why Half-Life 2 didn't appear at E3 2002
- The real story behind the September 30, 2003 release date
- The lawsuit between Valve and Vivendi Universal Games
- How game levels are envisioned and created
- How a 21-year-old German named Axel G hacked into Valve's network
- The fate of the scanner piñata
The article is a fascinating read with a lot of behind-the-scenes detail that hasn't been revealed until recently. It sounds like the development team put in a lot of 20+ hour days over a long period of time to finish this game (unfortunately, many developers can relate to a work schedule like this). Plus, we get some frank and honest insight from Gabe Newell.
I have a copy of Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar on order from Amazon. I'm hoping that it's an extended version of the kind of information that's presented in the GameSpot article. It doesn't look like the book has shipped yet, so I probably won't be receiving it before Tuesday...which is most likely a good thing, since my evenings will be occupied in City 17. 🙂
On a related note, based on this GameSpot article and this IGN article, it appears that some stores might already have Half-Life 2 available for sale. I checked our local Best Buy and Electronics Boutique while I was out with my wife tonight, but neither of them had it on the shelves. Unfortunately (or fortunately), since the game requires internet activation by Valve's Steam service, it probably wouldn't do any good to have it early anyway.
Update: Blues News is reporting the following response from Valve about early activation of Half-Life 2.
If you have purchased a copy of Half-Life 2, we are sorry you are still waiting to play. This is not Valve's choice. Vivendi is insisting that the game has not yet been released, and has threatened that Valve would be in violation of its contract if we activate the Half-Life 2 Steam authentication servers at this time.
Thanks for your patience and we will update you when we have more news to share.