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Some Assembly Required » Blog Archive » “AI-Driven Dynamic Dialog” at GDC 2012
"At last week’s Game Developers’ Conference I delivered a talk titled “AI-driven Dynamic Dialog”, describing the dialog system used in Left4Dead, Dota, and basically all of Valve’s games since The Orange Box." This is a brilliant talk - really worth going through the PDF for. In a nutshell, it's how the Left4Ddead conversation works - something I tried emulating with my Twitter bots a while back - but also sheds light on how I could have sped up some of the decision-making code on Hello Lamp Post. It's also good on what designing (andwriting) for this kind of work looks like. Might have to write something longer on this.
programming  games  language  conversation  memory  text  valve 
november 2013 by infovore
Valve: How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing | Valve
"If most of the value is now in the initial creative act, there’s little benefit to traditional hierarchical organization that’s designed to deliver the same thing over and over, making only incremental changes over time. What matters is being first and bootstrapping your product into a positive feedback spiral with a constant stream of creative innovation." (Michael Abrash is scary smart, at Valve, investigating wearable computing, but this line - about the value of being first and being innovative - was the most important here for me.)
michaelabrash  games  valve  innovation  creativity 
april 2012 by infovore
News - Mac Steam content in the Documents folder? Not for long.
"Our original inclination was to put game content under "~/Library/Application Support/Steam", along with the other support files Steam uses. The problem is that uninstalling an application is meant to be as simple as dragging it from the Applications folder into the Trash. However, uninstalling Steam this way will leave all of your game content on the drive, which could easily be quite a few gigabytes of wasted space. Our solution was to put the content in a very visible and often used location so users could easily find and delete the game data if they didn't want it anymore. That's right, we chose the Documents folder specifically because it was visible and often used -- the very reasons users don't want it there." Well done, Valve, for explaining this in the short term, and providing a solution in the long term. (And: their thinking wasn't so woolly, really).
mac  valve  steam  customersupport 
may 2010 by infovore
Team Fortress 2 - 119th Update!
And, with their 119th update, Valve helpfully included the list of all their previous patches, as well. Just look at the amount that's changed - and how swiftly. A proper, living game (unlike the stillborn 360 version). Can't wait to play it on the Mac; it's almost like a different game to the one I played at the beginning.
valve  games  tf2  patches  update 
april 2010 by infovore
The Silver Age - The Gameshelf
"I see Valve Software today holding the same position in the overall media landscape that Marvel Comics occupied in the early-mid 1960s. In both cases, we have two experienced studios, neither the mainstream-recognized giants of their fields, who made an unusual decision: they chose to spend the creative capital gained from prior commercial success to quietly revolutionize their respective medium's dominant genres, rather than take the safer path of grinding out more derivative sameness."
comics  games  valvesoftware  valve  marvel  invention 
march 2010 by infovore
Team Fortress 2 - WAR!
"Sides chosen as Demo-Soldier tension mounts". I love Valve. I love them so very much. I reckon TF2 is the unsung hero of their games, frankly - and their continued dedication to it is just marvellous.
valve  games  awesome  tf2  war 
december 2009 by infovore
Team Fortress 2 - Classless Update
"During peacetime, hats have been instrumental for men to let the non-hatted know just who is wearing the hat around here." I love Valve and I want to kiss them lots.
valve  hats  tf2  games  teamfortress2  awesome 
august 2009 by infovore
The Story in Left 4 Dead - Steam Users' Forums
One great big massive thread in which the Left 4 Dead story gets dissected to death - with lots of excellent screengrabs - by perceptive fans. Good stuff: as usual with Valve, there's so much story in the world.
valve  left4dead  l4d  games  story  narrative  environment 
august 2009 by infovore
Gamasutra - News - DICE 09: Valve's Newell On 'Using Your Customer Base To Reach New Customers'
'“The degree to which you can engage your customer base in creating value for your other players” is key, says Newell. “When people say interesting or intelligent things about your product, it will translate directly into incremental revenue for the content provider.”' Masses of good things in here - think I've quoted it elsewhere - but it's not on my Delicious, so in it goes.
distribution  games  steam  valve  gabenewell  gaas  awesome 
june 2009 by infovore
Gamasutra - News - DFC: Left 4 Dead Demonstrates Potential Of Online Distribution
"DFC's main takeaway from the study is that the flexible, quickly-adaptable nature of online distribution services like Steam allow for developers to use a broad variety of promotions and incentives to keep their game communities fresh; individual promotions like the Survival Pack had a positive effect on both platforms, but it was the one-two punch of that DLC plus the followup free weekend through Steam that had the most meaningful impact on the game at any point on either platform."
valve  steam  l4d  left4dead  distribution  analysis  gaas  games  platforms 
june 2009 by infovore
Guiding The Player’s Eye - The Quixotic Engineer
"Valve subtly guides the player’s attention toward significant events and objects by using elements naturally found in the game world. This allows the player to retain control of their perspective without getting lost or confused, and contributes to an overall immersive experience." Matthew Gallant puts together a nice selection of screengrabs to illustrate Valve's craft.
valve  games  design  hl2  halflife2  guiding 
june 2009 by infovore
Team Fortress 2 - The Sniper vs. Spy Update
"Jarate is neither affiliated with, nor a substitute for, Karate." The Sniper's new weapon: a jar of piss. The way this update has unfolded has, basically, been totally awesome.
teamfortress2  tf2  awesome  valve  games  moreawesome  update 
may 2009 by infovore
Everyone At Valve Has Been Fired « Double Buffered
"The lesson to be learned here is that when something screws with your careful plans, you take control of that thing, warp it to your every demand, and channel it into a concentrated stream of Awesome. That is how you do PR." Pretty much. Valve have handled this brilliantly - the achievement they awarded themselves being the icing on the cake - and not only have they been on-brand for a savvy, internet-enabled company, they've also been spot on-brand for TF2.
games  marketing  leaks  valve  teamfortress2  senseofhumour  pr 
may 2009 by infovore
YouTube - Team Fortress 2: Meet The Spy Full Quality
"No. That would be your mother." Valve drop the next "Meet The..." video, and it's perhaps the best yet - certainly in terms of editing and choreography. And I love how the other characters - especially the Soldier - are still being developed in this.
games  machinima  animation  valve  teamfortress2 
may 2009 by infovore
I Hate Woods t-shirt
Francis has gained his own clothing line, and I need this shirt like a red wizard needs food.
games  apparel  tshirt  francis  left4dead  hatred  valve  awesome 
april 2009 by infovore
Left 4 Dead Blog - Surviving the L4D Survival Pack
A thoughful post (as ever) from the L4D team detailing some of the balancing and planning that's gone into the Survival Mode experience. Looking forward to firing this up next week...
games  left4dead  valve  mechanics  balance  data 
april 2009 by infovore
GameSetWatch - DICE 09: Valve's Newell On 'Using Your Customer Base To Reach New Customers'
"In the 14 months since [TeamFortress 2] shipped, the PC version of the game has seen 63 updates – “that’s the frequency you want to be providing updates to your customers,” [Newell] adds. “You want to say, ‘We’ll get back to you every week. The degree to which you can engage your customer base in creating value for your other players” is key, says Newell. “When people say interesting or intelligent things about your product, it will translate directly into incremental revenue for the content provider.”" Great write-up from Chris Remo of Gabe Newell's DICE talk.
games  business  community  communication  piracy  valve  steam  gaas  gabenewell  digitaldistribution 
february 2009 by infovore
Valve Announces First Left 4 Dead DLC | Game | Life from Wired.com
"With Half-Life and Counter-Strike, and more recently Team Fortress 2, we've learned that we're no longer making stand-alone games but creating entertainment services. With Left 4 Dead we're extending that tradition by creating additional gameplay and releasing our internal tools to aspiring developers so they may also create and distribute new Left 4 Dead experiences." Lots of places have the news; this quotation is the killer, though. "Entertainment services". GAAS, anyone?
games  play  left4dead  valve  entertainment  quotation  halflife  gaas  saas 
february 2009 by infovore
Boing Boing: Offworld
"Still, overall, Left 4 Dead's opening cinematic is a shockingly complete primer to the rest of the game. With only a few exceptions, almost any player going into Left 4 Dead for the first time will know exactly how to play the game: they already know the gameplay, the weapons, the enemies, the win scenario and the strategies they need to get through the game alive... the only thing not covered in the opening movie is the specifics of the interface." Yes - had this exact same conversation a few days ago. Although John is awfully down on Louis, which seems a tad unfair...
left4dead  games  tutorial  valve  introductoin  mechanics 
december 2008 by infovore
The Season Of The Witch | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"Who designs a character for gamers to never go near? Who spends the time to create the most terrifying creature imaginable, and doesn’t impose it on players? Well, clearly Valve. The temptation to have her be aggravated from great distances, to force her to attack when encountered, must have been there. But then she’d have lost her power. Her power comes from just sitting there. It’s that benign, ragged, vulnerable form. It’s the combination of singing and crying. Oh God, the singing *and* crying." John Walker examines the horror of Left 4 Dead's Witch. A little over-written perhaps, but he totally nails the fear the character instills, and the way you always notice her a split-second too late.
johnwalker  rockpapershotgun  left4dead  valve  games  design  mechanics  fear  horror 
november 2008 by infovore
Finding the Time to Bleed - Team Fortress 2
"The suits took issue with every brave, authority-questioning page of our Meet the Sandvich script-specifically that there were supposed "similarities" between it and the 1987 action film Predator, and more specifically that it was word for word the 1987 action film Predator."
writing  valve  tf2  script  humour  funny  predator  roadhouse 
october 2008 by infovore
Gamasutra - Valve's Faliszek: Not All Game Stories Need 'Evil Masterminds'
"Trying to over-explain the cause of a disaster often detracts from its more tangible impact. ... Instead, Faliszek says, it is more effective to create resonant gameplay experiences that players will remember, particularly if the setting in question, such as a zombie invasion (or a tornado outbreak, for that matter) is already familiar." Why games don't always need tangible villains.
games  resonance  left4dead  valve  story  narrative  technique 
september 2008 by infovore
Games Convention 2008: Team Fortress 2 Updates Coming To Xbox 360 Later This Year
"Given that Valve is being forced to charge for the update, they wanted to ensure that 360 owners were getting their money's worth." Such a shame they have to charge for it - but still, more TF2 on 360, and that's a good thing from my perspective.
valve  microsoft  live  downloadablecontent  dlc  tf2  teamfortress2 
august 2008 by infovore

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