18th Nov: We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.
Meanwhile, at Valve...Valve Software was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, inspired by learning that the only piece of software more commonly installed on DOS computers than Windows was Doom. Once they secured a license to use the Quake engine, Valve set about to create their first game... Half-Life was released in 1998 and ever since, Valve has been known for their revolutionary and amazing First-Person action games. In 2004, they launched one of the first digital distribution platforms, along with the sequel to Half-Life which used it exclusively — and thus was born Steam, which went on to become the biggest digital distribution platform for Windows and a license to print money for Valve.And, because Valve is such a small company, they have developed something of a reputation for having literally more money than they know what to do with. A fair bit of it seems to go into flying fans out to visit their headquarters. Just don't get presumptuous.Valve's in-house game engine (Source, the successor to their Quake-based GoldSrc engine) is publicly available for other commercial developers to license, but for those interested in creating free mods, the level editor and several other modding tools are available for free with the purchase of any game. (And most of the other handy tools have been developed by third parties as freeware.) To this end, the engine has become the basis for a legendary number of mods, including several that function as standalone games in their own right.In fact, the majority of Valve's own oeuvre — Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress, Dota 2, and the free Alien Swarm — were originally the product of mod teams (though only the first two were mods of their own engine originally), who were then recruited to work for Valve and whose games were re-released as commercial titles. Of its flagship titles, only the Half-Life series was actually created by Valve directly; Portal was adapted from a concept game made by a bunch of college students, and Left 4 Dead was started by another company that Valve later bought out. Make of that what you will.In March 2010, they announced that they would be porting Steam, the Source Engine, and their entire back catalog to Mac OS X. Mac users everywhere rejoiced, while some PC gamers complained about Valve dumbing down their games. At the time of writing, all their games from 2004 have been ported, in some form. In June 2010, at E3, Gabe Newell made a surprise announcement that Portal 2 and Steam would be coming to the Playstation 3 to thunderous applause. They later gained the love of 99% of Linux users when they released the public beta of a Linux port in late December 2012, with an official release appearing in February 2013. At present, this is only officially supported on Debian-based distros, but other users have had some success at running it on Fedora- and Arch-based systems.Their games are popularly well regarded, at the expense of punctuality. They are also a frequent source of memes.They also have fairly active blogs for their big games. Using a hilarious blend of Self-Deprecation and Blatant Lies, they deliver news about their games and their inevitable delays.They now have a level one Sentry Gun in their lobby as well as an Aperture Science Turret. They also have a snack bar that is pretty dang good.In April 2012, their employee handbook was leaked to the Internet. A very informative piece, that somehow manages to make them even more awesome.note In June 2012, they publicly released the Source Filmmaker beta for free, a tool allowing anyone to create professional standard animated movies within the Source engine. While initially set up for films using Team Fortress 2 assets, they have been expanding compatibility to other games. Although, by the looks of the community, several of these "films" are incredibly well-done.Later, in 2013, they announced the creation of a Steam Operating System that is based on Debian Linux, and a "Steam Box", which seems to be analogous a console, but for PC games. They also announced customized controllers that will be sold alongside the console.
Games developed by Valve:
Third-party games and mods that use Valve's Source engine:
Tropes exhibited by Valve include: