Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adapting To Survive and THRIVE

Many of you are probably keeping track of all things Valve in the last couple weeks.

For one thing, Left 4 Dead 2 is coming out on November 17, less than a year after the release of the first one. I, who never bought the first one but played it a couple times, was happy to hear this and I plan on buying it as soon as I can after its release.

Maybe you are one of those 32,000 people who have joined that cute boycotting group. Undoubtedly, that resolution won't last more than a few hours after seeing the first reviews.

I can see it now. In one day, 30,000 leave the group to go play their new favorite game. Good luck with Valve taking boycotting groups too seriously after that.

But I can't deny they have made a hilariously clever picture for themselves.

If you have been paying closer attention to Valve's noteworthy news, you have also stumbled across this wonderful interview by now. I highly suggest reading the entire thing if you haven't yet.

For the first time, Valve revealed a very specific tidbit of information regarding the update process of any game that has to go through Microsoft. That being, any required content following release must be 8 MB or less.

Which means, in essence, that there would be no possible way to ensure every player of Team Fortress 2 on the Xbox 360 would have all the unlockable weapons. I don't even think basic gameplay alterations to Team Fortress 2 on the PC version totals less than 8 MB.

Knowing this, and also knowing that Microsoft is unlikely to change their entire update process for one company leads me to think that a fresh start is in order.

To get right to the point, I think that Valve should release Team Fortress 2 over Xbox LIVE on November 17, 2009.

This would be an excellent move for Valve, using the hype surrounding Left 4 Dead 2 to promote their major multiplayer game, perhaps even adding incentive for purchase, such as 50% off Team Fortress 2 if they own Left 4 Dead 2.

But, since the patch size for the game would be so small, it would have to built without any problems and under the assumption that no major changes could be made afterward, especially not for free. More exactly, it would have to be designed like other games, with only map packs following release.

Obviously, it could not be made in the same way as the PC version, and it would entail a completely separate set of difficulties that would have to be addressed. Here is a list of problems in the current Team Fortress 2 that would have to be fixed before the release over Xbox LIVE:
  • Lag and latency
  • Class balancing
  • Map balancing
  • Bad competitive game
  • Bad party game
  • Cheating and hacking is easy
  • Matchmaking is flawed
I will be writing several articles on how to fix each of these problems, if only to entertain the thought, as Valve is unlikely to notice this at all.


Anonymous said...

This is a really great article Neal. I don't neccessarily support a re-release of TF2 however. Would us existing customers have to buy it over again to get the updated content? If memory serves me right, the Orange Box and all other Xbox 360 games will eventually be made available for download starting around the end of this year. I guess that Xbox Live is going to go with a similar content delivery method as Steam. If that is the case, wouldn't it undermine your proposal?--Fallen Greatly

Sam said...

I love game. The Left 4 Dead 2 game focuses on four survivors fighting against hordes of zombie-like humans. The survivors must reach safehouses to progress through the level, with the goal of reaching a rescue vehicle at the level's finale.