Valve is still patching 'Half-Life' nearly 20 years after its launch

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,597   +124
Staff member

Fans of Half-Life are convinced that Valve has forgotten all about the franchise but that’s simply not the case. This week, the developer pushed out a new patch for the first game in the series which, if you recall, originally launched in 1998.

The latest update is largely about stability. Valve’s changelog is as follows:

  • Fixed crash when entering certain malformed strings into the game console.
  • Fixed crash when loading a specially crafted malformed BSP file.
  • Fixed malformed SAV files allowing arbitrary files to be written into the game folder.
  • Fixed a crash when quickly changing weapons that are consumable.
  • Fixed crash when setting custom decals.

While it’s true that most of these issues would never pose a problem to the average player, they are legitimate bugs and patching them is clearly viewed as a necessity. Updates like these also keep the game running on modern hardware, affording both longtime fans and newcomers the opportunity to continue to enjoy the game for years to come.

The response from Half-Life fans appears to be mixed. On one hand, you’ve got to respect Valve for continuing to support a game that’s nearly 20 years old. Conversely, it’s understandable that fans would rather see Valve devote time to creating new games (you know which one I’m talking about) instead of spending time updating two-decade-old content.

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Antykain

Posts: 30   +18
.<insert.smartass.comment>

Well, if you release a game that is THAT buggy.. what do you expect? It's not like it's DayZ Standalone or something..

lol.. my bad. Joking aside.. I used to LOVE the original Half Life. It was one hell of a game, fo' sure!
 

ikesmasher

Posts: 3,066   +1,386
"Conversely, it’s understandable that fans would rather see Valve devote time to creating new games (you know which one I’m talking about) instead of spending time updating two-decade-old content."


I find it hard to believe that more than 3 people were involved with the creation of this patch and that it didnt take an almost negligible amount of time
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
Valve has actually been head and shoulders above most other games when it comes to support and while their team seems have signed the death warrant to a continuation of the series, many different factors could cause them to do a 180 and suddenly continue it. Stranger things have happened .... just look at the length of time between the original Castle Wolfenstein and it's follow up ...... never give up hope, but write more letters to Valve!!!
 
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GreenNova343

Posts: 440   +330
Hmmm...

Not so much a "worrisome" thing, but I find it interesting that only 2 of the 5 changes seem meant to actually correct potential game bugs. The other 2 (possibly all 3) seem geared more towards preventing a 3rd-party from hacking someone's computer via the game. "Specially-crafted" and "malformed BSP/SAV files" implies that someone deliberately messed with the files before attempting to load them into the game...& it wouldn't make sense for someone to do that to themselves, which means that it's meant to prevent a 3rd-party from masking a more sinister purpose under the guise of "hey, here's this killer SAV file that unlocks all of the hidden areas!", or "check out this cool mod that lets you walk on the ceiling!".
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
The other 2 (possibly all 3) seem geared more towards preventing a 3rd-party from hacking someone's computer via the game.
Yeah because the h@k3rz are putting a lot of effort on those games with huge communities of CEOs and CFOs and executives in general which makes 20 year old games all the hype for l337 h4ck1ng.
 

jonny888

Posts: 107   +148
The other 2 (possibly all 3) seem geared more towards preventing a 3rd-party from hacking someone's computer via the game.
Yeah because the h@k3rz are putting a lot of effort on those games with huge communities of CEOs and CFOs and executives in general which makes 20 year old games all the hype for l337 h4ck1ng.
Hackers/malicious elements will gladly put time into whatever vector they think stands a chance of infecting someone's PC. There's no reason to believe a malicious save file would be any less appealing to them if they knew it would work, even if the game is old.
Besides, in security terms, the only truly acceptable risk is zero, and you only get that by plugging up the holes.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
Hackers/malicious elements will gladly put time into whatever vector they think stands a chance of infecting someone's PC. There's no reason to believe a malicious save file would be any less appealing to them if they knew it would work, even if the game is old.
Besides, in security terms, the only truly acceptable risk is zero, and you only get that by plugging up the holes.
I guess you didn't get the point, you wouldn't really make anything out of it but the bragging rights, in nowadays scenarios, that would be a really really really small brag to be able to break into a computer using a 20 year old game that probably but a couple people are actually still playing.
Truth be told, not even that, and I'm sorry but your scenario is freaking dumb, if you are going to have someone download a file to break into a computer through a 20 year old game, you could do much better than a save file.
 

jonny888

Posts: 107   +148
Hackers/malicious elements will gladly put time into whatever vector they think stands a chance of infecting someone's PC. There's no reason to believe a malicious save file would be any less appealing to them if they knew it would work, even if the game is old.
Besides, in security terms, the only truly acceptable risk is zero, and you only get that by plugging up the holes.
I guess you didn't get the point, you wouldn't really make anything out of it but the bragging rights, in nowadays scenarios, that would be a really really really small brag to be able to break into a computer using a 20 year old game that probably but a couple people are actually still playing.
Truth be told, not even that, and I'm sorry but your scenario is freaking dumb, if you are going to have someone download a file to break into a computer through a 20 year old game, you could do much better than a save file.
Why is that any different into tricking someone into downloading a Word/Excel/whatever document to get their PC infected? A file is a file. Doesn't matter what type of file it is.
And if you think bragging rights are the only reason people try to infect PCs, then you've clearly never worked in cyber security.
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,202   +3,400
Valve will probably never make another game with a single player campaign. The main reason is piracy - they know they will lose millions, if not *tens* of millions, as soon as the game is successfully cracked (and maybe hundreds of millions in the years to come). A lot of consumers have learned to hold off on buying games for weeks or even months after their released, until all the major bugs are fixed. If a game is cracked during that period it significantly increases the chance that a potential buyer will become a pirate instead, though the probability is nowhere near as high as the industry would have us believe. If you were Valve why would you make anything but online games with guaranteed revenue streams while also getting a percentage of everything you sell via digital distribution? The only alternative would be always-connected single player games, and we all know how well *that* goes over with players. The pipe dream for the industry would be an uncrackable DRM scheme, which is probably impossible. However, if it *was* ever invented we would see an almost immediate decline in the quality of most new games. If the developers knew their stuff couldn't be copied the majority of them wouldn't put as much effort into delivering a compelling game experience. A few, however, would do exactly the opposite, cranking out masterpieces every other year. They would outright OWN gaming, which would discourage competitors from even trying. You'd also have a lot of indie talent being snapped up by the big studios so the selection of new titles would diminish considerably. You think that most games are derivative schlock now? In a world without piracy things would be even more extreme..it would be an ocean of crap with a few glorious islands of stellar achievement.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
Why is that any different into tricking someone into downloading a Word/Excel/whatever document to get their PC infected? A file is a file. Doesn't matter what type of file it is.
And if you think bragging rights are the only reason people try to infect PCs, then you've clearly never worked in cyber security.
IT'S A DUCKING 20 YEAR OLD GAME!!!! How many PCs you think you could actually infect by spending time developing something for a freaking prehistoric game who no one is playing anymore!! For what gain?

Doing it for the sake of doing it is not a good reason anymore...

And again, if your plan is to infect a computer by having someone download a save file for a game... it's ducking stupid, you can do MUCH BETTER if you get anyone to download anything...

Please, I'll write it in plain terms... you will get an awfully small target base of people who don't really care. If you want to get some computers disabled (Maybe a handful) please go ahead and keep replying.

Hell... create a "smart"toaster and use it to hack people, I bet you will get much better results...
 

jonny888

Posts: 107   +148
IT'S A DUCKING 20 YEAR OLD GAME!!!! How many PCs you think you could actually infect by spending time developing something for a freaking prehistoric game who no one is playing anymore!! For what gain?

Doing it for the sake of doing it is not a good reason anymore...

And again, if your plan is to infect a computer by having someone download a save file for a game... it's ducking stupid, you can do MUCH BETTER if you get anyone to download anything...

Please, I'll write it in plain terms... you will get an awfully small target base of people who don't really care. If you want to get some computers disabled (Maybe a handful) please go ahead and keep replying.

Hell... create a "smart"toaster and use it to hack people, I bet you will get much better results...
I agree completely that the target base is small. But it doesn't matter. If you can guarantee it works and it's known about (and clearly they did if they chose to fix it), people will abuse it.
 

Kibaruk

Posts: 3,836   +1,183
Sure, if let's say one of this years E3 games have an issue like that, sure go ahead, as it will be massively spread once it hits the market, for a 20 year old game? makes no sense whatsoever, no one is even trying anymore.