Bij The Tech Report hebben ze een leuk artikel geschreven over hoe Valve met een twee jaar oud spel (Half-life dus) de gamers weet blijven te boeien, terwijl er zoveel andere games zijn die er grafisch beter uit zien, compleet gericht zijn op Multiplayer en een betere engine hebben (zoals bijvoorbeeld Quake 3 en Unreal Tournament).Let's look at how Valve has dedicated itself to the multiplayer community. Initially, Half-Life was a single-player game with a multiplayer mode tacked on. Then Valve started 'upgrading.' First it was a few teamplay levels created in house by Valve's designers, then it was some new code for mod authors to play around with, then it was the Team Fortress Classic mod, and it just snowballed from there. Valve threw TFC together in part to apologize for Team Fortress 2 being so late (and eventually becoming a stand-alone game, contrary to some folks' expectations).

Fast forward to today, and the Half-Life engine is the ultimate platform for mod authors. It's got brand-new netcode (from the upcoming Team Fortress 2 engine), new features that let mod authors make just about any kind of game they want, new maps, new models, even a new in-game graphical interface. In short, Valve has transformed what was once a meager multiplayer platform into the most popular one in the online community with constant patching and upgrading.

All of this is pretty obvious stuff. But hear it again: it's all free. While you can now buy standalone versions of TFC and Counter-Strike that don't require the retail version of Half-Life, both mods are still free downloads for those who already own Half-Life.

Now we're at Quake III, with arguably the best engine technology available today, but widely criticized for a lack of content and gameplay variety. While Quake III Arena shipped with support for team-based games and Capture the Flag (further bolstered by Zoid's Threewave CTF map pack), the game was generally faulted for its relatively low number of maps and few game type options when compared to its primary competition, Unreal Tournament. Since its release, id has patched Quake III to fix bugs and close security holes, but has run into some problems with its latest 1.25 patch and mods. id is also slated to release Team Arena, its official expansion pack for Quake 3, on the 14th of December. The expansion adds new gameplay types, new maps, new weapons, new models, new menus, new skins and logos, and new functionality for mod authors to exploit. The only catch? It's going to cost you $29.99. Half-life is al met al door een sterke single player optie en een geweldige multiplayer support aan de top gekomen en door regelmatige updates zal dit nog wel even zo blijven.

Je kunt je echter afvragen of het langverwachte Team Fortress 2 wel zoveel diepgang zal hebben als Half-life en ook of TF2 dus net zo populair zal worden als Half-life.

We can only hope...