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  • #31
    Source on Linux

    I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

    It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.

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    • #32
      Power outage, barely had time to close gracefully.

      Anyways, for example EA also has at least a port of one of their engines for linux and it works ok. However, their networking code is tightly coupled with Microsoft libraries, and then there is the problem of porting DRM goodies to Linux.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
        I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

        It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.
        I'd actually be very surprised if valve didn't have an at least experimental internal linux build. It would be more interesting to know the exact political reasons - gaming market size, difficulty in supporting, drivers (please play nice with this one people...), etc. Obviously if they could make a nice profit off it, they'd go after that market, but the reasons as to why they think they wouldn't profit off it is more the detail.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
          I can't tell you how I know, but Valve's Source engine has, for quite some time now, a Linux build that works.

          It has some issues but it works almost out of the box. There are some technical obstacles in porting Steam + Valve's back catalog ( HL2+eps, TF2, Portal, L4D1/2 ) but, again from what I've heard, the problem is more or less political.
          Do you have a feeling or do you actually know it?

          Comment


          • #35
            Gave Newell's GDC award tomorrow

            Well in the recent days of leaks and announcements of Portal 2 and Mac OS X support, I heard people mentioning at one point (I think they found that date in one of the leaks, or the BBS thingy Valve set up, or something) that they'd thought one might be announced by Gabe Newell (Valve's CEO) when he receives his award tomorrow (Thursday 11 March 2010) - but as both Portal 2 and Mac OS X support have been announced, Linux support could be Gabe's shock announcement in his acceptance speech.

            I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense. Consider the following:
            • Valve now has OpenGL in Source and WebKit in Steam - so most of the porting work is already done - and by brining it to the Mac, they've proven that it's portable.
            • All the clues we've had over the years we've had over the years (including those announced on Phoronix) - including the job listing, the Linux Steam client libraries in the Left 4 Dead demo, and most recently, if I remember correctly, the page for some random game on Steam (maybe L4D2, can't remember) temporarily listed Linux as a supported OS.
            • While there are almost certainly more Macs in desktop use than Linux, what people don't seem to be considering is that, until recently, most of Apple's desktops and laptops have been sold with Intel GPUs, which are pretty much incapable of rendering most of Valve's games correctly. By contrast, Linux will have access to the existing Windows hardware ecosystem (although arguably, Nvidia cards will still perform better at the moment).
            • I've seen it said by several (some of them being Windows gamers), that gamers are exactly the type that would switch quickly to a 'better' alternative platform, such as Linux (especially as it works with their existing hardware) - if only they could play their games still. Valve bringing Steam and Source to Linux could definitely bring a surge of games and gamers to Linux, as it would instantly bring a host of Valve and third party Source-based 'triple-A' titles to Linux, as well as provide both a already well-regraded development platform (Steam) to other developers to make their game development platform agnostic, at not extra cost; then Steam would provide both a way for these developers to distribute their Source-based games to all three platforms, as well as other developers 'dipping their toes' in Linux waters, but using their own tech, to distribute games to Linux users.
            • Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by tball View Post
              Do you have a feeling or do you actually know it?
              I actually know that Source builds and works on Linux. More than that I can't say. I don't work for Valve nor did I actually saw the build, but I work in the trade, so to speak, and I talk to people of the same trade...

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              • #37
                Not really surprising is it? There's also rumors about Blizzard having an internal WoW build for Linux, but the higher-ups doesn't seem to care/have much interest....

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by rfdparker2002 View Post
                  ....
                  "Well in the recent days of leaks and announcements of Portal 2 and Mac OS X support, I heard people mentioning at one point (I think they found that date in one of the leaks, or the BBS thingy Valve set up, or something) that they'd thought one might be announced by Gabe Newell (Valve's CEO) when he receives his award tomorrow (Thursday 11 March 2010) - but as both Portal 2 and Mac OS X support have been announced, Linux support could be Gabe's shock announcement in his acceptance speech."

                  There was no "leak". It was a controlled viral marketing campaign. The big announcement for everybody who cares would be 99% "Half Life 2: Episode 3"

                  "I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense."
                  No, not really.

                  "Valve now has OpenGL in Source and WebKit in Steam - so most of the porting work is already done - and by brining it to the Mac, they've proven that it's portable."

                  Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way.

                  WebKit is faster and more secure than IE's crappy engine.

                  They already released The Orange Box (HL2+ep1+ep2 Portal TF2) on PS3. Source was designed to be cross-platform. What backend do you think Source uses on PS3?

                  "All the clues we've had over the years we've had over the years (including those announced on Phoronix) - including the job listing, the Linux Steam client libraries in the Left 4 Dead demo, and most recently, if I remember correctly, the page for some random game on Steam (maybe L4D2, can't remember) temporarily listed Linux as a supported OS."

                  As far as I know, the Linux Developers were for the native Linux game servers. As I've said, Source builds and runs on Linux for quite a while, certainly way before the said job announcement.

                  "While there are almost certainly more Macs in desktop use than Linux, what people don't seem to be considering is that, until recently, most of Apple's desktops and laptops have been sold with Intel GPUs, which are pretty much incapable of rendering most of Valve's games correctly."

                  First assertion is false, maybe if you restrict your sample to US middle-upper class. The rest of the world is very different. Both M$ and Apple talk about SOLD operating systems, Linux doesn't "sell", you download it for free and install it. According to M$ or Apple statistics I count as one Windows XP Professional x64 and one Mac OS X. In reality, I have 4 desktops and a notebook at home. One of them has the XP and Mac OS X (hackintosh, but with legal os licnese) The rest have Debians, Suse, Gentoo, FreeBSD and OpenSolaris. For example, from personal experience, an university bought 60 cheap dells for their labs, all with vista buisness, but all are used as linux stations. That's 60 licenses of the "90% desktop market" crap from M$ and 0 for linux.

                  "By contrast, Linux will have access to the existing Windows hardware ecosystem (although arguably, Nvidia cards will still perform better at the moment)."

                  You can make a Hackintosh and put Mac OS X on it (like I have). It has a gigabyte radeon 4850.

                  "I've seen it said by several (some of them being Windows gamers), that gamers are exactly the type that would switch quickly to a 'better' alternative platform, such as Linux (especially as it works with their existing hardware) - if only they could play their games still."

                  Most PC gamers are totally clueless and lack the (modest) technical skills required to properly run Linux. I've been using linux for more than a decade now, working as professional system developer, so I know what I am doing. Most people just need to pop in the cd and play or browse the net.
                  From personal experience, most people, especially gamers, don't want to learn to use a new and unfamiliar OS. That's the sad truth. They won't pick an older, less powerful graphics card because it works ok with the latest kernel. They'll want to buy the latest rocket from ATI/NVidia and expect it to work out of the box, like it does on Win.
                  Also, right now, if you have a high-end audio card with an optical output hooked to a hi-fi 5.1 system and you want to be thrilled by the omgawesome 3D sound in FarCry2 or whatever, chances are it won't work on Linux, period.

                  "Valve bringing Steam and Source to Linux could definitely bring a surge of games and gamers to Linux, as it would instantly bring a host of Valve and third party Source-based 'triple-A' titles to Linux, as well as provide both a already well-regraded development platform (Steam) to other developers to make their game development platform agnostic, at not extra cost; then Steam would provide both a way for these developers to distribute their Source-based games to all three platforms, as well as other developers 'dipping their toes' in Linux waters, but using their own tech, to distribute games to Linux users."

                  Erm what? Steam is just a authentication, social network and download platform. Each "tripple-A" 3rd party title will have to be PORTED to linux, even Source based games. You have no idea just how tightly coupled 99% of the engines out there are to M$ specific stuff.

                  "Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA."

                  Clever has nothing to do with it. As I've said earlier, EA also had one of their engines ported to Linux. Yet no game was released. I mean, I hate EA as much as the next guy, but you have to understand that the engineers and developers have to get through the business people. Ever tried to explain some business person that, in order to work on Linux/BSD/etc the project will have to include 3rd party *GPL/BSD style license code? The truth is that, whatever they do, they'll have to include *GPL-type license code in their engine and auxiliaries. Business and Legal people have go bananas when you explain them what it means, exactly.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                    "Valve have shown themselves many times over the years, to be a very 'clever' company, particularly in the way they communicate with their users, so they seem way more willing to 'take the risk', than say, EA."

                    Clever has nothing to do with it. As I've said earlier, EA also had one of their engines ported to Linux. Yet no game was released. I mean, I hate EA as much as the next guy, but you have to understand that the engineers and developers have to get through the business people. Ever tried to explain some business person that, in order to work on Linux/BSD/etc the project will have to include 3rd party *GPL/BSD style license code? The truth is that, whatever they do, they'll have to include *GPL-type license code in their engine and auxiliaries. Business and Legal people have go bananas when you explain them what it means, exactly.
                    What do these people say about WebKit in Steam? You don't have to fight with GPL/BSD license in order to include them in your proprietary products. Take Windows for example. For how long did they already include the BSD netlookup into their OS? Win95-Win7?!

                    There are already a dozen number of games, that shows us, that you don't have to fight with these licenses to publish proprietary software.

                    Sorry, that is not an excuse to not publish a game!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by dopehouse View Post
                      What do these people say about WebKit in Steam? You don't have to fight with GPL/BSD license in order to include them in your proprietary products. Take Windows for example. For how long did they already include the BSD netlookup into their OS? Win95-Win7?!

                      There are already a dozen number of games, that shows us, that you don't have to fight with these licenses to publish proprietary software.

                      Sorry, that is not an excuse to not publish a game!
                      It is an excuse if the *GPL code can't be properly insulated, for whatever reason. It's one thing to have one complete application or a big monolithic component that you can hook it up to your code with a standard API and another to blend *GPL code with your own.

                      WebKit CAN be insulated very easy from the rest of the Steam app.

                      If your entire engine and network code is badly design then you might have to push *GPL code into your own code and then you have a problem.

                      I'm not saying that this is why Valve, or EA for that matter, are not publishing games on Linux. But, from my experience, business and legal people have issues.

                      Also, this would be a minor issues compared to, say, Support. For example, I worked on a rather large, complicated project (engineering related) that had to support Linux and some *NIXes from HP and others. Pretty easy, eh? We have 12 test machines for Linux alone, each one with a certain distribution, each distribution the current stable release, the previous stable release and the current unstable release, mirrored, one for i386 one for x64 (for PC arch only). PLUS the exotic *NIXes on separate machines.
                      And this with rock-solid drivers for ATI FireGL / NVidia Quadro. I don't even want to know what it means to support high-quality, professional sound systems across 12 Linux distributions.

                      I really don't want to be in charge of a team testing 3d engines for a plethora of graphics cards / systems combination for a dozen distributions.

                      The problem is that, as long as the drivers are the way they are ( and you can blame NVidia, ATI, Creative etc) and APIs are the way they are ( try to find common ground for high quality sound API from Debian to Gentoo ) corporate heads won't do much about it.

                      I mean, don't get me wrong. I've been using Linux forever, both at home and at work. I keep a Win and a Mac OS on a desktop to test some cross-platform clients but that's it. Maybe one weekend/month I have time to play some Civ4/SupCom/TF2 but that's it.

                      But then, again, now I'm porting some kernel modules from Linux to Mac OS X. I know what I'm doing. I build my ALSA and Jack from source to tweak it.
                      99.99% of gamers have no idea how to use an OS beyond *click* *click* *drag* *play* *pew pew crisys*.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        There was no "leak". It was a controlled viral marketing campaign. The big announcement for everybody who cares would be 99% "Half Life 2: Episode 3"
                        Well yes, but it was a whole mix of different things, but you get what I meant - it's not really worth the time picking that apart. And yes, I'd certainly like to see Ep3, but with the Mac support announcment, it kind of brought my attention to something for which I certainly wouldn't mind delaying Ep3 further.

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        "I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense."
                        No, not really.
                        I simply mean that they'd already solved the two largest *technical* obstacles, and if they were to announce Linux support any time soon, this would be understandably the time to do it.

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way.

                        WebKit is faster and more secure than IE's crappy engine.

                        They already released The Orange Box (HL2+ep1+ep2 Portal TF2) on PS3. Source was designed to be cross-platform. What backend do you think Source uses on PS3?
                        Actually, from what I've read in the past, during the development of HL2, during an interview, Valve said the only graphics API they were developing for with Source is D3D, and further to that, the -gl option, which worked with GoldSrc games, never worked with Source games, and while there was apparently a D3D/OpenGL menu setting in the HL2 leak, this no longer made any difference, with the game always using D3D.

                        In respect to the PS3 Orange Box port, this was apparently (by Valve's own admission), and if you've ever actually played it (noticeably), a bad 'hacky' port by EA - and they apparently never shared the code with Valve (one of many reasons why Valve aren't updating it). Another point here is that EA would have been highly likely to have used the PS3's native libgcm, rather than its apparently no-too-good OpenGL ES implementation. The reason for the Xbox 360 port being so much better was because Valve were able to make the port themselves, precisely because it supported D3D.

                        And in respect to changing the Steam rendering engine from IE to WebKit - well obviously it's going to be 1000% better performance and reliability wise, but Valve showed that their main motivation was obviously portability, when they announced the Mac port only a few weeks after the Steam beta was introduced.

                        And I quote the words of Valves's Director of Steam Development, from Valve's own press release on the announcement of OS X support - "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward.".

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        As far as I know, the Linux Developers were for the native Linux game servers. As I've said, Source builds and runs on Linux for quite a while, certainly way before the said job announcement.
                        Well if anything, that's a good indication.

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        First assertion is false, maybe if you restrict your sample to US middle-upper class. The rest of the world is very different. Both M$ and Apple talk about SOLD operating systems, Linux doesn't "sell", you download it for free and install it. According to M$ or Apple statistics I count as one Windows XP Professional x64 and one Mac OS X. In reality, I have 4 desktops and a notebook at home. One of them has the XP and Mac OS X (hackintosh, but with legal os licnese) The rest have Debians, Suse, Gentoo, FreeBSD and OpenSolaris. For example, from personal experience, an university bought 60 cheap dells for their labs, all with vista buisness, but all are used as linux stations. That's 60 licenses of the "90% desktop market" crap from M$ and 0 for linux.
                        Well I'd agree with you that there's probably a lot more Linux desktops than people like MS and Apple would have you believe, but it's going to be hard to argue that without the support of figures (which is a hard problem to crack - there's no registration process - you could measure ISO downloads, but any one can get installed multiple times or never be used at all).

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        You can make a Hackintosh and put Mac OS X on it (like I have). It has a gigabyte radeon 4850.

                        Most PC gamers are totally clueless and lack the (modest) technical skills required to properly run Linux. I've been using linux for more than a decade now, working as professional system developer, so I know what I am doing. Most people just need to pop in the cd and play or browse the net.
                        From personal experience, most people, especially gamers, don't want to learn to use a new and unfamiliar OS. That's the sad truth. They won't pick an older, less powerful graphics card because it works ok with the latest kernel. They'll want to buy the latest rocket from ATI/NVidia and expect it to work out of the box, like it does on Win.
                        Also, right now, if you have a high-end audio card with an optical output hooked to a hi-fi 5.1 system and you want to be thrilled by the omgawesome 3D sound in FarCry2 or whatever, chances are it won't work on Linux, period.
                        I'm sorry - I've only been used Linux on the desktop for the last five years - but you can hardly argue that it's easier to mess around faking EFI, etc, to set-up a hackintosh, than it is to grab and install the latest Ubuntu, and let it auto-install the Nvidia driver for you when you go to play with Desktop Effects.

                        And yes, hardware support is still a problem, but *if* Valve were to start the ball rolling, then this would also have a trickle down effect of putting a lot more pressure one hardware manufacturers to release better drivers. Why does Broadcom now produce relatively-decent driver solutions for Linux? Because when Dell first formed their partnership with Canonical to sell Ubuntu machines, Dell put the pressure on Broadcom to produce some decent drivers.

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        Erm what? Steam is just a authentication, social network and download platform. Each "tripple-A" 3rd party title will have to be PORTED to linux, even Source based games. You have no idea just how tightly coupled 99% of the engines out there are to M$ specific stuff.
                        Well first of all, your last statement in the above paragraph contradicts your earlier statement ("Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way."). But no my point was this - from what Valve are pushing with the Mac, and if they did the same for a Linux release, if a developer was writing for Source to distribute on Steam, it would provide a pretty much 'write once' solution. Then the other point I was trying to get across was that, for developers who don't use Source, if they ever wanted to make a Linux port (and of course they'd have to handle the porting themselves), distributions is always going to be another headache - and Steam could solve a fair bit of that problem for them.

                        Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                        Clever has nothing to do with it. As I've said earlier, EA also had one of their engines ported to Linux. Yet no game was released. I mean, I hate EA as much as the next guy, but you have to understand that the engineers and developers have to get through the business people. Ever tried to explain some business person that, in order to work on Linux/BSD/etc the project will have to include 3rd party *GPL/BSD style license code? The truth is that, whatever they do, they'll have to include *GPL-type license code in their engine and auxiliaries. Business and Legal people have go bananas when you explain them what it means, exactly.
                        Well a few points here - first of all is that, from top to bottom, Valve has taken decisions in the past that wouldn't get beyond the upper management at EA. The other is this - I'm sorry, but the gaming world's 'Business and Legal people' can't bury their heads in the sand forever - the rest of the world is moving to become more open-source friendly (or at least accepting) - companies such as ID have shown its perfectly possible; the legal people need to be a little more familiar with open source licensing if they believe it's going to infect their code 'like a virus'. And I believe 'clever' does have something to do with it - being clever enough to realise there's an opportunity, and that they're one of the few with the ability to exploit it effectively.

                        Anyway - in a few hours, we'll see whether the earliest chance for Valve to announce Linux support comes to pass...

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          This thread is continuing here: http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22495

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by rfdparker2002 View Post

                            I mean to be honest, announcing Linux support really would make sense. Consider the following:
                            • Valve now has OpenGL in Source and WebKit in Steam - so most of the porting work is already done - and by brining it to the Mac, they've proven that it's portable.
                            OK, I understand your enthusiasm about having a openGL renderer and Webkit but these are really no indication "most of the porting work is already done". openGL is just one small part of porting a application and the use of Webkit just allows more flexibility and even adds the option of using it's 3d capabilities if they wanted to and as well allows for addressing a whole new market to them. Portable devices such as phones.

                            • All the clues we've had over the years we've had over the years (including those announced on Phoronix) - including the job listing, the Linux Steam client libraries in the Left 4 Dead demo, and most recently, if I remember correctly, the page for some random game on Steam (maybe L4D2, can't remember) temporarily listed Linux as a supported OS.
                            There was one game accidentally listed on steam as linux. The games own developer admitted this was a mistake. It happens. There have been many places and times where this has happened on the web. Heck I even remember a mousepad having minimum system specifications on Amazon once.

                            • While there are almost certainly more Macs in desktop use than Linux, what people don't seem to be considering is that, until recently, most of Apple's desktops and laptops have been sold with Intel GPUs, which are pretty much incapable of rendering most of Valve's games correctly. By contrast, Linux will have access to the existing Windows hardware ecosystem (although arguably, Nvidia cards will still perform better at the moment).
                            Most macs from the intel era have a discreet graphics solutions. In fact when they first came out with the iMac the Intel GPU was only available on the 17" which was only sold to educational customers. The Mac Mini had a Intel IGP as well but the number of sales of them compared to a imac are extremely small (think low single digits) because by the time people started adding the monitor/keyboard/mouse/ram/etc they were back up the the price of an iMac with more capable abilities then you could ever spec out a Mac Mini with. The only real seller with Intel IGP's that sold very well were the Macbooks. All and all Intel IGP's simply doesn't have the dominance in Apple machines like they do in PC's and most Apples do have a discreet solution. (in PowerPC days they were all discreet solutions).

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by CNCFarraday View Post
                              Also, this would be a minor issues compared to, say, Support. *snip* We have 12 test machines for Linux alone, each one with a certain distribution, each distribution the current stable release, the previous stable release and the current unstable release, mirrored, one for i386 one for x64 (for PC arch only). PLUS the exotic *NIXes on separate machines.
                              good point, but this is pretty common for windows software to. But here we have windows xp (sp1 ... spx), windows vista (sp1...spx), windows 7, sp1..spx).
                              Different names, same shit. Although linux is a bit ehm... dynamic

                              99.99% of gamers have no idea how to use an OS beyond *click* *click* *drag* *play* *pew pew crisys*.
                              yah... developers are way better... *drag* *play* *pew pew visual studio*

                              most developers these days don't know assembly or how a OS is build and still deliver excellent stuff... Gamers know how to use forums and hack games... no problem.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by rfdparker2002 View Post
                                Well first of all, your last statement in the above paragraph contradicts your earlier statement ("Source always had an OpenGL backend. The engine is independent of the rendering backend. All high-quality engines are designed and build that way."). But no my point was this - from what Valve are pushing with the Mac, and if they did the same for a Linux release, if a developer was writing for Source to distribute on Steam, it would provide a pretty much 'write once' solution. Then the other point I was trying to get across was that, for developers who don't use Source, if they ever wanted to make a Linux port (and of course they'd have to handle the porting themselves), distributions is always going to be another headache - and Steam could solve a fair bit of that problem for them.
                                I'm sorry, I was trying to keep it short. Source is a GAME engine. It's more than a rendering engine. Having a rendering backend for OpenGL doesn't mean the rest that fills the gap from Rendering to Complete Game Engine ( audio, network, input, threading, drm, to name just a few ) is ported 100%.

                                Look, you got me wrong. I'm not arguing against. I'm arguing that, given what I've seen and the state of the economy, there's a very slim chance anybody, including Valve, will risk developing for what is from their pov an insignificant platform.

                                I mean, the only reason I keep Windows on one of my home machines is to play some games from time to time. I can easily test all my cross platform clients in a virtual machine, but I can't play games in the virtual machine.

                                If Valve ports the Orange Box to Linux I'd buy a dozen and use make them gifts. I purchased Loki's stuff (Alpha Centauri, Heroes 3, Quake 3 and the like ) 4-5 each. They make nice presents for dev team members...

                                Since everybody already knows about Portal 2, if there is indeed a BIG announcement to be made by Valve (and not just marketing hype) then it has to be either HL2EP3 or some unknown title. Remember that they said they are working on something that is a new ip.

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