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Valve Discusses External Developers On Steam, HDR

In an interview conducted by fan website Half-Life2.net, Valve Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi has suggested that the company’s online delivery system Steam may be us...
In an interview conducted by fan website Half-Life2.net, Valve Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi has suggested that the company’s online delivery system Steam may be used by other developers, with announcements on this due in the near future. Lombardi is quoted as saying: "In the coming weeks we will be announcing games created by other developers that will be made available via Steam", indicating the ending of a monopoly on Valve-only titles available via Steam. Although Lombardi is unclear on specific names of titles, it seems that the company intends to expand the range of games available on the company's 'content distribution system'. In fact, titles distributed via Steam do not necessarily have to use the company's Source engine, but Valve are thus far tight-lipped on the extent of these announcements. The next major update from Valve itself is due to be the Lost Coast expansion for Half-Life 2, which gives access to a previously excised section of the game while also taking advantage of new high dynamic range (HDR) technology. This allows for a much more realistic simulation of light, as it is perceived by the human eye, with features such as blooming; cube maps which allow for an object’s reflection to be cast in a more accurate manner; water reflection/refraction; light maps generated through a radiosity process that takes into account light bounces and global illumination; HDR light sources; and exposure control that more accurately simulates the way the human eye adjusts to different light conditions. The implementation of the technology will require an unusually powerful PC with a minimum of a 2GHz processor required, 1 to 2GB of RAM and the newest graphic processor technology from ATI or NVidia. Even so, anti-aliasing can not be used in conjunction with HDR with current hardware technology. Valve intends to update the Source SDK (the software development kit created for Half-Life 2), once Lost Coast has shipped, to include support for HDR authoring, while future Valve game releases will feature HDR modes in the video settings.

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