Counter Strike 1.6 – Professional
Counter Strike 1.6 – Professional
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From its release in 1998, Half-Life saw fervent support from independent game developers, due in no small part to support and encouragement from Valve Software. Worldcraft, the level-design tool used during the game’s development, was included with the game software. Printed materials accompanying the game indicated Worldcraft’s eventual release as a retail product, but these plans never materialized. Valve also released a software development kit, enabling developers to modify the game and create mods. Both tools were significantly updated with the release of the version 184.108.40.206 patch. Many supporting tools (including texture editors, model editors, and rival level editors like the multiple engine editor QuArK) were either created or updated to work with Half-Life.
The Half-Life software development kit served as the development base for many multiplayer mods, including the Valve-developed Team Fortress Classic and Deathmatch Classic (an updated version of Quake). Other mods such as Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat (DOD) began life as the work of independent developers (self-termed “modders”) who later received aid from Valve. Other multiplayer mods include Action Half-Life, Firearms, Science and Industry, The Specialists, Pirates, Vikings and Knights, Natural Selection and Sven Co-op.
Numerous single player mods have also been created, like USS Darkstar (1999, a futuristic action-adventure on board a zoological research spaceship), The Xeno Project 1 and 2 (1999–2005, a two-part mod starting in Xen and again including spaceships), Edge of Darkness (2000, which features some unused Half-Life models), Half-Life: Absolute Redemption (2000, which brings back Gordon Freeman for four additional episodes and another encounter with the G-Man), They Hunger (2000–2001, a survival horror total conversion trilogy involving zombies), Poke646 (2001, a follow-up to the original Half-Life story with improved graphics), Someplace Else (2002, Side story to the original Half-Life), and Heart of Evil (2003, Vietnam war with zombies).
Some Half-Life modifications eventually landed on retail shelves. Counter-Strike was the most successful, having been released in six different editions: as a standalone product (2000), as part of the Platinum Pack (2000), as an Xbox version (2003), as a single player spin-off called Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (2004), Counter-Strike: Source, which runs on Half-Life 2’s Source engine, and the newest addition Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, also running on the Source engine. Team Fortress Classic, Day of Defeat, Gunman Chronicles (2000, a futuristic Western movie-style total conversion with emphasis on its single player mode) and Sven Co-op were also released as stand-alone products.
In 2003, Valve’s network was infiltrated by hackers. Among the files included an unreleased Half-Life modification: “Half-Life: Threewave”, a cancelled remake of the mod Threewave CTF from Quake. The files were later found by Tyler McVicker from a Vietnamese FTP server on February 2016 and later released the modification unofficially on September 2016.
Black Mesa, a fan-made remake of Half-Life utilising the Source engine, began development in 2005, and was released as a free download on September 14, 2012. The free 2007 Source SDK base is needed to run the game. It has been confirmed that Black Mesa will be distributed via Steam; the remake was among the first ten titles whose release on the platform was approved using Valve’s crowdvoting service Steam Greenlight.
Half-Life’s public reception was overwhelmingly positive in terms of reviews, acclaim and sales. As of November 16, 2004, eight million copies of the game had been sold, by 2008 9.3 million copies had been sold at retail. The game has won over 50 Game of the Year awards.
Half-Life was universally acclaimed, earning an overall score of 96 out of 100 on aggregate review website Metacritic. Computer Gaming World’s Jeff Green said that the game “is not just one of the best games of the year. It’s one of the best games of any year, an instant classic that is miles better than any of its immediate competition, and – in its single-player form – is the best shooter since the original Doom”. IGN described it as “a tour de force in game design, the definitive single player game in a first person shooter”. IGN has also respected the game as one of the most influential video games. GameSpot claimed that it was the “closest thing to a revolutionary step the genre has ever taken”. GameSpot inducted Half-Life into their “Greatest Games of All Time” list in May 2007. In 2004, GameSpy held a Title Fight, in which readers voted on what they thought was the “greatest game of all time”, and Half-Life was the overall winner of the survey. In the November 1999, October 2001, and April 2005 issues of PC Gamer, Half-Life was named “Best Game of All Time”/”Best PC Game Ever”.
The immersive gaming experience and interactive environment was cited by several reviewers as being revolutionary. AllGame said “It isn’t everyday that you come across a game that totally revolutionizes an entire genre, but Half-Life has done just that”. Hot Games commented on the realism of the game, and how the environment “all adds up to a totally immersive gaming experience that makes everything else look quite shoddy in comparison”. Gamers Depot found the game engaging, stating that they have “yet to play a more immersive game period”.
Despite the praise that the game has received, there have also been some complaints. The Electric Playground said that Half-Life was an “immersive and engaging entertainment experience”, but said that this only lasted for the first half of the game, explaining that the game “peaked too soon”.
Guinness World Records awarded Half-Life with the world record for Best-Selling First-Person Shooter of All Time (PC) in the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008.
A short film based upon Half-Life entitled Half-Life: Uplink, was developed by Cruise Control, a British marketing agency, and was released on March 15, 1999. However, Sierra withdrew it from circulation, after itself and Valve had failed to resolve licensing issues with Cruise Control over the film. The critical reception of the film was very poor. The plot of the film was that a journalist infiltrates the Black Mesa Research Facility, trying to discover what has happened there.
Microsoft Corporation (commonly referred to as Microsoft or MS) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface tablet lineup. As of 2011, it was the world’s largest software maker by revenue, and one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Microsoft was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows. The company’s 1986 initial public offering (IPO), and subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions. In May 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in its largest acquisition up to, June 2016 announced plan to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
As of 2015, Microsoft is market-dominant in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market and the office software suite market, although it has lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android. The company also produces a wide range of other software for desktops and servers, and is active in areas including Internet search (with Bing), the video game industry (with the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles), the digital services market (through MSN), and mobile phones (via the operating systems of Nokia’s former phones and Windows Phone OS). In June 2012, Microsoft entered the personal computer production market for the first time, with the launch of the Microsoft Surface, a line of tablet computers. With the acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services division to form Microsoft Mobile Oy, the company re-entered the smartphone hardware market, after its previous attempt, Microsoft Kin, which resulted from their acquisition of Danger Inc.
The word “Microsoft” is a portmanteau of “microcomputer” and “software”
Paul Allen and Bill Gates, childhood friends with a passion for computer programming, sought to make a successful business utilizing their shared skills. In 1972 they founded their first company, named Traf-O-Data, which offered a rudimentary computer that tracked and analyzed automobile traffic data. Allen went on to pursue a degree in computer science at Washington State University, later dropping out of school to work at Honeywell. Gates began studies at Harvard. The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, which Allen bought at Out of Town News, featured Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems’s (MITS) Altair 8800 microcomputer. Allen suggested that they could program a BASIC interpreter for the device; after a call from Gates claiming to have a working interpreter, MITS requested a demonstration. Since they didn’t actually have one, Allen worked on a simulator for the Altair while Gates developed the interpreter. Although they developed the interpreter on a simulator and not the actual device, the interpreter worked flawlessly when they demonstrated the interpreter to MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 1975; MITS agreed to distribute it, marketing it as Altair BASIC.:108, 112–114 They officially established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO. Allen came up with the original name of “Micro-Soft,” as recounted in a 1995 Fortune magazine article. In August 1977 the company formed an agreement with ASCII Magazine in Japan, resulting in its first international office, “ASCII Microsoft”. The company moved to a new home in Bellevue, Washington in January 1979.
Microsoft entered the OS business in 1980 with its own version of Unix, called Xenix. However, it was MS-DOS that solidified the company’s dominance. After negotiations with Digital Research failed, IBM awarded a contract to Microsoft in November 1980 to provide a version of the CP/M OS, which was set to be used in the upcoming IBM Personal Computer (IBM PC). For this deal, Microsoft purchased a CP/M clone called 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, branding it as MS-DOS, which IBM rebranded to PC DOS. Following the release of the IBM PC in August 1981, Microsoft retained ownership of MS-DOS. Since IBM copyrighted the IBM PC BIOS, other companies had to reverse engineer it in order for non-IBM hardware to run as IBM PC compatibles, but no such restriction applied to the operating systems. Due to various factors, such as MS-DOS’s available software selection, Microsoft eventually became the leading PC operating systems vendor.:210 The company expanded into new markets with the release of the Microsoft Mouse in 1983, as well as with a publishing division named Microsoft Press.:232 Paul Allen resigned from Microsoft in 1983 after developing Hodgkin’s disease.
While jointly developing a new OS with IBM in 1984, OS/2, Microsoft released Microsoft Windows, a graphical extension for MS-DOS, on November 20, 1985.:242–243, 246 Microsoft moved its headquarters to Redmond on February 26, 1986, and on March 13 the company went public; the ensuing rise in the stock would make an estimated four billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. Due to the partnership with IBM, in 1990 the Federal Trade Commission set its eye on Microsoft for possible collusion; it marked the beginning of over a decade of legal clashes with the U.S. Government. Microsoft released its version of OS/2 to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on April 2, 1987;:243–244 meanwhile, the company was at work on a 32-bit OS, Microsoft Windows NT, using ideas from OS/2; it shipped on July 21, 1993, with a new modular kernel and the Win32 application programming interface (API), making porting from 16-bit (MS-DOS-based) Windows easier. Once Microsoft informed IBM of NT, the OS/2 partnership deteriorated.
In 1990, Microsoft introduced its office suite, Microsoft Office. The software bundled separate office productivity applications, such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.:301 On May 22 Microsoft launched Windows 3.0 with a streamlined user interface graphics and improved protected mode capability for the Intel 386 processor. Both Office and Windows became dominant in their respective areas. Novell, a Word competitor from 1984–1986, filed a lawsuit years later claiming that Microsoft left part of its APIs undocumented in order to gain a competitive advantage.
On July 27, 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division filed a Competitive Impact Statement that said, in part: “Beginning in 1988, and continuing until July 15, 1994, Microsoft induced many OEMs to execute anti-competitive “per processor” licenses. Under a per processor license, an OEM pays Microsoft a royalty for each computer it sells containing a particular microprocessor, whether the OEM sells the computer with a Microsoft operating system or a non-Microsoft operating system. In effect, the royalty payment to Microsoft when no Microsoft product is being used acts as a penalty, or tax, on the OEM’s use of a competing PC operating system. Since 1988, Microsoft’s use of per processor licenses has increased.”