June 17th, 2009
I’ve recently been intensively playing a number of games which I’m yet to have discussed yet, two of those include Half-life and Half-life 2. I’ve got a bundle of opinions on the series which I’ll get to later. For now though I just thought that I’d text dump this short story from Wikipedia that I found when doing some recent research on the series. I’m sure you’ll find this drama rather interesting if you hadn’t heard of it already.
“Half-Life 2 was merely a rumor until a strong impression at E3 in May 2003 launched it into high levels of hype, where it won several awards for best in show. It had a release date of September 2003, but was delayed. This pushing back of HL2’s release date came in the wake of the cracking of Valve’s internal network, through a null session connection to Tangis which was hosted in Valve’s network and a subsequent upload of an ASP shell, resulting in the leak of the game’s source code and many other files including maps, models and a playable early version of Half-Life Source and Counter-Strike Source in early September 2003. On October 2, 2003, Valve CEO Gabe Newell publicly explained in the HalfLife2.net forums the events that Valve experienced around the time of the leak, and requested users to track down the perpetrators if possible.
In June 2004, Valve Software announced in a press release that the FBI had arrested several people suspected of involvement in the source code leak. Valve claimed the game had been leaked by a German black-hat hacker named Axel Gembe. Gembe later contacted Newell through e-mail (also providing an unreleased document planning the E3 events). Gembe was led into believing that Valve wanted to employ him as an in-house security auditor. He was to be offered a flight to the USA and was to be arrested on arrival by the FBI. When the German government became aware of the plan, Gembe was arrested in Germany instead, and put on trial for the leak as well as other computer crimes in November 2006, such as the creation of Agobot, a highly successful trojan which harvested users’ data.
At the trial in November 2006 in Germany, Gembe was sentenced to two years’ probation. In imposing the sentence, the judge took into account such factors as Gembe’s difficult childhood and the fact that he was taking steps to improve his situation.”