Fans of the epic Half-Life series yesterday collectively lost all sensibility when Half-Life 2 received a massive 3.7GB update that appeared to do very little according to the update’s changelog. Many speculated about the update and whether it changed anything about the game itself to indicate of Valve was releasing Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 this year. The company instead announced today that Half-Life 2 along with Episode One and Two are now available for purchase on the Steam for Linux platform.
This also means that for those of you who already own the game on a Windows system that three more critically acclaimed games have been updated to fully support the Linux operating system, making the option of porting over in the future a little easier if you already own and play these games.
Valve’s porting of the Steam client to Linux also brings hope to gamers who don’t support Microsoft or Apple’s policies, or those of you who are cash-strapped and don’t resort to pirating Windows software, that the game industry will begin paying attention to the free ecosystem and realise that supporting it would be a great idea. Having more people playing games on Linux means that hardware companies like AMD and Nvidia will have to improve their driver support for the Linux platform.
Valve has now ported nearly all of their projects over to Linux. This includes classics like Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat and Portal, as well as more modern titles like Left 4 Dead 2 (still in beta) and the ever-popular Team Fortress 2 (totally free). This brings the total number of games available on the client to 128 out of a staggering 2018 full games.
Valve’s next objective will be to finish up the Left 4 Dead 2 beta and bring both it and the first game to Steam on Linux and then presumably continue with a port of Portal 2. There’s a good chance that the update to their game engine, Source Engine 2.0, will be available for the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms on day one.
With the support their in-house titles are receiving, its conceivable that whatever game Valve creates in the future will be available on all platforms on the desktop, which is something no other developer seems to be capable of.
If you’re interested in trying out the Steam for Linux client, it’s a good idea to start with downloading Ubuntu Linux (12.04 LTS recommended) and download the Steam client from Valve’s website or through the Ubuntu Software Store.