Valve Hack CTF Game?

UPDATE: PC Gamer UK got Robin Walker to come to their server and show off his super-dev-rocketlauncher. (See below.)

So this is weird (and old, apparently, so this can be retro news: “Remember the news last year? Ah, they really knew how to reblog stories back then…”). In a match between mod developers from HL2CTF and Valve Software a moment of near-magical source code cheating was seen. Steam forumite palehorse864 reports: “I heard Gman’s voice saying “Rise and shine Mr. Freeman” and every player’s view changed as Valve “transformed” into their superhero personas. A title came up giving the Valve employee’s name and their alter ego, and they then changed into that alter ego, gaining several powers. One had a rapid fire rocket launcher and infinite health, another turned into a living combine plasma orb and rushed around touching everyone and vaporizing them, the scoreboard went nuts as the points climbed constantly in Valve’s favor, even with no flag caps.”

There’s a video that apparently shows this happening below.




  1. TotalBiscuit says:

    In before internet-shitstorm claiming Valve are dishonest cheaters and as such, hypocrites for taking away everyone’s idling-items.

  2. rocketman71 says:

    Haven’t you seen Valve’s TF2 developer weapons?. See Robin’s here. The descriptions are gone, sadly, but they had things like auto-heal, super damage, extra critics, vampire heal and more.

    I hope HL2CTF is released soon. It was expected in early May!!!

  3. Schaulustiger says:

    I don’t really get what’s happening in the video after the Valve guys transformed, but the general idea is pretty funny. I know why I still have a place in my heart for Valve, they pull stuff like that off with a kind of spirit that is rarely found among bigger gaming companies. Hats off!

  4. Lack_26 says:

    Valve are awesome, and they only had the code for a day, pretty impressive really.

  5. T-B0N3 says:

    lol this was like 4-5 years ago :0

  6. Theory says:

    This was yeeeaaaars ago. I knew that Valve thrashed the mod developers, but I never knew they did it like this!

  7. Gremmi says:

    Yeah, this was from 2007.

  8. Andy says:

    This was apparently some kind of practice match the mod devs had with valve. The fact that Valve had the sense of humour and the skill to knock this out in a day (it’s probably not all that much work actually, all they really did was tweak some characteristics of their players and their weapons) is one of many reasons I hold them in such high regard.

  9. Thomas says:

    TB If you’re who i think you are, theni’m pretty sure that you would object just as much to Blizzard spawning über items for their own characters, just as much as idlers and non-idlers alike would object to Valve developers spawning hats and über weapons for themselves, and even uses them on public servers.

  10. The Hammer says:

    Oh wow! I didn’t expect to see this here, especially not after all this time!

    I was a beta tester for the mod when this happened, and I remember the hilarity of it. Valve actually gave us two matches at different dates, and I think this may have been the second of the two. Whilst I didn’t get to play, it was great seeing the mod get this kind of exposure, though I assume it’s dead now.

    HL2CTF was a really fun time, and was the first mod I spent hours and hours playing. What made it good for me was that I was actually GOOD at it. Sometimes, top of the leaderboard good! And really, in an MP FPS, there are few feelings better than that. Man, so many great memories. The maps were astoundingly good.

  11. TotalBiscuit says:

    @Thomas – You may be sure, but it’s not true. Blizzard did in fact do something almost identical to this, spawning and transforming into massive raid bosses, including a giant tree that breathed acid on people, during a battlegrounds match. The shitstorm blew up on the forums and I recall, very specifically, coming out in favour of Blizzard on the show directly following the incident. To paraphrase myself..

    “So Blizzard do something fun and unique for once, in a videogame, which let’s face it doesn’t matter a jot in the great scheme of things, as a one-off no less and you guys explode into a fit of tears and rage over it? Shut up, just shut up, it’s their game they are allowed to have a little fun and while it might have been ‘unfair’ for you 10 or so people, it was certainly funny for the other 8 million of us’.

    Can’t remember which episode that was, it’ll have been back in Season 2 at least, feel free to dig for it if you wish, after all, the burden of proof is on the accuser ;)

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ rocketman71: I was lucky enough to be on the PC Gamer TF2 server about 2 weeks back when PCG’s Buck Sexington (aka Craig Pearson) pestered Robin to join and deploy his haxxy rocket launcher. Fun times.

  13. Dominic White says:

    Hell, I wish this kinda stuff was the norm. If I end up playing against one of the developers of a game, I’d hope they’d try pulling some crazy shit like this, just because they can.

    I’d more than happily trade losing a match for seeing something completely unique and unexpected.

  14. Thomas says:

    Honestly never heard of anything like that outside the PTR’s, anyways i stand corrected.

    I still think that Valve has gone overboard with their own cheating while taking the “moral high road”.

  15. Thomas says:

    Btw, it wasn’t an accusation, i was merely trying to make an analogy, and as i remember you from the WoW forums i thought one with WoW would be good :)

  16. Tei says:

    I think is obviusly a nice “genuine cool people doing cool stuff” by Valve. Not to be confused with PR.

    It could also be described as a devs2devs easter egg. Is not like the game will be release with this.

    Not all dev’s add easter eggs to his stuff. I don’t do that. But I know people that do that, and I think is funny and a good tradition. I know a webmaster that created a gay shop, that has a “flyiing penis” secret page. If you enter this secret page, you see a penis flyiing and bouncing on the borders of the screen.

    Hell… even Bill Gates did it in BASIC V2.0. He placed this easter egg: typing “wait 65,1”, the basic interpreter prints “Microsoft!” on screen. And Bill Gates is practically a lawyer and almost only 0.0001% a dev. If a shy and boring guy like Bill Gates have easter eggs in his games, why not cool people.

  17. phil says:

    It’s particularly nice this happened in the HL2 gameworld, which is generally so dour and dismal; now we just need a Super Smash Bros. full mod to include the cast of Silent Hill.

  18. rocketman71 says:

    I wouldn’t call Basic 2.0 a game XD

  19. Schaulustiger says:


    I haven’t heard of Valve developers constantly annoying people on public servers with their uber-weapons. And as long as it’s an occasional “what-the-heck-is-just-happening” moment for a few people, it’s perfectly fine. Hell, it makes for some RPS-worthy stories as you can see and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The beautiful thing about Valve is that their humour never comes off as something forced. BF:Heroes tried to be funny and failed. With Valve games it often feels natural which is truly refreshing. It’s one of the reasons why I still fire up TF2 from time to time, even after playing it exhaustively on high competitive levels for a long time.

  20. Tei says:

    that was a typo error, is a interpreter. but it was fun. maybe was a freudian slip..

  21. TotalBiscuit says:

    @Thomas Well it wasn’t such an analogy since it actually happened :) I’m sure there’s a video on Youtube of it, I can’t access it from work though.

  22. Amqz says:

    wow, valve are assholes.

  23. NoRCoN says:

    “The beautiful thing about Valve is that their humour never comes off as something forced. BF:Heroes tried to be funny and failed. With Valve games it often feels natural which is truly refreshing. It’s one of the reasons why I still fire up TF2 from time to time, even after playing it exhaustively on high competitive levels for a long time.”

    This is one of the reasons I’m such a huge fan of Valve. They know how to get things done but have fun at the same time.

  24. Jayt says:

    Well Valve still apparently thinks I’m a cheater.

  25. Pod says:

    “Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ rocketman71: I was lucky enough to be on the PC Gamer TF2 server about 2 weeks back when PCG’s Buck Sexington (aka Craig Pearson) pestered Robin to join and deploy his haxxy rocket launcher. Fun times.”

    Me too. Seeing every one on red on KOTH_Nucleus explode with one rocket…. very odd. I thought it was natural as I’d just set them all on fire. It wasn’t until he turned his entire team uber that I noticed something odd was going on! :)

  26. Vandelay says:

    Gives me an idea. Is there any chance, with the awesome connections that the wonderful RPS has, that they could entice some Valve employees onto the RPS server for some TF2 fun? An RPS readers (and writers) Vs. Valve would be incredible. At the very least, getting a couple to pop in would be good enough. If PCG can do it on a whim, I’m sure RPS could organise an actual event.

  27. CMaster says:

    Possily the oddest thing about this story is I’ve had contact with palehorse864 before. I think it was with regards to The Opera (underrated HL mod) and its various never-quite finished sequels (I still have a DVD with Alpha 5 of The Opera HL2 I think)

  28. bbot says:

    My word, that is some absolutely terrible video quality.

  29. Dan Lawrence says:

    Alpha 5 eh? That’ll probably be my code then.

    Can’t say I really remember a palehorse or a CMaster but its been a long time now, where you one of our testers at the end there before it died? :) Shame it never got finished. Most of us old RA’s are still in occasional contact via Twitter and Facebook.

  30. Dracko says:

    So this is what they get up to instead of working on Ep. Three, huh?

  31. The Innocent says:

    This is great stuff. It’s like the PC equivalent of when you’re losing at chess and you go, “My bishop is now a NUCLEAR MISSILE!”

  32. army of none says:

    Ha, that’s awesome.

  33. CMaster says:

    Dan Lawrence = Myre?
    Yeah, I became an Opera Fan after the game went rather quiet in HL, stuck with it for ages, eventually becoming one of the main testers in the HL attempt at R2. I still have Aneur and Infestasyde on MSN I think, as well as a few other testers on an AIM account I never use.

  34. Dracko says:

    The Innocent: You mean utterly classless and bitter?

  35. Pod says:

    woot! The pyro heroicly setting the entire red team on fire before Robin CHEATS LIKE HELL and uses some kind auto-rocket gun. I’m glad this video exists — I had no idea what actually happened. Pyro’s can’t see much, you see. All that fire and running in cricles they do.

  36. Thingus says:

    I look forward to seeing CoH/Champions versions of these characters :P

    Also, they patched the ‘exploding bishop’ exploit out of chess in the early 1800’s

  37. 678 says:

    How lame. I wasn’t expected this from Valve.

  38. Seth says:


    Serious Business.

  39. The Hammer says:

    “So this is what they get up to instead of working on Ep. Three, huh?”

    This was before Episode 1.

  40. Mike says:

    How classy.

  41. Dracko says:

    Seth: Yet if anyone else pulled this off in the middle of your deathmatch or CTF game, you’d quite understandably be pissed.

    Why does Valve get a free pass exactly?

  42. Heliocentric says:

    I an boycotting halflife 2 episode 3 because of this. At least until it comes out.

  43. The Hammer says:

    @Dracko: I am not quite sure you understand the context of this particular game. This was not Valve jumping into any random server and displaying their mad skillz with the console command. This is not Valve doing it to people who just wanted to relax at the end of a gruelling day at the office. This is Valve attending a private (albeit with SourceTV Live Footage) game, one that they’d been invited to and ADVERTISED ON THEIR SITE, of a mod made by people in love with the primary, main game: Half Life 2.

    Let me sum up the details.

    1. Valve were invited to play the mod makers of HL2CTF.
    2. They accepted, and give some exposure of the mod on Steam News.
    3. Because of this exposure, the population of people playing the mod went drastically up.
    4. The first game they had, months before this one, ended in a tie. This was jokingly known as the decider.
    5. Every single person on the opposite team got a kick out of this. The fans got a kick out of this. Everyone was pleased.

    Help me find the cons here. Please. Help me. I really can’t find them.

  44. Seth says:

    Also let’s look at the description of the first video:

    “We invited the TF2 developer Robin Walker to the PC Gamer UK server, and asked him to show off his over-powered, personal Rocket Launcher.”

    Thanks for playing, Dracko.

    Also, even if they decided to drop that shit into a regular game and I was the other team I would be amused rather than outraged it’s a goddamn videogame.

  45. Dracko says:


    Well, that’s okay, then.

  46. subedii says:

    Dracko, nobody was taking the game seriously, it wasn’t an official match or anything, the devs were just there to have a look at the mod and play with the guys who made it. It’s not like the guys on the other team started weeping, wailing, or gnashing teeth, everyone was just having a good time and goofing off.

    Heck, we do the same thing on our Left 4 Dead servers sometimes. If a team’s doing particularly badly sometimes they’ll mysteriously get multiple Tank spawns to throw at us, or a sudden freak hailstorm of Witches. Their team will find Special infected helping them get to the saferoom by clearing the way. It’s brilliant.

    Personally I think this is awesome. If the Valve devs came to our TF2 server and busted out the special weapons we’d all just start laughing and go nuts with it. Likely somebody would start piping Benny Hill over the background, and the game would be abandoned in favour of just having a blast.

  47. Tei says:

    @Red Scharlach: OH HAI.

  48. Dracko says:

    Requesting [that I one day learn how to be a human being]

  49. Tei says:

    Hacking is delicious. And is something that ladies really really really like. There are types of fun. And probably was as fun to release this joke, as to create it on the valve offices :-)

    You only take over the world once, but you can plan it every night :-)

  50. jalf says:

    lol, cool.

    People all too often forget that point in games is *to have fun*. As long as Valve doesn’t try to pass this off as a real, fair win, and as long as it doesn’t happen in some kind of ranked tournament kind of match, I think it’s great.