Man, am I tired. I got up this morning at the usual early hour, got dressed, made my lunch for the day, and then toyed with the idea of crawling back in bed for about a half hour… until I realized that I had not yet eaten breakfast. After leaving for work, all I could think about while driving on the freeway was just letting my head roll back and dozing off. Now I sit at work, still feeling droopy, but with a slight re-invigoration from a half-finished energy drink. I vow to go to sleep early tonight; almost as soon as I get home, even. But then, for the same reason as last night’s lack of sleep, I doubt that I will.Maybe some of you went through a similar experience? You very well could have; I know I wasn’t alone last night. Far from it… in fact, I’d wager I was joined in my insomnia by thousands of people. So what caused this mass exodus from sleep last night?
Three words. Well, three words and a number.
Team Fortress 2 beta.
Now I can’t say that I was one of the die hard fans of Team Fortress 1, who have waited a decade for this remake of their game to come into reality… nor can I say that I even particularly liked the first game, for that matter. I did, however, fire up Steam the other day and pre-order Orange Box, which I was delightfully surprised to see includes Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, Portal, Peggle Ultimate (or something like that), and the opportunity to play the TF2 beta this week. All for only $45 – less than the cost of a full game!
Since I had always planned on purchasing HL2: Ep2, and have been intrigued with TF2 and Portal ever since I’ve seen some of the fantastical screenshots and character videos, it seemed reasonable to just swipe them all up at once and take advantage of Valve’s offer. I figured that the beta of TF2 would give me a good idea of how the game will be when it finally comes out, and at the very least, would give me something to do until Halo 3 comes out next week. So I pre-ordered on saturday, and waited patiently for the monday release of the TF2 beta.
After getting off work yesterday, I fired up Steam, and checked the status of the game. Still unreleased. A quick jump onto the crawling Steam forums gave me the impression that the game was likely not going to come out until the very last minute of the day. So, even though I have to get up at 5:45 AM every day, I made the decision to stay up til midnight, check out the game for a few minutes when it’s finally released, and then hit the sack, still getting about 5 hours of sleep. I spent some time updating the next version of the Reflect Games website, and playing a bit of Sam & Max: Episode 1.
Finally, at about 11:45 PM, I decided I’d take a shower and be all set for bed by the time the beta was released. I had already pre-loaded the game on saturday, so as soon as the Valve was to hit the “big red button,” I’d be good to go. When I got out of the shower, the game’s status had changed to “Updating,” but was stuck at 0%, so I restarted Steam. Upon restarting, the game finalized it’s pre-load, decrypted it’s files, and then reported that all was ready to go. I excitedly pressed “Launch” and watched as Steam began preparing to start the game. And then… nothing. The small window which had appeared to inform me that the game was launching had mysteriously disappeared, and a quick check of the computer’s processes told me it was not coming back.
After about 5 minutes of vain attempts to get the game to launch, I disappointedly brought myself back to the forums to see if my situation was the rule, rather than the exception. Sure enough, it seemed nobody was able to play. I spent a few minutes posting messages, and went back to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Having to wait through an entire day of work to try again while the rest of the world played wasn’t sounding too great to me.
So I sat down at my computer, resigned to this terrible fate, ready to shut down and go to sleep. When I went to close Steam down, however, I noticed a telltale sign in the taskbar; the little green lights of internet activity were flicking back and forth, and I had no other programs open that would be triggering this activity. Suddenly completely ignorant of how late it was getting, I tried launching the game again, and was met by same the small launch window… which decided to fulfill it’s promise this time. I set up my play options, found a server, and joined the fray.
All I can say is that this game is completely awesome. I didn’t go to sleep until about 1:30 AM, and despite the fact that I feel completely exhausted, it was worth it.
If you get a chance, try this game out – it’s really a great experience. Just try to do it at a time that won’t affect your ability to stay awake the next day, hehe.
I’ll discuss the updates to Reflect Games later in the week… right now it’s back to work time for me! Thanks for reading!