This is a “death map”, showing where players are most likely to die on a particular level of Half-Life 2, found on a page of player statistics for Half-Life provided by Valve, the company that makes Half-Life. Apparently players’ copies of the games are automatically reporting back to the mothership on details such as where they die, the average session time (26 minutes), average completion time (6 hours, 14 minutes) and so forth. While there are potential privacy issues about software automatically sending messages “home” to its creator, I love that they’re releasing the statistics freely – what a great tool for researchers. And seeing this kind of information openly available also makes me feel calmer about the sorts of things being reported and why they’d be useful to the software creator. I wish Microsoft and Apple and the others would do the same. (Found via Kottke.org)

2 thoughts on “death maps from Half-Life 2

  1. 2ndhandsoul

    Trust is a two-way street. I wonder if that can be true about the Information Superhighway? It is nice to coddle ourselves with the belief of Open Source and freedom of information sharing, etc. No one will misuse this information. Perish the thought! The Almight Dollar can always warp and alter this intent. Perhaps I am being jaded. Truthfully — and if you’ll trust me here — I think that information should be freely taken and freely given, if it is in line with the terms of service and is asked for without guile. I have had them ask me numerous times through Steam to participate in their surveys. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no, depending on what they are gathering. They always give out their full reports, usually on who is using what systems and so forth. It is slightly enlightening to see what people are doing out there; sort of a demographic of computers. This death map is another interesting use of statistical information gathered. Of course, this information can be recycled into good or bad uses. It would be good for further refinement of game mechanics or story development or whatnot, to tweak difficulties or whatever, by finding out why people are dying more in certain areas. It may be bad to pump it into another marketing byproduct, somehow to create revenue for revenue’s sake. (Not quite sure how this specific information would, but that’s never stopped anyone from trying, I think.) Blah blah blah. 🙂 Intriguing, nonetheless.

  2. 2ndhandsoul

    P.S. Valve and Steam, despite these informational processes still have tons of technical difficulties. I wish they would somehow fix that before going on to other things, which they always seem to be doing. Secondly, Microsoft and Apple will never do that sort of thing, for reasons that may or may not be obvious. They are too interested in protecting their precious property, no matter what form it may take. Yet, they are still as fraught with problems as Valve. I think I can deal with a problematic company that appears upfront than one that is shady or appears more concerned with profit than its clientele.

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