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Valve Names Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition the Preferred Development Environment for “Half-Life 2” Modifications

Team Dystopia demonstrates modifications for “Half-Life 2” created with the Source SDK and Visual C++ at Tech•Ed Australia.

GOLD COAST, Australia - Aug. 31, 2005 - Today at Microsoft® TechEd Australia, Microsoft Corp. announced that Valve Corp.®, creator of award-winning game franchises "Half-Life®" and "Counter-StrikeTM," has named the upcoming Microsoft Visual C++® 2005 Express Edition as the preferred development environment for hobbyist Windows® developers creating modifications for SourceTM, the engine on which "Half-Life 2" is built. In addition, during TechEd Australia, attendees will get to hear how Team Dystopia created its modification for "Half-Life 2" with Visual C++.

Microsoft's Visual Studio® Express Edition products, including Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, will offer developers a low-cost tool to explore game "modding" on Windows. Hobbyist developers will also be able to learn more about how to create modifications for "Half-Life 2" on Microsoft's Coding4Fun Web site, which features a new "Half-Life 2" Mod Corner. Microsoft Visual C++ Express Edition, currently available in beta, is due to ship this fall and will be compatible with the next release of Valve's Source software development kit (SDK).

"Windows gaming is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing areas of computing today," said Brian Keller, product manager in the Developer Division at Microsoft Corp. "By working with content and technology creators such as Valve and releasing the Visual Studio Express products, we can provide great opportunities to the game development community. Valve and Microsoft share a vision of providing aspiring developers of all ages with the tools they need to get started with software development and pursue their passions."

Microsoft Visual Studio Express products are low-cost, lightweight and easy-to-learn. They include Starter Kits and other introductory features to streamline programming for the nonprofessional developer. With the Express products, hobbyist, novice and student developers can build dynamic applications, whether they are building new games, creating modifications for games such as "Half-Life 2" or pursuing other software-related hobbies such as robotics or home automation. Valve's SDK is available as a free download for "Half-Life 2" customers, which provides specialized tools and code that allow developers to build modifications to, and completely new games around, Valve's powerful Source engine.

"Visual C++ 2005 is the development environment our engineers are using to create our next generation of products," said Gabe Newell, founder and president of Valve. "Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is a great, low-cost tool that opens the door for the mod community to leverage a robust version of that same development environment in the creation of its Source-based games."

Game Modding on Display at TechEd Australia

This week at TechEd Australia, Team Dystopia representatives will demo their modification for "Half-Life 2" in the keynote presentation. They will provide more details in a session titled "Gaming With Microsoft Development Tools: Special Session Developing Atop the Source Engine." TechEd attendees will also have an opportunity to talk directly with the members of Team Dystopia about how they created their mod during a cabana session titled "Gaming With Microsoft Development Tools - Chat With the Dystopia Game Developers." These sessions offer developers an opportunity to see firsthand how they can create game mods with Visual C++ and the Source SDK.

Pricing and Availability

Developers can download beta 2 of Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition today from Microsoft's Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/express. The updated version of Valve's Source SDK will be available soon and will enable developers to use Visual C++ 2005 and Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition to build and compile modifications based on the Source SDK. Microsoft's Coding4Fun Web site will also feature a new "Half-Life 2" Mod Corner at http://msdn.microsoft.com/coding4fun. Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is priced at $49 (U.S.); the Source SDK is available for download at no additional cost to owners of "Half-Life 2."

About Valve

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Valve is an entertainment software and technology company founded in 1996. Valve's debut title, "Half-Life®," has won over 50 Game of the Year Awards and named "Best PC Game Ever" in the November 1999, October 2001 and April 2005 issues of PC Gamer, the world's best-selling PC games magazine. Valve's portfolio of entertainment titles also includes "Counter-Strike," "Day of Defeat®" and "Team Fortress®," and accounts for over 18 million retail units sold worldwide, and over 88 percent of the PC online action market. More information may be found at www.valvesoftware.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential

Microsoft, Visual C++ and Visual Studio are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Valve, the Valve logo, Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress and Source are trademarks or registered trademarks of Valve Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

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