The Fly Gabe Newell Fund Has Been Successful!

We raised over $3000 in not-even-three-days. Gabe and Erik flew down on their own dime and hung out with me. All funds raised were donated to the Child's Play charity. See below for my summary of the event.

Thanks, everyone!

For the text that was previously here - detailing the sequence of events that led up to all this - go here and here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Summary of the Event

I still don't have many good photos or much video at all of the event, since our camera wasn't behaving itself. Sorry about that, folks. Comin' soon.

So, on Wednesday the 7th I met Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson. It was a pretty good day.

It began with me getting up earlier than I'd normally like, but that's okay because I got on a plane to Sydney without having to pay for my ticket. On arrival at the airport I intercepted my faithful cameraman Rhys, who is currently in the process of organising a zombie march in Sydney to protest Australia's ridiculous lack of an R18+ or Adults Only rating for videogames, due to which Left 4 Dead 2's recently been refused classification (for now). I then met my chauffeur who drove myself, Rhys, and my girlfriend Nikita to the Park Hyatt in an executive sedan. It was one o' them fancy BMWs with more legroom than my whole house has.

On arrival at the Park Hyatt (which is, of course, the hotel where Gabe and Erik were staying) we told the guy at the front counter that we were here for the press event thing and he directed us up the lifts to Gabe's room, where he was surprised to see us because that guy was supposed to have directed us to the Press Room. Well done, that guy. 

There were introductions and Gabe escorted us down to the Press Room himself, where he gave us a quick preview of the powerpoint presentation he was to give about five minutes later. This was also when we met Erik Johnson, as well as some really nice guys from EA, and we all chatted for a bit.

Gabe advised me to write down some notes to help me be less horrifically awkward once I was up there addressing the press, because my brain, he assured me, would turn to mush. I made what I thought would be some very helpful notes and my brain turned to mush anyway. I've yet to watch the parts of the video with me in it, but it is my duty to document it here anyway, so here it is.

Gabe said that most people apparently have a greater fear of public speaking than they do of death, and continued, rather wittily, that they'd rather be the guy in the ground at a funeral than  the guy giving the eulogy. This is entirely true in my case.

Gabe also revealed here that Valve has appealed the ban on Left 4 Dead 2 here in Australia and we won't know for sure whether we'll have the game in its full glory until October 22nd. Failing that, we'll have to make do with a specially censored Australian version which was accepted by the OFLC later in the day to nobody's surprise.

I was then assailed by interviewers for a while. I think I probably performed better in the three or four interviews I gave in that half hour or so than I had in front of the twenty or thirty intimidating press people with their blinding lights. All the interviewers seemed like pretty rad guys and girls, so hey, interviewers, congratulations on seeming like pretty rad guys and girls.  

A guy approached Gabe apologetically asking for the Collector's Edition of Half-Life 2 he was toting to be autographed by Gabe. Gabe did so, and also asked if I could sign it. I did. It would be nice if this photo of it wasn't so blurry.

After the last interview I hastened to get some time in on Left 4 Dead 2, which was running on four Xbox 360s at the back of the press room. I didn't end up getting much time on it but I played enough to be pretty excited about it.

I got to play the first couple of maps of The Parish, and witnessed such new weapons as the frying pan, the machete, a few new pistols, the silenced SMG which appears to have the silencer tied on with cable ties, the AK-47, the defibrillator (which can be used to revive dead teammates, but replaces the first aid kit in your inventory) and probably a few others I've temporarily forgotten. There were also old favourites like the pump shotgun, regular SMG and assault rifle, though none of them were exactly the same as in L4D1.

I also got pummelled by the Charger and ridden by the Jockey. The latter was particularly awesome - I rounded a corner to see a tank charging toward the team. We all started falling back, and right then, I got jumped by a jockey, who steered me straight past the tank and around a corner, far from my teammates. Cunning little bastard. I died.

While I was doing this, it became apparent that Gabe and Erik were rushing around trying to find computers that would run L4D1 in order to view my campaign. They found a few, but it seemed that downloading Left 4 Dead through Steam was going to take too long, so in the end a rather nice ABC lady by the name of Janet, who had interviewed me earlier for Good Game, invited us over to her house to play it on her son's computer. We ended up doing that.

Fortunately her son's computer turned out to be a pretty fancy rig, Left 4 Dead was up to date and it wasn't a problem getting the campaign up and running. As soon as I logged into Steam somebody messaged me with "Are you hanging out with Gabe and drinking beer right now?". This was awesome, because that was exactly what I was doing at that moment. Thanks for the beer, Janet!

Gabe had me play through the campaign on easy so that he could get a proper look at it and we chatted about it, among other things.  He laughed aloud at the loading screen, which was the poster you saw at the beginning of this post. He gave me heaps of the very best constructive criticism and had some good things to say about it. This whole thing was taped, so there'll be a video up as soon as I can get hold of it. In the meantime, however, you'll have to settle for this rather blurry image.

Gabe was really extremely helpful and I'm looking forward to hearing his thoughts again when I have the video.

When we were done at Janet's, we (myself, Gabe, Erik, Rhys and Nikita) took a cab back to the Hyatt, where we met Mark, a guy who'd shown up in response to the "Feel free to show up" post I made. Nice guy. He accepted our invitation to come along to lunch, which we ate at a restaurant somewhat more expensive than the ones I usually dine in. Rhys took full advantage of this by drinking more beers on Gabe's tab than he probably should have.

We chatted at length about all kinds of things, ate classy food and had a total whale of a time. A few times they'd share information about upcoming Left 4 Dead-related stuff that they weren't sure if they'd announced yet, which was awesome. After lunch we sauntered back to the hotel where we said our farewells.

All in all it was a completely awesome time. There'll be more footage and photos up as soon as I can get them. I hope all you kind people got your money's worth in Awesome Event. I sure did.

Apologies for any errors or omissions in this post, I can't be bothered editing it right now.

Thanks everyone! And thanks, obviously, to Gabe and Erik.


  1. Sounds like you had awesome fun.

    I would of loved to be that lady from good games son. He arrives home from school to see gabe newell in his bed room playing left4dead on his computer lol.

  2. Haha, yeah. He wasn't there, but Gabe signed something of his.

  3. Awesome. Also, your Gabe poster is the embodiment of lulz.

  4. Good work mate, it sounded like a damn good day. :D

  5. Hooray! Glad it worked out. Seems like an awesome time.

  6. Could you *jokingly* send him an email for me? I'm curious about the feedback loop and how to show that as a mapper? Thanks. =)

  7. Anymore vids yet? i want more vids lol especially of him playing ur campaign.

  8. Wow, it sounds like a story where your favorite band is playing and you're on the front stage -- all of a sudden, the drummer has fainted and they need to continue the show so they ask someone from the audience that knows all their songs to come up and play with them and then you get picked to do so. Rough analogy, but that's how awesome it sounds.

  9. Wicked cool. (Yes, late comment. I got busy and missed everything :P )