The other day I was talking to Josh about a way to use preupdate versions of source games (i.e. such that emulate a running Steam process) and still use Steam regularly at the same time. He suggested that one reason that running Ep2 is so boring is that you can’t communicate with others while running, unless they’re using IRC which most don’t seem to do since they prefer Steam.
In this context I just found out that it’s possible to start Steam when a preupdate version of a game is already running. Frankly, it’s beyond me why I or noone else didn’t think of this sooner. Anyway, as long a you don’t close the game you’re running it’s possible to still log on to Steam. Once you close the game you’ll have to close Steam as well to re-launch the game. It’s just a workaround, obviously, but it works. I might try to figure out later what the real issue is when trying to launch a preupdate version while Steam is running, but for now this should do. Maybe this will help increase activity a bit One can only hope.