Valve Puts A Donk On It

By Alec Meer on April 21st, 2010 at 12:57 pm.

No, there’s absolutely no justification for that title. I just wanted to write it. Yes, I know you’re tired of the joke. BUT I WANTED TO WRITE IT. Leave me alone.

The donking, such as it is, is a double-whammy of big updates to Valve’s software: the proper release of the new-look Steam, and a promise that item drop rates in TF2 are finallylikeactuallylikereally fixed.

Next Monday, the 26th, is when the new Steam UI casts off its beta scales and reveals its big-fonted splendour to the world at large. Quoth Valve:

“The beta has been a huge success. The number of you who participated exceeded all our expectations, and so far you’ve created 25 thousand posts to the beta user forums. As a result of your participation, the Steam team has had the feedback required to make the new Steam client more reliable and useful than ever.”

They’ve certainly not been resting on their laurels since the beta version snuck out a few months back – there seems to have been an update every time I loaded the bally thing. Have you noticed improvements over the weeks, lovely readers? They’ll still got the really silly font on the beta/new rosette thing, I note. I look forward to that fugly thing disappearing. Hopefully there’ll be a few more treats in store come Monday’s general release, and perhaps even the release of Steam for OSX. The (Windows) beta’s still running if you’re curious – pop over here to try it.

Meantime, it’s jiggery-pokery time for Team Fortress 2′s oft-criticised loot system. A new update has ramped up drop rate hugely, but is penalising idlers by putting a cap on how many unlocks you can earn per week. Should be good for the game – cone of the reasons I haven’t played much TF2 for a while was that I wasn’t having much luck winning new toys, and getting hammered by dudes who did have them all was a mite depressing. Maybe now I can finally get some hats.

Full details on the ever-lovin’ TF2 blog, but here’s a summary of what they’ve done:

“Previously, we rolled randomly at intervals to see if you got an item drop. Now we roll to determine when your next item drop will occur. So you’re guaranteed to find items at fairly regular intervals. The bulk of drop complaints we’ve received in the past have been from players having unlucky streaks, where they didn’t find any items for weeks. That won’t be possible now.”

It’s still an ongoing process, by the sound of it – they’re also trying to think of ways for TF2 players to shape which drops they might received.

There’s also still the matter of that pesky Engineer update…

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40 Comments »

  1. Shadowcat says:

    “Donk”?

  2. Pema says:

    Does anyone really likes that new UI?!

    • pedant says:

      @Pema

      Yes I quite like it? Only problem is that updating/downloading sometimes chokes other programs using the internet. Might not be steams fault though. Love the RPS integration too.

    • Brumisator says:

      two words:
      keyboard browsing

      just like Windows has had for the past 20 years.

      Want to play “Commandos” but can’t remember if it was in your favourites, and it’s not in the recently played and you can’t be arsed to scroll down?

      Type C O M, and presto, you’re ready to play commandos.

    • Lack_26 says:

      Yeah, I reckon it’s a big improvement. It looks new, shiny and corporate, it’s probably the result of blue-sky thinking and synergy, going forwards.

    • malkav11 says:

      Absolutely. For starters, losing IE rendering is the best thing in the world.

    • subedii says:

      Very much like the new design. I currently prefer the Details view. Whenever there’s a game update I can just scroll down and click the update details that the devs (hopefully) put out.

      Plus as aforementioned, no more Internet Explorer so the whole thing’s a LOT faster. Still has stability issues with the in-game web browser, but hopefully that’ll be sorted out in time. As it is, the browser’s still a lot better, and even in non-Steam games I sometimes find myself habitually shift-tabbing during loading screens to read something whilst the game loads in the background now.

      Also, the new UI has a download manager now.

    • pedant says:

      @brumisator

      Thanks, had missed the keyboard thing, clever. Bit of a hassle typing in X-com titles still but good idea.

    • TheApologist says:

      Yep – I think it’s much nicer.

      Really like the new library in particular

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @pedant – how many bloody games do you have that begin with X? :P

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      A hint, Alex: look at his name.

  3. Robin says:

    http://www.vbs.tv/watch/music-world/donk

    watch this. it’ll explain everything…

    worth noting: afterwards you’ll probably want to cut out your eyes. this page may be helpful :
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cutlery-Knives-Kitchen-Home-Garden/b?ie=UTF8&node=3147481

  4. LionsPhil says:

    Dear lord, Valve made an actual mechanical improvement!

  5. Clovis says:

    I wish the Library on Steam would stay on the view and sort settings I set it to. It always reverts to the “new cool” look that shows the ‘chievos and news. That’s nice, but I like the option that lets me sort by “last time played”.

    I’ve also always had a weird problem with Steam. It often fails to load the first time it starts. It says that I might have a network problem or that it is down. This happens about 50% of the time when I start Steam. This happened with the previous version of Steam and the Beta.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Same thing here. Though I believe it’s either my ISP or my distance to the closest Steam server…

    • egg says:

      Well, you’re right about Steam not saving your Library settings and etc. But if you right click Steam’s tray icon, it will show you a list with the 5 games you last played. Which is pretty much enough for me.

    • Clovis says:

      @egg: Ah, thanks! That’s exactly what I wanted!

  6. Xercies says:

    I haven’t played TF2 since they still haven’t updated my favourite class yet the engineer and I won’t play it until they do. Why should other classes get the shineys when us Engys just get left in the dust and have to wait AGES for our update. bet they update the other classes a second time before we get even our first one.

    • neems says:

      That may be a blessing. I haven’t played TF2 since they updated my favourite classes. I have no interest in grinding, I just liked to pop on occasionally and set people on fire.

    • Metalfish says:

      Engie has always been the most played class, the updates have pushed players into playing the others. This is why the medic and pyro were updated first. Engie is last ‘cos he’s really difficult to make more interesting/different without breaking the game.

    • Collic says:

      IMO updating engie last makes perfect sense. Theyre the guys that built static defences that are important lynch-pins to the entire team and attack and defence dynamics. The toys need to be balanced against all of the other classes; an overpowered engie update would be a terrible, terrible thing for the game.

      Valve can’t really look at what would make a fair, balanced and fun upgrade to the engineer until the other classes have been taken care of.

  7. EER says:

    I like how it does not take years to boot. Other than that, I’m rather indifferent to the changes.

  8. Tei says:

    The new Steam is better, imho, but like any beta software have bugs, and the old versions is almost bug free. So migrating to the new version will mean problems for some people.

  9. billyboob says:

    My only gripe is that ‘non-steam’ game integration could be better. Adding them just makes it look ugly and there’s no way to add custom info, icons or anything as far as I’m aware.

    • RedFred says:

      Yeah I agree. It would be nice to get my BF:BC2 stats into steam like other games have. Although that may be more something to do with EA than Steam.

      So TF2 is good? I keep getting told it is but have never tried it and don’t want to throw my money away.

  10. MuscleHorse says:

    You’re not seriously complaining about a game being updated for free years after it’s initial release are you, Xercies?
    And at any rate, the unlocks are generally worse than the standard loadout except in specific circumstances – you’re not relegated to being a lower tier player.

    • Monchberter says:

      Very true. Except for in a couple of cases the unlocks are very situational as a drawback despite initially looking better. The game is still excellently balanced so i don’t see what you are worrying about

  11. Ian Dorsch says:

    Nothing on the big L4D2 update that drops tomorrow?

  12. Senethro says:

    Oh come on, the new toys in TF2 are fun diversions but most of them are worse than the regular weapons. No need to be all envious of people who have them.

  13. JonFitt says:

    Quoth Valve:
    “I’m making a note here, huge success….

    Sorry.

  14. Forscythe says:

    I’m a pretty harsh critic of Steam’s dysfunctional, unreliable offline mode, so I feel I should tentatively acknowledge that I think offline has perhaps been working bit better in the new client beta. Thanks for that, Valve, every little bit helps!

  15. Quine says:

    Oh dear. Is this one of those legalised highs we’ve been hearing so much of lately?

  16. DarkNoghri says:

    Eh, not hugely impressed with the updates to the Steam UI. It’s like they took this wonderful opportunity to overhaul everything and just made it somewhat prettier instead.

    Things I like:
    Webkit.
    Clock on the overlay.
    Steam allowing Windows resize commands.

    Things I don’t like:
    Moving your name on the friends list into the scrollable area. It should ALWAYS be at the top of the window, and you should never have to scroll to it.

  17. Jefferson Plum says:

    Cone?

  18. JonSolo says:

    I’ve had the “donk” thing stuck in my head for a while. I think I first heard of it from a Robert Webb-narrated thing on “kidulthood”.

  19. HairCute says:

    Yeah, this would be fantastic news if TF2 didn’t decide to shut my video card off and then play a rage inducing looping sound when ever I fire it up for a couple minutes. I am just so angry at valve right now that I can’t even finish this tomato soup and there is milk in it and everything.

  20. MinisterofDOOM says:

    I’m looking forward to the official public release. I ran the beta for a while and liked the changes a lot, but unfortunately had to revert to the classic steam UI as the beta broke the Shattered Horizon server browser. I certainly hope that’ll be fixed once it goes live. I’m looking forward to never having to see Internet Exploder ever again.

  21. NTedNinja64 says:

    I kinda like the feel of the interface but highly dislike the look, I want the option to go back to my blue screen, it hurts my eyes to look at so much brown, and now it’s grey-ish. I simply want more skins instead of just a single skin. Will this be available anytime soon?

  22. triceratops says:

    @redfred

    Yes, TF2 is an insanely fun game. I would definitely purchase it over any other game out. That is, unless you’re opposed to cartoonish graphics and require realism when blasting people’s heads off. But you really shouldn’t. BUY TF2!