The quiet giant that is Counter-Strike: Source doesn't get talked about outside of its playerbase all that much these days -we've got our newfangled Team Fortresses and Modern Warfares instead - but it is nonetheless massive, has always been massive, and always will be massive. This is only going to make it more massive, I suspect. Valve have unexpectedly chucked out a pretty major update for it, cannily carrying a 'beta' tag. It is fatted with several of the digi-trinkets we tend to expect from modern shooters, which may put to bed calls for a full Counter-Strike 2.0 for a while. Or equally it might be exacerbate them, in a strange inverse of the Left 4 Dead 2 response. The internet's famous Fear Of Change will doubtless play its part in the response to this too. Regardless, this is the exciting tale of the exciting tape: Achievements! Avatars! Death cam! Lifetime stats! Domination/revenge system! Some sort of graphical jiggery-pokery!
Oh lordy-lord, those servers will be on fire tonight... However! The sad fact is that Steam currently proclaims "thank you for your interest. All available slots have been filled." So if you hadn't snagged the update already, you'll have to wait either until the final version releases - which, I suspect, won't be far off, so as to take full advantage of hype machinations - or more 'slots' are opened up. In any case, full details of this significant and forum-adrenalising update are below.
144 achievements added
New lifetime player stats and summary screens
New match player stats and summary screens
New end of round display with MVP and interesting fact about a player
Updated scoreboard with new icons, visual style, MVP stars, and avatar pictures
New cinematic death camera
New domination and revenge system
Added avatar icons to voice chat, scoreboard, and end of round display
Incorporated many source engine updates
New playable team: counter-counter-terrorists
In other Valve news, Steam For Mac finally opens tomorrow, initially offering Portal and Torchlight. Here's the official blurb:
"May 11, 2010 - Valve announced that Steam will launch on the Mac platform this Wednesday, May 12.
On subsequent Wednesdays, additional collections of Mac titles will become available, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of Steam on the Mac.
The first collection of Mac titles will demonstrate "Steam Play," which allows customers to purchase a game once and play it on all Steam supported platforms. Gamers who have previously purchased games on Steam will find them available in their account on the Mac as they are released.
Portal, in addition to supporting Steam Play, will be the first of Valve's Source engine based games available on the Mac. Native OS/X support for the Source engine is also available immediately to licensees for use in their games.
Among the initial titles available on Wednesday will be Runic Games' critically acclaimed Torchlight. "We're very excited to be bringing Torchlight to the Mac," said Max Schaefer, co-founder of Runic Games. "Having Steam for the Mac solves so many problems for us as a developer. We look forward to our future games coming out on the Mac as well."
In addition to bringing the online functionality of Steam to the Mac, Valve will also make its Steamworks suite of publishing and development tools available on the Mac platform. These include product key authentication, copy protection, auto-updating, social networking, matchmaking, anti-cheat technology, and more. The features and services available in Steamworks are offered free of charge and may be used for both electronic and tangible versions of games."