Posts Tagged ‘Valve’

Portal returns! … as a Bridge Constructor spin-off!?

Life's a bridge

Here’s an odd fusion. Portal is being mixed with the Bridge Constructor series to create a spin-off game about making fragile bridges that transport forklifts from one side of the Aperture Science facility to the other. In Bridge Constructor Portal we’ll see GLaDOS, the robot marm of the passive aggressive puzzler, return to torment the player with what I presume will be a characteristically snide voiceover, provided by Ellen McLain. Here’s a brief teaser. Read the rest of this entry »

We asked Dota 2’s Frostivus contest participants about spec work

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Frostivus is coming, but it’s not designed by the people you might expect. Frostivus is the Christmas event that Valve used to run for Dota 2 every year, though their last effort was way back in 2014. This year, Valve are turning to their modding community to revive the event in the form of a contest, with a $30,000 prize for the winner. I spoke to several participants about their games, and how they feel about doing what many would consider as spec work.

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Dota 2’s matchmaking update introduces rank medals

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With Dota 2’s Duelling Fates update just behind us — read what Matt made of the update — Valve’s been fiddling around with the ranked matchmaking system, to coincide with the start of the new ranked season. Players will be able to earn rank medals for their profile, showing off their best performance level for the season. And don’t worry — no matter how many rough games you have, your medal won’t decrease once you’ve earned it.

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Valve’s Steam Link costs a mere $5 this Black Friday

Steam Link

Just when you thought Valve’s Steam Link box (which lets you play your PC stuff streamed to your TV in another room) couldn’t get any cheaper than it did a few months ago, Gamestop has the deal of all deals for those in the US right now. Available now for just $5 on its own, it would almost be rude not to, really.

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Valve still trying to stop Steam user review manipulation

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Valve are making more changes to Steam reviews in response to a different kind of review manipulation. This time the changes are to how Steam decides which user reviews are most helpful, and to make the user reviews that are displayed on Steam’s homepage representative of its overall review score. This is on top of changes made back in September designed to reduce the impact of organised “review bombing” campaigns.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s new matchmaking weeds out jerks, rummages in your bins

Valve have launched a new way to vet players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the goal of matchmaking noble, respectable players with their peers. The new ‘Trust Factor’ matchmaking system considers a player’s behaviour across Steam in general as well as in CS:GO, trying to judge whether they’re likely to be a cheater, a smurf, or a straight-up jerk. Valve say the goal is to match players “who are likely to have a good experience playing together.” It’s an interesting expansion of Steam’s benevolent police state. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2 is more interesting than ever with the Duelling Fates update

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Dota 2 gets a major patch about once a year, and it’s always A Big Deal. Old strategies have to be thrown out of the window as the metagame and individual players adjust to the changes, and the 7.07 Duelling Fates update is an even bigger shakeup than usual.

The update adds two new heroes, five new items and overhauls the talent tree system that Valve introduced last year. Many abilities have been tweaked too, and multiple changes to how XP is gained from lane creeps has altered the flow of every game. As we haven’t had a new character since Monkey King last December, those two new heroes will be the most exciting addition for most people so I’ll dive into them first.

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Have you played… Portal?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Is there any greater testament to the power of writing in games than all the fandom that spilled forth from Portal? Valve’s first-person puzzler recently turned ten years old, and when I think back on it, so much of what I remember is otherwise plain and functional. Read the rest of this entry »

Scream Fortress IX brings back every Halloween TF2 event

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As if the hordes of pyros weren’t scary enough, Team Fortress 2‘s Halloween event launched on Friday. Instead of doing something new, they’ve chosen to make every previous Scream Fortress – going back to 2009 – playable once again. Get your spooks in while you can, because the event ends on November the 8th.

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Dota 2 adds two new heroes in Duelling Fates update

Two brand new heroes have arrived in Dota 2 with the launch of version 7.07, the long-awaited Duelling Fates update. Please welcome to the battle arena Dark Willow, a spoOoky nuker, and the zippy swordsman Pangolier. They’re the first new heroes added since the Monkey King way back in December 2016. The update is far bigger than just this pair, also adding new items, a new model for Ancient Apparition, seasons for ranked play, and oodles of skill changes and balance tweaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam curators will soon be able to embed videos

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Valve has been quietly working on the Steam Curators system – the swarm of publications and people that recommend games to users – and they are poised to roll out a significant update. It includes video reviews, customisation options, analytics and a new feature that will make it easier for developers to connect with curators. It’s entering closed beta today.

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Steam introduces digital gift cards and a lot of hassle

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Can’t think of a decent birthday present for that sort-of-but-not-really friend or distant family member? Don’t worry: Steam has your back. Instead of just giving them some cash that they’ll probably spend on a game anyway, why not show that you care — but not too much — by picking up a digital gift card from Steam? They’re available now, if you’re willing to jump through some hoops.

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Pyros and spy lows: thoughts on TF2’s Jungle Inferno

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The match seems to be going terribly. My teammates don’t appear to be interested in defending the capture point, and about half of the enemy team have dominations – meaning they’ve killed the same player multiple times without that person getting revenge. Yet weirdly, the game continues.

I’m dead, tabbing through the viewpoints of everyone who’s alive, when I realise why. One of our Red pyros is dancing with six members of Team Blu, keeping them occupied through the use of a taunt.

Team Fortress 2 is weirder than ever.

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Winter’s Steam sales approacheth on these dates

Pun Crime

Octemberweenmas is the most magical time of the year, filled with skeletons, imported turkeys and jolly fat men in chimneys. For us videogame-appreciating sorts, it’s also the season for dark forces to align and savagely maul our wallets until there is nothing left but tattered receipts, regrets and a swelling backlog of games to play.

At least this year we’ve been forewarned. Through a combination of dates leaked on reddit and journalists poking developers, we now have dates for Steam’s upcoming Halloween, Black Friday/Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday sales.

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A brief chat with the creator of Dust 2 on Valve’s recent map overhaul

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It’s hard to think of a map in a multiplayer FPS that’s more famous or popular than De_Dust2. Dave Johnston created the original version of Dust for Counter-Strike 1.0 way back in 2000, with Dust 2 coming out the following year. How many other levels are worthy of a sequel?

Valve recently gave the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive version of the map an overhaul, their goals being to improve readability, refine player movement and update the visuals. I had a quick chat with Dave to get his opinion on the changes.

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Valve’s Steam Link costs pennies in a bundle with Icey

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I can only assume that Valve’s Steam Link box (which lets you play your PC stuff streamed to your TV in another room) hasn’t been flying off the shelves, given the discount it’s available for today. Whether it’s just to clear shelf-space or increase visibility, right now you can grab one for 80p plus postage as part of a bundle with well-received Chinese indie action game Icey, totalling £14.49 in all.

As I’d been meaning to pick up the game at some point – being a fan of character-action games and anime excess – I figured now was as good a time as any try my first piece of official Valve-branded hardware. That, and I’ve been looking for a cheap way to avoid lugging my desktop PC and its nest of cables to the TV whenever friends are round, so the price was right for me.

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Team Fortress 2’s huge Jungle Inferno update out today

Today the Pyro will get a chuffing jetpack in Team Fortress 2 as part of the ‘Jungle Inferno’ update. This is a big’un, bringing one new Valve-made map, five new community-made maps, and the long-promised Pyro class update. All flamethrowers are being improved and the Pyro is armed with four new weapons too, from a beefy single-shot flamethrower to a cheeky slap (hey, it worked in Absolver).

The update was expected to launch last night but Valve delayed it for a little more testing, so it’ll now hit today. Read the rest of this entry »

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Dust2 revamped

The iconic level De_dust2 has returned revamped to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], having been removed from the main playlists in February. This new version makes a few tweaks to how it plays and brings a fresh new look. Kiss that early ’10s murk and grime goodbye and welcome in this modern city. The new Dust2 hit test servers last week then fully, properly launched for everyone last night. Read the rest of this entry »

Team Fortress 2 Jungle Inferno update brings new short

The Team Fortress 2 [official site] gang are off to a lush tropical island to fight around the remains of Saxton Hale’s failed theme park Yeti Park in the next big themed update. The Jungle Inferno update will re-open Yeti Park as Mercenary Park, where mercenaries fight mercenaries (for control of capture points). Psst, that’s us. Five tropical community-made maps are coming too. As is TF2 tradition, Valve are counting down to launch day-by-day with collected teases, so more is to come. Dare I dream for the promised Pyro overhaul?

And yes, of course this means we have a fine new TF2 animated short to watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Making The Orange Box: how 3 Valve games became 1

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The Orange Box is one of the strangest quirks of gaming history. Never before had a developer released three brand new, entirely separate games at the same time in one package, and thanks to digital distribution, it probably won’t happen again. What makes The Orange Box truly remarkable though is that it contained two of the most-anticipated games of 2007, and what proved to be the biggest surprise hit of the year (some might argue ever).

The company was Valve and the games were Half Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal.

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