Posts Tagged ‘Valve’

What Is The Best VR Headset? Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Pity me. I have two different VR headsets in my house, so my PC is a mess of cables, USB hubs and strained video output adaptors. My suffering is unimaginable. I have swaddled myself in wires and made my forehead sweat for your benefit, however: to try and give you some sense of how the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive compare to each other in daily practice. While many of the baseline specs are all but identical, there are a raft of smaller differences between the two, even once the matter of the Vive’s room-scale support is discounted. I do, somewhat reluctantly, now have one headset I recommend over the other at this point in time, but with important caveats.
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DoD-y Day Of Infamy Goes Commercial With Valve’s Help

Day of Infamy [official site], the Insurgency mod unashamedly based on Valve’s WW2 FPS Day of Defeat, is becoming a standalone commercial game – with Valve’s blessing. Insurgency devs New World Interactive started Day of Infamy as a free mod made with the help of community members, releasing the first version earlier this year. Now they’re expanding it into a full and proper standalone game on the Source Engine, and with Valve’s support they’re even making a few levels based on ones from Day of Defeat. It’ll start on Steam Early Access next month. Here’s the announcement trailer:

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Valve Launch Free VR Place Creation Tool

Having been fed so many promises during the ’90s, I really, really, really want the latest wave of VR to be a success. I’ve been suitably impressed by the few games I’ve sampled so far – which include the wonderful EVE: Valkyrie – but one area I’m interested in seeing develop is travel: how strapping on a headset will transport us to famous real-life landmarks, or fictional hot spots, games or otherwise, with the touch of a button.

Valve’s new Destinations Workshop Tools [Steam page] has just launched on Steam Early Access and lets users create and share “both real and imaginary worlds”, which sounds pretty close to what I’m after. You’ll need VR hardware to do so, of course, but Destinations itself is free.

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Appliance Of Science: Valve Adds Global Leaderboards To VR Playground, The Lab

It upsets me that I associate the phrase “Appliance of Science” with Zanussi because it means that at least one of my chances to create a treasured childhood memory was co-opted by a white goods manufacturer’s advertising campaign. ANYWAY. Appliance Of Science is also the name of Valve’s new update to The Lab [Steam link] – its VR experiment anthology.

The big thing? It’s adding competitive global leaderboards for Longbow (the archery one), Xortex (the space shootery one), and Slingshot (the box explodey one).

There are also a number of changes to the modes. I’ll list them out at the end but here are the basic points to note:

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Dota 2 Manila Major: What You Need To Know

Dota 2’s Manila Major [official site] is almost upon us. The full complement of 16 top teams were decided by a combination of direct invites and the regional qualifiers that took place early in May. They’ll be competing for a cut of $3,000,000 at the Philippines tournament – the third and final Valve-sponsored Major before August’s annual grand Dota-fest, The International.

Valve slightly changed up the invite/qualifier system this time round. Ostensibly faced with too many high-achieving squads to choose from, Gabe and co. directly invited twelve teams instead of the usual eight, leaving just four spots for the four regional qualifier winners. Now that they’ve been filled, all that’s left to do is wait until the main event kicks off, possibly while praying that the many and varied catastrophes that befell March’s Shanghai Major don’t repeat themselves.

Not up to speed with the invitees or the Manila Major? Here’s what you need to know!

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Have You Played… Half-Life: Blue Shift?

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

Gearbox’s Barney-starring add-on is the black sheep of the Half-Life family, although at the time I never encountered any reason why that should be the case. My teenage tastes were perhaps less discerning then, but more importantly any return to Black Mesa was irresistible. I wanted new monsters and new guns, everything that a young’un wants from a follow-up to their favourite shooter, and I also had a vain hope that maybe I’d get to shoot that creepy suit-guy in the face and rescue Gordon.
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Zippy Wizard: Dota 2 Beta Adds Vulkan Support

This doesn't illustrate anything in particular. I didn't want to use any of our older Dota 2 screens so I spectated a random match. Look at all those wizards.

Vulkan is the new big exciting Thing That Might Make Your Games Run Faster Without You Having To Buy A New Graphics Card Or Anything, Jeremy recently explained in slightly more technical detail, and now Dota 2 [official site] supports the new graphics API too. In beta. And it might not make a difference for you. Or may be worse. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of technology (a phrase which always makes me think of eXistenZ and meatcomputers), you can now download and try Dota 2’s Vulkan beta.

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