Posts Tagged ‘Valve’

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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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive revamping Dust2

Update: The new Dust2 is now live in the beta branch and Valve have detailed all the changes. It looks great! The Leet Krew get a makeover too.

Counter-Strike’s De_dust2 is surely one of the most-reproduced levels in video games, remade and reinterpreted and parodied by fans across dozens of different games. Yet another one is coming our way soon, though this one is official. An “updated” and “refined” version of Dust2 is headed to the next test version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], Valve announced last night, “coming soon.” Dust 2 was removed from the regular rotation back in February, though not from the game entirely. Valve aren’t quite ready to reveal the extent of changes but do share a teensy peek. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Valve artist’s portfolio includes mystery co-op fantasy game, rad female TF2 characters

Valve Software might possibly be making a cooperative fantasy game, or have at one time worked on, or thought about making, or doodled some ideas for one. This revelation comes from concept art in the portfolio of former Valve artist Drew Wolf. “The project was a fantasy adventure game centered around cooperative combat and driven by story,” he says, though he doesn’t explicitly say the character sketches were for Valve, simply referring it as an “internal R&D project”. So maybe it maybe it never got beyond the R&D stage, maybe it wasn’t even for Valve, or maybe it’ll be Valve’s next game.

The point is: oh hot damn, Wolf also drew some ace concepts for female Team Fortress 2 characters, come look at these. Read the rest of this entry »

Has Team Fortress 2 been improved by its updates?

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Update Night is a fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse.

This is RPS, so let’s get literary. Team Fortress 2 is the game version of the Picture of Dorian Gray — but in reverse. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam now fighting review bombs with diagrams

All social problems can be solved by data, any naive tech company can tell you, which is why Valve are attempting to solve Steam ‘review bombing’ by adding graphs to its player reviews. Review bombing is the practice of players organising to leave negative reviews that drive down a game’s rating in an attempt to punish or manipulate developers by damaging their future sales prospects. Games bombed over the past month range from Firewatch to Grand Theft Auto V. This is a known and old problem with Steam’s reviews, and one Valve aren’t happy with. So, to counterattack disproportionate bursts of negative reviews, Valve have added unusual activity warnings to Steam store pages with histograms tracking reviews over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2 bringing Festivus back through contest

After an initial wild burst of Dota 2 [official site] enthusiasm celebrating every holiday on the calendar with special events (who could forget 2013’s Urology Awareness Month minigame?), Valve have become quite bad at festivities. They’ve not celebrated Halloween (aka Diretide) or Crimble (Frostivus) properly since 2014, and their absence has been felt. Good news: Frostivus will return this year. Weird news: it’s returning through a contest asking players to create and submit modes. Unrelated news: the next big Dota 2 update, which will add two new heroes is still over a month away. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2’s Siltbreaker co-op campaign concluded

The Dota 2 [official site] cooperative campaign Siltbreaker concluded with the launch of Act II on Friday. The campaign, which is only available to folks who buy Dota’s latest Battle Pass tournament sticker album, is a bit bum but it does at least now have an easier mode. Those who want treasures and cheevies can still grind their faces against Siltbreaker’s boring difficulty but girls who just wanna have fun can play in the easier ‘Adventure Mode’. It still won’t be good but it will be less of a chore. Read the rest of this entry »

The International 2017: Three teams standing, two new heroes, and one TERRIFYING AI

Dueling Fates update

The final day of The International 2017 looms, with only Newbee, LGD.Forever Young (LFY) and Team Liquid still in the running to win pro Dota 2’s highest accolade – yesterday saw both Invictus Gaming and LGD Gaming eliminated in surprisingly one-sided lower bracket matches.

But first… new heroes! Read the rest of this entry »

The International 2017: Five Dota 2 teams remain – who are they and how are they doing?

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Four days into the main event and The International 2017 – Dota 2’s $24 million world championship – is down to its final five teams. Only Newbee, LGD.Forever Young, Team Liquid, Invictus Gaming and LGD Gaming remain, the other eleven squads to grace the main stage of Seattle’s KeyArena having fallen from the lower bracket and out of contention for the trophy. Read the rest of this entry »

Valve announce Artifact, a Dota 2 spin-off card game

Valve last night announced Artifact, a new card game based on Dota 2. I can tell you that Artifact is coming in 2018 and sounds like it broadly simulates a game of Dota, with lanes to push and Dota heroes to command, but Valve haven’t shown anything concrete yet. For a company that often sets trends, this does seem curiously late – the world is hardly short of digital card games these days, and this isn’t even the first card game spun off from a MOBA (Smite Tactics springs to mind, for starters). But hey, I’m always interested in what Valve are up to and Artifact does sound quite different to the usual Magic: The Gathering ’em ups. Read the rest of this entry »

Dota 2’s $23.3m tournament kicks off!

The International 2017

1. The International 2017 – the seventh annual Dota 2 [official site] megatournament has just started and there’s a noteworthy $23.3m prize pool at stake.

2. I forgot to tell you that before it got underway because I was having a capslock conversation with Alice about how DEREK ACORAH AND PAUL DANAN ARE IN THE CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER HOUSE TOGETHER RIGHT NOW.

3. There is a whole amazing guide to all the teams in the running for slices of that prize money pie by our James which will help fairweather fans get a handle on proceedings. Read the rest of this entry »

The International 2017: Your guide to the biggest tournament in professional Dota 2!

The International, Dota 2

The International, Dota 2’s biggest competitive event (as well as esports’ most moneyed), returns to Seattle this week. This is the culmination of Dota’s year-long season schedule – all of it, all the Majors, third-party tournaments and rosters shuffles, have led to this 18-way showdown where over $23 million is up for grabs. Here’s our James to explain what you’re watching and give you crucial backstory for all of the teams! Read the rest of this entry »