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All the recent hubbub surrounding new Team Fortress 2 maps gave us an idea: What exactly are our favourite official and community maps? For episode 10 of Top 5, we decided to draft in Frozen of TF2Maps.net to help decide which of the 50+ maps deserve a spot on our list.
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Even though it's been over a week since The International 2014 Grand Finals took place on Monday, July 21st 2014, the buzz surrounding the event's success has failed to fully dissipate. Earlier today, a Valve representative informed IGN that the event was spectated by more than 20 million unique viewers across the in-game spectating client and the numerous online streaming outlets, such as the Dota 2 blog and Twitch.TV.
While this figure alone is pretty impressive, the event's impact can be seen even more prominently when you consider that more than 2 million simultaneous viewers spectated Monday's grand final live, over double the amount of the 2013 finals. This figure does not include data from ESPN3, MTG Europe, or Chinese television coverage, all of which were reportedly very successful on their own.
Even without providing any concrete viewing figures, ESPN was extremely impressed with the event's turnout, something which has prompted the company to broadcast more eSports related content in the future, just as Valve and Erik Johnson had hoped when the partnership was announced a few weeks ago.
With prize pools and audience figures literally multiplying year-on-year, the main question on everyone's mind remains: Just how big can The International become?
With The International 2014 now all wrapped up, many of Valve's other products have been attempting to steal the vacant spotlight, including the return of the Steam Controller and Steam Music, and the Fourth Annual Saxxy Awards!
Thank you to everyone who has subscribed and supported our content over the past few weeks, it really means a lot to us! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and to rate our Dota 2 Announcer Pack positively over on the Steam Workshop. Thanks again for watching!
Valve have revealed they will be continuing the yearly film making tradition in 2014 with the recently announced Fourth Annual Saxxy Awards.
The Fourth Annual Saxxy Awards will be accepting SFM-created video submissions between September 17th and 24th 2014, but budding directors can get to work on their creations as soon as possible. After the submission deadline of 4pm PST on September 24th has been passed, Steam users will then be given a week to vote for their favourite videos via the Saxxy Award Workshop page. Winners will then be announced on October 1st 2014.
As with every year, a number of different themed categories will also be available. These include "Best Action", "Best Drama", "Best Comedy", "Best Short", and "Best Overall". Entries must not exceed 5 minutes in length except for those in the "Best Short" category, which must be no longer than 1 minute. This year's prizes are identical to those featured in 2013's contest, as the winning contributors will receive the prestigious Saxxy Award for use in Team Fortress 2 while the winners of Best Overall will also be flown straight to Valve HQ for a full tour and a chance to meet Valve's own filmmakers.
A number of important rules can also be found over on the Fourth Annual Saxxy Awards guidelines page, which we highly recommend checking out if you're looking to take part. Last year's entries were rather exceptional, so here's hoping we can have some even better videos this year. Good luck to everyone who plans on entering.
A new Steam update released earlier today has finally introduced the promised Steam Music desktop interface, allowing users to access their favourite albums and songs using Steam without having to access Big Picture. Originally released into a Steam Client Beta in early February 2014, Steam Music allows users to interact with their music collection without having to alt-tab to an external program or having to exit a game.
The Steam Music interface can now be accessed via the new "Music" Library tab or the Steam Overlay, something previously only possible while using the controller-friendly Big Picture Mode. Music can then be shuffled, skipped, paused, or changed all together. It's been a long time coming, and it definitely brings Steam one step closer to becoming a fully fledged multi-media platform. A second update has moved the Steam Music service into an open beta, removing the need for an invitation. This likely means Valve is in the final stages of testing, so expect to see a full release of Steam Music right around the corner.
Today's Steam Client Beta update also introduced several other neat improvements, including changes to the Game Library interface (games can now be assigned to more than one category and multiple games can now be selected at the same time using Shift+Click and Ctrl+Click), increased performance for Steam's embedded web browser, and a variety of fixes for In-Home Streaming and the Big Picture Mode. This update has also concluded support for the Mac OS X 10.5 operating system, so make sure you upgrade if you haven't already.
While not officially mentioned, a new design for the Steam Controller has also been found within the updated files (Steam\tenfoot\resource\images\library folder). As shown below, the new design appears to feature a new analog stick beside the two track pads the Steam Controller has become known for. It's likely Valve aren't quite ready to talk about this latest prototype right now, but it would definitely explain why the controller's release has been pushed back until at least 2015.
For a more detailed look at the changes introduced with this new Steam Client Beta update, check out the official changelog or the desktop interface announcement post over on the Steam Music community group. If you want a closer look at the Big Picture version of the Steam Music interface, be sure to head on over to our now-slightly-outdated ValveTime Spotlight episode on the subject!
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