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After only a month and a half in beta, the Steam Broadcasting functionality introduced to the Steam Client Beta back in December 2014 has been released to all users in the latest Steam update. The system allows any and all Steam users to host their own livestreams to other users across the world, as we explained following its original release last year.
After starting a livestream, hosts can interact with their fans and friends using a new Broadcasting window available on the Desktop or within the Steam Overlay. To get started, simply click the "Watch Game" option on a user's profile or your friend's list and wait for them to accept or deny your invitation. Alternatively, you may use the "Invite to Watch" option to ask your friends to come check out your sweet 360noscopes as you pwn some nubs in Call of Duty or something.
Today's Steam update also added some other fixes and features previously added to the Steam Client Beta, including a new in-game FPS counter used to track system performance, and numerous improvements to Big Picture Mode and In-Home Streaming.
You may remember a video that popped up a couple of years ago that illustrated the size and scope of the Black Mesa Research Facility from Half-Life. Well, the software that allowed the cinematographer to capture the enormity of the facility has recently been made available for all to use.
The tool is called HalfMapper. gzalo, the tool's creator, says that it's "a renderer designed specifically to explore the world of Half-Life."
According to the project's Github repo, there's work to be done. It doesn't exactly support some of the more complex maps in Half-Life. gzalo would like to add the ability to take top-down screenshots of the world, too.
The project is open source, so you can push some fixes his way if you'd like to help.
The ValveTime News Round-Up series is back for a whole new year of news in 2015! We're starting off by recapping some of the final headlines of last year, such as Team Fortress 2's Smissmas event, while also talking things about all of the events to come in 2015, including the Steam Controller's final unveiling at GDC 2015 and the announcement of The International 2015 tournament!
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For awhile now, many Steam users have fallen victim to a rash outbreak of malware. Simply put, the malware's function is to steal your inventory of targeted items by exploiting the Steam Trading system. All a victim has to do is execute a file, one disguised as a .scr, and blammo - goodbye CS:GO or Dota 2 items. Inside sources say that these phishers create "thousands of bots" a day to help seed the malware.
Steam Trading did not have much of an authentication safeguard in place, so it was pretty easy for phishers to steal items. Well, today, Valve has implemented a new safeguard.
Trade offers now require that both users pass a CAPTCHA test before committing to a trade deal.
"We’re updating trading to include a captcha as part of confirmation process," John C. from Valve said today. "This is to prevent malware on users’ machines making trades on their behalf. We know it’s a bit of a hassle, and we don’t like making trading harder for users, but we do expect it to significantly help customers who are tricked into downloading and running malware from losing their items."
Is this a good idea? It should help to curb some of the cases of victims of this malware, easing the load on Valve's already strained Customer Support. But is this just making the trade experience more of a nuisance? Also, Google says that there are bots out there that can solve nearly 100% of all CAPTCHA tests. Google has developed their own system, called reCAPTCHA, which they claim no bot can crack and is a more streamlined process for users. Should Valve implement reCAPTCHA instead?
Image: SteamDB's Twitter
It's almost been a year since Valve predicted a 2015 release of their Steam Controller, and it looks like they're going to hit their mark. Is this the end of Valve Time? (Hint: no)
Speaking with GameSpot today at CES, Origin PC CEO Kevin Wasielewski revealed that we can expect to see Valve's final design of the Steam Controller at GDC this March.
"At GDC, they're going to have more information," Wasielewski said. "That's the official stuff we can say. They came out with the controller, then they got some user feedback, and they had to revamp it; they got some more user feedback and had to revamp it again. So they went through that like three or four times. And now their controller is finalized. So now they're going to production and at GDC is when they're going to announce more stuff."
Wasielewski also said that the Steam Machine is "pretty much dead." He expanded by saying that, "It's like a living room PC--is now the new term. Living room PCs have been around forever. That's not anything new either. But it seems like there's a legitimate demand and push for living room PCs."
Update from GameInformer:
"Yesterday, a report emerged that the term 'Steam Machine' is dead. Valve refutes that assertion..."
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