Thanks to a recent tweet by Valve engineer Joe Ludwig, we were recently made aware of some of the company's latest virtual reality experiments. The experiments largely revolve around "photogrammetry", a technique traditionally used to create 3D measurements using multiple 2D photographs from the real-world. Given this is Valve we're talking about, it should come as no surprise that these experiments involve virtual reality - including potentially creating environments by combining multiple photographs together. The results, shown below, are described as being "compelling and unsettling".
Put simply - the above image is achieved by photographing a location from multiple angles and positions, and then using advanced algorithms and computer programs, such as Agisoft Photoscan, to digitally stitch them together into a virtual environment almost as realistic as the original source material. Entering the environment with high-quality virtual reality and the HTC Vive's room-scale experience capabilities effectively allow a player to explore that same environment in 3D space from anywhere else in the world, while also providing game designers the chance to modify that location as they see fit (such as adding P-Body!).
It's far more complicated than these brief few paragraphs will make it seem, and the trio of blog posts over on the SteamVR hub contain a lot of in-depth information about just how Valve's engineers go about achieving this potentially mind-blowing feat. Additionally, those with access to the VR demo's (developers with Vive kits, etc) can actually check out the demo's for themselves right now in a dedicated directory available at the base of the third blog post.
It's not difficult to see how these practices could benefit games and virtual reality projects in general, but we'll just have to see if or how these experiments manifest themselves for Valve's endeavors in the future! Needless to say -- we're impressed!
This evening's CS:GO patch has dropped something of a bombshell, with Valve announcing they have totally revamped the game's player animation system. As shown by the image below, the game's previously-rectangular hitboxes have been replaced with more realistic and suitable rounded versions, meaning you should no longer unfairly miss a carefully aimed headshot.
These new hitboxes are far from the only changes, however, as all existing body animations have been upgraded to be smoother and to better reflect the player's actions at any given moment. New additions such as weapon deploys, bomb defusing, and ladder-climbing should also make it easier than ever to instantly read what any given player is up to at a moment's notice. Overhauling the entire system was likely no easy feat, and it's extremely interesting to see just how far Valve will go to improve CS:GO in what will likely prove a visually-subtle yet extremely meaningful way.
Several gameplay changes have also been made, including nerfs to the M4A1-S and buffs to the Dual Berettas, so head on over to the full changelog over on the CS:GO blog to learn more before you jump into a game! Once you've had a chance to play, share your thoughts below!
A seemingly innocent and minor patch for TF2 released this evening has sent the community into a bit of a frenzy after a number of suspicious posters and UFO's were found throughout 2fort, Dustbowl, Badwater Basin, Lakeside, Hydro, and many more. The posters parody real-world conspiracy theories, featuring text such as "I want to believe" and "Be Aware, UFOs in this area", while each map also features at least one flying saucer somewhere off in the distance, as shown below.
The affected maps don't seem to be immediately connected in any way, but the inclusion of UFO's is more than likely a not-so-subtle hint at an upcoming update for Team Fortress 2, likely one created by the community. The area of 2fort seen in the above screenshot has previously played host to one of Dr. Grordbort's crashed rockets and one of Gray Mann's carrier tanks, both of which foreshadowed future updates and new content. It's worth noting that the UFO's featured in these maps and the posters are actually community-created assets originally designed for the "TF2 Invasion" project before being used in the TF2Maps.net "Mercs Vs. Aliens" competition. Whether or not that contest has anything to do with this upcoming event remains to be seen.
Four of the poster locations can be seen below, featuring examples from 2fort, Badwater Basin, and Dustbowl.
Asteroid have only helped throw fuel on the fire -- although it's not known why that map in particular was not chosen to showcase this new easter egg hunt. We'll likely see more details regarding this intriguing new development in the coming days or weeks, so stay tuned!
Okay...we know - this week's Round-Up is over half a month late! Fret not, as we'll still be recapping all the recent talking points...no matter how old they may be by this point! These include recent shake-ups surrounding the launch of the HTC Vive, new updates and features for TF2 and the Gun Mettle campaign, and our very own investigations into the hidden files of the Half-Life 2: Episode Two Android port to Nvidia Shield!
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out our other video content, to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and TwitchTV. Thanks for watching!
Following an announcement yesterday evening, Valve have today revealed that The Reborn Update set to replace the Source 1 client of Dota 2 with the Source 2 variant is currently being rolled out over the next few hours. Some of you may already have noticed that you no longer have the option to choose between the two variants of Dota 2, with the "Play" option in the Steam Library simply opening up the Source 2 version.
This launch follows an update released yesterday which introduced a number of new features to the Dota 2 Reborn client, primary of which is "Dota Levels", a new in-game levelling system intended to replace the outdated Battle Points. By collecting trophies of various kinds, the levels of a player's Dota account will increase with every 100 points earned. These levels are purely cosmetic and serve no other purpose than to assign the icon of an in-game item to a player's profile. Other changes include the addition of a new treasure unlocking system and multiple improvements to the game's performance, such as better input latency and reduced memory usage.
The update also brought about the introduction of the three weather effects promised as rewards for The International 2015 Compendium, as all Compendium owners should now have access to the "Harvest", "Pestilence", and "Sirocco" items. Given the ValveTime team's Dota 2 clients have quietly updated to Source 2-only during the writing of this article, this has got to be one of the quickest and uneventful "launches" in Valve's long and varied history.
Rest in Peace, Source 1 Dota 2
2011 - 2015
You were good son, real good! Maybe even the best!
Wait, that's TF2...
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