With just over a week to go until the start of the qualifiers for the first of Dota 2's "Major" tournaments, Valve have spilled the beans regarding what is now known as "The Frankfurt Major". Here's the basic rundown: The Major will be held at Festhalle Messe in Frankfurt, Germany, it will be produced by ESL, and it will feature an impressive prize pool of $3,000,000.
The six day main event will run from November 16th through the 22nd, and will feature 16 teams from throughout the Dota 2 competitive scene. Unlike The International annual tournament, the event is open to the general public for five of the six days, with visitors only requiring a pre-purchased ticket for the Grand Finals on Saturday, November 21st. Tickets for the final day will be sold for €50 in two waves this Sunday, September 27th, with times currently listed on the Dota 2 blog. The first Seasonal Compendium will be released sometime soon alongside the upcoming 6.85 balance patch, set to drop sometime later this week. While following The International as the next stage of the Dota 2 competitive scene isn't going to be easy, the Majors should prove very interesting in their own right.
The blog post revealing this information also discusses the next few updates for Dota 2. The desert terrain map is brought up once again, with Valve mentioning they are doing some "underlying map rendering tech" to make it easy to iterate on in the future, before then describing the Axe-focused "longform" comic as "much bigger" than their previous comics.
With the launch of the first "Steam Machines" coming up in the last few months of this year, Valve are working hard to try and get the Steam platform ready for what are essentially simplified PC's. A big part (no pun intended) of the Steam Machines project has always been Big Picture Mode, which was recently updated with new navigation options and features. For those not aware, Big Picture Mode essentially functions as an alternative to the Steam interface designed specifically for controller input.
official changelog, head on over to Big Picture Mode for yourself to check them out!
Our content release schedule has been a little...unusual lately. But not nearly as unusual as the aliens poised to invade Team Fortress 2! Other, less-weird things in the news these past few weeks include more big updates for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, and Valve getting more eyes on their hardware line-up than ever before! Those things are to be expected, after all.
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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!
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