After one big mess-up and three short weeks, we're finally back with a new episode of the ValveTime News Round-Up! In this episode, we're talking about Steam Dev Days 2016, The International 2016, the Steam Controller, Dota 2, The Lab, Destinations, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Operation Wildfire, and a whole lot more news than you can shake a rather large stick at.
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With the exciting conclusion of ESL One Frankfurt 2016 earlier today, Valve have announced the six teams that have been directly invited to the fast-approaching The International 2016 in early August. The top six teams have been determined largely by recent performances at the Manila Major and ESL One Frankfurt over the past few weeks, with the following teams impressing Valve and the community enough to receive direct invites.
These six will be joined by an additional 10 teams from various qualifying events, including four Regional Qualifiers and a series of Open Qualifiers, details for which are shown in the images below.
OG, Team Liquid, and Na'Vi receiving direct invites. Similarly, it's hardly surprising to not see Team Secret and Evil Geniuses anywhere on these lists, as both teams, while previously highly successful, have been struggling as of late due to damaging roster changes and inconsistent play styles.
The next week should prove highly entertaining for Dota 2 fans with the Open Qualifiers beginning on Tuesday June 21st followed by the Regional Qualifiers on June 25th, so keep your eyes peeled for more exciting Dota action!
Quietly, and without much fanfare, Valve have this evening announced and released the 6.88 balance patch for Dota 2. The unexpected update comes only a day after the conclusion of the Manila Major tournament, and is therefore only a minor patch featuring small gameplay tweaks with no major changes to hero abilities or item capabilities.
While a few overly-powerful heroes have been nerfed, including Beastmaster and Death Prophet, most of the changes introduced with 6.88 are actually buffs. Buffs include Enigma's Black Hole being changed to deal Pure damage through Black King Bar immunity, increased slows for Lich's Chain Frost and Ice Armour, and a health increase to Warlock's Golem. A few item tweaks were also made alongside plenty of other hero changes, which we recommend checking out over on the official changelog!
While definitely not a "game" by any traditional definition, Valve's latest foray into the virtual reality software space is certainly an interesting new release. Known as "Destinations", this free, VR-only piece of software allows Steam users to create, share, and explore 3D environments similar to the photogrammetry experiments highlighted in "The Lab". In fact, the SDK included alongside Destinations is actually a slightly modified version of the Source 2 editor used to create custom games within Dota 2, and was reportedly heavily involved in the development of Valve's own 3D environments.
Like the Dota 2 Workshop Tools, Destinations is designed to be easy to use, with full Steam Workshop integration, a relatively simple to use interface, and plenty of documentation over on the Valve Developer Wiki. As shown in the screenshots, Destinations supports the same effective blink system incorporated into The Lab, making it easy to travel around environments or between blink spots.
Although Valve have mainly focused on creating photogrammatic environments so far, with areas in Iceland, Italy, and Washington all being highlighted in The Lab, users are free to create whatever kind of areas they like - be it real or virtual. Entity support also allows the importing of custom models and assets into any of these levels, with P-Body's appearance at Valve HQ back in 2015 standing as a pretty good example of future possibilities.
Those of you looking to get started playing around with Destinations or its SDK can download it for free over on the Steam Store. Naturally, you'll need either an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift to take part!
After a hiatus of a year and a half, Valve's extremely successful Steam Dev Days are once again returning to Seattle! As the follow-up to the 2014 event, this year's Steam Dev Days will take place on October 12th and 13th 2016 and will once again feature numerous talks and events designed to connect professionals in the video game industry while discussing and advertising a bunch of Steam's current and upcoming functionality.
Topics set to be discussed at this year's event include Virtual Reality, Steam Business and Marketing, Steam Hardware, the Steam Workshop and User-Generated Content, and more which have yet to be revealed. Alongside the main talks, attendees can also expect plenty of networking and sneak peaks at future Valve concepts and projects. For context, 2014's event had select attendees preview prototypes of the then-named "Steam Sight" virtual reality headset, with the HTC Vive not being officially unveiled until over a year later.
The Steam Dev Days website doesn't really have any more information than that, but you can now sign-up for a slot at the event if you feel it is relevant to you. While the $95 tickets are a little pricey, don't forget that this is very much intended to be an industry-only event relevant to those looking to develop software or hardware in the PC gaming space. It definitely won't be similar to GDC or E3 by any stretch of the imagination.
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