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Yesterday, in a new update to the Steamworks SDK, Valve released a new beta feature for Steamworks developers that allows Steam Marketplace-compatible item drops and crafting. The new set of Steamworks APIs and tools, collectively called the Steam Inventory Service, enables third-party developers to give persistent, account-tied items to individual users for free without the devs having to run specialized servers of their own to keep track of individual users’ inventories.
Valve have already integrated features like these in their own games, such as Dota 2, Team Fortress 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As has been demonstrated in those games, developers can choose from a variety of triggers for item drops, such as playtime or specific in-game situations or actions. Furthermore, developers may mark specific items as tradable or sellable and configure crafting recipes that yield rarer or more valuable items.
Pre-existing Steamworks APIs include achievements, cloud saves, leaderboards, matchmaking, Steam Workshop, DLC, and many more. As always, we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with all of Valve’s Steamworks APIs, old and new.
While you would be correct in thinking Steam already supported "video streaming" via the recently introduced Steam Broadcasting, a new update to the Steam Client Beta released earlier today has added the ability to stream structured video content for the first time. The first (and currently only) video to receive this functionality is "Free to Play", Valve's own Dota 2 eSports documentary released back in March 2014.
The new option provides users the ability to directly stream films and video content from Steam servers without having to download the whole thing onto a local hard drive, much in the same way Netflix and other streaming services function.
By clicking the "Watch" option on the store page after downloading the latest Steam Client Beta update, a new HTML5 video player will open and begin to stream. The player looks somewhat similar to the video player which has occupied Steam Store pages for a long time now while also featuring several significant improvements, such as being able to change between various resolutions (1080p, 720p, 540p, 360p), displaying how much bandwidth is required for each setting, a playback speed option (50%, 90%, 100%, 110%, 120%, 150%, 200%), and optional multi-language captions used to display subtitles.
Once Valve has managed to get most of the kinks worked out, it's likely the new video streaming functionality will be made available across the Steam Store for other suitable titles, such as Indie Game: The Movie. For now, there's a full FAQ available over on the Steam Support website. Here's hoping the system will also be used for more widespread streaming in the future should the likes of Netflix or Hulu Plus ever arrive on the Steam platform.
It has been revealed in an announcement earlier today that creators designing and releasing new game content via the Steam Workshop have earned over a total of $57 million since the launch of the platform over three years ago in late-2011. This ridiculous figure has apparently been split among 1,500 individual contributes spanning 75 countries, all of which have created new content exclusively for Valve titles.
In the past, workshops for third-party titles outside Valve have been unable to generate any form of revenue for the creators of the game or the content, something which will now change. Following today's post, the first curated workshops for non-Valve games have been opened, specifically for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Both games have already accepted community-created items into their respective ecosystems, including various hats, weapons, and masks.
Since third-party companies may now access curated workshops, Valve have released a series of brand new Revenue Tools which contributors can use to track real-time sales data alongside revenue breakdowns. For more information about today's Steam Workshop announcements and improvements, be sure to check out the blog post for yourself.
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.
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