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.
While I'm thankful I've never had to make a post like this before, I am extremely frustrated (at myself) that I now have to make one at all.
Earlier this evening, we aired a Round-Up episode claiming Erik Wolpaw, one of the senior writers on Portal and Portal 2, had left the company to continue working more closely with Double Fine Productions on Psychonauts 2. In this particular instance - we were wrong, and follow-up emails to Erik himself have confirmed he is still indeed at the company.
In this scenario, we failed to take the necessary and ridiculously basic steps to proving or disproving the news story before running it as big, high profile reveal. This mess-up is amateurish and unacceptable, and I sincerely apologise for spreading false stories of this nature.
Here is Erik's reply to us.
Fittingly, it would seem Erik is actually taking a sick day off from the company, meaning he has technically left Valve, but only for a day or so! We can also confirm Erik owns an iPhone!
I have since removed any public reference to the news story in order to avoid it spreading further across social media. I have also personally apologised to Erik for causing any disruption to him (possible email spam from the community, etc), and thankfully he seemed to take it very well. As you can imagine, I am extremely embarrassed about this whole situation, and I hope this mess does not reflect badly on ValveTime as a whole or our reputation. In the future, we will strive to return to conducting the appropriate research and background checks where ever necessary before running any news story.
Editor's Note: At least I wasted my whole evening editing, preparing, and releasing a worthless video! I'll be reworking the opening news story of the video tomorrow to try and resolve these issues before it is re-released.
With "The Lab" having been out for a little over a month and a half at this point, it's definitely the perfect time for Valve to re-inject some life into their freely available virtual reality title. Today's "Appliance of Science" update, available free of charge, adds a bunch of extra functionality into The Lab's three most replayable mini-games, Longbow, Xortex, and Slingshot.
Global leaderboards, endless modes, and minor gameplay tweaks are among the changes that Valve hopes will keep players coming back to The Lab time and time again much in the same way simple yet replayable games such as Audioshield and Space Pirate Trainer can retain players despite being so seemingly basic on the surface. In Longbow, the game will now continue past the standard 8 rounds, spawning more enemies with tougher armour as waves continue and build in difficulty. For Xortex, a new "Xortex Infinite" mode allows players to enjoy Xortex indefinitely without having to worry about the on-going boss battle as a new "Spinner" enemy looks to disrupt the battlefield. For Slingshot, you can expect to see a somewhat overhauled point system alongside even more powerful explosive barrels!
Other miscellaneous changes added to The Lab in the Appliance of Science update include voice subtitles and translations, additional haptic feedback support while petting Fetchbot, and extra commands to help skip certain unnecessary scenes. More details are available at Valve's official announcement post, so check them out!
Although slightly later than planned, this week's Round-Up episode covers an interesting and wide spread of news and discussions. Headlines from the past week include a huge sexual discrimination legal case against Valve, the release of early Vulkan support for Dota 2, and claims by Valve engineer Alan Yates that the Oculus Rift is just a big copycat!
To stay up to date with all things Valve, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Thanks for watching!
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