Following the announcement of the Boston Major tournament for Dota 2 earlier this week, Valve have released the Fall 2016 Battle Pass, which acts as both an event Compendium and additional gameplay incentives. For £5.99 / $7.99, the Fall 2016 Battle Pass features many of the same features and item types as the one used to fund The International, only with a smaller level cap and fewer rewards.
Returning features to the Battle Pass include leveling, quests, match wagering, achievements, the community Battle Cup, and event-specific items such as terrain types, taunts, wards, couriers, and cosmetic sets. With only 60 levels available in total, the Fall 2016 Battle Pass features four different treasure types and four courier styles, meaning there'll definitely be a lot less long-term progression this time around. This fact is further cemented by the lack of gems available on the store, something which previously allowed users to artificially boost their pass level for more items if they wanted to splash a little bit more cash.
Unlike the Battle Pass released annually for The International, seasonal Battle Passes such as this one do not actually contribute towards the prize pool of a major tournament in any direct fashion, meaning you're only really buying access to the rare items and gameplay incentives rather than to support the professional competitive scene.
That said, we've already picked up our Battle Pass and are ready to begin adventuring with it tomorrow, what about you?
Former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw recently published several never-before-seen documents from the development of the original Half-Life on his personal website. You can read the documents from the links below.
Marc retired from Valve early this year after working at the company for 18 years. For the past few months, as part of his post-retirement purge, he's been organizing his archives and looking for the occasional piece of information worth saving. Ending up with a stack of 3.5” floppy disks, he bought an external floppy drive and found several Half-Life development documents from 1998 on one of the disks.
While not mentioned on his website, Marc also revealed that, for a time, the last section of the game was to take place inside a gigantic alien organism.
Writing for Half-Life
Created on November 9, 1998.
Created on June 4, 1998 and last modified on July 21, 1998.
Created and last modified on July 21, 1998.
We recently discovered concept art from a space marine-themed Valve game that did not ship. These images were created by Harry Teasley who worked at Valve as an artist and designer until his departure in June of 2002.
The images show the character designs for an alien assassin, a marine with a powered exoskeleton, and other generic human and alien soldiers. One of the images mentions a campaign mode, so it is possible that the game was to feature a single-player mode. The appearance of the characters was to change throughout the campaign based on the player's direction as they gained more experience.
The character designs slightly resemble the space-themed iteration of Team Fortress 2 that was in development around the same time. Harry mentions that he did concept drawing, character design, and texture work for the early versions of Team Fortress 2 on his resume. It should be noted that the alien creatures are wearing what resembles human military gear, something that can also be also seen in Chuck Jones's early Team Fortress 2 concept art.
Hayri "Barnz" Yurdakul and Rikki "Marphy Black" D'Angelo
Harry Teasley for the images
Although not a conventionally busy week, the past seven days did see Valve crack down on two very different forms of exploitation and cheating! The first involved an update to the way Steam Reviews are managed and filtered, while the second caused over 11,000 users to be banned from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for hacking!
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UPDATE 1 [09/15/2016]: As of right now, the number of accounts that have been banned has more than doubled since this post was first published; 11,000 have been affected so far. This number is likely to rise even further as more offenders log into their Steam accounts.
ORIGINAL: According to reports, one of the largest VAC ban waves in years has hit. A little more than 4,000 accounts may have been affected.
Graph showing number of bans over the last year - today's spike on very right
That number comes from VAC-Ban.com. To corroborate with that data, a thread on /r/GlobalOffensive references posts from a couple of cheat provider forums. Some posts show staff stating that their hacks have been detected, and others are from users themselves complaining about being VAC'd.
If anything else needs to be said, it's "HA!"
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