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In a rather quiet week, we've somehow managed to create a Round-Up episode focused exclusively on the Portal and Half-Life series of games. Topics discussed include J.J Abram's recent acknowledgement of the Half-Life and Portal films, the return of the Half-Life: A Place in the West fan comic, and the upcoming reveal of Valve's new game / experiment / experience / video thing, "The Lab"!
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This past week, although initially quiet, ended with some rather big news and a few first-timers! It saw Valve announce their first truly new game in over 4 years, with "The Lab" set to feature the return of Aperture Science as the player travels through a series of smaller experiments exclusive to virtual reality. Steam's Mobile Authenticator security is also being stepped up once more, and this is our first ever Round-Up episode to feature TWO different presenters!
For all the latest on The Lab and all of Valve's other products and games, don't forget to...
Valve has announced today a new set of VR experiments called The Lab. Featured in the Aperture Science universe, these experiments offer "multiple ways to enjoy room-scale VR." The Lab will be free of charge on Steam and is slated to release this spring. More information about The Lab will be given during next week's GDC.
Here's Valve's official announcement of The Lab:
Taking off after the events of the Seven Hour War, A Place in the West follows new characters into new territories within the Half-Life universe. Created by Ross Joseph Gardner, Michael Pelletier, Heath Heil, and Rachel Deering, this fan-made comic has now found itself in a new position as a contender on Steam Greenlight.
The first issue of A Place in the West will feature 5 brand new pages, and if Greenlit, will come contained within a comic book app. Additional perks include full English and Russian translations of the text, as well as a "Behind the Scenes" video featuring a commentary track of the writers explaining many aspects of the comic's development....
With the massive SteamVR leak last Monday and the recent influx of news, we've only just managed to get a new Round-Up out the door! In this fortnight's episode, we're recapping all the latest regarding the state of Aperture Robot Repair and the HTC Vive, the return of CS:GO's Nuke map, the upcoming start of the Team Fortress 2 Competitive Matchmaking Closed Beta, and the totally underwhelming release of "Half-Life: Prospekt".
If you've enjoyed all of our...
As first discussed several weeks ago, this evening's update to Team Fortress 2 has added the necessary content to allow users to begin beta testing the long-awaited Competitive Matchmaking mode. Added content includes the Competitive Beta Pass item, new menu options, and minor updates to several unnamed maps, allowing them to be used in the mode. We haven't yet heard any reports of beta invites being sent out, but it's now possible for Valve to begin distributing beta passes whenever they wish now all the necessary assets are included in the most recent public build.
The rather sizable patch also includes various other bug fixes and improvements, such as significant balance changes to Snowycoast, a number of cosmetic item...
It would appear that another veteran employee from Valve has left the company. According to two sources, Valve's employee page and LinkedIn, John Cook may have left Valve about a month ago after working there for 17 years.
You can see which strings were removed from Valve's employee page by going to SteamDB's SteamTracker.
John Cook is the co-founder of the original Team Fortress (along with Robin Walker) and was one of the head developers of Steam since the early days of Half-Life 2.
If this means that he has left the company, John Cook would be known to be the fourth veteran employee of Valve to leave within the last twelve months, following...
GDC 2016 is just around the corner, with doors opening March 14th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. Like last year, it looks like Valve will have a presence both on the Steam business side, as well as with holding info sessions. Below are the three currently known info sessions that Valve will be holding/presenting.
You'll notice that this years info sessions sound very similar to last year's, and I had written a summary of what those are about.
Practical Development for Vulkan (presented by Valve Software) with Dan Ginsburg
"In this session, Valve and other developers will share their...
As if Operation Wildfire and the new de_nuke update weren't enough, this week has brought two more big pieces of news on the Global Offensive front.
$1,000,000 PRIZE POOL FOR MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP
In a recent blog post, Valve announced that, starting with the MLG Columbus 2016 championship, each CS:GO Major Championship prize pool will be increased from $250,000 to $1,000,000.
As HLTV.org has pointed out, "the initially crowd-funded events have featured a $250,000 prize pool since their inception at the end of 2013, with 7 such tournaments having taken place so...
Speaking at the Vision Summit 2016, Joe Ludwig gave an overview of the SteamVR, OpenVR, and Unity VR APIs, and what power they bring to VR applications developers. I've gone ahead and basically done a transcription of his presentation in order to provide a document for future reference. I think this is important because Joe does outline some long-term goals of SteamVR and OpenVR, both very important sets of standards for the VR ecosystem.
In the spoiler tag below, you can find a video of Joe Ludwig's presentation, as well as my transcript. Some of the information is new, some is a refresher, but most of it is technical jargon, so you have been warned. Enjoy!
In the beginning of his presentation, Joe Ludwig first took some time to explain the differences between SteamVR and OpenVR.
SteamVR is considered to be the work that Valve is...
Following the reveal of the initial price point for the HTC Vive yesterday afternoon, this morning briefly saw Valve jump the gun by releasing the “SteamVR Performance Test” a little too early. The application is used to analyse a system’s CPU, GPU, and OS performance over the course of two minutes before providing the user with a report regarding how each component fared when compared to the recommended Vive technical specifications released yesterday.
The program was only publicly available for a short time on the Steam Store before being removed. As shown below, the test, running on Source 2, takes place in a cutdown and shortened version of the Aperture Robot Repair demo with lower visual fidelity, fixed camera angles, no interactivity, no sound effects, and very few of the “core” animated sequences, including the opening of the drawers and GLaDOS’ arrival.
While it certainly...
In an official press release from HTC earlier today, it was revealed the Vive virtual reality headset, created in partnership by Valve and HTC, will ship for $799 when it first arrives in early April 2016. When it is made available for pre-purchase in just a few days on February 29th 2016, the Vive will ship to consumers with two free VR-only games, including Job Simulator by Owlchemy Labs and Fantastic Contraption by Northway / Radial Games. As two of the highest quality and fully-fledged experiences available, these two games are definitely great additions to the pre-order bundle.
Although steep, this price point is actually not too unusual or unexpected when compared to the price of the...
While the TF2 Competitive Matchmaking Beta Steam group has been pretty quiet since its creation several weeks ago, that all changed this evening with a new post by Valve's John Schoenick (Steam name: Jill). The post outlines the team's enthusiasm for the upcoming beta before discussing how the slow, gradual expansion of the closed beta will progress. Users invited to the beta will receive an in-game item called the "Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass", which will grant them access to the on-going and evolving beta program.
Users that meet the following conditions will be more eligible for a beta invite:
- Have either purchased a copy of Team Fortress 2 prior to June 23, 2011, or have made a purchase from the Mann Co. Store. (AKA premium accounts)
- Have Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled.
- Have a phone number...
After being removed from CS:GO many moons ago, the recently released and equally overdue "Operation Wildfire" has brought about the return of classic map DE_Nuke, which has received a full visual overhaul and a partial redesign. The new Nuke features the same high-quality visions as that found in the redesigned Train, increasing overall visibility and readability. Also like Train, it features a small number of new routes and paths which can be used whether attacking or defending, including a new Decontamination Room, raised flooring in Bombsite A, and several new ladders around the outdoor rooftops.
The Operation Wildfire included with the update will run until June 17th 2016, can be purchased for $5.99, and features a wealth of missions and objectives in two separate "Campaigns", a...
Despite being a relatively quiet week as far as official news out of Valve, it did see Gabe complete his transformation into the white, male, nerdy version of Oprah Winfrey, while new updates to the HTC Vive Pre and SteamVR helped further prepare the service for launch later this year.
If you want to check out more of our content in the near future, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching!
In this week's Round-Up, we're celebrating Lunar New Year with Valve by checking out a new Steam Sale and a Quest Path for Dota 2, while also bidding farewell to one of Valve's longest-standing animators, Doug Wood, who will retire later this month after 19 years at the company.
If you're interested in catching more of our content coming soon, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on...
After nearly 19 years at Valve, Doug Wood has announced that he'll be retiring in the coming weeks.
Doug Wood is one of the founding fathers of the Half-Life saga. He was responsible for animating characters and creating some of the most iconic scripted sequences in the series, including "tentacles that pull unsuspecting scientists through the ceiling." Of course, his skills were applied across a variety of other Valve titles, including Left 4 Dead.
Citing Doug's Facebook, he said:
Despite the fact the Steam Winter Sale only ended a month ago, Valve are already whipping out a brand new set of deals in the "Lunar New Year Sale". The week-long event features the now-standard Daily Highlighted Deals and around 9,000 titles currently on sale, with this sale in particular featuring a heavy focus on tags and filters.
The huge success of the discovery queue during the Winter Sale has likely influenced the Lunar New Year Sale's themed storyline which sees users attempt to guide a Monkey back home to his family using a number of multi-choice answers to scenarios. Depending on the answer given (such as Swim, Drive, Pirates, or...
In this week's Round-Up episode, we're exploring Dota 2's recent influx of high quality mini-games, checking out the various intriguing HTC Vive games shown off at the SteamVR Developer Showcase, and looking forward to Team Fortress 2's upcoming Competitive Matchmaking mode!
In order to catch more great content headed down the pipeline, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and to follow us on...
You'd be forgiven for believing Dota 2 has recently become a virtual casino with the introduction of the Winter 2016 Battle Pass and the included Shanghai Major Compendium. For $7.99 or £5.29, the Pass gives access to a number of different activities and cosmetic items, with new additions such as quest "Paths", a "Winter Blessing" wheel of fortune, improved Wagering, and Friend Leaderboards featuring alongside old favourites like Battle Levels, Achievements, and new item treasures.
Completing objectives along a chosen path (themed around the gameplay styles of Support, Carry, and Solo) will award Battle Points and cosmetic items while contributing to a global pool which, when completed, will unlock an alternate skin for each of three available item sets. A massive number of new item sets, wards, frozen effigies, taunts, and...
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