Half-Life: Alyx announced

Is it really that time again?


We're very excited about the recently announced Half-Life: Alyx.

As you might appreciate, it's been a while since we posted any content here. While we cannot promise a resumption of full news coverage, we will attempt to cover Half-Life: Alyx as we learn more.

As ever, you can join in the discussion (there are people still there) over at our Forums.

I will see you up ahead.

Valve at GDC 2019



The Game Developers Conference 2019 is practically around the corner, with doors opening March 18th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

Below are the currently known sessions that Valve will be participating in.



Brain-Computer Interfaces: One Possible Future for How We Play with Mike Ambinder

"While a speculative technology at the present time, advances in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research are beginning to shed light on how players may interact with games in the future. While current interaction patterns are restricted to interpretations of mouse, keyboard, gamepad, and gestural controls, future generations of interfaces may include the ability to interpret neurological signals in ways that promise quicker and more sensitive actions, much wider arrays of possible inputs, real-time adaptation of game state to a player's internal state, and qualitatively different kinds of gameplay experiences. This talk covers both the near-term and long-term outlook of BCI research for the game industry but with an emphasis on how technologies stemming from this research can benefit developers in the present day."

Spatial Audio in 'Budget Cuts': A VR Stealth Game with Lakulish Antani

"The developers behind the VR stealth game 'Budget Cuts' discuss how they used Steam Audio to implement advanced spatial audio features for their title. The talk provides specific examples of spatial audio technology and how it enhances gameplay and immersion, including: HRTF-based binaural rendering for locating enemies; occlusion and transmission for modeling how sound is affected by vents or other openings; and real-time physics-based reverb for modeling smooth variations and subtle details in environmental reverb. The talk also discusses how the needs of the game informed improvements in how Steam Audio integrates with Budget Cuts' game engine, Unity. Finally, the talk discusses some of the limitations in audio engine architecture when it comes to advanced spatial audio technology, and offers some suggestions for addressing them."

Interactive Story Without Challenge Mechanics: The Design of 'Firewatch' with Chris Remo

"What is the role of design in a game that doesn't include combat, puzzles, or other traditional mechanical challenges? Can the story itself be the gameplay? On 'Firewatch', the developers set out to create a compelling story that unfolded in real time and allowed for player-centric interactivity and responsiveness, without allowing the player to ever "fail." In this talk, game designer and composer Chris Remo will discuss the ways in which the team succeeded (and came up short) in making deep interactive narrative design a vital part of 'Firewatch', a pillar they are continuing to build on in their upcoming project, 'In the Valley of Gods'."

Audio Bootcamp XVIII: Interactive Music/VR Audio Implementation with Emily Ridgway

"This session outlines techniques to achieve immersive audio coverage in your 3D game or VR project quickly and to a high level of quality. Emily will cover both basic and detailed implementation strategies that allow sound designers and non-sound designers to scale audio quality according to their constraints. Examples will be demonstrated in Unity. "



We'll be keeping this thread up-to-date with all of the known Valve participants.

ARG or Easter Egg found inside Danger Zone update

[Update 2018/12/09 4:50 PM (-8 GMT)]

This is confirmed by Valve to be an Easter egg:

csgo-dev-easter-egg-tweet.png

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[Original Story]

The new CS:GO game mode update, Danger Zone, may have an ARG lurking inside... Or it could just be an Easter Egg.
The Message in the 3rd Room

In the map Blacksite, there are 3 apartments, where the 3rd one is boarded up and inaccessible from the outside.


However, there is a passage to the inside of the room via the 2nd one, and that's where things get interesting. There's a desk inside the 3rd room with several computer monitors on it.


If you stand by the desk for more than a couple of minutes, audio starts to play. It turns out there's a hidden message inside of it, and it says, "This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS."

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We'll update this thread as the community uncovers more.

Kerbal Developers Depart Valve

In mid 2017, former Valve employee Roger Lundeen revealed a group of developers from KSP - the team who developed Kerbal Space Program - had joined Valve and were working on a new Valve title.

A year on it appears that both Kasper Nahuijsen and Jose Palacios have left Valve. Interestingly, Kasper's Linkedin states he worked on "production and product ownership for an as of yet unannounced multi platform video game." Jose had no further detail from his 23 months at Valve, after leaving this week.

38412017_10160650886940414_8967618575602810880_n.png

Both Jose and Kasper were founding members of Seven Headed Studios, alongside their ex-colleague Ted Everett - who appears to still be at Valve. We approximate around 5 other individuals who joined from Kerbal are still at Valve, too. It appears Valve allowed the team to retain ownership of the game they were working on after leaving Valve. It is unclear whether this means Valve are still working on 3 titles internally or now just 2.

Moondust Tech Demo by Valve [Video]

A while back Valve shipped out the Knuckles EV 1.3 developer kits to VR devs, a new hand controller which improves upon the original Vive Wands. Knuckles EV2 is the next iteration and improves upon the original design in many ways, including ergonomics, battery life and new sensors. The new sensors are the most interesting aspect as these controllers have force sensors which can detect a range of pressures placed upon them, supporting much more precise hand movements in VR. You can read more about that and Skeletal Input here.

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Comparison of Knuckles 2 (left) and 1.3 (right) - photo by @ColinNorthway​

In order to exhibit the possibilites of EV2, Valve have produced the Moondust tech demo. EV2 developers can download and try the demo here. Moondust is set in the Portal universe, and involves a range of mini-games such as crushing rocks for Aperture Science to increase their moon-rock gel stores, control a giant robot, drive a moon buggy and assemble a space station in orbit.

The demo was developed in-house at Valve however it appears some independent VR developers also contributed to the development. Check out the video below!

Valve and Perfect World Announce 'Steam China'

Today Valve have announced a new version of Steam, 'Steam China' that will bring Steam's catalogue of games to the Chinese market.

Historically, Valve have licensed versions of their titles to Perfect World. In doing so, Perfect World have adapted Valve's titles localising them for the Chinese market. This has been in-part due to Steam not being available in China, a hurdle that all Steam's partners have had to endure as it has restricted their reach to China. Player Unknown's Battlegrounds included, turned to Tencent late last year to permeate the Chinese market, effectively cutting Steam out the deal for the vast number of copies sold. Steam China looks to prevent repeats of such situations.

Full Press Release Below

6/11/2018 -- Perfect World Zhengqi (Shanghai) Multimedia Technology Co., Ltd. and Perfect World Game Co., Ltd., two wholly owned subsidiaries of Perfect World Co., Ltd., and Valve Corporation announced an extension of their ongoing partnership to begin work on Steam China, which will provide Chinese gamers and developers with a new way to access Steam's expansive selection of games and entertainment. No release date for Steam China has been announced.

Steam China will extend the strategic cooperation between the two parties that began in 2012, when Perfect World's subsidiaries obtained the license to operate Valve's DOTA 2, and later Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), in China. Robert H. Xiao, CEO of Perfect World, said the company would introduce more games to China through Steam China, providing quality content and improving the experience for both gamers and developers.

Perfect World and Valve will collaborate closely on Steam China, actively promoting its launch, marketing, and game lineup. No changes are planned for Steam's existing worldwide operations and services as a result of this announcement.

Thumbnails of new private Team Fortress 2 videos

Earlier today, Valve added eight new private videos to the taunts playlist on Team Fortress 2's official YouTube channel. Shortly after this discovery, one of our contacts, who wishes to remain anonymous, managed to extract the thumbnails of these videos and sent them to us.


Spoilers









Valve offers more core virtual reality technologies to device manufacturers

Press Release

October 9, 2017 -- Valve, creator of Steam and SteamVR, a leading platform for games and virtual reality (VR) applications, today announced the availability of new core components needed by VR hardware manufacturers to deliver best in class VR systems.

Complementing the existing free license for sub-millimeter room-scale tracking and input technology, today's news marks the addition of other critical pieces for developing state-of-the-art VR hardware: an advanced optical system, manufacturing and calibration tools, and the supporting software stack to unify the hardware into an optimal user experience.

"World class VR requires highly precise tracking, matched optics and display technologies, and a software stack that weaves together the interactions between these components," said Jeremy Selan of Valve. "For the first time, we're making all of these technologies available to anyone who wants to build a best in class VR system for the millions of Steam customers accessing over 2,000 SteamVR compatible titles."

About the Display and Optics Technology

Valve has spent years working closely with display manufacturers to adapt their technologies to the unique challenges of VR. Recent advancements in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology combined with VR specific calibration now make it a viable technology choice for high end VR systems. LCD manufacturers have demonstrated fast-switching liquid crystals, low persistence backlights, and high PPI displays that, when calibrated and paired with the right software, are well matched to the highest quality VR experiences. Of course, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology was critical to the first generation of VR (being first to demonstrate fast transition times and low-persistence illumination), and it remains an excellent option for new head mounted displays (HMDs). While both display technologies have inherent artifacts unique to head-mounted usage, Valve provides custom hardware and software manufacturing solutions as part of the SteamVR technology suite to enable high quality visual VR experiences.

In addition, Valve has developed custom lenses that work with both LCD and OLED display technologies and is making these lenses available to purchase for use in SteamVR compatible HMDs. These lenses and Valve's unique calibration and correction software are designed specifically to be paired with several off-the-shelf VR displays to enable the highest quality VR visual experiences. These optical solutions currently support a field of view between 85 and 120 degrees (depending on the display). The lenses, which are designed to support the next generation of room-scale virtual reality, optimize the user's perceived tracking experience and image sharpness while reducing stray light. Valve is including the custom lens calibration and correction software within the SteamVR technology suite.

Finally, Valve continues to offer full room-scale, sub-millimeter tracking technology by providing a reference design for the "Watchman" tracking module and by offering Valve manufactured base stations with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 technology for sale to licensees.

For more information about VR technology licensing, please see http://partner.steamgames.com/vrlicensing

The making of the world's first Half-Life fan comic

The Adventures of Dank and Scud was a fan comic series based around the game Quake created by Michael Houston. The sixth and the final issue, "It's a Wonderful Half-Life", featured Valve's Half-Life and was released on November 13, 1998. In the comic, the protagonist duo, Dank and Scud, find themselves back on Earth only to be caught in the middle of an experiment gone terribly wrong. Before the release of Half-Life, Houston was invited to Valve to create an issue based on the game. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Houston created a new website and added audio commentary to his comics. In the commentary, Houston talks about how he was invited to Valve to work on the comic.

http://dankandscud.com
http://dankandscud.com/issues/issue06/page01

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Valve artist Drew Wolf's new website reveals Team Fortress 2's female cast and more

Valve artist Drew Wolf's new website reveals Team Fortress 2's female cast, a Dota 2 cartoon, and concept art for multiple projects. For more information and images, you can click on associated links under project names.

• Team Fortress 2 - Alternate Characters
• Dota 2 - Cartoon
• Dota 2 - The Last Castle (Comic)
• Dota 2 - Heroes
• Dota 2 - Hero Illustrations
• Dota 2 - Items
• Dota 2 - Aegis of Champions
• The Lab - Xortex
• Valve - Character Designs (Artifact)
• Valve - Graphic Illustrations
• Valve - Update Pages
• Untitled Fantasy Game - Characters (may or may not be a Valve project)
• Untitled Fantasy Game - Creatures (same as above)

Team Fortress 2 - Alternate Characters
drewwolf.com/tf2alt

An internal pitch project aimed to bring female characters to the cast of Team Fortress 2.

I was responsible for story, character development and visual design. With the exception of their class function, It was important that each design presented an entirely new character. I wanted to these characters to live on their own and add dimension to the current roster of in-game characters. The goal of the project was to dive deep into possibilities and facilitate creative discussion.

tf2_1.jpg tf2_2.jpg

Dota 2 - Cartoon
drewwolf.com/dotatoon

Character designs from a Dota related cartoon.

The goal of this work was to develop a streamlined visual style that would translate well into a 2D animated feature or series. This work was a crucial in between step from in-game assets to final 2D model sheets. I also used the character art to develop lighting and direction for shot locations.

dotatoon5.jpg dotatoon7.jpg

Dota 2 - The Last Castle (Comic)
drewwolf.com/axecomic

axecomic07.jpg axecomic08.jpg

Dota 2 - Heroes
drewwolf.com/dotahero

dota2heroes01.jpg dota2heroes02.jpg

Dota 2 - Hero Illustrations
drewwolf.com/dotaillo

dcgillo2.jpg dcgillo3.jpg

Dota 2 - Items
drewwolf.com/dotaitems

dota2items4.jpg dota2items2.jpg

Dota 2 - Aegis of Champions
drewwolf.com/aegis

aegis1.jpg aegis4.jpg

The Lab - Xortex
drewwolf.com/xortex

xortex0.jpg xortex1.jpg

Valve - Character Designs (Artifact)
drewwolf.com/artifactchar

Valve developer Jeep Barnett confirmed that these images were created for Valve's Artifact.

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Early designs for characters that were intended to to expand the Dota universe. Each piece was intended to serve as both concept art and promotional art.

dcg2.jpg dcg3.jpg

Valve - Graphic Illustrations
drewwolf.com/graphict

tfshirt1.jpg dotashirt1.jpg

Valve - Update Pages
drewwolf.com/updatepage

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Untitled Fantasy Game - Characters
drewwolf.com/rndchar

Warning: We don't know if these images were created for a possible Valve project or not. We'll contact Drew Wolf and update the thread.

Character development for an internal R&D project. The project was a fantasy adventure game centered around cooperative combat and driven by story.

Development of these characters started with a round of loose sketches. The goal was to present as many groups of four adventures as possible in order to establish a diverse cast of archetypal characters. After discussion and feedback the group was paired down to ten characters. They would become the projects main characters.

During the development I created a mood sketch for each character. They were done in a classic sci-fi/fantasy book cover. Each sketch represents a slice of the world each character came from as well as a hint at who they are and what they do. This collateral art helped convey the direction quickly and facilitate creative discussion for each character.

rndheroes01.jpg rndheroes19.jpg

Untitled Fantasy Game - Creatures
drewwolf.com/rndcre

Warning: We don't know if these images were created for a possible Valve project or not. We'll contact Drew Wolf and update the thread.

Creature development for an internal R&D project. The project was a fantasy adventure game centered around cooperative combat and driven by story.

rndcreature1.jpg rndcreature4.jpg

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