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Valve

Crawl photo
Crawl

Gabe Newell punches his way into indie game


Newell is an ultra powerful boss
Apr 13
// Laura Kate Dale
News revealed on April Fools is always difficult to know how to treat. Do you waste time verifying it? Do you assume everything's a hoax regardless of proof? Do you just wait it out and see if the news still has updates in th...
Half-Life 2 mod photo
Half-Life 2 mod

Half-Life 2: Update looks like a real good reason to revisit City 17


But not Ravenholm... never Ravenholm
Mar 26
// Jordan Devore
For three years, Filip Victor has been working on Half-Life 2: Update, a community-made standalone version of Half-Life 2 that seeks to "fix up, polish, and visually enhance [the game] without ever changing the 2004 original'...
Three-hour Dota match photo
Three-hour Dota match

Record breaking competitive Dota 2 match lasts over 3 hours


The last Hobbit movie was shorter (and less entertaining)
Mar 22
// Nic Rowen
Dota matches have a reputation for becoming grindy slogs, but I'm pretty sure they aren't supposed to resemble the intractable grind of WWI trench warfare. On Friday a qualifying match between competitive teams Cloud9 and SFZ...
Team Fortress 2 photo
Team Fortress 2

Dance the night away with custom taunts in TF2


Do the hustle
Mar 13
// Jordan Devore
Are you a taunter? I'm not. Okay, well, I try not to be. But then developers go and design achievements around taunting X amount of times, and it'd be rude not to oblige them probably. Or there's some jerk in Awesomenauts who...
Steam Controller photo
Steam Controller

Steam Controller and FPS: PAX East 2015 impressions


'A little rumbly'
Mar 10
// Jed Whitaker
One of what was seemingly the better-kept secrets at PAX East 2015, the Steam Controller, was available for hands on at the Alienware booth connected to the company's Steam Machines. I was able to test the previous iteration...

Skyworld takes unique advantage of Valve's new virtual reality tech

Mar 06 // Alessandro Fillari
For our demo, the developers led me into a closed-off room which housed Valve's virtual reality hardware. Around the room were two cameras that tracked movement and set the boundaries of the VR environment by scanning the dimensions of the room. They then handed me the headset, which still looked as if it was in the prototype phase. Wires to the headset were numerous, which required a belt around my waist to hold all of them down. Honestly, it felt like I was wearing something from '90s cyberpunk like Ghost in the Shell or Johnny Mnemonic. It was weighty, but had a number of devices working at once. I actually almost tripped over one of the wires before our demo even started. But any apprehension I had for the device soon faded once I tried out the interface and witnessed it in action. With the headset on, I was in a home menu showing a number of games and applications. The controllers they gave me, which were also connected with wires, were two wand-like devices that were somewhat like a mix between the Sony Move and Wii Remote. Similar to the headset, they were in early form. Using trackpads on the controllers allowed me to cycle through options. And just for fun, pressing down the trackpad caused a balloon to inflate from the controller in the digital space, which was amusing. It felt intuitive, and surprisingly accurate. I could look around to see the menu system with its grey, almost minimalistic background, but the Valve engineer instructed me to look towards the floor. On the floor was a box, which represented the center of the space. Once I started walking forward outside the box, I made it a few steps before a grid popped up in front of me. This grid represented the physical wall that I was about to walk into, which the camera picked up and visualized within the VR space. It was pretty cool stuff, and I felt that I could've spent plenty of time exploring the home menu, but of course, they had a game to show. [embed]288675:57632:0[/embed] Last year, the developers of World of Diving showed off an impressive demonstration for their underwater-exploration sim. The use of the Oculus Rift was well designed and featured impressive depth and range. With the success and buzz they generated with that title, they attracted the attention of Valve, leading to a partnership. But the new VR technology they were presented meant having to design something a bit different. "When they asked to work together with us to make a demo for the GDC announcement, the first thing that came to mind was that we should do something like World of Diving," said creative director Richard Stitselaar. "But that title was designed around the first Oculus, and then the DK2 came along, we had to ramp it up to seventy-five frames per second, then Valve came along and said 'guys, it needs 90 frames per second.' So we had to do a lot of optimization on the game, and we figured we should use our knowledge with VR and apply it to a new game instead." Skyworld is totally different from World of Diving. Set on a floating island that houses a small civilization, you play as an omnipotent ruler that must wage war on the opposing side. As a quasi tabletop turn-based strategy title, players use both Steam controllers as wands in game to conjure up creatures and interact with the world. Over time, you'll build your defenses and expand your resources, which will allow you to send infantry and even dragons to attack your enemies. With the left controller, I was able to pull up a magic book, which housed unit info and spells to cast. Using the right controller allowed me to interact with the elements on the table. Whether picking up units to reposition them or interacting with blacksmiths or dragons, each controller had its own separate uses that complemented the other. "First we had this interaction model where you would look at something as this dot in the middle and then select it," said Stitselaar. "It feels natural to have something in your hand that could enhance the world itself." When you think of VR, you're probably thinking of something that's a bit action-y or fast-paced, and likely not a turn-based strategy title. But Skyworld definitely makes great use of the technology. I was able to view all aspects of the environment with clarity, as zooming simply meant stepping closer. Of course, I had to let go of some very basic certainties when playing with the demo. For instance, we all know that if there's an object in front of you, then you'll likely have to move if you want to get around it. I spent much of the demo walking around the 'table,' never thinking to actually walk up to whatever object I wanted. Eventually, the engineers from Valve and Vertigo Games instructed me that it was okay to walk through the table -- it wasn't real. After attacking enemy installations and moving my infantry around, my time with the demo ended. It was fairly brief, and I felt I only scratched the surface of what I could do. Valve's technology was easily the most impressive use of virtual reality I've seen in a long time, though. Moreover, Vertigo Games' work impressed. I was pleasantly surprised to experience a title that used VR in an original way. While the technology has a ways to go before it will get in the hands of consumers, I'm excited about what the future of VR holds.
Valve VR photo
Vertigo Games talks the future of VR
We got a big shock at the beginning of the week when Valve announced its partnership with HTC to produce a new virtual reality headset. We all knew the company had ambitions to enter the console market with Steam Machines, bu...

Steam hardware photo
Steam hardware

Steam now lists Steam Machines and other hardware


These things sure are pricey
Mar 05
// Jordan Devore
In its push to expand the "Steam universe," Valve has added store listings for Steam Machines as well as the finalized Steam Controller and also Steam Link, a PC-to-TV streaming device. All of this stuff will become available...
Steam Controller photo
Steam Controller

Oh hey, this looks like the final Steam Controller


Available this November for $49.99
Mar 04
// Jordan Devore
Weird as it might still look, you have to admit that Valve's Steam Controller has come far. Remember this photo? Or this more recent one? It's like leafing through your worst yearbooks. Given that I play PC-centric games with...
Valve in 2015 photo
Valve in 2015

Valve: Steam Link game-streaming device, controller, free Source 2, and VR in 2015


Announce ALL the things, just not Half-Life 3
Mar 03
// Jed Whitaker
Valve just announced a number of new products for 2015 along with some pricing details. (Leave it to Valve to reveal hardware with dates and pricing at the same time.) This year, the company will release: Steam Link, Steam Ma...
GDC 2015 photo
GDC 2015

Valve to give a talk about physics at GDC on March 3 at 3 PM


Should be a good talk
Mar 02
// Jed Whitaker
Sergiy Migdalskiy, a programmer at Valve, will be giving a talk at GDC this week at the start of the THIRD month on the THIRD day at 3 PM. According to Sergiy's LinkedIn he has worked on games such as Counter-Strike: Glo...
HTC Vive photo
HTC Vive

HTC Vive VR headset announced in partnership with Valve


Consumer version this year
Mar 01
// Jed Whitaker
HTC is partnering with Valve on a VR headset, revealed today as the Vive. The Vive will be "powered by Steam VR," which seems to be a software solution created by Valve for VR headsets. It is unclear at this time if Stea...
Valve VR hardware photo
Valve VR hardware

Valve is showing its 'SteamVR hardware system' next week


New Steam Machines and the final Steam Controller, too
Feb 23
// Jordan Devore
Here I was expecting to find out about Steam Machines and the finished Steam Controller at next week's Game Developers Conference -- sure, that's fine -- but the company also has a surprise in store for the San Francisco show...
Steam machines photo
Steam machines

We might find out more about Steam machines in the very near future


Scheduled to be at GDC
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
Valve isn't communicating its plans for its fabled Steam machines all that well. Who could forget CES 2014's anticipated event that basically resulted in Gabe Newell pointing to a list of names and then leaving? We've known a...
Steam Greenlight photo
Steam Greenlight

Sorry, Greenlight developers, no more offering Steam keys for votes


Valve puts a stop to this practice
Feb 10
// Jason Faulkner
It seems as though developers pushing games through release via Steam Greenlight have been promising keys as a means of amassing votes from prospective buyers. Not that this notion is surprising in any way, but it's certainly...
Portal: Outside Influence photo
Portal: Outside Influence

After five long years, Portal: Outside Influence nears completion


Morris' labor of love also features some of my favorite industry personalities!
Feb 08
// Rob Morrow
It seems like we were just posting about Portal mods the other day, doesn't it? Well, we've got another one for you to look at today, but there's a quite a bit more going on under the surface of this stel...
ESL retracts CS:GO ban photo
ESL retracts CS:GO ban

Valve and ESL retract ban on ex-ESC Gaming CS:GO team


With so much drama with the iBP, it's kinda hard bein' ex-ESC
Feb 08
// Jason Faulkner
Last Friday, Valve and eSports League Europe, issued tentative bans on three Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive teams. Epsilon eSports, the former ESC Gaming team, and WinneR had players who were accused of match fi...
Dota 2 tournament photo
Dota 2 tournament

The Dota 2 Asian Championships now has the second highest prize pool in eSports history


Main event is underway now
Feb 06
// Patrick Hancock
The Dota 2 Asian Championships' (DAC) main event is underway now, and currently boasts a prize pool of just under $3,000,000. This brings it to the second highest prize pool ever, behind the 2014 Dota 2 Internationa...
Portal Stories: Mel photo
Portal Stories: Mel

Portal Stories: Mel mod gets a teaser, coming soon


Now THIS is my kind of downloadable content
Jan 31
// Rob Morrow
Portal Stories: Mel is a lovely-looking community-made mod for Portal 2 that's due out sometime in Q1 2015, according to the title's store page. The lengthy 20+ level mod will feature a new protagonist called ...
TF2 Demo pro photo
TF2 Demo pro

I can't even play Demoman this well in my dreams


Ding. Ding. Ding.
Jan 28
// Jordan Devore
I've contemplated returning to Team Fortress 2, if only for a few matches, but I'll probably get my ass kicked. After watching this skillful highlight reel from Demoman player Kaidus, I'm sure of it. This guy knows what you're going to do before you do.
Steam Workshop $$$ photo
Steam Workshop $$$

Cha-ching: It now pays to create content for non-Valve games on Steam Workshop


Valve has paid out $57 million so far
Jan 28
// Jordan Devore
To date, some 1,500 users have earned a collective $57 million from Valve for creating custom in-game content for titles like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Up until now, only the company's tit...
CS:GO photo
CS:GO

Gambling, match-fixing scandal rocks highest level of competitive Counter-Strike


Bans handed down
Jan 27
// Brett Makedonski
The world of eSports has a Pete Rose-style controversy on its hands. Yesterday, Valve levied a series of bans against Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players that were found to be involved in a gambling scandal that inc...
Steam FPS counter photo
Steam FPS counter

Go on, check your frames per second in Steam


Broadcast some games while you're at it
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
While some of you might have experienced Steam's frames-per-second counter while it was in beta, the rest of us are only now taking a look at the nice little extra. To enable the feature, go to Steam > Settings > In-Gam...
Steam Controller photo
Steam Controller

Final Steam Controller design to be revealed at GDC


The 'Steam Machine' name is dead too, apparently.
Jan 08
// Mike Cosimano
In an interview with GameSpot at CES 2015, Origin PC CEO Kevin Wasielewski confirmed the final version of Valve's Steam Controller will be shown to the public at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this March...
Dota 2 mod photo
Dota 2 mod

I hope this Gabe Newell shopkeeper makes it into Dota 2


As seen on Steam Workshop
Jan 05
// Jordan Devore
Combining the huggable head of Valve and the perpetual time sink that is Dota 2 in a single Steam Workshop submission -- it seems so obvious now, bringing these two internet loves together. Shopkeeper Gabe Newell deserves a ...

Assigning New Year's resolutions to major videogame studios

Jan 03 // Kyle MacGregor
Sony The PlayStation 4 has all kinds of momentum. It's like a snowball rolling downhill. Just like in the cartoons, it's gradually picking up more and more snow, except in this case the snow is money. It's a runaway snowball made of money and nothing can stop it. Absolutely nothing. Probably. Never underestimate a videogame company's ability to chew off its own limbs, but Sony has a guaranteed success on its hands. The Vita, though, that thing could use a good kick in the pants. Resolution: Do something to make people buy a Vita. Something. Anything at all. Nintendo The Vita are and Wii U are kindred spirits. Sort of. Sony's portable is a poor, neglected thing, something kept hidden under the stairs, never given a cake on its own danged birthday. Wii U has a better home life than that, one with nice supportive parents, but it's still sitting next to Vita in the corner of the lunchroom at the unpopular consoles table. Resolution: Do something edgy and hope the popular kids finally take notice. You know you're awesome. You just have to find a way to make other folks realize it. Valve Valve marches to the beat of its own drum. It's a videogame company that no longer makes videogames, which turns out to be a remarkable business strategy. It seems dealing in trading cards and virtual hats is a nice way to fill Gabe's swimming pool with doubloons. Still... Resolution: Shit or get off the pot. Good lord, figure out what the hell you're doing with Greenlight, release Steam Machines already, and maybe put out a god damn videogame this year. Sega In fairness, Sega does some good stuff. Alien: Isolation was a nice surprise. Atlus is alive and well. Yakuza 5 is coming westward. Total War is a good time. Hatsune Miku is a bizarre wonder... Sonic Boom happened, though. Oh boy, did Sonic Boom happen. It's a broken mess and the embodiment of what's plagued the series for years, a symbol of Sega's insecure need to reinvent the wheel for no good reason at all. Stick to what works, Sega. There's no need to be innovative. Resolution: Stop abusing Sonic and the interminable good will of Sonic fans. Go back to basics. Microsoft The Xbox One reminds me of a troubled teenager: twisting in the wind, still trying to find its place in the world. Is it the harbinger of the always-online apocalypse, an all-in-one entertainment hub, or maybe just a plain old videogame machine? Today it's videogames. Tomorrow, well, who knows? Resolution: Keep concentrating on videogames. Your console is confused and needs focus. Capcom and/or Square Enix People are always mad at these guys. Sometimes for good reasons. Other times just because. Resolution: Do something to engender good will. Maybe stop re-releasing every game ever. Electronic Arts Activision was the big evil publisher on the block for a while there. Then EA had its turn. Nowadays, Ubisoft is doing its best Bond villain impersonation, which gives EA a perfect opportunity to worm its way back into our hearts. It will probably never happen, though. Battlefield Hardline is coming out soon, and, considering the current political climate, a militarized police game has the potential to offend just about everyone. Resolution: Maybe launch a couple online games with functioning servers. Ubisoft Ubisoft is pure evil. We've already established this. It's the black hat desperado, riding into town on a DRM steed, overhyping Watch Dogs with too good to be true E3 footage, and saying inordinately stupid things about how female game characters are too expensive to animate. It's also the sort of company that releases two Assassin's Creed titles on the same day, saddled with a pathetic attempt to keep potential customers in the dark regarding the games' quality and readiness (or lack thereof) for as long as possible. Subterfuge like that is astonishingly disrespectful. Sadly, that sort of behavior just seems to be Ubisoft's modus operandi these days.  Resolution: Try to be a tad more pro-consumer, Ubisoft. Also, make Beyond Good & Evil 2.
New Year's Resolutions photo
Check back to see who failed
It's an annual tradition: Making resolutions to kick off the New Year. There's a whole new arbitrary set of twelve months in which to better ourselves. Or, you know, make the same mistakes we made in the last dozen. It's finally time to quit smoking or start going to the gym. Whatever. Here's a bunch of words about what videogame companies should do to shape up in 2015.

Dota 2 6.83 photo
Dota 2 6.83

Dota 2 gets a 'Shifting Snows' winter update and a balance patch


Hancock: Posting about -> Dota 2
Dec 18
// Patrick Hancock
Frostivus is not coming this year, but that doesn't mean Dota 2 goes stale! While there may not be a big gameplay event, we've got some big gameplay changes taking place. Lifestealer takes a lot of the focus in this upda...
Steam sale photo
Steam sale

The Steam Holiday Sale is on: Ground Zeroes, Dark Souls II, and more


Runs until January 2, 2015
Dec 18
// Jordan Devore
For some of us, the year-end Steam Holiday  Sale is the one that matters. It's where I tend to buy most of my PC games for the year, which is a nasty habit considering how few of them end up in my library unplayed and un...
Steam Auction photo
Steam Auction

Recycle your unwanted Steam junk to bid on games (Update)


Time to clear out trading cards, backgrounds, and emoticons
Dec 11
// Darren Nakamura
[Update: The auction has been temporarily shut down, most likely due to the incredible amount of Gem Sacks that were being sold on the marketplace, driving the cost down and inflating the auctions. There are suspicions that u...
SteamStream photo
SteamStream

You can stream gameplay straight through Steam


Stream Broadcasting
Dec 02
// Steven Hansen
Steam Broadcasting--I'm already confused in the mouth with "Steam Stream," so it's for the best--is now in beta (you'll need to opt in if you haven't). From your friends list or a friend's profile page, all you need to hit is...
Deals photo
Deals

Steam has Alien Isolation for half price, cheap Skyrim


Flip some trading cards for Castle Crashers
Dec 01
// Jordan Devore
"Uh-uh, no way, I've spent too much as is." I haven't yet hit that point this year but if Steam keeps it up, I might. The Exploration Sale continues with discounts on Alien Isolation ($24.99), Planetary Annihilation ($5.99), ...

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