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No more motion sick photo
No more motion sick

Valve: If VR makes you sick, it's the developer's fault

Blame the carpenter, not the tools
Sep 28
// Steven Hansen
Fear of motion sickness and living room ruining vomit is one of the sticking points surrounding the definitely-happening-and-not-at-all-actually-unlikely VR revolution. And while I kind of dislike the relative sensory depriva...

Virtual reality never worked for me until I got to try the HTC Vive

Sep 28 // Joe Parlock
It’s worth noting at this point that this was the second day of a very loud, badly-lit event, and I was absolutely knackered. My eye was about as bad as it could be without being totally blind, and so I was in the prime condition to try and prove Valve wrong with its absolutist claims. I even took my glasses off, I was so ready to catch them out. I was getting ready to feign interest in the game as the goggles were lowered over my head. I’d had practice with the Rift after all: politely try and finish the demo and contain my disappointment at yet another bad VR experience. But as my eyes adjusted to looking out into space, I realised that holy shit... It worked. Me and my janky eye (powered purely by the godawful energy drink they were handing out to EGX visitors) were able to actually enjoy VR for the very first time. It was strangely emotional, looking around with nigh-on perfect head tracking and seeing a whole world which wasn’t the one I was sat in. I’ve heard plenty of reactions to using the Vive: people crying, people shaking, but it felt different to me. A part of me was impressed with the technology, but a bigger part of me was relieved that my condition maybe hasn’t precluded me from the VR future after all. I couldn’t quite breathe, and every time I managed to talk it was peppered with swearing and “oh my god”s. Those reactions were not earned by the game itself, as fun as Elite may be I had no god damn idea what I was doing, but by how VR had just been opened up to me at last after spending the last year convinced I would have to let it pass me by. I found myself completely immersed in my little spaceship, and I totally forgot about the huge convention going on just outside that room. I wasn’t in that small, cramped booth any more, I was in space. I would try and find the enemy by leaning over the back of my chair (and almost falling off), the HUDs of the spaceship flickering on as I turned to look at them… it wasn’t the small cinema experience I’d had with the Rift, and it wasn’t blurry even without my glasses. It was the VR experience I had built up in my head during the last year of people bragging about it to me, and holy fuck it worked. After Laura and I had played Elite on the Vive, all I could really do was stare at her in disbelief. I had felt slightly left out when she reacted in the exact same way ten minutes before, when coming out of the previous demo. There was a weird mix of “holy fuck that tech is amazing” and “holy fuck that tech works for me.” I was still thinking about it well into playing other games throughout the day. So while I can’t really confirm or deny Valve’s claim the Vive works for everyone, I can confirm it worked for me, the guy who even blue-red 3D glasses don’t work for. The Vive’s technology is amazing for everyone who’s at all interested in virtual reality I’m sure, and for VR connoisseurs it’s probably the best headset currently in development, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’m just relieved something finally works for me. Thanks, Valve. You’ve done well with this. Remember, you can read Laura’s impressions on the HTC Vive too. She’s got way more experience with VR than I do, and she still thinks the Vive is a game changer.
HTC Vive photo
Me and my broken eye were in space
A long time ago, Valve and HTC boasted that their upcoming VR headset -- the HTC Vive if you’ve somehow managed to miss it -- would cause nausea for "zero percent of players." That sort of absolute statement got me inte...

The HTC Vive is an absolute VR game changer

Sep 28 // Laura Kate Dale
[embed]312714:60520:0[/embed] Over the past few months I've heard people evangelizing the leap in technology that the Vive represents. Stories of developers crying, journalists shaking, and the general public speechless. I went into my hands on demo with the Vive dubious. I came out a shaken, crying, speechless VR evangelist. So, where to start. I was brought by a couple of staff members into a large, square, empty room. A small computer sat tucked away in one corner. Otherwise, the roughly 12-square-foot room I was in was completely empty. Before trying out the headset, I was handed a pair of controllers and shown how they worked. The controllers featured a pair of clickable track pads on top, triggers underneath, and a weird angular antenna on top to facilitate 1:1 motion controls. Oddly, considering how closely I had been following the Vive, this was the first time I had actually seen the Vive's dedicated motion controllers. Once I had a handle on the controller layout, I was told to put on the headset. Much like the competition, it's a single set of elasticated and solid straps that's fitted by sliding it simply over the top of your head. The Vive was by far the most comfortable of the VR headsets I have worn to date, although it lacked the retail Oculus' built-in headphones. As a result I also had to find the pair of external headphones once the set was covering my eyes, ensuring they were on the correct ears so that sounds would emanate from the correct locations. This is a very real drawback to headsets without built-in headphones. Straight away, as soon as the demo selection screen was booted up, I could see that the Vive was going to be a step above the competition. The 1:1 motion tracking of the pair of controllers was superb, with no disconnect whatsoever between where my brain new my hands were, and where it could see them in game. Head tracking was unbelievably fast and responsive, and I had no issues at all with needing the headset centered. Everything was working flawlessly right off the bat. The first demo shown off had me stood on the deck of a sunken ship underwater. I could walk around the deck by walking around the room, with a checkered grid of blue lights appearing if I got too close to the physical edges of the room. I wandered around the ship touching fish, interacting with the ship using my hands, and eventually stood face to face with a whale, who followed me with his eyes as I walked around the deck.  I looked down off the edge of the ship into the dark chasm below, and I felt a pang of terror flood my system, quickly stepping back from the sense of height. This first Vive demo was the first time I have found myself truly immersed in a VR world, an experience best equated to a Star Trek Holodeck. I was walking around a world, interacting in a way that felt tangible. I felt a physical connection between my body's movements and the world I was exploring. I truly felt like I was exploring another world. This connection to the game world was in part due to the impressive tracking of my body in 3D space, but also in part just down to the technical specs of the device. The resolution was crisp, the field of view was wide with minimal visible edges, the audio was coming from the right locations relative to my position in the world, and everything was responsive enough to avoid pulling me from the world. This was everything VR immersion could hope to be. Over the course of the following thirty minutes, I explored a number of virtual worlds. I built machines out of physical parts, stretching them to fit my needs and slotting them into each other. I finely chopped vegetables and put them in a pan to make soup. I drew physical waves of glowing art into the air and explored them from differing angles. I was drawn into a virtual space that felt unbelievably real to me. I even explored an Aperture Science lab and caused untold havoc. Then, I had to remove the headset. It dawned on me I was in an empty room. It dawned on me I had spent the past half an hour wandering in circles around an empty room. It dawned on me those experiences, which had felt so real, were gone from the room that had been my escape from the busy, loud, stressful convention that once again surrounded me. I found myself shaken in a way VR had not previously left me. This was a game changer. With all this said, the experience I had with the Vive left me dubious if that same magic could be captured in a consumer setting. As stunning and immersive as the experience was, I could see the places where a home VR experience is likely not to stack up. The demos shown were all set in set-piece environments that were single square boxes, which limits the experiences available to the player. Most consumers don't have an empty room in their homes that's as large as this room was available to use as a dedicated VR room, which it currently feels like the Vive would need. The encouragement to walk around the room also meant I had to constantly be aware of the cable attached to the back of my own head and trailing behind me on the floor. These are all serious barriers to replicating the experience I had in a home setting. Still, I walked away from my time in the Vive headset sold that a Holodeck-esque VR future is attainable. The experience I had was the first time a video game has ever truly made me forget the physical world around me, immersing me entirely in a new set of worlds I felt unbelievably connected to. Compared to my demo experiences with the Oculus and PlayStation VR, my demo of the HTC Vive felt like something in an entirely different league. If only that were an experience I could bring home and replicate.
Valve VR photo
The demo left me shaking like mad
A few months back at E3, I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on both the retail version of the Oculus Rift, as well as the PlayStation VR, back then known as the Morpheus. As a big fan of VR in theory, if dubious ab...

Counter-Strike photo

These are the new Counter-Strike: GO hitboxes

Animations also revamped
Sep 16
// Jordan Devore
The next time you play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it's going to look and feel a little different. In a patch released this week, Valve added new animations for character movement, weapons, ladder climbing, and bomb defusing (shown on the left) as well as more accurate hitboxes (shown on the right). Bonus: players and guns should no longer poke through walls. They finally did it!

Gmod photo

Garry's Mod is getting a virtual reality-focused sequel

Not called Garry's Mod 2
Sep 10
// Joe Parlock
Garry’s Mod is getting a sequel after almost ten years. In an interview with PCGamesN, Facepunch founder Garry Newman said a follow-up was in the works, with the intention of it making use of VR technology: …I m...
Kindred Spirits photo
Kindred Spirits

Sexy lesbian ghost game comes to Steam uncensored

Sep 02
// Steven Hansen
Valve has a long, rich history of banning sexy lesbian ghost games from its Steam platform, but Kindred Spirits on the Roof has scored (sex term) a win for the erotic in getting off on Steam without any censorship. Head tran...
Steam photo

Steam now sells over 6000 different games

I've got a lovely bunch of videogames
Aug 31
// Joe Parlock
Ever since Valve opened Steam’s floodgates with Greenlight, the amount of games on the platform has exploded. NeoGAF noticed the other day that that number has skyrocketed to over six thousand games, either fully releas...
Vive photo

Expect a 'limited quantity' of Valve's VR headset Vive

Most of us will have to wait until Q1 2016
Aug 28
// Vikki Blake
Valve's virtual reality headset, Vive, will only be available in a "limited quantity" when it launches later this year. "Larger quantities" will be available from Q1 2016.  "Vive developer kits have been available f...
Rick and Morty Dota 2 photo
Rick and Morty Dota 2

Now Rick and Morty can nar-*belch*-rate your Dota 2 matches

Radiant just wiped out the Roshan guy!
Aug 21
// Patrick Hancock
The announcer packs for Dota 2 are easily some of the best purchases available within the free-to-play game. Personally, I go back and forth between the Stanley Parable and Bastion announcers. Not only are the...
Left 4 Dead photo
Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead survivors return for Zombie Army Trilogy

Typical Valve
Aug 20
// Jordan Devore
The survivors of the Left 4 Dead series are back for a cameo in Zombie Army Trilogy on PC. Folks who own Rebellion's Nazi zombie-shooting game can download a free update through Steam that adds Bill, Francis, L...
Team Fortress 2 update photo
Team Fortress 2 update

Team Fortress 2 gets the ball rolling with a new sports-themed game mode

Created by Bad Robot, of all companies
Aug 19
// Ben Davis
Ready for another off-the-wall Team Fortress 2 update? After the addition of bumper cars from last Halloween, it seems anything is possible with this game. Now the multiplayer shooter is getting another shot in the arm with a...
Half-off bread photo
Half-off bread

Team Fortress 2 also Am Bread, too

Free update and half-off sale
Aug 13
// Steven Hansen
By some cruel crust of fate, I still have not played I Am Bread, though all I would like to do is to go to bread. The game's rye sense of humor is on display here with a Team Fortress 2 level developed in conjunction with Valve and offered as a free update on Steam. The game's also half off in celebration ($6.50), if you have the dough.
Counter-Strike photo

Valve isn't planning an International-style event for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Despite it being its second biggest game
Aug 11
// Joe Parlock
Here’s something I never even thought of until today: Dota 2 is a huge eSport. The International is one of the biggest annual events in gaming, and this year had a prize pool of over $18 million. It’s by far the m...
Dota 2 championship photo
Dota 2 championship

The International 5 concludes and a new Dota 2 champ is crowned

The six-day Dota tournament is over
Aug 08
// Ben Pack
After six games of some of the best Dota play, Evil Geniuses has earned the title of best Dota 2 team in the world. Along with the title, the American team took home a payout of $6,616,014. The team, with an age ranging ...
Dota 2 tournament photo
Dota 2 tournament

Dota 2's The International 5 finals are tomorrow, here's what you need to know

Three teams remain competing for first
Aug 07
// Ben Pack
The International 5 is coming to a close tomorrow. The three remaining teams in the Dota 2 world championships are each guaranteed at least $2 million dollars.
Dota 2 12v12 photo
Dota 2 12v12

Valve announces 24-player Dota matches, and it's as crazy as it sounds

10v10 showed off at TI5 all star game
Aug 07
// Ben Pack
The was major buzz surrounding this year's all star match at The International 5. Aside from pitting the best Dota players in the world against each other, there has been a history of major announcements at the match. Last ye...
The International photo
The International

Dota 2's The International 5 is halfway through, here's who is in the running

Millions of dollars still on the line
Aug 05
// Ben Pack
After three full days of Dota 2 matches, The International 5 -- the highest-paying eSports event ever -- is fifty percent completed. With $18 million dollars on the line, eight teams of five are still in contention for the title of "best Dota 2 team in the world."
The International photo
The International

The International 5, the largest eSports event ever, begins Monday

Almost 18 million dollars on the line
Aug 02
// Ben Pack
The International 5, Dota 2's largest tournament of all time, kicks off this Monday with two matches. With a prize pool of $17.8 million dollars on the line, TI5 will no doubt offer the highest level of eSports entertainment....
Half Life photo
Half Life

You can now play Half-Life on your watch

Watches are getting crazy technical
Jul 27
// Laura Kate Dale
Hey Half-Life fans looking for any kind of Half-Life fix to fill the void in your life created by Half-Life never getting a proper ending, I have some cool tech news for you. If you happen to own an Android-powered smart watc...
Dota 2 wildcard matches photo
Dota 2 wildcard matches

Dota 2 wildcard matches are now underway

Fighting for a chance at millions
Jul 26
// Patrick Hancock
The wildcard matches for the biggest eSports tournament of the year have officially begun! Dota 2's International 2015 tournament has already raised over $17 million, and four teams are about to fight for their shot at the pr...
Portal VR photo
Portal VR

You can now watch a full playthrough of the Portal VR demo

Tremble before the science giant
Jul 21
// Laura Kate Dale
For the last few months Valve have been using a brand new Portal game to show off their Vive VR headset. Short clips of the demo have surfaced online in bits and pieces, but thanks to a recent game jam in London, you can now ...
The International photo
The International

Dota 2 launches The International 5 website

Largest prize pool ever for first place
Jul 18
// Ben Pack
As announced on the Dota 2 blog, the official website for The International 5 has launched. TI5's website showcases prize pool breakdowns, the teams that will be competing, replays, and a link to the web store....
Virtual reality photo
Virtual reality

Valve and HTC are touring with the HTC Vive

Across the US, Germany, and France
Jul 10
// Jordan Devore
This was the year I went from not caring much about virtual reality (yet) to mentally committing myself to buying an Oculus Rift when its consumer model releases next year. The company's E3 2015 showing, which included a one-...
Huge TF2 update photo
Huge TF2 update

Team Fortress 2 becomes Counter-Strike tomorrow

New map, mechanics, and balance changes
Jul 01
// Patrick Hancock
Team Fortress 2 gets a new update tomorrow called the Gun Mettle Update. To summarize, the game is taking on many ideas from its much more popular cohort, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. First of all, weapon skins...
Steam Hardware photo
Steam Hardware

Steam Hardware's early stock is sold out

November 10 release date for the rest
Jun 30
// Joe Parlock
Were you hoping to get your hands on one of those early release versions of the Steam Controller, the Steam Link, or a Steam Machine when they come out in October? Well bad news, they’re all sold out. If you pre-order t...
Policy change photo
Policy change

Valve no longer restores items lost in Steam trade scams

Policy change
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
If you get swindled on Steam, Valve doesn't want you to come crying to it anymore. Used to be if you were tricked out of an item in a Steam trade, Valve would restore it, but an update in the Steam Trading Q&A ends that. ...
New SteamOS photo
New SteamOS

New SteamOS 'brewmaster' now available to download

Unless you're on AMD hardware
Jun 26
// Patrick Hancock
SteamOS, Valve's answer to Linux gaming, has been rather quiet recently. SteamOS is releasing later this year, and it looks like Valve just took the next big step towards achieving that goal. A brand new version of SteamOS, c...
Portal 2 mod photo
Portal 2 mod

Portal Stories: Mel is an intriguing new Portal adventure

Free mod for Portal 2 owners
Jun 25
// Jordan Devore
It's been a while since I've thought about Portal 2, but the time is right. Portal Stories: Mel is out now on Steam, free to anyone who owns the core game. This is a standalone mod with its own voiced storyline, soundtrack, a...
Dota 2 Reborn photo
Dota 2 Reborn

The enhanced Dota 2 Reborn beta is out right now

Instructions within
Jun 18
// Chris Carter
Want to get in on Dota 2 Reborn? Feel free to chek out Valve's new landing page for it, which will provide the instructions for launching the new client. Changes include a new Source 2 engine, reduced input lag, better p...
Steam photo

10 million of us were logged onto Steam on June 14

Another record smashed
Jun 15
// Vikki Blake
Steam hit 10 million concurrent users on the weekend. That's concurrent, you guys - 10 million people all on Steam at the same time, just before midday (PT) on June 14, 2015. Most of us were playing Dota 2,&nb...

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