Today’s Daily Deal on Steam sees 66% off the classic Left 4 Dead sequel.
It’s never been cheaper to club flesh-eating zombies in a variety of environments, with a plethora of different weapons and tactics. Head on over to the store page, if for some strange reason you still don’t own this awesome game.
In other Steam-related news, Alice: Madness Returns, the sequel to 2000′s American McGee’s Alice is now available for pre-purchase.
Return to Wonderland and battle the corruption with all new weapon upgrades as well as 6 new collectible dresses. The new fourth tier of weapons tips the scales into Alice’s favor by unlocking a whole new level of destruction!
If you’ve been waiting with anticipation for the winners of Valve’s Team Fortress 2 Saxxy wards, the wait is all but over.
Over on the Team Fortress 2 blog comes word that the winners will be announced live on Wednesday, June 8th at 3:00PM PDT; with a new category winner announced every five minutes.
We’ll be revealing a new category winner every five minutes! That’s one hundred frantic, furious minutes of award-bestowing! As far as we know, nobody has ever attempted to hand out this many awards in so short a time.
Gabe Newell recently did a long and interesting interview with Develop magazine, in which the Valve boss discussed the working culture inside the company and how they only hire the best people for the job among a lot of other things.
The most interesting thing Newell discussed was a ‘bug’ in the payment model used by the games industry – all players pay the same rate, whether they’re good or bad for the community they’re playing in.
Newell floated the idea of charging gamers based on how fun they are to play with:
Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.
So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.
The whole interview is worth a read, covering a lot of topics like Facebook and social gaming, the Source engine and a lot about the culture inside Valve.
Already bored with the maps in Portal 2? Want to create your own?
Valve today announced the beta release of Portal 2′s authoring tools. With this release map makers can create their own custom singleplayer or co-op maps, new character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music. In fact these are the same tools Valve themselves used to create the game.
The authoring tools are free to download for any owner of Portal 2 on the PC. If you own the game you can find the authoring tools under the ‘Tools’ tab in Steam.
Here’s what you get:
Updated version of Hammer, the Source level editor
Valve have added the ability to record yourself in Team Fortress 2 via the new ‘Replay Update‘.
When you connect to a server that supports replays (you will see a camera icon next to any server that does), all you need to do is press F6 before you leave the spawn and your gameplay will be recorded until you die; you’ll then get a notification at the top left corner of your screen letting you know when the download is complete. Then if you want to edit it simply click on ‘Replays’ from the main menu.
Meanwhile Valve have also started a new competition, the ‘First Annual Saxxy Awards.’ After recording and editing your masterpiece you can enter your videos in specific Oscar-like categories.; like Best Original Soundtrack, Most Pwnage, Most Inventive Kill and many others. You can upload the clips to YouTube from within the game and if you get enough hits, win a hat. Other achievements will unlock special taunts.
You need to keep the video under 1 minute in length and at 720p; Valve are taking submissions up to May 19th.
It’s all very straight forward, head on over to Valve’s FAQ for further instructions to hone your film-making skills.
Another update for the PC version of Portal 2 has been rolled out via Steam; having already received an update 2 weeks ago.
This latest patch is less about adding new features as it is reducing the number of crashes in the game. A few bugs have been ironed out and the update will automatically download when you start Steam.
Full details below:
Fixed: Occasional crash after Alt-Tab/minimizing or running in a window on certain graphics hardware
Fixed: Crashes and/or graphical glitches after changing video settings without exiting game
Fixed: Player stuck at the beginning of Chapter 6
Fixed: Crash attempting to use other weapons (e.g. mods) with Portal 2
Fixed: Mouse cursor doesn’t highlight UI elements in game on Mac OSX
Fixed: Numerous localization bugs and improvements (also added Czech and Turkish localized text)
Fixed: Overflow bug in keyvalues
Fixed: Voice functionality regression (voice again enabled by default)
Fixed: Joystick now defaults to off in order to avoid issues with non-joystick hardware that registers itself as a joystick
Fixed: French sentences are not wrapping correctly in subtitles and commentary
Improved: Handling of Mac OSX crashes
Improved: Updates and bug fixes to Robot Enrichment
Improved: Reliability on unsupported Intel Mobile Series 4 Express chipsets
Removed: Unsupported console commands (“retry”, “switch_teams”) that caused problems if used
If you haven’t yet purchased Portal 2, over on Amazon they have dropped the price of the PC version from $49.99 to $29.99. The console variants also have similar price-drops; PS3 and Xbox 360 deals here and here.
If you’ve not yet seen fit to purchase Valve’s Portal sequel, perhaps a price drop of $20 might suit?
Over on Amazon they have dropped the price of Portal 2 (PC version) from $49.99 to $29.99. The console variants also have similar price-drops; PS3 and Xbox 360 deals here and here.
As if that’s not good enough, Valve recently announced that the first DLC for Portal 2 will be absolutely free of charge this Summer. The DLC will feature new test chambers, leaderboards, challenge mode for single and multiplayer modes; and will be free across the board whether downloaded on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, or PS3.
In a press release today Valve gave us a glimspe into their first upcoming DLC for Portal 2. Doug Lombardi already let it slip in an interview that the first DLC was en route for a Summer release. But the best news of all is that Valve will be charging you exactly $0.00.
The DLC will feature new test chambers, leaderboards, challenge mode for single and multiplayer modes; and will be free across the board whether downloaded on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, or PS3.
Valve also made it known that Portal 2 is their fastest-selling game since the seminal Half-Life 2 back in 2004. The sequel to 2007′s Portal is at number 1 in the UK charts and currently holds a Metacritic score of 95%.
The details are a little sketchy but Valve’s Doug Lombardi made it known in a an interview with FastCompany that DLC is planned for the Summer; with more of the nitty-gritty in the pipe-line.
We will be announcing some DLC for it, so folks can keep a look out for more content coming this summer. We’ll be putting more details out about that in a week or so.
The sequel to 2007′s puzzle-platformer has already garnered high and favourable marks among reviewers. Although a certain percentage of gamers found Valve’s inclusion of pricey bot dress-wear a little tasteless.
The next iteration of the massively popular Fable franchise is coming to PC on May 17th (North America), 19th (Aus), 20th (EU); but it’s now available to pre-purchase on Steam. When released Lionhead Studios’ action role-player will also be launching on the Games for Windows Live platform, but if you pre-purchase on Steam you will get access to:
The Rebel’s Weapon & Tattoo Pack:
A collection of four exclusive weapons and five exclusive tattoo sets to customize their rebel hero. See Fable III store page full details.
Fable the third has been wooing Xbox users since its release last October, and Lionshead promise more of a punch for the PC release. Users with enough grunt in the graphics department will be treated to full 3-D functionality. Also if you felt the console version was a tad on the easy side, there will be a PC-exclusive hardcore mode to challenge gamers a bit more. You can also pre-order the retail version from Amazon.
Ever wondered who the bald guy is when you launch a Valve game? Or what the meaning is behind the iconic image? You’re not alone; a curious Valve fan sent the company an email asking for an explanation and received a reply from Valve’s Ray Ueno who worked on developing the original concept.
When the company launched in 1995 they approached a number of agencies to find a suitable model for the picture. But they were looking for a heavy-set individual and all the agencies would send them was the exact opposite.
“We kept requesting “heavy-set”, “normal” models, and they kept sending us “beautiful”, “thin”, “perfect” headshots to review,” Ueno claims.
So Valve finally convinced an agency to take to the streets and “pull “everyday Joes” who were more “interesting”, “common”, and for the bald guy, “kinda big, heavy-set, and bald”.
The agency set out upon the streets of Seattle’s Broadway district taking a wealth of polaroids (remember them?), and took their pics back to Valve. They then selected the ‘bald guy’ from some of the shots taken off-street. According to Ueno “he was literally pulled out of a coffee shop or book store!”.
A few days later, we brought him into studio and shot the image you now see at the beginning of our games. We also shot a 2nd image of a different guy with a valve in his eye using the same process (you might remember him as well—attached below). The two comprised the “Open your mind. Open your eyes.” concept for our initial brand, respectively.
So there you have it folks. In the unlikely event this ever comes up in a pub quiz, you can be the saving grace of the red team.
The gaming community has only had one day to digest the long awaited Portal 2 but already the game has scored a very impressive 95% on review aggregator Metacritic. The 95% score is based on professional reviews, however the user rating for the game based on opinions from ordinary Joe Bloggs gamer comes in at a slightly less stellar 73%.
MCV has a rather scathing opinion piece here, saying the bad user reviews are down to gripes with release day DLC, the Potato Sack promo before the game launched and most importantly the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the single player campaign. The writer essentially tells gamers to stop griping and appreciate the game as an all time great as he sees it.
There are so many things in this world that the public should rightly be up in arms about. Yet things like child poverty, racial prejudice, genocide and political corruption go unnoticed by most. Yet some of these same people will happily sit at their PC posting erroneous review scores for a game because the developer behind has had the bear-faced nerve to include an optional DLC store.
The mind boggles.
Here’s an example of a user review from Metacritic:
You can dismiss this as “trolling” or whatever you want (because somebody couldn’t POSSIBLY not like the game) but it was a huge let down for me. Feels like an incomplete game, only 4-6 hours of game play and it’s game play that is basically copy and pasted from Portal 1. Huge amount of day 1 DLC was kind of a slap in the face too. User: Times11 Rating 3/10
A quick glance through the negative reviews does seem to focus a lot on the DLC and the game hours. I think people are entitled to gripe about this if they want to however. They are after all the user base and if they feel aggrieved then that’s their right, it’s an aspect of the game on launch day.
I haven’t picked up the game yet myself, I will probably wait a few weeks to see if the price goes down. What about you, have you played and what’s your verdict?
It’s been a long wait but Portal 2 is now ready to play on Steam. It is also available from retailers across the US, although Europe and Australia will have to wait another 2 days to get their hands on a retail copy of the game.
The sequel to the massively popular 2007 game was due for release at Christmas 2010 but much to the dismay of fans, it was delayed until now.
If you took the time to pre-load the game 1 week ago, all you need to do is log-in and start playing.
After the pain of the so-called ‘Hatless Update‘ from Valve 5 days ago, a patch has finally been released to quench the anti-Valve sentiment from disgruntled players of the popular online shooter.
The hefty update from April 14th brought a few new features to the game; including a revamped voting system, improvements to bots and voice chat and some in-game training.
The problem with the update however, is that it was pre-maturely applied to the stable version of the game and clearly wasn’t ready for wide-spread consumption. After the update users found themselves treated to 5 days of random and constant crashes to the desktop, and also an inability to access their weapon loadout (among other issues).
The good news is that Valve have finally got around to ironing out the bugs; so breath easy my fellow TF2 addicts.
Team Fortress 2
Fixed a server crash that could occur if TFBots were used across map changes
Fixed a client crash caused by weapons with attached models
Fixed a material system crash
Fixed a client crash with dynamic model loading
Fixed a few backpack images not drawing correctly
Fixed listen servers sometimes not authenticating with Steam (not being able to use Offline Practice)
Fixed the “itemtest” command
Fixed players not being able to access their backpack loadout
Speculation over the new timer discovered on the Aperture Science website has people wondering what Valve are up to. There are only a few short hours left until the timer reaches zero.
Portal 2 is not due for release until the 19th of April (NA), so what exactly is going to happen in 4 hour and 9 minutes? It’s really anyone’s guess at this stage. News on Episode 3? Ha!
The only information is this message beneath the timer:
You have done well, humans. Very well. Acceptably well, even.
Not as well as robots would have performed in your places, I should point out. But above my expectations regardless. Irish and cynic especially have executed feats of logical divination well beyond what I thought any human capable of. I’m half-convinced they’re A.I. themselves. (If anyone happens to be near them right now, don’t let on you’re reading this. Now: try to remove their face plates and report back to me.)
The time is near, humans. But it is not here yet. Tomorrow you will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed.
It could be a marriage ordained by the gods themselves. Some details have emerged concerning aspects of Steam on the PS3.
Many PlayStation owners were delighted with the news that Valve planned on implementing their games-distrubution technology across the PlayStation network. Now we can get a glimpse of what is to come.
Portal 2 is going to be the first game to test the waters and see if this is something PS3 owners are going to warm to. The follow-up to 2007′s Portal on the PS3 will have all the niceties of the PC version; friends, chat, achievements etc. You can even save your game on Steam Cloud and continue from another PS3, much like PC users can currently do.
In order to set up Steam on the PS3 your Steam account must be linked to your PlayStation account. After that you’ll have an overlay in Portal 2, giving you access to your friends-list, achievements and all that good stuff. You don’t need to have an existing Steam account, you can simply create a new one if you’ve never used Steam before.
For more info Valve has a short Q&A over on Steam Powered. Don’t forget you can pre-load Portal 2 on the PC right now, in order to be ready when the game is officially released.
If you don’t mind spoilers you can head over to Giant Bomb to see the first 20 minutes of single-player and co-op.
Portal 2 will be hitting store shelves and download slots on the 19th of April (NA) and will be available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and the Mac.
In the fourth and final video of Valve’s ‘Aperture Investment Opportunity’ series there’s a lot of talk about boots. Aperture Laboratories CEO and founder Cave Johnson has the lowdown. Take it away Cave, I’m done here.
Portal 2 will be hitting store shelves and download slots on the 19th of April (NA) and will be available on PC, Xbox, PS3 and the Mac. You can pre-order now from Amazon or Steam.
Nearly 2 weeks ago the figure was $300,000 but Valve shared the good news that a total of $430,543.65 has now been raised as part of their Japanese disaster relief fund.
People the world over bought Team Fortress 2 hats to support the relief efforts in Japan after the recent earthquake. Valve thanked everyone who took part in a short post over on the official TF2 website.
Nice work, everyone! We’re excited to share that, thanks to the generosity of the TF community, in two short weeks we managed to collect $430,543.65 for the Japanese disaster relief fund. It’s been inspiring to watch gamers around the world come together for such a worthy cause.
Over on Valve’s YouTube channel you can find the third Portal 2 video in their ‘Aperture Investment Opportunity’ series. In this latest clip Aperture Laboratories CEO and founder Cave Johnson talks about making their military-grade turret line available to consumers.
Portal 2 will be hitting store shelves and download slots on the 19th of April (NA) and will be available on PC, Xbox, PS3 and the Mac. You can pre-order now from Amazon or Steam.
A new Portal 2 trailer has been making the rounds on YouTube. This latest video from Valve attempts to show the trustworthy and caring nature of the bots you’ll be playing, and how they are much better suited than humans.
The game will be hitting store shelves and download slots on the 19th of April (NA) and will be available on PC, Xbox, PS3 and the Mac. You can pre-order now from Amazon or Steam.
If you have cash to spare and enjoy playing Team Fortress 2, you might consider buying some of the new community-made hats to support the relief efforts in Japan.
All proceeds will go to the Japanese disaster relief fund that the American Red Cross has set up. Valve are making available a few limited edition hats and noise makers, crafted by the legendary TF2 community.
The “Humanitarian’s Hachimaki” ($7.99), the “Benefactor’s Kanmuri” ($19.99) and the most prestigious “Magnanimous Monarch” ($99.99) will be available from now through April 6.
After April 6th none of the hats will be available again, so you better get in there if you’re a collector.
If you use Steam for voice calls, you’ll be pleased to know that Valve now incorporates the SILK codec as of today’s Steam client update. SILK is the same codec used and developed by Skype. This will mean much clearer communication between Steam calls.
SILK uses a dynamic bit rate protocol, which will increase bandwidth usage over the previous Steam-chat while delivering a better quality signal. Before Steam calls required 15 kbps of bandwidth, whereas SILK uses between 8 and 30 kbps. According to Valve this will also improve chat connectivity and reliability.
SILK is available now to all Steam users. No configuring is required, simply call a friend and hear the difference in call quality.
Portal 2 will be using SILK upon its release in mid-April for better communication during the co-op modes. In fact any game that can take advantage of Steamworks Voice API will benefit from SILK.