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Vic

Vic

Articles by Vic

Steam Greenlights Second Set Of 20 Community-Supported Games (Including A Source Mod Or Two)

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Back in my day, you had to work hard to get yourself a video game! But these days, you whippersnappers… oh. Yes, apparently, you have to work to get games off Steam Greenlight, and onto Steam itself. Even if for the average Steam user, it’s as simple as clicking the big “Yes” button, for the project starters and supporters, it’s an undeniably complex and perhaps difficult process. But today, it seems to have paid off for 20 lucky Greenlight projects, which have been approved for official distribution on the Steam store. And surprisingly, there are a couple of Source-based projects nestled in there!

7 Years On, A Half-Life Modding Classic Is Finally Getting A Sequel: “Time’s End”

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Way back in June of 2005, a mere 7 months after the long-awaited release of Half-Life 2, Daniel Squire released his first ever mod: Life’s End, a 35-map Half-Life 1 modification (more of a mappack episode than a total conversion, though), in which the player took on the role of Luther Johnson, your average Black Mesa scientist caught in the middle of the Black Mesa Incident, who happens to stumble onto a Mark IV HEV suit (and if you took HL1 mods’ word for it, HEV suits are just about the easiest thing to find in Black Mesa) and thus becomes a part of the subsequent inter-dimensional conflict.

Nearly a decade later, it’s become a cult classic of Half-Life 1 modding, having garnered an aggregate rating of 4.77 out of 5 on PlanetPhillip. A sequel titled Time’s End (picking up where Life’s End left off, but with a brand new janitor protagonist) has been in the works for at least 3 years, but development has been fairly quiet, and the project has undergone a couple of delays. But now, it seems like it’s coming together very well for its upcoming release, early next year. Check out the trailer, after the jump!

Tomorrow, Change Is Coming To CS: Global Offensive

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This coming Monday, on the 1st of October, Valve will release a shiny new update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; featuring a revised matchmaking system for Classic Competitive mode (it looks to be based off Team Fortress 2’s new matchmaking system, introduced with the Mann vs Machine update this past August): check out this fancy sneak peek at what it’ll look like in-game!

The update will also include two new game maps: the old-school DE_Vertigo from version 1.1 of Counter-Strike, originally created by Chris “Narby” Auty way back in 2001. Vertigo takes place on the top floors of a high-rise skyscraper under construction, and it will most likely be a Classic mode map. Valve have also released a screenshot of the map, so do check it out.

The second map will be a brand new map titled AR_Monastery, for use in the Arms Race game mode. We don’t know much about it, but Valve have released a small sneak peek at what it will look like, and since it is an Arms Race map, we can probably expect to see a symmetrical, uniform layout, much like AR_Baggage and AR_Shoots. I’m just glad we’re getting another Arms Race map – that mode has only featured those two aforementioned maps since the beta period, and that can really bog down the whole game mode.

Valve says we can also expect to see “a ton of bug fixes based on community feedback“, which sounds pretty promising – let’s hope we see some solid balancing and/or gameplay changes as well! Looking forward to seeing that changelog.

Podcast 17’s Let’s Play of Black Mesa: Source

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Things have been a little quiet here – and I am sorry for that! Rest assured that I have been doing far more than simply playing Black Mesa during this time – together with my colleagues Mimaz and David, I am working on both an in-depth essay/review of BM:S, as well as a comprehensive video comparison between the original Half-Life and Black Mesa. And as Gabe Newell once said, these things take time (on a related note, work continues on that review of CS:GO, despite all the more important stuff getting in the way).

However, I won’t leave you guys hanging in the interim. As a matter of fact, I’d recommend you check out Podcast 17’s Let’s Play series of Black Mesa, on YouTube. While I am a part of the podcast staff, I haven’t participated in its creation, but I’ve got to say that it’s probably one of the best Let’s Plays of BM that I’ve seen thus far, since release. William has been a part of this community for a very long time, and is very much a Half-Life historian of sorts – and so, his commentary is constructive, positive, insightful and most importantly, very entertaining. He also demonstrates a lot of unique dialogue and environmental detail that I hadn’t actually picked up on.

Oh, and yes – as he had promised to do when Black Mesa is released, William is actually going to eat part of his beard, and he will do so on the next live episode: #206. I won’t be eating any of my facial hair – no, I’m saving that for when Gunman Chronicles 2 gets released. That’s a bet I can never possibly lose… unless someone at Valve somehow has a grudge on me. But apparently, they do visit once in a while, so let’s hope I’ve not sealed my doom (or rather, the doom of my facial hair) just now.

But if you’re looking for something to tide you over until I tell you all about our thoughts on the mod, then I highly recommend you read CVG’s review, Eurogamer’s, as well as BeefJack’s. They are all quite well-written, balanced, and insightful. And again, rest assured that our review is also on the way, and should drop relatively soon (yes, really)!

Source Engine 2007’s Source Code Library Leaked

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Valve has never freely released the full engine source codebase for the Source engine – not even its direct precursor, the “GoldSource” engine. In fact, they may never do so, and that’s understandable. It’s imperative that Source remain closed-source, due to its uniquely modular nature. It’s a shame, but it’s the way things have to be if we want Valve’s technology to be secure (especially within multiplayer games).

Although as you may remember, back in early October 2003, German black-hat hacker Axel “Ago” Gembe (or as he would thereafter be known: “Osama Bin Leaker“) leaked the source code for Half-Life 2 and the Source engine, just several weeks after the game had received an infamous and indefinite delay a mere 14 days before the game was supposed to be released on the 30th of September. HL2 only dropped one year later, and by that point both the game and Source had been modified fairly extensively. But still, the repercussions of that incident were felt far and wide at the time, and, arguably, they can still be felt even to this day.

But it would appear we now have a similar mess on our hands. Read on!

Black Mesa: Source; Cry of Fear; No More Room in Hell; Have All Been Community Greenlit For Steam Distribution

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Praise be to the Steam business development team, for they have blessed us all with some of the greatest news I’ve heard all year: among the first 10 games to pass through the Steam Greenlight crowd-sourced selection system are three amazing total conversion mods based on Valve’s games. The mods in question, which will soon be released officially on the Steam Store as free downloads are:

  • Cry of Fear, an incredible survival horror experience built on the GoldSource engine.
  • No More Room in Hell, an excellent co-op zombie survival game built on Source.
  • And, of course, the long-awaited Black Mesa: Source, an incredible reimagining of Valve’s first ever: Half-Life 1.

The most important thing worth mentioning here is that none of these games had gotten past the 50% voting mark, let alone the 100%. Black Mesa was on 49%; NMRIH was on 30%; while Cry of Fear was at 15%.

So what does this mean? Well, it means that my concerns, doubts, and worries, which I previously expressed in our article regarding Greenlight’s reveal, have all been shattered. And that’s actually great.

It’s really, really great to finally see Valve fully embracing their own modding community yet again, just as they used to in the old days (I was starting to get worried, quite frankly). Furthermore, simply having such great experiences available freely on the Steam Store is just amazing in itself, and I’m really happy all the hard work these dedicated modders have poured into their creations has finally paid off.

As a sinister, sociopathic artificial intelligence once said: it’s hard to overstate my satisfaction. Whoever made this decision is a saint on Earth, and should get their own country. Then again, they work at Valve, and that’s kind of a reward in and of itself.

In any case, this holy trinity, along with the other 7 greenlit games, will be moved to the Greenlit section of Steam Greenlight, where they will stay until they are officially released on the Steam Store, as free downloads (although some of the other 7 greenlits will obviously be paid games). Some of them are still months away from release, while others will be released very soon.

As we all know, Black Mesa is now only 3 days away from release, so let’s hope it will launch directly onto Steam. Both CoF and NMRIH have already been released previously, so hopefully it won’t take too long for them to reach the Store as well.

All 10 greenlit projects were in the top 11 most-rated projects on Greenlight (mysteriously, Slender: Source, which was the second most-rated project, has not been greenlit as of yet). And just in case you’re curious, the other 7 greenlit games are:

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