Slow news week? Not anymore, my friends, for we have been spared. Read on!
Articles by Vic
Once upon a time, when the Source modsphere was a lot more active than it is today, a small team of modders created Insurgency, a hyper-realistic, super-tactical, and mega-something Source mod that put you in the combat boots of either a U.S. Marine, or an Iraqi insurgency fighter, smack dab in the middle of the Second Gulf War.
Then the dev team kind of fell apart, and then post-launch support abruptly came to a complete end. And these days, Insurgency isn’t quite as lively as it used to be – but it’s still just as fun as ever. Maybe that’s what original Insurgency founder Jeremy Blum was thinking when he decided it was time to start developing Insurgency 2.
Valve’s brand new Steam Greenlight game selection system (previously announced in July) went live just several days ago, on the 30th. It aims to crowd-source the game screening and selection processes that get games on the Steam Store.
Since Greenlight’s launch, there’s been a lot of talk, a lot of feedback, and a lot of criticism. Chiefly, people are worried about discoverability – the way Greenlight worked and the way it displayed new game submissions left much to be desired. But there were also other problems concerning prank postings; false postings; or postings made by people who weren’t the respective game’s developers/publishers.
But Valve has just shot down two birds with one stone, through a significant update to its framework that went live just some hours ago. Read on!
Earlier yesterday, Valve’s extensive update to the Steam Community framework, adding a variety of new social-oriented features, went live for all Steam users, as a mandatory addition within the Steam client. Valve have also provided client notes, for anyone who wants to get a quick lowdown on what’s been added.
I’ve had access to the new Community for almost a month now, courtesy of the closed beta that Valve began on the 16th of August. And I have to say, I’m definitely enjoying it a lot. There’s a lot of great stuff in here that simply turns the Community into a much better, much more useful, and more enjoyable social experience. And while it is hard to get used to at first, it’s definitely a great idea on Valve’s part, with a very good execution as well.
One of the more note-worthy parts of this update, is the future of the venerable Steam Powered User Forums. It would appear that, recently, Valve removed the “Forums” link from the Steam Store’s main navigation tab. In addition, all the “Forums” navigation links, on the right-hand side of any game entry within a user’s Steam Library, will now lead to that respective game’s Discussions (Discussions being another feature added as part of the new Community update). And on the central Discussions homepage, the SPUF are directly linked to, but they are referred to as “the old forums“. So, it certainly seems like the Discussions are meant to supersede or perhaps replace the SPUF, at least in some capacity.
Well, according to Al Farnsworth, one of Valve’s leading Steam software engineers, the SPUF will remain open “as long as people are still active there“. He says that they currently have no plans to close down the forums. This is great, and very re-assuring, but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel a tingle of sorrow as we realize that this does represent the beginning of the end, for an era that began almost 10 years ago. I am not crying, there is just something in my eye. Don’t look at me.
In any case, the rest of the Community update has been fairly mouthwatering, rather than just eyewatering. I’m simply hoping Valve keeps working on the way community content is displayed within Game Hubs, and screenshot galleries – because as it is, it’s pretty painful to navigate and browse these areas when you have no idea why this thing is bigger than the next, and why the next four things are bunched together, for no apparent reason. Once that’s taken care of, all will be well.
Update: This article has been updated with further information on the upcoming first release of Black Mesa: Source. Check it all out, within!
You may or may not know that the work I do, especially here, tends to demand some pretty crazy late night hours of me. Consequently, I might sleep in worse than Gordon Freeman himself (after all, we can all imagine why he was late for that faithful experiment).
And sometimes, it so happens that the universe itself will directly conspire against my sleepy ways.
[UPDATE: The 2012 Dota 2 International Championship has begun. If you’re interested in watching it, you can do so here.]
Well, Valve certainly seems to be taking Dota 2 very seriously! And with good reason, I’d say.
Well, that was quick!
This started out as a part of my upcoming review of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but I have decided to release it on its own, as a sort of prelude or companion piece, to the aforementioned review. I would like to thank my awesome colleagues here at LambdaGen: Erebus; Flamov; and Mimaz, for their invaluable assistance and input, during the creation of this article.
In order to properly discuss Global Offensive, we must first delve deep into the dark (okay, maybe not dark – slightly poorly lit) history of Counter-Strike, as a whole!
Today, on the 21st of August, Anno Domini 2012, Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment released Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, from its closed beta prison, and let it loose onto the unsuspecting gaming masses. It’s the first FPS Valve has released since 2009’s Left 4 Dead 2, and Valve’s first new game since Portal 2 in April 2011. It’s currently out and about on Steam, but it will only be released on the PlayStation Network later today; and some time tomorrow morning on Xbox Live.
However, this is obviously not the end of development for CS:GO – only an important milestone in its ongoing evolution. Just as Counter-Strike: Source started out as a rather mediocre release in mid-2004 and grew over the course of 2-3 years, so will CS:GO.
The previous beta build has been completely carried forward into the launch version of the game, and as a matter of fact, the game application itself is a renamed version of the beta game application in your Steam Library. As a result, all stats and achievements that beta testers have attained have been carried forward into the full game, and all active community and Valve servers remain active, and in good shape.
Apparently, there are currently no plans for a launch-day game update. However, we can expect Valve and HPE to start pushing out significant post-release patches over the next couple of days, in order to further optimize the game; fix bugs; and add missing features.
Relatively soon, you will also get to read my text review of CS:GO – it’s been too long since I’ve written a proper “Vic’s Thoughts” piece for you guys. Well, rest easy, for it is on the way!
Yesterday, GTTV’s 20-minute Valve-centric episode went live. While many expected some sort of big game reveal (I suppose the community always does that), the episode itself brought us quite a bit of new information, especially on the upcoming Steam Big Picture Mode (also known as the Ten-Foot, or 10′ UI), set to completely revolutionize the way Steam works.
As a matter of fact, they even gave us a sneak peek at what it might look like, as well as a timeframe for its beta period. Read on!