Just in case you weren't put off by the lack of any kind of mention of Valve Software, advance warning of the game's arrival or the complaints demanding their money back, if you see a game called Counter Strike on the App Store, don't spend $2 on it.
Unless you enjoy being ripped off by fraudulent scamsters. In which case, who am I to tell you how to spend your money?
Counter Strike [App Store, thanks unexpect3rd!]
May 22, 2012
Product Update - Valve
An update to Counter-Strike: Source has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Counter-Strike: Source. The major changes include:
- Fixed a client crash related to dynamic model loading
- Fixed dedicated server not receiving restart requests when updates are released
- Fixed IP bans not applying to RCON access
- Fixed server crash exploit related to audio buffer overruns
- Fixed server crash caused by using changelevel2
- Updated console logging system to minimize opening and closing of files, greatly improving performance under certain conditions
- Additional improvements for client/server stability
- Fixed a problem that allowed malicious clients to disable the "ping" and "status" commands for other connected clients
- Fatal engine errors are now written to the server log file
- Added sv_lowedict_threshold and sv_lowedict_action which allow the engine to take action before running out of free edicts
- Possible values for sv_lowedict_action are: 0 - no action, 1 - warn to log file, 2 - attempt to restart the game, if applicable, 3 - restart the map, 4 - go to the next map in the map cycle
- Added changelevel_next server command which changes to the next map in the map cycle
- Added mp_restartgame_immediate ConVar which has the same effect as mp_restartgame without a delay
The CS:GO beta is evolving. A post on the official Counter-Strike site yesterday announced the addition of more players to official maps. The update is one of the "most requested map features", according to the devs, and arrives as part of a larger update that rebalances a bunch of weapons based on feedback and data gathered from the community. Burst fire has been smoothened out, bullet tracers are more visible and, most importantly, chickens have been "added to inferno", which is a monstrous patch note if ever there was one. Here's the full changelist, as it appears on Steam.
Updated weapons based on performance metrics:
Slightly increased the damage for the fiveseven to keep it on par with other pistols.
Lowered the max width of the recoil patterns for the MG's to make them better for their price point.
Lowered the spread on the Negev to be more in line with the m249.
Improvements have been made to burst fire and tapping.
Added player spawns to all maps to support up to 30 players.
Player spawns are now randomly selected from a prioritized list of spawn locations in order to better support more players per map.
Adjusted bot behavior to fix the “antline” looking behavior.
Added support for server operators to specify tick rate with the –tickrate parameter.
Physics simulation tick rate now set to be the same as the game tick interval.
Bullet tracers have had improvements made to speed, visual effect, and frequency.
Chickens added to Inferno
The Server Browser sorts Favorites and Lan tabs by ping rather than Tags.
The radar will no longer display an ‘X’ for dying players when they are not within sight of the player or player’s teammate.
Weapons with a burst mode will now show which state the gun is in on the ammo panel.
Input device is now locked to whatever device launched the game session.
Updated the Kevlar and Kevlar + Helmet buy menu images.
Updated the Domination icons.
Footsteps update position more often by shifting position determination to client side entity tracking.
Tuned ambient sounds in most maps
Fixed a bug with individual pistol round-based achievements. They can only be earned in Classic game mode now.
Fix for changing video settings while in game sometimes causing a deadlock.
Added a popup message triggered when a player attempts to initiate a vote on a server with voting disable.
Fixed bug where player's nav area would be reported as being on the floor below them causing the radar location to be displayed incorrectly.
Fixed several UI related crash issues.
Third party map and _SE map names no longer display in the scoreboard with the #SFUI_MAP_ localization token.
Dota 2 is doing rather too well for a game that hasn't been released. According to Steam stats, it's the second most played game on Steam right now, ahead of Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim and lots of other games that have actually been released. Dota 2 is currently in an ever-expanding beta that's been running since late last year.
Back in September, Dota 2 dev IceFrog posted on the Dota 2 site to say that Valve had decided to speed up work on Dota 2 after the success of The International tournament. The original beta plan had been to keep the game in beta for a year to get the roster up to size. Given how well the beta seems to be doing that might not be such a bad plan after all.
Here's a graph built using Steam Graphs showing Steam player stats over the last few days. At peak times in the US Counter-Strike: Source and the king of Steam, Counter-Strike 1.6, retain the upper hand. Dota 2 overtakes both during those downtime hours, which suggests a strong, growing international community.
Fans on Dota 2 Reddit have spotted a blog post by Chinese esports team DK E-Sports which suggests they're among the first to be invited to the Dota 2 International 2 Seattle Invitational tourney, which is exciting. Valve have said that the sequel to last year's very successful Gamescom competition will have a prize pool of at least $1.6 million. We'll hopefully get to watch it using Dota 2's lovely spectator tools.
Are you playing Dota 2? What do you think of the beta so far?
Apr 30, 2012
It's a question proper athletes face all the time. What do you do when you hang up the cleats/boots? Well, if you're Griffin "Flush_Entity" Benger, former pro Counter-Strike player, you make the move from video games to online poker.
Which sounds a little random, seeing as one involves furious mousework and fast reflexes while the other relies on cool heads and a honed bullshit reflex, but apparently it's a natural progression.
"I used to be a professional gamer", Benger tells PokerListings. "I played Counter-Strike for a living, so I transitioned into poker because it has a lot of the same skills, mostly being able to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time."
"But it's a pretty natural transition and a lot of people were doing it. Once I got into poker I became really obsessed with it. It's really one of those games where there's always room to get better, and that was one of the problems with Counter-Strike, I got to a point where I couldn't really get much better."
That...actually makes sense. I mean, I'm sure the fact there's a ton more money in poker helps, but the ceiling's got to be a lot higher for getting to the top of the food chain.
Apr 24, 2012
"Surfing" is a strange little quirk that's long been available in the Counter-Strike series. Those wondering if it'll make the jump to the latest version, Counter-Strike: GO, yes, it has made the jump.
Player MitchellS has ported venerable CS map surf_greatriver_remix to Global Offensive, and has made it playable for those in the beta. You can see it in action in the video above.
"Surfing" dramatically changes the way you play the game. Join a surfing server and the corridor shooter you're used to playing disappears, replaced with something much faster and chaotic.
Port of the classic "surf_greatriver_remix" to Global Offensive [Game Banana, thanks Moskeeto!]
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Alec Meer)
The appearance of Valve’s Gabe Newell on the inaugral Seven Day Cooldown podcast seems to have generated all the headlines in the world. Apple’s new boss didn’t really visit Valve, DOTA2 will use a brand new kind of free-to-play and, now, why ‘Ricochet 2′ has been so long coming. There is, I’m afraid, absolutely no way that ‘Ricochet 2′ is a veiled term for another game rather than a sequel to weirdo Tron-like jumpy multiplayer mod Ricochet. And doubly-definitely not a game that might have a ‘Half’ in the title. No sirree. (more…)
Apr 21, 2012
The Internet is often a place for things that don't belong on it. Things like a 56-page internal manual written for the people that work at the most private gaming company in the world.
Yep, you can read that now. What appears to be Valve's 2012 Employee Handbook has crept onto the web, and it's just as insightful to read as that incredible blog by Michael Abrash from last week.
It's a rare, detailed self-description of the company that includes mantras like "We are all stewards of our long-term relationship with our customers," policies like "Nobody has ever been fired at Valve for making a mistake. It wouldn't make sense for us to operate that way," and expressions of Valve's independence that include "Fortunately, we don’t have to make growth decisions based on any external pressures—only our own business goals."
Click inside to see the handbook.
The document is also filled with custom illustrations. And at least one Half-Life 3 logo. Sections of special interest include the entries:
"What is Valve not good at?" (p. 52)
"How does Valve decide what to work on?" (p. 13)
"But what if we ALL screw up?" (p. 23)
The handbook (PDF) was originally found here. A bottom-page watermark claims "handbook courtesy Valve." Well, duh. I've uploaded a copy to our server that you can read here.
Apr 21, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Lewie Procter)
Despite having originally released all the way back in the year 2,000 Anno Domini, CounterStrike is still – still! – the number one game being played on Steam right now. That’s not even taking into account CounterStrike Source. It’s an astonishing achievement, and CounterStrike’s continued popularity is reason enough to pay attention to the new game from co-creator, Minh Le. That new game is Tactical Intervention, and it’s a project he quit his job at Valve to pursue. I sat down for a chat with him, and this is what ensued:> (more…)
After asking Valve Software boss Gabe Newell a bunch of questions about the Half-Life games on the new Seven Day Cooldown podcast, an interviewer finally cut to the chase:
"My final question and the question in the back of all your fans' minds and everyone has been waiting to ask you for a long time: When can we expect the release of Ricochet 2?"
Valve fans know, that that is not the question all of Gabe Newell's fans are waiting to ask him.
Replace "Ricochet 2" with "Half-Life 2: Episode 3" or "Half-Life 3," the either/or sequel that's been missing in action from Valve for a very long time.
Gabe Newell answered the question. It's up to you to decide if he was really talking about Ricochet 2.
"In terms of Ricochet 2, we always have this problem that when we talk about things too far in advance, we end up changing our minds as we're going through and developing stuff, so as we're thinking through the giant story arc which is Ricochet 2, you might get to a point where you're saying something is surprising us in a positive way and something is surprising us in a negative way, and, you know, we'd like to be super-transparent about the future of Ricochet 2. The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what's happening next."
Probed further by the hosts on current staffing levels for the project and whether there's been a slowdown on the project, Newell replies "No, everybody who has worked on Ricochet 2 continues to work on Ricochet 2 [laughs]."
For the record, Ricochet was an official multiplayer mod for the original Half-Life and was released by the company in 2000. Our own Luke Plunkett is a bit more up on the mod than I was and tells me: "If you haven't played Ricochet, or even heard of it, I'm going to pull you up now: it was shit. So shit, in fact, that on Valve's site the company likes to pretend it never existed."
You should listen to the whole podcast. It's great. Jump to the 21:05 mark if you want to hear the tones of voice from the part quoted above.
Episode 001 – The Tangy Zip of Gaben (April-16-2012) [Seven Day Cooldown, at the 21:05 mark]
Top pic is of a real T-shirt supposedly worn by a Valve employee last year for unknown reasons. We would have posted a Ricochet 2 t-shirt but none was available.