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title="Permanent Link to Face Off: What was the best decade for PC gaming?">face-off







Face Off pits two gladiators against each other as they tackle gaming's most perplexing conundrums. This New Year's Eve edition is a chronological throw-down: which decade gave PC gaming the most? Podcast Producer Erik Belsaas says it was the '90s—the origin of modern PC gaming. Executive Editor Evan Lahti insists it was the '00s, with its speedy internet, better PCs, and shinier graphics engines.



Evan: The 1990s had the CD-ROM and the McRib sandwich. The ‘00s had Windows XP and two terrible Star Wars movies. I think the latter birthed better games: the Battlefield series, Crysis, Company of Heroes, BioShock, Dragon Age: Origins, Guild Wars, The Sims, Rome: Total War, Star Wars: KOTOR, and the best Civilization games happened then. What've you got, Erik?



Erik: Lucasarts, id, Ion Storm, Interplay, Blizzard: the iconic names that created franchises that we still discuss today. “RTS,” “FPS,” and “MMO” had no meaning before the pioneers of the '90s came along with some-thing other than sequels and rehashes: Baldur's Gate, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, MechWarrior, Unreal Tournament and every LucasArts adventure game from Sam & Max to Grim Fandango.



Evan: This is going to devolve into who can name-drop more game titles, isn't it?



Erik: Pretty much.



Evan: Cool. In that case, let’s put the best we've got on the page. What are the top three games from your decade? Mine: WoW, Counter-Strike, and Half-Life 2.



Erik: Just three? How about X-COM, Fallout, and The Secret of Monkey Island. Timeless classics that we still play today.



Evan: Is that the best that the decade that gave us the Spice Girls has got, grandpa? The innovations of the '00s will last far longer. Half-Life 2 wasn't just the basis for the way modern action games tell stories, it’s the technological foundation for the most ambitious mods we have today and the preferred canvas for machinima creators. World of Warcraft’s meteoric rise brought PC gaming into popular culture, ruined innumerable marriages, and earned its own South Park episode. Top that.



Erik:Your great games are all parts of established franchises that began in the '90s. For that matter, the original Counter-Strike mod came out in 1999, before Valve turned it into a retail product! Take away the names that began in the '90s, the '00s would've created very little of their own.



Evan: Megabyte for megabyte, I’d rather replay Half-Life 2 than its predecessor. Likewise for Diablo II, Warcraft III, Fallout 3 and other major franchises that began in the '90s but matured in the '00s. I really think that the tech of the '00s (better operating systems, fast internet, faster PCs) produced better gaming experiences. EVE Online couldn't exist in the '90s. Team Fortress 2's dozens of free content updates couldn't have streamed down our wimpy modems—the same goes for 25-man WoW raids or a heavily modded playthrough of Oblivion or Morrowind.



Erik: You've got a short memory. EverQuest allowed 72-man raids. And before Oblivion and Morrowind came Daggerfall, which was amazing and heavily modded. Doom, the father of modding, came out in '93.



Evan: I’ll play your game, Belsaas. Here's my ace: Deus Ex, our most favorite game ever, happened in 2000.



Erik: Deus Ex is a good game...but how about StarCraft? Has any other game absolutely defined its genre or rallied an entire nation behind it like a sport?







Evan: I was worried you’d play the Korea card. What can I counter that with? The 100-million-selling main-stream success of The Sims? The booming popularity of independent gaming? ...Peggle?



Erik: Peggle? Well I’ve got...you know...uh...Carmen Sandiego. Fine. Peggle wins.
Kotaku

You'll Want These Portal Action Figures Next ChristmasThey're from ThreeA, so your loved ones will need the time to save up, but look at them. They'll be worth it.



We've seen these before in their unpainted prototype state, but these painted models are just to die for.



Still no word on a release date or price.



ThreeA x VALVe Portal [ThreeA]


Community Announcements - SZ


Though we think we’ve done a good job rewarding community contributors who make cosmetics and weapons, we could definitely do more for TF’s diligent, underappreciated map makers. With that in mind, we’re trying two new approaches to the problem.

Map Stamp Improvements

After taunting in a community map that you’ve contributed to, you now leave behind a trail of large stamps. The more you contribute, the longer the trail!

We’re now also tracking hours played in each map. In the “Maps” section of the in-game Mann Co. Store, you can see how many hours you’ve played each community map and how many times you’ve contributed to it. Plus, occasionally, on check out, you’ll be gently reminded that it might be nice to add a stamp to your cart for a map that you’ve played frequently but haven’t contributed much to. After you’ve seen this reminder once, you can have it show other map stamp suggestions by checking the “Support Community Map Mapers” box near the “check out” button.

Map-Specific Strange Filters

Sold in the store, these new filters let you set your strange weapons to only track events on specific community maps. For instance, if you only care about kills on “Yukon”, you can change the filter on your shotgun to just capture that. When filtering stats for a weapon, you’ll also get a custom rank modifier. So, in the aforementioned “Yukon” example, you’d now have a “Strange Canadian Shotgun”. The goal is to give players who really like specific community maps a way to both track their stats on those maps and broadcast their interest even when they’re playing on other levels.

Note that in both cases, 100% of the revenue (minus net taxes) goes to the contributor, so let’s get out there and support our map makers!
TF2 Blog




Though we think we’ve done a good job rewarding community contributors who make cosmetics and weapons, we could definitely do more for TF’s diligent, underappreciated map makers. With that in mind, we’re trying two new approaches to the problem.



Map Stamp Improvements



After taunting in a community map that you’ve contributed to, you now leave behind a trail of large stamps. The more you contribute, the longer the trail!



We’re now also tracking hours played in each map. In the “Maps” section of the in-game Mann Co. Store, you can see how many hours you’ve played each community map and how many times you’ve contributed to it. Plus, occasionally, on check out, you’ll be gently reminded that it might be nice to add a stamp to your cart for a map that you’ve played frequently but haven’t contributed much to. After you’ve seen this reminder once, you can have it show other map stamp suggestions by checking the “Support Community Map Mapers” box near the “check out” button.



Map-Specific Strange Filters



Sold in the store, these new filters let you set your strange weapons to only track events on specific community maps. For instance, if you only care about kills on “Yukon”, you can change the filter on your shotgun to just capture that. When filtering stats for a weapon, you’ll also get a custom rank modifier. So, in the aforementioned “Yukon” example, you’d now have a “Strange Canadian Shotgun”. The goal is to give players who really like specific community maps a way to both track their stats on those maps and broadcast their interest even when they’re playing on other levels.



Note that in both cases, 100% of the revenue (minus net taxes) goes to the contributor, so let’s get out there and support our map makers!

Kotaku

This Motion-Tracking Portal Turret Uses Your Webcam To Keep Intruders OutActually r4di0fly3r's motion-tracking turret probably won't keep intruders out. But it will startle them. And it will probably keep cats and dogs out from sheer terror of "OH GOD WHAT IS THAT."



You can download the software for your PC or Mac, or just run it off of the deviantART page since that didn't seem to work for me.



Interactive Portal Turret [deviantART via Reddit]


Kotaku





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allowfullscreen="true">

Murraythis breaks out the Source Filmmaker to bring the internet a very Team Fortress Christmas.



Such great animation, and the Scout was the perfect choice to play the Christmas Eve sneak. He's such a dick.



Night Before Christmas... [YouTube]


Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added "Benign infiltration" to the Mann Vs. Machine mission-cycle file for servers
  • Fixed a Dead Ringer Spy exploit in Mann Vs. Machine mode
  • Fixed a regression with mini-crit damage calculation
  • Fixed a client crash in the Medi Gun charge meter when using a custom HUD
  • Fixed Festive Huntsman arrows and Rescue Ranger bolts using incorrect hit boxes
  • Fixed Tough Stuff Muffs not using the correct model for the Engineer
  • Fixed a clipping problem with the Hunger Force
  • Fixed Strange Festive Sandviches leveling up multiple times in a single use
  • Fixed a lighting issue in mvm_bigrock
  • Updated the backpack icon for the Festive Ambassador
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:


  • Added "Benign infiltration" to the Mann Vs. Machine mission-cycle file for servers
  • Fixed a Dead Ringer Spy exploit in Mann Vs. Machine mode
  • Fixed a regression with mini-crit damage calculation
  • Fixed a client crash in the Medi Gun charge meter when using a custom HUD
  • Fixed Festive Huntsman arrows and Rescue Ranger bolts using incorrect hit boxes
  • Fixed Tough Stuff Muffs not using the correct model for the Engineer
  • Fixed a clipping problem with the Hunger Force
  • Fixed Strange Festive Sandviches leveling up multiple times in a single use
  • Fixed a lighting issue in mvm_bigrock
  • Updated the backpack icon for the Festive Ambassador

Kotaku

Behold, A Portal Gun. Signed By Valve.Let's say you're a Valve super-fan. I know I'm reaching somebody out there with that label. And you want to buy yourself something nice. Something Valve-related that nobody else has.



Forget lithographs or coffee mugs. You need to get this. It's a replica Portal Gun signed by the development team. All proceeds go to charity (Child's Play). And at time of posting, it's on eBay for a surprisingly reasonable price of $760.



Considering the worth of something like that to super-fans, and the place your money is ending up, that's a steal.



Portal gun replica, signed by Valve for GAAM & Child's Play Charity [eBay, via Gamefreaks]


Community Announcements - SZ


This is not a test blog post! You are not dreaming! This is actually happening! Go get it! There is nothing more to say! We’re still talking! Amazingly, you’re still reading! This is getting weird! Well, we’re going to end this blog post now! You can keep reading it if you want, we guess, but we’re going to stop writing! Okay, we’re still writing! And you’re still reading. You don’t feel remorse or fear or eye strain and you will never, ever give up until all these words are read! You are the greatest reader of ALL TIME and this is the “300” of reading! Only instead of getting killed by Persians, we’re going to suggest you simply go check out the brand new, incredibly convenient Mann Co. Online Store. There’s a bunch of words there that need reading. Plus pictures.
...

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