Aug 20, 2012
The Saxxy Awards are back, giving budding film makers the opportunity to craft a masterpiece and win a Saxxy Award in Team Fortress 2. The winniest winner of the shortlist of category winners will be flown out to Valve for a sit down session with Valve's Source Filmmakers, which is a great prize because I don't know if you've ever tried it but flying is BRILLIANT. The Valve filmmaker folk are probably quite nice as well. Once there you'll have the chance to get your work "aired on GTTV's VGA preshow this December."
There are four categories, the most challenging of which is likely to be "Original Universe" which requires that all featured assets be custom made. There are other gongs available for best action, drama and comedy. All entries must be submitted between Nobember 1 and November 15. No sooner, no later.
That's one of a number of rules Valve have come up with to stop this thing getting out of hand and turning into a "who can make the best version of Homeward Bound using nothing but bits of the Pyro" competition, which nobody wants. NOBODY. Here are those rules.
Entries must be no longer than five minutes.
Each entry must be at least 720p.
All entries must be submitted using the Source Filmmaker's upload to YouTube™ and Steam Community menu option.
Only entries submitted between Nov. 1, 12:00 AM and Nov. 15, 12:00 AM GMT will be considered.
Voting begins Nov. 16.
Winners, selected by Valve from the community-chosen nominees, will be announced by Dec. 31, 2012
All co-creators must be finalized by submission deadline to be considered.
You are free to use any Valve IP.
If you use any non-Valve IP, you must be the copyright owner or have explicit permission from the owner.
Multiple submissions per person are fine.
Submissions must be free of advertisements.
Find out more on the Team Fortress 2 site. Note that you're free to use any of Valve's IPs. It'll be interesting to see if we get many Dota 2 entries.
Everyone's been getting pretty excited this morning about the possibility of a big Half-Life 3 reveal at Gamescom. That's thanks to a pdf on the Gamescom site listing Half-Life 3 as one of the exhibits. A translation of the text at the top of the document asks readers to "Please take note of the sources: exhibitors, media, intenet forums, blogs."
They also say that "no responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information." Eurogamer have since caught up with Gamescom's organisers, who have simply dubbed the listing of Half-Life 3 and Dragon Age 3 "a mistake," which is sad, though at this stage I fear that the slightest showing of the new Half-Life will cause the internet to blow apart at the seams.
Valve are at Gamescom this year, though, so they'll be showing something. Will it simply be a bit of CS:GO, some more Dota 2 features perhaps, Greenlight, Steam hubs, or something more? Owen's in Cologne right now finding out as much as he can. Actually, he's probably having a sandwich. But after that sandwich, he'll get right on it.
Some leaked footage claiming to belong to the elusive Black Mesa Source mod has appeared over on Valve Time, showing some classic weapons and environments renovated in Valve's Source engine. The video shows a bit of violence from the 'On A Rail' mission. But for the odd detail, like iron sights aiming for the Magnum, it all feels very familiar, albeit a fair bit prettier than the original. Take a look.
The footage follows the official release of some new Black Mesa Source screenshots back in June. The mod's been in development for many years and hardly anything's been shown, until now. What do you think?
It looks as though Valve are working on a proper follow up to the Source Engine they've been gradually improving over the course of the last decade. Valve Time have pulled numerous references to a "next-gen 'Source 2'" engine along with various "Source 2 tools" icons from the guts of the Source Film Maker.
Valve have previously played down the need for an entirely new version of Source, and have concentrated instead on updating the original version to keep up with modern engine tech. That's worked quite nicely so far, but if these references are correct, a more significant step up is on the way. Here are a few of the pulled strings referring to Source 2.
def setEngine( self, version=ENGINE.SOURCE ):
Set the engine version for the project, i.e. 'Source 2'
'''Return an str with the current engine version.
If key doesn't doesn't exist, assume 'Source', otherwise invalid -- assume next-gen 'Source 2'.'''
Exciting stuff. But it wouldn't be a post about Valve and the future without somebody saying something about Half-Life 2: Episode Three. Is the reason that it's taken so long that it's being built in a more advanced engine that will explode our minds when it's finally released? I have no idea. Here are the icons that Valve Time discovered. Look at that high fidelity hammer. Oooo.
Mod-homages and remakes are a favorite template of PC gaming's terrific species of tireless gnomes. Black Mesa: Source. Star Trek in Homeworld 2. MechWarrior in Crysis. Star Wars in like, everything.
GoldenEye: Source is one of the best of this group. It shows incredible reverence for its ("Don't say it, don't say it...") source material (ugh) while implementing choice changes that respectfully modernize a classic multiplayer FPS. GE:S' trouble, unfortunately, has been a sparse population. The devs have solved this by adding bot support alongside some other improvements in version 4.2. Here they are:
BOTS - full featured running on Python AI
Team radar colors and standardized blip colors
Loading screen images with tips
Overhead Team icons
Full-screen help display for advanced scenarios
Brand new character selection screen
Recoded Capture The Key focusing on teamplay
New Ourumov model
Gamemode customizable weaponset selections
Create server menu for easier LAN and single play
Python enhanced for custom scripting
Over 50 music tracks from 3 talented artists
Overhauled Runway, Caverns, Facility, Backzone and classic maps
Click to download GoldenEye: Source's latest version.
Jul 26, 2012
Remember the Slender Man game we mentioned a couple of weeks back? It's a terrifying indie horror based on the spooky Something Awful monster. You had to wander through a dark forest with a pale torch hunting for messages while trying not to look directly at the creature. It's scary as hell.
GOOD NEWS EVERYBODY, a different team are creating a version of Slender Man in Valve's Source engine. Fittingly, it's called Slender Source, and this one will let you avoid a horrifying death with friends. Yaay!
It's a work-in-progress deal at the moment, but the bare bones are in place. Here's the challenge: "Players must work together to collect a certain amount of creepy dolls all while trying to avoid the abomination that is the Slenderman. The kick? No weapons."
Sadly, nobody has ever invited me into the woods to collect creepy dolls before, but if they did I'm pretty sure I'd say "hell yes BRING THE SCARES," which probably makes me that guy who dies horribly at the start of every horror movie. Thankfully, games like Slender Man, Slender: Source, Hide and SCP Containment Breach give us the chance to experience those scares without, y'know, the dismemberment. You can keep an eye on how the Half-Life 2 mod is progressing over on ModDB. Here's an early screenshot showing the wooded environment, which is one of two planned for release. The other will be set in an abandoned hospital.
And here's the trailer for the other Slender Man game, to give you a taste of the Slender Man vibe:
Are there any other horror games/mods that you've enjoyed? Let us know, we need some new ideas to test on work experience applicants.
The Leap is a new motion controller that tracks the movements of your hands and fingers to a super-fine degree of accuracy. It takes the form of a USB dongle that sits in front of your keyboard, looking up at your hands and doing techno-magic to pinpoint their position in 3D space.
CVG have highlighted a trailer showing the tech in action, and it's pretty impressive. It shows a number of quick demo clips including one that involves playing Angry Birds with a pair of chopsticks, and another showing the player taking out some Combine soldiers in Half-Life 2 with a finger gun. On the Leap site its creators claim that it'll be "more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen." Watch and judge for yourself with this video.
Leap looks set to arrive around December, but it's available to pre-purchase now for $70. If you'd like to get your hands on the SDK, they're taking submissions on the developers page of the site.
Jun 28, 2012
When Half Life: Episode 3 concept art surfaced on the facebook page of fansite ValveTime yesterday we were sceptical, but it's increasingly appearing that they really could be from the long awaited sequel.
Most of the artwork depicts a snowy wilderness with characters clad in winter clothing. This tallies with location the Borealis, the Aperture science ship that was revealed to be stranded in the Arctic in Episode Two. More intriguingly several of the stranger pieces of artwork contain the word 'Xen' in the file names, the Alien world visited in the original Half Life's final act.
OXM have been on top of the story and note that moderators on the Steam forums are claiming the pictures are genuine. Meanwhile fansite Lambda Generation traced the images back to a (since deleted) Picasa gallery belonging to Valve artist Andrea Wicklund.
Now here's the bad news. Although they were only recently discovered these images were all uploaded to Picasa in March 2008, only a few months after the release of Episode Two. This means that even if they are genuine, they aren't necessarily indicative of the direction Valve are taking now, four years later.
You can see the full gallery of images over at Valve Time.
It's alive! A bunch of new screenshots have gone online for Black Mesa: Source. In case you'd missed it, or forgotten it in these years of silence, BM:S is a fan project that aims to recreate the entirety of Half-Life 1 in the Half-Life 2 Source engine. The devs promised to releaser more details if their Facebook page hit 20,000 likes. It did, and they have. So without further ado, here are eight new screenshots for Black Mesa: Source.
It's been quiet for so long, I never thought I'd get to write that. It's worth keeping an eye on the Black Mesa site for more updates soon. "This is just the beginning. We have more in store for you in the near future! Hold on to your lab coats!" say the team on Facebook.
Gabe Newell been talking about the Valve sequel everyone wants, Half Life 2: Episode 3, in terms of the Valve sequel no-one wants, Ricochet 2. With almost audible air quotes around each mention of a possible follow up to Valve's year 2000 disk-lobbing multiplayer arena title, Newell told Seven Day Cooldown that the silence surrounding the next Half-Life is intended to spare fans from the unpredictable "twists and turns" of Valve's iterative development style.
"We'd like to be super transparent about the future of Ricochet 2," said Newell, "but the problem is that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than being silent about it until we can be very crisp about what's happening."
Earlier he also said "we always have this problem, when we talk about things too far in advance we end up changing our minds as we're developing stuff. 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."
SDC asked Gabe if Valve's fluid "work on what you want" approach to management style (captured nicely by the Valve employee handbook that surfaced over the weekend) has caused people to move away from the project to work on other things.
"No," he said. "Everyone who's working on Ricochet 2 continues to work on Ricochet 2."
What would you like to see from Ricochet 2?