Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 1/30/2013

[ NOTABLE ]
- Nerfed the Deagle.
- Added a feature to spectate friends games via GOTV.
  -In 'Play With Friends,' if a friend is on an official matchmaking server the WATCH option will appear next to their name.
- DM immunity changes:
  -Default immunity was raised to 10s.
  -Moving cancels immunity.

[ MISC ]
- Fixed dedicated server memory leak.
- Reserved server with connected GOTV spectators will hold reservation after all players disconnected for at least TV delay time to allow spectators to watch the match to the end.
- Added convar sv_hibernate_punt_tv_clients to also punt lingering TV spectators after all players disconnected and at least TV delay time elapsed.
tv_snapshotrate will now correctly adjust client-side rates automatically for smooth spectating experience.
- Added convar tv_relayradio, 0 = off, 1 = relay team radio commands to GOTV (default value = 0).
- Added convar tv_relaytextchat, 0 = off, 1 = relay "say" chat only, 2 = relay "say" and "say_team" chat to GOTV (default value = 1).
- Team kills and team damage is now preserved for players in competitive games across disconnects and reconnects.
- Fixed a regression in naming of tv_autorecord demo files.
PC Gamer
game violence


The debate over the relationship between violent games and violent behavior continues inside and outside the United States. In its initial response to the tragedy in Newtown, CT, the US government said it intends to ask the Centers for Disease Control to “study the root causes of gun violence, including any relationship to video games and media images.” Critics cite studies that link aggression and violent games, claiming that interactivity as a component of games makes them unusually potent. One politician labeled games as "electronic child molesters."

It's an enormous and serious topic—one that we believe gamers shouldn't shrug off, but take it upon themselves to engage critics and fellow citizens on. In the interest of that, Logan, Evan, and Tyler hopped into our podcast studio (inappropriately, the room that most makes it look like we're inside an insane asylum) to talk about their personal relationship with violence in games.
Community Announcements - alfred
In support of the upcoming Steam for Linux release we have made Counter-Strike 1.6 available on Linux and Mac OS X.

This beta involves significant changes for all platforms and your testing is appreciated, please report any bugs to <a href="https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux">our GitHub page</a>.

Linux and OS X users can simply install the Counter-Strike application to access the beta. For Windows users right click the game in your Library, choose properties and then go to the Beta tab. Select the SteamPipe beta to start testing. Under windows to opt out of testing simply deselect the beta option on this same page.
Product Update - Valve
Release notes for 1/23/12

[ MAJOR CHANGES ]
- A new game mode has been added to matchmaking and offline play: Deathmatch.
- Weapon balance and recoil were adjusted with pro community input ( Thanks to J3Di, NiP, VeryGames, ESC, 4NOT, mTw, and FM TOXiC )
- In addition to global changes that affect all weapons, specific adjustments have been made to: rifles, pistols, and the P90.
- Weapon purchasing changes:
- The AWP's kill reward was increased from $50 to $100.
- The Glock is now a Terrorist only weapon.
- The FiveseveN is now a CT only weapon.
- The Terrorists' molotov price has been reduced to $500. The CT's incendiary grenade remains $850.
- Note that the pistol arrangement has changed in the buymenu.

- The messaging system has been converted to protobuf.
- Demos recorded with previous versions of CS:GO will not be compatible as of this update. In order to view old demos, set your 'beta' to 'demo_viewer' in the CS:GO betas property panel, in Steam. Don't forget to set it back to 'NONE' when you want to play online again.
- If you are running SourceMod on your server, you will need to update to the latest version. For details, see: http://www.sourcemod.net/index.php


[ MINOR CHANGES ]
- Added some performance improvements for low-end clients.
- Fixed some fence materials that were allowing players to see through smoke grenades.
- GOTV spectator UI will now correctly show kevlar and helmet information for players.
- Avatars will now correctly load for all players when connected to a GOTV server or when watching a demo.
- Added support to notify players during servers maintenance downtime.
- Fixed a dedicated server exploit where community dedicated servers could masquerade as official and get players searching for official game modes connected to them (saigns.de)
- Fixed a rare problem when clients matchmaking for Classic Competitive game could be stuck on green Accept screen
- Fixed a rare problem when clients could connect to a Classic Competitive game and then later be disconnected for failing to accept the match.
- Improved algorithm pinging whitelisted dedicated servers when searching for Classic Competitive games, pinging less addresses fixes occasional problems for some customers where address translation tables on their routers would fill up and their routers would fail to route required packets to display the green Accept screen.
- Added support for mm_dedicated_search_maxping to restrict client's ping when matchmaking for Classic Competitive games. ( Matchmaking algorithm will still be prioritizing best servers to minimize ping of all party members. )
- Fixed a rare server crash when bots attempted to shoot the bomb defuser.
- Fixed a client crash when downloading a lot of custom assets from community servers.




[ NOTES TO MAPMAKERS ]
- DEATHMATCH:
- Deathmatch uses the nav mesh to create spawn points. Make sure that your nav is contained within the bounds of your map to ensure that players aren't spawned outside of it. Use map_showspawnpoints to see where spawn points were generated.
- If you want to use mapper-placed spawnpoints instead of the randomly generated ones, place an info_map_parameters in your map and set usenormalspawnsfordm ("Use Normal Spawns in Deathmatch?) to true.
- WORKSHOP:
- We're launching the private beta for workshop maps. If you're a map maker, mail csgo_sdk@list.valvesoftware.com with the subject "Map Workshop Beta" and your steam id in the content, with a link to maps shipped ( or maps in progress ) suitable for the Workshop.

- Please use the CSGO SDK list for discussions about Deathmatch and Workshop.

Thanks.
PC Gamer
Dota 2 Steam Guide overlay


Someday, Valve will eventually run out of wonderful features to pack into its mega-gaming-hub Steam. Let's hope it's a long way off, because we'll all be busy poring over the user-written manuals, walkthroughs, and tips for our various games in the newly launched Steam Guides section of Steam's Community area.

Anyone can create and submit a guide for the game of their choice by clicking the new Guide tab on a game's Community Hub page. You can pretty up your words with images and embedded YouTube videos as well, and the guides also appear upon Steam's overlay whenever you're running a program. Neat. I can finally whip up my "How to avoid tigers" guide I've been planning for Far Cry 3 quickly and easily.

Head over to the Steam Guides page to take a look at the over 1,000 guides already created.
PC Gamer
face off buying games


The hurricane of savings that's swirled over PC gaming in the past few years has been tremendous. Deep discounts seem to pop up weekly on digital stores like Amazon, GOG.com, and Steam. But should the ubiquity of sales fundamentally change our buying habits?

In this Face Off debate, Logan argues that waiting for a sales gets you get a more refined product at a cheaper price. But Evan thinks that waiting too long denies you the best-possible experience, especially in multiplayer games.

Jump over to the next page for more opinions from the PC Gamer community, and make your own arguments in the comments. Debate team captains: it’s your time to shine.

Logan: Nope. Hanging on to your cash for a while—a few months, a year, or whenever you’ve caught up with that backlog that’s been building up—buys you a game that’s had its bugs squashed, costs far less on sale, and probably even runs better on your machine. Remind me what the downside is again?

Evan: We play games to have great experiences, right? In most cases those experiences diminish in value over time. Technology ages. Stories are spoiled. Sequels outdo their predecessors. I’m not advocating against the ridiculous sales we’ve seen in recent years, but looking back, being needlessly frugal would've denied me some of my most precious gaming experiences. Playing Left 4 Dead every night after work in October ‘08 with my friends was so special because we were mutually discovering the game together. I can’t put a price tag on that.

Logan: OK, let’s be clear here: I don’t think buying games at launch is a bad thing. You can bet your pet headcrab that I won’t be waiting for Half-Life 3 to hit the discount bin. What I’m saying is that with a little patience (and, sure, some deft spoiler-dodging), you get a better experience at a far lower price. Sure, you miss out on being a part of the conversation when a game launches. Like how pissed off people were about the save-corrupting bugs in The Walking Dead series, which to the best of my knowledge were fixed by the time you could buy the entire season during the Steam Winter Sale for half-price at $12.50!

Evan: Oh, whatever. If you wait until a game is bugless, you’ll be waiting forever. The Walking Dead was more than playable at launch—we gave it a 90. The conversations I had with friends about that game (and Mass Effect, and Far Cry 3, and XCOM) are worth so much more to me than $12—it’s a lesser game without that.

I think you’re overstating the impact that launch issues actually have. Other than Diablo III and, I don’t know, Sword of the Stars II last year, when were games unacceptably broken at launch? If I was picking up Diablo III now—assuming I could actually twist a friend’s arm to reroll a new character—that pristine experience of grinding our first dungeons together and feeling caught up in something new together would be gone.

Beyond that, I think we should be mindful that our purchases have a real and actual impact on developers. Last year, Rockstar Vancouver, Big Huge, Black Hole, 38 Studios and Paragon Studios closed. Great games don’t exist unless we support them.

Logan: You’re being hysterical. It’s not just about bugs and launch issues. It’s about enjoying a smoother ride overall, and getting stuff like new features and levels to boot!

Evan: Listen, all I’m asking you to consider is this: How many indie developers’ malnourished babies are you personally responsible for?

Logan: I am not a baby malnourisher. I don’t want to deprive developers of handsome profits. In fact, I wish I had a leaf blower that blew cash into their windows. It’s just that I—like most gamers—have a limited budget. Buying games at a discount means that I can buy more games. And feed more babies.

Look, developers who don’t want to discount their games simply won’t do so. But most do put their games on sale because, ultimately, it makes them more money.

Evan: My imaginary leaf blower also shoots money. Waiting months to buy something isn’t universally the best budget decision if you’re passionate about a game. It’s actually becoming more prevalent for pre-orders to provide incentives or actual savings over the retail price. In the case of free-to-play games like MechWarrior Online and Tribes: Ascend, putting money down before release got me extra in-game currency, extra content, and immediate access. Multi-copy packs are also usually a great deal—in Borderlands 2’s case, you could get four copies for the price of three at launch, something that’s much harder to do after release.

Logan: Oh, yeah, pre-order bonuses can be great deals too, and the Borderlands 2 promotion was a pretty smart way to get cheapskates like me to pony up before launch. But these are exceptions to a general rule of thumb that’s indisputable: if you can wait it out, you’ll almost always get a better product for less money. Any way that you legitimately purchase a game is supporting the developer. If you insist that supporting a developer means paying more than you have to, then I think that what you’re talking about is a contribution, or charity.

Evan: Waiting for patches might give you a less buggy game, but I don’t think you’ll necessarily get a better experience, which is what you’re paying for. Sure, EA made Battlefield 1942 free last year, but replaying it years removed from its popularity wasn’t fun for me at all. Moreso than film or books, games age. Hopping into Battlefield 3 now—just 14 months after release—and you’d miss out on the volcano of enthusiasm, shared discovery, and level playing field in the metagame that existed at launch.

There’s always going to be several games a year where I’m going to want to be there on day one. If you wait four or five months—about as long as it typically takes to shed 25% off something on Steam—or longer, you’ll have missed out on that.

Logan: But remember, games acquire new fans when they’re discounted or go free-to-play. Solution: make new friends.

Evan: Or we could get everyone we know to wait six months to buy a game.

For more opinions on PC gaming, follow Logan, Evan, and PC Gamer on Twitter. On the next page: more opinions from the community.



For more perspectives, we've poured out some of your thoughts from the bucket of opinion known as Twitter below.

@pcgamer It depends on if they're $60 triple A titles for me. $60 is too much for most games, especially after last year's disappointments.— Coalton Ross (@Coalton) January 14, 2013

@pcgamer If you're a fan of the game, the series, the studio, etc...then yes, it's your job as a fan to positively reinforce great work.— Kevin Robertson (@krobulous) January 14, 2013

@pcgamer To anyone who has any sort of budgeting they should never buy on release date. Waiting for a sale is the only way.— Ryan Melanson (@RyePunk) January 14, 2013

@pcgamer established franchises or series yes (elder scrolls), New and unproven games wait for more info and reviews.— Now Hiring Henchmen (@HiringHenchmen) January 15, 2013

@pcgamer It's definitely difficult to see the game you paid $60 for be repackaged with extras for the same or lower price < 12 months later.— James Schumacher (@JamesInDigital) January 14, 2013

@pcgamer On the other hand, being swept up in the ARG and playing the heck out of Portal 2 was a delightful experience.— S Wilkins (@ElAcordeonachi) January 14, 2013

@pcgamer Multiplatform/console port multiplayer games are better at launch however. They're most fun when the playing field is very equal.— Jason (@TeslasButler) January 15, 2013

@pcgamer depends if I trust the developer enough to deliver a good product. I rarely buy into the hype anymore. Burned too badly in the past— Wim (@Quercuas) January 15, 2013

@pcgamer overpriced on release, wait a week, don't follow the hype— TFB (@tf_blackjack) January 15, 2013
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 1/9/2013

[MISC]

- Added Server Report panel. Player can use this panel to report server for things such as inappropriate content and bad performance etc.. This menu is accessible from the Pause Menu.
- Improved competitive matchmaking algorithm to further reduce wait times.
- Fixed 'rebuy previous' not working after the first round of rebuying.
- Spawn points are now randomized every round.
- Whitelisted con_filter convars for debugging.
- Fixed damage taken and given not being fully reset in modes that aren't round-based.
- Changing mp_warmuptime takes effect immediately.
- Added concommands mp_warmup_start and mp_warmup_end, which restart and early terminate warmup, respectively.
- Fixed exploit where cl_interp restrictions could be bypassed.
- Alias command no longer allows aliasing over existing convars and concommands.
- Fixed rare case of maps not matching requested game mode on dedicated servers
- The client-side headshot feedback sound no longer plays for the local client when damaging another player in the head with a grenade explosion or when shooting them in the head through another surface (penetration)
- Slightly reduced the client-side headshot feedback sound volume (spatialized sound is unaffected)
- Fixed nameplate flicker in free cam mode during demo playback.
- Fixed wall penetration on Linux dedicated servers
- Fixed exploit where grenade projectiles were used to boost teammates.
- Fixed a very rare server crash when firing a weapon.
- Improved the error message shown when finding a game fails to locate an acceptable dedicated game server formerly reported as DS.
- Improved memory management on servers with GOTV enabled.
- Changed holiday cheer level to match CS1.6.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 12/24/2012

[ MISC ]
* Added the ability to commend and report players from the player details view that can be accessed in the scoreboard.
* Number of competitive wins, and unique commendations are now shown in the main menu along with skill group.
* Competitive scoreboard will show number of competitive wins needed to display your skill group if you have not displayed it yet.
* Fixed movement on ladders ignoring the walk button. Now climbing ladders while holding walk is slow and silent, which fixes previous exploit of being able to climb ladders at fullspeed without making sound.
* Fixed failure to fire after weapon switching away from a reload and back (fake-reloading).
* Whitelisted tv_password convar to set GOTV password.
* Reduced fps in main menu when not connected to a server from 300 fps to 120 fps to help with laptops and desktop video cards doing excessive work. Exposed fps_max_menu convar to control fps in main menu.
* Added one more minute of grace period for players to reconnect to their competitive match before a cooldown for failing to reconnect is assigned. Cooldown for failing to reconnect is now assigned after player has remained disconnected for at least 4 minutes, not counting the round of disconnection and not counting the round in which 4 minutes grace period elapses.
* Fixed Hammer crash on exit.
* Added some holiday cheer.
PC Gamer
Far Cry 3 Wake Island


Far Cry 3's included level editor provides all the tools and textures necessary for crafting unique multiplayer maps, but one tinkerer has instead taken to recreating some very familiar locales with uncanny accuracy. As reported by MP1st, user ShadowZack has shared a series of maps fashioned after popular arenas from Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike.

You can nab ShadowZack's works through Far Cry 3's in-game multiplayer map search simply by typing his name. You'll find Battlefield 3's Noshahr Canals and Wake Island, Counter-Strike's Dust and Aztec, and Call of Duty's Nuketown all carefully recreated right down to the placement of crates and convenient slabs of concrete cover. ShadowZack also released some flyby and progress videos for the maps as they were constructed, which you can watch below.

Far Cry 3 itself has two gigantic jungle island environments. We got lost. We shot animals. We drank weird potions. We wrote a review, so have a look.









Kotaku


Bless map editors. They make wonderful things possible—wonderful things that normally couldn't exist.


MP1st brings our attention to Youtube user ShadowZack, who took it upon himself to recreate a few famous maps in Far Cry 3.


These maps hail from franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Counter-Strike. The one above is Nuketown. Here are the rest:


Dust2
Wake Island

There is one more map to check out, here.


This looks really rad—if I was playing Far Cry 3 on PC, I'd play these. Alas, console gaming. I can't even take the HUD off my copy of Far Cry 3... not yet, anyway.



Battlefield, Counter-Strike, And Call of Duty Maps Recreated In Far Cry 3 [MP1st]


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