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Kotaku

Left 4 Dead 2 "Cold Stream" Campaign Coming to 360 in July



After being out for nearly a year on PC as a beta you'd think Xbox 360 gamers would have given up ever seeing a new campaign for L4D2 on their beloved console. But Valve is not one to make people wait any longer than they have to! /s



According to the L4D Blog, come July 24th, 360 gamers will finally get their hands on the "Cold Stream" campaign that has been in beta testing for PC and Mac users since March 2011. The DLC also brings with it updated versions of all the maps from the original Left 4 Dead, just to sweeten the pot.



Valve is also promising some "surprise" updates for all platforms so look forward to that as well. Hell, I might even jump back into L4D on PC if that wasn't the same week Dawnguard was coming out.



So, if you can round up three friends and an Xbox 360, you too can now experience the Left 4 Dead franchise in all it's gory glory.


Kotaku

We're Getting An Awesome Lego Portal Movie This Year (Unofficially)The amazing individual known as Kooberz, who brought us the brilliant stop-motion Lego take on Ghost Recon this past spring is—sorry, Ghost Recon—doing something cooler for his next project: stop-motion Lego Portal.



The short film will be released in two or three parts, with the first one scheduled for release later this year. For now, we have some terrific teaser posters...



We're Getting An Awesome Lego Portal Movie This Year (Unofficially).




We're Getting An Awesome Lego Portal Movie This Year (Unofficially).




We're Getting An Awesome Lego Portal Movie This Year (Unofficially).




Thanks to Kooberz for giving us the heads up and for reminding us that, if you like the idea of Lego Portal, there's still a chance that this fan initiative to get real Portal Lego sets made could still happen—though there seem to have been some pushback from the Lego folks.



More info here...



Movie Posters- Kooberz Studios [Flickr]


Jun 29, 2012
L4D Blog
TF2 Blog
Be sure to check out the live stream for the ESEA Season 11 LAN Playoffs for TF2 starting today. The matches begin today and will be running until Sunday.



PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Editorial: E3 doesn’t care about the PC">e3 2012







The Game Critics Awards are a big deal. They're the Metacriticization of E3: after the show, more than 30 publications vote on 20 categories of awards, their ballots swimming together like a school of trophy-shaped fish. (PC Gamer is a few of those fish, too.)



This year’s awards were announced on Tuesday. And among those 20 categories this year, zero PC-exclusive games won. That happened in 2011, too. I’m confused and livid about that. We’re in the middle of a PC gaming renaissance—as a body of critics, shouldn’t our awards reflect that?



The awards have a mixed, embarrassing history when it comes to the PC. Let’s revisit the last decade of Best PC Game winners:



2012 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown

2011 - BioShock: Infinite

2010 - Portal 2

2009 - Star Wars: TOR

2008 - Spore

2007 - Crysis

2006 - Spore

2005 - Spore

2004 - Splinter Cell 3

2003 - Half-Life 2

2002 - Doom III

2001 - Star Wars Galaxies



Were we really that overwhelmed by Doom III and SWG? But yeah: Spore. How did we get it wrong—so Price Is Right Fail Horningly-wrong—thrice? Spore is exactly the sort of game that woos multiplatform gaming critics that aren’t looking closely—it’s an amusing toy, an easily-explained curiosity from The Faraway Eccentric Continent of PC Gaming. On a ballot, Spore was an incredibly safe bet for someone who didn't see everything the PC had to offer at the show—like Dawn of War II in '08, or F.E.A.R. in '05. That this fooled us three times is evidence that collectively, gaming media hasn’t examined seriously what happens on the PC at E3.



A PC-exclusive game hasn’t won Best Original Game since 2006 or Best of Show since 2005. Both winners were Spore. But hey, let’s not dwell on that bleak and multi-appendaged past. 2012 was a decent year for PC exclusives at E3. There were plenty to pick from, and absolutely none were officially recognized: Neverwinter, SimCity, The Elder Scrolls Online, Hawken, Otherland, End of Nations, Shootmania Storm, MechWarrior Online, Natural Selection 2, World of Warplanes, Arma 3, Company of Heroes 2. The stand-out omission from the awards list, though, is PlanetSide 2. It should’ve won Best Online Multiplayer. It should’ve won Best PC, and it could’ve won Commendation for Innovation.



http://youtu.be/viKwpkC_P9s?t=7m55s



PlanetSide 2 isn't some exotic animal. It’s sci-fi Battlefield, but better, bigger, more beautiful, and it never sleeps. It also wasn’t sequestered in some obscure corner of the show—it was the first thing you saw when you walked through the doors of West Hall. You couldn’t miss it. Anyone could prance up and play it without an appointment. IGN, Polygon, GameSpy, and Game Informer did give it significant nods. I wrote in our personal E3 picks post: “Occupying someone else’s base means something beyond an icon changing colors on your HUD—just by contending for an outpost, you’re earning a tiny trickle of resources. Own it, and that earned-over-time allowance extends to your whole empire (while being denied to the enemy). The magic of that mechanic is apparent even in an hour-long play session with a character I’ll never use again in a crowded, loud convention center. Whether you like it or not, you’re a part of something.”



Sure, The Last of Us—the game that won everything—looks nice. It’s genetically-engineered for critical attention: Uncharted and zombies and movielike and full of those meaningful moral choices we can't get enough of. It'll probably enjoy plenty of high review scores and plenty of eye-level shelf space at GameStop. My peers were wooed enough by it to award it Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best Action/Adventure Game, and give it a Special Commendation For Sound.



Maybe everyone played PlanetSide 2 and just wasn’t moved by its unprecedented scale and ambition, staggering balance of tactical complexity and accessibility, or original engine technology that makes Unreal 3 look like calculator firmware. I think that’s the sort of next-generational newness we should be drawing attention to. I don’t own a tablet, so I hope that’s an indication for how underwhelmed I am by tie-in apps, but did you see PlanetSide's jaw-dropping tablet/browser/mobile-driven infrastructure that lets you see dynamic strategic maps and join voice chat without being in-game? Egad.







Call it what you want



What's most upsetting are the names of the awards themselves. They're undeniably skewed to reward the companies that put on press conferences and that spend thousands of dollars making the show an expensive spectacle: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The PC doesn’t have a press conference, of course (although we've daydreamed plenty about what it'd be like). And like a very-talented cousin that Sony doesn't want overshadowing itself at its own talent show, PlanetSide 2 creators Sony Online Entertainment don’t get a second of stage time at Sony’s conference. Coincidentally, critics don’t have many categories that invite celebration of the PC.



Since 2010, game writers have picked a Best Motion Simulation Game, a relatively recent trend, but inexplicably we can’t nominate a Best MMO. 13 dungeon-raiding, gold-farming years after EverQuest, and MMO isn’t a comparable genre to racing, strategy, or “social/casual,” which each have their own award? In "Best Hardware/Peripheral" components compete with controllers and consoles in the same incongruous, Frankenstein-category.



The oddest and least platform-agnostic award is "Best Downloadable Game.” Commenting on this makes me feel like a student who takes the awkward duty of telling his teacher that his chalkboard math is wrong. “...Excuse me? Every game on PC is downloadable.” The award was added in 2009, so it was absolutely a response to the healthy niche that $5-20 games have carved for themselves on XBLA and PSN. But if the goal is to highlight smaller-budget games, why not, y’know, make a Best Indie Game award? The Game Critics Awards have never had such an accolade in their history.



Sure, indie games don’t have the largest footprint at E3 (a separate issue that I’d be delighted to yell about), but they do have IndieCade, a small hub of games hosted off the show floor. Especially with Kickstarter’s emergence, it’s a complete failure to reflect the industry we work, buy, and game in that there’s no official opportunity for critics to praise indie games.



I know we’re usually encouraged to shrug off mainstream game awards, like the ones that appear on television. But this isn’t one of them, actually. This is the closest gaming media comes to having a collective voice about something. It’s the one instance where we’re communicating as a single organization. It’s an opportunity to get it right. And on the PC, we totally aren’t. If we’re not prepared to have a set of awards that at least fundamentally reflect the kinds of experiences millions of people are involved in—MMOs and indie games among them—what are we doing?



Follow Evan on Twitter at @elahti.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Meet the Plato

This is the most splendid of news. If you don’t know Hero Academy, it’s a turn-based, two-player tactical game from the chaps behind Orcs Must Die and if you are now wondering why> you haven’t heard of it, it’s because it’s an iOS game. Except on August 8th it’ll also be a PC game, as it’s coming to Steam and allowing cross-platform play. Opponents are played asynchronously, so you take your turn, inform your opponent and wait for a response. This means you can play loads of games at the same time and with its chessy appeal, you’ll probably want to. I shall welcome it to my PC with a smile and, oh look, Valve have provided an exclusive team. Trailer below.

(more…)

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Hero Academy coming to Steam. Includes TF2 characters and cross-platform play">Hero Academy







Have I told you how brilliant Orcs Must Die! is recently? I probably have, I say it a lot. Did you know the developers, Robot Entertainment also made an IOS turn based battle game called Hero Academy? Well if you didn't, now you do, and you should also know that Eurogamer are reporting that it's coming to Steam.







The Steam version of the game will allow for cross platform play with the iOS version, letting you show those trendy Apple folk just who knows more about turn based combat. Oh, and if you own the game on both formats, they'll sync up too. Also, getting the PC version gives you a new squad of heroes based on adorable big headed versions of Team Fortress 2 characters. There's nothing about this announcement that isn't brilliant.



Hero Academy has been out on IOS for several months now, and has gotten a lot of praise so far. Even PC Gamer's own Chris Thursten has spent many a lunchtime furiously tapping away as his iPhone because of it. The game is simple, two teams face each other across a battle grid trying to destroy each others crystals. Each turn lets you re-arrange your troops, bring in new ones or use abilities, then you send it off. When the other player has figured out his move, the game proceeds. Like Frozen Synapse, you're free to have as many games as you want on the go at once, so you're never just sitting around waiting for your opponent to log in.



Hero Academy will arrive on PC on the 8th of August.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 gets Heropedia and new heroes: Wisp and Luna">Dota 2 - Wisp







Dota 2's expansion gathers pace with the arrival of this week's second update. This one introduces the heropedia, which presents a breakdown of every character's stats, lore background and skills, with short videos of every ability. You can browse it now on the Dota 2 site, or access it via the "Learn" tab in the Dota 2 client.



The grand roster of heroes has also been expanded with two new characters, Luna the Moonrider, who's much more dangerous than she sounds, and Wisp, a glowing ball of light with some unusual abilities. Find out more about them, and absorb the latest patch notes below.



Luna The Moonrider - Moontastic Agility Carry



As titles go, "Luna the Moonrider" isn't likely to instil much fear, until you actually see her and notice that she's riding a giant panther. Then you'll notice that the giant panther is wearing a hat, but while you're busy noticing that, you'll be taking a hit to the face from a rebounding magical chakram. Then as you're trying to pull your senses together she'll be activating her ultimate ability, which turns day to night and starts zapping you with bolts of searing moon energy. "What the hell, moon!?" you'll probably cry.



The ability videos in the updated heropedia were done by Dota cinema, who have also done a couple of overview videos for the new heroes. Here's one for Luna.







Wisp - Utility Glowing Hero Ball Thing



No Warcraft 3 sprite was left unused in the formation of Defence of the Ancients. Even glowing balls of light can become characters, as Guardian Wisp demonstrates. According to his bio, "Wisp occupies all planes at once, the merest fraction of its being crossing into physical existence at any one moment," which sounds grandiose, but it's best thought of as a sentient glowing ball who just wants to help. It does this by tethering itself to heroes, increasing their movement speed and stunning anyone who touches the strand. For its ultimate trick, it can teleport to any point on the map for 12 seconds, taking any tethered hero along for the ride.



See these abilities in action in the Dota Cinema overview of Wisp.







And here are the latest patch notes:



HIGHLIGHTS:



Added Luna

Added Guardian Wisp

Dota 2 now uses the CELT codec for increased voice communication quality.

Added a testing tool to the Workshop tab that allows contributors to see their models on a hero before submitting.

Added Heropedia to the Learn tab.



 



GAMEPLAY



Bloodseeker: Fixed a bug where he could get healed by friendly heroes dying in the area around him that he didn't deny.

Pudge: Fixed a bug that was sometimes causing Pudge's Dismember to do an extra tick of damage

Pudge: Fixed a bug that allowed Pudge to deal damage without hurting himself by quickly toggling Rot.

Rubick: Fixed a rare case where Rubick could get permanently stuck with Telekinesis Land.

Rubick: Fixed a bug where Rubick would gain permanent Spectral Dagger buffs until he died.

Rubick: Fixed a bug with Poison Release that would cause you to steal the wrong ability from Shadow Demon.

Tiny: Fixed Aghanim's Scepter siege damage vs backdoor armor

Fixed being able to use a different player's items in your combine, if that item was in your stash at the time



 

VISUALS



More Rubick spell animations

Various Rubick visual effect improvements and fixes

Haste animation added for Bloodseeker

Adjusted Ogre Magi's sidearm attack animation

Logos removed from waterfall and mid river areas to safeguard gameplay

Tweaked dire banner position left of fountain shop

Roshan timer appear only after 10 seconds have passed from death

Reduced Gyro's model scale a little

Removed ambient effects on Razor and Morphling when hexed



 

UI



Fixed some cases where icons could get stuck on the screen

Fixed new heroes not showing up in the hero picker if you had custom view set (They'll now appear in the top left of the grid view, for you to then place as you like)

Tournament Panel: Fixed game list not refreshing unless you opened a different tournament and then back.

Tournament Panel: Increased the size of the live games and recent games.

Tournament Panel: Fixed details button not working properly for the last few games.

Fixed Spectator label cutting off number of spectators.

Fixed Live games not displaying correctly after opening a Tournament.

Fixed a recent bug with the shop not closing when a unit is selected

Fixed some bugs with losing commentator perspecting when pausing and unpausing

Added backpack preview to couriers

Back button in the loadout takes you back to the backpack if you arrived via a backpack right click

Fixed some slots on the backpack not being right-clickable if they were not on page 1

Fixed the first equip from the backpack sometimes not working properly

Added inspect button near the hero panel for heroes that have custom items

Updated the replay skill filter to have more usefull categories.

Fixed dragging an item onto itself not turning its icon back on.

Cheat commands are now echoed to chat

Added a testing tool to the Workshop tab that allows contributors to see their models on a hero before submitting.

Fixed Mute button on the scoreboard not working.



 

AUDIO:



Dota 2 now uses the CELT codec for increased voice communication quality.



 
Kotaku

The popular iOS game is getting a PC version with bonus Team Fortress 2-themed content included. Players of both versions will be able to compete cross-platform; owners of both versions will have unlocked content from one available on both.


Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Orcs Must Die! developer Robot Entertainment is bringing its iOS hit Hero Academy to PC via Steam, complete with a team of Team Fortress 2 characters. The asynchronous multiplayer tactics 'em up will support cross-platform play with the iOS edition, too.

Hero Academy's about turn-based grid-set tactical combat between two teams with various units and abilities. The PC edition will come with a team based upon Valve's lovable mercenaries as well as the Council side. Following the iOS model, you'll have to pay for extra teams, but any unlocked are shared across both platforms. Yes, including the TF2 team. As a bonus, each team you buy unlocks a cosmetic item to wear in TF2.

Hero Academy is due on Steam on August 8. Hit the announcement for more information.

...

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