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Kotaku

From Pro Gamer to Pro...Poker Player?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.



Counter-Strike Champ Griffin Benger Wins Millions at Online Poker [PokerListings]


TF2 Blog
Wireplay's Highlander's new 9v9 league is nearing the signup deadline. Weapons are currently undecided, however, most unlocks will be available and all players are encouraged to vote on maps to be played. Signups close Friday, May 4 and the festivities kick off proper on May 14.

Kotaku

There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible.Given the fact Valve isn't in the business of making its own animated films (outside of TF2 advertisements), fan Alex Zemke is doing his own Portal flick. And going by the screens he's released so far, it looks as good as you'd hope the real thing to look.



The movie is called Companionship, and before you sigh that it's just a "fan" project, know the guy is a professional animator, whose credits include Disney movies like G-Force and The Smurfs and games such as Uncharted 2 & 3.



While it's still obviously early days, so much so there's no footage, these test renders and preview images are exactly what you'd want from such a project.



Portal Short Chell Test Render [DeviantArt, via Game Informer]



There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible. There's a Portal Cartoon Being Made. It Looks Incredible.


Kotaku

The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever SeeToy company threeA held a signing and showcase event over the weekend in Hong Kong, and present at the show were our first good looks at the studio's upcoming Portal and Halo figures. We also get a look at their second Metal Gear effort as well, following on from the enormous Metal Gear Rex.



Halo Reach's Carter was there, in both painted and unpainted versions. Also there were Portal 2's co-op robots, both unpainted but still looking great. And rounding out the reveals was our first look at Metal Gear Ray, threeA's follow-up to Metal Gear Rex (which was also there, and showing off its light-up weaponry).



The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See The Most Amazing Portal, Halo & Metal Gear Toys You'll Ever See



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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

I think we've all had days where we feel like this.Once Valve gets around to releasing its magical future goggles, I’m hoping it’ll just start constantly beaming clever trailers for its games straight to my eyeballs. Between TF2′s “Meet The ___” series and Portal’s cavalcade of comedic excellence, I could spend all the rest of my days awkwardly cackling to myself on buses, in restaurants, and while committing the most unforgivable crime of them all: wearing sunglasses at night>. Everyone will hate me and take tremendous pleasure every time I stumble blindly into low-hanging signs or taller-than-ordinary children. Which brings us to Valve’s latest bit of advertorial brilliance: the story justification for the Perpetual Testing Initiative, as narrated by Aperture founder Cave Johnson.

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Ready Up – League of Legends and MLG unite, Heart of the Swarm comes to MLG Anaheim">MLG



It's a bit of a quiet weekend for eSports, but DOTA 2 fans will at least be able to watch several games in the ProDOTA 2 Worldwide League. It's a new league, but a number of major eSports teams from the Americas, Europe, and Asia are already participating. It's divided into pro and amateur leagues, with the pros battling for a $20,000 season prize purse.



The action starts at 12 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, and you find the whole schedule here, and more information about this weekend's play over here. Casters TobiWan and Luminous will be calling the games for English-speaking audiences.



However, not to be outdone, the MLG had some big StarCraft and League of Legends-related announcements today.



Start with the big news first: the MLG Pro Circuit will now feature League of Legends, starting with the MLG Spring Championship in Anaheim (June 8 - 10). Eight teams will be invited to the Spring Championship, and another 12 will be able to sign up. At the moment, LoL will just be happening at MLG Championships, not the Arenas.



On top of that, the MLG also announced that Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be playable at the Spring Championship. A "large number" of demo stations will be available for people to try Heart of the Swarm's latest multiplayer build. This would probably be a good time to point you to where you can get a spectator pass.



Anything else going on this weekend that eSports fans should check out? Be sure to bring it up in the comments.
Community Announcements - the gish
Three months ago Skyrim unleashed the Creation Kit on Steam. Not only did it let users create amazing mods for an amazing game, it allowed them to browse, download, and share those mods using the Steam Workshop.

Now we're introducing the Perpetual Testing Initiative (PeTI), which combines a powerful, easy-to-use Puzzle Maker with full Steam Workshop integration, and will be available free for the PC and Mac on May 8th.



The Steam Workshop

There are already hundreds of incredible Portal 2 puzzles in the wild, but chances are you haven't played them. They're hard to find, hard to install, and hard to manage. We're changing that. Now that we're adding the Steam Workshop to Portal 2, you'll be able to browse a virtually endless stream of community-crafted puzzles, then install and play them with just one click from any web browser. Play the most popular maps in the world, or just what your friend created last night.

The Puzzle Maker

With the Puzzle Maker, you can create test chambers of all shapes and sizes. It's incredibly easy to use — jump right in and start making cool stuff. When you're happy with your work, publish it to the Workshop for your friends. or even the whole world, to play. Get feedback, gain followers, and build collections of puzzles to break people's brains. You're the designer now; let's see what you can dream up.

Make sure to check back next week for more information on the Perpetual Testing Initiative!
Product Update - Valve
Release notes for 4/27 Beta 12

Gameplay:
• Fixed an issue in the weapon recoil system which caused tighter shot grouping than intended.
• Dead players no longer can see bomb or defuse icons on scoreboard for opposing team members.
• Recoil impulses are now more consistent for automatic weapons.
• The Movement acceleration and stopspeed values have been lowered per pro feedback.
• Slightly increased the variance of the recoil patterns.
– Updated the recoil pattern for the ak47.
• Adjusted the recoil suppression parameters to help tune burst fire.
• Fixed an issue which was causing thrown weapons to emit from the base of players, rather than their hands. Gifted weapons will now correctly throw the proper distance.

UI:
• Hooked up the win panel for arsenal mode to put emphasis on the winner and runners up.
• The next weapon text in AR now displays appropriate text for the mode and state.
• Fixed the alert for when you reach gold knife level showing up when anyone reached it.
• When you get a point for an assist, it shows in the death message.

Maps:
• New SE version of Aztec with no fog/particles/debris/ropes (except the bridge)

• Dust_SE
– Added correct skybox to the map properties.

• Shoots
– Turned down local-contrast settings.
– Fixed a strange clip on stairway.
– Fixed lighting on the dark hut in the Middle area.
– Fixed a few visual issues with the huts, and thinned out some of the thatch roof.

• Dust
– Adjusted size of buy zones for both CT and T’s.

• Shorttrain
– Adjusted local contrast settings on post process controller.
– Adjusted tonemap settings.

• Inferno
– Added smoothing normals to prop bombtanks used in Inferno level.
– Fix for incorrect bombsite designation text when standing on the blue truck.

• St Marc
– Turned down local-contrast settings.
– Adjusted bloomscale
– Fixed signage typo – changed from “route barée” to “route barrée”

• Safehouse
– Turned down local-contrast settings.
– Adjusted bloomscale
– Upped resolution on a prop, removed label that looks blurry.

• Italy
– Updated some very shiny planters.

• Aztec
– Fixed floating leaf in tree alpha texture.
– Reduced specular on tarp roof.
– Fix for objects disappearing from skyline based on camera position near double doors.
– Fix for the collision of the crates near bombsite B.
– Fixed the collision of the scaffolding at Water below bombsite B.
– Improved the texture on the metal bars at Water below T Ramp.
– Can no longer climb the scaffolding at bombsite B.
– Can no longer walk to the far side of T Ramp.
– Can no longer access platform next to Bridge.

• Dust 2
– Expanded and moved both the CT a T buy and spawn zones in radar image.

• Bank
– Turned down local-contrast settings.

• Baggage
– Turned down local-contrast settings.
– Adjusted bloomscale

• Lake
– Turned down local-contrast settings.
– Adjusted bloomscale

• Sugarcane
– Reduced local-contrast settings.
– Reduced bloom amount.
– Adjusted some tonemap settings.

Models:
• Fixed clipping issue on Terrorist skin with head wrap.
• Fix for Sawed-off where bolt was sticking through the back of the housing during fire and reload animations.

Audio:
• Trimmed up ambient content for Nuke, Bank, Train and Sugarcane and made adjustments to the script in Bank (balancing levels and adding some light breeze to match the trees) and a few updated references in Nuke, Train and Sugarcane.
• Dust ambient optimization.
• Shoots ambient optimizations
• Lake and Safehouse ambient optimizations.
• Italy ambient optimizations. Fixed a doorway where a player could move outdoors and still have the indoors ambience.
• Baggage ambient revision and optimization.

Effects:
• Snow effects have been greatly optimized. Snow in Office runs 7x faster than before.

Bug Fixes:
• Fixed crash when in the Buy menu, then voted yes to change maps.
• Fixed noticeable double round start in Arms Race when the first player entered the server/game.
• Fixed shadows being cast by vgui screens ( mainly the bomb plant numbers in game ).
• Fix for a bug where dropping the Famas in certain points in de_dust would cause the weapon to sink into the ground.

Miscellaneous:
• Relaxing the supported video card checks:
– Display an error and exit if the card doesn’t support shader model 3, bilinear PCF sampling, or cascaded shadow mapping. (No cards are actually marked as not supporting CSM in CS:GO.) So our minimal GPU is now the NVidia 6xxx series (2005), or ATI HD 2xxx (2006) or better.)
Portal 2 Blog
Three months ago Skyrim unleashed the Creation Kit on Steam. Not only did it let users create amazing mods for an amazing game, it allowed them to browse, download, and share those mods using the Steam Workshop.



Now we're introducing the Perpetual Testing Initiative (PeTI), which combines a powerful, easy-to-use Puzzle Maker with full Steam Workshop integration, and will be available free for the PC and Mac on May 8th.







The Steam Workshop



There are already hundreds of incredible Portal 2 puzzles in the wild, but chances are you haven't played them. They're hard to find, hard to install, and hard to manage. We're changing that. Now that we're adding the Steam Workshop to Portal 2, you'll be able to browse a virtually endless stream of community-crafted puzzles, then install and play them with just one click from any web browser. Play the most popular maps in the world, or just what your friend created last night.



The Puzzle Maker



With the Puzzle Maker, you can create test chambers of all shapes and sizes. It's incredibly easy to use — jump right in and start making cool stuff. When you're happy with your work, publish it to the Workshop for your friends. or even the whole world, to play. Get feedback, gain followers, and build collections of puzzles to break people's brains. You're the designer now; let's see what you can dream up.



Make sure to check back next week for more information on the Perpetual Testing Initiative!

Product Update - Valve
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:


Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Fixed a problem that allowed malicious clients to disable the "ping" and "status" commands for other connected clients

Team Fortress 2
  • Added The Toss-Proof Towel
  • Fixed a bug that caused many avatar images to not show up in the scoreboard
  • Fixed the Sharpened Volcano Fragment not igniting players
  • Fixed damage to buildings applying on-hit effects such as the Übersaw charge
  • Fixed Sticky Jumper stickybombs changing team when air-blasted
  • Fixed large floating point values getting truncated in WebAPI responses
  • sǝlıℲ uoıʇɐʇɐzılɐɔo˥ pǝʇɐpd∩
  • Community request
    • Added SetForcedTauntCam player input for map makers to place the player into third-person
...

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