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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

There's a great attention to detail here.

Portal has been a surprisingly prolific source of inspiration for many high quality products, so a short fifteen minute film based on its universe isn’t that big of a deal any more. However, what I love about Synthetic Pictures‘ Aperture: Lab Ratt (as spotted by The Sixth Axis) is how, in making a film based on Valve’s Lab Rat comic, how successfully they portray the evil of GLaDOS.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Man, it seems like half a decade ago that we were getting all scared by the Witch. Oh wait, it was. I AM SO OLD

Seems a trifle odd to be saying this given 2009′s foremost angry internet man-generator was the perceived too-soon release of a sequel to Left 4 Dead, but Valve’s zombathons seem to me to have been left a little fallow of late. Team Fortress 2′s ongoing transformation into QVC, Portal 2′s awards-hogging and fever-pitch speculation about Half Life has been the order of the day for the last couple of years. You could – aheh- say that Left 4 Dead has been – aheh – left for dead. Aheh-heh-heh. Just my little joke, there.

Something is suddenly stirring, however (editor’s note – I really need more elegant alternatives to ‘however’ and ‘though’, which I know full well are often seen to be cludgy writing. Suggestions?>), and it comes not from Valve, but from Payday: The Heist devs and recent Starbreeze acquisition Overkill. (more…)

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

Valve love levels like this.

We looked at Portal 2′s puzzle creating Perpetual Testing Initiative, a streamlined, user-friendly application for making your own Portal 2 rooms, and then cried. So instead we got Craig “Fearless” Pearson to take a look, because we knew without a doubt that no one else can create a box with some boxes in it like him.>

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

Welp, this image is useless now.

Well, that was close. When last we checked in on Blizzard and Valve’s legal frontlines, the two were arming up for all-out war over the DOTA name. Blizzard was adamant that it owned the “Ancients” part of “Defense of the Ancients,” and therefore, Valve had no right to trademark “DOTA” for use in DOTA 2. Happily, however, neither side will be drafting up a legal defense (of the Ancients), as the PC gaming empires have called off their cold war. Hands have been shaken and babies kissed. So then, let’s have a look at the terms.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

A couple of bits of DOTA 2 news turned up. The first is that Valve have announced that The International Dota 2 Championships 2012 will be held at PAX Prime in Seattle, which takes place from August 31st to September 2nd. Valve report that the event will entail “16 of the most elite Dota teams competing in a group stage, double elimination playoff format for a grand prize of $1 million.”

The second bit is that PCG noticed the game is now moving ahead of Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Skyrim on Steam’s player stats. And it’s still just in beta. Huge it is going to be. Yes.

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

ICONIC IMAGERY.

The rumors of Black Mesa‘s death have been greatly exaggerated. It has, however, been over three years since Gordon Freeman went for an all-too-brief jog in his shiny new hazard suit. No, gaming’s favorite man of zero words and 1000 crowbar swings per minute hasn’t suddenly affixed a chainsaw to his gun or moved his adventures to an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern setting, but a lot’s changed.

Once upon a time, this was Valve’s firstborn with a fresh coat of paint. Now, though, the Black Mesa team’s pouring its own blood, sweat, and tears into one of gaming’s most sacred holy grails – for better or worse. Only time will tell. But how much time? One more year? Two? Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (aka, a billion)? And what state is the remake in now? I spoke with project lead Carlos Montero about all of that and more.

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

Back in Black Mesa.

The universe has a weird fondness for improbable coincidences. Name your franchise Half-Life, and it takes half a lifetime to come out. Create a robust mod based around a game in that franchise, and its development mirrors that of its crowbar-wielding, hazard-suit chic father series nearly one-to-one. The lofty promises, the incredibly lengthy periods of radio silence, the incessant cries of “vaporware” and “it’ll probably be a huge letdown” – all of it.

Maybe, though, that part’s not such a coincidence. To hear project lead Carlos Montero tell it, Black Mesa‘s an obsessively redesigned, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up love letter to Valve’s opus. The goal, then, is to improve> on something already considered by many to be perfect. And that, as it’s turned out, has been a lot harder than Montero and his constantly fluctuating team first assumed. So, first up, we’re delving into what exactly has taken so long – especially in light of 2008′s rather stunning trailer that promised a release date of, er, three years ago.

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

Valve credits 'Miss Stabby' for this image, so I will too. Then I'll firmly reprimand her for LEAVING OFF GABE'S BEARD HOW COULD YOU.

Finding your true calling is tough. Perhaps, for instance, you have the diabolical, mustachioed mind of a puzzle designer, but some horrific mutation has left you with the largely unhelpful hands of a pirate, ghost, or lobster. And also, you’re kind of lazy. Well, so much for coding your dreams into virtual reality. Guess you’ll have to settle for a life of convenience store tedium or awesome high-seas swashbuckling. Fortunately, you’re exactly who Valve had in mind when it created the exceedingly easy-to-use Perpetual Testing Initiative mapmaker. (more…)

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.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

See, you can manufacture your own puzzles. It's a visual metaphor. I am tired.

As hinted at March at GDC, Valve have now announced the imminent release of a puzzle creator for Portal 2. It’s going to be called the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative, it’s going to be out on the 8th May, and most of all, it’s going to be free.

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