Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

It's all go at Payday: The Heist developer Overkill Software these days. As well as working on a sequel and DLC for its coop crime caper FPS, and being acquired by Starbreeze Studios, the Swedes have revealed they're working with Valve on something Left 4 Dead-y.

"We are excited to be able to confirm that an in-depth collaboration between Overkill and Valve is currently in production," Overkill game director Ulf Andersson said in a statement (via VG247).

"We are working on a very cool blend of Payday and Left 4 Dead. I am sure it is so exciting that it will have some players check into the hospital before we are done."

As for what this'll actually be, who knows? Payday clearly took a few hints from Valve's zombie 'em up, so it wouldn't be too jarring for the worlds to collide. Valve characters often make appearances in other games, but that probably wouldn't meet the "in-depth" requirement. Might that mention of the hospital be a cheeky nod to Left 4 Dead's 'No Mercy' campaign, set around an overrun hospital?

The original group of Starbreeze has three projects in the works itself.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Portal 2's map creator was only released a few days ago, but it's already being deemed a success based on early results. Players have created more than 35,000 maps, and, those have been downloaded more than 1.3 million times, Valve announced yesterday.

To mark the occasion, Steam is holding a Weekend Workshop sale on the various games that make use of its Steam Workshop feature. Portal 2 is 66% off ($6.79), The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is 33% off ($40.19), and many Team Fortress 2 Workshop items are 50% off.

Team Fortress 2 has had a bustling user-creation community for pieces of equipment, and Bethesda recently noted it had hit 13 million downloads of Skyrim modes through Steam. Portal 2's puzzle creator has just gotten off the ground, but it's off to a good start.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

As promised, Portal 2's "Perpetual Testing Initiative" DLC is now available for everyone that owns the game on Steam. This is a "simplified puzzle maker" that allows players to create, share, and play homemade Portal 2 puzzles via Steam Workshop.

Within an hour of release, there are nearly a hundred maps already created--and that number is likely to increase exponentially.

In the future, Valve plans on expanding the creation tools to allow for co-op puzzles. Until then, aspiring puzzle makers will want to create the most fiendish single-player challenges.

If you don't already have Portal 2, Valve is running a limited time sale on the game. You can pick up Portal 2 for $6.79, or get a bundle of Portal 1 and 2 for $8.49.

Shacknews - Garnett Lee

Portal 2 gets a new DLC puzzle creator, called the Perpetual Testing Initiative, for free next week. We'll look at it closer then. Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is going back to the survival horror genre, after bowing out at RE4. His new game is codenamed Zwei. And finally, NBA Baller Beats is unveiled as a Kinect game where you do the dribbling. Put it all together for a great edition of Shacknews Daily.

Check out today's episode of Shacknews Daily.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Were this high school, the idea of a "Perpetual Testing Initiative" would not be met with open arms--even if it were free. However, when Valve announces said program for Portal 2, people get excited.

The next DLC for Portal 2 will be available on PC and Mac on May 8th, the company has announced.

The "PTI" is simply a new name for the in-game map editor that Valve has already announced. It will allow players to play, create, and share Portal 2 puzzles. Fans will be able to browse the Steam Workshop to not only find user-generated levels, but also vote on them.

Unfortunately, the initial release of the DLC will not include support for co-op puzzles. However, Valve is still working on adding that in the future.

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

It seems like Valve is committed to bringing its prized digital distribution service Steam to Linux users at some point in the relatively near future. Recent news indicates that Valve has not only hired Linux developers to help port Steam and the Source engine to the OS, but Valve's Gabe Newell is now overseeing the port.

Phronoix.com's Michael Larabel recently spoke with Newell about the porting process, and claims that Steam will become available for Linux in the next few months.

"Gabe's vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point," Larabel said. He goes on to state that although Linux development has been going on at Valve for some time, Newell's personal involvement in the project (including relocating his desk to the Valve Linux Development camp), bodes well for the project reaching critical mass more quickly.

As far as the Source Engine port goes, Left 4 Dead 2 is being used as the test case, largely due to the solid nature of the game's code. Despite a few snags, Larabel asserts that the project is moving along at a good clip, and notes that the developer's flat management structure is at least partly responsible for contributing to delays in the port's development.

Larabel also claims that Newell isn't a big fan of the nearly ubiquitous operating systems like Windows or OSX, or the upcoming Windows 8, in particular. "His level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning," Larabel said of his meeting with Newell.

While it's reasonable to assume that a number of folks will be excited about finally getting some Steam in their Linux, the port of the OS could have larger implications. For example, one needs only look as far as the news that Valve has been exploring the possibility of creating some new gaming hardware and wearable computers.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Three special new hats have been only added to Team Fortress 2, but only three--ever. These "one-of-a-kind" hats move from player to player each day, going to, essentially, whoever's willing to spend the most money on various items in TF2's in-game store.

The Dueler, Philateler and Gifting Man From Gifting Land hats will change ownership each day, being rewarded to the players won the most duels, bought the most Map Stamps, and gave the most gifts, respectively, the day before.

While the duel items can be given as random drops, Valve also sells them in the Mann Co. store, and Stamps and gifts can only be bought. Conspicuous consumption has never been so fetching!

"Presumably wearing these one-of-a-kind hats will make the winners feel like they've achieved something. Or not, I could give a damn. So long as they make you all better killing machines," The Administrator explains in a blog post.

The update also added Strange Parts, letting players customise Strange weapons so they track more than simply kills. The new parts track stats including buildings destroyed, airborne enemies killed, and projectiles reflected. They're only found in dropped crates, which you'll need to buy keys to open.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Three special new hats have been added to Team Fortress 2, but only three--ever. These "one-of-a-kind" hats move from player to player each day, going to, essentially, whoever's willing to spend the most money on various items in TF2's in-game store.

The Dueler, Philateler and Gifting Man From Gifting Land hats will change ownership each day, being rewarded to the players won the most duels, bought the most Map Stamps, and gave the most gifts, respectively, the day before.

While the duel items can be given as random drops, Valve also sells them in the Mann Co. store, and Stamps and gifts can only be bought. Conspicuous consumption has never been so fetching!

"Presumably wearing these one-of-a-kind hats will make the winners feel like they've achieved something. Or not, I could give a damn. So long as they make you all better killing machines," The Administrator explains in a blog post.

The update also added Strange Parts, letting players customise Strange weapons so they track more than simply kills. The new parts track stats including buildings destroyed, airborne enemies killed, and projectiles reflected. They're only found in dropped crates, which you'll need to buy keys to open.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Portal 2 started off as a very different game: one without Chell, GLaDOS, or even portals. Speaking at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Valve writers Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw talked about the many concepts they had to throw away before they crafted the game that ended up being one of the best games of 2011.

For example, what's that above? It's a rare look at the game's canned competitive multiplayer mode. "While it's fun for about two seconds to drop portals under people and things like that," Wolpaw explained. "It quickly just devolves into pure chaos."

An alternate intro to the game

The original concept for Portal 2 featured a different main character, but the concept behind how the game would start was largely the same. Here, the player is waking up in a gorgeous environment designed to look like paradise--but it quickly falls apart in The Truman Show-fashion, revealing that the player has been trapped in a relaxation chamber for an unknown period of time.

Betty replaced GLaDOS

Before deciding on reviving GLaDOS for the sequel, Valve explored setting Portal 2 in the past. It would be a prequel without portals, one where Aperture Science's Cave Johnson would be the villain. Without an ominous robotic overlord threatening your life, Valve played with a number of ideas for robotic partners--like Betty, seen above.

Co-op had players retrieving human artifacts

The co-op story was also different. Originally set after the events of Portal 2, GLaDOS originally sent the robotic pair on quests to find human "artifacts" in order to become more human. One such artifact was this comic, obviously inspired by Garfield.

Chell would've no longer been mute

Portal 2's original ending was quite the opposite of the astronomical finale gamers were ultimately presented. One concept had players needed to use a voice command to take back control from the game's final villain. Poking fun at Chell's apparent muteness, the game would fade to black as Chell uttered one word that would close the game--"yes."

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Several hours of Steam downtime on Sunday left poor PC gamers unable to play their Steam games, caused by a power failure at Valve's data center. Initial reports suggest some of the desperate afflicted resorted to archaic and torturous forms of Sunday afternoon entertainment, including taking a stroll in the countryside, imbibing ale in a pub, and conversing with loved ones.

"Our data center's uninterruptible power supplies experienced a power failure," Valve's Al Farnsworth explained on the Steam forums. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Over 5 million Steam users were online when the troubles began at around 10:30am Pacific on Sunday. Some members of our fine Shacknews community reported not being able to use any part of Steam, while others could apparently still play games. The servers were back up and running by about 2:20pm.

...

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