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Shacknews - Steve Watts

If you've been waiting for the right time to bite on Left 4 Dead 2, your patience has paid off. Valve has just released a hefty new update, just as it puts the game on sale for 75% off. This also comes among a tease of several new L4D-related updates coming soon.

The Cold Stream update is a community created campaign in which you'll battle zombies while avoiding a watery grave. The update is free, and also includes the L4D1 campaigns Blood Harvest, Crash Course, Dead Air, and Death Toll. Meanwhile, you can also now play with all Mutations all the time. The Xbox 360 version will be updating soon as well, but will require the Passing DLC for access to the Mutations.

Other announcements include L4D2 as a Games on Demand title on Xbox 360, the impending release of the game on Linux, a Minecraft-inspired community campaign, survivor skins coming to the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft, and the addition of the characters to the Source Film Maker.

If you're tempted to get the game, be advised that it's $4.99 for roughly the next 24 hours on Steam. You would be wise not to wait.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

We may have seen the final release of Half-Life co-op mod Sven Co-op last week, but oh, it's far from over. It's getting a free standalone release on Steam, and Valve has given the team engine access to tinker under the hood and add new features.

The free release through Steam will include the base Half-Life campaign so everyone can play without even owning it, the announcement explains.

"Full engine access will allow many previously impossible features to be added to the game, as well as new functionality for Half-Life's level editor," team leader Daniel Fearon said elsewhere. The announcement specifically mentions "larger and more detailed" levels.

The mod's been going for a staggering fifteen years, but apparently is still warming up.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Valve has muttered and murmured about bringing Steam and its Source engine to Linux before, and now it's revealed the plan--port Steam and Left 4 Dead 2 to Ubuntu 12.04, then work from there. Steam will come to Linux in all its glory, and Valve's building a speedy OpenGL version of Source it can use for more of its games too.

The Valve Linux Team already has Steam and L4D2 up and running natively on Ubuntu, the 11-person group formed in 2011 explains in its first blog post. They need a bit more work before we can all play with them, though, and Valve notes, "Our goal is to have L4D2 performing under Linux as well as it performs under Windows."

Why Ubuntu? The team explains, "First, we're just starting development and working with a single distribution is critical when you are experimenting, as we are. It reduces the variability of the testing space and makes early iteration easier and faster. Secondly, Ubuntu is a popular distribution and has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities."

Depending on how well it goes down, the team will look at bringing Steam to more distros. And, naturally, Valve wants to bring more of its games to Linux.

Linux users have enthusiastically supported efforts to bring proper games to its platform (sorry, Tux Racer), consistently paying far more to the Humble Bundles than Mac and Windows folks.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

After over a year of public testing, Valve will officially launch Left 4 Dead 2's 'Cold Stream' DLC later this month. It packs versions of original Left 4 Dead campaigns Blood Harvest, Crash Course, Dead Air and Death Toll, as well as the community-made Cold Stream. On top of that, a patch launching alongside will make all of the game-altering mutations available at all times.

The DLC and accompanying patch will launch on July 24, Valve revealed in a blog post. Valve put Cold Stream up for public testing last March, followed by the remaining L4D campaigns (No Mercy had launched before). Now, thanks to the wonders of Valve time, it's finally ready to roll out.

Valve has been rotating mutations weekly since February 2010, with only one available at any time. Their weird and wonderful effects have included turning all enemy infected in Versus into tanks with 'Taaannnkk!,' the infinite ammo M60 madness of 'Gib Fest,' and mode-mashup 'Versus Survival.' When the new patch launches in the 24th, you'll be able to play any of them whenever you want.

While the Cold Stream DLC will be free on PC, Valve will most likely charge on 360.

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.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Fortress 2 has concluded its Pyromania update, with new weapons and items to go along with the new mode revealed on Monday. The Scout, Sniper, and Soldier are all getting new weapons, but the Pyro's new item has to win points for creativity.

All users playing through July 5 will get a pair of Pyrovision Goggles, Valve has announced. These let you see the world through the eyes of the Pyro, as revealed in the Meet the Pyro video. After July 5, you'll have to dominate someone wearing a pair to get your own.

Other additions include a new pistol and scattergun for the Scout, carbine SMG and sniper rifle for the Sniper, bazooka for the Soldier, and a new flare gun for the Pyro. This is all in addition to the previously reported Doomsday game mode and, for some reason, an Adult Swim hat. You can see all of the update changes detailed here.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

"I wonder what kind of hats this collaboration will bring about..." - howlthorne

It looks like the Shacknews community hit the nail on the head. Adult Swim and Valve's collaboration has been revealed... and it is a hat. No, not a hat you can wear in real life, silly. It's a free "limited-edition" Robot Chicken hat for use in Team Fortress 2.

The hat is being distributed to subscribers of the Adult Swim newsletter. "If you signed up and confirmed your account by midnight 6/27/12, you will receive your code on 6/28/12. If you signed up after midnight, you will receive your code 7/5/12," the official FAQ reveals.

While this may not be the Team Fortress cartoon we all wanted, Adult Swim is continuing the dangle the Valve carrot in front of friends. "This ain't the last you'll hear from Adult Swim and Valve. Stay tuned," the promo site teases. Oh, so we can get even more hats? We won't fall for that--oh wait. Look at this curious part of the Q&A, as discovered by Joystiq:

Q. Are you making a Team Fortress cartoon?

A. Go ask your mother.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Now that you've had a chance to Meet the Pyro, do you want to make your own Source-powered machinima creations? Well, now you can! Valve is releasing the Source Filmmaker (SFM), the movie-making tool Valve uses to make movies inside the Source game engine. SFM has been used in quite a number of Valve trailers.

SFM is currently available in beta. To apply, simply visit the official website with a computer that already has Steam installed on it. "Initially, we are limiting the number of beta users, but soon we will release the SFM to all users on Steam for free," Valve's FAQ explains.

At launch, SFM will only work within Team Fortress 2, meaning fan-made Half-Life movies using SFM won't be possible for a while. However, Valve notes that "users familiar with modding with the Source engine will be able to mod the SFM build of TF2 to create new worlds."

If you're interested, here's what you'll need for Filmmaker:

  • OS: Windows 7 / Vista (Windows 7 64 bit suggested)
  • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
  • Memory: 2GB (4 GB suggested)
  • Hard Disk Space: At least 15 GB of Space
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce 200 series card or better, or AMD Radeon 3000 series or better (NVIDIA GeForce 400 series or AMD Radeon 5000 series preferred)
  • Monitor: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 suggested)
  • Audio: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • USB headset with mic (suggested)

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Fortress 2 is finally going to let you "Meet the Pyro" this Wednesday. But not content to just push out a zany video, the team at Valve has also planned a large update to the game, appropriately titled "Pyromania." It adds a new map and game mode, along with other reveals still to come.

The TF2 Blog teased the Meet the Pyro video and its associated update, with three days of news bits leading to the update on Wednesday. This first day details the new Doomsday game mode, in which the teams race to get rocket fuel up a slow-moving elevator, so they can launch monkeynaut Poopy Joe into space. You know, that old cliche.

Given the name and the focus on the Pyro, we assume this update will pack some new tools of burning as well. It's unclear yet how this ties into Valve's Adult Swim tease from last week, but that particular mystery will probably become clear soon enough.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Valve has teamed up with Adult Swim to create... something based on Team Fortress 2. Little is known about the collaboration, and it appears we may not hear more until "next week," when the promotion goes live.

The promo site simply teases that Adult Swim and Valve "are teaming up for something you'll probably enjoy." It adds, "to learn how their video game peanut butter will be getting in our network's chocolate, come back next week."

The Verge postulates that the partnership could be related to the various character videos released by Valve thus far. "Meet the Pyro" is the next video scheduled for release, and lo and behold, the Pyro appears on Adult Swim's newsletter sign-up page.

...

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