Community Announcements - SZ
It isn't often documented, but there tends to be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas across the various teams here at Valve. There are a lot of talented folks walking around the halls here, and it's incredibly helpful to show them things and get their feedback, because with each round of feedback we'll manage to solve a problem or even find some new inspiration. Case in point: When the Source Filmmaker team was working on ideas for what the "Meet the Pyro" would look like, one of the ideas stood out. Not only were we amused at the proposed world of the Pyro, but immediately were thinking of how much fun it could be to play inside it.”

Of course, one of the immediate issues with this was how to bring the pastel color scheme and various whimsical storybook elements that made up Pyro's dream world into the textured world of TF2, with its more naturalistic palette and real-world setting. Achieving the Pyroland look would not only require creating a completely new texture set, but would have to be constrained both by texture memory and artistic resources.

Some of the things we ended up creating to solve this included, firstly, a replacement system that let us override the default textures in the game with an alternate version; and secondly, a new graphics shader system that we called "Pyro Vision". Here's what the final result was, but it took a few tries to get there.



Read the full blog post
TF2 Blog
Kotaku

Hipster Chell Was Inside Aperture Before You Even Knew About ApertureWhen Megan was short on time for her costume for Otakon 2012, this is what she came up with. Hipster Chell. So good. The glasses and beanie may be what first draw the eye, but the kicker is the can of PBR that's powering the portal gun.



Hipster Chell Cosplay- 01 [DeviantArt, via Super Punch]





Hipster Chell Was Inside Aperture Before You Even Knew About Aperture Hipster Chell Was Inside Aperture Before You Even Knew About Aperture
Kotaku





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Half-Life 2 is a vast and interesting game. This YouTuber fragments it into 60 seconds to give you the best, most accurate and important impressions.



And by that I of course mean silliest. Do you ever just randomly talk to the games you play? Poke fun at characters playfully? That's essentially what BlackLightAttack does with his 60 Second Let's Play series.



60 Second Let's Play: Half-Life 2 [YouTube]



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 patch boosts bots, tweaks attack desire, defend desire, Roshan desire">Dota 2 Roshan







There is no desire more potent than Roshan desire as Dota 2's bots learned this weekend with the arrival of a new patch designed to make them smarter. Their eagerness to take on the giant lizard monster deep in Dota 2's jungle will now be dependent on their proximity to said giant lizard monster. If you kill Roshan three times, he drops "cheese." It's best not to contemplate what exactly this "cheese" is, but I like to think that it's a vessel designed to trap Roshan's raging soul in the confines of a highly portable dairy product. A Roshan Babybel, essentially.



Understandably, bots have been reluctant to eat this "cheese," until this latest patch. This is a good change for them, though, as the Roshan Babybel delivers an unrivalled instantaneous boost to health and mana when consumed. Discover more about the tweaks to Dota 2's bots, and scan the latest bug fixes in the latest patch notes below.



GAMEPLAY

- Fixed being able to miss Vendetta

- Fixed Meld sometimes not hitting if you moved quickly after attacking

- Fixed some FOW issues with Spirit Form Illuminate

- Fixed Soul Assumption gaining charges from Illusions

- Fixed some movement formation issues with Familiars

- Fixed Stone Form stun not going off if a Familiar died while casting it



DOTA 2 BOTS

- Fixed bots never using Cheese.

- Fixed bots never using TPs to get back to base.

- Bots will no longer figure out illusions based on the damage the potential illusion is doing.

- Lowered bot farm desire at low health.

- Lowered retreat desire just to pick up items.

- Added a mild distance factor to Roshan desire.

- Baseline push desire is now calculated using the opposing team's total offensive power rather than a constant value (so bots will want more power later in games).

- Bots now just want to equalize power when defending, rather than overwhelm.

- Capped maximum defend desire so that it doesn't trump their attack desire.
Kotaku

Teenagers Step Up to Launch Portal 2's Space Core ... to SpaaaaaaaceLast week, my misidentification of a laser engraving on a space part suggested the wrong personality core from Portal 2 was symbolically being flown to space (a fate echoing the game's story.) A team of 18 teenagers from Nevada stepped in to restore order, and properly send the Space Core—or, well, a plushy version of him, anyway—to near space.



That image above is of Space Core (and an Energizer Bunny) at about 91,000 feet, which were launched yesterday by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas' Summer Advanced Gifted Education Academy—aka smart kids. One, named Jake, enrolled in a class called "Project: Space!" whose goal was to send up two weather balloons. "In the first week, I found out that the majority of the class were huge Portal and Portal 2 fans when we sung both 'Still Alive' and 'Want You Gone' from memory," Jake writes.



After seeing the story last week, Jake proposed the idea of launching a Space Core into space, which was immediately supported. He wrote Valve, which quickly sent back its thanks and encouragement and the Space Core plushy. (The Energizer Bunny was the group's hat-tip to the battery maker, which supplied the power source.)



"After much preparation and anxiety, we sent up the weather balloon [Saturday] morning and retrieved it in the afternoon," Jake wrote. "The balloon ended up going up about 91,000 feet (we could have done better, but the wind decided to make our lives harder)."



The photo above is blurry because the balloon's camera lens still was fogged by a cloud it had passed through. The image is of the balloon just before it burst.



"Lots of things have been sent into space before, but I think this is the first time a space core was sent up," he noted in conclusion. Indeed.



The project team, Flying Apple Space Technologies (so named because Newton's fell to Earth, theirs is going in the opposite direction) is working on uploading a full video of the Space Core's flight. They also have another launch coming up and are keen to find supporters so that they can send up more scientific instruments. Previous launches by the SAGE Academy have included Geiger counters, weather loggers and a flight predictor.


Product Update - Valve
GAMEPLAY
- Fixed being able to miss Vendetta
- Fixed Meld sometimes not hitting if you moved quickly after attacking
- Fixed some FOW issues with Spirit Form Illuminate
- Fixed Soul Assumption gaining charges from Illusions
- Fixed some movement formation issues with Familiars
- Fixed Stone Form stun not going off if a Familiar died while casting it

DOTA 2 BOTS
- Fixed bots never using Cheese.
- Fixed bots never using TPs to get back to base.
- Bots will no longer figure out illusions based on the damage the potential illusion is doing.
- Lowered bot farm desire at low health.
- Lowered retreat desire just to pick up items.
- Added a mild distance factor to Roshan desire.
- Baseline push desire is now calculated using the opposing team's total offensive power rather than a constant value (so bots will want more power later in games).
- Bots now just want to equalize power when defending, rather than overwhelm.
- Capped maximum defend desire so that it doesn't trump their attack desire.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 update: Nyx Assassin, Keeper of the Light and Visage arrive">Dota 2 - nyx assassin close up







As expected, Dota 2 received a bumper round of hero additions this week! Nyx Assassin, Keeper of the Light and Visage the Necro'lic all caught their buses on time and are settling in nicely with their team mates/mortal enemies, depending on how the picks play out. I like to think the Dota 2 heroes are set up in a small town of lodges akin to the Olympic village, where small dramas and rivalries play out with the melodrama of a long running soap opera.



That makes Nyx Assassin the new big bruiser in town, you know, the one with the dark past and a bad attitude with a hidden sensitive side that's gradually teased out as he forms new friendships, like a flower blooming tentatively for young spring sunshine. Except that last part will never happen because he is a GIANT EVIL SCARAB MONSTER. Want to see what he can really do? Let's get into this.



Nyx Assassin

Roses are red, violets are blue, Nyx likes to gank and is right behind you







His bio currently just says "bio" on the Dota 2 official heropedia page, but Dota 2 wiki describes him as a telepathic "zealot scarab." If you want a sense of what he's all about, he has one attack called "impale" and an ultimate called "vendetta." It doesn't matter how you mash the words "zealot scarab vendetta impale" together, you get a recipe for a pretty horrible death. Nyx can mana burn foes to defend or limit their escape powers, coat himself in an array of spikes to reflect damage and stun, and can turn completely invisible for lengthy periods and deal massive damage when springing out of stealth. In short, he's a competent killer with terrible table manners. Here's Dota Cinema's demo showing off his skills.







Keeper of the Light

Pushes lanes with glowing balls of love, is Gandalf







You're a creep, say. That came out wrong. Imagine you're a creep. You're halfway there. You've fought tooth and nail to get past the last wave. The hero supporting you has vanished into the jungle. You make your way forwards with your few remain allies, you turn the corner and suddenly you're obliterated by a wall of HORSES MADE OF LIGHT. Keeper of the Light's illuminate ability is the bane of small-fry lane baddies. He can scrub a path clean as well as any contender, which makes the power that allows him to summon an allied hero from anywhere on the battlefield an extremely useful bonus. Factor in his spirit form, and you have one tough addition to the Dota 2 roster.







Visage the Necro'lic

Glowing blue support gargoyle, comes with goons







If Keeper is Gandalf, Visage is a big, blue Balrog. A slightly tentative Balrog, who doesn't really want to cross that narrow bridge protected by a mad wizard. He'd rather sit back, lay down a few debuffs and then send two flying familiars ahead to deal with the situation. He's pragmatic like that, Visage. There's some resource management involved in keeping him operating at peak efficiency, though. He can layer Gravekeeper's Cloaks to fend off damage, and dish out punishment with stacks of soul charges using his Soul Assumption ability. The ability to throw out gargoyle minions lets him linger near the carnage while hopefully staying out of too much trouble. That's just his style. Some would call it cowardice, but they're all dead now, carrion for his hungry, hungry goons.







The International is coming



We're just weeks away from Valve's second big Dota 2 invitational event, The International. As a result, it sounds as though we won't be getting many new heroes in the coming weeks. According to the latest post on the Dota 2 blog Valve will be "clamping things down a tad, focusing on getting the existing feature and hero set polished to a high sheen."



"Fear not, we will continue to work on new heroes internally, getting them ready for a release once The International is over."



You'll find the full list of teams involved on the International site. It's all kicking off on August 31 in Seattle. For more on the latest additions to Dota 2, surf recent posts on our Dota 2 tag.
Product Update - Valve
HIGHLIGHTS:
- Added Nyx Assassin, Keeper of the Light, and Visage to the Matchmaking Hero Roster and Captain's Mode!
- Added a cooldown to being able to find a match when a player declines or abandons a game.
- Added notification for when a Tournament has a live game currently running.

GAMEPLAY:
- Beastmaster: Fixed Wild Axes working with Refresher.
- Beastmaster: Wild Axes no longer provide vision when they aren't flying.
- Naga Siren: Fixed Dust of Appearance not working against units slept by Song of the Siren.
- Naga Siren: Fixed Ice Blast debuff not getting added to units slept by Song of the Siren.
- Naga Siren: Fixed Weave not affecting units slept by Song of the Siren.
- Phantom Lancer: Fixed Doppelwalk illusions not correctly replicating their inventory item slots.
- Rubick: Fixed Wild Axes being left around when another ability is stolen.
- Sand King: Neutrals can now be damaged by Sandstorm.
- Templar Assassin: Fixed Meld initial attack doing too much damage.
- Slardar: Fixed Bash working while doomed.
- Neutrals damaged by an invisible enemy will now try to run away.

SPECTATING:
- Multiple tweaks to director events and framing.
- Fixed particle effects sometimes not drawing while in Player Perspective mode.

UI:
- Added notification for when a Tournament has a live game currently running.
- The kill card now shows a randomly selected item that the killer is wearing. Also reduced its size.
- Fixed equipping an item in the backpack not jumping to the correct hero in the loadout
- Added Buyback to the spectating stats dropdown.
- Added a cooldown for being able to find a match when a player declines or abandons a game.
- Fixed Storm Spirit Mega-Kill announcer having the incorrect equip slot.

VISUALS:
- Fixed Rubick retaining incorrect skins from stolen abilities when returning to his normal model.
- Meld damage display is now only shown for successful hits.

BOTS:
- Significant revision of how bots determine their high-level desires
- Roshan desire has been significantly reworked. It's now based on how quickly Roshan can be killed given the available heroes and how quickly enemies can show up.
- Evasion desire is now more granular. Things like Blade Fury now cause a range of evasion desire based on the bot's current health.
- Fixed case where bots were trying to path to an invalid location when defending their base.
- Made bots more aggressive about attacking when defending a lane.
- Cleaned up inferred human modes for pushing and defending lanes.
- Made bots less concerned about distance when considering an attack on a pinged target.
- Fixed bug that made pinged towers less likely to attract allied bots that were doing other high-priority stuff.
- Tuned retreat desire values when hurt and close to the fountain.
- Made bots somewhat more likely to buy a flying courier.

WORKSHOP:
- Added a new Import Wearable option to the Publish New Item section of the in-game workshop UI. It will compile, validate, and preview your model before you submit it. When submitting, it also packs the files into a format that makes it much easier for us to bring it into the game.
Kotaku





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You're about to see what happens when a team of "speed-runners" knows enough about the progress and timing of a game that they can finish something that normally takes hours in just over eight minutes.



The run, with video slightly edited for your viewing pleasure, is above, while this online document is full of notes detailing how they actually did it.



For the doubters, there's this:




There were no cheats, hacks, or modifications made to the game while the speedrunning took place. Everything you see in this video can be done on a current Steam version of Portal without using any console commands. Any part where the video "stutters" or when a "console box pops up" signifies a segment. The console box is a demo artifact, and we couldn't fix it from popping up.




And if that's not enough, there's a link to download a demo of the run in full below.



Portal Done Pro-er - Portal Speedrun - 8:31.93 - WR [YouTube, via Beefjack]


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