Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 10/30/2013

[SPECTATING]
- Spectating and dead players can now view a series of graphs displaying player/team statistics over time. Graphs are bound to lastinv (q, by default).
- Fixed Avatars being overly bright for the selected player.
- When a player is damaged, their outline is filled with a flashing red 'damage amount' indicator.

[MAPS]
- Adjusted the de_nuke B site particles a bit to make it sort correctly with smoke grenade smoke.

[ COMMUNITY SERVERS ]
- Added experimental support for coaches, which are effectively permanently dead teammates. To enable, set sv_coaching_enabled 1. To coach a team, type either 'coach t' or 'coach ct'.
- Added concommands mp_pause_match and mp_unpause_match which will flag the match to pause indefinitely during freeze time and cancel the pause, respectively.

[MISC]
- Added detection of the case when a client downloads the latest version of a game update and becomes unable to reconnect to their ongoing competitive match on an older game server version. Minimal competitive matchmaking cooldowns will be assigned in this case, and will not increment client's competitive offense level.
- Added server convar sv_force_transmit_players to allow networking player entities to all clients.
- Money of dead players will now more reliably network to teammates at round end instead of waiting until round restart.
- Fixed item icon cache retaining cached icons for items that you no longer own. Should reduce disk usage significantly for frequent traders.
- Fixed the death notice text sometimes getting truncated (and skipping the victim names).
- Fixed two hardcoded UI elements - they now properly use localized tokens.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 10/23/2013

[GAMEPLAY]
- Added eye shielding animation to players blinded by flashbangs.
- Fixed respawning in Deathmatch sometimes choosing a spawn point visible to players when more ideal positions were available.
- Fixed a bug in Deathmatch that could create weapons on the ground if a player spammed his "buy" key immediately upon respawn.

[SPECTATING]
- Added changeable, preset camera positions for all shipped maps that are activated by selecting a player with SHIFT + 0-9 while spectating. (see https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/CSGO:_Spectator_Tools for more info)
- Target players now glow white when viewing from a spectator camera in ROAMING mode.
- When spectating in ROAMING mode, we now draw a subtle Aiming Vector Line that shows each player’s aiming direction.
- Dropped C4 now glows for spectators (yellow = dropped, flashing red = planted, green = defused).
- Added more UI during freeze time to display player money, spent money that round, and kills/assists/deaths.
- Improved armor icons in spectator panels.
- Fixed recoil not being applied in GOTV and replays.
- Fixed UI weapon image sometimes being blank in GOTV.
- StatTrak now displays correct number of kills in GOTV and replays.
- Reenabled the spec_goto command and fixed it not working properly if called from a key bind.
- Moved the autodirector toggle key from “+speed” to “radio3” (from SHIFT key to the C key by default).
- Streams tab now includes 6 live streams.

[MISC]
- Scope lines now blur out completely to better match the weapon's current inaccuracy.
- Improved Fiveseven viewmodel animation
- Improved Tec-9 viewmodel animation
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 10/17/2013

[MAPS]
- de_nuke: Decreased fog

[UI]
- Added Streams tab to Watch menu.
- Friends rich presence now also includes the map if they are reviewing a match from their Match History.
- Fixed being able to invite and message yourself in the Watch menu scoreboard.
- Fixed hitches that would happen when updating match data in Watch menu.
- Reduced memory footprint of Inventory menu.
- Added warning that will show when you have have a corrupt download from Your Games tab.

[GOTV]
- Players in a match can now see the number of GOTV spectators in the scoreboard.
- Added spectator count display to top live Competitive matches.
- Added support for GOTV relays to allow a much large number of spectators for top live Competitive matches.
- Added convar tv_maxclients_relayreserved which allows reserving a certain number of slots from tv_maxclients for GOTV relays.
- Added convar tv_dispatchweight which allows better control of load balancing in relay chains, defaults to 1.25 which for every 4 local spectators will send 5 spectators to each connected relay.
- Fixed empty GOTV spectator chat messages.

[MISC]
- Fixed a crash on startup
- Fixed not being able to equip the default weapon into a loadout slot that previously contained a decorated weapon.
- Improved decorated weapon material compositing to prevent dark patches on some weapons with clean exterior.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Steam Controller video demonstration shows Portal 2, Civilization V, CS:GO">steam portal 2







Valve's Steam Controller is a funny-looking thing—an owl-like game pad with dual trackpads instead of analog sticks. It pairs with Valve's free SteamOS and whatever living room PC it's installed on as a solution to the clumsiness of using a mouse and keyboard on the couch. In a new video demonstration, Valve does its best to convince us that Steam Controller really offers a level of control comparable to our traditional instruments of gaming.



First we see Portal 2, which demonstrates that—unlike analog sticks—the trackpads can be configured for 1-to-1 control. "Directly move your thumb a fixed amount of distance on the pad, and the view will correspond to the fixed amount of distance," says Hardware Engineer Jeff Bellinghausen. Meanwhile, he says, the left trackpad has been configured as a D-pad to simulate WASD.



Later in the video, Bellinghausen plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with great accuracy, though his aiming looks a bit slower than it might have been with a mouse—obviously, we'd need to see a comparison video of him playing with a mouse to know for sure. Civilization V and Papers, Please also demonstrate how accurate the trackpad is for mouse-based games.



It looks like it works—not just like a mouse, but like something more accurate and responsive than analog sticks. Trying to move a mouse pointer around with velocity-based control is miserable, and this doesn't look miserable. Seeing isn't believing—we need to feel this thing in our hands to judge it—but it does build confidence, and Valve will be posting updates like this "frequently."
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 10/10/2013

[GAMEPLAY]
- Improved grenade physics interaction with player models. Grenades bounce off player hitboxes instead of the overall player bounding volume.
- Improved bomb-planting player animation to prevent unintentionally standing when the plant completes. (Thanks Friberg!).
- Re-added support for alternate firing accuracy. This effectively buffs burst fire on the glock and the famas.

[MAPS]
- Fixed minor bugs in cs_siege and de_ruins.

[UI]
- Added the WATCH menu
-- Watch live, in-progress matches played by highly-ranked CS:GO players
-- Access your match history and review the scoreboard for your previous matches
-- Download and watch any of your recent matches.
-- Select 'GOTV Theater' to watch a continuous stream of live matches.
- Pausing/disabling of the GOTV autodirector has been reverted to the old behavior.
- Fixed a bug that allowed you to see the other team's weapons in a competitive game via the spectator menu if you were the last person to die on your team.
- Fixed a case where spectator weapon panel would be missing the weapon in GOTV and demos.
- Fixed a case where the code version of the weapon name would show up in the freeze panel.
- Fixed the Team Value numbers not switching properly after halftime in GOTV or demo playback.
- The bomb icon is now colored in the spectator view so it's more visible.

[MISC]
- Fixed "Bad sequence in GetSequenceName" viewmodel console warnings.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 10/4/2013

[MAPS]
Ali:
-Updated with bugfixes.

[UI]
-Updated the spectator UI
--Spectator UI shows all weapons that a player has equipped instead of just the grenades and currently equipped.
--Moved the armor icons off of the player avatar and updated icon placements.
--Added Team Round Value display when spectating that shows the current equipment value of the alive members of a team versus the other team.
-Updated map selector UI to show more maps on a single page.
-Fixed usp-s and m4a1-s icons not showing up in the spectator hud.
-If the max rounds is set to > 999, it will display in the spectator UI as "--".
-Fixed weapon icons being scaled improperly in the team scoreboard in Arms Race Mode.

[MISC]
-Grenades no longer bounce off chickens.
-Fixed a money exploit in official competitive matchmaking.
-Fixed potential issue where round backups could incorrectly restore some players as dead.
-Fixed round backups not correctly restoring StatTrak knives for players.
-Fixed a bug downloading workshop maps with Steam set to a non-English language.
-Fixed additional memory leaks.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Steam Controller announced by Valve">steam-controller







Rounding out its set of living room-centric announcements this week, Steam Controller has been revealed by Valve, a 16-button, haptic-driven gamepad that Valve says is hackable, includes a touch screen, will feature sharable configurations, and has the ambitious goal of “supporting all games in the Steam catalog.” No price was announced for the controller, and it doesn't appear to feature motion control.

In place of analog sticks, Steam Controller features two circular, clickable trackpads. Valve claims that PC gamers “will appreciate that the Steam Controller’s resolution approaches that of a desktop mouse,” and goes as far to promise that the controller makes games that aren't traditionally suited to playing from the couch--RTSes, 4X games, simulations, and others--controller-friendly.



To compensate for the trackpads’ nature as less-tangible input devices than conventional analog sticks, Steam Controller includes “dual linear resonant actuators” that produce vibration. Valve adds that the controller can serve as a speaker. What seems to distinguish the Steam Controller’s square touch screen from other touch screens is click functionality. “Actions are not invoked by a simple touch, they instead require a click. This allows a player to touch the screen, browse available actions, and only then commit to the one they want,” Valve states in the announcement.



Although Valve was vague on how it plans to implement this policy, it emphasized the openness of the device. "We plan to make tools available that will enable users to participate in all aspects of the experience, from industrial design to electrical engineering. We can’t wait to see what you come up with," Valve says.







We'll await details on price, materials, and an opportunity to try Steam Controller ourselves soon. Snuck into the very end of the announcement is a mention of Steam Machines and SteamOS, the prototype of which Valve says it will share "detailed specs" of next week.



In the meantime, you can become eligible to beta test Steam Controller by following the same steps outlined for the Steam Machines beta.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 9/25/13

[BRAVO]
-Added Competitive Scorecard to the Official Competitive match end scoreboard if the user owns an Operation Bravo Coin. (Previously only visible in the Operation Bravo Coin tooltip).

[GAMEPLAY]
-Suiciding now results in 0 cash awarded for the round.
-Player acceleration is now determined by the player's active weapon max speed.

[MAPS]
-Fixed bugs in Gwalior, Cache, Ali, Seaside and Agency.

[MISC]
-Fixed stock items not displaying possessive information in the freeze panel.
-Fixed some water material fallbacks to not reflect the 2d skybox which caused bad reflections with low shader settings.
-Fixed squished weapon kill icons on Mac.
-Fixed the highest quality items in a Collection failing to be filtered out of the Trade Up Contract interface.
-Fixed a memory leak in client code that also caused performance drops during long gameplay sessions.
-New decorated weapon added to the Assault Collection.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The pros and cons of SteamOS">steamOS







By announcing SteamOS yesterday, Valve declared that PC gaming is more than desktop gaming, that Windows is not our master, and that—finally—cats can own Steam accounts. The free, Linux-based, cat-friendly operating system is designed for gaming on living room PCs, because PC gaming according to Valve isn't about WASD and DirectX—it's about openness and collaboration.



We're free to choose our hardware, our software, our mods, and soon more than ever, how we play, where we play, and whether or not Microsoft gets a cut. If SteamOS takes off, PC gaming will undergo one of its most dramatic changes ever—possibly one more significant than the introduction of the free-to-play model and crowdfunding. That's thrilling, but also scary as hell, so we've worked through our fears with a list of SteamOS pros and cons, followed by deep breaths in anticipation of tomorrow's announcement.



The Pros

 

It's free. If you have a living room PC, or plan to build one, you can ditch Windows for free. That feels really good to say, but the adoption rate hinges on SteamOS launching with native support for everything we want in a media and gaming center. Streaming games from a secondary PC is neat, but we'd rather run them natively on the machine we paid to put in our living room. It also needs native Netflix and Hulu apps, and all the other media services offered by the consoles.



Valve says it's got this covered, announcing that it's "working with many of the media services you know and love," and that "hundreds of great games are already running natively on SteamOS," with native "AAA titles" to be announced in the coming weeks.



It encourages competition in the console market. May the best Steam Box win! Windows isn't designed for TVs, so neither are many PCs. Now Valve is giving away a platform for games, movies, and music, challenging hardware manufacturers to make systems that are powerful, quiet, and inexpensive. It used to be Microsoft vs. Sony vs. Nintendo fighting for the top of the living room ecosystem's food chain—soon it may be Microsoft vs. Sony vs. Nintendo vs. Everyone.



It should run some games better. One of the few advantages consoles have over PCs (whether or not they always make the best of it) is an OS specifically designed for gaming. Meanwhile, we have Windows, which is clearly not designed to be an ideal gaming platform. With SteamOS, however, Valve claims it has "achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing," and is now working on "audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level."



Last year, Valve posted a performance test of Left 4 Dead 2 running on Windows 7 and on Ubuntu, and the Linux build came out ahead, saying that the test "speak to the underlying efficiency of the kernel and OpenGL." This isn't close to being an objective experiment—and we'll look forward to making our own evaluations—but it is encouraging.



It means more Linux games, and more couch-friendly PC games. SteamOS is as much about ditching Windows as it is putting PC gaming in the living room, so it affects even those firmly planted in their desk chairs. If SteamOS achieves the install base it needs for developers big and small embrace Linux, the Microsoft shackles may be broken forever.



The Cons

 

Steam Boxes may struggle to compete in price. A PC designed to run SteamOS skips over the Windows fee, but unlike a console, the manufacturer can't rely on game licensing fees to recoup costs—that money goes to Valve. Sony and Microsoft, however, can price their consoles competitively with that revenue in mind, which gives them the advantage. Valve itself could price hardware this way, but that would undercut third-party hardware manufacturers and could turn out to be anti-competitive. Unless, of course, Valve makes the unlikely move to subsidize the cost of these systems.



It could increase development costs. Major game developers aren't going to ditch Windows, the platform with the world's largest install base. If SteamOS becomes a competitive gaming platform, competitive developers will have yet another version to make, soaking up more resources.



The pessimistic angle is that this can only result in either lower quality games or more expensive games. The optimistic angle is that SteamOS will be embraced and prioritized by developers with the same enthusiasm as the consoles.



It could further fragment games and smother certain genres. If SteamOS eclipses the popularity of desktop gaming, developers will have less incentive to develop desktop games. Just as developers rushed into mobile and Facebook development, we could see a flood of controller-based Steam games that push niche and classic-style PC games into the slums.



It's a scary thought, but when we un-jerk our knees and really consider this scenario, it's a very minor concern. Crowdfunding has proven without a doubt that there's still a huge appetite for old fashioned mouse and keyboard PC games. The positive—and more likely—angle is that we'll see just greater diversity in the Steam library.



It gives Valve even more power over PC gaming. Valve isn't PC gaming. We know that, and millions of League of Legends players, World of Tanks enthusiasts, GOG.com users, modders, and more know that. But Steam is the most popular digital distribution service, and soon, it will be a platform. SteamOS may be free, but it's only as open as Valve allows. We don't know yet if we can use SteamOS to play non-Steam games, or if Valve will make exclusivity deals. We've asked, and Valve's answer will be a huge indicator of its intentions.



If you've got a passionate thought about SteamOS, we'd love to include it in our next issue of PC Gamer. We're always listening at letters@pcgamer.com.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive launches second community map event, Operation Bravo">Operation Bravo







Valve have launched the second community map event for CS:GO, after the first - Operation Payback - proved hugely successful this summer. Once again, eight locations have been chosen as this season's must-visit destinations for the discerning terrorist. For a $6/£3.50 downpayment, you'll secure official server access to each user-made map in casual, deathmatch and - for the first time - competitive modes.



As with Payback, Operation Bravo also supplies buyers with an event coin that displays next to their avatar. The coin can be upgraded through playtime and wins, and grants access to a scorecard, which tracks competitive performance throughout the duration of the event, on both Bravo and regular maps.



And look, there's more. The Bravo pass also grants access to 15 map-themed weapon skins, which will drop periodically during play. Special Bravo-themed cases have also been created, and will get delivered to players' inventories, whether they own a Bravo pass or not.



The new maps for the event are Agency, Ali, Cache, Chinatown, Gwalior, Ruins and Siege. Bravo also includes the return of Seaside. Of course, as with Payback, all maps are currently available through the Steam Workshop, with the pass making them playable on official servers until the end of the event on January 20th.



For more details, see the CS:GO blog's Operation Bravo page.
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