Eurogamer


Upcoming Valve games Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will support the Razer Hydra PC motion controller.


Motion gaming support has been added to over 250 of the most popular games on Steam, including Left 4 Dead 2, Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2, via creator Sixense's MotionCreatorTM 2.0 software.


Steam users will get motion control updates for current and future titles automatically from now on. A new in-game overlay lets you view control maps for the Razer Hydra as you play.


The Razer Hydra uses an electromagnetic field, via a base station, to track hand movements as you hold two motion-sensing controllers, both complete with thumb sticks.


We first heard of the Razer Hydra Valve love affair early last year, when we discovered those who owned the Razer Hydra were entitled to exclusive Portal 2 content.

Eurogamer


As the wait for news on the next Half-Life game goes on, Valve boss Gabe Newell has explained the famed developer's current strategy on revealing new titles.


Valve's experience with Half-Life and Half-Life 2 caused a rethink, leading the company to back off from talking about future games until they're good and ready, Newell told Penny Arcade.


"Part of the reason that we backed off talking so much about what was happening in the future is that when we've done that in the past, you know, with Half-Life 1 it was a year after we originally said it would be, Half-Life 2 basically if you go and read the forum posts apparently took us 50 or 60 years to get done, so we're trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them.


"So we're sort of reacting in the other direction and saying, 'okay, well let's have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.'"


Valve's continued silence over the next Half-Life, be it Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, has frustrated many of its fans.


Earlier this month 10,000 Valve fans logged on to play Half-Life 2 en-masse in an attempt to make their campaign for more Half-Life information heard. It was the result of a Steam Group, called A Call for Communication (Half-Life), that is lobbying Valve to release more information on the future of the much-loved series.


"The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience. While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return," the group's description reads.


"We're acutely aware of how much we annoy our fans and it's pretty frustrating to us when we put them into that situation," Newell told Penny Arcade, while agreeing with the suggestion that there is tension between all the various projects the company is interested in doing.


"We try to go as fast as we can and we try to pick the things that we think are going to be most valuable to our customers and if there's some magic way we can get more work done in a day then we'd love to hear about it.


"But we recognize that it's been a long time whereas we have so many games that people really love - Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, not a whole lot of Ricochet enthusiasts out there, and at the same time we want to be making sure that those games and those stories and those characters are moving forward while also making sure that we don't just get into terminal sequelitis."


In June 2009 Newell said he had "very good reasons" for not discussing Half-Life 2: Episode 3, but refused to be drawn on them or when the developer would be able to open up about the concluding chapter in the FPS saga.


"I get a ton of email every day saying why aren't you talking about Episode 3? And there are very good reasons why we're not talking about Episode 3, which I can't talk about yet, but I will," Newell said at the time.


And last year, Newell told Eurogamer he wouldn't trade the "enthusiasm and straightforwardness of our fans for a quieter inbox".

Eurogamer


10,000 Valve fans logged on to play Half-Life 2 en-masse in an attempt to make their campaign for more Half-Life information heard.


But that number is far less than the 50,000 users expected to make the gesture.


The A Call for Communication (Half-Life) Steam Group is lobbying Valve to release more information on the future of the Half-Life series - be that Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3.


Still, the group managed to raise Half-Life 2's player figures during the event to 11th on Steam's listing, with in-game numbers up from the average 3000 active players to more than 13,000, Kotaku reports.


Group members have more than doubled since reaching 20,000 last week.


"The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience. While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return," the group's description reads.


Valve has yet to comment on the fan campaign. Did you take part? Was it fun?

Eurogamer


A fan campaign designed to encourage more Half-Life information from developer Valve plans a mass gameplay session this Saturday.


Steam group A Call for Communication (Half-Life), which boasts more than than 29,500 members, has organised a huge Half-Life 2 play session this weekend, designed to raise awareness of its campaign by boosting the game up Steam's most-played list.


The fan collective aims to encourage information from Valve on when the Half-Life series might return, be that in the form of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or a fully-fledged Half-Life 3.


Group numbers have swelled from 10,000 members since the campaign first hit the headlines two weeks ago.


A Call for Communication's Half-Life 2 play session begins at 7pm UK time this Saturday night.


"Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message: 'Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication,'" the Steam group's description reads.


"Hopefully such attention will be recognized by Valve, and the community's voice will be heard."

Eurogamer


More than 10,000 gamers have joined the Steam Group campaigning for more Half-Life communication from Valve.


In other words, fans want to know when the series will return, be it via Half Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3.


"The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience," stated the group. "While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return.


"So, Instead of focusing efforts in a negative and disrespectful way, we have decided to gain Valve's attention by delivering a basic message:

"Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."

A Call for Communication, Steam Group


"Your oldest and longest running fanbase would like better communication."


The Steam Group, named A Call for Communication (Half-Life), added that, "Waiting patiently for over four years is a daunting task, especially when E3 comes and goes without any beat of a Half-Life pulse, time and time again."


"Valve had stated that information was scheduled to be released towards the end of 2008, and we believe that if they have chosen, for whatever reason, to withhold this information, fans should at least be acknowledged in some way, regardless of developmental plans for the next Half-Life project.


"The entire trilogy of episodes was supposed to be completed and released by 2007, and if Valve have decided to do other things for the time being, that is fine; all that we ask for is a basic response on the matter, and to let fans know whether or not the current story arc is scheduled to conclude at another point in time.


"In addition: This message is in no way, shape or form attempting to rush the development of the Half-Life series; in fact, most members agree that Valve should take the time needed to deliver a complete and polished product."


The post concluded with a line asking gamers to join the A Call for Communication Steam Group if they agreed with the sentiment.


"Hopefully such attention will be recognized by Valve," the post closed, "and the community's voice will be heard."


Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released alongside Portal and Team Fortress 2 in autumn 2007. Since then, Valve has produced Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Alien Swarm and Portal 2.


Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are in development.


Few of those games originated inside Valve, however - most were ideas that belonged to external teams or creators Valve eventually hired.


Some observers suggest that Steam's development has hampered Valve's game development; in building the world's most successful PC game digital distribution service, Valve neglected to create new games of its own.

Eurogamer


A Valve employee has been spotted out in the wild sporting a Half Life 3 T-shirt.


As reported by VG247, the unnamed individual was snapped by Chandana Ekanayake of Monday Night Combat studio Uber Entertainment at a Seattle developer event last night.


Ekanayake then posted the image to his Twitter feed, adding that he had asked permission to take the picture.


So, just a spot of cruel trolling on the part of the individual concerned, or is something else afoot?

'Valve employee spotted in Half Life 3 shirt' Screenshot 1
Eurogamer


Valve co-founder and CEO Gabe Newell believes piracy stems not from price, but from convenience. And as Steam boasts fast access to a dizzying selection of games, so piracy has become "basically a non-issue" for Valve.


"In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy," Newell told The Cambridge Student, via VG247. "Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.


"For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24x7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.


"Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company.


"For example," Newell added, "prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe.

"We were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe."

Gabe Newell, CEO and co-founder, Valve


Steam's digital distribution platform requires you download and log into a Steam application each time you wish to play a game. This simple check performs a service many DRM services are criticised for. Steam also ensures games are up to date, as well as offers multiplayer matchmaking facilities, friend lists, achievements and various other platform-based community features.


Such is Steam's persuasion that many top-tier publishers and developers now opt for Steamworks tools to be implemented deep within their games. This packages Steam's clever bits - multiplayer, cloud saving, authentication, etc. - so that developers can build them into games early on.


Half-Life 2 effectively launched Steam in 2004, but it wasn't until 2005 that the service welcomed its first third-party games. Today, seven years after HL2, Steam dominates the PC (and Mac) digital distribution video game market.

Eurogamer


For some, a video game doesn't stop when the power is turned off - their gaming experiences are bleeding into their day-to-day lives.


This can lead to video game-like reactions to real-life situations, Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University have discovered.


It's called Game Transfer Phenomena.


The study - Game Transfer Phenomena in Video Game Playing: A Qualitative Interview Study - interviewed 42 "frequent" gamers aged between 15 and 21 years old. "Many" of the subjects "appeared to integrate elements of video game playing into their real lives".


The full study must be bought for $30. One amusing excerpt reported on The Metro website describe a 15 year-old boy wanting to use a gravity gun from Half-Life 2 to fetch something from the fridge. And why not?


One 19-year-old Price of Persia: Sands of Time enthusiast dropped his sandwich and immediately his finger used to press the rewind-time button twitched. A natural response.


Another 19-year-old thought he could use World of Warcraft's search function to locate his brother in a crowd. What a good idea.


Apparently half of the gamers interviewed said they'd looked for something from a video game to solve a real-life issue. One interviewee apparently saw a menu of topics available for him to think about (Heavy Rain?); another formulated a list of possible responses after being insulted (Mass Effect 2?).


Of course, there is a darker side to all of this. Use of aggressive, criminal and/or violent fantasies as solutions to real-life problems were reported by "a few" of the players.


The Daily Mail focused on one particular 15-year-old who said that "sometimes" he wants to be able to get a gun and "shoot down" people. "Irritating people", mind you.


"A recurring trend suggests that intensive gaming may lead to negative psychological, emotional or behavioural consequences," concluded report author professor Mark Griffiths, "with enormous implications for software developers, parents, policy makers and mental health professionals."


This research is being followed up by a study of 2000 gamers.


The Game Transfer Phenomena report hits headlines a day after Grand Theft Auto was linked to a shooting spree and eventually a murder onboard a Royal Navy submarine.

Video: What a useful tool the Gravity Gun would be.

Eurogamer


Code possibly belonging to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has been spotted in the leaked beta client for Dota 2.


The lines of code are for something called "ep3". Take a leap and transform that to Episode 3, and the code suggests the project lives on.


Not only that, we're also given an insight into some weaponry - an ice gun, a flamethrower and a "weaponizer".


    /src/game/server/ep3/weapon_icegun.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_concrete.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_liquid.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weaponizer_metal.cpp
    /src/game/server/ep3/weapon_flamethrower.cpp


Half-Life 2 was released in 2004; Episode 1 in 2006; Episode 2 in 2007.


Four years and many Valve games - Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2 - have passed since. And now Valve concentrates on Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.


The absence of Half-Life 2: Episode 3 from Valve press releases, coupled with suggestions that the runaway success of Steam may have impeded Valve's game development, have led many to give up hope.


Has the boat sailed for Episode 3? Should Valve instead concentrate on Half-Life 3?


The Dota 2 beta client link comes from Vietnam. Lambda Generation has rounded up the data mined from the leak.

Video: Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

Eurogamer


Garry's Mod has passed the one million downloads mark, six years after it was first made public.


"This is a pretty big deal for me considering this all started off as a tiny tiny modification about six years ago," wrote creator Garry Newman on his blog. "This is more than I could have ever expected or wished for!"


Newman added that he had hoped to have a "big secret update" ready for when the milestone was passed, but it's running behind schedule.


"Anyway – thanks to everyone that's contributed to Garry's Mod – whether that be directly by dedicating your time to creating new content for other players or indirectly by playing and enjoying all that Garry's Mod has to offer!"


Garry's Mod is a physics sandbox 'game' modded from Half-Life 2. The $10 download lets you manipulate and mess around with objects and characters from most Source-powered Valve games.

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