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The longevity of Team Fortress 2 continues to astound me. It became free in 2011, but still Valve is grinding out updates (494 patches as of May 2015), reaping the benefits of the virtual hat trade. The coming months will be huge for Team Fortress: the long-rumoured competitive matchmaking has been confirmed, and a Steam group has been set up to coordinate beta invites.
Matchmaking was brought up in a visit to Valve HQ by the community at teamfortress.tv in April last year. To their surprise, Valve was right onboard with the idea, but this is the first official confirmation of impending change.
As to the group, Valve says it'll "be using this group to send out announcements related to the competitive beta as well as seed beta invites for the expansion of the closed beta". Get on in there.
Push Half-Life 3 to the back of your mind, where it surely spends most of its time these days. How about some new Half-Life 2? Indie dev Richard Seabrook has spent the past two years working on a continuation of Gearbox's Half-Life 1: Opposing Force story, and the result, Prospekt, is said to match Half-Life 2: Episode One in length. February 11 is the big day.
At one point in Prospekt's development, Seabrook loaded it onto memory sticks, packed them in a briefcase adorned with the lambda logo and dispatched it to Gaben. He did not hear back. After passing through Greenlight, however, Prospekt gained Valve's nod of approval for the licence and assets.
As Gordon Freeman is cornered in Nova Prospekt, the Vortigaunts teleport US Marine Adrian Shepherd into the fray to give him a fighting chance. That's you. In total, Prospekt has 13 levels (including a return to Half-Life 1's Xen, which the long-running Black Mesa project is still working on) and upgrades the visuals of the original setting.
Prospekt will cost 7.50/$10. You don't need to own Half-Life 2 to play, but I'm saying that you should own Half-Life 2, you strange maverick.
We enjoyed a musical interlude last week in the form of an 80-person chorus singing the Skyrim song Dragonborn, despite the fact that it was a couple of years old, for two reasons. One, it was still really cool, and two, the track will appear on The Greatest Video Game Music III - Choral Edition, a new album—do the young people still call them albums?—that's coming out on January 29. Today we have another track to share with you, and even though there's no video this time around, I think you might like it.
Covering Still Alive is a tough nut to crack under the best of circumstances, because the original was essentially perfect. Even so, I like this version. It doesn't really kick into gear until around the halfway point, when the chorus gets involved, and even then it's not as boomingly powerful as Dragonborn—although that's not really a surprise, is it? But there's something almost playful about it, and despite the obvious Serious Business of 80 elite Swedish voices united in harmony, the choral take on it somehow comes off as lighter and more irreverent than GLaDOS' own rendition.
The Greatest Videogame Music III Choral Edition is a collaboration between the Swedish choir Orphei Drangar and singer Myrra Malmberg, who has appeared in numerous stage productions as well as Swedish versions of animated films including Aladdin, Happy Feet, and Toy Story 3. It will feature 13 tracks in total:
The Greatest Videogame Music III Choral Edition is available for preorder on iTunes.
The Overwatch beta has been gone for a little while, but there are plenty of ways to prepare for the game s return—or simply to pass the time while you wait for your invite. You can of course read up on heroes and abilities, watch videos or listen to podcasts, but if you re like me you d prefer to jump in right away. Overwatch is not a typical shooter, so get ready to practice your technique in a few different games.
After having played Overwatch for a couple weeks, I can happily say that these are two very different games—but Team Fortress 2 is a close enough match for us to use as a learning tool. Playstyles are generally similar, and certain TF2 classes share close similarities with particular Overwatch heroes.
Picking up the Sniper with a bow is a decent way of getting used to the way Hanzo has to lead his targets, while using the basic sniper rifle is a good way to hone your Widowmaker skills. The Scout is a decent class for learning how to play as Tracer, but lacks Tracer s ability to quickly retreat from a dangerous situation. Get used to flanking your opponents and escaping when they turn their focus on you.
The similarities between Junkrat and the TF2 Demoman are very clear: They both have grenade-like ammunition which requires a very specific set of skills to use correctly. Torbj rn is Overwatch s answer to the TF2 Engineer. Getting used to carefully locking down an area while aggressively defending your turrets is valuable training.
Valve s Medic uses the same style of healing as Blizzard s Mercy: a healing streamforms between the healer and their target, forcing the two to stick together. The Medic will teach you how to dodge danger while maximising your usefulness.
Overwatch is to Counter-Strike what a Steelseries Rival is to an Apple Magic Mouse. They might technically fall into the same category, but are almost nothing alike when you get your hands on them. The one thing you can get from playing CS in a competitive setting is communication skills. A Counter-Strike match stands or falls with a team s communication so try to focus on that while you use the new R8 Revolver, the gun that gets closest to making you feel like McCree. Aim is important in both games, which is the one skill that s very easy to practice in CS:GO. Download training_aim_csgo2 and try to get a decent score with the M4. Make sure you keep a note of your in-game sensitivity if this is the way you re going to be practising your aim, because you ll want to transfer that over to Overwatch:
Everyone who played FPS games in the 90s has played at least one game in the arena shooter genre. The Quake and Unreal series are legends and have inspired many games that look at lot like them. Among those games is Warsow, a personal favorite of mine. The game is fast as hell and has a lot of cool movement mechanics that will teach you how to quickly maneuver yourself through a map: a skill that will come in handy when playing heroes like Genji, Tracer and Lucio.
Warsow isn t as popular as Quake so it s harder to find servers with players, but try finding an instagib server with a couple friends and you re guaranteed to have a lot of fun while getting used to the insane pace of the game. Warsow is free and won t take up much space on your PC so there s no reason not to give it a try!
Many people have suggested games like Dota or League of Legends as a way to learn cooldown management, but the cooldowns in Overwatch are so low that there s really no point in trying to learn a much more complicated game just to take such a small part of it over to your professional Overwatch career. I do believe any class/role-based team game is a good tool for learning how to play in a team, but unless Overwatch is your first team game, you should already have a vague idea of how that works.
Overwatch relies on aim, teamplay and twitchy reflexes so any game that helps you improve those traits is a good way to spend your time while we wait for the beta to return—and hey, if you don t care about improving at Overwatch, there s always time for Agario.
PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!
Joy to the world, the tests are run! The result is a spectacular three-minute Portal carol built in Source Filmmaker by Harry 'Harry101UK' Callaghan. The turrets—including the Animal King, naturally—have come together at this special time of year to spread neurotoxin to the tune of Mykola Leontovych and Peter J. Wilhousky's Carol of the Bells.
Callaghan did the voices and music himself, with turret rigs provided by August 'Rantis' Loolam, which is an exhausting array of talent and an indictment of my own sorry skillset. You can find his YouTube channel here, and the song is available on Bandcamp.
Team Fortress 2's Tough Break Update has landed, bringing with it 26 new contracts, a weapon-loaning program, and the ability to have your character perform dance aerobics via a newly added taunt (see above).
Completing the new contracts will grant you access to three new weapon collections you can't receive otherwise, as well as a chance of winning a unique or strange weapon plus a weekly cosmetic item box drop (which we assume includes some new hats). Speaking of weapons, the new loaner program allows you to participate in contracts even if you don't have the required weapon for it. From the update page:
"Don't have the ordinance you need to finish a weapon-specific contract? Don't worry! (Seriously, calm down.) Now you can borrow it for the duration of the contract, thanks to Mann Co's new community outreach program for wayward guns, the Loaner Program! Give double-donking a try! Lob a fresh jar of body-temperature Jarate at your enemies! Go w+m1 with the Backburner! It's like a library, but for murder accessories!"
Keep in mind, you need to buy into the Tough Break Campaign ($5.99) to participate. Opening those cosmetic and weapon cases will require a special key, of course, which sell for $2.50. The enjoyable Mannrobics taunt can be purchased for a slightly-less enjoyable $10. I just tested the loaner program, and it doesn't cost a rental fee or anything, it simply gives you the weapon you need (it's untradable and can't be used for crafting) and returns it when you're done with the contract.
In addition, the update features four new community maps (a portion of the entry fee goes to the maps' makers), one for Payload, Control Point, King of the Hill, and CTF modes. There are a couple other new taunts as well, including one where the Engineer summons a sentry-like mechanical bull and rides it while laughing (also $10), and one that allows the Demoman to play the bagpipes about as well as you'd expect him to ($5).
Naturally, there are a host of general gameplay changes that tweak weapon damage, weapon switch speeds, and a host of other bits and bobs you can read about fully here.
You'll soon be able to dress the Team Fortress 2 guys up as batmen and robins, thanks to a load of new gear designed by the community. The winners of the Warner Bros-sponsored Arkham Knight contest have been announced, in which 3D modellers were asked to make Batman-themed accessories for a chance to win a pile of Warner Bros. games. It's not clear when the items will be made available in the game, but you can see them on the Steam Workshop here.
The three winners have been shown off on the Team Fortress blog, along with some cool honourable mentions. Here are a few of my favourite entries:
Pining for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 is so passe. I'm more interested in Episode 4, which was being developed by Arkane until it was killed for being too good for this world. Or, for sensible reasons as revealed by Valve's Marc Laidlaw three years ago. It was to return players to Ravenholm, hence the name 'Return to Ravenholm', and some legit-looking screenshots seemed to bear that out.
I'm not just bringing this up to open old wounds—some new screenshots have been unearthed courtesy of those scamps at ValveTime. There are 11 of the beggars, purportedly taken from the portfolio of one Robert Wilinski, a Senior Environment Artist who was at Arkane between 2007 and 2008. You've already seen one above, but here are a few extra of the more interesting ones. (Having said that, they're all a bit boring—damned sewer levels.) Click this link, or watch the following video, for the others.
There are also a couple of images reportedly of Arkane's similarly cancelled The Crossing. It wasn't Half-Life related, but at least it wasn't set in a bloody sewer.
Portal's companion cubes, cake, and other memes that have been thoroughly run into the ground are coming to Rocket League next month, as bits of free car clobber you can win at random at the end of every match. They're officially licensed by Valve, and comprise cubes, cores, cake and various types of gel—all good things to slather all over your car.
Here's the full list:
The customisation items are coming to Rocket League on December 1, and are "potentially rewarded at the end of every match, win or lose". It's a nice incentive to keep playing, regardless of how your team is doing—so no more quitting mid-match like a big baby.
That's not the only update coming to Rocket League next month. On December 14 it's getting a particularly Christmassy game mode that replaces the giant football with that most festive of sporting paraphernalia: the hockey puck.