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Team Fortress 2

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hero Academy coming to Steam. Includes TF2 characters and cross-platform play">Hero Academy







Have I told you how brilliant Orcs Must Die! is recently? I probably have, I say it a lot. Did you know the developers, Robot Entertainment also made an IOS turn based battle game called Hero Academy? Well if you didn't, now you do, and you should also know that Eurogamer are reporting that it's coming to Steam.







The Steam version of the game will allow for cross platform play with the iOS version, letting you show those trendy Apple folk just who knows more about turn based combat. Oh, and if you own the game on both formats, they'll sync up too. Also, getting the PC version gives you a new squad of heroes based on adorable big headed versions of Team Fortress 2 characters. There's nothing about this announcement that isn't brilliant.



Hero Academy has been out on IOS for several months now, and has gotten a lot of praise so far. Even PC Gamer's own Chris Thursten has spent many a lunchtime furiously tapping away as his iPhone because of it. The game is simple, two teams face each other across a battle grid trying to destroy each others crystals. Each turn lets you re-arrange your troops, bring in new ones or use abilities, then you send it off. When the other player has figured out his move, the game proceeds. Like Frozen Synapse, you're free to have as many games as you want on the go at once, so you're never just sitting around waiting for your opponent to log in.



Hero Academy will arrive on PC on the 8th of August.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Team Fortress 2 Pyromania patch is live">Team Fortress 2 - meet the pyro







Team Fortress 2's latest update has landed and it's magical. A whole new batch of items have been added that allow the wearer to see the world as the Pyro does. And if you don't know what that means, be sure to watch Meet the Pyro (embedded above) before reading on.



Watched it? Good, then I'll carry on.



The update gives every class a pair of Pyro goggles, which allow them to see into the magical world of Pyroland. A whimsical, beautiful place where no-one dies and everyone is friends.

In Pyroland, everything is brighter and more colourful. There's no blood or pain, instead hurt enemies spray balloon and confetti, and laugh in excitement. Medikits look like cakes, and dominations are friendships. Also, all the signs read "MMM MMMPH".



The goggles aren't the only way to visit Pyroland, using any of the new items (many of which we saw in Meet the Pyro) will do it. Weapons include there's the Rainblower, a flamethrower that fires rainbows, a giant lollipop shaped axe called the Lollichop. While miscellaneous items like the Burning Bongos, The Infernal Orchestra and the Balloonicorn will do it. These items look like default weapons to anyone who can't see into Pyroland, but those who can will perceive them in their full glory. Oh, and did we mention you can buy a real Balloonicorn? Well you can, and it comes with the item code too.



There's a hilarious summary of the new items on the Team Fortress update page, but more details can be found on the Team Fortress wiki. Meanwhile, we've included some screenshots of our own journey into Pyroland below.



















PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Valve to release its trailer-making tool to the public: Source Filmmaker">source filmmaker







Valve appended a tiny, incendiary surprise bomb to the end of the Meet The Pyro video: they've announced a free tool called Source Filmmaker. It's going into closed beta (apply here) and currently only supports Team Fortress 2. But beyond that, it seems like a suite that will equip machinima creators to truly tinker with what they produce; Valve says it'll let you "repurpose the video game world into a virtual movie studio." Among the tool's capabilities, you can make adjustments mid-playback, hand-animation of models, GPU-powered facial animation, and, amazingly—using Team Fortress 2 multiplayer to capture editable shots.



Valve created a video walkthrough of Filmmaker that also provides a behind-the-scenes glance at the creation of some of their TF2 shorts. Come watch within.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to TF2′s Meet The Pyro video is live">do you believe in magic







Team Fortress 2's final "Meet The" video is up. Finally, the complex psychosis of the Pyro is revealed in all its sugar-coated strangeness.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Buy low, sell high in Team Fortress 2′s “peculiarly sophisticated barter economy”">tf2







Yanis Varoufakis, Valve's new economist-in-residence, has posted his first investigation into Team Fortress 2's economy. The hat trade is more fascinating than I anticipated. Varoufakis' educational post explains (in terms non-economists can understand) two notable observations: the existence of an unusually complex barter economy in TF2, and the room for arbitrage -- buying low and selling high -- within it.



Varoufakis explains that barter economies are "cumbersome" because trades require a "double coincidence of wants" -- that is, two parties who each want what the other offers. Because of this, he says, economic complexity breeds currency, and that's why we've never witnessed "truly sophisticated barter economies." In TF2, however, the story is different.



"I was expecting to find that some item or asset would emerge as currency in the context of games such as Team Fortress 2," he writes. "However, a close study of our Team Fortress 2 economy revealed a more complex picture; one in which barter still prevails even though the volume of trading is skyrocketing and the sophistication of the participants’ economic behavior is progressing in leaps and bounds."



In his exploration of TF2's "peculiarly sophisticated barter economy," Varoufakis goes on to explain the concept of economic equilibrium, and charts periods of high arbitrage potential. He outlines economics fundamentals clearly and concisely, and I highly recommend reading the whole post. Especially if you strive to have more hats and guns and stuff than everyone else.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Team Fortress 2 Pyromania event adds new map, new mode, Meet the Pyro incoming">Team Fortress 2 - meet the pyro



DOOMSDAY is the name of a new map added to TF2 today to celebrate the imminent release of the final TF2 class short, Meet the Pyro. The map commemorates the death of aeronautics monkey, Poopy Joe by having players recreate his demise. A quantity of precious Australium must be delivered to a rocket to provide enough power to launch, thus explosively initiating the space simian's ill-fated cosmonautical career.



The addition of Doomsday celebrates the launch of the three day update, which will conclude with the unveiling of Meet the Pyro on Wednesday. You can keep up with the latest updates on the Team Fortress 2 Pyromania page.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Calculate your Steam hours-played, shameful backlog with this web utility">steam hours played







A gentleman named Lambent Stew has put together a webpage that gathers some of your Steam data and arranges it like little quantitative ducks in a row. How nice.



There are a number of homemade utilities that reconstitute Steam information, like a Steam sales tracker, and a Steam account value calculator. What's unique to this one is it outputs some useful aggregate data, like total hours played, and what percentage of games you've bought you haven't opened, you jerk. Good lord, I haven't played 1,006 games. Tonight, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, it's you and me.





PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Surprise, surprise: Dota 2 will be free to play, store to support community item creation">Dota 2



It's barely news, I know: Valve just sent out a sneaky 7 o'clock press release formally declaring Dota 2 free to play. Like League of Legends and nearly every other MOBA known to man, it'll supported by microtransactions.



More noteworthy is the confirmation that Dota 2 will utilize Steam Workshop, and that, like TF2, the Dota Store will be putting player-made items on sale. A few are on sale now, actually—the "Early Access Bundle." "The opening of the Dota Store is a big part of our final push to launch," said IceFrog, design lead on Dota 2.



Dota 2 will release on PC later this year, Valve says. Expect a big coming-out party for the game during The International at PAX Prime.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 officially free to play, all heroes will be free, store to sell community-created items">dota 2 free



Unusually close to our bedtime, Valve has launched Dota 2's microtransaction shop as it formally declares the game free to play. Click here to read the fancy Dota 2 Store announcement page.



We expected Dota 2 to be a free-to-play game—that's barely news. But more noteworthy is the confirmation that all of the game's playable heroes will be free with no limitations, that Dota 2 will utilize Steam Workshop, and that, like TF2, the Dota Store will be putting player-made items on sale. 67 items are in Dota 2's section of the Steam Workshop now, and almost 200 are in the Dota Store.



Dota 2 will release on PC later this year, Valve says. Expect a big coming-out party for the game during The International at PAX Prime.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Valve employee handbook leaks, read it here">valve employee big



The Internet is often a place for things that don't belong on it. Things like a 56-page internal manual written for the people that work at the most private gaming company in the world.



Yep, you can read that now. What appears to be Valve's 2012 Employee Handbook has crept onto the web, and it's just as insightful to read as that incredible blog by Michael Abrash from last week.



It's a rare, detailed self-description of the company that includes mantras like "We are all stewards of our long-term relationship with our customers," policies like "Nobody has ever been fired at Valve for making a mistake. It wouldn't make sense for us to operate that way," and expressions of Valve's independence that include "Fortunately, we don’t have to make growth decisions based on any external pressures—only our own business goals."



Click inside to see the handbook.



The document is also filled with custom illustrations. And at least one Half-Life 3 logo. Sections of special interest include the entries:

"What is Valve not good at?" (p. 52)

"How does Valve decide what to work on?" (p. 13)

"But what if we ALL screw up?" (p. 23)





The handbook (PDF) was originally found here. A bottom-page watermark claims "handbook courtesy Valve." Well, duh. I've uploaded a copy to our server that you can read here.
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