Notch is currently busy "streaming development of something that probably never will be released at all," which seems a shame, because it's a lovely little Team Fortress 2 RTS. You can watch Noch magically turning numbers and letters into scenes of TF2's eight classes fragging each other in the livestream box above. Don't worry, "Herp Derp Herp Fortress" is only a working title for now. You can suggest some alternative names in the live chat happening alongside the stream on Notch's Twitch TV channel.
We've seen some impressive fan-made Portal guns in the past, but they've been rare, costly one-off projects. Valve are giving us the chance to get hold of our own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Devices without having to burn ourselves horribly putting together an injection mould. Joystiq mention that, at Valve's request, toy manufacturers, NECA have put together a life-sized Portal gun. It'll hit the shops this summer with a $130 price tag attached.
There will be lights and those lights will change colour, but will it make the "pwung" noise? There's only one way to find out, and that's to buy at least five. Perhaps ten. Maybe more. More. MORE.
NECA will also be releasing a line of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life action figures, a few of which were shown off at the NYC Toy Fair. The Team Fortress 2 wiki has a snap of the new figures, you'll find that below along with a few shots of that Portal gun. Baggsy the Heavy.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team just published a blog update detailing how future sets of beta keys for the game will be sent out. Key recipients will be selected from a pool of people that've completed a survey. The survey is a simple template intended to judge your CS savviness, combined with an automated peek at your hardware. Copy this into a Windows Explorer address bar to open Steam and start the survey: steam://takesurvey/2/
Being absolutely honest about your skill, as I have above, is probably in your interest. "Over the coming months we will make selections from the survey participants. Sometimes we might add experienced players, other times new players. Sometimes 1.6 players, sometimes CSS players, sometimes people who have played neither."
"If you don’t fill it out, you won’t be getting a key," reads the post. Of course, Valve also states that active, current CS:GO players can expect to receive keys to gift to their friends through Steam.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta has sprung into action after a quiet couple of months. Last week the CS:GO website updated with the announcement of the addition of "more maps, more weapons, and most importantly more players." A massive patch added three new maps, Inferno, Train and Nuke and the weapon selection has been expanded with the addition of the Nova shotgun, Bizon and MP7 SMGs.
7,000 beta invites were also set out last week, with another 2000 planned for today. Valve say that they're sending out invites to active Counter-Strike community members, and are running contests on big CS sites like Gamebanana. "We will also have a survey up in the coming weeks that can help you get your name on the list for a key," they say.
The new Counter-Strike blog also mentions Valve's plans to balance the game based on feedback from top CS pros. Their main focus at the moment is on weapon recoil, which is essential to the feel of Counter-Strike's finely balanced guns.
"Recoil is tricky. It isn’t just math. It’s also about feel and one of the defining parts of Counter-Strike," say Valve in the latest blog post. "A few weeks back we had pro player Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo by our offices and one of his biggest pieces of feedback he gave us was about recoil. It was still too hard to control."
Valve have adjusted weapon recoil twice in the last week, bringing it down and then asking players for their opinions each time. "During this Beta, community feedback is really important to us," they explain. "Counter-Strike has been around for 12 years and has been played by over 25 million players. We want to make sure to capture all of that experience and knowledge as we make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the best version of Counter-Strike."
Gamers eh? It doesn't take long. The Something Special for Someone Special item landed in TF2 yesterday, and it's already shrouded in filth. The $100 wedding ring is a one use only item but every time someone accepts a proposal, every TF2 player logged in to the server gets a notification. And PC gamers like expressing themselves publically.
Click through for some of the more amusing notifications, courtesy of reddit. Warning, one of them is a bit rude.
Let us know any proposals I've missed in the comments and I'll update the post accordingly.
The Something Special for Someone Special item was in a secret update back in December, but you can now buy it. For a hundred dollars. "It's ring-shaped, it's gift-wrapped, it's basically useless, and it's really expensive," say Valve. "In short, it's the most accurate simulation of an actual Valentine's Day gift ever made available to the public."
The ring will let you "marry" another player in the middle of a fire fight. You have to gift the item to make a proposal. If they accept, a big trumpeting message will tell everyone that you're in wuv, and you and your new partner will get matching diamond bands that you can "wear in the rain while you smooch up a storm."
That sure is a lot of bucks for a virtual band, but isn't the gift of a ring all about the gesture rather than the bling? Would you pay a hundred dollars for a TF2 item?
The Scout just got 15% more obnoxious with the addition of a great big ghetto blaster to Team Fortress 2. It'll tease your enemies with a selection of sick beats during every taunt, upgrading the Scout from "unbearable" to "must be killed at any cost" in your enemies' estimations.
It's described as a "level 1-100 Futuristic Sound Device," and will set you back a hefty £7/$10. A portion of that will go to a community member. The Boston Boom-Bringer is the latest item to be promoted from the Steam Workshop, which is still overflowing with nonsensical but brilliant items like an Anubis headdress for the Pyro, a Soldier plushie on a stick and this magnificent bug mask.
This week, Lucas carries out the cult rituals of the PCG tribe with Evan, Josh, Tyler, and Gavin as they seek the answers within to the most pressing of questions. What game determined their path through life? What is their deepest, darkest PC gaming passion? How do they nourish themselves whilst gaming like champions? And who, pray tell, participated in a LAN for a whopping 52 straight hours?! Don your cabalistic cloaks and join us in this inward-looking ceremony.
PC Gamer US Podcast 303: 52 Hours
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A new post on the Team Fortress 2 blog sketches out Valve's 2012 plans for the shooter, which include mention of not one, but two secret projects. We can so far confirm that the first will not be a hat, or a map, or as the blog post suggests, a freakish map-hat hybrid. The second will have something to do with this year's Saxxy Awards, which rates the community's best video replays.
"Expect the Saxxys to be much bigger and better, due to the imminent unveiling of another secret," the post says. Imminent unveiling! That's pretty soon. Could it be something to do with the cinematic tools Valve mentioned they were working on ages ago, which would let players create their own awesome cinematics? Cinematics which could then perhaps be rated by other players in the form of an Oscar-style award ceremony? I have no idea. I'm just trying to translate the squeaks of the PC Gamer Gopher of Speculation into something readable. Have a nut, Gopher.
Whatever those two secrets are, one thing is CERTAIN*. Meet the Pyro will be out this year, which will feature "lots of blood pretty much all the way through." That sounds promising. Valve have also launched the Steam Workshop blog, just in time for the Skyrim Creation Kit, which is set to arrive soon. Now I have to leave because the Gopher has stopped moving and may be dead. I'm all out of speculation, which means it's up to you. What do you think the big secret could be?
Team Fortress 2's loot drops crept in to my brain. At first, random items were enough. Then I had a stint of trading with friends. Then those friends became random internet men. Eventually I replaced "trade" with "buy" and "drops" with "purchases." I started buying hats and name tags and paint and... DAMN you Valve and your clever ways, exploiting my weak brain and its desire for virtual loot.
As highlighted by Reddit, this fan-made game uses your Team Fortress 2 crafting knowledge for good. You're tasked with creating rare stuff from an ever-expanding inventory. It's both educational and fun.
Don't know your Refined Metal from your Reclaimed Metal? Start here.