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We’ve heard tell of the Steam controller‘s ins and outs (and ups and downs and lefts and rights and Bs and As and starts) from many a developer, but still skepticism reigns. And with good reason: Valve’s haptics-powered Franken-pad is kinda bonkers. But now, at the very least, we can see – with eyes or echolocation – how it functions moment-to-moment. Go below to see it power through Portal 2, Civilization V, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Papers Please.
Portal 2 wasn’t nearly as messed-up as it could have been. I loved it, and still pop in now and again to enjoy the physics and writing, but I always wish they’d went further and curly-wurlied the gravity and surroundings. Every time a room was fixed in front of me, I wished the same tech was used to just turn everything upside down, inside out, or that it would twist the testing chambers into odd, broken configurations. I am a very needy person. With that in mind, I’m interested in this Greenlight begging puzzle game, Tri. A FPS puzzle game where you drag out triangular walkways to cross the world. (more…)
You might remember that DOTA 2 officially launched not too long ago. This may in part be due to the fact that it’s one of the biggest PC games ever>, making it difficult to forget about in the same way that a herd of rhinoceroses just kind of hanging out in your living room would at least spend a fair amount of time in your peripheral vision. It is, of course, already quite good, but Valve plans to continue updating it until the Earth molts away its wriggly organic shell, leaving behind naught but dust and roaches. The first step in that process? A (very) soon-to-be-launched update fittingly titled First Blood. It includes LAN play! Also lots of other things, including Portal’s own wise-cracking cracker of psyches GLaDOS as an announcer. Details below.
Words by Hamish Todd.>
Portal has the best-designed first-person puzzles I’ve ever seen. They’re surprising, focused, and concise. They are also designed very perceptively, and we can learn a lot from looking at this perceptiveness. Read on for an analysis of Portal’s level design, and some lessons about what learning from it can do to improve game design.
BE WARNED: This article uses multiple animated .gif images on the same page, and might be tough to load on slower connections. (more…)
We’re waiting for you, Valve. In the sweat chamber. Show us what your mad wearable computing tech can do, instead of all this teasing. Latest report is that they’ve come up with kit which can measure assorted bodily responses, including heart rate, facial expression, brain waves, eye movement, pupil dilation, body temperature and, indeed, sweatability. Based on how you appear to be feeling, the game will alter factors such as difficulty and intensity to suit. (more…)
I preemptively think I’m gonna be sick. Don’t get me wrong: there are few things in this world I want more than Oculus Rift virtual reality for my mad dash through Mirror’s Edge‘s theme park of parkour, but now that it’s probably going to happen, I realize that I should probably bid farewell to any lunches I’ve had in the past couple months. And who will I have to thank for my sudden bouts of violent nausea? Interestingly, it won’t be EA. Instead, a third-party toolset called Vireio Perception is primed to add Rift support to Mirror’s Edge and other older titles.
I don’t think it’s possible to have any misgivings over an update officially titled “Mechsgiving.” As for Portalmas, well, that one’s a bit more up for debate, seeing as it’s just a word I made up. But generosity’s officially in the air, and both Piranha and Valve are doling out fairly significant updates to their breadwinners, MechWarrior Online and Portal 2. Unfortunately, neither involves gigantic mechanized turkeys, but I suppose beggars in the midst of celebrating a decadent holiday of feasting and lethargy can’t be choosers. Still though, that’s far from a reason to mope. So let’s look under the ol’ turkey tree and see what we got.
Interrupted while coiling his precious cables, the sound guy glowers at me. “Scarface? What?” Now, the way you can tell games journalists aren’t like other journalists is our shame. We’re shy, we lack the killer instinct, mostly, that enables tabloid hacks to doorstep grieving families and hack murdered children’s phones. I’m a case in point – 6′ 1″, 13 stone – and I’m being intimidated by a diminutive roadie. “His assistant is called Scarface,” I repeat. The roadie shrugs. As he shuffles away, he’s obviously assigned me to the same aberrant category as everyone else still hanging around at the Jonathan Coulton gig – No 1 Fans, all of them.
After the gig, from the gallery of Union Chapel, I look down on the accretion disc of fandom. They’re loitering but not mingling, in the hope of catching another sight of their hero. With its non-conformist heritage, this old Gothic church is a strangely perfect venue for Jonathan Coulton, whose music is packed full of liberality, anti-authoritarianism, irony and inclusiveness – and for his reverential fans. While he’s best known in gaming circles for endlessly singable Portal ditty Still Alive, Coulton is the high priest of geek music. This former programmer’s songs about geek culture are so well known he was made ‘Contributing Troubador’ at Popular Science magazine. (more…)
Until this weekend, I hadn’t revisited Portal 2 since the release of the Perpetual Testing Initiative. I vaguely assumed that user-built test chambers would fall, broadly speaking, into two types: so easy that they made me appreciate the complex genius of the originals, or so difficult that they made me appreciate the simple genius of the originals. Replaying Portal 2 at the end of 2011 also made me realise that the puzzles were the bits in between the prattling robots and the archaeological ascent through Aperture. I spent more time smiling than thinking with furrowed brow. Naturally, then, a set of user-made levels that form a story appeal more than standalone levels. Designed for Danger is such a thing and, from the little I’ve played of the eight levels, it’s high quality stuff.
Yesterday, you probably read the first part of my chat with Valve’s Erik Wolpaw and Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis. If not, it’s right here- but FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. By which I mean until the Internet ceases to exist, which, you know, could happen someday. Anyway, in today’s installment, we branch out a bit from yesterday’s story-centric beat. Valve’s newfound love of wearable computing, virtual reality, heaps behind-the-scenes info on Portal, crowd-sourcing, and more are all on the docket. OK, there wasn’t actually any sort of docket involved. I’m not entirely sure why I said that.>