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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.
This year’s Team Fortress 2 Halloween event has been stripped of its cobwebbed shrouds and revealed to be one of supernatural shenanigans: there will be spells, there will be zombies, there will be spooky achievements, and there might owls. (I can’t tell if that’s just for illustrative purposes.) Relevantly: there’s a new King Of The Hill mode featuring a wizard, and a new Man Vs Machine mode where the robots are “800″ zombies, which is called Wave 666. Both look enticing, in a “don’t touch that green glow!” sort of way.
Did you think you’d login to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive today and find everything safe and sound – just where you left it? Well think again>. And now you’re thinking things will be only slightly off – maybe a weapon stat turned on its side and a terrorist’s vest left slightly ajar? Well, think a second time>. The latest update adds two new maps, makes “a wide range of fixes,” and completely overhauls Classic Competitive mode’s matchmaking.
Half-Life is back. Back in Black Mesa, the fan-made, Source-powered remake that’s been years in the making. It was never going to happen, and then suddenly it did. After all that, is it a polished recreation of Valve’s beloved shooter, or an awkward perversion? I’ll be waiting for you, in the word chamber.> (more…)
“A People’s History” is a three part essay series that argues for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of amateur involvement in the first person genre. This is part two. Here’s part one.
“Amateur” may mean unprofessional or of lower quality, but it’s also French for “lover.” Even if it’s difficult and time-consuming, even if you’re 15 years old and you have to figure out this complex physics engine to try out a cool idea you have — it’s because you love it.
I was 15 when I joined Nightwatch, an epic Half-Life 1 mod made by a dream team of veteran modders, replete with new weapons, voice acting, monsters, scripted sequences, and a 10 hour single player campaign with 99% custom art. We were the Black Mesa Source of the Half-Life 1 community, except we never released anything.
Maybe that’s because we didn’t really love modding. In fact, we hated modding. (more…)
We now bring you this transmission, directly from alternate universe evil (or are they the good ones?>) Bizarro RPS:
John: Goodness, what a boring day it’s been. Probably the least exciting in recorded history.
Jim: Here’s an idle musing for you: joy is dead. And so is God.
Adam: Wouldn’t it be amazing if a spiritual successor to Total Annihilation just made $2 million, a thinly veiled follow-up to Planescape: Torment was just announced, and an agonizingly long-awaited Half-Life remake finally launched – all in the same day?
John: Well, I mean, Ubisoft just announced its new always online double-DRM. If you disconnect from the Internet, it kills you. That’s something, right? Something that kills you, I mean.
Alec: [Says nothing. Still on vacation. Evil vacation.]
Me, under the iron grip of the Neo-British Colonial Extermination Empire: Can I… ? Can I eat now? It’s been days.
Valve are looking for community prop makers to furnish the shooter’s October update. From the Team Fortress 2 blog:
Scariness doesn’t just happen, people. It’s serious business. That’s why we’re giving you until October 1st to fill the Steam Workshop with horrifying Halloween-themed cosmetic items. If you’re not an item-making sort of person, you can still keep busy. Why not visit the workshop and rate other people’s Halloween-themed items? Rating terrifying items will also help you build up your resistance to being scared before we unleash this year’s Scream Fortress update.
Thanks to everyone who sent this link in. Now make us some hats.>