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One problem with using Let’s Plays and livestreams to fill video game-shaped longings in my life when I can’t summon the will to actually play one myself–and there may be several problems with this–is that so many are terrible. While good players or good performers can be genuinely entertaining, if they’re not I can’t pretend I’m not trying to fill a gaping emotional hole with ‘content’ and human voices. So huzzah! Twitch is tapping its Steam connection to use magical metadata so viewers can find the good stuff, starting with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Evolve is the next game from original Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock, and that alone should be enough to turn an eye or two or however many you happen to have. I was a giant firebreathing space mutant recently, so I can’t judge. I got to go hands-on with Evolve’s second batch of Hunters and gameplay options, and I came away with opinions. Powerful ones, beastly thoughts that couldn’t be caged by mere words alone. So I made this video for you instead. Watch it below.>
While many developers will talk about treating digital sports like ‘real’ sports, only Valve have fully realised that a real sports culture needs real sports fans. More than simply watching and playing games, sports fans idly think about matches, have favourite players, identify with teams, and will tell everyone who’ll listen that they know better than teams’ managers. Dota 2 already sells virtual team flags to wave, virtual wizard shirts officially endorsed by famous players, and virtual sticker albums to collect pictures of your favourite boys. Now Valve are having a real crack at another sports culture staple, fantasy leagues.
Dota 2 and the International turned my Dotachums into schoolchildren last year. “Dendi. Have you got Dendi? I need Dendi,” would come the Steam messages desperately seeking a picture of the Ukranian player’s face for TI3′s Compendium, a sort of Panini World Cup sticker album for Dota. “I’ll swap you ixmike88 and ChuaN for Dendi!” Valve launched this year’s new Compendium on Friday and it looks like it’ll be ruddy huge, as sales have added over $2 million to The International 2014′s prize pool.
Total Converts is a new weekly column about mods, maps, models, and anything player-created which you can use to amend or append your games.>
Modding used to suck.
Back in 1999, I became hooked on Half-Life. Hooked in the way only 14-year-olds can, with a pure, uncritical love. The problem I had – familiar to many today – was that Half-Life was finite and I had no idea if more would ever be made.
So in between rounds of laggy, 56k deathmatch with a friend, I turned to mods, custom maps, and anything else I could find which would allow me to wring more from my investment in Black Mesa. I hung out in IRC rooms, read map review sites and slowly downloaded files from Fileplanet. It felt like I was crawling through obscure corners of the internet, at a time when the internet seemed to inhabit a strange corner of the real world.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into a gift ship while on holiday in an English seaside town and found the CD pictured above. A collection of Half-Life add-ons for sale in the most ordinary place.
To illustrate how delightful/horrifying (delete according to taste) Dota 2‘s complexity is, I like to point to patch notes. Dota 2 and its monozygotic mod twin are still being balanced after a decade, with small changes coalescing into big effects on how we play the game. Have a gander at the changelog for Friday’s sizeable Spring Cleaning update, which affects almost every hero and lots of items with small changes that should ultimately shake the game up for months to come.
An oversized revolver, a chunky pump-action shotgun, a bolt-action rifle, and seeing my own legs: the four things I most want to see in first-person games. Perhaps the first three wouldn’t fit too cleanly into Portal 2 but that fourth, yes, certainly! And joy of joys, a new mod has added that very feature, so I spent half an hour this morning running around staring at Chell’s toes as if the mod turned Valve’s puzzle-platformer into Kyphosis Simulator 2014.
I suppose technically the ‘main feature’ in the Thinking with Time Machine mod is a time machine which’ll have you creating time loops to solve puzzles with the aid of your past self, which is great and all but look, LEGS.
Like any form of competition, speedrunning generates arguments over authenticity. Does a speedrun count if it relies on a bunny-hopping mod, in-game glitches and different runners tackling different parts of the game in short segments? I’m not sure I care either way. No matter the methods, Half-Life 1 being completed in 20 minutes and 41 seconds is an accomplishment of endurance, skill and effort. More importantly it’s a beautifully entertaining video, full of ingenuity and grace and physical comedy. The new record time is embedded below. You must watch it.
Valve tend to approach every project with a similar ethos, regardless of whether they’re making a game, some software, an operating system or, it turns out, a movie. Their first attempt at the latter, a documentary about professional Dota 2 players called Free To Play, spent much of last year being beta tested in front of private audiences, was premiered at The International 3 in Seattle, and then disappeared back into development for another eight months. As of yesterday, it’s now in general release, and available to download for free via Steam.
A trailerThe full movie is embedded below along with some more detail. … [visit site to read more]
Rust is already a purring, slurring engine of human depravity, but there’s no denying that it’s all rather barebones at the moment. You can explore, you can build a house around other people’s houses and take them prisoner but mercifully feed them tuna every couple hours, but Garry (of Garry’s Mod fame) and co have much bigger plans for the future. At this particular moment, that means a whole slew of improvements including a new UI, farming, and an item editor modeled after the one that produces Team Fortress 2′s infamous headwear selection.