Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Orcs Must Die! developer Robot Entertainment is bringing its iOS hit Hero Academy to PC via Steam, complete with a team of Team Fortress 2 characters. The asynchronous multiplayer tactics 'em up will support cross-platform play with the iOS edition, too.

Hero Academy's about turn-based grid-set tactical combat between two teams with various units and abilities. The PC edition will come with a team based upon Valve's lovable mercenaries as well as the Council side. Following the iOS model, you'll have to pay for extra teams, but any unlocked are shared across both platforms. Yes, including the TF2 team. As a bonus, each team you buy unlocks a cosmetic item to wear in TF2.

Hero Academy is due on Steam on August 8. Hit the announcement for more information.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Fortress 2 has concluded its Pyromania update, with new weapons and items to go along with the new mode revealed on Monday. The Scout, Sniper, and Soldier are all getting new weapons, but the Pyro's new item has to win points for creativity.

All users playing through July 5 will get a pair of Pyrovision Goggles, Valve has announced. These let you see the world through the eyes of the Pyro, as revealed in the Meet the Pyro video. After July 5, you'll have to dominate someone wearing a pair to get your own.

Other additions include a new pistol and scattergun for the Scout, carbine SMG and sniper rifle for the Sniper, bazooka for the Soldier, and a new flare gun for the Pyro. This is all in addition to the previously reported Doomsday game mode and, for some reason, an Adult Swim hat. You can see all of the update changes detailed here.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

"I wonder what kind of hats this collaboration will bring about..." - howlthorne

It looks like the Shacknews community hit the nail on the head. Adult Swim and Valve's collaboration has been revealed... and it is a hat. No, not a hat you can wear in real life, silly. It's a free "limited-edition" Robot Chicken hat for use in Team Fortress 2.

The hat is being distributed to subscribers of the Adult Swim newsletter. "If you signed up and confirmed your account by midnight 6/27/12, you will receive your code on 6/28/12. If you signed up after midnight, you will receive your code 7/5/12," the official FAQ reveals.

While this may not be the Team Fortress cartoon we all wanted, Adult Swim is continuing the dangle the Valve carrot in front of friends. "This ain't the last you'll hear from Adult Swim and Valve. Stay tuned," the promo site teases. Oh, so we can get even more hats? We won't fall for that--oh wait. Look at this curious part of the Q&A, as discovered by Joystiq:

Q. Are you making a Team Fortress cartoon?

A. Go ask your mother.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Now that you've had a chance to Meet the Pyro, do you want to make your own Source-powered machinima creations? Well, now you can! Valve is releasing the Source Filmmaker (SFM), the movie-making tool Valve uses to make movies inside the Source game engine. SFM has been used in quite a number of Valve trailers.

SFM is currently available in beta. To apply, simply visit the official website with a computer that already has Steam installed on it. "Initially, we are limiting the number of beta users, but soon we will release the SFM to all users on Steam for free," Valve's FAQ explains.

At launch, SFM will only work within Team Fortress 2, meaning fan-made Half-Life movies using SFM won't be possible for a while. However, Valve notes that "users familiar with modding with the Source engine will be able to mod the SFM build of TF2 to create new worlds."

If you're interested, here's what you'll need for Filmmaker:

  • OS: Windows 7 / Vista (Windows 7 64 bit suggested)
  • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
  • Memory: 2GB (4 GB suggested)
  • Hard Disk Space: At least 15 GB of Space
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce 200 series card or better, or AMD Radeon 3000 series or better (NVIDIA GeForce 400 series or AMD Radeon 5000 series preferred)
  • Monitor: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 suggested)
  • Audio: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • USB headset with mic (suggested)

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Team Fortress 2 is finally going to let you "Meet the Pyro" this Wednesday. But not content to just push out a zany video, the team at Valve has also planned a large update to the game, appropriately titled "Pyromania." It adds a new map and game mode, along with other reveals still to come.

The TF2 Blog teased the Meet the Pyro video and its associated update, with three days of news bits leading to the update on Wednesday. This first day details the new Doomsday game mode, in which the teams race to get rocket fuel up a slow-moving elevator, so they can launch monkeynaut Poopy Joe into space. You know, that old cliche.

Given the name and the focus on the Pyro, we assume this update will pack some new tools of burning as well. It's unclear yet how this ties into Valve's Adult Swim tease from last week, but that particular mystery will probably become clear soon enough.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Valve has teamed up with Adult Swim to create... something based on Team Fortress 2. Little is known about the collaboration, and it appears we may not hear more until "next week," when the promotion goes live.

The promo site simply teases that Adult Swim and Valve "are teaming up for something you'll probably enjoy." It adds, "to learn how their video game peanut butter will be getting in our network's chocolate, come back next week."

The Verge postulates that the partnership could be related to the various character videos released by Valve thus far. "Meet the Pyro" is the next video scheduled for release, and lo and behold, the Pyro appears on Adult Swim's newsletter sign-up page.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Valve has opened a new "Steam for Schools" initiative, offering a specially-designed and free version of Steam to educators. It's kicking off the new program with "Teach with Portals," a free version of Portal 2 and the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker offered through SoS to teach kids about science, technology, engineering, and math. And who better to show kids a passion for science than GLaDOS?

The official site (via Joystiq) details the program, which is now in beta. It makes educators the administrators of the limited version of Steam, so they can oversee their kids learning about physics and math using the game and tools.

It already hosts a number of lesson plans for physics and math, including ones on spatial visualization, parabolas, gravity, terminal velocity, and conservation of momentum, among others. The site hints that eventually it will host lesson plans at chemistry, game design, and language arts.

The FAQs detail how to apply. If you're an educator, you'll need to provide contact information for your supervisor and the organization, the subject, the number of computers, and the number of students. After that, your kids can learn about physics while GLaDOS complains about being a potato.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Update: Valve comments on the DLC.

Overkill Software promised it was working on a Left 4 Dead thing. Well, here it is.

The developer has released a new video, showcasing Payday: The Heist - No Mercy. There's no word on what it is exactly, but it appears to be a DLC expansion of SOE's online shooter.

"Have you ever wondered how the Left 4 Dead series began? It started with a heist," the video's description teases.

Mercy Hospital is a level from the first Left 4 Dead game, and is likely "one of the first places to have handled the Infected" according to Wikia. Could your actions in this DLC expansion accidentally cause the zombie outbreak in Valve's series?

After the original video was pulled, Valve's Chet Faliszek offered a comment to Kotaku, saying the mission description is the result of "over-excited marketing guys."

"This is a 100% Overkill made mission for Payday: Heist simply set in no mercy hospital from the Left 4 Dead series. It is not telling the origins of the Infection and is not canon. There is a little cameo from one of the L4D characters (the comic should give you a hint) and a fun little easter egg with a payoff later in Left 4 Dead. Just us having some fun with a studio we are friends with and who have also made a great co-op game."

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

After eight years of development and several years of silence, it seems Black Mesa may be coming. No, seriously this time. The fans remaking Valve's Half-Life as a Source Engine mod have shared new screenshots, teasing that there's more news to come. At some point. Hopefully.

The eight screenshots came after a campaign to drum up attention with 'Likes' on that social networking thing Facebook. I don't know, kids these days! Back in my time, you'd simply send your mod news to sCary's ShugaShack.

"You can expect more updates from us in the near future," the dev team said. "This is just the beginning. We have more in store for you in the near future! Hold on to your lab coats!"

But why has Black Mesa taken so long? Well, it turns out there are a fair few hurdles to overcome when a volunteer team attempts to "reimagine" one of the most-acclaimed games of all time with professional quality. Project lead Carlos Montero explained it all in a recent two-part interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is well worth a read if you're interested.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

It's all go at Payday: The Heist developer Overkill Software these days. As well as working on a sequel and DLC for its coop crime caper FPS, and being acquired by Starbreeze Studios, the Swedes have revealed they're working with Valve on something Left 4 Dead-y.

"We are excited to be able to confirm that an in-depth collaboration between Overkill and Valve is currently in production," Overkill game director Ulf Andersson said in a statement (via VG247).

"We are working on a very cool blend of Payday and Left 4 Dead. I am sure it is so exciting that it will have some players check into the hospital before we are done."

As for what this'll actually be, who knows? Payday clearly took a few hints from Valve's zombie 'em up, so it wouldn't be too jarring for the worlds to collide. Valve characters often make appearances in other games, but that probably wouldn't meet the "in-depth" requirement. Might that mention of the hospital be a cheeky nod to Left 4 Dead's 'No Mercy' campaign, set around an overrun hospital?

The original group of Starbreeze has three projects in the works itself.

...

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