PC Gamer

I know, right? I'm asking you to watch a twenty-minute internet video. Think how many shorter videos you could watch in that time! Think how many gifs you could see! You could watch this video of two geese honking almost 60 times.

Don't though, because Live and Let Spy is a quality Source Filmmaker production. It starts as a heist movie, goes a little bit James Bond, and then ends in all-out cartoon war.

Yes, the animation is a little off in places—the Spy/Heavy holding a broom is a bit weird, and the main Medic's arms are kinda odd. Still, for the majority of the film it's impressively smooth and expressive.

This is the third part of The Winglet's "Fedora Chronicles" series. It's a sequel to The Bolted Behemoth, which you can watch here.

PC Gamer

A while back, I took a look at some Half-Life 2 improvement mods, and ultimately determined that the best way to play Valve's 2004 masterpiece was, well, without any mods whatsoever.

At the time, one of the mods I tried to look at for the piece was called Half-Life 2 Update, created by modder Filip Victor. It had been in the works for a while, but the move to SteamPipe broke it, and there had been little news about it since. Well, it's finally arrived as a free download on Steam.

The Update mod promises a host of visual upgrades to HL2, including detailed shadows, better interior lighting, environmental fog, particle effects, better water reflections, and more world detail. It also fixes bugs and improves scripted sequences and the collision system. The ultimate goal was to improve the look of the game without making any drastic changes along the lines of the FakeFactory's Cinematic Mod.

I downloaded it and gave it a try. It's all a bit subtle—it's not at all like playing a brand new game or anything like that—but definitely noticeable. The game does look better, and crisper. There's more detail, the shadows are definitely nicer, the water looks great, and it brings Half-Life 2 closer to the visual improvements we saw in Episodes 1 and 2.

 It's not something you'll call people excitedly into the room to see, but that was never really the point, and there's only so much you can do with a decade-old game unless you want to completely overhaul it from top to bottom. I'd say, if you've been looking for an excuse to play Half-Life 2 again... well, first, who needs an excuse? It's still fun. Except for the Hoppers. The Hoppers are dumb. 

Also, who wants to tiptoe over the sandy beaches again, really? And Ravenholm has kind of lost it's scariness by now. And the boss fight at the end, where the boss is basically a box you have to knock the sides off... eh, skip that bit.

But otherwise, it's a fine reason to play your favorite parts of the game again.

While Filip Victor is the developer of Update, he wasn't alone in his work. He had help from the Half-Life community, who helped him compile lists of bugs and issues. The mod also includes community commentary: select it from the main menu and you'll find nodes scattered throughout the game allowing you to listen to the musings of several YouTubers and Ross Scott, creator of the video series Freeman's Mind.

You can view a PDF of the changes and the ideas behind the mod right here. And, here's a nice comparison video that probably does a much better job of showing off the changes than my screenshots do.

Or, just download it from Steam and the next time you get a hankering for some Half-Life 2, try the Update version.

PC Gamer

False alarm! Everybody continue about your normal business. This is not some official Half-Life 2 update; this is Half-Life 2: Update. The mod is a community-made attempt to give Half-Life 2 a graphical rub-down—enhancing its ageing visuals with some fancy technical trickery.

A comparison video gives you a look at what's been changed. Er, hopefully your eyesight is better than mine:

What, specifically, does the mod do? Here's the feature list:

  • Complete lighting overhaul including enhanced lighting, more detailed world shadows, and full High Dynamic Range Lighting (HDR).
  • New particle effects and improved fog.
  • Countless bug fixes, correcting both visual and game-based issues.
  • An extensive Community Commentary Mode featuring the voices of well-known Youtubers, including Caddicarus, Brutalmoose, Ricepirate, Balrog the Master, ProJared, and Ross Scott from Freeman's Mind .
  • Retains the iconic Half-Life 2 visual style and gameplay.

Half-Life 2: Update is due out tomorrow. It's free, but downloaders will obviously need to own a copy of Half-Life 2.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

a 620 wide image probably not the best way to demonstrate this stuff, eh?

Oho, ‘Half-Life 2: Update‘ is an extremely cheeky name for a mod. Write it on the internet and a few thousand ears will immediately prick up. “Is more Half-Life? Means Half-Life 3? Check file structure! One file will have a 3 in its name! Is Half-Life 3! Rabble rabble rabble!” So no, this is not an official Half-Life 2 update, but it has got the nod for a free standalone Steam release tomorrow.

Designed to take fuller advantage of what more recent updates to the Source engine can do, this apparently final version of the community-made mod includes graphical updates and ‘countless’ bug fixes, plus a new fan commentary mode. You’re probably going to want it. … [visit site to read more]

Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed a client crash related to the game UI
  • Updated the localization files
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Fixed a client crash related to the game UI
  • Updated the localization files
Product Update - Valve
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed some props flickering when shot
  • Fixed a listen server crash when setting mp_tournament 1 on the command line
  • Fixed clipped Preset button in the Quickswitch panel
  • Fixed some .mp3 sound script entries that were missed in the previous update
  • Fixed self-made taunts not displaying the community-sparkle particle effect
  • Fixed a Taunt Workshop bug related to looping animations
  • Fixed item levels not displaying during trading sessions
  • Added UGC Highlander Season 13, Highlander Season 14, 6v6 Season 15, 6v6 Season 16, 4v4 Season 2, and 4v4 Season 3 medals
  • Updated Mann Co. Store prices for foreign currencies to current USD equivalents
  • Mannpower update
    • Added powerup icons to the HUD deathnotice reports
    • Fixed Thunder Mountain not showing up in the Quickplay dialog's list of maps
    • Fixed the intel getting into a bad state and becoming unreachable under the ground at the cap point
    • Medics now move slower than their heal target while their heal target is using the grapple
    • Removed random weapon damage spread
    • Removed crit immunity from the Resistance powerup
    • Removed random melee critical hits
    • Increased all melee damage by 30%
    • Knockout powerup
      • Removed melee damage critical hits
      • Added double melee damage multiplier
      • A Half-Zatoichi kill now refills to base health only, not buffed health
    • Updated ctf_thundermountain
      • Fixed being able to get to rocks in the death cliff intel areas
      • Fixed being able to escape the playable part of the map
      • Fixed being able to get on top of the center tower roof
    • Updated ctf_foundry
        - Added nobuild brushes to the tops of the inside white tankers
TF2 Blog
An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:
  • Fixed some props flickering when shot
  • Fixed a listen server crash when setting mp_tournament 1 on the command line
  • Fixed clipped Preset button in the Quickswitch panel
  • Fixed some .mp3 sound script entries that were missed in the previous update
  • Fixed self-made taunts not displaying the community-sparkle particle effect
  • Fixed a Taunt Workshop bug related to looping animations
  • Fixed item levels not displaying during trading sessions
  • Added UGC Highlander Season 13, Highlander Season 14, 6v6 Season 15, 6v6 Season 16, 4v4 Season 2, and 4v4 Season 3 medals
  • Updated Mann Co. Store prices for foreign currencies to current USD equivalents
  • Mannpower update
    • Added powerup icons to the HUD deathnotice reports
    • Fixed Thunder Mountain not showing up in the Quickplay dialog's list of maps
    • Fixed the intel getting into a bad state and becoming unreachable under the ground at the cap point
    • Medics now move slower than their heal target while their heal target is using the grapple
    • Removed random weapon damage spread
    • Removed crit immunity from the Resistance powerup
    • Removed random melee critical hits
    • Increased all melee damage by 30%
    • Knockout powerup
      • Removed melee damage critical hits
      • Added double melee damage multiplier
      • A Half-Zatoichi kill now refills to base health only, not buffed health
    • Updated ctf_thundermountain
      • Fixed being able to get to rocks in the death cliff intel areas
      • Fixed being able to escape the playable part of the map
      • Fixed being able to get on top of the center tower roof
    • Updated ctf_foundry
        - Added nobuild brushes to the tops of the inside white tankers
PC Gamer

Thanks to a new user-made TF2 taunt, you can play as a saxophonic Sniper.

...

What, you don't think that's enough for a news story? Fine, as part of that—maybe even because they saw an epic sax Sniper—Valve has opened up the Steam Workshop to accept TF2 taunts.

You can use the Source Filmmaker to create one, and submit it for community approval in the usual way. As always for curation-based Workshop items, Steam users will vote for their favourites and the best have a chance of being added into the game and sold for actual money.

Three user-made taunts have been added, and you can see them all in the below video.

You can get more details at the TF2 blog, and see this technical FAQ for help making your own taunts.

TF2 Blog


Hey, what's up, everybody? We're adding taunts to the TF2 Workshop!


What are taunts? They're character-specific animations you can trigger in-game to either announce that you've just shot someone or would like to be shot yourself. And now you can make your own! We've been blown away by the quality of item submissions in the Workshop so far, and this feels like the next logical step to letting creative folks in the community help make the game even better. If you're a talented animator, there's now a whole new way to contribute content. And if you're not an animator, you can still look forward to getting a lot more ways to express yourself on the battlefield in 2015.


Now, as we all know, almost everybody in the TF2 community is made up of Bruce Wayne-like philanthropist billionaires, so most of you can tune out for this paragraph. This next part is aimed specifically at the very slim margin of you who don't already have enough money and would like more. That's right! The TF2 team will be regularly selecting top-rated taunts in the Workshop to be sold in the Mann Co. Store.


Be sure to check out the Workshop Taunt FAQ for more information on how to create and upload taunts.


One last thing: To help celebrate the Taunt Workshop launch, we're happy to release three all-new community-made taunts, The Boston Breakdance, Most Wanted and The Killer Solo, now available at the Mann Co. Store!




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