PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Valve’s artists display digital gallery as part of Steam Community update">TF2 concept







Valve are currently beta testing a selection of additions and changes to Steam's Community pages. Not only have they separated out general community activity from your own contributions, and created a Community Home as an all-game version of the Game Hubs, but you can also upload artwork for any Valve game. It's not all charmingly crude MS Paint scribbles, though, as Valve's artists have created an installation for this digital gallery, featuring concept, prototypes and posters for everything from Portal to Dota 2.



Artwork can only be uploaded for Valve games right now, with the rest of Steam's extensive library set to follow in the future. To use the new features, you'll need to opt-in to the latest Steam Beta Update from Steam's settings menu. You can also view them in-browser by joining the New Steam Community Beta group.



Steam has also updated Workshop entries to provide more detailed stats to creators, as well as new tabs for each Workshop item, letting Subscribers create discussions and view a full update history. More details of that update here.











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:

  • Added new promo items
  • Added crafting recipes for the Sticky Jumper and the Rocket Jumper
  • Fixed r_depthoverlay ConVar not using the correct material
  • Improved performance and stability for the Linux version
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:


  • Added new promo items
  • Added crafting recipes for the Sticky Jumper and the Rocket Jumper
  • Fixed r_depthoverlay ConVar not using the correct material
  • Improved performance and stability for the Linux version

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Steam’s latest hardware survey – more than twice the number of Linux users since December">How to news, lesson #53: Can't think of an appropriate image? Graphs at an angle!



How to news, lesson #53: Can't think of an appropriate image? Slap in some graphs at an angle!



It's a new month, meaning, for the most part, very little. Still, fans of minor incremental gains and losses in granular data do get the joy of a fresh Steam Hardware Survey, reducing down Steam's userbase into a comparable list of percentages. February's numbers bring strong gains for Linux, a new chunk of Windows 8 users, and the continued and seemingly unstoppable dominance of Windows 7.



The combined total of all Linux distros is 2.02% - still a fledgling next to the other major operating systems, but one that's growing quickly. December's confirmed Linux userbase accounted for 0.8% of the Steam user pot, meaning in two months Steam Linux gamers have more than doubled. It's worth remembering that in the interim Steam did host both a major Linux-focused sale, and a free TF2 penguin. One indie developer noted on Gamasutra that, during the sale period, his Linux sales figures were almost triple that of Mac.



Elsewhere on the list, Mac falls 0.37% to 3.07%. Given that the number is that low, despite Mac offering a wider library for longer, it seems inevitable that Linux will eventually become Steam's second major OS as its support continues to improve.



Meanwhile, Windows 8's slow but steady progress means it nearly accounts for a tenth of Steam users, currently accounting for 9.63%. Windows 7 is on a downturn, but a glacially slow one. It lost just 0.42% of Steam users, and accounts for 69.31% of the platform's population. This is almost certainly not the conversion rate Microsoft were hoping for. In fact, Windows XP 32-bit is still beating Windows 8 64-bit, although the respective rates of loss and growth mean the old war-horse may finally be toppled in the next couple of months.



Thanks, Slashdot.



Quick Disclaimer: Inevitably, whenever we do this type of Steam hardware round-up, someone points out that Steam doesn't represent the entirety of PC gaming. They're entirely right! What it does do is offer a handy glimpse at a relatively broad cross-section, encompassing both AAA and indie, with a bit of free-to-play thrown in. It's far from perfect, but it is what we have easy-to-analyse data for.
Kotaku





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Nobody likes movies based on video games, with very few exceptions. That said, we're far from giving up on fan-made web shows based on video games. Case in point: this trailer for Machinima and Wayside Creations' Portal series, Aperture R&D.



Evidently Machinima is calling it Portal meets The Office. As long as they don't run that concept into the ground like the real The Office, we're okay with that, especially with the creators of Fallout: Nuka Break in charge. Here's the description from the Youtube info:




Based in the world of Portal 2, the idiosyncratic scientists of Aperture Research Labs are in an endless battle for the meaningless title of Lab Team of the Month.




Aperture R&D Coming To Machinima! (Portal Live-Action Series)
[Machinima]



Thanks Magnum357.


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Cliff Blezsinski defends EA microtransactions, tells gamers: “vote with your dollars”">Dead Space 3







The ongoing debate over the ethicality of microtransactions is hot enough to make the sun look like an ice cube, but it's difficult to overlook the financial benefits of prolonging a game beyond its launch content—just ask EA, which recently stated it's seeking to add purchaseable items in all of its games. Consumer concern is natural, but former Epic designer Cliff Bleszinski thinks wallets are a stronger measure of approval than complaints. In a lengthy blog article, he specifically brings up the business practices of EA and Valve, stating he's "tired" of the former taking the brunt of ire surrounding the subject.



"I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m tired of EA being seen as 'the bad guy,'" he writes. "I think it’s b******* that EA has the 'scumbag EA' memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can do no wrong.



"It blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and when Valve charges $100 for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2, it’s somehow 'cool,'" he continues. "Yet when EA wants to sell something similar, it’s seen as 'evil.'



"Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, but as awesome as Valve is, they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible. They’re just way better at their image control."



Are we all just hungry for hats?



Bleszinski goes on to claim "making money and running a business is not inherently evil" and compares Origin's currently unfavored reputation with Steam's reception during its shaky first years.



"People love to beat up on Origin, but they forget that, for a good amount of time, Steam sucked," he writes. "No one took it seriously for the first while. When Gabe pitched it at GDC to my former co-workers years ago, they came back with eye-rolls. Who’s laughing now? All of Valve.



"It took Valve years to bang their service into the stellar shape that it is in these days. Yet somehow, everyone online forgets this, and they give EA crap about trying to create their own online services. Heaven forbid they see our digital roadmap for the future and try to get on board the 'games as services' movement."



He finishes with a simple piece of advice: "If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. EA has many smart people working for them, and they wouldn’t attempt these things if they didn’t work. Turns out, they do. I assure you there are teams of analysts studying the numbers behind consumer behavior over there that are studying how you, the gamer, spends his hard earned cash."



Response was swift. A NeoGAF thread ballooned with various comments ranging between hostile, sympathetic, and fearful.



"It's one thing to say you'll start putting microtransactions in every $60 game you'll make and another thing to have microtransactions on a-free to-play game, where a big percentage of that microtransaction money actually goes to the players, who themselves make items to sell," writes one poster.



"Overall, if I see DLC that I don't like, I just ignore it," writes another. "If a game has too much DLC to the point in which the main game is really lacking in content then I just won't buy the game. Simple. Don't get why some are acting like they are being forced into doing something."
TF2 Blog
Polycount has launched their Escape: A Polycount Challenge. Unlike previous contests where the rules were very much defined this contest is all open!


  • Open to as many video game artist types as possible.

  • Open to as many art style & direction as possible.

  • Open to as many interpretations as possible.


Intrigued? Head on over to their contest page for all the details.

TF2 Blog
More Highlander, more fun! ETF2L's Highlander Season 4 has opened signups for their tournament and will remain open until March 8. All participating teams that finish their season will receive some in game items as prizes in addition to the €1,000 up for grabs between the top three teams. Have at it!

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 when attempting to fire the flamethrower while coming out of a taunt
  • Fixed The Phlogistinator's Mmmmph particle effect getting stuck on after performing a taunt
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 when attempting to fire the flamethrower while coming out of a taunt
  • Fixed The Phlogistinator's Mmmmph particle effect getting stuck on after performing a taunt

...