Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Ever since Oculus Rift was unveiled, modders have been working on unofficially adding VR support to many PC games, including Valve's classic Half-Life 2. However, Valve has been experimenting with VR as well, and plans on launching an official "VR Mode" for its popular free-to-play shooter, Team Fortress 2.

Speaking to Engadget, Valve's Joe Ludwig says that Team Fortress 2 is the first Valve game to get VR support because the community is used to the game's frequent updates. "We use it as a place where we run experiments," Ludwig said.

Of course, Valve's catalog has a number of first-person games that would be ripe for a VR conversion, and that's something Valve is "interested" in. Team Fortress 2 may be the first game to get VR support from the studio, but it likely won't be the last. "We've played a bit in Left 4 Dead; we've played a bit in Half-Life 2. We haven't taken any of those other games to the point where they're anywhere close to being ready to be shipped; we've just sort of experimented with head tracking a little bit."

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Ever since Oculus Rift was unveiled, modders have been working on unofficially adding VR support to many PC games, including Valve's classic Half-Life 2. However, Valve has been experimenting with VR as well, and plans on launching an official "VR Mode" for its popular free-to-play shooter, Team Fortress 2.

Speaking to Engadget, Valve's Joe Ludwig says that Team Fortress 2 is the first Valve game to get VR support because the community is used to the game's frequent updates. "We use it as a place where we run experiments," Ludwig said.

Of course, Valve's catalog has a number of first-person games that would be ripe for a VR conversion, and that's something Valve is "interested" in. Team Fortress 2 may be the first game to get VR support from the studio, but it likely won't be the last. "We've played a bit in Left 4 Dead; we've played a bit in Half-Life 2. We haven't taken any of those other games to the point where they're anywhere close to being ready to be shipped; we've just sort of experimented with head tracking a little bit."

PC Gamer
Dota 2


Valve boss Gabe Newell stepped up to the stage during last week's BAFTA awards to receive the prestigious Academy Fellowship for his contributions to gaming. Presumably momentarily distracted by accepting a trophy modeled after a smirking face, a bewhiskered Newell fielded some interview questions over the normally airtight subject of Valve's business performance that hinted at the monumental scale of the studio's prosperity.

Newell chalked up Valve's successes largely to user-generated content on open platforms such as Steam Workshop before sharing some jaw-dropping numbers. "There's sort of an insatiable demand for gaming right now," Newell said. "I think our business has grown by about 50 percent on the back of opportunities created by having these open platforms.

"And just so people understand how big this sort of scale is getting, we were generating 3.5 terabits per second during the last Dota 2 update," he added. "That's about 2 percent of all the mobile- and land-based Internet activity."

Wait, what? We're not exactly sure what Newell meant when he dropped that bombshell of data info, apart from maybe claiming responsibility for all those times my connection speeds chugged while browsing these past few months. Still, it seems entirely plausible—Dota 2 has a lot of players, and the MOBA recently took the crown for the highest concurrent user amount of any Steam game ever. If any Steam game can feasibly take a bite out of the entire Internet, Dota 2 holds the best chance.
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:
  • Unlocked the "What's in the Portal 2 Soundtrack Box?"
  • Added new promo Items
  • Removed Salvage Crate #40, Crate #49 and Crate #54 from the drop list
  • Added Salvage Crate #50, Crate #56, and Crate #57 to the drop list
  • 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:

  • Unlocked the "What's in the Portal 2 Soundtrack Box?"
  • Added new promo Items
  • Removed Salvage Crate #40, Crate #49 and Crate #54 from the drop list
  • Added Salvage Crate #50, Crate #56, and Crate #57 to the drop list
  • Updated the localization files
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

You, the grizzled PC gamer in the corner, you remember diving around with akimbo pistols in that Half-Life mod in The Good Old Days, don't you? No, not Action Half-Life. No, you big silly, not The Opera. Gosh, no, not Matrix Half-Life. You know, The Specialists! Some of the folks behind that side-diving, slow-motion shooter are now working on a "spiritual successor" mod, Double Action, and want Kickstarter help to finish it faster. You can give an alpha version a go now, too.

Like the Specialists, Double Action aims to recreate the jazzy action scenes of films like The Matrix and John Woo's bang-bang movies. Think dual pistols, slow-motion, and stunts, stunts, stunts!

The Specialists programmer and designer Jorge Rodriguez is leading Double Action, with other folks from the mod working on it too. The Kickstarter campaign (via PC Gamer) is looking for $18,000 so they can take time off work to finish up the initial beta release this summer. Otherwise, it'll be at least 2014 before we can go diving all over the place.

The team is currently making it as a free mod for Valve's Source SDK, which would let anyone who owns any Valve game from Half-Life 2 onwards play. But if funding goes well enough, they hope to buy a Source engine license and release Double Action through Steam as a proper free standalone, not to mention fiddle with the source for new features.

Like most mods, the first beta will be quite limited, with only a few characters, weapons and maps, but the core gameplay of zipping about and shooting men intact.

A mod team turning to Kickstarter is novel, and something I'd quite like to see more of. If this could magically happen about ten years ago, that'd be even better. A lot of modders turned pro, either landing industry jobs or trying to make commercial versions of their mods, and that unique Quake/Half-Life/Unreal Tournament mod scene feeling was lost somewhat. Mods going commercial didn't work out for many either, though some, like Natural Selection 2, have found success.

To see how Double Action is coming along, you can download the latest alpha release from the forums. And hey, development is open so you can chip in too if you fancy.

Mar 8, 2013
TF2 Blog
North American teams take on European teams in this weekend's showmatch hosted by TeamFortressTV. Europe's SNSD will be taking on North American Ginyu Force. Be sure to catch all the action Saturday March 9 at 22:00CET!

PC Gamer
Half Life 2 Spherical Nightmares


Some mods want to re-invent the game they're based on, but when that game is Half-Life 2, there's no need. In mods like Minerva (highly recommended, if you haven't played it), the creators treat Half-Life 2's weapons, enemies and environments as building blocks, playfully rearranging them into new scenarios to hone the craft of level design. With no fresh art or spectacle to fall back on, it's up to the pacing of each environment to keep the player fascinated.

New singleplayer mod, Spherical Nightmares does a rather good job of that. You start in jail, interred (ineffectively) by the G-Man, who reprises his role as Creepy Distant Voyeur Dude from the Half-Life games. Your first steps are cautious and exploratory, but as you clamber out of the dark bowels of the facility you'll stumble into escalating firefights that pay homage to Half-Life 2 and - in a challenging train ride section - Half Life 1 as well.

There's a haunted house vibe to the dimly lit starting corridors as well. It never stoops to FEAR level scare-craft, but you'll walk into black and white flashbacks showing a time when the facility was full of people yet to be munched on by an army of invading headcrabs. It's clear from the disturbed inmates and foggy Blair Witch visuals that ALL WAS NOT WELL. Look at this man walking pensively away from a game of chess. Who is winning? Why is he leaving? Probably because a strange man in a yellow suit with a crowbar is photographing him through the glass. Sorry, man.

Try queen to bishop 6 - hey, come back!

There is shooting. It is a lot like the shooting in Half-Life 2. This is no bad thing. The first proper fight is a slightly unexpected change of gear, but it moves from a vantage point with a heavy machine gun down into a courtyard with a LOT of combine soldiers in it. Here I rediscovered the pleasure of the right-click twin barrel shot on the Half-Life 2 shotgun, and there's a sneaky Ravenholm razor in one corner for Gravity Gun aficionados. It's easy to forget how challenging the Combine can be in numbers. They're still not terribly good at understanding cover, but the way they split, flank and use grenades is unnervingly effective.

The courtyard fight contracts into a vertical staircase fight (more good news for shotgun fans), which marks a slight shift in pace that feels like a studied attempt to recreate the gentle rhythm of Valve's levels. Half-Life partly controls pace with the expansion and contraction of space, ushering players through its sections with a subtle peristalsis motion that's emulated here. The brief sewer section teases daylight a few times before you emerge into the sunlight, another thoughtful touch.

Don't you hate it when your shotgun suddenly catches fire?

It looks good, too. Spherical Nightmares embraces the extra frills of the Episode 2 version of Source, and is lit sparingly. The engine looks increasingly dated, but the decision to use Valve's cohesive assets keeps things clean and unified and there's a lot of variety in the two hours or so it takes to complete. Don't expect much in the way of story resolution, however. Perhaps we'll learn more about the sphere and its innards in a follow up, but that won't be any time soon. Spherical Nightmares took five years to make.

Fancy giving it a shot? You can download the mod now from ModDB. Extract it to your Steam->steamapps->sourcemods  folder, restart Steam and it'll pop up in your library. you'll need Half Life 2: Episode 2 for it to work. See if you can find this guy on your travels.

NOT YOU AGAIN.
Product Update - Valve
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:


Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Added a new ConVar sb_filter_incompatible_versions. This will default to true and hide servers on the Internet tab that are running incompatible versions.
TF2 Blog
Updates to Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:
Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)
  • Added a new ConVar sb_filter_incompatible_versions. This will default to true and hide servers on the Internet tab that are running incompatible versions.
...