Announcement - Valve
The Steam Summer Sale continues today with huge savings throughout the store!

Today's Daily Deals Include:

Don't forget to check back for a new Community Choice vote every 8 hours and new Flash sales throughout the day! You can also grab the Steam mobile app to make sure you never miss any great deals while you're on the go!

Complete information on all the savings, Flash Sales, Community Choice Votes and more may be found on www.steampowered.com.

Product Update - Valve
(Build 154741)
- Middle mouse button didn't work on OSX. Fixed.
- Mouse wheel didn't work properly on OSX. Fixed.
- Fixed wrong calculations of tangent space for plane-mappings in vertex shaders.
- Fixed problem with black screen on Mac systems with ATI GPUs and OS X Snow Leopard.

Product Update - Valve
(Build 154491)
- Various performance tweaks for widget glows in menu. Should help with performance in the in-game overlay menu (Tab) on all platforms.
- Fixed one-frame-garbage on screen on some GPUs when changing scenes..
- Fixed black screens and other artefacts on GPUs that don't support sRGB decoding for textures under OpenGL.

Product Update - Valve
(Build 154436)
- Fixed 64bit issues with split screen input binding menus.
- Added fix for black screen on OSX, for ATI series 6 cards. (Fix for series 4 and 5 is in the works)
- Disabled instancing on OSX platform.
- Fixed kernel panic on OSX caused by parallax occlusion mapping pixel shader.
- GPU's video memory size is now determined correctly under OSX platform.
- Application is now started in current desktop resolution on OSX platform, instead of 1024x768.

Product Update - Valve
(Build 154242)
- Fixed mousewheel problems on Windows.
- Fixed Load games menu widgets on tripple-monitor setups.

Product Update - Valve
(Build 154002)
- Support for Mac OSX added. Cross-platform play between Windows and Mac builds is supported.
- Support for multiple keyboards and mouses in split-screen on Windows. (The split screen configuration dialog is much more complex now.)
- Serious Editor can now import and export files (meshes, skeletons and animations) in Autodesk FBX format.
- Updated Chinese translations.
- Update auto-detection script file with nVidia GeForce GTX 680 GPU.
- Fixed muzzle flash in firing animation on blue Biomech.
- Optimisations in occlusion culling system.
- Optimized synchronization in multithreaded rendering.
- Optimized vertex buffer locking on OpenGL.
- Fixed problem with occasional wrong (dark) rendering under OpenGL.
- Fixed memory leaks when re-importing the same mesh over an over in editor.

Product Update - Valve
o Dedicated server now works on Linux. It can be downloaded using HLDSUpdateTool for Linux, using gamename "serioussam3-linux".
o SeriousEditor can now natively import and export meshes in Wavefront .obj format. You may need to reset the Common toolbar in mesh editor to see the new buttons for it.
o Various fixes and improvements in script edit control in SeriousEditor: added scrollbar, fixed scrolling errors, fixed rare crashes in undo/redo, better assignment of variable on drag&drop of entity from world, some other small fixes.
o Fixed severe visual errors on GI baking that happened when models had compressed normals.
o Fixed rare server crashes caused by malformed RPC messages from client.
o When server has problems executing an RPC, client ID and name are output to log, and the client is disconnected to prevent further damage. If client cannot execute receives an exception when trying to execute an RPC, it will disconnect from the server. o Fixed some minor issues in menus when rendering for stereoscopic display. o Fixed problems with some shaders not being rendered correctly under OpenGL. o Fixed Chinese and Japanese versions of Kanji characters mixing up in some cases. Now Japanese glyphs have precedence when using Japanese locale, and Chinese glyhps when using Chinese locale.
o Fixed an issue causing snapping instead of smooth transition between fire animations on player model in some cases. o Character animation selection system was changed to facilitate more complex combinations of legs and torso animations.
o Fixed an issue causing scaffolding pole to remain on third person player model when switching weapons or performing melee while scaffolding pole is equipped. o Created new jump animations for player character. o Created some more player animations for swimming/diving while carrying explosives or sledgehammer.
o Added support for Raw Input for mouse and keyboard, enabled with inp_bRawInput. This should give more precision in mouse reading, for those who want every micrometer of aiming accuracy.

Product Update - Valve
o Added support for AlienWare LightFX effects. o Fixed a number of issues (mainly related to HUD and menus) when using stereoscopic 3D rendering. The game should now look good in stereo 3D.
o Added GPU quality profiles for ATI Radeon HD 7000 series. o Voice chat now uses internal protocol with Speex compression. This lowers the bandwidth requirements for the voice traffic and makes voice transfer less bursty.
o Different screen layout configurations can now be chosen when playing in split-screen.
o Reworked a number of models by adding some more LODs for them, optimizing their geometry, fixing some errors etc. This should improve performance and used memory somewhat.
o Created some more swimming animations for player character.

o Fixed crash that occurred when kicking a Soldier enemy with multithreaded rendering enabled. o Sniper zoom now works correctly regardless of aspect ratio. o When generating crumbs, normals and tangents are not created if source model's shaders don't need them. o Fixed some crashes related to text rendering when multithreaded rendering is used.
o Added cvar 'mdl_bMorphedShadows' for controlling whether morph animations will be applied in casted dynamic shadows or not. (Default is disabled since it boost performance noticabely, while quality remains almost the same since morphs are used only for small model deformations and speaking.) o Fixed unresponsive safe area sliders in gfx options when adjusting window size. o Refactored implementation of font outline rendering to use a several times lower number of rendering calls.
o The option 'prefer 3rd person view' is now taken into consideration to set appropriate avatar view mode. Manual command for toggling 3rd person view overwrites the cvar linked to menu widget, but this is temporary (i.e., not saved in player profile). o Sniper no longer shows crosshair in versus games. o Added cvar 'ogl_iStaticBuffersType' for selecting which buffer type to use for static buffers under OpenGL. (For performance testing purposes mostly.) When changed, cfunc 'gfxRefreshGeometry()' needs to be invoked manually.
o Optimized in-game memory size of some model animations.
o Fixed a possible crash occurring if player disconnects or dies while using Mutilator to get pulled by a Werebull. o Fixed an issue causing rocket launcher to appear unloaded (missing rocket attachment) if weapon is brought up immediately (such as when starting game at chapter with rocket launcher already equipped). o Enemies without assigned foe player were scheduling moving too often. Now they use less CPU.
o Removed redundant changes of active texture unit in OpenGL.
o Fixed issues with wrong filtering of some textures in some cases.
o Reduced cases where rendering buffers get reallocated, e.g. for SSAO, haze, refraction, distance, sub-sampling and other aux buffers.
o Fixed a rare crash happening when player disconnects while some enemy is having him as foe and doing obstacle avoidance.
o Fixed an issue where picking up a weapon while already having full ammo of its type would not display a message to player to indicate ammo is full. o Tweaked HUD resolution-scale graph to fix an issue where certain HUD elements would overlap in low resolutions (800x600 and 640x480). o Fixed wrong trilinear dithering of shadows under OpenGL. ('ScreenPos' pixel shader input register doesn't have integer coordinates!) o Prevented appearing puppets from colliding with existing puppets and falling through floor upon appearing (common problem with "DigOut" spiders). o Implemented scriptable enemy despawning in case player is doing speed run. It is used on the last level for now.
o Fixed an issue allowing player to move while performing spinning attack with sledgehammer. o Relaxed cases when puppets force their physics to activate, so enemies standing still on uneven terrain can use less CPU.
o Fixed an issue causing Scrapjack's head to remain equipped on third person player model even if melee was interrupted before completion. o Optimized performance of flocking algorithms used by enemy in AI.
o Fixed missing polygons on stairs used on IbnTulun level near mosque.
o Fixed implementation of "Coin-op Co-op" achievement: player needs to finish all levels to get the achievement and is not required to be playing with other players. o Achievement completion checkboxes are now shown for all achievements which must be performed on all levels. o When storing level stats, all available level stats will be stored and all completed levels will be unlocked in profile. This is necessary as it sometimes happens that player profile doesn't get saved correctly (but stats are still stored in save game). o Statistics menu screen now shows statistics for all levels available in current game stats, not only for unlocked levels, as it happens that sometimes levels don't get unlocked even though they should be unlocked (probably a crash before profile was saved). o Optimized smart blur used with ambient occlusion.
o Setting cvar 'prf_bShowFPS' to 4 now shows frame-rate variation for given timing interval. (Just below average FPS.) o Significantly improved performance in several different aspects of AI code in presence of a large number of active entities. E.g. when player spawns a lot of enemies while doing speedruns.
o Fixed cases where too much memory was used if menu background level rendering was disabled.
o Voice encoding quality can now be changed on the fly using svm_iVoiceEncodingQuality cvar. o Voice chat streaming sound limited to buffer at most 1 second of data (otherwise it was possible for it to accumulate lots of data while application was in background).

Kotaku

Could Serious Sam: BFE Be the Perfect Game?In these heady days of Skyrim, Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, have we overlooked a hidden gem in Serious Sam 3: BFE? Commenter DocSeuss seems to think so, and he'll tell you all about it in today's Speak Up on Kotaku.


Is Serious Sam 3: BFE a perfect game?


I'm inclined to think so. I've been playing it a lot lately and... writing and voice acting aside, I'm not sure I have anything to complain about. Sure, it's got flat levels and simplistic AI, but... well...


Okay, first, I'm going to be harsh, just to get that out of the way:


Shut up about Dark Souls. Are we supposed to be impressed that a game uses its difficulty to teach you to be a better player? If you were a real gamer, you'd be familiar with this sort of gameplay. Two of them that really stick in my mind are the STALKER and Serious Sam games. Take your pick: either this concept is native to shooters or the PC. The only reason Dark Souls is special to you is because, for whatever reason, you haven't been exploring either PC games or shooters as much as you ought. You should get on that. I'll be happy to set you up with plenty of great games that do this.


Serious Sam 3: BFE is a fantastic example. It's tough. It's really tough. Even on Normal difficulty, which I'm playing, it's a challenge.


Part of the reason for this is that it uses health packs instead of regenerating health. Where Resistance 3 (a nice game with great art that you should pick up for $30 or less!) was a game that demonstrated a complete failure to understand why health packs exist, and this year's Halo/Deus Ex games made a compelling argument for regenerating health, Serious Sam 3 uses its health systems to enhance the gameplay experience.


It's brutal when you're down at ten health and you find just six +1 health bottles, but that can lead to an exhilarating victory. There was this one level where I was trapped, in the dark, with spider monsters that could crawl on the floors, the walls, and the ceilings. I started out with 25 armor and 100 health, and ended up with just six health. I slowed down, cautiously making my way through the museum's basement with nothing but my own fists, a sledgehammer, and a pistol. It was a truly amazing experience, and one that wouldn't have been impossible had I been supplied with regenerating health or some other gameplay crutch.


Instead, health packs helped shape my experience in a way that helped me become a better player.


The game does it in other ways, as well.


I've put, what, three hundred hours into Dragon Age: Origins? It's a great game. One of the reasons it's so great is that I've only ever beaten it with one class—the rogue. Each time I replay it, I discover a new way of playing the character that I didn't know before. For all its apparent simplicity, the game has an incredibly deep set of systems that can drastically affect your play experience. I love the depth of its tactics (similar, but apparently far more complex than Final Fantasy XII's gambit (?) system, according to people I know who've played both) system. I've customized it so well, that in some cases, I can beat entire bosses without actually playing the game.


...and... Serious Sam requires more of me, as a gamer. I put more intelligence and thought into that game. I've always disagreed with the absurd idea that shooters are dumb games that rely solely on reflexes, and Serious Sam, a game which seems dumb, is a fantastic example of what I'm arguing about (STALKER is another great one—I've never experienced gameplay more intellectual stimulating than STALKER's, and I would have a hard time believing such a thing exists).


If you believe in the theory of multiple intelligences, you should be familiar with the concept of spatial intelligence. Shooters—good ones—rely on your ability to utilize your spatial intelligence. Serious Sam's huge maps (regularly, monsters the size of skyscrapers appear at distances that make them seem the size of your thumb) and constant onslaught of enemies requires you to think about where you are, where your enemies are, and where they (and you) are going.


I've never played a game that forced me to play mental gymnastics.


Of course, there's more to it than that. Sam regularly vomits hundreds of different enemies at you. They all have various ways of attacking, too: you've got rocket-spraying tank creatures, zombies with shotguns, suicidal/headless exploding dudes, Syrian werebulls that will send you FLYING if they ram you...
You get the idea.


On top of this, you've got a ton of different weapons—easily double the number of weapons in an Unreal or Half-Life game—and they each behave in radically different ways that make them suitable for dealing with different enemies and at different ranges. The double-barreled shotgun's a great way to make short work of a Gnaar, but not great for taking on a gaggle of Kleers.


Oh, and it's also got the addition of sprinting and iron sights, which adds even more variety to the combat.


So, um... yeah. I think it might be a perfect video game. The only reason you should play this is if you are a baby. It may cause unquenchable bloodlust in infants.


If you're a console snob, one of those idiots who thinks FPSes are dumb, or one of those people who wishes that shooters would be great again, shut up, sit down, and play Serious Sam 3: BFE.


Right now.


About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.
Product Update - Valve
- Network priority for projectiles is now boosted dynamically for each player's connection so that he gets those projectiles that are more important to him first (those fired by him, or at him).
- Optimized render target switching to improve performance on multi-GPU setups.
- Optimized screen clearing for SLI setups. Can be tuned by new cvar 'gfx_iClearBeforeRendering'.
- Fixed problem with too much shadow buffer clears when using muti-threaded rendering on multi-GPU setups.
- Fixed problems and crashes with several renderables in multithreaded rendering. (Note that this still an experimental feature!)
- Optimized memory usage for several multiplayer characters in team modes, by reusing same texture for red and blue, with dynamic colorizing in shader.
- View bobbing option now also affects weapon bobbing and weapon swaying.
- Fixed auto aiming (used by gamepads) on Warship enemy, so it aims for the right spot, not the center of the ship.
- Added yet another controller preset.
- Added some new swim and dive animations for the player (so user-made maps can use deep water).
- Controller crouch command no longer displays player list.
- Fixed controller being unable to skip intro cutscene.
- Errors related to microphone settings are now classified as "log", as they are not actually a problem.
- Optimized lightning particle effect implementation. On average, memory consumption is reduced by 50%, and performance is increased by 30%.
- Limited maximum subdivisions on lightning particles to ensure the do not exceed reasonable time and memory boundaries.
- Fixed potential crash after canceling a server list query.
- Added Russian localization for Santa Sammy.
- Fixed game freezing on entering menus via right arrow keyboard key.
- Updated in-game and in-editor console line editor to support unicode strings.
- Updated slider to fade out its value when widget is not on the active menu.
- Fixed graphics options defaults not resetting FOV value to default.
- Aiming hint for Devastator will not be shown if the user doesn't own the Devastator scope DLC.
- Fixed a possible crash occurring in a rare situation of player picking up a scaffolding pole while some client is connecting.
- Fixed an issue with wrong weapon shooting placement on hands weapons if they are used after "getting up from the floor" player animation.
- Fixed an issue causing Mutilator to sometimes fail to work on client if it's not rendered on server.
- Console font is now an OpenType font (DejaVu Mono), instead of a fixed bitmap, thus it supports a wide range of non-ascii characters and different scaling.
- Added console font scale cvar.
- Disabled cheat menu access during level loading.
- Fixed Khnum sliding after melee.
- Fixed endless loop at game start under OpenGL; waiting for all shaders to be pretouched (which never happens in OpenGL).

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