PC Gamer
Saxxy Awards


The Saxxy Awards are back, giving budding film makers the opportunity to craft a masterpiece and win a Saxxy Award in Team Fortress 2. The winniest winner of the shortlist of category winners will be flown out to Valve for a sit down session with Valve's Source Filmmakers, which is a great prize because I don't know if you've ever tried it but flying is BRILLIANT. The Valve filmmaker folk are probably quite nice as well. Once there you'll have the chance to get your work "aired on GTTV's VGA preshow this December."

There are four categories, the most challenging of which is likely to be "Original Universe" which requires that all featured assets be custom made. There are other gongs available for best action, drama and comedy. All entries must be submitted between Nobember 1 and November 15. No sooner, no later.

That's one of a number of rules Valve have come up with to stop this thing getting out of hand and turning into a "who can make the best version of Homeward Bound using nothing but bits of the Pyro" competition, which nobody wants. NOBODY. Here are those rules.


Entries must be no longer than five minutes.
Each entry must be at least 720p.
All entries must be submitted using the Source Filmmaker's upload to YouTube™ and Steam Community menu option.
Only entries submitted between Nov. 1, 12:00 AM and Nov. 15, 12:00 AM GMT will be considered.
Voting begins Nov. 16.
Winners, selected by Valve from the community-chosen nominees, will be announced by Dec. 31, 2012
All co-creators must be finalized by submission deadline to be considered.
You are free to use any Valve IP.
If you use any non-Valve IP, you must be the copyright owner or have explicit permission from the owner.
Multiple submissions per person are fine.
Submissions must be free of advertisements.

 
Find out more on the Team Fortress 2 site. Note that you're free to use any of Valve's IPs. It'll be interesting to see if we get many Dota 2 entries.
L4D Blog

Left 4 Dead is going on a road trip this summer. If you missed the announcement, some of our common zombies made their way over to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the Zombie Mod.
L4D Blog

Today, Team Fortress 2 is adding co-op and robots to their game! There is only one problem - don’t worry, robots are just the zombies of the future that’s not the problem – the problem is this is 6 player co-op not 4. So you’re gonna need to find a few new friends, a younger brother, your mom, someone, anyone to join you and your three friend to fight the lethal horde of robots.

PC Gamer
Half-Life 2 Episode 2


It looks as though Valve are working on a proper follow up to the Source Engine they've been gradually improving over the course of the last decade. Valve Time have pulled numerous references to a "next-gen 'Source 2'" engine along with various "Source 2 tools" icons from the guts of the Source Film Maker.

Valve have previously played down the need for an entirely new version of Source, and have concentrated instead on updating the original version to keep up with modern engine tech. That's worked quite nicely so far, but if these references are correct, a more significant step up is on the way. Here are a few of the pulled strings referring to Source 2.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
def setEngine( self, version=ENGINE.SOURCE ):
'''
Set the engine version for the project, i.e. 'Source 2'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Line 1387:
'''Return an str with the current engine version.
If key doesn't doesn't exist, assume 'Source', otherwise invalid -- assume next-gen 'Source 2'.'''
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exciting stuff. But it wouldn't be a post about Valve and the future without somebody saying something about Half-Life 2: Episode Three. Is the reason that it's taken so long that it's being built in a more advanced engine that will explode our minds when it's finally released? I have no idea. Here are the icons that Valve Time discovered. Look at that high fidelity hammer. Oooo.

L4D Blog

Gib Fest
Blast the infected to shreds with M60s.

Swords can slice up some fun. Chainsaws can tear apart the infected. But you need to get close for both and well… chainsaws are really loud! Time to go with the ultimate gun, you and three friends armed with M60s and unlimited ammo. This is going to get messy.

Cold Stream is out for the Xbox 360!
For Xbox 360 players this is your first chance to play the 5 Campaigns contained in Cold Stream... We have all the details available on our Cold Stream update page at www.l4d.com/coldstream. Also With this update, you can now play any mutation at any time - just press the Y Button to cycle through to your favorites! (You need to own The Passing DLC for access to Mutations.)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Yes, um, I believe I would like to request a different doctor. No, I know I'm in a coma and this shouldn't be possible. But these guys are *really* wigging me out.

We are suddenly talking about Left 4 Dead a lot again. Could this be a sign of more substantial things to come? I doubt it, but it’s fun to hope for things – so long as you never stop hoping and are incapable of sorrow. Regardless, Payday: The Heist’s much-vaunted reproduction of Left 4 Dead’s Mercy Hospital is here to cure whatever ails you – assuming, of course, that you are made physically ill by the idea that Payday might eventually cease releasing DLC. Go download it! Or read details. These are your only options.

(more…)

Kotaku

Left 4 Dead 2's New DLC is Only a Year Late The add-on campaign created by the loyal Left 4 Dead community was supposed to launch about a year ago. It's finally hitting Windows and Mac platforms today as a free update. The official site teases that the DLC will land on Xbox Live soon.


Cold Stream [Left 4 Dead 2 official site]


PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2


Looks like it's about time to dive back into Valve's zombie apocalypse/gnome rescue/friendly fire simulator, Left 4 Dead 2. An update announced on the Left 4 Dead blog has added a finished version of the community made map, Cold Stream, and has opened up all mutations. These are custom rulesets created by Valve and the community which used to rotate every week or so that operate as tense and often ridiculous alternative game modes. Highlights include Taaannnkkk! which replaces all special infected in versus with Tanks, and Last Gnome on Earth, which requires survivors to rescue and protect Gnome Chompski on every map.

A bunch of tweaks have been made to Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air and Blood Harvest to crush exploits, and to celebrate the entire ordeal, Left 4 Dead 2 is on sale on Steam at 75% off. Absorb the latest round of tweaks in the patch notes below, and browse the many available mutations archived over on the Left 4 Dead wiki.

Patch notes, via Steam:

Updates to Left 4 Dead 2 have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:

- Made all mutations accessible from the main menu

CRASH COURSE

Crash Course 1:
- Fixed survivors being able to climb into infected-only territory from the top of the white truck in the early alley.
- Survivors can no longer leave the map bounds near the riverfront.
- Closed off a shortcut method to bypass the howitzer event.

Crash Course 2:
- Survivors can no longer jump on the generators in the finale area.

DEATH TOLL

Death Toll 1:
- Moved car near the tunnel entrance away from the drooping traffic light, as standing on parts of the car near the traffic signal could put you into a permanently stuck position.
- Moved a traffic sign that allowed survivors to climb the drooping traffic light prop up to the top of the tunnel entrance.

Death Toll 2:
- Added an infected ladder leading in to the upper pipe in the large drain room.
- Survivors should no longer be able to cross the bridge-lowering event before the bridge has fully lowered.
- Survivors should no longer be able to access the infected-only areas toward the end of the level.
- Survivors should no longer be able to leave the playable areas of the map from the areas beyond the saferoom.

Death Toll 3:
- Added "Checkpoint" flag to the nav square at the end of the intro saferoom to prevent versus rounds from starting when survivors stand next to the door.
- Removed a nav square by the next-level saferoom door to prevent infected players from standing there to prevent the round ending.
- Tweaked saferoom level transition trigger brushes to prevent infected players outside of the saferoom preventing the transition.

Death Toll 4:
- Players can no longer access the right-hand corner just outside the starting saferoom. This is to address a permanent-stuck spot when the saferoom door is opened.
- Survivors can no longer climb over the van in the ally leading to the onslaught area, which allowed them to skip most of the level.
- Survivors should no longer be able to leave the map/enter infected-only areas outside of the onslaught even street.

Death Toll 5:
- Made the roof of the picnic area inaccessible to survivors. This resolves an invincible spot.
- Players can no longer jump on the electric box prop facing the water on the side of the lakehouse.

DEAD AIR

Dead Air 1:
- Moved a bookshelf in front of the window in the second interior area (before the ladder climb) to prevent players from skipping parts of the level.

Dead Air 2:
- Move the trailer below the office building out of jumping range to prevent players skipping the offices.

Dead Air 3:
- Moved the fence and fence-climbing props at the entrance to the construction yard further back into the alleyway.
- Several tweaks to the area near the construction yard to prevent survivors from setting off the barricade fire event before they enter the event arena.
- Boarded up a window in the construction yard to address survivors accessing an invincible area.
- Survivors should no longer be able to jump over the barricade.

Dead Air 4:
- Infected players should no longer get stuck climbing over the rubble that divides the start of the map from the balcony leading to the escalator side .
Dead Air 5:
- Fixed a visual bug caused by a cube map being hidden inside of a prop.

BLOOD HARVEST

Blood Harvest 1:
- Survivors should no longer be able to leave the map by jumping to the left toward the end of the rope bridge..

Blood Harvest 2:
- It is no longer possible for survivors to climb in the vent above the alarm room.
- Survivors can no longer stand on the horizontal pipes under the catwalk in the area following the alarm door event.
- The high pipes along the sides of the train tunnel are no longer accessible to survivors.

Blood Harvest 4:
- The roof of the starting safe room is no longer accessible to survivors..
- Survivors can no longer jump on top of the “Richardson Atlantic” building.

Blood Harvest 5:
-Removed some of the crossbeams in the hay storage building.

COLD STREAM

Cold Stream 1:
- AI infected can now access the roof of the watchtower.
- Survivors can no longer jump on top of the roof of the single-storey cabin at the far end of the area after the rope bridge.

Cold Stream 2:
- It should no longer be possible for survivors to jump up to the top of the tunnel entrance pipe near the start of the map.
- Survivors should no longer be able to jump over the fence on the bridge toward the end, skipping the barrel explosion event.
- Changed the M60 spawns into weapon_item_spawn to be more mutation friendly.

Cold Stream 3:
- The walls toward the back of the bridge (opposite of the direction players go to progress the level) are no longer accessible to survivors. This is to prevent survivors from getting into infected-only areas below the bridge, which they may not be able to escape from.
- Changed the M60 spawns into weapon_item_spawn to be more mutation friendly.

Cold Stream 4:
- Hooked up a quick conversation between the chopper pilot and the triggering survivor.
Jul 24, 2012
L4D Blog

Cold Stream Is Out!
For PC players, we have some map updates that move the big Beta needle to Release. For Xbox 360 players sorry but the Cold Stream DLC on the Xbox 360 is going to be delayed until next week.

We have almost all the details available here on our Cold Stream Update page – we just missed one – to celebrate the launch of Cold Stream – Left 4 Dead 2 is 75% off on Steam! Time to introduce some new friends to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Visit the Cold Stream Update page.
PC Gamer
Valve Jason Holtman


You love Steam sales. I love Steam sales. EA, however, don't love Steam sales. Just a few weeks ago their senior vice president made his opinion clear, claiming that they "cheapen" intellectual property. A few days ago the Origin Summer Sale kicked off anyway.

We asked Valve's director of business management, Jason Holtman, whether Steam sales have any affect on day-one purchases during last week's Develop conference. He doesn't agree with EA. Not even a little bit.

"If that’s what we thought was happening, or that’s what we saw happening, we wouldn't do it. Actually, all the data is contrary to that. A promotion is not a policy; a promotion is just a feature to give people more value," said Jason, speaking to PC Gamer.

"It’s not as if a 75% offer or a 50% off sale at some point in time cannibalises a sale that would have happened earlier, it’s just not true. We’re actually seeing both of them growing. We don’t see one cannibalising the other. If we did, we wouldn't do it." he continued.

Steam sales go from the sublime to the ridiculous-ly cheap. There's even one going on right now. Check out this real time evidence of a Steam summer sale in progress. It's a wonderful time for bargains.

"We put Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 on sale. If we thought that was killing our franchise, or hurting the value of games, or hurting the revenue we could generate as a company, we wouldn't do it," continues Jason. "We've even gone so far as to give away Portal for free a couple of times. Whole days where it's not free for a day, it's just free."

Valve's sales still weren't dented: "We looked at this amazing data afterwards. The day after the sales were exactly the same, if not more," he says.

"People aren't making a decision thinking 'I'm always going to wait for perfect pricing.' There are time elements to it, there are fan elements to it, there are value elements to it. People sometimes like paying the full amount on the first day because they want to play it now and they want to be a fan.

"Those features you’re talking about - like the sales - we just think of them as customer features. They're not policies or mandates. Things like this are super smart: this would be fun; people would play this game; they’d pick it up if they didn’t have it; they’d tell their friends about it."

For more from Jason, check our story on how TF2 inspired Greenlight. We've also posted his views on Greenlight's rating system.

Thanks to Dan Griliopoulos for the image.
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