Feb 19, 2013
Product Update - Valve
- Added support for dedicated servers to load addons from the "workshop" subdirectory. Fixes consistency errors when playing workshop campaigns on dedicated servers.

NOTE TO SERVER OPERATORS: To host workshop campaigns on your dedicated server, they should now be placed in the same location as on the client (/left4dead2/addons/workshop/…) Campaigns not downloaded from the workshop can still go in the "addons" directory.
PC Gamer
Valve


In a first for the company, Valve let go an unspecified number of employees across multiple teams including hardware and Android development, according to a report by Gamasutra.

Valve hasn't released official word on the number of departures or how this affects its Steam Box project, but Gamasutra says it's hearing such descriptions as "great cleansing" and "large decisions" from those let go. "We've seen the number '25' tossed around, but are unable to confirm this," the Gamasutra article claims.

Yesterday, hardware hacker Jeri Ellsworth, who was hired by Valve to join its hardware team, tweeted a sudden announcement that she'd been fired and was moving on to "new and exciting projects." Elsewhere, the LinkedIn profile of Ed Owen, a senior mechanical engineer, shows an end employment date of February 2013 at Valve.

Though layoffs happen from time to time in the industry, Valve's reputation as one of the most secretive (and lucrative) studios in the business underscores the peculiarity of this development, especially when the terms "layoffs" and "fired" aren't normally associated with a company known for its free-form work philosophy.

We've reached out to Valve for an explanation and for further confirmation about how many people have been let go. We'll update this story if more information arrives today.

UPDATE: Garry's Mod creator Garry Newman tweets the appearance of a number of differences on Valve's staff page seen through Diff Checker. The comparison tool indicates the removal of nine employee bios from the People section of Valve's company page, listed below:

Moby Francke, Half-Life 2 character designer and Team Fortress 2 art lead
Jason Holtman, director of business development for Steam and Steamworks
Keith Huggins, character animator and animator for Team Fortress 2 "Meet the" video series
Tom Leonard, software engineer for Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead
Realm Lovejoy, artist for Half-Life 2, Portal, and Left 4 Dead. She was also part of the original DigiPen-turned-Valve team that created Narbacular Drop, the inspiration for Portal
Marc Nagel, test lead for Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and patch updates
Bay Raitt, animator for Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Portal
Elan Ruskin, engine programmer for Left 4 Dead, Portal 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Matthew Russell, animator for Team Fortress 2 "Meet the" video series


UPDATE: Valve boss Gabe Newell sent along his response to Engadget: "We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about some recent changes here, so I thought I'd take the unusual step of addressing them. No, we aren't canceling any projects. No, we aren't changing any priorities or projects we've been discussing. No, this isn't about Steam or Linux or hardware or . We're not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn't working here."
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Your first mission: improve upon this somehow. Good luck.

My absolute favorite thing in the world is when games existences somehow mirror their names. Seriously. I have very few other interests. I’m an incredibly boring person. But anyway, just as Duke Nukem Forever took forever to come out, Call of Duty is nothing if not dutiful in its adherence to a yearly release schedule, and Toilet Tycoon was awful, Left 4 Dead 2 has not>, in fact, been left for dead. Sure, Valve hasn’t lavished it with quite as much attention as, say, Team Fortress 2, but it’s certainly attempted to empower the community’s efforts – first with Cold Stream, and then with full Workshop support. But those mods? They’re about to get seventy five point blue banana apple sauce percent modderier, because Valve’s put its Extended Mutation System into beta.

(more…)

PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2 Extended Mutation System


The extent of Left 4 Dead 2's mods already defies description, where the truly wacky shambles alongside the horde of new weapons and campaigns. Now, Valve wants to further slash at the barrier between a modder's creativity and what's possible in-game with the Extended Mutation System, an expanded scripting toolset and the future name of my progressive rock band.

As Valve explains it, the system "allows script authors to go past modifying existing scripts and write custom script logic, spawn and control entities, and much more." Think of entirely new game modes, a restructured Director, or custom HUDs. One of Valve's examples was a mode called Holdout that has survivors buying and erecting barricades against waves of undead similar to Call of Duty's Zombies spin-off.

The Extended Mutation System is in beta testing for now, but Valve's developer wiki already provides a few initial walkthroughs for sample custom modes. I'm keen on GnomeHunter—a CTF-meets-hot-potato mode where players have to lug that infernal garden gnome to a locker—but I'd love seeing a variation of Team Fortress 2's Prop Hunt in Versus mode. Why? Because the Hunter can't smell me if I'm a safety cone. Make it happen, modders!
Community Announcements - Chet
<table width=460 align=center cellspacing=2><TR><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c3m1_plankcountry0002.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c3m1_plankcountry0002.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c3m1_plankcountry0012.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c3m1_plankcountry0012.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c3m1_plankcountry0021.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c3m1_plankcountry0021.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c3m1_plankcountry0030.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c3m1_plankcountry0030.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TR>
<TR><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c3m1_plankcountry0044.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c3m1_plankcountry0044.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c4m1_milltown_a0000.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c4m1_milltown_a0000.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c4m1_milltown_a0012.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c4m1_milltown_a0012.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD><TD><a href="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/c4m1_milltown_a0020.jpg?t=1360617306"><img src="http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9915/s_c4m1_milltown_a0020.jpg?t=1360617306" border=0></a></TD></TR></table>

Today we are releasing an Expanded Mutation System for the <a href='http://steamcommunity.com/groups/L4D2WSVB'>L4D2 Beta program</a>. Modders from around the world will help us test the expanded tools before we roll them into the main game and the workshop.

What is EMS? It is vastly improved scripting system that allows script authors to go past modifying existing scripts and write custom script logic, spawn and control entities, and much much more.

Mod authors will now be able to create deep custom experiences that can be played on any map or tailor create something for new or existing maps.

We have included numerous examples including a new survival mode called Holdout, other all new game modes, and numerous other examples to help show mod authors how to use the new tools.

We have also included <a href="http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/L4D2_EMS/Intro">a wiki</a> walking through some of the simplest examples and this week we will be online in the Beta group chat and forums to help modders learn the new tools.

How long will EMS be in beta? Long enough for us to achieve our goals:
- Find out what new tools people use, and how well they work.
- Find out what are the most important missing features we can add.
- Drive out as many bugs and issues as possible.

For everyone else waiting to play these new creations, we have some changes coming up for the workshop and our servers based on community feedback.

*The screenshots with this post are from the example game modes shipped with the beta.
L4D Blog
Today we are releasing an Extended Mutation System for the L4D2 Beta program. Modders from around the world will help us test the expanded tools before we roll them into the main game and the workshop.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Willl Always Love Youuuuuuuuuuuuuou!I have a proposal. We all have things on our PC the world shouldn’t know about. When the inevitable happens and Death beckons, we all have the our power to help each other out. What I need is someone to sneak into my Steam account (password: abetterpasswordthangaben), load up the Left 4 Dead 2 Workshop, and delete all my subscriptions. If anyone found out what I’ve been doing to Valve’s zombie shooter, why I’d die all over again. I’m happy to do the same for you. Just email me your Steam passwords and I’ll make sure whatever needs doing is done. > (more…)

Jan 28, 2013
Product Update - Valve
Custom Campaign select screen:
- Show all installed custom campaigns, not just the ones that support the current mode.
- Disable list items for campaigns that don't support the current mode, and sort them to the bottom of the list.
- Fixed some uninitialized text fields when no campaign is selected.
- Moved an informational string so it doesn't overlap the campaign list.

Workshop Publishing Tool:
- Removed the file count from the download progress bar to avoid confusion when stale meta-data indicates there are more files than actually exist.
- Don't show the download progress bar if no valid files were found.
- Fixed the "Failed to write file chunk…" error message not correctly showing the number of bytes written.
PC Gamer
Left 4 Dead 2 Stay Puft Tank mod


As if slaying your way across a zombie-infested wasteland as a pack of gun-toting raptors wasn't awesome enough, modder Lurch of the L4DMaps community offers the Stay Puft mod which replaces Left 4 Dead 2's burly Tank with the soft and tasty juggernaut from Ghostbusters.

It's a pretty basic mod—a simple reskin of the Tank is all you'll get for less than a megabyte's download. Some default animations don't exactly translate well in those rolls of sugary goodness, as the model's arms stick out awkwardly and ragdoll effects are anything but smooth. Rock tosses are subsequently hilarious-looking. (You'll see what I mean in the short video I recorded above.) Still, making the conscious decision to shoot at and be chased by a grunting behemoth of marshmallow should count for something.

You can pick up Puft at L4DMaps' website. Be sure to also check out Left 4 Dead 2's freshly launched Steam Workshop listing for more mods.
Jan 23, 2013
Community Announcements - Chet
<center><img src='http://media.steampowered.com/steam/news/9803/skyboxes.jpg?t=1358969872'></center>
Thanks to <a href='http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=550'>the Workshop</a>, Left 4 Dead 2 continues to change.

Mod authors continue to add content to the Workshop, so keep coming back and checking to see what’s new. You can download the Workshop items automatically by clicking subscribe. This will also keep that item automatically up to date!

If you don’t see the add-on choice on the main menu – remove any hud or UI addons you are currently running; they may not have changed for the new layout. If you are downloading a campaign, make sure to check to see if it is in a collection which requires you to download all the elements in that collection. A good example is for Warcelona you need to go to <a href='http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121787087'>this page</a> and download all three parts.

We have currently removed all community created campaigns from our official servers as the authors move them to the Workshop. We will be restoring them with the new versions and featuring new Campaigns starting next week. We have the first few lined up and then will begin taking suggestions from the community.

Remember, you can also rate items in the Workshop and join us in <a href='http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/discussions/?appid=550'>discussing the Workshop</a> and letting us know what you would like to see.

Based on feedback from community, we have increased Mod Author’s cloud storage in the Left 4 Dead 2 Authoring tools to 2gb! A quick tip – if you are creating character packs, make sure to offer the individual characters as well so players can mix the packs together. <A href='http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121286119'>Formal Coach</a> needs to hang with some <A href='http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121288011'>Velociraptors</a>.

Lastly and most importantly, today we are updating the Mac client for L4D2 to resolve issues Mac players are seeing with the Workshop. If you are on a Mac, it’s time to join in the fun and start grabbing some great skins, campaigns, and more.

The Screenshot for this post is from the amazing <a href='http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121090376'>Informal Skyboxes</a> by <A href='http://steamcommunity.com/id/Descarado/myworkshopfiles/?550'>Descarado</a>
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