PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: GO beta keys can be yours if you complete Valve’s survey">cs go survey 2



The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team just published a blog update detailing how future sets of beta keys for the game will be sent out. Key recipients will be selected from a pool of people that've completed a survey. The survey is a simple template intended to judge your CS savviness, combined with an automated peek at your hardware. Copy this into a Windows Explorer address bar to open Steam and start the survey: steam://takesurvey/2/



Being absolutely honest about your skill, as I have above, is probably in your interest. "Over the coming months we will make selections from the survey participants. Sometimes we might add experienced players, other times new players. Sometimes 1.6 players, sometimes CSS players, sometimes people who have played neither."



"If you don’t fill it out, you won’t be getting a key," reads the post. Of course, Valve also states that active, current CS:GO players can expect to receive keys to gift to their friends through Steam.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta expands with new maps and weapons">Counter-Strike Global Offensive - poseur warriors



The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta has sprung into action after a quiet couple of months. Last week the CS:GO website updated with the announcement of the addition of "more maps, more weapons, and most importantly more players." A massive patch added three new maps, Inferno, Train and Nuke and the weapon selection has been expanded with the addition of the Nova shotgun, Bizon and MP7 SMGs.



7,000 beta invites were also set out last week, with another 2000 planned for today. Valve say that they're sending out invites to active Counter-Strike community members, and are running contests on big CS sites like Gamebanana. "We will also have a survey up in the coming weeks that can help you get your name on the list for a key," they say.



The new Counter-Strike blog also mentions Valve's plans to balance the game based on feedback from top CS pros. Their main focus at the moment is on weapon recoil, which is essential to the feel of Counter-Strike's finely balanced guns.



"Recoil is tricky. It isn’t just math. It’s also about feel and one of the defining parts of Counter-Strike," say Valve in the latest blog post. "A few weeks back we had pro player Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo by our offices and one of his biggest pieces of feedback he gave us was about recoil. It was still too hard to control."



Valve have adjusted weapon recoil twice in the last week, bringing it down and then asking players for their opinions each time. "During this Beta, community feedback is really important to us," they explain. "Counter-Strike has been around for 12 years and has been played by over 25 million players. We want to make sure to capture all of that experience and knowledge as we make Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the best version of Counter-Strike."
Kotaku

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSEGerman artist Daniel Ritthanondh is the man to thank for this Half-Life-inspired lamp, which will simultaneously light up your room and darken your dreams.



As big a Half-Life fan as I am, I could not own this. Wherever it went, I couldn't walk under it. Ever. That or I'd come home one day and creep up on it, shooting at it until it coughed up a human skull and giblets all over my living room floor. Which would just be too messy.



Teptec Studio [Professional Site]

Kilh [DeviantArt]



ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE

ARGH, a Half-Life Barnacle for your HOUSE


Eurogamer


As the wait for news on the next Half-Life game goes on, Valve boss Gabe Newell has explained the famed developer's current strategy on revealing new titles.


Valve's experience with Half-Life and Half-Life 2 caused a rethink, leading the company to back off from talking about future games until they're good and ready, Newell told Penny Arcade.


"Part of the reason that we backed off talking so much about what was happening in the future is that when we've done that in the past, you know, with Half-Life 1 it was a year after we originally said it would be, Half-Life 2 basically if you go and read the forum posts apparently took us 50 or 60 years to get done, so we're trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them.


"So we're sort of reacting in the other direction and saying, 'okay, well let's have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.'"


Valve's continued silence over the next Half-Life, be it Half-Life 2: Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, has frustrated many of its fans.


Earlier this month 10,000 Valve fans logged on to play Half-Life 2 en-masse in an attempt to make their campaign for more Half-Life information heard. It was the result of a Steam Group, called A Call for Communication (Half-Life), that is lobbying Valve to release more information on the future of the much-loved series.


"The lack of communication between Valve and the Half-Life community has been a frustrating experience. While continued support for current and future products is greatly appreciated, fans of the Half-Life series have waited years for a word on when the franchise will return," the group's description reads.


"We're acutely aware of how much we annoy our fans and it's pretty frustrating to us when we put them into that situation," Newell told Penny Arcade, while agreeing with the suggestion that there is tension between all the various projects the company is interested in doing.


"We try to go as fast as we can and we try to pick the things that we think are going to be most valuable to our customers and if there's some magic way we can get more work done in a day then we'd love to hear about it.


"But we recognize that it's been a long time whereas we have so many games that people really love - Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, not a whole lot of Ricochet enthusiasts out there, and at the same time we want to be making sure that those games and those stories and those characters are moving forward while also making sure that we don't just get into terminal sequelitis."


In June 2009 Newell said he had "very good reasons" for not discussing Half-Life 2: Episode 3, but refused to be drawn on them or when the developer would be able to open up about the concluding chapter in the FPS saga.


"I get a ton of email every day saying why aren't you talking about Episode 3? And there are very good reasons why we're not talking about Episode 3, which I can't talk about yet, but I will," Newell said at the time.


And last year, Newell told Eurogamer he wouldn't trade the "enthusiasm and straightforwardness of our fans for a quieter inbox".

Kotaku





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Well, if we're going to be doing more recent games for Total Recall, we'd better talk about Half-Life 2 sooner rather than later. As is true for so many people, HL2 is one of my favorite games of all time, an evergreen gem that I replay about once a year.



It's hard to put my finger on a "favorite" part, really—there are so many iconic moments that they all kind of blend together. But if I had to name one, it would be the bridge level.



You know the one I'm talking about. Near the end of "Highway 17," you'll arrive in a small villa that's located along a cliff. Up a hill is a long bridge, along which are running menacing Combine trains. To get Gordon's buggy up onto the track, you'll have to go to the other side of the bridge and unplug the combine force field that's blocking your way. And to get to the other side of the bridge… you'll have to go under it.



The wind, ripping into your ears, cutting through the air beneath this massive metal structure.

This is one of those make-or-break moments, when the designers at Valve grabbed their ambitions and carried them into the end zone so assuredly that it's still impressive, coming up on ten years later.



You enter the bridge support structure. And then you come out, and you're on a deck looking out onto the scaffolding underneath the bridge. It looks like you can jump down there… but can you? Is this safe?



The sound effects here are key. The wind, ripping into your ears, cutting through the air beneath this massive metal structure. It truly feels as though it could blow you off.



And so then, you jump. Everyone who has played this level has probably died at least once; slipping on a girder and tumbling, watching the ground come rushing up towards you. Just watching the video above gives me vertigo. I could play this level a hundred times and never tire of it—it is pure video game magic.



And once you're halfway across, things get even better. A train goes by above you, foreshadowing the coming race against the onrushing train that closes out this level. And once you've made it to the other side, cleared out the nest of combine soldiers and deactivated the force field… well then you have to make your way back. But why should you get to make your way back exactly the same way you came? Wouldn't it be much more interesting if a flying whale-helicopter attacked you and totally wrecked your shit?



This bravura section is my favorite single bit of Half-Life 2. The video of it is broken into three parts, with the middle section above. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube: Part one, part two, and part three.



Or, you know, you can just go play it again. You know you want to.



Thanks, Graag, for posting these videos.


Product Update - Valve
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:

General:
-Fixed missing steam avatars in transition panel.
-Witches on fire will now continue to attack instead of sometimes flailing around aimlessly.
-When infected players slash at a jockeyed survivor, all damage will be applied to the survivor and not the jockey.
-Added some missing music files for the L4D1 campaigns.

Crash Course 1:
-Rescue closet doors that are blocked in versus are now inaccessible to both teams.
-Fixed the area portals near the howitzer event. Players should now be able to see through the infected-broken holes in the walls properly.

Crash Course 2:
-Rescue closet doors that are blocked in versus are now inaccessible to both teams.
-Removed a bad item cluster in the finale which was causing too many items to spawn.

Dead Air 3:
-Fixed an AI bot pathing issue with climbing the fence leading into the construction yard.
-Removed the ability to climb an electric box prop near the barricade in the construction yard. It should no longer be possible to skip the barricade event.
-Added an infected ladder to some pipes on the far side of the barricade to create a route for player infected on that side to easily enter the construction yard.

Blood Harvest 4:
-Widened the gap in the railing on the final bridge.
-Falling off the cliff or the final bridge is now fatal to both teams.

Blood Harvest 5:
-Fixed a potential bug for low-end machines where certain walls and textures near the starting safe room would vanish in certain views.


Cold Stream 1:
-There is now only a single hunting rifle in the cabin after the rope bridge.

Cold Stream 2:
-Moved the magnum near the start of the map, nearer to the other tier 2 weapons.
-Tier 2 weapons near the start of the map are no longer single-spawn.
-Adjusted cars and road props to reduce the chances of players getting caught on geometry.
-New infected ladders added.
-Added a weapon spawn in the tent on the barrel explosion bridge.
-Fixed an exploit that allowed survivors to climb the tent on the bridge to skip the barrel explosion event.
-Added an M60 under the barrel explosion bridge.
-There are now slightly more infected coming at slightly faster intervals during the end-level onslaught.
-Fixed a bug where players and infected could get caught in the geometry along the walls in the tunnel leading to the stairwell during the onslaught.
-Several minor visual tweaks and bug fixes for performance throughout the map.
-Added wrong-way signs to indicate when infected players have reached the end of the playable parts of the map.
-Fixed several spots where players and AI could get stuck.

Cold Stream 3:
-Added a new, much more obvious path across the tanker explosion gap.
-Tweaked the wooden catwalk area following the tanker explosion to make it easier for survivor and infected AI, as well as infected players, to navigate.
-The water now has a new texture effect which will work on low end machines.

Cold Stream 4:
-Fixed a melee weapon that liked to spawn inside of a table near the start of the map.
-Fixed a case where AI infected would sometimes get stuck trying to mount the drain to climb up toward the start of the map.
-Consolidated items in the tank fight area at the halfway point.
-Altered tank fight area in the stream so that AI tanks don’t spawn in nearly useless/sitting duck locations.
-Removed one of the triage tents and replaced it with an open trash/storage area.
-Added a pair new routes up the final tower for infected players to reduce AI common infected collision and pathing issues, and to give infected players more strategic options.
-Several prop adjustments for players using low-end settings.
-Added wrong-way signs to indicate when infected players have reached the end of the playable parts of the map.
Kotaku

Half-Life 2's Strider Comes to Life With This Custom Action FigureActually, calling it an action figure does it a bit of a disservice. The term "action figure" conjures all sorts of images, mostly of very small men. This custom Strider from the Half-Life universe is not very small at all.



Not only does it look awesome, but its builder, nomadamusic, says it was almost entirely made from scratch, and even includes a few points of articulation.



Who needs large toy companies when individual artists can make their own Striders? Not nomadamusic, that's for damn sure.



Half Life 2 Strider Combine Custom Action Figure [FigureRealm, via Toycutter]


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)
  • Fixed a client crash related to dynamic model loading
  • Fixed dedicated server not receiving restart requests when updates are released

Team Fortress 2
  • Fixed playing incorrect sounds for The Overdose
  • Fixed a broken Engineer animation for The Pomson 6000
  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading not showing the correct item level for some items
  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading sort order not matching the in-game backpack
  • Fixed the new styles for The Brown Bomber not using team colors
  • Fixed some clipping issues with the Warrior's Spirit
  • Updated pl_hoodoo_final
    • Removed door frame collision to resolve bots getting stuck in the cave during stage 2
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)

  • Fixed a client crash related to dynamic model loading
  • Fixed dedicated server not receiving restart requests when updates are released


Team Fortress 2

  • Fixed playing incorrect sounds for The Overdose
  • Fixed a broken Engineer animation for The Pomson 6000
  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading not showing the correct item level for some items
  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading sort order not matching the in-game backpack
  • Fixed the new styles for The Brown Bomber not using team colors
  • Fixed some clipping issues with the Warrior's Spirit
  • Updated pl_hoodoo_final

    • Removed door frame collision to resolve bots getting stuck in the cave during stage 2



Kotaku

Valve's $100 Joke Ends in Half-Life Delay GagsValve's $100 Valentine's Day gag was actually taken up by a lot of people, who figured the money was well spent since it gave them a chance to broadcast a message to the entire Team Fortress 2 community.



What resulted, then, were not actual engagements, but people making Half-Life 3 jokes for the whole world to see. Which may be what Valve expected all along, and is why the entry barrier to such power was set so high.









TF2′s $100 wedding rings are one dirty joke [PC Gamer]


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