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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim takes Game of the Year at the GDC awards. Portal 2 scoops a triple">GDC Awards thumbnail

Last night the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards took place in San Francisco. The awards ceremony celebrates the "creativity, artistry and technical genius of the finest developers and games." It was hosted by Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brought home the bacon with Game of the Year, but Portal 2 brought home three different types of bacon: Game Design, Best Audio and Best Narrative. Fledgling developers Super Giant took recieved two awards for the innovative Bastion: Best Debut and Best Downloadable Game. Battlefield 3 took Best Technology, but not best Visual Arts which was awarded to PS3’s Uncharted 3. Boo!

The 14th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards happened before the show. They’re about encouraging innovation and recognisng the best indie devs about. Our Tom was nominated for his excellently designed indie, Gunpoint. He was pipped to the post by one of his favourite game designers, Derek Yu, though so I doubt he’s that upset. Fez took the coveted Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Click through for the list of nominees and winners. Congratulations to everyone involved!

The winners appear in bold. Here are all the results from the Game Developer’s Choice Awards.



Game of the Year
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
Best Game Design
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Batman: Arkham City (Rocksteady Studios)
Dark Souls (FromSoftware)
Innovation
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Toys For Bob)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Best Technology
Battlefield 3 (DICE)
L.A. Noire (Team Bondi)
Crysis 2 (Crytek Frankfurt/UK)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Best Handheld/Mobile Game
Tiny Tower (NimbleBit)
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)
Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick)
Infinity Blade II (Chair Entertainment)
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (Capy Games/Superbrothers)
Best Audio
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
LittleBigPlanet 2 (Media Molecule)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
Dead Space 2 (Visceral Games)
Portal 2 (Valve)
Best Downloadable Game
Stacking (Double Fine)
From Dust (Ubisoft Montpellier)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Outland (Housemarque)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7)
est Narrative
Portal 2 (Valve)
The Witcher 2 (CD Projekt RED)
Bastion (Supergiant Games)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Saints Row: The Third (Volition)
Best Debut
Supergiant Games (Bastion)
Team Bondi (L.A. Noire)
Re-Logic (Terraria)
BioWare Austin (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)
Best Visual Arts
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog)
Rayman Origins (Ubisoft Montpellier)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios)
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Ignition Japan)
Battlefield 3 (DICE)
Pioneer Award
Dave Theurer, creator of Missile Command, Tempest, and I, Robot
Ambassador Award
Ken Doroshow and Paul M. Smith, game industry lawyers for the Supreme Court case against California
Lifetime Achievement Award
Warren Spector, founder Junction Point Studios



And here are the results of the Independent Games Festival awards. Gratz on getting nominated Tom!
Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fez (Polytron)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Technical Excellence
Antichamber (Demruth)
Fez (Polytron)
Prom Week (Expressive Intelligence Studio, UC Santa Cruz)
Realm of the Mad God (Wild Shadow Studios & Spry Fox)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Excellence in Visual Art
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Lume (State of Play Games)
Mirage (Mario von Rickenbach)
Wonderputt (Damp Gnat)
Excellence in Design
Atom Zombie Smasher (Blendo Games)
English Country Tune (Stephen Lavelle)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Gunpoint (Tom Francis, John Roberts, and Fabian van Dommelen)
Spelunky (Mossmouth)
Excellence in Audio
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Pugs Luv Beats (Lucky Frame)
To The Moon (Freebird Games)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)
Best Mobile Game
ASYNC Corp (Powerhead Games)
Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo)
Faraway (Steph Thirion)
Ridiculous Fishing (Vlambeer)
Waking Mars (Tiger Style)
Nuovo Award
(Designed "to honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development.")
At a Distance (Terry Cavanagh)
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Fingle (Game Oven Studios)
GIRP (Bennett Foddy)
Proteus (Ed Key and David Kanaga)
Johann Sebastian Joust (Die Gute Fabrik)
Storyteller (Daniel Benmergui)
Way (CoCo & Co.)
Best Student Game
The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
Way (Carnegie Mellon University)
Audience Award
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
XBLA Award
Super Time Force (Capybara Games)
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title="Permanent Link to Gabe Newell listed among world’s richest people, Valve estimated to be worth $3bn">Gabe Newell peers seductively over his fan of money

Forbes have published their latest list of the planet's richest people, and have declared Valve co-founder Gabe Newell the Newest Video Game Billionaire. Of the 1226 billionaires on the planet, Newell is the 854th richest with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion.

Valve keep their finances strictly private, so Forbes consulted "video game industry insiders, equity analysts, investment bankers, and technology analysts" for figures and factored in the tremendous success of Portal 2 and the continued growth of Steam as factors in their latest estimate.

"Even the most conservative estimates put Valve’s enterprise value at more than $3 billion," they say. Newell owns more than half of Valve, placing his estimated worth at the 1.5 billion mark.

Well done them. That is rather a lot of cash. They could probably pool all their resources and create a working Portal gun if they wanted to, but they'd probably rather make games.
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title="Permanent Link to Team Fortress 2 action figures and life-sized Portal Gun hitting shops this summer">Portal Gun 3

We've seen some impressive fan-made Portal guns in the past, but they've been rare, costly one-off projects. Valve are giving us the chance to get hold of our own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Devices without having to burn ourselves horribly putting together an injection mould. Joystiq mention that, at Valve's request, toy manufacturers, NECA have put together a life-sized Portal gun. It'll hit the shops this summer with a $130 price tag attached.

There will be lights and those lights will change colour, but will it make the "pwung" noise? There's only one way to find out, and that's to buy at least five. Perhaps ten. Maybe more. More. MORE.

NECA will also be releasing a line of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life action figures, a few of which were shown off at the NYC Toy Fair. The Team Fortress 2 wiki has a snap of the new figures, you'll find that below along with a few shots of that Portal gun. Baggsy the Heavy.







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Quantum Conundrum is being developed by Portal creator Kim Swift. It's a first person puzzler in which you play a twelve your old boy lost in his mad scientist uncle's underground laboratory. It's full of safes, switches, lava and vast gaps with no bridges. This would be a serious problem but for the fact that you can switch between five dimensions, each of which affects matter differently. By switching between world on the fly, otherwise immovable objects like safes can be tossed, stacked and even surfed to make it past the mad machines and laserbeams that every mad scientist installs in their homes as standard. It's all demonstrated perfectly in the walkthrough video above from Gametrailers, spotted on RPS. It's out early this year, and looks rather good, don't you think?
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title="Permanent Link to Crysis 2 most pirated PC game of 2011">Crysis 2

Crysis 2 was the most pirated game last year, with nearly four million illegal downloads according to a report on Torrent Freak. The numbers were collated from stats put out by public BitTorrent trackers, and suggest a slight decrease in overall piracy numbers compared to 2010.

Crysis 2 was released in March, so it's had plenty of time to reach the 3,920,000 downloads mark. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, released in November, was the second most pirated game, with around 3,650,000 illegal downloads. Battlefield 3 was a close third at 3,510,000 downloads. Fifa 12 took fourth place with 3,390,000 downloads. Portal 2 was fifth with 3,240,000.

Those are some rather huge numbers, sadly, and around three times bigger than the most pirated console titles. They're slightly smaller than last year's round-up. It'd be nice if that was the start of a general downward trend, but PC piracy will continue to be a big concern for publishers in the coming year.
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In most co-operative games, players don’t work together so much as work beside one another. The closest you’ll get to real teamwork is pulling the trigger at the same time. Portal 2 doesn’t work that way. Its co-op problems are impossible without a friend, and each reality-twisting solution forces you to share a brain.

My brain is neurotic, and though he hopefully never noticed, playing with Tom was competitive, too. Every time he worked out the solution first, it stung. Every time my suggested solution turned out to be wrong, I was convinced he thought I was an idiot. The problem is that you’re never just wrong in Portal 2, your idea is stupid, deadly and physically impossible.



Thank god it’s also funny. In singleplayer, Portal 2 is a finely scripted sitcom starring a woman, a robot and a potato. In co-op, it’s a slapstick buddy comedy, with both players as comic foil and GLaDOS as your straight man. When either of us would screw up, Tom and I wouldn’t yell or criticise one another – we left that to Owen and Tim, who were playing at the same time. Instead, we’d laugh, sometimes make P-Body and Atlas high-five, and leave my brain to find reasons to be paranoid on its own.

Having a friend along cancels out all the loneliness you feel in Portal 2's singleplayer. It's a deliberate part of that experience that Chell is isolated amidst the world of test chambers, but it's not always a relaxing way to spend a few hours in the way the co-operative mode can be. Once you've completed both, you're also far more likely to return to the co-op mode a second time than you are the singleplayer. Even knowing the solutions while playing with someone who is on their first run through is fun, as you get to step back and play shepherd to someone else's enjoyment.



As much as acting out the solution is kinetic and wonderful, it was the thought process I enjoyed most. Tom and I would walk in to a new challenge and think: “Um, wait, how do we do this?” We’d both stand still, playing the level through in our mind, once, twice, wait, I’ve got it! If I place a portal here – foont! – and then another here – pshoon! – then I can cover that floor with slime. Then, if I place two new portals at either end – foont! pshoon! – and now you run between them. Woosh. Woosh, woosh, wooshwooshwooshwoosh. And now I place the exit portal here – pshoon! – which will – Wheeeeeeee!

Read our Portal 2 review for more.

Highly Recommended: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Fifa 12.
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title="Permanent Link to Gabe Newell opens up possibility of a Three Musketeers game, Valve ARG begins">Valve ARG

Sit down internet. We've got a story to tell.

Once upon a time on 4Chan, a lengthy thread was started in which posters would construct an email to Gabe Newell, one word at a time. The result was complete gibberish. You can read it here. Suriprisingly, Newell apparently replied to the email with this message.

"I don't suppose it would ease your wrath if I told you we're announcing all of your favourite things at E3 2012?"

Then, a follow up message, posted on Reddit. "I can see how the wording caused some confusion there. Yes, we are announcing something with a three in it."

THREE MUSKETEERS CONFIRMED. The emails may be fake, of course, but Valve have been in a playful mood recently. There was that employee who turned up to a local game developer conference in a Half Life 3 tee. With the release of a code-filled teaser trailer over the weekend, and the appearance of the @Doug_Rattman Twitter feed, one thing is certain. Valve have started another ARG.


Item One: In which Wheatley rants against a background full of probable clues



The video above, hosted on GameTrailers, was shown as part of an awards ceremony over the weekend. In the background there are plenty of streaming numbers, barcodes and visual artefacts that are just bound to contain hidden messages.

Item The Second: In which Doug Rattman rants on the Twitters

After lying dormant for months, Doug_Rattman has burst into life with the words "It βegins."

Then he starts tweeting long series of numbers in a similar format to the ones strobing alongside Wheatley in the above trailer, things like: "AV - 10.0 | 8.2 | 12.6 | 15.2 | 7.8 | 0.2 | 17.9 | 6.9 | 21.1 | 3.7 | 21.2 | 20.4 | 10.7 - Connection Lost"

Oh god. Here we go again. Could it have something to do with an upcoming Steam sale, could it all be leading toward a Half Life 3 reveal?
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http://youtu.be/n7bkewdgjKA

Glados has escaped the confines of the Aperture Science testing facility, and has decided to spend a bit of time tormenting tower defence gamers instead. You Monster, the new expansion for Defense Grid, will add eight new maps and 35 challange missions, in which Glados will challenge you to hold back another alien invasion, noting your progress all the while and designing new tests for you to complete. The DLC is set to come out on Steam on December 7. Check out the Defense Grid site for more info.
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title="Permanent Link to Steam Autumn sale is live: Orcs Must Die, Portal 2, Mass Effect, Renegade Ops super cheap">Steam Autumn sale

Do you hear that faint wailing in the background? That's the sound of a thousand bank accounts going "noooo!" at the appearance of the Autumn Steam Sale. Thankfully for our wallets, it only lasts until Sunday, with dozens of new deals every day. Consider it a warm up for the monolithic Steam Christmas sale next month.

The sale kicked off yesterday, but you've still got six hours to grab some of the fantastic day one deals. The marvellous Orcs Must Die is just £2.99 / $3.74 (we gave it a score of 90 in our Orcs Must Die review). Portal 2 is selling for just £6.79 / $10.19. If you haven't played Mass Effect yet, the first game is £2.49 / $4.99, and Mass Effect 2 is 75% off at £4.99 / $12.49.

If you're more partial to an arcade explodathon starring Gordon Freeman, Renegade Ops is £4.99 / $7.49 (or you can grab a four pack for £9.99 / $14.99). All of Dejobaan's games are also on sale as well, including AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome.

These games are also on sale for the next few hours:

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Duke Nukem Forever
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Risen
Sam & Max series
Men of War series
Oddworld series

 
These deals will switch out in 5 hours and 42 minutes from the time of writing. Keep an eye on the Steam front page for the next set of deals then.
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title="Permanent Link to Let the scheming begin:Valve releases first screenshots of Portal 2 puzzle creator">Portal2mapeditor

Oh. Oh my. The new Portal 2 puzzle creator looks quite manageable - even for those of us who aren't sentient AIs gone genocidally mad. I mean, I'm sure we've all wanted to murder every squishy, inferior lifeform around us through a series of devious (and oftentimes hilarious) tests at some point in our lives, but it just sounded so... hard. Well, no more! Check out two new screens for proof. Also, after I've single-handedly turned the world into a series of horrific death puzzles, someone at Valve's probably getting spared for this one:

"We're also building a community site to host all of these player-created puzzles. The site will allow players to quickly find new puzzles and add them to their game, ready to play, with a single click. Players will then be able to rate the puzzles they've played, leave comments for puzzle creators, and follow creators they like."
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