By way of careful study and hundreds of hours of naturalistic observation, I’ve ascertained that some PC gamers actually don’t> like Windows 8 all that much. Which – in retrospect – seems like a pretty tremendous waste of my time, because it was punch-me-in-the-eyeball obvious all along. But while everyone else becomes vocally enraged, outraged, and other directions of rage, Valve’s actually trying to do something about it. The king of swing (and also PC gaming) is pushing to build Linux into a viable gaming platform with Steam for Linux, and now, it’s taken the oh-so-crucial step of, you know, letting said masses use it.
Interrupted while coiling his precious cables, the sound guy glowers at me. “Scarface? What?” Now, the way you can tell games journalists aren’t like other journalists is our shame. We’re shy, we lack the killer instinct, mostly, that enables tabloid hacks to doorstep grieving families and hack murdered children’s phones. I’m a case in point – 6′ 1″, 13 stone – and I’m being intimidated by a diminutive roadie. “His assistant is called Scarface,” I repeat. The roadie shrugs. As he shuffles away, he’s obviously assigned me to the same aberrant category as everyone else still hanging around at the Jonathan Coulton gig – No 1 Fans, all of them.
After the gig, from the gallery of Union Chapel, I look down on the accretion disc of fandom. They’re loitering but not mingling, in the hope of catching another sight of their hero. With its non-conformist heritage, this old Gothic church is a strangely perfect venue for Jonathan Coulton, whose music is packed full of liberality, anti-authoritarianism, irony and inclusiveness – and for his reverential fans. While he’s best known in gaming circles for endlessly singable Portal ditty Still Alive, Coulton is the high priest of geek music. This former programmer’s songs about geek culture are so well known he was made ‘Contributing Troubador’ at Popular Science magazine. (more…)
This year’s Team Fortress 2 Halloween event has been stripped of its cobwebbed shrouds and revealed to be one of supernatural shenanigans: there will be spells, there will be zombies, there will be spooky achievements, and there might owls. (I can’t tell if that’s just for illustrative purposes.) Relevantly: there’s a new King Of The Hill mode featuring a wizard, and a new Man Vs Machine mode where the robots are “800″ zombies, which is called Wave 666. Both look enticing, in a “don’t touch that green glow!” sort of way.
Half-Life is back. Back in Black Mesa, the fan-made, Source-powered remake that’s been years in the making. It was never going to happen, and then suddenly it did. After all that, is it a polished recreation of Valve’s beloved shooter, or an awkward perversion? I’ll be waiting for you, in the word chamber.> (more…)
Valve are looking for community prop makers to furnish the shooter’s October update. From the Team Fortress 2 blog:
Scariness doesn’t just happen, people. It’s serious business. That’s why we’re giving you until October 1st to fill the Steam Workshop with horrifying Halloween-themed cosmetic items. If you’re not an item-making sort of person, you can still keep busy. Why not visit the workshop and rate other people’s Halloween-themed items? Rating terrifying items will also help you build up your resistance to being scared before we unleash this year’s Scream Fortress update.
Thanks to everyone who sent this link in. Now make us some hats.>
I have the most terrible guilt about gazumping Jim’s sterling Sunday Papers, but I do so with signficant news. SIGNIFICANT. So significant that I’m attempting to post this from my phone while on the train. Will it work? Will you ever see these words? Such a vague, mysterious situation draws certain parallels with the subject of this post – the fabled, long-delayed, oft-accused of non-corporeal status Half-Life 1 fan remake Black Mesa Source. Which, would you Adam & Eve it, now has a release date.
“It was never meant to be a big deal. I was just fucking about!” says Garry’s Mod creator Garry Newman. His innovative physics-based mod for Half-Life 2 turned out to be a remarkably big deal, not least by being a forerunner in iterative and community focused design, and a game that’s perennially in Steam’s top twenty game stats. It’s an exercise in giving gamers tools and no direction, one of the few games that makes just messing about a core goal. Its strength is a flexibility that makes it a platform for people to make things like comics, maps, weapons, even gamemodes. It might have grown by enabling sexually suggestive poses of Valve’s stoic game characters, but six years on there’s so more to GMod than just fucking about. Here’s how it got there. > (more…)
I finally managed to dodge the queues and get some mano-a-machino time in with Mann Vs Machine, the new game mode for Team Fortress 2. Valve have remixed their combative cartoon shooter so the warring Red and Blu teams are fighting together against a robotic horde. It’s hard. So very, very hard. > (more…)
Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in again. I’d uninstalled TF2 and everything was going well: other games were getting attention, my girlfriend showed me this thing called ‘Outside’, that didn’t have people setting me on fire or asking me to give them stuff, and then Valve announced Mann Vs Machine. I could just give it a try, yes? I can always uninstall it? I knew I was lying to myself, but it needn’t matter: it’s not like I’ve managed to get into a game. (more…)
UPDATE: Guess what! Gamescom are now saying that Half-Life 3 and Dragon Age 3′s appearances on the list was “a mistake”, according to Eurogamer. Although they won’t say how that mistake happened. Also, Lamda Generation heard from Valve (a rare treat) saying they weren’t showing any games this year.
Another Half-Life 3 confirmation rumour? Why not. T3 have spotted, on the Gamescom pdf designed to show press what games are appearing, the Half-Life 3 is listed as Valve’s entry. You can see it for yourself right here.