Something old for you today, which you may well have seen before, but I think it’s worth reminding people of. It’s Radiator. I’ve included something new for good measure, but nothing blue because this isn’t a wedding, it’s a little article about mods. Sorry if that’s disappointing. You’re going to be even more disappointed if you don’t like pretentious artsy mods. I’m talking the kind that have trailers with sombre piano music playing and try to evoke a sense of loss while definitely never having guns anywhere in them at all. Imagine you’ve walked into a small cinema in Paris. Instead of popcorn and nachos, the butler (for there is a butler) provides you with a glass of port and invites you to take a seat. He places a keyboard on your lap and a mouse in your hand.
Goodness, that happened with absolutely no fanfare. The original Portal, if you somehow don’t already own it, can now be installed and played for free via Steam. I’ve just checked it on a spare Steam account and it works just dandy. This is true of both the PC and the Mac version, by the way. If you’re determined to pay money for it, you can still cough up for The Orange Box or the Portal 1+2 package, but just Portal itself now defiantly costs no-pennies. Grab it from here.
Update: transpires that this is only available until September 20th, as part of a games and learning initiative from Valve. So get your skates on, yes? As long as you install the game before the expiry date, it’s yours to keep forever.
You can see more on Valve’s “Learn With Portals” program, wherein they’re encouraging kids to create Portal levels themselves, in the rather charming video below. (more…)
Some of you may remember a dinky demake of Left 4 Dead that Alec posted about at the tail-end of the previous decade. The chap behind it, Eric Ruth, clearly loves nothing more than making retro-pixel-tributes because he’s done a few more as well. There’s one about electronic rackets (not to be confused with Pong, which was electronic racquets) and another starring some gaudy green space marine. You know of what I speak>. His upcoming project is another Valve-inspired title though, and it looks like a lot of fun. It’s Team Fortress 2 Arcade: a sidescrolling beat/shoot ‘em up. Here’s an interview and some gameplay footage captured on film by piki geek.
A few weeks ago, Valve started beta testing its Steam Trading feature and people have swapped over a million items since then. Were the majority of them hats? I don’t have those figures, but the entrails in this animal say “yes”. The trading feature is now officially live and you can trade all sorts of gubbins with one another. Clarification: “all sorts of gubbins” means Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and Spiral Knights items so not a great deal has actually changed. Perhaps more interesting than item swapping is the ability to trade unredeemed games, although do note the qualifier ‘unredeemed’. Steam is not letting you swap grubby used goods. There’s a FAQ here. The fact that every public profile now comes with an inventory means that Steam is officially an RPG in which buying cheap games is the grind. The plan is to bring more developers on board in the coming months, so one day you may be able to trade the Incas for a pair of cowboy boots. Truly, we live in exciting times.
When one of the original designers of Portal reveals a new game, it’s time to pay attention. Kim Swift, now of Airtight Games, has been chatting to Gamespot about her new project, Quantum Conundrum. Even the title should tell you that science remains high on the agenda. The game has you searching for your mad scientist uncle whose home, a gigantic mansion, has been converted into a series of perplexing science experiments. I don’t think there will be any neurotoxins this time around, though I have been wrong before when it comes to neurotoxins. It didn’t end well. Launch trailer and video with commentary by Kim below.
Oh, I guess this is just about expired, but there’s probably still time to get on Team Fortress 2 and receive your party bag for the 15 year birthday hurrah of Team Fortress. Yes, it is that long since the class-based mod originally appeared, spawning an entire sub-genre of FPS, and some of the most popular games of all time. If you log into TF2 before the 24 hours expires (I am not quite sure how long is left) you will get a party hat (obviously), a noise-maker, and a free cake (remodelled health pack). Mmm, virtual.
Another Valve-inspired short film to enjoy this morning. Many years ago, John showed off part one of the Purchase Brothers guerrilla-style Half-Life homage, and now they’ve only gone and released part two. It uses the same blend of live action and game footage to fine effect. They spent $250> making this. To put that into context, Michael Bay spent 742 billion dollars on each of the Transformers films. This contains marginally less robots hitting one another but otherwise it’s far superior. Remember to watch in HD.
It’s a pretty fantastic short film. You can watch it below. The film was apparently directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and stars Danielle Rayne. It was first shown at SDCC earlier this summer. (more…)
Well, looky-here. Valve’s put out the winners for its Portal 2/The National
So, here are the two victors, which I shall refer to as Sad Puppet and Cut-Up Lab Rat. Warning: watching them will require you to listen to a maudlin piano song that may affect your mood for the worse.
Valve’s in-game TF2 item store is about to become an out-of-game item store. They’re trialling something called Steam Trading, which primarily involves swapping your TF2 unlocks (i.e. those damnable hats, mostly) for other games.
It’s an old-fashioned barter system in new-fangled clothes. What happens is you invite someone on your Steam friends list or who you’re in a group chat with to trade, and can offer up your various TF2 items to the other guy. In return, he or she can offer you other TF2 items – or to gift a game to you. You can’t do this with any old game in your Steam library – only games you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy.