Earlier this month, Valve made a video of Wheatley talking about his nomination in the ‘Best Character’ category of the VGAs. The Joker actually took the award, which seemed disappointing at first, since he’s a decades old character who even in this incarnation is appearing in a sequel, while Wheatley is quite the original. Then I noticed that the other two entrants were Nathan Drake and Marcus Fenix, appearing in the third games of their respective trilogies. The awards mean diddly squat, but I was a little disappointed about Wheatley missing out because it meant we all missed out an an acceptance speech. No more! Here’s what he would have said.
Who fancies a mystery? Valve prepared what must have been an incredibly expensive video for the VGAs’ best character category, starring Wheatley, complete with Stephen Merchant’s voice, floating in space and begging for help getting home. So, that’s nice and fun, if lacking in the big laughs. (He didn’t win.) But of course Valve being Valve, they’ve filled it with more details. Not many, but there’s Russian text, star constellations in the background and weird numbers, which of course means those with a mind for such things are tearing it to pieces. Of course, it might have just been filler to make the image more interesting. But Valve MUST know by now that anything they add is going to be analysed to pieces, and they’re clearly the sorts to troll their community in every imaginable way. What do you make of it?
“Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 3 of 7.>
Of everyone I spoke to, Magnar Jenssen is the only one still actively working in the game industry as a level designer at Avalanche Studios. Before, he also worked on Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) and Bionic Commando at GRIN, up until the studio’s demise. When he isn’t raking in all that sweet map-stamp money from arena_offblast for Team Fortress 2, he tinkers with some less profitable but absurdly polished single player Half-Life 2 mods.
Again! Again! It’s our theoretically regular comparison of Steam’s top ten best-selling games over the last week with the same at UK retail. Will Rage have stormed its way to the top despite the outrage and buck-passing surrounding its technically-troubled PC launch? Or will foot-to-ball have conclusively proven that an Englishman’s national sport is more important to him than pretending to be a time-lost survivor of a planet-wide apocalypse? And will retail be a mess of Sims games while Steam is a confusing muddle of pre-orders, deeply discounted returning titles and new entries? Take my hand. Where we’re going, there be tables. (more…)
Aha! In rather happier news from the land of big-name gaming, the Peer Review DLC pack for Portal 2 landed on Steam earlier today. Its cost? £0. $0. €0.
Your game should already have updated with it, if all is well. I uninstalled the game but two days ago to make room for Rage, because I’m a bloody idiot, but have any of you lot given the new adventures of Peabody and Atlas a spin?
Is the price right, or would you have paid real money for it?
Valve send word that their free DLC for Portal 2 will arrive on October 4th. Man, I totally already said all that in the headline! Here’s what I didn’t say, which was what Valve said: “In “Peer Review”, you and a friend will continue the story of loyal bots P-Body and Atlas as you puzzle your way through a mysterious new co-op test track and once again match wits with GLaDOS. The DLC also features a single player and co-op Challenge Mode, and leaderboards to compare Challenge Mode scores with friends and the Portal community.”
Indie dev Arthur ‘Mr. Pondukian’ Lee was so wrapped up in mashing together Portal and Snapshot for this physics- and time-warping tech demo that he forgot to even give it a name! Silly boy. That’s breaking one of the golden rules of self-promotion. In every other respect, Lee is very clearly not silly: this is a flat-out astonishing proof of concept. What if… instead of simply opening a doorway to another area, entering a portal you created also rewound time to the point where you created its exit, which was itself done by taking a screenshot of your desired destination point/time? Ack, my clumsy words plum don’t sum this up at all satisfactorily. I’m going to have to ask you to watch this video. It’s worth it, trust me. (more…)
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…)
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.