Dota 2

Epic has responded to growing concern its launcher accesses users' Steam data without permission.

The company responded to a post on the subreddit for Phoenix Point, itself the focus of a controversy after signing a deal to go exclusive with the Epic Games store for a year, in which a user revealed the Epic Games store client pokes around your computer when it shouldn't.

In the post, titled Epic Game Store, Spyware, Tracking, and You!, redditor notte_m_portent accused Epic of running processes and making attempts to access DLLs and root certificates without letting the user know. According to the post, the data obtained was found to be sent to Epic, and the Epic Games store app was found to store hardware information in the registry.

Read more

Dota 2


Valve has announced a couple of new Steam features ahead of this year's GDC - although neither are to do with sorting its abject mess of a store curation policy.

Steam Link Anywhere extends the ability to connect to your PC and play games remotely via the Steam Link hardware or app on a supported phone, tablet or TV. Now, you'll be able to connect to any other computer running Steam and play games remotely via the internet, too.

The feature is described as being in early beta still - only those with beta firmware will see it at present. Valve warns you'll need a good connection.

Read more

Half-Life 2

Viktor Antonov hasn't built a world like this before.

The games you know him for are bounded and largely linear. Every tiny detail has been touched by a human hand in Half-Life 2's City 17 or Dishonored's Dunwall, striking virtual places which Antonov has helped colour with particular social histories and inscribed with visual techniques that quietly guide the player to the next checkpoint. That's also true of other games that he's been involved with over the past few years, such as Wolfenstein: The New Order, Prey and Doom, on which Antonov acted as visual design director.

But Project C, as the game is currently codenamed, is very different. "It's one of the most ambitious projects I've worked on and, I have to admit, a fairly difficult one for me," he says.

Read more

Counter-Strike

In my younger and more vulnerable years, I spent a lot of time getting shot in the head in Counter-Strike: Source. While there were many factors working against me - my age, my characteristic lack of dexterity, my (for the time) toaster-level PC, and my bargain-bin 200 DPI Dell laser mouse - I never let these disadvantages stop me from padding some lucky player's K/D ratio with my ill-fated MAC-10 rushes. When I would search through the list of servers for players of a similar skill level, I would come across a panoply of fan-made mods and maps intended to offer a respite from the endless dual grind of de_dust and cs_office, and I would occasionally take the plunge and sully my dad's hard-drive with these bizarre creations.

Of these offerings, the most consistently-populated servers were always devoted to the act of "surfing," a fact that boggled my pre-teen mind. When I would connect, I would see long, sloped ramps to nowhere, curling and twisting through empty space towards an unknown destination. While my opponents seemed to slide across the slope with ease, I would hurtle into the abyss every single time. No matter how loudly I pleaded with my fellow surfers to explain the trick, they would hurl obscenities at me and tell me to use F10 to deploy parachute - a button which would, in fact, abort the game. (To be fair, it was pretty funny the first time.) Later in life, I eventually figured out that holding a movement key against the slope allowed you to stick to the path, and I embraced surfing and other such "trickjumping" as a fun palate-cleanser at the end of a long night of gaming.

Charlie "Mariowned" Joyce is the apparent inventor of the first surf map for Counter-Strike 1.6. Joyce confided this in AskReddit thread where people revealed their "greatest accomplishment" that they can't bring up in normal conversation, and he was immediately mobbed by fans of his work, and surfing in general. "It was pretty overwhelming," he tells me. "I thought I'd just get a couple of people saying, 'hey, I remember surfing, that's cool.' Or maybe, best-case scenario, reconnecting with an old buddy. But it was way, way more than that."

Read more

Half-Life 2

There is a saying in architecture that no building is unbuildable, only unbuilt. Structures may be impossible in the here and now, but have the potential to exist given enough time or technological development: a futuristic cityscape, a spacefaring megastructure, the ruins of an alien civilisation. However, there are also buildings that defy the physical laws of space. It is not an issue that they could not exist, but that they should not. Their forms bend and warp in unthinkable ways; dream-like structures that push spatial logic to its breaking point.

The Tomb of Porsena is a legendary monument built to house the body of an Etruscan king. 400 years after its construction, the Roman scholar Varro gave a detailed description of the ancient structure. A giant stone base rose 50 feet high, beneath it lay an "inextricable labyrinth", and atop it sat five pyramids. Above this was a brass sphere, four more pyramids, a platform and then a final five pyramids. The image painted by Varro, one of shapes stacked upon shapes, seems like a wild exaggeration. Despite this, Varro's fanciful description sparked the imaginations of countless architects over the centuries. The tomb was an enigma, and yet the difficulty in conceptualising it, and the vision behind it, was fascinating. On paper artists were free to realise its potential. If paper liberated minds, the screen can surely open up further possibilities. There's no shortage of visionary structures within the virtual spaces of video games. These are strange buildings that ask us to imagine worlds radically different to our own.

Whilst many impossible formulations are orientated towards the future, there are also plenty from the past. The castle in Ico is one example of this. During the Renaissance, Europe was obsessed, not with future utopias, but with ancient Greece and Rome. While the box art of Ico is famously inspired by Giorgio de Chirico, the long shadows and sun-bleached stone walls only make-up a portion of the game's mood. It is the etchings of Giovanni Piranesi that best capture what it's like to explore the castle's winding stairs and bridges. Piranesi's imaginary Roman reconstructions were absurdly big - so colossal you could get lost in just the foundations. In a similar way, Ico's castle is impossibly large, the camera zooming out in order to overwhelm you and build up the unfathomable mystery of its origin and purpose.

Read more

Dota 2

We have an odd relationship with gambling in the UK. You'd be hard-pressed to find a high street or city centre that doesn't have at least a couple of bookmakers' shops mixed into it, offering bets on everything from horse racing and football to whether or not Kate Winslet will cry if she wins an Oscar (yes that was a real thing). But how does esports fit in?

According to a recent study by the UK's Gambling Commission, the percentage of British adults who have at some point in their lives placed a bet on esports is 8.5 per cent, with three per cent having placed those bets in the month the study was conducted. That's a surprising statistic for a sport many consider to be still quite niche. And it makes sense most of those bets will be online, given the nature of esports and the audience for it. But it also got me wondering: just how easy it is to walk into a betting shop and wager some cash on an esports event?

To find out, I picked three (at the time of betting) upcoming and current events to bet on, with the intention of gambling on three specific teams to win either the tournament or a particular match. These were Team Liquid to win the ESL One Dota 2 tournament, Ninjas in Pyjamas to win that day's ECS CS:GO season six game, and for the Overwatch World Cup, I had to back the home nation and bet on the UK. Secondly, I decided I had to be able to place the bet in store. We all know you can bet on esports online, so that didn't count.

Read more…

Portal

CS:GO went three to play and got a battle royale mode last week - but the surprises didn't end there, as players discovered a cryptic message which some speculated was an ARG to tease Portal 3. Despite the best efforts of CS:GO sleuths, however, Valve has since confirmed this is actually just an Easter egg - although it's still a pretty neat discovery.

The fun and games began when YouTube user snaileny posted a video of a "strange broadcast" they'd found on the new battle royale map dz_blacksite. According to snaileny, to hear this you have to stand in Room 3 for over two minutes before the (slightly creepy) message begins to play.

Players figured out the beginning of the list is in the NATO phonetic alphabet, and translates to PGPW50 SMS757 - the first half of which refers to the PGP word list (an extended biometric word list designed to prevent wiretapping). The transmission, when converted into the PGP word list, gives you 50 pairs of numbers and letters. Reddit user GetSomeGyros then figured out that the "SMS7" part of the message, meanwhile, refers to GSM 7-bit encoding: and when you put PGP pairings into this, you get the following message:

Read more…

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve's ageing but unceasingly popular online first-person shooter, is now free-to-play. But not only that! It's also just introduced a new Battle Royale mode called Danger Zone.

This isn't Counter-Strike's first dalliance with free-to-play, of course; Valve launched of free edition of the game back in September, although that version only permitted players to go up against bots - the whole enterprise being intended as a means for newcomers to familiarise themselves with Counter-Strike's weapons and maps.

Valve's new free-to-play release, however, is the real deal, and provides free access to the entire Counter-Strike: Global Offensive experience, multiplayer and all.

Read more…

Half-Life

Somehow, it has been 20 years since the release of Half-Life. Which means, I guess, that it has been almost 20 years since a friend came back one night to the student house we were all renting and told me about this amazing game he had played. A first-person shooter - did we call them that back then? - in which, for the opening section at least, you did no shooting.

Instead, you...what? You rode a tram to work in a secret test facility deep inside some kind of mountain in the desert. For whole minutes you just sat and watched as the world went past. No goblins running at you, no demons invading and popping out of one monster closet after the other. It was like one of those films, my friend explained. It was like Total Recall, where you get to see Arnie going about his day in the near future. Except it wasn't like a film, because it didn't cut at all: it was like a video game, all first-person, all inside someone's head, behind the eye sockets, but a video game that was doing some of the same purely world-building stuff you often got in the really lavish sci-fi films.

20 years later, I have played Half-Life. I have played Half-Life 2, and the episodes and stuff like Portal with its teasing glimpses of the Half-Life universe. More than playing the games, it feels like I have spent the time waited for them. Has any series been as well named as Half-Life, as perfectly primed to measure the slow decay of hope? Anyway, I waited like we all did, through the anticipation stoked by that early Edge reveal of Half-Life 2, then the first glimpses of this impossible game in which everything was not just graphics but physics, a world you could pick up and throw about. Waited as the gaps between episodes grew longer. Returned to oddities like The Lost Coast, still my favourite Half-Life, if I'm being honest, due to its compactness, its sense not even of being a short story in the Half-Life universe but a few perfect paragraphs cut off from the main narrative. I even read through that transcript of what Episode 3 would have been and realised: of course they couldn't release this, because good as the twist is, after all that waiting it is not enough and could now never be enough.

Read more…

Half-Life

On this day, 20 years ago, Half-Life was released. Makes you feel old, doesn't it? It's because you are old, you wrinkler. November 19th, 1998 - what were you doing then?

Anyway forget that, there's a new Half-Life game in development. No not Half-Life 3, although if Half-Life were 30 years old I could have written "Half-Life 30 today", which for a moment reads as "Half-Life 3", which is really exciting, isn't it?

The new game - or part of a game, really - is Xen, the final piece and pi ce de r sistance of Half-Life remake Black Mesa. But Black Mesa's Xen is much more than a simple remake of Half-Life's Xen.

Read more…

...

Search news
Archive
2019
May   Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2019   2018   2017   2016   2015  
2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
2004   2003   2002