Steam’s only one or two artillery shells away from becoming Skynet at this point, we think. First, it gained access to the Internet’s vast wells of knowledge, and now the thing can even purchase DLC, if it’s feeling so inclined. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little more worried than we’ve ever been in our entire lives.
“Valve, creators of best-selling entertainment products and advanced technologies, today announced the arrival of in-game downloadable content to Steam, their massively popular PC gaming platform. In-game DLC allows developers and publishers to use their own games as a platform for selling additional content to gamers,” read Valve’s press release.
In other words, no more middleman. Shift-tab, grab a few new items, maybe a war against China, and hop right back into the game. No muss, no fuss – just complete reliance on Steam quick, efficient fun.
All servers are not created equal. Some leave you feeling all warm-and-squishy after each match, while others insult humanity as a whole nearly as often as they insult your mother. Valve understands this and – with an eagerness to please its fans that’s borderline depressing (Just imagine: you’ll probably never be as devoted to anything as Valve is to you) – has braved the numerical gorilla pen that is mathematics in order to bring you a solution.
"After kicking around some proposals, we came up with a simple system built around the theory that player time on a server is a useful metric for how happy the player is with that server. It's game rules agnostic, and we can measure it on our steam backend entirely from steam client data, so servers can't interfere with it,” said Valve’s Robin Walker.
The finished product, then, operates on a point system -- sending well-behaved servers out for some time in the yard and booting rabble-rousers straight to the chair.
“In short, servers that have lots of players joining & leaving rapidly will score badly. Servers that consistently have players join and stay on for long periods of time will score well,” Walker explained.
“Our first step in improving this part of the player experience has been to delist all the really bad servers. The master server will simply stop giving these to you when you fire up the serverbrowser.”
“After that, we're going to keep improving our ability to measure this kind of problem.”
When you’re playing a Scout, you have to be nimble, quick, and able to jump over candle sticks burning metal death at a moment’s notice, so shedding a few pounds probably isn’t a bad idea.
With that in mind, in honor of its recently released Scout update, Valve has decided to lop a few digits off TF2’s already trim (and even a tad sexy) price tag. To be honest, we’re not sure if it’s healthy, but then, who are we to judge?
The sale runs until Friday and sees Valve’s Crayola-tinged diatribe about the horrors of war drop down to a mere $10. Not jumping on this would probably be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Your future wife can wait.
And really, what else are you going to buy for ten smackaroos? Oh, right.
Traditionally a console-focused publisher, Square Enix has finally decided to bestow its, er, unique sensibilities upon Steam’s ever-growing masses.
On April 9, the Japanese mega-publisher will drop add its first drop – a JRPG called The Last Remnant – to Steam’s bucket, with promises of more to come.
"We are excited to offer the millions of Steam customers online access to Square Enix titles beginning with our major action RPG, The Last Remnant," said John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix."Square Enix is committed to delivering the best quality titles to PC gamers and distribution on Steam is one of the many steps we are taking to increase accessibility for fans in North America and PAL territories."
We think it’s great that Steam’s embracing the Japanese side of PC gaming – just so long as it shies away from groping around in this steamy (read: NSFW) region. Thanks in advance, Valve!
When two diametrically opposed sides (Blue? More like Bluh-ewwwww) are forever submerged in the flames of war, an arms race is only natural. Miniguns, automated sentry rockets, curative edible devices – war is hell, but when the robots rise up and squash our silly conflict with a cold, metallic fist, they’ll have some damn fine gear with which to do it. However, one man doesn’t need any of that conflabbed technology; put him on the bus with a baseball bat and a crisp, refreshing beverage and he’ll come back with straight-A’s – in ass-kicking.
He’s the Scout, and with his brand new update, he’s more ready than ever to back up his big talk. Or he will be, anyway, after a bit of unlocking.
First up, after a mere ten achievements, you’ll nab the Force-A-Nature, which is a shotgun that – along with walloping your foes something fierce – forcefully coaxes enemies right out of your personal bubble and, if you’re lucky, into all kinds of fun environmental hazards.
Five achievements later, the Sandman will show up on your doorstep. It’s a bat. It hits things. Mostly baseballs. Go stand on the wrong end of a batting cage to find out what it does.
And finally, after a lifetime (read: 20) of achievement, you’ll be able to kick back with a crisp, refreshing beverage. Well, until you drink said beverage. Then, with “several hundred times the daily recommended allowance of sugar” screaming through your veins, you’ll be ready to “dodge bullets like they ain’t even there!” (Note: Post-digestion hangovers are perfectly normal. Really, it happens to everyone. If you don’t get them, you’re probably not cool.)
So yeah, there’s the update. Go download it. Tell ‘em Maximum PC sent you. You won’t get anything, but any publicity is good publicity, we think.
You should be excited about this. Like, sure-let’s-raise-and-drop-the-New-Year’s-Ball-again excited. If you don’t know why, here’s some homework.
Anyway, at today’s Valve DICE keynote, Gabe Newell announced that a series of Valve-penned comics are setting up shop on Valve’s Monopoly map, and – even better – that they will receive their Certified Fine Art status from the team responsible for Valve’s “Meet the” series of Team Fortress 2 movies.
Ahem. Apparently, the comic is meant to “excite customers about the company’s games outside of creating game content.”
Delightful. 2009 is now officially Best Year of the Century.
Cool, right? Granted, Valve has never given us reason to fear that it’s into the whole nickel-and-diming thing, but it’s still nice to hear that our dwindling budgets can now go toward more important things like Starbucks coffee, impulse iPhone app purchases, and a replacement iPhone after an ill-advised literal interpretation of DanceDanceRevolution S Lite.
Oh hey, here are some details about the new rides the Survival DLC pack will bring to Valve’s carnal carnival. Apparently, the mode will see “up to four players set records for the longest time surviving hordes of zombies on over 12 maps.” That’s all anyone knows at this point, really.
Well, kinda. GameStop has reopened its palace doors to Dawn of War II and – by virtue of its inclusion with the game -- would-be assassin Steam, but THQ’s Saints Row II and 2K’s NBA 2K9 remain conspicuously absent.
Upon its removal from GameStop’s pre-order list, Dawn of War II was thought to be the opening volley in a scuff between storefronts – retail vs. online, to be specific. GameStop employees, however, insisted that the retail giant merely exhausted its pre-order supply for a short period of time.
Certainly, GameStop’s passive refusal to slow its waterfalls of boiling oil for Saints Row II and NBA 2K9 seems a little odd, but re-stocking Dawn of War II – PC gaming’s first heavy-hitter of 2009 – pretty much puts the kibosh on any sort of cold war between GameStop and Steam.
If Dead Rising taught us anything, it’s that donning goofy apparel is par for the course during a potential zombpocalypse. So, of course, as mindless slaves to our media (though not quite “zombies”), we’re thrilled that it’s finally kosher to sport a pair of multi-colored shades while doing our civic, undead-slaughtering duties.
Oh, we guess you also get “true 3D” out of the whole deal or whatever, but it’s not like anyone else benefits from your newfound sight beyond sight. Only you, you self-serving greed-pig.
So here. Here are your dumb means to achieve your selfish ends. After all, it’s not like we’re bitter because the hack won’t work on our PC. No. You’re just a terrible person. Never forget that.
Killing zombies does not get boring. Ever. Complacency – allowing your well-trained, unflinching nerves to put on a nice layer of soft, easily startled flab – is exactly what the zombies are waiting for. However, one can never be too prepared for the decomposed, constantly vomiting end of civilization as we know it, so Valve’s announcement that it intends to continually expand Left 4 Dead is perfectly reasonable.
The game’s first batch of DLC, titled “The Survival Pack,” will slather a new layer of glue onto your computer screen this spring. It’ll include a new multiplayer mode – called Survival, natch – as well as two new campaigns for Versus Mode.
Also hitting shelves this spring is a Critic’s Choice Edition of L4D. Not content to merely repackage the game’s vanilla edition, L4DCCE will lure new players in with a warm mug of glowingly positive review quotes and keep them on the edge of their seats with the aforementioned Survival Pack.
Valve’s also tossing a free SDK in there around the same time, giving you the ability to kill zombies in a box, with a fox, in a house – anywhere really!
Hell, we suppose, if you’re a complete madman, you could even cook up something totally ridiculous like zombie Nazis. But that’d just be loony.