Hot on the lickety-quick heels of the Scout, TF2’s Sniper class is next in line for an update. And if you thought the Scout’s new toys weren’t a big enough deal, you’ll be happy to hear that the Sniper update will be – at the very least – .0001% larger.
"It's actually shaping up to be the largest TF2 update yet, with multiple new maps and a bunch of gameplay tweaks," wrote Greg Cherlin on Valve's Team Fortress blog.
As with other class updates, the update will include unlockable items and a set of class-specific achievements. Maybe a new hat, or support for a large, plastic rifle peripheral, we’re hoping.
But what if you really, truly loathe TF2’s suavest psychopath, and just don’t think your current arsenal allows you to kill him hard enough?
"We've got another update in the works that should be done before the Sniper, and that one will include some new content for all classes," Cherlin explained.
See? Everybody wins. Valve understands the meaning of a good compromise. Giving everyone everything they want – through head-perforating violence!
Valve’s quiet, non-intrusive DRM solution – if nothing else – is highly preferable to many publishers’ boisterous assault on our PCs’ (presumed) innocence. We’d like to think Steam’s colossal success in some way attests to this.
So of course, Valve’s announcement that it’s now offering that DRM solution, known as the Custom Executable Generation, to any and all developers free of charge is reason enough to break out the Headcrab-shaped party hats. Or read press release quotes. Actually, you know what? Since we’re getting wild and crazy with excitement here, let’s just do both.
“Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC,” explained the press release.
The new set of features also includes support for in-game DLC and a Left 4 Dead-tested, Valve-approved matchmaking system. Cool beans.
"Delivering this extension of services on Steamworks first anniversary, demonstrates our commitment to continually develop the platform to better serve the community working with these tools," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "As we roll out these features, we continue to look for new ways make PC games easier to create and better for customers to experience."
And yes, before you make a snarky comment about it: DRM was already obsolete. But now it’s obsolete-er. It’s like making a horse ride in a trailer attached to a truck; the passing of the torch – especially in a situation like the one DRM has forced gamers into – need not always be cordial.
Other Valve games, we’re sure you’re great and all, but we think Valve is playing favorites. Really, just look at the numbers: Left 4 Dead, Valve’s tossing you just enough of the ol’ meat and mead to ensure your survival. And Half-Life 2: Episode 3, we thought we saw you once in a tabloid with Bigfoot, but that might’ve just been this guy. Meanwhile, it seems like Team Fortress 2 gains some new appendage at least once perweek, and, well, you can probably guess where this is going.
This week’s TF2 to-do adds multicore CPU rendering to the team-based shooter’s ever-growing repertoire, though it’s apparently not quite ready for primetime just yet. From the patch notes:
Added Multicore Rendering
This initial release is aimed at testing compatibility, so the option is OFF by default
To turn it on, go to the Options->Video->Advanced dialog, and check the "Multicore Rendering" option
Well, that’s all for now, TF2 fans. See you guys and gals next week.
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.