Well that was quick. Ikaruga only shot its way onto Steam Greenlight the other day, and it's already emerged from the other end of the Valve's giant approvals machine, covered in a viscous, sticky substance it's probably best not to investigate too strenuously. It's joined by 36 other assorted things (most of them games), including sci-fi roguelike Steam Marines, platforming roguelike TowerClimb (not to be confused with Towerfall), and lots of other things that aren't roguelikes - if you can imagine such a thing.
Valve are currently beta testing a selection of additions and changes to Steam's Community pages. Not only have they separated out general community activity from your own contributions, and created a Community Home as an all-game version of the Game Hubs, but you can also upload artwork for any Valve game. It's not all charmingly crude MS Paint scribbles, though, as Valve's artists have created an installation for this digital gallery, featuring concept, prototypes and posters for everything from Portal to Dota 2.
Games get a bad rap for being a solitary, violence-obsessed form of entertainment. But they can also be a collaborative, violence-obsessed form of entertainment. Just ask the close-knit PC Gamer team. Tom F Co-op based games teach us the value of teamwork better than any kitten based motivational poster, by showing us how many more of our enemies we can crush if we can just learn to work together.
Concept art is often beautiful, but even with a growing number of art books being bundled with collector's editions, it's just as often work that will never be seen by anyone outside of a game's development team. The Into The Pixel collection tries to change that. Organised by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the Entertainment Software Association, each year it selects some of the best pieces of gaming art, whatever the reason for its creation.
The 17 new pieces to be displayed at this year's E3 have just been released, and I've posted the PC-relevant images below, including work from Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect, Dragon Age 2, Alien Swarm and the unreleased Drawn 3. So pretty.
Every month, we present you with a roundup of the best free PC games that have been recently released. What we haven’t done before is sit down and think about all the best free PC games knocking around the internet at the moment, eventually formatting them into a big old list feature. We think it’s about time we sorted that out.
I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with the creator of Alien Swarm, about how the game turned from mod to polished Valve product, and why it's free.
Not long ago some eagle eyed modders spotted that you could turn Left 4 Dead's AI director on in Alien Swarm with a console command. It turns out they were onto something. Valve have announced that there will be a new game mode, Onslaught, and that the all-knowing, all-seeing AI Director will be controlling the alien hordes.
I'm still dazed and slightly buzzing from the game of Alien Swarm I just finished. It was Hard mode, with strangers, and strangers of rank. That means they've hit the maximum level, unlocked every weapon, then chosen to start again for the sake of a star next to their name. The party leader even had the Gallium Cross: you have to start again three times to get that. These guys meant business.
Let's just take a deep breath here. Lots of things are episodic - and if you don't have as many as three episodes, you're just a two-part TV special. So don't freak out when I say that some placeable AI hints in Alien Swarm refer to entities tagged with the "ep3" prefix, right after familiar hints for "hl1". Here's a pic:
In case it's not disgusting enough from a god's eye view, you can actually play Alien Swarm in first person fairly easily. I've just tried it, and it's a bit of a shock. Here's a video of what it's like to play, and instructions on how to do it yourself. It only takes a sec.
Alien Swarm, Valve's free top-down xeno-blaster is now available to download from Steam. There is absolutely no reason for you to not download it and try it out immediately. It's like aliens, crossed with some guy yelling "OH GOD OH GOD I'M GOING TO DIE" down Teamspeak. We'll have an official PC Gamer server up and running ASAP, and will update the details in the comments below.