Valve

Portal 2 mod Thinking With Time Machine now available on Steam

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Phil Savage at

Steam's Portal 2 Workshop is filled with unique twists on the space-bending puzzler's central mechanic. With such creativity lurking in the primordial soup of the Workshop, it would take something special to crawl out and into the main Steam storefront.

That something is Thinking With Time Machine, and it fits the bill for two reasons. Firstly, it introduces a new time recording mechanic, in which you can replay your actions to create a temporary clone in-level. Secondly, it lets you look at your legs.


Dota 2's The Stanley Parable announcer pack has been recorded, reveals narrator

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Phil Savage at

This is the story of a videogame named Dota 2. Dota 2 was a popular game about wizards and pushed lanes and unprompted apologies. It had absolutely nothing to do with another game, called The Stanley Parable, but for one exception: they both contained voice-overs. And so, last year, the creator of The Stanley Parable announced a desire to write and record a Dota 2 announcer pack featuring the meta-comedy's narrator. And, after a long silence, it was revealed that the pack had been recorded, and will likely soon be available to buy.


Garry's Mod "Cough" virus is cured, but it could have been worse

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Emanuel Maiberg at

You may have noticed some strange behavior in Garry’s Mod if you played it a couple of days ago. An exploit that took advantage of the Source Engine’s file sending mechanism made it possible to send files with any extension to the client or server. Strangely, this was used to change users’ Steam name to “VINH'LL FIX IT,” and using them to spam friends and players with the word “cough” over chat. The exploit is mostly fixed now, but Garry’s Mod’s own Garry Newman tells us it could have been a lot worse.


Steam phishing scam bypasses Steam Guard, goes fishing for your trading cards

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Tom Sykes at

Valve has so much faith in its Steam Guard technology that Gabe Newell once famously gave the world his password and dared it to gain access to his account - but the system is not entirely secure. A new phishing scam can bypass Steam Guard entirely, by gaining access to a specific file on the hackee's computer. I'll detail it below, but the gist is that if Steam ever tells you it needs to download a special SSFN file, do not comply. Also: that's not the wallet inspector.


Report lists Steam's most popular (and most untouched) games

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Omri Petitte at

Have you played every single game in your Steam library? No? Neither have I—and that accomplishment is apparently just a small sand grain in the over 288 million games in Steam collections that have never felt a press of the Play button. That's a surprising figure from a new report by Ars Technica researching the most active and popular games on Steam straight from the recorded statistics of some of the platform's 75-million-strong community.


Three Lane Highway: how to communicate effectively in solo ranked matchmaking

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

It's scary, talking to strangers. You probably spent the first ten years of your life being told not to do it, the second ten years of your life trying to summon the courage to do it, and the third ten years of your life doing it but wishing that you were somewhere else. Playing Dota 2 by yourself complicates this already complicated scenario. Language differences. Age differences. Wildly divergent opinions on topics like 'who's fault was that' and 'what are reports for'.

Half-Life gets new world record speedrun; watch it be finished in 20 minutes 41 seconds

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Phil Savage at

You know that first level of Mirror's Edge? I'm quite good at that. Pretty fast. Adequate. That's small comfort when faced with this: a new world-record segmented speed-run of Half-Life. The speedrunning team of quadrazid, CRASH FORT, coolkid, pineapple, YaLTeR, Spider-Waffle and FELip have completely demolished Valve's 1998 FPS, beating the previous record by nine minutes. If you've got a spare 20 minutes (and 41 seconds), it's well worth a watch. Gordon's balletic flight through the halls of Black Mesa is almost mesmerising in its fluidity.


Source: Steam Controller will be available in "October or November"

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Evan Lahti at

A trusted hardware source with knowledge of Valve’s Steam Machines project told PC Gamer at PAX East that Valve’s Steam Controller will release in October or November of 2014.


Three Lane Highway: several exciting ways for friends to lose games of Dota 2 together

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

I've been in a few teams in the two years I've been playing Dota. I say 'teams', but what I mean is 'groups of five people that agree to put up with each other's ceaseless theorycrafting'. I'm in a team right now, in fact. We're called the Hot Dukes and if you play on Europe West you've probably beaten us.

It's a lot of fun. One of the things I like most about playing with a dedicated stack is learning new and imaginative ways to throw matches. I mean, we're not terrible - our matchmaking ratings range from Questionable to Pretty Good - and we're all capable of big plays in the right conditions. But we're nonetheless capable of falling on our assess with a weight and precision that belies the fact that we'd rather not fall on our assess at all. We've developed a methodology for screwing up that approaches a kind of science, and it's this methodology that I'd like to share with you today. If your friends are looking for new ways to extend the range of your throwing arm, or are simply looking for an explanation for why you lost that game, I think I might be able to help.

Three Lane Highway: why I am deadly serious about the phrase "wizard-'em-up"

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. It runs every Thursday on PC Gamer.

Are you interested in language? I think you should be, but then again I would say that. I peddle language for a living. Don't freak out, but I'm doing it right now. My rent is paid by the notion that some sets of words are of greater value than others. That's kind of a terrifying thought, really, but it's no more terrifying than the alternative: that in the future we will communicate about videogames by honking and pressing 'Like' buttons in a branded metaverse that we access by consenting to give over fifty percent of our brainpower so that Big Data can cloud-compute a solution to free will using our frontal cortexes.

I digress. I'm going to use this week's Three Lane Highway to talk about words. If that's not of interest to you, that's cool. I'd appreciate it if you'd still honk and push the 'Like' button, though.

Half-Life 2's City 17 recreated in the Unreal Engine, looks stunning

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Phil Savage at

For some reason, the Source engine is lodged in my mind as the default baseline for what a game looks like. It's almost ten years old now, but—because its characters aren't the angular blockmen of older engines—everything since feels like an improvement on that default unit of Graphics. Until, that is, somebody decides to post screenshots of their Unreal Engine recreation of the opening map from Half-Life 2, at which point I'm reminded that we live in 2014 and have access to exponentially more Graphics.

That somebody is environment artist Jeannot "Logithx" van Berlo, whose UDK remake of City 17's train station is a beautiful thing. And as good as these shots look, van Berlo is now considering converting his recreation to the newer, sexier Unreal Engine 4. Ultro-Graphics!


Oculus VR hires another Valve virtual reality expert

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Oculus VR announced that it hired yet another virtual reality expert from Valve, Aaron Nicholls. His new title will be Scientist, presumably working under Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, another Valve virtual reality expert Oculus VR announced it hired last week.


Dota 2's fourth The International tournament announced for July, moves to new location

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Phil Savage at

Some people are really good at manipulating wizards. As the makers of a game that features wizards (also: bears, succubi, venomous man-reptiles), every year Valve invite some of these people to a multi-million dollar wizard-off. That tournament is Dota 2's The International, and is one of the year's largest e-sports events. Valve have confirmed that this year's tournament will run from July 18 - 21, with tickets going on sale later this week. In addition, the event takes place in a new venue: Seattle's KeyArena.


Three Lane Highway: four and a half shocking Dota facts they don't want you to know

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

Dota 2 is a complicated game. Everybody knows that. It's so complicated that nobody understands it completely, and that's why we surround ourselves with experts who are able to pierce through Dota's thick fog of mechanical noise to deliver sound commentary and guidance. Today, I am your guide. Tens of minutes have been invested in bringing you the following Dota secrets: cold scientific facts that they don't want you to know.

Valve explains how CS:GO became the second most-played game on Steam

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Evan Lahti at

One of three talks Valve delivered at the Game Developers Conference last week was “Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy,” a session by Technical Artist Bronwen Grimes. Grimes’ presentation mainly focused on how Valve developed its method for mostly-automating the creation of new weapon skins that roll out regularly in updates like Operation Phoenix and Winter Offensive.


Three Lane Highway Revisited: Twenty-four hours, eight games of Dota 2, and $2,874,382

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Chris Thursten at

This article was written in late August 2013 and originally published in issue 258 of PC Gamer UK. I've been thinking about my experience at The International 2013 since watching Valve's Dota 2 documentary, Free To Play. As a companion piece to today's Three Lane Highway column, then, we thought we'd make the following available online.

It takes the five members of Alliance ten minutes to move around Benaroya Hall’s curved mezzanine to the off-limits corridor that leads to their private balcony. They are surrounded at every step by fans, pushing up against windows and leaning over tables to sign T-shirts and mousemats. Their manager, Kelly, alternates between apologetic determination and abrupt for-the-camera enthusiasm as she attempts to shepherd five sudden celebrities into a single doorway.

Three Lane Highway: Valve's Dota 2 documentary sets an example for the community

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Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2. Previously a Tumblr blog, it now runs every week on PC Gamer.

Being in the crowd during The International 2013 grand finals was more or less the highlight of my career. It was certainly one of the most powerful experiences I've had in connection with a videogame. When Alliance won and green confetti streamed from the ceiling and the Dota 2 theme started to play and the crowd were on their feet I understood something about sport that I'd never really understood before. It was one of those rare moments when you are aware that you are experiencing something important even as you experience it. The adrenaline didn't give out until deep into the early hours of the following morning.

Dota 2 documentary Free To Play getting Twitch screening later today

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Phil Savage at

Free To Play, Valve's Dota 2 e-sports documentary, comes out later today. And while you could watch it from the relative comfort of your Steam library, wouldn't it make more sense to see it in a setting more synonymous with e-sports? By which I mean on Twitch, next to a chat box that's spamming emoticons.

Luckily, you have that option. Valve and Twitch are collaborating on an online viewing party that's set to go live in a few hours. It will start at 9am PDT or 4pm GMT, and be shown running throughout the day. Because timezones are confusing, there's also a countdown timer ticking down to when that party gets started.


Steam client beta update adds easy "virtual reality mode" access

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Yesterday, Valve released a Steam client beta update that makes accessing the services's “Virtual Reality Mode” even easier. VR mode allows you to browse the store, access your library, and generally use Steam with an Oculus Rift dev kit. Valve first added VR support in January, when it introduced the SteamVR application to the beta client’s Tools library. This recent update simplifies access.


Five awesome moments from the 2014 EMS One Katowice CS:GO Championship

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Sometimes you have to watch the professionals at work to appreciate how brilliant a game is. After watching some of the highlights from this weekend’s 2014 EMS One Katowice Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship, I was reminded how tense and thrilling Counter-Strike can get. Here are some of the best moments from the event in Poland, from some of the best players in the world.