Valve

Three Lane Highway: exploring the expensive e-sports hype trailers of tomorrow

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

Today I watched a very dramatic and slick and expensive-looking trailer for League of Legends' Worlds 2014 tournament. I thought about it in relation to the game of my own preference, and how I spent part of July in a basketball stadium getting really worked up about international wizard conflict. I've written about the narratives that surround the rise of e-sports before. Today, for these reasons and despite many others, I felt compelled to do so in the form of a science fiction press release.

Left 4 Dead 2 patch grants Australians access to uncensored version

Shaun Prescott at

When Valve resubmitted Left 4 Dead 2 for classification in Australia earlier this month, many wondered whether the company had plans to re-release the game. Well, anything is possible, but in the meantime if you own the censored version of Left 4 Dead 2 a free patch is now available on Steam which will grant you access to all the gratuitous violence you've been deprived of.


Three Lane Highway: what tournament play has taught me about Dota 2

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

You're always learning, whether or not it feels like it. I've had games of Dota where I've felt like I've learned nothing at all, where my mistakes have been obvious to me (and probably to everybody else involved) and my victories have been conducted against enemies too busy screaming at each other or eating paint to make it mean anything. There is always, however, a way to learn.

The best CS:GO tips I've received from angry teammates

Evan Lahti at

Playing a competitive online game means being subjected to a certain amount of unsolicited criticism. I think you receive a bit more of it in CS:GO, though, because your dead teammates form a kind of peanut gallery who can talk to you from beyond the grave. Being the last one alive as four other players hover over your digital shoulder is a quintessential CS experience.

I’ve been that digital shoulder hundreds of times, struggling to clutch while a person I’ve never met tells me which gun I should grab to retake Nuke’s A bombsite, or chastises me for using a grenade in a one-on-one situation. It’s annoying, but I’m actually grateful for a lot of the harsh feedback that’s been handed to me in these moments because it’s shaken me out of some bad habits.


Steam Client Beta update brings better AMD support to in-home streaming

Shaun Prescott at

Another week, another Steam Client Beta update. The biggest addition comes in the form of in-home streaming support for AMD. VCE hardware encoding of Direct 3D Games is now possible, so long as you have one of the following cards with the latest drivers: Radeon HD 79xx, Radeon HD 78xx, Radeon HD 77xx, R9 295x, R9 290x/290, R9 280x/280, R9 270x/270, R7 265, R7 260x/260, R7 250x.


Three Lane Highway: your Dota hero is having a good time and so should you

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

Dota 2 is funny, both by design and by accident. It's funny when people get angry. It's funny to screw up. It's funny to Force Staff your friends into the enemy fountain. It's funny to get a rampage as Axe. Laughing at the weird stuff that springs from Dota forms the basis of a healthy
numberofYouTube channels. It's as vital a part of the life of the game as the competitive scene or making items for the Steam Workshop.

The Stomping Land can no longer be purchased from Steam

Andy Chalk at

The Stomping Land saga has taken another twist, as the game is no longer available for purchase on Steam. It's still on Steam, to be perfectly clear about it, you just can't actually buy the thing anymore. Unfortunately, the disappearance of the purchase option was not accompanied by an explanation for its absence, so depending on your perspective, this might be good news or bad news.

Left 4 Dead 2 is now legal in Australia in its full, uncensored glory

Shaun Prescott at

If you live in Australia and play video games you probably visit the Australian Classification Board website occasionally. You do this because a) you want to make sure a new game isn't banned, and b) to see if the notoriously leaky website has revealed, say, Half-Life 3. As for the former, many will remember the rage back in 2010 when the Office of Film and Literature Classification denied Left 4 Dead 2 classification in Australia, which forced Valve to release a censored version in that region. The censored version sucked, to put it kindly.


Valve is being sued by an Australian consumer watchdog

Shaun Prescott at

Valve is being taken to court by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC is alleging that Valve has not fulfilled mandatory consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law. While neither Valve or Steam has any physical presence in Australia, the company must observe Australian law when it provides goods or services to Australians.


Three Lane Highway: the seven stages of Techies

Chris Thursten at

The patch could be here tomorrow. Maybe? Hopefully. By the time you read this you'll probably know more than I do. Valve have promised Techies by the end of August; Valve have promised a lot of things. Anything - and literally nothing - is possible.

It'll probably be tomorrow. If it is, we'll finally begin the process of accepting Techies into the game. Techies, the argument goes, are going to change how pub Dota is played forever. All Pick is going to become a (literal) minefield. The old ways will be gone. It seems appropriate that a hero with a reputation for griefing should attract a seven-stage process of its own.


Steam client beta update enables simultaneous game installs

Andy Chalk at

A recent update to the Steam client beta has made it a whole lot easier to install multiple games at the same time.


Three Lane Highway: why Culling Blade is Dota 2's most entertaining skill

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.

Ultimate abilities are a good place to start whenever you're tasked with explaining why Dota is cool. They're silly, diverse, exciting to watch. If you're staring at an unconvinced game designer, show them how Chain Frost interacts with Chronosphere. Show them how Wraith King's Reincarnation power is both a safetynet and a mobile psychological deterrent. Show them almost any great Echoslam, but probably this one, because it's a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.

Valve chosen as the most desirable place to work in game developer survey

Andy Chalk at

The sky is blue, the grass is green and Valve is a popular destination for game makers looking for work: So declares the IGDA, which, in what may be the least-surprising news of the month, revealed that game developers would rather work for the Half-Life and Steam developer than anywhere else—including for themselves.


The best highlights from CS:GO's ESL One Cologne 2014 tournament

Evan Lahti at

The ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO championship went down as the most-watched Counter-Strike event in history, with over 400,000 combined viewers watching live in-game or through the ESL stream over the weekend. There were plenty of memorable frags, clutches, and comebacks during the 16-team, four-day event, the best of which I’ve collected here.


How to set up Steam in-home streaming on your PC

Wes Fenlon at

Steam in-home streaming may be the future of PC gaming in the living room. Sure, you can build a powerful gaming machine for the living room. But that's expensive. You might be able to run an HDMI cable from your desktop to your big screen TV. But that's usually impractical. In-home streaming is the third option: you use an old PC, or build a low-power client box, to stream games over your home network. Valve's in-home streaming started as an exclusive beta feature in Steam, but now it's built right into the client and available to anyone. It only takes about five minutes to set up, and it works amazingly well.

If you're ready to try out in-home streaming yourself, I'll walk you through the whole process: how to enable streaming in Steam, what kind of host PC and client you'll need, how to make sure your home network is up to the task, and how to control your games once they're up and running.

CS:GO championship ESL One Cologne begins today

Evan Lahti at

Competitive Counter-Strike continues to draw a healthy amount of spectators as Valve’s FPS has grown significantly since the end of 2013. Following Katowice earlier this year, the ESL Championship begins 3 AM Eastern on Thursday, the first matches of ESL One Cologne 2014 will kick off in Germany, culminating in a final match on Sunday.


Upcoming Steam store changes could include content curators and a personalised frontpage

Phil Savage at

The Steam store page could soon be drastically changing. That's according to SteamDB, who have been sleuthing out CSS stylesheets and digging through updates to the Steam Translation Server. Their investigations have found references to new content curation options, new frontpage behaviour, and a variety of additional improvements.


Three Lane Highway: there are many Dotas, and other thoughts on custom game modes

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.

Dota 2's popularity goes against all of the received wisdom about game design I can think of. It is complicated and inconsistent and it pushes people to interact in a way that generates all sorts of well-documented discontent. What it offers can't be summed up in a single sentence, and even a documentary dedicated to explaining its competitive side can only do so much to explain what you actually do in the game, or why that is fun.

Source 2 tools teased in Dota 2 update

Tom Senior at

The Dota 2 Workshop update is even more interesting than it first appears. The new tools include an overhauled edition of Valve's Hammer level editor, and the update download adds a 64-bit build of Dota 2. Both contain allusions to the next generation of Valve's Source engine. Set the Half-Life 3 alert to DEFCON beige.


Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies announced, from the team that brought you Counter-Strike Online

Tom Sykes at

It's easy to forget that Counter-Strike Online is a thing, given that Valve don't typically license out their games to other developers and publishers, but the free-to-play spin-off has been going for about six years now, under South Korean developers and publishers Nexon. Following the release of Counter-Strike Online 2 a couple of years ago, Nexon has announced another entry in the series and, naturally, it's themed around zombies. Free-to-play multiplayer FPS Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies will be heading to Steam this Summer/Autumn.