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Ladies and gentlemen: DIGITAL SPORTS

Defense of the Ancients is a MOBA (what's a MOBA? | comprehensive history of MOBAs) that has skyrocketed in recent years from a humble Warcraft multiplayer mod to a genre-defining megahit whose worldwide competitive bracket The International (whose finale airs tonight) boasts a prize pool of more than $10 million dollars. While publisher Valve is determined to help mainstream the esports craze with helpful noob newcomer-friendly broadcasts of the final and a simulcast on ESPN, the community has been dogged by accusations of hostility and a very steep learning curve. Luckily, you don't have to know anything about DOTA to enjoy the best thing to come out of it so far: 45 minutes of witheringly sarcastic in-game meta-commentary [playable transcript] in the dulcet tones of Kevan Brighting, the very charming (and very British) narrator of beloved metagame The Stanley Parable. Once you're finished with that delightful deconstruction of esport tropes, you might also enjoy perusing similar announcer packs for Portal's GLaDOS, Bastion's Rucks, and... a pirate. DIGITAL SPORTS!
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 21, 2014 - 47 comments

rising to the occasion

For fans of Team Fortress 2, Valve inside jokes, wacky skits about corpses, animated shorts and bread-based warfare, presenting: TF2 - Expiration Date.
posted by fight or flight on Jun 18, 2014 - 35 comments

Dota goes big in 2014

Valve's annual Dota 2 championship was record breaking last year. It took 3 months to raise the prize pool by a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding from 1.6 million USD to 2.8 million USD. This year it took a little more than 1 week to raise the prize pool from the same 1.6 million USD to 5 million USD. And the tournament will only start in mid July. At this rate, even if the winners had never won cash before (and assuming they will the take half of the total money), they will become the highest earner in esports of all time.
(previously)
posted by bdz on May 15, 2014 - 24 comments

Valve Presents: Free To Play

FREE TO PLAY [1h15m] is a feature-length documentary that follows three professional gamers from around the world as they compete for a million dollar prize in the first Dota 2 International Tournament.
posted by hippybear on Mar 19, 2014 - 33 comments

That thing the sun does that makes it so hot

GLaDOS teaches fusion and fission for NASA. Ellen McLain lends her autotuned voice to IRrelevant Astronomy, a video series produced as part of the education & public outreach mandate of the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. [via]
posted by figurant on Feb 27, 2014 - 6 comments

To the gods I caused oxen to be sacrificed.

The initial beta release of SteamOS became available for download yesterday. Intended to run on Valve's emerging SteamBox platform [Prev] , you can also install it on a fairly modern desktop PC today, presuming it can match up with the adoption-limiting early hardware support requiring UEFI BIOS and Nvidia GPUs ("AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon!"). [more inside]
posted by laconic skeuomorph on Dec 14, 2013 - 40 comments

What could possibly top Valve's announcement of the Steam Box?

IT'S HALF-LIFE 3 NERDS
posted by boo_radley on Oct 1, 2013 - 100 comments

Level Up

Untold Riches: An Analysis Of Portal’s Level Design, from RPS, who have been looking at level design in their Level With Me series of interviews. Meanwhile Valve will be announcing something Monday morning - probably not Half Life 3.
posted by Artw on Sep 20, 2013 - 107 comments

"The Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator is not a toy, Alyx!"

‪The Gravity Gun‬. Behold the birth of the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. [SLV, Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 9, 2013 - 29 comments

Hell, I was too old for this shit fifteen years ago

16 teams are competing in Seattle at the The International, a Dota 2 esports competition with the largest prize pool in electronic sports history.

Meanwhile the members of the Dota 2 subreddit had the privilege to visit the HQ of Valve, the developer of the game. They took some photos. On the most interesting one you can see the recent development commits.

Take a closer look. And there is this site too. We all know where does this lead to. But. Counter-Strike Source was the first Source engine game in 2004. Two weeks later Valve released Half-Life 2. Left 4 Dead 3 now unofficially confirmed and the new Source engine is surely in development.

So one important question remains unanswered: when will Valve release Half-Life 3?
posted by bdz on Aug 6, 2013 - 85 comments

14265​68d3d​4880b​a427b​c48ef​d11ce​3a

Alternate Reality Game puzzle design - Adam Foster of Valve talks about the design of the Portal 2 ARG, (previously)  and do's and don'ts for future ARGs.
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2013 - 10 comments

Robot Hell (now with additional hell!)

Futurama's "Robot Hell" song as performed by the cast of Team Fortress 2.
posted by mightygodking on Apr 27, 2013 - 24 comments

Doing What We Could Because We Can.

Wayside Creations: the studio that produced the surprisingly high-budget fallout Fan series: Nuka Break (with Dougie Jones!) (previously, previously) have turned their attention to the office politics of our favorite hive of mad science: Aperture R&D.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 18, 2013 - 15 comments

They're waiting for you Gordon... in the tech demo.

An early alpha build of the genre changing game Half-Life has been leaked on to the internet. The alpha represents the state of the game about a year before its release, and Youtube user MarphitimusBlackimus has uploaded footage of: multiplayer, a technology demonstration, and a playthrough of a very rough single player mode. A bit more information about the leak here.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 11, 2013 - 41 comments

Mods, guns and hats

How profitable has it been for Anthony? He, like many of the other contributors, was coy about the exact amount: “Let me answer this as indirectly as possible. I am sure that Valve has a new Lamborghini in the staff car park.”

Modding allows amateur and semi-professional designers to fiddle around with commercially-produced games - anything from adding monocles to crabs to recreating Westeros, all the way to a zombie survival mod more popular than the orginal game. While mods have traditionally been free, Valve's Steam Workshop is a marketplace to sell hats and other items for a selection of games, including Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2 - both sequels to mods. PC Gamer talks to the modders who are making six-figures sums.
posted by liquidindian on Jan 10, 2013 - 22 comments

Is the Steam Box here?

Valve and Xi3 team up to bring the Piston to CES.
posted by Artw on Jan 8, 2013 - 112 comments

"Whatever you have in skill it does not matter if the team is not spiritually ready."

The International 2012.
posted by Sebmojo on Nov 17, 2012 - 12 comments

The in-world economics of online games

“Economic theory has come to a dead end — the last real breakthroughs were in the 1960s,” says Yanis Varoufakis, a Greek economist recently hired by the video-game company Valve. “But that’s not because we stopped being clever. We came up against a hard barrier. The future is going to be in experimentation and simulation — and video game communities give us a chance to do all that.”
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 1, 2012 - 25 comments

It ain't easy getting Green

Steam Greenlight is Valve's initiative to expand their catalog by letting the community vote on the games they want to see distributed (sound familiar?) Developers are generally positive, but issues with discoverability and outright trolling have led Steam to institute $100 entry fee (with all proceeds going to charity) that runs the risk of "[limiting] Greenlight's appeal by crowding out hobbyist developers that ... lack the will or ability to risk $100." In response, Dejobaan Games announced their plan to loan the fee to one aspiring developers and is calling on others to do the same. Meanwhile, the first ten games have made to the coveted Greenlit section.
posted by griphus on Sep 12, 2012 - 28 comments

Game Maker Without a Rule Book

"Behold the future of video games. Or at least the future as envisioned by a bunch of gamers, programmers, tinkers and dreamers at the Valve Corporation here. This is the uncorporate company that brought us the Half-Life series, the hugely influential first-person shooter game. The Valve guys aren’t done yet. Founded 16 years ago by a couple of refugees from Microsoft, Valve makes games that wild-eyed fans play until their thumbs hurt and dawn jabs through the curtains. But what really makes Valve stand out is its foresight on technology." [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Sep 9, 2012 - 51 comments

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road. -- Stewart Brand

Steam to sell productivity software [main link]. Gabe's dislike of the Windows 8 app store [BBC] may be explained. It's particularly interesting given that Steam is about to launch on Linux [Valve] [previously on Mefi]; it's one app store across all three platforms. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Aug 8, 2012 - 29 comments

Hierarchies of hats will still be allowed (nay, encouraged)

The current system of corporate governance is bunk. Capitalist corporations are on the way to certain extinction. Replete with hierarchies that are exceedingly wasteful of human talent and energies, intertwined with toxic finance, co-dependent with political structures that are losing democratic legitimacy fast, a form of post-capitalist, decentralised corporation will, sooner or later, emerge.
An analysis of the management and organizational style of Valve Software.
posted by barnacles on Aug 5, 2012 - 31 comments

Return to City 17

Half Life 2 Episodes 1 & 2 - a Retrospective
posted by Artw on Jul 22, 2012 - 49 comments

Steam’d penguins

Valve confirms Steam for Linux
posted by Artw on Jul 17, 2012 - 88 comments

Hudda hudda huh!

Meet The Pyro. That is all. (Team Fortress 2 previously on MeFi. Also. And this. Also this. And, after meeting the Pyro, if you have not met the Medic, Heavy, Spy, Demoman, Soldier, Sniper, Engineer and Scout, perhaps you would like to meet them as well. And then you can watch them dance a little.)
posted by mightygodking on Jun 27, 2012 - 103 comments

This could be the biggest triumph ...

Teach With Portals. Last summer, a New York Times review of Portal 2 made the following prediction: "Somewhere out there an innovative, dynamic high school physics teacher will use Portal 2 as the linchpin of an entire series of lessons and will immediately become the most important science teacher those lucky students have ever had." With Teach With Portals, Valve's new education initiative, this just might be possible. [more inside]
posted by grabbingsand on Jun 21, 2012 - 45 comments

Valve Economics: the challenges of virtual economies at Valve

“I’m the president of a videogame company (www.valvesoftware.com).” I thought to myself: Oh, not another “business proposal” from a crackpot… However, something in my head stopped my finger from pressing DEL while my eyes pondered the next line: “We are running into a bunch of problems as we scale up our virtual economies, and as we link economies together. Would you be interested in consulting with us?”
Valve has hired economist Yanis Varoufakis to work on their virtual economies. Valve Economics is Varoufakis's recently launched blog where he explains his background and how he came to work at Valve. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jun 14, 2012 - 56 comments

Blue to orange and back again

With a little bit of help from Aperture Laboratories, these guys created a real Portal gun.
posted by disillusioned on Jun 12, 2012 - 41 comments

Cave Prime from Earth One

25 extra minutes of Cave Johnson - taken Portal 2's Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC.
posted by Artw on May 11, 2012 - 33 comments

A Corrective Prescription For Reality

It looks like the speculation on a near-future market for wearable computers is already heating up. However, the first competitor to the recently-announced Google Glass project comes as a surprise to almost everyone: Valve, the gaming company renowned for Half Life, Portal, and many others, in addition to their digital distribution heavyweight Steam. This will be their first foray into hardware of any kind.
posted by gilrain on Apr 14, 2012 - 50 comments

Science isn't about why - it's about why not

No GLaDOS. No Chell. No portals. Set in the 1980s. Competitive multiplayer. Multiple endings. The Portal 2 That Could Have Been.
posted by Artw on Mar 9, 2012 - 44 comments

Posible names: "Junction Box", "Dry Riser Inlet", "Jar'o'Nails"

Are Valve working on 'Steam Box' gaming console?
posted by Artw on Mar 3, 2012 - 55 comments

A factor of 40

How Valve experiments with the economics of video games
posted by Artw on Oct 24, 2011 - 80 comments

The Princess is a Lie....You Monster.

Mari0 is a Super Mario Bros and Portal mashup currently under development. Previously, the same developer made Not Tetris; a faithful reimagining of the original game, but with the addition of realistic physics and geometry.
posted by schmod on Sep 1, 2011 - 21 comments

Pepsi BLU (but seriously, I don't work for Valve.)

Team Fortress 2 is now free. Forever. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jun 23, 2011 - 97 comments

The following thread is in *massive* spoiler quotes

Portal 2 has finally hit the streets, and despite a somewhat rocky start with their controversial promotional ARG (previously), it looks to be a huge success. Interestingly for such a critically-acclaimed blockbuster, the title's core ideas steam from a pair of concept projects from student design school DigiPen: the original portal system from Narbacular Drop (video - download - previously) and the sequel's physics-altering gels from Tag: The Power of Paint (video - download - previously - previouslier). Combine these innovative ideas with some Lost-meets-Life After People level design, excellent voice acting, and top-notch writing, and it's easy to see why so many people called in sick this past week. But playing the game is just the beginning -- look inside for a collection of easter eggs, story theories, videos, and other goodies from the post-mortem. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 21, 2011 - 425 comments

I need help with my garrys mod.

Garry Newman, the creator of the insanely popular Garry's Mod, which is a sandbox game that uses Valve's Source Engine, has come up with an ingenious way to catch people who pirate the game.
posted by SpacemanStix on Apr 12, 2011 - 39 comments

Soft and sweet and shaped like a potato

You say potato, Valve say... potato.

Just over a year after the Portal 2 announcement ARG (previously) had people dialing up a mysterious BBS, on April 1st Valve pushed out updates to thirteen indie games through Steam, under the tag #potatofoolsday. Some of the games got a little starchy straight away, but more interesting was the appearance of cryptic glyphs, which seemed to link to other games in the set, and nonsense phrases. Alongside a cheeky coded shoutout to members of the Facepunch forums, a hidden frame in the latest Aperture Science Investment Opportunity video (1, 2, 3) appeared to confirm there are 16 glyph-and-letter sets, and 13 phrases to be found in and around the games. But what to do with them even when the set's complete? And what of the uplifted talking raccoon and the blogger whose boss's brother has been kidnapped by sentient potatoes? [more inside]
posted by emmtee on Apr 6, 2011 - 115 comments

Gnome Chompski: The Game

Gnome Chompski: The Game. I'm sure Noam is secretly a hardcore videogamer and he would approve. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Mar 30, 2011 - 24 comments

The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2

The Boy Who Stole Half-Life 2 - How (and more importantly why) Axel Gembe, a young German hacker, stole and leaked the source code to Valve's highly anticipated Half-Life 2 game in 2003. (via Rock, Paper, Shotgun) [more inside]
posted by slimepuppy on Feb 22, 2011 - 68 comments

Apply Crowbar Directly To Forehead

Beyond Black Mesa [SLVimeo]
posted by benzenedream on Jan 22, 2011 - 40 comments

A Cthuluvian perspective on lolcats

The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text. - An interview with Marc Laidlaw, writer for the Half Life series.
posted by Artw on Oct 13, 2010 - 65 comments

We Work Hard, We Play Hard.

Dance Fortress 2: The agents of Team Fortress 2 hang loose and party down.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 29, 2010 - 20 comments

Build it and they will come

PC Gamer: Do you have a good sense of piracy rates with Steam games?
Gabe Newell: They’re low enough that we don’t really spend any time on it.

Gabe Newell on Steam, piracy and DRM, part of PC Gamer's Valve Week.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2010 - 153 comments

Alien Swarm: Valve's newest, freeest, game

If you don't mind installing Steam and are running a version of Windows, you can download and play Alien Swarm for free. It's a top-down shooter with four-player co-op of you and your friends against the aliens.
posted by demiurge on Jul 19, 2010 - 72 comments

Cousin! Let's Go Bowling!

Nico vs Roman
posted by empath on May 20, 2010 - 16 comments

Steam for Mac

Steam, the hugely popular online videogame distribution network, is now available for the Mac. MeFi favorite Portal is also free via the service (both Mac and PC) until the 24th. (previously)
posted by mkultra on May 12, 2010 - 246 comments

"[21:15] {Hondo} Enigmatic Mapper Hondo is the title of the anime about me"

Apparently, a lot of the custom maps for the Half-Life 1 mod Action Half-Life (download links here), especially those done by enigmatic mapper Hondo, had enormous hidden areas that in some cases dwarfed the actual level. Rock Paper Shotgun has a NGJ-style account of an effort by a group of people to unlock the secrets of one of Hondo's most infamous maps: AHL_5AM.
posted by Pope Guilty on Mar 31, 2010 - 48 comments

TF2 on a Mac?

Hang on: Steam is coming to Macs. Christ. [more inside]
posted by hnnrs on Mar 3, 2010 - 114 comments

There's just a bit more to Valve's recent Portal Update...

On Monday, Valve software issued a small patch for Portal. A New achievement ("Transmission Received") for the game was unlocked if 26 radios in the game were carried to the end of the levels. Each radio had it's own sound file, and concealed in those sound files were Morse code, pictures, and an md5 hash string containing a phone number which, if called via modem, has an interesting login (from Gladios 3.11) and seems to be streaming some strange ascii art.
posted by Catblack on Mar 2, 2010 - 130 comments

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