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
] 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!
For fans of Team Fortress 2, Valve inside jokes, wacky skits about corpses, animated shorts and bread-based warfare, presenting: TF2 - Expiration Date
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
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.
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
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]
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.
The Gravity Gun.
Behold the birth of the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. [SLV, Via]
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
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.
: the studio that produced the surprisingly high-budget fallout Fan series: Nuka Break
(with Dougie Jones
) have turned their attention to the office politics of our favorite hive of mad science: Aperture R&D.
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
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
“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.”
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
"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]
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]
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
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
, perhaps you would like to meet them as well. And then you can watch them dance a little
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
's new education initiative, this just might be possible. [more inside]
“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]
With a little bit of help from Aperture Laboratories, these guys created a real Portal gun
25 extra minutes of Cave Johnson
- taken Portal 2's Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC.
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.
No GLaDOS. No Chell. No portals. Set in the 1980s. Competitive multiplayer. Multiple endings. The Portal 2 That Could Have Been
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.
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
) and the sequel's physics-altering gels from Tag: The Power of Paint
). 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]
, 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.
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
has been kidnapped by sentient potatoes
? [more inside]
Gnome Chompski: The Game.
I'm sure Noam is secretly a hardcore videogamer and he would approve. [more inside]
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]
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.
Dance Fortress 2:
The agents of Team Fortress 2 hang loose and party down.
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
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.
, 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.
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
, 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