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A New Steam Age

A New Steam Age

valve-head

It is safe to say that we are entering a new Steam Age, rather than a time when steam is a new power source this Steam Age is where Valve’s program is at the heart of the modern PC gamer.

Steam is home to over 20 million users and plays host to over 500 different applications. In recent years it has become much more than simply a digital distribution platform.

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The Scout speaks: Valve Time countdown starts now

The Scout speaks: Valve Time countdown starts now

Listenin' to me?
/Initiating irritating voice/

Listen, man! There’s like, a whole bunch o’ new stuff promised for me, dude! I’m gettin’ a new promotion, okay? Do you have any idea how significant this is? Are you even listening? More stuff to hurt people with!

Stuff. Nails?
Just perhaps dude. Here’s the cool thing: Robin Walker, one of my employers at Valve (although they can’t control me for shit, I mean like, they don’t own me [Yes they do – Ed.]), said this yesterday:

We’re just about done with the Scout pack, and our design and coding has already moved on to the next pack. The weapons and achievements are all nailed down and we just have to finish up the final artwork on them.

That’s indeed very much what I’m talking about, brudda! Woo!

Suck eeeet!

Beware the Smoker – Valve Updates L4D

Beware the Smoker – Valve Updates L4D

smoker1

Left 4 Dead has recieved an epic update over night, featuring a whole host of updates, ranging from exploit fixes, to some much needed Versus balancing. Most noticable; and certainly most welcome, considering all the calls I’ve heard by irritated infected to have him removed; are the balancing modifications to the Smoker, who now looks ever bit as fun to play as his Bio would have us believe.  He should be alot more scary throughout the whole game, besides that one little niggling rooftop headache  in No Mercy – Sewers. The changes to the tank look set to make him not necessarily more powerful, but certainly a lot more accessible. There should be far less embarassing performances I think – though unfortunatly (and I suppose realistically) he can no longer knock alarm cars into players.

Other useful changes include not being able to change teams while a map is loading – I’m hoping this will solve the problem where it seems to mix up teams now and then – time will tell on that one. There’s some other minor additions to the Infected teams interface, that I suppose should greatly aid coordination. And best of all?

Better loading times.

Yes.

General
– Fixed Survivors being able to climb surfaces marked for versus infected only.
– Fixed a class of SurvivorBot bugs dealing with rescuing downed players.
– Players can no longer grab ladders while flying through the air after a Tank punch.
– Shooting near a car with an alarm that has already fired the alarm will no longer make chirping noises.
– Improved loading time.
– Fixed mini-gun physics exploit.
– Fixed propane tanks (and other physics objects) causing players to fall through elevators.
– Fixed rare achievement bug issues.
– Fixed several map exploits.
– Fixed various match making issues.
– Fixed NAT traversal issues.

Versus Changes
– Added HUD elements to show status of other infected players.
– Changed color of infected player name in chat to red.
– Fixed exploit where players could spawn infected bots
– Fixed instance where a Survivor changing to the infected team would be attacked by infected bots.
– Normalized special infected melee damage.
– Made the following client commands cheat protected: “Kill” and “explode”.
– Fixed exploit where infected players could run away and teleport back to gain health.
– Players can only change teams once per map.
– Players can’t change teams while other players are still loading.
– Tank spawns at the same % through the map for both teams in versus mode.
– Made the Tank and Witch spawn directly on the escape route.
– Increased chance of getting the Tank or Witch.
– Fixed team swap issue.

Hunter
– Easier to pounce a Survivor who is meleeing.
– Increased Minimum damage a Hunter pounce does.

Smoker
– Fixed Smoker tongue tolerance.
– Smoker now has to be killed or the tongue destroyed for the tongue to break.
– Survivor’s cannot bash someone off the tongue until the Survivor being pulled is paralyzed or hanging
– Tongue attacks that fail to paralyze or hang a Survivor will use the shorter ability delay timer.
– Fixed cases where the ability timer was not using the correct time.
– Fixed case where you could point at a Survivor but not register a tongue hit
– Fixed Smoker tongue not targeting and landing properly through PZ ghosts.
– Smoker tongue does damage every second while dragging paralyzed Survivors.

Tank
– Bashable objects now appear with a red glow.
– Tanks hitting a car with an alarm disables the alarm permanently.
– Tank frustration timer is only reset by hitting Survivors with rocks or fists.
– Reduced autoshotgun damage against Tanks.

Witch
– Witch spawns at the same % through the map for both teams.
– Avoids spawning within a certain % of the tank.
– Fixed an exploit where the Witch could be woken up and tricked into attacking Survivors.

Lower your breeches, or your prices.

Lower your breeches, or your prices.

steamusers

Though many of the machinations of capitalism seem cryptic to us non-corporate types, something we can understand is that a non-material product costs less to produce than something that involves smelting and a team of dwarves. Whosoever’s responsible for the pricing of Steam games must think we’re idiots, or we’re unfamiliar with the concept of money – cave communists. £39.99 for Empire: Total War! We engineers are shovelling wads of cash into the Steam engine, yet the output seems miserably meagre. Today, I demand transparency from game publishers. I want to see through Creative Assembly’s frock.


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