As well as being a place for us to report on small news items that likely wouldn’t be mentioned otherwise, the Roundup will also be a way to recap on some of what we have talked about during the week. So, let’s get to the first weekend edition of the Roundup:
Half-Life 3 mentioned in Source Film-Maker code:
Okay, we all know Source 2 exists, and I think we’re all in agreement that Half-Life 3 is being made even if we might argue as to how much of it is done. But Valve being Valve, they like to share as much of their software creations as they can with the fans and have given us unprecedented access to the Source engine and powerful tools to do what we want with it. This level of openness, however, often means we may see some things that maybe we weren’t supposed to see, which usually lead us to make a few assumptions. The latest example of this comes from an update to Source FilmMaker back in January which has recently been discovered to include a couple of lines of code that mention “hl3”. What’s interesting about this is the fact that these lines reside in the code for a Render-Farm feature (rendering a scene using many, many computers) that does absolutely nothing outside of Valves own internal use. The code, seen HERE, references “hl3_movies” but points to a scene called “Dog_Fight” which you may remember was the code name for a particular scene in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 where Dog takes on a Strider in his typically awesome way. Like the previous evidence of areas in Left 4 Dead 2 being recreated in Source 2, this leads me to wonder if Valve is remaking Half-Life 2 scenes as well, or possibly even giving it a full remake.
See? What I say about assumptions?
Steam adding a “reporting” feature:
We told you earlier this month about Gabe Newell holding a Reddit AMA where he said he wanted to “make Steam a self-publishing system”. This comment raised the question as to what would be done about the inevitable influx of low-quality and even offensive content that Steams current, more closed system holds back. Now, we’re reported that code in the Steam Beta reveals a new reporting system that looks likely to be added to Steam product pages at some point. This feature goes a long way to show Valves commitment to the self-publishing method but also show that they are not willing to make Steam a lawless zone. User control has been, and will continue to be, a priority.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive reaches 164,000+ players:
So, uh, I hear this Counter Strike thing is pretty popular. There’s no doubt about it now, as the multi-player shooter has reached a peak player count of over 164,000 at one time, according to SteamCharts.com. This is pretty impressive when you consider that Team Fortress 2, which is free and an insanely popular game, is sitting at a one-time peak of nearly 118,000 players. Daily player increases of 16, 8, and 4 thousand over the past week are expected to be a result of the world-wide EMS One Katowice 2014 tournament which is nearing an end with $250,000 up for grabs as well as unique in-game gear.
Batman: Arkham Knight digital copies already cheap:
Warner Bros announced, and even set a release date for Batman: Arkham Knight pretty suddenly this month; heralding the return of not only the Caped-Crusader but also of the original developer of the Arkham series, RockSteady. But some are asking if this game will also see a return to the old $50 standard price for games instead of the now $60 standard, at least when it comes to the digital download (Steam) editions. That is because Arkham Knight is now available for pre-order on Green Man Gaming at a non-discounted price of $49.99, compared to every other retailers $59.99 price.
Regardless of whether this is a sign of lower prices to come, the fact remains that if you want to pick up Arkham Knight for cheap, you already can. In addition to Green Mans lower price you can also use the discount code “AW3PEM-PTOQ6J-Z77C67” at checkout to lock-in your pre-order price at just $40.
Immersive Technology Alliance adds big-name backers:
You may not have heard of The Immersive Technology Alliance (ITA), but since its founding in 2009 the group has been a leading proponent of virtual reality, augmented reality, and stereoscopic 3D technologies. Now, the influence of the non-profit organization is expected to expand well beyond research and development by adding the official support of many technology companies and academic groups. Panasonic, Epson, EA, Harvard University, and many not-as-notable backers have joined the ITA along with the leader in immersive gaming headsets, Oculus Rift. The newly expanded Alliance will make their presence and intentions know on-stage at the Game Developers Conference. Instead of being a part of the ITA, Sony and, possibly, Microsoft are rumored to reveal their own VR headset or similar technology at GDC.
Remember: GDC is coming:
Speaking of the Game Developers Conference (GDC), I thought I’d give you all a friendly reminder that the event is scheduled to begin tomorrow (March 17) and end on the 21st. Valve will be showing off a number of things there including their latest iteration of the the Steam Controller. While GDC isn’t quite as big of an event as E3, there have been quite a few rumors and speculation floating around that this years event could be quite the place to make some big announcements. Of course, we’ll let you know about anything related to Valve, Steam, and PC gaming as news breaks.