ValveTime Weekly News Round-Up - 13th January 2013

Uploaded by ValveTime on 13.01.2013

Hi, and welcome to the ValveTime news.
Each week, we'll bring you the biggest talking points regarding Valve Software and the community.
Now, the news:
You might remember the amount of noise that was made last year
about Valve and their future plans for developing gaming hardware.
Well, this week saw the arrival of the Consumer Electronics Show,
a.k.a. CES 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada,
where Valve appeared with their own booth and some big reveals.
Early in the week, graphics card developer Nvidia revealed one of their latest projects,
titled "Project Shield."
The device, shown here, appears as a traditional controller
with an attached screen which functions as a portable gaming device
capable of playing the latest PC games.
What we're interested in, however, is Nvidia's partnership with Valve
to use the device's mobile game streaming system in conjunction
with Steam's Big Picture Mode to provide easy access to gamers' libraries.
Big Picture Mode was widely showcased with the device on stage,
which also highlighted the potential for dual-screen gaming
in a manner similar to Nintendo's recently-released Wii U console.
In similar news from CES 2013, Xi3, a modular computer developer,
unveiled the first official Valve-licensed "Steam Box."
The device, shown here, is currently named "Piston"
and is designed as an extremely small but powerful and tough modular PC
capable of running modern games through Steam's Big Picture Mode.
While the device may function in a fashion similar to that of traditional consoles,
it is substantially more powerful, boasting an integrated graphics card
and a quad-core processor with speeds around 3.2 GHz,
which isn't half bad for something which can easily fit in your hand.
The Piston is also more versatile than traditional consoles
as it features a modular structure which allows users to easily upgrade the device
with updated hardware parts in order to keep up-to-date on the technological developments.
While the Piston is most definitely a Steam Box, it isn't the last one we'll see.
Not only were these two additional Steam Box PCs demonstrated at Valve's CES booth,
Gabe Newell also confirmed that more were in the works.
The Verge managed to interview Gabe regarding a variety of topics,
including the ideas behind the Steam Box concept and Windows 8.
Gabe mentioned that Valve themselves will be revealing their own pre-built PC later this year,
which will run Steam's Big Picture Mode off a Linux operating system
and will feature a customizable design which
"is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination."
While we'd love to talk about all of the juicy details from the interview here,
we really don't have the time since it's PACKED with new information,
so head on over to our site via the links in the description
to read all about Valve's hardware projects, partnerships, and interviews
straight from CES 2013.
We'll also include a link in the description to the most recent episode
of the Nerdist podcast, in which Gabe Newell makes an appearance
to talk about a variety of topics.
Remember last week when we pretty much begged Geoff Keighley
to send us his Half-Life Alpha disc which dates back to 1997?
Well, the next best thing happened earlier this week when a member of the Reddit community
known as jackaljayzer uploaded the contents of a similar preview alpha disc
onto the internet for us all to enjoy.
The disc contains Half-Life version 0.52,
which includes a variety of screenshots, trailers, and content from the game.
We were amazed to be able to go back and investigate these old game assets after so long.
We also created a short "ValveTime Spotlight" video,
which focuses on our impressions of the alpha build alongside an analysis
of what did and didn't make it into the final game.
A link to our Spotlight will be provided on-screen at the end of this video.
Our investigator Barnz recently unearthed some previously unseen screenshots
of the cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode Four project, also dubbed "Return to Ravenholm."
The project was being developed by Arkane Studios around 2006
and was intended to be a spin-off Half-Life title set sometime before the end of Episode Two
which would see the player return to Ravenholm in a brand new storyline.
In the past, we've uncovered animations developed for the game
in a work portfolio of an Arkane Studios designer,
but we had never seen what the game may have looked like until now.
You can check out the screenshots at the link to in the description,
while a link is available on-screen now which leads to a round-up of all of Episode Four's
media content in a video we released earlier this week.
Dota 2 received its weekly update earlier this week which introduced a new hero, Medusa.
As a ranged agility hero, Medusa is perfect as a late game carry
who is extremely farm-dependent in order to be effective.
Her ultimate, titled "Stone Gaze,"
allows Medusa to drastically change the tide of a team fight
by slowing her enemies by turning them into stone with her gaze for a 5 second duration.
The game also received a small UI addition in the form of a courier haste button,
while icons for upcoming hero Tusk,
assets for soon-to-be released hero Troll Warlord,
and a currently unreleased mount for Chen were also added to the game files.
Lina, Broodmother, and Huskar all received their first cosmetic item sets in the update,
all of which can now be now purchased from the Dota 2 store.
Links to Dota Cinema's Medusa hero preview and Cyborgmatt's changelog analysis
can be found in the video description.
A post on the Team Fortress 2 blog earlier this week
announced that Valve would officially retire the first set of hats from the game
in about two weeks' time.
In a surprise post to the blog, Saxton Hale delivered the news
that the Batter's Helmet, Soldier's Stash, Pyro's Beanie, Demoman's Fro,
Football Helmet, Mining Light, Prussian Picklehaube, Trophy Belt, and Fancy Fedora
would all be removed from the game's store and drop system
sometime around the 24th of January 2013.
These 9 hats were officially the first to be added to the game
after the secret announcement page was discovered during the Sniper vs. Spy update.
While these hats are currently some of the most plentiful in the game,
we believe this upcoming change will significantly reduce their availability
and is a move by Valve deliberately designed to change the Team Fortress 2 trading economy
by increasing the rarity of older items in order to boost their community trading price.
The items will no longer be available from the store, drop system, or through crafting
as of two weeks' time, so get them while you can.
The hats themselves will not be removed from the game,
simply the manners in which players can receive or purchase them.
A full FAQ is available on the Team Fortress 2 blog,
which you can visit by clicking on a link in the video description.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive also received a small patch this week
which introduced a "Report Server" feature.
The UI option, shown here, allows players to send negative feedback
related to server management, performance, and listings directly to Valve
in order to potentially improve the game experience for all.
The CS:GO ongoing content team have also promised there is
"a lot more in store for CS:GO fans," including the upcoming addition of the Map Workshop.
A link to the update changelog will be available in the video description.
...And we really need to come up with another phrase for that.
A little while ago, we told you about the 1:1 scale replica of the Gravity Gun,
a new product from NECA, one of Valve's official merchandise partners.
Well, the gravity gun is now officially available for pre-order for $149
from a variety of select retailers.
The full list of retailers can be found in a list on a post on NECA's blog, which...
you can find in a link in the video description.
Lastly, a community modder known as TextFAMGUY1 has released an updated version
of his "Surface Tension Uncut" mod.
The mod includes a true-to-the-original, extended, and updated version
of the "Surface Tension" chapter from the original Half-Life,
something which was cut down and missing from the original release of Black Mesa.
Another mod for a mod, known as Black Mesa: Uplink,
was released last year and functions as a reconstructed version
of the original Uplink demo for Half-Life.
Links to both of these mods and their Mod DB pages will be available...
you know where it is...
You might have noticed that we skipped ValveTime TriviaTime last week,
so let's start 2013 off with an easy first question.
What was the name of Team Fortress 2's first unlockable weapon
which was announced but never released?
Let us know in the comments below.
Extra brownie points go to anyone who can mention the item's specific stats,
the reason why it was never released,
and the name of the weapon which ultimately replaced it.
We'll reveal all of these answers on next week's episode. Good luck.
And that brings us to the end of another week of Valve news.
Thanks for watching.
Stay tuned for more new content coming sometime next week as long as everything goes smoothly.
I'm looking at you, Glenn!
Bye for now.