Train2Game News: Valve announces SteamOS

SteamOSValve has made the first of three big announcements this week, the first being a free to download Steam Operating System.

This is Valves next big step in bringing their services to the comfort of your front room on a nice big screen. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with the gaming experience you’ve come to love and expect from Valve.

The idea behind SteamOS is you don’t have to give up your favorite games, your online friends, and all the Steam features you love just to play on the big screen. SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to the best games and user-generated content available. At the core of the SteamOS is everything you already love about Steam.

Valve have also achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing and are now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases which should see quality of gaming increase even further.

SteamOS will be available soon as a free download for users and as a freely licensable operating system for manufacturers.

Valve’s second announcement is tomorrow at 10am PST.

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect Item in Team Fortress 2

Virtual ViewfinderSpecialEffect today announced that the first of their three premium in-game items for Team Fortress 2 has been released in the in-game store through Valve’s Steam Workshop platform.

The item, called The Virtual Viewfinder, produced as a result of their initiative with SEGA Europe Ltd., is available for purchase for £2.99 in the Mann Co. Store, where SEGA’s proceeds of each sale will go direct to the charity.

Mark Saville, Communications Officer at SpecialEffect, said “This is a huge day for us in terms of how the gaming community is able to support our work helping people with disabilities to play video games. It’s the first in-game donation stream that we’ve had, and we’re excited that gamers now have such a direct and engaging way of helping.”

James Schall, Director of Digital Distribution at SEGA Europe, said, “We’ve been blown away by the support from the community. The wonderful comments across the web supporting what we’ve done are incredibly humbling for the team and now gamers can directly support SpecialEffect and get their hands on some great items in one go.”

He added, “I’m a proud ambassador of SpecialEffect and a huge fan of the way they use technology to enrich the lives of those with disabilities. We enjoy a fruitful and collaborative relationship with Valve based on mutual respect; it’s great to be able to use this relationship to drive awareness and revenue for this fantastic charity.”

Players can purchase the item at:

http://store.teamfortress.com/itemdetails/170966833

Train2Game News: Games Industry news – 15.08.13

Jason HoltmanIt’s the end of the week which means it is time for the industry news round up!

Jason Holtman, who spearheaded Valve’s Steam business for eight years before leaving the company in February, has a new job at Microsoft with a focus on PC gaming and entertainment strategy. At Valve, Holtman was the primary point of contact for developers that distributed games on Steam – and, to many in the gaming world, was the service’s driving force. While he certainly wasn’t the sole reason for its success, he was its biggest cheerleader and an even bigger proponent of digital distribution. What this means for Microsoft is yet to be seen.

The Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer trailer was revealed yesterday and the franchise has finally introduced female characters to play as! You can enjoy the trailer on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2lJcbeBerQ

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches, the final add-on pack for Arkane Studios’ critically-acclaimed first-person action game, is now available worldwide via Xbox LIVE (800 Microsoft Points), Steam (£7.99 / €9.99 / AU$14.45) and on PlayStation Store. Additionally, a new gameplay trailer for the add-on was released which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLEfvTkYHeE

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced it has released Zatanna, the latest downloadable content (DLC) character to be added to the DC Comics fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Based on NetherRealm Studios’ interpretation of the famed DC Comics character, Zatanna is available now on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 400 Microsoft Points and will be available on the PlayStation Network at a price of £3.99 soon. A second generation magician and a master of trickery known for her clever escapes and summons executed by speaking backwards, Zatanna is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the futuristic world of Injustice: Gods Among Us. If my geek memory serves me well I believe her and her father helped teach a young Bruce Wayne that art of escape in one of the Batman story lines.

Finally Little Orbit, a worldwide video game publisher, today announced a partnership with TNT to bring the epic alien-invasion television series Falling Skies to multiple video game consoles. Depicting a world gone mad after an alien invasion, the Falling Skies video games will grab a foothold in the gaming world with a mobile game due out this holiday and multiple consoles launching in 2014. Falling Skies is based on the popular TNT show of the same name and will tie directly into the television series, with a scenario that will weave itself into the existing universe and feature voice work by the show’s actors. This has worked incredibly well for The Walking Dead but time will tell how this one will do!

Train2Game News: Valve looks into opening UK office

Valve LogoValve is looking at opening a UK office in the future. This could be good for current Train2Game students as Valve have a well known history for employing promising up and coming games developers.

The firm is currently sounding out the British development scene at the Develop in Brighton conference, and is looking at the potential viability of a local office in the country.

Valve currently has offices in Seattle and the newly set up Luxembourg studio.

The studio famous for its Steam retail platform and titles like Half-Life is exhibiting at the Develop Conference this week and has been sharing its plans with some attendees.

The new European office, which quietly opened last year, currently houses around five staff focusing on Steam and working with its development partners.

If the new Luxembourg studio, Valve’s first foray into the European industry, proves to be a success it could eventually be expanded into a fully-fledged development team.

Valve staff said Luxembourg was the ideal place for its expansion as it was based centrally in Europe, and provides easier accessibility to European developers than its US operations in Seattle, as well as being in a more ideal time zone.

Luxembourg is also home to the HQs of a number of other online companies, such as Amazon, and is controversially known as a tax shelter for larger businesses.

Train2Game News: Over 1,600 developers attending Develop Conference

DevelopOn Tuesday 9 July, any Train2Game students lucky enough to attend the eight annual Develop Conference in Brighton will have the chance to interact with over 1,600 developers.

The three day conference will host over 90 sessions covering the whole spectrum of games development. 120 speakers will debate the biggest issues and trends in the industry, from Neil Brown’s session on PlayStation 4, to developments in touch-screen technology, discussions about Kickstarter and funding, global markets and even a session on cyber-psychology.

Lee Schuneman, studio head at Microsoft Lift London, will open the Evolve Conference on Tuesday before Mark Cerny, president of Cerny Games, will give the Develop Conference opening keynote entitled Changing the Game: Developing into the Next Generation. In total, there are nine tracks and seven keynotes over the three days.

Outside the conference, Develop will be hosting its biggest expo yet. Attendees can meet some of the biggest names in the industry including Dolby, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, Unity, Unreal Engine and Valve, as well as discovering some of the newest talent in the Develop Conference Indie Showcase.

Centrally located within the expo, the Indie Showcase highlights ten unpublished, independently-developed games selected by a judging panel of industry experts. Delegates have the chance to get hands on with the games and vote for their favourite through the People’s Choice vote.

“With only a week to go, we’re delighted with both the quantity and high quality of content we are offering our delegates,” commented Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events. “We’re lucky to have some fantastic keynotes and great sessions, which will offer invaluable information for every type of developer – from the smallest indies to established studios. I’m really looking forward to welcoming everyone down to Brighton next week.”

Full information on the conference sessions and speakers together with who is exhibiting at the expo can all be found on the new mobile event app, sponsored by Microsoft, or you can find the information on www.developconference.com.

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect needs the help of Train2Game students with Steam initiative

Team Fortress 2 SpecialEffectSpecialEffect is asking for the help of Train2Game students who use Valve’s Steam system! The charity who provide video gaming equipment to people with disabilities need your votes.

A few select artists from the Steam community have created SpecialEffect themed items for the game Team Fortress 2 and with your votes they can be in game this summer! The items that have been designer are: a viewfinder, cabinet and belt pack. 99% of the profits from these items will go to help disabled players enjoy games to the best of their abilities thanks to the work done by SpecialEffect.

This idea is the brainchild of James Schall, SEGA’s Director of Digital Distribution.

“Demand for SpecialEffect‘s help is rocketing,” said James. “And I’m excited about the potential of these generous artwork donations to kickstart a big-hearted response from the TF2 community to help meet that demand.”

“It’s a fantastic gesture,” said charity CEO Mick Donegan. “Gamers get what we’re trying to do, and to get that support from artists within the community is a real endorsement of our work.”

“We need £750k this year to give people a fighting chance through specialised games control equipment. We’re bringing this technology directly into the homes and hospitals of the people who need it most, and transforming the lives of people with the most severe disabilities through cutting-edge equipment like eye control and brain control.”

You can vote for the items to be in Team Fortress 2 by going to the link below:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=156361911

You can also find the items from within Steam itself by selecting Workshops from the Community menu. Hit the link in the grey text below the main ‘Create, Discover…’ heading, and on the next page type ‘special effect’ in the search box (note the space between the two words!). Then hit the Rate button.

If you would like to check out the pages of the artists who created the items for SpecialEffect you can view them in the links below:

Psyke

Svdl

*゚✲*。✧*☆Twilight Sparkle☆*✧*✲*

void~

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 17.05.13

Batman and DeathstrokeIt’s the end of the week so it is time for the Train2Game round up of Games Industry news from across the week!

First of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment released a teaser trailer for Batman Arkham Origins. This most certainly is a tease! The full trailer is scheduled to be released on May 20, the day before the big Xbox reveal. You can enjoy your teaser here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvQXipKxrCE&feature=youtu.be

To continue our trailer theme, a trailer for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also released earlier this week. This is following comments made by CEO Yves Guillemot who stated that they don’t expect AC4 to do as well as it’s predecessors. This cautious approach is a refreshing change. You can enjoy the PEGI 18 trailer here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Iys4wq7O_fQ

2K and Gearbox Software today announced that the sixth playable character for Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho, is now available via digital download across all available platforms for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points. The Psycho Pack offers fans a chance to play with one of the most iconic personalities in the Borderlands universe. The sixth playable character for Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho, harnesses his psychotic multiple personalities to give the bandits and baddies of Pandora a taste of their own medicine. Vault Hunters can use the new character class to shoot and loot their way to new heights in Borderlands 2 with the recently released Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack. The pack raises the level cap to 61 for all six characters, unlocks a third play through called Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, and is available now for $4.99 or 400 Microsoft Points as a standalone purchase. It is also included as part of the Borderlands 2 Season Pass.

Valve has announced the Steam Trading Card beta is available for sign up now. Fans participating in the beta can unlock virtual trading cards by playing selected titles including CS: GO, Portal 2,  Dota 2 and more to come. The cards can be turned into game badges and trade-able Steam community items, according to info on the Steam site. Full sets of cards can be combined to earn Steam badges, all of which will contribute to your overall Steam level. “Up to half the card set is dropped through game play, the other half is earned through your collecting prowess,” says the blurb. Collecting prowess means that you can get more cards by interacting and trading with fellow Steam community members. Images on the Steam Trading Cards page indicate that these could entitle you to money off purchases on the Steam store. If you’d like to sign up for the beta, you can do it here.

Tech website The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is about to kill off its points system, the method by which we use to buy products off Xbox live, and is moving instead towards using real world prices, and allowing gift cards to pay for its services. These gift cards will supposedly work in the same way as Apple iTunes vouchers do, and the change will also allow users to buy with normal credit or debit cards. This comes after Windows 8 was changed late last year to reflect real-world prices rather than points. This should be confirmed to be true or not at this years E3.

Train2Game News: 2013 BAFTA Video Game Awards

BAFTAThe video game BAFTAs were held earlier this week and Train2Game has the results for you. It was an excellent night for PlayStation exclusive, Journey, in particular.

The list of winners is as follows:

Audio Achievement – Journey

  • Steve Johnson, Austin Wintory, Keith Leary

Best Action Game 2013 – Far Cry 3

  • Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methe

Best Game – Dishonored

  • Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

British Game – The Room

  • Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

Debut Game – The Unfinished Swan

  • Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
  • Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Family – LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

  • Jon Burton, Jonathan Smith, John Hodskinson
  • TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

Game Design – Journey

  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Game Innovation – The Unfinished Swan

  • Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary
  • Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Mobile & Handheld – The Walking Dead

  • Dan Connors, Kevin Bruner, Kevin Boyle
  • Telltale Games/Telltale

Online (Browser) – SongPop

  • Olivier Michon, Thibaut Crenn, Daouna Jeong
  • FreshPlanet/FreshPlanet

Online-Multiplayer – Journey

  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Original Music – Journey

  • Austin Wintory, Keith Leary, Mony Mudd
  • That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Performer – Danny Wallace

  • (The Narrator) Thomas Was Alone

Sports/Fitness – New Star Soccer

  • Simon Read
  • New Star Games/New Star Games

Story – The Walking Dead

  • Telltale Games/Telltale

Strategy – XCOM: Enemy Unknown

  • Firaxis/2K Games

BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital

  • Starcrossed
  • Kimi Sulopuisto, Vili Viitaniemi, Minttu Meriläinen, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean

 

At the end of the event Valve CEO and BAFTA Fellowship winner, Gabe Newell, come to the stage with a standing ovation and said “On behalf of everyone at Valve, and all of the gamers who have gone with us on this adventure over the last few years – thank you very much,”

If you want to watch the event you can do so here: http://www.bafta.org/games/awards/watch-live,3664,BA.html

Train2Game News: J.J Abrams and Gabe Newell could collaborate

Valve logoValve CEO, Gabe Newell and top film director, J.J Abrams hit the stage at the DICE summit in Las Vegas and announced they had been talking about working together.

After a back-and-forth about player agency and storytelling, Newell revealed that the duo had been “recapitulating a series of conversations going on,” and that they’re now ready to “do more than talk”: Newell suggested “either a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie,” and Abrams said he’d like to make a game with Valve.

Valve are one of the top games developers with games such as Half Life and Portal under their belts which have incredible game play mechanics that make them fan favourites.

J.J Abrams on the other hand is one of the best directors at the moment, responsible for the reboot of the Star Trek films and is taking the helm on the new Star Wars films. Abrams has also worked on TV Series such as Lost and Fringe.

The two men working together could bring forth incredible games with the mechanics of Valve and storytelling of Abrams. In addition, in my opinion, there would be no man better to direct a Portal or Half Life movie than Mr Abrams.

In 2010, Newell said that if Valve were to make a Half-Life movie, it wouldn’t hand over control to any Hollywood studio, saying:

“There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of.

“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’”

There are no details on Newell and Abrams’ project—be it game, film, or both—outside of the tease that they’re talking. They are talking and I am sure that can only mean good things.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 16.01.13

Valve logoIt is that time of week for the Train2Game mid-week round up!

Valve has announced plans to to discuss a port of Team Fortress 2 to virtual reality goggles. The first talk will be programmer Joe Ludwig’s ‘What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality’ and it will explore the efforts of several employees over the last year to get the game to run in virtual reality goggles. In addition, Valve’s Michael Abrash will discuss the hardware challenges that lie ahead and possible solutions for virtual and augmented reality in ‘Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going).’

Square Enix have launched a new website to tease all fans of an upcoming iOS game. More information is to be released on January 17. The site has an image of what looks like a front end menu for the game which is called, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. You can check out the website for yourself here: http://www.jp.square-enix.com/ff_atb/

Since Activision brought out Skylanders it has done very well and now Disney has seen it’s potential. They are now doing their own version with the announcement of Disney Infinity. Infinity will work in the same way as Skylanders, needing action figures and a “toy box” base to give players access to different worlds. Disney fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces, like Captain Jack Sparrow, the cast of the Incredibles, and Sully from Monsters Inc.

Surreal game creator Suda51 has revealed details of his next game, Killer is Dead. The game stars Mondo Zappa, a 35 year old American executioner that abides by a strict suit-and-tie policy and his left hand is a gun that can also transform into a drill and is used primarily to absorb an enemy’s blood for an “Adrenalin Burst” attack. The game’s antagonist is Victor, who can manipulate emotions through song. He’s appropriately styled to look like classic composer, except has a green face and glowing eyes.

Online and mobile are spearheading the game industry’s growth to a potential total valuation of $83 billion by 2016, according to new research. Conducted by Digi-Capital, the global games investment review states that online and mobile could have a revenue share of $48 billion in 2016, 55 per cent of the entire game industry. The biggest driver in mobile and tablet app revenue meanwhile will be free-to-play, which could deliver 55 per cent of revenue in the sector and account for 93 per cent of app downloads by 2016.