Train2Game News Handheld Steam

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SMACH Zero will be the first handheld console that runs Steam OS, offering a new way of playing Steam games everywhere.

The final specs of SMACH Zero are the following:

– AMD embedded G-Series SoC “Steppe Eagle” with Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics.
– 4 GB RAM memory
– 32GB internal memory and SD Card Slot
– USB OTG
– 5-inch Touch screen with 720p resolution
– Configurable tactile gamepads
– HDMI video output connection
– Wi-Fi conectivity
– Bluetooth connectivity
– 4G mobile network connectivity (PRO model only)

The hardware specification offers a balance between performance and cost, that will permit to play more than 1,000 games in Steam from the day one.

The console keys scheme will be similar to the latest version of the official Steam Controller, making use of two touch pads, a control stick, 7 buttons on the front face and 6 in the rear.

SMACH Zero is expected to be launched in 2016. More information about price and availability will be given during the next Gamescom, in August 2015.

SMACH is a third party, not developed by Valve Corporation. SMACH Zero is officially the new name for Steamboy Project.

Train2Game News HTC and Valve Virtual Reality

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HTC, a pioneer in innovative, smart technologies, today announced plans to bring mass-market virtual reality (VR) one step closer.

Through a strategic partnership with Valve, HTC promises to transform the way in which consumers interact with technology and the world around them with the debut of HTC Vive. HTC Vive Developer Edition will be launched this Spring, with the consumer edition available by the end of 2015.

Vive combines Valve’s Steam VR tracking and input technologies with HTC’s world-renowned design and engineering talent, setting a new gold standard for an industry that has, until now, struggled to move beyond concept stage.

Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC commented, “It’s rare that a company has an opportunity to forever transform the ways in which people interact with the world and communicate with each other, but that is exactly what we plan to do with Valve.”

“We achieved this once before with our development of smartphone technology,” Peter Chou, CEO of HTC added, “And, through our partnership with Valve, we’ll now be doing this for a second time with VR technology of which consumers could only previously dream.”

Vive offers the most immersive experience of any VR package, plunging people into other worlds at a moment’s notice. HTC and Valve have introduced a Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution with Tracked Controllers, letting you get up, walk around and explore your virtual space, inspect objects from every angle and truly interact with your surroundings. Setting a new benchmark for performance, the headset features high-quality graphics, 90-frames-per-second video and incredible audio fidelity.

HTC is also introducing new wireless VR controllers that will make you feel one with your virtual environment. The new HTC VR Controllers come in a pair and are designed to be so versatile that they will work with a wide range of VR experiences. Unlike typical game controllers, the HTC VR Controllers are simple and intuitive to use, helping everyone make the most of their experience.

Beta versions of the Vive Developer Edition have already generated rich entertainment content from some of the world’s top game developers including Vertigo Games, Bossa, Barry–Fireproof, Dovetail Games, Wemo Labs, Google, Steel Wool Games and Owlchemy.

“Our collaboration with HTC is driven by the companies’ shared desire to produce the most compelling and complete VR experience,” said Ken Birdwell of Valve. “Delivering content creators with the Vive Developer Edition is an incredibly important milestone in our efforts to achieve that goal.”

While amazing gaming experiences are a staple in the VR universe, the potential beyond gaming is limitless. HTC and Valve are committed to realizing a broader vision for VR and see a real opportunity in transforming everyday experiences. Travel, attending a game, meeting friends or even shopping will never be the same again, and the companies are working with leading content creators, including Google, HBO, Lionsgate and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan in order to make that vision a reality.

“Vive creates an exciting opportunity for all developers and content creators, to help us bring virtual reality into the mainstream with an end-to-end solution that completely redefines how we entertain ourselves, communicate with each other, learn and, eventually, how we become more productive,” Cher Wang concluded. “HTC Vive is real, it’s here and it’ll be ready to go before the start of 2016.”

Train2Game News Steam Game Discoverability

Valve logoValve has made some major changes to the way users discover games on its digital distribution platform Steam.

The new Discovery Update revamps the store’s home page and presents recommendations based on past purchases, recent gameplay and friend recommendations.

Also new is the curators list. Users can create their own list of games, based on a sci-fi theme for example, and recommend games based on their tastes for other players to see and subscribe to.

Steam will still retain some of its more traditional elements however, such as displaying popular new releases, recently updated games and top sellers. Users though will now be able to customise their homepage to display which of these categories they want to see.

Game searching has also been updated, and now allows users to discover titles by entering a tag or a basic description of a game they would be interested in playing.

Through a new traffic data analytics system, developers will be able to see where their game is appearing on the store, how many times it has been shown, and if those impressions have resulted in game page views.

The revamp is Valve’s response to the growing number of games being released on Steam. Since January, 1,300 new titles have been added to the marketplace, a significant increase on previous years and more than a third of the store’s total lifetime releases.. In total there are now more than 3,700 games on Steam.

Source: Develop

Train2Game News Source 2 Engine released?

Valve logoDota 2 users believe they have stumbled on the foundations of a brand new Source engine from Valve.

The firm has released a number of new workshop tools for the popular MOBA, and modder RoyAwesome claims their filenames suggest the game is being migrated to a new engine, according to VG247.

“Everything in this package is a new game,” he posted on Reddit. “It’s all the Dota assets and core ported over to Source 2. Valve just soft launched the entire Source 2 engine.”

He points to all the files that would usually share a name with Source, each of which now have a ‘2’ in the filename – examples including engine2.dll, vconsole2.exe. The game now also asks for .vmap files, referring to .vmf as “(Source 1.0)”.

In Valve’s release notes for the new workshop tools, the firm warned that they required powerful systems.

“This is a developer focused release and currently has high system requirements which means not everyone will be able to run the tools,” the firm wrote.

Source: Develop

Train2Game News Maya LT 2015 on Steam

Maya LT 2015Maya LT 2015 will be made available through Steam, Autodesk has announced. The feature set will allow Valve’s community of 65m gamers – as well as the developers and artists among them – use the animation and modelling tools to create 3D game assets.

These can then be used to personalise games and import user-created assets into compatible Steam titles, such as the hugely popular Dota 2. Assets created can also be used in any games users are developing.

Purchasing Maya LT through Steam will also give developers and gamers a full commercial Maya LT licence, allowing them to export any assets create with the tool to games for PC, console and mobile.

The licence will available to purchase through Steam on Tuesday, April 22nd.

“The Valve community is unique because it includes a very engaged mix of both gamers and developers working together to mod titles and generate content,” said Autodesk’s director of games solutions Frank Delise.

“We’re engaging with the community on day one by participating in forums, answering questions and offering custom tutorial content for Dota 2 fans. We can’t wait to try new things with the community and see how they push Maya LT to its limit and beyond.”

Train2Game News Unreal Engine 4 available

Unreal Engine 4At the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Epic Games opened Unreal Engine 4 to the world, releasing all of its leading-edge tools, features and complete C++ source code to the development community through a new subscription model. Developers can sign up for UE4 for PC, Mac, iOS and Android by paying $19 per month, plus 5% of gross revenue resulting from any commercial products built using UE4.

“This is our complete engine, with everything Epic provides to leading game developers, priced accessibly for teams of all sizes, budgets and aspirations,” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games.

With the release of UE4, Epic is moving to a community-centric model built around forums, a Wiki and AnswerHub Q&A, with GitHub hosting the complete C++ source so developers can utilize its robust collaboration functionality for experimentation and sharing.

“This is smart. It’s an enlightened way for developers to create great games and easily bring them to Steam,” said Gabe Newell of Valve.

“Now is a great time to be an independent developer,” said Sweeney. “There are amazing platforms and distribution opportunities available, and with this release we hope the Unreal Engine can help developers build cool new things.”

– Unreal Engine 4 engine and game code are developed in C++, using Microsoft Visual Studio (a free version is available), and Apple’s Xcode.

– Unreal Engine 4 provides a rich suite of tools for content developers including the Blueprint visual scripting system, giving designers and artists unprecedented power to construct gameplay logic without programming; a visual material editor; the Persona animation system; and Matinee timeline-based machinima and cinematics system.

– In addition to the new subscription model, Unreal Engine 4 can be licensed via custom-negotiated terms, for companies that wish to form a closer support relationship with Epic, or to reduce or eliminate the 5% royalty in exchange for up-front payment.

Visit www.unrealengine.com for access to Unreal Engine 4.

You can check out the power of Unreal Engine 4 in the video below

Train2Game News Gabe Newell on Source Engine 2

Valve's Gabe NewellGabe Newell has commented on the progress of Source Engine 2 during a recent Reddit AMA, saying the company is building the tools with user-generated content in mind.

Newell fielded questions from the general public today regarding the future of Valve, his favourite games and what the company has in store for Source Engine 2.

Answering to the latter, Newell said the industry’s move towards user-generated content has influenced the development process.

“The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation,” he wrote.

“That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won’t work if users themselves have to create content.”

While Newell didn’t comment on Half-Life 3, he did address Valve’s attitude towards developing new IP, indicating that core game systems take precedence over everything.

“An IP is really a tool for a development team more than anything else,” he said. “The key is to have clarity around what is uniquely of value in what you are trying to do and not waste your effort on things that don’t directly contribute to that.”

On the topic of e-sports, their popularity on PC and micro-transaction funding models, Newell said he wants to facillitate an easier connection between consumers and content creators.

“We still think we have a long way to go to get to the point where all of the different people that are contributing value to competitive play get everything out of it that they should,” he wrote. “[It] feels like we are making pretty good progress though.

“Giving the consumers of content a direct relationship with the creators of content is something we think about a lot. That is what drove our thinking about how the community could be more involved in the tournaments that mattered to them.”

Steam, the PC platform Valve founded and operate, has over 65 million users, the company announced earlier this year.

A line of thirteen different Steam Machines, all boasting different hardware specs, was unveiled at CES 2014.

Newell also revealed during the AMA that his most played game is DOTA 2, while his favourite non-Valve game of all time is Mario 64.

Source: CVG

Train2Game News: Valve to stop Greenlight

GreenlightValve hopes to render Steam Greenlight defunct by gradually eroding the blockades between small developers and Steam publishing.

Steam Greenlight launched in August 2012, designed as a system to enable small developers to attain Steam publishing rights via community voting.

Greenlight allows users to vote on game projects and concepts posted by indie developers that they would like to see published on Steam. The highest voted software is then considered by Valve for a global Steam release.

But reports from Valve’s Steam Dev Days event on Wednesday quote Valve boss Gabe Newell as saying the firm is looking to make the voting system ‘go away’. Newell’s revelation was Tweeted by various attending developers, including Hot Blooded Games CFO and Marketing director Dave Oshry.

“Our goal is to make Greenlight go away,” Oshry quoted Newell as saying. “Not because it’s not useful, but because we’re evolving.”

Newell reportedly spoke of breaking down the barriers between developers and Steam publishing, potentially opening up the platform to more indie developers and their games, perhaps in similar ways to Apple’s iTunes App Store.

Greenlight suffered a troubled launch, being initially plagued with spam posts containing fake projects and ‘jokes’, or requests for titles such as the Origin-only Battlefield 3 or ‘Half-Life 3’.

Valve announced on Wednesday that Steam has grown to 75 million registered users, up 15 percent in the three months since its October announcement of 65 million users.

The firm also revealed significant changes planned for the Steam Controller, which will reportedly lose its central touch screen and gain traditional face buttons, and its plan to bring music, TV and movies to SteamOS before its final public launch.

Source: CVG

Train2Game News: Valve Virtual Reality first look next week

Valve logo Train2Game blog imageValve is just days away from releasing its own virtual reality software development kit, according to studio game designer Brian Coomer.

Speaking to the BBC, Coomer said the SDK would offer developers a standard method to provide an interface for virtual reality controllers.

Valve is expected to showcase the SDK and release it during the Steam Dev Days Conference next week, which takes place between January 14 and 15.

It is believed Valve is working on its own virtual reality technology, but will also support the Oculus Rift.

“There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design,” he says.

“We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements.”

As well as a VR SDK, Valve is expected to release a new toolset to assist developers with the creation of games for its Steam Machines, which uses the SteamOS and a unique haptic controller.

Train2Game News: New Steam update

SteamThe new Steam update will now allow users to toggle whether they want to be able to download games whilst still playing another game or not.

The update also lets you choose what time of day future updates will occur.

The full list of updates are below:

General

  • Add ability to limit what time of day Steam is allowed to automatically update apps
  • Add option to let other games download while a game is running (this is a per-game setting)
  • Add download regions for Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa in Canada
  • Add ‘Copy all text to clipboard’ context menu option in the System Information dialog.

Steam client UI

  • Improve downloading status text at the bottom of the main window

Big Picture

  • Added ability to opt into game betas and edit launch options
  • Added Inbox item under Linux if your machine requires a reboot due to OS level updates
  • Fix infinite loop of Cloud sync error dialogs on game launch
  • Fixed mouse cursor being visible during startup animation even if it hadn’t moved

Linux

  • Fix paste pasting stale text.
  • Fix Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V in client-hosted web page text controls.
  • Fix incorrect foregrounding of a blank window in some silent startup cases.