It's only just been announced to be heading to Steam's Greenlight program, but it already looks like a heavy hitter. This is Barrage, a game created by Tectonic Studios with Unreal Engine 4 - so you know it's going to look just lovely. This game is about bombardment, pointed strikes, and defending your home world. Research, launch, and kill. But that's not the best part - the best part is watching the process, Unreal Engine community involvement, creation, development, and everything step by step.
While competing developer kits in the virtual reality headset market go for hundreds of dollars, Valve and HTC are taking a different approach. The first wave of HTC VIVE VR headsets are going to be free. For developers. And not just any developers - developers hand-picked by Valve. This headset is also being developed as a consumer virtual reality headset which will be released for a standard price (which we do not know at this time) at some point in the future - closer to the end of the year 2015.
Who says you can't make it big just with game modding? While some game developers frown upon the act of modifying a released game, and even more on the act of releasing said mods, others have embraced the reality of this gaming sub-culture. And others, well, they might even reward you for it. Valve has not only sanctioned the mod that is now officially known as Half-Life 2: Update, it is even allowing it to be distributed on Steam. Provided, of course, you own the original game on Steam as well.
The recent GDC 2015, especially the revelation of its own VR ambitions, has thrust Valve and Steam back into the spotlight. Many gamers, especially of the PC kind, might still remember the promise of Steam Machines that have yet to materialize in retail forms. But while part of that equation lies on the hardware, especially the special Steam Controller, the other part is tied to the software. So just how well is Steam doing on Linux today? Well, apparently quite healthy, but it could do with a bit more.
Virtual reality was all the talk at the Game Developers Conference this week. From Sony to Valve to Oculus to Sulon, a slew of companies showed off virtual reality technology that they say, will carry us well into the future.
Of course, this is something we’ve heard before from hardware makers. Oculus has shown its Rift product off for years, arguing that it can succeed in virtual reality where so many other companies have failed. Now several other companies are arguing the same.
I’m going to be blunt with you, words can’t do justice to the experience of using HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset. There’s nothing quite like slipping into a virtual 3D world, as I did this week in a preview of Vive ahead of developer units shipping this spring. Cloistered in a room at the back of HTC’s Mobile World Congress stand, and with the reassuring voice of a Vive engineer whispering in my ear, I got to try out a number of demo apps and environments created for the platform by Valve and others, including the first announced title for SteamVR.
The NVIDIA GRID experience is about to expand. Now that the graphics card-making crew at NVIDIA have created a PC game streaming service that's proven itself as robust, they're ready to move beyond their free model, and on to one that charges. Instead of continuing with a sort of an All You Can Eat situation, NVIDIA GRID will have you paying a subscription cost - for streaming services - as well as a cost per game. Each game you purchase in this way will be delivered to you with a Steam code as well - for full PC gaming.
It's GDC time again and PC gamers are in for a treat. As expected, Valve is making a big splash but it has more than just virtual reality in mind. To push the PC gaming industry even further, Valve is announcing the availability of the Source 2 engine, which any content creator can get their hands on. It has also disclosed a new hardware product called Steam Link for streaming any and all Steam content. Of course, there's also the SteamVR platform and, surprise surprise, Steam Machines.
There's a Valve-centric VR headset coming from HTC this year, and it goes by the name Vive. That's HTC Vive, a new take on the virtual reality universe. A headset that works with what HTC and Valve describe as Full Room Scale. This device combines the massive gaming knowledge of Valve, the user base of Steam, and the manufacturing knowhow and high-end craftsmanship of HTC. Just like HTC was early to the game with smartphones with Android, they want to be in on Virtual Reality right this minute.
One cannot say that Gabe Newell and Valve are without vision or ambition. At the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March, the company will be delighting the public with updates on its foray beyond digital game distribution and into gaming hardware. While there will indeed be many eyes on its Steam machines and controllers, perhaps the spotlight for that week will be taken by a "previously unannounced" SteamVR hardware system that will put the company in race towards that still young and still unverified virtual reality market.
Just so long as the developer that runs the game you love best is all about the Steam Economy of virtual items, you'll be able to attain the lot sooner than later. Today Valve has released the Steam Inventory Service for all games, ready for Steamworks Developers whenever they feel like they want to get started. Of course there's some work to be done to implement this service, and it won't be done overnight - but it is there, and the hats are coming!