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Gabe Newell boss fight given go-ahead by Valve

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Gabe Newell boss fight given go-ahead by Valve

Barny Cumming, artist on hack ‘n’ slash dungeon crawler Crawl, unveiled a new in-game animation on April 1st. It depicted a 20-foot-tall Gabe Newell transforming from mild-mannered Microsoft employee to the floppy-haired, knife-wielding PC gaming deity we know today.

It wasn’t an April Fools’ gag, but a prospective addition to the game - which allows players to control enemies in local multiplayer. And now Valve have given their blessing.

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The Red Bull Battle Grounds Dota 2 China qualifier kicks off tonight; LGD vs IG rematch confirmed

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The Red Bull Battle Grounds Dota 2 China qualifier kicks off tonight; LGD vs IG rematch confirmed

The China qualifier of the Dota 2 Red Bull Battle Grounds is about to kick off later tonight. Four of China’s most prestigious teams will compete: LGD, Invictus Gaming, EHOME and Newbee - the latter still enjoying the fame of winning Valve’s Dota 2 International last year. The four will fight it out to see who gets to join other regional champions from Southeast Asia, North America, Russia and Europe in the playoffs in early May.

And with each tournament which marks the fast approaching return of the next Dota 2 International, all eyes are on the teams to see who’s favoured to win.

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Elite: Dangerous is now available via Steam; "no plans" at the moment to supply existing players with codes

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Elite: Dangerous is now available via Steam; "no plans" at the moment to supply existing players with codes

Update: After getting bombarded with tweets, Frontier is now looking at the possibility of providing Steam keys for existing Elite: Dangerous players. 

In an unexpected surprise, Frontier have docked their space-simulator, Elite: Dangerous, within Steam, allowing budding new commanders to use the worlds biggest PC service as their gateway to the stars. But existing players hoping to use the features that come with Steam integration will miss out for the time being.

“Current players will not be receiving a steam code in current plans," stated Frontier’s Twitter. “We are assessing player feedback."

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Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are bigger than Steam was two years ago, and they're still growing...

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Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are bigger than Steam was two years ago, and they're still growing...

Over the last couple of years Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have exploded, stealing the two top spots on Steam’s most played list, and remaining there as if steel-pinned into concrete blocks. It’s difficult to think of anything that could replace them. 

But something more interesting is happening. The number of people playing Dota 2 and CS:GO is growing at such a rate that they threaten to become bigger than every other game on Steam combined. We spoke to James Gray of SteamCharts.com to see what’s going on. 

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Half-Life 2 is getting a community-made patch tomorrow; updates visuals and squashes bugs

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Half-Life 2 is getting a community-made patch tomorrow; updates visuals and squashes bugs

It may not be as good as a Half-Life 3 announcement, but Valve - partnering with a bunch of talented community modders - are releasing a patch to Half-Life 2 that will improve it dramatically. Updated graphical details, particle effects, lighting work and most importantly, bug fixes are included.

The patch launches tomorrow, and is free to all that own the game.

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GOG reaffirms their refund policy: "Hitting 'Buy' doesn't waive your rights"

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GOG reaffirms their refund policy: "Hitting 'Buy' doesn't waive your rights"

Earlier today, Good Old Games released a statement regarding the European Union refund change. In it, GOG not only are willing to honor the 14 day no-questions-asked refund policy, but also to take it a step further. Any purchase from the online PC game store will be subject to a 30 day refund policy, and what’s more, it’s worldwide.

“We thought this might be a pretty good time to say a word or two about how we do things, recent changes, and our approach to your customer experience."

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Brutal Half-Life mod lets you blast the limbs off zombies and soak Black Mesa in bloody gibs

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Brutal Half-Life mod lets you blast the limbs off zombies and soak Black Mesa in bloody gibs

The Black Mesa facility was always meant to have a fancy shade of red to its corridors, unfortunately budget cuts left them without the funds to paint the walls, leaving most of them a neutral concrete grey. Thankfully the Brutal Half-Life mod rights that wrong, letting you paint the facility red with the blood of your enemies.

Well, and bits of green and mucus yellow.

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Dota 2 player recreates Valve's "failed" Faceless Void concept in-game

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Dota 2 player recreates Valve's "failed" Faceless Void concept in-game

Yesterday, Valve released their highly anticipated Faceless Void remodel, which was slated as a compendium reward back at the Dota 2 International last year. In their blog post, they shared some “failed" concept designs for the hero - one of them being a version playing on the joke of giving the hero a face.

One Dota 2 player and modeller liked the comedic design so much, they’ve created their own version of the hero in-game, while pleading with Valve for it to be added to the game officially.

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Dota 2's Faceless Void gets a facelift; see Valve's hilarious "failed" concepts

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Dota 2's Faceless Void gets a facelift; see Valve's hilarious "failed" concepts

Once upon a time, back at the 2014 Dota 2 International, Valve promised to rework the hero Faceless Void as part of a compendium reward. Nearly a year later, and Valve have finally come through, after what was revealed to be quite the troublesome task according to the devs. Instead of a complete overhaul, the master of time has received a ground-up rebuilding, with better textures and a new set of legs.

But the real fun lies within Valve’s discarded designs, which are amazing in their own right - ranging from time-walking dinosaurs to timeless lobsters.

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Steam purchases in the EU now refundable for 14 days

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Steam purchases in the EU now refundable for 14 days

Update: It looks like things haven't changed much at all, despite the update to Steam's subscriber agreement. Read the full story for further details. 

A Steam subscriber agreement update has seen the platform’s policy in regards to refunds in the European Union change.  From now on, purchases made in the EU will have a 14 day period in which the buyer can receive a refund no-questions-asked. 

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All Steam users must now disclose whether they have been paid to recommend a game. Yes, even you

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All Steam users must now disclose whether they have been paid to recommend a game. Yes, even you

Valve has updated its Steam Subscriber Agreement, the agreement to which all Steam users are bound, to include a new clause that requires users to disclose when they're using the platform to promote a product in exchange for cash, games or non-material rewards.

It follows on from a similar clause that Valve had included in its recent Steam Curator Guidelines, a clause that instructed those with curator pages to make it clear when games had been recommended following payment or other kinds of compensation from a game's publisher or developer.

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Team Fortress 2 players can now design and sell their own taunts

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Team Fortress 2 players can now design and sell their own taunts

As part of their ongoing efforts to have players create pretty much all of the content in Team Fortress 2 by themselves, Valve have launched the Taunt Workshop, which allows creators to add their own custom animations to the game.

A taunt is a short animation that you can trigger at will to gloat over the demise of an enemy or loved one. Usually it's something egregious like a rude dance or an obscene gesture. Now? Now it can be anything, and like most other kinds of user created content in Team Fortress 2, the best-rated examples will be sold on the official Mann Co. Store, with a share of the profits going to the creator.

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Hands-on with Valve's amazing VR demo: the holodeck is here

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Hands-on with Valve's amazing VR demo: the holodeck is here

The most important part of Valve’s stunning VR demonstration at GDC wasn’t the headset. I think that, in a blind test between the HTC Vive and the current version of the Oculus Crescent Bay developer kit, you’d struggle to tell the difference. 

What mattered was the controller, and the two black boxes that make it work: the lighthouse. 

Combined, they create the most convincing, mind-bending, hilarious and emotional presentation of the future of games I could imagine. 

Valve have built a holodeck. It’s exactly as good as you think it is. 

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Valve vow to "do a better job of walking people through what we're doing"

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Valve vow to "do a better job of walking people through what we're doing"

Valve don’t have a marketing department. Never have. All of the complex ARGs, the calculated silences, they come straight from the coders working on Dota or Team Fortress.

But the company’s characteristic quietness has occasionally amplified community upset - for instance, when Dota 2’s Halloween Diretide event failed to arrive last year - and business boss Erik Johnson reckons they need to do better.

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See the Portal-themed Source 2 screenshots gleaned from Valve's SteamVR GDC slides

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See the Portal-themed Source 2 screenshots gleaned from Valve's SteamVR GDC slides

Come take a sup of Valve’s special Source, scooped from a bubbling vat that hasn’t been allowed to go cold in a decade. The engine has evolved so profoundly since Counter-Strike: Source that we assumed it’d quietly become its own successor somewhere around Portal 2 - until, that is, Valve officially announced Source 2 at GDC this year.

The new engine powered Valve’s SteamVR Portal demo, and that’s what we’ve got a few static, compressed but genuine glimpses of here.

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