Unreleased Half-Life 2 Concept Art Leaked Online

Many years ago, Valve released the Half-Life 2 concept art book, Raising the Bar. Now, images from the publisher’s proof version of the artbook are appearing online, which is sure to please the many of the fans of the series out there.

The version of the book containing this before-unseen artwork is from a very limited production run of the book before the final edits and was made to the 300-page book for its final release and contains as many as 100 additional pages of art and concepts from across the Half-Life series. This highly prized piece of work was purchased online by a US fan of the game for just $45 and since then Russian Half-Life fansite “Half-Life Inside” have been posting small tidbits of the art from the gallery proof online. The new owner of the book also plans to scan and upload the rest, so there is still more to come!

Some of the art is not wholly new, with areas that were cut from the game such as the “Crab Synth” zone from Half-Life 2 had already been discovered by Valve Time, another Half-Life fansite. Outside of the additional art, the changes between the publisher’s proof and release versions of the artbook are minor, with the outstanding modifications including an alternate version of Half-Life 2’s Dr. Breen alongside a photograph of his modelling reference, Roger Guay.

It’s great to see that new secrets and information are still being discovered about the beloved franchise after so long and the art may just have a few “what if” stories to tell. If you’re looking to see the rest of the art for this work, check out Half-Life Inside, where scans will continue to be published and you might just be able to find the next clue for Half-Life 3.

Play Counter-Strike 1.6 on Android!

When it comes to technology we are often told about how quickly it is advancing, both in power and the level that we adapt it to our lifestyles. One such popular activity would be the games we play, going from 8-bit dungeon explorers to giant adventure games across stars and planets in virtual reality, but one game that many will remember is the classic called Counter-Strike 1.6, something you can now play on your phone.

Counter-Strike 1.6 was originally a mod of the original Half-Life game, introducing many to competitive multiplayer gameplay for the first time while others enjoyed the mods that let you turn the battle into a paintball party or even the custom maps like the Simpsons neighbourhood. Alibek Omarov apparently didn’t just want to enjoy that same feeling on his phone but wanted the full experience, original game and all.

Featured on his GitHub account under the handle a1batross, the CS16Client lets you install and play the original game on your phone, servers and all. Got a free minute on the way to work? Why not stop a terrorist bomb threat or see if you’ve still got the skill to perform a 360 no scope.

While controls seem a little complicated and clunky, it shouldn’t be hard to connect one of the many controller adaptors that you can now get for your phone to turn your experience into a full-on classic gaming experience.

JJ Abrams Comfirms Portal and Half-Life Movies Still Happening

During the press junket for Bad Robot’s latest horror suspense movie 10 Cloverfield Lane, the studio’s founder, director, writer, and producer JJ Abrams confirmed that film adaptations of the lauded Valve video games Half-Life and Portal are still in development, and both have writers attached.

The Star Wars: The Force Awakens director gave the update during an interview with IGN, assuring fans that Bad Robot’s collaboration with Valve, which was first announced at DICE 2013 summit. Abrams appeared on-stage with Valve founder Gabe Newell three years ago

“Not yet, but they’re in development,” Abrams told IGN, when asked if we’d be seeing the Half-Life and Portal adaptations any time soon. “And we’ve got writers, and we’re working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update.”

While Abrams has confirmed the projects are on-going, they don’t sound much further along than when they were revealed three years ago. Back in 2013, Polgyon reported that Bad Robot had attached writers to both projects, but that they were in the early pre-production stages.

a Portal and Half-Life movie are things I want to see,” Abrams said at the time. “We’re also aware of the cautionary tales of movies that became games and vice versa. Our goal here to is to treat the world Valve has created in both these properties like anyone would a book or some great story that comes from a pitch or original script — just to treat it with the respect they treat their games and their players with.”

Abrams, though, did add the caveat, “It’s as real as anything in Hollywood ever gets.”

Image courtesy of Arcade Sushi.

Portal vs Half-Life: The Cake is Real!

If there is one thing Valve don’t like its the number 3. With fans waiting for Half-life 3 till it became nothing more than a joke, the eagerly awaited Left 4 Dead 3 being nothing more than rumours and even Team-fortress 2 looking to be the last in the line of releases. The one thing Valve do like doing, messing with physics. Nothing more so than in their ever popular Portal game series (again, a series of only 2 games). Of course, Valve mess with physics no matter what game you play, but physics means nothing when it comes to the cake!

The cake may not be a lie, as you can now even purchase the elusive cake from the Portal game series. When it comes to cake, people will do anything for a slice, from stealing that final slice to using portals and explosive barrels to get the whole thing for themselves.

In the fan-made video see Gordan Freeman from the Half-Life series fights off against Chell from the Portal series in order to gain that ever elusive cake.

It’s always nice to see fans do these kinds of videos, mixing up series and jokes into something that’s not only fun to watch but also good for a quick laugh. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to grab some cake.

Half-Life Co-op Mod Coming To Steam

We all love playing those games, where every second and choice matters. Feeling the weight of the world (or even the universe) on your shoulders as you feel the story wrap around you. What makes these experiences better are the friends you play them with. That’s why on Friday you can enjoy the classic that is Half-Life co-op on Steam.

Sven Co-op has been out for a good few years, with players being able to enjoy it for almost two decades now. On Friday (22nd January) you can enjoy it all over again with its release on Steam.

Play through the campaign with your friends as you encounter familiar enemies (with a little difficulty boost to make it fair). As stated on their site, Co-op was originally intended for Half-Life and now you can play the game with all its glory.

If this wasn’t enough the mod also includes support for Opposing Force, Blue Shift, and Uplink story lines, meaning the story doesn’t have to end where you may have stopped before. New monsters and weapons are there for you to fight and obtain, while its graphics and physics have been improved, however, the core feeling of the game remains.

So if you have, or haven’t played it before, and it’s sitting in your library click download and get the mod for release day. Play a classic with your friends, enjoy the experience and try to save the world okay?

Fan Made Half-Life Game ‘Prospekt’ to be Released With Valve’s Blessing

Many PC gaming fans eagerly await the day when the next game in Valve’s flagship FPS franchise, Half-Life, will be released. Perhaps such fans will be sated for a time by the newest ‘Half-Life’ game, Prospekt, which is not a product of Valve, instead being a fan-made creation. This hasn’t stopped Valve from giving the game their full approval and as a result, it is set to be released on their Steam service on February 11th.

Prospekt is set up as a sequel to the 1999 Half-Life spin-off game, Half-Life: Opposing Force. Players will reprise the role of US Marine Corporal Adrian Shepherd, who made his debut (and only) appearance in the original Opposing Force as he explored the Black Mesa Research Facility. This time, Corporal Shepherd will be delving into the Nova Prospekt prison, a location featured in Half-Life 2, at the behest of the Vortigaunts in order to save Gordon Freeman from being overrun by soldiers inside the facility. The mission will take place across 13 levels with gameplay time said to be comparable to that of Half-Life 2: Episode 1.

The game is the long time project of a single developer, Richard Seabrook, who has put over 2,500 hours into creating the game. Being approved by Valve allows Seabrook to sell his game, that makes use of Valve’s licensed Half-Life 2 assets. This is in contrast to most fan-made Source engine games, which are often either free or have to be careful to use unlicensed assets if they wish to profit from its sale. It isn’t the first fangame to receive Valve’s approval, that honour going to Black Mesa, a full remake of the original Half-Life making use of the power of Half-Life 2’s Source Engine. Prospekt also promises a number of enhancements over the original Half-Life 2, offering a slew of graphical, audio and even AI improvements.

“I’m hugely grateful for the immense support from the Half-Life 2 and PC gaming community”, said Seabrook. “I can’t wait to hear what they think of the finished game and work the feedback into my next project, no doubt developed while we all wait for Half-Life 3.!”

The game will be on sale on Steam from February 11th for £7.50 ($9.99/€9.99), but if you pre-purchase from today there will be a 10% discount to the standard price, only paying £6.75($8.99/ €8.99). I think this is a great precedent for Valve to be setting, allowing fans to officially build and expand on their established franchise story and lore. It is doubtful Steam would allow a compromise in quality for such games, but it is a step better than the typical approach of license holders shutting down or banning the sale of such products.

Screenshots From Cancelled Half Life 2: Episode Four Revealed

Despite Half-Life 2: Episode Three being the most infamous vaporware ever (not yet) made, Valve was also planning another game in the series, often referred to as Half-Life 2: Episode Four, between 2007 and 2008, despite the game being intended as stand-alone. The tie-in game, more commonly called Return to Ravenholm, was being produced by Arkane Studios in collaboration with Valve and was to take place between Half-Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two. The game was cancelled by Valve due to the creative constraints of making the game stand-alone yet fit into existing continuity.

Back in 2012, Valve designer Marc Laidlaw told fansite Lambda Generation that:

“[T]here was indeed a project called Return to Ravenholm. We are big fans of Arkane and wanted to come up with a project we could work on together. We threw ideas around, they built some cool stuff, but we eventually decided that it didn’t make sense to pursue it at the time. As I recall, we felt like a lot of the staples of Ravenholm–headcrabs and zombies!–were pretty much played out, and the fact that it would have to take place sometime before the end of Episode 2 (so as not to advance beyond where Valve had pushed the story) was a creative constraint that would hamper the project…and Arkane.”

The cancelled title was thought lost to the ether, but Robert Wilinski, Senior Environment Artist at Arcane during development of the game, has released some screenshots, via ValveTime. A sad glimpse at what could have been:

HL3.txt File Discovered in DOTA 2 Update

In what is no doubt some evil developers troll tactics, a rather curious file has been discovered in the recent Dota 2 update file. The HL3.txt file was first discovered by the SteamDB Twitter, and the latest Dota 2 update includes a number of curious references within the file.

The humble text file is far from a confirmation that Half-Life 3 exists, I think by this point in history we’ve learnt not to get our hopes up about that one. However, it does mention things such as RPG, ziplines and even procedural spawning.

Check out some of the hl3.txt contents below.

  • “Attribute.prop_zipline.max_ride_speed”
  • “NPCs that are in the same squad (i.e. have matching squad names) will share information about enemies, and will take turns attacking and covering each other.”
  • “A permanent squad member cannot leave the player\’s squad unless killed or explicity removed by entity I/O. Only use this if you\’re sure you want to override the default AI.”
  • “If you want your citizens to squad with the player but not obey commands the player gives to move the squad, put a concept here and this citizen will speak the concept instead of obeying the order.”

Were the files accidentally dropped into the update, or is this just another elaborate hoax by the developers at Valve? Perhaps it’s a little of both, we’ll have to wait and see.

Valve Talks About Half-Life 3

There has been rumour after rumour surrounding the Half-Life series, ever since launch back in 1997. Valve hasn’t strictly confirmed nor denied the development of Half-Life 3, but yet more rumours have been doing the rounds on Reddit that a script has been finished, but it won’t be released ‘due to fear’.

When Reddit users reached out to Valve’s Marc Laidlaw, his responses were, interesting.

“I can’t comment on Valve’s internal process, but I can say that it sounds like someone is trolling. Anonymous sources have been posting speculation masquerading as inside knowledge since the Half-Life 1 delay in 1997. If that’s any comfort, please rest assured that in my experience at Valve, fear is the last thing that would ever drive a decision about what to work on”. 

One user asked “If the story is finished, why not release it as a book or a comic”, Laidlaw responded with “There’s a misunderstanding that I’ve always tried to address straight on when this question comes up, which is that a Half-Life story can somehow exist outside of a game. It can’t. The story is created through the process of trying to figure out how to best use the features of the engine within the interesting set of constraints it poses”. 

“The story is a part of the game. It doesn’t exist as a separate script that is handed off to game designers which they are expected to somehow make compelling through puzzles and combat”, he continued. He then finished off by saying “The story develops while trying to solve the problem of how to make a fun game. It’s like saying ‘Why don’t you write a sonnet that’s a novel?’ The Half-Life story is really only as good as the game that lets you play it”.

I don’t quite know what to make of that, has the script been finalised and they’re just waiting on a new game engine to produce it? Is this just a load of lies trying to keep the fire burning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to TweakTown for providing us with this information.

NVIDIA Increases the Shield Gaming Library – Including HL2: Episode Two

Since getting my original Shield portable and then along the road; the Shield tablet, of course I’m now eager to get my hands on the Shield Android TV and for many good reasons. It was the set of devices that allowed me to ditch my iPad and helped to open a whole new realm of possibilities and the first being gaming, which is NVIDIA’s bread and butter so to speak.

With a whole host of games, ready at your fingertips to be streamed directly to your device, NVIDIA have been constantly adding more titles to their library, and we’re not talking some shoddy 2D indie games. We’re seeing top titles, new and old and the latest update sees a wave of over ten games including Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

Other key titles that are worth a look are Doom 3: BFG Edition, Star Wars: KOTOR and War Thunder to name a few and with more on the way thanks to the launch of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV, we will be anxiously waiting for Resident Evil 5, Borderlands 2 and much more.

Do you own a Shield device? If so, what games are you currently playing? It’s also worth remembering that you can stream games from your NVIDIA powered PC, just in case it’s not available on the NVIDIA Shield gaming library.

Thank you to Fudzilla for providing us with this information.

Black Mesa Mystery Unvieled

Black Mesa as some of you know, is a total remake/ re-imaging of Half-Life using the Valves Source Engine. Following our earlier news coverage, the countdown has now finished and we can reveal what the countdown was pointing towards; they have released Black Mesa on Steam. It is currently in early access stages, so there may be a few bugs, but all is explained;

“Why Early Access?

“Making a game with the scope and scale of Black Mesa is a massive undertaking. Back in 2012 we made the decision to release what we had completed up to that point, and were blown away by the community’s response, feedback and improvements to our work. We want to keep that relationship alive and well by using Early Access as a tool for allowing our community to participate in the final phase of Black Mesa’s development.

In addition, we simply didn’t have the resources to create Xen as we would like it. Our ambitions go beyond the original Xen section found in Half-Life. We have a standard of quality that we have to achieve. By using Early Access, we are allowed the resources to bring you the remaining chapters with the quality that you expect.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We currently have the first ~85% of our single player campaign completed. For the last 15% we want to not only recreate it, but improve upon it to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience. We feel it will take us considerable time to get the last 15% up to our standards, and putting a time estimate on it would be a total guess.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The conclusion of the single player campaign, with the addition of the Xen chapters
Final polish on the Earth-based chapters of the single player campaign
More multiplayer maps
More multiplayer gameplay modes”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Over 10 hours of single player campaign. Multiplayer deathmatch and team deathmatch with 6 completely re-imagined Half-Life 1 maps on the Source Engine.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes. Black Mesa will be $19.99 USD during the Early Access phase. This will be bumped up to $24.99 USD when in retail.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We intend to work closely with our community as we complete the final portions of Black Mesa. We started out as a modding team aiming to do true justice to a Half-Life: Source port, and we won’t forget our roots.

The Black Mesa game hub and forums will be the primary points of interaction with our users. Many team members regularly browse these areas to discuss ideas with the community, and to show progress on game development. Community feedback will be sorted into groups and taken into account as we develop.

We also support Steam Workshop, and will be watching and encouraging developments there.”

If you want it, go grab it over on the Steam store for just £14.99; I know I am.

Black Mesa Steam Workshop Page Appears

Earlier this week, we brought you news that a mysterious timer had appeared on the Black Mesa website, settings the internet ablaze with rumour and speculation on what could be coming. We suspected that it would be the Xen Missions, which still seems like a likely candidate for when the counter strikes zero, but there’s already been some development on both the site and on the steam platform.

There are only a few hours left on the counter, but the site has already changed its tune from obscure noises, to an emergency broadcast which has me even more excited for what today’s big reveal could be!

To add to the excitement factor and admitted, possibly even spoiling what may be the whole thing, a page has appeared on Steam for the Black Mesa Workshop. Could this simply be the addition of the Xen levels, a major update to the engine, the retail version of the game or something else?

While I suspect this is a massive trolling, some plucky investigators have discovered the ASCII image you can see below in the BMRF.us website, right about a link to THREE.WebGLRenderer. Not what I wouldn’t call it the greatest clue ever, but I’m sure there’s still a few of you delusional enough to think that Half-Life 3 will ever see the light of day.

All eyes to Black Mesa for when the clock hits zero!

Mysterious Countdown Appears on Black Mesa Website

Something interesting is on its way, or at least we hope there is, from the Black Mesa website. Could this be an upcoming trailer for some as yet unreleased content, or perhaps the team are planning to release some content? We don’t know, but we’re certainly excited to see what it could be.

The time on the site is counting down, so we expect all eyes will be on the site when it hits its final time and date:

05/05/15 8:47:00 GMT-6.

I’m guessing it will be a new trailer, as it would be silly to release content prior to this, it’s PR 101. No doubt a trailer will come with a release date and we hope that not too long after that, we will see Black Mesa’s second part getting released.

When Black Mesa released, it was a gaming sensation, bringing Half-Life up to date with improved graphics, but it was incomplete and the Half-Life Xen mission was missing. Will this reveal be for that missing content, or will we see something else altogether? That much remains to be seen, but it should be pretty awesome regardless.

Have you played Black Mesa yet? It’s pretty awesome and it’s certainly a great way to kill a few millennia until the seemingly never happening release of Half-Life 3.

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Deus Ex Creator Laments Half-Life Game Cancellation

Deus Ex creator Warren Spector recently took part in a reddit AMA, during which he discussed a cancelled Half-Life game that his Junction Point Studio was working on, which was to feature what Spector describes as the “magnetic gun”, which may have rivalled the gravity gun as Half-Life’s coolest weapon.

In his AMA answer, Spector describes to Valve bailed Junction Point out of a difficult financial position by giving the company the opportunity to work on the sadly cancelled Half-Life episode:

“Junction Point had a project cancelled (we can talk about that, too, if you want). There was no money. Basically, Valve came in like a white knight and offered us some work on a Half Life episode set in a part of the Half Life universe that hadn’t been explored deeply. In addition, just because my team couldn’t just do anything the easy way, we decided to add a new tool to the Half Life universe – the magnet gun. We came up with some COOL stuff to do with the magnet gun. Valve decided to move in another direction but I still wish they’d do something with the magnet gun. It was fun.”

Spector was also complimentary regarding Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the Eidos Montreal sequel to his 2000 classic Deus Ex, saying the game – which he had no hand in, apart from creating its predecessor – had him hooked:

“What did I think of DX:HR? Well, for starters, I don’t finish a lot of games and I finished DX:HR. That’ll tell you something. When I DID finish it, I kinda sat back and thought, “Wow, I just had a Deus Ex experience.” It sounded like DX and felt like DX. It was pretty cool.

The Eidos Montreal guys made some design decisions I wouldn’t have made, but overall, I was really pleased.

Now, having said that, my one regret is that the movie deal I had back in 2000 never made it to the screen and now there’s no chance it ever will, ’cause DX, the original, is kind of old news.”

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

Valve Starts Teasing People with New Half-Life 3 Rumor

Valve has been ridiculously trolling people with various hints of a new equal to its Half-Life title, either through memes or other forms of hilarious trolls. In its latest attempt, the signs might be more obvious than ever before.

RagnarRox has recently added a Facebook post stating that Valve has scheduled a public press-conference on the 3rd of March, at 3pm. Let us stop and think for a second on that. March, which is the 3rd month of the year, the 3rd day of the month and at 3pm. Is it a coincidence?

We can even go deeper into the “conspiracy” here and take into account the place of the conference, which is San Francisco. The word “San” can also be interpreted as “three” in Japanese, further adding to the craze of the 3’s. Could it be that this is the real deal?

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

First Brutal Doom, Now Brutal Half-Life

After the gorefest of the Brutal Doom mod took the gaming world by storm, it was only a matter of time before its influence bled into other games. Now, fans of Dr. Gordon Freeman can spray blood across the walls of Black Mesa, bludgeoning the brains out of Vortigaunts to their heart’s content with a new Brutal Half-Life mod.

The mod’s developer, Zoonyarts, has released the following trailer for your appraisal. Enjoy!

Source: Dark Side of Gaming

NVIDIA GRID Event Coverage

Several days ago, we at eTeknix were invited to a special event held by Nvidia in the Hilton Hotel in Reading, near to their UK offices. Only a select amount of media were invited and the event itself was very small, but the announcements were anything but.

With the recent announcement of Android Lollipop from Google being on many people’s minds at the moment, it was inevitable that NVIDIA were going to bring it to their Android based SHIELD and SHIELD tablet devices, and not only that, but within their press show, they made it very clear that they were the FIRST to bring it to a gaming tablet. Screw you Samsung!

NVIDIA were a bit coy when it came to a release date as technically it’s out of their hands and instead lays with Google, but they are expecting it to be released sooner rather than later, as we hear the Android fans rejoice. With the update, we can expect many bug fixes, some new features and great speed and performance inprovements and with the SHIELD being the fastest tablet on the market for gaming, thanks to the Tegra K1 architecture, they wanted to bring some special goodies along with the update, and special is what they brought.

Does anyone remember the Orange Box bundle that Valve released many moons ago? Giving us the hottest titles that their customers wanted? NVIDIA have done exactly the same, and upon listening to their customers, they are announcing “The Green Box” bundle. Comprising of Half Life 2, Portal, and Half Life 2: Episode 1. They were abundantly clear that Episode 1 was something to shout about and we couldn’t agree more. Not just leaving things there, but they showed us that 60FPS is where they wanted to aim for (unlike Ubisoft) and with high resolution imagery and 60FPS, Half Life 2 among the other games will simply look awesome. “The Green Box” bundle is only available on SHIELD so don’t go expecting Valve to be offering it for other devices.

A downside some may say, but I happen to think it’s the best way to play on the SHIELD Tablet is that you have to use the controller, which personally adds to the whole experience of gaming (short of using a keyboard and mouse of course). In typical NVIDIA fashion, to redeem the code, it will require the user to enter a code on the portal system.

Many questions flew around the room for tech journalists from all over Europe including if War of Thunder would be coming, and the simple answer was yes, and no more was said about that. No date, no rumour, no nothing, so at least NVIDIA are giving us a few more surprises along the way.

Game streaming

Another big announcement was that GRID is coming to Europe. W00000h0000!

For those who don’t know what GRID is, we entice you to check out the full section on the NVIDIA website here. We were lucky enough to try out GRID by using the American servers (I Guess it’s down to who you know, not what you know, amiright?). You can find plenty of coverage of what we thought of GRID on the original SHIELD gaming device, but now it’s coming to the SHIELD Tablet which is exciting stuff, especially as they are opening it up to further markets than ever before.

NVIDIA explained GRID to those unaware of it being similar to Netflix, but for games, and of course streaming games doesn’t go without its issues as it’s actually more complex to stream a game than doing the same task with 4K video content on Netflix. The GRID PREVIEW service will be launching very soon in the UK and the rest of Europe, with one exception. Sorry Germany but you will have to wait a bit longer due to your age restriction laws and some of the game titles having adult content (violence and the like), therefore they are hopeful of launching it there in Q1 of 2015. For those in the UK, November is when the preview service will open with an official full launch in December.

NVIDIA claim that the GRID experience with their uber Dublin based server will give the same experience as playing the conventional way on a PC and many times NVIDIA lifted the table cloth to show us all that no PC was to be found in that room. Instead, it was simple streaming across the internet from the servers in Ireland much like you’d expect Netflix to do.

Once the service opens up, you’ll be able to simply open up the SHIELD Hub application and be greeted with a list of games in a library style interface. Currently on the preview service, there are around 20+ titles including some AAA titles and sheer blockbusters such as Borderlands 2 and Batman Arkham City, which NVIDIA PR man himself Ben Berroando thought he’d show his dab hand at to show us the lack of lag/latency.

The lag or lack of it comes ultimately down to your internet connection and NVIDIA state that the minimum requirement is a 6mbit connection but recommend 10mbit to give the best possible ping and to reduce the amount of lag if any. In Europe, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially as government schemes are rolling out across the continent, even in rural areas.

The biggest competitor for NVIDIA right now is the Playstation NOW and with other streaming services like OnLive not gaining popularity, the green team think they have a prime opportunity to show what they can do.

For some exciting news, for the foreseeable future, they want as many users as possible to try this out, and while it’s still in a semi-beta stage, it would be unfair to charge people to “try” it out wouldn’t it? Of course, and NVIDIA know that, so they are giving away this amazing service absolutely free when the Android Lollipop OTA update hits.

NVIDIA are claiming a 2nd December 2014 launch, but obviously this is possible to change, and shouldn’t be considered gospel at this stage, as technically it’s out of their control and in the hands of Google.

Those of you may have a few questions and don’t worry, so did we so lets answer what we think would have been some of the most common questions asked if you, our readers, were at the event.

Latency is going to be a big word thrown around with a service like this, and NVIDIA claim that for the ultimate experience, you should have a ping of 16ms or lower, and with the servers being based in Dublin, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you can test your latency from within the app.

Streaming is one thing, but the actual graphical experience is another, and we have been told that playing a game across the GRID service is equivalent to gaming on a GTX 760 or similar, which in all honesty, is pretty damn impressive.

One thing that NVIDIA are working on for the future is multiplayer support, locally and across the cloud, and this in our opinion could be the start of something huge if they can make it happen.

We also asked about other titles and DLC’s and were told that DLC’s and updates will be auto added as they hit in the future and the likes of Indy titles and crowd-funded games are a possibility in the future too.

That sums up our coverage of the NVIDIA event, and I’ve got to say that this is one of the best announcements that NVIDIA have done. Yes they are currently leading the market with their GPU product stack, and for the most part, this is their bread and butter, but when they introduce a new technology to a complete region like they have here, it gets our hearts racing and wanting to try it, and you’re in luck as we’re frantically testing out the preview service as we speak, so stay tuned for some great articles coming soon based around that.

The Grid Gaming Service is effectively a supercomputer in the cloud. All of the hard work such as graphics rendering is processed on high-end hardware at the Nvidia datacentre, then streamed to your device much like a Netflix video.

The Nvidia Sheild Hub App will hit the Google Play Store on November 18th. Simply launch the app and select GRID Games Menu and you’ll be able to play any of the 20 games that are currently available on the service.

Remember, there is no cost for running this service. GRID Preview will keep the service free of charge until June 30th, 2015.

The service is being launched in North America and being expanded to include Western Europe in December, with Asia Pacific following later next year. You’ll require at least 10 Mbps internet with a 60ms ping time to the Nvidia servers for optimal performance.

The service has been configured for Shield device owners. If you own or purchase a Shield, you’ll be able to download the updated software shortly to access the GRID service.

At launch you can expect to find games such as Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and more available on the service.

More games such as Brutal Legend and Psychonauts will be launched on the GRID service every week.

GRID will stream games at 720p resolutions at 60 frames per second; of course this will also depend on the quality of your internet connection.

That’s everything we know about GRID right now, but we will bring you further updates as soon as we have them.

Oculus Rift DK2 Support Now Available in Half Life 2

Good news Oculus Fans, as Valve classic Half Life 2 has finally gotten the update you’ve been waiting for. The game will now support the recently released and much updated Oculus Rift DK2 headset thanks to a recent update and while I know many of you are still waiting for your DK2 (myself included) it’s is great to see the big AAA titles getting these updates.

If you already have your Oculus and you’re wondering how to get it working in the game, you need to go to Steam > Library > Tools, from there you need Steam VR > Properties > Beta and to make sure you’re opted into the beta. Once updated you’ll need to restart steam and will then find a VR setting in Half Life 2. You’ll also need to leave your Oculus Utility on and put the device in extended mode.

Also thank you Reddit for pointing out that the command line “-freq 75” will remove the blurriness from the game for those using DK2.

VR Half Life, should be enough to keep us entertained until Half Life 3… right?

Thank you /r/Oculus for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of RoadtoVR.

Half-Life 3 Kickstarter Launched… Then Cancelled, Doh!

This week has played host to something truly cruel in the world of gaming, a Kickstarter was launched to crowd fund the development of Half-Life 3 and no sooner was the campaign started as it was taken down.

The campaign was launched by Christopher James Butler, who claimed to have worked as a game designer at both Valve and EA. It was pretty obvious that the guy was just trolling to scam money off people and it’s a shame that it may have even worked on some people.

The first hint we had that this was a scam was that he didn’t have the relevant experiences listed and that his campaign was set up to raise just £1,500! We know games can be done on the cheap sometimes, but a AAA game like Half-Life isn’t going to happen on a budget that wouldn’t even pay off a few months of my rent, let alone fund a game development studio.

Christopher even took to replying to people’s trolling comments on the campaign, leaving a couple of defensive replied before it was pulled and frankly we hope he gets in some serious s%^t for doing this.

Now the only thing we do need is a REAL Half-Life 3 development fund-raiser, not that I think Valve need the money, but if it helps make the game a reality, I’m willing to pucker up some cash.

Thank you Cliqist for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Cliqist.

Half Life: Episode 4 was being developed by Arkane studios but it is now cancelled

A report has put up information about the “Half Life 2: Episode 4 project” rumoured to be titled as “Return to Ravenholm” that was being developed by Arkane Studios. The game is now reported as cancelled.
Valve time’s source provided screenshots of the cancelled game.

Valve’s Marc Laidlaw confirmed the existence of the Episode 4 project last year while speaking to Lambda Generation.

During the interview, March said the following:

“We are big fans of Arkane and wanted to come up with a project we could work on together. We threw ideas around, they built some cool stuff, but we eventually decided that it didn’t make sense to pursue it at the time. As I recall, we felt like a lot of the staples of Ravenholm – headcrabs and zombies! – were pretty much played out, and the fact that it would have to take place sometime before the end of Episode 2 (so as not to advance beyond where Valve had pushed the story) was a creative constraint that would hamper the project… and Arkane.”

One part of these leaked pictures that raised genuine questions was the new  HUD counter function on the screenshots called “Absorption”.

Via: PC Gamer