Hello HeadCrab Union members, been a long time! I just logged into GameSpot to announce that the FREE remake to Half-Life, "Black Mesa" has finally been released after 8 years in development. Some of you may remember the HCU's first interview being with the Black Mesa dev team. Yes, we've all been following this mod for a very long time, but it's finally here and the praise it's receiving from true Half-Life fans is incredible! Many people have said that it's everything they imagined it would be and more! I've read some very great things about the game, that it is comparable or even better than many commercially released AAA games. One comment I read said it's GOTY material.
Now I haven't played it myself yet. My copy is almost finished downloading, but I figured for old times sake, I'd send out an announcement about the release, since it was something many of us followed back during the HCU's good times. I created a Black Mesa Discussion Thread on the HCU forum. If you'd like to discuss the remake, just visit that thread. I also included the download link in there. Have fun playing!
They're waiting for you Gordon.........
Read the interview here
Danny returns to Black Mesa and City 17 to remind us how Gordon Freeman saved first-person shooters forever.
An interesting article by GameSpot on the influence of the Half Life series on first person shooters.
Discuss this article here.
VALVe has released Volume 3 of the Portal 2 Soundtrack. With this final volume, we finally have the full version of Cara Mia Addio (The Turret Opera) by opera singer Ellen Mclain, also the voice actress for GLaDOS.
A Steam Client update has been released, which takes the Steam Trading feature out of beta. If anyone was participating, you know the Steam Trading feature allowed users to trade their extra "gift" keys for Steam Games as well as items from Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2. VALVe has stated that they are working to implement this system with future game releases. The full press release follows.
Welcome to the official launch of Steam Trading, which allows you to exchange In-game items and Gifts with everybody in the Steam Community.
Now you can trade Steam Gifts and in-game items from Valve games Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2, as well as from Spiral Knights, the cooperative adventure from Three Rings and Sega. We're working with other developers to incorporate Trading and Inventories into their games, so keep an eye out for future announcements in the coming months.
Your Steam Community profile now has an item Inventory, and you'll be able to view the Inventories of every public profile in the Steam Community.Click over to the Steam Trading FAQ for more information, and get trading!
Restart your Steam Client to receive the update.
This post is a test of The HeadCrab Union's newly designed telegram system. If you received a PM from me about this, then please post in the comments section and let me know if you got it so I know if the new system is working properly. For most of you, this is probably the first time you've heard from The HeadCrab Union in a long time. Besides the fact that we closed down in 2008, this is also because for the last couple of years, the official union telegram system has been broken, so I was unable to remain in contact with you. Within the last couple months, I reactivated the union hoping to bring back some of our older and more active members. We've already achieved some notable accomplishments, including having the HCU featured as the union of the week and having our GameSpot Endorsement returned to us. Check out some of the recent union specific updates below. I hope to see some of you in the forum. And once again, please post a comment and let me know if you got the PM for this telegram, thanks!
There was a short live action Half-Life 2 movie released back in July which I never got around to posting. Here it is though. It has some pretty cool special effects, well worth the watch.
I also happened to notice a teaser trailer for something similar called Half-Life: The East Accident. It seems that it was going to be released in 2010, but the producers have changed their plan and are now making a full feature length film out of it. It's similar in appearance to the test video released a while ago called What's in the Box? As far as I could tell, there isn't a release date.
I just wanted to give everyone an update on our web address at www.HCUnion.com. I was having some problems getting the address setup to redirect back to The HeadCrab Union on GameSpot, but the problem is now fixed and the address is finally working again.
Please take this opportunity to update the link in your forum signature so that it now points to http://www.HCUnion.com/. If you haven't selected an HCU forum signature to use, please check out the links below to find the one you like best. Remember, using an HCU forum signature will help advertise the union, which will help us attract new members and boost union activity. Only you can help us out with this, so much appreciation to anyone that advertises for us.
Please Advertise The HeadCrab Union by Using Our Union Media:
Here are some examples of the signatures and desktop wallpaper:
As part of the Games for Change Festival, the Games for Learning Institute held their 2nd annual Games for Learning Day late this past June. The event brings about a collective of game developers and researches that study in the area of games for learning. It's comparable to GDC in that developers come together to share ideas through talks and game play sessions, but the focus is on exploring ways to bridge the gap between commercial software & games, and educational software & games.
Gabe Newell was this years keynote speaker at the Games for Learning Day. He thinks that games are powerful tools for educators and researchers, and with Portal 2 as an example of an educative game, the distinction between games for learning and successful commercialized software is fading.
"[Games] are also experiential. Nobody's standing up there writing formulas and physics for Portal 2. Instead, you are the mass, you are the thing being accelerated, and that actually is some of the keys [for successful educational games]."
The video is about an hour in length and Mr. Newell touches on a lot of key areas. I encourage all of you to watch it, and you can find it here.
Original news article from Halflife2.net.
GameSpot has featured The HeadCrab Union in their Community Blog as the Union of the Week. Another thing I noticed is that our GameSpot Endorsement has been reinstated. The HCU was originally the first union on GameSpot to become endorsed by GameSpot itself and featured on the front page of the website, although once we relocated off-site our endorsement was revoked. It's good to see GameSpot is taking notice of their union community and doing features like this.
"Today, we feature a union that practically needs no introduction, but we'll give one anyway! The HeadCrab Union has been around since early 2003, and while it took a short break, it is back with force, featuring a plethora of new content. The HeadCrab Union covers games developed by Valve Software and its Steam platform. Let's hear it for the HeadCrab Union!"
Today, VALVe released Volume 2 of the Portal 2 Soundtrack "Songs to Test by." There are 18 new tracks as well as ringtones available to download here. There is only one more volume yet to be released.
I was recently requested by The Council of Unions to do an interview on my time as leader of The HeadCrab Union
"Our first interview of 2011 is with Sentinelrv, the dedicated and passionate leader of The HeadCrab Union and longtime unions advocate. He tells us the highs and lows of being the leader of one of the largest unions on GameSpot."
In the interview I talk about the HCU's history and community, our success, the challenges of union leadership, union redesign and a lot more. You can check out my interview here.
Whether you've heard about fan-site thinkingwithportals' summer mapping contest or not, you'll be pleased to hear that the Valve-picked winners were announced earlier. These maps aren't just devilishly hard (the winner being over 30 minutes long even if you're good at the game), but also of exceedingly high quality.
- The winner, Patent Pending, by ebola, mixes practically every puzzle-type found in the later levels including hard-light bridges, excursion funnels, and aerial faith-plates.
- My favourite-sounding has to go to the second-place winner though, with a map called 'Infinifling' by MrTwoVideoCards, which apparently has a lot of mid-air portalling (easily the best kind of portalling).
- Third place in the competition went to Omnicoder, with his map 'Edifice', which even Omnicoder himself said was a fairly hard map (and he designed it).
Below there's a couple of screens from these maps to tempt you into downloading them all and giving them a go. After all, with Portal 2's DLC still being a fair way off, this is the perfect stuff to fill your time. The rest of the winners can be found here with download links to all of the maps.
Original news article from Halflife2.net.
Just when you thought TF2's largest update just couldn't get any bigger, out comes Day 5 of the Uber Update. Now available is a Meet the Medic taunt, which can be used by everybody. Also included is a laugh taunt pack, which allows users to laugh at the corpse of a recently deceased enemy.
Perhaps the most exciting of the bunch is the new artwork and a limited edition Medic Lithograph. You can view the artwork, which includes some very old concept art and many other goodies here. The original blog entry can be found here.
Original news article from Halflife2.net.
Today VALVe announced along with today's Uber Update that they will no longer charge for Team Fortress 2. It will instead be a free game, available to anyone to download. According to this interview by Develop-Online, VALVe seems to think the game would be more successful as a free game and that any revenue would now be generated through online item purchases within the game. Here is an announcement video as well as a FAQ designed to answer questions about how this move will affect you.
"And in an exclusive interview with Develop - now live - Valve's Robin Walker assured that Team Fortress 2 would only be monetised by microtransaction payments.
No advertising model will be pursued, Walker said. No premium subscription model will be used. No cynical "pay-to-win" options will be implemented, he assured.
In-game items will now be the only way Valve gets any money from Team Fortress 2. But again, Walker assured that the number of gratis in-game items - which are released on a daily basis - would not dry up."
VALVe has finally released their Meet the Medic video trailer. Check it out!
GameSpot is hosting a union contest and The HeadCrab Union would like to participate. It's pretty simple to understand. On the GameSpot Community Blog, they usually post their "Member Spotlight" feature. This spotlight usually features an image with a border around it. The image below is an example. This particular frame or border was designed by GameSpot.
In addition to their Member Spotlight, GameSpot would like to start doing a "Union Spotlight." The problem is they have no border image that's specific to unions. Rather than create the border themselves, they've decided to setup a contest and allow the union community to produce the best Union Spotlight border possible. If The HeadCrab Union wins this contest, we will be the next union featured on GameSpot's community blog, our union level will be increased from 21 to 22 and the border that wins will be used by GameSpot for its Union Spotlight feature. I've decided to make this contest a little bit more interesting by throwing in my own prize. If you can create a border that wins The HeadCrab Union this contest, I'll personally pay you $50. You will ONLY win the $50 if the HCU wins the entire contest, so you must create a border that is up to GameSpot's quality standards. You must also have PayPal in order for me to send you your $50 prize. Skip below the following example image for the contest rules.
As quoted from GameSpot's contest rules, your "Union Spotlight Border" submission must meet the following requirements:
- Size of the border should be 400x380.
- It must be in gif format.
- Image size has to be less than 200k.
- No animated borders.
- The text on the border must read "Union of the Week," not Union Spotlight.
- It's supposed to be a frame or border, so make sure that you leave the center blank.
- The content must be original, so don't steal other people's work!
- GameSpot Staff: "What we'd like to see is something a little more flashy, with some more gusto than what we've had in the past."
- Please keep in mind when designing that this will be a universal border used for the "Union Spotlight" feature.
GameSpot will be taking submissions for the Union Spotlight Border Contest until the deadline on June 30th, 12:00PM PT. After they've collected the submissions, the staff will cherry pick the ones they feel best fit the desired concept for a Union Spotlight Border. On Friday, July 1st, GameSpot will display the top submissions for everyone to vote on. The voting period will go from Friday until July 7th at 12:00PM PT. The votes will then be tallied and the winner will be chosen.
If you're participating in this contest on behalf of The HeadCrab Union, you must post your submission here in this thread, again by June 30th. If you have questions for GameSpot about the contest or the border you're required to make, please post your contest questions here, where GameSpot will answer you. Since The HeadCrab Union just came back online, winning this contest could help jumpstart the HCU by gaining us free marketing directed toward active GameSpot community members. If that's not motivation enough for you to participate on our behalf, the HCU's $50 prize will surely get you motivated! Please PM me if you have any questions, or post in the linked thread if you have questions for GameSpot about the contest. I know the HCU has some Photoshop masters in it. Let's all come together and win this thing! Let's put The HeadCrab Union back on the map!
Word reaches us via Joystiq that Gabe Newell has revealed at the Games for Change festival that Portal 2 has sold 3 million copies since it was released (following the Potato Sack ARG) on the 18th April. Gabe didn't mention platforms, so we must assume he was talking about sales across PC/Mac, 360 and PS3. Oh, and of course it is more than likely that figure includes Steam sales. Pretty good going I think for a simple puzzle game.
Original news article from Halflife2.net.