"While a speculative technology at the present time, advances in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research are beginning to shed light on how players may interact with games in the future. While current interaction patterns are restricted to interpretations of mouse, keyboard, gamepad, and gestural controls, future generations of interfaces may include the ability to interpret neurological signals in ways that promise quicker and more sensitive actions, much wider arrays of possible inputs, real-time adaptation of game state to a player's internal state, and qualitatively different kinds of gameplay experiences. This talk covers both the near-term and long-term outlook of BCI research for the game industry but with an emphasis on how technologies stemming from this research can benefit developers in the present day."
"The developers behind the VR stealth game 'Budget Cuts' discuss how they used Steam Audio to implement advanced spatial audio features for their title. The talk provides specific examples of spatial audio technology and how it enhances gameplay and immersion, including: HRTF-based binaural rendering for locating enemies; occlusion and transmission for modeling how sound is affected by vents or other openings; and real-time physics-based reverb for modeling smooth variations and subtle details in environmental reverb. The talk also discusses how the needs of the game informed improvements in how Steam Audio integrates with Budget Cuts' game engine, Unity. Finally, the talk discusses some of the limitations in audio engine architecture when it comes to advanced spatial audio technology, and offers some suggestions for addressing them."
"What is the role of design in a game that doesn't include combat, puzzles, or other traditional mechanical challenges? Can the story itself be the gameplay? On 'Firewatch', the developers set out to create a compelling story that unfolded in real time and allowed for player-centric interactivity and responsiveness, without allowing the player to ever "fail." In this talk, game designer and composer Chris Remo will discuss the ways in which the team succeeded (and came up short) in making deep interactive narrative design a vital part of 'Firewatch', a pillar they are continuing to build on in their upcoming project, 'In the Valley of Gods'."
"This session outlines techniques to achieve immersive audio coverage in your 3D game or VR project quickly and to a high level of quality. Emily will cover both basic and detailed implementation strategies that allow sound designers and non-sound designers to scale audio quality according to their constraints. Examples will be demonstrated in Unity. "
We'll be keeping this thread up-to-date with all of the known Valve participants.
In mid 2017, former Valve employee Roger Lundeen revealed a group of developers from KSP - the team who developed Kerbal Space Program - had joined Valve and were working on a new Valve title.
A year on it appears that both Kasper Nahuijsen and Jose Palacios have left Valve. Interestingly, Kasper's Linkedin states he worked on "production and product ownership for an as of yet unannounced multi platform video game." Jose had no further detail from his 23 months at Valve, after leaving this week.
Both Jose and Kasper were founding members of Seven Headed Studios, alongside their ex-colleague Ted Everett - who appears to still be at Valve. We approximate around 5 other individuals who joined from Kerbal are still at Valve, too. It appears Valve allowed the team to retain ownership of the game they were working on after leaving Valve. It is unclear whether this means Valve are still working on 3 titles internally or now just 2.
A while back Valve shipped out the Knuckles EV 1.3 developer kits to VR devs, a new hand controller which improves upon the original Vive Wands. Knuckles EV2 is the next iteration and improves upon the original design in many ways, including ergonomics, battery life and new sensors. The new sensors are the most interesting aspect as these controllers have force sensors which can detect a range of pressures placed upon them, supporting much more precise hand movements in VR. You can read more about that and Skeletal Input here.
Comparison of Knuckles 2 (left) and 1.3 (right) - photo by @ColinNorthway
In order to exhibit the possibilites of EV2, Valve have produced the Moondust tech demo. EV2 developers can download and try the demo here. Moondust is set in the Portal universe, and involves a range of mini-games such as crushing rocks for Aperture Science to increase their moon-rock gel stores, control a giant robot, drive a moon buggy and assemble a space station in orbit.
The demo was developed in-house at Valve however it appears some independent VR developers also contributed to the development. Check out the video below!
Today Valve have announced a new version of Steam, 'Steam China' that will bring Steam's catalogue of games to the Chinese market.
Historically, Valve have licensed versions of their titles to Perfect World. In doing so, Perfect World have adapted Valve's titles localising them for the Chinese market. This has been in-part due to Steam not being available in China, a hurdle that all Steam's partners have had to endure as it has restricted their reach to China. Player Unknown's Battlegrounds included, turned to Tencent late last year to permeate the Chinese market, effectively cutting Steam out the deal for the vast number of copies sold. Steam China looks to prevent repeats of such situations.
Full Press Release Below
6/11/2018 -- Perfect World Zhengqi (Shanghai) Multimedia Technology Co., Ltd. and Perfect World Game Co., Ltd., two wholly owned subsidiaries of Perfect World Co., Ltd., and Valve Corporation announced an extension of their ongoing partnership to begin work on Steam China, which will provide Chinese gamers and developers with a new way to access Steam's expansive selection of games and entertainment. No release date for Steam China has been announced.
Steam China will extend the strategic cooperation between the two parties that began in 2012, when Perfect World's subsidiaries obtained the license to operate Valve's DOTA 2, and later Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), in China. Robert H. Xiao, CEO of Perfect World, said the company would introduce more games to China through Steam China, providing quality content and improving the experience for both gamers and developers.
Perfect World and Valve will collaborate closely on Steam China, actively promoting its launch, marketing, and game lineup. No changes are planned for Steam's existing worldwide operations and services as a result of this announcement.
Earlier today, Valve added eight new private videos to the taunts playlist on Team Fortress 2's official YouTube channel. Shortly after this discovery, one of our contacts, who wishes to remain anonymous, managed to extract the thumbnails of these videos and sent them to us.
October 9, 2017 -- Valve, creator of Steam and SteamVR, a leading platform for games and virtual reality (VR) applications, today announced the availability of new core components needed by VR hardware manufacturers to deliver best in class VR systems.
Complementing the existing free license for sub-millimeter room-scale tracking and input technology, today's news marks the addition of other critical pieces for developing state-of-the-art VR hardware: an advanced optical system, manufacturing and calibration tools, and the supporting software stack to unify the hardware into an optimal user experience.
"World class VR requires highly precise tracking, matched optics and display technologies, and a software stack that weaves together the interactions between these components," said Jeremy Selan of Valve. "For the first time, we're making all of these technologies available to anyone who wants to build a best in class VR system for the millions of Steam customers accessing over 2,000 SteamVR compatible titles."
About the Display and Optics Technology
Valve has spent years working closely with display manufacturers to adapt their technologies to the unique challenges of VR. Recent advancements in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology combined with VR specific calibration now make it a viable technology choice for high end VR systems. LCD manufacturers have demonstrated fast-switching liquid crystals, low persistence backlights, and high PPI displays that, when calibrated and paired with the right software, are well matched to the highest quality VR experiences. Of course, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology was critical to the first generation of VR (being first to demonstrate fast transition times and low-persistence illumination), and it remains an excellent option for new head mounted displays (HMDs). While both display technologies have inherent artifacts unique to head-mounted usage, Valve provides custom hardware and software manufacturing solutions as part of the SteamVR technology suite to enable high quality visual VR experiences.
In addition, Valve has developed custom lenses that work with both LCD and OLED display technologies and is making these lenses available to purchase for use in SteamVR compatible HMDs. These lenses and Valve's unique calibration and correction software are designed specifically to be paired with several off-the-shelf VR displays to enable the highest quality VR visual experiences. These optical solutions currently support a field of view between 85 and 120 degrees (depending on the display). The lenses, which are designed to support the next generation of room-scale virtual reality, optimize the user's perceived tracking experience and image sharpness while reducing stray light. Valve is including the custom lens calibration and correction software within the SteamVR technology suite.
Finally, Valve continues to offer full room-scale, sub-millimeter tracking technology by providing a reference design for the "Watchman" tracking module and by offering Valve manufactured base stations with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 technology for sale to licensees.
The Adventures of Dank and Scud was a fan comic series based around the game Quake created by Michael Houston. The sixth and the final issue, "It's a Wonderful Half-Life", featured Valve's Half-Life and was released on November 13, 1998. In the comic, the protagonist duo, Dank and Scud, find themselves back on Earth only to be caught in the middle of an experiment gone terribly wrong. Before the release of Half-Life, Houston was invited to Valve to create an issue based on the game. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Houston created a new website and added audio commentary to his comics. In the commentary, Houston talks about how he was invited to Valve to work on the comic.