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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Heat Maps Are Incredibly Interesting

Valve has released some incredibly interesting heat maps from the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta, showing where hundreds of thousands of players chose to fire off their weapons. The heat map above shows a portion of the firing locations for 6.5 million bullets on the de_train map.

"A straightforward way to visualize the data we collect is through heat maps. Heat maps can reveal player preferences, choke-points in maps, sight-lines for snipers, and much more," said Valve.

According to the developer, they track nearly every player action, from individual bullets fired to weapon purchases, and all that information helps them to make better design decisions. You can head over to the CS: GO blog to check out more CS: GO de_train heat maps, including ones for Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, Terrorist, and Counter-Terrorist positions.

Street Fighter IV

Ask the average gamer how Street Fighter correlates to poker and chances are, you're probably going to get a puzzled stare. Before I attended Seth Killian's lecture on game design in fighting games last year, I was certain that people like Hevad 'Rainkhan' Khan, who placed sixth in the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event, and online legend Randy 'Nanako' Lew were flukes. Now, I'm not so sure.

Earlier this month, I called up professional Street Fighter player Arturo Sanchez to ask him about the similarities between poker players and professional Street Fighter players. He told me that I would have to learn the game first. That's how I got here. It's 7'o clock in the morning and Arturo Sanchez, his voice nasally from a recent flu, is breaking down his after-hours match from Evo 2009 over Skype.

"We were doing it just for fun, but people decided to make bets." Arturo Sanchez is one of the rare few who can comment so flippantly on an encounter with Daigo Umehara, the current Guinness World holder for 'most successful player in major tournaments of Street Fighter'. As 'The Beast' of the competitive Street Fighter landscape appears on the screen, Sanchez grins. "I think $20, 000 USD or so exchanged hands that night."

"Street Fighter is about position and space control." Sanchez explains as he draws a line across two thirds of the screen, the characters frozen in place; Umehara is playing Ryu, Sanchez has Dhalsim."See this? This is Dhalsim's optimal range. This is my sweet spot. Daigo can't cross this line without being punished and he knows this."

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Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 won't have any paid character DLC according to Tekken series producer Katsuhiro Harada. At Namco's Global Gamers Day, Harada said, "Tekken's never really done that before and charged for it, however we did have an [unlock] system in Tekken one to five."

Recent controversy around Street Fighter X Tekken's on-disc DLC had gamers worried that the new Tekken title might include pay-to-play characters, but Harada said that to ensure the chess-like nature of Tekken's combat, they can't continually add new characters.

That said, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will still have cosmetic DLC, and those who pre-order the game will get early access to some characters. But, every character will be available for free after a limited time.

This seems like good news for the fighting game community. What do you guys think?

Source: Eurogamer


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Tribes: Ascend Will Be A PC Exclusive For Now

Hi-Rez Studios has officially launched Tribes: Ascend. The extremely fast-paced shooter enjoyed a beta with 575,000 participants playtesting the game over the course of five months. If you're not familiar with the free-to-play title, Tribes: Ascend is a team-based shooter with nine playable classes, five game-modes, and 16 maps.

“For the past 15 months, we’ve had a very passionate dev team working hard toward this goal”, said Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios COO.  “Along the way some publishers told us modern gamers couldn’t handle an FPS that was fast-paced and skill-based.  We believe otherwise.  Players seem to agree since we’ve had well over 500,000 join our Beta.  We’re excited to now grow the community further with the official release.”

You can download Tribes: Ascend for free over at the Tribes: Ascend website. If you were already playing the game before today, Hi-Rez have added a new capture the flag map, Radiance, and a new mode, Capture & Hold. If you plan on downloading the game, the first tip I can give you is to make sure not to llama grab when you're learning how to play (look it up)!


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Screenside -- eSports: A History

Professional gaming fans gathered on Sunday to hear from some of their favorite competitive gaming hosts and discuss the future of eSports, and it's clear this rich world with its unique set of personalities has a challenge in making itself accessible to new audiences.

Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski is a competitive StarCraft player in his own right, has been a captain of professional StarCraft teams, operates a popular stream on the TwitchTV video game internet channel, and is a well-known match commentator in professional StarCraft circles. Stemkoski feels that a chief challenge of popularizing American competitive StarCraft play is how weak America's competitive gaming circuit is compared to the rest of the world.

Getting new players into the circuit comes down in part to making players aware it even exists. TwitchTV has made strides towards accomplishing that goal. Kevin Lin, TwitchTV's Chief Operating Officer, made a guest appearance on the panel to talk about the growth of Justin.tv, the parent site from which the gaming channel spawned, and how it led to the ability to support competitive gaming broadcasts.

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Major League Gaming Winter Championship Details -- Pro Gamers Compete For $200,000 March 23-25

Major League Gaming has announced a few details for those of you excited to watch their Spring Season events. Thanks to the success of MLG's Winter Arena event, MLG is holding two Arena Events this Spring which will culminate at the Spring Championship in Anaheim, California on June 8-10, 2012. Not only will players compete in Blizzard's eSports juggernaut StarCraft 2, but MLG has also promised additional games will be showcased. Unfortunately they haven't announced what those games are yet.

Here's a quick breakdown of how the Spring Season will work:

  • Open Online Qualifiers – March 30-April 15 – Online Only, Not Broadcast
  • Spring Arena 1 – April 20-22 – NYC – LIVE Broadcast
  • Invite-Only Online Qualifiers – April 27-30 – Online Broadcast
  • Spring Arena 2 – May 18-20 – NYC – LIVE Broadcast
  • Spring Championship – June 8-10 – Anaheim, CA – LIVE Broadcast and in-person spectators

For more information about MLG's Spring Season check after the break.

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"[Expletive]. There's a chick on our team."

These words were uttered during a DotA 2 match last week, Valve's sequel to the world's favorite Warcraft III custom map. I play a lot, but that was first time I saw my opposition abandoning one of their own to the wolves. Within moments of that first remark, more followed. One dude asked if her sandwich-making skills were up to speed. Another proclaimed the presence of a woman was a portent of defeat.

dota 2

Amusingly enough, he did prove himself a competent prophet. His team was beaten soundly. But then again, they also spent far too much time asking us to commiserate, to join in on the jeering and the heckling. And though none of the malice was directed at me, it was an uncomfortable experience. Even if they were a tentacle-squid on Mars, you don’t sell out a comrade. It's just bad taste.

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Major League Gaming Winter Championship Details -- Pro Gamers Compete For $200,000 March 23-25

Major League Gaming's Winter Championship is kicking off this weekend, March 23-25, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. The tournament marks the first major MLG event of the 9th annual Pro Circuit season and will feature over 1,000 of the world's best professional gamers competing for more than $200,000 in prizes in games like StarCraft 2, Halo: Reach, Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur 5, The King of Fighters XIII, and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

The StarCraft 2 competition is definitely the one that the majority of eSports fans are looking forward to. Gamers from around the world, including places like Korea, Sweden, and Peru, will be facing off for $76,000 in prizes. MLG already held a Winter Arena event earlier this year and the top 16 finishers will all be present at MLG Columbus, including famous players like MarineKingPrime, NesTea, HuK, Oz, and Grubby.

Halo: Reach gamers will be competing for $56,000 in prizes, with $20,000 going to the first place team. The biggest Halo teams in the industry will be there, including the 2011 National Championship winners Instinct, along with Str8 Rippin, Believe the Hype, Status Quo, and Warrior. MLG is also offering a $3,000 free-for-all tournament where hundreds of Halo: Reach players will be able to compete in teams of four over a three-day, double elimination tournament where the winners will walk away with $1,500 in prizes.

As for the fighting games, more than $66,000 in prizes is on the line. Here's a quick breakdown for each game: The Mortal Kombat tournament will offer a $33,400 prize pool, Soul Calibur 5 gamers are competing for $16,700 in prizes, and The King of Fighter XIII gamers are fighting for $16,700 in prizes as well. Top players like Justin Wong, Carl White, Phillip Atkinson, Bill Menoutis, Reo, CDjr, and more will all be in attendance. 

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Zelda Williams

Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, is starring in the new film, Noobz. After watching the recent Noobz trailer, you already know that pro gaming is going to get its first Hollywood movie this year. The actress who was named after the Nintendo video game heads up an all-female pro gaming clan called the Pixies, and takes on actors Moses Aria, Matt Shively, Blake Freeman, and Jason Mewes in Gears of War 3.

Williams, who’s an avid gamer, talks about eSports, her love of Xbox Live and her own gaming background in this interview.

Did you base the Pixies off any of the female pro gaming groups like PMS?

We had a bunch of professional gamers come to set and there are quite a few teams that are in the movie. They were really fun to be around. There was one group of female pro gamers that came to set very briefly one day, but the rest of the teams were male and were really interesting and we had a lot of fun. For the first two days of filming all we did was play videogames all day.

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November 18 Declared As Major League Gaming Day In Providence Rhode Island

The Major League Gaming (MLG) Winter Arena was held this past weekend and suffice to stay, the StarCraft 2 tournament was a huge success. Overall, MLG gave out over $20,000 in prizes after three days of competition feaguring players from around the globe.

After three days of competition, Lee Jung 'MarineKing' Hoon, 18 from Korea, came out on top securing $10,000. MarineKing beat out 32 of the world’s best StarCraft II players who came from as far as Korea, Russia, throughout Europe, Canada and the US to compete.

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A Father's Perspective: The Unseen, Longterm Impact Motion Controls Are Having On Kids

Run the words 'Am I too old for video games?' in Google and you'll see a whole list of forlorn-sounding people pleading for answers on Yahoo! Answers, each hungrier for validation than the last. Six years ago, one chap said, "I want to buy myself a PSP or Nintendo DS but I'm afraid I'm too old to be playing video games because I'm twenty-five." Last month, a financially stable twenty-two year old confessed that he had told himself he would probably just stop liking them by twenty.

For many, video games are still a source of guilt, a masturbatory affliction that needs overcoming regardless of the fact that video games are now a multi-billion dollar industry that has been declared worthy of the rights accorded by the First Amendment. We've definitely come a long way but you still don't talk about video games if you want to get laid.

A Time to Level Up

CNN Contributor William J Bennett is a prime example of someone who sees video games as a part of the problem with our generation. The author of 'The Book of Man: Readings on the Path of Manhood', Bennett was the U.S Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988 and the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Under President George H.W Bush.

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Major League Gaming: First Winter Arena Coming This Weekend 

Now that football season is over, there's only one game worth following: Starcraft 2! This weekend, Major League Gaming is presenting the first ever Winter Arena event in New York. Held from the 24-26th, Winter Arena finds the world's top StarCraft 2 players competing for $26,000 in prizes, as well as pool placement and travel to the Winter Championships in Columbus, Ohio, at the end of March.

The streams are all pay-per-view this time around, but if you want to check it out, visit here.

Casting the Arena will be commentators Nick Plott (Tasteless), Dan Stemkoski (Artosis), Marcus Graham (DJWheat) and Blizzard's Rob Simpson. Joining them will be MLG’s JP McDaniel and three remote casters who got their start as MLG Community Casters: Tumba, Robin and Adebisi.

We've got the full broadcast schedule and the list of players under the "Read More" tag.

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G4's Donell Tucker and fighting expert Ernie Moreno share their thoughts on the new fighting mechanics and gem system behind Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken. This fighting franchise comes out in the beginning of March for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita.

Street Fighter X Tekken Hands-On Impressions »


 



Master Chief Is Actually In Halo: Reach

Major League Gaming has announced that Halo: Reach will be featured alongside StarCraft 2 at the MLG Winter Championships in Columbus, Ohio from March 23-25. According to MLG, team from around the world will be competing for $56,000 in prize money.

MLG has promised more Halo: Reach tournament details in the coming weeks, including prizing breakdown and settings. The interesting thing to note is that unlike SC2, Halo: Reach won't be having any qualifiers or a Winter Arena event. This leads me to believe that SC2 is starting to become the breadwinner of the MLG family, after Halo was the top dog for so many years.

Are you excited to see the return of Halo: Reach on the MLG Pro Circuit this year?


Major League Gaming Goes Global

Major League Gaming
(MLG) has announced a few more details on the upcoming StarCraft 2 2012 Pro Circuit Tournament. We initially reported on the StarCraft 2 Winter Championship series earlier this week, which will feature regional qualifiers, an arena event, and culminate with a live Winter Championship event.

Today, MLG has revealed the full StarCraft 2 season details, including the prize pool for the events. The first Winter Championship will be held from March 23-25 in Columbus Ohio. Here are the dates for the Spring, Summer, and Fall Championships:

  • Spring Championship: June 8-10 – Location TBA
  • Summer Championship: August 24-26 – Location TBA
  • Fall Championship: November 2-4 – Location TBA

As for the prize pool, it's pretty huge. Pro StarCraft 2 players from around the world will be competing for a hell of a lot more money in prizes this year than they did in 2011.

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