Counter-Strike co-creator arrested over alleged child sexual exploitation

Jess Cliffe, the co-creator of Valve’s popular online shooter series Counter-Strike, was booked into a Seattle jail on Thursday morning over allegations of sexual exploitation of a child.

Seattle ABC affiliate KIRO-7 broke the story on Thursday after discovering Cliffe’s booking record into King County jail. Seattle police detective Patrick Michaud confirmed to Ars that Cliffe was arrested at the jail itself, which public records show happened at 1:17 am Pacific Time, and that no charges had yet been filed.

No bond has yet been set, and a bail hearing is expected to take place later on Friday. Police did not immediately confirm any other details about the arrest to Ars.

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‘Bridge Constructor Portal’ Launches on Mac App Store for $9.99

Headup Games today announced that its Portal spin-off game “Bridge Constructor Portal” is now officially available for players to buy on the Mac App Store for $9.99 [Direct Link]. The game first launched on December 20 on the iOS App Store, Google Play Store, and Steam.

The Mac App Store version of the game is priced to match the other $9.99 desktop version on Steam, coming in at $5 more than the iPhone/iPad app’s $4.99 price tag [Direct Link].



Bridge Constructor Portal is a fusion of the Bridge Constructor and Portal franchises, tasking players with building bridges to connect pathways in order to safely traverse large pits and avoid falling to their death. These puzzles are blended with Portal’s Aperture Laboratories setting, items, and characters. Elements from Portal include the companion cube, repulsion and propulsion gels from Portal 2, and GLaDOS’s narration through all of the player’s successes and failures.

As a new employee in the Aperture Science test lab, it’s your job to build bridges, ramps, slides, and other constructions in 60 test chambers and get the Bendies safely across the finish line in their vehicles.

Make use of the many Portal gadgets, like portals, propulsion gel, repulsion gel, aerial faith plates, cubes, and more to bypass the sentry turrets, acid pools and laser barriers, solve switch puzzles, and make it through the test chambers unscathed.

Now that the game is available across mobile and desktop devices, Headup Games, ClockStone Software, and Valve are looking toward its release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One “very soon.” You can visit the Mac App Store today to download Bridge Constructor Portal [Direct Link], and it can also be downloaded for Apple computers through Steam.

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YouTube launched a VR app on Steam, but it’s broken

Google has released its YouTube VR app, previously available on Daydream, on SteamVR. The app allows users to browse YouTube videos through an interface in 3D, 360-degree space, and watch any of the innumerable 360-degree videos available on YouTube. It also allows for virtual big-screen viewing of standard format YouTube videos, in a setup similar to that found on, say, the Hulu app for PlayStation VR.

You can download it for free right now and try it out.

Unfortunately, the YouTube VR app doesn’t seem to be working for many users, who have taken to the app’s Steam community page, reviews, and discussion forums to complain about crashes and other problems. Users are posting their hardware specs as they report that it crashes on startup every time. Additionally, users have complained that it makes poor use of only one of the Vive’s controllers, that quality is low, and that many SBS stereoscopic 3D videos are not working—which is obviously a huge omission

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Your Bitcoin is no good here—Steam stops accepting cryptocurrency

When Valve first started accepting Bitcoin as an option for Steam purchases last April, the cryptocurrency was trading around $450. Today, with Bitcoin surging past $12,000 per coin, Valve has announced that “Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin.”

Transaction fees charged to customers using Bitcoin have surged throughout 2017, Valve says, peaking at $20 last week from a starting of about $0.20 when Steam first started using the currency. With Valve unable to control these blockchain-linked costs (passed on from third-party Bitpay), the company worried that it was leading to “unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin” (though apparently these are costs Bitcoin users as a whole have been willing to shoulder of late).

Bitcoin’s extremely volatile valuation has also gotten in the way of its usefulness for Steam users, Valve said. With Bitcoin values changing so rapidly, the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover a purchase can change significantly between the time a purchase is initiated and when it’s completed. Fixing this situation with a quick refund or a request for additional payment incurs more of those high transaction fees, Valve says.

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Valve Reveals Portal Spin-Off ‘Bridge Constructor Portal’ Coming to macOS and iOS December 20

Valve, Headup Games, and ClockStone Software today announced that the next iteration of the popular Portal franchise is launching later this month, in the form of a spin-off game tied into the Bridge Constructor puzzle series (via TouchArcade). Bridge Constructor Portal will launch on December 20 for macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, and then console versions will follow in 2018.

Image via TouchArcade


The companies said that the new game “fully embraces the Portal license” while primarily focusing on the puzzle and physics elements of Bridge Constructor. Similar to past Bridge Constructor games, players will have to build bridges to connect pathways and safely traverse across chasms without falling to their death.

“Hello and welcome back to the Aperture Science computer-aided enrichment center.”

We welcome all lucky applicants to Bridge Constructor Portal with our new vehicle-based test chambers, Quantum Tunnels and patented Aperture technology! For the last year we’ve been secretly working in our underground labs on the next iteration of the million-selling Bridge Constructor series. This new stand-alone title will release on PC, MacOS, Linux, mobile devices, and console, and fully embraces the Portal license, one of the most beloved video game franchises of the last decade.

The Portal elements come in with the gaming being set in Aperture Laboratories, as well as various in-game items that players can use to solve puzzles, like the companion cube and the repulsion and propulsion gels from Portal 2. GLaDOS will also narrate your progress and failure as you make your way through the new vehicle-based test chambers.



The price of Bridge Constructor Portal hasn’t yet been disclosed, but those interested can expect more information ahead of the game’s release. Bridge Constructor‘s paid iOS app is currently priced at $1.99 [Direct Link], so players can likely expect a price point above $2, considering that the game will also be launching simultaneously on Mac and PC as well as eventually coming to consoles, like the Nintendo Switch.

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Valve announces the return of Portal… via Bridge Constructor

Remember when Valve used to make new games, instead of just making insanely popular platforms for selling games (and hats and skins)? Valve promised a partial return to those days today with the announcement of a brand-new Portal game… that just so happens to be built as an expansion to Bridge Constructor.

OK, this might not be the Portal sequel that everyone was expecting or hoping for (that would probably require putting a “3” on the game’s title, which we all know Valve can’t do). Still, the teaser trailer for the Bridge Constructor Portal—being developed alongside Headup Games and Clockstone Software—shows the same kind of physics-based gameplay that has made both Portal and Bridge Constructor into hits with fans of emergent design.

And GLaDOS makes an appearance, too. What more could a Portal fan reasonably want?

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Windows Mixed Reality headsets get SteamVR games and apps November 15

As promised back in August, all owners of Windows Mixed Reality headsets who are running Windows 10 will be able to run much of SteamVR’s library of VR software.

This is an expansion of the SteamVR preview program for Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which was previously open to developers but will open up to all users on November 15. Interested users will be able to navigate from Microsoft’s VR hub to Valve’s and select from SteamVR software there.

SteamVR is best known for games like EVE Valkyrie and Project Cars, but several apps are available too. For example, Virtual Desktop allows you to use your computer’s desktop in a VR space, and Google’s Tilt Brush is a VR painting experience. This preview program is a beta test, so not every app or game is expected to work perfectly right now.

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Steam has a “review bomb” problem—but will today’s new feature fix it?

Steam, the largest digital PC game storefront in the West, continues to struggle with user-contributed game reviews. Valve launched the feature in 2013, and since then, it has seen various updates to deal with issues such as false and gamed reviews.

But none of those updates were much comfort to the game Firewatch last week. Its Steam review page was swarmed with negative reviews after its developer Campo Santo denounced the hateful speech of game streamer PewDiePie and issued DMCA challenges to that streamer’s videos about Firewatch.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that Valve not only announced a new Steam user review feature on Tuesday but also tied it in a huge way to the issue of “review bombing.” Either way, Steam store pages now come with a lot more data in the form of “review histograms.” What are they? How will they affect reviews going forward? And most importantly, is that enough action to deal with a noticeable rise in irrelevant and poisonous use of Steam’s storefront?

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