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The Past, Present and Future of the DotA Genre

With the upcoming release of the much anticipated Dota 2, the future of the DotA scene is all but uncertain. Will games like Heroes of Newerth (HoN) and League of Legends (LoL) survive the competition put forward by Dota 2? What do the games’ recent DreamHack tournaments mean for the future of the games themselves?

The past

Before we start looking at how the DotA genre looks today and how it will evolve in the future, it is a good idea to introduce it and look at its history. The genre was born when Defence of the Ancients (DotA), a custom map for the action real-time strategy game Warcraft III, was conceived back in 2003. The map became hugely popular as it combined role-playing with real-time strategy and is considered one of the world’s most popular game modifications ever made. It is still maintained as of July this year but has today lost a lot of its player-base to sequels such as Heroes of Newerth (HoN) and League of Legends (LoL).
In 2009, LoL was released to the public as a free-to-play DotA-style game, drawing from DotA’s good aspects but with several gameplay and back-end improvements enabling features not available in the Warcraft III engine. These and other benefits secured a large and growing player-base all the way from the game’s early beta-versions to the released version of today. A year later HoN was released to the public with much the same concept of keeping the DotA-feel but enabling a host of core improvements. There were, however, a few notable differences between the two: firstly, HoN decided early on to adopt a pay-to-play approach — secondly, HoN profiled itself as a pure DotA sequel with a much truer resemblance to the original DotA than LoL. Despite gaining a lot of popularity during its free-to-play beta-phase, HoN suffered from major losses in player-base when going pay-to-play and thus recently became free to play again; this, however, still means LoL currently has about 20 times as many simultaneous players as HoN.

The present

Anytime soon, the two competitors will be joined by Dota 2, a game many claim will bring the truest DotA-like experience to the genre. It is being developed by Valve Corporation, a multi-million company behind the massively popular Steam platform, in conjunction with the current developer of the original DotA map himself, IceFrog. Valve’s enormous resources and experience with game design coupled with its partnership with DotA’s lead developer are two of the reasons behind the massive anticipation for the game and what it will bring to the genre. In fact, many within the HoN and LoL communities have stated they will move to Dota 2 once it is released — a move which, if done by enough people, could be a devastating blow to the two games’ fan- and player-bases.

The DreamHack

This year’s DreamHack Winter was without doubt a major success for HoN in terms of publicity and popularity. Compared to Dota 2 (LoL was not present at all), HoN hosted a larger tournament, gathered bigger crowds and was substantially more visible at the festival fair ground and it was clear that the developers behind the game, S2 Games, had invested enormous amounts of money into the event. In fact, HoN nearly completely overshadowed Dota 2 in all aspects.
Dota 2 should, however, not be dismissed. It has already hosted one large tournament, The International, with a jaw-dropping $1.6 million in total prize money for the 16 competing teams. This is definitely only one of many more such tournaments to come and shows that the importance of Valve’s financial support behind this game cannot be stressed enough: Dota 2 will undoubtedly be a force to reckon with at upcoming DreamHacks.

The future

It is impossible at this point to estimate the precise impact of Dota 2 on the genre, but there are  certain scenarios that can be predicted already. HoN, claiming to be the truest successor of DotA, will without question see a sharper decline in number of players than what LoL will see. Part of HoN’s player-base today comes from its competitive aspects and the numerous tournaments held around the world — with Valve monetarily backing Dota 2, it will be able to hold a much larger number of tournaments with substantially larger prizes. This will, naturally, push a lot of professional teams to move to Dota 2. Also, a large part of HoN’s player-base are former DotA players who will be highly likely to move to a game they see as a truer successor than HoN.
LoL is currently in a wholly different position: having, since its birth, moved towards a free, less complex, less competitive and more “fun” version of DotA it can no longer be considered a true competitor to HoN, let alone Dota 2. LoL’s player-base appreciate the aforementioned aspects of the game and are not likely to move to a game looking more like DotA; additionally, not nearly as many LoL as HoN players have even tried DotA meaning they are even less inclined to try Dota 2. The latter’s entry into the genre is overall not likely to cause troubling losses for Riot Games, LoL’s developer.

Conclusion

The DotA genre, having been until about 2010 dominated by Defence of the Ancients is now the stage for a fierce battle for players between mainly Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends. Soon enough, the highly anticipated Dota 2 will be released and impact the two competitors’ player-bases: HoN, already a rather small game, will be hit the hardest as its profile and target audience is very near that of Dota 2’s; LoL, on the other hand, boasting a very large player-base and having moved towards a less complex and competitive game play will not suffer from any large-scale migrations to Dota 2 as it simply does not fully compete in the same genre anymore.
HoN has already taken steps towards becoming a more widely appealing game by adopting the free-to-play approach and as Dota 2 is released and starts attracting players, HoN is faced with two main choices: either continue that process or make use of the publicity gained at DreamHack to profile itself even stronger as a competitive game in hopes of attracting sponsors, teams and players for its tournaments. It goes without saying that S2 Games must do something drastic to not risk losing its players and being eliminated from the DotA scene — it is a match they cannot afford to lose.

Counter-Strike: Source – How To Open the Console

Perhaps you’ve somewhere read console commands and you’ve wondered where on earth to enter them. I’ve put together this fairly straight-forward guide to help you.

Steps

#1
Open up your list of games inside Steam. Right click on Counter-Strike: Source, choose Properties and click the button that says Set launch options….

#2
Enter -console without spaces or anything else, to make the window look like this:
Launch options
Press OK to close the window and save the setting. It will now open a console every time you launch the game.

#3
Open the game up and you should see a fairly big window opened inside the game, the console. You could stop here and just press Espace every time you’d like to type in a command, but unless that’s what you want there is an easier way of opening it.

#4
Inside the console, type bind <key> toggleconsole and replace <key> with whatever key you would like to bind the console to. I, for one, use bind F12 toggleconsole as I find that to be useful.

I hope you’ve found this short guide useful, this trick will work in all Half-Life 1 and Half-Life 2-based games as far as I am concerned. Good luck!

Left 4 Dead Hamachi LAN gaming without Steam

Another article in the series about doing LAN-gaming with Hamachi! This time I am covering Left 4 Dead, the much talked-about and highly anticipated new game based on the Source engine.
This guide only corresponds to the pirated version of the game!

Step

#1
Download, using a torrent client, this file and follow the instructions in the ReadMe. They should be fairly straightforward and only involve overwriting two or three files and editing an .ini file.

#2
Make sure Hamachi is the primary network on your computer. This is generally, whenever using Hamachi, a good idea! If you run XP this is how you do it (courtesy of Random Repository):

Reconfigure your XP’s Network connections to make it detect Hamachi first. Go to All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Network Connections. Go to the menu > Advanced > Advanced Settings. Put Hamachi on top of the list.

#3
For all players involved, please make sure you are opening the game with the extra -console startup parameter! Your parameters can be found in the .bat-file you’re using to start the game.

#4

  • For the Hoster
    • In the console, type in sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0 and ip (the IP your computer has from Hamachi). This is to open your computer up to connection attempts at the default ports by only other Hamachi users.
    • Now type map and select in the drop-down list which map you’d like to start.
      When all this is done, all you have to do is type net_start and you’re on your way!
  • For the Players
    • Copy the hoster’s IP address and type connect (the IP address) inside the console!

Hopefully it should work as good for you as it worked for me! Let me know (by comment) if it worked or not!

HLTV.org is Covering Dream-Hack Winter 2008

HLTV.org, most likely the worlds biggest site launched to promote HLTV (Half-Life TV) broadcasting of matches and tournaments is covering the Dream-Hack Winter 2008 event, held in Jönköping, Sweden.
For us Counter-Strike 1.6 fanboys and all you other gamers out there HLTV.org features broadcasts with high bandwidth (good speed and little lag) for free. I am right now watching the match between mousesports and Made in Brazil, two highly respected teams battling off each other in Counter-Strike.

Head over to HLTV.org and check out the Dream-Hack coverage!

Call of Duty (5): World at War Fix for the No Profile Error

Have you been trying to start the game, only to see that there are no profiles for you to choose? Does nothing happen when you try to start a new game? Are you unable to save your controls and graphics settings?

You’ve most likely been a victim of a recent bug with some Call of Duty: World at War installations – no singleplayer/co-op profile is created upon installation. There is an easy fix for this, however!

Steps for Windows XP

Go into C:Documents and SettingsYourProfileApplication Data (a hidden folder, you may need to type it manually into the address bar)Activisionplayersprofiles.
Create a folder and name it whatever you want. Now create (still in profiles) a .txt document and name it active.txt. Inside that document, type the exact name of the folder you just created.

Steps for Windows Vista

Go into C:UsersYourProfileLocal SettingsApplication Data (a hidden folder, you may need to type it manually into the address bar)Activisionplayersprofiles.
Create a folder and name it whatever you want. Now create (still in profiles) a .txt document and name it active.txt. Inside that document, type the exact name of the folder you just created.
Make sure you’re doing this with administrator rights, as otherwise Vista likes to be annoying and hide some files from you, essentially making you overwrite files that “do not” exist.

Call of Duty (5): World at War LAN Hamachi Co-Op Fix

Here is a short guide, put together with help of some but mainly myself, on how to be able to play Co-Op with your friends over Hamachi.
You do not need any dirty settings, you do not need to disable your firewall, you do not even need to be able to ping your friends over the Hamachi network! Here’s how:

#1

Download an older version of Hamachi, preferably version 1.0.1.5. It can be found at FileHippo. Install it, and do not bother with the license notifications and all that. Make sure you have the new Hamachi executable in your firewall exception list (if you’ve had it there before, it should still be there)!
Connect to your regular network and meet up with your friends.

#2

Go to GameCopyWorld (GCW), select a mirror, search for world at war and find it, and in the list of patches and fixes, download the LAN fix #1. Use the downloaded patch to patch your current .exe file, and make sure it creates a backup of it (the option is a checkbox).

#3

Open up the newly patched .exe (not the […]mp.exe file), and host a co-operative game. Please, make sure PunkBuster is turned OFF, both in your Options > Game Options and your Game Setup (inside the Lobby).
Tell your friends to search for the server and make sure they have Source set to LAN. Connect, play, and have fun!

Footnotes

If you can not get this working, try fiddling with your Firewall settings (maybe even try disabling it) and try playing with the in-game menu. Also the Hamachi settings might be of interest.
If nothing works, try letting the hoster host without the patched .exe and all the others connect with the patched .exe.

Also, according to a commenter, Ratza, it is important that the hoster runs his game as an Administrator by right-clicking on the shortcut and pressing Run as administrator!

Tried Call of Duty (5): Word at War

Yet another game I tested today, Call of Duty: World at War. It’s the fifth installment in the Call of Duty series, a very well known and popular series of games, renowned for their great realism.
I completely the fifth installment, World at War, in a few hours of straight playing. The story plays out during the second World War (WWII) and the main characters are an American and Russian private.
After completing it, I found it very hard to describe the feelings the game gave me, the screaming of the dead and the shouting of the alive, the spirit of the fighting soldiers, it all added in an immense way to the whole experience.
For the first time in any game, really, I felt like I truly was a part of the story and not only a spectator. It’s short of a miracle, and the game is nothing less.

Thanks for a great gaming experience, Activision!

Left 4 Dead Demo

Tried the Left 4 Dead Demo out last night, found it to be some good fun. The graphics are not bad, the animations are perfect and the gameplay suits the name (and game) very well.
Left 4 Dead is a FPS (first person shooter) where one chooses from four different characters in a squad with a mission – to survive a brutal infection that has plagued a city. At your disposal are several different kinds of weapons suited for different environments.

It exceeded my expectations, although as a demo it was too short =) . I am longing for the real game, I must say!

Playing Counter-Strike 1.6 without Steam (free non-Steam)

What?! Is that possible? Yes, it is, I found out the other day. I’ll try to put together some kind of short guide, and see if I can get the facts straight.

First of all, visit the FragBase homepage and download the Non Steam CS 1.6 GAME and the Non Steam CS 1.6 PATCH. After downloading and extracting, run the .exe file, running the GAME first and then the PATCH. During the installation you might be prompted with Retry, Cancel or Ignore messages, make sure you just ignore them. Also, if you’re running a non-English version of your OS some text might be shown as question marks.

After installing it and running for the first time you might want to change options such as your name and your spray-tag. When you’re ready to play, you’ve got a job ahead of you – finding servers. Naturally you could try clicking Find Server and try joining, however you will not be able to play since you will be kicked for an Invalid CD-key. Finding non-Steam dedicated servers can be a hassle, but Google is there for you, as well as the FragBase homepage. The latter has three dedicated servers running (208.122.49.51:27015, 208.122.49.24:27015 and 208.122.52.254:27015) which you are free to connect to and have fun with.

Remember, this is most likely classed as illegal, and all of this is done at your own risk! Other than that, there’s not much more for me to say. Good luck and have fun!

Battlefield 2 Movie Released!

Released my Battlefield 2 jet movie the other day. It can be viewed at Vimeo.

Here are some previews of what you’re about to see. The movie was recorded with WeGame, intro:ed in After Effects and edited + rendered in Sony Vegas.

BF2 Jet Movie image #1BF2 Jet Movie image #2