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Saturday, January 14, 2012

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2012-01-14 20:50:25 | Category: Site News
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So a lot of you have been wondering why I haven’t posted anything since June of 2010 and want to know what happened to a bunch of the hosted sites.  Well a few things happened around that time.  First I changed jobs (I love my new job) but with that came more responsibility and therefore I could not spend really any time on this site.  The other thing is EdgeNetwork (the former owners of hlgaming.com) shut down their services.  I will be writing about both of these events here in a moment.

Job and Life Changes

So I changed jobs right around the time of my last post.  I know work for a great company that pays an actual fare wage.  During that time I also got addicted to Star Trek Online and a bit into Minecraft.  I ended up giving up Minecraft after 6 months as playing a game with really young people is no fun and downright annoying (thank god there was no voice chat).

Along with my primary job I also started to work heavily on launching MJCS Studios.  I created a few applications (one is one the Windows Phone Marketplace called “STO Profile Viewer” and the other is “Supreme Shortcuts” that allows you to customize your Windows phone).  This side business is starting to grow but slowly.

EdgeNetwork shuts down

So to my surprise Shawn from EdgeNetwork (the owner) decided to shut down all but one  of his sites (GTA Gaming) as the others just weren’t active or were not making any money (this was in mid-2010). Now if we rewind a bit to mid-2009 I had e-mailed Shawn about overhauling HLGaming.com.  He responded then that he was going to Shutdown HLGaming.com and all of the other sites and focus on GTA Gaming.  This ended up taking about a year to do so.

This is the e-mail I received from him:

I haven't gotten back to you because you've decided to do this resurrection at the worst of times, or maybe the best of times depending on perspective.

I'd already decided I was going to shutdown edgenetwork, have been going through and performing mass deletions on all the sites long dead as well as sites clearly abusing the lack of supervision.

Then this.

On the one hand, had it been a month later you decided to resurrect it, the entire site would've probably been deleted by then. On the other, I still don't want to consider responsibility of hlgaming anymore.

The basic plan was to strip the server of all hosted sites with exception to the only site that has continued to thrive for 6 years, gtagaming, and move it to a server of it's own, leaving behind all of the old edge backend, edgeid, and let that server die in peace. While Gtagaming continues on a new fresh server, edgenetwork being no more than just the business name behind it.

But hlgaming is now in the way of that, because I don't feel like I can just delete it anymore.

I own the domain for another year, but I suppose I can give you free use of it to work out what you want to do. Bottom line, I don't want to support any site other than gtagaming anymore. Also, I never knew IGN were shutting down their free hosting but all the same I'm not surprised, because it falls in line with the same reason I'm abandoning edgenetwork - there is no money in free hosted sites anymore.

Anyway this isn't happening immediately, there's countless sites still on the server I'm allowing for to leave first, although the longer this takes the longer gtagaming is stuck on a machine that is struggling to cope with it's traffic.
If you decide to continue with the site I can work out transferring it to you later.

This was the last time I heard from him.  I have tried to contact him time and time again to get the domain transferred and more importantly the databases (I already had backed up the files from FTP) but to no avail.  I tried finding his home address, phone numbers (the ones I had were disconnected.  I then tried twitter, Facebook (he is on my friends list), and ICQ (remember that service).

Then I tried contacting other members of the former EdgeNetwork staff but they had no contact information of his as well.  So by this time it is late 2011 and HLGaming.com is completely shut down and I am locked out of FTP, webmaster, and the other services.  So I have finally decided to contact a Private Investigator to find him and contact him.  This will cost me a bit of money but it is something I have to do…both to save your data and to save my reputation.


Now once I get the data back (and I still think I will) I can either host you on my new dedicated server for free again or if you wish (and I don’t blame you) give you your data and pay for a free month of service over at BlueHost.  My new server is backed up 4 times a day so data loss is a moot point if you do choose to stay with me...but again I understand if you choose to leave me.

I am deeply sorry that I have not made what is going on apparent but I hope that this post clarifies what is going on.

This coming Monday I will be contacting a Private Investigator to locate Shawn.

If you wish to contact me further please DM me on Twitter @HL2Gaming

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-06-01 17:51:59 | Category: Portal 2
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This came in from Valve earlier today:

Dear Subject Name Here,

Aperture Science is pleased to inform you that we have partnered with Valve to announce the gala CANCELLATION of the June 14 Portal 2 event at the Regal Theater. The event will be replaced by a surprise. And even though the cancellation of the event certainly counts as a surprise, we are pleased to further announce that the cancellation of the event is not THE surprise. However, per International treaties regarding the definition of the word "surprise", of which both Aperture Science and Valve are signatories, the time, date and content of the actual surprise will only become available as you experience the surprise.

If you'd like to ask fruitless questions about the E3 Portal 2 surprise or, more fruitfully, schedule an appointment to attend a Portal 2 screening at the Valve booth during E3, please contact Valve's Special Envoy to Surprises, Doug Lombardi.

Thank you for <>

PS: The surprising record scratch is also not the surprise.

This is a bit of a let down as I forgot to order my free E3 pass and wont be able to go to the event at their booth. Anyone want to take some photos for me? Message me on twitter @HL2Gaming

Friday, May 28, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-05-28 17:03:09 | Category: L4D2
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Source: L4D

Valve announces a brand new single player Mutation, called Last Man On Earth, is available this week to owners of Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) "The Passing" DLC.

Last Man On Earth, mixes up the award winning multiplayer gameplay for a more solitary pursuit, removing the co-op aspect and instead a sole Survivor with no bot companions is pitted against an army of Special Infected.

The L4D2 team is encouraging players to submit their best 60-second clip of playing Last Man on Earth to YouTube so everyone can share in their single player accomplishments.

If you still crave company, all other game modes are always available including the recently unveiled Realism Versus.

Weekly Mutations are available to all owners of "The Passing" DLC on PC and Xbox 360. Each week a brand new Mutation is made available.

Friday, May 14, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-05-14 17:50:58 | Category: Steam
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Monday, April 26, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-04-26 19:18:19 | Category: Steam
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The new Steam UI is here, which enhances the way you already buy and play games, adding more info about the things that matter — getting games, playing them with friends, and staying current in the gaming world.

If you haven't already updated, you can use the "Check for Steam client updates" option on the "File" menu to automatically update Steam to the new release. If you don't have Steam installed, download it today.

Read on to see the changes we've made.

Major features:

  • Complete overhaul of Steam client UI design to improve discoverability of features and to better expose all the information related to games in your library
  • Complete overhaul of in-game overlay UI design to create a richer in-game experience exposing context sensitive information related to the game you are currently playing
  • New game details view, presenting a detailed view of all the information for a single game in your library
  • New grid view, presenting a graphical view of your game library
  • New news page in the store/client/overlay that aggregates Valve related news sites, official community groups, and third-party gaming news feeds
  • New downloads view in the client, making it easier to track your progress downloading new games or game updates
  • New Steam store design, including more integrated community features, improved recommendations, and improved video and screenshots viewing (and much more!)

Store details:

  • New Steam store/community integration — see what your friends have been buying and playing as you browse the store
  • Improved store layout, genre navigation, and genre pages, including more robust navigation per category
  • Added Wishlists for tracking what games you want, and to see what games your friends want
  • Improved game detail pages, including quick link to demos, inline display of higher resolution game trailers, improved screenshot browser, and improved game recommendations
  • New game-specific video page, containing all of a game's trailers in one place, now in higher resolution Flash format
  • Improved discoverability of sales and discounts, including prominent shortcuts and consistent store-wide visual presentation for price cuts
  • New quick-info tooltips on store home page and genre pages which allow users to read about games before navigating to detail pages
  • New search filtering options- search for packs or DLC, easier to use filters for searching by price and metascore, and sort by release date

Client feature details:

    View of your most recently achieved achievements and likely next achievements in the client game details view and in the in-game overlay
  • View of friends currently playing a game as well as all friends who sometimes play a game in the per-game details view
  • View of related game news in the client game details view and in the in-game overlay
  • Clock in the in-game overlay (!)
  • User customizable categories assignable per-game
  • Tracking of last played time for games to show in the client library views
  • Sort your games by last date played
  • Library list view displays larger graphic, and a new column displaying a game's Steam Cloud state
  • New invites section in the friends list UI allowing you to accept or decline invites directly without going to your community control panel
  • Cloud support for many non-machine specific local settings such as favorite servers
  • Implemented new DirectWrite based font rendering for the client and in-game overlay on Windows 7 or Vista with both SP2 and the "Platform Update" installed. This offers improved pairwise kerning for text layout as well as better anti-aliasing of text on supported platforms.
  • Display of total played time in the client game details view and the in-game overlay
  • Type to jump support in the games list, grid, and game details views
  • Better Steam cloud conflict resolution support, with the ability for users to choose how to resolve conflicts between machines
  • Improved forward/backward navigation in the client UI, acting across various different view types (e.g., games list, to community, back to games list)
  • New style and layout system for Steam's VGUI UI toolkit, enabling much more complicated flowing layouts. Skins will need major overhauls to be compatible with the new client, but will also have much more power and flexibility available to them via the new .style and .layout files used in the new VGUI code.
  • Backup/restore wizard
  • Community: all official game avatars in one place, linked from your edit profile page
  • New outer glow effect supported when rendering text in VGUI
  • Support for alpha blending of gradients and text in VGUI
  • Support for many new layout and placement commands in VGUI
  • Support for native drop shadow effect on primary Steam windows on Vista and Windows 7
  • Support for Windows 7 snapping and shaking mouse commands
  • Added per-game disable in game properties dialog for the in-game overlay
  • Added most recently used games launch actions to tray icon in addition to Win7 jumplist
  • Improved maximize support for Steam dialogs and added maximize icon to top level windows
  • New sound effects for many notifications/actions
  • Added auto-recovery of the in-game overlay so it will restart and resume functioning if the process crashes while a game is running

Bug fixes:

    Improved reliability of auto-login to store and community when used in the Steam client
  • Improved truncation of long text strings in many places
  • Fixed the various UI states and settings to persist across client restart more reliably
  • Fixed being unable to reliably delete previously added non-Steam shortcuts from your games list
  • Fixed forward/backwards navigation on Community tab getting stuck on redirects
  • Many small performance and memory usage improvements
  • Improved sorting consistency between views
  • Fixed hit areas on friend panel down-arrow affordances to make clicking on them more reliable
  • You can now remove a blocked friend without having to unblock the friend first
  • Fixed game preload to correctly download language-specific content
  • Fixed a case where Steam windows could draw slightly grayed out while alt-tabbed out of a game or running over RDP
  • Fixed a case where inviting an additional user to a single user chat could force acceptance of a previous voice chat request
  • Fixed to display correct achievement localization when Steam and game language differ
  • Fixed the overlay occasionally not restoring input on hide to some games utilizing buffered direct input
  • Improved link detection in chat dialogs and other RichText controls
  • Fixed the in-game overlay being overly bright in some D3D10/11 games using sRGB backbuffers
  • Improved reliability of steam:// url handler registration
  • Fixed tooltips sometimes not showing up on multi-monitor setups

General improvements:

    Now using a WebKit based rendering engine for the client and in-game overlay web browsing components (replacing Internet Explorer)
  • Improved speed of in-game overlay web browser
  • Improved search functionality on the Steam news page
  • Web pages which use confrm() or alert() calls in javascript no longer break the in-game overlay web browser

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-04-20 17:45:07 | Category: Left 4 Dead 2
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Source: Left 4 Dead 2 Blog

Game Add-On Brings L4D1 Survivors Down South

April 20, 2010 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the first game add-on for its co-operative zombie thriller, Left 4 Dead 2 The Passing, is due for release Thursday, April 22 exclusively for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and the PC.

The first game add-on for Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) brings the original Left 4 Dead (L4D1) Survivors down south for a meeting with the L4D2 cast, while delivering new single-player, multiplayer and co-operative gameplay for the PC and Xbox 360.

The Passing also introduces a series of weekly game mode events dubbed "Mutations." These week-long runs of new gameplay modes range from "Realism Versus" mode to "Chainsaw Massacre," which gives all players chainsaws with an unlimited supply of gasoline. There are over 20 Mutations planned, each playable on all L4D2 Campaigns. Mutations are exclusively available to owners of "The Passing" DLC.

In addition, "The Passing" offers a new co-operative challenge mode of play, support for infected bot play in Versus, a new "uncommon common" zombie class (the fallen survivor), melee weapon (golf club), and firearm (M-60). Available for 560 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360 and free on the PC, "The Passing" takes place just after the Dead Center campaign of L4D2. Set in a small town in rural Georgia, players assume the role of the L4D2 Survivors as they meet with the L4D1 characters.

Exclusively available for Xbox 360 and the PC, L4D2 sets a new benchmark for co-operative action games. The title adds melee combat to enable deeper co-operative gameplay, with items such as a chainsaws, frying pans, axes, baseball bats, and more.

With the AI Director 2.0, L4D's dynamic gameplay is taken to the next level by giving the Director the ability to procedurally change weather effects, world objects, and pathways in addition to tailoring the enemy population, effects, and sounds to match the players' performance. The result is a unique game session custom fitted to provide a satisfying and uniquely challenging experience each time the game is played.

Finally, with new Survivors, boss zombies, weapons, and items, Left 4 Dead 2 offers a much larger game than the original, featuring more co-operative campaigns, more Versus campaigns, new Survival maps, and the new competitive game mode, Scavenge.

For more information, please visit www.l4d.com

Thursday, April 1, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-04-01 19:37:32 | Category: TF2
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Source: YouTube

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-03-24 19:28:15 | Category: Site News
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Here is what I missed over the last few weeks:

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-03-24 19:04:26 | Category: Half-Life 2
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Source: Kotaku
Source: CNN

CNN is reporting that Robert Culp, aka the voice of Dr. Breen in Half-Life has passed away. He was 79 and is survived by his wife, five children, and five grandchildren.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

posted by Mitchell J. Skurnik (MJCS) @ 2010-03-13 19:50:49 | Category: Half-Life 2 Modification
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Source: Pirates, Vikings, & Knights II

A new update is out which fixes a few problems caused by the patch yesterday

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed being unable to stun players whether a perfect parry or bash
  • Fixed players performing special being bashed and getting frozen
  • Fixed problems with the Linux build