In a constant effort to better the digital platform, Valve has now made the Community beta open to the public. It is still very much in the beta stage, but the results thus far look promising and gamers are now able to create individual pages which show others their favourite games and gaming statistics.
It's also possible to create groups who can use chat-rooms in both IM and voice modes, schedule gaming events and tournaments, come together to discuss all things gamey and just generally commune with each other.
The community upgrade is the single largest update to Valve's Steam platform since the original release in March 2004. Since then the system has grown to comprise over 13 million users, making games from a number of publishers and developers available anywhere there's a stable internet connection.
In fact, just yesterday Valve and id Software joined forces to make the id Software back-catalogue available over Steam
More importantly though, the community upgrade has quickly spawned an official bit-tech.net
gaming group, which is open for all to join - so feel free to build something alongside myself in Garry's Mod
, or wipe the floor with Tim, Rich or Brett in Counterstrike: Source
To join up to the group, you'll first need to enable the community beta. To do this, start up steam and hit File > Settings > Beta Participation
and then restart your Steam client. After that, you'll have access to the beta and will be able to join the official Bit-tech.net group
. Sure, it's small right now but it's early days.
If you're having trouble joining the Bit-tech
gaming group, or if you just want to weigh up whether it's worth joining a beta or not, then you can always head to the forums
and discuss the matter in-depth.