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Round-Up: GarageGames Books, Friends on Steam, Gordon Keynotes DigitalLife

Today's news round-up includes news of independent game publisher GarageGames signing a partnership to publish books, the announcement of Valve's "Friends" system for Ste...
Today's news round-up includes news of independent game publisher GarageGames signing a partnership to publish books, the announcement of Valve's "Friends" system for Steam nearing the end of its beta run, and EA's Bing Gordon being announced as keynote speaker at the next DigitalLife Summit, as well as the latest GameSetWatch posts, product news, and Gamasutra job postings. - GarageGames, an independent game publishing label, has announced a partnership with book publishers A K Peters to create game development-focused books. The first one to be published will be "The Game Publisher's Guide to Torque," a tutorial on using GarageGames' proprietary Torque game engine. "Publishing books is an extension of our efforts to teach aspiring programmers the fundamentals of game development," said GarageGames CEO Mark Frohnmeyer. "We could not have a better partner than A K Peters, a global book publisher with a stellar reputation for publishing high quality texts and references." - Valve has announced that the Friends system on its Steam digital delivery service is nearing the end of its beta run, and will soon be available to all Steam users. The Friends system allows Steam participants to see when others are playing games, and gives them the option to chat inside and outside of Steam-based titles. The Steam interface itself will be updated to reflect the Friends launch when the service goes public. In other Steam news, the company announced that Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 will be available over the service next week, and that Valve will soon be adding its High Dynamic Range lighting to some Counter-Strike: Source maps. - Electronic Arts executive VP and chief creative officer Bing Gordon has been selected to give the keynote address at Ziff Davis' annual DigitalLife Summit, to be held October 12-15 in New York. "Bing Gordon is one of the most dynamic and respected executives in the videogame industry and we're delighted he will share his insight and perspective at DigitalLife this year," said Ziff Davis vice president Monica Vila. "DigitalLife has become a must-attend event for videogamers of all ages and we're excited that Bing will provide our attendees with insight into the latest gaming trends and what we can expect to see next." - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include a long rebuttal to recent complaints from website Kotaku about the overenthusiasm of game previews, Namco star Pac-Man in the form of a crop circle, a new book from MIT Press, crazy new Xbox 360 faceplates, and a comic strip about David Crane characters living in low-income housing. - Also updated today: product news on LifeMode's Lifestudio:Head GDC showing, as well as the latest Gamasutra job postings, featuring positions from Blizzard, LucasArts, Petroglyph, The Art Institute of Vancouver and Pseudo Interactive.

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