Welcome to Three Lane Highway, Chris' weekly column all about Dota 2.
Sand King is - like Lich, Axe, and, I like to think, Phoenix - a gentleman's hero. Characters with a lot of early and midgame potential are key to setting the pace of the match, and if your team is snowballing off the back of a few crucial early kills then it's likely that someone like Sand King was involved. Opting to play Sand King is a declaration that you are a team player; that you will buy wards and smoke; that first blood will be secured with a reliable two second stun and the sound - distant, like thunder - of somebody listening to Darude.
Welcome to Three Lane Highway, Chris' weekly column all about Dota 2.
Windows 8 hasn't exactly been a stunning success. Fewer than 12 percent of PCs run Windows 8 or 8.1, compared with 47 percent for Windows 7 and 29 percent for XP. It's still more than Mac OS X and Vista combined, but that's small consolation. So we're already looking forward to Windows 9, which will hopefully continue the tradition—firmly entrenched in both Windows and Star Trek chronology—of coming out with something good every other try. (Galaxy Quest counts as one of the good Star Treks, by the way.)
Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, is still at least a year away. Sourcey-types peg it at April 2015, so there's plenty of time for Microsoft to release something that's fully baked to make up for the melange of awesome and not-awesome that is Windows 8. So with that, here are our demands for Windows 9.
Valve is nipping at your heels, Microsoft. It's time to pay attention to PC gamers again.
Net neutrality taking a beating isn't going to stop you from playing Battlefield, or prompt restrictive bandwidth caps overnight that make it harder to download games from Steam. Tuesday's decision likely won't affect your day-to-day gaming at all.
But net neutrality is still something you should care about. If you've ever streamed a game on Twitch, followed an amazing speedrunning event like Awesome Games Done Quick, or watched a YouTube archive of a world record solo eggplant run in Spelunky, Tuesday's ruling could impact elements of the PC gaming community you care about.
The Steam Machines are upon us. It was always clear that Valve were working with other companies to bring gaming PCs to the living room. We expected four or five, but 13? A new market has sprung up overnight, which means plenty of competition to judge. These small, weird and occasionally ugly new devices represent an exciting future for the platform, not because of the technology, but because of the new audiences it could usher into the unifying embrace of PC gaming. Let's take a look at the Steam Machines we have so far. Which ones are good value for money? Which ones look the best? What will they do for PC gaming?
In 2013 Valve told us that it’s making a controller, an operating system, and is sanctioning PC manufacturers to create Steam Machines. The three-pronged campaign to put Steam in your living room, deliberately revealed ahead of the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, was the biggest PC gaming news of the year. It’s a move that establishes Valve as something that resembles a platform holder, something it’s been hesitant to do despite being the PC’s biggest online retailer.
Before running away for a few days of competitive eating and cooperative gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the most memorable victories, losses, and stories they virtually experienced in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Before running away for a few days to close out the year with champagne and a new XCOM campaign, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to discuss how two of our favorite 64-player shooters created very different experiences this year. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Before running away for a few days of making resolutions and breaking last year's, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to talk about BioShock Infinite, and how they feel about it now that the buzzing excitement and debates have settled into a low hum. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Before running away for a few days to visit family and then de-stress in DayZ, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the biggest surprises of 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Before running away for a few days of holiday revelry and hardcore gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the games they put the most time into in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
2013 has been a big year for Linux gaming. For the first time, there's a glimmer of hope for a gaming future for the OS. Games are being built in Unity, being sold in Humble Bundles (which tend to require Linux versions), and though it's more of a trickle than a flood, things are picking up a little. And then there's Steam. Valve's push towards Linux, with an existing Steam client as well as a Linux-based OS in the works, mirrors my own frustrations with Windows: I'd quite like an OS that's not going to completely change shape, size, colour, and usability when it comes time to upgrade it, but I'd like to have a supported OS as well. So once a year I'll try out Linux's friendliest face, Ubuntu. Is this the year it stays on my PC*?
My initial plan was to dual-boot my Windows 7 desktop with the latest version of Ubuntu. I have a laptop with Nvidia Optimus (it has two GFX cards: one Intel card for undemanding chores, then it swaps to the Nvidia card when it needs more power), and the driver support for that in Windows is a mess, so I didn't imagine Ubuntu mobile drivers would fare any better. But Ubuntu just didn't want to install where I wanted it to install on my desktop. No matter what I tried, it would attempt to squeeze onto a hard-drive that ultimately wouldn't allow it to boot. This left me with little option but to make room on the Optimus laptop and install it there. After a relatively painless few minutes, I was dual-booting PC with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 13.10. So far so good.
The most important thing about Call of Duty: Ghosts is the fact there is a dog. Therefore it is only logical to conclude that the most important thing about the Call of Duty: Ghosts launch party is the fact that there was a dog. A real dog, that it was possible to pet. As conscientious videogame journalists we thought it only right that we reviewed this crucial part of the game for you. We're selfless like that.
Clan leader John Strike charges into the Battlefield 4 beta to find out what's new, old, better and broken.
Why was I nervous? It wasn’t like I was at a job interview or even meeting my girlfriend’s favourite dog for the first time. Yet here I was sitting at the computer at 8:55 AM, my bottom chewing on my underpants in apprehension at the beta release of Battlefield 4.
I've poured 900 hours into Battlefield 3. As a clan leader, I couldn't help but fear for my ruthless band of buddies should Battlefield 4 not cut the mustard. Casting my mind back to Battlefield 3’s beta some two years ago I knew what problems to expect: connection problems, performance problems, clipping problems. I feared that the beta might collapse harder and faster than Seige of Shanghai's destructible skyscraper. At first, it did.
By announcing SteamOS yesterday, Valve declared that PC gaming is more than desktop gaming, that Windows is not our master, and that—finally—cats can own Steam accounts. The free, Linux-based, cat-friendly operating system is designed for gaming on living room PCs, because PC gaming according to Valve isn't about WASD and DirectX—it's about openness and collaboration.
We're free to choose our hardware, our software, our mods, and soon more than ever, how we play, where we play, and whether or not Microsoft gets a cut. If SteamOS takes off, PC gaming will undergo one of its most dramatic changes ever—possibly one more significant than the introduction of the free-to-play model and crowdfunding. That's thrilling, but also scary as hell, so we've worked through our fears with a list of SteamOS pros and cons, followed by deep breaths in anticipation of tomorrow's announcement.
Dota 2's First Blood update is interesting for a bunch of high-level reasons that should make people who care about the game hmm and hah and think about the future. It's the first time a patch has been given the microsite treatment, new concept art and all - an inheritance from TF2 that suggests that the game's official release in July was more than a formality. Valve's marketing engines are starting to thunder into life for a game that hasn't previously needed them, and more comics, trailers, and ARGs are an implicit possibility.
On Thursday, Polygon posted an excellent story examining an open secret in the games development industry: interacting with the gaming community can mean talking to the worst in people. Among the developers interviewed in the story was Jennifer Hepler, a writer with BioWare who worked on Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age 3: Inquisition before leaving the company this week.
I visited Valve early last month, and while I was there I was treated to a world-first, last-minute screening of the first part of ‘Free To Play’, the Dota 2 documentary that the devs have been working on since prior to the first International tournament.
The version I saw was so raw it was being shown directly from the editing software, and there were a lot of first-pass effects that undoubtedly be finished by the time the film comes out. That said, I’m in a position to provide a sense of where Valve are going with it, as well as a few of my concerns over things it might be missing. I’m going to run through my first impressions below, but bear in mind that I will talk about a few specifics of what the movie covers - if you’d like to go in completely spoiler-free, consider this your warning.
In early May I visited Valve to do some research for a Dota 2 feature, which you can find in PC Gamer UK issue 254. While I was there, I asked no questions and received no answers about Half-Life 3. I'm as excited about it as anyone, but if Valve were planning to announce anything through me I assume I would know about it in advance.
I got home and I wrote the feature. Then, towards deadline on the issue, I wrote 'All Over'. That's the joke page at the back of the mag. Every month we close off with something that we hope will make our readers laugh, and it's usually based on the feature on the cover. For this issue, we thought we'd make fun of Valve.
Former Microsoft Corporate VP and current EA Chief Technology Officer Rajat Taneja has claimed in a LinkedIn post (thanks, GamesIndustry) that the Xbox One and PS4's architectures are "a generation ahead of the highest end PC on the market."
I've never played a game of Civilization V from the Ancient Era to the Modern Era. I start out intending to, but then there are no fish or whales off the coast of my starting territory, and Gandhi builds the Great Wall before I can, and Dido founds a city near the inlet where I was planning to put a city, and it's the worst thing that has ever happened to me so I start over.