PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usWed, 06 May 2015 08:00:00 +0000yesProject Carshttp://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-2/Beautiful, bold and varied. Slightly Mad are uncompromising in their simulation.Wed, 06 May 2015 08:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-2/Project CARSRacingSlightly Mad Studios <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it:</strong> Fan-backed racer that celebrates all things automotive<br> <strong>Influenced by:</strong> The asphalt, from entry leevel karting to the very pinnacle of speed<br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;GTX 970, 8GB RAM, Intel i5 CPU<br> <strong>Alternatively:</strong> Anything by Codemasters, NFS Shift<br> <strong>DRM:</strong> Steam<br> <strong>Price:</strong> £39.99 / $49.99<br> <strong>Release:</strong> May 7 2015<br> <strong>Developer: </strong>Slightly Mad Studios<br> <strong>Publisher: </strong>Slightly Mad Studios, Bandai Namco Entertainment<br> <strong>Link: </strong><a href="#http://www.projectcarsgame.com">Official site</a><br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Multiplayer:</strong> Up to 24-players </p> </div><p> The line between simulation and arcade has blurred substantially throughout the years. I’m pretty sure it’s because developers have finally got wise to the fact that sterile sim racers are just rarely much fun to play, no matter how realistic the suspension tuning options are. But I think it’s also a matter of audience appeal&mdash;the threat of having to be liked by everyone. That makes it all the more refreshing that developer Slightly Mad studios has found a way to make simulation exciting again, but without cramming with fluff or compromising on its vision.</p><p> It’s the most polished racer I’ve played in a while, for sure. While contemporaries like Codemasters have struggled to deliver a game worthy of the most up to date graphical expectations with its F1 series, Project CARS really shines. The engine that Slightly Mad has built is impressive, from the interior detail on all 60 or so cars to the environmental design on every single one of its many varied circuits across the globe. It’s quite a familiar line-up, with legendaries like Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps and Monte-Carlo, but this is undoubtedly the best that any of these oft-raced tracks have ever looked on my PC. There are also a couple of fictionalised point-to-point courses, one through the gorgeous Côte d'Azur and another through the rocky Californian highlands, which looks stunning under the setting sun. All of this content comes bolstered with a day/night system and breath-taking dynamic weather that delivers some of the most realistic looking rain I’ve ever seen.</p><p> Project CARS has given me a real challenge from get-go. This is an unforgiving, tough racer that requires patience and skill, especially if you’re using a gamepad. You can’t just sling your car into the apex and hope to drift out the other side unscathed. CARS is about learning each discipline individually&mdash;studying it, mastering it.</p><p>It’s easy to get caught off guard as well, as Slightly Mad takes a unique approach to its career mode by allowing you open access to any of its many disciplines straight away. Events take place across a calendar, and each event is separated into several days with practice sessions, qualifying and the big race itself. Starting slow is advised, and while it’s tempting to hop into a McLaren the first time you boot the game up, I guarantee it’ll be a case of spin after spin after spin until you get the hang of things.</p><p>From entry level karts and beyond into the realms of LMP and Prototype, each discipline has its own set of races and smaller championships you’ll progress through to earn contract options at more advanced teams. Project Cars diversifies its racing to a real extreme, and every new car type is wildly different. Karts are sketchy, sporadic beasts that twitch across the track with an unpredictable ferociousness, Touring cars are heftier, more deliberate and the steering sensitivity is much lower, while the McLaren P1 and other hyper cars are almost repellent to the road. Playing with a gamepad often borders on impossible when racing these&mdash;I’m a firm believer that a racing game should be playable by everyone and not just the purist elite with force-feedback wheels and racing seats, and CARS doesn’t entirely deliver on that front. An extensive list of driving assists from braking and steering assistance to traction control, difficulty tweaks and AI options give you the option to tailor your game to an impressive degree, but it doesn’t eradicate the problems entirely.</p><p>Still, the satisfaction I got from visibly improving on track timetables is unparalleled. My personal forte was the F1000 series&mdash;a comparably low-powered open-wheel discipline exclusive to the UAE region of the Middle East. It was where I really begun to notice my own progression curve, from snagging second-to-last on the grid in every practice and qualifying session, to stringing together flash outside-overtakes and podium finishes. That thrill gave me the want to take other racing types and master them in a similar vein&mdash;even if some of them might prove futile with a gamepad.</p><p>It’s crystal clear that Slightly Mad knows what its hardcore audience wants, and I’m really happy that it stuck to its guns in order to deliver it. That’s pretty rare nowadays, especially when your vision comes at the expense of wider audience appeal. With more content on the way and a hardcore community already set to get involved in its 24-player lobbies, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this game evolves over the next few weeks and months.</p> Magicka 2 trailer makes fun of other trailershttp://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-trailer-makes-fun-of-other-trailers/Totally unscripted gameplay footage is almost certainly scripted.Wed, 06 May 2015 04:33:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-trailer-makes-fun-of-other-trailers/ActionDungeon CrawlerMagickaNewsParadox Interactive <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d2pc4NIqsos" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-will-arrive-in-may-so-heres-a-new-trailer/">Magicka 2</a> releases on May 26, so Paradox Interactive is hitting the promo treadmill hard. The above video, which reportedly shows a "110% unscripted round of Magicka 2's challenge mode", is almost certainly 100% scripted, but it's easy to overlook this small fact when Prolific Video Game Trailer Voiceover Guy (you know the guy) gets sneered at and vanquished towards the end.</p><p>If you'd prefer not to wait, pre-ordering will get you early access to the game's challenge mode. But if you'd prefer not to spend any money at all, a PvP spin on the Magicka formula released late last month in the form of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-wizard-wars-will-launch-on-april-28/">Magicka: Wizard Wars</a>. There's never been a better time for enthusiasts of magical carnage.</p> GTA 5 mod turns bullets into carshttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-mod-turns-bullets-into-cars/Sufficient protection from airborne whales?Wed, 06 May 2015 02:01:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-mod-turns-bullets-into-cars/ActionGTA 5News <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ECGWqg85J7s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Bullets are too small, so why not replace them with cars? That's what&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/scripts/vehicle-cannon-mod">one modder has done</a> in GTA 5, and you can see the results above thanks to YouTuber&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY8MYXl4eknGcHiczHnWKWQ">Darknewt</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>It works like this: you pull the trigger and instead of bullets, cars spray out. Car guns are useful in situations where&nbsp;rockets or grenades aren't enough, but they're also good for sending a message, ie, that no one should&nbsp;muck around with you,&nbsp;the&nbsp;car gun guy.</p><p>Vehicle Cannon Mod 1.0 is now available over at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/scripts/vehicle-cannon-mod">GTA5-mods.com</a>, with all the usual caveats about potential Rockstar Club bans. A recent patch seemingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-kills-mod-support/">ironed out modding capabilities</a>, but it wasn't long before people found a workaround.&nbsp;</p><p>If you like guns that shoot cars, you'll probably also enjoy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-mod-shows-what-happens-when-whales-fall-out-of-the-sky/">whales falling out of the sky</a>.&nbsp;</p> Titanfall 2 release date won't fall in 2015http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-release-date-wont-fall-in-2015/EA spokesperson says its a fiscal year 2017 game.Tue, 05 May 2015 23:28:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-2-release-date-wont-fall-in-2015/Electronic ArtsFPSNewsRespawn EntertainmentTitanfall <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NEqMuDBYQ9G0.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dSs2atbJzX-E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Titanfall"></p><p>If you optimistically&nbsp;hoped for a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/respawn-boss-confirms-that-titanfall-2-is-in-development/">Titanfall 2</a> release this year, then here's&nbsp;bad news:&nbsp;according to Electronic&nbsp;Arts CFO&nbsp;Blake Jorgensen, the sequel won't release in the publisher's 2016 fiscal year. That means we won't see the game before April 2016.</p><p>Speaking at an EA investors call today (via&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/05/05/dont-expect-titanfall-2-for-at-least-nine-months/">VG247</a>), Jorgensen said the game would most likely release in the 2017 fiscal year, which could mean anywhere between April 2016 and March 2017. &nbsp;</p><p>It makes sense: EA's massive holiday shooter has already been announced in the form of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront/">Star Wars: Battlefront</a>, and the publisher has traditionally shipped one shooter during the September /&nbsp;November high season. The original Titanfall released in March 2014.</p><p>It's no secret that Titanfall 2 is in development:&nbsp;Respawn CEO Vince Zampella&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/respawn-boss-confirms-that-titanfall-2-is-in-development/">confirmed as much</a> in March, along with confirmation that the studio would rework the way it approaches both post-launch content and the game's (currently very slim) lore.</p><p>In the meantime, if it's double jumping and wall running you want, then&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3/">Call of Duty: Black Ops 3</a> should sate your completely understandable urges come September. Everyone's doing it nowadays.</p> We've upgraded our hardware buying guideshttp://www.pcgamer.com/weve-upgraded-our-hardware-buying-guides/Our hardware buying guides have a fancy new look. Check them out!Tue, 05 May 2015 22:28:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/weve-upgraded-our-hardware-buying-guides/Hardware <p>Last year, PCGamer.com got an upgrade. It was shiny and new. With our new site came our new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hardware/">Hardware channel</a>, and with our new hardware channel came a series of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-buying-guides/">buying guides</a> for aspiring PC builders and gamers. We've covered most of the major PC components so far, from processors and SSDs down to accessories like mice and keyboards. Now it's time for our hardware guides&nbsp;to get their own upgrade.</p><p>We've been playing around with the design of our buying guides. Our main goal was to find&nbsp;a better way to present the components we recommend to readers looking for&nbsp;a quick recommendation, while keeping intact all the hard work, research, and context that goes into each guide. Last week we moved all of our buying guides over to a new layout intended to achieve both of those goals, while getting a bit more flashy PC Gamer Red on the page. It's a little shinier, a little newer.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-mouse/">Here's an example.</a> And here's a picture of an example that you don't have to click.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CzH3rwIzSz2a.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JsQVSyecGUW5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Gaming Chairs Screen"></p><p>Along with making the buying guides easier to read (no more pages!), this new layout includes dynamically updating price modules so you don't have to guess at recent changes in Amazon's pricing algorithms. If you don't see the price module for a component here or there, don't panic&mdash;we're still working out some kinks, and you can always click on the name of the component for a link.</p><p>In the coming months we'll be updating many of these guides as new components are released and we have time to research, test, and review them. And we have new ones on the way. For now, here's the list of our shiny new buying guides:</p><p><strong>&mdash; Laptops: </strong>If you're looking to game on the go, our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">the best gaming laptops</a> has options to fit whatever budget you are working with.</p><p><strong>&mdash;</strong> <strong>CPUs</strong><strong>:</strong> We compared <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-gaming-cpus-processors/">the best processors on the market</a> (with gaming in mind, naturally) to pick our favorite all-around CPU, a beefy high-end chip and a wallet-friendly budget model.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Graphics cards: </strong>The soul of any gaming rig, we tested a ton of GPU's to find <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/">the best graphics cards</a> you can buy for any rig.</p><p><strong>&mdash; SSDs:</strong> An essential part of any modern PC, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-ssd-for-gaming/">the best SSDs for gaming</a> will boot into Windows in seconds and keey your load times to a minimum.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Mice: </strong>We tested an absolutely huge number of mice to make our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-mouse/">the best gaming mice</a>, providing alternatives for those with small hands or who are left-handed.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Keyboards: </strong>We think mechanical keyboards are king for gaming, but our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-keyboards/">the best gaming keyboards</a> has a membrane option for those who disagree.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Chairs: </strong>Fast CPUs and graphics cards are great, but <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/">the best chairs for sitting at a PC</a> will keep your spine in working order for years. You care about your spine, right?</p><p><strong>&mdash; Headsets: </strong>Audiophiles rejoice, because our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-headsets/">the best gaming headsets</a> has sorted through all the top options to find which pair of cans have the best fidelity.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Wireless headsets: </strong>Looking for a headset with a little bit more freedom? We put together our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-wireless-gaming-headsets/">the best wireless gaming headsets</a> when you want to game on the go.</p><p><strong>&mdash; Monitors: </strong>It doesn't matter how strong your PC is, the game has to look good on screen, and our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-monitors/">the best monitors</a> will make sure it does.</p><p><strong>&mdash; </strong><strong>Controllers: </strong>We test the DualShock 4, Xbox controllers, and more for comfort, quality, and most importantly, compatibility with PC to find <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-controller-for-pc-gaming/">the best PC gamepad.</a></p><p><strong>&mdash; Webcams: </strong>If you're looking to add a facecam to your livestream or Youtube videos, our list of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-webcams/">the best webcams</a> will make you look good doing it.</p> How to make Nazis fun to fight, and other Wolfenstein questionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-make-nazis-fun-to-fight-and-other-wolfenstein-questions/I took a moment to ask Arcade Berg fromMachineGames a few questions about how they approached the standalone prequel.Tue, 05 May 2015 22:20:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-make-nazis-fun-to-fight-and-other-wolfenstein-questions/FPSinterviewWolfenstein: The New OrderWolfenstein: The Old Blood <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eB5EgRHdRTOu.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VYToO4J4YqdL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wolfenstein 3"></p><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-video-says-game-is-dripping-with-history/">Wolfenstein: The Old Blood</a> is out. We just received a copy of MachineGames' follow-up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-new-order-review/">The New Order</a> Monday evening and we’re working hard to get our review to you. In the interlude between now and then, I took a moment to ask Arcade Berg (who may have the most appropriate&nbsp;name in the game industry)&nbsp;at MachineGames a few questions about how they approached the standalone prequel.</p><p> <strong>PCG: How have players' expectations for single-player FPSes changed over the past five years or so? What makes a great single-player FPS in 2015? </strong></p><p> <strong>Arcade Berg, senior game designer:</strong> All types of gamers want good games. Being a FPS fan has been great because of the popularity of the genre, which in turn makes for many games – but all that choice also means that players have to be picky because they can’t always play everything. That’s where I think successful games come in&mdash;with enough quality that people feel it’s worth their investment. In the end, that’s all there is too it.</p><p> <strong>To me, The New Order's success as a game doesn't stem from the fact that it tried to reinvent the wheel&mdash;it's still a game with turret sequences, item pickups, stealth sequences, and other FPS touchstones. At the outset of the project, what would you say were the big points of focus?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB: </strong>Of course, development is an organic process with a lot of changes along the way, but I think we had a pretty clear idea on what we wanted to do from the start. We wanted an FPS with a really solid core and a very relatable and immersive narrative that would drive you from the start to the end.</p><p> If I had to say, I think the biggest things we focused on were the core mechanics and making sure the story was intertwined with the actual game and not just slapped on top and we also wanted to embrace and carry forward what Wolfenstein is to us and hopefully to the fans.</p><p> We also knew we wanted the game to run in 60fps. It makes a big difference and it’s a huge undertaking tech-wise to make it work if you want high fidelity. It took a lot of work, but it’s worth it.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i7g6Nqe9DvA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> <strong>What's MachineGames' approach to weapon design?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB:</strong> More than anything, our approach involves persistent iteration with continuous and constant testing and tweaking to get it “just right.” It’s all about the user experience -- how it feels to use and the response you get when hitting (or missing, if you’re one of those) a bad dude or even any surface.</p><p> At MachineGames, we encourage people to bring their expertise as much as possible so we get animations that really convey the weight of the weapon and the audio is super satisfactory. There’s no “here’s how we do it,” it’s really just a long process of craftsmanship from everyone on the team and lots of tweaking until the game launches.</p><p> <strong>How do you make Nazis, one of the most "popular" enemies/characters in FPSes, interesting to encounter?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB:</strong> By making them more than a symbol. I don’t think it’s solely the fact that they’re Nazis that makes them fun to shoot&mdash;though it does help! They could be cowboys, surfers or Vikings.</p><p> What’s important is their presence and the player-interaction with them. The way they take cover, how they try and evade grenades, how they try and flank you, how they react when hurt and how they stay away from dangerous areas. We try and make them less one-dimensional and have spent so, so much energy on their AI and behaviors. It has stay interesting even if you’re encountering the same type of baddies over and over. To achieve that, we make them versatile enough to be able to react to situations differently, so it’s never quite the same depending on the environment you’re in and what the player does.</p><blockquote> The Old Blood is way more pulp than The New Order. </blockquote><p> <strong>How can we expect the Nazis' fascination with the occult to be expressed in The Old Blood?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB:</strong> There are many parallel layers of that in the game, and players will find varying degrees of it depending on how much attention they pay. There will be the obvious big pieces in the story, but there’s so much more if you start listening to soldiers’ conversations, reading the various articles and letters lying around, and just looking around the environment. There are bits and pieces everywhere throughout the game for those who are attentive.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cb6A_VlFSCKc.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_l8SxT03g0Ea.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wolfenstein 1"></p><p> <strong>A lot of people commented on the "Tarantino" quality of&nbsp;The New Order. How do you feel about that comparison, and is it something we'll see expressed in The Old Blood?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB:</strong> Every time we hear those kinds of comparisons it’s as a good thing, so we’ll gladly take the compliment. While we haven’t strived to make something Tarantino-ish, I can see what they’re talking about.&nbsp;More than anything, The Old Blood is way more pulp than The New Order, something you’ve probably seen with the trailer and marketing material as well. You’ll definitely feel that old b-movie style when playing the game.</p><p> <strong>Other than the setting, what did you want to do in The New Order that you couldn't, but&nbsp;that you've put&nbsp;into The Old Blood?</strong></p><p> <strong>AB: </strong>Put a big heavy pipe in the hands of Blazkowicz!</p><p> The&nbsp; <a href="http://wolfenstein.wikia.com/wiki/Nightmare!">nightmare</a> Easter egg was such a success and positively received by the fans, so there will be more of that in The Old Blood.</p><p> The biggest addition, however, must be our completely new Challenge game mode in which you can replay some of the best combat scenarios from the main campaign for score. Each scenario comes with online leaderboards so you can finally settle on who the best Wolfenstein-player around is!</p> Warner pulls Mortal Kombat X patch after data deletion reportshttp://www.pcgamer.com/warner-pulls-mortal-kombat-x-patch-after-data-deletion-reports/Today's Mortal Kombat X update fixed a lot of bugs, and wiped a lot of player data.Tue, 05 May 2015 22:18:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warner-pulls-mortal-kombat-x-patch-after-data-deletion-reports/FightingMortal Kombat XNewsWarner Bros Interactive <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xWYIVuv9QMug.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vMtDVj_sKeOY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mortal Kombat X"></p><p>Warner Bros. has pulled the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x/">Mortal Kombat X</a> patch released earlier today, after players began reporting that it was actually deleting data, including unlocked characters and progress through the Krypt. </p><p>"We’ve been monitoring the forums and are aware of the issues players are encountering. We appreciate the constructive feedback from you, the community," Warner wrote in an update to&nbsp;the original <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/307780/announcements/detail/134324112480865086">patch announcement</a>. "We want you to know that there is ongoing support behind the scenes and it’s important to us that Mortal Kombat X is a fun experience for all of our players."</p><p>Unfortunately, while the update addressed an impressively large list of issues, it also wiped out an awful lot of player data. Complaints about lost characters and progress began coming in shortly after the patch went live, and they were both widespread and vociferous enough to force its removal in short order.</p><p>"We are temporarily removing the patch until we can pinpoint the cause of save data loss," Warner said in a <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/307780/announcements/detail/134324112481126114">follow-up</a>. "We are actively working on this and will keep everyone posted as we work towards a fix. We sincerely apologize for this disruption."</p><p>Making things even worse was the sheer size of the patch, which weighed in at roughly 15GB and required another 15GB update to revert to the previous version&mdash;essentially 30GB of downloading to do absolutely nothing. At best, that's frustrating; for gamers laboring under data caps, it could actually hike the bottom-line price of Mortal Kombat even higher, a thoroughly unwelcome development for an otherwise fun game that we've already criticized for being a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-review/">subpar port</a>. </p> Multiplayer mayhem comes to Medieval Engineershttp://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-mayhem-comes-to-medieval-engineers/If you build it, they will come (and smash it).Tue, 05 May 2015 21:26:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/multiplayer-mayhem-comes-to-medieval-engineers/Keen Software HouseMedieval EngineersNewsStrategy <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aMXrPs2Os7k?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers/">Medieval Engineers</a> is all about using ye olden technology to build machines and structures in a physics-based world. That, of course, means that what is built can be destroyed, and that's really the hook for me. Building things may have socially redeeming value, but smashing them is where the fun is at. And the only thing more fun than smashing a sandcastle you've built is kicking in someone else's.</p><p> Developer Marek Rosa clarified on <a href="http://blog.marekrosa.org/2015/05/medieval-engineers-multiplayer_5.html">his blog</a> that the multiplayer component added in today's <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/333950/announcements/detail/200752317205603178">update</a> isn't the new one that programmer Ondrej Petrzilka talked about in <a href="http://blog.marekrosa.org/2015/04/guest-post-by-ondrej-petrzilka-space_17.html">April</a>, but is actually the same version of multiplayer that was in Keen Software's previous game, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/244850/">Space Engineers</a>. The studio wanted to get some form of multiplayer working because the game is more fun with other people, he explained, adding that he expects it will see the player base "increase significantly."</p><p> "[Multiplayer] supports all the features that are now in the game, in both Creative and Survival modes, building and destruction, structural integrity, mechanical parts, blueprints, mods, synchronized daytime and AI characters (barbarians, peasants and deer)," Rosa said. "In more simple words, you can do everything that is possible now in the single-player but with your friends."</p><p> The latest update makes a few <a href="http://forum.keenswh.com/threads/update-02-015-multiplayer-dedicated-servers.7359292/">other changes</a> to the game as well, including increased peasant health for better AI survivability, some new sounds, and a few bug fixes. Rosa said development of Medieval Engineers is "progressing at a good pace," and that there are now enough blocks in the game to enable the creation of just about any kind of structure. "Our programmers are focusing more on the survival mode and you should expect more survival based features in the upcoming weeks," he said. "Some of the most important are a battle system, melee fight, etc... Stay tuned!"</p><p> To see more of what can be done (and undone) with Medieval Engineers, have a look at our collection of some of the best videos for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/">learning how to create and destroy</a> things in the game. Medieval Engineers is available now on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/333950">Steam Early Access</a>.</p> EA says Mirror's Edge 2 will be out in early 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/ea-says-mirrors-edge-2-will-be-out-in-early-2016/The release window was revealed in EA's quarterly financial results.Tue, 05 May 2015 21:13:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ea-says-mirrors-edge-2-will-be-out-in-early-2016/Electronic ArtsFPSMirror's Edge 2News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jxsNqDE3TMap.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3ZqY39p98n9u.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="What we want from Mirror's Edge 2"></p><p>As part of its&nbsp;<a href="http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ERTS/3901440045x0x826596/4673DB9B-01AE-43CE-8C72-E2740BD62E81/Q4_FY15_Slide_Presentation.pdf">fourth quarter results</a> for fiscal year 2015, which I know you may not have been hawkishly waiting on, EA revealed&nbsp;that the next <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mirrors-edge-2/">Mirror's Edge</a> is expected to come out in the fourth quarter of FY2016, which is worth waiting for.</p><p>That corporate&nbsp;speak date&nbsp;translates to sometime between January 1 and March 31, 2016, and is far enough off that it wouldn't be surprising to see a change sometime between now and then. But as far as I know this is the first time EA has taken any steps toward nailing it down, and approximate or not, it's unquestionably official.</p><p>The document also states that FIFA 16 is slated for the second quarter of the fiscal year (between July 1 and September 30 of this year), Need for Speed and Star Wars: Battlefront are coming in the third quarter (October 1-December 31), and that a new Plants vs. Zombies game will also be released in the fourth quarter.&nbsp;But the big news here is that Mirror's Edge 2, so EA says, is less than a year away. &nbsp;Do you think it'll arrive on time?</p> Finally, a naval combat sim that gets sailing ships righthttp://www.pcgamer.com/finally-a-naval-combat-sim-that-gets-sailing-ships-right/Return to a timewhen sails and cannonsruled the seas in Naval Action.Tue, 05 May 2015 20:35:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/finally-a-naval-combat-sim-that-gets-sailing-ships-right/Naval ActionPreviewssim <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v3NILSBqQUyy.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RwLsoxlMe1PN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Constitution1"></p><p> Even in early alpha, Game-Labs'&nbsp;<a href="http://www.navalaction.com/" target="_blank">Naval Action</a> is a fascinating simulation of combat in&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Sail" target="_blank">Age of Sail</a>. But I was curious why director Maxim Zasov was so drawn to the topic that he made it one of the first games he developed at his studio.</p><p> For Zasov, it's not just about tall ships' beauty and power, though, as he points out, "Age of Sail [warships] were the spaceships of that time &hellip;Wellington had 175 cannons at Waterloo, mostly 6-9 lbs. Just one first-rate ship of the line had 120-140 guns, most of which were 18 pounders or above."</p><p> No, Zasov is also fascinated by the way sailing ships were intertwined with the culture of the Enlightenment.</p><p> "If you go to Westminster Abbey&mdash;right near the monuments to 23 Monarchs, Newton, Shakespeare, and Darwin&mdash;there is a memorial to lowly Captain James Montagu, who died at [the] glorious first of June naval battle," he said. "In Paris under the dome of Pantheon, where you find tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, and Dumas, there is a monument to a lost crew of a warship sank in the same battle. Trafalgar Square and many other places are examples of the fact that [the] Age of Sail was the [part of the] fabric of society."</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gv03LqVWSmGh.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SuHQ0W5x4HKg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Naval Action - The Chase" class=""></p><p> The old tall-ships still have the power to captivate. They were a huge part of Empire: Total War's appeal, and they stole the show in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-3-review/">Assassin's Creed 3</a> and became the basis for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-4-black-flag/">Black Flag</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-rogue-review/">Rogue</a>. But they also got a very Pirates of the Caribbean-treatment in those games, which shied away from the complexities of wind and sail. So Zasov decided to give tall ships the sim they deserved.</p><p> "It is easy to stand on the shoulders of giants, but in our case most of the mechanics we did are innovations&mdash;they were never done this way before," he says. "Correct tacking, boxhauling, tracking shots, yard control: we made all those mechanics realistic, but fun and useful in combat. We invented them."</p><h2>Following seas</h2><p> It's not an idle boast. Even in an early state, Naval Action's simple PvE and PvP battles already confirm that it's one of the first games that manages to do justice to both the violence and the grace of sail-powered combat.</p><p> Naval Action beautifully captures the relationship between the wind and a ship's sails, but also the finicky, sometimes counterintuitive handling of sailing ships and how difficult it can be to precisely control them. That's especially true if you turn off the "autoskipper" and start controlling your sails yourself. You can play your ship as a simple WASD-controlled vehicle if you like (though it will still falter as you turn into the wind) but you also have the option of setting the exact angles and position of your yards.</p><p> Managing sails adds a lot to the mental workload of captaining a ship, but Naval Action also gives you a lot of incentives to handle them yourself.</p><p> "You turn better," Zasov explains. "[The] autoskipper optimizes for speed. To get extra from your vessel you need to use yards: just like with [a] car&mdash;to push for more, use manual shift and use the handbrake at the right moments."</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OU8ChEzWTd2s.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BLSy8u0n5Gvv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Your crew can be used to make repairs in battle." class=""><figcaption>Your crew can be used to make repairs in battle.</figcaption></figure><p> There are even some high-level maneuvers that a skilled captain can execute, Zasov says. For instance, if you know what you're doing, you can steer into the wind, put your yards perpendicular to the direction of the wind, and use it to sail backwards, which can let you squeeze off another broadside against an enemy that was hoping you would overshoot. I know you can do this because I've sailed my ship backwards in Naval Action&hellip; just never on purpose.</p><p> Combat is as vivid as the sailing is authentic: during a heated battle, ships will effectively vanish behind fogbanks of gunsmoke. Sails get cut to ribbons, hulls get pocked and holed by hits, often affecting a ship's performance. You can send crew to make repairs in battle, but at the expense of doing other things, like adjusting sails and reloading guns at full-speed.</p><p> Targeting is where Naval Action is at its most unforgiving. Your smoothbore cannons are reasonably accurate, but they're definitely not precision weapons, and you have to guess at ranges. While your guns zero-in on a point on the horizon as you take time to aim, setting the correct angle is maddening guesswork. Shoot too high and your shots sail harmlessly past your target. Shoot low and they splash down in the water short of the hull. And unless you're just keeping perfect distance from your target (which is dangerous, since it requires carefully-timed turns to throw-off an opponent's broadside), the information from your last shot will be useless by the time the guns are reloaded. It's no wonder that Nelson's navy succeeded by trying to close to point-blank range with their enemies and blasting the hell out of them.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/suRbLTTMRRyu.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zKUY5IZrm989.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ships become shrouded by cannon fire." class=""><figcaption>Ships become shrouded by cannon fire.</figcaption></figure><h2>Open water</h2><p> As a purely naval-combat game, Naval Action already has a lot going for it. But then, Naval Action aims to be a lot more than just "World of Sailing Ships." Game-Labs is building Naval Action as an open-world sailing game.</p><p> "In the open world design, we wanted to convey the feeling of danger and vast distance," Zasov says. "We wanted the player to experience what a real captain would feel in the Age of Sail. The search, the chase, the combat would feel much closer than in all other games made to date. Seas are vast, often empty and full of pitfalls: shallows, storms, pirates, and player enemies."</p><blockquote>What is most important we were able to replicate the feeling of getting lost at sea.</blockquote><p> What Zasov describes sounds a bit like an sail-powered&nbsp;Silent Hunter, except that you can be both predator and prey. Normal trade lanes will be full of traffic and military vessels, while sailing outside of them can mean days and days without a single ship sighting. On the other hand, a single unidentified ship on the horizon near hostile waters can start a long chase. The goal is to bring to life the rhythms of a warship.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XLYj__LWTDq6.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AvPJ1Z71d6Ml.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="A lovely day shown off in a screen from Naval Action's blog." class=""> <figcaption>A lovely day shown off in a screen from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.navalaction.com/blog/" target="_blank">Naval Action's blog</a>.</figcaption></figure><p> "We are already proud of our open world for several reasons. What is most important we were able to replicate the feeling of getting lost at sea. This is something special that have been lost from games for quite a while," Zasov says.</p><p> Naval Action sales are on a temporary hiatus. The early purchasers have formed a small testing community and sales are closed until the game is developed further and the servers prepared to handle greater load. Zasov estimates Naval Action is a month to three months away from an Early Access release. The final version, with a living PvP open-world, is a bit further off, he admits. Given Zasov's ambitions for open-world PvP on the high seas, the wait could be a lengthy but worthwhile one.</p> DeepCool's three-bladed Tristellar case available in Junehttp://www.pcgamer.com/deepcools-three-bladed-tristellar-case-availible-in-june/The cool case behind the CyberPowerPC Trinity will be sold separately this June...for $400.Tue, 05 May 2015 20:34:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/deepcools-three-bladed-tristellar-case-availible-in-june/CasesHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_D3S9czVS1CZ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HoLjrNJu0C3l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tristellar"></p><p>DeepCool has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/deepcool-tristellar-case-availability-price,29031.html">announced</a> that its Tristellar case, a mini-ITX unit with a futuristic-looking three-blade design, will be a real case you can buy with real money this June.</p><p>The Tristellar is fairly unique as far as cases go. Each of the case's three separate compartments serves a particular purpose. One compartment holds the motherboard, with room for a 120mm liquid cooling radiator and loop. The second blade is home to the GPU (up to 320mm long + a 90mm fan) and up to three 2.5" SSDs. Finally, the third blade holds the power supply, up to two 3.5" hard drives, and a slim-slot optical drive. </p><p>Thus far, the Tristellar has been exclusively available as a part of CyberPowerPC's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Trinity_XTREME">Trinity system</a>. The case measures 395x435x388mm, and weighs in at 16kg (35 pounds) without any parts inside. thanks to steel paneling all around. The case features two USB 3.0 ports as well as standard audio inputs on the front.</p><p>If you're already dreaming about building your next PC in DeepCool's rad bladed case, be prepared for the price.&nbsp;The Tristellar will be available in June for a painfully expensive&nbsp;$400.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/giiBoViCRtmK.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/goElPfEUUJVJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deep Cool Tristellar"></p> DirectX 12 will be able to use your integrated GPU to improve performancehttp://www.pcgamer.com/directx-12-will-be-able-to-use-your-integrated-gpu-to-improve-performance/A major new feature of DirectX 12 will allow different GPUs to work togetherAMD and Nvidia, dedicated and integrated.Tue, 05 May 2015 19:54:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/directx-12-will-be-able-to-use-your-integrated-gpu-to-improve-performance/AMDDirectX 12HardwareNewsNvidia <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iJMQkvgXSCOD.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8MnblbjKFQzO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="DirectX 12"></p><p>Microsoft has been busy showing off the features of the upcoming DirectX 12 API, and its last big reveal is a&nbsp;doozy.&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/b/directx/archive/2015/05/01/directx-12-multiadapter-lighting-up-dormant-silicon-and-making-it-work-for-you.aspx]">A feature called Multiadapter</a> will allow DirectX 12 to use multiple GPUs&mdash;more specifically, Multiadapter will allow developers to use the integrated GPUs in Intel's modern desktop processors and AMD's APUs alongside a dedicated graphics card. This could mean a nice little performance bump in DX12 games, as developers can draw on hardware that's been sitting dormant until now.</p><p>Previously, for a system to utilize multiple graphics cards, those GPUs needed to be linked either via Nvidia's SLI or AMD's Crossfire technology&mdash;both of which typically&nbsp;required the same GPU series to be compatible. Multiadapter, on the other hand, will allow individual GPUs to be addressed separately, send unique commands, and store unique data in memory. </p><p>There are a couple layers to Multiadapter: Implicit and Explicit Multiadapter. Implicit will work more or less like previous versions of DirectX, where the API handles alternate frame rendering across a pair of linked GPUs in SLI/Crossfire. AMD and Nvidia will still need to work with developers to create multi-GPU profiles for games to best take advantage of both cards.</p><p>Things get more complicated with Explicit&nbsp;Multiadapter, which is new in DX12. Explicit Multiadapter will have two distinct API patterns: Linked GPUs and Unlinked GPUs. Linked GPUs refer to the special pairing of specific hardware, similar to what we're familiar with via SLI and Crossfire. DirectX 12 will view linked GPUs as a single GPU, allowing them to collaborate more closely and share resources in each other's rendering pipeline.</p><p>Unlinked GPUs, meanwhile, will allow systems to benefit from, say, installing an Nvidia card alongside one from AMD,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/could-directx-12-or-vulkan-apis-make-slicrossfire-obsolete/">as was rumored a few months ago</a>. It will also allow systems with a dedicated GPU to take advantage of onboard graphics, which is the biggest feature Microsoft is touting.</p><p>Microsoft posted these slides as examples, showing a single Nvidia graphics card running a benchmark against a multiadapter setup pairing the same graphics card with the integrated Intel Core processor GPU.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MWxB1PymSCCi.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fwEa7PhaHLX4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel Multiadapter Benchmark"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cRUUbnu8Tiyp.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/omClkUDeTfGW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel Multiadapter Benchmark 2"></p><p>"We recognized that most mixed GPU systems in the world were not making the most out of the hardware they had," Microsoft's Andrew Yeung said in a <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/b/directx/archive/2015/05/01/directx-12-multiadapter-lighting-up-dormant-silicon-and-making-it-work-for-you.aspx">blog post</a>. "So in our quest to maximize performance, we set out to enable separable and contiguous workloads to be executed in parallel on separate GPUs. One such example of separable workloads is postprocessing.</p><p>"Virtually every game out there makes use of postprocessing to make your favorite games visually impressive; but that postprocessing work doesn’t come free. By offloading some of the postprocessing work to a second GPU, the first GPU is freed up to start on the next frame before it would have otherwise been able to improving your overall framerate."</p><p>As you can see in the example above, adding in the processing power of an integrated GPU doesn't make a big difference. But it <em>does </em>make a difference. And since virtually every desktop gaming PC has an integrated GPU in it currently going to waste, that's performance you're getting without spending an extra dime.</p><p>It may be free performance for gamers, but that doesn't mean it's free for developers to implement.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/BUILD-2015-Final-DirectX-12-Reveal">As PCPer points out</a>, "Unlinked Explicit Multiadapter is also the bottom of three-tiers of developer hand-holding. You will not see any benefits at all, unless the game developer puts a lot of care in creating a load-balancing algorithm, and even more care in their QA department to make sure it works efficiently across arbitrary configurations."</p><p>Likewise, DirectX12 making&nbsp;it possible for Nvidia and AMD graphics cards to work together doesn't guarantee either company will happily support that functionality. But the potential is promising. If you need a visual representation,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-square-enixs-incredible-directx-12-tech-demo/">just watch the DX12 demo Square Enix and Microsoft put together.</a></p> Show Us Your Rig: Unknown Worlds' Hugh Jeremyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-unknown-worlds-hugh-jeremy/Hugh Jeremy from Unknown Worlds shows off his custom case andwater cooled PC.Tue, 05 May 2015 18:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-unknown-worlds-hugh-jeremy/Natural Selection 2show us your rigSubnauticaUnknown Worlds <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lQDaRLIIRcaG.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CGf4oN7bjk3T.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Hugh Jeremy 1" style="background-color: initial;"> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week&nbsp;on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a>, we feature PC gaming's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> <a href="https://twitter.com/hugh_jeremy" target="_blank">Hugh Jeremy</a> works at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unknown-worlds/" target="_blank">Unknown Worlds</a>&mdash;best known for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/natural-selection-2/" target="_blank">Natural Selection 2</a>, Future Perfect, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/subnautica/" target="_blank">Subnautica</a>&mdash;and he's got a rig cholk-full of water&nbsp;cooling. As Hugh explains below, the components of this powerful PC were originally in a case he custom built, which is unfortunately not very portable. Hugh was kind enough to show us his impressive setup and tell us about some of his favorite parts of PC gaming.&nbsp;</p><h4> What's in your PC?</h4><ul> <li>Intel i7-5820k @ 4Ghz</li> <li>32GB of DDR4 RAM</li> <li>GTX 980 </li> <li>6Tb spinning disk storage </li> <li>1Tb solid state storage </li> <li>EK CPU block </li> <li>Swiftech 320mm radiator </li> <li>EK 5.25in bay reservoir </li> <li>Laing D5 w/ EK top </li> <li>Laing DDC w/ EK top </li> <li>X99 board </li> <li>AX1200i PSU </li> <li>4-bank fan controller </li> <li>About 1.5 litres of water</li></ul><p> All of that feeds an Asus 2560 x 1440 screen at the magical 144hz.</p><p> There's also a Razer Blade &amp; Macbook Pro 13 sitting here. I'm in the process of transferring from the former to the latter. Blasphemy, I know. From a parts perspective the i7 5557U in the Macbook is a really interesting little package. It's also pulling 1.1Gb/s read/write off the SSD, so credit to Apple where it's due.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JBFttNIeSlC8.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A27wDtwLfrsi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Hugh Jeremy 2"></p><h4> What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</h4> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Custom Case</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9P57hYr7TUuw.JPG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cK8qkOY071un.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Hugh Jeremy 5"> </p> <p> <em>Click the arrows to expand.</em> </p> </div><p> This machine is a bit weird, because it's derived from parts transferred from a custom water-cooling focused case I built out of aluminium and tears. At Unknown Worlds, we have a lot of freedom to work wherever we want on the planet. I was using my custom case in the San Francisco office, but at the moment I am working in Australia. I couldn't transfer the rig across the Pacific, disassembling it takes days, reassembling it takes days. So for now many of the parts live on in this Corsair case until I've got the guts to break out the power tools again and give them a proper home. The itch is growing.</p><h4> What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</h4><p> At the moment Statistical Analysis by Ya-lun Chou. It's not as boring as it sounds. Crunching data can help make better development decisions, and better games. For example, at Unknown Worlds we collect vast amounts of anonymous data about Subnautica's performance in the wild. From that data, we can work out what we're doing badly. For example, we were able to precisely measure out-of-memory crash prevalence, see that it was affecting large number of players, and devote the resources necessary to remedy it.&nbsp;</p><p> Recently we worked out that 20%+ of Subnautica customers were trying to play with GPUs below min-spec, so now we're doing a better job of communicating min-spec, and assisting customers who don't meet it by providing information about GPU upgrades and so on. Chou makes sure I don't spout statistical lies.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jy7In1uJQGap.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M1HpQpP4RrIr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Hugh Jeremy 4" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h4> What are you playing right now?</h4><p> My Steam favourites list currently features Future Perfect, DayZ, Kerbal Space Program, Maia, Natural Selection 2, and Subnautica. A lot of these games aren't finished, or were available initially in a very unfinished state. I think this&nbsp;is one of the most exciting parts of PC gaming. We can be part of and influence the creative process.</p><h4> What's your favorite game and why?</h4><p> Right now, my favourite game is&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/natural-selection-2-studio-reveals-future-perfect-a-game-about-mods/">Future Perfect</a>. It's another Unknown Worlds game. I'm not trying to plug it though, I'm being genuine. I don't get time to play it much, and it's at a very early stage. But there is just so much potential. It neatly captures the strengths of PC gaming&mdash;access to unfinished games, iteration on those games, modding, openness.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mBkRSfNETjOA.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MM1Myan0fm_v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Hugh Jeremy 3"></p> Geralt takes a dip in new Witcher 3 "Monsters" videohttp://www.pcgamer.com/geralt-takes-a-dip-in-new-witcher-3-monsters-video/In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt can actually hunt monsters underwater.Tue, 05 May 2015 18:24:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/geralt-takes-a-dip-in-new-witcher-3-monsters-video/CD ProjektNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/T1HG8Py6OPc?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p>Monsters are a big part of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">The Witcher</a> games, what with Witchers being professional monster exterminators and everything. And so it's not at all surprising that CD Projekt takes them so seriously.</p><p>"In order to become the best monster hunter, you must first learn how to understand your foes," Senior Gameplay Designer Damien Monnier gravely intones in this new video focusing on, keep up at the back, monsters. "Books and hearsay usually gives you the information you need: Where they can be found, their attack patterns, and what they fear. And it is your job to figure out the best way to kill them."</p><p>Offing monsters isn't&nbsp;new&nbsp;by any stretch, but this is: Geralt can now swim underwater in pursuit of his foes. I'm not sure that's such a hot idea, given the&nbsp;hardware he traditionally brings to the party is mostly made of metal, but you go where the work is, as they say. And since he'll be using a flimsy little sailboat to get around in the game, I suppose it's only natural that he'd end up in the drink now and then. </p><p> The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes out on May 19, which is now just two weeks away. Are you ready?</p> Nvidia offers Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight free with video card purchaseshttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-offers-witcher-3-batman-arkham-knight-free-with-video-card-purchases/Both games will be included with purchases of GTX 970 and 980 cards from participating retailers.Tue, 05 May 2015 17:32:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-offers-witcher-3-batman-arkham-knight-free-with-video-card-purchases/Batman: Arkham Knightgraphics cardHardwareNewsNvidiaThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/latXJFNIQxmj.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7kSbzdBT9kTI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia Witcher Batman offer"></p><p>As you can see,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/">we're pretty keen</a> on Nvidia's current crop of&nbsp;GPUs, but if you need a little more than just reliability and performance to drive your buying decisions, the firm is&nbsp;also offering free copies of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight/">Batman: Arkham Knight</a> with purchases of certain models of its GTX 970 and 980 cards.</p><p>Details are <a href="http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/batman-arkham-knight-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-nvidia-geforce-gtx-bundle">here</a>, but the breakdown is fairly simple. Buy a GeForce GTX 970M, 980M, or 960, and you'll snag yourself a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at no charge. Spring for a GTX 970 or 980, and you'll also get the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight.</p><p>Nvidia cards support a lot of the cutting-edge technology that makes both of those&nbsp;games look so good, things like HBAO+ and PhysX Turbulence and gigawhatchahoozits, which can turn the process of choosing the best card for your needs into a wildly complicated affair. My advice?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-buy-a-graphics-card-six-things-you-must-know-about-gpus/">Get some expert advice.</a> And do bear in mind that the offer is limited to participating retailers, a list of which may be found <a href="http://www.geforce.com/witcher-3-batman-ak-bundle">here</a>. Nvidia's Witcher/Batman freebie offer ends on June 1.</p> The tough life of an urban coyote in GTA 5http://www.pcgamer.com/the-tough-life-of-an-urban-coyote-in-gta-5/Can a wild animal find acceptance in the big city?Tue, 05 May 2015 17:09:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-tough-life-of-an-urban-coyote-in-gta-5/ActionDiaryGalleryGrand Theft Auto 5GTA 5 Win a beta key for Path of Exile: The Awakeninghttp://www.pcgamer.com/win-a-beta-key-for-path-of-exile-the-awakening/We're giving away 100 betaaccess keys along with an exclusive in-game PCG item for Path of Exile: The Awakening.Tue, 05 May 2015 16:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/win-a-beta-key-for-path-of-exile-the-awakening/ActionGiveawaysGrinding GearPath of Exile <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3JteuKT8RiyK.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_qctE1VgpmHX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Path of Exile The Awakening"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Exclusive&nbsp;PCG Crimson Portal</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/i37uqMjhTN2k.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wm2lc5BGEQQQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Path of Exile The Awakening PCG Crimson Portal"><em style="background-color: initial;">Click the arrows to expand.</em> </p> </div><p> Path of Exile: The Awakening is an upcoming update to the free-to-play action game&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile/" target="_blank">Path of Exile</a>. the update is&nbsp;currently in closed beta, with a ticker on its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pathofexile.com/" target="_blank">front page</a> marking the next beta invite to be sent out, and promises to be one of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/path-of-exile-the-awakening-expansion-news/" target="_blank">biggest updates</a> to the game so far. We're giving you a chance to skip the beta line and start playing The Awakening update right now.</p><p> We have <strong>100 access keys</strong> for Path of Exile: The Awakening's closed beta and are running a raffle to give them out. In addition to instant beta access, the key will also get you an <strong>exclusive PC Gamer crimson portal</strong> (seen on the right)&nbsp;for your in-game character.&nbsp;</p><p> Enter for a chance to win a key&nbsp;by filling out the form below. 100&nbsp;winners will be selected randomly <strong>tonight (May 5th)&nbsp;at 11:59pm&nbsp;PDT</strong>&nbsp;and an email will be sent to&nbsp;the email address&nbsp;you've entered below with details on how to redeem your key.</p><iframe id="gdkframe" width="730" height="315" src="http://eb.godankey.com/?id=VnpRUFkxSm1BMkk9&amp;bg=383838&amp;font=ff0000" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> The latest theories from GTA 5's UFO huntershttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-latest-theories-from-gta-5s-ufo-hunters/The players trying to crack GTA's biggest mystery.Tue, 05 May 2015 16:06:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-latest-theories-from-gta-5s-ufo-hunters/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5Mystery <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dOPF4bl0TvWb.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O0oAFchZMHrj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="0 Main"></p><p>If you’ve been to the peak of Mount Chiliad,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-review/">Grand Theft Auto V</a>’s highest mountain, you’ll have seen this bizarre mural in the cable car station. But what does it mean? This is the question inspiring thousands of GTA players to scour Rockstar’s huge world for clues, in an attempt to solve a mystery that may not even exist.</p><p>It’s been dubbed the Chiliad Mystery, and its <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/">dedicated subreddit</a> is one of my favourite places on the internet. The genius of this mystery, whether intentional or not, is that Rockstar have turned a large section of their playerbase into precisely the kind of tinfoil hat-wearing UFO nuts they mock in their games.</p><p>And it’s amazing. Reading some of the theories, I can’t help but be impressed. They range from the plausible to the absurd, and they’re all hugely entertaining to read. People are convinced there’s more to GTA’s endgame than the <a href="http://gta.wikia.com/UFOs">UFOs</a> that hover in certain areas of the map once you’ve reached 100% completion.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/d1jIz1ChSyCT.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2Vl-r3XauBIB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="0 Ron"></p><p>Some people say the trail is leading to a jetpack. After all, the icon on the bottom-right of the mural <em>does </em>look a bit like one. Others say there are flyable spaceships waiting to be discovered. But whatever the theory, these passionate investigators have been united by one shared belief: that the truth is out there.</p><p>You can read more about the UFOs and the first steps of the investigation <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/help-us-solve-gta-5s-huge-hidden-conspiracy/">here</a>, but I thought it would be interesting to round up some of the latest theories. Thanks to the PC version and the efforts of modders, several discoveries have been made in the game’s files that have brought the community back to life.</p><p>Rockstar haven’t said a thing about the UFOs, the mural, or anything else. Presumably because they know their silence only adds to the compelling nature of the mystery. Or maybe because there <em>is </em>no mystery. Some people think it’s a dead end, but others are convinced there’s an incredible secret buried deep in the game, behind cryptic alien glyphs and Illuminati symbols. I want to believe.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3U1q2zofTF6Y.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ImroG7cnpPMK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3 Ufo"></p><h3>You can get inside the UFOs</h3><p>In this <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/comments/34bzmj/breaking_down_the_ufo_script_reveals_a_roadblock/">massive thread</a>, <strong>trainwreck42o </strong>has gone through the game’s code to look for clues: specifically the script attached to the UFOs.</p><p><em>“There are interiors which can load, and the script which loads them requires the player not to be injured and for a certain global variable to be either -1 or 999.”</em> they explain. <em>“If we are uninjured and have the global variable set correctly when viewing the UFO, we will know the interiors are being loaded.”</em></p><p><em>“If we assume we are able to meet those requirements, the final step is to uncover the warp points which will take us from Mount Chiliad into these interiors.”</em></p><p>But what’s the mystery variable? No one has managed to find out&mdash;yet. Some people think this reference to the UFO interior is just the ship from Michael’s drug trip (which people have actually <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/comments/34ulr0/the_ufo_interior_has_been_found/">found</a>), but others think it could trigger a UFO abduction sequence, or a chance to pilot the UFOs for yourself.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8B5AK1AqQXWL.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-L4mDYRAcZwf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="1 Egg"></p><h3>The Maze Bank fountain is the ‘egg’</h3><p>There’s a pattern on the fountain outside the Maze Bank building that, according to some, looks like the crack on the egg pictured in the mural. But UFO hunter <strong>Huge_Dabs</strong> thinks there’s more to it than that.</p><p><em>“I’ve studied <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_geometry">sacred geometry</a> before and I can NOT believe I didn’t catch this.”</em> they explain <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/comments/34w6ml/maze_bank_fountain_is_the_egg_plausible_proof/">here</a>. <em>“Notice the egg of life and the fountain are identical! This means it’s an egg, just not the kind we were looking for. The crack lets us know it’s the one from the mural!”</em></p><p>I wouldn't say they were identical, but it's an interesting&mdash;if far-fetched&mdash;idea. Would Rockstar really be this cryptic? If so, that might explain why it's taken so long for the mystery to be solved.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u2M_iejfQziQ.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0c_z3b-iBu3J.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2 Spectro"></p><h3>There’s a message hidden in the Space Docker’s horn</h3><p>The <a href="http://gta.wikia.com/Space_Docker">Space Docker</a> is a special vehicle received as a reward for collecting all 50 spaceship parts. It’s a dune buggy with a B-movie sci-fi design, and the horn makes a series of bizarre noises when activated.</p><p>So, naturally, someone decided to run the audio through a spectrograph analyser. <em>“This horn matches the alien language seen written in the alien camp.”</em> says <strong>DidSomebodySayFIB</strong>, referring to a chain of symbols found <a href="http://gta.wikia.com/Beam_Me_Up">here</a>.</p><p>Musicians have hidden images in audio before, notably <a href="http://www.bastwood.com/?page_id=10">Aphex Twin</a>, so could there be something to <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/comments/34x13y/spectrograph_of_space_dockers_horn_the_rare_horn/">this theory</a>? Or is it just a coincidence?</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ewt87bxlFK0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><em>If you want to join the quest to solve this puzzle (if there even is one) you can download a 100% GTA V save file <a href="http://gtasnp.com/browse/index/gtav_pc/1/save_progress/desc">here</a>. And if you find anything, don’t forget to post the results on <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery">r/chiliadmystery</a>&mdash;but read the <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/chiliadmystery/comments/283of9/read_this_first_chiliad_mystery_faq_and_link_to/">FAQ</a> first.</em></p> GOG Galaxy enters open betahttp://www.pcgamer.com/gog-galaxy-enters-open-beta/GOG's desktop client now available to all.Tue, 05 May 2015 15:49:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-galaxy-enters-open-beta/gogNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E8aopIs7TkWg.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ejrdvZ815Axy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Galaxy2"></p><p>And lo, GOG did enter the Having Your PC Game Library On A Desktop Client Instead Of On A Digital Shelf On A Website market, thus joining Steam, Origin and, grudgingly, Uplay&nbsp;as a&nbsp;potential&nbsp;icon on your taskbar. In short, GOG Galaxy is now in open beta. You can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/galaxy" target="_blank">join it right now</a>.</p><p>Importantly, Galaxy is an optional client, and so if you do prefer the digital shelf method you can still do that. If you do download Galaxy, though, you'll get access to achievements, friends lists, optional auto-updates and a host of other nifty features. For instance, a planned rollback option will let you revert to a previous patch should a new update&nbsp;break your game. Which is nice.</p><p>“With GOG Galaxy, we can start bringing new, big games to GOG.com,” says&nbsp;Piotr Karwowski,&nbsp;GOG's VP of online technologies, in a press release. “The first major release will be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which will offer automatic updates, achievements and stats. We're getting ready to release and fully support even more AAA titles in the future.”</p><p>Head to the Galaxy page to opt-in to the beta, or to peruse the selection of features it does now&nbsp;(or will soon) offer.</p> Black Mesa released to Steam Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-released-to-steam-early-access/Now $20, and still no Xen.Tue, 05 May 2015 15:06:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-released-to-steam-early-access/Black MesaNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bMkHxF2kQSuw.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3tXHD3dI54K3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steamworkshop Webupload Previewfile 94128543 Preview"></p><p>I'd call it a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mysterious-countdown-clock-appears-for-black-mesa/" target="_blank">mysterious countdown</a>, but everyone had pretty much guessed what the Black Mesa site was ticking down to. That site has now tuck its last tick, and lo and behold here's&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/362890/?snr=1_4_4__106" target="_blank">Black Mesa on Steam</a>.</p><p>Specifically, it's on Steam Early Access. That's because, as when the Half-Life remake&nbsp;was first&nbsp;released back in 2012, the&nbsp;Xen chapter&nbsp;still isn't finished.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zVYJ9o6Bddo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>"We currently have the first ~85% of our single player campaign completed," explains the Early Access Q&amp;A.&nbsp;"For the last 15% we want to not only recreate it, but improve upon it to make it an enjoyable and memorable experience."</p><p>The Early Access version includes&nbsp;new visuals, new voice over, updated encounters and&nbsp;stability changes, and also&nbsp;adds&nbsp;multiplayer. The final release will&nbsp;feature more maps and modes than are currently included, but the presence of a&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=362890" target="_blank">Steam Workshop page for Black Mesa</a> should ensure some additional arenas to tide fans over.</p><p>Black Mesa is currently available on Steam for £15/$20, and that price is set to rise when the game leaves Early Access. Given the recent furore over paid-for mods, I'll be interested to see the reaction to this&mdash;especially given that the download link for the previous (and free) mod&nbsp;version&nbsp;has disappeared from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.blackmesasource.com/" target="_blank">Black Mesa's official site</a>, if not from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/black-mesa/downloads" target="_blank">ModDB</a>.</p><p><strong>Update: </strong>The Black Mesa website has been updated with a download option for the original mod version.</p> GTA 5 gravity gun mod is delightfully chaotichttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-gravity-gun-mod-is-delightfully-chaotic/Shoot things into other things, because why not?Tue, 05 May 2015 14:34:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-gravity-gun-mod-is-delightfully-chaotic/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5News <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zOW64lo2Tuex.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ImnvQ7-XVbZL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gta 5"></p><p>The latest slice of chaotic GTA 5&nbsp;rule-bending comes courtesy of modder 'MatriZ'. It's called&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/scripts/gravity-gun" target="_blank">Gravity Gun</a>, and, as you might expect,&nbsp;it adds Half-Life 2 style Gravity Gun functionality to Los Santos's playground of mindless violence.</p><p>Here, then, is the obligatory video of Mad Shit&trade;&nbsp;happening.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f-UEAVZ1JMg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>As you can see, it's a pretty rough-'n-ready script&mdash;both unpolished and containing a number of bugs and glitches. Still, it lets you fire things into other things, and that sounds like a fun time.</p><p>Unfortunately, GTA 5 modding is still in a pretty precarious place, thanks largely to Rockstar's refusal to offer up a clear statement on what is and isn't acceptable. A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-kills-mod-support/" target="_blank">recent update</a> seemingly stopped mods from working, but a workaround was quickly found. In addition, the game's Steam page is&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/271590/" target="_blank">currently being flooded</a> with negative reviews in response to reports&nbsp;that people are being banned for using mods in single-player.</p><p>That Rockstar would want to protect GTA Online is understandable&mdash;and some recent trouble with people running scripts online shows that something needs to be done. Given the wonderful mods that appeared for GTA 4, though, here's hoping Rockstar can find a way to avoid catching single-player mod users in the crossfire.</p><p>Ta,&nbsp;<a href="http://kotaku.com/gta-v-gravity-gun-tomfoolery-1702140608" target="_blank">Kotaku</a>.</p> Goat Simulator: GoatZ DLC announced, is out this weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/goat-simulator-goatz-dlc-announced-is-out-this-week/Goat Simulator gets a survival expansion.Tue, 05 May 2015 13:38:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/goat-simulator-goatz-dlc-announced-is-out-this-week/Goat SimulatorNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Aq33Evr92Jc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You may remember Goat Simulator from the last time you chuckled at one of its expansion trailers. That time it was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/goat-simulator-to-get-free-mmo-themed-expansion-later-this-week/" target="_blank">taking a pop at MMOs</a>; this time, it's survival games. Coffee Stain Studios has announced GoatZ*, a survival-themed DLC add-on that will be released this Thursday, May 7.</p><p>*If you don't get the reference, please cherish your innocence.</p><p>Here's the add-on's parodic feature list:</p><ul><li>Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it</li><li>Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living bugs, but we’re not going to bother</li><li>You can craft anything in the world, as long as it’s one of the half dozen weapons in the game</li><li>Zombies, because this is a zombie game, remember?</li><li>A pretty big new map with some stuff in it</li><li>Completely realistic survival mode where you have to eat every damn five minutes to survive because Dean Hall &amp; Garry Newman said so</li></ul><p>Goat Simulator:&nbsp;GoatZ will cost $5.</p> Portal Pinball: hands-on with Pinball FX2's new Portal themed tablehttp://www.pcgamer.com/portal-pinball-hands-on-with-pinball-fx2s-new-portal-themed-table/It may not be Portal 3, but we take a look at the upcoming Portal themed table for Pinball FX2.Tue, 05 May 2015 13:02:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/portal-pinball-hands-on-with-pinball-fx2s-new-portal-themed-table/Hands OnLPCPinball FX 2PortalPortal 2PreviewsVideos <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/uNtrUKO0s-o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pinball-fx-2/" target="_blank">Pinball FX2</a> developer Zen Studios&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/zen-studios-tease-valve-pinball-game/" target="_blank">teased</a> a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve/" target="_blank">Valve</a> themed&nbsp;announcement&nbsp;last week, and today&nbsp;we finally know what they are up to. Pinball FX2 will be getting an official&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/portal/" target="_blank">Portal</a> themed table towards the end of May or beginning of June. While it's not exactly Portal 3, it's definitely an amusing and detailed return to the Portal universe crafted by developers who are clearly fans of the series. Watch the video above for our hands-on&nbsp;look at the upcoming Portal table for Pinball FX2.</p><p>For those of you unfamiliar with Pinball FX2, it's a free pinball game on Steam that sells individual tables as DLC. Tables can be demo'd briefly, but&nbsp;eventually need to be purchased if you want&nbsp;to play them for an extended period of time. Zen Studios has done many licensed and themed tables in the past, but this is the first time the developer has worked with Valve. The level of detail on the Portal table is impressive, and makes me hope&nbsp;that this won't be the end of Zen Studios' partnership with Valve.</p> Euro Truck Simulator 2: Scandinavia delivers a launch trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-scandinavia-delivers-a-launch-trailer/Exciting teaser pre-empts this week's launch.Tue, 05 May 2015 11:03:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-scandinavia-delivers-a-launch-trailer/Euro Truck Simulator 2Newssim <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NpybgwVnTp8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Maybe you feel the need to poke fun at the soaring and inspirational music attached to this Euro Truck Simulator 2: Scandinavia&nbsp;launch trailer.&nbsp;Well, know this, Mr. Strawman Cynic, I did two honest-to-god fist-pumps during the course of its one-and-a-half minute running time. Complex road networks? Oh yes, I'll have a bit of that.</p><p>The Scandinavia expansion is out this week, and adds 27 new cities across&nbsp;Sweden, Norway and Denmark. There's new industry, new cargo and new companies, too. It all sounds like a rather fine package, all attached to a game that remains one of the most compelling road sims of recent years.</p><p>Scandinavia is due out on Thursday, May 7, and will cost&nbsp;€18. To prepare, developer SCS yesterday released the&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.scssoft.com/2015/05/euro-truck-simulator-2-117-update-is.html" target="_blank">game's 1.17 patch</a>, bringing improvements to weather and lighting systems, as well as engine performance, stability and AI behaviour.</p> Elite: Dangerous community analyses mysterious 'Unknown Artefact'http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-community-analyses-mysterious-unknown-artefact/Rare in-game cargo could point to an alien race.Tue, 05 May 2015 09:50:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-community-analyses-mysterious-unknown-artefact/Elite: DangerousFrontierNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gb4HH3SxR--g.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Gf4XWdF0CN2l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite Dangerous 1"></p><p>Space is a big ol' place, and so it's pretty easy to hide things inside of it. Frontier, it seems, has used that to their advantage. They've hidden a selection of strange, alien-like artefacts in Elite: Dangerous, and the community is just now getting around to analysing them.</p><p>Spurred on&nbsp;by the tease of non-celestial entities to discover, the community&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=141038" target="_blank">banded together in order&nbsp;to hunt down</a> the mysterious artefacts. They even received&nbsp;some prompting&nbsp;from Elite: Dangerous's producer Michael Brookes, who suggested players "listened" to the cargo item. Yesterday, finally, the item was found.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y2FQzPIZqms" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Now the real work has begun. The community is in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/34wdza/unknown_artifact_decryption_breakthrough/" target="_blank">full ARG mode</a>, attempting to analyse and decode the item's transmission. Here's a sped up version of the sound the artefact emits. It's fully possible speeding it up is not in any way helpful, but it does at least sound pretty creepy.</p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/203874518&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false"></iframe><p>What does any of this mean? The suspicion is that it relates to the&nbsp;Thargoids&mdash;the insectoid aliens of past Elite games. An&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6z5OK8J5pg&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=7m35s" target="_blank">Elite: Dangerous dev diary</a> from February 2013 specifically references the Thargoids, with Michael Brookes saying, "You will start to learn some of the secrets of the Thargoids, and they'll certainly be present in the game when it starts, but they'll very much be a background encounter." This latest discovery would certainly fit that bill.</p> How Team Fortress 2 has survived 494 patcheshttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-team-fortress-2-has-survived-494-patches/Despite the many transplants, facelifts, and amputations Valve has subjected Team Fortress 2 to, it refuses to die.Tue, 05 May 2015 00:54:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-team-fortress-2-has-survived-494-patches/FPSTeam Fortress 2TriggernometryValve <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/prfoVcZ1TV-v.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tGH4vBbvLDoG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tf2 Surgery" class=""><figcaption>"This won't hurt a bit."</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">TRIGGERNOMETRY</h5> <p> We write about FPSes each week in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/triggernometry" target="_blank">Triggernometry</a>, a mixture of tips, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship. </p> </div><p> When you donate your body to science, there’s a general understanding that you don’t expect to use that body again. It’s old, or parts of it are broken, and you hope that some doctor will be able to learn a valuable thing or two about pancreases or elbow cartilage with the help of your husk. Whatever the outcome of that mortal tinkering, it’s a transaction with no return policy.</p><p> Despite the many transplants, facelifts, and amputations Valve has subjected Team Fortress 2 to, it refuses to die. No FPS, and perhaps no game in any genre, has endured such aggressive and continuous experimentation and lived to be one of the most-played games on PC. It’s a body that’s sustained <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Patches">494 surgeries</a>, including:</p><ul> <li>Becoming free-to-play</li> <li>The addition of a full-fledged item economy (item drops, crafting, market, trading&hellip;)</li> <li>Steam Workshop integration; transitioning away from primarily developing TF2 internally to sourcing a significant amount of TF2’s new content from the community</li> <li>Continuous holiday events that transform TF2 into, among other things, <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/screamfortress6/">bumper cars</a></li> <li>The use of TF2 as a vehicle for greater Valve projects, like The Saxxy Awards (Source Filmmaker/replay editor), Mac compatibility</li> <li>The addition of Mann vs. Machine, a cooperative horde mode</li> <li>Numerous crossover promotions via pre-ordering other games</li> <li>Having its nine carefully-designed classes (and meta) reinvented many times over by the addition of new items</li></ul><p> TF2 is a guinea pig grafted to Frankenstein’s monster created on The Island of Dr. Moreau. Over eight years it’s become an organism that Valve exposes to new stimuli and learns from watching what happens in order to improve other games or aspects of Steam. CS:GO’s post-launch addition of item crates is one example of something prototyped in TF2.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KRIEapC1SleK.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1MT-vGK2XbeL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pyro Lizard" class=""> <figcaption>What makes TF2 so malleable?</figcaption></figure><p> But typically, there’s a cost to all that tinkering, some unexpected side effects. Your hair falls out. You get a rash. TF2’s forced mutations probably would have killed weaker games. An MMO going free-to-play is often tantamount to defibrillation, and often to the detriment of original designs. If Gearbox had welded an item economy to Borderlands 2, added competitive modes, or handed off most of its development to community mapmakers and modders, what sort of unplayable mess would it be?</p><p> What makes TF2 durable enough to survive all these changes and emerge each time remaining one of the most-played and beloved PC games over the past decade?</p><h3>Meet the Writer</h3><p> TF2’s characters, and Valve’s commitment to telling their story, form a thick, regenerating skin. However many hats, hoods, <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Rainblower">rainbow flamethrowers</a>, <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Hadouken">Street Fighter references</a>, <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Bread_Bite">mutant bread</a>, or <a href="http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Purity_Fist">$10 Deus Ex arms</a> Valve throws on its nine mercenaries, they retain their charm, and their personality carries TF2 forward.</p><p> Throughout its life, TF2’s characters have softened the blow of its big systemic and mechanical changes. They’re the sugar in the medicine. When Valve strapped an economy to TF2, they didn’t explain it as a series of dry bullet points (although there was <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/mannconomy/FAQ/">a FAQ</a>). A bare-chested Australian arms dealer <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/mannconomy/">shouted the news at us</a>. When TF2 became playable on Mac, <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/macupdate/comic/">its characters visited a fictional Apple store</a> to poke fun at the unexpected news that TF2 was coming to a platform that’s considered to be one of the PC’s rivals. “It sounds like some kinda hospital for fruit,” the Scout says.</p><blockquote>When Valve strapped an economy to TF2, a bare-chested Australian arms dealer shouted the news at us.</blockquote><p> When TF2 was about to become a free-to-play game, arguably the biggest single change to the game that’s been made, Valve understood that it had to be handled delicately. (Perhaps revisiting this announcement could’ve improved <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/paid-mods-are-dead-pc-gamer-reacts/">Valve’s recent handling of paid mods</a>.) Jog your memory: in 2011, there was still plenty of discomfort among western gamers about free-to-play. Even with League of Legends in the wild, Korean titles like Maple Story and Facebook games had given F2P a bad stigma.</p><p> When TF2 went free, the announcement was one piece of a five-day package of stuff rolled into the <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/uberupdate/day_01.html">Uber Update</a>, which Valve deliberately built and billed as “The biggest, most ambitious update in the history of Team Fortress 2.” Every class but the Engineer got new items, and most got a whole set. True to my point, the Uber Update culminated with one of its characters literally performing surgery on another, the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/team-fortress-2-uber-update-meet-the-medic/">Meet the Medic</a> video&mdash;arguably the biggest piece of the update in all considering how wildly anticipated each of the class videos have been.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j_7aXj-dQaGP.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XXmdLMhFCJAU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tf2 Engineer Z" class=""> <figcaption><em>Image by&nbsp;<a href="http://zummeng.deviantart.com/art/Holy-cow-Why-are-you-shooting-at-me-336096562">Zummeng</a>.</em></figcaption></figure><p> Valve’s used a similar approach for reinventing individual classes. One of Valve’s attitudes throughout TF2 is that they didn’t want individual classes to stagnate around an optimal strategy. And in order to manage that aspect of the metagame Valve have been completely willing to put the very identities of each class on the chopping block. For the first couple years of TF2, sentry turrets were the hinge upon which most of the rest of the mechanics swung: it gave everyone else something to do, something to kill, something to support. Arguably no other single thing in TF2 was more integral to how the game was played.</p><p> And Valve demolished that paradigm. In the 2010 <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Engineer_Update">Engineer update</a> the Engineer went from being a gun babysitter to being a class that you could build as an offensive harasser, or an even more defensive (but more active) turret operator. Engineers gained a mini-sentry that deployed almost instantly, and an item that allowed them to manually aim turrets (and deflected two-thirds of incoming damage while doing it). The manual aiming of turrets even allowed Engineers to reach whole new areas of the environment with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_sI2UU2wa0">sentry jumping</a>. If that wasn’t enough, the update made the previously static guns movable.</p><p> Short of turning TF2 into a JRPG, I can’t think of a more insane change than all of that. How did Valve sell it to players, some of whom had spent years getting invested in what it meant to “be an Engineer?” It wrapped the Engineer update in four days of mini-reveals, <a href="http://www.teamfortress.com/engineerupdate/radigan/">hidden links to images</a>, and added a <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Golden_Wrench">Golden Wrench</a> competition across the entire event that was straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5tM-eW1vDU">teaser video</a> tied the update nicely to the Engineer’s personality, too: he’s an inventor, and the update is a collection of his new creations.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vUGWtEu4RViS.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uMK97CWOdLYI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tf2 Hot Dog" class=""><figcaption>The community has embraced TF2's incongruence. (<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=328138377">Halloweiner</a> from Steam Workshop.)</figcaption></figure><p> As an FPS critic, I have plenty of things to appreciate about TF2, about the way it mingles Quake’s DNA with a playfulness that softens the blow of defeat, about how it applies Valve’s ideas about readability so well. But its longevity, and its distinct ability to survive its own transformative changes, is owed to how consistently Valve has integrated storytelling and its international cast of mercenaries into practically every patch.</p><p> TF2’s updates aren’t content patches, they're&nbsp;happenings in the Team Fortress 2 universe that inspire their own lore. The Administrator,&nbsp; <a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Non-player_characters#Zepheniah_Mann">Zepheniah Mann</a>, Saxton Hale,&nbsp;Australium, Australian Christmas, the&nbsp;<a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Bombinomicon"></a><a href="https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Bombinomicon">Bombinomicon</a>,&nbsp;the towers of hats,&nbsp;the Scout's mom&mdash;this stuff isn't window dressing, it's the connective tissue that's kept TF2's identity&nbsp;solid as it's mutated continuously&nbsp;over eight years.&nbsp;Valve has been able to spin and contextualize wild&nbsp;changes to TF2&mdash;many of&nbsp;which&nbsp;were made so that Valve could learn something about player behavior&mdash;not as new versions but as new episodes in an ever-evolving Saturday morning cartoon.</p> The best webcamshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-webcams/Logitech is king, but Microsoft is hot on their heels in our round-up of the best webcams.Mon, 04 May 2015 23:41:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-webcams/Buying GuideHardwareLogitechMicrosoftTop Buying Guides Kingdom Come: Deliverance screenshots are deceivingly peacefulhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kingdom-come-deliverance-screenshots-are-deceivingly-peaceful/Non-fantasy RPG looks beautiful.Mon, 04 May 2015 23:32:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kingdom-come-deliverance-screenshots-are-deceivingly-peaceful/Kingdom Come: DeliveranceNewsRPGWarhorse Studios WWE 2K15 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/wwe-2k15-review-pc/A capable attempt to recapture the magic of WWE, let down by the decision not to update any single element of the console versions.Mon, 04 May 2015 23:29:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wwe-2k15-review-pc/FightingReviewsSportsWWE 2K15 <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> The long-awaited PC debut of WWE’s ever-popular console series once known (and still warmly regarded) as Smackdown.<br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong> Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, 8GB RAM <br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> Core i5-3550, 8GB RAM,&nbsp;NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570/Radeon HD 6970 <br> <strong>Copy protection</strong>: Steam <br> <strong>Price</strong>: £35/$50 <br> <strong>Release date</strong>: Out now <br> <strong>Publisher</strong>: 2K Games <br> <strong>Developer</strong>: Yuke’s <br> <strong>Multiplayer</strong>: Co-op/competitive, up to 6 players <br> <strong>Link</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="https://wwe.2k.com" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> Wrestling fans cherish the past to a degree that any outsider would find mawkish. How else to explain their (actually, as a man who still owns every issue of WWF Magazine from 1991 to 1994, I should say ‘our’) acceptance of the awful Bushwhackers in WWE’s Hall Of Fame? Sadly, this information seems to have done strange things to Japanese developer Yuke’s. After a 15-year wait, the veteran grap-masters have finally delivered to PC a terrific wrestling game&hellip; so long as you’ve a DeLorean on hand to whisk you back to last summer.</p><p> When WWE 2K15 landed on consoles in November, my chief criticism was that its roster felt months out of date. So it’s simply staggering that this port is identical to the PS4 and Xbox One versions, both in and out of the ring. Case in point: current hot property Seth Rollins. His outfit, theme, and entrance video all stem from his days in tag team The Shield&mdash;which split on June 2 last year, all of 11 months ago. This perhaps could fly under radar were it not for the fact that Rollins is the company’s <em>reigning world champion</em>.</p><p> Dean Ambrose is similarly kitted out in outdated Shield garb with old Shield music. Fandango sashays down the aisle with blonde dance partner Summer Rae in tow, despite the pair breaking up half a year ago. Stardust is still called Cody Rhodes. And on I could go. The bottom line is that no matter how great the wrestling itself&mdash;and for the most part, it’s a load of fun&mdash;you never feel like you’re playing a game that matches the current WWE product. And after a decade-and-a-half spent clamouring for this series to hit PC, that’s a Brock-Lesnar-weighty blow.</p><p> It’s especially grating because inside the squared circle, the attention to detail longed for in all areas of 2K15 is abundant. Wrestlers move and grapple with pleasing heft, seamlessly obeying your commands to transition between holds and reversals. Attempt a move near the ropes and your grappler moves his foe closer to the centre of the ring to make a follow-up pin attempt easier; ascend the turnbuckles and your opponent subtly moves himself into position to take your move, in an intelligent and deliberate nod to the choreographed ballet of bruises that is ‘real’ WWE. Bell to bell, the in-ring action feels refreshingly authentic.</p><h2>King of swing</h2><p>Not ideal are the&nbsp;chain wrestling mini-games which open each match and&nbsp;go from clever to cloying by your dozenth contest, and a clumsy pin mechanic that&nbsp;leads to too many bouts ended prematurely. But for the most part, this strikes a welcome balance between win-at-all-costs brawler and put-on-a-show-in-the-process grappler. Smartly weighted stamina and momentum systems bring layers of nuance to a genre which for so many years centred on button-hammering, and many wrestlers&mdash;most notably Cesaro, John Cena, and Randy Orton&mdash;feel brilliantly unique to handle thanks to individual character traits.</p><p>It runs buttery smooth for me with a Core i5 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970. However, others report problems with lesser specs and have had to reduce the number of members in the crowd to achieve a respectable frame rate, so it’s worth a little research in this area before purchase. Also noticeable is a bizarre bug in which wrestlers (and referees!) play dead during replays. One would assume this’ll be patched imminently, but it’s an almost comical oversight on the dev’s part.</p><p>You may have spotted a theme in the accompanying screenshots to this review: Summer Rae aside, they’re unmistakably man-tastic. This isn’t me trying to pretend that female grapplers don’t exist; instead, it’s because your options to play as WWE Divas are extremely limited. Paige is omitted despite all other console DLC being included in the price (some yet to be released), and you can’t create female characters at all. Fancy playing out the Stephanie McMahon vs. Ronda Rousey feud teased at WrestleMania 31? ‘Course you do. But you won’t be doing it here.</p><p>Again, this lack of attention to detail outside of the ring is what holds WWE 2K15 back from ‘must-buy’ status. 2K has welcomed modding and no doubt the oversights regarding Rollins and company will be rectified by the community, but it shouldn’t be up to you and me to bring it up to snuff. There’s plenty of promise in this PC debut, yet it’s impossible to play it without constantly thinking that the number 15 in the title is exactly a year out of date.</p> Star Wars: Battlefront has 12 multiplayer maps including the planet Sullusthttp://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-has-12-multiplayer-maps-including-the-planet-sullust/The volcanic surface of the planet Sullust was inspired by real-world locations in Iceland.Mon, 04 May 2015 21:44:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-has-12-multiplayer-maps-including-the-planet-sullust/Electronic ArtsFPSNewsStar Wars: Battlefront <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5zqa68UFSCiu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S2hdnrV6BE8Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Making of Sullust"></p><p>Remember the little chipmunk-faced guy who helped Lando fly the Millennium Falcon in Return of the Jedi? He was a Sullustan&mdash;from the planet Sullust, as you might surmise&mdash;and his homeworld will be the setting for at least one of the 12 multiplayer maps included with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront/">Star Wars: Battlefront</a>.</p><p>To accurately recreate the surface of Sullust, which according to the <a href="http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sullust">Wookiepedia</a> is "composed of multicolored rock, veined by lava channels," members of the DICE development team headed to Iceland, "a unique and ideal location which in multiple areas looked like another planet," the studio wrote in a <a href="http://starwars.ea.com/starwars/battlefront/news/creating-the-planet-sullust-for-star-wars-battlefront">blog post</a> detailing the experience. They took photos and video of the landscape, which Lead Environment Artist Andrew Hamilton said "hints at all the features in our concept [art] and all the content we needed to gather."</p><p>Even with the Icelandic footage, it was more work creating the in-game environment for Sullust than for other planets, like Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor, all of which had real-world counterparts seen in the films. Material collected from those locations "could be used right away," Senior Level Artist Petter Skold explained, but the studio had to "shift and bend" the footage from Iceland to fit the design. </p><p>"Everything needs to look like something you could actually imagine existing," Hamilton added. "That’s what we wanted to do with Sullust&hellip;make it feel out of this world but like it could actually exist."</p><p>EA said there will be 12 multiplayer maps of various sizes and shapes in Star Wars: Battlefront, some new and some familiar, and also teased "even more locations when you include the Star Wars Battlefront Missions." The capitalization makes it look like some kind of DLC, but I'm assuming it's actually a reference to the small-scale scenarios that will comprise the game's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/8-star-wars-moments-that-should-defintiely-be-battlefront-missions/">single-player/co-op mode</a>.</p><p>Star Wars: Battlefront comes out on November 17. Find out what we're hoping it delivers, and see some video from the recent Star Wars Celebration, in the latest edition of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-what-we-want-from-star-wars-battlefront/">PC Gamer Show</a>.</p> The best Star Wars Battlefront 2 modshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-star-wars-battlefront-2-mods/15 ways to make Battlefront 2 bigger and better.Mon, 04 May 2015 21:17:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-star-wars-battlefront-2-mods/ActionGalleryStar Wars: Battlefront 2 CCP launches Plex for Good campaign to support Nepal earthquake reliefhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ccp-launches-plex-for-good-campaign-to-support-nepal-earthquake-relief/CCP will give $15 to the Icelandic Red Cross for every Plex donated to the program.Mon, 04 May 2015 20:40:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ccp-launches-plex-for-good-campaign-to-support-nepal-earthquake-relief/CCP GamesEVE OnlineMMONews <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-online/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yAJEy7yTSNKE.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nyB4KO1xrN61.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="EVE Online Plex for Good t-shirts"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-online/">EVE Online</a> studio CCP Games has committed to supporting the Icelandic Red Cross' relief efforts in Nepal with $15 for each Plex donated to the cause by EVE players.</p><p>Anyone who wants to kick in to the cause must contract one or more Plex to the "CCP Plex for Good" character on a 14-day item exchange contract. CCP emphasized that donors should double-check to ensure that the offer is going to the correct character, who is a member of the C C P Corporation, because it cannot guarantee the return of Plex donated to the wrong person. </p><p>This isn't CCP's first such program: <a href="https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/PLEX_for_GOOD?_ga=1.6418482.1653030270.1430766669">Plex for Good</a> campaigns have raised more than $340,000 in aid funding following natural disasters around the world, most recently in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Nor is it the only game-related relief effort for Nepal: Last week, Ubisoft's Far Cry development team pledged to match donations to the Canadian Red Cross, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-development-team-pledges-up-to-100000-to-aid-nepal/">up to $100,000</a>; that effort currently stands at just shy of $60,000.</p><p>Along with the warm feeling that comes from doing a solid for a good cause, donors will also get a pair of in-game t-shirts for their EVE avatars. (The shirts are still being designed, and will be distributed when they're ready.) It's also worth noting that in spite of CCP's famously lax attitude toward in-game shenanigans, it will tolerate no horsing around with legitimate charitable efforts. "Please note that CCP regards any scamming attempts surrounding PLEX for GOOD to be morally reprehensible," it warned, "and any attempts at scamming relating to this program will be met with the harshest and swiftest action at our disposal<strong></strong>."</p><p>The <a href="http://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-for-good-nepal/">Plex for Good: Nepal Earthquake Relief</a> program is live now and runs until 15.</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 04 May 2015 19:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/DealsHardware <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PULBFWNXSiar.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1PBAHOzkjSLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="This week’s PC gaming deals" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! Each week, we have our&nbsp;bargainmeisters bring you a list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.</p><p>Some highlights of this week: The Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury mouse is on sale. Newegg has a 750W power supply down to $50 after a rebate and coupon code. Guild Wars 2 is having another deep discount, this time half off. The Deponia titles are 75% off at GamersGate. The Sims 4 and its DLC are both on sale, but from two different sites. And finally, you can get all three Mass Effects together for only $10.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb1EiqSTRwCB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xogsAmxSJHmE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardware Deals" style="width: 668px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Two 4GB sticks (8GB total) of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1866 MHZ RAM</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004CRSM52/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$70 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury mouse</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LZVNWIA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$35 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Acer XB270H 27” 144HZ G-Sync monitor</strong> is $300 off, for <a href="http://fave.co/1cdWj4x">$400 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>NZXT H440 Mid Tower case</strong> is <a href="http://fave.co/1bXnvne">$110 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Corsair CX750 80 PLUS BRONZE PSU</strong> is only <a href="http://fave.co/1cdXb9a">$50 on Newegg</a> after a $20 rebate and with the code <strong>EMCASAK26</strong></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zH9aHn-LRL6I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b_1wP4rcanyg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Deals" style="width: 668px; background-color: initial;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong></strong><strong>Guild Wars 2</strong> is half off for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EPOTBUC/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$20 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Focus indie pack</strong>, which includes <strong>Space Run</strong>, <strong>Contrast</strong>, and <strong>Final Exam</strong>, is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QXRAXQK/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=PCGDeals">$7.50 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Deponia</strong> and its sequels are 75%, only <a href="http://fave.co/1cdSWe1">$5 on GamersGate</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;</strong>&nbsp;<strong>Broken Age</strong> (both parts included) is <a href="http://fave.co/1bXk00a">$17.50 on Green Man Gaming</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>You can get the complete <strong>Mass Effect Trilogy</strong> for only <a href="http://fave.co/1bXkCD0">$10 on Gamestop.com</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong>The Sims 4</strong> is half off for <a href="http://fave.co/1bXkC66">$30 on Gamestop.com</a>, and its <strong>Get To Work DLC</strong> is 30% off for <a href="http://fave.co/1cdS9tr">$28 on Target.com</a>.</p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.</em></p> Wolfenstein: The Old Blood video says game is "dripping with history"http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-video-says-game-is-dripping-with-history/Wolfenstein: The Old Blood comes out tomorrow.Mon, 04 May 2015 18:54:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-video-says-game-is-dripping-with-history/Bethesda SoftworksFPSMachine GamesNewsWolfenstein: The Old Blood <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vEl22jp7lW8?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Just in case your eyes aren't already full of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-new-order/">Wolfenstein: The Old Blood</a> video, here's another one featuring Bethesda's Gary Steinman, (once of this parish), explaining some of the more interesting aspects about traveling back in time to hang a job on the Nazis.</p><p> Steinman says The Old Blood is "dripping with history," although not history in the sense of things that actually happened in the past. Instead, it's the history of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-new-order/">Wolfenstein: The New Order</a>, which becomes the videogame present when Nazi-stomper extraordinaire B.J. Blazkowicz travels into the past to throw a wrench into the gears of Der&nbsp;Führer's&nbsp;war machine.</p><p> The Old Blood will be split into two separate stories, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves and The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs, which will see the appearance of the zombie hoard, some of whom will even be packing heat. All in all, it looks to fit nicely with the "B-movie vibe" Bethesda has promised, telling "a lighter story at a brisker pace," and it's great to lay eyes on the old Castle Wolfenstein again, too. Love those gondolas!</p><p> Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is out on May 5&mdash;that's tomorrow! If you just can't wait, you can catch an hour of straight-up gameplay <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-releases-this-week-so-heres-an-hour-of-footage/">right here</a>.</p> Black Mesa Steam Workshop page appearshttp://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-steam-workshop-page-appears/The Black Mesa Research Facility is now broadcasting an emergency evacuation message.Mon, 04 May 2015 17:51:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-steam-workshop-page-appears/Black Mesa: SourceFPSHalf-LifeNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dyDdjeM9S5ar.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WfSMtAK-HMGg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ascii G-Man"></p><p>Less than 24 hours remain on the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mysterious-countdown-clock-appears-for-black-mesa/">countdown</a> clock at the Black Mesa Research Facility <a href="http://www.bmrf.us/">website</a>, which has switched to a new and rather alarming emergency broadcast. I'm pretty sure it's actually the same message the site began to broadcast <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-source-affiliated-website-initiates-emergency-broadcast-teaser/">over the new year</a>, although some details may have changed. Either way, it's a chilling (and exciting!) notification that something has gone very wrong at Black Mesa.</p><p>The teaser website is fun, but practically speaking it's the appearance of the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com//workshop/browse/?appid=362890">Black Mesa Workshop</a> on Steam that points to all of this hype being somehow related to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/black-mesa-source-finally-released-download-it-now/">Black Mesa</a>, the Source engine-based remake of the original Half-Life. It could be that the Xen levels, which aren't currently part of Black Mesa, are ready for release, or it could signal the long-awaited launch of the <a href="http://forums.blackmesasource.com/index.php/Thread/17088-Happy-Birthday-Half-life/?s=b35d8e908b0691fb8f10e3dfeafeaec234b868ab">retail version</a> of the game on Steam. </p><p>The Workshop contains seven maps, all for multiplayer battles, as well as an eighth, entitled, "asdf0," which as we all know is computer-speak for, "This is a test." There's no store page link, however, and the home and discussion links lead to either the Steam storefront or the Steam Workshop front pages; trying to "manually" reach a Black Mesa store page by using the app ID number from the Workshop page in a regular Steam URL is also a bust.</p><p>Despite the near-certitude that this is all tied into Black Mesa, more resolutely optimistic fans may still maintain hope that it's all a lead-up to the announcement of Half-Life 3. Buried in the code of the BMRF.us website is an ascii image of the mysterious G-Man, above a link to "THREE.WebGLRenderer." It's not exactly "confirmed!" but dare to dream, right?</p><p>Whatever it is, the countdown clock will hit zero at 9:47 Mountain Standard Time on May 5. Be ready.</p> Tips for taking the pain out of PC buildinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/tips-for-taking-the-pain-out-of-pc-building/Already know how to build a PC? Great!Check out these tips for a smoother building experience.Mon, 04 May 2015 17:21:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tips-for-taking-the-pain-out-of-pc-building/Hardware <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lxsmwhMkR1y2.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qA_cCQrbVZRb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HeMan Screwdriver"></p><p>Like the debonair Prince Adam, you, dear PC Gamer reader, have a power inside you&mdash;a power that can turn you into He-Man, mightiest PC builder in all of Eternia. With your Magnetic Screwdriver of Power, you can turn a pile of PC components into a mighty gaming machine. Nothing can stand in your way&mdash;not tight thumbscrews, not awkwardly short cables, not mysterious error codes, not even Skeletor himself.</p><p>But let’s be honest: even if you can successfully build a PC, some part of the process is going to be a pain. You’re may be annoyed by the CPU cooler while you try to bolt it in place. You may curse a few times as you drop screws into the dark nooks of your case. These are the small annoyances that slow us down, even if they don’t stop us from completing a PC build. And those are the problems we’re here to help you with.</p><p>Here are our tips for taking the pain out of PC building: techniques for overcoming some common annoyances and tools you can buy (or find around the house) to make the build process easier. If you’ve never built a PC before, we recommend following <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-build-a-gaming-pc-a-beginners-guide/">the step-by-step process in our beginner’s guide</a> after reading these tips.</p><h3>Always ground yourself before touching expensive components</h3><p>This one’s almost a no-brainer, but just about the most painful thing you can do while building a computer is destroy it. Ground yourself before handling the motherboard and other components, just to make sure you don’t short anything out. If you want extra peace of mind, buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004N8ZQKY/?tag=pcgedit-20">an anti-static wrist wrap for a few dollars</a>.</p><h3>Use a magnetic screwdriver</h3><p>Building a PC involves a lot of small screws. And smaller screws. And black screws that perfectly blend in with the interior of a black case when you drop them. Point is, dropping screws is a pain, and it’s probably going to happen when you’re working on a case from above, or at awkward angles. But you can spit in the face of gravity by using a magnetic screwdriver to assemble components. It’ll keep those screws from falling into awkward corners and make the process of screwing in the motherboard, power supply, CPU cooler and more far breezier.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EbCscD6ORTuy.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hu5t-0J1ogDu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screwdriver"></p><p>We recommend the <a href="https://store.snapon.com/Standard-Handle-Screwdriver-Ratcheting-Magnetic-Standard-Orange-8-3-4--P634146.aspx">Snap-On ratcheting magnetic screwdriver</a>. It’s our favorite for a few reasons: the great grip, the ratcheting mechanism that easily switches between forward and reverse, the magnetic bits that keep us from dropping screws. The handle doubles as a storage compartment that holds several bits. It’s an expensive screwdriver at $65, but we think it’s worth the money. If you want to be thrifty, though, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=magnetic+screwdriver&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amagnetic+screwdriver">you can find a magnetic screwdriver on Amazon for less money</a>. Just make sure the bits (or the head of the screwdriver) are magnetized.</p><p>And if you’re worried about using a magnetic screwdriver around your PC components, don’t be. The magnet’s not strong enough to do any real damage, but if you want to feel safe, keep the magnetic bits away from exposed circuitry and your hard drives. The hard drives should be shielded enough that a little ol’ screwdriver bit won’t do any damage. If you’ve got some old floppy disks lying around, on the other hand, watch out.</p><h3>Use a headlamp or positionable light source</h3><p>Once your motherboard is screwed into the case and you’re plugging in and screwing in components, it can be pretty tough to see what you’re doing. If you‘re working on the case from the side, your ceiling lights probably aren’t helping illuminate the interior. And if you’re working on it from above, your head is probably blocking most of the light, casting shadows into those nooks and crannies you need to be able to see.</p><p>Solution? Wear a headlamp, of course. Strapping on a headlamp may feel a little dorky, but it’ll save you time and aggravation while you’re assembling your PC. If you find yourself pulling out your smartphone, turning on its LED light, and trying to position it somewhere in the case to light up the corner you’re working on, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00081GATG/?tag=pcgedit-20">just spend $10 on Amazon to buy a headlamp</a>.</p><p>If you refuse to strap a light source to your face, you may be able to make do with a positional light from around the house, such as the reading lamp on your nightstand. Any light with a flexible neck (bonus points if it’s a clip-on) should be positionable to provide some valuable spot illumination inside your PC case.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mn7ATs6gQ8u1.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pabw_aSVoO0W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nut Driver"></p><p>Have a nut driver handy for motherboard standoffs</p><p>Motherboard standoffs are those little screws that you mount in your case, and then screw the motherboard into to keep it nice and secure. Most PC cases come with all the screws, standoffs, and other bits and bobs you need to put your PC together, but if you lose those pieces, disassembly can be a major pain. The standoffs are installed with a nut driver, which should come in that bag of parts. It’s easy to lose, so to be on the safe side, why not add <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=nut+driver&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anut+driver">a nut driver set</a> to your toolkit? Standoffs can vary in size a bit, so spending a few bucks on a set of nut drivers will ensure you can move those standoffs when you need to upgrade to a new case or swap out a new motherboard.</p><p>If you want to take the cheap path, you can probably remove the stanoffs with a pair of needle-nose pliers. The proper nut driver will just save you a bit of effort.</p><h3>Keep extra screws in a cheap storage container</h3><p>I have a bad habit of losing thumbscrews, and then not remembering which component box I threw all my leftovers into. Was it the motherboard box? The bag of power supply cables? If only I was organized...Well, getting organized is actually pretty easy. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005QWYF/?tag=pcgedit-20">For $12 on Amazon</a> you can buy a great Stanley storage container that can hold tons of different types of screws and small parts, and you can probably find an even cheaper plastic container at a local hobby shop.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IX6iaKFASj-a.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k_IoBE6XsW8z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Vitamin Case"></p><p>For a cheaper and even smarter organizing system, you can alternately use a pill organizer to hold your screws. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001OK1YUA/?tag=pcgedit-20">This one is only $8 on Amazon</a> and has great reviews. Each storage cell is big enough to hold small screws, and since each one has an individual lid, you can flip the whole container over to dump out the screws you need without the rest flying loose.</p><h3>Make CPU cooler installation easier with a socket wrench or hex wrench</h3><p>Installing an aftermarket air cooler in your PC is usually the most difficult step in the entire PC building process. You have to attach the backplate, get the mounting brackets in just the right place, and bolt the whole thing down straight. Every cooler’s a little bit different, which means they can be annoying or tricky in a bunch of different ways. But two tools should make the installation of just about any cooler a little bit easier.</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009EMKLDG/?tag=pcgedit-20">A socket wrench</a> will allow you to bolt down a cooler much more quickly than the pack-in wrench that comes with some coolers. Those crappy wrenches let you turn the bolt a tiny distance with each turn before you reposition, turn a little bit, and repeat. With a socket wrench, you’ll be done in a few seconds.</p><p>Some coolers need a hex wrench instead of a socket wrench to be tightened. Those coolers should come with an allen wrench, but it may be short and difficult to work with in the confines of a PC case. Buying <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NIFJQE/?tag=pcgedit-20">a longer hex wrench set</a>, or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D4C18CU/?tag=pcgedit-20">a hex wrench with a handle</a>, will take some of the cursing out of CPU cooler installation.</p><h3>Refer to your motherboard manual for error codes</h3><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">gigabyte debug led</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aeXnDoTdS9OQ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7v-Mm_yOvbcl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gigabyte Motherboard Led Debug"></p></div><p>When you boot up your PC and it doesn’t work, it can be hard to tell what’s wrong. Many motherboards today make troubleshooting much easier with a small LED readout that displays a couple digits. Those numbers don’t tell you anything at face value, but if you open up your motherboard manual and search for the truth, you shall find it. Meaning, there should be a section explaining what those codes mean.</p><p>The codes differ between motherboard BIOS, so there’s no universal list. But you should be able to find the ones for your motherboard easily enough. If you lose the paper manual, search the motherboard manufacturer’s site. You should be able to find a PDF download of the manual.</p><h3>Use power supply extension cables for neater cable management</h3><p>If you’re fine with a messy case as long as your computer works, ignore this one. But if you like everything wrapped up and tied off nice and neat, the cables that come with your power supply might pose a problem. They’re often too short to wrap around the back side of the case and plug in where they need to go. The solution: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;DEPA=0&amp;Order=BESTMATCH&amp;Description=extension+power+supply+cable&amp;N=-1&amp;isNodeId=1">power supply extension cables</a>. You can buy extenders for the 24-pin motherboard power, or SATA or PCI-E power cables. They’ll set you back $5 - $15, but doesn’t that squeaky clean PC case give you some wonderful peace of mind?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w7txqRUGS0aO.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I44OKYEkDdlB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fractal Design Define R4 Sound Dampening"></p><h3>Adjust fan speeds in the BIOS or install sound dampening for a quieter PC</h3><p>If your PC sounds whiny, rattly, or just plain too loud, you’ve got a sound problem, and a few different ways to deal with it.</p><p>When you hear rattling or clicking sounds are coming out of your case, check for loose screws or other parts around the case fans and CPU cooler. Also, make sure no cables are slapping against your fans. That’s a common noise-maker.</p><p>If the fans are just loud, in general, you should be able to adjust them from your motherboard BIOS. It’s possible the fans are running at full blast when they don’t need to be. After you adjust the speeds, make sure to check your temperatures to make sure your case is staying plenty cool. You can also use software like <a href="http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php">Speedfan</a> to adjust fan speeds in Windows.</p><p>And if the thing is still too loud, you can line the inside of your case with <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811999222&amp;Tpk=sound%20dampening">sound dampening foam</a> to block out some of the noise. When your graphics card spins up to full volume, that foam will help keep your rig nice and quiet.</p><p><em>A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to stores like Amazon. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support our work evaluating PC components.</em></p> Jason avoids Friday the 13th for Mortal Kombat Xhttp://www.pcgamer.com/jason-avoids-friday-the-13th-for-mortal-kombat-x/Instead he's coming out on the 5th and 12th, oddly.Mon, 04 May 2015 16:15:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/jason-avoids-friday-the-13th-for-mortal-kombat-x/Mortal Kombat XNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f70oJCTDRQqH.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EhLWwcp0LuCC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Jason Voorhees Mortal Kombat X"></p><p>Oddly, Jason Voorhees' appearance in Mortal Kombat X doesn't coincide with one of the regular Friday the 13ths we see throughout the year. You've missed an opportunity there, Warner Bros.</p><p>Instead, the masked slasher appears in MKX from tomorrow (May 5) for those who own the Kombat Pack add-on, while those who don't have to wait until May 12 to purchase the big hunk of horror separately. Do you want a trailer? It's not for the squeamish:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vekf8VNQT6U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Those owning the Kombat Pack also get three horror-themed skins: Vampiress Mileena, Kraken Reptile and Pharaoh Ermac. If you don't own the Pack it's $8 (£6.49) to purchase Jason and the horror skins together, or $5 (£3.99) for Jason on his own/$4 (£3.29) for just the horror skins.</p> id Software wanted to pay modders in 1995http://www.pcgamer.com/id-software-wanted-to-pay-modders-in-1995/The world would have been quite a different place if this had come to pass.Mon, 04 May 2015 15:32:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/id-software-wanted-to-pay-modders-in-1995/John RomeroModsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/toy3laweTrWS.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/11FHVjd58sa8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="romero-pcgamer" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Did you hear about Steam introducing paid-for mods as an option, ostensibly to get money into the hands of people creating (sometimes) incredible extra content? Yeah, it didn't work out <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-removed-paid-mods-functionality-from-steam-workshop/">too well</a> for Valve &mdash; at least not first time around.</p><p>But in an interview with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-05-04-id-software-planned-to-pay-mod-makers-in-1995">GI.biz</a>, co-creator of modding golden child Doom, John Romero, revealed id Software actually wanted to pay modders for their work on Quake back in the mid-90s.</p><p><em>"I've always believed that mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,"</em> Romero told the site, going on to explain the studio had the idea to create something called id Net. <em>"This company would be the portal that players would connect to and play other mod maker's creations,"</em> he explained, <em>"It was to be a curated site, levels and mods chosen by us at id, and if we put your content on our network we would pay you an amount equal to the traffic that your content drove to the site.</em></p><p><em>"The idea was that players would log in and be in a big level that felt like a castle with lots of doorway portals and signage that explained where you were going and what was there."</em></p><p>Ultimately the idea was dropped, as the famously tough development schedule for Quake required everyone to focus on making the game before doing anything else. The rest, of course, is history.</p><p>But Romero did go on to say that he believed modders should still be rewarded for their work: <em>"That's what we do in our game companies, why would it be so different for outsiders?"</em></p> Mass Effect-ish image tweeted by producerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-ish-image-tweeted-by-producer/Are we going to see hot Mako action at E3?Mon, 04 May 2015 14:45:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mass-effect-ish-image-tweeted-by-producer/BiowareMass Effect 4NewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HUcVgO4qRkCQ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V4Rj22Kpbd_0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mass Effect 4 Slide">It's a photograph taken by a NASA astronaut, apparently, but when it's tweeted out by the producer on Mass Effect 4 and done so just over a month before E3, the biggest gaming expo of the year, people start talking.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gCLZI0pORom_.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QkVZf7-m6ik9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mass Effect 4 Tweet"></p><p>Still, Mass Effect producer Michael Gamble did <a href="https://twitter.com/GambleMike/status/594759158144065536">just that</a>, setting tongues a-wagging and causing a minor internet meltdown at the same time. He soon clarified the image was indeed taken by an astronaut, but this hasn't really dampened the speculation.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KYnCtBD0T-yH.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RsdG1D4-3OFs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Not Mass Effect 4 Tweet"></p><p>What do you think? Is this some high-risk trolling by the next Mass Effect's producer? Or is it just a handy situation where an image from real life can be used to help hype up a game that'll be shown off at E3?</p> GOG's Galaxy client is making good progresshttp://www.pcgamer.com/gogs-galaxy-client-is-making-good-progress/At least, it sounds like it is.Mon, 04 May 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gogs-galaxy-client-is-making-good-progress/GOG.comNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z5aYPkdHSByo.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T1nbo4ejyPEU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gog Galaxy Browser"></p><p>Steam might well have a competitor in the client stakes soon enough &mdash; we've known about GOG's Galaxy client <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-com-announces-galaxy-drm-free-online-gaming-platform/">for almost a year now</a>, but reports on the functionality of its alpha are starting to be seen in the wild.</p><p>One such piece comes from the folks at <a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/01/gog-galaxy-client-alpha-test">Wired</a>, who have had a fiddle with Galaxy's bits in their current form. Generally speaking, it's a positive piece saying that &mdash; even though it's still very early along &mdash; there's enough functionality to put GOG's previous efforts to shame. Admittedly that's not hard, as the GOG downloader is a tool from, like, 1904 or something.</p><p>The client doesn't yet have features like auto-update &mdash; the main reason I'm looking forward to it, as GOG's current update system relies way too much on me having to pay attention &mdash; but generally speaking sounds like it's on the right track.</p><p>You can sign up for the GOG Galaxy alpha <a href="http://www.gog.com/galaxy/alpha">right here</a>, and I'm going to do that right now as I hadn't already.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nyYW9AOWh-8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>[image credit:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-05/01/gog-galaxy-client-alpha-test">Wired</a>]</p> Divinity developer bringing surprise to E3http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-developer-bringing-surprise-to-e3/Belgians signing with French? It's like cats marrying... cats.Mon, 04 May 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-developer-bringing-surprise-to-e3/Divinity: Original SinLarian StudiosNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WixU8vA_SuSZ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uR_wr7wyAI5W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Divinity Original Sin 3"></p><p>divinity</p><p>As spotted on <a href="http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/larians-next-games.98835/">RPG Codex</a>, Larian Studios - the Belgian team behind Divinity: Original Sin - has inked a deal with Focus Home Interactive to work on a 'new title'. Details don't go much further than that aside from saying there will be a 'beautiful surprise' for players (and journalists) at this year's E3.</p><p>The better translation probably isn't 'beautiful surprise', but that's what Google Translate goes with so it's what I have to stick with - the French I picked up during school having left me the minute I left said school. You can read the full investors' information page <a href="http://investisseurs.focus-home.com/files/FOCUSHOMEINTERACTIVE-CP-23-04-2015.pdf">here</a>, if your French is a bit better than mine.</p><p>Focus is an independent French publisher that has brought <a href="http://www.focus-home.com/en/games">titles like</a> Styx: Master of Shadows, Blood Bowl II and Farming Simulator 2015 to shops in Europe. Safe to say it operates a mixed bag policy, but Larian collaborating with a publisher that can give it any additional distribution should be a good thing.</p><p>We'll have to wait until E3 to see what's actually going on though. And no, I don't have an inside track even though PC Gamer is involved with the <a href="http://www.pcgamingshow.com/">PC Gaming Show</a>.</p> Battlefield's Megalodon returnshttp://www.pcgamer.com/battlefields-megalodon-returns/Dun dun dun dun dun dun...Mon, 04 May 2015 11:43:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefields-megalodon-returns/Battlefield 4DICEFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/izDy27YFR7GB.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D-SCpm9byrog.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Megalodon"></p><p>The Megalodon has returned to Battlefield 4, now making its massive shark home on the Paracel Storm map. The easter egg has been discovered by those in the community test environment, and it was added to celebrate the 100th patch coming to the CTE:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/v1ZxtT-iInc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The Megalodon previously appeared in the Naval Strike expansion for BF4, scaring the bejeesus out of anyone who hit some strict criteria on the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-WladmrdNQ">Nansha Strike</a> map. It was removed from the game quite a while ago, and I did think it was relatively safe to go for a paddle once more.</p><p>Apparently not. There's no word if the Megalodon will make its way into the game proper and stay there, but seeing as EA is happy to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-patch-nerfs-couch/">patch out all the fun</a> we have in Battlefield, I wouldn't hold my breath.</p> I Am Bread introduces space combathttp://www.pcgamer.com/i-am-bread-introduces-space-combat/And no, I'm not lying.Mon, 04 May 2015 10:08:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/i-am-bread-introduces-space-combat/Bossa StudiosI Am BreadNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zu9KyCtvR3-F.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N5IvrAt0Hy1K.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="I Am Bread Starch Wars"></p><p>It's the fourth of May, so it's Buck Rogers day or something, I don't know. To celebrate the fact, Bossa Studios has released a free update for frustrating loaf simulator I Am Bread: Starch Wars.</p><p>Ahhh, it's Star Wars Day - <em>now</em> I get it! Beam me up, the fourth of May!</p><p>Anyway, the update - which you can get gratis if you own the game proper and have completed the first chapter - takes things in a slightly unexpected direction: up. Into space, actually. It's genuinely, actually, I-am-not-making-this-up, a space combat game. Look:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/foftWU8kIJ8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Bossa sent some words, too. Be warned, there are many awful puns in here: <em>"Following the destruction of the petrol station, the remaining crumbs of the rebellious fleet have been intercepted as they head to the planet of all-dough-naan. A lone freedom fighter with the call sign bread leader picks up the distress signal and speeds to their aid. And yep, you guessed it; he's their only hope."</em></p><p>While a clever little addition to the game, it's a shame the original package <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/i-am-bread-review/">isn't all that</a>. It's not awful, but by no means is it as great as a game all about bread should have been.</p> GTA 2 recreated in real life thanks to drone technologyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-2-recreated-in-real-life-thanks-to-drone-technology/No pedestrians harmed in the creation of this video, we hope.Mon, 04 May 2015 03:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-2-recreated-in-real-life-thanks-to-drone-technology/Grand Theft Auto 2GTANews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N-aDHKKRdso" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you've ever questioned the value of hobby drones, the above video perfectly demonstrates why they need to exist. As spotted by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/05/gta-recreated-perfectly-in-real-life/">Kotaku</a>, a bunch of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKVpHlW2OdhcwxiYMULRqLA">clever folk</a> have recreated GTA 2 using a drone, several cars and lots of red jumpers. If you've ever controlled a drone for five minutes without it plunging to the ground or colliding with something, you'll understand the skill at play above.</p><p>While the sleepy suburban setting doesn't really channel GTA, the creators have added some neat touches: collectibles and bullet fire&nbsp;have been added after the fact, there's a mild instance of pedestrian carnage, and gangs are out in full force, enjoying impromptu scraps with the local constabulary. All it needs is a good tank. Maybe next time guys.</p> Wolfenstein: The Old Blood releases this week, so here's an hour of footagehttp://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-releases-this-week-so-heres-an-hour-of-footage/Spoil the game days head of release.Mon, 04 May 2015 01:46:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-releases-this-week-so-heres-an-hour-of-footage/Bethesda SoftworksFPSNewsWolfenstein: The New OrderWolfenstein: The Old Blood <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e4JbWva9Z_E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>MachineGames and publisher Bethesda have not been shy showing off&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood/">Wolfenstein: The Old Blood</a>. We've already seen&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/see-20-minutes-of-wolfenstein-the-old-blood-footage/">heaps of footage</a>, but now there's another lengthy video showcasing the standalone expansion. The game releases this week so it might be worth avoiding this if you're keen to be surprised, but if you're impatient or just wanna watch the world burn, the video is above.&nbsp;</p><p>Reported to have a more "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-will-have-a-much-more-pulp-b-movie-vibe/">pulpy, B-movie vibe</a>" than its serious older sibling&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-new-order/">The New Order</a>, The Old Blood will take place across eight chapters, and is expected to be punishingly difficult on its hardest setting (a redundant observation for anyone brave enough to play The New Order on its hardest difficulty). It's due to release on May 6 and will require&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-system-requirements-revealed/">similar system&nbsp;specs</a> to The New Order.&nbsp;</p><p>Cheers,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/05/04/wolfenstein-the-old-blood-gameplay-footage-livestream-capture-pc-ps4-xbox-one-video/">VG247</a>.</p> Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor GOTY edition is out this week http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-goty-edition-is-out-this-week/Bundles all previously released DLC with base game.Mon, 04 May 2015 01:20:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-goty-edition-is-out-this-week/ActionMiddle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMonolith ProductionsNewsShadow of MordorStealthWarner Bros <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UAZTTcc9TGS2.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oNiuF0W1qW4I.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Lord of the Hunt"></p><p>We didn't name&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor/">Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor</a> "game of the year", but clearly someone did, because its getting a Game Of The Year edition. It releases Tuesday for $49.99 and comes bundled with all downloadable content, including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-dlc-the-bright-lord-promises-a-throw-down-in-saurons-town/">The Bright Lord</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-lord-of-the-hunt-dlc-pack-adds-new-warchiefs-and-mounts/">Lord of the Hunt</a>, as well as all the usual aesthetic adornments&nbsp;and bonus items.</p><p>These include six skins, nine extra runes, three extra missions (in addition to the bigger mission packs listed above), seven challenge modes and a new photo mode.&nbsp;</p><p>If you don't own the game already it's well worth checking out, with our Leif Johnson rating it highly. "The tech specs are demanding, but this is the Middle-Earth game to rule them all," he wrote in his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middleearth-shadow-of-mordor-review/">review</a>.</p><p>Here's the box art for those who intend to purchase it on disc:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JQyHRbBZS7qu.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NJZiSy2N13si.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Som Goty"></p> Elite: Dangerous to reintroduce space destruction derbies following outcryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-to-reintroduce-space-destruction-derbies-following-outcry/Fear the goat.Mon, 04 May 2015 00:03:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-to-reintroduce-space-destruction-derbies-following-outcry/Elite: DangerousFrontier DevelopmentsNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uaBIb0A8QHqo.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FrIFQE39x8JY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite"></p><p>Space can be lonely. Boring, even. So it makes sense that while cruising from one planet to the next, you'll feel the need&nbsp;to destroy things on the way. Perfectly human instinct, that is, but one that was recently made punishable in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>A recent update to the game increased the severity of no fire zones. Previously, shooting other players in these neutral zones would incur fines. But where there's a will to be destructive&nbsp;there's a way, and players soon cottoned on that you could ram other players instead, without alerting the intergalactic cops.&nbsp;</p><p>Frontier Developments&nbsp;noticed, and implemented a punishment system for collisions in no fire zones. While a well meaning change, it&nbsp;also put&nbsp;an end to space destruction derbies – a fun, player-created phenomenon not&nbsp;anticipated by the devs. These emergent mini-games are arguably the marker of any successful sandbox game, and feeling peeved, players&nbsp;resorted to the best form of protest available to them: goat memes.</p><p>The result was this: an endless stream of goat pictures under the Twitter hashtag&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EDProtestGoat?src=hash">#EDProtestGoat&nbsp;</a>. The Elite forums were swamped with them too, prompting lead designer Sandro Sammarco to respond to the goat controversy.</p><p>"I'll need to check with some clever coder folk on this, but I'm hopeful that we can have this crime not squawked with "don't report crimes against me"," Sammarco wrote.&nbsp;"As long as all participants use this functionality then they would be safe to race near each other - though hitting spectators would still trigger the crime."</p><p>So there you have it, online outrage wins again, but this time for good! It's worth reading through Sammarco's&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=141640&amp;page=40&amp;p=2172698&amp;viewfull=1#post2172698">full notes on the forum</a> if you play Elite and are heavily invested in the whole controversy.&nbsp;</p> League of Legends: The case for the East Coasthttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-the-case-for-the-east-coast/There's a metagame aspect that is oft-overlooked: all of Asia's involved in a coordinated conspiracy to keep the world championship trophy to themselves, and it's got a lot to do with their server regions.Sun, 03 May 2015 23:19:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-the-case-for-the-east-coast/esportsLeague of LegendsLoLwatchMOBA <p>Riot's been semi-regularly updating the community on its infrastructural progression, and so far so good. I've actually noticed a reduction in my average ping over the last few weeks&mdash;which, granted, isn't entirely necessary when my champion pool mostly consists of heavy close-range bruisers. Skill shots? That's for mid laners to bother with. I just want to run up and hit people.</p><p>But it does help. And their eventual plan to develop what is effectively a semi-private nationwide routing network has great implications for the development of North American esports by reducing the artificial limitations on skills development for more easterly players. Right now, west coasters have a significant advantage&mdash;30 ms from San Jose versus 100+ is basically the difference between reacting and predicting. While there is certainly value in developing strong predictive skills in-game, which is the basis of Madlife's legend-inspiring Thresh and Blitzcrank play, a player's mechanical strength is based at least a little on the speed they react to developing situations in a fight. Especially in solo queue.</p><p>Granted, it isn't the only thing, or arguably even the most important. Low reaction speed can be compensated for with a good team composition and strategic planning. Sure, you might be liable to miss crucial Smites or whiff difficult Glacial Prisons, but a good understanding of blind points, play patterns and ability abuse has lifted even the most remote players to the top of solo queue rankings. </p><p>Case in point: AHQ E-Sports Club's own ace in the hole. Liu "Westdoor" Shu-Wei is a feared local legend, dominating not just the Taiwanese Garena servers but slashing through the ranks of North America and even Korea in yesteryears. The average ping from Taipei to Los Angeles? 166 on a good day, or <em>ten times</em> that of an LCS pro duking it out somewhere in the vicinity of Santa Monica. Sure, Westdoor is <em>incredibly skilled</em>, but given that he made his name off Twisted Fate's fire-and-forget Gold Cards (as opposed to Riven's frame-by-frame intricacies) it's clear that "skill" in League of Legends extends past just reactionary play.</p><p>That said, an east coast server is probably going to be necessary in the long run, and not just for ping parity. There's a metagame aspect that is oft-overlooked: all of Asia's involved in a coordinated conspiracy to keep the world championship trophy to themselves, and it's got a lot to do with their server regions.</p><h3>Eastern alliance<img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oW8Zpu7zRFGQ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SzTNmUzDh9ge.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Liu &quot;Westdoor&quot; Shu-Wei" style="color: rgb(154, 154, 154); font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"></h3><p>I've verified it over the spring split with multiple teams, on the record. Heck, LMS teams have said so on video (albeit in Mandarin, so mostly to the ignorance of Reddit et al). It's not exactly a big secret, just one that's often overlooked by the region-specific narrative espoused by most commentators. Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei: three server regions, but one practice circuit. While Korean and Chinese teams do focus primarily on their domestic circuits, thus forming the particular metagames and trends of each region, they regularly swap notes and test the strength of each other's best.</p><p>It's why, for instance, Westdoor popped out the Cho'gath mid pre-Cinderhulk. Korean solo queue's been using it as a LeBlanc counter since early spring, the conical Silence on Feral Scream doing a serious number to what was then an assassins-heavy meta, dependent on champion ability and burst potential. It was weeks later until the west picked up on it, and by then it was less about shutting down assassins and more about providing another layer of meat in front of the AD carry. </p><p>It is, I suspect, a major reason for the eastern regions' continued strength. The Korean exodus did more than just weaken KeSPA's stranglehold on esports success&mdash;it's networked the eastern hemisphere regions into a loosely organized competitive federation. Though not one without its pain points.</p><p>In Taipei, for example, the Taipei Assassins have caught a little flack over their scrim schedules. Sure, it makes perfect sense for them to want to spend a lot of time scrimming Korean teams&mdash;it's why they brought in a Korean coach in the first place, to provide that sort of networking opportunity. For them to do so almost at the exclusion of their fellow LoL Master Series teams, though, has engendered a little ill will. There is some nationalism with the Wolves and AHQ in that they're working to redeem Taiwan's reputation in international esports, yet the Wolves claim that it's easier to get scrims with GE Tigers than it is with TPA!</p><h3>Quid pro quo</h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KQudeB2JQ6qZ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LDpSDxWuNLsD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="TSM circa 2012, image by Leaguepedia" class=""></p><p>But even with neighborly issues, it's hard to pretend that the Taiwanese teams haven't undergone substantial improvements this year. Their exposure to the practices and habits of Chinese and Korean peers has greatly expanded their playbooks and tightened their mechanical executions&mdash;in lieu of actual international competition, they can at least have international practices to keep them truly ready come the MSI and Worlds.</p><p>That's not possible for EU and NA teams. The last time that the two regions were interconnected was back in 2012, when TSM was an East Coast team and bearing with 150+ ping to occasionally practice against their Old Country counterparts. Nowadays, the only cross-cultural interchange is between North America and Japan&mdash;and it's mostly Japan stuck playing on NA servers by virtue of lacking their own, and they're too new to really offer much in terms of experience to the more established North American scene. </p><p>That's going to impede western strategic development. It probably already has. It is by no mere accident that Europe's picked up a reputation for sluggish, grinding play, and no accident that TiP so rapidly tore through established North American teams back when they were LMQ and staffed entirely of Chinese players. It is natural for a region to copy the play styles of their most successful teams, but the insulated nature of the western regions means their best teams have very few opportunities to learn how they might get punished by somebody working off a wholly different set of assumptions.</p><p>Thus: a trans-Atlantic server. Or, at the very least, deliberate effort to extend Riot's ongoing network development program with the trans-Atlantic connection in mind. And, if at all possible, with Brazil in mind as well, as the rapidly developing CBLoL program is arguably mature enough to deserve a guaranteed Worlds seed in 2016. </p><p>What might that cross-pollination result in? Better League. Better play. Less 50+ minute European snoozefests as teammates bicker and snark&mdash;at each other&mdash;over how best to not shut out a game when they're ahead. It's not as if Chinese games don't run the clock either, but it's much rarer&mdash;and even when they do, the kill tallies pile up like an avalanche over the entirety of it. </p><p>I think that's something we can all approve.</p> Game of Checkers, Part 4: a tiny drama in CK2's Game of Thrones modhttp://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-checkers-part-4/A diary of Crusader Kings 2 with the A Game of Thrones mod.Sun, 03 May 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-checkers-part-4/Crusader Kings 2DiaryGame of CheckersStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G4x4g2VKQYKO.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U7mUsGcQR6NM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p><em>Last year I played a multi-generational game of grand strategy </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crusader-kings-2-review/">Crusader Kings 2</a><em> using the </em><a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/crusader-kings-2-a-game-of-thrones-ck2agot">A Game of Thrones mod</a><em>, which transforms the historical medieval setting of CK2 into the continent of Westeros from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels (and the HBO series). My goal was to play as the most minor of lords and experience the conflict and drama of Westeros from the ground floor. </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-checkers/">Game of Checkers</a><em> will run on Sundays for ten weeks.</em></p><h2>A Storm of Sisters</h2><p>Going from playing as&nbsp;Ninedrick to his son Neddrick was a bit jarring. Going from Neddrick to his daughter Nondrosie (I’ll just call her Rosie from now on) who is eleven years old? I’m not sure how to describe that.</p><p>Even by Westeros standards, Rosie is still a kid. She’s so young we can’t even see what she looks like: she still has the default child avatar. We can look at her stats, though, which are disheartening: she’s a poor fighter, taking after her father, clearly. She’s also arbitrary. She’s envious. She’s deceitful. Well, she definitely sounds like an eleven year-old kid.</p><p>This is a pretty precarious spot to be in, game-wise. The war against the Iron Throne&nbsp;that killed Neddrick still rages on, and while I’m no longer on the battlefield, the fighting is right at our doorstep. Half of The Vale is burning with sieges, the other half crawling with tens of thousands of enemy soldiers. And, weirdly, perhaps even&nbsp;grossly, my first priority is to find little&nbsp;Rosie a suitable future husband. As a little girl, my only heirs are two other little girls, Nondrikki and Nondruby, formerly my daughters, now my sisters. It’s not much of a safety net as losing Rosie would mean I become an even younger child. Not to mention, we’re all in the same castle. If something terrible happens to&nbsp;Rosie, the same thing will probably happen to Rikki and Ruby a moment later. I have to at least lock down a potential husband to get things lined up for a future heir.</p><p>Finding a spouse is much&nbsp;trickier now. Acquiring&nbsp;suitable wives for male lords isn't hard, but finding husbands for women comes with a built-in problem. Typically, when a man and woman marry, the woman goes to live with the man, and their children become part of his dynasty, and are&nbsp;his heirs.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mcjYcO93SZO9.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sNLlKjaogiRY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>I can’t marry Rosie that way. Her children would be the heirs of her husband’s dynasty, not her own, which means that when Rosie died, her kids would not be playable characters for me. She needs to find a man willing to move to <em>her</em> court and let their children become a part of <em>her</em> dynasty: a matrilineal marriage. I could probably find a number of willing commoners, but it’s not easy to find highborn men, or the guardians of young highborn boys, who will agree to that.</p><p>In fact, there are only a couple non-commoners I can find. One is Viserys Targaryen, brother of Daenerys. I won't&nbsp;be marrying him. Sure, he’s a prince, but he’s also cruel and insane. All the prestige in the world isn't worth marrying that dirtbag.</p><p>Then there’s Moryn Blackbar. He’s son of Lord Paramount Margery Tyrell, herself a prominent book character, and he’s Heir to the Reach. He’s only 13, which is at least age appropriate, though why Margery would agree to a matrilineal marriage, where her grandchildren would become part of my dynasty, I have no idea. I staple a note to a raven, and a week later she sends back a winged&nbsp;response. She’s happy with the match, despite it being matrilineal. Amazing! If this goes through, I’ll have married into the Starks, the Lannisters, and the Tyrells. Not bad for a House that came from a little stretch of worthless land.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nQvRhromT96Y.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kH7bRA8FbJwF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>Meanwhile, the few still-living main&nbsp;characters from the books are looking old. Jaime Lannister is in his 50’s, and is Master at Arms for King Michael Baratheon. Jon Snow is 39, Master of Whispers in Karhold, and married with couple of&nbsp;kids. Brienne of Tarth is Master of Laws in Blackhaven, married with one son. Samwell Tarly is around, married and Master at Arms (surprisingly!) of The Westmarch, with three kids. And good old Littlefinger is still at it, Castellan of The Vale. He’s certainly not expanded his influence as far as he would like, but when it comes to The Vale, he’s still pulling the strings.</p><p>Tyrion Lannister is pushing 50, is married (with a mistress, natch) and has four living children including a daughter, Rosamund, whom, he reminds me in a missive, is betrothed to Nerdrick, the suspiciously thin and blond member of my family. Once my son, then my brother, and now my uncle, I give Nerdrick the go-ahead to get officially hitched.</p><p>Since I’m enabling hookups left and right, I might as well keep going. I arrange a future matrilineal marriage for my sister, Rikki, to boy-lord Aeamon of the Stormlands, but&nbsp;I can’t find anyone suitable&nbsp;for little Ruby at the moment.&nbsp;Meanwhile, I seem to be butting heads with my aunt Nanndrick (Ninedrick’s third, largely-forgotten child, who was born just as he died of pneumonia). She’s a year younger than me and we do not get along. I guess we just come from different generations.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lUT6mTfyT5Gp.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xPo6Z_fSlDYF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>Rosie also doesn't get along with&hellip; well, anyone. My sister Ruby doesn't like me much. Rikki absolutely hates me, probably because I (as Neddrick) changed the succession laws so she wouldn't inherit any titles. I give her a present of some gold which makes her a little happier. I’m sure the peasants of Pebble and&nbsp;Wycliffe would be thrilled to know their taxes are being given to cranky children&nbsp;to improve their moods.</p><p>The war eventually winds down, with King Michael again keeping his butt affixed to the Iron Throne, giving the continent plenty of time to bust up into other, smaller, even more pointless wars. My small collection of exhausted peasant soldiers wander around following my new liege, Lord Paramount Gilwood, for a few years. In the meantime, I get word that Jaime Lannister has been killed in personal combat with some randomly generated character. He was 58.</p><p>Rosie turns 14 and marries the Heir to the Reach, Moryn Blackbar. Now Margery, Lady Paramount of the Reach, is my ally. Good news, because I've started thinking, again, about that other small island in The Fingers:&nbsp;The Paps. Neddrick’s claim on it died with him, but I guess the paperwork is still lying around because I immediately receive a fresh claim. Unfortunately, I can only scrounge up a combined 200 troops from Pebble and Wycliffe, not nearly enough to storm The Paps. I don’t have the cash for mercenaries, either, so I’m going to have to wait.</p><h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7BZqUsNzTnyu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hQQlAm9iAaMo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p></h2><h2>Family Plots</h2><p>With what little gold I've got, I've started construction on a castle town in Pebble hoping to increase my tax base a little. With only military holdings, it’s really tough to raise any money.</p><p>And, something actually happens: I've been appointed Master of Whispers to Lord Paramount Gilwood! Hell yeah! Just call me Rosiefinger! Wait, don’t call me that. That’s weird. Not to be outdone, Littlefinger becomes Regent for like the 20th time. I also notice some activity on Midlor Point: Littlefinger is building some barracks to increase the size of his armies. Sure, as soon as I start building a town, he starts building military structures. He must know something I don’t.</p><p>More Iron Throne business erupts. Former King Arrec, who was chilling in the Iron Islands, has been mysterious murdered. Now, some people want Herbert, Arrec’s son, to take the throne instead of current King Michael, Robert’s bastard, who has already put down several rebellions. I sense some pointless marching in our future.</p><p>In less heartening news, my family still doesn't like me. Everyone has a negative opinion of Rosie. Uncle Nerdrick and his wife. Both of my sisters. Even my new&nbsp;husband despises me, probably because he’s heir to the Reach and has to live on a crummy island called Pebble. I’m too broke from building a castle town to buy anyone gifts, but I award my husband the honorary title of Cupbearer, hoping it’ll cure his grouchiness. Nerdrick and his wife Rosamund have a daughter they name Marianne. Weird name. My opinion of their child is negative six. I am not impressed by you, stupid&nbsp;baby.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5cW5-c5oSL-g.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uwujBqeetfBe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>Tyrion Lannister dies at age 56, after falling into a coma. I get busy, trying to get young Ruby promised off to some stranger. The best bet is another one of Margery’s sons, Humfrey Blackbar. It’s another matrilineal marriage and it gives us a healthy dose of prestige. It’s a little weird that both she and I will be marrying two brothers, but in Westeros, that's&nbsp;nowhere near as weird as some relationships.</p><p>Meanwhile, there’s still no action between the sheets for Rosie and Moryn. We are pretty much neutral to each other. His goal is to have a son, so I make that my goal, not that I care if I have a boy or a girl. I just figure with a common goal we might get to humping at some point. I’m now in my twentiespractically middle-aged for this world&mdash;and haven’t produced an heir</p><p>While I’m idly scrolling around the map, waiting for time to pass, I notice, way off to the west, something I've never seen before. A tiny island, miles out to sea. It’s called Lonely Light. Technically, Lonely Light is part of the Iron Islands but it’s eight days away by boat&nbsp;to even reach it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UPTY0kYmQaWR.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jYIvfFJlwbSH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>I decide to send a message, via raven, to the commander of Lonely Light, and I decide that message should be an insult. It just strikes me as funny. This guy lives on an island eight days away from the rest of the world. Imagine getting a raven waaaaay out there and opening the message and it just says “U smell.” Look, I have no money and very little to do. You have take your entertainment where you can get it.</p><p>As if to reward this act of trolling, I become pregnant. Soon my daughter is born, and I name her Nondaisy. It's fantastic news for me and my husband, but terrible news for my sister Rikki, who was heir by default. She suddenly hates my guts. Well, she already hated my guts, but now she <em>completely </em>loathes me. Sister Ruby continues to dislike me, and my Aunt Nandrick isn’t much fonder. </p><p>All this hatred is clearly leading somewhere, and I’m genuinely not surprised when my spymaster taps me on the shoulder one day and whispers the words I've been waiting for: there’s a plot to assassinate my newborn daughter. The plot was hatched by my sister Rikki, which is depressing but not really a shock. What's more, the plot is being backed by Lothar the Lame! I’d made him my Master of Coin a couple years ago, and I’m glad I did: if he’d been my Master of Whispers, he certainly wouldn't have revealed a plot that he himself was taking part in.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j1hEKRrLT82y.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8o3_ZZhYrbxW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>I tell them I’m aware of their plan and that they both need to knock it off. They back down and drop the murder plot, but it’s pretty horrifying to be in close quarters with two people who want to kill my baby daughter. </p><p>I decide to make some changes: I replace Lothar with another Master of Coin and hope he buggers off out of my court, or at least dies soon (he’s 66). As for Rikki, when her betrothed is old enough to marry, I’m going to see if I can switch her marriage from matrilineal to traditional. That way she’ll move in with her betrothed and off my island. Hell, if I hadn’t already promised her to Aemon of the Stormlands I’d marry her to that Lonely Light island commander let her spend the rest of her life counting seagulls and filing all the insulting notes I’d send them.</p><p>Another plot comes out. My aunt, Nanndrick, is trying to kill my Master of Whispers, Marsella. Backing this plot is Lothar (again, he’s still hanging around my court) and my grandmother, Dana Whent (wife of Ninedrick! Remember him? And her?). So, Marsella, for being kind and competent enough to prevent my baby daughter from being murdered, is now in the crosshairs herself.</p><p>Once again, I rap on Lothar’s chamber door and say, “Hey, could you please stop backing plots to murder everyone I know, you limping shit?” He agrees, so I move onto Grandma&nbsp;Dana. She also agrees to drop her plot. Then I confront Nanndrick. It takes her nine days to respond, despite the fact that we live in the same castle, but&nbsp;she finally promises she will end her plot.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vHv9CH7lQvao.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ofd8vt6EOGJL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>There's a saying: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But what the hell do you do about family, who at times represent your best of friends and worst of enemies? Frankly,&nbsp;I feel like I need keep them as far away from me as possible.</p><p>Suddenly,&nbsp;I’m pregnant again. Great. Another relative. Another potential enemy.&nbsp;This castle is suddenly feeling far too small.</p><h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7KDLJq8MSLCH.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TNdg9fTGv0gH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p></h2><h2>Spoiler Alert</h2><p>I'll continue Rosie's story next week, but before I go, I want to relate something interesting that happened elsewhere&nbsp;in the world. Since this event contains something of a spoiler for the fiction, it's on the next page, but here I'll explain as vaguely as possible <em>why </em>it might be considered a spoiler.</p><p>If you're only interested in the storyline of Game of Checkers, you can just come back next week&mdash;nothing on the next page has anything to do with my little dynasty.&nbsp;You won’t miss any of Rosie’s story: this is just an account of what happens with the current war for the Iron Throne, and it takes place without any of my involvement.&nbsp;And, the event isn't one that takes place in the fiction, it just involves a certain character from the books whose very name might be a spoiler.</p><p>See, there’s a character that died well before the books began, though there are a number of hints to indicate this character is actually alive and secretly living elsewhere. We don’t really know if it’s true. It has not been definitively revealed in the books yet (and&nbsp;I don't think this character has even been mentioned on the TV show.) One character in the books has met someone <em>claiming </em>to be this person, but it’s just a claim and&nbsp;hasn't&nbsp;been confirmed.</p><p>Anyway, this next section involves this character, so proceed with caution, or just leave now and come back next week.</p><h2>Dragon Lands</h2><p>Hey, guess what? A new claim on the Iron Throne is being pressed. This is nothing new, but this time it’s the claim of a Targaryen. It’s not Daenerys. It’s not Vicerys.</p><p>It’s Aegon.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zvmiZJQpT9CU.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ycYDRn78SclH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>In the history of the novels, Aegon (son of Rhaegar)&nbsp;was killed as a baby when Mad King Aerys was overthrown, though it’s possible that Varys, Master of Whispers, actually smuggled baby Aegon out of King’s Landing to have him raised in Essos, allowing a peasant’s baby to be killed in Aegon’s place. The idea was that Aegon might return one day and claim the Iron Throne, bringing the rule of the Seven Kingdoms back to the Targaryens. That day has apparently come.</p><p>One of my response options to this is news is to declare “Long Live the True King!” Meaning King Michael Baratheon. Look, even if you hate the Targaryens, how can anyone in Westeros say any one of the collection of bastards we've rotated on and off Iron Throne is the true king? I’m very tempted to throw in with the Targaryens, because we sure have made a mess of things without them. But, I’m following my liege, like a good little lord.</p><p>So! A Targaryen invasion. Exciting! Instead of some inbred jerk sitting on our throne, we may get... a different inbred jerk sitting on our throne (canonically, the Targaryens did a lot of inbreeding).</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oDacYaunR22-.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ugMAmKr2qE30.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>Aegon makes his landing at Dyre Den, right in my neighborhood, with about a thousand of his own soldiers and 10,000 Golden Company warriors (a mercenary fighting force).&nbsp;My immediate thought is: 10,000? That’s it? I’m sure they look really impressive and all, but it seems a bit weak: my grandfather Ninedrick was once attached to an Iron Throne army some 50,000 strong. No one from Westeros seems to have thrown in with Aegon, either, so he’s not going to have any local support. Still, I’m pretty damned excited to see him. Aegon, in the flesh, stepping off a boat onto my turf.</p><p>After laying siege to Dyre Den and easily claiming it, Aegon heads to North Crackclaw Point where there are about 4,000 Iron Throne soldiers awaiting him. There are also 67 ships bearing soldiers from The Reach approaching.</p><p>I guess I was right: 10,000 Golden Company warriors&nbsp;do look damn impressive, because the ships from the Reach turn right around and vanish, and the 4,000 Iron Throne soldiers skirt around Aegon and slip away into The Whispers, letting him sack North Crackclaw.</p><p>I hope Aegon is happy seeing his enemies flee before him: I suspect it’s going to be all downhill from here. A full 34,000 Iron Throne soldiers advance from the west, with 27 ships appearing in the Bay of Crabs for additional support. 2,000 Thronemen peel off and begin taking back Dyre Den.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7VRszphdRC2D.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OhiJ1C4VPgwV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Checkers"></p><p>Galleys land and start pooping out soldiers. The Iron Throne’s forces are up to 52,000 now, and another 22,000 are marching in through Rook Rest, only a couple of weeks away. The clash begins in North Crackclaw, and Aegon’s army is whittled down to 5,000 men within a month. He’s left himself no escape on land: the Bay of Crabs is north of him and Claw Cape is to the east and south. The only way to run is west, where the land is crawling with more Iron Throne soldiers.</p><p>With only 2,000 men left, Aegon retreats through The Whispers. In pursuit are the 50,000 soldiers he was fighting. 32 ships worth of Westerlanders arrive by boat, not that they’ll be needed.</p><p>And then it’s over. Offered peace, with no other choice, Aegon accepts, having only briefly conquered Dyre Den. The invasion, if you can even call it that, ends with a whimper. He’s thrown in jail in King’s Landing. </p><p>The war is over. The remnants of the Golden Company just stand there on North Cracklaw Point, no one left to pay their tab.</p> The Binding of Isaac: Eternal Edition out nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-binding-of-isaac-eternal-edition-out-now/A free update for theoriginal game that adds a new Hard more and more.Sun, 03 May 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-binding-of-isaac-eternal-edition-out-now/NewsRoguelikeThe Binding of IsaacThe Binding of Isaac: The Wrath of the Lamb <iframe width="600" height="338" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EGHrNaRzKKo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you're a Binding of Isaac player, you've probably already moved on to Rebirth by now, the recent,&nbsp;spritely remake&nbsp;that adds new content and performs way better, on account of it not being made in Flash. Well now you have a reason to return to the original game. Florian Himsl&mdash;co-developer of the original version&mdash;has just released his promised&nbsp;update that adds a new Hard mode, "eternal" enemies, and makes bug fixes and other changes to the game. The free update is on Steam now, and you'll need the Wrath of the Lamb expansion to play it.</p><p>The above video details some of the changes, which should make for a nice challenge for Isaac pros.</p> Mod makes daytime more dangerous in Dying Lighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/mod-makes-daytime-more-dangerous-in-dying-light/More alert and persistentzombies thatdon't wait for you to come to them.Sun, 03 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-makes-daytime-more-dangerous-in-dying-light/Dying LightFPSMod of the WeekMods <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0JUwoZvzRoC6.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1IVOSZn9YEdk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light"></p><p>With the news that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-island-2-shuffles-back-to-2016/">Dead Island 2 has been moved back to 2016</a>, you're probably worried about having nowhere to turn to get your zombie fix. Other than the thousands of other zombies games out there, I mean. Like Dying Light!&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-editor-updates-announced-mod-competition-launched/">With mod tools recently appearing</a>, it's not a bad time to revisit the zombie-hopping open world game and see what modders have been up to.</p><p>The difference between night and day in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-review/">Dying Light</a> is like the difference between, well, night and day. At night, the infected&nbsp;are far more powerful and&nbsp;bloodthirsty, meaning your only two options for survival are hiding and running, and neither of those work for very long.&nbsp;Daytime zombies, though, are far more passive, usually standing in the street and not even bothering with you unless you run right up to them or cause some kind of ruckus in their immediate vicinity. <a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/dyinglight/mods/128/?">The I Am Legion mod</a> changes this, and while it doesn't turn day into night, it definitely ups the challenge by altering the behavior of daytime zeds.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_tUl-DyLQ-Se.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RHDJxZJZ5BDd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light"></p><p>First and foremost, it adds more zombie spawn points. Thanks to the mod, the zombies (and we're talking the general type of zombies, not the recently infected or specialized types) no longer just stand around in the street. They walk and prowl around, as if they're actively looking for you, or at least looking for someone. Once they spot you or hear you&mdash;and now they can at much greater distances&mdash;they become much more aggressive than they do in the unmodded game, and their group AI has been beefed up, meaning they're more likely to attack in packs from all sides. They also don't give up quite so easily&nbsp;if you simply run away, and even when you enter a safe zone, they won't forget you. They'll be waiting for you to come back out. Eek.</p><p>In addition to this, areas you've cleared of zombies repopulate much more quickly. Armed human goons are much less frequent, which initially sounds like it would contribute to a safer city, but really means weapon and ammo pickups are much more rare. Buying guns and ammo from dealers is tougher, too, as prices have been goosed up a bit.</p><p>The end result is a much more hostile and dangerous daytime&nbsp;environment, which will require you to keep to the rooftops as much as possible, plan your routes in advance, and keep moving!&nbsp;As you can imagine, this mod makes beginning a fresh game much more of a challenge.&nbsp;Good luck.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Tpoxn-5eQDCL.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RESqppNegip3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light"></p><p>You can grab the mod from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/dyinglight/mods/128/?">Nexus Mods</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/i-am-legion">Moddb</a>. There are two versions, The Ultimate Survivor, and The Survivor, the second of which isn't quite as hardcore.&nbsp;Installation instructions are contained in the download.&nbsp;If you'd like to donate to this modder,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nexusmods.com/dyinglight/users/donate/?id=47541">here is the link to do so</a>.</p> Batman: Arkham Knight season pass detailed - play as batgirlhttp://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-season-pass-detailed-play-as-batgirl/Play as Batgirl in a prequel story set in a new location.Sun, 03 May 2015 07:15:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-season-pass-detailed-play-as-batgirl/ActionBatman: Arkham KnightNewsWarner Bros <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-m37KWwOQuSE.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VPHqJyE4fKtf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Batgirl"></p><p>Warner Bros has detailed the contents of Arkham Knight's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-gets-season-pass-and-premium-edition/" target="_blank">pricey season pass</a> over on Facebook&mdash;and one of the&nbsp;DLC bits&nbsp;will let you play as Batgirl. Look, there she is up&nbsp;there, with a cob on that would make Batman smi...that would make Batman glower in sullen approval. In addition to this prequel story that makes&nbsp;Batgirl playable for the first time, we can also expect more Batman story missions, 'Gotham City Stories' that allow us to&nbsp;play as Batman's other chums, plus various character&nbsp;skins, challenge maps and batmobile tracks. So quite a lot of stuff, in other words.</p><p>Here's the full season pass breakdown&nbsp;(thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/34oqd8/wb_just_announced_what_comes_in_batman_arkham/" target="_blank">Reddit</a>):</p><p>"Earlier this week, we announced the Season Pass for Batman: Arkham Knight. While the story of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Trilogy will come to a close on June 23rd, we are excited to continue telling stories and delivering more content to explore and play through in the 6 months following the game’s release. We’ll be building more narrative, more missions, more challenges and more characters and vehicles that we want players to experience, even though they didn’t fit into the storyline of Batman: Arkham Knight.</p><p>We’ve heard from our community that you want more information on what we’ll be delivering in the Season Pass. While we aren’t ready to unveil every aspect of the content we’ll be developing, we would like to share more detail now to give you a better sense of the scope of the Season Pass.</p><p><strong>Batgirl: A Matter of Family</strong></p><p>An all new prequel story expansion in an entirely new location where you play as Batgirl for the very first time in the Arkham series - check out the first render of Batgirl.</p><p><strong>The Season of Infamy</strong></p><p>Play as Batman in all new story missions featuring legendary super-villains invading Gotham City, with new story arcs, missions and gameplay features.</p><p><strong>Gotham City Stories</strong></p><p>Play as Batman’s key allies in narrative missions extending their storylines, from both before and after the events in Batman: Arkham Knight.</p><p><strong>Legendary Batmobiles with Themed Tracks</strong></p><p>Drive the most iconic Batmobiles from Batman’s 75-year history, on custom-built race tracks, each themed to that Batmobile’s specific era. Every Batmobile will be drivable across every race track.</p><p><strong>Crimefighter Challenge Maps</strong></p><p>Engage in a series of new challenge maps utilizing the unique play styles of Batman and his allies.</p><p><strong>Character Skins</strong></p><p>A variety of skins from across the eras for Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman. As we fully ramp up development on the Season Pass, we will be sharing even more details on each monthly content drop. We hope you enjoy playing Batman: Arkham Knight as much as we’ve enjoyed making it."</p> Are videogame auteurs a good thing?http://www.pcgamer.com/are-videogame-auteurs-a-good-thing/Today, Sam and Andy argue about who deserves credit when great games get made.Sat, 02 May 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/are-videogame-auteurs-a-good-thing/Face Off <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VYecN2WMSRS5.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cWZhUKUVBbM3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MGS Kojima"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">face off</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f_DatjBVROyM.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AfbzSJ44UAQQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hs Sam Roberts" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts, Editor</strong> is a faceless cog in the machine, but demands that his face be at the front of the magazine every month.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Oyc3WWzVRX6E.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oBNwAHyfQ4vj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Andy Kelly"></p><p><strong>Andy Kelly, Section Editor</strong> thinks games need bold auteurs leading the project, otherwise they’ll increasingly become a sad beige slurry.</p></div><p><em>In </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off/">Face Off</a><em>, PC Gamer writers go head to head over an issue affecting PC gaming. Today, Sam and Andy argue about who deserves credit when great games get made.</em></p><p><strong>Andy Kelly:&nbsp;</strong><strong>YES.&nbsp;</strong>All great art is the result of an unflinching creative vision, and games should be the same.</p><p><strong>Sam Roberts:&nbsp;</strong><strong>NO.&nbsp;</strong>Games are collaborative, and praising just one person doesn’t make a lot of sense.</p><p><strong>AK</strong>: When Ridley Scott was making Blade Runner, everyone hated him. He made the cast and crew endure hours of gruelling takes on dark, rainy, foggy movie sets, and people would routinely quit the production. And the results speak for themselves. Scott had a bold, unwavering creative vision for the film and, even though it pissed a lot of people off, it resulted in a genuine masterpiece. That’s what games need. They need someone who won’t compromise to appease the suits, and who doesn’t design by committee.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>SR:</strong>&nbsp;There are some games where that’s seemingly been the case, like Ken Levine at Irrational on the BioShock series&mdash;he’s a fairly famous example. But at its height, over 100 people were working at Irrational&mdash;and creative vision is as much about course correction as it is about seeing it through. BioShock Infinite went through six years of development and, while Levine was lead writer, four others are credited on the writing of that game. Studio culture and the way it informs the finished product is way more powerful than the influence of one individual. Filmmaking has a much more direct power structure that relies on the vision of the director. Games are too complicated for that to work the same way.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> Making games is a complex process, no doubt. But when you look at something like Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima’s presence is felt in every scene. Even though attributing the series’ brilliance exclusively to him is unfair to all the talented artists and coders who make his mad fever dreams a reality, they’re still guided by his hand. Kojima is enormously respected and influential at Konami, and a rarity in the industry, but I’d love to see more of that. When publishers start meddling in game development, you end up with stuff like the microtransactions in Assassin’s Creed Unity. Having a Kojima or a Scott at the top of a project is the best way to keep their dirty, money-grubbing poison away from the art.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>SR:</strong> Hey, I make an exception for Kojima. His games are so confidently bizarre that I can’t possibly think how you would get those results in any other way. He does come from an era of smaller teams, though&mdash;he’s been a fixture for a while, as has anyone we&nbsp;consider or have considered an auteur in the games industry, like Levine or Peter Molyneux. It’s proportional relevance. Could you really see someone attaining that status out of a modern studio with 100-200 people in it? It’s a little different with indie studios, where the team sizes mimic the earlier days of games development. But even then&mdash;auteur? Really? It’s a bit highfalutin as terms go for Bloke Who Does Press Interviews or Stage Demo Figurehead. Those are more relevant job titles, Andy. Every studio should have those two people instead.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> Auteur is a bad word to use. Anything French sounds pretentious, like raison d’être or croissant. A Levine or a Kojima takes years to develop, and is usually the result of them making a hit game. But what studios should do is actually hire someone whose job is being the creative driving force behind a project. Their word is law, and everything goes through them for approval. Like an artistic dictatorship. That’s how Ridley Scott made Blade Runner amazing, and I think developers would massively benefit from having someone like that to answer to. Will it ever happen? I doubt it. Not when the suits are there waving their spreadsheets. But it should, because it stops games feeling like cynical cash grabs. AC Unity felt like a product to me, in the way, say, a Stanley Kubrick film doesn’t. I know I’m living in a naive fantasy world, but I like it here. Leave me alone.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>SR:</strong> So you’re comparing auteurs to croissants now? Why not just hire a senior croissant consultant and do away with auteurs altogether? Or a chief creative raison d’être? They can drive the creative direction of this industry&mdash;who needs auteurs when someone has croissant in their job title? I think I’ve won this one.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> Look, I know I’ve spent several pages this issue talking about Blade Runner, but what games really need are genetically engineered super-developers who are made up of the best bits of legendary directors. A bit of Kojima, a bit of Levine, a bit of Mikami, a bit of Molyneux. There’s always a chance they could go rogue and turn murderous, but then I’d get to put on a trenchcoat and hunt them down in a cyberpunk city as Vangelis follows me around playing a synth.</p> The best videos of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/Bad behavior.Sat, 02 May 2015 16:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/ActionArma 3Diablo 3GTA 5Single-playerStarcraft II <p>Between dumb&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5/?page=3">Grant Theft Auto V</a> cops, terrible teachers, and evil DayZ players, this week's best videos have a lot of bad behavior on display. Luckily, there are some pretty DirectX 12 graphics and StarCraft II feats to balance it out.</p><p>Watch the disturbing, hilarious adventures of this DayZ sociopath.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/h7bFXbS9QD4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Square Enix's DirectX 12 demo is pretty damn impressive.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rpDdOIZy-4k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Power leveling is taken to the next level as this Diablo III player goes from level 1 to 70 in one minute.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2iT6407sl-0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>One cloaked banshee with dwindling energy makes for an amazing comeback in this StarCraft II match.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kM5_We_C8kg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>A closer look at No Pineapple Left Behind, a school simulation game where kids are your last priority.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/B2pwafGjPy0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>LSPD's greatest problem isn't drugs, violent crimes, or police corruption. It's ladders.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XHG9EwvcbLA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> The best free games of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-76/Goo, royals, whispers, blood, and knobbly crooks await this week.Sat, 02 May 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-76/browser gamesFree GamesIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w9O-LqhyTr6C.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v3Zs48QLNCZ8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Knobbly Crook"></p><p>All aboard the horse boat scissor paper thing, as this week's free games frenzy is heading somewhere <em>weird</em>. (Actually, isn't it always?) See also: knives made of whispers, people made of paint, forgotten&nbsp;strategy games, and the gooiest gooey&nbsp;puzzle game since World of Goo. Enjoy!</p><h3><a href="http://roguenoodle.itch.io/bloodshot" target="_blank">Bloodshot by rogueNoodle</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AdfAIvg_Qd-1.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GVkVh2lrfSE_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bloodshot"></p><p>I like games&nbsp;that do interesting things with ammo: Deus Ex 2's universal bullets, for example, or the original&nbsp;Dark Souls' strictly&nbsp;limited spell charges. Bloodshot does something neat with ammo too: it links it to your health, and to your enemies' blood spatter. Every bullet consumes your vital essence&mdash;illustrated beautifully by the volume of pink goo sloshing&nbsp;inside your character&mdash;and to top it up you have to hoover up baddie leavings. (Being hit also obviously&nbsp;eats away at your health bar.) There's a great economy in play here, which really comes into its own when Bloodshot ramps up the difficulty by introducing many more enemies.</p><h3><a href="http://managore.itch.io/akmow" target="_blank">A Knife Made of Whispers by Daniel Linssen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6x86uyCXR5eO.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/746t_kvaOgum.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="A Knife Made Of Whispers"></p><p>From one novel weapon system to another. A Knife made of Whispers is another gorgeous platformer from Daniel Linssen, where your melee attack only works within a certain radius. Specifically, within the aura of light cast from the immobile eyeball thing in each stage, which you can pick up, carry, and chuck around as you see fit. When enveloped in its light, you can use your knife to attack enemies and destroy blocks.</p><p>Just when you thought indies had discovered every possible permutation of puzzle-platformers, Linssen has (almost predictably) come up with another one. AKMOW is&nbsp;smart, it looks great, and (essential for a platformer),&nbsp;the physics are damn near&nbsp;perfect.</p><h3><a href="http://ashervo.itch.io/royals" target="_blank">Royals by Asher Vollmer</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wbqrs2gaRsKl.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ggs0jhy4BOcV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Royals"></p><p>"An old forgotten game from your youth. You can't find the manual." And, yep, this game from Threes developer Asher Vollmer&nbsp;feels a lot like some long-lost MS-DOS or Amiga title retrieved from&nbsp;a dusty box in your parents' attic. It's a sorta strategy game about becoming king/queen/a royal in&nbsp;a medieval land, where your character loses a year after every turn. Resources are difficult to come by, and the current king doesn't appear to like you very much, so yeah, it's pretty accurate to existence in medieval times. Royals plays a little like a battle-less Heroes of Might &amp; Magic, which is to say that it's pretty great.</p><h3><a href="http://gnarledscar.itch.io/the-knobbly-crook-chapter-1-the-horse-you-sailed-in-on">The Knobbly Crook: Chapter 1 – The Horse You Sailed In On by GnarledScar</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w9O-LqhyTr6C.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v3Zs48QLNCZ8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Knobbly Crook" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>The Knobbly Crook is one of those lovely, rare adventure games that throws you into a weird world, and asks you to&nbsp;figure out its customs and terminology on your own. (Helpfully, it looks and sounds fantastic, and the dialogue is pretty funny, so you're given a few&nbsp;reasons to press on.) From what I can gather&mdash;the&nbsp;<a href="http://gnarledscar.itch.io/the-knobbly-crook-chapter-1-the-horse-you-sailed-in-on" target="_blank">itch.io page</a> helps&mdash;The Knobbly Crook is set in a place themed after Rock, Paper, Scissors (also known in some parts of the world, wrongly, as Scissors, Paper, Stone). This first chapter introduces the behatted&nbsp;O'Sirus, "a simple paper farmer who aspires to be a Knobbcrookian royal guard–a Guffaloon".</p><h3><a href="http://banov.itch.io/goo-goo" target="_blank">Goo Goo by Greg Lobanov and Reckless</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xo0BDIItTLKm.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/chWB78kuKJGu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Goo Goo"></p><p>Ooh! A colourful, charming, almost&nbsp;impossibly&nbsp;lovely puzzle game where you fling a ball of goo from one portal to the next. It sticks to certain surfaces, and bounces off others, and will rest on handy pegs while you try to figure out how snaffle all the stars. Two things stick out in my mind here: the world, which is open and connected a bit like a Metroidvania, and the sound effects. Oh man the sound effects. Collaborator Reckless did all the noises with his mouth, and it's hilarious. My favourite is the sucking sound that plays when you cling to red surfaces, but there are many more enjoyably tactile&nbsp;noises with it.</p> Valve explains the reasoning behind Steam gift restrictionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-explains-the-reasoning-behind-steam-gift-restrictions/"We thought it'd be helpful to explain to you why they exist".Sat, 02 May 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-explains-the-reasoning-behind-steam-gift-restrictions/Dota 2MOBANewsSteamThe InternationalValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_DGcdm5yR926.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ssbFhGmmekbT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Compendium"></p><p>Gifting things on Steam can be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-regional-restrictions-on-steam-gifts-come-to-light/" target="_blank">more trouble than it's worth</a>, thanks to the regional and&nbsp;time restrictions in place when it comes to trading. Now, Valve has offered a rare explanation for the latter's existence on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/34kx7c/regarding_gifting/" target="_blank">Dota 2 subreddit</a>, in response to&nbsp;concerns about the game's seven-day trading/gifting cooldown,&nbsp;and referring to&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-international-compendium-released/" target="_blank">2015 International Compendium</a>, but really concerning all Steam gifts.</p><p>If you bought the newly minted International Compendium yesterday, and you were wondering why you can't gift it immediately, here's why, courtesy of Valve's DanielJ:</p><p>"We hate the gift restrictions as much as you do. We thought it'd be helpful to explain to you why they exist so that you can have a better view into the challenges surrounding fraud. Throughout this post we'll talk about gifting compendiums to friends, but this applies in general to all items purchased from the store.</p><p>"Here's the problem: Bad guys buy compendiums with stolen credit cards, and then resell them to other players at a discount. It can take days to determine that the cards were stolen, and that a fraudulent item had been added to the economy. We can't effectively punish the fraudsters, because they're not really traceable - they commit the fraud on new or stolen accounts, never on their own accounts. In addition, these side markets make it very easy for people to get scammed.</p><p>"When this started happening in 2013, we decided that the impact fraud was having on players and the economy wasn't big enough compared to the drawbacks of imposing restrictions on everyone. Unfortunately, like all scams that make money, it ballooned rapidly. The moment a method of fraud becomes profitable, it will explode in scope until we can find a way to address it. In 2014, the percentage of compendium purchases that turned out to be fraudulent became very significant and we also saw a massive growth in scam-related support requests from users that didn't receive their items or had their accounts stolen. Additionally, credit card fraud can become a big problem for us because if our fraud rates climb too high, we will no longer be allowed to accept credit card payments at all.</p><p>"So, we added the time-based trade restriction to allow time to detect and limit the impact that the fraudulent activity has. We believe it actually hurts sales when we put restrictions on our players, because it means it's harder to buy a gift for your friend, for example. We hated doing it, but we didn't have a better solution. We are continuously exploring different methods to solve these problems, because we want to be able to stop fraud without affecting legitimate users."</p> Caffeine trailer shows off spooky sci-fi corridors, empty cupshttp://www.pcgamer.com/caffeine-trailer-shows-off-spooky-sci-fi-corridors-empty-cups/You can play an early demo now.Sat, 02 May 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/caffeine-trailer-shows-off-spooky-sci-fi-corridors-empty-cups/AdventureDylan BrowneHorrorindiegogoNews <iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DQFPnVbhKBo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Dylan Browne's&nbsp;<a href="http://incandescentimaging.net/" target="_blank">Caffeine</a> takes place in a world where caffeine is a "necessity", making it different from our Earth&nbsp;in precisely zero ways. *slurps cup of tea*. *puts kettle on*. *slurps cup of coffee*.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/unreal-engine-4-sci-fi-horror-game-caffeine-takes-to-indiegogo/" target="_blank">A year ago</a>, Browne reached but 4% of his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/caffeine--2" target="_blank">IndieGoGo</a> crowdfunding target, but a new trailer has appeared to confirm Caffeine's continued development.</p><p>The spooky-seeming sci-fi horror adventure is&nbsp;now a three-part episodic game (parts two and three will be covered by the initial cost of the game, but released later). However, it still concerns a young boy "seemingly alone" on a space station, and it still makes a damn&nbsp;good case for Unreal Engine 4.</p><p>You can download an early demo of Caffeine&nbsp;<a href="http://incandescentimaging.net/2014/09/02/caffeine-pre-release-demo-v1-0/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Dota 2 International Compendium releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-international-compendium-released/Buy a glowing book toearn rewards and contribute to the International's pot.Sat, 02 May 2015 00:11:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2-international-compendium-released/Dota 2MOBANewsThe InternationalValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_DGcdm5yR926.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ssbFhGmmekbT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Compendium"></p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.dota2.com/2015/04/the-international-2015-compendium/">2015 International Compendium has been released</a>, giving Dota 2 players the opportunity to contribute to the&nbsp;prize pool of the Dota 2 International Championship. 25% of each Compendium sold goes to the prize pool, and as the prize grows, more items are unlocked for owners of the big glowing book.</p><p>As of this moment, the prize pool is over $3 million, meaning owners receive The International Coin Charm and Cursor Pack, the ability to vote on All-Stars, and Immortal Treasure I, which contains one Immortal item and the slim possibility of some other rare&nbsp;treasure.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dota2.com/international/compendium/0/0/0/">You can take a look at the full list of rewards here</a>.</p><p>The 2014 International's prize pool was initially $1.6 million, with sales of the Compendium and other purchases ultimately raising the prize to&nbsp;nearly $11 million.&nbsp;$5 million went to the winner,&nbsp;team Newbee. We'll see if 2015's total trumps that.</p> The best USB driveshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-usb-flash-drives/These are the USB 3.0 flash drives you should be using to move your files. Fast, and cheap.Fri, 01 May 2015 23:35:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-usb-flash-drives/Buying GuideHard DrivesHardwareTop Buying GuidesUSB The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_May1_2015/Each week the PC Gamer team descends from its obsidian tower, collects the milk, and leaves a note out marked hot takes’Fri, 01 May 2015 23:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_May1_2015/highs and lows <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wplxz67URXCU.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1SdUcS1uxcON.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Team Fortress 2 Scout Guide"></p><p><strong>THE HIGHS</strong></p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Matchmaker, matchmaker<br></strong>Take note, FPS studios: skill-based matchmaking is one of the best things you can put in your game right now. It’s, in my mind, a huge reason for the year-plus surge of popularity that CS:GO continues to enjoy. (Item drops and gambling are part of that, but that’s for another day.) It’s amazing how few competitive FPSs have adapted in this way&mdash;LoL, StarCraft 2, and Dota 2 taught us some time ago that competitive gamers love being part of a ranked system. It gives more serious players an avenue to express their skill.</p><p>TF2 is already one of the most-patched PC games ever, but it’s great news that they <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/matchmaking-is-coming-to-team-fortress-2/">went directly to TF2’s competitive community</a> to advise on how matchmaking would be added to the game. It’ll be another reason to return to TF2 and reunite with my old group once it’s released.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Playing Wolfenstein in a Tweet<br></strong>Twitter have since disabled this feature, but nonetheless, news that you could <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dos-games-can-be-embedded-in-twitter/">play Wolfenstein in a Tweet</a> was amazing to me, chiefly because it illustrates the extraordinary pace of technological progress in our industry. It's a little surprising to me that hardware and software engines continue to progress at the pace they do, even once a new generation of consoles latches onto a set spec for five or so years. This week we also saw <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-square-enixs-incredible-directx-12-tech-demo/">Square Enix' Direct X 12 demo</a> push absurdly huge textures with the help of four GPUs. It doesn't seem sustainable, but I look forward to the day I can play Crysis on my toaster.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XSeyjIsKS-em.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JjGX-nAHE1gj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Exanima Slide"></p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Have a seat</strong><br>A while back I got excited about <a href="http://www.baremettle.com/home/">Sui Generis</a>, an indie open world RPG currently being developed. It's very physics-driven: running around, moving objects, shooting arrows, swinging swords, and pretty much everything else is all physics-based, and the result, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuOzmyED5qA">from the videos I saw</a>, looked both a bit wonky and entertaining.</p><p>I tried out <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/362490/">Exanima</a> this week, which is serving as sort of an Early Access precursor to Sui Generis. It all takes place in a glum, gray dungeon, which is a bit unfortunate, but I got to see how it works. It is enjoyably wonky: moving my character around gave me the impression that he was sort of suspended from a string tied to his head. Combat is hard and as characters sort of wobble around each other trying to land awkward blows.</p><p>What excited me, oddly, was tripping and falling down, a pretty rare occurrence in most games. While running flat out and striking an object like a crate with my legs, my character could topple over and land splat on his face. It happened more than once. Best of all, though, was when I was poking around in a corner of a dungeon. I upset a cart which was next to a chair, got tangled in them both, and fell over. The chair legs sort of sandwiched my torso and legs, and it took long moments to struggle and wriggle out of the chair and get back on my feet. I can only imagine if there had been enemies advancing on me at the time&mdash;the struggle to free myself from the clutches of evil furniture in time to fend off my attackers would have been frantic and exciting. I was alone, so it was just a bit silly and embarrassing, but still a lot of fun.</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: PC gaming at E3</strong><br>My highlight this week was undoubtedly announcing our long-time-in-the-making live event at E3 this year. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-an-e3-event-that-celebrates-the-pc-is-long-overdue/">Evan’s piece</a> on why the PC gaming audience deserves an event during E3 and the path that led us to doing this sums it up beautifully. It’s what a PC gaming audience deserves, and we’re gonna do it ourselves. I can’t wait for you to see some of the amazing stuff we’ve got lined up.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B-AN_saXRTWI.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CeNvrFXrnZ7c.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dirt Rally Slide"></p><p><strong>Phil Savage: Dirt Rally</strong><br>I've always been a fan of the Dirt games' handling model. I enjoy it so much that I persisted through Dirts 2 and 3, despite their most annoying elements: the excruciatingly slow menus, the constant prompts to upload my replays to YouTube, hell, even the 'Gymkhana'. That Codies followed Dirt 3 with Showdown seemed to suggest that they'd fully moved away from the series' rally roots.</p><p>Then, out of nowhere, Codemasters announced, trailered and released Dirt Rally <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-skids-onto-steam-early-access/">all at the same time</a>. Surprise! Andy's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-review-early-access/">Early Access review</a> calls it their purest rally game since the Colin McRae Rally days. It's also pretty robust for Early Access, with a decent selection of tracks and cars, and more planned down the line. I'm still pretty wary about Early Access, but if companies want to use it to, without warning, deliver exactly the type of game I want, I'm not going to argue.</p><p><strong>Tim Clark: Being a Brawler</strong><br>Samuel has already covered our show reveal, and I can confirm that my main high is the end to my terrifying anxiety dreams now that our secret is out. The reaction has been tremendous, so thanks to all of you who got the idea straight away. Also making me nervy this week was the end to the Hearthstone ranked season. I managed to hit rank 4, a new personal best, carried on the back of StrifeCro’s combo Druid and midrange Paladin decks. I’d love to make the push for Legend at some point, but fear I don’t have the stomach for the final grind. Though I have issues with how the ladder works, Hearthstone really is in a great place right now. I’ve been watching the <a href="http://multitwitch.tv/amazhs/deernadia">Blackrock Team Brawl</a> over the last couple of days, which pits teams of popular pros together as duos. Seeing big-name streamers bickering over decisions and then making heinous misplays is hilarious. Reckful threw a game by casting Power Overwhelming on his own Doomguard, and was still arguing with an astonished Gaara about it two matches later. It’s stuff like this which is turning Twitch into a dangerous time sink for me.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fg_jrRphSsS7.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_x559FCalrCN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Call of Duty Black Ops 3"></p><p><strong>THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: The blackest of ops</strong><br>We’re a bit beyond it now, but I finally added my eyeballs to the 20 million that’ve watched the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-release-date-beta-revealed-in-new-trailer/">Black Ops 3 trailer</a>. Emanuel, the writer we sent to play Black Ops last month, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-3-hands-on-wall-running-co-op-and-future-tech/">generally had a good time with it</a>. But man, what a weird, underwhelming piece of marketing. I say that as someone who’s been distancing myself from CoD with each annual update, but it feels like the particular pace that Activision is committed to milking Call of Duty has now left room only for incremental changes rather than taking a moment a few years ago and reimagining what Call of Duty as the consoles transitioned to new versions. It comes off as a series of bolted-on mechanics and systems, a collection of welding rather than a uniform thing, and a poorly-synchronized sequence of cliches set to a song from Activision’s Guitar Hero library doesn’t exactly change my impression of the franchise.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: The hills aren’t alive</strong><br>Nobody knows what's happening at Konami, but I'm sad about the cancellation of Kojima and Del Toro's Silent Hills this week. The announcement of MGS5 on PC gave me hope that the horror series would see a revival on PC at some point, but the dream (or rather nightmare) has died. We never even got to play the disturbing prelude, PT, which was stripped from console stores this week as all traces of Koj are deleted from the Earth. Silent Hill 2 is still terrific, but a modern take on the series' purgatorial townships could have been incredible. Rendered in current tech, the twisted, subconscious-bothering inhabitants even freakier. Del Toro's knack for bringing fantastic creatures to screen could have worked perfectly with Kojima's talent for fourth-wall-smashing mentalism. Damn. Time to watch Eraserhead to cheer myself up.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LADCVUK8Q5KB.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/joeSkC9Ag368.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Just Cause 3 Slide"></p><p><strong>Phil Savage: Pre-order for slightly different chaos</strong><br>Just Cause 3 looks like a game that is right up my proverbial alley. The first proper trailer was released this week, and many things about it made me very happy. Explosions make me happy, destruction makes me happy, literally dragging a bus down the road so it smashes into everything in its way makes me very happy. It's a trailer for a sequel that I loved: I should have come away from it feeling nothing but good vibes. But there, at the end, was a familiar sound: “pre-order for...”</p><p>It's not a big thing, you know? I'm sure Just Cause 3 will be great; all the things that made me happy about the trailer are still there. But pre-ordering is dumb. It's too big of a gamble. I'm sure the weaponised vehicles are fun enough, but they're not worth the price of an informed purchase. I'm not even bothered about missing out any more. That desperation to secure early sales is just starting to seem a bit sad.</p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Savaged Man</strong><br>I took a look at <a href="http://www.savagelandsgame.com/">Early Access survival game Savage Lands</a> this week, hoping it would result in a nice diary in which I do terrible things to other players and have terrible things done to me. Unfortunately, the only multiplayer servers I could find were passworded (and practically empty), so I wound up running around alone, and didn't find a whole lot to write about, figuring no one would want descriptions of me slowly and repeatedly starving and freezing to death.</p><p>I'm fine with uneventful game sessions, provided I still enjoy myself, but I sort of didn't. In this cold and hostile world, staying warm is a priority, and I died several times before I even found some flint so I could make a fire. Even with a fire roaring, I couldn't stray far from it at night, and night lasts a long, long time, and there's not much to do while staring at a campfire besides staring at a campfire. When the sun finally came up, I was killed by an angry skeleton. I was a little jealous: the skeleton doesn't need to eat or keep warm. I hate my stupid human body with its endless list of needs.</p><p>It's Early Access, though, and I'm interested in trying it again, hopefully further down the line when there are more servers available.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Jaep-RG7RS67.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/skrB36s01IR-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mortal Kombat X Slide"></p><p><strong>Tim Clark: Mixed feelings when it komes to Kombat</strong><br>Away from our E3 scheming, I’ve been playing some Mortal Kombat X with my other half. Fighting games&mdash;the arcade Street Fighter II and the Dreamcast’s Soul Calibur II&mdash;were a huge part of my gaming life, so it’s weirdly nostalgic to go revisit a genre which largely seems frozen in time. Mortal Kombat was never particularly my bag, but tooling around with X’s Fatalities and X-Rays is great fun. I’m not sure there’s another game with quite the same astonishingly Grand Guignol approach to gore, and the fighting fundamentals are solid. (There’s no blood in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiWi4ZQPtOE">this video</a>, but deez nuts will never be the same.) It’s a pity though, that as Matt Elliott noted in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-review/">our review</a>, the PC port is marred by a number of technical problems, from disconnects online to ropey framerates on midrange rigs.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Season pass fatigue<br></strong>Grumbles about DLC are no new thing. I actually don’t mind buying DLC for the games I really like, such as BioWare RPGs or games like Dishonored, where I want to see more of a world. I’ll happily spend money where the value is obvious, and weirdly, Nintendo seems to be doing it better than anyone else in pretty much doubling Wii U title Mario Kart 8’s track numbers with its most recent DLC releases. There’s different ways of doing it and selling it, and it’s not always a bad thing.</p><p>Lately, though, I wonder if Warner specifically has been selling DLC a bit too hard. This week, it was revealed that Arkham Knight <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-gets-season-pass-and-premium-edition/">will be getting a season pass</a> that costs an extraordinary $40/£33, which is nearly the price of the game at some retailers. Mortal Kombat X, too, has a season pass, and last year’s Shadow of Mordor had one for some content that’s now going to be rolled into a re-released game of the year edition package. Lego Batman 3 had one. I’m confident there’ll be a GOTY edition for Mortal Kombat down the line that collects everything into one package, much like Injustice did. Arkham City had a GOTY edition, so I can see Arkham Knight getting one eventually as well.</p><p>Ultimately, these are all very content-packed, complete-feeling games I’m talking about, so on that level I’m not dubious about what’s being sold here. I bought all the DLC for Arkham City and I felt like I got good value for what I paid for (playing challenge rooms as Nightwing is how you get me to spend money), plus you could’ve ignored it and still had a great experience. I’ve no reason to doubt that won’t be the case here. It’s more the fact that every one of these games offers you the chance to spend a significant amount extra to get the ‘premium’ version, and that, in the case of Batman, it’s promoted way before the game is out. I don’t see any way in which that is good for games or the consumer. It’s not just Warner doing it, of course, but I really don’t want a £33 season pass to become standard practice.&nbsp;</p> D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die port detailedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/d4-dark-dreams-dont-die-port-detailed/Access Games has announced the D4 system requirements and explained how it will work without Kinect.Fri, 01 May 2015 22:37:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/d4-dark-dreams-dont-die-port-detailed/Access GamesActionD4: Dark Dreams Don't DieNewsSwery65 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tTPUnoeVSnmx.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xSTWhcvhDYK-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="D4"></p><p>Access Games has released details about the PC version of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/d4-dark-dreams-dont-die-coming-to-pc/">D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die</a>, saying that Kinect functionality, including voice control, has been completely removed. All interactions with the game will be mouse controlled instead, and new commands have been added "to do daily life activities like drinking tequila and opening fortune cookies." And who honestly doesn't consider both of those everyday staples?</p><p>The PC version of the game will include all content previously released as DLC for the Xbox One edition, and a new section of Amanda's Shop called "Today's Free Outfit" has been added. On the technical side, it will offer a number of PC-specific graphics settings including adjustable resolution, windowed and full-screen modes, selectable V-sync, dynamic shadows, and multiple subtitle languages. </p><p>Load times have been shortened, and bugs have been fixed; Xbox One-specific MELD compatibility and leaderboards have been dropped, but on the upside, it will support Steam achievements, trading cards, badges, emoticons, profile backgrounds, and cloud saving. It will also run at 60 fps, if you have the recommended hardware, which is as follows:</p><p><strong>Recommended:</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">OS: Windows 7 64-bit edition or Windows 8 64-bit edition.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">CPU: Intel Core i7 4770K @ 3.5GHz or AMD CPU or equivalent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Memory: 8GB RAM.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon HD 7850 (VRAM 2GB).</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Display: Supports 1920x1080 resolution.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">DirectX: DirectX 11.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Hard Disk: Hard disk with 20GB of free space.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Other: Keyboard and mouse required. Compatible with Xbox Controller using XInput.</p><p><strong>Minimum:</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">OS: Windows 7 64-bit edition or Windows 8 64-bit edition.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83GHz or AMD CPU or equivalent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Memory: 6GB RAM.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon HD 6870 (VRAM 1GB).</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Display: Supports 1280x720 resolution.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">DirectX: DirectX 11.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Hard Disk: Hard disk with 10GB of free space.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible sound card.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Other: Keyboard and mouse required. Compatible with Xbox Controller using XInput.</p><p>A release date still hasn't been announced, but we do have some PC-specific screens to look at. Find out more at <a href="http://d4-game.com/pc/index.html">D4-Game.com</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IITvr7q0SpOp.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6B9ozR8_ZhUy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="D4"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RPjpxbPEQNyy.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LMUKLgXFzu9X.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="D4"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6aGSusRSRyOS.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7vgjnBM4724E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="D4"></p> Why I hate pausable real-time RPG combathttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-hate-pausable-real-time-rpg-combat/Why turn-based combat shouldn't have gone out of style.Fri, 01 May 2015 22:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-hate-pausable-real-time-rpg-combat/Baldur's GateMass EffectPillars of EternityRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkMqjX2ITjij.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pk6FRfB1zULO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ss 15c511e75db32a0ff967b9b97ac0fb824556b707"></p><p>The big choices about who to side with, the gang of companions who open up the more you talk to them, the romances&mdash;so many of the things we think of as quintessential BioWare began in Baldur’s Gate 2. It seemed like BioWare had seen what Obsidian had achieved with the Infinity Engine in Planescape: Torment the year before and stepped up their game in response.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pillars-of-eternity-review/">Pillars of Eternity</a> feels like Obsidian returning the compliment, picking up the ball and throwing it back. It’s a blend of the two studio’s house styles, with deep philosophical questions and the consequences of past lives making it a close cousin to Planescape, and the lack of romance options an Obsidian trademark. Meanwhile, Caed Nua is their take on the strongholds of Baldur’s Gate 2 and navigating the factions of Defiance Bay resembles the Athkatla section of that game.</p><p> But of all the things to keep from the games that inspired it, pausable real-time combat is the most baffling. Planescape seemed to go out of its way to have as few as possible of those moments where the story grinds to a halt while the Dungeon Master puts everyone’s miniature on the board and says ‘roll for initiative.’ Even when the Infinity Engine was new, its pausable real-time combat felt like a clunky compromise necessitated by the peculiarities of the era.</p><h2>They were strange days</h2><p> Timothy Cain, producer, lead programmer, and one of the designers of the original Fallout, gave a talk at GDC in 2012, a post-mortem of that classic, turn-based RPG. Halfway through that talk he paused, queued up the next slide and said the word ‘Diablo’ with a sigh. "Fun game," he went on to clarify, "lots of fun." And then the bitterness crept into his voice: "Thorn in my side."</p><p> Saying Diablo streamlined the RPG is like saying bullets streamlined arrows. It was fast and frantic and so pure it was almost grotesque. Sometimes, Diablo said, you just want to click skeletons to bits and take their stuff. This was the late 1990s, and real-time strategy games had already beaten up their turn-based ancestors and taken their lunch money, presumably while they were waiting for someone to click the End Turn button so they could retaliate. It seemed obvious at the time that Blizzard was going to do the same thing to turn-based RPGs, making them seem clunky and old-fashioned&mdash;at least in the eyes of people trying to market them.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NIxCofN6Te2P.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NNBkaQQJG9pU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rose pounds a gila monster in Wasteland 2." class=""> <figcaption>Fighting a gila monitor in Wasteland 2.</figcaption></figure><p>"I had to go to lots of meetings with marketing and administration," Timothy Cain goes on to say in his GDC talk. "They wanted Fallout to be multiplayer and real-time." But Cain stood his ground. Fallout had already been in development for over two years, and he argued the cost of changing it wouldn’t be worthwhile. In the end they let him make his game the way he wanted to, and it’s better for it. The blackly comic tone of Fallout is well-served by gruesome text descriptions of each called shot’s results, whether to the eyes or the crotch, and there’s a rising tension you only experience when one by one your characters fail to take down a Super Mutant spinning up a chaingun and you’re forced to end the turn and pray you survive once the bullets start flying.</p><p> In September of 1998 Interplay brought out Fallout 2, with the same turn-based combat system. And then three months later they published Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate and ushered in the era of pausable real-time combat. Baldur’s Gate was no Diablo, and giving you control of a party of up to six heroes rather than a single protagonist meant a fully real-time system wouldn’t have been feasible. To compete with the hot new thing in RPGs the designers looked back, drawing on 1992’s Darklands for inspiration.</p><p> In Darklands you controlled a party of four in 15th century Germany, but it was a version of Germany in which the beliefs of the time were true. Dragons were real, and praying to saints could result in miracles. High fantasy games cross the street to walk on the other side when they see realism heading toward them, but the relatively low fantasy Darklands was at least a nodding acquaintance with the concept, and in theory real-time combat is the more realistic option.</p><h2> </h2><h2>The path of most resistance</h2><p> While fighting gangs of thieves in Darklands’ streets you pressed spacebar to pause and then gave orders individually, telling your alchemist to fire his crossbow while the other characters formed a defensive line and then tried to envelop the enemy. In practice every battle descended into a chaotic scrum. Characters sent round the back to flank would get distracted and attack the first enemy they saw, while Gretchen the Holy would bump into one of her allies then turn around and head off in entirely the wrong direction through the side streets of Hamburg.</p><p> Still, that was only 1992 and early days. Surely, six years later&mdash;especially given the hectic rate of technological advancement that characterized game design in the 1990s&mdash;things would have improved significantly. But, three levels deep in the guts of the Nashkel Mines in Baldur’s Gate, Minsc the ranger was meandering into the darkness because he’d collided with Branwen the cleric in the narrow tunnels, inevitably blundering into a trap.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OMBvZEytTLyt.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pl8IEUs4T0fq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nashkel Bloody Mines" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> Bad pathfinding isn’t unique to games with pausable real-time combat, but it is exacerbated by it. It’s easier to ignore when short-lived enemies are the only ones who get stuck on crates, or when you’re controlling just the one character who sometimes gets confused and tries to take the long way round. When it’s your entire team turning into bumbling lummoxes the moment you press spacebar to send them into action it’s impossible to ignore. They stop feeling like they’re under your control: the game may as well be playing itself.</p><p> Pathfinding isn’t the only problem pausable real-time combat highlights. Behind the scenes, most of these games are still giving characters turns. Even if those turns are overlapping and often simultaneous, there’s still a noticeable pause between actions. In Knights of the Old Republic your Jedi will leap into the fray, flipping through the air and landing among enemies with lightsabers spinning like blenders of death. Then they stop and just sort of bob on the spot for a few seconds, like a Mortal Kombat fighter waiting for the next round to start. Gun-toting characters behave just as weirdly, snapping off a few shots then standing out in the open until an invisible hourglass fills up and they can act again.</p><p> In turn-based combat your imagination overrides the abstractions. You know that while one of your XCOM squaddies is racing for cover the enemy isn’t holding their fire and the rest of the squad aren’t patiently waiting their turn; in your head the firefight never stops. But Knights of the Old Republic’s sudden switches between slick attack animations and characters awkwardly bouncing on the spot like they’re holding drinks on the edges of the dancefloor is much harder for the imagination to paper over. It just looks silly.</p><p> To minimize the amount of time characters in Dragon Age bob like idiots when it’s not their turn the attack animations are extended into dizzying combos so that even your wizard’s default attack involves whirling a staff and whizzing off multiple blasts while striking dramatic poses. To reduce the amount of pathfinding calculations by the second game the rogue’s backstab ability somehow involved teleporting behind enemies so you didn’t actually have to walk round them. In Dragon Age: Inquisition the amount of whizz-bang special effects hurtling across the screen every time an ability is used can almost distract you from what’s going on, though the longer you play the more the clunkiness behind the curtain becomes apparent.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WpOYq31GQWeG.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RokRaC4dvmbE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="An attack in Dragon Age 2." class=""> <figcaption>A leaping attack in Dragon Age 2.</figcaption></figure><p> By contrast the Mass Effect games remove those hidden turns, giving you the responsiveness of an actual real-time game. When you look down the scope of your M-98 Widow Anti-Material Rifle, take a breath, and then place a round in the head of an advancing Collector, you’re doing it while the battle smoothly carries on around you. When you do pause to give orders they’re carried out instantly as well, your squadmates launching Incinerate or Singularity in devastating synchronization. By Mass Effect 3 the system was so polished they could scrap the ability to pause altogether for the multiplayer mode and still have something that was surprisingly fun. The multiplayer mode of Dragon Age: Inquisition didn’t hold up nearly as well.</p><p> Pillars of Eternity makes its own tweaks, of course. Its engagement mechanic punishes running around like a headless chicken, there’s an option to play in slow motion rather than stuttering stop-start, and of course the spell effects look a lot more impressive (although that means if you pause at the wrong time half your party will be obscured by bursts of light and flame). But it still has characters who get confused by having to walk all the way round an ogre to get somewhere, or wait until an oil slick has been summoned to run right through it, or blithely stroll straight into traps they’ve already detected. Wasteland 2, another Kickstarter-funded resurrection of old-fashioned RPGs, modernized the combat of the early Fallout games with a healthy dose of XCOM, and was better for it. But while Pillars of Eternity preserves a lot of things about old games that are worth keeping, its preservation of pausable real-time combat feels like a step in the wrong direction&mdash;one that leads back into the darkness of the Nashkel Mines, where I never want to place foot again.</p><p> But if anyone finds Minsc the ranger in there, say ‘hi’ for me.</p> Introducing Game:ref - the anti-cheat hardwarehttp://www.pcgamer.com/introducing-gameref-the-anti-cheat-hardware/Because the software sucks, frankly.Fri, 01 May 2015 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/introducing-gameref-the-anti-cheat-hardware/esportsGame:refKickstarterNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QfjrLY82RAe6.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2HXYU2a2-xvC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Ref"></p><p>Stopping cheaters is something we're all for - well, those of us who aren't cheaters, at least - and it's something those on the software side have been trying to eliminate for a long time now. But what about on the hardware side? A new project, just launched on Kickstarter, aims to fill that particular void when it comes to professional esports - and, hopefully, all online PC gaming.</p><p><a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1094040691/1848213838?token=dff60946">Game:ref</a> is the brainchild of David Titarenco, an LA-based software engineer and former Counter-Strike: Source pro player. It is, boiled down to its essence, anti-cheating <em>hardware</em> - you plug your mouse into it, and it checks the input signals match up to what the game says is happening.</p><p>"An easy way to understand it is by looking at how a triggerbot works," Titarenco explained to me, "The idea of a triggerbot is that the software cheat 'simulates' a mouse press when someone is in your crosshairs. But the player doesn't actually click! So with Game:ref, we can see that. This is a very simple concept that people find intuitive. Catching aim-bots is a bit more mathematically involved, but the idea is very similar. This same method applies to auto-hex cheats in DOTA2, and auto-lasthitters in League of Legends."</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1XvrR-f8TlaC.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CxmlRauilQxe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="How It Works"></p><p>This is, of course, an anti-cheat solution that relies on the player using it on their machine - it doesn't detect cheating by other players. It makes sense, as it's designed for adoption by LAN tournaments (where a simple visual check can be done to make sure nobody is cheating) and professional gaming in general. Titarenco does hope, though, that Game:ref's adoption will spread to non-pro, everyday players too.</p><p>I raised a couple of potential issues - latency and Game:ref itself being flagged as a cheat device by something like VAC, but Titarenco said neither was an issue. Latency clocks in at around 200 <em>micro</em>seconds (less than a single millisecond) and anti-cheat software simply can't detect the hardware, so no false flags can be raised.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkd3l0edTUWd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hzbornx2cZE5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Ref Insides"></p><p>It's an interesting idea and - if it works - is sure to be a valuable tool for professional tournaments. The opt-in nature of it means it might not be the cure-all solution for everyday play, as others can simply <em>not use it</em> and carry on cheating - though you get around this by having Game:ref-only matchmaking.</p><p>But then there's always the chance that committed cheaters could piece together their own passthrough hardware to counter the anti-cheat hardware so it wouldn't detect the falsified signal and oh god my brain's melted a bit. That, Titarenco&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2uxvuf/i_built_a_hardware_anticheat_for_multiplayer/cocrwyu">admitted on Reddit</a>, is something of an Achilles heel for the hardware - though one that only the most committed, tech-savvy and happy-to-spend cheaters would take advantage of.</p><p>Titarenco's Kickstarter sets the price of the Game:ref at $125, and he's looking for $200,000 to fund what he calls the final stages of development, with a rough release date set for July 2016. If you're looking for a much more technical explanation of the hardware, check out <a href="http://dvt.name/2015/finishing-what-intel-started-building-the-first-hardware-anti-cheat/">this blog post</a>.</p> Hearthstone streamers taking part in 24-hour Hunger Games-style challengehttp://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-streamers-taking-part-in-24-hour-hunger-games-style-challenge/...without, y’know, the actual dying partFri, 01 May 2015 21:51:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-streamers-taking-part-in-24-hour-hunger-games-style-challenge/BlizzardCard GameesportsHearthstoneNews <iframe src="http://www.twitch.tv/esl_hearthstone/embed" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="378" width="620"> </iframe><p>It’s Friday, it’s been a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-and-pc-gamer-bring-the-pc-gaming-show-to-e3/">helluva week</a>, and I don’t know about you but I’m probably going to unwind by drinking premium strength cider and watching people play videogames on the internet. My Twitch channel of choice for the next 24 hours is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/esl_hearthstone">ESL Hearthstone</a>, where as part of ASUS’s <a href="http://www.asus.com/campaign/Play_It_Cool/">Play It Cool</a> event, four of the most popular card-slinging streamers&mdash;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/reynad27">Reynad</a>, <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/forsenlol">Forsen</a>, <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/kungentv">Kungen</a> and <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/savjz">Savijz</a>&mdash;are competing from ESL’s Cologne studio to see who can finish highest on the first deal of the new season.</p><p> Big deal, right? These guys often no-life it at the start of a&nbsp;new season. Yes, but the difference this time is they’ve been challenged to use virgin accounts. First, they’ll have to unlock the remaining basic cards, then they can opt to play the Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain adventures to expand their collections. New packs will also be dished out every couple of hours, with the player in last place receiving extras. Beyond that, there’s also the chance to win packs based on viewer votes.</p><p> You can read the full rules <a href="http://www.eslgaming.com/article/are-you-ready-24-hours-hearthstone-1994">here</a>, but the upshot is that at least for a while they’re going to be facing a lot of players with much better decks than them. Intriguingly, the players have been able to ban each other from using certain classes&mdash;so it won’t be all Zoo and Face Hunter&mdash;and if the players bump into each other on ladder, then the loser of the match has to disenchant the card of the winner’s choice. Okay, so it’s not quite the Hunger Games, but it will still potentially be brutal if your Loatheb gets dusted*.</p><p> The main channel is being cast (currently) by Kripparian, Frodan and Gaara&mdash;pretty much the dream team as far as I’m concerned&mdash;but, given how long it’ll be running, I assume there will be a lot of rotation. The winner gets $5,000, while the losers get to swim in their own salt bath. Check it out if you like Hearthstone and/or watching really tired people rage against RNG bullshit.</p><p>*Scratch that, Loatheb is soulbound so can't be dusted, as one commenter pointed out. Kungen did just pull Doctor Boom though, so guess who my money's on.</p> PC Gamer Show: What we want from Star Wars Battlefronthttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-what-we-want-from-star-wars-battlefront/Wes is joined by a fellow Star Wars fan to talk about EA's recent Battlefront preview, and what we want from the new game.Fri, 01 May 2015 21:34:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-what-we-want-from-star-wars-battlefront/FPSPC Gamer ShowStar WarsStar Wars: BattlefrontStar Wars: Battlefront 2 <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3QEhqUUSN9M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This week is Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars as Wes returns from the Celebration event in Anaheim, eager to ruminate on DICE's upcoming shooter. How will it compare to Battlefield? Should it be pulling in the Expanded Universe? To tackle some of these questions, fellow Star Wars superfan Lorenzo Veloria of GamesRadar+ stops by and imparts some Jedi wisdom.</p><p>Actually, he mostly just geeks out about Star Wars. But that's just how these things go, sometimes. Enjoy some footage from the show floor of Star Wars Celebration Anaheim! There were a lot of stormtroopers.</p> BioWare announces free Dragon Age: Inquisition multiplayer DLChttp://www.pcgamer.com/bioware-announces-free-dragon-age-inquisition-multiplayer-dlc/Dragonslayer will add a new map and three playable characters.Fri, 01 May 2015 21:25:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bioware-announces-free-dragon-age-inquisition-multiplayer-dlc/BiowareDragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9P1Be5ENRNKw.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8K8e-uODSJnQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dragon Age: Inquisition Dragonslayer"></p><p>BioWare has announced a free new multiplayer add-on for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-2/">Dragon Age: Inquisition</a> called Dragonslayer, that will be out next week.</p><p>Dragonslayer, as the title subtly&nbsp;hints, will be all about squaring off against giant, flying, fire-breathing high dragons. (Who thought this was a good idea?) It will add a new map to the game along with three new playable characters: Skywatcher, a fierce Avvar warrior; Isabela, the Raider Queen of the Eastern Seas; and Zither, the virtuoso, who was originally <a href="http://www.dragonage.com/en_US/news/zither-the-virtuoso">revealed on April 1</a> but turned out to not be an April Fool's joke after all. (Not entirely, anyway.)</p><p>"Craft the Dragon's Call, then test your mettle against the fiercest beasts in Thedas!" BioWare wrote in the Dragonslayer announcement. And no, it doesn't sound like the most narratively deep Dragon Age experience of all time, but sometimes, beating up a dragon is its own reward. BioWare will show the Dragonslayer DLC in action in a launch day livestream on <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/bioware">Twitch</a>, on May 5. More information is up at <a href="http://www.dragonage.com/en_US/news/dragonslayer-announced">DragonAge.com</a>,</p> Not a Hero suffers a slight delayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/not-a-hero-suffers-a-slight-delay/Not a Hero was originally slated to hit on May 7.Fri, 01 May 2015 21:24:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/not-a-hero-suffers-a-slight-delay/ActionDevolver DigitalNewsNot a HeroRoll7 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jtksTyMFTNeh.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6cibsgVyeuTM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Not A Hero Cropped"></p><p>Roll7's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/not-a-hero/">Not a Hero</a>, the pixelated, cover-based 2D shooter starring a time-traveling rabbit and a hitman-turned-political-operative named Steve, will not be out on May 7. It was supposed to be, but publisher Devolver Digital announced today that it needed another week to cram in more frames per second.</p><p>"Not A Hero’s short but life-changing seven-day delay marks additional time for tweaking and testing the most recent tech update to the game, which brought the action from a dull and dreary 30fps to a pants tingling 60fps," Devolver explained in the announcement. "It’s like the game is licking your eyeballs now."</p><p>A week is no time at all in game-delay terms (recall that Dead Island 2 was recently pushed back to some undetermined date in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-island-2-shuffles-back-to-2016/">2016</a>), and in the meantime you can still <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/not-a-hero-demo-released/">horse around with the demo</a>. I think it's actually quite good: Wantonly violent and bloody, but silly enough that you're not likely to be emotionally scarred by the experience.</p><p>So, with the extra seven days factored in, Not a Hero will be out on May 14 on Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store. Details, including the old release date, are up at <a href="http://www.notahe.ro/">notahe.ro</a>.</p> GTA 5 6K gallery: Still life in Los Santoshttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-6k-gallery-still-life-in-los-santos/Pixel Boost explores Los Santos in a 34 screenshot gallery, 5K resolution and up.Fri, 01 May 2015 20:29:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-6k-gallery-still-life-in-los-santos/Grand Theft Auto 5Pixel Boost Mysterious countdown clock appears for Black Mesahttp://www.pcgamer.com/mysterious-countdown-clock-appears-for-black-mesa/A tantalizing combination of numbers and G-Man have appeared.Fri, 01 May 2015 19:42:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mysterious-countdown-clock-appears-for-black-mesa/Black Mesa: SourceFPSModsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ouMVfCCbSrWv.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EvzenwqfGzWL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Black Mesa"></p><p><a href="http://www.bmrf.us/">The Black Mesa Research Facility website</a> is now hosting a mysterious countdown clock against a backdrop of wavering color bars, static, beeps,&nbsp;and a few glimpses of Half-Life's notorious G-Man. The clock appeared sometime yesterday&mdash;linked by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.blackmesasource.com/">the Black Mesa mod site</a>&mdash;and represents the number of days, hours, and minutes until the clock runs out and... something happens, we presume.&nbsp;</p><p>It appears the timer will end on May 5,&nbsp;<a href="http://i.imgur.com/yvvJDsl.jpg">an important anniversary for Gordon Freeman</a> as it marks the date of his formal&nbsp;acceptance of his job at the BMRF,&nbsp;according to&nbsp;<a href="http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Half-Life_Wiki:Retcons">the Half-Life wiki</a>.</p><p>The countdown could signify a number of things. It could be the announcement of Black Mesa's appearance&nbsp;on Steam,&nbsp;<a href="http://forums.blackmesasource.com/index.php/Thread/17088-Happy-Birthday-Half-life/">as was promised quite some time ago</a>. It could be a teaser, or trailer (or a teaser <em>for </em>a trailer, as that sometimes happens) for the next portion of Black Mesa, since the original game left off with Gordon's entrance to the dimension of Xen. Maybe it's the release of the Xen portion itself.</p><p>Or, it could be an announcement&nbsp;Half-Life 3, because everything could be an announcement for Half-Life 3. Right? We'll find out on May 5 when we rise and shine.</p><p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/HalfLife/comments/34gz66/bmrfus_has_a_countdown_timer/">Thanks to r/HalfLife</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rxsgsu1ISkmJ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BeLsOhoEgzLd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Black Mesa"></p> Spiritual successor to Rare's Banjo-Kazooie smashes funding targethttp://www.pcgamer.com/spiritual-successor-to-rares-banjo-kazooie-smashes-funding-target-in-hours/It's only been a day and Yooka-Laylee is already well past its Kickstarter goal.Fri, 01 May 2015 19:19:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/spiritual-successor-to-rares-banjo-kazooie-smashes-funding-target-in-hours/KickstarterNewsPlatformerYooka-Laylee <iframe src="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playtonic/yooka-laylee-a-3d-platformer-rare-vival/widget/video.html" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" height="458" width="610"> </iframe><p> Seven veterans of Banjo-Kazooie studio Rare have taken to <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playtonic/yooka-laylee-a-3d-platformer-rare-vival">Kickstarter</a> to resurrect the "buddy-duo platformer" with a new game called Yooka-Laylee. And fans of the genre seem awfully excited: The campaign launched today and has raked in&nbsp;more than double of its&nbsp;£175,000/$265,000 goal in the first few hours.</p><p> The game is being developed by <a href="http://www.playtonicgames.com/">Playtonic Games</a>, a small studio formed in 2014 that includes the lead programmer, designer, and artists from Banjo-Kazooie and other Rare games including Donkey Kong Country, Viva Pinata, and Perfect Dark Zero. Development has been underway for a few months now, but to complete the game the team will have to upgrade to an "'N64 size' roster" of about 15 people, and that's where the Kickstarter comes in to play.</p><p> "Until now our development has been self-funded, but Kickstarter presents us with the amazing opportunity to deliver Yooka-Laylee at the level of scope and scale that fans demand&mdash;and on their games platform of choice," Creative Lead Gavin Price said. "Our team has decades-worth of ideas that we hope we’ll now finally have the resources and freedom to bring to reality."</p><p> The similarities are obvious&mdash;Banjo-Kazooie was about a bear and a bird, Yooka-Laylee is about a chameleon and a bat&mdash;but that's what the team is shooting for. Steve Mayles, who created the original duo, "has captured the spirit of his past heroes while introducing the most inventive moves yet seen in any of our team's work," the Kickstarter states. "As is traditional in our team's games, each world will be jammed to the gills with oddball characters and hulking bosses, many who communicate via a collage of burp and fart noises."</p><p> The campaign, as mentioned, is only in its first day, and has already hit nearly half its stretch goals; with 46 days remaining, the final, £1 million/$1.5 million stretch goal&mdash;Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 versions, released simultaneously with the Windows, Mac, and Linux editions&mdash;appears well within reach. Either way, the plan is to have the game ready for release by October 2016.</p><p> At approximately 3:00 pm EDT on May 1, the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter had surpassed £450,000/$680,000. Where it will be by the time you read this is anybody's guess, but I think it's safe to say that worried tales of Kickstarter exhaustion have been a wee bit overstated. The campaign runs until June 16.</p> Modder's iPhone app controls GTA 5's in-game phonehttp://www.pcgamer.com/modders-iphone-app-controls-gta-5s-in-game-phone/This modder can call Trevor a cab using his own smarthphone.Fri, 01 May 2015 18:43:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/modders-iphone-app-controls-gta-5s-in-game-phone/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5ModsNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YkY5qd25Q1WK.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gyvID4NvrbEX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA 5 mod"></p><p> Not all mods spring from a collective need or community requests. Sometimes they're just the result of a modder having an idea and&nbsp;wondering "Hey, can I do that?"</p><p> <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GrandTheftAutoV_PC/comments/34j75h/my_fun_iphone_app_for_gta_5_ingame_phone_control/">Reddit user&nbsp;planetleak</a> posted a video of an iPhone app he's been working on. It allows him to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8fvdqZ17Dk">control the virtual&nbsp;phone of his Grand Theft Auto 5 character using his real&nbsp;phone</a>. His app recreates the GTA 5 phone interface (using xcode), and he&nbsp;added buttons and gesture controls. By pressing buttons on his app, it sends a URL to his Arduino webserver, which then runs a keybinding macro. Thus he can access the in-game phone's features, scroll through its inbox, make calls to contacts, and&nbsp;even take in-game photos. Have a look at&nbsp;some video of the app in action.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k8fvdqZ17Dk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> Obviously, pulling out your personal&nbsp;phone and using it to control Trevor's phone&nbsp;is hardly practical. It's easier to simply use your keyboard or controller. Still, it's really&nbsp;neat watching the modder call Trevor a cab. (Which Trevor, being Trevor, then destroys.) There's no word yet whether planetleak&nbsp;will share the app or source code&nbsp;with others, though I'd probably buy it just for novelty's sake.</p> Grand Theft Auto 5 patch kills mod supporthttp://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-kills-mod-support/There is a way to restore mod functionality, but you can't go online with it.Fri, 01 May 2015 18:11:28 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-kills-mod-support/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5ModsNewsRockstar Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oglrsA1vRHyd.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/keQaj6RO_vDg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA 5"></p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-eliminates-awkward-moments-in-armed-robbery/">Grand Theft Auto V patch</a> released yesterday fixed a lot of bugs, but it also had the unfortunate side effect of breaking mod functionality. The problem, according to <a href="https://www.gta5-mods.com/">GTA5-mods.com</a>, is that the patch makes changes that renders Script Hook V unusable, and no Script Hook V means no script mods. </p><p>Fortunately, it's possible to re-enable Script Hook support by downgrading to the previous version of the game. Just download the requisite files as explained at <a href="http://gtaforums.com/topic/788343-vrel-script-hook-v/page-38#entry1067397210">GTAforums.com</a> (or use your backups, if you're fortunate enough to have them), and then copy them back in place. It's not a perfect fix, however; downgrading will get your mods working again, but you'll only be able to play offline.</p><p>And it doesn't look like that situation is going to improve anytime soon: Script Hook creator Alexander Blade <a href="http://gtaforums.com/topic/788343-vrel-script-hook-v/page-50#entry1067400779">wrote</a> that a new version of his mod-enabling software is in the works but warned that it won't allow users to go online at all. He said the restriction is an attempt to keep players from being banned, even in single-player mode.</p><p>"Starting with this patch if the game will detect that you have mods (in any way) while being Online it will report this to R* servers," he explained in a <a href="http://gtaforums.com/topic/788343-vrel-script-hook-v/page-56#entry1067402483">separate post</a>. "Guess what will happen next."</p><p>We've reached out to Rockstar for more information, and will update if and when we receive a reply.</p> Twitter pulls the plug on embedded DOS gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/twitter-pulls-the-plug-on-embedded-dos-games/It was fun while it lasted.Fri, 01 May 2015 16:57:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/twitter-pulls-the-plug-on-embedded-dos-games/DOSNewsTwitter <p>Just a couple of days after we learned that it was possible to embed and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dos-games-can-be-embedded-in-twitter/">play MS-DOS games in tweets</a>, the fun has come to a screeching halt. The loss of embedded functionality was noticed by <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/05/01/ms-dos-gameplay-in-tweets-has-been-disabled-for-violating-twitter-rules/">VentureBeat</a> and confirmed by me, thanks to Ian's <a href="https://twitter.com/ianinthefuture/status/593703044191248385">tweet</a> that included a link to Wolfenstein 3D on <a href="https://dev.twitter.com/cards/types/player">Archive.org</a>. Now, instead of being playable, the link now simply leads to the site.&nbsp;</p><p>The problem appears to be due to Twitters rules for "<a href="https://dev.twitter.com/cards/types/player">Player Cards</a>," through which developers can "deliver rich media to users across the globe." With some limitations, naturally; things like Vine and SoundCloud embeds are fine, but "Player Cards are reserved for linear audio and video consumption only."</p><p>"Do not build end-to-end interactive experiences inside the video or audio player unrelated to Player Card content, such as the following: purchasing, gaming, polling, messaging, and data entry," the rules state. "Instead, build these interactive experiences with our other Card types or enhance your Player Card content with links to your website or mobile application."</p><p>Embedded videogames are clearly in violation of that guideline, and so it's not terribly surprising that they're gone. Nor is it the end of the world; the games are still playable on Archive.org, so practically speaking it's really just one extra click to get to the goods. But it's not nearly as neat, is it?</p> Kerbal Space Program reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-review/One small step for sims, or a giant leap for PC gaming?Fri, 01 May 2015 16:37:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-review/Kerbal Space ProgramReviewssimSquad <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Need To Know</h5> <p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">What is it?</strong> A solar sandbox&nbsp;playground and serious sim combined. <br> <strong>Influenced by:</strong>&nbsp;Physics, NASA, Minecraft, sort of.&nbsp;<br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> Core i5, 4GB RAM, 1Gb GPU <br> <strong>Alternatively:</strong>&nbsp;Take On Mars&nbsp;<br> <strong>DRM:</strong>&nbsp;None<br> <strong>Price:</strong> £30/$40 <br> <strong>Release:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Squad&nbsp;<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> In-house <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> None<br> <strong>Link:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/en/" target="_blank">Official site</a></p> </div><p> I still remember the first time I landed on Mun&mdash;planet Kerbin's closest moon. It was on the back of many failures; of countless times where my design, planning or ability fell short. One rocket would be too heavy, another too inefficient, another too explosive. I'd mess up my landing, splattering my little green astronauts all over the moon's jagged craters; or I'd fail to break out of Kerbin's atmosphere entirely, spinning them out into a watery grave. One time I ran out of fuel 5,000 meters above Mun's surface, and, unable to slow my descent, watched helplessly as they exploded on impact. It was heartbreaking.</p><p> Out of the countless defeats and sacrifices eventually came the answer. The successful rocket was ramshackle and ugly. It was the result of a hundred inelegant solutions to unforeseen problems. Nevertheless, it held steady through the launch ritual: keeping straight through the initial 10,000 meter ascent, the smooth transition to a suborbital arc and the controlled burn at the 70,000 meter apoapsis, first to orbit, then out of Kerbin's influence and into an encounter with Mun. Before descent, I transferred my Kerbal to a lander bolted on top of the launch payload (an over-engineered solution to my earlier fuel shortage.) Then I landed, and took one small step onto the surface.</p><p> I tell this story because it remains one of my greatest achievements in a game. It was a proper achievement, too. Not a pat-on-the-back trophy, created to convey incremental progress, but the successful completion of a challenging, self-made goal. The entire process&mdash;from failure, to revision, to hope, to euphoric completion&mdash;cemented for me why Kerbal Space Program is one of the best games on PC. That this all happened two years ago is why it feels strange to be reviewing the game now.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3D_tDOShSzmG.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kAipS6K_IgNg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ksp1"></p><p> Kerbal Space Program is about building and flying rockets into space. Chances are you already knew that, because it was first released, in alpha, back in 2011. Thanks to the strength of the core sandbox concept, its potential was evident from the start. The added tools and features of subsequent patches have only strengthened the game's ability to deliver on that initial promise of full space program management and execution. Kerbal Space Program was one of the few Early Access games that I felt comfortable giving an unreserved recommendation. It was brilliant then, and it remains brilliant now that it's updated to version 1.0 for an official release.</p><p> The latest update brings some significant improvements, but none of its individual additions dramatically change the game. KSP's major pillars have been in place for a while now. Updates were designed to extend these pillars, and over the course of years have shaped the game into what it is now. To an extent, version 1.0 is the ornamental entablature that completes the construction. It overhauls the flight model, aerodynamics and heat simulation, bringing them closer in line with real-world physics. This simulation is the key to what makes KSP so compelling, and so it's fitting that its completion corresponds with the proper release.</p><p> The other additions make for nice extras. There are new missions types, more ship parts, female Kerbal astronauts, revised graphical effects, and a new 'Engineer Report' panel that advises about obvious errors in a ship's&nbsp;construction. The tutorial has been expanded too, and&mdash;although it's unlikely to diminish how overwhelming KSP's first hours can be&mdash;it does a better job of teaching the fundamentals, and so arms you with the base knowledge necessary to learn from your own experiences and failings. In all, it's a solid update, but it doesn't really convey any sense of what it is that makes the game so good. To do that, you have to dive into the heart of Kerbal Space Program.</p><p>Sandbox mode is the purest distillation of KSP's essence. In it, you have an unlimited budget and full access to the game's many ship parts. Step into the Vehicle Assembly Building and you're given a list of components. What do you want to do? Well, go into space, probably. How? Er, rockets. Oh, and an engine. There are multiple different parts in multiple different categories, but you can make a functional rocket with just a few basic bits. The Vehicle Assembly Building is a WYSIWYG modular editor that lets you easily add parts until they resemble something vaguely approximating a ship's shape. Click on a component and it appears as a ghostly outline that follows your mouse. Move it towards a previously placed part and it will snap into place. If you want to get really fancy, you can rotate and offset parts, or place multiple of the same piece symmetrically around the existing build.</p><p>All done? OK, click on the launch button and your construction is moved to the launchpad. Now you're no longer the engineer, but the pilot. Your creation will wobble and shake, but, as long as you've adhered to basic symmetry, will usually stay standing. You gingerly press the spacebar to activate the launch sequence. What happens next will define which of a constantly expanding set of branching possibilities you'll be sent tumbling down. Did you accidentally activate your engine and parachute at the same time, causing your ship to spin wildly a few feet off the ground? Did you attach an engine with too little thrust, thus preventing your ship from making it even a few inches into the air? Did you forget to even fit&nbsp;a parachute, forcing you to watch helplessly as your astronaut suffers the inevitability&nbsp;of gravity? Did you successfully break out of the atmosphere?</p><p>Whether it's success or failure, what happens during the launch arms you with new information about how to proceed. Fix the launch staging; add a bigger engine; add a parachute; add more fuel tanks in the hope of achieving stable orbit. With each launch, and each subsequent mistake, you're forced to re-evaluate and respond. You'll learn to add fairings to smooth the airflow, to use stability assists to dampen roll, to more effectively pilot through the first 70,000 meters in order to maximise fuel efficiency. Slowly,&nbsp;as you find pieces vital to solving whatever problem that you face,&nbsp;that overwhelming list of components starts to make sense.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WboE71ayR6W7.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YOP1FNgrV5gv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ksp2"></p><p>From there, the solar system is yours for the taking. Sandbox games are, by definition, without structure. Minecraft, for example, is ostensibly a survival game, but, beyond having to&nbsp;satisfy a few basic needs, offers no real progression in terms of mid-term goals. For some, that's the key draw; for others, a major weakness. Kerbal Space Program is&mdash;in sandbox mode, at least&mdash;similarly structureless. At the same time, it has a natural progression you can choose to follow. There's a moon, and then planets&mdash;each far enough away that visiting the next is a significant step up in difficulty. These are logical goals, but you aren't forced to pursue them. You could instead decide to become good at making space planes, for no other reason than that space planes are really hard to build.</p><p>Persistence is a crucial part of KSP, and additional goals form out of past launches. Take my Mun landing as an example. Yes, it was a great achievement, but no, it wasn't wholly successful. Most would probably agree that one of the key steps in sending an astronaut to the moon is bringing him back home again. I didn't do that. He's still up there, waiting for me to launch a rescue mission. And if you think he has it bad, at least he's more comfortable than the astronaut of a previous mission. He's stuck in orbit around the moon. It was that or crash into the surface. If something goes wrong on a flight, you can always revert back to the moment of launch. Often, it's more fun to accept the mistake and deal with the consequences.</p><p>The persistent nature of the solar system is also important for those players who aren't incompetent. After a certain point, it becomes impossible to build a rocket big and efficient enough to reach nearby planets. Through the use of permanent orbital stations and tankers, it's possible to create a series of refuelling pit stops for you to dock at along the way. In this way, KSP can be as simple or as complicated as you want. If you're happy paddling&nbsp;in the shallow end of the pool, it supports that. If you want to dive into the depths to chart every&nbsp;planet and moon, you can do that instead.</p><p>Make no mistake, whatever you choose to do, KSP is a difficult game. It's demanding from the very start, and does little to handhold you through what are, at times, some complex concepts. Its challenge is very particular, though. There's no bullshit to the difficulty&mdash;no special cases or rule bending set pieces. Through its basis in real world scientific principles, KSP's challenge is merely a bar it expects you to match. It's not arrogant, vindictive or malicious. It just is. Design a top-heavy rocket with more fuel tanks than stability, and it will fall over and explode. You're not judged for this failure, you're just left to discover it. This is physics, the game is saying. What did you expect? Its logic is grounded and real, and thus consistent and always fair.</p><p>It's intuitive, too. Again, take Minecraft&mdash;a sandbox game that grew out of a similar model of&nbsp;paid-for alpha access. That game hides its crafting options under layers of nonsensical design that, without access to a wiki, would be impossible to know. Physics, on the other hand, is a real and observable thing. Even if you don't know the hard science or understand the formulas, you can often instinctively tell why something isn't working. One of KSP's many strengths is that it lets the science lead the design. Progression and difficulty all emerge naturally from the forces it simulates and the tools you're given to overcome them. It's a battle of thrust versus gravity; of aerodynamics versus drag. Science makes for really good game design, and KSP taps directly into that fact.</p><p>As a simulation, it would be easy for Kerbal Space Program to feel cold and dry&mdash;like a game designed for an audience of tweed wearing, bushy eyebrow sporting physics professors. That it isn't is all down to the presentation, and the nature of the Kerbals themselves. They're clumsy, bumbling tinkerers&mdash;rated in-game for their courage and stupidity. It's the Kerbals that bring physics down to the layman's level. They're what stops KSP being about formulas and equations, and make it instead about slapdash engineering. In the context of Kerbal mission control, it makes sense that my moon lander was crudely bolted to the top of a barely functional ship. It makes sense that there's a Kerbal stranded in orbit&mdash;and that, years later, he's still wearing a big, shit-eating grin.</p><p>In a more serious game, the mistakes and failures would feel tragic, or worse, purely theoretical. The Kerbals bring much needed heart to the simulation, and also an element of slapstick. You feel bad when one dies, but not too bad. There's a consequence to the worst failures, but not a tangible punishment. KSP wants you to learn from doing, and the sacrifices along the way are emotional beats that make success more worthwhile.</p><p>If you do yearn for more structure, there's also a career mode. In it, you're put in charge of the full facility&mdash;managing every aspect from astronauts&nbsp;and R&amp;D, to economics and contract fulfilment. There's a resource system that requires you to generate money, reputation and science. More money lets you improve buildings, in turn becoming more efficient and able to generate more complex ships. Reputation is earned by completing contracts, and is used to gain access to more complex missions. Science&mdash;arguably the most important of the three&mdash;lets you progress through a tech tree, unlocking new ship parts.</p><p>At the start of career mode, you're extremely limited in what you can build. The available solid-fuel booster won't get you far, and so you need to conduct experiments to unlock better equipment. A crew report will generate science, as will observing a vial of mysterious goo, or taking an EVA report on various biomes. It can be a bit of a grind, as you're encouraged to spend slightly too long repeating experiments in order to progress through to proper space exploration.</p><p>It is, however, a slightly smoother and easier start. With less ship parts available, you're given time to figure out what everything does. More importantly, the contract types can pose scenarios that can prove challenging even to&nbsp;those familiar with the game. I've spent plenty of time in space, but taking temperature readings at a specific height and location on Kerbin&nbsp;required a level of atmospheric accuracy that I hadn't previously been asked to achieve. It still feels like an area that could use some extra expansion. There are only so many contract types, and eventually I decided to abandon the career structure in favour of the continued pursuit of my own ambitions.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Am2ki88jQju-.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CcOzRkT4uDZd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ksp3"></p><p>It's easy to see Kerbal Space Program as being about engineering and design. Often it is that: a game of tweaking a ship's centre of mass, of increasing stability, or of using the orbital map to perform a controlled burn to a distant destination. It is not, it has to be said, an especially good looking game. Planetary textures are basic and low-res. It looks utilitarian, which feels apt.</p><p>Occasionally, though, you'll be floating in space and the sun will emerge from behind Kerbin, or you'll catch the distant glint of another planet. At distance, the engine's lighting excels.&nbsp;In motion, KSP is fully&nbsp;able to sell the majesty and awe of space exploration.</p><p>It's a reminder: we did that. On the back of science, yearning and, yes, a nearly apocalyptic competition between two&nbsp;superpowers, we strapped people into giant combustible machines and shot them out of our planet. We did that, and it was amazing. Kerbal Space Program is a brilliant game for a lot of reasons. It's brilliant because of the&nbsp;robust simulation, because of the&nbsp;satisfying design tools, because of the&nbsp;variety and options, and because of the spectacular community that has generated hundreds of mods, guides and videos designed to help you achieve whatever you want to do. Most of all, though, it's brilliant because it holds a mirror up to one of humanity's greatest achievements, and only does so when you have the greatest possible appreciation for the skill, dedication and courage involved. It's a rare and wonderful game, and deserves the strongest possible recommendation.</p> Star Force is an X-Wing sequel in all but namehttp://www.pcgamer.com/star-force-is-an-x-wing-sequel-in-all-but-name/After watching this, I'll be playing all space games the rest of the day.Fri, 01 May 2015 14:03:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/star-force-is-an-x-wing-sequel-in-all-but-name/IndieNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N-h2_TjiTum2.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ck0InKpmJ77G.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Force"></p><p>I'm still waiting on Disney to announce a new X-Wing or TIE Fighter game, and I'm likely to be waiting a long time (i.e. 'forever'). In the meantime, an early demo of something called Star Force has popped up and made me coo with delight.</p><p>Created by <a href="http://www.vladimirmilosevic.com/">Vladimir Milosevic</a>, a Serbian 2D/3D artist, Star Force is being made in Unreal Engine 4 and aims to be a spin-off of the X-Wing and TIE Fighter series', something we're "never going to see (and play) remakes or sequels" of. It's unofficial, a work in progress and very, very cool:</p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/125336899" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>As you can see, Star Force is very much at an early stage, lacking textures and much in the way of action - and those Star Wars sounds and music cues are placeholder, obviously. But there's a hell of a lot of potential there if Milosevic was able to get this up and running himself without a huge amount of fuss. I'll be keeping an eye on this one.</p><p>For now, though, you can make the wait go a little faster by picking up X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and/or X-Wing Alliance on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-wing-and-tie-fighter-now-available-on-steam/">Steam</a> or <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-launches-a-star-wars-day-sale-with-new-games-and-bundles/">GOG</a>.</p><p>[Force Thanks pushed <a href="http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/05/01/new-x-wing-tie-fighter-look-like">Kotaku</a>'s way]</p> Steam suffers currency conversion meltdownhttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-suffers-currency-conversion-meltdown/Buy high, sell low. Wait, not that...Fri, 01 May 2015 13:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-suffers-currency-conversion-meltdown/NewsSteam <p>Where were you when the&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/market/">Steam Community Market</a> suffered a currency meltdown? I was in bed, snoring. But a lot of people were awake, taking advantage of the fact that a glitch had valued the Indonesian Rupiah at exactly the same as the US dollar, 1:1.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yir2KchnRG-F.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZyCbQsABwFpJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve Explanation"></p><p>In reality, a single dollar is worth about 13,000 Rupiahs. You can see why this might cause the odd issue - or, as it was, for almost every cheap item on the Market to be vacuumed up by those taking advantage of the currency mix-up.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/34i9w7/the_steam_community_market_just_experienced_a/">This thread</a> on Reddit popped up <a href="http://s11.postimg.org/5m5btrb7n/dude.jpg">with</a> a <a href="http://i.imgur.com/juVDEay.png">few</a> screens <a href="http://i.imgur.com/lPooaOl.jpg">highlighting</a> what <a href="http://i.imgur.com/v16VxCV.jpg">happened</a>.</p><p>For example, a cheap item like this <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/market/listings/440/Strange%20Killstreak%20Wrench">Strange Killstreak Wrench</a> usually sells for about $3 - on any other day that would be 39,000 Rupiahs. But just a few hours ago it was going for 3 Rupiahs, which is worth zero, nothing, nada to the seller. While the pricing glitch was screwing up the cost displayed, currency conversion was still at play behind the scenes, so it was seriously screwing over non-Indonesian sellers.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j8JxxW85S_yd.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hq3L3TZ28DlW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam Market 1"></p><p>Similarly something being sold in the Indonesian currency for 3.9 million Rupiahs (roughly $300) would be showing as a direct 1:1 conversion of $3.9 <em>million</em>. I always knew people were willing to pay a lot for items, but that does seem a mite too much.</p><p>The Community Market was <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/730/discussions/0/620712364028941195/">closed down</a> for a few hours while the problems were fixed behind the scenes. As you would expect, Valve looks to have rolled back to before the issues arose, and players have been reporting they're seeing sold items returned to their inventories and updated Steam Wallet balances.</p><p>Ah, the risks of running a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-holiday-auction-lets-you-turn-trading-cards-into-games/">digital-only economy</a>. If this had gone unnoticed somehow, Valve could have been out millions, or billions of dollars. Then again, the benefits of running a digital-only economy are that you can flick a switch and erase all of the mistakes.<img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4N_hGdj9TAew.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/56yKiA3X89Ll.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Median Sale Price 3" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lr34Ho9FR7uE.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pIha7Vhz9qVI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sale Price History"></p> The Sims 4 starts getting men pregnant (by accident)http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-starts-getting-men-pregnant-by-accident/It doesn't look like safe sex has any effect, either...Fri, 01 May 2015 11:59:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-starts-getting-men-pregnant-by-accident/NewsThe Sims 4: Get to Work <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y_7gpLxPSeGT.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s4eFfbrHHXH7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sims 4 Pregnant Man"></p><p>The Sims 4: Get to Work brought with it a bunch of new features - and bugs, obviously. One of which was the unexpected joy/hilarity of Sim men getting pregnant.</p><p>As you can see over on <a href="http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2015/04/30/sims-bug-makes-men-pregnant">Kotaku</a>, the release of the Sims 4's expansion pack has brought with it a few bugs and issues that needed correcting - but ones that, owing to the game's life-sim nature, are actually quite fun.</p><p>It seems that, with the addition of alien abductions in Get to Work, someone had set the dial a mite too high. This meant abductions were coming thick and fast, almost as often as your irritating little computer person <em>demands attention from you</em>. Some players reported that, on returning from their semi-regular abductions, their male Sims were actually pregnant.</p><p>No biggie, right? The Sims team <a href="http://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/831141/ask-a-guru-tuesday-april-28-11am-noon-pst-now-closed/p2">fixed</a> the rate of abductions and quietly patched out the male pregnancies. Or so they thought - as players are <em>now</em> reporting their men getting pregnant <a href="http://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/831041/male-pregnany-with-no-abduction">without</a> even an abduction, so there isn't even the sci-fi excuse any more. Instead we have to stick with the Arnie/Junior reasoning. If anything, it could be a reason to pick up the Get to Work expansion, which we decided was alright, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-get-to-work-review/">but not great</a>.</p><p>Players have been making their men pregnant pretty much since the Sims 4 came out, but this was both intentionally and via the <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/sims4Cheats/wiki/index">use of cheats</a>. This time around, they're unexpected surprises for the Y-chromosome-carrying little computer people. But I don't think anybody's really complaining that much, because it's actually a pretty fun little feature.</p><p>[<a href="http://mpregcentral.net/forums/showthread.php?tid=4563">image source</a>]</p> Witcher 3 screenshots show new monsters and a baking deserthttp://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-screenshots-show-new-monsters-and-a-baking-desert/A proper look at the HUD, too.Fri, 01 May 2015 11:42:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-screenshots-show-new-monsters-and-a-baking-desert/CD ProjektNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Killing Floor 2 review (Early Access)http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor-2-review-early-access/It needs some tweaks, and will benefit a lot from more maps, but Killing Floor 2 is already a superb game.Fri, 01 May 2015 02:10:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/killing-floor-2-review-early-access/Killing Floor 2 <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_tC8T8iLRuu1.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5hnY04UCQRZx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Killing Floor 2"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What Is It?</strong> A co-op wave-assault game with lots of guns and lots of gore.<br> <strong>Reviewed On:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lpc/">LPC</a><br> <strong>Price:</strong> $30 / £20&nbsp;<br> <strong>Release Date: </strong>Out now <br> <strong>Publisher/Developer: </strong>Tripwire Interactive <br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Website: </strong><a href="http://www.killingfloor2.com/" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> <em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/early-access-review/">Alpha and Early Access reviews</a> offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/06/26/pc-gamer-reviews-policy/">full review policy</a></em><em> for details.</em></p><p> I like pulling weeds. It’s repetitive labor, but it feels good every time I yank a prickly stem and up pops a bundle of roots with a puff of dirt. It feels good to make visible progress from one side of the garden to the other. I like popping Zed heads in&nbsp; <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/232090" target="_blank">Killing Floor 2</a> for sort of the same reason.&nbsp;It's a splash of blood and guts rather than a puff of dirt,&nbsp;but it’s more therapeutic than it sounds.</p><p> KF2’s gardens are a biotics lab (run by someone who might as well be called Dr. Mad von Scientist), a&nbsp;snowy facility, and a section of post-civilization Paris. Its weeds are the monstrously malformed Zeds. They’re nasty weeds. The bulk are skinny, pasty and zombie-like, but then there are specials like hulking chainsaw dudes, fat vomiting fellas, and shrieking Sirens.</p><p> The game design is about as stereotypically 'video gamey’ as you get, in a good way: up to six players work together to hack, burn, shoot, and explode increasingly nasty hordes of the monsters, pausing briefly between waves to refill ammo and armor, get new weapons, and set up for the next attack. I compare it to weed pulling because wave-assault games are really about cleaning up. There’s a counter in the upper left which displays how many Zeds are left in the current wave, and ripping a whole wave from the Earth is delightful. It’s every weed pulled, every checkbox checked, every typo corrected, every errant nose hair plucked. It’s triumph over disorder and victory over to-do lists.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CwyXCwSBTqml.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KGqJE1lvm8sd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The biggest enemy: heads." class=""><figcaption>The biggest enemy: heads. Always be decapitating.</figcaption></figure><h2>Shot in the dark</h2><p> Weeding doesn’t usually involve Kalashnikov rifles and pump-action shotguns, though. Tripwire is known for its expertly crafted digital firearms&mdash;I’m a big fan of its Red Orchestra series much for that reason&mdash;and it has done a superb job here. It’s more than just the smooth, believable animations. It’s the whole act of using a firearm. Killing a group of basic Zeds, such as the shambling Cysts (whose heads pop like their name implies), is a multi-part story about you and your weapon.</p><p> A group of the pasty buggers gurgles through a doorway. Am I holding the right gun? Ammo conservation matters&mdash;refills aren’t cheap and you can run out during a wave&mdash;so using my primary for every enemy isn’t a good idea. Is it set to the right mode? Some guns, like the AR-15 Varmint Rifle, can be set to single or burst fire. I prefer single. And is it loaded? Magazines run down fast, and reloading can take a long time depending on the gun.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GfaVgJw_R9mc.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rIvZxvmfmRSQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Die die die die." class=""><figcaption>Die die die die.</figcaption></figure><p> Next, there are aiming decisions to be made. Say I’m using the medic’s default HMTECH-101 pistol. I’ll need a few shots to take down your basic nasties, and depending on my range, I might want to go for a&nbsp;headshot and a bodyshot, or just bodyshots, or maybe I just pop their heads off and let them stumble around for a bit. With another gun, I'm thinking about spread and recoil.&nbsp;Accuracy is extremely important: every miss is time and ammo wasted. At the same time, I need to be thinking about how many Zeds are left in the group I’m targeting, if any might be behind me, and what my team is up to&mdash;I don’t want to start shooting at a group someone is currently charging with a katana.</p><p> Finally, there’s the payoff: an explosion of gore, another weed plucked. Tripwire’s gore system, which makes melee weapons especially gruesome to use, is just ridiculous. Limbs fly off and heads are sacks of fluid and giblets. KF2 is very much about accuracy, and it rewards your for it. When slow-mo kicks in (which happens when someone does something cool) and I headshot, from the hip, a gaggle of charging beasts while listening to metal&hellip; that’s just freaking <em>video games</em>.</p><p> I don’t find the melee weapons nearly as fun as guns&mdash;success is largely about timing with regular and heavy swings&mdash;but I use them sometimes just for the front-row seat to the Zed-splosions. The Eviscerator is&nbsp;the exception: it’s a hybrid melee/ranged weapon made of a spinning saw blade which can be held with outstretched arms to saw through necks, or shot out&nbsp;like in my favorite Half-Life 2 section. It's not quite as good as flinging saw blades in HL2, but I'll take it.</p><h2>Teamwork makes the dream work</h2><p> Sometimes, the only good decision is to run. Normal difficulty isn’t too tough, but on Hard and above, you’ve got to know when to cheese it, and when not to reload or heal, both of which slow you down. Everything can seem to be going well, and five seconds later you’re backed into a wall, surrounded, and then dead. If your team survives the wave, you’ll come back for the next one, but you’ll lose any guns you purchased. Not dying is very important.</p><p> In any situation, teamwork is the best way to stay alive. Unfortunately, not many people use the built-in (and very good) voice chat on the random public servers I’ve been joining. It’s frustrating when teammates scatter, or don’t respond to questions, and in the Biotics Lab&nbsp;especially it can be&nbsp;tough to describe landmarks on the map. It’s my fault too, because if no one else is talking I’m generally reluctant to step up and lead, but I’m trying to get past that shyness.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vOUU4L03ShuX.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S9R1VbMYHMLq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="He kind of runs like Phoebe in Friends." class=""><figcaption>He kind of runs like Phoebe in Friends.</figcaption></figure><p> Now and then I’ll join an already coordinated group and it’s a lot of fun, and as ever, nothing beats playing with friends who aren’t going to be shy about yelling at you. Winners stick together, show each other weapon, armor, and ammo pickups, choose an area to defend, and weld doors shut during harder waves to control Zed flow. Even in silent servers, though, there can be unspoken cooperation. I once took on four or five waves with only one other player, and we skipped around all over the map together, me healing him when he needed it, him stepping in with this shotgun when I was overwhelmed. When he saw me rummaging through the shop between waves for longer than usual, he threw all his money into my pockets. It was kind of heartwarming.</p><p> We didn’t quite make it to the end, the two of us. Damn Scrakes. I find the fodder the most fun to kill&mdash;popping head after head&mdash;but big enemies like Scrakes, which soak up a ton of bullets and then collapse in a slightly unsatisfying way, are important to the flow. They send teams running, distract from lesser Zeds, and generally wreck anyone caught backpeddling for too long. They’re where lone-wolfing it is definitely not acceptable.</p><p> Even though I appreciate their purpose, I don’t enjoy dealing with Scrakes (and their Fleshpound brothers) above Normal difficulty. I like managing a crowd, dropping the Zed counter at a steady beat. Scrakes are sponges, and sponges just don’t have the same appeal. I can’t shoot their limbs off, and it’s generally hard to tell how injured they are. When one’s after you, it becomes a chase rather than a game of positioning, circling round and round feeding them lead until they bite it.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f5-GUOS0SZmO.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L7NK1HSd0gJr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Taking out the boss is a team effort." class=""><figcaption>Taking out the boss is a team effort.</figcaption></figure><p> Then there’s the boss, who’s that times a thousand. He’s sort of like extra credit, and his design isn’t especially exciting: he runs around yelling silly things with a German accent (because video game boss), lobbing grenades, shooting, and sometimes charging and grabbing. He could be a cooler, less traditional boss, but I don’t really expect that from Killing Floor 2. I expect him, first and foremost, to be hard, and he’s damn hard above Normal. The dude can take a pummeling before going down, and requires slow, methodical handling.</p><p> Killing the boss, like dealing with Scrakes, isn’t as fun for me as the waves, which offset the stress with clear numerical progress. But when he’s finally soaked through with bullets, the sense of accomplishment is substantial. I wish there were more fanfare.</p><h2>Zed heads</h2><p> It’ll all get easier, with fewer ‘we all ran out of ammo trying to kill an army of Scrakes’ losses, when my team and I have more perks. I’m divided on the progression system. It’s nice to have something to look forward to, but I find Normal too easy and yet feel encouraged to grind out XP there before taking on higher difficulties. Come to the game late, after the full release when everyone else has leveled up and all the perks are available, and you might feel like the runt of your team on Hard, but unsatisfied with Normal difficulty.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tVF7EzK3Rymn.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8aXOo4-s3wW9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="These ankle-biters are a pain." class=""><figcaption>These ankle-biters are a pain.</figcaption></figure><p> Of course, it’s in Early Access and there’s still tweaking to do. The final release will include more perks, more weapons, and more maps. It needs all that, especially the maps, but Killing Floor 2 is already excellently designed. The guns, regardless of any fastidious tweaking they may need, are superbly fun to shoot. They animate with character and force,&nbsp;while Zeds react to the force, stumbling, ragdolling, and exploding with gibs. While there are currently only three maps, they’re all big and varied enough to offer lots of tactical footholds for coordinated teams. The playable characters each have distinct personalities and great voices (which you can get rid of if they get in the way of chat). The server browser works almost flawlessly (at worst, it doesn’t refresh fast enough to show accurate player counts), and I’ve never had to worry about finding other players. I also appreciate that KF2 launches quickly, lets me skip its splash screens, and has been almost entirely stable (it hung on the loading screen once, but that’s forgivable).</p><p> None of what KF2 currently offers feels underdeveloped&mdash;even the loading screen is excellent&mdash;and there’s remarkable complexity in each corner of the game. That’s evident in the way Zeds don’t just get more health, but new behaviors at higher difficulties,&nbsp;and how trying to load a fully-loaded gun cues a unique animation. I also love the culture of fun among the players, who enjoy shooting fountains of cash between each other while waiting for waves to start. When it grows into a full release,&nbsp;Killing Floor 2 will live a long and happy life, especially&mdash;to safely speculate a bit&mdash;thanks to all of its future modders.</p><h3><strong>Verdict</strong></h3><p> <strong></strong>It's Killing Floor but better. Killing Floor 2&nbsp;needs some tweaks, and will benefit a lot from more maps, but it's already a superb mutant bloodbath.</p> EverQuest fan project given blessing by Daybreak http://www.pcgamer.com/everquest-fan-project-given-blessing-by-daybreak/Project 1999 will continue as a not-for-profit emulation project.Fri, 01 May 2015 01:51:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/everquest-fan-project-given-blessing-by-daybreak/Daybreak Game CompanyEverquestMMONewsSony Online Entertainment <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-LcjuQwASziX.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5Vj-R9rc-r6B.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Everquest"></p><p>Project 1999, a fan operated emulation of the original&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/everquest/">EverQuest</a>, has been approved by the MMO's original&nbsp;creators Daybreak Game Company, formerly Sony Online Entertainment. The ambitious service is operated on a not-for-profit basis and aims to offer the most authentic Everquest experience possible.&nbsp;</p><p>Following a recent shake-up which saw Sony Online Entertainment cut ties with Sony and transform into Daybreak Games, doubts circulated about the legal viability of the project. But thankfully Daybreak Games has given its blessing, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.project1999.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191146&amp;_ga=1.63252396.2082287688.1430432502">a statement</a> on the Project 1999 website.</p><p>"As some of you may be aware, in the past there has been both confusion and concern over the status of Project 1999," the statement reads.&nbsp;"We have recently entered into a written agreement with Daybreak Game Company LLC that formally recognizes Project 1999 as a fan based, not-for-profit, classic EverQuest emulation project.&nbsp;</p><p>"The agreement establishes the guidelines that we as a project must follow, but it will allow to us continue to update the game without risk of legal repercussions."</p><p>While this means delays for the planned Velious update, it does mean you can login to the previously decommissioned Everquest world and relive one of the best MMOs of all time, providing you own a copy of&nbsp;Everquest: Titanium Edition. Full instructions on how to get started are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.project1999.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2651">over here</a>. For the rest of us, we can only wait for more news regarding&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/everquest-next/">EverQuest Next</a>.</p><p>Thanks&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/05/01/everquest-project-1999-legal-status-assured-agreement-with-daybreak/">Vg247</a>.</p> Phantasmal, a procedurally generated horror game, is now on Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/phantasmal-a-procedurally-generated-horror-game-is-now-on-early-access/Binding of Isaac meets Silent Hill.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 23:45:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/phantasmal-a-procedurally-generated-horror-game-is-now-on-early-access/Early AccessHorrorNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6sZzzmUUQRG7.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6I0Bf3sfvzDW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Green Shadowman"></p><p>Procedurally generated survival horror is a good idea in theory, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/daylight-review/">past attempts at the formula</a> haven't quite nailed it.&nbsp;New Zealand studio Eyemobi is giving it a red hot go in the form of Phantasmal, a horror game set in the notorious Kowloon Walled City, a huge Hong Kong sprawl which was demolished in 1994. That fact alone is enough to warrant a look (<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2139914/A-rare-insight-Kowloon-Walled-City.html">Kowloon was insane</a>), but the studio's professed love for&nbsp;Lovecraft is also promising.</p><p>In true Lovecraft fashion you won't just be tackling "lurking, otherworldly creatures", but insanity also. Avoiding conflict altogether is the best way to keep the latter in check, and stealth appears to be a key part of the game. You can beat things with sticks if you're really desperate, though. The studio describes the game as The Binding of Isaac meets Silent Hill.</p><p>Phantasmal is in Early Access as of today, and is expected to stay there for 3-6 months. The core game is playable but a bunch of features will be added at launch, including procedural story generation, a greater diversity of environmental art and NPC interaction. Check it out on&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/342550/">Early Access</a> or watch the trailer below:</p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/125018910" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/125018910">Phantasmal Steam Early Access Trailer</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user32118177">Joe Chang</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> Temple of Elemental Evil world editor found hiding in Polish patchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/temple-of-elemental-evil-world-editor-found-hiding-in-polish-patch/The Temple of Elemenal Evil was released in 2003. The editor was discovered yesterday.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 22:52:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/temple-of-elemental-evil-world-editor-found-hiding-in-polish-patch/NewsRPGTemple of Elemental EvilTroika Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1iU-s-ZrRsWt.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HDpwIx3XEMeO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Temple of Elemental Evil"></p><p>The 2003 Troika RPG <a href="http://www.gog.com/game/the_temple_of_elemental_evil">Temple of Elemental Evil</a> was not great. It was a faithful reproduction of the classic D&amp;D module&mdash;a little too faithful, in my opinion&mdash;but it was also riddled with bugs. A persistent community of modders spent the following decade smoothing out the rough spots and restoring cut content, but there were limits to what could be done with it because nobody had access to the world editor. But&nbsp;according to an anonymous leak to the <a href="http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/codex-scoop-temple-of-elemental-evil-world-editor-discovered-hidden-in-games-official-polish-patch.98846/">RPG Codex</a>, it was there all along.</p><p>The process for accessing the editor is actually quite simple. Begin by downloading the official Polish 2.0 patch, and yes, it must be the Polish patch; grab it <a href="https://www.gram.pl/pliki_szczegoly.asp?id=321">here</a>. Then, create an empty directory, and an empty text file called ChangeLog.txt. Finally, run the patch and select the newly-created directory as the installation destination. That's it: The world editor&mdash;apparently called WorldEd&mdash;is now installed.</p><p>The discovery is probably more noteworthy as an anthropological curiosity than for any practical impact it might have, although the general consensus is that despite being an imperfect piece of software, it will make life simpler for modders. Also very interesting is that shortly after the leak was made public, the Circle of 8, the modding group that used its own toolset to create and release updates as recently as <a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/circle-of-eight-modpack">last August</a>, claimed in its own forums that it <a href="http://www.co8.org/forum/showthread.php?s=8188e53287cb75c8dbd7594d2fe374cf&amp;t=11579">been aware of WorldEd's presence</a> in the game "for some time," but kept that knowledge to itself for fear of possible legal trouble.</p><p>Historical oddity and forum drama aside, there's some legitimate excitement about what this could mean beyond simply improving the original game. I have no idea how likely it is to happen, but it does appear to open up the possibility of new content being created in the ToEE engine: The Circle of 8 described it as "quirky and crashy", but also acknowledged that "it does indeed open up addition modding possibilities," while the Codex itself has opened up a new Temple of Elemental Evil <a href="http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?forums/toee-modding.98/">modding subforum</a>. </p> Warren Spector says the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided trailer bugged him a littlehttp://www.pcgamer.com/warren-spector-says-the-deus-ex-mankind-divided-trailer-bugged-him-a-little/And more in theDeus Ex mastermind's first AMAThu, 30 Apr 2015 22:41:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warren-spector-says-the-deus-ex-mankind-divided-trailer-bugged-him-a-little/NewsWarren Spector <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q7eVexvAQnud.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kB7SB4LkhfLn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Warren Spector"></p><p>Warren Spector has done a lot of great things in the game industry over the years, but one thing he hasn't done is take part in an AMA. Today, that changed, as he took residence on&nbsp;Reddit to answer a range of questions about his time at Junction Point, his current gig as director of the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, what he thinks of "HD" remakes of old games, and how the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-trailer-analysed/">announcement trailer</a> bugged him a little.</p><p>I found that last point particularly interesting, since Spector helmed the team that created the original <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/spector-created-deus-ex-out-of-thief-frustrations/">Deus Ex</a>, and it sounds like he approves of what Eidos Montreal did with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-human-revolution/">Deus Ex: Human Revolution</a>. But he clearly has some reservations about what he's seen of Mankind Divided thus far.</p><p>"I thought the Mankind Divided trailer was pretty violence-o-rific, which bugged me a little. I mean, the DX game was never about killing stuff. It was about picking your own playstyle, which MIGHT involve killing stuff," he said. "Given how well DX:HR did at the whole choice and consequence idea I'm hoping&mdash;and have confidence&mdash;the actual game will be a little more in the playstyle matters mold. In trailers, you just have to give people the most action-packed stuff you can, I assume. I'll definitely be playing Mankind Divided. Ask me then."</p><p>One question he very pointedly declined to answer related to his experiences with the "drama" at Ion Storm, to which he replied, "Drama? What drama?" Even so, it's an interesting AMA, which in light of his history really isn't surprising at all. Catch the whole thing at <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/34fdjb/hi_i_am_warren_spector_a_game_developer_from/">Reddit</a>.</p> Watch Square Enix's incredible DirectX 12 tech demohttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-square-enixs-incredible-directx-12-tech-demo/Turns out DirectX 12 and four Titan X graphics cards buys you some pretty amazing rendering power.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 22:40:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-square-enixs-incredible-directx-12-tech-demo/DirectX 12HardwareNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e1mwhdYZvSE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Today at Microsoft's BUILD 2015 conference, Square Enix and Nvidia showed off a seriously impressive&nbsp;tech demo for DirectX 12 using a whopping four GTX Titan video cards.</p><p>The video, entitled Witch Chapter 0 [cry], was made by the same Square Enix team that built the similarly pretty&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVX0OUO9ptU">Agni's Philosophy</a> tech demo shown off back at E3 2012.&nbsp;The new video features more than 63 million polygons in each scene, approximately six to ten times as many as was possible using DirectX 11.</p><p>This one isn't nearly as flashy as Agni's Philosophy, but the level of detail&mdash;particularly in the skin close-ups around the three minute mark&mdash;is pretty spectacular. It should be, since it's running on $4000 worth of Titan Xs.</p><p>We won't be seeing a playable game that looks quite this great anytime soon, but the technology doesn't seem completely pie-in-the-sky.&nbsp;Here's a quote from Square Enix's Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy XV, about the tech demo:</p><p>"Our team has always pursued cutting-edge pre-rendered and real-time CG. As a part of the technical development, we created this demo using world-class, real-time CG technology with generous support from leading-edge software and hardware providers – Microsoft’s Windows10/DirectX 12 and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX. The efforts from this project will power future game development as well as Final Fantasy XV, currently a work in progress."</p><p>Sure sounds like Final Fantasy XV belongs on the PC.</p><p>Check out the video above, courtesy of YouTube user <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChkYGQ31akNg7-uTIbgwfvg">Michael Wieczorek</a>.</p> The best graphics cardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/It's simply the most important component of any gaming PC. Make sure you get the right one for your next rig.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 22:10:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards/AMDBuying Guidegraphics cardHardwareNvidia Nvidia releases new driver for Windows 10 testinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-releases-new-driver-for-windows-10-testing/Running Windows 10 and an Nvidia card? Grab this driver update.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:20:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-releases-new-driver-for-windows-10-testing/HardwareNewsNvidiaWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3Hh-P-jvTSKR.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8CzMBfvpKnnc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 980"></p><p>Are you running Windows 10 on your gaming rig? If so, you've probably encountered a hiccup or two trying to get drivers to play nice with the pre-release version of Windows. Well, if you have an Nvidia graphics card, things should be getting a bit smoother.</p><p>Nvidia has released a new driver, GeForce 352.63 Beta, designed for pre-release Windows 10 testing. The driver is tailored for WDDM 2.0 and DirectX 12, and covers Maxwell and Kepler GeForce GPUs (that is, the GTX 900, 700, and 600 series, specifically).</p><p>Get the drivers <a href="http://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/84233/en-us">here</a> if you're running Windows 10. If you're waiting patiently on Windows 8 (or <em>very </em>patiently on Windows 7), then stick to the regular driver updates through GeForce Experience.</p> CCP boss says virtual reality isn't going to be big in 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/ccp-boss-says-virtual-reality-isnt-going-to-be-big-in-2016/Hilmar Veigar Pétursson says VR will take longer to catch on than most people think.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:09:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ccp-boss-says-virtual-reality-isnt-going-to-be-big-in-2016/CCP GamesEVE: ValkyrieNewsOculus RIFTvirtual reality <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DZ4gpjwJa08?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0&amp;vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The space combat sim <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-valkyrie/">EVE: Valkyrie</a> is one of the better-known, and best-looking, examples of virtual reality gaming we've seen so far. I mean, how can you watch this trailer from EVE Fanfest and not want it strapped to your face, <em>immediately</em>? So it's a bit surprising to read that Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, the CEO of EVE studio CCP Games, actually doesn't think that VR will be a big thing in 2016.</p><p> Speaking at the SlushPlay Conference in Reykjavik last week (via <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/04/30/ccp-boss-vr-is-not-going-to-be-big-next-year/">VentureBeat</a>), Pétursson said he expects it will be quite a&nbsp;while yet before VR really makes an impact on gaming. It took six years for 3D accelerator cards to catch on, he explained, and even longer for gaming on mobile phones to become a big business. "I used to go to GDC and they would say that mobile phones are the future, and it was nothing," he said. "Ringtones were a bigger business than games back then."</p><p> "And we sit here and say VR is going to be big next year," he added. "And it’s not going to be big."</p><p> That's not to say it won't be big someday: Barring an unforeseen development on the scale of, say, the end of the world, virtual reality in one form or another will eventually become mainstream. Just maybe not quite as soon as we thought&mdash;although Valve is going to be taking its best shot&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steamvr-hands-on-valve-overtakes-oculus/">when it launches SteamVR in November</a>.</p> Nine custom PC builders compared: who gives you the best deal?http://www.pcgamer.com/nine-custom-pc-builders-compared-who-gives-you-the-best-deal/If you're buying a custom-built PC, you want to get your money's worth. Here's what each has to offer for your dollar.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 20:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nine-custom-pc-builders-compared-who-gives-you-the-best-deal/Hardware <p> At PC Gamer, we believe strongly in the value of&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-you-should-build-your-own-pc/">building your own PC</a>. It's cheaper, and it brings you closer to the hobby that we all love. But we know buying a pre-built system has its advantages, too. Maybe you just don't have time to build a PC of your own, or you have&nbsp;dreams of a custom paint job or complex water cooling&nbsp;you can't do at home.&nbsp;Buying from a professional builder also gets you warranty coverage and professional tech support, sometimes even for the life of the system. It's hard to say if the warranty price outweighs the savings it provides in repair costs, but it definitely brings peace of mind.</p><p> Once you've decided to go with a professional PC builder, the next question is: which one? Some companies differentiate themselves with custom artwork, unique case designs, or good service coverage. But there are a lot of choices out there. We looked at nine professional PC builders to see what kind of warranty options, service coverage, and other defining factors set them apart from one another. Then, I built two systems for each company: a high-end system&mdash;pretty much the best the company offers&mdash;and the cheapest pre-built system available. Here's what we found.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BlUNrag0RVmQ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-C0GFR4tbyFs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Alienware"></p><h3><a href="http://www.alienware.com">Alienware</a></h3><p> The gaming arm of Dell, Alienware is somewhat known for its expensive systems and "high-end-gaming-for-dummies" approach to service. Every Alienware system comes with a standard one-year limited hardware warranty, with additional warranties of up to four years available.</p><ul> <li>Low-end system warranties:&nbsp;$80 for two years,&nbsp;$150 for three years,&nbsp;$210 for four years of hardware and phone support</li> <li>High-end system warranties:&nbsp;$149 for two years,&nbsp;$219 for three years,&nbsp;$279 for four years of hardware and phone support.</li></ul><p> The one-year limited hardware warranty doesn't seem to cover standard phone service though, as Alienware offers a variety of "gaming services" such as new game setup, game customization and optimization, troubleshooting, and system mechanic, all at a variety of prices. In other words, you have plenty of tech support options, but they'll cost you.</p><p> Tech support hours are listed as Monday - Friday from 10:00am to 7:00pm CST. Return policy is a 30-day money back guarantee, including free shipping both ways and sometimes a waived restocking fee.</p><p> I'm not a big fan of Alienware's custom build system. For one, links have a tendency to sometimes bounce you between Alienware, Dell, and Alienware-branded Dell pages. It's not a huge issue, but a bit annoying and can get confusing. The bigger issue is that part options vary depending on which base model you start from. The low-end Area-51 desktop, which starts at $1,699, has a variety of video card options to upgrade to, while the top-end model (starting at $4,499) only lets you choose between triple GTX 980s or upgrading to Dual Titan-Z cards (which are now outdated with the arrival of the Titan X).</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lw4C3e44Q7qK.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZS9k-b72ieWP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcbuilder Origin"></p><h3><a href="http://www.originpc.com">Origin PC</a></h3><p> Origin PC offers one-, two-, and three-year parts and free shipping warranties, excluding accessories, software, and anything damaged beyond the company's control, such as: "impacts, liquids, fire, rain, lightning or other disasters such as: nuclear war, zombie apocalypse, epidemic, alien occupation, or armed insurrection." Purchasing from Origin comes with lifetime US-based tech support that is available 24/7. Baseline warranties (included in the cost) start at one-year part replacement and 45 day free shipping. $69 extends free shipping to a year, while an additional $100 or $200 bumps the parts replacement and shipping up to two and three years, respectively.</p><p> The company says it can professionally overclock systems up to 5.2 GHz, and all systems are subjected to a rigorous three-day burn-in stress test. Purchases come with a 30-day money back guarantee (subject to a 15% restocking fee), excluding custom paint, logo, or artwork services, which are non-refundable. The company ships internationally, and boasts its "wooden crate and instafoam shipping protection," which presumably helps prevent any damage during shipping.</p><p> In addition to Origin's extensive color options, which will run you $250 for metallic side panels, $450 for pre-designed themes, or considerably more for custom artwork, the company differentiates itself from the competition with an upgrade service, allowing customers to return internal components of their Origin PC for credit towards the purchase of a&nbsp;new product. You have to buy-in to the upgrade service (it's available in a two-year and three-year format, at $20 and $40) at the time of original purchase. It covers system motherboards (on desktop form factors), CPUs, GPUs, internal hard drives, memory, and optical drives. Buyback prices are the part's current market value, as determined by Origin based on a combination of data sources. If you're planning on upgrading your PC at all in the future (which you should be), the upgrade service definitely seems worth the money.</p><p> Origin's online build process was one of the best I experienced. You can customize the internals of tower builds (as in, whether you want a standard, inverted, or rotated motherboard positioning), and part selection is straightforward for both towers and small form-factor systems.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/teChQDfoSnSF.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/svYpKLfIsATg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pcbuilder Falcon Northwest"></p><h3><a href="http://www.falconnorthwest.com">Falcon Northwest</a></h3><p> Like Origin PC, Falcon Northwest is one of the more expensive options on the market, but is known for its unique, custom cases. The company uses automotive-quality paint finishes in everything from basic solid, metallic, and pearl color schemes to complex color-shifting hues and custom graphics and airbrushing. Falcon's Exotix paint starts at $756 for a solid color and goes up to $1,000 or more for complex color-shifting hues. Custom artwork, depending on the complexity, will raise that price even more.</p><p> Falcon offers lifetime tech support, 9am-6pm Pacific Time, seven days a week. All desktops except the Talon include a three-year warranty which covers parts and labor (the Talon costs $195 to upgrade from a one-year to a three-year warranty), and some systems (the Mach V and FragBox) additionally come with a year of Falcon Overnight service (only available in the contiguous United States), a coverage plan that will have your system picked up, repaired, and returned via an overnight courier, should a problem arise that can't be fixed via over-the-phone tech support.</p><p> With the exclusion of custom paintwork, which is non-refundable once painting has begun, Falcon offers a 30-day money back guarantee. Like Origin PC, systems are subjected to a three-day burn-in. Customers are also provided with a convenient binder of system documentation, as well as "ResuceDrive" &mdash; a USB stick that can reset your system to a factory fresh state.</p><p> The Falcon "Configurator" is a bit clunkier than Origin's system, but still overall a good customization experience. The biggest issue is that you have to click into each part in order to see price differences, making it slightly more difficult to compare parts at a glance.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3tQHCJFEQmqt.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-MQXA1hK-L7H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Xidax"></p><h3><a href="http://www.xidax.com">Xidax</a></h3><p> Every Xidax computer is hand-built by a single system builder. The other main selling point for Xidax systems is the company's lifetime warranty on parts and labor for desktop systems. (Two years for laptops.) This covers the "core computer," defined as all hardware inside the computer case (excluding AMD video cards, which come with a limited two-year parts warranty, and liquid/water cooling components, which are covered for a year). Defective parts are repaired when possible or replaced with a new, used, refurbished, recertified, or comparable part. If a component is no longer supported and/or commercially available, to the point that repair of the computer would be impractical, Xidax may issue an in-store credit for the computer's then-value, instead of going forward with a repair.</p><p> Xidax's return policy is a bit wonkier than most. All sales are final and as-is, with returns only at the exclusive discretion of Xidax. Returns (that are approved) within 45 days of purchase are subject to a 20% (of the purchase price) "rental fee" while returns after 45 days are charged a 20% restocking fee plus an additional $75 per day rental fee.</p><p> The Xidax website lists several technicians on staff, so it's presumably they offer in-house tech support. However, the website doesn't have any mention of the company's actual tech support hours. (Company office hours are listed as Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm (MST) and Sat/Sun 10am - 5pm.)</p><p> Xidax also offers a number of financing options. BillMeLater via PayPal, GE Financing (subject to a credit approval), and a no credit check option. The third option is a terrible deal, though, as all leases are for 12 months at a rate of 20% per month. In other words, a $1000 system would cost you $200 per month for 12 months, adding up to $2400 total. Not good.</p><p> Xidax's custom build UI is better than most, making it straightforward to compare prices and pick components. My only real complaint is that the menu scrolls back to the top every time you select a new component section, making it possible to lose your place and maybe forget to pick a component.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wlMFjmf6Rp2E.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bh6of3nSlsnY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Ibuypower"></p><h3><a href="http://www.ibuypower.com">iBuyPower</a></h3><p> iBuyPower offers a wide variety of pre-built and custom configuration options. The company's signature desktop systems come with a three year standard warranty, covering three years labor and one year parts. Four- and five-year extended warranties are also mentioned on the company's warranty info page, but they don't seem to be listed as options at the time of purchase, so you will likely have to contact the company in order to buy in. Warranties extend only to the original purchaser, and are only effective on systems purchased and operated in the United States. iBuypower does not offer international shipping, service, or sales (except for APO/FPO customers, which are covered by the standard three-year warranty).</p><p> All purchases are covered by a 30-day money back guarantee, not including shipping/handling. Returns not in their original condition may be subject to a 15% restocking fee. iBuypower provides technical support 8:30am - 5:00pm PST Mon - Fri.</p><p> iBuyPower's build interface seems aimed more at someone who knows what they're doing, but still doesn't want to build their system by hand. It almost overwhelms you with component choice, yet provides little info about each part on the decisionmaking page, save for the part name and price. If you don't know what you're looking for, I could see easily getting lost in the weeds.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/No-cIN-kRiC4.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y2tY1fC0zKT9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Maingear"></p><h3><a href="http://www.maingear.com">Maingear</a></h3><p> Maingear lists customer service as its top priority. All parts are covered during the warranty period, which starts at one year on all systems then costs $99/$199 for two/three years of coverage on most systems (but the price goes up to $199/$399 on super high-end systems). Labor and phone support are free for the lifetime of the system. The warranty employs a combination of virtual on-site, remote diagnostic software, telephone support, and if necessary, on-site repair via a third-party service. Tech support hours are Mon – Fri, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm EST and Sat, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm EST. Issues within the first 30 days are additionally covered by free two-way shipping, while Maingear will cover one-way shipping after that. Systems come with a 30-day money back guarantee, subject to a 20% restocking fee, excluding shipping costs, custom work (including paint), and orders over $5,000.</p><p> As for the computers themselves, Maingear says it hand-builds every system with a focus on optimal wiring for maximum airflow. Systems come with the latest hardware drivers installed (and never any bloatware), and everything is subjected to a 48-72 hour stress test.</p><p> Maingear's approach seems mostly focused on providing lots of pre-configured options at a variety of price points. You can still customize those further, but based on the number of options, I imagine they're more interested in attracting customers looking for a build to suit their needs (gaming, 3D modeling, post-production, etc) rather than someone looking to hand-pick their parts.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7LOsAqQ5SQK4.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6boyO-epqvel.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Cyberpowerpc"></p><h3><a href="http://www.cyberpowerpc.com">CyberpowerPC</a></h3><p> In addition to standard laptops and tower cases, CyberpowerPC offers a number of exclusive case options, such as the futuristic-looking Trinity and the briefcase-shaped Battlebox.</p><p> Tech support is available Mon-Fri 6:00am - 8:00 pm (PST) and Sat 9:30am - 3pm (PST). Desktop systems comes with a three year limited warranty (covering three years labor one year parts). That plan can be upgraded:</p><ul> <li>Four years labor, two years parts extended service plan: $199.</li> <li>Five years labor, three years parts extended service plan: $349.</li></ul><p> Systems are covered by a 30-day money back guarantee (excluding shipping costs and custom engraving), with returns made between 31 and 45 days subject to a 15% restocking fee. No refund, credit, or exchange is allowed after 45 days. Four and five year (with two and three years parts) extended service plans are also available.</p><p> While I like CyberpowerPC's variety of cases, it suffers from the same issues as iBuyPower: it overwhelms you with options without offering much info to help make component choices. I count 19 motherboard options to choose from&mdash;all X99 variations, at that&mdash;so again, if you don't know exactly what you want, it can be quite confusing.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SP3O89y8RbKJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fcIcJvihI2nX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Velocity Micro"></p><h3><a href="http://www.velocitymicro.com">Velocity Micro</a></h3><p> Like many custom PC builders, Velocity Micro builds its systems by hand. They are then subjected to a rigorous testing process, including a 200-point checklist, 60 cycles of testing system resources, overnight burn-in, and many others. After sale, systems are covered with lifetime in-house tech support. Standard tech support is available 11:00am to 8:00pm EST Monday through Friday, while 24/7 emergency support (covering things like boot failure, system failure, and issues that keep the PC from functioning) is available for certain warranty packages.</p><p> Velocity Micro systems come with a one-year limited warranty, covering parts and labor, with two- and three-year options available, with price dependent on the system.</p><ul><li>Low-end system warranties:&nbsp;$99 for two years,&nbsp;$199 for three years of coverage.</li><li>High-end system warranties:&nbsp;$199 for two years,&nbsp;$399 for three years of coverage.</li></ul><p> Sales come with a 30-day money back guarantee, subject to a 15% restocking fee. Any special or custom-ordered component (things not listed in the configuration options) are not eligible for refunds.</p><p> Velocity also offers a lifetime upgrade plan, allowing users to purchase new components for their system at discounted prices. Upgraded hardware comes with an additional one-year warranty. The company's build offerings are a nice combination of pre-designed systems with the option for further customization.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yx8Cl88ZQ32T.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I7q8s7K5ZIMT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pc Builder Digital Storm"></p><h3></h3><h3><a href="http://www.digitalstorm.com">Digital Storm</a></h3><p> Digital Storm systems come with a three year limited warranty, covering three years of labor and one year parts.&nbsp;</p><ul> <li>Four year labor, two year parts extended warranty: $99.</li> <li>Five year labor, three year parts extended warranty: $299.</li> <li>Six year labor, four year parts extended warranty: $499.</li></ul><p> Warranty service within the first 45 days also comes with free two-way shipping. Digital Storm offers a full refund, excluding shipping costs, only in the case of hardware issues and within 30 days of original delivery.</p><p> Digital Storm provides lifetime US-based tech support (hours are listed as Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 5pm PST). The company offers overclocking and other services to boost performance, as well as "extensive" stress testing, though it doesn't say exactly how long the burn-in period is.</p><p> Digital Storm's build interface is solid&mdash;fairly similar to Velocity Micro. Lots of choices for where you want to start out, namely case and pre-configured watercooling options, then pre-configured options that can be further customized.&nbsp;</p><hr> <p> That's an overview of the major PC builders and what they have to offer in terms of warranties, support, overclocking, and other special services.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nine-custom-pc-builders-compared-who-gives-you-the-best-deal">On the next page</a>, I put each configuration tool to the test to build a high-end rig and compare prices across all nine builders.</p><p> To try out the configuration system for each PC builder, I put together a high-end rig, customizing one of the most expensive default builds. I tried to use identical parts whenever possible to establish a baseline: an Intel i7-5820K processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a single Nvidia GTX Titan X graphics card. Of course, <strong>t</strong><strong>hese systems are NOT exactly the same</strong>. Motherboard and power supply options differ the most between the builders and case prices vary. Each builder also offers different options in specialized cooling and overclocking, with varying prices to match.</p><p> While the prices I ended up with don't reflect identical rigs, they give you a pretty good idea of how much it costs to configure a high-end system with each PC builder.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <strong> PC Manufacturer </strong> </td> <td> <strong> Price</strong> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Alienware </td> <td> $4049 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Origin PC </td> <td> $3683 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Falcon Northwest </td> <td> $3943 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Xidax </td> <td> $3259 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> iBuyPower </td> <td> $3529 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Maingear </td> <td> $5238 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Cyberpower </td> <td> $4424 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Velocity Micro </td> <td> $4029 </td> </tr> <tr> <td> Digital Storm </td> <td> $5204 </td> </tr> </tbody> </table><p> Below you can see exactly which parts are in each rig.</p><h4>Alienware Area-51</h4><p> <strong>Price:</strong> $4,049<br> <strong>Motherboard: </strong>Intel® X99 Express Chipset w/ Unlocked BIOS for Overclocking<br> <strong>CPU: </strong>Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.6GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply:</strong> Alienware&trade; 1500 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply<br> <strong>GPU:</strong> Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32GB Quad Channel DDR4 at 2133MHz<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 256GB SSD, 4TB 5400rpm SATA HDD<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong> Alienware Premium CPU Liquid Cooling</p><h4>Origin PC Genesis</h4><p> <strong>Price:</strong> $3,683<br> <strong>Motherboard:</strong> GIGABYTE X99-UD4<br> <strong>CPU:</strong> Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.5GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply:</strong> 650 Watt Corsair RM650<br> <strong>GPU: </strong>Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32GB Corsair LPX 2400MHz (4x8GB)<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 240GB ORIGIN PC Approved Solid State Drive<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong> ORIGIN High-Performance Ultra Silent Fans, ORIGIN FROSTBYTE 120 Sealed Liquid Cooling System for 2011 Socket<br> <strong>Additional Stuff:</strong> Remote Controlled Multi-Colored LED</p><h4>Falcon Northwest Mach-V</h4><p> <strong>Price: </strong>$3,943<br> <strong>Motherboard: </strong>GIGABYTE X99-UD4<br> <strong>CPU: </strong>Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.6GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply:</strong> SilverStone 750 Watt Modular<br> <strong>GPU:</strong> Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32GB G.Skill 2400MHz (4x8GB)<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> Micron® M600 SSD 256GB<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong> Performance Fan Pack, Asetek® Liquid Cooling - Mach V</p><h4>Xidax Annihilator X-8</h4><p> <strong>Price:</strong> $3,259<br> <strong>Motherboard:</strong> MSI X99 SLI Plus<br> <strong>CPU: </strong>Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.5GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply: </strong>Corsair 750W Semi-Modular Power Supply<br> <strong>GPU:</strong> Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32GB Xidax Extreme DDR4 2400MHz Memory (8x4GB)<br> <strong>Storage: </strong>256GB XIDAX Performance SSD<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong> ZALMAN CNPS10X OPTIMA 120mm FSB<br> <strong>Additional Stuff: </strong>Free CPU Overclocking, shipping, or Xidax 24" 1080P LED Monitor</p><h4>iBuypower Erebus GT-V3</h4><p> <strong>Price: </strong>$3,529<br> <strong>Motherboard: </strong>MSI X99A SLI PLUS<br> <strong>CPU: </strong>Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.5GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply: </strong>750 Watt Thermaltake SMART SP-750M<br> <strong>GPU: </strong>Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32 GB Corsair DDR4 - 2400MHz (8x4GB)<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong> Custom Liquid Cooling<br> <strong>Additional Stuff: </strong>Up to 10% overclocking, Includes Gaming mouse and keyboard</p><h4>Maingear FORCE SUPER STOCK X99</h4><p> <strong>Price:</strong> $5,238<br> <strong>Motherboard: </strong>ASUS X99-A<br> <strong>CPU:</strong> Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.6GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply:</strong> 1200 Watt Corsair® Professional Digital Series AX1200i 80+ Platinum Certified Modular<br> Power Supply ROHS <br> <strong>GPU: </strong>Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong> 32 GB Corsair® Vengeance&trade; DDR4- 2666MHz (8x4GB)<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD<br> <strong>Cooling: </strong>EK Supremacy - Nickel</p><h4> <strong>CyberpowerPC&nbsp;Fang III - Black Mamba</strong></h4><p> <strong></strong><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;$4,424<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Motherboard:</b>&nbsp;ASUS X99-A ATX<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">CPU:</b>&nbsp;Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.5GHz TurboBoost)<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Power Supply:</b>&nbsp;750 Watts - Corsair RM750 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Fully Modular Ultra Quiet Power Supply<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">GPU:</b>&nbsp;Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Memory:</b>&nbsp;32GB Corsair DDR4 2400MHz (8x4GB)<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Storage:</b>&nbsp;250 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD<br> <b style="background-color: initial;">Cooling:</b>&nbsp;CYBERPOWERPC Xtreme Hydro 360mm Liquid CPU Cooling<br> <strong>Additional Stuff:</strong>&nbsp;Multi-Color LED with Remote Controller, free Ultimate OC (Ultimate Overclock 30% or more)</p><h4>Velocity Micro&nbsp;Raptor Signature Edition</h4><p> <strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;$4,029<br> <strong>Motherboard:</strong>&nbsp;Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5<br> <strong>CPU:&nbsp;</strong>Intel Core i7 5930K 3.5GHz (3.7GHz Turbo)<br> <strong></strong><strong>Power Supply:&nbsp;</strong>1000 Watt EVGA SuperNOVA Power Supply, 80Plus Gold Certified<br> <strong></strong><strong>GPU:</strong>&nbsp;Single 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X<br> <strong></strong><strong>Memory</strong><strong>:</strong>&nbsp;32GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-2400MHz (4x8GB)<br> <strong></strong><strong>Storage:</strong>&nbsp;250GB Crucial MX200 SSD<br> <strong></strong><strong>Cooling:</strong>&nbsp;Velocity Micro LiquiCool 6 Fluid Cooling System </p><h4>Digital Storm&nbsp;AVENTUM II</h4><h4></h4><p> <strong>Price:&nbsp;</strong>$5,204<br> <strong>Motherboard:&nbsp;</strong>ASUS X99-DELUXE<br> <strong>CPU:</strong>&nbsp;Intel Core i7 5820K 3.3GHz (3.6GHz TurboBoost)<br> <strong>Power Supply:</strong>&nbsp;750W Corsair CX750M<br> <strong>GPU:&nbsp;</strong>Single 12GB Nvidia GTX Titan X<br> <strong>Memory:</strong>&nbsp;32GB DDR4 2666MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX (4x8GB)<br> <strong>Storage</strong><strong>:&nbsp;</strong>250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, 1TB Western Digital Black HDD<br> <strong>Cooling:</strong>&nbsp;H20: HydroLux Level 1: Digital Storm Exotic Custom Cooling System<br> <strong>Additional Stuff:</strong>&nbsp;Digital Storm RGB LED Lighting System, Stage 2 CPU Overclock to 4.5-4.8GHz </p> Grand Theft Auto 5 patch eliminates awkward moments in armed robberyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-eliminates-awkward-moments-in-armed-robbery/The latest patch fixes a number of bugs, including one that swapped vehicles in garages with ones in the street.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:31:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5-patch-eliminates-awkward-moments-in-armed-robbery/ActionGrand Theft Auto 5NewsRockstar Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9DMFyLhMSAiN.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FBUF0Gm3g3Zm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Grand Theft Auto 5"></p><p>Have you ever pulled a gun on a convenience store clerk, but then found yourself stuck because some schmuck walked in for a Ding-Dong and a Slurpee before you could grab the cash and leg it out the back door? Hey, it happens to everyone now and then. Fortunately, Rockstar has the cure for what ails you.</p><p>I am of course talking about the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-5/">Grand Theft Auto 5</a> patch 350.1, released today, which fixes a number of bugs, crashes, and other issues that keep crime from paying like it should. Behold!</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Vehicles in your garage can no longer be accidentally <a href="https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/204976408">replaced with vehicles from the street</a>.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Improved stability and fixed several crashes and hangs while transitioning between Jobs in GTA Online. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed an issue where certain players were unable to exit their garages while inside of a personal vehicle.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed an issue where the game could freeze if you were robbing a store while someone else was attempting to buy snacks there. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">A rare issue has been fixed where some players received a “Purchase Failed” error when attempting to buy apartments. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed an issue where players would be asked to quit the game while using text chat in Golf and pressing the “E” key. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">GTA Online characters can now be added to your shortlist in the Rockstar Editor. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed several clipping issues that occurred when taking Snapmatic selfies. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">One-on-One Vehicle Deathmatches in Free Roam will now properly spawn all participants in vehicles. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed a Steam-only issue where you could not alt-tab back into GTAV if you alt-tabbed out while the Steam overlay was active. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Various fixes to bring improved patch download speeds. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Improvements to matchmaking so players that have good connections to each other are matched together more frequently. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixed a Steam-only issue where players could not use Mexican Spanish as a subtitle language. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">General stability fixes for director mode and video editor. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Various crash fixes. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">Fixes for issues caused by launching the game in offline mode. </p><p>The one thing the <a href="https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/205086728--4-30-15-GTAV-PC-Patch-350-1-Notes">patch notes</a> doesn't cover is how a game that came out 16 days ago is up to version 350.1. And now, enjoy some <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-ragdoll-mod-produces-comedy-gold/">ragdoll shenanigans</a>!</p> Recommended PC gaming chairshttp://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/Are you sitting comfortably?Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:25:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/Buying GuideHardwareTop Buying Guides Two modders weigh in on paid modshttp://www.pcgamer.com/two-modders-weigh-in-on-paid-mods/Earlier this week on Twitter we asked members of the modding community to send us their opinions on Valve's controversial decision to roll out a program for paid mods within the Steam Workshop.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/two-modders-weigh-in-on-paid-mods/Best ofCrusader Kings 2ModsNS2: Combat <p> <em>Earlier this week on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/pcgamer/status/592814773500280832">we asked</a> members of the modding community to send us their opinions&nbsp;on&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-has-removed-paid-mods-functionality-from-steam-workshop/"><em>Valve's controversial decision</em></a><em>&nbsp;to roll out a program for paid mods within the Steam Workshop. Below are two responses we received.</em></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/duc52_elSxCC.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hhfr2qAqJKjV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game of Thrones diary" style="background-color: initial;"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">andrew paterson</h5> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W_6t0WQeSNS6.JPG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uojwuR0hJ1xt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Image2"></p> </div><p> <em><strong>Andrew Paterson</strong> is a contributor to the Crusader Kings 2&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://citadel.prophpbb.com/">"A Game of Thrones" mod</a>.</em></p><p> Last Thursday in one fell swoop the decision of Bethesda and Valve divided the entire PC Gaming community by allowing modders to charge money for their content. When I saw this,&nbsp;one thought crossed my mind:&nbsp;the feces was truly about to hit the fan.</p> <div> <p> I am one of the localisation writers over at the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. The aforementioned decision was an incredibly dangerous for mods such as the Game of Thrones mod because it is an owned IP. Anyone remember the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-roleplaying-project-mod-for-skyrim-petitions-wb-to-revoke-cease-and-desist/">Middle-Earth Roleplaying Project</a> (MERP) for Skyrim? Warner Bros. shut down that mod despite the fact it was free. Charging for mods could cause all mods featuring work of another group being unable to be created,&nbsp;be it a Lord of the Rings mod for Skyrim or a Star Trek mod for Sins of a Solar Empire. </p> <p> So you can imagine my relief when only five days later Valve overturned the decision and announced the end of paid mods. Now many others and I can continue a hobby that makes you feel not only good about your accomplishments but allows you to derive a feeling of pleasure from making people happy. When a group from the forum and myself wrote the localisation for the Daenerys quest line, did I feel part of the community; it made me think of how happy I am when a character is adjusted to be more balanced and now I was helping to deliver a huge feature. If Paradox Interactive had adopted the paid model then this mod that got me into not only modding but also Game of Thrones, Writing and really PC gaming as a whole might no longer exist. Indeed only the other night when the site went down for maintenance my heart skipped wondering had the mod been sent a cease and desist. </p> <p> The real problem with the system was how it was implemented. Instead of using a pay what you want model, the solid price left people with a bad taste in their mouths, probably euthanizing any chance of modders being paid except through donations for years. Almost immediately I saw mods being ripped straight off of the Nexus and uploaded for £5. Not only this but things like the Skyrim unofficial patches could be sold on there, forcing some players to be unable to use the mods they want. </p> <p> Now mods are free to flourish, be different. If someone wants to replace all characters in the Game of Thrones mod with Tommen Lannister that’s fine. If someone wants to make a Space Marine race in Skyrim go for it, there’s now no fear of being reprimanded by Games Workshop. Now there’s less chance of huge creator disputes where modder X claims that modder Y has plagiarised some aspect of their mod because there is no money involved. This cannot be anything but a good thing for modding as a whole. I don’t know about you but I am sick of the samey games coming out all the time, I would rather the modding community put out interesting stuff than stuff that would guarantee money. </p> <p> I hope now that those modders who did take part are welcomed back into this community. And maybe with enough time the community may be healed. </p> <hr> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WL8lMd0DRCKO.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4FhOYyCQaxYc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ns2 Combat" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">thomas loupe</h5> <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MaqpsBqvSiy-.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QpOIdL-8Ocex.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ns2 Thumbnail"></p> </div><p> <em><strong>Thomas Loupe</strong> is&nbsp;director and&nbsp;sound designer at&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://faultlinegames.com/">Faultline Games</a>.</em></p><p> Once upon a time, over ten years ago, when mods were becoming fully-fledged games themselves (Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, etc.) there was a small group of guys (really, one guy) who decided they'd make a mod for Half-Life. A while later, Charlie Cleveland would release, with his team, what would be called Natural Selection. It's a hybrid FPS-RPG game that no other game did very well, apart from Gloom, the Quake II mod. I grew up during this era and played nothing but Quake II CTF, which was a mod itself. After years of dying to stick my nose into the door of the gaming industry, I somehow landed a free, non-paid QA testing position working with Unknown Worlds in helping them develop Natural Selection 2, the sequel to the Natural Selection mod. After doing work for UWE, the game released and was a huge success, and&nbsp;most of that success which was driven by modders and the modding community. The game had landed multiple indie awards and was featured in PC Gamer magazine as one of the top 100 shooters of all time, coming in at the top 20, I believe. By that time I had landed the QA credit and Assistant Sound Designer credit for NS2. That's when I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. </p><p> A group of friends who had released <a href="http://unknownworlds.com/ns2/combat-standalone-revealed/">Combat</a> mod for NS2, which also appeared in NS1 by UWE, asked me for some music to help lend their mod some professionalism and I was happy to do so. They were having issues with the engine, so I urged them to join my Teamspeak server, where we would spend the next month or two coming up with a company name and creating our own game. We did this for a while and actually had a working, but terrible prototype of a fun isometric shooter game. Suddenly, I got word that we got an email from Charlie, the co-founder of UWE asking us to make our mod, Combat, into a fully-fledged game. There's something I have to point out here: Unknown Worlds itself was a team of modders, who then created NS2 via their own studio. They thought it was the best idea ever to give their most popular mod a chance at the very same thing. </p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5kiudR7gH8w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> After some legal paper-signing, we were on our way to creating our first game ever, NS2: Combat, which would be its own standalone game, with brand new maps, new weapons, a totally unique leveling system and a slew of improvements to the current engine that drove the game. We couldn't have been happier. We made the entire game with our own money, and the biggest monetary contributors were myself and Alex, another Director and an amazing lead programmer. I worked for a year straight at core game mechanics, designing systems, playtesting, taking feedback from testers (who were voluntary, just as I started out with UWE) sound design and even creating the music for the game, all while being responsible for the entire project, just like the other Director was. Everyone was extremely excited for the release, and there was still much we had plans for, like creating an out-of-game leveling system where you could choose perks (similar to League of Legends masteries) to tweak your build even further. Ranked games and paid tournaments, and much more. Our community began to grow and we felt like we did something fantastic. October 31 came too soon and on release day we watched our game go live. We watched all the positive comments pour in and we felt so amazing. </p><p> Then something unexpected happened. We began getting hate and negative feedback from community members of NS. Apparently, people were displeased that Unknown Worlds were trying to fund the development of their new game, Subnautica and some other projects, and because they were our publisher, UWE did not deserve any more of their money. We went from having a successful game from a mod from a game that was a mod, to being the red-headed stepchild of the world, almost instantaneously. Comments saying we had done no work whatsoever. Comments saying that the work we put in was tarnished by greedy publishers. Comments saying we deserved nothing at all because the game "should have stayed a mod." Time went on and we found our game began to falter miserably over the harsh criticism in our reviews. This caused people who were interested in the game to not buy it, and those who were left because there was nobody left to play with. What was and still is a wonderful game to this day that could have had an amazing future with tons of free updates (of what used to be a mod) was the exact same thing I am seeing today and saw about a week ago when paid mods went on the Steam store. </p><p> Nobody ever took the time to play our game and see it for what it was, it was literally dead the moment it came out. The thousands of dollars of my own money spent to make the project even a possibility in the first place would never be&nbsp;paid back, and I would never understand what I, as a modder-gone-developer, did wrong. We had long-term plans to take Combat and make it something that existed in the world of Natural Selection, make it familiar, yet make it a comparison to what Arma is to DayZ, or what Gloom was to Natural Selection. </p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EVtqN-4_SVq2.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MGUZNJVcJK6y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ns2 2"> </p><p> What I found was that everyone wanted our game to be completely free. The year-plus we had worked on this game, every single day of the week, was demanded to be priced as free. When I saw how people were reacting to paid mods on Steam, all I could do was be upset, infuriated at the fact that many people were trying to say mods should be free. All the money, time and effort our team spent on making Combat something that was different, yet familiar in the same universe was treated exactly the same way. I began to wonder if it was actually our fault or if it was just that people didn't think that because we didn't create the engine from the ground-up and re-texture every single asset, that it wasn't worth the money. </p><p> Today, I'm writing because I know the answer. The answer is that many people don't understand all the hard work and dedication that goes into mods. That some people want to do this for a living (not just modding, but game design) and modding is our only way to get noticed as it provides the ultimate "real-world experience" that anyone could possibly have. Many people are not familiar with how much time and re-design goes into making&nbsp;mods work. Our team re-coded many parts of the engine for NS2 to make sure Combat would actually work, because of the things we had to do to make Combat functional, we had to release the game on its own. However, people still argued that the things we did to make Combat stand out could still somehow be merged into what was essentially a different game engine now. Because of this, I have been out of work, looking for something... anything at all that I could apply my passion to, and sometimes I fear those days are gone and that maybe I should just do other things with my life, regardless of whether game, game music and sound design are all I know or not. </p><p> In closing, I wanted to provide you with&nbsp;some kind words of encouragement to discuss this with me further. I'm always available via this email and have many other methods of contact. I'd be happy to tell you more details and explain to those who aren't modders how much paid mods can actually make a difference to people's entire lives, not always for the worst. I hope this short story doesn't end up sounding like a sob story, but rather a very real story that could have been a major success if the paid mod workshop was around.&nbsp; </p></div> Watch Dogs 2 appears to be in developmenthttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-2-appears-to-be-in-development/The entirely unsurprising news of a Watch Dogs sequel comes by way of a careless LinkedIn profile.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:02:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-2-appears-to-be-in-development/ActionNewsUbisoftWatch Dogs <p>If I told you that Watch Dogs 2 is in development, you would likely respond, "Yes, and?" The original was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-dogs-review/">pretty good</a>, and Ubisoft was clearly committed to it as a major franchise from the outset. Even so, it hasn't actually announced that a sequel is in the works. And, to be clear, it still hasn't.</p><p>Nonetheless, it looks very much like it's happening, based on this <a href="http://www.videogamer.com/ps4/watch_dogs/news/watch_dogs_2_appears_on_ubisoft_employees_cv.html">Videogamer.com</a> report, which noticed the LinkedIn profile of one <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=196741935&amp;authType=NAME_SEARCH&amp;authToken=TR73&amp;locale=fr_FR&amp;srchid=169027821430384611081&amp;srchindex=1&amp;srchtotal=1&amp;trk=vsrp_people_res_name&amp;trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A169027821430384611081%2CVSRPtargetId%3A196741935%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary%2CVSRPnm%3Atrue">Julien Risse</a>, a senior gameplay designer at Ubisoft, whose credits include Watch Dogs, the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/five-hours-with-the-upcoming-watch-dogs-expansion-bad-blood/">Bad Blood</a> DLC, and&mdash;this is the important bit&mdash;Watch Dogs 2. Risse has since updated his profile to remove the Watch Dogs 2 reference, but the screen capture tells the tale.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6mCN-BxUTPql.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QS9OZ3ifzxA4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs 2 Linkedin"></p><p>Ubisoft has made oblique references to Watch Dogs 2 in the past. In <a href="http://www.videogamer.com/ps4/watch_dogs/news/watch_dogs_2_may_not_star_aiden_pearce.html">June 2014</a>, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot suggested that the sequel might not feature Watch Dogs lead Aiden Pearce, and in September, Ubisoft Montreal Vice President Lionel Raynaud told CVG (via <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/9/22/6828055/watch-dogs-2-ubisoft">Polygon</a>, since CVG no longer exists) that "fixing and refining what worked well [in Watch Dogs] is probably the way to go for Watch Dogs 2." </p><p>We've reached out to Ubisoft for comment, and will update if and when we receive a reply.</p> Dead Island 2 shuffles back to 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-island-2-shuffles-back-to-2016/Dead Island 2 was originally slated to come out this spring.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:35:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-island-2-shuffles-back-to-2016/ActionDead Island 2Deep SilverNewsYager Development <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RpHg4ghrQZuc.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Wc-2-qMHdRCt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dead Island 2"></p><p>Deep Silver announced two things about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-island-2/">Dead Island 2</a> last summer: First, that it would not take place on an island, and second, that it would be out in the spring of 2015. One of those statements is no longer true.</p><p>To be fair, it's not like Deep Silver and Yager Development, the team actually making the game, were being intentionally deceptive. But sometimes things don't work out quite as expected. "We have always set ourselves a big goal for Dead Island 2: to create the sequel that takes Dead Island to the next level. A game that takes what our fans tell us they love about Dead Island&mdash;multiple different characters to play with, co-op, and turning a paradise setting into a zombie slaughter melee&mdash;and a game that adds a ton more content and combat options on top of that," the Dead Island 2 team <a href="http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sm0k7t">wrote on Twitter</a>. "And we wanted to have all of that that done for release in Spring 2015."</p><p>But after "looking at the game long and hard," the studio decided that it isn't quite where it should be, and thus elected to push it back to 2016. It didn't offer any hints as to when in 2016 it might be out, saying only that its focus at the moment is "purely on development," and that more information will be released later.</p><p>"We know that our fans will be disappointed by this news," it wrote, "but by giving Dead Island 2 more time we are confident that everyone will get a better game to play as a result."</p> Why chaos is the heart of Dota 2http://www.pcgamer.com/why-chaos-is-the-heart-of-dota-2/On the eve of the 6.84 patch, Dota players have a lot to relearn. That's a very good thing.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:11:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-chaos-is-the-heart-of-dota-2/Dota 2MOBAThree Lane HighwayValve <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aeEfoxlUS6Gb.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/11ghMDYcR09G.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lina"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Three Lane Highway</h5> <p> Every week, Chris documents his complex ongoing relationship with Dota 2, Smite, and wizards in general. </p> </div><p> I've been playing Dota 2 for just under three years. In that time, I've seen a few dozen new heroes. I've seen multiple patches turn the meta upside down and force me to reconsider my (ever-fledgling) understanding of this vastly complicated game.</p><p> Even so, I've started to anticipate certain kinds of change. Hero rebalances and redesigns are expected, when you play a game like this. Even the addition of crazy new Aghanim's Scepter upgrades has become familiar&mdash;a theme of the last few patches, something that is exciting every time it happens but not, at this point, a surprise.</p><p> It doesn't take much for a Dota 2 patch to feel like a big deal&mdash;new heroes reliably achieve that. It does, however, take something really different for a patch to feel like the start of a new era. Every now and then, Icefrog does something to the game that makes people say 'is this even Dota'. That's how I felt when 6.82 dared to change the map. I didn't expect <a href="http://www.dota2.com/684/">6.84</a> to meet&mdash;or even exceed&mdash;change of that magnitude, and yet it has.</p><p> A lot of this is down to the new items. It's funny&mdash;new heroes form the most obvious milestones in the game's history, but items are far less common and a far bigger deal. A new character squeezes into the roster, upsetting some strategies and galvanizing others. New items&mdash;let alone nine of them, with substantial changes to existing ones&mdash;affect every character and every player. Learning a new hero, no matter how different, is a known quantity. Incorporating new concepts into every single hero you play is something else entirely.</p><p> The Dota community is currently dealing with the ramifications of the Lotus Orb, an item that allows you to reflect single-target spells back at their caster. This adds a new dimension to what could be described as Dota 2's substantial 'crazy shit' component: a million new ways for already-complex abilities to interact with one another. Here, via the Dota 2 subreddit, is Tiny's <a href="http://gfycat.com/SpiritedQuaintDogwoodtwigborer">Toss being reflected</a>. Here, also, is <a href="http://gfycat.com/InsistentUglyAfricanparadiseflycatcher">Doom dooming Doom</a>. Here are five Snipers <a href="http://gfycat.com/ColdEasygoingGnatcatcher">sending off 6.83</a> in the best way possible.</p><p> This is highly visible Crazy Shit; it makes for good gifs. Less visible are 6.84's fundamental changes to core Dota 2 concepts. In the era of midgame items that can be 'consumed' to gain a permanent buff reflecting some of their benefits, being 'six slotted' doesn't mean what it used to. This is also the era of farm being given to a character&mdash;Alchemist&mdash;so he can produce Aghanim's Scepters for other players, a substantial expansion of what it might mean to be a support in a Dota match.</p><p> On top of that, you've got the introduction of magical lifesteal and cooldown reduction, concepts that have never been part of Dota despite featuring in more or less every MOBA to follow after it. Figuring out the long-term ramifications of these changes will take months or more: we should expect surprising ideas to fall out of 6.84 for a long time to come.</p><p> I've seen some cynicism, in comments and on Reddit. 'We League now'. 'Is this even Dota'. That kind of thing&mdash;it happens every time, and its intensity this week simply mirrors the unusual number of new ideas in this patch.</p><p> I want to argue that this very much is Dota. In my mind, the process that is about to begin in earnest&mdash;a massive, community-wide adaptation to new ideas, new situations and new interactions&mdash;is the exact thing that defines the game. Other games might aim for a stable set of game mechanics that sustain entertaining competition in perpetuity, but not this one. Dota isn't stability. Dota isn't balance. Dota is chaos.</p><p> Back in January, I wrote an article about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-why-dota-2-might-not-be-a-moba/">why I don't see Dota as a MOBA</a>. In it, I argued that business models have a substantial effect on the type of experience that a game offers. I still believe this: your time with a game isn't just defined by what happens in a match. It's defined by the structure that surrounds that match, what you're asked to pay for and what you aspire to achieve with every game.</p><p> In that regard, Dota and League (and all of the games that imitated League) are very different. Consider how important account progression is in the latter: a high-level Summoner account represent months or years of effort, collection, and progression. It's equivalent to a high-level set of MMO characters, and includes a lot of the same ideas: a long-term commitment represented by cooler stuff and fatter, healthier XP bars.</p><p> Dota doesn't work like that. At all. You might collect cosmetics, I suppose, but your account level is one of the game's most meaningless numbers. Your time with the game is vaguely represented by your MMR, but that's hardly consistent from player to player. Dota has no MMO-style progression system, and as such it's a vastly different proposition. It's not a MOBA; it's Dota. This doesn't mean that either type of&nbsp;game is better than the other.&nbsp;It means that they offer very different things, and have different obligations to their players. Which one you prefer is a matter of taste.</p><p> That's what I argued back in January. The comments were a mixed bunch. A lot of people&mdash;hilariously&mdash;sent me the Wikipedia list of MOBAs, as if the terminology we use was determined by Wikipedia and not the other way around. Some people simply don't believe that business models influence game design: I'm more sympathetic to that view, even if I disagree with it.</p><p> Here's the thing, though: to me, Dota 2 is defined by its ability to undergo vast, sometimes fundamental changes. A Dota 2 match might only last an hour, but the (meta)game of Dota takes years and its most dramatic moments come when Icefrog does something totally game-changing. This isn't just a concern for pro teams. Everybody experiences it. It's what it means to be a Dota player.</p><p> Dota is never more Dota than when one complicated and probably broken game mechanic combines with another complicated and probably broken game mechanic to create a totally unexpected outcome. And it's Dota's business model&mdash;first free and community-curated, as a mod, then totally free as a professionally-developed game&mdash;that allows it to continue to be this way. It requires a development philosophy that values unexpected combinations of game mechanics, and a business model that keeps player investment and game design separate.</p><p> Chaos is the soul of Dota, but chaos is undesirable when your game is also a service. XP bars and microtransactions represent an investment of player time and money, and players expect that investment to be protected by a game's developers. MOBAs need to be balanced and fair and reliable as a courtesy to their long-term players.</p><p> Dota doesn't.</p><p> That's why there's nothing like it, and the 6.84 update symbolises that perfectly. The reward for your years-long involvement with this game isn't measured in progression bars or an expanding roster of characters: it's measured in the number of times you've looked at the patch notes and thought 'this changes everything.' Dota isn't just three lanes and ten players. Dota is crazy shit.</p><p> <em>To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em></p> Dirt Rally review (Early Access)http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-review-early-access/A look at Codemasters' promising off-road driving sim.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:52:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-rally-review-early-access/Dirt RallyEarly Access reviewRacingReviews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3MlT-2tFTRSe.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/r8p0OJDPYeBN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="310560 2015-04-28 00040"></p><p><em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/early-access-review/">Alpha and Early Access reviews</a> offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/06/26/pc-gamer-reviews-policy/">full review policy</a></em><em>&nbsp;for details.</em></p><p>Once upon a time, the Colin McRae Rally series was a celebration of the purity of rally driving. But over time, after adopting the Dirt monicker, it became increasingly flashier, fancier, and noisier. It developed an American accent and started chain-drinking cans of Monster. The rallying was still there, kind of, but was drowned out by rawk music, irksome announcers, and daft stunt driving.</p><p>But&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/310560/">Dirt Rally</a>, a PC exclusive that sneaked quietly&nbsp;onto Steam this week, redresses the balance. It’s the purest rally game since the earliest entries in the McRae series, and one of the most realistic simulators Codemasters Racing Studio has ever made. Their other driving games are great, but you can’t really call them sims. They’re entertaining approximations of motorsport, giving you the feel of driving a car, not the reality.</p><p>Dirt Rally, however, is as real as it gets. The developers have created a brand new engine designed to replicate the real-world physics of rally driving as closely as possible. Lead designer Paul Coleman drives rally cars himself, so he knows first-hand what it feels like. You realise just how realistic the game is when you tear away from the starting line in your first race and immediately skid into a ditch. Try to play it like a traditional racer, or a traditional Dirt game, and you’ll get nowhere.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/R21hiB5vRCSW.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qldaTaM6NUZ0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3"></p><p>Mirroring the knife-edge tension of real rally racing, you constantly feel on the verge of disaster when you play Dirt Rally. As you hurtle along its rugged, unpredictable courses, all it takes is the slightest mistake to send you spinning out. The cars are twitchy and heavy, giving you the feeling that you’re wrestling to keep them on the track. It’s all about balance: driving carefully and precisely, but also knowing when to push the limits, so you can shave precious seconds off your time.</p><p>The sound design is excellent, and really helps sell the weight and power of the cars. On gravel roads you hear stones ping against the metal. Your chassis creaks and groans as you trundle over bumpy terrain. They’re subtle details, but they give the game a remarkable feeling of physicality. You really do feel like you’re throwing a hefty, tangible <em>machine </em>around the tracks.</p><p>It’s perhaps not surprising given their racing pedigree, but Dirt Rally is impressively polished for an Early Access game. You’ll just have to decide whether the content on offer is worth £25&mdash;a price that will rise as the game approaches completion. Buying in now means you get access to all future updates, including a hill climb mode, new cars, new tracks, and PVP multiplayer.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3OgL1c3kRgq9.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ifDdKJTjLrC1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2"></p><p>There are 14 cars, all rendered with fine, hand-crafted detail, including rally classics like the Lancia Stratos, Subaru Impreza, Ford Sierra RS&nbsp;Cosworth,&nbsp;and Mini Cooper. From the 1960s through to the modern day, the cars on offer have their own distinct personalities. Bombing around a gravel track in a rickety little Mini Cooper feels very different from doing it in a modern rally-tuned car.</p><p>There are 36 courses spread across three distinct environments. Powys, Wales is grey, wet and muddy, with nerve-racking forest sections. Monte Carlo, Monaco features tight ice-and-snow-covered tarmac roads. And Argolis, Greece is dry, dusty, and comprised mainly of gravel roads. They all look fantastic, especially the rain-soaked Welsh countryside, and they’re packed with trackside detail. I was so distracted the first time I saw a camera drone buzz over my car, I crashed.</p><p>Throw in a career mode with vehicle upgrades and team management and you’ve got a pretty decent package. Above all, though, the real joy here is the driving, and the 36 courses offer a good variety of terrain and weather to test your skills. It's a satisfyingly back-to-basics rally game that makes up for its lack of flair with a deep, robust driving model. This is shaping up to be one of Codemasters’ best driving games. With regular updates promised, Dirt Rally might be worth investing in early.</p><h3>Verdict</h3><p>A welcome return to the series’ rally&nbsp;roots. A driving&nbsp;game for anyone who likes a stiff challenge, or who thinks the other Dirt games weren't realistic enough.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hQqvys_ERcST.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lx4gIZDbX1Uh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="1"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QXSOC1uWTtO5.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BLxT7sWD0oET.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="310560 2015-04-28 00048"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s9GCZgUrQB-r.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wkL0LL_v4ulA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="4"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ETWJPOUgSx-f.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u_zaVfh8_A9L.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="310560 2015-04-27 00067"></p> We have $1000 of Steam Wallet funds to give awayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/we-have-1000-of-steam-wallet-funds-to-give-away/Plus game bundles for the runners up!Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/we-have-1000-of-steam-wallet-funds-to-give-away/giveaway <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y9Jh9HsLR5aC.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OInTxW6qcGfG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bundle Stars"></p><p>How would you like $500 to spend on any Steam game that takes your fancy? Two winners in today's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bundlestars.com/">Bundle Stars</a> giveaway can enjoy a spending spree on us, while runners up will win the Bundle Stars&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bundlestars.com/all-bundles/indie-legends-bundle/#carousel-box">Indie Legends Bundle</a>. That&nbsp;includes the stylish co-op heist game, Monaco, the joyful platforming 'n punch game, Guacamelee, the addictive and&nbsp;pure fighter, Divekick, and more.</p><p>To enter, check out the widget below. You can improve your odds by adding extra entries in the sweepstake. You get two extra entries for following PC Gamer and Bundle Stars on Twitter and Facebook, and for joining the Bundle Stars and PC Gamer Steam groups. The randomly selected winners to be picked on Tuesday May 4 at 4pm GMT / 8am PST / 11am EST. Good luck!</p><iframe src="http://www.bundlestars.com/gleam.html" name="frame1" scrolling="auto" frameborder="no" align="center" height="870px" width="500px"> </iframe> Overkill's the Walking Dead confirmed for 2016http://www.pcgamer.com/overkills-the-walking-dead-confirmed-for-2016/At least we have some time to prepare for the zombie armageddon.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/overkills-the-walking-dead-confirmed-for-2016/FPSNewsOverkillThe Walking Dead <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/txEREeYvRjyU.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xoq1EwL6i2em.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Walking Dead"></p><p>Overkill's take on the Walking Dead has been formally confirmed for a 2016 release on PC by the studio's parent company&nbsp;<a href="http://starbreeze.com/2015/04/starbreeze-selects-505-games-for-console-publishing-of-overkills-the-walking-dead/">Starbreeze</a>.</p><p>The team behind Payday 2 is handling <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overkills-walking-dead-game-will-be-payday-esque-with-online-co-op/">the comic book tie-in</a>, and the co-operative first-person shooter will - quite obviously - take a fair few pointers from the creation (and success) of Payday 2. Just with more zombies, I'd guess.</p><p>Based on the comics, Overkill's version of the Walking Dead is also going to avoid the pitfalls of <a href="http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/the-walking-dead-survival-instinct">certain other tie-ins</a> by running with its own set of characters and stories, with creator Robert Kirkman <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/overkills-the-walking-dead-is-a-co-op-first-person-shooter-set-in-the-comic-series-universe/">in tow</a> to help out.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mn9cp_IMXhI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Steam bans now come direct from developershttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-bans-now-come-direct-from-developers/Time to sharpen the bannination stick, folks.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-bans-now-come-direct-from-developers/bansNewsSteam <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ch40a5PnQBa5.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Jp1UwcHPYkg7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Vac Ban"></p><p>Steam bans can now be handed down from game developers themselves, it has emerged. Previously bans could only come from Valve itself, but now those making the games can ask those running Steam to kick someone out, with Valve enforcing those wishes.</p><p>As posted over on the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/actions/WhatIsGameBan">Steam Community</a>: <em>"In order to ensure the best possible online multiplayer experience, Valve allows developers to implement their own systems that detect and permanently ban any disruptive players, such as those using cheats."</em></p><p>Devs inform Valve, Valve bans the account, the banned party is to direct their complaints straight to the developer rather than Valve, as <em>"the game developer is solely responsible for the decision to apply a game ban. Valve only enforces the game ban as instructed by the game developer."</em></p><p>It would feel a bit like passing the buck were it not for the fact that Steam has thousands of games on it - that's way too many for one company to police by itself. Hopefully this won't lead to a ton of rash or incorrect bans, and <em>hopefully</em> it will mean games with dysfunctional, cheat-ridden multiplayer modes will be more likely to see a cleansing.</p> Deus Ex: Mankind Divided coming to PC via Nixxeshttp://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-coming-to-pc-via-nixxes/Maybe Eidos Montreal recognises its strengths lie elsewhere?Thu, 30 Apr 2015 12:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-coming-to-pc-via-nixxes/Deus Ex: Mankind DividedEidos MontrealFPSNewsNixxes <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4XbkZI4YRGGV.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E0bQ0-V6hCMe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deus Ex: Mankind Divided"></p><p>The PC version of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is not being handled in-house at Eidos Montreal - it has instead been handed to Nixxes, the studio behind many Square Enix/Eidos PC ports over the past 15 years.</p><p>The studio made the announcement on its site <a href="http://www.nixxes.com/nixxes/newsdetail/20-uk/news/182-dxmd">without much fanfare</a>, and there's been little indication as to what features the PC version of Adam Jensen's latest sneak-or-shoot adventure will see implemented. We do know from <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/deus-ex-mankind-divided-officially-announced-with-trailer/">earlier confirmation</a> that Mankind Divided will support Direct X 12 and AMD's TressFX tech, so it shouldn't look too shabby.</p><p>Nixxes previously handled PC port duty on the likes of Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, Thief and, yes, Deus Ex: Human Revolution - so it's a studio with a lot of experience. Safe hands? The PC version of Human Revolution was handled well, with a number of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eidos-talk-deus-ex-human-revolution-pc-exclusive-features/">platform-specific features</a> - though there was room for improvement - so I'll go with 'yes'.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/q2kd7F3YFz8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Why an E3 event that celebrates the PC is long overduehttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-an-e3-event-that-celebrates-the-pc-is-long-overdue/The PC gaming renaissance we’re all living in deserves a moment of recognition during the biggest gaming expo of the year. Let's do something about it.Thu, 30 Apr 2015 12:07:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-an-e3-event-that-celebrates-the-pc-is-long-overdue/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveDota 2E3Grand Theft Auto 5Must ReadTeam Fortress 2The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OHowBfQeS46T.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5IBisCWRbuaq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PC Gaming Show logo"></p><p>For the past few Junes, right before one of the busiest gaming weeks of the year, we’ve taken a moment to imagine <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-e3-2014-press-conference-pc-gamers-deserve/">the E3 press conference that PC Gamers deserve</a>. It’s become one of our tiny traditions (along with Chris’ <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reign-of-kings-diary-i-bashed-my-face-with-a-rock-i-kept-in-my-butt/">questionable behavior in survival games</a>). Mostly it’s an excuse for us to publish something entirely detached from reality before we fly to Los Angeles and publish every scrap of gaming news and opinion that our bodies will allow. It’s therapeutic to daydream about Gabe Newell materializing atop a unicorn through a fog of theater-grade dry ice to announce Half-Life 3.</p><p>We get valuable stories, videos, and interviews out of E3&mdash;you can imagine how handy it is to have almost every game-maker gathered under one roof for a few days. But it’s no secret that the PC doesn’t have a formal, organized presence during E3. Generally speaking it’s the time of year when Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo jostle for position about who can create the most buzz. Despite being a mostly exciting few days of announcements, E3 has never given the biggest gaming platform in the world an equal place at the table. </p><p>That’s our collective fault, not E3’s. One of our hobby’s greatest strengths is the fact that there isn’t a single owner. The PC has no marketing arm, no legal department, no CEO to dictate what should be announced or advertised. And thank Zeus for that. The fundamentally open nature of our hobby is what allows for GOG, Origin, Steam, and others to compete for our benefit, for the variety of technologies and experiences we have access to&mdash;everything from netbook gaming to 8K flight simulation to VR.</p><p>Everyone involved in PC gaming has shared ownership over its identity. One of the few downsides of that, though, is that there isn’t really a single time and place for PC gaming to get together and hang out. We love BlizzCon, QuakeCon, DreamHack, Extra Life, The International, and the ever-increasing number of PAXes. But there’s something special about the pageantry of E3 week, its over-the-top showmanship, its surprises, its proximity to Hollywood. And each June, even as we’ve jokingly <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-e3-2012-press-conference-pc-gamers-deserve/">painted a picture of PC game developers locking arms in a musical number</a>, we’ve wanted something wholly by, for, and about PC gaming.</p><p>Well, hell,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amd-and-pc-gamer-bring-the-pc-gaming-show-to-e3/">let’s do it</a>.</p><p>For the past few months we’ve been organizing the first ever live event for PC gaming during E3, <a href="http://www.pcgamingshow.com/">The PC Gaming Show</a>. Tune into our <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/pcgamer">Twitch</a> channel on Tuesday, June 16 on 5 PM and you’ll see a spectrum of PC gaming represented on stage: a showcase of conversations, announcements, hardware, trailers, and other stuff that makes PC gaming great. We’ve been talking to everyone we know, big and small&mdash;if there’s a game or developer you want to see&mdash;tell us! So far, Blizzard, AMD, Bohemia Interactive, Boss Key Productions, Paradox, Dean Hall, Tripwire, and more have signed up to be a part of this inaugural PC gaming potluck (Paradox has promised to bring nachos), and we’ll be announcing more participants as we lead up to June 16. And hey, the endlessly friendly <a href="https://twitter.com/day9tv">Day[9]</a> is hosting. We love that guy.</p><p>We’re sincerely, stupidly excited about this. The PC gaming renaissance we’re all living in deserves a moment of recognition during the biggest gaming expo of the year&mdash;it’s about time! Listen in on <a href="http://twitter.com/pcgamer">Twitter</a> and on <a href="http://facebook.com/pcgamermagazine">our Facebook page</a> as we share more details leading up to June.</p>