PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usMon, 26 Jan 2015 21:56:20 +0000yesDragon Age: Inquisition tavern music is free to download for a limited timehttp://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-tavern-music-is-free-to-download-for-a-limited-time/The download includes ten tracks from Dragon Age: Inquisition, plus sheet music and lyrics.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:56:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-tavern-music-is-free-to-download-for-a-limited-time/BiowareDragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p> Fans of videogame music and free stuff will want to direct their attention to the <a href="http://www.dragonage.com/en_US/news/inquisition-tavern-songs-giveaway">Dragon Age: Inquisition website</a>, where BioWare has put the game's tavern songs up for grabs, briefly, at no charge. There are ten tracks in total, each one short and simple, as you'd expect from a bardic ballad, but all of them quite good.</p><p> As noted on the site, the songs are composed by Raney Shockne except for the first track, I Am The One, which is actually by Inon Zur. The download also includes the sheet music and lyrics to all ten tracks so that the musically inclined among you can perform them yourselves, perhaps as an entry in BioWare's ongoing <a href="http://www.dragonage.com/en_US/media/fan-celebration">Fan Celebration Contest</a>.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cin4etTJiwk?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The Dragon Age: Inquisition tavern songs are available at no charge until February 9, at which time they'll go up for sale "on many popular digital platforms." Better to get them while they're free, I'd say.</p> CS:GO competitive guide: your first match - aiming, AWPing, and Dust2http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-guide/This week, we continue on Dust2, focusing on crosshair placement, timing, AWPing, and more.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 21:23:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-guide/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveE-sportsFPS <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w2jJRVV7tls" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-guide-your-first-match/">Last week</a> I schooled Lucas in his first-ever CS:GO competitive match. This week, we continue on Dust2, focusing on crosshair placement, timing,&nbsp;AWPing,&nbsp;and a bit of grenading.</p> Valve announces $250,000 prize pool for CS:GO at Katowice 2015http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-250000-prize-pool-for-csgo-at-katowice-2015/ESL is bringing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive back to Katowice for 2015.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:52:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-announces-250000-prize-pool-for-csgo-at-katowice-2015/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveE-sportsESLFPSNewsValve <p>The ESL is headed back to Katowice, Poland, for a 16-team <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive/">Counter-Strike: Global Offensive</a> tournament with a prize pool worth $250,000. </p><p>Taking place from March 12-15 at the Spodek Arenda, the tournament will feature the eight <a href="http://www.gosugamers.net/counterstrike/events/260-dreamhack-winter-2014">Dreamhack Winter 2014</a> quarter-finalists&mdash;HellRaisers, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus Pro, PENTA Sports, Team LDLC, fnatic, Team Dignitas, and Natus Vincere&mdash;plus eight more teams that will be determined by upcoming qualifiers. The final stage of those qualifiers will be held offline in Katowice over February 14-15.</p><p>"When we took ESL One to Katowice last year, we saw some absolutely fantastic games and experienced a great atmosphere&mdash;particularly when Virtus.pro, a Polish team, were crowned champions in front of their home crowd,” ESL Pro Gaming Managing Director Ulrich Schulze said in a statement. "Since then CS:GO has made incredible progress and we are honoured to once again have been given the opportunity to host a CS:GO Major with a US$250,000 prize purse.”</p><p>Tickets to ESL One Katowice 2015 may be purchased <a href="http://www.esl-one.com/csgo/katowice-2015/tickets/">here</a>, and of course the whole thing will be streamed live for the benefit of those who won't be in Poland in March. Find out more at <a href="http://www.esl-one.com/csgo/katowice-2015/news/esl-return-to-katowice-with-us-250000-csgo-major-at-this-years-intel-esl-expo/">ESL-One.com</a>.</p> Why Nvidia's GTX 970 slows down when using more than 3.5GB VRAMhttp://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/Nvidia GTX 970inaccurately stated the GTX 970 has the same ROPs and L2 cache as the 980 at launch.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:00:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/NewsNvidia GTX 980Nvidia MaxwellTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T2GOLk8mQAu5.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YkEz1OMVVoYi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 970"></p><p>Last week, commenters on&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/803518/geforce-900-series/gtx-970-3-5gb-vram-issue/105/">Nvidia’s forums</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/pcgaming/comments/2s2968/gtx970_memoryvram_allocation_bug/">reddit</a>, Guru3D and elsewhere started digging into what looked to be a concerning problem: the GeForce GTX 970 only seems to use 3.5GB of its 4GB of VRAM. Few games can really utilize 4GB of VRAM, but some commenters noted a serious drop in performance or stuttering when pushing the GTX 970 over the 3.5GB threshold. The same problem did not appear to affect the GTX 980.</p><p>Nvidia responded on Friday with this statement (and chart):&nbsp;</p><hr> <p>“The GeForce GTX 970 is equipped with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. However the 970 has a different configuration of SMs than the 980, and fewer crossbar resources to the memory system. To optimally manage memory traffic in this configuration, we segment graphics memory into a 3.5GB section and a 0.5GB section. The GPU has higher priority access to the 3.5GB section. When a game needs less than 3.5GB of video memory per draw command then it will only access the first partition, and 3rd party applications that measure memory usage will report 3.5GB of memory in use on GTX 970, but may report more for GTX 980 if there is more memory used by other commands. When a game requires more than 3.5GB of memory then we use both segments.</p><p>The best way to test that is to look at game performance. Compare a GTX 980 to a 970 on a game that uses less than 3.5GB. Then turn up the settings so the game needs more than 3.5GB and compare 980 and 970 performance again.</p><p>Here’s an example of some performance data:</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td></td><td>GTX980</td><td>GTX970</td></tr><tr><td>Shadows of Mordor</td><td></td><td></td></tr><tr><td>&lt;3.5GB setting = 2688x1512 Very High</td><td>72fps</td><td>60fps</td></tr><tr><td>&gt;3.5GB setting = 3456x1944</td><td>55fps (-24%)</td><td>45fps (-25%)</td></tr><tr><td>Battlefield 4</td><td></td><td></td></tr><tr><td>&lt;3.5GB setting = 3840x2160 2xMSAA</td><td>36fps</td><td>30fps</td></tr><tr><td>&gt;3.5GB setting = 3840x2160 135% res</td><td>19fps (-47%)</td><td>15fps (-50%)</td></tr><tr><td>Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare</td><td></td><td></td></tr><tr><td>&lt;3.5GB setting = 3840x2160 FSMAA T2x, Supersampling off</td><td>82fps</td><td>71fps</td></tr><tr><td>&gt;3.5GB setting = 3840x2160 FSMAA T2x, Supersampling on</td><td>48fps (-41%)</td><td>40fps (-44%)</td></tr></tbody></table> </div><p>On GTX 980, Shadows of Mordor drops about 24% on GTX 980 and 25% on GTX 970, a 1% difference. On Battlefield 4, the drop is 47% on GTX 980 and 50% on GTX 970, a 3% difference. On CoD: AW, the drop is 41% on GTX 980 and 44% on GTX 970, a 3% difference. As you can see, there is very little change in the performance of the GTX 970 relative to GTX 980 on these games when it is using the 0.5GB segment.”</p><hr> <p>It’s hard to analyze the effect of pushing either card past 3.5GB of VRAM with the numbers provided above; the framerate will naturally be lowered by running a game at higher resolution or AA settings. Nvidia’s point is that the GTX 970 behaves just like the 980, with performance only decreasing about 1-3%, comparatively.</p><p>Those are also average framerates, which don’t address the problem some commenters have pointed out: dramatic framerate stutter at the moment the GTX 970 starts utilizing its final 500MB of VRAM. This user-created Nai’s Benchmark claims to show that the memory bandwidth of the GTX 970 drops dramatically when accessing that last 500MB, while the same problem does not affect the GTX 980. These numbers look bad, though we can’t vouch for the veracity of data provided by the benchmark.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PlHU2lj2QzSn.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/h1JHy90x5NF2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Image via LazyGamer" class=""> <figcaption>Image via LazyGamer</figcaption></figure><p>On Sunday,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/NVIDIA-Discloses-Full-Memory-Structure-and-Limitations-GTX-970">Nvidia Senior VP of GPU Engineering Jonah Alben spoke to PC&nbsp;Perspective</a> about the issue, and we finally have clarification on where that discrepancy comes from. PCPer writes:</p><p>“The most important part here is the memory system...&nbsp;connected to the SMMs through a crossbar interface. That interface has 8 total ports to connect to collections of L2 cache and memory controllers, all of which are utilized in a GTX 980. With a GTX 970 though, only 7 of those ports are enabled, taking one of the combination L2 cache/ROP units along with it. However, the 32-bit memory controller segment remains.</p><p>"You should take two things away from that simple description. First, despite initial reviews and information from NVIDIA, the <strong>GTX 970 actually has fewer ROPs and less L2 cache than the GTX 980</strong>. NVIDIA says this was an error in the reviewer’s guide and a misunderstanding between the engineering team and the technical PR team on how the architecture itself functioned. That means the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2 cache compared to 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache for the GTX 980. Before people complain about the ROP count difference as a performance bottleneck, keep in mind that the 13 SMMs in the GTX 970 can only output 52 pixels/clock and the seven segments of 8 ROPs each (56 total) can handle 56 pixels/clock. The SMMs are the bottleneck, not the ROPs.”</p><p>If you don’t speak graphics card, PCPer helps break down the architecture of the GTX 970. Because the GTX 970 only has seven ports connecting memory controllers and cache, one of those ports would always be burdened with twice as many requests.</p><p>PCPer explains “if the 7th port is fully busy, and is getting twice as many requests as the other port, then the other six must be only half busy, to match with the 2:1 ratio. So the overall bandwidth would be roughly half of peak. This would cause dramatic underutilization and would prevent optimal performance and efficiency for the GPU.”</p><p>Nvidia avoided that problem by dividing the memory into a 3.5GB pool and a 0.5GB pool. Few games (currently) require more than 3.5GB of VRAM, so the primary pool can be accessed at maximum bandwidth.</p><p>PCPer writes: “Let's be blunt here: access to the 0.5GB of memory, on its own and in a vacuum, would occur at 1/7th of the speed of the 3.5GB pool of memory. If you look at the Nai benchmarks (pictured above) floating around, this is what you are seeing.”</p><p>Accessing that last 500MB of VRAM is absolutely slower than accessing the first 3.5GB. What we don’t know, exactly, is how much that actually matters for gaming. PCPer points out that the last chunk of VRAM is still four times faster than system RAM (your DDR3) accessed via PCIe. The GTX 970 does have 4GB of VRAM, and it can use all of it, but accessing those last 500MB will decrease performance.</p><p>We’re doing our own testing to see if we can determine how much impact using the last chunk of VRAM has on gaming. Having used the GTX 970 extensively, we can still say that it’s a fantastic card for the price and an overclocking beast. But that doesn't excuse Nvidia’s omission, intentional or accidental, as PCPer highlights: “at the very least, the company did not fully disclose the missing L2 and ROP partition on the GTX 970, even if it was due to miscommunication internally.”</p><p>We’ll have more on this issue as we continue testing. Thanks to PC&nbsp;Perspective for their excellent reporting.</p> Ubisoft says canceled Uplay game keys were "fraudulent"http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-says-canceled-uplay-game-keys-were-fraudulent/Complaints aboutdeactivatedUplay game keys began pouring in over the weekend.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:27:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-says-canceled-uplay-game-keys-were-fraudulent/NewsUbisoftUplay <p>In response to a flurry of complaints about deactivated Uplay game keys that hit the <a href="http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1001533-Concerning-Far-Cry-4-removal-from-our-libraries-Open-letter?s=221a04fd79e6f46cb27307265fddb9a9">Ubisoft forums</a> over the weekend, the publisher issued a statement saying it regularly deactivates "fraudulently obtained" keys, but added that it is looking into the matter&nbsp;further&nbsp;and will issue an update to affected customers as soon as it can.</p><p>The trouble began on Saturday, when an "expatriate Belgian in Poland" complained that a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4/">Far Cry 4</a> game key he'd purchased from reseller Kinguin had been deleted from his Uplay library without warning. He's purchased keys from Kinguin in the past, he wrote, because Polish stores don't carry English or French-language games and the exchange rate on Steam between the Euro and the złoty, Poland's currency, is absolutely outrageous, and this is the first time he's run into trouble.</p><p>The thread quickly ballooned to 25 pages of similar complaints, rebuttals, and the usual sort of internet forum fun times, before Ubisoft finally issued a response. "We regularly deactivate keys that were fraudulently obtained and resold," Community Manager xMiiSTY <a href="http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1001533-Concerning-Far-Cry-4-removal-from-our-libraries-Open-letter?p=10544747#post10544747">wrote</a>. "In this case, we are currently investigating the origin of the fraud, and will update customers as soon as we have more information to share. In the meantime, customers should contact the vendor from whom they purchased the key."</p><p>There's an element of hopefulness to the statement in the implied suggestion that the situation could be reversed, but when something similar cropped up last year Ubisoft <a href="http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/981769-Assassin-s-Creed-Unity-cd-key-banned?p=10478001&amp;viewfull=1#post10478001">said unequivocally</a> that it will revoke keys purchased from "a non-official reseller&mdash;which is selling keys gotten in a non-official way," and that the only option for anyone with a canceled key is to seek a refund from either the reseller or the payment processor. And while it's easy to cast a baleful glare at Ubisoft for its clunky customer service, it's not the only publisher with a policy of shooting down unauthorized keys: The famously gamer-friendly Devolver Digital said in <a href="https://twitter.com/devolverdigital/status/466577590606520320">April 2014</a> that keys for its games purchased through popular reseller G2A "are not legitimate, not guaranteed, and not supported. We are actively canceling those keys."</p><p>We've reached out to Ubisoft for more information and will update if and when we receive a reply.</p> The Witcher 3 level designer on the delay, PC controls, and world buildinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-level-designer-on-the-delay-pc-controls-and-world-building-2/Level designer Miles Tost talks about what’s happening during the delay of The Witcher 3.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-level-designer-on-the-delay-pc-controls-and-world-building-2/InterviewsThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kCWXTajLTJW9.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9Oe_uY0ImXUn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt They call this civilization--I feel safer in the woods"></p><p>Last week I got to play a few hours of The Witcher 3 (read Tom Senior’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-hands-on-my-god-its-full-of-bears/">hands-on impressions</a> of the same demo), and I can see why <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delayed-again/">it was delayed</a>. The characters, voice acting, and animations are great, and what little combat I managed in my three hours of play was complex and challenging, but there were a lot of little things that didn’t quite work. Characters sometimes popped in after a scene had loaded, the framerate dipped a few times, it was generally hard to jump and climb, I got one crash, and I didn’t like the controller controls much. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play with a mouse and keyboard for the demo, as that mapping is still being tweaked.</p><p>These are the kinds of things CD Projekt RED is working on as it approaches the new May 19th release date. After playing, I had a chat with Miles Tost, a level designer on the game, to get some insight on the PC features, what’s being fixed, and what it took to design such a huge world.</p><p><strong>PC Gamer: From your perspective, what needs to be done before you sell The Witcher 3?</strong></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Miles Tost</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e3bqW6N7RDud.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WLpl5yw6HBhi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Miles Tost"></p></div><p><strong>Miles Tost, Level Designer: </strong>There are some small hiccups here and there that still need to be addressed to make for a thoroughly smooth experience. One of the bigger things we’re aware of is the horse, which is probably our main thing that we are working on. Actually, the cool thing about that is that this is one of the main complains of the people, and not, for example, the story. People are not saying, “Alright, the story sucks.” They’re saying the horse controls could be better, which, for us, that’s something that’s perfectly manageable to fix within the time that we have. Like, revamping the entire story or something? That would not be really possible.</p><p>Another thing is, of course, the performance hiccups you can see time to time. Those are basically&mdash;they’re no-brainers, essentially, right. They need to go. And that’s something we should also very well be able to deal with until launch.</p><p><strong>At one point, when I got off the horse, Geralt stayed in his horse animation. So he was walking like he was still on the horse.</strong></p><p>Yeah, you get these things in open world games [laughs]. I kind of look forward to all these glitch reels. You’ll get them. That’s something that just belongs to open world games, I guess.</p><p><strong>You can’t fix absolutely everything.</strong></p><p>No, no, there’s always a way to kind of&mdash;obviously we want to minimize it as much as possible. As long as it’s not intrusive, right, and hinders your gameplay experience, it’s not horrible. Bugs that stop you in your track and prevent you from continuing on, those are really bad, but if you have some cosmetic issue they can be kind of funny.</p><p><strong>I used a controller to play because that’s what the demo was set up for, but I’m curious about how the mouse and keyboard controls are coming. There are things like Geralt’s spells, for example, and you can only select one at a time on a radial menu. Is there a reason for that? It feels like they could be mapped to hotkeys.</strong></p><p>I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think there is a way to quickly cycle between those skills on keyboards, and there might even still be one on the controllers. I’m not 100 percent sure. Basically, quick slot switching, and that’s something more easily implemented on keyboard, for obvious reasons, because you have more buttons within reach. But, truth is that the PC controls are still being tweaked.</p><p><strong>Do have a sense of what’s preferred? Do you guys prefer playing with a controller?</strong></p><p>No, I personally prefer playing with a mouse and keyboard myself. We’re constantly switching around things, you know, optimizing things. With the controllers we’re pretty much there. There might be some minor tweaks happening after these events according to the feedback we’re getting, but the PC controls, being the keyboard and mouse, you have so many more buttons. There’s so much more variety of what you can do, and we still haven’t found our optimal way. So, we’re still working on that. But we’re fairly confident in that, because most of the people in our company are actually PC gamers themselves, so there’s a personal interest.</p><p><strong>I also snooped through the graphics options, because I’m always curious about that. I couldn’t find the resolution option, and I’m wondering if you’ll support arbitrary resolutions with this one, downsampling.</strong></p><p>Yeah, we actually have a supersampling option, but that’s really where you need a monster of a computer. We had it in Witcher 2, it was called ubersampling. Arguably, for some players it didn’t make that much of a difference considering the performance costs it put in. Well, everybody familiar with the technology behind it, for supersampling, downsampling images&mdash;the changes are all very subtle, but they add to the overall picture. So yeah, we’ll have that. We’ll probably force your computer to its knees.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m3dzjAp0T4mD.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uEiWwj0SFcn9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt 5"></p><p><strong>I bet. Some people like to use it to compose really interesting screenshots and videos&mdash;do you know if there’s a way to completely turn off the HUD?</strong></p><p>Honestly, right now I don’t recall how powerful it is, but there is a HUD configuration menu... I think, yeah, you can turn off some HUD elements. The cool thing is the way we design our world&mdash;because you said you like to take photos with interesting compositions and all that&mdash;that’s actually how we approach designing locations. We can anticipate from where a player might access a certain location, right? If you follow the road, then this location will open up in front of you in a certain way where you’ve got a lot of classical image composition techniques being applied, so you know... silhouettes, rule of thirds and everything... that’s why we have so many cool vistas in the game.</p><p><strong>With such a big world, how much of it is handcrafted like this, and how much is done with procedural generation tools&mdash;you know, dropping foliage here and there?</strong></p><p>I think you’d be surprised. There is literally no automatically generated content there.</p><p><strong>So everything is placed intentionally?</strong></p><p>Yes, everything is hand-crafted. From the cities down to each individual rock you see. It’s a very meticulous and detailed, admittedly long-lasting process of detailing every single location. I think it’s worth it, it also helps making the world look alive. Authentic.</p><p><strong>What’s your favorite location in the game?</strong></p><p>To be honest, I cannot answer that question. In the main narrative, there is a section where you’ll access some truly unique-looking locations. Those are probably one of my favorites but that would be spoiling the story. If you think back to this interview once we release the game, you will know when you get there. You’ll instantly know, I promise.</p><p><strong>So, you have a few more months to work on The Witcher 3. As a level designer, what’s your main job until release?</strong></p><p>Yeah, obviously we’re bug fixing, so I’m mostly dealing with location-based bugs. “I got stuck here,” you know, or there’s a piece of floating grass. [Laughs.] Things like that. They can be more extreme, as in trying to get functionality of some certain features to act more smoothly. For example, the whole exploration concept of climbing around on things&mdash;[making sure] that the collision is accurate enough that Geralt won’t grab the air but the actual rock, and all these kinds of things.</p><p>For me, it’s less on the gameplay functional side, and more on visual cosmetics. Locations are pretty much done, so it’s mostly visual issues. From time to time we’ll encounter something where a quest doesn’t progress because the NPC is not able to walk up that slope or something, but there are no major things that I have to deal with. Most of the stuff is optimizing gameplay and performance.</p> Kerbal Space Program will leave Early Access next updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-will-leave-early-access-next-update/Next update marks official release, brings new physics, bug fixes and female Kerbals.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:20:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-will-leave-early-access-next-update/Early AccessKerbal Space ProgramNewssimSquad <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/49Z1VO3BQdiH.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H5ils03X91Av.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="LfSEGqm"></p><p>Kerbal Space Program will leave Early Access with its next update. Come one, come all, and join me in a moment's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rzDXNQxjHs" target="_blank">Also sprach Zarathustra</a>.</p><p>It's not been revealed when the update will release, but the rocketry sim only&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-beta-update-released/" target="_blank">entered beta last month</a>. "As development in Beta has progressed, one thing has become very apparent,"&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/content/326-Beyond-Beta" target="_blank">writes SQUAD's&nbsp;Felipe “HarvesteR” Falanghe</a>,&nbsp;"Kerbal Space Program is about to reach a state in which every single one of the original goals for the game has been reached, and we can say that our original design document has been fulfilled."</p><p>That means the game will soon be officially released&mdash;a somewhat strange designation as it's been both available to buy and brilliant for a long time now. Nevertheless, it won't be the end of development. "We see no better way to follow up on reaching our initial goals than to continue development on Kerbal Space Program, beyond Beta, past our original plans," HarvesteR writes.</p><p>The 1.0 update itself will bring, among other things, new, more realistic modelling of drag and lift, an 'Engineer's Report' warning of crucial design flaws, a game over state, and female Kerbals. You can see a full run-down of the planned features over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/content/326-Beyond-Beta" target="_blank">KSP forum</a>.</p> Witcher 3 screenshots show monsters, peasants and strange fashionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-screenshots-2/11 new shots from the verdant fields of The Witcher 3's prologue.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-screenshots-2/RPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt The Witcher 3 hands-on: my god it's full of bearshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-hands-on-my-god-its-full-of-bears/We've played a big chunk of this year's most anticipated RPG. Here's how it went.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-hands-on-my-god-its-full-of-bears/RPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hrc_ZNkPRb-T.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X74_8D6GZEzK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3 header"></p><p> There are bears in the banquet hall&mdash;shit! Just as I'm making good progress schmoozing the castellan, we're forced to dash back to the feast hall where a grizzly bear is busy biting the head off a guest. It shakes the corpse in its jaws and roars, face matted with blood. Most of the guests are strewn in pieces across their dinner.</p><p> No problem. I'm Geralt the monster hunter, famous throughout the land for being able to solve problems like sudden impossible bears. The castle is built into a vast crag, and is suspended a hundred feet above the sea. There's no way three monsters waltzed up the winding pathway and talked their way past the guards. Something strange is going on.</p><p> I draw one of my swords and equip my fire spell, Igni. A chirpier hero would make a "time for the main course" gag, but Geralt&mdash;in the mould of your typical hyper-masculine RPG antihero&mdash;has never tried to be funny in his life. I lock on and circle the bear, using the dodge command to sidestep its paw-swipes. When I can I plant a couple of flamboyant spinning fast strikes on its bum until it flops over dead. A few surviving guards are cautiously swatting at two other bears further down the hall. I help them out with my fire spell and soon those bears are dead too, and lightly roasted. Aw.</p><blockquote> I'm Geralt the monster hunter, famous throughout the land for being able to solve problems like sudden impossible bears. </blockquote><p> The surviving court members don't share my sympathy. Skellige's most influential families had gathered to get drunk and reinforce ties, but the bear incident has them pointing fingers. One barely-alive witness at least manages to solve the mystery of the magic bears before literally spilling his guts&mdash;they're shapeshifters who snuck into the party in human form.</p><p> This is entertaining stuff. The four hours of The Witcher 3 I've played are full of twisty little self-contained plots that make me feel like Mulder in a medieval X-Files. There's a bigger grand arc, of course, concerning Ciri&mdash;a woman with magic powers who was trained by Geralt at a young age&mdash;and the intentions of the supernatural horsemen of The Wild Hunt. That's set against the backdrop of a war between Redania and the expansionist imperial forces of Nilfgaard, who you see charging across the border in a post-credit sequence at the end of The Witcher 2. In spite of all that grand fantasy setup, you spend a lot of time in conversation with peasants and workaday warlords, solving local problems in return for information and help on the road.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bW6QWPvUTFeb.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wEV-BUYnBrHt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3 jam" style="background-color: initial;" class=""><figcaption>Mmmm, a jam golem was slain here.</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">LIFE'S A GLITCH</h5> <p> The unfinished preview build had plenty of bugs, which explains the recent delay for polish. The griffon chase twice ended with the griffon flying inside a hill where he couldn't be hit. The horse struggled on uneven terrain. All the guards in Skellige castle started randomly&nbsp;attacking Geralt after a&nbsp;cutscene.&nbsp;There's a&nbsp;chance these will be fixed before release, but we're praying The Witcher 3 doesn't become the next Assassin's Creed: Unity. Luckily the screen-tear you might read about in other previews didn't apply to the PC version, which looked beautiful throughout. </p> </div><p> It desperately wants to be a gritty HBO drama, and while it has the production values, it's slightly too silly to pull it off. The bear attack is a memorable moment, but I can't help but chuckle at the options I'm given in the aftermath of the bear attack. Should I a) go with the woman who wants to launch a forensic investigation into the massacre or b) side with the angry man who wants to charge into the wilderness and take revenge on all bears?</p><p> Option B it is. I find myself investigating a decimated outpost five minutes horse ride north of the castle. Its inhabitants have been torn apart and I don't even need Geralt's witcher vision to know that powerful animals are responsible. I can use witcher vision to track the culprits, though. Holding down the button highlights important environmental clues like footprints, savaged corpses and dropped trinkets&mdash;I ended up using witcher vision in almost every quest I played. My bear-hating friend&mdash;the hairy Scully to my Mulder&mdash;stays close as we follow prints up a winding path to a cave entrance.</p><p> The Witcher 3's dungeons are as detailed and atmospheric as its sweeping outdoor areas. Torchlight glistens against black rock as we plod deeper into the mountain. Sure enough we're confronted by a bare-chested axeman with suspiciously bear-like qualities. He charges; we fight.</p><p> Combat is the aspect of The Witcher 3's I'm most worried about. Your move set is comparable to The Witcher 2, so you have heavy and light attacks and a dodge command. Dodging now causes Geralt to dart rather than roll, though you can hold the button down to have him dive roll a greater distance&mdash;ideal when fighting monsters with big long arms. You can also hold a parry button to block, and tap it at the last second to parry an incoming strike and send your opponent staggering.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y3hN1Q-0Tvi9.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NfxPhPBkF_43.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3 3" class=""> <figcaption>The parrying skill makes it more fun to fight humans than monsters. The dismemberment system brutally sells the witcher's superhuman strength.</figcaption></figure><p> Geralt has the same spells as he did in The Witcher 2. He can summon a shield that negates a hit, blast enemies with a spray of embers, push them with a concussive blast and trap them in a circle of glyphs. They're best used in combination, but the fiddly interface demands that you pause combat momentarily to flick between options. Hopefully this problem won't translate to mouse and keyboard setups&mdash;only controllers were available for the demo.</p><p> The combat system works quite well against humanoid enemies. Their easily parsed stabs and swipes are well matched to the speed and distance of your dodge, which makes it satisfying to hop around an attack and cleave someone in half. The system falters when you fight larger creatures. The lowest point of the demo was a fight with a griffon who seemed completely resistant to lock-on. It attacked with slashes and bodily shrugs that dealt damage at unpredictable angles. The fight was full of "bullshit!" moments symptomatic of poorly represented hitboxes. I would use my sluggish long-distance roll to avoid an attack, run back into range and swipe ineffectively at its haunches, hits sometimes registering, sometimes not.</p><p> The protective Quen spell serves as compensation for taking the odd unexpected hit, but that replaces one frustration with another. It must be cast constantly like a nervous tick, especially in tough fights, and there are plenty of those. Geralt may be a super-mutant monster hunter but he can be cut down quite easily. I admire the punishing difficulty, because it encourages preparation through alchemy and the crafting of better equipment&mdash;a strong staple of the Witcher series&mdash;but the difficulty exaggerates the foibles of the combat system.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/a2aFi1HPScKD.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ICFHvFwUslX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher 3 4" class=""> <figcaption>It really does look like this, on ultra settings, at least.</figcaption></figure><p> It's a nagging annoyance rather than a severe problem, and some fights were great. In one area I solved the mystery of a haunted well and drew out a spirit. I had to lure it into my magical circle trap to give it physical form and then kill it with my silver sword. The fight required plenty of preparation. I had to gather clues from the abandoned buildings near the well and even go down the well to retrieve an amulet that could summon the spirit. As you learn more about a monster, your journal updates with precise details about the thing's habits and weaknesses. You grow the journal over the course of the game like a&nbsp;Pokédex, becoming an expert in the world's creatures as you explore. The context, spooky locale and clever use of Geralt's magic all contributed to the feeling that I'd really tangled with something supernatural, and that was just a side quest.</p><p> The cave is admittedly less exciting, but still hides a few surprises. I kill the bear man and press on to the heart of the cave network to find a band of cultists worshipping a forbidden bear god&mdash;naughty cultists! A brief cutscene shows a warlock performing a rite with some initiates. After a few words of power bears emerge from the shadows and brutally kill and eat the initiates. Letting out horrible half-man, half-bear screams, the bears grow human faces and transform into men. Ah, they're not humans pretending to be bears, they're bears pretending to be human. Is this all part of some elaborate bear coup?</p><p> The bears are easily dispatched, but the warlock causes problems. For some reason his stick attacks can't be parried&mdash;another frustrating combat inconsistency. A few combos and Quen barriers later, he's dead, but a note found at the scene suggests the cult is being manipulated by a darker force hoping to destabilise the region through acts of bear terrorism. Sadly the rest of that mystery lies beyond the limits of the demo.</p><p> There's just time to wander out into the hills of Skellige and watch a storm roll in over the hills.&nbsp;I use Geralt's meditation skill to skip time ahead to dawn and explore for a while under the sunrise. There are terrifying spiders in the woods that almost slaughter me, there's a village of shipbuilders at the base of the castle on the crag. Skitterish game animals potter around near the coast. I've played for hours and only scratched the bare surface. The Witcher 3 is monstrously huge, and I have a feeling that the fidelity of the world will overcome the passable fighting, just so long as they fix the bugs.</p><p><em>For more Witcher 3 goodness, check out the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-screenshots-2/">new screenshots</a> of the rural prologue zone.</em></p> What happens if Shadowrun: Hong Kong raises $1 million?http://www.pcgamer.com/what-happens-if-shadowrun-hong-kong-raises-1-million/Harebrained Schemes reveals what happens if they make mega-bucks. More game, basically.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:46:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/what-happens-if-shadowrun-hong-kong-raises-1-million/Harebrained SchemesNewsRPGShadowrun ReturnsShadowrun: Hong Kong <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b4ZB0HvYT3ul.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2c3q72-YmfT0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Shadowrun: Hong Kong"></p><p>Having people constantly throwing money at you must be <em>awful</em>. It's never happened to me, thank <em>GOD</em>, but if it did I imagine I'd be spending my time slumped on my couch&mdash;one outstretched arm shading my forehead from the weight of all that cash.</p><p>Some people are forced to live this terrible life. For instance, Harebrained Schemes, who went to Kickstarter to ask&nbsp;for $100,000 with which&nbsp;to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/harebrained-schemes-reveals-shadowrun-hong-kong/" target="_blank">create a new Shadowrun game</a>. Called Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the game raised its total within two hours. Now they're up to $690,000 and people keep giving them money. Nightmare.</p><p>Fortunately, there were stretch goals in play, adding new characters, new sidequests and expanded systems. Those stretch goals stop&nbsp;at $700,000&mdash;a total that will almost certainly be met before the campaign's 22 remaining days are up.</p><p>What happens after that? What happens at $1 million? In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/shadowrun-hong-kong/posts/1114314" target="_blank">new update</a>, the team explains exactly what.</p><p>The answer, simply, is that the game will get a secondary&nbsp;Shadows of Hong Kong&nbsp;Mini-Campaign set after the events of the main game. This extra will provide around four to five hours of additional story, and will let players import their Shadowrun: Hong Kong character.</p><p>"The Shadows of Hong Kong Mini-Campaign will come out sometime before the end of 2015," explains Harebrained,&nbsp;"and will be free to Backers at the $15 pledge level and up."</p><p>Shadowrun: Hong Kong itself is due out mid-2015.</p> Planetside 2 breaks world record for most players in an FPS battlehttp://www.pcgamer.com/planetside-2-breaks-world-record-for-most-players-in-an-fps-battle/1,158 people have a big fight, give Planetside 2 a world record in the process.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/planetside-2-breaks-world-record-for-most-players-in-an-fps-battle/FPSMMONewsPlanetside 2SOE <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">IN WHICH PLANETSIDE 2 PRODUCER DAVID CAREY HOLDS A WORLD RECORD</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O7jr16L5QSuy.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LdM0heixI_Oj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="World Record" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Source:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/dcarey7761/status/559141672424972288" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</p></div><p>There are a lot of things you could call a battle between 1,158 people. "Confusing" springs to mind. Also, "messy". In the specific instance of the 1,158 person battle fought&nbsp;in Planetside 2 this last weekend, the more accurate adjective is "record breaking".</p><p>As reported&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/planetside-2-players-are-organising-a-record-breaking-battle/" target="_blank">earlier in the month</a>, 24 January was the date Planetside 2 players opted to gather in an attempt to break the world record for the largest online first-person shooter battle. The aim was for 1,100 players. On the day, an extra 58 turned up&mdash;comfortably&nbsp;beating&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/man-vs-machine-breaks-world-records-with-999-player-battle/" target="_blank">Man vs. Machine's record</a> of 999 people.</p><p>Community site&nbsp;<a href="http://planetsidebattles.org/" target="_blank">Planetside Battles</a> organised the event, and have published the&nbsp;<a href="http://planetsidebattles.org/about/RecordSmash" target="_blank">final battle report</a>. During the course of the battle there were&nbsp;53,729 kills,&nbsp;3,822 team kills and 31 base captures. You can find a number of videos of the event at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/planetside" target="_blank">Planetside 2 Reddit board</a>. Below, you can see a montage of highlights created by 'WaffleVFX'.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oqxRPSWcaMo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Homeworld Remastered release date announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-release-date-announced/Space RTS remaster due out on 25 February.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:10:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-release-date-announced/GearboxHomeworldHomeworld RemasteredNewsRTS <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/q9Bb4KttRkuC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mo8UC879uvbT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Homeworld"></p><p>The RTS genre has gone through some things. It's a gnarled veteran; a fighter&nbsp;that's spent decades reinventing itself to adapt to the climate. It must be livid to see a new boy turn up that's both exactly the same as a version of its&nbsp;past self, and prettier looking.</p><p>The remastered version of Homeworld&mdash;sensibly titled&nbsp;Homeworld Remastered&mdash;will be with us next month. Over the weekend, at PAX South, Gearbox announced a release date of 25 February. In addition, they offered up a new trailer.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NXjI3DgyOqM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The Homeworld Remastered Collection will collect both of Relic's acclaimed space-based RTS games, in both remastered and original form. This new version has been polished up by Gearbox, who bought the Homeworld licence from the sinking THQ. It adds high-res textures, a remastered score and new voice recording from the original cast.</p><p>The collection also grants access to the Homeworld Remastered Steam Multiplayer Beta&mdash;a combined online version of both Homeworld games that's also due to kick off on 25 February.</p><p>Homeworld Remastered Collection will cost £27/$35.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uYX730rVQ42d.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M27n3L37MY9E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HW1 Remastered 01"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-giO0j1ORd6v.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/srJIkA17v6n2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HW2 Remastered 04"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9XChLYj3SuqD.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/38PM_9xKQSL5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HW2 Remastered 05"></p> What's the best way to move Steam games to and from an SSD?http://www.pcgamer.com/whats-the-best-way-to-move-steam-games-to-and-from-an-ssd/A selection of programs and websites that make Steam better.Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:00:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/whats-the-best-way-to-move-steam-games-to-and-from-an-ssd/Ask PC Gamer <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bep3Ox1ISD2O.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rDE1u9E-oScq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="SSD_F3_angle_240GB"></p><div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">ask pc gamer</h5> <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ask-pc-gamer/">Ask PC Gamer</a> is our weekly question and advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to <a href="mailto:letters@pcgamer.com">letters@pcgamer.com</a>. </p> </div><p>I'd pretend someone named "Bartholomew SSD-Owner" asked this, but that didn't happen&mdash;I'm just certain it's been asked, and I&nbsp;wanted to bring a program called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stefanjones.ca/steam/">SteamTool Library Manager 1.1</a> to your attention.</p><p>It was more useful back before you could set alternate Steam install directories, but if you run a small SSD and only want whatever&nbsp;you're currently playing on it, SteamTool makes it easy to shuttle games to and from your storage disk. Sure, you could just find the game's folder and move it to a second Steam install folder on your HDD, but that'd take like, precious extra seconds.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V3rGPwvqQpOH.PNG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rQlzeCIgJZ8i.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="SteamTool"></p><p>Generally, this got me thinking about all the ways we customize Steam or use external tools to make it better. A while back we shared some of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-steam-skins/">our favorite Steam skins</a>, but here's&nbsp;some more useful Steam-related stuff. And because I've inevitably left out your favorite, share it in the comments!</p><p><a href="http://steam.tools/" target="_blank">steam.tools</a> &mdash; A much better way to browse the Steam market&nbsp;for trading cards, backgrounds, and emoticons.</p><p><a href="https://github.com/rallion/depressurizer/releases/tag/v0.6.1.0">Depressurizer</a> &mdash; Helps organize your library, and can auto-categorize&nbsp;games using data from their store pages.</p><p><a href="https://www.steamprices.com/" target="_blank">SteamPrices</a>&mdash; I use this site, among others, all the time to track discounts.</p><p><a href="https://steamdb.info/" target="_blank">SteamDB</a>&mdash; Another great way to track what's going on in the Steam store.</p><p><a href="http://steamleft.com/">Steam Left</a>&mdash; Estimates how long it'll take to beat your backlog (more frightening than useful).</p><p><a href="http://steamcharts.com/" target="_blank">Steam Charts</a> &mdash; Find out what people are playing.</p> Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered appears to be a thinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/fahrenheit-indigo-prophecy-remastered-appears-to-be-a-thing/New version of Quantic Dream'sbonkers epic leaked on Amazon.Sun, 25 Jan 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fahrenheit-indigo-prophecy-remastered-appears-to-be-a-thing/AdventureNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c9tEgWS2RvOp.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e8ls6zeE4nve.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fahrenheit Remastered"></p><p>David Cage's beautifully pompous, silly, offensive and occasionally a bit good&nbsp;Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy has appeared on Amazon as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fahrenheit-Ind.../dp/B00SLXWUCE">Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered</a>. In this new version of Quantic Dream's QTE-riddled adventure,&nbsp;listed for release on January 29th,&nbsp;"all of the in-game textures have been meticulously recreated in HD for mobile and desktop".&nbsp;You'll be able switch between the old and new graphics as you see fit, as with&nbsp;those redone&nbsp;Halo games on Xbox One.</p><p>There are several screens accompanying the listing, but it's hard to tell whether these are of the old 2005 version or this 'remastered' edition of the game. If you've only played the original version, you'll be pleased to hear that "unlike the original North American release, Remastered contains all of the game's original scenes, uncensored and uncut". Steam is mentioned as a requirement, while there will also be "full controller support" for Sony and Microsoft pads.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nXAR4YPuQ_Wa.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O2BQUg6A05fL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fahrenheit 2"></p><p>Not played Fahrenheit? It's an intriguing murder mystery that soon David Cages into a bizarre Matrix conspiracy where you fend off possessed helicopters and fight&nbsp;the physical manifestation of the internet using QTEs. It really&nbsp;has to be seen/played to be believed.</p> The Bard's Tale IV announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-bards-tale-iv-announced/There'll be a Kickstarter soon, naturally.Sun, 25 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-bards-tale-iv-announced/inXile EntertainmentNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/64_wjo0mSt2Z.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nsHG8xDty0kH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bard's Tale"></p><p>Hey, so remember inXile's teases&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/inxile-entertainment-teases-yet-another-passionately-demanded-rpg/" target="_blank">a few weeks back</a> that they were&nbsp;working on another "passionately demanded" RPG?&nbsp;Well, this is almost certainly it: a new Bard's Tale game (and a proper sequel at that) to 1988's Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate.</p><p>inXile CEO Brian Fargo announced the news&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/BrianFargo/status/559039453121884160/photo/1" target="_blank">yesterday</a> at PAX South, stopping short of revealing much about The Bard's Tale IV, although he did promise "more details to follow". Thankfully, Fargo revealed a few of those details&nbsp;<a href="http://uk.ign.com/articles/2015/01/24/brian-fargo-announces-first-bards-tale-sequel-in-27-years" target="_blank">to IGN</a>, including that the story&nbsp;will take place in Skara Brae, where the very&nbsp;first game was set. Combat will&nbsp;be turn-based, but everyone will now&nbsp;take their turns all&nbsp;at once&mdash;goodies and baddies alike. Fargo seems to have been inspired by Hearthstone, in this regard.</p><p>There will be a Kickstarter, of course&mdash;their last two did pretty well, you might recall&mdash;but there's no news on exactly when yet. We'll be sure to tell you when inXile fire theirs up, though&nbsp;personally&nbsp;I'm&nbsp;a <em>little</em> disappointed that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/van-buren-and-meantime-trademarks-filed-by-inxile/" target="_blank">those trademarks</a> for Van Buren and&nbsp;Meantime don't appear to be coming to fruition, at least yet.</p> Below the Ice: puzzles and secrets in a Half-Life 2 mod http://www.pcgamer.com/below-the-ice-puzzles-and-secrets-in-a-half-life-2-mod/What's the purpose of thishidden Antarctic base?Sun, 25 Jan 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/below-the-ice-puzzles-and-secrets-in-a-half-life-2-mod/Half-Life 2Mod of the WeekPuzzle <p> Aperture Science isn't the only one with a secret underground base. Deep in the Antarctic lies a hidden subterranean facility, filled with puzzles, lined with traps, and&nbsp;shrouded in mystery. Why is it there? What is its purpose?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/below-the-ice/news/below-the-ice-is-released">Below the Ice</a>, a mod for Half-Life 2, invites you to find out. Just watch your step.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WehIr1-0Q3av.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VBZGXvA5Tfbi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Below The Ice" class=""> <figcaption>Looks simple, but this place is not your friend.</figcaption></figure><p> The mod begins with you arriving in the Antarctic, where you quickly stumble upon the entrance to a facility buried in a glacier. There's a sign warning against trespassers, which feels a bit pointless. You've either traveled all the way to the <del>north</del> south pole and aren't going to turn around and go home because of a sign, or you're a <del>polar bear</del> penguin and you can't read anyway.</p><p> Entering this facility requires passing a bit of an intelligence test in a number of grid-like puzzle&nbsp;chambers. Many involve the simple pushing of buttons, though figuring out how to reach those buttons, and what those buttons actually do, can take a while. The chambers aren't particularly forgiving if you make a mistake, either. Prepare to be crushed, fried, or fall to your death if you slip up.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hBIP6GVeQ1eC.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n49s5wgqRVkB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Below The Ice" class=""> <figcaption>This is how I solve puzzles. With a crowbar.</figcaption></figure><p> Once you've convinced the puzzle chambers&nbsp;you've got a brain in your head, you're granted access to the rest of the facility, which appears to have been abandoned. While exploring, you'll discover living quarters, science labs, and&nbsp;a series of offices. There, you'll&nbsp;begin to piece together the story behind the facility, which ties in to both the fiction of&nbsp;Half-Life 2 and Portal. It's not just a matter of walking around and reading notes: even though you've escaped the test&nbsp;chambers, there are still plenty of puzzles to solve to gain access to the facility's control rooms, observation chambers, and science labs.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3tuuybQNQ8O0.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-uI79tSfUjyE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Below the Ice" class=""> <figcaption>I suspect they're not planning you give you a haircut.</figcaption></figure><p> The more you progress,&nbsp;the more the facility begins to reveal its secrets, and its true&nbsp;size. While you're navigating the place,&nbsp;unlocking doors, turning on lights, locating missing pieces of technology,&nbsp;dabbling in teleportation,&nbsp;and piecing together its&nbsp;history, also keep an eye out for a series of memory sticks. Find enough of them hidden throughout the mod and it will give you an alternate ending.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/upbfJtp-S5ew.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/byjcjxGpQ8_S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Below the Ice" class=""> <figcaption>Companion cubes aren't quite as heartwarming here.</figcaption></figure><p> There's probably a few hours of play here, depending on your smarts. Some of the puzzles aren't particularly sophisticated: to progress,&nbsp;it's generally more important to carefully examine your surroundings for clues&nbsp;than to be some sort of 10th Level Puzzle Wizard. There's some decent&nbsp;music throughout, and while the map's set&nbsp;dressing is a bit plain, and a few&nbsp;custom textures are a little underwhelming, it's a nice mod if you're in the mood for some gently-paced puzzle&nbsp;solving.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aZiK2GKJSpah.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dMBIUPuGUyLC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Below the Ice" class=""> <figcaption>Dude, I can't solve this with you watching me.</figcaption></figure><p> <a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/below-the-ice">You can grab the mod here</a> and untangle the mystery for yourself. To install, extract the folder into your sourcemods directory (\Steam\steamapps\sourcemods), and restart Steam. Below the Ice will appear in your library. You'll also require Half-Life 2 and Source SDK Base 2013 single-player. You can find the latter by viewing your Games Library in your Steam client, selecting "Tools," and double-clicking it from the list.</p> Looking ahead to Season 5 in League of Legendshttp://www.pcgamer.com/lol-season-5/A preview of the LoL e-sports play that awaits us this year.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 19:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lol-season-5/E-sportsLeague of LegendsLoLwatchMOBARiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-qcb4xNTR6uJ.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PSavBt9CF9C0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="All Star Paris"></p><p>Welcome to Season 5, folks! Rankings have reset, the LCS is back up, and elsewhere in the world the competition's already underway. We've also learned a great deal&mdash;yet again&mdash;about the reliability and predictive value of preseason results.</p><p>That is, we've (re)learned that they are about as trustworthy as a con artist. CJ Entus undefeated in the Korean circuit? Space actually playing like a legitimate AD carry? What strange parallel dimension did we accidentally cross into with the changing of the calendar? Did we somehow slide down the wrong leg of what the great Pratchett would call the <a href="http://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Trousers_of_Time">Trousers of Time</a>? To be fair, we go into every preseason expecting the competitions therein to matter, and this isn't the first year I've had to throw out my expectations come the first few weeks of spring. It turns out that, when only money is on the line, teams feel free to screw around and experiment.</p><p>Or maybe it isn't entirely their fault. Visa issues are a chronic plague to the scene, as even back in 2012 we were having trouble getting players to international events, but the massive Korean exodus is wreaking havoc in one particular scene. Seems like half of the American lineup won't be available in the first week of the LCS, thanks to visa delays&mdash;or, in CLG's continued decline into ignobility, because their managers and players can't be bothered to keep out of trouble (or at least minimize the evidence trail). Poor Russia-based Gambit Gaming suffered many indignities in particular in the last couple years, thanks to immigration issues, though they tenaciously held onto their reputation as among the continent's best for a respectable long while.</p><p>Hopefully, it'll all work out soon enough – and, hopefully, with the knowledge that Worlds will be in Europe this year, everybody's already planning out their attack on the Schengen Area bureaucracy. Everybody including myself: I only need the visa on one passport, but with a Taiwanese-American dual citizenship with both sets of passports due to expire this year, I gotta hock up the cash and schedule appointments in a few months time if I want to get off this island at all.</p><p>And I certainly do. There's a lot happening this year, whether in or out of the game. Plenty to look forward to.</p><h3>Around the world in eight months</h3><p>To reiterate: Worlds is in the EU this year, and it isn't going to be restricted to any one city or region. Riot has decided to continue with the precedent set by the 2014 World Championship by taking the show on the road, with plans to visit multiple countries and play in multiple arenas. Already, the jokes are flying ("can't they just rent out Liechtenstein? All of Liechtenstein."), but that doesn't take away from the hype around their decision. The EU has been an integral part of League of Legends' five years' worth of competitive history: the innovator of what is now commonly deemed the "correct" way to play, and the home of some of its best-respected players.</p><p>Will there be a return to Paris? The French were famously welcoming the last time Riot's tour buses pulled into their storied capital. And, selfishly, I'd like an excuse to hog out on French cuisine straight from the source (though, alas, given the value of the Euro, not for any cheaper). However, the likely end-point might not be within the Schengen Area at all. There's some demands to host possibly the Grand Finals at Wembley Stadium, where the 90,000 seats would go a long ways towards securing supply commensurate to demand.</p><p>I had the privilege of attending the 2014 grand finals at Seoul's Sangam Stadium, boasting a capacity of roughly 67,000. An entire side of it was cordoned off to install the stage and platforms&mdash;I'd heard that the initial plans were to have it in the center of the stadium itself and utilize all available seats, but they were ultimately nixed due to concerns of the damage it might cause to the field. Which is a shame, since all those seats were definitely needed, as the stadium easily filled to capacity otherwise.</p><p>Note that Sangam Stadium's irregularly used for a reason: I am told that even Korea's most popular music groups find it difficult to get a large enough audience in one place to justify the expenditure. And while Riot's directors are claiming that they're not deliberately trying to one-up themselves every year (eventually, they'll simply run out of large-enough stadiums), they might nonetheless be driven to snap up world-class settings by the sheer necessity of the logistics and demand.</p><p>We'll just have to hope that China puts up more of a fight this year, as it'd be disappointing to host 90,000+ crowds for a mere three one-sided games. And nobody would feel the disappointment harder than China would if Korea wins yet again, given how heavily they've invested their efforts to strip the region dry of their best and finest.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/54tUOSlqR92B.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nU_s7NXVWYRU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Riot Games Sangam Stadium"></p><h3>Personal journey</h3><p>While I'm excited for the Europe tour, and hope to swing some way to embed myself for the full run, what I'm really getting hyped about has more to do with what's coming up for the game, and what impact it will have on skills development.</p><p>I hold, maybe controversially, that the current state of League of Legends is still far short of its strategic potential. And this is across the board, whether we're discussing Korean or North American players. Due to the limitations of the tools available to us, from account level one newbie to South Korean pro player, there's a skill ceiling to reach that we're still, five years in, only dimly aware of.</p><p>The problem is in practice: solo queue encourages you to be a generalist, playing to the needs of the group and requiring you to have a minimum number of "viable" champions in every role and position. Even in Korea, where the midnight queuers will actively demand that a known pro player stick to his role, you're necessarily going to have to play off-roles about a third of the time. But while a generalist approach helps develop an overall sense of the game, it isn't without issue: you only get good at the one or two champions you designated "safe" for that role, and inevitably end up struggling when the metagame shifts away from them. See, of course, Dade circa 2013, when Season 3's assassins summer took a backseat to utility mid laners. Those whiffed Explosive Casks will haunt his nightmares forevermore.</p><p>Even at the level of professional play, this can be a problem. Much as I fanboy over AHQ E-Sports Club's Westdoor, he's known to suffer off assassins (which makes the news of the upcoming Fizz nerfs particularly saddening for his prospects). And it's not yet proven that Unicorns of Love's PowerofEvil is as stellar without Syndra (his Orianna certainly isn't). Do they practice other champions? Absolutely. But being required to practice in the current state of solo queue does them no favors in grinding out the practices and experiences needed for their specific and professional role.</p><p>Thus why I'm happy to hear that Ranked Team Builder is in development. In theory, it's the best possible bridge between the current state of ranked solo queue and actual ranked 5's team play. It still preserves the random matchups and situations of normal solo queue, which is necessary for a player to maintain their individual skill, but the ability to grind endless straight games on single champions and roles is a much better way to tease out every possible nuance out of a wider range of champions. There are no "wasted" games anymore, where a pro player's forced to practice on champions and roles he won't ever see in a LAN situation.</p><p>There is, instead, the possibility of iterative and scientific approaches to getting good. And that's exciting for the game's competitive future.</p><p>Now, if only we had native replay.</p> Face off: Was the Steam Discovery revamp a good move?http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-was-the-steam-discovery-revamp-a-good-move/Sam and Andy duke it out in the PC Gamer debating arena.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-was-the-steam-discovery-revamp-a-good-move/ <div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">FACE OFF</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZdplOBisSt-M.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QoKS4fWrnEoi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sam Roberts innit"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts, UK editor</strong></p><p>Believes in being deeply personal, even when it crosses the borders of social acceptability.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/30ni3asRQVaL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B49J9RZpUPeb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Andy Kelly innit"></p><p><strong>Andy Kelly, section editor</strong></p><p>Doesn't want a computer choosing his games for him, unless it's a proper android like Data from Star Trek.</p></div><p><em>In Face Off, PC Gamer writers go head to head over an issue affecting PC gaming. Today, Sam and Andy wonder whether last year's big Steam recommendation update was good move for the service.</em></p><p><b style="background-color: initial;">Samuel Roberts</b><strong>: </strong><strong>YES. Valve is trying to let its customers shape their own experience of Steam.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Steam has long been in need of a revamp. It doesn’t feel like it’s changed much in about five years, and with Steam Discovery&mdash;a name that admittedly makes me think of a doomed 1800s British vessel&mdash;the whole landing page is shaped to my tastes. I mean, it recommends I play Doom 3, so it can’t be entirely perfect, but still. You can even let PC Gamer show you which games to buy with the curator service. How is that a bad thing?</p><p><strong>Andy Kelly:</strong><strong>&nbsp;NO. Curation won't make any difference to Steam's messy storefront.</strong></p><p>I play such a broad spectrum of games on Steam, from Euro Truck Simulator to Max Payne, that its recommendation algorithm can’t possibly have an accurate picture of my tastes. I’m looking at it now, and it’s telling me I should be playing Crypt of the NecroDancer. It’s a good game, no doubt, but it’s not for me. I hate dancing, and fun. The reason Steam’s computer brain has recommended it is because it’s detected that I’ve previously played ‘indie games’. Y’know, that vast, broad spectrum of games that encompasses every genre imaginable. Good job!</p><p><strong>SR:</strong> Well, Steam thinks I’ll like horror games and has recommended Don’t Starve and Half-Life&mdash;that seems pretty spot-on! Plus, it picked up on the fact that I like Alan Wake, and therefore pointed me in the direction of its bizarre, tiny-budget spin-off, American Nightmare. Actually, it’s recommended Crypt of the NecroDancer for me as well. That’s a weird outlier, but it’s still early days, and the attempt at understanding the user’s behaviour is surely positive. Oh... it’s recommending Five Nights At Freddy’s to the PC Gamer account now. I don’t really fancy playing that, though I know some people like it. Does Steam not like me any more? And Murdered: Soul Suspect! Stop it, Steam!</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> You see, this is the problem. A recommendation algorithm will never be 100 per cent accurate, and you might end up buying something like Murdered: Soul Suspect. Then you’ll be sad. The solution here is, in theory, Steam curator lists. Obviously, you can trust any of the games PC Gamer recommends, because we’re brilliant and never wrong, but it’s still just someone’s opinion. I’d rather have a traditional storefront with detailed search tools. I want to be able to, say, go to the RPG section, then arrange&nbsp;games by year, or within a certain Metacritic rating threshold. There are some sorting options on Steam, and the new tagging system, but it’s not as powerful or efficient as it could be.</p><p><strong>SR: </strong>I like that the current system allows for games of all types to get through, though&mdash;Metacritic is far from a perfect measure of what makes a great game, and even seeing some of the nonsense recommended to me adds a bit of colour. Who knows, there might be something I’ll like in there even if some critics don’t. I am the person who’s played Resident Evil 6 for over 30 hours. My criteria is very specific, and sometimes horseshit. What I’m going to do, Andy, is start my own storefront that exclusively recommends BioWare RPGs and indie games with good writing. It’s the only way I can be sure the opinions will be correct.</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> Since we started this debate, Steam has recommended me Farming Simulator. This is likely because I have 30 hours logged in Euro Truck Simulator 2. But just because I like delivering milk to Stuttgart in a heavy-goods vehicle doesn’t mean I want to harvest crops. OK, so it’s good to have games you might not otherwise play suggested to you, because variety is the spice of life and all that, but... well, I don’t really have any argument against that. Look, Steam Discovery might be a step in the right direction, but it’s different, and I hate things that are different.</p><p><strong>SR:</strong> I always thought you were cut out for a farming life more than games journalism, Andy. Not only is Steam recommending new games to you, it’s also choosing you a new path in life. I appreciate everything you bring to PCG, but what if you were to buy a ranch or drive to Grimsby instead? Valve has not only sorted out your next game purchase, it’s resolved the matter of your destiny. You just can’t handle it.</p><p><strong>AK:</strong> I mean, really, the dream is that Gabe Newell comes over to my house and gives me free, temporary access to every game on Steam. We hang out, pound beers, play a bunch of games and find the best ones. Then we become best friends and we go rollerblading and we high five each other and drink milkshakes. Man, that would be the best.</p> Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-announced/New expansion takes players to the heart of Maguuma JungleSat, 24 Jan 2015 17:41:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-heart-of-thorns-announced/ArenaNetGuild Wars 2MMONews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kuro9wF1Qcu6.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mYFo5Sso9oaA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GW2 HeartOfThorns screenshot 1.4ab012aa"></p><p>That Heart of Thorns would be an expansion pack seemed assured&mdash;especially for those who have been following Guild Wars 2's Living World. Today, ArenaNet announced that that inevitability was, in fact, inevitable. Heart of Thorns is Guild Wars 2's first expansion, and will take players to a brand new area:&nbsp;the Maguuma Jungle.</p><p>Here's the trailer that premiered on the PAX South stage:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/54ucC9jIiWE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>ArenaNet calls it the most "detailed and dynamic environment" they've ever created. Expect the expansion to draw on their last few years of updates to populate the new areas with difficult and collaborative events.</p><p>Unusually, for an MMO expansion, Heart of Thorns won't raise the level cap, or add a new tier of gear. Instead, they're introducing a system called Masteries. By completing story, world events and exploration, players will earn Mastery points that can be spent unlocking ways to tame the jungle. Hang-gliders, for instance, will let players glide through the zone, and, at higher levels of Mastery, ride gusts of wind to unlock new areas.</p><p>Players will also be able to customise their characters through Specializations. On stage, game director Colin Johanson gave the example of Rangers becoming Druids&mdash;able to wield staff weapons for the first time in order to gain new healing, utility and elite skills.</p><p>Also announced: a new class. The Revenant is a new heavy armour class that will channel the "Mists"&mdash;Guild Wars's weird, mystical ether&mdash;to call on the spirits of ancient historical legends, using their power to utilise&nbsp;different abilities.</p><p>In addition, the expansion will introduce a new World vs World borderland (with distinct elemental keeps that reward the World that holds them), a new Structured PvP game mode, and Guild Halls. The latter is a place for your guild to own and build up&mdash;utilising it as a base of operations from which to hang out and plan missions and adventures.</p><p>As for the expansion's story, it follows on from the finale of Living Story: Season 2. You can see how that played out in the story trailer below.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/147x-wbCer0?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This weekend, to celebrate the announcement,&nbsp;<a href="http://buy.guildwars2.com/" target="_blank">Guild Wars 2 is discounted</a> to £8.75/$10. In addition, a double-XP event is running in game.</p> The best current (and upcoming) arena shootershttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-current-and-upcoming-arena-shooters/Arena shooters haven’t changed much over the decades, and they don’t need to.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-current-and-upcoming-arena-shooters/arena shootersDoomFPSQuakeQuake LiveRatz InstagibToxikkUnreal Tournament The Best Free Games of the Weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-62/Stealth, cyberpunks, platforming and bears - it's all here in this week's free games box social.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 16:33:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-62/browser gamesFreeIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jlwCnJNMQraa.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cbp2c0g6CWE7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Adams Drive 32"></p><p>I hope you've got your sneaking boots on, your +1 Mace of Unseeing equipped, and, er, your Underpants of Invisibility firmly attached, as you'll need them for a couple of&nbsp;this week's free games, which prioritise hiding over headshots. All that plus anthropomorphic&nbsp;animals, mundane horror, jetpacks and hoverboots - enjoy!</p><h3><a href="http://connor-sherlock.itch.io/condor" target="_blank">Condor by Connor Sherlock</a></h3><iframe width="347" height="280" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rVDiHgiP3ww" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Condor asks you to ascend a&nbsp;cyberpunk metropolis, with only a jetpack, rocket boots, bionic legs and a personal stealth field at your disposal. Actually, I'd say that&nbsp;you're adequately equipped.&nbsp;This means you can hover across gaps, up walls, and survive falls without turning into liquid&nbsp;cybergoop. You're trying to reach the top of a gleaming&nbsp;spire to transmit an important signal, but really you're navigating a tricky 3D space with a well-defined set of tools, and that's one of my very favourite things to do in games.</p><h3><a href="http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1873/" target="_blank">Until I Have You by Dualnames, AprilSkies, CaptainD</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oLRw5-VLSzeW.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/89WwUqhjmVE_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Until I Have You"></p><p>An autorunner of sorts made in Adventure Game Studio, the cyberpunky Until I Have You is quite the technical feat. The controls in this fast, gorgeous platformer are new, interesting and pretty damned&nbsp;infuriating&mdash;you move the sharp-suited fella by dragging the mouse left or right, rather than the tried-and-true direct control method that works so well elsewhere. As you might imagine, controlling the running speed with mouse gestures makes leaping over gaps extraordinarily difficult, but there's something to the art and world design that made me wish I could get to grips with Until I Have You. Perhaps you'll fare better?</p><h3><a href="http://thewhalehusband.itch.io/thestatic" target="_blank">The Static Speaks My Name by Jesse Barksdale</a></h3><iframe width="347" height="280" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UUmmxstKR3E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>A&nbsp;dark, creepy first-person horror of sorts that traps you in a cramped environment, with only your delusions and a tub of&nbsp;shrimp to keep you company. This ten-minute game reminded me of Silent Hill 4: The Room - minus the unkillable ghosts, wretched combat, and third-person wandering, of course.</p><h3><a href="http://primaerfunktion.itch.io/adams-drive-32" target="_blank">Adams Drive 32 by René Rother and kubrixXx</a></h3><iframe width="347" height="280" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HyCGA2UkfeE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>"A sneaky game about infiltrating a mansion, looting it and getting out alive." And a surprisingly polished one with it, featuring an abstract&nbsp;art style that recalls Killer7, and with a tense, espionagey atmosphere that fits with the shadowy building&nbsp;environment perfectly. The actual stealth works pretty well too, relying on limited but learnable AI, and&nbsp;punishing your mistakes - ie getting shot by a guard - with instant death. You're not a Sam Fisher-style killing machine; you're a vulnerable infiltrator with limited resources, and that's exactly how a good&nbsp;stealth hero should be.</p><h3><a href="http://rostok.itch.io/the-bear-the-cat-and-the-rabbit" target="_blank">The Bear, the Cat and the Rabbit by Rostok</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oGE2aHUiSCuO.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5PLD1I6qezfg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Bear"></p><p>As for The Bear, the Cat and the Rabbit&mdash;huh! In an alternate universe, this isometric-ish adventure&nbsp;came out around the same time as LittleBigAdventure, acting as its dark, apocalyptic twin. Playing as...well as a bear, a cat and a rabbit, you have to first find/rescue each other in a vast dusty wasteland, something considerably harder said than done. Fresh, unusual, funny and strange, this is a puzzle worth figuring out.</p> Life is Strange dev diary discusses time travelhttp://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-dev-diary-discusses-time-travel/The Butterfly Effect, thankfully minus Ashton Kutcher.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-dev-diary-discusses-time-travel/AdventureDontnod EntertainmentLife Is StrangeNewsSquare Enix <iframe width="574" height="323" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NVsMERVjEUg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Dontnod's Remember Me let you rewind memories; Life is Strange lets you rewind <em>time</em>. That's bound to have interesting repercussions in an episodic adventure game, and to that end the developers have outlined how your time power works in the above video, the second in their dev diary series.</p><p>Every time travel story worth its salt establishes its rules and then adheres to them slavishly, and by the sounds of it Life is Strange might be one of the good ones. Choices/actions in the story can be rewound using protagonist Max's special power, but any items she may have acquired in the process will be kept on her person. Meanwhile, Max remains motionless as she uses her mysterious&nbsp;powers, so you won't be able to run around in time travel mode. Booooo.&nbsp;There's also a neat double exposure visual effect active&nbsp;while you undo time, underlying the fact that Max is into photography.</p><p>The first episode of Life is Strange is out January 30th; you can watch the first dev diary, and check out the system requirements&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-serves-up-system-requirements-and-first-dev-diary/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Battlefield Hardline's modes and maps detailedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardlines-modes-and-maps-detailed/They're pretty much what you'd expect.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardlines-modes-and-maps-detailed/battlefield hardlineElectronic ArtsFPSNewsVisceral Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bn9JwS_ySben.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tNBFfx38xLnF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline"></p><p>Battlefield Hardline might be racing around the corner like that guy on that bike up there, but we still have time to learn slightly more about it before it busts onto hard drives the world over on March 17th. EA and Visceral have had a blowout of sorts on the Hardline site, revealing all the maps and all the modes we can expect to shoot&nbsp;each other in upon release. Let's have a little look at them, shall we?</p><p>Hardline's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/features/modes" target="_blank">modes</a> don't contain too many surprises, comprising Battlefield favourites Conquest and Team Deathmatch, along with the cash-hungry Blood Money mode,&nbsp;the Payday-ish Heist, and the exciting-sounding Hotwire mode. (Exciting-sound because it's basically&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardlines-hotwire-mode-is-like-need-for-speed-with-rocket-launchers/" target="_blank">Need for Speed with rocket launchers</a>.)</p><p>But wait: there's more.&nbsp;Rescue&nbsp;is "a cop-centric mode that lets you step into the boots of a SWAT operative tasked with saving innocent lives from the hands of criminals.&nbsp;Lead your team carefully into dangerous environments and get the hostages back to safety. Be careful though, because there are no second chances in this mode". Crosshair, meanwhile, is the criminal flipside of the above, putting you in the shoes of a bunch of wrong'uns trying to murder&nbsp;a witness before he can testify against them. EA/Visceral describe the previous as the game's two 'competitive' modes, but it's not clear what that means in this context. Surely all these modes are competitive?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7ViWeFhJRE26.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WYdeOgoiN8-w.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dust Bowl"></p><p>Those&nbsp;<a href="http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/features/maps" target="_blank">maps</a>&nbsp;are a little more self-explanatory, comprising a&nbsp;bank premises, city streets, a&nbsp;Breaking Bad-style desert town (seriously, it's a dead ringer), a&nbsp;palatial mansion, swampland and a couple of drug dens. Basically: all the places cops and robbers tend to hang out. There are no libraries, is what I'm saying.</p><p>Hardline is heading back into beta&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-going-back-into-beta-soon/" target="_blank">soon</a>, ahead of its release in mid-March.</p> Retaking Questshttp://www.pcgamer.com/retaking-quests/It takes more than a word to make us stop thinking of something as crapwork.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 09:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/retaking-quests/Critical Paths <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U1o-q2KKShyu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9S-GXcjznG54.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NONE WILL STOP ME GETTING YOUR ORANGE JUUUUUUUUUUUUICE!" class=""> <figcaption>NONE WILL STOP ME GETTING YOUR ORANGE JUUUUUUUUUUUUICE!</figcaption></figure><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">CRITICAL PATHS</h5><p>Every week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.richardcobbett.com">Richard Cobbett</a> writes about the wonderful world of story and writing in games.</p></div><p>Adventurers, I have a quest for you. I want you to save the honour of the word 'quest'. It currently lies, bound and gagged, in the middle of a tower made of meaningless crapwork. Help me return it to its days of glory, when a quest was something to aspire to, to put fire in the blood, and not merely some designer trying to artificially slap some drama onto their busywork. Never again should we sit idly by as trumpets blare and fireworks explode in the sky to hail us as the champions who dared to pick up five apples and give them to some lazy git standing just a mild jog away in exchange for a few measly drops of XP.</p><p>A quest should mean something. It's a word steeped in epic stories and tales of gold and glory. It is a word that brings to mind dragons and princesses in towers, of ancient treasure and threats of potentially world-destructive power. In recent years though, especially with the rise of casual games and mobiles, it's been watered down so much as to be meaningless. Game characters don't go shopping, they go on a quest to the marketplace. Building a small hut is hardly a quest, yet quite often simply picking up the wood is treated as if you were King Arthur himself, sipping Soda-Stream from the Holy Grail. I'm not calling it out as a particularly bad offender you understand, but at one point in Final Fantasy XIV, you get a fireworks display and proud musical sting... for getting someone orange juice. Fie on that, I say! <em>Enough!</em></p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RDs9AHI5R_yk.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JdB6HLhbi3rV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NO! Sorry, Blizzard, but rules are rules! I'll expect a hotfix immediately." class=""><figcaption>NO! Sorry, Blizzard, but rules are rules! I'll expect a hotfix immediately.</figcaption></figure><p>Honestly, this is symptomatic of a larger problem, that many games - some of them not even from Ubisoft - currently feel compelled to fill worlds with endless meaningless crapwork to pad out the running time and fully mock the idea of actually doing anything interesting in locations like realistic open-world cities. But that's another rant. For the moment, I'd be okay if we could just sort out the taxonomy issue here, and for that I have a few suggestions. The first I think is the fairest, and simplest. Since the word 'Quest' is primarily misused due to having simply become the Accepted Word To Use, we need to agree on&nbsp;a suitable alternative that is closer to the actual truth.</p><p>I would like to propose <strong>"Shit To Do"</strong>. If everyone accepts this, and I see no reason why they would not immediately, Shit To Do will proudly&nbsp;sit&nbsp;next to the Quest Log of every game character from now on, and filter objectives accordingly. It will work something like this. Find The Lost Sword of the Hundredfold Emperor. That is a quest. Find a small child's doll? Shit To Do. At any point in the game you can simply glance at it and think to yourself "Well, I have nothing else to do with the precious gift that is my short&nbsp;existence, so sure, why not?", or alternatively, focus on the business at hand.</p><p>It's such a simple tweak, but one I think would be to all our benefits. It means that valuable questing time isn't wasted, yet there is still scope to do random acts of kindness for those in need. I mean,&nbsp;I'm not knocking the potential importance of&nbsp;Shit To Do, especially to the people requesting a hero's assistance. There is no shame in Doing much Shit to, say, raise money for the actual Quest, or to boost your presence in a town, or for the benefits that go with it. A blacksmith's Shit To Do for instance could be the first stage in persuading them to forge you a mighty blade that will come in very helpful on your actual Quest. Conversely, it might turn out later on that what initially seemed like a mighty Quest was actually, in the great sweep of things, merely Shit To Do. In moving one from the other, you can see your evolution as a hero, and how yesterday's great challenge was merely a prelude to your true adventures. A bit like how in something like World of Warcraft, you fight evil world-conquering sorcerers at Level 10.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5DHKD0t5Tyqv.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Z0b3uAT5tQ_B.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Citizens! Adventurers are here! Form an orderly line with your Shit To Do!" class=""><figcaption>Citizens! Adventurers are here! Form an orderly line with your Shit To Do!</figcaption></figure><p>The nice thing about Shit To Do is that it's so flexible. It covers everything from a humble collection quest to errands. Heck, in most cases 'Quest' is but a wrapper around many of these smaller tasks. What matters is the overall sweep of it; how important it truly is. To help with this, I've assembled this quick table to help you, and the developers I am almost positive are even now implementing this change.</p><table><tbody><tr><td><strong>QUEST</strong></td><td><strong>SHIT TO DO</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Save the kingdom</td><td>Save a kitten</td></tr><tr><td>Collect three&nbsp;pieces of a magic sword</td><td>Collect ten&nbsp;bear asses</td></tr><tr><td>Go to Hell</td><td>Go to Hull</td></tr><tr><td>Beat up a necromancer</td><td>Beat up some rats</td></tr><tr><td>Anything involving a Dragon</td><td>Anything involving Kim Kardashian</td></tr></tbody></table><p>I like to think that this will be the starting point for a new set of ground&nbsp;rules that will be as codified into gaming culture as the ability to do a double-jump in the air and that the correct number of lives is three. Over time, we can tighten it up. Anything for instance that you can accomplish with a single tap on an iPad screen will be automatically disqualified. Heroes with more than, say, three quests at a time will be shunned for not taking any of them seriously enough, given the stakes that by this point will be established. To compensate, developers will of course initially just fill the Shit To Do list like normal, only to look at it, murmur "Wow, that's a lot of shit..." and then slowly start to wonder if maybe more time should be spent on filling up&nbsp;that whole "Quest" side of the journal screen. It'll mean a few NPCs go without their orange juice, sure,&nbsp;but that's a sacrifice I'm willing for them to make. Let the lazy buggers get it themselves.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k_NeMAtwQHaI.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9eRwsGvCYODD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Okay, sometimes the line between 'Quest' and 'Shit To Do' WILL still get blurred..." class=""> <figcaption>Okay, sometimes the line between 'Quest' and 'Shit To Do' WILL still get blurred...</figcaption></figure><p>The big picture though is much simpler. When everything is falsely&nbsp;treated as special, nothing is. Completing a Quest shouldn't simply be important to the world, it should feel important, not just another line of a shopping list crossed off along with 'bought milk' and 'built storehouse'. A little like Achievements, there's no point if something hasn't been Achieved. What's meant to make you feel good about that accomplishment just renders it utterly hollow. Under this system, there could still be recognition of Shit successfully Done, it'd just be a more restrained one. A polite round of applause and a voice saying "Goodness me, well done," perhaps. Save the fireworks for when there's something to hail and celebrate, and everyone will inevitably enjoy them far more.</p><p>To be reasonable, I'm giving the industry three months to action this change and bring their games into line with the new order. If not, I will immediately set out on a noble quest to&nbsp;strike them down with flame and fire. Unless of course, some random&nbsp;Shit To Do gets in the way. It has an annoying tendency to do that,&nbsp;after all.</p> Mouse-Box is a concept PC in the palm of your hand, literallyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mouse-box-is-a-concept-pc-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-literally/This is a very small PC.Sat, 24 Jan 2015 02:09:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mouse-box-is-a-concept-pc-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-literally/gaming miceHardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VR_g2sBjT8-n.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1EgatWO7Am3f.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MouseBox"></p><p>Thanks to new processors getting smaller and smaller, we've seen plenty of palm-sized computers. Well, a new computer concept has taken that idea to the extreme.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://mouse-box.com/">Mouse-Box</a> is a concept for a quad-core 1.4GHz PC packed into a mouse. It has two USB 3.0 ports, Micro HDMI, Wifi, and 128GB of storage. Naturally, all the standard things a mouse would have&mdash;motion sensor, buttons, etc&mdash;are packed in there too.</p><p>It's quite a feat, though the Mouse-Box is still just a concept. Still though, it's an interesting idea to think about the things we'll be packing PCs into in the coming months and years.</p><p><a href="http://gizmodo.com/this-concept-mouse-has-a-whole-computer-inside-it-1680886768"><em>Thanks, Gizmodo</em></a><em><br></em></p> Three card game alternatives to Hearthstonehttp://www.pcgamer.com/three-card-game-alternatives-to-hearthstone/We talk a lot about Hearthstone, but here are a fewother CCGs worth trying.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:40:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/three-card-game-alternatives-to-hearthstone/Card GameHearthstoneScrollsSolForgeStrategy <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n98doK1_Tm-o.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PhQpl1SB9Eiw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Caller Wallpaper W Logo scrolls"></p><p> The observant Murloc botherers among you will already know that we’ve got a lot of love for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a> and the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cultural-phenomenon-2014-hearthstone/">effect it’s had</a>. But not everyone’s convinced that it’s the digital CCG for them. Hearthstone still gets criticized for lacking the depth of Magic: The Gathering, for relying on RNG effects, and for the grind of ranked ladder play. When we run our weekly article about the game, someone in the comments invariably suggests we take a look at something else. Well, here we go.</p><p> I've taken&nbsp;a look at some of Hearthstone's key competitors. They may not have the production value of a Blizzard game, but each one provides something different in terms of style and systems which may pique your interest in a way that Hearthstone doesn’t. And, if nothing else, there’s no danger of encountering a Knife Juggler in any of them. “Put this apple on your&hellip;” NO BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7wegWDPdRP29.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ze6B64pnyp2v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Scrolls" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h1>Scrolls</h1><p> Scrolls is the second full release from Minecraft-makers Mojang. First announced at the start of 2011, it spent a year in closed testing, then another in open beta, before finally&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/scrolls-review/">launching publicly last December</a>. Apart from the regular versus mode, the results of that protracted development cycle include daily challenge scenarios against the AI, ranked play, and an Arena-style drafting mode called Judgement.</p><h3>How’s it different?</h3><p> Scrolls shakes up the standard CCG format by adding that classic strategy game staple: a hex board. When you play a creature card, you choose a spot on your side of the board for it to appear, forcing you to think not just about what creatures you put in your deck, but also how you’ll position them when they hit the battlefield. There are a few other digital card games that focus on careful positioning, but none quite so heavily as Scrolls. It almost feels like a board game, but the card collecting and deck building aspects keep it within the CCG realm.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Deck building</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fwlt6gVGRpC6.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/elHN-JMXNmYk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Scrolls deckbuilding" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> <p> <em>Click the arrows in the top-right corner to enlarge.</em> </p> </div><p> Instead of a life total, you and your opponent both have five idols, one at the end of each row. Destroy three of your opponent’s idols and you win, so trying to capitalize on exposed idols while blocking off your own is key. Each creature attacks after a certain number of turns, striking whatever is directly in front of it. You can’t do anything on your opponent’s turn, but the attack timers on creatures give you long enough to set up your defenses to disrupt their next move.</p><p> Scrolls is lovely to look at. There are a suite of different battlefields to play on, and each playstyle has creatures and card art that suit them. You can purchase different looking characters and idols with in-game or real money to add a more custom personality to your fights. It would be nearly impossible to reach the level of detail and ease of use that Hearthstone’s interface has, but there's a lot more going on in&nbsp;Scrolls.</p><p> Another significant difference is the way Scrolls handles mana. Each turn, you’re allowed to sacrifice a card to either draw two new cards, or gain a permanent increase to a specific kind of mana. Your mana regenerates at the beginning of each turn, but it doesn’t automatically scale up as it does in Hearthstone. This can force you into some unpleasant discards, but it also frees up your deck building options. For those familiar with Magic: The Gathering, you don’t need to fill your deck with mana cards that could possibly become dead draws. For those familiar with Hearthstone, you don’t need to worry about putting card draw into your deck as much.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wa9LcIqdSk6x.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/heGIYFyI86m7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Scrolls card"></p><h3>Why should I play it?</h3><p> Scrolls is a great choice if you are looking for a CCG that has a bit more depth without a lot more complexity. While there aren’t nearly as many unique or surprising card mechanics as found in Hearthstone, the hex board adds an extra layer of thinking to each turn. Additionally, collecting cards feels much less exhausting, with gold for packs coming quickly and the option to buy different specific cards each day.</p><p> Scrolls has a free trial, which can be upgraded to the full version for $5 on its <a href="https://scrolls.com/">official site</a>.</p><h2><br><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iyWGIE9WTISN.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7Skk8dDKYwbp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hex "></p></h2><h1>Hex</h1><p>Hex is a free-to-play CCG currently in open beta that tries harder than any other digital card game I’ve played to emulate the business model used by physical card games. You begin by choosing a race and class, which affects the cards and abilities you start with, and has further implications in the campaign mode, which is yet to be implemented. At present the play options are a standard versus mode and a built-in tournament format</p><h3>How’s it different?</h3><p>As far as I can tell, Hex really wants to be Magic: The Gathering, because it plays almost identically. This means it uses 60-card decks, enables you to play cards on your opponent’s turn, its creatures go back to full health at the end of combat, and a lot of other stuff that will feel unfamiliar for&nbsp;Hearthstone players. Combat is one of the biggest points of difference, as you don’t get to choose what your creatures attack. You declare which of your creatures are attacking and your opponent decides which of their creatures will block, or if they’ll just allow the damage through. This means turns take much longer as every time your opponent does something, you get the option to respond.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">deck building</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GkQbGVcuT0ms.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9s7_soSpB3AJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hex Deck Building" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><em>Click the arrows in the top-right corner to enlarge.</em></p></div><p>However, Hex isn’t simply digital Magic&mdash;which of course already exists, but not in a state that makes it&nbsp;worth mentioning here. In contrast, Hex makes a virtue of the fact that it’s a whole new game designed from the ground up for computer screens rather than tabletops. It introduces a number of complex cards that wouldn’t be realistic in a paper-based CCG&mdash;socketed cards that you can customize with different abilities, for example&mdash;as well as character powers that function similarly to Hearthstone’s hero powers. It’s an interesting mix of the two games and will definitely please people who think Hearthstone dumbed the formula down too much.</p><p>Even with everything that’s going on, Hex has made the battle screen easy to understand. Unique symbols represent each phase of a turn and an icon on the left tells you who currently has priority to make decisions. It can get a little bit confusing when there are a lot of cards on the board, but considering how much is happening at those times it could be a lot worse. The card art has a great style, but the lack of any substantial battle animations makes combat feel flat, especially compared to Hearthstone’s satisfying crunch followed by the roar of the crowd on hard hits.</p><p>Probably the most divisive change is how you grow your card collection in Hex. After a few tutorial missions you’re left with some gold and a single booster pack. From there you only have two ways to get new cards: purchase booster packs with real money or bid for specific cards in the auction house with gold. This is no different than how any real world card game works, with the auction house being Hex’s version of a card shop or trading with your friends. If you aren’t planning on spending money on Hex, creating a workable collection will be incredibly slow going.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1h7ucVX6SMSo.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3VPeh0OoswZw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hex card"></p><h3>Why should I play it?</h3><p>Hex is much more similar to playing a paper card game, meaning it will appeal to the same people who don’t mind buying card packs with actual money in real life. The ability to play cards on your opponent’s turn gives Hex a lot of the extra strategy that people complain is missing from Hearthstone, but the game moves much more&nbsp;slowly as a result. There’s a huge amount of depth to discover here, but the process of collecting enough cards and learning the systems might be too exhausting for those looking to just relax.</p><p>Hex is free-to-play and can be downloaded from its <a href="https://hextcg.com/">official site</a>.</p><h2><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qxWGxcm3S3qb.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PxpuxSIrBWZp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solforge"></p></h2><h1>SolForge</h1><p>SolForge is a free-to-play CCG currently on Steam Early Access, but has already gathered a small competitive following. This isn’t surprising, as it features multiple tournament modes built-in to accompany the standard versus mode. SolForge has been developed by the designers of Ascension and Magic: The Gathering, including the father of CCGs himself, Richard Garfield. It will eventually also feature a campaign mode. </p><h3>How’s it different?</h3><p>This is another card game that plays with the idea of positioning. SolForge breaks away from a lot of the tropes that Magic popularized. You each have five slots for creatures, most of which can’t move once they’ve been played. Each turn, every creature that can attack does so, trading damage with the creature directly opposite it. If there isn’t a creature to take the hit, they deal damage to the opponent’s health, which starts at 100. There are many creatures and cards that take advantage of being adjacent to other creatures or in a specific spot on the playing field.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">deck building</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A69c1b1FSASu.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xqe4p_uDo6p-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solforge deck building"></p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">Click the arrows in the top-right corner to enlarge.</em></p></div><p>The positioning is an interesting change, but damage is still dealt similarly to Hearthstone. The biggest change by far is how you draw and play cards in SolForge. Each turn, you draw five cards from your deck and have the option to play two of them, with no mana costs or restrictions, while the rest are discarded. As in scrolls, this makes mana and draw mechanics a non-issue when you are building decks, and instead forces you into making trade-offs. If you draw three cards you want to play, you need to decide which is the least valuable in your current situation and which might be more valuable to you later.</p><p>A card’s long-term value matters even more because of SolForge’s last major change. Every card in your deck has three levels of strength and all start at level one. When you choose to play a card, a leveled up version of it is put back into your deck for you to draw later. Because there’s no mana, your late-game cards are simply leveled up versions of the cards you’ve already played. There will never be a situation in SolForge when you draw all of your eight mana cards by turn three and can’t play anything&mdash;the game is designed to always scale into the late-game. </p><p>Being in Early Access still, SolForge’s graphics leave a lot to be desired. The card art itself is fantastic&mdash;each card changes as it levels up and it feels great to see your creatures look stronger as they gain power&mdash;but battle animations are a simple nudge forward into the opposing creature. Additionally, the UI needs a lot of work, as SolForge doesn’t quite have a clear visual language yet. If your opponent takes their turn quickly, it can be very easy for new players to miss what happened, and the game log is hidden in a menu. SolForge becomes easier to understand visually the more you play, but the UI and deckbuilding screens will be a bit frustrating until the game is finished.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RzEe00fERTKE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NAoyw-EYQjJg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Solforge 2015-01-23 11-55-36-40"></p><h3>Why should I play it?</h3><p>SolForge is for people who are bored with what they know. It disrupts the&nbsp;CCG formula, and is being developed by the people who invented and refined that formula. Fair warning, though:&nbsp;it's&nbsp;definitely still in Early Access. The UI is unintuitive and the tutorial does a good job at teaching you the basics, but not much in the way of helping you understand why particular moves make sense. There is a complex CCG at SolForge’s core, but you might have to work a bit to get to grips with it. </p><p>SolForge is free-to-play and can be downloaded on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/232450/">Steam</a> or its <a href="http://solforgegame.com/">official site</a>.</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Jan23/Each week PC Gamer’s writers pan for nuggets of shiny opinion in the timestream of the past seven days. Ooh, a golden rant!Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:03:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Jan23/highs and lows <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1PsbTs9GSe2a.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mz0E3WlNkOqR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="H1Z1 highs and lows"></p><p><strong>THE&nbsp;HIGHS</strong></p><p><strong>Chris L. H1Z-Fun?<br></strong>H1Z1's alpha launch, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/h1z1-launch-impressions-battling-zombies-players-and-server-issues/">marked by long server outages and other issues</a>, was my low last week. While the game still has a long, long way to go, I did have a fun session recently, and realized something important: the game is so new it's not full of horrible terrible evil murderous people yet.</p><p>Example: I ran into a fresh-spawn being chased by two wolves, and I beat the animals to death with a stick while he stood out of reach on some haybales. He thanked me, told me he had a friend in the next town he was trying to link up with, and invited me to come along. This set off my internal alarm: in DayZ, anyone inviting you to come with him to meet a friend in the next town is luring you into a trap involving murder, robbery, or general humiliation.</p><p>This was legit, though. We found his friend, who was just as pleasant, and the three of us ran to a police station, at which point I left them. A little later, I ran into a third guy who, as it happens, was trying to find the first two guys I had met. I led him back to the police station for a reunion, and we all traded food and medical supplies after killing a bunch of zombies together. At no point did any of them shoot me in the face or hold me up or strip me to my underwear or beat me to death.</p><p>Granted, the tension-filled player encounters of DayZ, horrifying as they can be, are part of what makes DayZ so compelling. (I used to<a href="http://heyareyoucool.tumblr.com/"> run a tumblr about my experiences</a>.) But for now, I'm happy to have run into some nice, friendly folks. Later, four other players repeatedly tried to run me over with the police car they were driving. Then I was killed by a bear.</p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Storefront<br></strong>I think we’ve all taken swipes at Origin&mdash;it’s definitely still a service that’s finding its legs beyond being a launcher for Battlefield, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age&mdash;but its mere existence is something we continue to benefit from as PC gamers. Folks that play on other platforms essentially have one choice of store&mdash;Microsoft’s, Nintendo’s, or Sony’s&mdash;and retail options will continue to narrow as digital distribution becomes as ubiquitous on consoles as it has been on PC for years. Steam is certainly the giant, but its competition continues to throw incentives at us, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/theme-hospital-is-origins-latest-on-the-house-freebie/">as Origin did this week</a>, to give people a reason to consider them. Part of me hopes that we’ll see Steam’s dominance of the market degrade further, because it’s ultimately in our interest.<strong><br></strong></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YfIc3W7-TGC9.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OXFAPSvWdt4l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Wars slide"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Star Wars!<br></strong>I have to hand it to GOG and Disney&mdash;Lucasarts was, frankly, useless at getting its back catalogue on Steam following the first drop of titles in 2009, and serious money was being left on the table by not getting the likes of X-Wing Alliance, Rogue Squadron et al on a digital distribution platform. This week, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rogue-squadron-3d-and-rebellion-added-to-gogs-star-wars-catalogue/">GOG re-released</a> some of the best Star Wars games ever, running smoothly on Windows 7 and 8, and is quickly approaching a full collection of the greatest ones Lucasarts made in their time. It makes me think Disney might end up being better custodians of the Star Wars games than Lucasarts were.<strong><br></strong></p><p>Do all these games hold up? Well, I haven’t had the chance to sample X-Wing Alliance again yet&mdash;that’s this weekend’s plan&mdash;but Rogue Squadron is okay as an arcade-style shooter, even though it doesn’t seem to play nice with any of my USB devices on laptop (I’m not the only one, judging by <a href="http://www.gog.com/forum/star_wars_rogue_squadron_3d#1422009336">the forum</a>, but I will keep trying) and it’s hand-breakingly hard to play on just a keyboard. There are certain things about that game that made sense to me as a kid that no longer add up for me as an adult. Mostly nerdy things. In the first chapter set on Tatooine, why is the Empire bombing Mos Eisley? Why is every landspeeder exactly the same as Luke Skywalker’s, and why did they send imperial probe droids to blow up moisture farms instead of little stormtrooper guys? Aren’t they meant for reconnaissance? Is Jabba’s Palace really a 5-minute drive (or 20-minute walk) from Mos Eisley? The answer to all of these questions, of course, is who gives a crap. Star Wars!</p><p><strong>Wes Fenlon:&nbsp;</strong><strong>Smitten with my favorite PC Gamer show<br></strong>Okay, so the Smite World Championship actually happened a couple weeks ago&mdash;but <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-smite-world-championship-behind-the-scenes/">our episode of the PC Gamer Show going behind the scenes of the event</a> just went up, and it's definitely the highlight of my week. With this video, we had a chance to do more than cover the basics of who won and lost the tournament. We got to go backstage and see the command center for the event, with more than a dozen Hi-Rez staffers (most of them in their early 20s) running cameras and sound and a live Twitch broadcast. It was their first tournament of this scale, but they knocked it out of the park. I talked to Hi-Rez's bosses about how they put the whole thing together, which is part of the show. Even if you're not a Smite player, if you like MOBAs or other e-sports, I think you'll dig it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eIDB_wyASR2M.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3b3XrYEZUBOz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Galactic Civ 3 Slide"></p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Spaceblam!<br></strong>This week I got quite excited about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-galactic-civilizations-3-beta-introduces-the-battle-viewer/">Galactic CIvilizations 3’s “battle viewer”</a> mode that lets you watch your custom spaceships massacre the enemy with lasers you’ve bought and installed. That probably means I should think about getting in on the Early Access build, but if I’m going to invest 70 hours in a dense strategy game, I’d rather it was finished, tested and balanced first. I might scratch my urge to do space war this weekend by returning to one of the space-laseriest games of them all: <a href="http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/">Gratuitous Space Battles</a>.<strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Phil Savage: A smattering of games<br></strong>Received wisdom tells us that January is a slow month for games, and yet, this week, my inbox has been full of people telling me to check out cool things. Whatever the AAA industry may or may not be up to, someone somewhere is definitely making a game.</p><p>Here's a sample of what came my way. On Kickstarter, the charming <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/children-of-morta-brings-family-drama-and-dungeon-crawling-to-kickstarter/">Children of Morta</a>, the genre-bending <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/starr-mazer-is-part-shmup-part-point-n-click-adventure/">Starr Mazer</a> and the '90s aping <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/strafe-sidles-onto-kickstarter-has-interesting-trailer/">Strafe</a>. On Early Access, the fiendish <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/spacechem-developers-infinifactory-arrives-on-early-access/">Infinifactory</a> and the perplexing <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soul-axiom-trailer-shows-sci-fi-adventure-spatial-puzzling/">Soul Axiom</a>. And on Greenlight, the ontological <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pneuma-breath-of-life-brings-its-philosphical-puzzling-to-greenlight/">Pneuma</a> and the experimental <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/her-story-is-an-live-action-crime-story-now-on-greenlight/">Her Story</a>. Each unique in its own way, and it’s hopefully a sign that 2015 will packed with diverse new experiences. And hey, if absolutely none of that appeals, you can always pretend to be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-trailer-shows-exo-zombies-footage/">John Malkovich</a>. Top work, video games!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u7qTCYA3T627.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gyZdV-suwSFd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CS:GO highs and lows"></p><p><strong>THE&nbsp;LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Hacking away<br></strong>High-level hacking continues to eat away at CS:GO’s integrity as an e-sport. After two teams were <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-scene-embroiled-in-hacking-scandal-as-three-players-are-banned/">prohibited from competing</a> at DreamHack Winter 2014, another (albeit much smaller) scandal has emerged with similarly poor timing. Just as the first big tournament of the year, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-e-sports-2015-preview/">MLG Aspen</a>, is beginning today, a video of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-player-flex-banned-during-esea-league-livestream/">an ESEA league player being banned mid-match</a> is making the rounds. The banned player, Flex, isn’t a pro-level competitor like those playing at MLG this weekend, but his behavior and <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2tdahc/flex_of_team_esp_eseamain_gets_banned_mid_match/cny3iv5">awful, immature response</a> reinforce the unsettling idea that competitive CS:GO is still lawless territory. Valve needs to take more ownership and responsibility for policing CS:GO as an e-sport and beyond. The competitive scene and Valve are quite disconnected from one another, as evidenced by the criticism that Virtus.Pro’s Pasha levied at Valve <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYYYabfyfOU&amp;feature=share">in a livestream</a> recently.<strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Chris L.: Phish Phail<br></strong>1,800 Minecraft usernames and passwords <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mojang-says-it-has-not-been-hacked/">were leaked this week</a>, though Mojang was quick to reset the passwords for those accounts and reassured everyone they hadn't been hacked. The account information was apparently stolen via phishing scams.<strong><br></strong></p><p>This is a double-low, really, because stealing passwords to a video game is lame, and because frankly... 1,800 passwords? Are we supposed to be impressed?</p><p>There's a hundred million registered Minecraft users, and you come away with account info from a paltry 1,800 of them? And then you leak them online like it's some sort of ripping accomplishment? With a userbase that massive I could probably sit here and correctly guess that many passwords. It's the equivalent of the Ocean's 11 gang assembling in Vegas, planning for weeks, and walking out triumphantly with a couple of stale Slim Jims stuffed down their pants stolen from a corner mart. You stink, phishers, both for stealing and for doing such a pisspoor job of it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6hsN2SMiS-GQ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dAilTr1NtSAX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fable Legends Slide"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Xbox One games on PC<br></strong>I was slightly encouraged rather than blown away by Microsoft’s discussions about PC gaming this week. I think <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-coming-to-pc/">Fable Legends coming to PC</a> can only be a good thing&mdash;it’s an extra game that was previously a console exclusive, and that’s very cool&mdash;but I was left a bit confused by the overall strategy, which seemed to contradict itself a bit. On the one hand, you’ll be able to stream Xbox One games through a PC, the appeal of which we’ll hopefully be able to judge in the near future. But then Fable Legends coming to PC sort of makes me wonder if I should just hold on for more ports, rather than getting an Xbox One alongside my current setup.</p><p>It’s nice to see Microsoft experimenting with PC gaming in a way that doesn’t threaten a whole service that’ll eventually end up sunk on the ocean floor, while major publishers gradually salvage their games from it over many years, but there’s a lot to clarify about where their focus is going to be with Windows 10. More Xbox One-exclusive games on PC? Fantastic. I am completely on-board with that.</p><p><strong>Wes Fenlon:&nbsp;</strong><strong>HoloLens has potential, but let's not get carried away</strong><br>Unlike Sam, I'm excited about the prospect of streaming Xbox One games to a PC, because there's a decent chance Microsoft will also add streaming going the other way: PC to Xbox One. Phil Spencer said it's something they're looking at. If that works out, it could solve the "living room PC" problem for a lot of multiplatform gamers. Since this is my low of the week, though, I have to be a bit of a downer and mention HoloLens.</p><p>HoloLens is actually pretty cool, and I'm really excited about the prospect of augmented reality combining the real world with virtual projections. But I'm also aware that it's hugely challenging, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-hololens-hands-on-the-promise-and-disappointment-of-ar/">HoloLens didn't convince me that Microsoft will be able to nail it with this hardware</a>. The demos I tried showcased a bit of that interaction, but suffered from a fairly limited field of view. And they also didn't show what the process of scanning your environment will be like for the HoloLens. It left me with a lot of doubts and questions, and I think Microsoft will have answers for them as the tech gets closer to final hardware. Again, HoloLens is cool. I just saw a lot of "blown away" and "magical" headlines floating around this week, and that's not what I got from the experience at all. Keep your expectations for HoloLens reasonable, and it may eventually surprise and delight you when it arrives.</p><p><strong></strong></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6A46EnBYRsuS.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UN_7AOHNKSxK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gat out of hell slide"></p><p><strong>Phil Savage: Damned shame<br></strong>Everyone has their own opinion about what a Saints Row game should be. There are, however, hard, immutable rules for what a Saints Row game shouldn't be. Rule #1: a Saints Row game should never be apologetic.<strong><br></strong></p><p>There's a mission in Saints Row: The Third that summarises everything the series would come to be. It's as you parachute into what is about to become the Saints' new Steelport HQ, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxDZv_1NcMs">the soundtrack kicks in</a> with Kanye West's Power because of course it does. I don't think any other series could get away with that; not even GTA. It just doesn't have the same fuck-it-all swagger.</p><p>Saints Row IV was that moment but more so. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-review/">Gat Out of Hell</a>? Not so much. It tries, and it does some amazing things, but there's an uncertainty to the game that undermines the entire thing. It chips away at its most confident moments with fourth-wall breaking half-jokes about the constraints of its development. It tries to own it, but instead comes across as being insecure.</p><p>I don't have a big wishlist of things I want Saints Row 5 to be. Whatever form it takes, though, it's vital the series re-finds its Power.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Steamleft<br></strong>This week we found a tool that lets you calculate <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heres-how-long-it-will-take-to-play-through-your-steam-backlog/">how much time it’ll take</a> to play through your entire Steam catalogue. Which makes my low of the week a simple one</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eJIjTd2xTeG0.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UMkJps4EGtNJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steamleft"></p><p>No. No. No. No.</p> Play The Sims 4 free for 48 hours with Origin Game Timehttp://www.pcgamer.com/play-the-sims-4-free-for-48-hours-with-origin-game-time/Game Time enables time-limited "demo" periods of some of EA's most popular games.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:41:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/play-the-sims-4-free-for-48-hours-with-origin-game-time/Electronic Artsgame timeNewsOriginsimThe Sims 4 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p8vtdx-LRvaI.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EBsN8TrqpqiS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Sims 4 pools"></p><p>Electronic Arts has added <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-review/">The Sims 4</a> to its Game Time lineup on Origin, meaning that you can download and play the game as much as you want for 48 hours before deciding whether or not you want to drop any actual&nbsp;money it. </p><p>Game Time is kind of like <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/theme-hospital-is-origins-latest-on-the-house-freebie/">On the House</a>, but less permanent: Instead of keeping the game forever and ever, you get what is essentially a time-limited demo. The clock won't start ticking until you run the game for the first time, but once it begins it ticks away&nbsp;in real-time, so you'll probably want to leave it until you can get some solid sessions in. Any progress you make during your free time will be saved, so if you like what you see and decide to spring for it, you'll be able to pick up where you left off when the timer hits zero.</p><p>To get your Sims 4 freebie, point your browser at Origin's <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-ca/store/free-games/game-time">Game Time page</a> and click&mdash;you guessed it&mdash;the "Get It Now" button. You'll also notice while you're there that you can do the same with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-4-pc-review/">Battlefield 4</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/titanfall-review-in-progress/">Titanfall</a>, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kingdoms-of-amalur-the-reckoning-review/">Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning</a>.</p> PC Gamer Show: Smite World Championship behind the sceneshttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-smite-world-championship-behind-the-scenes/We go behind the scenes of Smite's $2.3 million dollar MOBA tournament.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:43:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-smite-world-championship-behind-the-scenes/MOBAPC Gamer ShowSMITE <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_PJK85tQdUo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's the PC Gamer Show! For this episode, Chris Thursten and Wes Fenlon&nbsp;traveled to the Smite World Championship in Atlanta, Georgia, an e-sports tournament with $2.3 million on the line. But we didn't just sit in the crowd&mdash;we went behind the scenes to see how Hi-Rez Studios puts on a gigantic tournament.</p><p>Join us for a look at how an e-sports tournament is put together, from full-body cosplay painting to A/V production to livecasting. We also talk to Hi-Rez Studios about how they prepared for the event and how Smite has grown over the past year.</p><p>Special guest star&nbsp;Brazilian Spiderman makes his PC Gamer Show debut in this episode.</p> Grey Goo reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/grey-goo-review/Grey Goo is a worthy throwback to the RTS golden age.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:23:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/grey-goo-review/Grey GooReviewsRTSStrategy <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> Sci-fi RTS featuring three asymmetrical factions <br> <strong>Influenced by:</strong> Command &amp; Conquer, StarCraft 2 <br> <strong>Price:</strong> $50 / £30 <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Grey Box <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Petroglyph <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> Up to 4 players <br> <strong>Copy protection:</strong> Steam <br> <strong>Link:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.greybox.com/greygoo/en/" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> Hiding behind crumbling walls, my men are dying. Like the coward I am, I’m holed up in my base building myself a superweapon. Construction bots are crawling over my doomsday tank, the Hand of Ruk, welding this and inspecting that. The handful of soldiers I can afford to train buy me time with their lives.</p><p> Just as a huge force shows up to end me, the Hand of Ruk groans and lifts off into a steady hover. Like a tranquilized bear it waddles in a circle, swivels its massive cannon toward the enemy, and fires. It evaporates two dozen enemies in one shot. It wipes out some friendlies in the blast radius, too, but I don’t have time to worry about that now. I’ve got a hovering death tank, and I’m going to blow up the whole goddamn world with this thing.</p><p> Grey Goo understands why old-school RTS games&nbsp;were so much fun, and it’s a great expression of that classic design. Instead of demanding your attention in squad-by-squad fights, Grey Goo is won or lost at the strategic level&mdash;the victor isn’t the player who can command individual squads the best, but the player with the best supply chains and manufacturing pipelines.</p><h2>Macromanagement</h2><p>Grey Goo is at its heart an reinvention of the twitchy, high clicks-per-minute RTS that made the original StarCraft an e-sport. From the moment the fog of war clears I’m ordering units, calling in construction bots from orbit, and sending skirmish parties out to capture new resource nodes. Single-player missions are one-on-one scenarios and multiplayer skirmishes can accommodate teams or free-for-all modes for up to four players. In both modes, most games lasted between 20 and 30 minutes&mdash;though I did have one exhausting slugfest drag on for an hour. Campaign missions vary from basic battles to timed wave-defense modes, and I found them all well voice-acted and different enough to be interesting.</p><p>The battles run on logistics. The strongest expression of this idea is a bold choice by developer Petroglyph: there’s only one resource, making Grey Goo an anomaly in the RTS genre. This energy source, Catalyst, is the basis for every purchase in the game, from building a new headquarters to upgrading a commando’s reload speed. By denying the enemy access to Catalyst, I deny them everything.</p><p> Managing this resource is as simple as balancing a checkbook. A running ticker tracks my income and expenses in one number: positive means I’m mining more than I’m using, negative means I’m spending more than I’m bringing in.</p><p> Unit production is similarly hands-off, with an option to auto-build any unit or series of units. A prudent commander will fine-tune production lines so that new units are constantly being built under budget, the Command &amp; Conquer version of living within your means. My army grows along with my war chest, and I place new factories with my surplus. &nbsp;</p><h2>Factional</h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">performance and settings</h5> <p> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;Core i5, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 570 <br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> Core i5, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 570/AMD Radeon HD 7870 <br> <strong>Variable framerate:</strong> Yes <br> <strong>Remappable controls: </strong>Yes <br><br> Grey Goo includes basic graphics sliders and toggles (detail level, vsync, bloom, depth of field, etc.) and a maximized borderless window option. It ran smoothly on my rig at 1080p on the highest graphics settings. I got a solid 50 fps during heavy battles, even with epic units and the particle effects cranked way up. If your PC isn’t quite up to spec you can still enjoy it by lowering the settings to the minimum, but be warned: the tiny individual units really lose definition at lower settings. </p> </div><p> The central conflict of Gray Goo is between the Beta, a humanoid race of hardy warriors, and high-tech future humans. Weirdly, the Beta have the most human-looking design: industrial buildings, walking mecha tanks, and dudes with rifles and backpacks slogging through the mud. The humans, on the other hand, never get their boots dirty from behind the controls of their hovering vehicles.</p><p> The Humans and the Beta aren’t anything we haven’t seen in RTS games before, but they’re familiar in a good way: traditional RTS design that we already know is fun, revitalized in a modern game. The Beta use mobile base hubs to establish a series of standalone bases that each specialize in a different kind of unit. Roughly analogous to the British in Company of Heroes, these bases are both a way to move my production facilities closer to the front lines and another weakness for the enemy to attack and divide my attention.</p><p> Humans are much more centralized&mdash;in our Company of Heroes comparison, these guys are the Americans. One central reactor runs power lines to every building and technology hub, making one central megabase with long supply lines stretching to the front.</p><p> Though they are visually distinct, these two factions are extremely similar in terms of mechanics and unit trees. I don’t mind their strategic footholds being derivative of other games in the genre, but I would have liked to see more differences between these two armies. Especially in the early game, Human and Beta units are so similar that I had to consult the in-game encyclopedia to learn that their health, armor, and damage stats are actually different. Depending on your playstyle, either of these factions will be immediately recognizable and playable&mdash;a valuable mental toe hold for players to start trying to understand the third faction.</p><h2>World of goo</h2><p>The eponymous Goo are Grey Goo’s most interesting group and, unfortunately, the most tedious to play. Park a blob of nanobots, the “Mother Goo,” over a resource pool and they will self-replicate. The Mother Goo splits, mitosis-style, to form units or other Mother Goos that will set up on another resource pool and become its own production base.</p><p>Petroglyph did a great job making the Goo unlike anything else in RTS. They’ve got some of the same swarm-tactics flavor as StarCraft’s Zerg and Warhammer 40k’s Tyranids, but their supply line infrastructure is unique. Their art style, too, sits in a creepy uncanny valley between mechanical and biological. But the Goo are also uniquely frustrating. Unlike the Beta and the Humans, there is no way to automate their unit production process. Instead, I spent my entire time with the Goo clicking keyboard shortcuts and ordering units. This blast of unwelcome micromanagement goes against what was, I thought, the entire ethos of the game.</p><p>Grey Goo is strongest when it’s taking old RTS ideas and refining them, distilling them until the micromanagement is removed and pure, high-proof strategy is left behind. Though I wish that Petroglyph had taken more risks with the two humanoid factions, the inclusion of the Goo faction is a wildcard that might attract bizarre new strategies from expert players in competitive multiplayer. As a revival of a once-popular genre, Grey Goo excels.</p> Peter Molyneux warns Microsoft against "over-promising" with Windows Holographichttp://www.pcgamer.com/peter-molyneux-warns-microsoft-against-over-promising-with-windows-holographic/Peter Molyneux is concerned that consumers will be disappointed by the reality of Microsoft's augmented-reality operating system.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:22:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/peter-molyneux-warns-microsoft-against-over-promising-with-windows-holographic/MicrosoftNewsPeter MolyneuxWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tyG7OqV-TGas.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/289n1dbfJg1d.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Peter-Molyneux"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/peter-molyneux/?page=2">Peter Molyneux</a>, who told the world that something "truly amazing [and] absolutely unique" was waiting at the center of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/peter-molyneuxs-new-game-curiosity-will-feature-a-50000-dlc-chisel/">Curiosity cube</a>, has some interesting, and&nbsp;seemingly irony-free,&nbsp;advice for Microsoft. In an interview with <a href="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-01-22-molyneux-warns-microsoft-dont-overpromise-on-hololens">GamesIndustry International</a>, he warned against promising too much with Windows Holographic, which could leave consumers feeling "oversold" and underwhelmed when they actually get to try the thing.</p><p>"You kind of want to scream, 'Don't over promise these things'," Molyneux said. "The thing about the concept videos is they feel so seamless and it just looks like everything's working and actually, as we found with Kinect, it works all fine if you've got the perfect environment and the perfect distance away and you're the right shape human being. But it's very challenging if any of those things don't come together perfectly."</p><p>Wise words, no doubt. But the beauty of them is of course&nbsp;that Molyneux is a past master of promising too much. In 2010 he told <a href="http://ca.ign.com/articles/2010/04/07/fable-iii-has-the-greatest-cast-of-any-computer-game">IGN</a> that Fable 3 would have "the greatest cast that any computer game has ever had," and a year later he actually <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-16-molyneux-sorry-if-ive-over-promised">apologized for his hype-happy ways</a>, saying that he made up game features off the top of his head just to keep journalists from falling asleep while he talks. That didn't stop him from stating in 2012 that the secret inside the Curiosity cube would be "<a href="http://www.wired.com/2012/10/ff-peter-molyneux/4/">life-changingly amazing by any definition</a>," although it ultimately proved (by most definitions) to be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/curiosity-winners-godhood-in-godus-comes-with-a-term-limit/">somewhat less than that</a>.</p><p>Despite that&nbsp;history, his point is perfectly valid: If Microsoft sets unreasonable expectations, and then fails to meet them, consumers will be disappointed. That's bad news for any company trying to push widespread adoption of a new, unfamiliar technology.</p><p>"It's almost as if they kind of oversold it to me, you know the motorbike and going around - and the motorbike just looked perfect. It made me feel as a consumer like, 'Oh my God, it's going to be incredible'," Molyneux said. "My fear is that when you actually put the device on you're not as blown away as you should be." </p> The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gets new teaser ahead of hands-on previewshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-gets-new-teaser-ahead-of-hands-on-previews/The first real look at CD Projekt's RPG epic will arrive next week.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:20:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-gets-new-teaser-ahead-of-hands-on-previews/CD ProjektNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wqat43KUAxY?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p>A&nbsp;batch of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</a> hands-on&nbsp;previews, including our own,&nbsp;are inbound soon, but in the meantime the folks at CD Projekt have a new teaser to tide you over, which includes a smattering of gameplay footage.&nbsp;Not a sizeable smattering, admittedly, but it sure is pretty&mdash;at least as much as an up-close shot of a tongue-waggling undead (is that a Noonwraith?) can be considered an aesthetically-pleasing experience.&nbsp;</p><p>The big question at this point, as CD Projekt's Jose Teixeira admits in the video, is whether the delays&mdash;the game was originally supposed to be out for the 2014 holiday season&mdash;have&nbsp;afforded the developers enough time to fully <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-is-finished-delay-is-solely-for-bug-stomping/">realize their vision</a>. Unlike the first two games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be fully open-world, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-revealed-an-open-world-rpg-bigger-than-skyrim/">30 times larger</a> than its predecessor, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-2/">The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings</a>, which was no slouch in the size department itself. </p><p>"The time we took will be given back in quality," Teixeira says in the video. We'll find out soon enough.&nbsp;The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which CD Projekt says really and for true will be the end of Geralt's saga, will be out in May.</p> What to expect from the next generation of RAMhttp://www.pcgamer.com/what-to-expect-from-the-next-generation-of-ram/DDR4 will be the next standard, but what comes after that? A dive into Wide I/O, Hybrid Cube Memory, and high bandwidth.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:55:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/what-to-expect-from-the-next-generation-of-ram/HardwareNewsRAMTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qCzYDIRNSRy4.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uBE2pzuQ5IvA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ddr Ram"></p><p>DDR4 memory has been available for some time now, but with support limited to the X99 architecture, it thus far hasn't overtaken DDR3 as the go-to memory to use. And it's still far more expensive than DDR3.&nbsp;But as newer Intel chipsets support DDDR4 and it&nbsp;becomes more ubiquitous in the coming year, it's a good time to look ahead to the memory types we might be using <em>after</em> DDR4, and Extremetech has a <a href="http://www.extremetech.com/computing/197720-beyond-ddr4-understand-the-differences-between-wide-io-hbm-and-hybrid-memory-cube">great primer</a> on three new and upcoming memory technologies: Wide I/O, High Memory Bandwidth (HMB) and Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC). </p><p><strong>Wide I/O</strong> (and Wide I/O 2) is a high-bandwidth, low-power system designed (and most useful) for mobile SoCs. The standard has been backed by Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers as high-res handheld displays require lots of bandwidth but using as little power as possible is critical to battery life. Wide I/O is the first version of the standard, but it's likely that Wide I/O 2 or 3 is the version that actually makes it to market. No major devices are expected to ship with Wide I/O in the first half of 2015, but late 2015 may see the standard gain some limited ground.</p><p>According to Crucial, DDDR4 bandwidth maxes out at about 25.6&nbsp;GB/s. Wide I/O, on the other hand, has a bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s, at least&nbsp;<a href="http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/memory/display/20110222201121_Samsung_Develops_Mobile_Memory_with_Wide_I_O_Interface_Extreme_Bandwidth.html">according to an old Xbitlabs post</a>. Wide I/O 2 or 3 may offer significantly more bandwidth, and keep in mind that this is a technology designed for power efficiency first and foremost. It could eventually be a big deal for gaming laptops and other portable hardware.</p><p>Next we have <strong>Hybrid Memory Cube</strong> (HMC), a joint standard from Intel and Micron that offers significantly more bandwidth than Wide I/O 2 but at the cost of higher power consumption and price. HMC is a forward-looking architecture designed for multi-core systems, and is expected to deliver bandwidths of up to 400GB/s, according to Intel and Micron. Production could begin next year, with HMC commercially available in 2017.</p><p>Finally, <strong>High Bandwidth Memory</strong> is a specialized application of Wide I/O 2, but explicitly designed for graphics. (Both AMD and Nvidia plan to adopt it for their next-generation GPUs.) HMB can stack up to eight 128-bit wide channels for a 1024-bit interface, allowing for total bandwidth in the 128-256GB/s range. In other words, it's not as cheap or power efficient as Wide I/O, but it should be cheaper than HMC.</p><p>Also, since it's designed explicitly for high-performance graphics situations, future GPUs built with HBM might reach 512GB/s to 1TB/s of main memory bandwidth. That's a not insignificant upgrade over the current top-end 336GB/s Titan Black.</p><p>If you enjoy digging into the nitty gritty of future memory formats (and who doesn't really?), check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.extremetech.com/computing/197720-beyond-ddr4-understand-the-differences-between-wide-io-hbm-and-hybrid-memory-cube">Extremetech's full article</a> for a deeper dive.</p> Dying Light's "Be the Zombie" multiplayer mode goes free for everyonehttp://www.pcgamer.com/dying-lights-be-the-zombie-multiplayer-mode-goes-free-for-everyone/Techland has confirmed the launch date of the physical edition of Dying Light in regions outside of North America.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:45:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-lights-be-the-zombie-multiplayer-mode-goes-free-for-everyone/ActionDying LightNewsTechland <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6uzgyxyUTaao.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BQ9B-8HaOasp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dying Light"></p><p>The whole <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light/?page=2">Dying Light</a> launch process has been a little bit weird. First, the release date was actually <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-launch-date-is-suddenly-a-little-closer/">moved up</a>, but then last week it became apparent that physical copies of the game&mdash;which some folk still prefer to buy&mdash;are being <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-physical-copies-have-been-delayed-in-some-regions/">delayed</a> in regions outside of North America. But the inconvenience has an upside, as the previously preorder-exclusive Be the Zombie mode is now going to be made free for everyone.</p><p>Techland announced today that physical copies of Dying Light will go out in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia on February 27. "Although the changes affect only the release of boxed copies in certain territories, we want to show all of you our appreciation for your continued support," the studio said in a statement. "Thus, we’re really happy to announce that 'Be the Zombie' will be available for free to everyone, on all platforms, in all territories."</p><p>Additionally, preorders of the physical edition of the game will include the Cuisine &amp; Cargo and Ultimate Survivor Bundle DLC packs at no charge. Preorders can also be registered at <a href="https://dockets.dyinglightgame.com/">dockets.dyinglightgame.com</a> for "dockets" that can be exchanged for in-game weapons.</p><p>For those who prefer to do without the added mess of discs and boxes, the worldwide digital release date of Dying Light is still January 27.</p> Final Fantasy XIII-2 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-2-review-2/Can this strangesequel-to-a-sequel fix the problems of Final Fantasy XIII?Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:29:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-2-review-2/Final Fantasy XIII-2ReviewsRPG <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">NEED TO KNOW</h5> <p> <strong>What is it:</strong>&nbsp;Port of a 2012 console game and direct sequel to the recently-released port of Final Fantasy XIII-2.<br> <strong>Influenced by:</strong>&nbsp;Mass Effect 2, unhappy fans<br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;Intel I5 4460@3.20GHz, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780<br> <strong>Alternatively:&nbsp;</strong>Final Fantasy VII, 93%<br> <strong>DRM:&nbsp;</strong>Steam<br> <strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;$19.99/£12.99<br> <strong>Release:&nbsp;</strong>Out now<br> <strong>Developer:&nbsp;</strong>Square Enix<br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> In house </p> </div> <p> The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is a bizarre series of games, with each sequel clearly fashioned around the reactions of its fanbase. Final Fantasy XIII, which I reviewed last year, was a cloyingly linear affair with a brilliant combat system&mdash;by contrast, direct sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2, released on consoles in early 2012, is so freeform in structure that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what you’re supposed to be doing. While it’s a better game for the most part, it comes with a whole host of new problems, and is almost as bad a port as its predecessor. </p> <p> Set a few years after Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning, the moody hero of that game, has vanished into the realm of Valhalla, which in this game is famed for its spiky-haired rulers and prolonged QTE sequences. It’s up to her sister, the impractically-dressed FFXIII supporting character Serah and a displaced Valhalla native called Noel Kreiss (a straight-to-DVD Squall with the dumbest name ever) to look for her. Instead of XIII’s near-endless shiny corridors, an initially confusing time travel concept guides XIII-2’s structure. </p> <p> Opening a ‘time’ gate (sigh) in the first region of the game opens up the Historia Crux, a menu screen which lets you select which environment you’d like to go next and tells you what year it’ll be when you get there, sort of like a halfway point between a timeline and a fast travel screen. Environments tend to appear more than once in different timeframes, separated by up to hundreds of years, and story beats frequently rely on you going backwards and forwards between familiar places to mess with cause and effect. </p> <blockquote> It comes with a whole host of new problems, and is almost as bad a port as its predecessor. </blockquote> <p> It’s a refreshing but convoluted structure. Usually your progress is slowed down by needing to obtain an item or two from another part of the timeline, and it’s hard to catalogue exactly what’s going on in your quest line&mdash;it wouldn’t hurt to have a button that prompts a ‘go here next, genius’ message. When you’re progressing at a decent pace, poking through new time periods, fighting giant bosses, exploring big environments and quickly figuring out where to go next, XIII-2 is classic Final Fantasy and deserves to be lauded as such. But then there are big stretches with unskippable battles and dreadful ‘90s-era switch puzzles that expose a developer that’s blatantly out of its depth. XIII-2 is one of the weirdest Final Fantasy sequels&mdash;it feels like a team trying to give their audience what they think they want and only half getting it right. </p><p>I would say you need a pre-existing history with Final Fantasy XIII before you even consider buying XIII-2, whether you liked it or hated it. The story is truly awful, far worse than XIII’s, with interminable cutscenes and two lame protagonists that never feel like leads in the way that Lightning did in XIII, or indeed Cloud and Squall did in the earlier titles. Noel is a walking and talking spiky-haired nothing in big pants, while Serah is so boringly polite that she almost makes a case for why every Final Fantasy hero needs to be a miserable and broken human being (yay RPGs!). While I never enjoyed the story of XIII-2, which piles on new characters without any effort to create emotional investment in them, the tone of the world is really laid back and pleasant, particularly in the first half of the story. Towns, explorable environments and interactive NPCs all return to the series, having been nixed by XIII, and they’re all welcome staples.</p><p>There are some obvious improvements to the pacing, too. Unlike XIII, which holds your hand through the first ten hours as it tediously explains how the battle system and progression work, XIII-2 gives you the ability to start levelling up each of your character’s job roles right away. The combat, which automates your party’s attacks as you tactically change their job roles in battle on the fly, is functionally identical to XIII’s. Instead of a third party member to battle alongside Serah and Noel, players deploy monsters into their party as allies that have their own classes and attacks. You can even team up with the series’ signature giant bird, the Chocobo, as it mauls creatures in the face with its mighty beak. It’s no deeper than a bit of menu management, but it offers lots of flexibility in battle strategies.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rI-YPQ_ET_Gj.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gJGMPHemRJUF.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ff13 1"></p><p>It’s a shame that with this excellent combat system comes some really bad examples of quest design. Chasing after sheep to collect wool marks a low point, and one asshole near the start of the game asks Serah and Noel to transcend time and space to fetch his niece a flower that only grows in the winter&mdash;I had to complete the former, but the latter is such an obviously tedious bit of filler that I didn’t bother. A weak story means that most of the quests lack a bit of energy.</p><p>Further problems stem from rough stabs at variety that do not pay off. Intrusive boss fight QTEs, which were on their way out of mainstream games when XIII-2 originally released on consoles in 2012, are now so oddly dated that they’ve become gaming’s Ugg boots or Timberlake trilbies. One poorly-judged and irritating platforming sequence near the story’s denouement feels like it belongs to a different game entirely, while the newly added dialogue options are an entirely pointless concession to the success of contemporary Western RPGs that only highlight the bad dialogue.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IRp_X79_TWiS.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T3XamPJFhiiR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ff13 3"></p><p>There are further caveats with this port, too. Unlike XIII’s original 720p-locked release, XIII-2 does have a bare minimum range of visual options: resolution settings, anti-aliasing and shadow resolutions. The obvious unaddressed problem is framerate. It’s a little cheeky that the Steam page boasts about 60fps when achieving that is so infrequent on even a moderate rig. I’d say XIII-2 is playable on my GTX 780-equipped home PC, but annoyingly slow on my mid-ranged PC at work, regularly dropping down to around 20fps at 1050p with mid-level anti-aliasing and shadow settings. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-and-xiii-2-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/">Durante’s assessment</a> covers the issues with this port in-depth, but for those seeking out the definitive version of XIII-2, this really doesn’t feel like it.</p><p>XIII-2 is a complicated and inconsistent sequel, then, and one I can only recommend to a subsection of the series’ audience. It is better than XIII. This fixes a lot of its predecessor’s structural problems, focusing on the airtight combat and sensibly dialling up the exploration, but tries its hand at a bunch of new ideas that entirely fail. This feels like a game crafted around a survey of unhappy fans and, as such, is one of the oddest Final Fantasy entries to date.</p> CS:GO player 'Flex' banned during ESEA league livestreamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-player-flex-banned-during-esea-league-livestream/ESP's Flex gets hit with the banhammer.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:14:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-player-flex-banned-during-esea-league-livestream/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveE-sportsFPSNewsValve <p>Welcome to&nbsp;schadenfreude&nbsp;corner. Today we submit for your approval the story of a CS:GO league player banned mid-match during an ESEA livestream.</p><p>YouTube user Megaberna captured the moment that&nbsp;ESP's Flex was booted from today's&nbsp;<a href="http://play.esea.net/index.php?s=stats&amp;d=match&amp;id=4036837" target="_blank">Main league game</a> against Grandpa Berets.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Cq5Z53q_Se8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>According to ESP's leader&nbsp;'espgodson', the team had no idea Flex was running hacks. In fact, Flex was only playing as a stand-in, as the ESEA require that two members of the previous roster are present for the first few matches of a season.</p><p>"Everything was very rushed and we only needed him to play 2 matches," 'espgodson' writes&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2tdahc/flex_of_team_esp_eseamain_gets_banned_mid_match/cny6ijh" target="_blank">in a Reddit thread</a>. "Anyways, just wanted to come on here to say that none of us had any idea he was cheating and absolutely no one on our team would ever intentionally do something like that."</p><p>Another comment in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2tdahc/flex_of_team_esp_eseamain_gets_banned_mid_match/cny3iv5" target="_blank">that same thread</a> claims that, after the ban, Flex admitted to having used cheats on ESEA servers for the past week, and that he did it to stop himself from playing the game.</p><p>This is far from top-tier pro-drama; Main being the third division of the ESEA league&mdash;under&nbsp;Premier&nbsp;and Invite. Nevertheless, it's entertaining to see a competitive player get publicly shamed for cheating during a livestreamed match.</p><p>For more on cheating in Global Offensive, check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hacks-an-investigation-into-aimbot-dealers-wallhack-users-and-the-million-dollar-business-of-video-game-cheating/" target="_blank">Emanuel's detailed investigation</a> into what is a million-dollar business.</p> Starr Mazer is part shmup, part point 'n click adventurehttp://www.pcgamer.com/starr-mazer-is-part-shmup-part-point-n-click-adventure/Genre blending Shmup-'n'-Click wants $160,000 on KickstarterFri, 23 Jan 2015 12:52:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/starr-mazer-is-part-shmup-part-point-n-click-adventure/AdventureKickstarterNewsStarr Mazer <p> We were fools that thought we were gods&mdash;toying with the natural order to create bizarre abominations. It started simply enough: a few drops of RPG spliced into an FPS. Pretty soon, we were out of control. We had grand strategy text adventures, roguelike platformers and MMORTSARPGMOBAs. The genres were crumbling.&nbsp;Eventually, inevitably,&nbsp;it would all lead to... <em>THIS</em>... </p><p>Here's a screenshot of Starr Mazer:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/00ihS51vQ1OJ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y-2cmGbNsbHU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Mazer PnC"></p><p>Here's another screenshot of Starr Mazer:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Yy9U_oF3RPaX.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xUddQvsIhjXc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Starr Mazer SEU"></p><p>It's part shmup, part point-'n'-click adventure. It's also got some RPG elements. And procedural generation.</p><p>As interesting as it all sounds, I think the key will be integrating such disparate parts into something cohesive.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/imagosfilms/starr-mazer" target="_blank">Starr Mazer's Kickstarter description</a> suggests that it wants to do just that.</p><p> <em>"You’ll walk into the Holloway-Exeter docking bay, board the Starr Wolf and control the flight sequence, blasting off to space. You’ll be bargaining deals at the bar in order to afford repairs and upgrades to your Starr Wolf and using information gleaned from characters to find hidden routes while flying between destinations. Be careful which passing enemies you attack, as not all are foes, and a few could have dire consequences. Even while facing the charging death beam of a G'ell cannon, use your charisma to dodge bullets."</em></p><p>That seemingly gets to the heart of what could make this genre mash-up unique. Shmups, historically, are reactive. You're constantly called on to make split-second decisions based on what's happening on screen. Rarely are you asked to react, or even pre-empt, events related to a story that runs parallel to that action.</p><iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/35259959?color=ffffff&amp;title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="610" height="458" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Starr Mazzer also promises a randomised episode system, that will change the order in which the story plays out. Based on this, dynamic shmup sequences will react to the state of the world at any specific time.</p><p>It all sounds very clever, and looks beautiful. All that remains is for Starr Mazer to match its funding goal. The Kickstarter is for $160,000. So far, the campaign has raised $32,000 with 29 days to go.</p> Grow Home is Ubisoft's minimalist exploration gamehttp://www.pcgamer.com/grow-home-is-ubisofts-minimalist-exploration-game/Experimental climb-'em-upis out next month.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:07:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/grow-home-is-ubisofts-minimalist-exploration-game/Grow HomeNewsPlatformerUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sn4pEFNdQQmI.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sAnlWG7qm3vz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Grow Home"></p><p>Everybody's&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/SamuelWRoberts/status/558562049949978624" target="_blank">already done</a> the Grow Home/Gone Home joke, so let's move straight to the news...</p><p>Grow Home is Ubisoft's latest experimental side-project, created by Driver: San Francisco developer Reflections. As plots go, it probably couldn't be more different to&nbsp;a comatose man systematically possessing drivers throughout a&nbsp;city. Instead, it's about BUD: a robot guy on a mission to find a plant species capable of oxygenating his home world.</p><p>Cut to abstractly picturesque environments:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/pfYuUuVRu5Y?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>It's an exploration game, natch, but one that focuses specifically on climbing. The world is filled with micro-islands,&nbsp;hidden caves and tall pillars, and players are able to control BUD's hands independently of one another&mdash;allowing&nbsp;them to scale the 'Star Plant' as it grows.</p><p>Grow Home will release on PC on 4 February.</p> Recreating real spacecraft in Kerbal Space Programhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-2/How to build replicas of some of history's greatest spacecraft in KSP.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:31:52 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-2/Kerbal Space Program Minecraft's Ender Dragon is getting an overhaul http://www.pcgamer.com/minecrafts-ender-dragon-is-getting-an-overhaul/Plus more changes promised in a substantial update, coming soon.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 03:05:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/minecrafts-ender-dragon-is-getting-an-overhaul/MinecraftNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f4Fq61ERRkKN.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CJhMgHd0NMWW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Enderdragon!"></p><p>If for some reason you play&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft/">Minecraft</a> to slay dragons, then you'll be interested to know that&nbsp;slaying the Ender Dragon is about to change. According to a Tweet by&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fventurebeat.com%2F2015%2F01%2F22%2Fminecrafts-ender-dragon-boss-gets-a-makeover-for-update-1-9%2F&amp;related=null&amp;tw_i=558257086690492416&amp;tw_p=tweetembed">Mojang developer Nathan Adams</a>, the forthcoming 1.9 update will turn the current Ender Dragon into one more closely resembling the console versions. That's not as bad as it sounds, as the console Ender Dragon actually boasts more moves than the PC version.</p><p>Adams also assured current players that they'll be able to spawn the new Ender Dragon without starting a new game.&nbsp;</p><p>Bringing the PC Ender Dragon up to speed with his console brethren is not the only change coming to the endgame beast, though Adams refused to specify any other details. He also hinted that patch 1.9 will introduce other, much more significant changes.&nbsp;“Don’t worry,” he wrote. “This isn’t all I’m doing for 1.9. Not by far, but I’ll save the best for later.”</p> Watch John Romero play the first episode of Doomhttp://www.pcgamer.com/watch-john-romero-play-the-first-episode-of-doom/With commentary and a surprising amount of deaths.Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:19:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-john-romero-play-the-first-episode-of-doom/DoomDouble FineFPSid SoftwareJohn RomeroNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ygp4-kmjpzI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Rest assured that when John Romero plays&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/doom/">Doom</a> in Ultra-Violence mode, he dies a lot too. Granted, it's been 22 years since the game released, but it's still comforting to know that the man responsible for designing most of Doom's levels isn't immune from the odd embarrassing death.&nbsp;</p><p>The video above is the first in a lengthy series of videos featuring John Romero playing Doom, accompanied by Double-Fine's&nbsp;JP LeBreton. The duo touch on&nbsp;most aspects of the game, and there are some fascinating insights into the design decisions at play. If you've spent the last twenty years soaking up all there is to know about Doom there are still a few surprises within. Even if you don't learn anything <em>per se</em>, it's still a lot of fun.</p><p>It's the latest in Double-Fine's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.doublefine.com/news/comments/announcing_devs_play_a_new_series_from_2_player_productions/">Devs Play series</a>, which has featured Earthbound and The Lion King, among others.&nbsp;</p><p>We looked at some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-doom-wads/">impressive Doom WADs</a> last week, or, if you'd like to stick closer to the source material, Romero released a bunch of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/john-romero-shows-unseen-doom-art-on-21st-anniversary/">previously-never-seen Doom art</a> late last year.</p> The worst launches in PC gaming historyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-worst-pc-game-launches/We take a look at the history of troubled PC game releases.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-worst-pc-game-launches/ New Galactic Civilizations 3 beta introduces the "Battle Viewer"http://www.pcgamer.com/new-galactic-civilizations-3-beta-introduces-the-battle-viewer/The fourth beta version of Galactic Civilizations 3 was released today.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:56:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-galactic-civilizations-3-beta-introduces-the-battle-viewer/4XGalactic Civilizations 3NewsStardockStrategy <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qxdLiFeSEEg?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> "Not only must justice be done," as the saying goes, "it must also be seen to be done." And it's the same with great battles in space: It's all well and good to have your Minister of War tell you that your interstellar conquest is proceeding apace, but sometimes the only way to properly scratch that Space Tyrant itch is to check in on things personally, and then watch them blow up.</p><p> That's where <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/galactic-civilizations-3/">Galactic Civilization 3's</a> new Battle Viewer comes into play: With it, you may now "see your fleets shoot lasers, launch missiles and blow each other up in glorious detail," from various camera angles, pausing, rewinding, and slowing or speeding the action in whatever way most tickles your fancy. A built-in battle log provides a blow-by-blow breakdown of what's happening on the screen, and developer Stardock says it plans to add even more explosions, weapons and defense effects, and sound effects in the future.</p><p> The new ideology system, meanwhile, replaces the old system of pyramids and adds a large number of new boosts and unlocks to Benevolent, Malevolent, and Pragmatic leaders, while "extreme planets" promise big advantages to players with the technology to colonize them. The new beta also enables Gigantic and Immense map sizes, and implements the usual array of <a href="http://forums.galciv3.com/460628">fixes and balance tweaks</a>.</p><p> Galactic Civilizations 3 is currently available as an Early Access release on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/226860/">Steam</a>, and is expected to be ready for a full and proper launch sometime this spring. </p> Mojang says it has not been hackedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mojang-says-it-has-not-been-hacked/Mojang recently reset the passwords to more than 1800 compromised Minecraft accounts.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:44:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mojang-says-it-has-not-been-hacked/MinecraftMojangNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cMrjIJnrTc2M.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ev4dtIqehXu3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Minecraft"></p><p>More than 1800 <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft/">Minecraft</a> user names and passwords were published online earlier this week, according to German publication <a href="https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&amp;sl=de&amp;tl=en&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2Fmeldung%2F1800-Minecraft-Accounts-kompromittiert-2520192.html">Hesse</a>, which in reality is almost entirely non-noteworthy as security breaches go; this is, after all, a game that recently broke the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-boasts-nearly-one-million-concurrent-users-is-likely-the-most-popular-game-on-pc/">one million concurrent user mark</a>. Even so, Mojang wants everyone to know that this is not a tip-of-the-iceberg situation&mdash;It hasn't actually been hacked&mdash;and also to remind its many players to be careful about how they handle their passwords.</p><p>Mojang's Owen Hill explained in a recent <a href="https://mojang.com/2015/01/lets-talk-about-password-security/">blog post</a> that the accounts were compromised not by hackers, but as the result of phishing scams by unnamed "bad people." All compromised passwords have been reset, and Mojang has sent out emails to everyone affected&mdash;and if you didn't receive such an email, then there's nothing to worry about. </p><p>"No-one has gained access to the Mojang mainframe," Hill wrote. "Even if they did, we store your passwords in a super encrypted format. Honestly, you don’t need to panic."</p><p>Hill also urged players to never provide their login information to non-Mojang sites, and to use different passwords on different sites to minimize the potential damage of actual security breaches. And if, after all that, you're still a little nervous about the whole thing and want to change your password anyway&mdash;"You sound like a sensible one," Hill wrote&mdash;you may do so <a href="https://minecraft.net/resetpassword">here</a>.</p> Telltale teases second Game of Thrones episodehttp://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-teases-second-game-of-thrones-episode/The second part of Telltale's episodic Game of Thrones adventure will arrive in early February.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:25:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-teases-second-game-of-thrones-episode/AdventureGame of ThronesNewsTelltale Games <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/boY5jktW2Zk?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The first look at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-thrones/" style="font-size: 14px;">Game of Thrones: The Lost Lords</a>,&nbsp;the second part of Telltale's&nbsp;adventure adaptation,&nbsp;is here, and it doesn't look like life is going to get much easier for the Forresters anytime soon.</p><p> I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't yet played part one, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-thrones-episode-one-iron-from-ice-review/">Iron From Ice</a>, so I will say only that it opened with the forces of House Forrester getting ready for a big party with the Starks at the Red Wedding. Things unfolded from there pretty much as you'd expect, concluding in a fashion that I honestly did not see coming&mdash;although, given the subject material, probably should have.</p><p> In any event, Iron From Ice was a really strong start to the Game of Thrones adventure, and I very much hope that The Lost Lords will raise the bar even higher. Look for it to hit Steam on February 3.</p> Hearthstone: The 20 best legendary cardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-the-20-best-legendary-cards/With the help of pro players, Paulo Vitor breaks down the most powerful cards in the game.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:38:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-the-20-best-legendary-cards/BlizzardCard GameHearthstone Ronin is a turn-based action platformer with a familiar lookhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ronin-is-a-turn-based-action-platformer-with-a-familiar-look/Remember Gunpoint? This isn't Gunpoint, but it does look a lot like it.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:37:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ronin-is-a-turn-based-action-platformer-with-a-familiar-look/Devolver DigitalNewsPlatformer <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oTFfv3VBR--6.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BwfoTNm_OBn8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ronin" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Ronin looks, it has to be said, quite a lot like Gunpoint.* And perhaps a little bit like Mark of the Ninja. It is, however, neither of those things. In fact,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pentadact.com/2014-08-12-its-time-i-did-something-about-this-gunpoint-ripoff/" target="_blank">here's Gunpoint's creator</a>, Tom Francis**, saying just that.</p><p>Yes, Ronin may be about stealth, breaking into 2D buildings and defenestration, but it's also about murdering people with a&nbsp;turn-based combat system.&nbsp;Here's the trailer, which shows how that works:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zLmbeogBfqU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The action pauses when you enter combat. You're given&nbsp;a&nbsp;choice of actions and movements, and will enact them simultaneously with the guards you are fighting. If a guard's laser sights are pointed at you, you'll need to change elevation to avoid being shot during&nbsp;the next turn. You're both&nbsp;faster and deadlier than the guards, but you can only kill at melee range, and they've all got guns.</p><p>Also you've a grappling hook.</p><p>You can play the early demo build of Ronin right now,&nbsp;<a href="http://teedoubleu.itch.io/ronin" target="_blank">for free</a>. As you can see from the trailer, it's come on a long way since that was made. Developed by&nbsp;Tomasz Wacławek, it's been picked up by publisher Devolver Digital&nbsp;for a full release later this year.</p><p><em>*Disclaimer: Gunpoint was made by Tom Francis, who I was in a fictional relationship with during a New Year's Eve game of Werewolf. He was a werewolf, I was a human, but despite our differences, we managed to surreptitiously slaughter an entire town full of our&nbsp;friends&mdash;thus winning the game.</em></p><p><em>**Disclaimer: Tom Francis is Tom Francis, who... well, see above. Oh, he used to work at PC Gamer too.</em></p> Three Lane Highway: the victory switch, and other storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-the-victory-switch-and-other-stories/Lessons from Dota 2 and Smite about turning an advantage into a win.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-the-victory-switch-and-other-stories/Dota 2Hi-Rez StudiosMOBASMITEThree Lane HighwayValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u2dz-VwKReC9.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e7bXyq32TEWb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ares"></p><p><em><a href="www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">Three Lane Highway</a> is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2. And Smite. It's about Smite now too, apparently. The amazing fan art above is by Reddit user <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Smite/comments/1dodo2/i_have_you_now_ares_fan_art/">Pitran</a>.</em></p><p>I've played Dota 2 almost exclusively since July 2012. For a long time it was the only game of its type that I played, and I've spent an order of magnitude more time with it than any other game of, well, any other type. I wouldn't be surprised if the time I've spent <em>learning to wizard</em> exceeds the time I've invested in games generally over the last two years. I held, for a long time, that you couldn't play more than one of these games seriously. I still believe that. Over the last few weeks, however, I've made a concerted effort to learn another&mdash;Smite. It's taught me a few things about the genre as a whole, and made me question a few further&nbsp;things that I held to be true about Dota 2.</p><p>Here's one new idea: surrender mechanics directly benefit support players. Back in July of last year, I <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-surrender-buttons-gordian-knots-and-other-thoughts-on-giving-up/">wrote this article</a> about why Dota 2 doesn't, shouldn't give its players a surrender button. I haven't entirely changed my mind about that.&nbsp;I still believe that the 'white flag' option makes these games less interesting overall. The Dota 2 experiences you remember are the late-game upsets, the incredible comebacks. Surrendering truncates the game, closes off possibilities, places hard limits on all of that fascinating complexity. In the abstract, I maintain that if a player is in a position where they <em>must </em>surrender then something has gone wrong with the game's provision of comeback mechanics. What I now realise, however, is that the decision to surrender is, in and of itself, a phenomena worth examining. The <em>possibility </em>of surrender creates new dynamics that alter the way you perceive the story of a match.</p><p>Dota 2's lack of a surrender option means that regular matchmaking games always end when one team destroys the other team's base. They can end no other way. It takes carries with good items and smart play by core heroes to do this, and the run of patches following last year's International have attempted to do away with ten-minute death pushes by giving defenders more options. Not only do games run longer, but the most important characters,&nbsp;in the end,&nbsp;are almost always the ones at the top of the farm priority pyramid. Earthshaker might start the ball rolling, but&nbsp;Faceless Void gets to kick it into the goal.</p><p>The same is true of Smite, to an extent. The role of the support, in both games, is to control the first half of the match&nbsp;so that it is your carries, not the other guy's, who ultimately succeed. This is where the 'Soccer Mom Crystal Maiden' meme comes from, and why support players are&nbsp;generally so rare&mdash;the role requires you to give up a substantial portion of your claim to glory. I've been playing support exclusively since I started to learn Smite because almost nobody volunteers to do it. As in Dota, everybody wants to play a solo roaming hero or carry. They want to make the big, game-ending plays&mdash;not the subtle supportive ones.</p><p>Teams can surrender in Smite, however, and this alters the prospects of what a support player can achieve. The goal stops being 'how do I ensure we have the best possible lategame' and becomes, in part, 'how do I break their spirits to the extent that there is no lategame'.</p><p>I'll give you an example. I've been playing a lot of Ares, a durable support who lacks burst damage but whose ultimate ability can completely turn a teamfight. The spell is called No Escape. Chains fly from Ares towards enemy players in a radius as he leaps into the air. After a few seconds he crashes down, dragging every player chained towards a central point and stunning them. Dota fans: imagine the lovechild of Magnus' Reverse Polarity and Disruptor's Glimpse. New Smite players tend not to buy the crowd control-breaking items that would get them out of dodge, so in these low-level brackets No Escape can act as a game-ending psychological weapon.</p><p>Case in point: my last game. The scoreboard is relatively even twelve minutes in. Both teams are almost entirely comprised of junglers and high-damage solo mages. As support Ares, I'm the exception. One of our guys disconnected at the beginning of the game and didn't come back for a few minutes, ceding an early gold and experience lead to the other team that we're only just clawing back. They've grouped up to push down middle lane. I tap two key combinations into the Tribes-style audio command system.</p><p><em>[VD2] Defend middle lane!</em></p><p><em>[VVVR] Ultimate is ready!</em></p><p>I approach the clustered enemy team from behind, from the jungle. The third-person perspective makes shooter-style sneak attacks a possibility. My blink is on cooldown, but I'm among the enemy team before they have time to do much about it. No Escape connects with all five. During the leap I draw them forwards, closer to our tower. They're dragged into a Chronos nuke; into&nbsp;that impassable ring thing that Odin does; into Loki, who presses a bunch of buttons I guess. (I'm still learning the gods.) Full teamwipe, a five-to-zero victory.&nbsp;They surrender immediately afterwards.</p><p>I wasn't the character who picked up the multi-kill, but I, the support, was the character who ended the game. I'd dealt the killing blow to <em>morale</em> in a way that I couldn't aspire to do to the enemy's base.</p><p>While I still don't think that a surrender mechanic is ultimately right for Dota, its presence in Smite has demonstrated the role it can play in redistributing power among the team. It allows for demonstrable displays of authority among 'subordinate' player roles, and creates scenarios where victory emerges from something other than a mounting&nbsp;lead in farm or experience. These kinds of psychological early wins play a huge role&nbsp;in Dota 2, of course, but I think the greater emphasis on the power of late-game carries makes them less visible to players who aren't specifically looking for them.</p><p>'Momentum' is a word that comes up a lot while discussing the way that teams win games of Dota, and I've written before about the way that this can be thought of both in terms of game mechanics and team psychology. Wins tend to beget&nbsp;more wins, because you've gained a material and emotional advantage. 'Snowballing'.&nbsp;Recently, I've been thinking about this slightly differently. I think there comes a point in the game where your team is in a position to decisively flip the 'victory switch', to turn an <em>advantage </em>into a <em>done thing. </em>This means more than just following the trajectory your momentum has laid out for you&mdash;it means identifying an exact methodology for ending the game and then pulling it off. It means closing off uncertainty and confirming victory; if a team's surrender represents&nbsp;a collective willingness to lose, then flipping the victory switch means collectively voting to <em>win</em>.</p><p>In that Ares game, the 'switch' could be defined as the moment we planned and achieved a&nbsp;one-sided teamfight victory. In a game where the majority of players on both teams had found themselves taking inconclusive trades in the jungle, a single convincing five-on-five was needed to establish dominance. In a sense, our opponents were right to surrender when they did: that fight in mid demonstrated superior capability stemming from a better-rounded draft, and it is reasonable to assume that we'd be able to repeat that success throughout the game and ultimately win. It was the beginning of the end and therefore, in some ways, the end itself.</p><p>Teams throw away their leads&nbsp;when they fail to make their advantage appear insurmountable. In Smite, the version of this I've seen most often is the single-lane death push. The key objective in the game is a&nbsp;Titan which, unlike the Ancient, can fight back against an attacking team. It loses power with every lane of buildings that you eliminate, but players on a roll typically attempt to punch through a single lane and win the game the most direct way they can see. This is often a really good sign if it happens to you, because it demonstrates that your opponent is willing to take risks&mdash;they are keeping the possibility space of the match open even as they attempt to end it, giving you options rather than decisively flipping the switch that takes your options away.</p><p>In a Smite match like that, that 'switch' might constitute the destruction of&nbsp;a&nbsp;second lane of towers, another Phoenix,&nbsp;or the Fire Giant. In Dota 2 it might be a faked-out split push that baits enough teleports to open up Roshan, followed by a jungle invasion that catches the smoke gank designed to counter the push your opponent believes is coming. These strategies are rarely seen in mid-level pub matches because they require teams to stop, assess what it would take to undo their own advantage, and then act decisively to reduce the chance of that happening to near-zero. It requires a desire to <em>end</em>, not just <em>finish fast</em>.</p><p>Learning to play a game with a surrender option has helped me to get better at identifying these moments, because it gives you unique insight into the mind of the enemy team. A surrender call tells you the exact point at which you have successfully drained hope from the equation: where even<em> they</em> agree that the victory switch has been flipped, and flipped by you. Over the course of a couple of weeks you learn the various shapes that moment can take.</p><p>That it sometimes takes the form of&nbsp;a play by the guy who buys all of the wards is a bonus, all things considered.</p><p><em>To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em></p> Rogue Squadron 3D and Rebellion added to GOG's Star Wars cataloguehttp://www.pcgamer.com/rogue-squadron-3d-and-rebellion-added-to-gogs-star-wars-catalogue/Two more Star Wars games get their digital distribution début on GOG.Also Empire At War appears.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:47:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rogue-squadron-3d-and-rebellion-added-to-gogs-star-wars-catalogue/GOG.comNewsStar Wars <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x8rjy510QoOO.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cJ1P1L1GFOUs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rogue Squadron"></p><p>Sam, PCG's UK editor, is visibly vibrating with excitement now that&nbsp;GOG has further expanded their catalogue of classic Star Wars games. While some new-old Star Wars would be more than enough for a tremor of anticipation, what's particularly caught his eye is the digital distribution début of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D.</p><p>Three new games have joined the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-wing-sequels-head-up-new-batch-of-star-wars-classics-on-gog/" target="_blank">six added</a> at the start of the week. Arcade dogfighter&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/star_wars_rogue_squadron_3d" target="_blank">Rogue Squadron 3D</a> and 4X&nbsp;strategy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/star_wars_rebellion" target="_blank">Rebellion</a> make their first appearance in a digital storefront, while RTS&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/star_wars_empire_at_war_gold_pack" target="_blank">Empire At War</a> makes the DRM-free jump from Steam.</p><p>As always, the games should now work on modern systems&mdash;something Rogue Squadron, in particular, didn't like to do. This isn't the end of GOG's Star Wars season, either. Yet more games are set to appear in about five days time.</p><p><strong>Update:&nbsp;</strong>Like an blithering idiot, I didn't look at the press release GOG sent out, which actually names the final three games due to appear on 27 January. These are those:</p><ul><li><em style="background-color: initial;">Star Wars</em>&trade; Republic Commando</li><li><em style="background-color: initial;">Star Wars</em>&trade; Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II</li><li><em style="background-color: initial;">Star Wars</em>&trade; Starfighter</li></ul> EVGA GeForce GTX 960 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/evga-geforce-gtx-960-review/Nvidia release their mid-range Maxwell, but can it deliver?Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:04:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/evga-geforce-gtx-960-review/graphics cardHardwareNvidiaTech <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Tech Specs</h5> <p> <strong>GPU -</strong> Nvidia GM 206 <br> <strong>CUDA cores -</strong> 1,024 <br> <strong>ROPs -</strong> 32 <br> <strong>Base clock - </strong>1,279MHz <br> <strong>Boost clock - </strong>1,342MHz <br> <strong>Memory capacity -</strong> 2GB GDDR5 <br> <strong>Memory bus -</strong> 128-bit <br> <strong>PCIe power -</strong> 8-pin </p> </div><p> The new Maxwell GPU is exactly what you’d expect from a modern mid-range graphics card. It nails 1080p gaming performance, wont tear into your wallet like an angry badger and does it all within a decent thermal and power envelope.</p><p> I can't help but feel underwhelmed, though, which is surprising given how&nbsp;excited I’ve been about the previous&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-970-g1-gaming-review/" target="_blank">Maxwell-based cards</a>. That's even despite&nbsp;the fact I’ve got one of the most overclocked versions of the GTX 960 sat in my test rig: the EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC.&nbsp;After witnessing the excellent GeForce GTX 970 far outstripping its predecessor, the GTX 770, the GTX 960’s GPU feels like it’s been designed to only&nbsp;put in the bare minimum of effort.</p><p> The GeForce GTX 960 is a generational update to the outgoing GTX 760 and, while it consistently bests it’s forebear across my gaming benchmarks, it doesn’t really do it by any particularly impressive extent.&nbsp;As Nvidia themselves have said to me though, they don’t really see this part as an upgrade from the GTX 760&mdash;it's intended&nbsp;for those who are still sitting on either a GTX 660 or GTX 560.</p><p> That is though a pretty hefty demographic, according to Nvidia. They assert that two of three PC gamers are currently running a GTX 660 or older. These people are going to need to upgrade their cards soon for the next glut of games and, if they’re sticking in the same price range, then the new GTX 960 is surely going to be the card for them.</p><p> <strong>Tech specs</strong></p><p> For the GeForce GTX 960 Nvidia have created a new iteration of the Maxwell GPU. The GM 206 is their mid-range Maxwell chip and houses a total of 1,024 CUDA cores spread across eight SMMs. With that comes 64 texture units and some 32 ROPs.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jsr-fRKvQHCj.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GB-U7RxCD4J5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTX 960 block diagram"></p><p> Compared with the Kepler GPU Nvidia used in its GTX 760 that spec’s actually looking a little miserly. The GK 104 chip had a full 1,152 cores across six SMX units with 96 texture units and the same 32 ROPs.</p><p> The Maxwell streaming microprocessors (SM) are made up of 128 cores in each opposed to the 192 cores of the old Kepler architecture, but the more efficient new graphics tech is able to nail the same performance with fewer cores.&nbsp;</p><p> Considering the GTX 970 still threw in a whole extra SMM unit worth of CUDA cores into its recipe I’d hoped for a bit more oomph in my GTX 960 spec.&nbsp;What we do have though is a much higher clock speed. The older card’s base clock was 980MHz, but the standard GM 206 is set at 1,126MHz with a 1,178MHz boost clock. In practice with this EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC card though I never saw the GPU running at those apparently-conservative speeds.</p><p> My review card was consistently hitting between 1,417MHz and 1,430MHz.&nbsp;And even when the EVGA card was powering along at that speed it was never loud.&nbsp;The peak temperature I hit was a mere 73C, and that’s only after a fair bit of work. During desktop use though it’s entirely silent. That’s because when the GPU is running at less than 65C it’s more than happy to operate with the EVGA ACX 2.0+ cooling working in passive mode alone&mdash;that means no spinning fans, and no noise.&nbsp;Even when those fans do spool up though the ACX 2.0+ cooling array is seriously quiet in-game.</p><p> The memory architecture is the standout news from the GeForce GTX 960 spec sheet. It's got 2GB of GDDR5&mdash;the bare minimum for a gaming graphics card these days, and a 128-bit memory bus, which could be a problem.</p><p> The now-familiar refrain from Nvidia is that they've got some funky new memory algorithms which make a mockery of such concerns. The Nvidia 128-bit bus is still able to deliver a total memory bandwidth of 112GB/s and with the new memory compression techniques that goes up to an effective 149GB/s. That is still short of the 192GB/s memory bandwidth of the 256-bit bus in the GTX 760 however, but beats the 144GB/s of the GK 106 GPU in the positively geriatric GTX 660.</p><p> It's possible that if&nbsp;the GTX 960 had been released with the same 256-bit bus as its Maxwell brethren then 960 SLI setups could have cannibalised Nvidia's recent&nbsp;single-card solutions. A pair of 960s is still a potent force, beating a GTX 980 in some benchmarks. But for beyond-1080p resolutions even two&nbsp;of 128-bit memory buses can't help.</p><p> <strong>Gaming</strong></p><p> As a mid-range 1080p gaming card the EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC performs exactly as you would expect it to. I’m saying that only because we’ve already got similarly priced cards performing at almost exactly the same levels.</p><p> Sapphire’s Radeon R9 285 Dual-X is around the same price as EVGA’s seriously overclocked GTX 960 and the two match each other blow for blow in&nbsp;benchmark terms. I’ve also got my hands on an Asus STRIX GeForce GTX 960 OC Edition, which doesn’t quite go as far as the EVGA in terms of clockspeed. But that doesn’t actually seem to matter much&nbsp;in terms of gaming performance.&nbsp;Even though this EVGA card is clocked a good deal higher than the Asus&mdash;the SuperSC is hitting 1,430MHz versus the STRIX at 1,354MHz&mdash;there's only a tiny difference in FPS terms.</p><p> That’s going to make it tougher to justify the purchase of an expensive overclocked card like either the Asus or this EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC. With a decent cooler most GTX 960 cards are going to be capable of hitting almost identical levels of performance with a little light overclocking.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6wWib3uYSW2u.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4sos8QeWkH-X.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC boxed"></p><p> Despite the fact AMD don’t seem to have released a new GPU in the last epoch, there is one other card vying for attention in this arena: the R9 280. The Tahiti Pro GPU at its heart may be three years old now, but because it was a top-end card of its time it’s rocking a 384-bit bus and 3GB of GDDR5 memory. And it’s considerably cheaper than the GTX 960.</p><p> But I still wouldn’t recommend you buy that card over either the R9 285 or any GTX 960. The memory architecture is tempting, but if you’re not looking to stray beyond the bounds of 1080p gaming any time soon you’re much better off with either of the two more modern cards.</p><p> On the AMD side you get access to the upcoming FreeSync monitor technology as well as the Radeon version of GPU clock boosting. With the Nvidia card you get access to their monitor syncing tech&mdash;G-Sync&mdash;as well as a host of other proprietary technologies.</p><p> One of the key ones Nvidia have been keen to talk about around the GTX 960 launch is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-finally-adds-mfaa-to-maxwell-gpus-with-34475-driver/" target="_blank">multi-frame anti-aliasing (MFAA)</a>.&nbsp;We spoke about this at the launch of the GTX 980 where it was first introduced, but essentially it’s a new method of anti-aliasing which approximates 4x MSAA by alternately using different 2x samples. MFAA then offers almost identical visual fidelity to 4x MSAA with the performance hit of only 2x MSAA.</p><p> Unfortunately it doesn’t work with every game, but where it does you’ll see a bit of a performance boost without a visual hit. It’s also synced with GeForce Experience, so you don’t necessarily have to spend ages digging around to set it up.</p><p> These are all just value-added extras though, and it has to come down to which card performs the best. Overall I think the GTX 960, especially in this beefy EVGA SuperSC trim, just about has the edge over the Radeon R9 285. But it’s a close run thing and I’d argue anybody buying either card for a top 1080p gaming PC wouldn’t regret their purchase.</p><p> But that still doesn’t make the GTX 960 particularly exciting. People are unlikely to go rushing out to ditch their existing GPU to make way for a GTX 960. No-one’s going to be trolling AMD forums shouting about their GTX 960 setup.</p><p> That won't stop it from selling an absolute shed-load.&nbsp;For the mid-range upgrade market it’s one of only two cards you’d look to for a powerful 1080p gaming rig.&nbsp;So, functional? Hell, yes.&nbsp;Exciting? No.</p><p> <strong>Benchmarks</strong></p><p> DirectX11 synthetic performance</p><p> Heaven 4.0 (2560x1600) - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (10) 20<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (11) 20<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (12) 20<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (12) 21</p><p> DirectX11 1080p gaming performance</p><p> Battlefield 4 - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (43) 64<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (39) 58<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (26) 48<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (34) 54</p><p> Bioshock Infinite - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (14) 73<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (19) 75<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (13) 66<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (17) 78</p><p> Company of Heroes 2 - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (22) 34<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (20) 32<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (12) 24<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (19) 33</p><p> GRID 2 - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (70) 90<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (70) 90<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (58) 75<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (68) 84</p><p> Shadow of Mordor - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (20) 37<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (16) 36<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (13) 25<br> MD Radeon R9 285 - (16) 45</p><p> DirectX11 1600p gaming performance</p><p> Metro: Last Light - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> EVGA GTX 960 SuperSC - (13) 18<br> Asus STRIX GTX 960 OC - (13) 18<br> Nvidia GTX 760 - (10) 15<br> AMD Radeon R9 285 - (13) 18</p><p> SLI 1600p gaming performance</p><p> Battlefield 4 - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> 2x Nvidia GTX 960 - (38) 62<br> Nvidia GTX 970 - (33) 52<br> Nvidia GTX 980 - (35) 61</p><p> GRID 2 - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> 2x Nvidia GTX 960 - (43) 60<br> Nvidia GTX 970 - (67) 84<br> Nvidia GTX 980 - (80) 101</p><p> Shadow of Mordor - (Min) Avg FPS: higher is better<br> 2x Nvidia GTX 960 - (8) 37<br> Nvidia GTX 970 - (29) 46<br> Nvidia GTX 980 - (21) 57</p> Her Story is a live-action crime story, now on Greenlighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/her-story-is-an-live-action-crime-story-now-on-greenlight/Experimental police procedural is due out early this year.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:49:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/her-story-is-an-live-action-crime-story-now-on-greenlight/AdventureGreenlightHer StoryNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VlvtPrg6T4ix.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/24SX0kcWHOJj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Her Story"></p><p>Now <em>this </em>is interesting. Live action in games may give you flashbacks to a bald man trying to conquer the world in Command &amp; Conquer (or, gods&nbsp;forbid, Night Trap), but I've long suspected it could be used in less, er,&nbsp;camp situations. Her Story looks like just that: it's a crime fiction game in which you search video interviews stored in a police database.</p><p>It's being created by Sam Barlow, who wrote Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and... actually, let's take a quick tangent.</p><p><strong>***A TANGENT***</strong></p><p>Sam Barlow also made Aisle, an interactive fiction game created back in 1999. It's a remarkable game&mdash;a single action story that changes its context based on what you tell your character to do. It was also remarkably effective as a tutorial for the genre. With one action to make, you're free to explore the limits of the text parser without consequence, letting you get a feel for what's possible to do. It's&nbsp;<a href="http://iplayif.com/?story=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ifarchive.org%2Fif-archive%2Fgames%2Fzcode%2FAisle.z5" target="_blank">well worth a play</a>.</p><p><strong>***END OF TANGENT***</strong></p><p>As for Her Story, it sounds like it'll be pretty easy to get to grips with. "If you can Google, you can play Her Story," writes Barlow on&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=374726365" target="_blank">the game's Greenlight page</a>.&nbsp;"The mechanic of searching for clips in the database is so simple that anyone can pick up and play. But it’s a mechanic that quickly reveals its richness and complexity. At times it can feel like you’re engaged in a genuine dialogue with this woman and her story. It’s a unique way to interact with a narrative, a sculptural way of viewing a story -- and something that can only be done interactively."</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wldus8AVdOM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you're interested, you can vote for the game on the aforementioned Greenlight page. Alternatively, head to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.herstorygame.com/" target="_blank">official Her Story website</a>.</p> Nvidia release GeForce GTX 960 mid-range Maxwellhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-release-geforce-gtx-960-mid-range-maxwell/Nvidia release their mid-range Maxwell option, the GTX 960Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:18:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-release-geforce-gtx-960-mid-range-maxwell/HardwareNewsNvidiaTech News <p>Nvidia have today launched their latest Maxwell GPU to the masses. And the GeForce GTX 960 is most definitely a card for the masses&mdash;as their latest mid-range graphics card release it has been designed to hit the 'sweet-spot'&mdash;1080p gaming at high settings at a decent price point.</p><p>The GeForce GTX 960 follows in the footsteps of the GTX 760, GTX 660 and GTX 560 before it. Inside is the new GM 206 GPU, built on the same Maxwell graphics architecture as the GTX 980 and GTX 970. Obviously we're talking about a smaller scale chip here though, with 'just' 2.94 billion transistors as opposed to the 5.2 billion in the GM 204 its bigger brothers use.&nbsp;</p><p>It uses just eighty SMM modules to support it's 1,024 CUDA core count, and with that comes sixty-four texture units and thirty-two ROPs.</p><p>The big news for the specs sheet is that it's only running a 128-bit bus compared with the 256-bit bus the GTX 980 and GTX 970 uses. Nvidia is using the same memory compression algorithms it used in the top Maxwell cards, so effective memory bandwidth is boosted, but it's still short of the old GTX 760.</p><p>But Nvidia is looking for the GeForce GTX 960 to replace even older cards. They estimate that&nbsp;two of three PC gamers are currently using either a GTX 660 or older GPU in their gaming rig.</p><p>We're putting the finishing touches to our GTX 960 review, but first impressions are that this card just about does what it needs to.&nbsp;Compared with the AMD Radeon&nbsp;R9 285 it just about has the edge at 1080p, but it's a rather close call.</p><p>Pricing is going to be key for a new mid-range card and at around $210 (£180) it's about where you would expect a top 1080p gaming card to be,&nbsp;and means it's definitely bumping heads with the Radeon..</p> Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic trailer takes it back to the '80shttp://www.pcgamer.com/pixel-heroes-byte-magic-trailer-takes-it-back-to-the-80s/Old-school roguelike due out next month.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:04:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pixel-heroes-byte-magic-trailer-takes-it-back-to-the-80s/NewsRoguelike <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gJvJ9frMQGaz.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Bm_LdrMP6D-0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PixelHeroes ByteAndMagic Overland"></p><p>Between this and the recent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/strafe-sidles-onto-kickstarter-has-interesting-trailer/" target="_blank">video for Strafe</a>, it seems like game trailers are slowly turning into&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaI6kBVyu00" target="_blank">Look Around You</a>. That, of course, is no bad thing. Where Strafe was planted firmly in the '90s, the trailer for Pixel Heroes: Byte &amp; Magic goes even further back&mdash;the mystical '80s. It was a time of floppy discs, chunky keyboards, and fictional investment bankers murdering to the sound of Phil Collins.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/MywzEfHUjOQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Naturally, there's some modern sensibilities working under all the old-school influence. For one thing, it's procedurally generated: with loot, layout and events all different each playthrough.</p><p>The roster of characters is also pretty broad. Thirty heroes are available in total, each with different skills and stats. You'll take three along with you on each journey&mdash;ensuring plenty of scope for mixing and matching different combinations as you tackle the permadeath adventure.</p><p>Also, apparently, you can "yell at the cat like a crazy idiot." So maybe that's a thing you'd like to do?</p><p>Pixel Heroes: Byte &amp; Magic is due out on 6 February.</p> Children of Morta brings family drama and dungeon crawling to Kickstarterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/children-of-morta-brings-family-drama-and-dungeon-crawling-to-kickstarter/Story-based hack 'n' slash adventure seeks $65,000.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/children-of-morta-brings-family-drama-and-dungeon-crawling-to-kickstarter/KickstarterNewsRoguelike <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/86MSyC4HVNI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> As the old adage goes, 'the family that hacks 'n' slashes together, stays together'. That's good news for the Bergsons&mdash;the leading family of dungeon crawling adventure Children of Morta. As the guardians of Mount Morta, they've got an evil corruption to rid the world of. And,&nbsp;as the stars of a&nbsp;pixelated roguelike on Kickstarter, they've got a series of gifs to be adorable in.</p><iframe width="100%" height="390" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KfSV5hZmQAed.gif" frameborder="0"> </iframe><iframe width="100%" height="390" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EXWggEeFS5mr.gif" frameborder="0"></iframe><p>Each Bergson has a different set of skills, and a distinct main story that plays out through the procedurally generated levels. In addition, the story is augmented by random events&mdash;ensuring variety in each family member's tale.</p><p>It's certainly a beautiful looking thing, quite apart from the robust-sounding RPG and adventuring systems detailed over at the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deadmage/children-of-morta" target="_blank">game's Kickstarter page</a>. Children of Morta is asking for&nbsp;$65,000, and has currently raised slightly over a third of that goal with 28 days still remaining.</p><p>If you're interested in backing, you can secure a digital copy of the game with a $15 pledge. Children of Morta is planned for release in late-2015.</p> Microsoft HoloLens hands on: the promise and disappointment of ARhttp://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-hololens-hands-on-the-promise-and-disappointment-of-ar/The HoloLens is impressive technology, but we're not convinced it's something we'd want to buy or use. Yet.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:54:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-hololens-hands-on-the-promise-and-disappointment-of-ar/HardwareHoloLensMicrosoftOculus RIFTTechWindows Holographic <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CXU07xkkRlKL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1u8XLnhQh35e.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft HoloLens Family Room RGB"></p><p>The Microsoft HoloLens is not what I think of when I hear the word “hologram.” “Hologram,” for me, brings a few very specific images to mind. A flickering blue Princess Leia, beamed out of R2-D2’s projector eye. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Holodeck, real as life. For children of the 80s, the glam pop dazzle of Jem and the Holograms. And if you watched CNN’s US presidential election coverage in 2008, some freakish real-life hybrid of the technology of Star Wars and Jem.</p><p>Microsoft’s HoloLens doesn’t really fit any of those molds. What Microsoft calls holograms, most of us have been calling augmented reality for years&mdash;overlaying digital images over our view of the real world. After trying on Microsoft’s headset, I came away impressed with the technology&mdash;especially if their final hardware is actually able to integrate all of the HoloLens’ necessary battery and processing power into a wire-free device&mdash;but skeptical that it will ever facilitate great AR games in its current form.</p><h2>The HoloLens AR demos</h2><p>Various augmented reality headsets have popped up at CES over the years, but none have taken off as consumer products. Google Glass has come the closest, but it’s a narrower form of augmented reality than Microsoft is shooting for with the HoloLens. </p><p>Where Google Glass gives you a small heads-up display, HoloLens is a much more powerful integrated system, capable of running real applications beyond a heads-up display of the weather or your calendar. Microsoft showed us four demos on unfinished dev kit hardware, which looked more like a delicate, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeble">greebly</a> headset than the svelte “final hardware” they showed off on stage at their keynote. The unfinished hardware also didn’t have the integrated battery or processing of the final unit. Those components resided in a five-or-so-pound pack I slung around my neck&mdash;not ideal, but not so heavy as to be uncomfortable in the short demo experiences. A cord kept me tethered to a power source, in an experience similar to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-at-ces-2015-crescent-bay-demo-and-open-source-vr/">the standing demo of the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay</a>.</p><p>Microsoft’s demos were designed to showcase the various AR implementations of the HoloLens. The first I tried was the most exotic: called OnSite, it put me on the surface of a 3D rendered surface of Mars. Microsoft designed OnSite with NASA JPL, and says this is actually software JPL is going to start using later this year. OnSite let me walk and look around the martian surface, and use an exaggerated tapping gesture&mdash;the only physical gesture any of the HoloLens demos supported&mdash;to ping or “flag” wherever I was looking. The best part of the demo was seeing how the 3D image I was looking at compared to the data that NASA gets from the Curiosity rover.</p><p>I looked at a computer monitor while wearing the headset, and saw a dense 2D image that I couldn’t make much sense of. That same imagery rendered in 3D, however, gave me a great feel for the Martian surface. Then I did something surreal&mdash;I moved the mouse cursor off the screen and into the “real” world, where I could see it through the augmented reality display of the HoloLens. That was a trip, and hints at the broader potential of the headset. I hope it’s a practical tool for NASA&mdash;because as cool as that little moment was, exploring Mars in augmented reality isn’t nearly as exciting or immersive as it would be in VR.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J3K5JaWnStqW.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EA5rCheIjcEy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft HoloLens PivotPoint RGB"></p><p>Let me explain. A VR headset, like the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay, takes up your entire field of vision with a display. You see nothing but the virtual world you inhabit. There are two major downsides to VR: one, because it requires an LCD screen, you need a very high pixel density display for a clear image. Two, you’re limited to entirely virtual creations, with none of the cool potential of mixing the real and the digital.</p><p>Microsoft’s HoloLens, in its current form, only projects an AR image onto your eyes in a rectangular area in the center of your field of vision. If AR was baseball, HoloLens would basically be hitting the strike zone&mdash;but we have a whole lot of vision outside of that zone, and it’s disappointingly limiting to see these “holograms” in such a small portion of our field of view. On Mars, for example, I’d have to look around to see more of the surface in my small rectangular vision zone, while my eyes were distracted by the walls of the demo room outside of that area.</p><p>It’s not immersive at all. I understand that NASA values the software for utility, not immersion, but while I was looking around, I couldn’t help but think how much better standing on the surface of Mars would’ve been in the Oculus Rift.</p><p>The last demo I tried was a game called Holobuilder. Most people would call it Minecraft. At least, it looks like Minecraft. It’s not the full game, just a prototype built out of Minecraft pieces to work in Holobuilder. The demo starts by scanning the room you’re in, then generating miniature voxel Minecraft scenery around the geometry of your room. Suddenly, there’s a Minecraft fortress on your coffee table, with a lake beneath it. When I used a voice command to switch to a digging tool, I could actually chip away at the material of a table and see through it to the virtual scenery below. It’s cool, and a little trippy&mdash;as long as you’re looking at things through the augmented reality rectangle.</p><p>The best part of the demo was the end, when the Microsoft rep encouraged me to dig through a wall and reveal that I could see through it. It made me want to walk through the wall to see more of the cave I’d just uncovered. And that’s the exciting potential of augmented reality&mdash;that it can change the way you view and interact with and think about a physical space.</p><p>But the limited size of the augmented reality area was still disappointing to me. There is a cool element of discovery in looking around, moving that viewing area across a room, and suddenly discovering something you didn’t see before out of the corner of your vision. But I’d gladly trade that for the scope and immersion of full-field-of-view AR.</p><p>Microsoft also demoed its 3D modeling program HoloStudio, which will allow you to 3D print the objects you craft. I think it could be an incredible playing and learning tool for kids, but it doesn’t allow for the fidelity to do real, professional 3D modeling. Weirdly enough, it was the most mundane demo that felt like the best use-case for augmented reality. And that demo was Skype.</p><p>I talked to a Microsoft engineer on Skype, who showed up in my augmented reality FOV as a floating video feed. I could pin that window anywhere in space and look back at it to see her talk. Meanwhile, she could see everything I was looking at, and talked me through the process of installing a light switch. She could also draw things on her Surface tablet screen and have them appear in front of my eyes, which she did multiple times to point to a certain tool or a wire I needed to connect.</p><p>Mundane as a Skype call might be, this perfectly demonstrated how practical augmented reality can be, and how it can transform a familiar technology into something more useful and fun. </p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CCZ8B5PWSxeO.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/p1f0mrTpRG44.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft HoloLens Skype RGB" class=""> <figcaption>Note: the actual Skype interface doesn't "pop" nearly this much, and the UI is more like the standard Widows Modern design.</figcaption></figure><h2>A hard road for VR</h2><p>At this point, I’m sold on virtual reality as a great user experience for games and 3D videos and photos. The feeling of “presence” Oculus has attained with its latest headset is incredible. I’m not sold on AR in its current form in the HoloLens. It’s by far the best AR headset I’ve ever seen, but the view is disappointingly limited, and all the demos I saw were too brief, and too staged, for me to get a feel for everyday use of this headset.</p><p>Then there are the looming questions. What's the deal with Windows Holographic?&nbsp;How much will HoloLens cost? How long will the battery last? When is it coming out? Who’s making software for it?</p><p>I believe Michael Abrash said that the technology AR is even more difficult to realize than VR, and I’m skeptical that the HoloLens will be the device to really and truly make it work. But it’s a promising step in that direction. It’s up to the software to give us a reason to use it.</p><p>And we probably shouldn't be calling this stuff holograms. That can only lead to disappointment.</p> Someone is making Dark Souls' Lordran in Minecrafthttp://www.pcgamer.com/someone-is-making-dark-souls-lordran-in-minecraft/It's beautiful.Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:24:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/someone-is-making-dark-souls-lordran-in-minecraft/Dark SoulsMinecraftNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DjzcZtPQTbaS.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_GN-IULYUc2_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2014-12-09 0131358409646"></p><p>Yes, you can make&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/giant-functioning-battle-robot-spotted-in-minecraft/">functioning battle mechs</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/minecraft-player-creates-word-processor-out-of-redstone/">word processors</a> in Minecraft, but this project is no less gruelling. Minecraft user Davweed is currently building Dark Souls' Lordran, and if you know anything about From Software's classic RPG you'll understand that it's a massive undertaking.&nbsp;</p><p>Easily one of the most stunning game worlds ever designed (if you ask me!), recreating Lordran&nbsp;isn't as simple as plotting out a 1:1&nbsp;scale model of the map. The way Lordran interconnects, and the sheer verticality of the map design makes for a pretty ambitious undertaking. The amount of precision required to recreate it with blocks is mind-boggling.&nbsp;</p><p>The best part about the project is that when it's&nbsp;complete, it&nbsp;will serve to help people appreciate just how beautifully constructed the original is.&nbsp;</p><p>Davweed hasn't completed the map, but what he has done can be downloaded&nbsp;<a href="http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/lordran-from-dark-souls-11-scale/">over here</a>. It's only 20 per cent complete but you can explore the entirety of Firelink Shrine and New Londo Ruins, as well as parts of Blighttown and Undead Asylum.&nbsp;</p><p>Cheers for the heads up,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/01/an-incredible-minecraft-recreation-of-dark-souls/">Kotaku</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lSX9t8MlTuCM.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y73bYu83GFK5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firelink"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/l2DLiS9JRdyp.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CRopU7zO6jjz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Firelink2"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wGrXfbK5Su6X.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e0hZ1q-pYBil.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Newlondo"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dni4SP5mQUCC.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8MUWmPHTt0KP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Undead"></p> Will Windows 10 be good for gaming?http://www.pcgamer.com/will-windows-10-be-good-for-gaming/Microsoft is offering free upgrades for a year, but how much will Windows 10 and DirectX 12 matter?Thu, 22 Jan 2015 00:25:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/will-windows-10-be-good-for-gaming/MicrosoftWindows 10 <p>I still use Windows 7, but I’m going to have to upgrade eventually, regardless of the terrible Modern UI-induced stress I get (what the crap is Xbox Music?). We’ll all have to upgrade <em>eventually</em>, because we’re going to want DirectX 12 features, right? So it’s great news for us that Microsoft will be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-upgrade-free-for-owners-of-windows-7-and-81/">offering free Windows 10 upgrades</a> for a year.</p><p>To clarify, Microsoft’s poorly-worded announcement made it sound to some like the free upgrade would eventually involve a subscription plan. What Microsoft meant was not “free upgrade for the first year,” but “upgrade for free within the first year.” It’s not a subscription: it’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-windows-10-will-not-be-sold-as-a-subscription/">a free, one-time upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10</a>, which includes free future updates, the way Windows has always worked.</p><p>My hope is that mass adoption of Windows 10 will defragment the PC gaming audience&mdash;we'll never all be on the same hardware (and wouldn't want it that way), but at least non-Linux PC gamers can be on the same version of Windows and DirectX. Back when Windows Vista launched, everyone who chose not to upgrade missed out on DirectX 10. Vista didn't have a lot of fans, because it was absolute garbage. If Windows 10 suffers the same fate, DirectX 12 (and I’m 99% sure the full features of DX12 won't be available on&nbsp;Windows 7) will go underutilized. But why would that happen if Windows 10 is free?</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1UNRhjA5T8in.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M6D0xQp9BAjs.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows 10"></p><p>I reached out to a few developers to chat about the news, and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gaslamp-games/">Gaslamp Games</a> CTO and lead programmer Nicholas Vining isn't as optimistic. Vining points out that only around 50% of Windows 7/8 users have DirectX 12-capable hardware (actually, it’s&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/DirectX12/status/558001496852148226">some number greater than 50%</a>, according to Microsoft, but apparently not high enough to note the difference). And even if they do have capable hardware, he says, that doesn’t mean their hardware will perform well, and there’s no guarantee they’ll all upgrade to Windows 10 even if it’s free. Lots of people, myself included, are perfectly happy with Windows 7.</p><p>“Developers, especially smaller ones like us, cannot afford to reduce our userbase down to whatever percent of the DirectX 12 hardware owning userbase decides to migrate to Windows 10,” wrote Vining by email. “It wouldn't be 50% of our user base; it might be somewhere between 8% and 10%, but we skew demographically older.”</p><p>Vining says that, for a small developer, the majority of the customers expect perfect performance out of the box “because Minecraft works on their machine, and it's 3D, so ‘why doesn't your game?’" He also points out that “if somebody gives you something free in the exciting world of computing and technology, that typically means you're the product.”&nbsp;</p><blockquote>“If somebody gives you something free in the exciting world of computing and technology, that typically means you're the product.”&nbsp;</blockquote><p>After the year of free upgrades, Microsoft will be selling Windows 10, but Vining's skepticism is fair&mdash;we don’t know exactly what else Microsoft may be planning. But we see that free upgrade window as a push to wash away&nbsp;the sins of Windows 8 and&nbsp;get as many people as possible onto one OS. The sooner Microsoft moves past Windows 8, the sooner they can stop putting out significant updates for it, freeing them up to focus on forward progress.</p><p>Shams Jorjani, VP of Acquisition, Portfolio Strategy &amp; Unicorn Division at <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/paradox-interactive/">Paradox Interactive</a>, didn't have any insight about unicorns, but did have a few things to say about DX 12. He seems somewhat indifferent to the advancement (and unsurprisingly fond of Paradox games).</p><p>"DX12 mainly means more advances in graphics&mdash;which means another step up in the technological arms race some devs/publishers enjoy participating in&mdash;and that's fine as it leaves more room for us, the connoisseur's choice,” wrote Jorjani. “What makes a Paradox game beautiful isn't necessarily shaders, tessellation, SSS, or other wizardry&mdash;just good gameplay. Then again, we have a few games that do look pretty so it's a win-win for us."</p><p>As for that “technological arms race,” we've yet to see exactly how DX12 will make games better in the wild, but the evidence so far looks good. DirectX 12 is intended to improve multi-threaded performance for games and let directors code 'closer to the metal,' with less overhead between their code and the CPU and GPU. Not all game developers need that level of control, however.</p><blockquote>"DirectX 12 is intended to improve multi-threaded performance for games and let directors code 'closer to the metal'"</blockquote><p>Intel <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-show-off-the-directx-12-performance-advantage/">showed off an impressive demo</a> back at SIGGRAPH 2014, and during today’s Windows 10 reveal event, Phil Spencer <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/21/microsofts-directx-12-graphics-performance-is-up-to-50-better-than-directx-11/">said that</a> “for CPU-bound games, DirectX 12 will increase the performance of those games by up to 50 percent.” That’s great, but it may be that the upgrade primarily matters to those who engage in the arms race&mdash;the Activisions and EAs&mdash;while the rest stay focused on supporting Windows 7.</p><p>With that perspective, it’s not really good news or bad news, just neutral news: upgrade for free to Windows 10 to get DX 12 features in whatever games utilize them, but don’t necessarily expect Windows 7 and DX 11 to be ditched. We may stay fragmented after all.</p><p>Even though I hate the sight of Windows 8, I do plan to upgrade to 10 to see what it can do. I’m a little nervous, though. Microsoft pushed a few things today that made me uneasy, such as the ability to stream Xbox One games to a PC. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the feature, but I’m wary of any more attempts to treat the PC like an Xbox companion.&nbsp;</p><p>Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with the functionality of the new DVR system, which will allow us to capture, edit, and share game footage, but I tend to back away from anything that seems to involve me more in the Microsoft ecosystem. Again, what the hell is Xbox Music? I want Windows to sit quietly and run my games, and I hope that Windows 10’s new features can be shushed.</p><p>As long as it doesn't&nbsp;intrude too much, though, I’ll be happy to take the free upgrade offer&mdash;even if I still think it looks like an OS designed for babies. There are also some important upgrades in Windows 10 that Windows 7 might not know&nbsp;they're missing&mdash;better performance across the board,&nbsp;much faster boot times and <em>far </em>better UI scaling for 4K+ resolutions, for example.</p><p>And then there’s the crazy augmented reality stuff, but I don’t know enough about that yet to know how much I care (we’ll have more on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-holographic-and-microsoft-hololens-announced/">Windows Holographic</a> soon). Knowing what we do know, do you plan to upgrade?</p> Nosgoth classes shown off in open beta launch trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nosgoth-classes-shown-off-in-open-beta-launch-trailer/The Nosgoth open beta has begun.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:41:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nosgoth-classes-shown-off-in-open-beta-launch-trailer/ActionNewsNosgothSquare Enix <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GrBjuz9lqLM?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> We mentioned last week that the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nosgoth/">Nosgoth</a> open beta was set to begin today, and so it has, right on schedule. The game is now available for free on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/200110/">Steam</a>, and to mark the big day Square Enix has pumped out a new trailer showing off the game's eight classes in action.</p><p> The multiplayer Nosgoth is based on a centuries-long, world-consuming war between humans and vampires. As the trailer makes abundantly clear, the human side of this conflict has access to some pretty sweet party favors, but they prove awfully squishy when the physically dominant vampires get in close.</p><p> It's free, as mentioned, but if you find yourself having enough fun to want to throw money at it, there are options for that as well, in the form of various "packs" ranging from $17 to $60. Oddly enough, I can't find any descriptions of what's actually in the packs, although they might be explained within the game itself&mdash;either way, you might want to exercise a little due diligence before you start waving your credit card around.</p> Microsoft: Windows 10 will not be sold as a subscriptionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-windows-10-will-not-be-sold-as-a-subscription/Microsoft clears upconfusionover the free Windows 10 upgrade.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:25:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-windows-10-will-not-be-sold-as-a-subscription/MicrosoftNewsWindows 10 <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1mc4FOxcRhCC.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xq5YV8etWI_C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows 10" class=""><figcaption>Image from the <a href="http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/01/21/the-next-generation-of-windows-windows-10/" target="_blank">Windows blog</a>.</figcaption></figure><p>At its press event today, Microsoft announced that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-upgrade-free-for-owners-of-windows-7-and-81/">Windows 10 will be a free upgrade</a> for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users during its first year of availability. There was some confusion, however, when Microsoft's Terry Myerson started talking about Windows 10 "as a service." Did that mean that <em>after </em>that first year of free availability, Windows 10 would cost an annual fee? I asked Myerson for clarification after the presentation, and he confirmed that there will be no additional fees attached to Windows 10, whenever you buy it.</p><p>Myerson clarified that Windows 10 users will still get free updates and support for the lifetime of the OS, exactly like past versions of Windows (like XP and Windows 7's Service Packs, for example). There's no subscription model for updates or support or continuing to use the OS. Myerson's reference to Windows "as a service" simply meant that Microsoft plans to update the OS with smaller, more regular updates rather than the big, chunky updates of past Service Packs.</p><p>A year after Windows 10 is first available, it will no longer be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users.&nbsp;Microsoft will then sell Windows 10&nbsp;the same way it has sold past versions of Windows. MS&nbsp;hasn't set a specific price yet, but Myerson said the price will likely be comparable to past versions of Windows. Windows 8 costs $120 on Amazon, for instance.</p><p><strong>Update: </strong>It seems there's still confusion. It is very clear from&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/01/21/the-next-generation-of-windows-windows-10/">this post</a> that for the first year it's available, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free if you have Windows 7 or 8. You will not pay for it. After that year is up, nothing will happen to your Windows 10 license. If you do not upgrade within that year, however, you will have to pay for an upgrade. The <em>offer</em> expires after a year, not the upgrade.</p> Why I Love: Midgar in Final Fantasy 7http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-midgar-in-final-fantasy-7/Returning to Final Fantasy's finest location.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:23:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love-midgar-in-final-fantasy-7/Final FantasyRPGWhy I Love <div> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UkyeWgD1QSej.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gS7LcONAPMrm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midgarrrrr"> </p> </div> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">WHY I LOVE</h5> <p> In&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-i-love/">Why I Love</a>, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Tom goes back to Midgar which he should marry because he loves it so much. </p> </div><p> I played Final Fantasy 7 at a formative age, when art and music leaves an afterimage on the soul that never fades. I can't help it. I'm behaviourally conditioned to feel things when Nobou Uematsu's score ushers in the train in 7's opening cutscene.&nbsp;It must look so old and frayed to eyes brought up on modern HD fare, but it makes me want to grab the&nbsp;nearest human and show them the best bit, when the camera flies up to show Midgar in all its disgusting splendour, and then pushes you down again into its guts. "Look at <em style="background-color: initial;">that!</em> Look at that magnificent belching shithole!" I'll shout before my captive has chance to call for help.</p><p> Nostalgia makes it difficult to think analytically about Midgar. For a 13 year old kid in the UK with no proper internet that city&nbsp;was a breathtaking vision of industrial living gone wrong. Midgar was my Blade Runner. Years later I'd discover manga and Akira's animated bike battles, but until then Midgar also served as my only contact with Japanese pop culture, and I wanted more.&nbsp;I took every slim&nbsp;opportunity the game presented to go back and steal more ethers from the NPCs' unsecured homes.</p><p> Even today, I'm struck by the detail in every shot. it's a place full of rubble, twisted rebars and broken chain link fences. And pipes. In hindsight, Squaresoft probably went too far with the pipes, but they're part of Midgar's contradictory identity. It's a place that runs on electricity, steam and magic all at the same time, but for all of that infrastructure, it's falling apart. Technology here&nbsp;has&nbsp;become an ugly, suffocating force.&nbsp;When you eventually escape to the world map&mdash;finally, sunshine!&mdash;you&nbsp;see the city for what it is, a&nbsp;huge black bruise, sucking the life out of the surrounding wasteland.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A9wrYbadSCC2.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/E8iEDSRmgm2E.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midgar 1" style="background-color: initial;" class=""><figcaption>Midgar doesn't seem like the sort of place that has a fire service. Or running water to put fires out with. Got any ice materia, Cloud?</figcaption></figure><p> I love it, but it's easy to romanticise these things in hindsight. Let's&nbsp;remind ourselves of Midgar's &nbsp;humble origins.&nbsp;UK editor Sam Roberts once&nbsp;spoke to FF7 art director Yusuke Naora, who said the city was inspired by a pizza he saw one day when he was stuck for ideas. Midgar <em>is</em> a pizza, divided into two tiers that separate rich from poor. The Shinra tower squats in the middle,&nbsp;a big corporate middle finger that looms over citizens below, while the pizza's slices are&nbsp;vast residential sectors separated by concrete walls. It remains a grim, if overly literal representation of a divided society, and the story does a great job of wringing tension out of Midgar's most obvious design flaw&mdash;<em>what if the top tier&nbsp;falls?</em></p><p> You spend the opening act of the game exploring shanty towns far below the iron sky. They seem to have been&nbsp;squeezed into the city's cracks as an afterthought. The homeless sleep in broken pipes, traders hoard scrap from collapsed pillars and roadways. Objects that aren't completely necessary are never repaired. The architecture tells you everything. Human habitation is secondary to the city's primary purpose, which is to suck resources out of the planet for profit. It's a god-sized factory that your employers&mdash;the resistance/terrorist group AVALANCHE&mdash;want to destroy.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oHxRzzsOQeeC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wj2C85qZvrfi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Midgar 3" class=""><figcaption>These My Bloody Valentine posters are the first of a number of music references in FF7. The giant&nbsp;Sister Ray laser that's later attached to the Midgar reactor is surely&nbsp;a reference to the&nbsp;Velvet Underground song. This is funny when you consider Sister Ray's&nbsp;recurring lyrical motif&nbsp;"they said I couldn't hit it sideways, I couldn't hit it sideways".</figcaption></figure><p> That ought to make Midgar a completely miserable place, but the first act guides you between heartwarming pockets of humanity. There's Aeris' church, lit by a ray of sunlight that's found a way through the metal ceiling. There's Tifa's bar, and the bars and shops of Wall Market. Final Fantasy 7's NPCs tend to&nbsp;bark their deepest frustrations, hopes and dreams at you whenever you try to talk to them. It seems silly initially, but as you explore those blunt statements collectively create an impression of Midgar's citizens. They're suffering, but they're plucky, and mostly keen to make the best of a bad deal.</p><p> There's huge appetite out there for a Final Fantasy 7 remake, no doubt encouraged by luscious fan service projects like Advent Children. I'd settle for a version that rescued the original background art, cruelly down-rezzed to run on a Playstation 1. The static pre-rendered backgrounds are old-fashioned, but they give us a curated tour of Midgar. Shots pan down from rooftop to street-level. Sometimes the camera is hung high, amid the cables. They allowed old hardware to show ambitious scenes, like the battle for sector seven's vast supporting pillar, but they're also a series of postcards that imply greater scale and detail than a huge interactive 3D model might. A movable camera gives you the freedom to find flaws. Better that Midgar's streets remain preserved in those memorable freeze-frames forever, as gross and evocative as the day they first graced my old CRT monitor.</p> World of Warships adds aircraft carriers for upcoming beta weekendhttp://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-adds-aircraft-carriers-for-upcoming-beta-weekend/World of Warships' "Wings Over the Water" beta weekend begins on Friday.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:22:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-adds-aircraft-carriers-for-upcoming-beta-weekend/MMONewswargaming.netWorld of Warships <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LpD9ZW4664k" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Wargaming.net is holding another <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships/">World of Warships</a> beta weekend, and this one will feature the addition of a major new feature: Aircraft carriers have finally arrived.</p><p> These floating garages&nbsp;have the ability to launch three types of aircraft squadron into battle&mdash;fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers&mdash;and, just like their real-world counterparts, promise to dramatically change the balance of the game. "Now you can finally witness the rock-paper-scissors dynamics of the game when battleships, cruisers, destroyers and aircraft carriers clash on the high seas," Wargaming.net wrote.</p><p> The beta weekend will also see the addition of Japanese battleships Yamato and Nagato, the cruiser Mogami, and the destroyer Shimakaze, while the US side will get the Pensacola cruiser, the Fletcher destroyer, and the Essex aircraft carrier. Crew mechanics have been "reimagined," while modernizations will enable ship improvements to suit particular styles of play, and players may now fight alongside one another in "divisions" of up to three people.</p><p> The "<a href="http://worldofwarships.eu/en/news/common/beta-weekend-2/">Wings Over the Water</a>" beta weekend begins on January 23&mdash;that's Friday&mdash;and runs through January 25. To find out more about the game before you leap into the fray, have a look at our pre-flattop <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-hands-on-captaining-a-warship-is-easier-than-it-looks/">hands-on</a> from September.</p> Remember Me studio reveals Vampyr, a new action RPG http://www.pcgamer.com/remember-me-studio-reveals-vampyr-a-new-action-rpg/Vampyr will cast players in the role of an undead doctor during the time of the Spanish Flu.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:31:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/remember-me-studio-reveals-vampyr-a-new-action-rpg/ActionDontnod EntertainmentFocus Home InteractiveNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0KYpMQyGSMaM.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t7X8tKi-W_x7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Vampyr"></p><p>The big project currently underway at Paris-based developer Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind the 2013 release <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/remember-me/">Remember Me</a>, is <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange/">Life Is Strange</a>, a game about a young woman who returns to her hometown after an extended absence and becomes embroiled in a metaphysical mystery surrounding the disappearance of an old classmate. But yesterday it revealed that it has another game on the go as well, and this one is going to suck.</p><p>Because it's about vampires!</p><p>I'm here all week.&nbsp;</p><p>Vampyr was revealed in a <a href="https://twitter.com/FocusHome/status/557541714739867648">tweet</a> by publisher Focus Home Interactive, which included a photo of a suitably gloomy-looking chap glancing over his shoulder and a promise that "the blood will drip!" According to <a href="http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2015/01/20/new-rpg-vampyr-in-development-at-dontnod-entertainment-set-after-world-war-one/">thesixthaxis</a>, it will be an action&nbsp;RPG set immediately after the First World War, in which players take on the role of a doctor treating victims of the Spanish Flu. He's transformed into a vampire after being bitten by one of his patients, and soon finds himself thrown into the morally-murky world of the Nosferatu, where his Hippocratic Oath runs headlong into an overwhelming desire to suck the lifeblood out of everything with a pulse.</p><p>As ideas go, I really dig this one, although there's not much more to it than that at this point, and no further details or a release target have been announced. Dontnod's Life Is Strange, meanwhile, comes out on January 30.</p> Windows Holographic and Microsoft HoloLens announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/windows-holographic-and-microsoft-hololens-announced/HOLOGRAMS! Microsoft's big surprise for Windows 10 is Windows Holographic and a wireless augmented reality headset, the HoloLens.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:23:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-holographic-and-microsoft-hololens-announced/HardwareHoloLensMicrosoftMust ReadNewsTechWindows 10Windows Holographic <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vB1WSBtUSVu9.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VdJxeWKRvU8f.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft Hololens Official"></p><p>At its Windows 10 event in Redmond today, Microsoft announced a new component of Windows 10: Windows Holographic, a version of its OS built for an augmented reality headset called the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us">HoloLens</a>. Unlike a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift, which create images on an LCD display and entirely immerse you in a virtual environment, Microsoft's HoloLens uses transparent lenses to project images into the world around you.</p><p> Microsoft used a sizzle reel for Windows Holographic to show off potential uses: building Minecraft-style voxel constructions on your living room coffee table, simulating the Martian landscape, or doing industrial design in three dimensions. Then Microsoft brought out a HoloLens headset to demo it live with a new program called HoloStudio.</p><p> HoloStudio is a bit like a 'My First 3D Modeling Program.' Microsoft demoed the headset by putting together some basic geometric shapes to assemble a simple-looking quadrocopter. The payoff of HoloStudio is that it can output files to a 3D printer to be built in the real world.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/meGZY4esTeuF.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/--ZpxaYYMpZ9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft Hololens Demo"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BCOn0nqCRs-R.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cYvBKdF5ykxc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Microsoft Hololens Quadcopter"></p><p> The HoloStudio demo notably didn't show an interaction between 'holograms' and the real world. It's one thing to be able to project those images for the viewer wearing the headset&mdash;it'll be far more difficult to integrate those projections into real tasks in a meaningful way, like adding 3D modeling data to the motorcycle in the sizzle video.</p><p> The HoloLens itself is an impressive-looking headset. It's fully wireless, and Microsoft says it has a powerful built-in CPU and GPU, with a third "holographic processing unit" designed to handle reading data about the world around you. The holographic processor&nbsp;"gives us the ability to understand where you're looking, your gestures, your voice," Microsoft said.&nbsp;"To spatially map the entire world around us. And to run without any wires all while processing terabytes of information from all of these sensors in real time."</p><p> We'll be getting a hands-on (and eyes-in) demo of the HoloLens, so stay tuned for impressions, and our thoughts about how it could fit into&nbsp;PC gaming.</p> Fable Legends coming to PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-coming-to-pc/The PC version of Fable Legends will feature cross-platform play with the Xbox One.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:47:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-coming-to-pc/Fable LegendsLionhead StudiosMicrosoftNewsRPGWindows 10 <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VInHaTtFSVU" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> [<strong>Update:</strong> A new teaser video has made its way to the tubes, and, more importantly, a <a href="https://www.fablelegends.com/news/got-questions-about-windows-10">PC-centric FAQ</a> is now up on the Fable Legends website. System requirements have not been announced, but Lionhead confirmed that it will be a Windows 10 exclusive, and will support DirectX 12 graphics options as long as you're rocking a DX12 video card.</p><p> The game is expected to launch simultaneously on both platforms, but the beta testing schedule will be different&mdash;and speaking of that, you can sign up for it <a href="https://www.fablelegends.com/betasignup">right here</a>. The FAQ says the Windows 10 beta will begin "soon," but as we all know, that's a pretty squishy term; and of course, since it's a Windows 10 exclusive, you'll also need to be taking part in that "technical preview" as well. Do so <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-iso">here</a>.&nbsp;]</p><p> Original story:</p><p> Microsoft has announced at today's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10/">Windows 10</a> event that Fable Legends, the latest chapter in Lionhead's long-running Fable series, is heading to the PC, and will feature cross-platform play with the Xbox One version of the game.</p><p> "We think enabling people to play multiplayer games on Windows 10, across Xbox One and Windows 10, will unlock the potential of Xbox Live and grow [the] social network that's there today," Xbox boss Phil Spencer said, as reported by <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2015/1/21/7867539/fable-legends-coming-to-pc-features-cross-platform-play-with-xbox-one">Polygon</a>.</p><p> Fable Legends on PC is cool, but the big development here is the promise of widespread cross-platform play between Windows 10 and the Xbox One. If that actually catches on (and call me a relentless pessimist if you will, but I think that's still a pretty big "if"), it could have a huge impact on the PC gaming space, and Microsoft's presence in it.</p><p> Fable Legends is set to come out later this year.</p> Microsoft announces Xbox One game streaming to Windows PC and tabletshttp://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-announces-xbox-one-game-streaming-to-windows-pc-and-tablets/Microsoft's new Xbox app for Windows 10 will support game streaming from the Xbox One console.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:37:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-announces-xbox-one-game-streaming-to-windows-pc-and-tablets/HardwareMicrosoftNewsTechWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VetIxf1eR6O0.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JQO7M-Y94c2n.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Xbox One Streaming"></p><p>At its Windows 10 event today, Microsoft announced that its Windows 10 Xbox app will support game streaming from the Xbox One console. That means that Windows 10 PCs and tablets will be able to stream games from an Xbox One console.</p><p>"WIth Windows 10, we will enable streaming Xbox One games to any Windows 10 PC or tablet in your home later this year," said Microsoft's Phil Spencer. Spencer demoed the game streaming by pulling up the Xbox app on a Surface Tablet running Windows 10. The app showed all of the games installed on an Xbox One connected to the same network. To play a game on the tablet, he right-clicked Forza&nbsp;and selected a "Stream from Xbox One option," then started driving with a synced Xbox One controller.</p><p>The game looked great, and is likely using a similar video encoding technique (encoding video on the host Xbox One, then decoding it on the client PC or tablet)&nbsp;to other streaming services like Steam's In-Home streaming. To stop playing the game, Spencer pulled up the Xbox One UI and shut off the console remotely.</p><p>It was a short demo, so we still have questions for Microsoft about how this works, and whether the Xbox One will be able to handle 1080p, 60 fps streaming to consoles.</p><p> But that entire library of exclusive Xbox One games? You'll be able to play those on any PC or tablet in your house. As long as you own an Xbox One, of course.</p> Win one of 1000 Heroes of the Storm beta keyshttp://www.pcgamer.com/win-one-of-1000-heroes-of-the-storm-beta-keys/Enter by this Friday at noonfor a chance to win abeta key for Blizzard's brawler!Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:22:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/win-one-of-1000-heroes-of-the-storm-beta-keys/GiveawaysHeroes of the StormMOBA <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9AWzH7HUT3O0.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Digc1RgXjF7p.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heroes of the Storm"></p><p> The invigorating chill we collectively felt this morning was Blizzard rolling through the office&nbsp;to drop off 1000&nbsp;<a href="http://us.battle.net/heroes/en/" target="_blank">Heroes of the Storm</a> beta keys, which we're of course giving away to you.</p><p> These keys will <strong>only work in North America </strong>(the&nbsp;EU giveaway is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/eu-giveaway-win-one-of-1000-heroes-of-the-storm-beta-keys/">over here</a>),&nbsp;and will grant you Heroes of the Storm beta access through to the game's free-to-play release. Rather than giving&nbsp;them all away in five minutes of furious key claiming, we're going to allow&nbsp;more readers a fair chance at scoring one with a raffle. You have from now until this&nbsp;<strong>Friday, January 23 at 12 p.m. PST</strong> to enter&mdash;at that time, the keys will be distributed to <strong>1000 random winners</strong>. Use the form below to enter!</p><iframe id="gdkframe" width="730" height="315" src="http://eb.godankey.com/?id=Q201VE1BRTJBR0E9&amp;bg=383838&amp;font=ff0052" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> If you're one of the lucky 1000, you can redeem your beta code&nbsp;on Friday with the following method:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> 1.Go to <a href="http://www.battle.net/code" target="_blank">www.battle.net/code</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> 2.Create a Battle.net account. If you already have one, log in.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> 3.Enter your closed beta key into the field provided.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> 4.Download and install Heroes of the Storm and the free Battle.net desktop app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"> 5.When installation is complete, press ‘Play’ in the Battle.net desktop app.</p><p> <em>If you win a code and have&nbsp;any problems redeeming it, please e-mail us at letters@pcgamer.com for help.</em></p> Windows 10 upgrade free for owners of Windows 7 and 8.1http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-upgrade-free-for-owners-of-windows-7-and-81/Got old Windows? Get new Windows, free.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:27:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-upgrade-free-for-owners-of-windows-7-and-81/NewsWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZHn6ZqhtT9G7.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Kitw4JVAM5Pb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows 7 Free"></p><p>Fresh news from Microsoft's painfully aspirational&nbsp;<a href="http://news.microsoft.com/windows10story/" target="_blank">Windows 10 briefing</a>. Owners of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Microsoft's upcoming OS.&nbsp;The free upgrade will be available throughout&nbsp;the first year of Windows 10's life.</p><p>That's a&nbsp;pretty big deal&mdash;Microsoft no doubt realises that people are hanging on happily to Windows 7, but the chance of a free upgrade could prove tempting. For PC gamers, it'll mean free access to DirectX 12, which won't be supported by Windows 7.</p><p>We'll have more from the briefing as it happens. For the most part, it's just a series of people saying "devices" in different degrees of sincerity and urgency.</p> Soul Axiom trailer shows sci-fi adventure, spatial puzzlinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/soul-axiom-trailer-shows-sci-fi-adventure-spatial-puzzling/First-person exploration puzzler from the makers of Master Reboot.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:27:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/soul-axiom-trailer-shows-sci-fi-adventure-spatial-puzzling/AdventureNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9XS0kUddTEST.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nc1gQO0Iu8rJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Soul Axiom"></p><p>The traditional complaint is that January is a quiet time for games. It's all a lie&mdash;a conspiracy orchestrated by Big Games to hide the fact that games are&nbsp;happening all of the time. Like rats, you're never more than a few feet away from a game. There could be one behind you right now.</p><p>There's definitely one in front of you. It's called Soul Axiom, and it's been on Early Access since last month. It doesn't look like we've&nbsp;covered it before&mdash;there are <em>a lot </em>of games&mdash;but a new trailer gives me&nbsp;an excuse to take a look.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/R3fVQaGYySw?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Here's a quick blast from the trailer's description, which should give some idea of what it's all about:</p><p><em>"</em><em>As the latest state of the art Digital Soul Provider, Elysia is a sprawling server where your memories and dreams become reality. Our patented SoulSync system allows you to choose the memories you want to enjoy for eternity; whether you are a living user or you simply wish to leave a lasting testament of your life that the whole family can relive at their leisure."</em></p><p>Okay, maybe not then. In plainer terms, you'll be exploring environments and solving puzzles in a game designed by the makers of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/master-reboot-a-gorgeous-indie-horror-adventure-set-inside-the-cloud-no-not-that-one/" target="_blank">Master Reboot</a>.</p><p>The full release of Soul Axiom is due for later this year.</p> The death of the subscription MMOhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-death-of-the-subscription-mmo/In the wake of The Elder Scrolls Online's move away from monthly subs, the team discusses the demise of subscriptions.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:29:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-death-of-the-subscription-mmo/MMOThe Elder Scrolls Online <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XMJopkPjSzyr.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oMEZGw5xQqc6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Teso"></p><p>The inevitable has happened. Today Bethesda announced that&nbsp;The Elder Scrolls Online will be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online-drops-subscription/">dropping the subs model</a> in favour of an "ESO plus" system that seemingly lets you pick and choose bits of new content you want to pay for. Bar a few key holdouts like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Wildstar and Eve Online, the monthly payment model has fallen our of favour. Is the subscription MMO finally dead?</p><p> <strong>Chris Thursten</strong></p><p> Yes. It died last year, I’d argue, but its death stretches back a lot further than that. The notion of the themepark MMO fundamentally devalued the monthly fee. When I started playing Ultima Online, the subscription was a big ask&mdash;particularly as a teenager with a limited amount to spend&mdash;but, equally, a signifier of the game’s unique promise. You had to pay a monthly fee because the notion of a persistent world was so audacious that it required a full-time team of developers to maintain it.</p><p> Steadily, that maintenance job has become less demanding. Always-on servers are no longer the staggering feat of human ingenuity that they once seemed to be. Repeatable content in an unchanging world is the assumed norm. The job of MMO worldcraft got simpler, in some ways, and the subscription rapidly became an anachronism. Guild Wars figured this out in 2005. It was a lucrative anachronism, however, and as such it has survived almost a decade since.</p><p> As the number of people willing to shell out every month wane, I suspect we’ll see the number of extant subscription MMOs dwindle until only World of Warcraft is left. Even then, I don’t think Blizzard will ever return to the model. Look at how grasping Heroes of the Storm’s payment structure is&mdash;a monthly £8.99 is no longer the goal. If they can get you to pay more than that, more regularly, they will.</p><p> It likely goes further than the subscription fee. I suspect that the MMO itself is facing a long sabbatical. They’re expensive to make, difficult to run, and there hasn’t been a sustainable success in the genre for years. I think a break could be a good thing. I want to see new MMOs, with bigger ideas&mdash;stuff like Elite and Star Citizen is a good start. That old dream of a persistent world is still largely unrealised, and it’s still something I’d pay a monthly fee for.</p><p><strong>Tom Senior</strong></p><p>I wonder about the millions companies have been invested&nbsp;chasing World of Warcraft's success. The subscription MMO used to be the golden goose you might bet a company on but for the last few years the free-to-play shift has become an inevitable landmark in a new MMO's life cycle (though you'll still have to buy the original game, so TESO isn't quite&nbsp;free-to-play yet). A modern player paying ten dollars a month expects more than server uptime. We want more features, zones, dungeons. It's a demand most companies aren't prepared to meet.</p><p>But is the death of the subscription fee bad for online games? I wonder, because alternative&nbsp;convoluted micropayment systems can wreck a game.&nbsp;Take The Old Republic, which filled the non-subbing player experience with manufactured inconveniences with the clear hope that players would cave and pay a sub out of frustration. The restrictions have softened a little since ToR's initial F2P incarnation, but even today it's extremely difficult to assess what precisely you'll get for your money. You have to go to <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/wiki/f2p">Reddit</a>, where users have laid it out in a useful but alarming monetization grid.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KVFRSXHfTreA.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ezSbL-D1Rbsx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Old Republic Subs Reddit"></p><p>Nobody wants this. I mean, <em>look</em> at it. There are so many game vying for our attention that the moment I'm confronted with something like the above, I'm gone. I'm off to space in Elite: Dangerous, or I'm going back to Guild Wars 2, games that I trust to charge me only for frivolous details like paint jobs and prettier armour. I hope I'm not alone. The only way that kind of design disappears if it stops making lots of money. We'll have to wait until March to see precisely how TESO's new approach will work.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts</strong></p><p>It’s interesting that Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been cited as a significant success by Square Enix when the likes of WildStar have struggled. That game seems to speak so specifically to that audience in its fanservice-laden art direction and soundtrack choices, which is the smart approach for a series with that much history, and as such it’s managed to weather a complete reboot. If FFXIV can succeed with its current subscription model after tanking so heavily in its original form, it can’t be beyond other MMOs to do the same.</p><p> <strong>Phil Savage</strong></p><p> Is the subscription MMO dead? I don't think anyone was kidding themselves it was alive. Did a Bethesda executive sit bolt upright one night and realise that a terrible mistake had been made? Doubtful. More likely is that MMOs are made with an exit strategy in mind; a plan to front-load a game's post-release profits before transitioning to a funding model that can sustain it long-term. Maybe that's a cynical view, but the alternative is that MMO developers really think their subscription plan will be the one that makes it.</p><p> Just from an update standpoint, the subscription model is hard to sustain. If maintenance is no longer a good justification for a monthly payment, then developers need to produce regular and meaningful new content. That's hard to do: of last year's MMO hopefuls, Wildstar is struggling, and TESO&mdash;well, that's why we're writing this. And to be clear, it's only new MMOs that need to do this. World of Warcraft's subscription isn't going anywhere, and yet its among the worst MMOs for new content. Its monthly fee exists more out of habit than out of value to its subscribers.</p><p> Given all that, it's natural that the audience is going to be suspicious of a subscription. If an MMO is almost certainly going free-to-play, then why would people buy it when there's still a monthly fee? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The first year of an MMOs life is filled with people wanting it to fail, purely so they can play it. That's an absurd scenario, and why developers should stop stringing up the subscription's corpse and trying to make it dance.</p> STRAFE sidles onto Kickstarter, has interesting trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/strafe-sidles-onto-kickstarter-has-interesting-trailer/A '90s-style FPS calls for a '90s-style advert.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:24:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/strafe-sidles-onto-kickstarter-has-interesting-trailer/FPSKickstarterNews <p>What better way to announce a '90s-style FPS than with a '90s-style trailer. This, the Kickstarter pitch video for the old-school aping shooter STRAFE, is certainly <em>EXTREME</em>. Could it even be <em>RADICAL</em>?</p><iframe width="640" height="480" src="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strafegame/strafe/widget/video.html" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> </iframe><p>Having used up my memory's supply of '90s slang, I am now out of exclamations for this paragraph. Er, <em>COWABUNGA</em>?</p><p>What's Strafe, then? It's a procedurally generated shooter featuring randomised levels. That's not very '90s, to be honest, but the game's reliance on pick-ups and secrets is. At the start, you'll pick one of three guns, and then be set loose through an enemy-filled set of levels, looking for new guns and power-ups to help you slaughter your way to the end.</p><p>The developers are looking for&nbsp;$185,096 on Kickstarter to make Strafe a reality. So far, they've raised $36,000 with 28 days of their campaign remaining. For more, head over to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strafegame/strafe/description" target="_blank">that Kickstarter page</a>. Also, there's this:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.strafe1996.com/" target="_blank">the official Strafe internet web page</a>.</p> The Elder Scrolls Online drops subscriptionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online-drops-subscription/Bethesda Softworks is relaunching its MMO as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online-drops-subscription/Bethesda SoftworksMMOMust ReadNewsThe Elder Scrolls OnlineZenimax Online Studios <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6mMX6F-eRuqq.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ks17mvL-jfVI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Elder Scrolls Online Craglorn"></p><p>Raise your wands if you didn't see this one coming. Okay, that's no-one. Yes, like night following a particularly reliable day,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online/">The Elder Scrolls Online</a> is dropping its subscription.&nbsp;Rumors of the switch&nbsp;have been around for a&nbsp;while now, fuelled by the elimination of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online-removes-six-month-subs-f2p-rumours-abound/">six-month subscription</a> option in December, followed by&nbsp;the removal of TESO boxes from EB Games shelves in Australia <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elder-scrolls-online-reportedly-removed-from-retail-shelves-amid-free-to-play-rumours/">earlier this month</a>. Now, finally, it's confirmed: Bethesda Softworks has announced that the game's subscription will cease&nbsp;as of March, at which point it will be known as&nbsp;The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.</p><p>It won't be fully free-to-play&mdash;you'll still have to purchase the game if you want in&mdash;but once you own it, you'll be able to play online to your heart's content, with full access to all previously-released updates and content, including the new <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-elder-scrolls-online-adding-champions-and-justice-in-january/">Champion and Justice</a> systems. Those who already own The Elder Scrolls Online will need to do nothing, as all existing accounts will be automatically updated to the new version.</p><p>Dedicated fans will have the option of ponying up for "ESO Plus" memberships. Available in 30, 90, and 180-day durations, these will offer access to all future DLC, which Bethesda said will consist of "game packs with optional adventure content," like zones and quests. Access to these optional areas will be lost if and when your membership expires, but any items or rewards earned from those areas will be kept.&nbsp;</p><p>ESO Plus memberships will also provide "character progression bonuses," and an allotment of crowns, the new in-game currency that will be used to purchase "convenience and customization items" like pets and mounts, as well as the aforementioned DLC, which will be available separately from ESO Plus memberships on an a-la-carte basis.</p><p>Current TESO subscriptions that extend beyond the changeover will be automatically transitioned to ESO Plus memberships, and TESO players who have previously cancelled their subscriptions can leap back into the subs-free&nbsp;action using their old account info (and will be given 500 complimentary crowns for doing so). Refunds on existing subscriptions will not be offered.</p><p>As we hinted, ever-so-subtly, at the beginning of this post, this is an entirely unsurprising outcome. There are plenty of quality free-to-play MMO options already on the market&mdash;and while the realm of Tamriel looks to be an ideal setting for an MMO on the surface, there's a big difference between experiencing a game world as the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_III:_Morrowind">Nerevarine</a>,&nbsp;and experiencing it&nbsp;as Rando Battlemage #22627. I don't think The Elder Scrolls Online was ever able to shed its reputation for being over-hyped and under-delivered, and generic fantasy MMO experiences just aren't enough to justify 15 bucks a month in this era.</p><p>I'm also a little iffy about Bethesda's plans for Tamriel Unlimited. Bethesda hasn't yet indicated what the purchase price will be but the standard edition of TESO is <a href="http://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/joinus">$60</a>, and it's not unreasonable to assume that figure will hold, at least for a little while. Add on the cost of future game packs, mounts, and whatever else catches your fancy, and I can't help but wonder if even the sub-free version of the game might be a little too pricey for its own&nbsp;good.</p><p>The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited goes live on March 17. ZeniMax Online Studios will talk more about the coming changes in a <a href="http://twitch.tv/zenimaxonlinestudios">Twitch stream</a> starting at 12 pm EST on January 21, and if reading is more your thing, you can get more detail in this handy <a href="http://elderscrollsonline.com/faq">FAQ</a>.</p> Elite: Dangerous patch 1.1 preview: Community Goals revealedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-patch-11-preview-community-goals-revealed/We talk toMichael Brookes aboutpatch 1.1's newCommunity Goals featureWed, 21 Jan 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-patch-11-preview-community-goals-revealed/Elite: DangerousFrontiersim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OUDlz30LSQW5.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V0iVK5TzGFls.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite Dangerous Review"></p><p>PC Gamer can reveal the&nbsp;new feature at the centre of&nbsp;Elite: Dangerous's first major content update. Called 'Community Goals,' these collaborative missions will be introduced in the&nbsp;1.1 patch&mdash;due for release in early February. I talked to Elite's&nbsp;executive producer&nbsp;Michael Brookes about what this&nbsp;new addition entails.</p><p>"Community Goals are a new type of story-driven collaborative event," Brookes says. "Already players are working together to influence the power struggles in our galaxy, but Community Goals are a shared objective we can generate to allow vast numbers of players to collaborate towards the same goal."</p><p>Brookes uses the example of a system dealing with a sudden famine. "A&nbsp;Community Goal will be created to supply the food within a set time limit, and if the players achieve the goal then they’ll save the population. And whether they succeed or fail will have ramifications for the balance of power in the galaxy."</p><p>The first Community Goals will be based around supply and bounties. "For example," Brookes says,&nbsp;"a faction might task our pilots with racking up a number of kills in a particular system, effectively sending massive numbers of players to war for or against particular group." He explains that these massive player migrations will have a knock-on effect on galaxy-wide economy and power structures.</p><p>Players can contribute towards the goal whatever mode they're playing. While Open Play will see greater numbers of players diverge on the targeted system, Solo Mode and Private Group players will still be able to contribute to the overall total.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mD6rX42WTYi1.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oSjCclZOleT4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Jupiter, modelling the new gas giant shader." style="background-color: initial;" class=""> <figcaption>Jupiter, modelling the new gas giant shader.</figcaption></figure><p>Brookes also teases some of patch 1.1's other features. "Alongside a number of tweaks and bug fixes we’re adding a shiny new gas giant shader," he says.&nbsp;"Gas giants now use a parallax shader which improves the feeling of depth within the layers of gas. You can see giant canyons in the gases of Jupiter and high level white clouds floating over Neptune.</p><p>"We also have city lights on the dark side of planets, which is something the community and the development team has been looking forward to for some time!"</p><p>Patch 1.1 will move to closed beta testing at the beginning of February, and should be&nbsp;released the&nbsp;following week. This is just the first&nbsp;of many major updates&nbsp;for Elite: Dangerous. "We’ve dedicated a big team to a series of updates throughout the year," Brookes says, "and we’ll be adding a number of new features along the way. We’re players too, and we always want more from the game."</p> Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows 'Exo Zombies' footagehttp://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-trailer-shows-exo-zombies-footage/Game footage from the upcoming Havoc DLC pack shows features the exo-suited undead.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:12:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-trailer-shows-exo-zombies-footage/Call of Duty: Advanced WarfareFPSNews <p> <em><strong><br> </strong></em> </p> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4awN86bZR1ec.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZWRLeMOCp6QP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bill Paxton Means Business"> </p> <p> <em><strong>Kevin Spacey:</strong></em><br> <em>Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the exo-suited zombies of corporate misdoing</em><br> <em>That this foul deed shall smell above the earth</em><br> <em>With carrion men, groaning for a quick nibble on Bill Paxton's arm.</em> </p> <p> <em>[Enter John Malkovich]</em> </p> <p> <strong><em>John Malkovich:</em></strong><br> <em>What even is this shit? Why am I one of four playable characters&mdash;alongside Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan and&nbsp;</em><em>Jon Bernthal&mdash;in a new co-op mode for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. And what idiot decided to put zombies in power armour? And who the hell is Jon Bernthal, anyway?</em> </p> <p style="text-align: right;"> <em>- Shakespeare's&nbsp;Julius Caeser, as reinterpreted by the events of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Exo Zombies mode, which is&nbsp;a portion of the upcoming Havoc DLC pack available on 27 January on the Xbox One, and sometime after on the PC.</em> </p> </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dvBK3IWkYyM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> Heroes of the Storm Founder's Pack grants immediate access to beta, for a pricehttp://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-the-storm-founders-pack-grants-immediate-access-to-beta-for-a-price/Digital-only pack bundles beta access and more.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 02:39:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-the-storm-founders-pack-grants-immediate-access-to-beta-for-a-price/BlizzardHeroes of the StormMOBANews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/88jYP76yTiO0.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tJsJ95GLNYyB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="heroes of the storm"></p><p>If you've had no luck gaining access to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-the-storm/">Heroes of the Storm</a> beta, Blizzard has a solution–but it'll cost you. The Heroes of the Storm Founder's Pack is a rather expensive special edition bundling immediate access to the beta, three heroes (Diablo,&nbsp;Tyrande and Raynor), three skins (Commander Raynor, Lurkablo Diablo, and Blood Elf Tyrande), a Golden Cyberwolf&nbsp;mount and 2,500 of in-game gold. Considering it's a free-to-play game, the $39.95 asking price ($49.95 in Australia) may seem steep, and that's because it is.</p><p>Still, if you're eager and got money to burn, it's an option. In its announcement Blizzard also promised that they're "accelerating the pace of our beta opt-in flaggings" this week, and competitions and giveaways are promised too, so there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to gain access for free.&nbsp;</p><p>Blizzard also advises that if you find that you can't purchase the Founder's Pack on Battle.net for some reason, it's because they've temporarily suspended it to keep the testing environment stable.&nbsp;</p><p>For those who played the technical alpha but have yet to dive into the beta, here is a video presenting the most important&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-the-storm-closed-beta-starts-this-week-check-out-the-additions-here/">changes and improvements</a>.&nbsp;</p> Battle Royale modder Brendan Greene on his official H1Z1 modehttp://www.pcgamer.com/battle-royale-modder-brendan-greene-on-his-official-h1z1-mode/Brendan Greene, aka PLAYERUNKNOWN, talks to us about H1Z1 andthe future of the Battle Royale mod.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:22:17 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battle-royale-modder-brendan-greene-on-his-official-h1z1-mode/H1Z1InterviewsSOESurvival <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RIc9fMSLRWiC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EO8ZI6SvnLr7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Arma 3" class=""> <figcaption>Arma 3</figcaption></figure><p> <em>Brendan Greene, also known as PLAYERUNKNOWN, is the creator of the Battle Royale mod that started in the&nbsp;DayZ mod for Arma 2. Recently, Battle Royale has been licensed by SOE and made an official game mode in H1Z1, with Greene joining the team as a consultant. We caught up with Greene to talk about the mod's origins, why SOE went&nbsp;through him, and the future of Battle Royale both in and out of H1Z1.</em></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Brendan&nbsp;Greene</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CtlhfO0rSRyv.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VAbLwQyVsAnw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Brendan Greene Headshot cropped"> </p> </div><p> <strong>For those who don’t know, what is the original Battle Royale?</strong></p><p> Battle Royale started&nbsp;way back in the DayZ mod. It started out with me basically trying to see if I could make a mod, and I thought the idea of last man standing game mode was one that hadn’t really been done before and I really wanted to see if I could do it. DayZ Battle Royale was hugely popular. Right up until the DayZ standalone [release], we were probably one of the more popular DayZ mod variations.</p><p> Then, once Arma 3 came out of alpha in April, we went and moved across to Arma 3 because it’s just a better engine, and because zombies in the DayZ mod were, at the best of times, a little bit glitchy. I didn’t feel it was fair to have something that would cause quite random deaths sometimes. So we’ve been in Arma 3 since April, and I guess we’ve had over 200,000 downloads of the mod and in any given month we have about 50,000 active players.</p><p> <strong>Wow. When we spoke briefly at SOE last week, you mentioned that there were a lot of people playing it competitively, right? Or, there were lots of squads?</strong></p><p> Yeah, so we have a squad battle league, which we haven’t started yet because I feel the Arma 3 engine isn’t good enough in a multiplayer setting to have a competitive league. We’ve done a few events;&nbsp;we did one for Extra Life before Christmas where we had like 55,000 people watching. We were the second most popular channel on Twitch during that. I am setting up a squad battle league, but I just don’t think it’s fair to have a competitive league where prizes are involved when the Arma 3 engine&mdash;you know, you get de-sync and lag a lot. I just don’t feel it’s fair, but we have something like 3,000 squads signed up with about 2,000 of those being two-man squads and 1,000 being four-man squads, so that’s in-and-around 8,000 people. But, again, I’m just waiting for their multiplayer performance just to up a bit before I really kick that into gear.</p><p> <strong>Are there plans to take that squad battle league and move it over to H1Z1 Battle Royale, or is it simply too early in the game’s life for that?</strong></p><p> I think it’s definitely a possibility. It’s something that we discussed very briefly here, but at the moment were just focused on getting the game mode in H1Z1 really working well and having it at that state where people are really happy to play it.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KypheWHCSnqj.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VY9RR3iSVAtU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="H1Z1" class=""> <figcaption>H1Z1</figcaption></figure><p> <strong>How similar or different is the mode going to be in H1Z1 compared to the mod?</strong></p><p> For me, I’ve got the opinion of “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” We’re trying to carry over essentially everything we have in the Arma 3 version into the H1Z1 version. The main difference is the toxic fog we have. In Arma 3, we don’t have the ability to create a wall of fog, essentially, and it was always an idea I had that we had some kind of physical presence that would close the zone in. We have now this toxic wall of fog that basically closes in the zones over time. Apart from that, we have our care packages, we have our bomb runs, we will have our bombing areas on the map as well, or the red zones as we call them.&nbsp;We’re really trying to keep it as similar as we can.</p><p> We will be introducing a hardcore mode with zombies. The initial version of Battle Royale ... has to be looked at as 'early access Battle Royale' because it’s working, but we still have to put in some work to get it to where I’m happy with it. Because, again, we only started doing this just before Christmas. That’s when I got the call from SOE, so it’s been quite a hectic month. But we’re trying to keep it as similar as possible because I feel what we have already works, so why mess with it?</p><p> <strong>How did SOE approach you about licensing Battle Royale?</strong></p><p> I was watching [a stream]&mdash;they did a big team meeting there before Christmas and I think it was John [Smedley] that said “I really like what the Battle Royale guys are doing” and stuff like that, and I thought, “Oh, that’s cool. Name checking me, that’s great.” Then, the next day they were talking about the event servers having Battle Royale and I was thinking “OK, maybe I should try charging them for using my name.”&nbsp;[Laughs.]</p><p> About two days later, I got a DM from John saying, “We should talk. I’m John Smedley, President of SOE,” and I didn’t sleep for about two days. So then he just rang me and we talked and he said he’d love to license my idea to put into H1Z1, which blew me away because it could have been so easy for them to do their own version and not even contact me. I’m eternally grateful to them for that.</p><blockquote> I've been doing this for nearly two years now and I don't get paid out of it, but I do because I love doing it. </blockquote><p> <strong>Why do you think they didn’t? As you said, although the concept of last man standing was missing from Day Z, it’s by no means a unique idea.</strong></p><p> You know, I’m still to this day wondering that. I’m thankful they didn’t. I think they want to do the right thing. I think if they went ahead and just did their own Battle Royale&mdash;you know, they could have done it, but really I think they just liked what I did. That’s what John told me, he really liked what I’ve done. I worked on Battle Royale essentially for no pay for about a year and a half. Because of the way Bohemia works with their mods you’re not allowed to earn money, and I don’t really like pushing for donations all that much. So I’ve been doing this for a year and a half as a project of passion because I really believe what I’m doing could be something great. So I think they just wanted to do the right thing and after meeting the team here, they're just such a good group of guys.</p><p> <strong>We also spoke at SOE about the concept of how well this game mode works as an eSport. Why do you think the Battle Royale format is so tuned for eSports?</strong></p><p> For me, why I first set it up was games like CS:GO and any of the other twitch shooters really rely on you having a very quick trigger finger, and it’s down to pixel perfect accuracy. The older you get, the less you’re able to do that. And as well with games like CS:GO, the map has been around for 15 years. Dust for example, it’s a small map,&nbsp;same with Call of Duty, same with Battlefield. They’re relatively small maps and that doesn’t really challenge me as a player. So I really wanted to create something that was completely random every time, that tested your abilities as a strategic PvP player. I think that’s something that everyone wants to do, you know? CS:GO has quite a steep entry curve, whereas Battle Royale, while it does have a steep entry curve, if you’re a good player and a good strategic thinker, you can do quite well. That’s why I made it ...&nbsp;I wanted it to be as random as possible so you never knew what you were getting into.</p><p> <strong>Would you like to see Battle Royale in H1Z1 become an eSport? You said you discussed it internally a little bit, but if the community just took it and ran with it, would it be encouraged?</strong></p><p> I think so. I think it’s a good idea. I mean, ultimately at the end of the day, I want to make an eSport out of this. A proper, serious eSport. So if the community are on board with doing that, I think the engine itself is good enough. We get pretty solid frame rates so, you know, why not?</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Dnj26IxkRkO-.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NdeQ9YyA83DX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Arma 3" class=""> <figcaption>Arma 3</figcaption></figure><p> <strong>A renaissance of eSports is happening right now and there’re so many competitors. What do you think is the key thing that Battle Royale needs to tap into to succeed?</strong></p><p> I think the great thing about Battle Royale is&mdash;I compare it a lot to a poker type game, because there’s only one winner. Once you get to that final table of ten or nine people at the end, you’ve got serious adrenaline pumping. Because the map is different every single time and the ending position is different every single time, it gives you that rush. Not just the first time, but consistently. To make that an eSport and what it would need? I would have to defer to people who know these things better, you know? I don’t have a huge amount of experience with eSports. This is something that I couldn’t really answer all that well, so I won’t, if that makes sense. [Laughs.]</p><p> <strong>What does Battle Royale being licensed mean for the original mod and that community?</strong></p><p> The greatest thing about the license is that it’s non-exclusive. John [Smedley]&nbsp;said to me directly when I asked him, “Do you want an exclusive license?” and he said, “No, because how would the community grow?” I don’t want to just stop at Arma 3 and H1Z1. When the DayZ game opens for modding, I want to bring it to that. We’ve been talking about bringing it to Minecraft. I’ve said before, one mod for many games. Ultimately, I’d like to build my own standalone version, but I think for the moment I’m quite happy to be a mod in many games. It just makes our community bigger so when we do eventually go for a standalone version, we will have a bunch of support, hopefully.</p><p> <strong>Do you have any advice for other modders and for people who are trying to do what you’re doing?</strong></p><p> Just keep at it. I would say, don’t try to copy something. You see that someone creates one thing, and then there’s about ten different copies of it. If you’ve got an original idea&mdash;there’s&nbsp; <a href="http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/174" target="_blank">an article</a> that I only read recently which is the ten rules for creating a good video game, and everyone who’s thinking of getting into modding should read it because it tells you what you should have in your game. If you think you’ve got a good idea, just go and do it. As I said, I’ve been doing this for nearly two years now and I don’t get paid out of it, but I do because I love doing it. And if you love doing it, just keep doing it. Don’t be worrying about who plays your game, just make a good game.&nbsp;</p> The Best GTA 5 Mods... for GTA 4http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gta-5-mods-for-gta-4/Can't wait for GTA V on PC? These mods will help.Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:52:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gta-5-mods-for-gta-4/ActionGrand Theft Auto IVGrand Theft Auto VMust ReadRockstar League of Legends installer infected with malware in some Asian regionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-installer-infected-with-malware-in-some-asian-regions/But the problem has since been cleared up.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:34:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-installer-infected-with-malware-in-some-asian-regions/League of LegendsMOBANewsRiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Et5mg7OJTcWs.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FiGZ9r3D3E82.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="League-of-Legends1"></p><p>The official&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/">League of Legends</a> installer was recently infected with malware, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/plugx-malware-found-in-official-releases-of-league-of-legends-path-of-exile/">a report</a> by security software company Trend Micro. The PlugX malware, which was also found in installers for Path of Exile and FIFA Online 3, primarily targeted Asian users and especially those based in Taiwan.&nbsp;</p><p>According to the report, the PlugX malware can be traced back to Asian Internet platform provider Garena, which has partnerships with Riot Games and EA, among others. Garena recently made a statement on the matter, stating that its&nbsp;“computers and patch servers were infected with Trojans.&nbsp;</p><p>"As a result, all the installation files distributed for the games League of Legends and Path of Exile are infected.”</p><p>Trend Micro reports that the PlugX malware allows "remote users to perform malicious and data theft routines on a system without the user’s permission or authorization".&nbsp;</p><p>The report continues that the launchers have been free from infection from December 29, and Trend Micro has also released a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.trendmicro.tw/tw/security/plugxgame/index.html">clean-up tool</a> for anyone affected by the malware. Still, if you happen to based in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia or Hong Kong, it's worth double checking that you're not infected.</p><p>Cheers,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailydot.com/esports/league-of-legends-malware-garena/">The Daily Dot</a>.&nbsp;</p> Darkest Dungeon hands-on: boss fight gameplay footagehttp://www.pcgamer.com/darkest-dungeon-gameplay-footage-video/We've been jazzed about Darkest Dungeon since we saw it at PAX last year.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:49:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/darkest-dungeon-gameplay-footage-video/Darkest DungeonIndieRed Hook StudiosRoguelike <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aGeC8QDZUI0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>We've been jazzed about&nbsp;Darkest Dungeon since we saw&nbsp;it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hands-on-with-darkest-dungeon-the-best-game-i-played-at-pax-2014/">at PAX</a> last year. The roguelike's Vancouver creators are onto something: gritty, low-fantasy art is the perfect costume for this permadeath RPG. Ahead of hitting Early Access in February, Red Hook sent us a build so we could take an early look at one of the game's bosses, the Wizened Hag.</p> Theme Hospital is Origin's latest "On the House" freebiehttp://www.pcgamer.com/theme-hospital-is-origins-latest-on-the-house-freebie/Theme Hospital was developed by Bullfrog and originally released in 1997.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:59:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/theme-hospital-is-origins-latest-on-the-house-freebie/Electronic ArtsNewsOriginsim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WAUquTMrQuGq.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Eg81IhrUqFoM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Theme Hospital"></p><p>The late-90s Bullfrog hit Theme Hospital is a "business simulation game," according to its surprisingly lengthy <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theme_Hospital">Wikipedia entry</a>, but it's substantially less&nbsp;serious than that sounds. To wit: "The Grim Reaper stalks the corridors, the ill have some very odd ailments, and the staff want to play doctors and nurses together. No matter how you look at it, you're in control of a very sick hospital."</p><p>More to point, it's now available "on the house," which is to say that it's free, without restriction or condition other than the usual (and, as far as I can tell, unspecified) limited window of opportunity to actually lay claim to the thing. Just fire up Origin, go to the <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-ca/store/buy/theme-hospital-origin/pc-download/base-game/standard-edition">Theme Hospital page</a>, and click the "gimme" button. Once the game is added to your account, it's yours forever. Enjoy, it's quite the classic. Now, is anyone free to look at this rash?</p> Valve investigating scary sounding Steam bug on Linux http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-investigating-scary-sounding-steam-bug-on-linux/The bug appears to be impacting users who manually move their Steam directories.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:00:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-investigating-scary-sounding-steam-bug-on-linux/LinuxNewsSteamValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZvtZgFdPRre8.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sF3gcIDKO4bz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam_Logo"></p><p> A friendly word of advice for anyone running Steam on Linux: Do not&mdash;do <em style="background-color: initial;">NOT</em>&mdash;manually move your Steam directory from its default location. Users have reported that doing so has resulted in the deletion of everything in their directory trees, including, in at least one case, backups on an external drive.</p><p> The problem first came to light last week by way of GitHub user <a href="https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/3671">Keyvin</a>, who moved his Steam folder to a new location but was then unable to launch it, even after browsing and pointing to the new location. After a crash and restart, it reinstalled itself and all appeared well, he wrote, "until I looked and saw that Steam had apparently deleted everything owned by my user recursively from the root directory. Including my 3TB external drive I back everything up to that was mounted under /media."</p><p> Another user lost his entire Home directory while debugging Steam, according to <a href="http://readwrite.com/2015/01/16/steam-bug-linux-erases-user-files">Readwrite</a>, which said that the problem appears to be "a script bug in which an incorrect empty setting gets passed into an <strong>rm -rf</strong> command that erases files in a given directory, <em>plus </em>all the subdirectories in the home directory (and all <em>their </em>subdirectories, and so on, and so on)."</p><p> Valve told <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/20/valves-looking-into-file-erasing-steam-bug-on-linux/">Gamesbeat</a> that it has received "only a handful" of reports from Linux users who have been impacted by the bug, which is fortunate, but it has not yet been able to reproduce the problem internally. It is continuing to investigate, however, and in the meantime has added some "additional checks" to keep it from happening again.</p><p> Linux users who have run into this problem can email <a href="mailto:linux@valvesoftware.com">linux@valvesoftware.com</a> for more information. Everyone else would probably do well to avoid messing with anything under the hood until Valve sounds the all-clear.</p> Show Us Your Rig: Cities: Skylines' Antti Isosomppihttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-cities-skylines-antti-isosomppi/Antti Isosomppi, Art Director and Co-Founder ofColossalOrder, shows us his PCTue, 20 Jan 2015 19:48:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-cities-skylines-antti-isosomppi/Cities: SkylinesColossal Ordershow us your rig <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zLaOw2rWQfOS.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LKnIbY2ACFmU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Antti Isosomppii 2"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week&nbsp;on&nbsp; <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> Antti Isosomppi is the Art Director and Co-founder of&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/colossal-order/" target="_blank">Colossal Order</a>, the studio&nbsp;currently working on <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines/" target="_blank">Cities: Skylines</a>, and has a setup similar to other artists we've seen on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a>. With models, figurines, and a big wacom tablet dressing his desk, Antti has still found room for a HOTAS to give&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/" target="_blank">Elite: Dangerous</a> that extra level of immersion. Antti was kind enough to take a moment and tell us about his rig, art books, and the numerous games he is playing.&nbsp;</p><h4>What's in your PC?</h4><ul> <li>Motherboard - Asus P8P67</li> <li>CPU - Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.3 GHz</li> <li>Video - GeForce GTX 570</li> <li>RAM - Kingston HyperX 16GB DDR3</li> <li>Case - Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl</li> <li>Power supply - XFX 650W Core Edition</li> <li>Display - HP ZR2440w and Eizo FlexScan S2202W</li> <li>Speakers - Behringer Truth B2030A</li> <li>Camera - Logitech C920</li> <li>Mouse - Blackstorm M09</li> <li>Headset - Razer Kraken 7.1</li> <li>Keyboard - Microsoft Sidewinder X4 + Razer Nostromo</li> <li>HOTAS - Saitek X52 Pro</li> <li>Wacom Intuos 5</li></ul><p> Hi, I'm Antti Isosomppi, Art Director and co-founder of Colossal Order. My home studio is located in the peaceful backwoods of Nokia, Finland.</p><p> My home PC is a pre-built gaming PC I bought a couple of years ago. I will probably upgrade it pretty soon and get a new display setup as well. I use a Wacom Cintiq at work, but at home I have settled with Nostromo-Intuos combo and two displays.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_n97FDzUQO6A.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OXScewJoexHj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Antti Isosomppii 5"></p><h4>What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</h4><p> At home and at work, there's always a sketchbook at an arm's reach. I have 3DTotal's anatomy statues on my desk if I'm working on character concepts or sculpting. I’m in the habit of getting the art books of all of my favorite games and they are all arranged on the bookshelf next to my desk so I can easily grab something for inspiration.</p><h4>What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</h4><p> Nothing too peculiar here. Probably the fact that I use the Razer Nostromo to help with my work. I have mapped shortcuts for 3DS Max and Photoshop and use my Wacom tablet at the same time. I also have a video projector mounted on the wall which I'm using for gaming, Netflix, or for laying out reference material while I'm drawing comfortably in my armchair.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jFN0SNE5RC-f.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s2CHSFQKhxUE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Antti Isosomppii 3"></p><h4>What are you playing right now?</h4> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Bookshelf close-up</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ls51NNWPS8Od.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xgIEpNay_yLW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Antti Isosomppii 4" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p> Lately I haven't had time to play as much as I usually do, but when I have the chance I play a lot of games on multiple systems. Not a month goes by without playing at least a couple of matches of Battlefield 4 with a workmate. A while back I got a HOTAS just to play Elite: Dangerous properly. I really like it even though I'm not that great with the combat yet, flying in space and doing delivery missions is satisfying on its own. I'm a little way into Warlords of Draenor. There's so much to do and explore, so it's a bit too time consuming to really get into at the moment. I also got addicted to World of Tanks Blitz on iPad. World of Tanks is great when you might have something else coming up that would require your attention.</p><h4>What's your favorite game and why?</h4><p> I really love Dead Space and I'm still returning to it every now and then. The game's atmosphere is very captivating to me. The first one was the best of the three, but I enjoyed all of them. I also have Alien: Isolation still untouched on my shelf and I'm looking forward to playing it at some point. There can never be too many great horror sci-fi games out there.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yOOk3KZ3R_WZ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6JHfyJomMgOQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Antti Isosomppii 1"></p> Dark Souls multiplayer region problem fixed on Steamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-multiplayer-region-problem-fixed-on-steam/Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition multiplayer was region locked after the game dropped Games for Windows Live.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:06:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-multiplayer-region-problem-fixed-on-steam/ActionbansDark SoulsNews <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CqDVocEGSOid.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mYbbfamQKzQj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls/">Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition</a> dumped Games for Windows Live <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-finally-defeats-gfw-live-with-new-update/">in December</a>, but something went a little screwy in the process and when the move was complete players noticed that they could no longer join multiplayer gamers with people outside their home region. It's not exactly the biggest problem in the world, but nonetheless it's now been resolved.</p><p>A "<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/211420/announcements/detail/204120373994456904">nice fix</a>" released yesterday removes the region lock and also fixes a crash that could crop up when opening the Book of Guilty. To install the patch, simply ensure that auto-updates are enabled and fire up&nbsp;the game. That's it!&nbsp;</p><p>The nature of Dark Souls doesn't really encourage regular online play with the same handful of international friends anyway, but it's nice to at least have the option. And since there's really not much more to say about it, here's a video of a guy completing the game in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-speed-run-record-completes-the-game-in-less-than-50-minutes/">less than 50 minutes</a>. Try not to feel too inadequate as&nbsp;you watch. It's too late for us.</p> Project CARS trailer is pretty and full of carshttp://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-trailer-is-pretty-and-full-of-cars/Comely, alluring, releasing soon.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:41:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/project-cars-trailer-is-pretty-and-full-of-cars/NewsProject CARSRacingSlightly Mad <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f4R9TO8fR_WY.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ggIAELShA9y1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cars"></p><p>I've only just clocked to the fact that the word "cars" in Project CARS is capitalised, and therefore, under linguistic law, probably an acronym.</p><p>But what is it an acronym for?</p><ul> <li>Congratulations, automobiles raced speedily!</li><li>Cars are red sometimes</li><li>Crash and, er, risk... spoiler?</li></ul><p>Damn, how did&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f8wAXDZ9D0" target="_blank">Ian Brown do it</a>?</p><p>Anyway, here's a Project CARS trailer.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A6qKPd8YCIc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Project CARS is from Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios, and has been created via a crowdfunded development model. It's due out in March.</p><p>Don't worry about that for now, though, because clever acronyms require solicitation. Put your best CARS acronym in the comments.</p> Pneuma: Breath of Life brings its philosphical puzzling to Greenlighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/pneuma-breath-of-life-brings-its-philosphical-puzzling-to-greenlight/Solve puzzles, think thoughts, have an existential crisis or two.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:07:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pneuma-breath-of-life-brings-its-philosphical-puzzling-to-greenlight/NewsPuzzleSteam Greenlight <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RdH01-kbT6KH.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IL676SBccBlx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pneuma"></p><p>Okay, 'fess up. Who made it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/spacechem-developers-infinifactory-arrives-on-early-access/" target="_blank">first-person</a> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/magnetic-cage-closed-is-a-first-person-puzzler-about-magnets/" target="_blank">puzzler day</a> without telling me? Actually, you know what, I don't want to know. I'm going to use my own first-person view to puzzle it out myself. First, though, I'll tell you about&nbsp;Pneuma: Breath of Life, which, as you've probably deduced, is another first-person puzzle game.</p><p>As you'll see from the trailer below, Pneuma has more than a shade of The Talos Principle about it. That extends beyond its seemingly considered puzzle style, through&nbsp;to its philosophical querying about the nature of being.&nbsp;</p><p>Honestly, video games, what's with all the&nbsp;forcing people to&nbsp;question their own sense of self?</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5yk4Ab1i3vc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You'll note from the shiny environments that Pneuma's being made in UE4. It's also got Oculus Rift support, as revealed by the bearded face that appears one minute into the video.</p><p>Due out early this year, Pneuma is currently seeking approval on Steam Greenlight.&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=377765402&amp;searchtext=Pneuma" target="_blank">Head there now</a> for more details and screenshots.</p> Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado expansion announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-iv-el-dorado-expansion-announced/Create kingdoms, find gold, do a blood sacrifice or two.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:24:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-iv-el-dorado-expansion-announced/Europa Universalis 4NewsParadoxStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PEAnEycFRtaV.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ztl1RxpZvlsT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eldorado 780x353"></p><p>Paradox has released a trailer for the newly announced Europa Universalis expansion El Dorado. As with all Paradox Development Studio trailers, it features a slow zoom onto a thing, before fading to&nbsp;the game's logo. It lasts less than a minute.</p><p>Here it is. Don't worry, I'll actually explain what the expansion is about below.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vYDn6JhHEuw?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Based on the name, El Dorado, can you guess what the main feature of this new expansion is? No, sorry, you were wrong. It's <em>actually </em>the Nation Designer: a tool that lets players customise their starting nation. You'll be able to pick multiple conditions for your new home, from its&nbsp;neighbouring provinces, to its&nbsp;starting culture and ruler.</p><p>Okay, yes, the expansion will&nbsp;also a focus on&nbsp;Central and South American exploration. "As the Aztecs, subject the Mexican plain to your rule but make sure you have enough vassal kings to sacrifice to your angry gods," explains the press release.&nbsp;"As the Europeans, push deeper into the jungles of the Amazon, following rumors of lost cities and magical fountains. Defer to the Pope as he intervenes to divide the New World among squabbling empires."</p><p>You can see El Dorado's feature list below. The expansion is due out next month.</p><hr><ul><li>"A deep Nation Designer gives you new starting options for your games, including national ideas and custom monarchs"</li><li>"Experience the new Nahuatl, Inti and Mayan religions with blood sacrifices or Sun Worship"</li><li>"Send your conquistadors to hunt for the Seven Cities of Gold, or your explorer on exploration missions around the world"</li><li>"Gold Fleets can traffic New World wealth back to Europe, and be targeted by your privateer fleets"</li><li>"Use your trade fleets to hunt dangerous pirates"</li><li>"Maintain good relations with the Pope so you can get a corner of the world to call your own in the Treaty of Tordesillas"</li></ul> X-Wing sequels head up GOG's latest batch of Star Wars classicshttp://www.pcgamer.com/x-wing-sequels-head-up-new-batch-of-star-wars-classics-on-gog/X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance and Galactic Battlegrounds make their digital distribution début.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/x-wing-sequels-head-up-new-batch-of-star-wars-classics-on-gog/GOG.comLucasFilmNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4_oLzDTwRT-U.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AQmEeF8_353N.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Gogcom Site Lucas"></p><p>Shop has new stock! That, in essence, is&nbsp;the news here. It's not the most notable story, save for the fact that the stock is another selection of old Star Wars&nbsp;games, and the shop is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/" target="_blank">GOG</a>&mdash;the first digital distributor many of these classics have appeared on.</p><p>A total of twelve&nbsp;Star Wars games are planned to&nbsp;release on the DRM-free storefront this month.&nbsp;You can see today's selection below:</p><ul><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter</li><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>X-Wing Alliance</li><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>Galactic Battlegrounds</li><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>Battlefront II</li><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>Dark Forces</li><li>Star Wars:<em>&nbsp;</em>Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords</li></ul><p>The two X-Wing sequels and Galactic Battlegrounds are making their first appearance as digitally distributed games. It's great news for those too young&mdash;or too averse to digging through an attic&mdash;to have a physical copy to hand.</p><p>They join last October's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-wing-tie-fighter-coming-to-gog-tomorrow/" target="_blank">first wave of LucasArts classics</a>, which included X-Wing, TIE Fighter,&nbsp;Fate of Atlantis, and&nbsp;Sam and Max Hit the Road.</p> Walk, don't run, with Dragon Age: Inquisition's third PC patchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/walk-dont-run-with-dragon-age-inquisitions-third-pc-patch/Dragon Age's most ambulatory update also ensures more frequent bants.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:02:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/walk-dont-run-with-dragon-age-inquisitions-third-pc-patch/BiowareDragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fyPcITOJQ0yT.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WYl0rd_jyTpn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Pixel Boost - Dragon Age Inquisition - 02"></p><p>Hey, Inquisitor, slow down! That Elfroot isn't going anywhere. Oh, what's that? You're playing with a keyboard? In that case, sprint on...</p><p>Currently, Dragon Age: Inquisition players using the PC's most natural control device are locked into an eternal&nbsp;run&mdash;unable to walk, stride or even amble. That's all about to change, as Bioware&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.bioware.com/2015/01/19/pc-patch-3-notes/" target="_blank">has now announced</a> the planned fixes of the game's 1.03 patch. Described as a "small, bug-fix only patch to address some high-frequency issues," it nevertheless provides a key binding for walking.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_nov21/#page-2" target="_blank">Tyler will be pleased</a>.</p><p>Also in the patch: less uncomfortable silences. The frequency of party banter (or, "buddy bants") is being tweaked to prevent instances of extended periods without dialogue.</p><p>There's no release date for 1.03 yet, but you can see the full patch notes below.</p><hr> <p><strong>General</strong></p><ul> <li>Added key binding that allows players to walk.</li><li>Added mouse cursor scaling.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in the mouse getting stuck in mouse-look mode when players alt-tabbed out of the game in full-screen mode.</li><li>Fixed display bars to correctly reflect items that alter maximum health.</li></ul><p><strong>Single-Player</strong></p><ul> <li>Changed party banter system to be less random to prevent extra-long periods where no conversations would occur.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in one of Dorian’s conversations not being available for some players.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in a cutscene not firing for Dorian’s plot when players enter the Gull and Lantern.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in Sera’s Verchiel plot being broken.</li><li>Fixed issue with the demon that could spawn during Solas’s personal quest.</li><li>Changed Tactical Camera so that it no longer re-centers when the player changes party members.</li><li>Fixed exploit that allowed for infinite influence.</li><li>Fixed issue that allowed players to exploit their gold value in single-player mode.</li><li>Fixed allied mage AI so they did not dispel targets that the player had frozen.</li><li>Fixed issue that caused the bar displaying armor rating to not update correctly for crafted gear.</li><li>Fixed issue that caused extra potions granted by items to be lost when players return to Skyhold.</li><li>Fixed issue that caused Mind Blast’s upgrade, Fortifying Blast, to not provide additional barrier.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in the opt-in conversation UI continuing to be displayed if players opted out very quickly as the UI was starting to be displayed.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in the world map being permanently displayed in the Storm Coast.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in being unable to switch party members after looting.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in party members not following orders to revive a party member in Tactical Camera mode.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in people being unable to discover all the regions in the Exalted Plains.</li><li>Fixed issue that could cause dragons to become unresponsive.</li><li>Fixed issue that would cause dragons to freeze during their roar.</li><li>Fixed issue that could cause some conversations to be “hitchy.”</li><li>Fixed issue that could cause Varric’s legs to do odd things in some opt-in conversations.</li><li>Fixed Masterwork Prowler Armor so it no longer distorts on certain characters.</li><li>Fixed issue that could cause Harmon to disappear in certain circumstances.</li><li>Fixed a few non-herb crafting materials that were showing up in the Herbs section of the inventory. They are now correctly in the Other section.</li></ul><p><strong>Multiplayer</strong></p><ul> <li>Enabled push-to-talk functionality in the multiplayer end of match screen.</li><li>Enabled push-to-talk in the multiplayer armor upgrade menu.</li><li>Fixed issue where changing multiplayer match settings would take effect without confirming changes.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in players entering multiplayer matches without any mapped abilities in certain circumstances.</li><li>Fixed case that could cause keys to not drop in multiplayer mode.</li><li>Fixed issue that would cause the potion mapped to the first slot to also be used when pushing the 9 key in multiplayer mode.</li><li>Fixed issue that would cause the camera to spin at the end of a multiplayer match and not display the end of match screen.</li><li>Fixed issue in multiplayer mode that would result in the healing portion of Rampage to stop working in certain circumstances.</li><li>Tuned Strength of Spirits to be more useful in multiplayer mode.</li><li>Tweaked the balance of the Demon Commander in multiplayer mode.</li><li>Fixed issue that could result in items not displaying their cards when chests are opened in multiplayer mode.</li><li>Fixed issue that could cause pots to respawn in certain circumstances in multiplayer mode.</li></ul> Magnetic: Cage Closed is a first-person puzzler about magnetshttp://www.pcgamer.com/magnetic-cage-closed-is-a-first-person-puzzler-about-magnets/It ain't fiction, just a natural fact. We come together 'cause opposites attract.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:19:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/magnetic-cage-closed-is-a-first-person-puzzler-about-magnets/NewsPuzzle <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cfhraDAWQqG8.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PUsBIvmf_k3P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magnetic"></p><p>Magnet Guns, how do they work?</p><p>Maybe this trailer for the upcoming first-person puzzle game Magnetic: Cage Closed can explain.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YHBzSTekdos?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>No, seems not. Should have talked to a scientist.</p><p>Whatever the technical reasons for a gun that is also a magnet, its application is clear: escaping the&nbsp;series of twisted puzzle rooms that you're tasked with solving.&nbsp;</p><p>The chambers of Magnetic shift randomly, and the story branches depending on your actions. As such, the game's developers claim that no two playthroughs will be the same. Perhaps its more accurate to say they&nbsp;won't be exactly the same... Whatever happens, you'll still be using a Magnet Gun on places that require you to use a Magnet Gun.</p><p>Magnetic: Cage Closed is due out in March.</p> SpaceChem developer's Infinifactory arrives on Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/spacechem-developers-infinifactory-arrives-on-early-access/Zachtronics' 3D puzzler nowavailable on Steam.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:18:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/spacechem-developers-infinifactory-arrives-on-early-access/NewsPuzzleZachtronics Industries <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T6FDjZ5pQYec.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TtOfsKDSzIZ0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Infinifactory"></p><p>Usually when I don't finish a game it's because I got bored, or simply distracted by other things. That wasn't the case for Spacechem. I didn't finish <em>that </em>because it became quickly apparent that I was too stupid for its more challenging puzzles.</p><p>Infinifactory is the new game from Spacechem creator Zachtronics. Terrifyingly, it&nbsp;describes itself as "like Spacechem... in 3D!" As if dealing with&nbsp;two dimensions wasn't bad&nbsp;enough.</p><p>Much like Spacechem, your job is to layout machinery in a circuit-like fashion&mdash;creating constructions of inputs and outputs that manipulate objects to do what you want. In Spacechem, that looked&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1_w_-46rV0" target="_blank">a bit like this</a>. In Infinifactory?</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Z6TohFLvoBc?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Yup.</p><p>Infinifactory is&nbsp;now available in Early Access. Its creator&nbsp;states that new mini-campaigns and improvements will be implemented for the full game, which is expected in&nbsp;approximately three-to-six months. However, the game's main campaign is already complete.</p><p>"The first available Early Access version corresponds with what we would have considered our 'release version' in the past," writes the developer.&nbsp;"The main campaign is finished, with more than 30 puzzles and a professionally voice-acted story, and includes a Steam Workshop enabled level editor allowing you to create and share custom puzzles from day one."</p><p>As for what's planned for future versions, players can vote on their most wanted improvements over at Infinifactory's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/infinifactory_roadmap/" target="_blank">development roadmap page</a>.</p> Dark Souls speed run record completes the game in less than 50 minuteshttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-speed-run-record-completes-the-game-in-less-than-50-minutes/But that's still not good enough, says speed runner.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 04:42:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-speed-run-record-completes-the-game-in-less-than-50-minutes/Dark SoulsFrom SoftwareNewsRPG <object bgcolor="#000000" data="http://www.twitch.tv/swflibs/TwitchPlayer.swf" height="378" id="clip_embed_player_flash" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"><param name="movie" value="http://www.twitch.tv/swflibs/TwitchPlayer.swf"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="allowNetworking" value="all"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="channel=kahmul78&amp;auto_play=false&amp;start_volume=25&amp;videoId=c5909155&amp;device_id=240210255f9b8f1a"></object><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls/">Dark Souls</a> can be completed in a little less than 50 minutes, which is pretty staggering news for anyone who spent upwards of 100 hours struggling to beat it. The new speed run above, which clocks in at 49:55, was achieved by Twitch broadcaster&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/kahmul78">Kahmul78</a>. It's worth noting that faster speed runs have been achieved with the exploitation of a major bug (ie, the ability to glitch through a late game door) but this is a legitimate, no cheats run.</p><p>According to Kahmul78 there's plenty of room for improvement over this run, which many will find hard to believe. Still, this is a guy who changes inventory during a plunge attack on an early game boss, so he's probably an authority on the issue.&nbsp;</p><p>For those who have moved on to Dark Souls 2, that game will get&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-2-scholar-of-the-first-sin-announced/">a reissue in March</a> packaging all DLC with some major tweaks to monster layout, among other things.&nbsp;</p><p>Cheers,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/01/man-breaks-dark-souls-speed-run-world-record-still-thinks-he-sucks/">Kotaku</a>.&nbsp;</p> Steam Broadcasting and FPS overlay is now available to allhttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-broadcasting-and-fps-overlay-is-now-available-to-all/New features roll out following beta period.Tue, 20 Jan 2015 02:33:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-broadcasting-and-fps-overlay-is-now-available-to-all/NewsSteam <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_crbjTMdQhuQ.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lxnob5dLWqtj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam Broadcasting 2"></p><p>Announced and rolled out to Beta Client users in December, Valve has made Steam Broadcasting available in the regular client today. That means you can start broadcasting gameplay right now, or when the new&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/news/15512/">Client Update</a> has properly downloaded and installed.&nbsp;</p><p>While broadcasting is the biggest feature in the new update, the frames-per second overlay is now available to the regular client as well (it rolled out to beta testers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-client/">earlier this month</a>). Most other changes are either fixes or tweaks, though now future game updates will be indicated in the UI. Check out the full update notes&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/news/15512/">over here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>While the new broadcasting functionality is a welcome addition, our own Tyler Wilde thinks it's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-broadcasting-works-great-but-twitch-isnt-threatened-yet/">unlikely to challenge Twitch's dominance in the area</a>.</p> Hearthstone has a new RNG kinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-has-a-new-rng-king/Kitkatz wins series with astonishing triple Kel’thuzad drawMon, 19 Jan 2015 22:41:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-has-a-new-rng-king/BlizzardCard GameHearthstone <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sCIe97BC3Zc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> As we noted when the first cards appeared, Bizzard <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-blizzard-doubles-down-on-rng/">essentially doubled down</a> on RNG with Hearthstone’s Goblins vs Gnomes expansion. Of those new cards, I don’t think any is more fun, or potentially swingy, than <a href="http://www.hearthpwn.com/cards/12187-sneeds-old-shredder">Sneed’s Old Shredder</a>. Its text reads: “Deathrattle: summon a Legendary random minion”. Essentially it’s a pumped up <a href="http://www.hearthhead.com/card=420/cairne-bloodhoof">Cairne Bloodhoof</a> strapped to a slot machine. There are <a href="http://www.hearthhead.com/cards=?filter=qu=5#gallery:0+1">62 legendary minions</a> in the card pool, and though you might draw something useless like a&nbsp;<a href="http://hearthstone.gamepedia.com/Nat_Pagle">Nat Pagle</a>, chances are you’re going to pull another decent minion. (In fact, the popular streamer <a href="http://subtletv.com/baaa6WK/Trump_Goblins_vs_Gnomes_28_cards_preview">Trump calculated</a> that the average result was another minion with 5/6 stats.) The dream scenario, though, is landing <a href="http://www.hearthpwn.com/cards/7742-kelthuzad">Kel’thuzad</a>.</p><p> If your Sneed’s summons KT, as he’ll hereon be known, then because of the way his card text works, (“At the end of each turn, summon all friendly minions that died this turn”), you also get your Sneed’s back plus any other creatures you traded that turn. It’s a devastating tempo boost that usually locks your opponent out of the game. It’s also pretty unlikely&mdash;a 1 in 62 chance&mdash;but not unlikely enough to warrant a video. Unless of course, you manage to pull it off three times in a row during a high profile pro match, much to the utter amazement of everyone watching, not least yourself, the casters, Twitch chat, and your poor opponent.</p><p> The match took place this weekend between&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/kitkatzy">Kitkatz</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/thijshs">Thijs</a>, as part of the ESL Legendary series, and according to the number crunchers on the Hearthstone subreddit, the <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/2ssj8i/that_sneeds/cnsja2z">odds of triple consecutive KTs happening</a> are 0.00044%. As the mathematician notes, Kitkatz was 19 times more likely to be hit by lightning. What’s most glorious about it, and the reason for sharing here, is the reaction on both players’ faces each time KT pops. Unfettered fist-pumping&nbsp;joy from Kitkatz, wry resignation plus slight panic from Thijs.</p><p> It’s also&nbsp;clear that while Kitkatz might be best known as the Warrior God, he must have&nbsp;an intimate relationship going on with RNGesus. But then, as the guy who <a href="http://youtu.be/oVg5pdE50O4?t=37m29s">invented the no-lose YOLO Armosmith/Brawl</a>, we knew that already. Admittedly, in terms of impact the first two KTs arrived in a game Kitkatz was well placed to win anyway. But the third was definitely clutch. That’s the thing with Kel’thuzad. You play around the second, but nobody expects the third.</p><p> We’ll have an updated list ranking the best legendary cards in Hearthstone later this week written by <a href="https://twitter.com/pvddr">PVDDR</a>. I wonder where KT will rank? Let me know your luckiest RNG moment in the comments. Mine would be that time I used Thoughtsteal to nab Equality and Wild Pyromancer. That night we drank delicious, salty, Paladin tears.</p> League of Legends "Nemesis Draft" mode goes live on the PBEhttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-nemesis-draft-mode-goes-live-on-the-pbe/The "Nemesis Draft" featured game mode is all about sticking it to them worse than they can stick it to you.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 21:59:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-nemesis-draft-mode-goes-live-on-the-pbe/League of LegendsMOBANewsRiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9VrEpnqdTMe6.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/53lNL2uU_qdW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="League Of Legends"></p><p>The new <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/">League of Legends</a> "Nemesis Draft" featured game mode is now live on the PBE, and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun. It's a five-on-five battle played on Summoner's Rift, but instead of selecting the champions you'll take into combat, you select those your opponents will control, while they do the same for&mdash;or, perhaps more accurately, to&mdash;you.</p><p>Each team will still have the opportunity to ban up to three champions, and after all champions have been selected, players will be able to trade them amongst themselves to maximize their effectiveness. Champions given to the opposing team are chosen from those available to your allies, and players will be able to play any champ they're given, even if they don't actually own it.</p><p>Obviously, the name of the game is to hose the other guys worse than they hose you, although Riot put it somewhat more gently in the <a href="http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/champions-gameplay-feedback/BNBArGmq-nemesis-draft-featured-game-mode-coming-soon-to-the-pbe">announcement</a>. "We’re excited to see how scheming &amp; creative you guys are," Riot designer "L4T3NCY" wrote. "Are we about to uncover some diamonds in the rough? Will it be, 'Give them all melee champs!' or 'Give them all AD so we can just build armour!' And then the inevitable, 'Ok guys. We’ve got 4 junglers and a support.. but so do they! Let’s do this.' I can’t wait."</p><p>That kind of silliness can be a blast as long as everyone's in on the gag. Unfortunately, and also entirely unsurprisingly, it doesn't appear to be working out quite so smoothly. Several follow-up posts complain about the prevalence of "dodgers"&mdash;players who bail out of a game if they don't like the champions they're given&mdash;and at least one person also noted that "trolls" can put the gears to their own teammates by giving the opposing team a genuinely powerful champion. This, of course, is why beta testing was invented, but it may ultimately turn out that Nemesis Draft is better as an idea than as a longterm&nbsp;mechanic.</p> Blizzard investigating "major lag" complaints in Diablo 3http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-investigating-major-lag-complaints-in-diablo-3/Players began reporting unusually high ping times over the weekend.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:47:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blizzard-investigating-major-lag-complaints-in-diablo-3/BlizzardDiablo 3NewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sTRTHe9FT2eg.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jYryBiPZyV_y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="diablo 3"></p><p>Blizzard is seeking more information from <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/diablo-3/">Diablo 3</a> players suffering from "major lag" that renders the game unplayable, even in solo mode. Complaints about ping times in excess of 2000ms began turning up on the <a href="http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/5386227/">technical support forum</a> over the weekend.</p><p>"We've been asked to collect some information for our network engineers on this issue," Blizzard support agent "Omrakos" wrote in a <a href="http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/15699486389#1">stickied forum thread</a>. "We'd like to have your trace route info when you trace to 12.168.209.68. We'd also like to see the results when you run our Looking Glass utility to see the return path of the trace from Blizzard to you. Be sure to select Diablo III in the utility. And lastly, please identify your ISP and geographical location in your reply post with the above info."</p><p>Fortunately for those unfamiliar with the arcane intricacies of such things, a <a href="https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/performing-a-traceroute">link to instructions</a> for performing a trace route is provided, and the "<a href="http://us-looking-glass.battle.net/">Looking Glass" utility</a> is essentially automated. </p> New evidence of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match fixinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/new-evidence-of-counter-strike-global-offensive-match-fixing/A series of text messages seeminglyconfirm that the August match between iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com was rigged.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:52:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-evidence-of-counter-strike-global-offensive-match-fixing/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveeSportsFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ritP2lTKSqaL.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IidvflbTJIY7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Counter-Strike: Global Offensive"></p><p>The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene has suffered another gutshot, as evidence has come to light appearing to corroborate claims that an August 2014 match between iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com was fixed. Text messages posted by Ashley “Blacklotus” Leboeuf, a former girlfriend of Torqued player Derek "dboorn" Boorn, indicate that the outcome was prearranged, and that alternate accounts were used to place bets on behalf of other team members.</p><p>The authenticity of the exchange was confirmed by <a href="http://www.dailydot.com/esports/match-fixing-counter-strike-ibuypower-netcode-guides/">The Daily Dot</a>, which posted screen caps of the exchange as part of a detailed investigation into the affair. Boorn acknowledges in the messages that iBUYPOWER "really did throw the match," and that community member Duc "cud" Pham used alternate accounts to place bets on the outcome. Information provided by the betting site CS:GO Lounge, meanwhile, confirmed that Pham used "smurf accounts" to place nine maximum-value bets on the match, each of them earning him a return of nearly $1200.</p><p>Perhaps most incriminating, CS:GO pro player Shahzeb "ShahZam" Khan, who now plays with Cloud9, issued a statement acknowledging that he placed a bet on the match based on advance knowledge of the outcome. Leaked images of a chat between Khan and an anonymous third party prior to the match were the <a href="http://www.dailydot.com/esports/cevo-match-fixing-netcode-guide-ibuypower/">first indication of a fix</a>, although prior to this he had refused to comment on their authenticity.</p><p>"The day of this match I had placed a bet on iBUYPOWER. I brought up the bet while talking to Casey Foster, he then voice-called me on Steam Friends and told me to change my bet. He made it very clear the match was going to be thrown," Khan said. "I didn't want to get involved with any of it but I changed my bet, as I thought would be logical at the time while also sharing this information with a friend whom I assumed to have bet the same."</p><p>The CS:GO Lounge said in a statement that it does not tolerate match fixing, and that "hopefully this will now bet he last of match-fixing drama that we have." </p> CS:GO competitive guide: your first matchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-guide-your-first-match/One of the most common things I hear from CS:GO players is that they have no intention of playing Competitive mode.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-competitive-guide-your-first-match/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSTriggernometry <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5smwy1MZguI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> One of the most common things I hear from CS:GO players is that they have no intention of playing Competitive mode. For a variety of reasons, too: it's intimidating, it's unfamiliar, and it's a 45-minute commitment to being judged by strangers, potentially. But it's also the best way to play CS:GO&mdash;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/triggernometry/">if you've been reading along</a>, you already know.</p><p> I wanted to create a guide to getting into competitive play, but I decided that doing real-time coaching for a Competitive virgin might be an interesting.&nbsp;I grabbed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamesradar.com/">GamesRadar</a>'s&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/ljrepresent">Lucas Sullivan</a>, whispering sweet tactical nothings in his ear throughout his first match. What we recorded, I hope, represents a collection of some of the adjustments in mindset, positioning, and behaviors that players need to make when transitioning to competitive play.</p> Alchemilla is a Silent Hill mod for the Source enginehttp://www.pcgamer.com/alchemilla-is-a-silent-hill-mod-for-the-source-engine/The low visibility town gets recreated in the Half-Life 2 engine.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:34:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/alchemilla-is-a-silent-hill-mod-for-the-source-engine/HorrorModsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bIc_JFnlQwO1.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jraDS_EHltJT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alchemilla"></p><p>What do you think of when you think about&nbsp;Silent Hill? Is it the psychological tension of exploring a hostile and malicious environment? Is it the perverse Freudian imagery of scantily clad limb monsters? Or is it trying to hit a thing with a lead pipe?</p><p>Probably the first two, right? Which is why, despite being a first-person Half-Life 2 mod, Alchemilla does successfully evoke shades of Konami's infamous town of fog and gore. Set in the low-visibility anytown of Silent Hill, you play as a man confused by the unusual nature of the town and assaulted by creepy happenings. There are no monsters or combat, rather your job is to survive the town's torment by completing a series of tasks and puzzles.</p><p>I spent a few minutes wondering around its creepy buildings, and it seems well constructed. If there's a downside, it's that you're quickly tasked with scouring environments for various objects. It's hardly the most horrifying way to encounter the mod's reimagining of the town.</p><p>If you'd like to visit Silent Hill: Alchemilla, head over to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/alchemilla-mod" target="_blank">ModDB</a>. You'll also need to install the Source SDK 2013 through the Steam Tools library.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/I8TCuVqMGA8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Resident Evil HD Remaster reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-hd-remaster-review/Resident Evil HD Remaster brings Shinji Mikami’s horror classic back from the dead.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:00:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-hd-remaster-review/HorrorResident EvilReviewsSurvival <p>We’re used to feeling like the centre of attention in games, like the whole world revolves around us. But Resident Evil’s zombie-plagued mansion doesn’t care about you. It’s a place where death lurks around every pre-rendered corridor, and if you stumble into one of its sadistic traps or undead denizens, bad luck. It’s back to the main menu with you, and you better hope you saved. It doesn’t hold your hand: it rips it off and eats it.</p><p>This is a remastered version of a remake of the original 1996 game, released for the Nintendo Gamecube in 2002. It retains the fixed cameras, rendered backgrounds, and tank controls of Mikami’s pioneering survival horror, but mixes a few things up. </p><p>If you know the Spencer mansion from the PlayStation game inside out, there are plenty of surprises. But if you’ve never played the original, this is the best place to start. Even though it’s 13 years old (and based on a 19-year-old game), it’s still worth playing.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ORsOLjWBS2aj.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ytI_9iWS5DRv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="7"></p><p>You can play through the game as one of two characters. Jill Valentine has more item slots, but less health. Chris Redfield has a smaller inventory, but does more weapon damage. Jill’s story is generally easier, but both present their own challenges. While Jill can unlock some doors with her special item, a lockpick, Chris has to hunt down keys.</p><p>There are no respawning items in the atmospheric haunted house setting, so it becomes a game about management: knowing when to fight, when to run away and conserve ammo, and whether to use a health item now or save it for later. Even your saves are finite.</p><p>The term is regularly misused, but this really is&nbsp;<em>survival </em>horror. Every wasted bullet or typewriter ink ribbon, used to save, could come back to haunt you later. Even defeated zombies can be a problem, springing back to life as more powerful ‘crimson heads’. You’ll have to devote time and resources to burning their corpses to avoid this.</p><p>The ‘remaster’ isn’t as good as I’d hoped. I thought they would have dug the original pre-rendered backgrounds out of some dusty archive and presented them at a higher resolution, but it seems as if they’ve just added a grimy filter to the existing Gamecube files and widened them for 16:9 resolutions.</p><p>As a result it doesn’t look spectacular, especially on larger monitors, but the lighting and atmosphere make up for it. Light sources in the world affect your character as you move past them, which does a surprisingly good job of fooling your brain into thinking these are 3D spaces rather than static backgrounds.</p><p>The mansion is a wonderfully eerie setting, and the fixed cameras, although archaic, actually add to the tension. The game uses blind corners to great effect, and you’ll often hear the groan of a zombie before you see it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XoZ6LzA4RL-H.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vhj9cxck842Z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="304240 2015-01-12 00029"></p><p>This makes you play cautiously as you creep through its dingy corridors. Sometimes the camera will be peering at you through a window or floating above you, which gives you an uneasy feeling of being watched. Rather than be hamstrung by their two-dimensional limitations, the devs have used them to make a really effective horror game.</p><p>With hardcore survival games frequently topping the Steam charts, Capcom couldn’t have picked a better time to revive Resident Evil. It’s a punishing, but immensely satisfying game, even if the ‘remaster’ isn’t as dramatic as the title suggests. </p><p>Some people will undoubtedly be driven away by its old-fashioned sensibilities, and losing progress because you forgot to save can be frustrating, but that’s what makes it special. If it was slick and streamlined, it wouldn’t be scary. If there were checkpoints, there would be no feeling&nbsp;of danger or trepidation.</p><p>If you can’t stomach the tank controls there’s a new analogue option that works well with a controller, but the keyboard and mouse controls are pretty clunky. This was a game originally designed for a Nintendo console after all.</p> Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-review/Welcome to the purgatory of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/saints-row-gat-out-of-hell-review/ActionReviewsSaints Row: Gat Out of Hell <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Need To Know</h5> <p> <strong>Price:</strong> £15/$20 <br> <strong>Release:</strong> 22 January <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Deep Silver <br> <strong>Developer:</strong> Volition <br> <strong>Link:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.saintsrow.com/" target="_blank">Official site</a> <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> Co-op </p> </div><p> I love Saints Row IV. It's funny, silly and, for a game that features a cast of sociopaths, surprisingly warm hearted. It's also polarising – with some former fans unhappy with the series' transformation into an absurd comedy ensemble. I'm not one of them, and it's important you know how much I enjoy the Saints' last outing, because I don't love Gat Out of Hell. I don't hate it, by any means; but it seldom displays the spark of creativity that made the last two games so good.</p><p> Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a standalone expansion for Saints Row IV. Rather than "The Boss" – the moldable agent of chaos at the centre of all previous games – you play as returning characters Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington. Through a ridiculous set-up involving Kinzie's birthday party and Aleister Crowley's ouija board, The Boss is kidnapped by Satan and forced to marry his daughter, Jezebel. Through an even more ridiculous series of events, the playable duo open their own portal to New Hades with a half-formed plan to rescue him.</p><p> Needless to say, this is all great. Unfortunately, it all takes place in a cutscene. Gat Out of Hell's best moments are all in cutscenes, where the characters are free to break out of the rigidity of the game itself. Even worse, the game's best joke – which I won't spoil on the off-chance you haven't seen it – was released in its entirety as a trailer. Were I feeling generous, I'd argue that borrowing the movie industry's trick of spoiling a film's funniest bits shows how far comedy games have come. Really, though, it ruins what could have been a wonderful surprise.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wO0RSByNQj-2.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S97KLnIED8Ol.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="You'll spend the majority of your time flying into these. It's fun!" class=""><figcaption>You'll spend the majority of your time flying into these. It's fun!</figcaption></figure><p> The major problem with Gat Out of Hell is that the series' other traditional methods of delivering jokes – its mission design and scripting – are almost entirely absent. Instead, its mission givers offer playlists of open world mini-game activities. Saints Row IV did this too, but only as a diversion between the main missions. Here, there are no missions. Your job is to complete activities until you've caused enough carnage to attract Satan's wrath. Do so, and you'll unlock the final boss fight. The entire process took me around five hours – albeit with plenty of other activities left on the map.</p><p> With no missions, the entire game is reliant on its open world design. Some of this is exceptional. Where in Saints Row IV you could super-jump and glide, in Gat Out of Hell you can fly. It's a brilliant system. You've a limited number of times you can flap your wings while in the air, each one giving a small boost of speed. Your job is to maintain momentum, and with practice you can reach some exhilarating speeds. It gives an entirely new sense of freedom, and makes collecting "Clusters" – collectible souls that upgrade your powers – a joy.</p><p> Also of note is New Hades. Its biggest plus is that it's not Steelport, virtual or otherwise. There are similarities, most likely due to sharing an engine with Saints Row IV, but even though it resembles a heavy-metal cover version of the city, it's nonetheless a new place to explore. Great! Only, there isn't much new to do in it. Aside from a few notable exceptions, much of the activities, weapons and super powers are lifted across from the previous game. Your enemies even drop health pick-ups, which makes less sense in hell than it does in Saints Row IV's computer simulation.</p><p> Some of the new weapons are fun. The exploding frog launcher was my constant companion throughout the game, and the armchair Gatling gun was funny enough in concept and execution to make it into rotation every now and then. Saints Row's combat has never been its strong suit, though. It's functional, but the system feels more suited to large-scale carnage and mayhem than it does to the moment-to-moment headshotting of demons. Here, the smaller scale stuff seems more prevalent, and the grand set-pieces sorely lacking.</p><p> There are only a handful of different activities, each repeated multiple times. Torment Fraud is essentially a reskin of Saints Row IV's Insurance Fraud, in which you throw yourself in front of cars and fight against an irritatingly imprecise ragdoll system. Survival and Mayhem also make the transition, and are similarly identical to previous versions. Of the new events, Hellblazer and Salvation make use of Gat's flight ability, and as such are the best of the bunch.</p><p> There are caveats to my disappointment. First, this is an expansion, and so of course it's going to be smaller in scope than a full Saints Row game. Second, it's priced like an expansion. That absolves Gat Out of Hell of a lot of its sins, but nevertheless leaves it feeling restrained and underwhelming.</p> Sid Meier's Starships announced, is set in "Beyond Earth" universehttp://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meiers-starships-announced-is-set-in-beyond-earth-universe/Turn-based space strategy is coming to Windows, Mac and iPad.Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:02:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meiers-starships-announced-is-set-in-beyond-earth-universe/FiraxisNewsSid Meier's StarshipsStrategy <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Y_Si8ecBQG6a.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Krz5Mw8KO9PI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Starships"></p><p> Firaxis has just announced Sid Meier's Starships; a turn-based space strategy set in the Beyond Earth universe. A follow-up of sorts, it details what happens <em>after </em>man colonises a new planet, and then gets bored,&nbsp;builds new ships and sets off to have a big fight in space.</p><p> Normally I'd raise an eyebrow at the idea of inter-connected meta-fiction set across 4X strategies. Sure, you could say that Beyond Earth was set in the same universe as Civilization V, but that supposes a very specific ending <em>and </em>that everyone who went into space was a massive jerk. You might as well say that Eastenders,&nbsp;the BBC's London-based miserabalist fantasy, is set in the same universe as Silent Running.</p><p> For Starships, though,&nbsp;Meier plans a more direct follow-up to Beyond Earth's events. "When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth," Meier told&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamespot.com/articles/firaxis-reveals-new-interstellar-strategy-game-sid/1100-6424728/" target="_blank">Gamespot</a>, who announced the new game. "What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth?"</p><p> "My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."</p><p> In fact, Starships will feature cross-connectivity with Beyond Earth, although Firaxis are yet to announce exactly what that will involve.</p><p> As for the specifics, Starships is due out early this year, and will be available for Windows, Mac and iPad.&nbsp;In it, you'll direct your fleet of ships to explore the galaxy, completing missions and protecting planets. You'll also collect new technology and partake in dynamically generated combat encounters.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6FsHpNiz-4M?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe>