PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usWed, 17 Dec 2014 22:43:49 +0000yesCities: Skylines preview: If urban planning was like Photoshophttp://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-preview-if-urban-planning-was-like-photoshop/Cities: Skylines looks to pick up where the latest SimCity dissapointingly left off.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:43:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-preview-if-urban-planning-was-like-photoshop/Cities: SkylinesParadox InteractivePreviewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-hPHTamCTeG4.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RQ1GOofuLv0n.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines 1"></p><p>The idea for the original SimCity came to Will Wright when he discovered that the tools he was using to make a different game were a fun game in their own right. By extension, every city building sim should make its tools the highest priority, balancing flexibility with usability. Cities: Skylines look really promising in that respect.</p><p>I'm not interested in multiplayer innovation, or over-designed modes that aim to streamline the city building genre. At this point, all I want is to start with a barren landscape, and lose hours and hours in transforming it into the biggest metropolis possible.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">City&nbsp;Editor</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NrZ9KVCURMOF.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/T3gg1hIzKJna.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines 5"></p><p><strong><em>Click the&nbsp;arrows at top-right to view full size.</em></strong></p></div><p>That's what Cities: Skylines looks like. Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikanien's short demonstration started with her picking a square-kilometer plot of land near a river. First, she connected the city to a bigger transportation route that already exists on the map, a multi-lane highway in this case, though we later saw train tracks serve the same purpose. Then she laid out few roads in straight lines and curves and designated the areas around the roads for different building types: residential, industrial, etc. Finally, she secured the basic utilities by drawing a pipe to the nearby river, and power by setting up wind turbines and connecting them to the city grid with power lines. As you'd expect, she was careful to place the wind turbines a little out of the way, as they produce noise pollution that irritates residents, as indicated by a circle around the turbine. With that, she had a basic city foundation to build on.</p><p>What impressed me most about that first part of the demonstration was that there seemed to be no restriction on where Hallikanien placed things, and how flexible the drawing tools looked. There were different brush sizes and types for every purpose. Take for example the grid around the roads where you build structures. You can simply use a fill tool to paint large section for different purposes, or you could zoom in and decide to paint a tiny residential square in a middle of an industrial zone.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hr_6pweWQbKg.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hon9opdIRQUx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines 4"></p><h3>Ghost town</h3><p>Later, in a bigger city, I saw how easily Hallikanien divided it into different districts with a similar brush tool. This allowed her to set different codes for different parts of the city to benefit citizens (keeping them away from noise and smoke pollution, different tax rates, and so on). But you could also use districts for aesthetic reasons. If you don't want a part of the city to be filled with skyscrapers, you can set a building code that limits structure height.</p><p>Skylines is also flexible in the sense that it's being completely opened up to the community with Steam Workshop. Colossal is a small team of less than 20 people, and it's hoping the community will make Skylines a much bigger game than Colossal could make on its own. Ambitious modders will be able to import their own buildings from most 3D modeling programs, set the values of those buildings, as well as create their own maps. If a modder was dedicated enough, he could theoretically use Skylines to create everything he needed for a moon colony.</p><p>Cities can grow to a million residents, with every one of them simulated from the time they move in or are born, to the time they leave or die. Each map is made up of 25 2x2km tiles, and your city can expand into up to nine of those tiles. The advanced city we saw spread into a 3x3 grid, but you can expand in whatever configuration you want as long as it's adjacent, so you could, for example, keep growing along a river.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lTCSVv38QZur.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pp1GOblQa20W.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines 3"></p><p>Colossal's Cities in Motion is a mass transit simulator, so Hallikanien was very confident in that aspect of Skylines. If a citizen needs to the hospital, the ambulance will actually have to reach him, pick him up, and take him there. Hallikanien even followed one person as he left work and went down the street to the mall to go shopping.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/simcity-review/">SimCity</a> made the same promise, you may recall.</p><p>I was impressed with those details, but since the simulation can only handle tracking so many moving parts, the city also looked a little underpopulated, with few pedestrians and cars in the streets. Even congested areas didn't look like bumper-to-bumper traffic.</p><p>It probably also didn't help that I watched&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.6em;"><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-xxl-trailer-is-adamant-that-size-is-everything/">the trailer for the newly announced Cities XXL</a></span>&nbsp;right before I saw Skylines. It's not a fair comparison because Skylines was an early build running in real time while the Cities XXL trailer was a neatly edited sizzle reel, but man did it look pretty, which is another thing I really want from a modern city builder.</p><p>Skylines looked okay as it was, but I hope it'll look better by launch. It could use more density, building variety&mdash;some old fashion pizzazz, as they say, in the form of bloom, blur, and other effects that don't really impact how you play, but still make admiring what you've built more rewarding.</p> BioWare releases free "Destruction" add-on for Dragon Age: Inquisitionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/bioware-releases-free-destruction-add-on-for-dragon-age-inquisition/A second add-on that upgrades the standard release to the Deluxe Edition is also available.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:03:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/bioware-releases-free-destruction-add-on-for-dragon-age-inquisition/BiowareDragon Age: InquisitionNewsRPG <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iEV2iaWoQSKx.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tcvs-QqJL--P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dragon Age: Inquisition"></p><p>BioWare has released a free multiplayer-focused&nbsp;content pack for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-2/">Dragon Age: Inquisition</a> that adds new (and potentially more dangerous) routes to existing locations. And if you've been kicking yourself for not springing for the deluxe edition of the game, a second add-on has that base covered too. </p><p>"Destruction adds new paths to existing destinations," BioWare <a href="http://www.dragonage.com/?sf34711320=1#!/en_US/news/new-multiplayer-pack-and-digital-upgrade-offer">explained</a>, somewhat vaguely, in the announcement. "The conflicts raging throughout the world have upset the balance of nature. Wild creatures now roam the battlefield, introducing chaos as they attack both friend and foe."</p><p>That one's a freebie, so there is literally no reason not to grab it if you own Dragon Age: Inquisition. The Deluxe Upgrade, on the other hand, will set you back $10, but it's more substantial, too. It adds the Skyhold Throne, Red Hart Halla, the Bog Unicorn, the official soundtrack, multiplayer Deluxe Edition chests, and the Flames of the Inquisition gear, all of which was included in the Deluxe release. $10 is also the difference in price between the two editions, so it's not like anyone is being unfairly hosed here, either.</p><p>The Dragon Age: Inquisition <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-ca/store/buy/dragon-age-inquisition/pc-download/addon/dragon-age-inquisition--destruction-multiplayer-expansion">Destruction</a> and <a href="https://www.origin.com/en-ca/store/buy/dragon-age-inquisition/pc-download/addon/dragon-age-inquisition-deluxe-upgrade">Deluxe</a> add-ons are both available now on Origin. Our review, for those still wavering, is camped&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-review/">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> Nvidia driver update for Elite: Dangerous and MGS V fixes limited RGB bughttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-driver-update-for-elite-dangerous-and-mgs-fixes-limited-rgb-bug/Nvidia's latest beta driver fixes a longstanding issue with displaying full RGB color over HDMI.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:53:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-driver-update-for-elite-dangerous-and-mgs-fixes-limited-rgb-bug/driversHardwareNewsNvidiaTech <p>Nvidia has <a href="http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/geforce-347-09-beta-driver-released">released</a> its latest GeForce Game Ready drivers. It's a beta release, numbered 347.09, and offer performance tweaks for Elite: Dangerous and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.</p><p>You may remember that earlier this week we called attention to a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-cards-dont-full-rgb-color-through-hdmiheres-a-fix/">longstanding issue</a> where Nvidia cards outputting through HDMI were being locked into limited RGB instead of full RGB. The problem didn't affect all displays, just those categorized under "Ultra HD, HD, SD" in the Nvidia Control Panel.&nbsp;The new driver finally fixes the problem, offering a toggle for Limited or Full RGB on the Desktop Color Settings menu.</p><p>Here's a before and after shot of the menu on an HDMI monitor:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LAMqoLP7SseS.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rAgOaCL2X22V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia HDMI RGB before after"></p><p>According to the <a href="http://us.download.nvidia.com/Windows/347.09/347.09-win8-win7-winvista-desktop-release-notes.pdf">release notes</a>, the new driver also&nbsp;adds a new application profile for Project CARS and 3D Vision and 3D Compatibility Mode profiles for several games, such as Alien: Isolation, Far Cry 4, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.</p><p>The new drivers are available now through <a href="http://www.geforce.com/geforce-experience">GeForce Experience</a> and at <a href="http://www.geforce.com/drivers">GeForce.com</a>. In GFE, make sure to tick the beta box to see the latest driver.</p> Writing about a prog-rock space giant in Elegy for a Dead Worldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/writing-about-a-prog-rock-space-giant-in-elegy-for-a-dead-world/Tyler gives creative writing a shot in Dejobaan's unusual new game.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:30:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/writing-about-a-prog-rock-space-giant-in-elegy-for-a-dead-world/Elegy for a Dead World Stop the presses: Farming Simulator is getting a custom controllerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/stop-the-presses-farming-simulator-is-getting-a-custom-controller/Call it "Hands On Throttle and Sprayer knob."Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:34:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/stop-the-presses-farming-simulator-is-getting-a-custom-controller/Farming Simulator 15Giants SoftwareHardwareNewsSaiteksim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8RzqjdiSRw6K.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MNxawvBHMJUR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Farming Simulator controller"></p><p>I don't know if you demanded it, but you're getting it anyway: Saitek and Giants Software are creating a <a href="http://www.saitek.com/farmsim/">custom game controller</a> for the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/farming-simulator-15/">Farming Simulator</a> series. The device will feature a shallowly-tilted wheel with a Brodie knob, and a side panel with lots of buttons and a control stick for operating frontal attachments.</p><p>Specialized controllers are nothing new&mdash;I rocked a very nice Thrustmater HOTAS setup, back before you were born&mdash;but even so, I think it's fair to say that this one qualifies as&hellip; unusual. It's designed specifically for operating virtual tractors (and harvesters, loaders, combines, etc.), the sort of activity that appeals to an extremely niche audience and is thus offered by a very limited selection of games.</p><p>That's not to say it won't succeed: The upside to niche markets is that they tend to be very dedicated, and while <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/farming-simulator-15-review/">I didn't care for the paper-thin simulation</a> in Farming Sim 15, I'm happy to see the virtual farming community&nbsp;getting this kind of support.</p><p>The Farming Simulator controller is still in the design stage, and Saitek said it will seek input from fans&nbsp;as it progresses. There's no word on when it will be ready for market.</p> Dying Light "interactive trailer" invites you to test your survival skillshttp://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-interactive-trailer-invites-you-to-test-your-survival-skills/You have a choice: Fix the radio antennaor die!Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:29:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-interactive-trailer-invites-you-to-test-your-survival-skills/ActionDying LightNewsTechland <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rb5AkhG_JG8?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The new <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light/">Dying Light</a> "Test Your Survival Skills" trailer is a Choose Your Own Adventure-style journey through a mission to restore communications with a radio antenna surrounded by the undead. At various points in the video you'll pick between two options&mdash;left or right, in or out, dodge or clobber, that sort of thing&mdash;until you've made it (or not) to your goal.</p><p> If the trailer rings a bell of familiarity, it's likely because of last year's interactive <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hellraid-trailer-brings-death-and-decisions-with-an-interactive-movie-prequel/">Edyn's Escape trailer</a> for Hellraid, which also happens to be a Techland game. The Dying Light video seems a little less inclined to drop the hammer of random death, although I suppose it's possible that I made it from start to finish on my first try through the virtue of sheer luck. Not that it really matters: Like the great CYOA books of old, it's easy enough to rewind and try again if you blow it. More to the point, do you like what you see?</p><p> Dying Light comes out on January 27.</p> The easy PC upgrade guide: everything you need to knowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide/How to tell when you need a new graphics card, or CPU, or RAM, and what you need to know to upgrade.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:24:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide/HardwareTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NLESQqVHQcGH.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eFeriTsoKkOj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Easy PC upgrades"></p><p>The simple beauty of building a PC is having a constant gaming platform. While new generations of consoles appear every few years, resetting entire game libraries in the upgrade process, your PC will by-and-large continue to play every game you’ve ever bought.&nbsp;Consoles need an entire hardware overhaul every few years. As PC gamers, we have the luxury of making simpler, easier&nbsp;upgrades&nbsp;whenever we see fit.&nbsp;</p><p>But&nbsp;how do you know when it’s time to make those upgrades? And here's the trickier question:&nbsp;how do you know which parts of your rig need the most urgent attention?</p><p>Upgrading your PC can help turn a 12-frame-per-second chug-fest into a sublime 60 fps gaming masterpiece. But reaching that point isn't always as simple as plopping in a&nbsp;new graphics card, and it can be tough to identify what parts are due for an upgrade. We've broken down everything you need to know about upgrading your PC: when you need a new graphics card vs. a new CPU, when your old hard drive or RAM are holding you back, how proper cooling can affect your performance.</p><p>Each of the following pages addresses a part of your gaming PC that affects performance. First we'll tell you how to identify that a part needs an upgrade. Then we'll tell you how to pick a new part to get your PC back into fighting shape. And if you do an entire system upgrade, check out our guide on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/what-to-do-with-your-old-pc/">what to do with your old PC</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">On the next page: How you know it's time for a new graphics card.</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"><p>Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction<br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">Page 2: Graphics card</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">Page 3: CPU and motherboard</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">Page 4: Memory</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">Page 5: Storage</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">Page 6: Cooling</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rvBObZGoTq22.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VVMUkdiCv630.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="AMD Radeon R9 295x2" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h1><strong>Graphics Card</strong></h1><p> Ah, the GPU. The pixel-pusher. El graphico capitano. When PC gamers talk about upgrading our machines, this is largely where we focus. The graphics card is the part of our PC most responsible for helping deliver a great gaming experience to our eyeballs.</p><p> So, when’s the right time to upgrade your graphics card?</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">GPU testing</h5> <p> <a href="http://www.fraps.com/">FRAPS</a> is a great free tool to determine a game's framerate, and you can also use it to run a benchmark to get an average framerate.&nbsp;Install it and run it from your desktop. On the FPS tab at the top check the box marked ‘MinMaxAvg’ and the box marked ‘Stop benchmark after&hellip;’ Leave the benchmark at 60 seconds.&nbsp;This will set FRAPS up to run for a minute in your chosen game, creating a report on the minimum, maximum and average frame rates over that time. </p> <p> Now launch your chosen game while running FRAPS in the background, making sure the frame rate counter is displayed in one of the corners of the screen in-game. Once you’re into the game proper hit the F11 key&nbsp;and go about your in-game business. The counter will vanish then return after a minute, benchmark completed. </p> <p> The report will be available in FRAPS' benchmarks folder and can be viewed in Notepad. </p> </div><p> If you ask anyone at Nvidia or AMD the answer will likely be: "Right now! Always!"&nbsp;But that's not the case: a timely graphics card update stems from your own gaming preferences.</p><p> Having a great gaming experience is a very subjective thing. Some people are quite happy running higher graphics settings at 30FPS, whereas others simply have to have their games running at 60FPS and will dial down whatever settings necessary to hit that benchmark. Some people don’t give a pair of dingo’s kidneys for jagged lines permeating their game worlds, while others simply cannot live without the post-processed smoothness of anti-aliasing.</p><p> <strong>Here's our rule of thumb</strong>:&nbsp;When you’re unable to strike an acceptable balance between visual fidelity and frame rate, that’s the time to start thinking about a new graphics card. Simple, right?</p><p> This decision will likely be driven by&nbsp;a new, hardware-punishing game. If you fiddle and fiddle with&nbsp;graphical settings in-game and can’t get over 30FPS, then it’s probably time to upgrade. One thing you can do first: overclock your graphics card. We already wrote&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-overclock-your-graphics-card/">a beginner-friendly guide to overclocking</a>, which you can read here.</p><p> If overclocking doesn't&nbsp;give you enough of a performance bump,&nbsp;don't throw away your existing graphics card. It can still serve a purpose.&nbsp;If you’ve got a standard ATX motherboard, you'll likely&nbsp;have spare PCIe slots available for you to drop a second graphics card into.</p><p> There are two primary routes to take when upgrading your graphics card: <strong>going multi-GPU</strong>, or swapping for <strong>a single brand new card</strong>.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wqHEWZnYQYG3.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CanXL1xsYCkt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Multi-GPU fun"></p><h2>Graphics card upgrade: going multi-GPU</h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Pros and cons</h5> <p> <strong>Advantages:</strong> Cheaper<br> <strong>Disadvantages:</strong> Smaller performance boost than a new-generation card, more power consumption, limited support.<br> <strong>Choose this option</strong><strong>:</strong> If you're on a budget, and your graphics card is less than 3 years old. </p> </div><p> Going multi-GPU is a cheaper way of upgrading and getting high-end performance, because you're&nbsp;building on what you’ve already got. This only really works if the graphics card you’re trying to run&mdash;in either Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFire mode&mdash;is relatively modern. Otherwise it can be tricky or needlessly expensive tracking down a second card that’s become rare as hen’s teeth.</p><p> For a multi-GPU setup, you'll need to properly match a second card to your current one. <strong>They don't have to be from the same manufacturer</strong><strong>, but they must have the same actual GPU inside, and the same amount of memory, to be fully compatible</strong>. In other words, you can pair an Asus GTX 780 with an EVGA GTX 780 as long as they both have the same 3GB of VRAM.&nbsp;</p><p> To find out what GPU is inside your graphics card, download the free app&nbsp;<a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/" target="_blank">GPU-Z</a>. This will tell you all the information you need to know about your current card to help you match the specs of a second one.</p><p> There are a few other things to be aware of, however.</p><h4>SLI limitations</h4><p> Some lower-end GPUs are deliberately hobbled to stop people doubling up, such as the GTX 750 Ti. And not all motherboards are capable of supporting multiple graphics cards&mdash;even if they have spare PCIe slots they may not have the license to support Nvidia’s SLI tech. That isn’t a problem with AMD, as all boards with multiple PCIe graphics slots are CrossFire compatible&mdash;they loves their open standards.</p><p> Check your motherboard or graphics card’s website to see if they feature&nbsp;multi-GPU support.</p><h4>Power supply headroom</h4><p> You'll also need to make sure your power supply can support another graphics card. That means another 100-300 watts of power&nbsp;headroom (Google your card&nbsp;"+ TDP" to figure out the wattage you need)&nbsp;and the power cables to support another card. If you have to upgrade to a new PSU, adding that to the price of a second GPU, you’re going to significantly bump up the cost of this dual-GPU upgrade path. At that point, it's not worth it.</p><p> Cost-effectiveness is&nbsp;a big factor in deciding whether to add another GPU or simply go for a wholesale upgrade to a single new graphics card.</p><p> Adding a second card is only going to boost gaming performance by around 60-70% on average. A quick FRAPS benchmark, and a little mathematics, will tell you if that’s going to be enough extra performance for your gaming needs.</p><h4>Some compatibility issues</h4><p> If it's hard to find a duplicate of your card on Amazon or Ebay resellers, you’ll likely end up paying more than it’s worth. There are also some cases where SLI and CrossFire simply aren’t supported by a game&mdash;such as Total War: Rome 2 and Company of Heroes 2&mdash;rendering that second GPU redundant.</p><p> With all that in mind, it's often easier and better to upgrade to a single new card.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3Hh-P-jvTSKR.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8CzMBfvpKnnc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 980"></p><h2> <strong>Graphics card upgrade: a shiny new single GPU</strong></h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">pros and cons</h5> <p> <strong>Advantages:</strong> Lower power consumption, more efficient performance<br> <strong>Disadvantages:</strong> Usually more expensive<br> <strong>Choose this option if...:</strong> Your existing card is too old, power supply is limited, you want new GPU features </p> </div><p> Luckily there are fewer&nbsp;problems to avoid if you’re just doing a straight GPU swap. If you have&nbsp;a motherboard from 2011 or newer, you’ll likely already have a PCI Express 3.0 slot on your board, which is what the latest graphics cards are based on. Even if you’ve got an older motherboard with only PCIe 2.0 connections, a new card will work&mdash;PCIe is backwards compatible. You probably won't even notice a performance hit using a PCIe 3.0 card in a PCIe 2.0 slot, though there will likely be some CPU and motherboard bottlenecks to check out. More on that later.</p><h4>6-pin or 8-pin power connectors?</h4><p> Thanks to improvements in GPU efficiency you shouldn't need a new&nbsp;power supply. Currently a 500-600W PSU should be sufficient for almost any graphics card. You should check&nbsp;the available power connections to plug the power supply&nbsp;into your graphics card. The ideal is to have a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors with optional extra pins to turn them into 8-pin if needed. Lower spec cards may only need one connector, but more powerful cards will need at least a pair of 6-pin connections.</p><p> Make sure to check what connections your PSU supports, and what your upgrade card of choice requires, before purchasing.</p><h4>What size card will fit in your case?</h4><p> The physical side of your new card is also a consideration. Width is rarely an issue, as most cards&nbsp;are dual-slot (taking up two expansion slots in your case) but there are some triple-slot cards if you’re looking at high-end overclocked cards with hefty third-party coolers attached to them.</p><p> Length is the real issue&mdash;depending on the size of your case, a new card may not fit. AMD cards are generally longer than their Nvidia counterparts, so it’s probably worth having a quick look online at the dimensions of the card you’re chasing for your upgrade and comparing it to your current GPU and the space available in your PC.&nbsp;There are few things so sad as excitedly pulling your new graphics card from its box, only to discover you can’t even install it in your rig.</p><p> Get it right, and&nbsp;the moment you boot up that demanding new game, with your brand new GPU purring inside your PC, will be an immensely satisfying one. On top of the lower power consumption of a newer, more efficient card, new graphics cards typically support features that older ones don't. Nvidia's newer cards support its ShadowPlay recording software. Some types of graphics and lighting effects and post-processing won't work on older cards.</p><p> Now, one last recommendation if you're upgrading to a new GPU: sell your old card. Someone else out there may want it for their own multi-GPU setup, and you can probably put $50 - $100 towards the price of your upgrade.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">On the next page: When to upgrade your CPU and motherboard.</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know">Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction</a><br> Page 2: Graphics card<br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">Page 3: CPU and motherboard</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">Page 4: Memory</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">Page 5: Storage</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">Page 6: Cooling</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xggD5gadT_yU.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t70UobZITM2h.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="So many CPUs..." style="background-color: initial;"></p><h1><strong>CPU and Motherboard</strong></h1><p> These two vital parts of your PC are inextricably linked and form the basis for your gaming rig. They provide the brains of your machine and the interconnects to allow everything else&mdash;from GPU to SSD to memory&mdash;to actually talk to each other.</p><p> But how do you know when one or the other needs upgrading? Chances are if your CPU isn’t the problem then your motherboard won't be either. That goes both ways; if your processor does need upgrading, there’s a pretty high possibility you’re going to need to replace your motherboard too.</p><p> So, does your processor need upgrading? <strong>For a lot of modern games, your CPU won't be the bottleneck.</strong> Unless you’re running at a very low resolution or have an <em>ancient </em>CPU, it’s going to be the graphics card that’s putting up roadblocks. AI-intensive strategy games, however, can put some serious demands on your processor.</p><p> The best way to check your CPU is to test your system running something from your favorite genre, or a new, demanding game you can use to push your system to its limits.</p><h2>Identifying a CPU bottleneck</h2><p> To get a bead on the usage of both GPU and CPU, download and install an application called&nbsp; <a href="http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html" target="_blank">HWMonitor</a>.&nbsp;It might look a little complicated with all the expanded sections, but click on the minus icon to minimise each of the unwanted data sets until you’re left with the Utilizations for both your GPU and CPU.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3Phd7rf_Q4mm.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aQCu8Y3gsWFv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="HWmonitor"></p><p> With HWMonitor running, launch your chosen game and get past the menus. Now hit ALT+ENTER and this should drop you into windowed mode and allow you to see the HWMonitor window (depending on the game, you may need to switch to windowed mode in the graphics settings). If either your CPU or GPU are running at their 100% maximums, or dangerously close to, then you know you’ve found your bottleneck.</p><p> The likely scenario for a modern 3D game is that your GPU will be the one doing the heavy-lifting.&nbsp;If both are running at close to their respective peak load then you’ve arguably got a finely balanced system. But if it’s not running fast enough for your wants and needs, then it looks like you’ll need to upgrade both your graphics card and processor. Expensive&hellip;</p><h2><strong>Time for a new CPU</strong></h2><p> Let’s assume for the moment you’ve found your CPU is holding back the performance of your GPU. So, what do you do now? Well, you need to know what specifically is holding back your chip&mdash;is it simply too slow, or does it not have the required multi-threading performance?</p><p> With the previous game still running you can have a quick check. If you bring up Task Manager (right-click on the Taskbar and select it) you can navigate to the ‘Performance’ tab and right-click on the CPU graph to ‘Display logical processors.’ This will show the load levels across your processor’s multiple cores and threads. The Windows 7 task manager looks a bit different than the Windows 8 one below, but shows you the same information.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NoZznpcmTqqE.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JV-4vBL-bHtW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Task Manager"></p><p> This will allow you to see which core/thread is running at the ragged edge. If only a single thread is being pushed then you simply need a speedier chip. If all the cores are being pushed to their limits,&nbsp;you might need both a faster and a more heavily multi-threaded processor.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">What the hell's in my PC?</h5> <p> Another handy application for your upgrade quest is&nbsp; <a href="http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html">CPU-Z</a>. The free download&nbsp;will give you a full run-down of the main components of your machine. </p> <p> Once downloaded, run the application to&nbsp;see the details of your processor laid bare. This first tab tells you the exact designation of your CPU as well as the important details about its socket compatibility. This is handy to know when looking for the right upgrade. </p> <p> The Mainboard tab gives some basic details about your motherboard, including the chipset and your BIOS version. </p> </div><p> Figuring out your next move will depend on your motherboard.</p><h4>Identify your motherboard socket</h4><p> A CPU will only work with certain motherboards.&nbsp;This can make upgrading tricky as a given motherboard will be compatible with a&nbsp;range of different processors. The key indicator is the <strong>CPU socket</strong> your current processor uses. That will guide you as to what processors you can then drop into your existing motherboard.&nbsp;</p><p> Check out CPU-Z to find out what socket your current CPU is using. Pay particular care to note it down exactly; there is a world of difference between an AM3 and an AM3+ socket and the same goes for LGA 1150 and LGA 1155. Processors fitting one socket might physically fit another but certainly won't function.</p><p> Once you’re sure of the motherboard socket you’re looking to fill, go and take a look at&nbsp; <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Processors-Desktops/SubCategory/ID-343" target="_blank">Newegg</a> (or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scan.co.uk" target="_blank">Scan</a> in the UK). They both allow you to view their choices of CPU by socket so you won't be distracted by incompatible shinies you sadly can’t use.</p><p> Find your current chip in the list and check out the compatible chips listed above it. With a CPU upgrade you’re looking for either a major speed-hike in frequency or a boost in the core/thread count. There’s little benefit to shifting from a 2.6GHz dual-core to a 2.8GHz dual-core CPU&mdash;the money you’re spending&nbsp;simply wont garner enough extra performance to make it worthwhile.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Kjjr_afNTCSR.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Eb-KSaeS82dR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CPU Z" class="" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; width: 668px;"></p><p>If after your research you find you’re already running the top CPU for your board, then I’m afraid your upgrade is a much bigger job&mdash;you need a new socket for a new processor and that means a whole new motherboard.</p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">Rule of thumb: if your system is more than two years old, you'll probably have to upgrade both CPU and motherboard.</strong></p><h2>Time for a new CPU and motherboard</h2><p> Replacing your&nbsp;motherboard essentially equates to an almost entirely new build; everything has to be removed from your rig, and you’re also likely to have to go through some activation shenanigans with your existing OS when it comes to booting the whole thing back up again. It's often easiest to back up and start with a fresh installation of Windows.</p><p> It’s also a much more expensive process. Having to pick up a CPU and motherboard can sometimes double the cost of the upgrade. There’s also the chance you’re going to need to pick up some new memory to fit in the new board&mdash;memory tech hasn’t changed much in the past few years, but we are starting to see DDR4 coming in.</p><p>DDR4 will be slow to replace DDR3 in the more mainstream motherboards we’re thinking about, but if you’re upgrading a machine that’s more than five years old you could be looking at the switch from DDR2 to DDR3 memory.</p><p> But we’ll get to memory upgrades on the next page.</p><h4><strong style="background-color: initial;">Time for a new case?</strong></h4><p>If you’re at the stage where it’s looking like a new motherboard is going to be a vital part of your next upgrade then you’ve got some serious thinking to do. If you’re shifting to a whole new motherboard platform it could be time to think about simply picking up a whole new system.</p><p>If that sounds a little like chucking the baby out with the bathwater, remember there will be parts of your existing system you can port over such as GPU, hard drive and OS&mdash;potentially saving you some cash on a new rig. Bundling can help cut costs, too.&nbsp;In places like Newegg in the US and Scan in the UK you can take all the compatibility woes out of the equation and buy upgrade kits which include motherboard, CPU, cooler and memory. It’s all tested together and you can be sure such kits will be fully compatible, work out of the box and come with a welcome warranty.</p><p> That’s not necessarily the most cost-effective way of doing such a big upgrade task - you wont have such a wide choice of board and chip combos - but it could well be the simplest.</p><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">On the next page: more memory, or new memory?</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know">Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">Page 2: Graphics card</a><br> Page 3: CPU and motherboard <br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">Page 4: Memory</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">Page 5: Storage</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">Page 6: Cooling</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jb5svEBvTXK5.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OwwldUjBvpsY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Memories" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h1><strong>Memory</strong></h1><p> How much difference does memory make for gaming? Well, capacity is king and once you get up to a certain amount everything else is just frosting. The inherent hardware stagnation in the last generation of consoles (360 and PS3) meant devs learned to do an awful lot with the meager memory at their disposal. That translated through to their work on the PC.</p><p> The memory industry hasn’t found itself progressing much, either.&nbsp;The current DDR3 standard was introduced way back in 2007, and not a lot has changed in the meantime. Only at the end of 2014 have we started&nbsp;to see DDR4 making its way to desktops in the seriously high-end X99 platform, and only then because of its server heritage.</p><p> Even though we’ve seen triple- and quad-channel memory configurations arrive in high-end platforms, our mainstream machines have been happily running on dual-channel RAM without a performance problem.&nbsp;For the vast majority of PC games we can be very comfortable with a 4GB DDR3 memory quota, ideally split between at least two individual sticks to take advantage of the extra bandwidth of dual-channel mode. And, because DDR3 starts out at 1,333MHz, speed really isn’t a problem&mdash;quicker memory isn’t necessarily going to garner any extra FPS in-game.</p><h4>How much RAM you actually need</h4><p> We’d say 4GB is the <strong>bare minimum</strong> for a gaming PC these days, so if your current rig is a little shy of that we’d recommend buying another 4GB.</p><p> If you’ve already got 4GB of DDR3 in your rig then it’s probably happy days for you. Memory upgrades are the simplest and usually cheapest of the upgrades you can perform on your gaming rig. With 8GB resting in your rig you’re going to be sitting pretty in terms of system memory for a long while yet.</p><p> Most current games are looking at 4GB as the minimum system requirement, but we are seeing games like <em>Call of Duty: Advanced Lt. Worf</em> and <em>Dead Rising 3</em> turn up with 6GB as their minimums.</p><p> There’s also the fact that at 4GB you might be getting a little stretched in today’s seamless, open-world playing areas. We hate loading screens, so games tend to jam as much as they can into RAM so they don’t have to keep going back to the hard drive every few seconds. If you don’t have much excess memory then you could be maxing it out, leading to the dreaded open-world chug. If you’re noticing intermittent frame rate problems in open-world games then it could be your memory needs some attention.</p><p> With the rise of the Let’s Play, and the ease of streaming your gaming experience to friends and/or the world, you might also want to start recording and playing back the most exultant and exciting bits of your gaming sessions. And to be able to keep doing multiple things with your machine, without dropping valuable frame rates, that’s also going to need some extra memory.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UwncFeOFSqmy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x87GdzCKrDqy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dual-channel RAM"></p><h3>Identifying a RAM bottleneck</h3><p> The easiest way is to check out what your system is doing in-game. Start by right-clicking on your taskbar and opening up Task Manager. On Windows 8.1 (yes, I know, ‘boo hiss’) the improved ‘Performance’ tab makes an excellent system monitor, but Windows 7’s Task Manager is useful too.</p><p> If you’re rocking a dual-monitor setup have it open up on your secondary screen, but if not don’t worry, just leave it running in the background while you boot your favourite, or most demanding, game. Get into the game proper and start playing as you normally would.</p><p> If you’re testing to see if you need a boost for simultaneous streaming, then you’ll also need to start your streaming/recording software too.</p><p> Now either look over at your secondary screen (you lucky dualie) or Alt+Tab back into Windows and check out the amount of memory in use and how much is currently free. If there isn’t any and your RAM is getting towards 100% usage, then you know you’re RAM-bottlenecking.</p><p> To be honest, you’ll probably spot this before you even get to see what Task Manager says as the very act of Alt+Tab’ing could well bring your system to a grinding, disk-accessing halt. Your OS will be fighting the game for system resources.</p><h3>The intricacies of upgrading RAM</h3> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">The need for RAM speed</h5> <p> You may actually be sitting on extra memory speed without even knowing it, and I’m not talking about complicated&nbsp;overclocking. Intel motherboards&nbsp;(and some AMD) will have support for Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) which allow you to flick a software switch in your BIOS to get the full rated speed out of your RAM. </p> <p> If you don’t do anything when installing memory, the motherboard will default to its standard speed&mdash;for DDR3 that’s 1,333MHz. In the&nbsp;BIOS you can select the XMP for your specific installed memory and get a&nbsp;speed bump. </p> <p> To get into your BIOS hit F2 or Del when you first start your rig, before the Windows loading screen. They differ between motherboards, but find the memory settings and you will also find the option to select a memory profile.&nbsp;Save and exit and your rig should boot without trouble. Load up CPU-Z, hit the ‘Memory’ tab and check the speed. Just don’t be too disappointed if you don’t notice any obvious performance boost. </p> <p> You may find the specific XMP you’ve selected does some sneaky&nbsp;CPU overclocking to get to its new frequency. If your system gets unstable afterwards, simply boot back into the BIOS and set your memory back to default. </p> </div><p> If you've identified that you have a RAM bottleneck, you can use the super-useful CPU-Z app to check on your current memory setup. Click on the Memory&nbsp;tab at the top and you’ll see what type of RAM you already have, its capacity, and how many channels it’s running. You’ll also see its speed below, but remember because it’s double data rate (DDR y’see) memory you’ll need to double the displayed frequency in your head to figure out what speed your system is actually running at.</p><p> If you see a big blue ‘DDR2’ in the ‘Type’ box then I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. There’s probably a big system upgrade in the wings.&nbsp;Your aging rig will be hoping to retire soon and is probably already looking for a nice place down in Florida (don’t spoil its dreams with talk of humidity, please).</p><p> In a system old enough to be running DDR2,&nbsp;I’d argue that memory isn’t going to be your bottleneck right now&mdash;your CPU is likely to be holding things back, no matter how good your graphics card is. My advice would be to think of a full system upgrade or one of those CPU, motherboard and memory bundles I mentioned earlier.</p><p> <strong>With DDR3 RAM, speed likely isn't an issue. You just need more.</strong></p><p> Note: If CPU-Z said you’re currently running a dual-channel setup then you will need to spread a subsequent RAM upgrade across two spare motherboard memory (DIMM) slots to keep the welcome extra bandwidth performance of dual-channel mode.</p><p> In that situation you’ll need to pick up a 4GB upgrade kit split across two modules - just check there are a couple of spare DIMM slots in your motherboard ready to receive your new memory. And the best way to do that? Pull the side panel off your rig and nose&nbsp;around inside.</p><p> What about memory frequency? You can, after all, hit crazy-high speeds these days, up to 3GHz and beyond. Does that matter for gaming? For my money, no.&nbsp;If you’re a professional video-editor, 3D renderer or heavy Photoshopper then speedy memory can help out. In&nbsp;gamed? Not so much. Dual-channel DDR3 running at 1,333MHz will deliver all the bandwidth you really need for PC gaming.</p><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">On the next page: How to easily upgrade from one HDD/SSD to a newer, faster one.</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know">Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">Page 2: Graphics card</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">Page 3: CPU and motherboard</a><br> Page 4: Memory <br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">Page 5: Storage</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">Page 6: Cooling</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PB4F95XZQKeH.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z8LhDhLDh0eU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="SSDs" style="background-color: initial;"></p><h1><strong>Storage</strong></h1><p> SSDs are now&nbsp;affordable enough, robust enough and, importantly, big enough for all of us. You should absolutely have one in your PC.</p><p> There aren’t that many games which are necessarily going to <em>perform</em> better if you upgrade to an SSD, but load times will be far shorter and&nbsp;the overall experience of using your PC will definitely improve.&nbsp;In some cases quite dramatically.</p><p> And there are a few games that will simply run better on an SSD. World of Warcraft, for instance, plays a lot better running from an SSD as opposed to the spinning platters of a hard drive. On the whole,&nbsp;software and game developers do their utmost to keep storage from having any impact on performance by keeping data mostly moving between the memory and your processor, only dragging things off your hard drive in the background.&nbsp;This is why something like Samsung’s RAPID tech, found in its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-850-evo-ssd-review/" target="_blank">EVO SSDs</a>, doesn’t actually do anything in-game, or for most applications, despite posting hugely inflated synthetic performance scores.</p><p> An SSD will make your general PC experience far slicker. From the first boot, to waking up from sleeping, to loading your favourite games, to Alt+Tabbing out to look up how to get past that utter bastard in Dark Souls 2. Everything will be faster.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M0ZIzFTTRRmD.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cfKzU5jkxZpp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hard drive"></p><h4>How much&nbsp;SSD storage&nbsp;do you need?</h4><p>The size SSD you buy entirely depends on the ready cash you have at your disposal. SSDs are much smaller than hard drives, and a good deal more expensive. For spinning platters think 5c/GB (3p/GB) but with SSDs you’re looking more at around 42c/GB (2p/GB) AT BEST.</p><p> That’s a big difference in price, but it’s worth it.</p><p> To have a usable SSD with enough space for your operating system and a decent number of your most oft-played games, you need to be looking at a 250/256GB drive as a minimum. You’re otherwise going to find yourself constantly managing which games and applications are housed on your SSD and which are relegated to your old hard drive. And that’s a pain.</p><p> It’s also worth noting that, on the whole, performance degrades as you go down the capacity stack. A 500GB/1TB SSD is usually going to outperform a 120GB/250GB drive. Be careful, for instance, about assuming the awesome performance of the 512GB Crucial MX100 is going to translate to the cheaper MX100 drives. It doesn’t.</p><p> That's slowly&nbsp;changing, though. Samsung’s latest SSD, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-850-evo-ssd-review/">850 EVO</a>, is specifically designed with their new MGX memory controller to keep performance up in all capacity flavours. They’re probably the best bet for a value SSD under the 500GB mark.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_PQF2LWMRvSa.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rEKC7T_RLgC5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Samsung 850 EVO open"></p><h2><strong>Making the&nbsp;SSD upgrade</strong></h2><p> Do you install fresh, or risk an OS copy? That’s the perennial question when upgrading your storage. Installing an operating system from fresh can be a cathartic experience. You can ditch all the old software you couldn’t be bothered to uninstall before and lose the bloat that inevitably follows an old Windows installation.</p><p> And, personally, I love the crisp, clean, empty desktop of a fresh OS. But a fresh install also means you ditch your settings and old programs you’ve lost the activation codes or installation disks for. And it also means you have to install that raft of essential apps you always end up sticking on a new machine.</p><p> Making a perfect copy of your current system can be the simplest way when upgrading your storage.</p><h4>Clone your existing Windows drive</h4><p> The first thing to do is trim the fat. Your current OS drive is likely bigger than the SSD you’re moving to, so take the time to do some housekeeping and trim the used portion of your current drive down to fit the capacity of the SSD you’re moving to. You don’t need to change the size of the actual partition. The software we’ll use is able to sort that out itself.</p><p> My favourite imaging software, and one that has never let me down, is Macrium Reflect. You can download it for free from&nbsp;<a href="http://bit.ly/1aotmil" target="_blank">here</a>. If your German isn’t too hot Google Translate should reassure you of the download’s veracity.</p><p> Download and install the software and you’re almost ready to go. The next step is to physically install your SSD. Shut down your system and plug the new drive into a free SATA slot (ideally a SATA 6Gbps / SATA3 connection for top speeds) and make sure it’s connected to the PSU too.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8sOzQKhgSoGC.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zCX5iwU1hVig.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Macrium Reflect"></p><p> Now boot your system again, open&nbsp;Macrium Reflect, and it will start analysing. Pick the drive you want to clone from the list and beneath it you’ll see the option to ‘clone this disk’ appear. Click on it and you’ll see a new dialog where you can select the disk to clone to. Select your SSD and click ‘Next’ to confirm. Ensure&nbsp;the following summary is a-okay and hit ‘Finish’ to get the ball rolling.</p><p> The cloning will now do its thing. Depending on the amount of data you’re copying over it will take a fair amount of time to effect this clone, so leave your rig to it and go find something else to do for a little while.</p><p> Once the clone has been created,&nbsp;restart your rig and hit Del/F2 before the Windows boot screen to get into your BIOS. Navigate to the boot tab and make sure the primary boot drive is your new SSD. Save and exit and, all being well, your rig will boot as normal, except this time probably a good deal quicker than from the ol’ hard drive.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">On the next page: When it's time for more cooling.</a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know">Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">Page 2: Graphics card</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">Page 3: CPU and motherboard</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">Page 4: Memory</a><br> Page 5: Storage<br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-6">Page 6: Cooling</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jK-5krB_QCCb.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tTnv7MWraQcg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cooler Master Nepton"></p><h1><strong>Cooling</strong></h1><p> If you bought your gaming PC as a full system, but didn’t go for an overclocked one, chances are you’ve simply got the stock reference cooler installed. This is fine for general use and will do an adequate job of keeping your CPU running without melting it down into a T1000-at-the-steel-works analogue.&nbsp;But if your head has been turned by the potential speed hikes offered by overclocking, you may want to consider improving your processor cooling.</p><p> Overclocking isn’t the only reason to improve the cooling of your system&mdash;making an upgrade over a stock CPU cooler will also improve the aural experience of your machine. Reference coolers normally use relatively little fans, often 80mm or smaller in diameter, and that means they have to spin faster to achieve the sort of cooling a third-party option can offer.</p><p> And that means more noise.</p><p>A decent cooler doesn’t have to cost a fortune. One of my favourite air-coolers is Enermax’s superb ETS-T40. It’s only $45 (£27) and is impressively quiet for an active air-cooler, but still manages top-quality levels of chip-chilling.</p><p>If you want to go a little further with your cooling, and like the sci-fi idea of sloshing some liquid around inside your rig, you can opt for a closed-loop water-cooler. If you’re comfortable spending the extra money on a liquid chip-chiller, they are the best option for overclocking.</p><p> They wont necessarily offer better peak temperatures than an air-cooler, but they are far quicker at returning a hot CPU to its idle temperature and that can really extend an overclocked chip’s operating life.</p><p> I’m still a big fan&mdash;pun totally intended&mdash;of Zalman’s bargain-priced LQ310. This wee water-cooler is just $67 (£55) and is a very effective budget water-cooler. For the full effect,&nbsp;Cooler Master’s new Nepton 240M is a great option. It is more expensive, but worth the extra if you’ve got space for its 240mm cooling radiator.</p><p> Space though is always an issue for a cooling upgrade.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0_5ttzzATW6h.JPG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ekMEDZ_qGM3.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Water 3.0 Ultimate"></p><h2><strong>Fitting a new cooler into an old case</strong></h2><p> If you’re rocking a smaller chassis, whether that’s a mini-tower or a mini-ITX case, then you’re going to have to do some measuring to make sure there’s enough clearance above your CPU for a tall active air-cooler. For water-coolers that’s not a problem, though you will need to know if there are enough fan-mounts to be able to bolt a large cooling radiator into your PC.</p><p> Fitting a new cooler can be another source of strife, however, and it’s all about that big ol’ motherboard. Whether or not you’re going to have to remove your board from your case to fit a new cooler is entirely dependent on your chassis and whether there’s a generous cut-out behind the CPU socket to give you access to the cooler mounting points. Remove both the side-panels from your PC and have a look behind your motherboard, crossing your fingers as you go.</p><p> If you can see the rear of the CPU socket, happy days. If not, then it’s a much bigger job...you’re going to have to remove the whole motherboard - and essentially the whole PC - to get your new cooler attached.</p><p> A couple of things to remember:&nbsp;clean your processor after you take the old cooler off and squeeze some fresh thermal paste onto it before you fit your new cooler. This will ensure there is full contact between the chip and cooler with no air&nbsp;bubbles getting in the way. You only really need a blob the size of a couple of grains of rice.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GB9Ge3c2QO2D.JPG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VL8v9q7_Dk-S.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cooler sticker"></p><p> And make sure to remove any clear plastic covers that might be protecting the contact plate of your new cooler&mdash;I’ve been stung by that before, left struggling to figure out why my super new cooler was superheating my CPU...</p><hr><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know">Page 1:&nbsp;Introduction</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-2">Page 2: Graphics card</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-3">Page 3: CPU and motherboard</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-4">Page 4: Memory</a><br> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-easy-pc-upgrade-guide-everything-you-need-to-know/#page-5">Page 5: Storage</a><br> Page 6: Cooling</p> Rust developer reveals "mind-map" of future planshttp://www.pcgamer.com/rust-developer-reveals-mind-map-of-future-plans/Garry Newman doesn't like the pressure of roadmaps, so he made a mind-map instead.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:05:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rust-developer-reveals-mind-map-of-future-plans/Facepunch StudiosGarry NewmanNewsRust <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JqFVvNHzQDmA.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/X0FV2rq6cb25.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Rust 1"></p><p>Some developers like to lay out their plan for the future of their games in "roadmaps" which break down the path they intend to take from point A to point B. Garry Newman of Facepunch Studios is not one of those developers, but people keep bugging him about what's coming next. So, as an alternative, he's put together what he calls a "mind-map" for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rust/">Rust</a> that details&nbsp;his ideas without placing undue pressure on the studio.</p><p>"I don’t want us to feel tied down to features and timescale," Newman wrote in the most recent <a href="http://playrust.com/devblog-38/">devblog</a>. "We’re hobbyists at heart&mdash;we’re not a game factory&mdash;we don’t need that kind of pressure."</p><p>The mind-map, <a href="http://mind42.com/mindmap/7abd1334-d170-42e7-b869-f74010b9b143">viewable here</a>, is broken down into four basic categories&mdash;Priority, Strategies, Future Ideas, and Bugs&mdash;each of which branches off into multiple levels of increasing detail. The first priority on the list, for instance, (but not necessarily the number one priority) is Working Blueprints, which includes Blueprint Distribution, Saving/loading, and Limits; Blueprint Distribution devolves further into Radtown Monuments and Item Re-spawing, while Limits branches to Store Unlocked Blueprints, Send Player Unlocked Blueprints, and Limit Item Creation Via Blueprints.</p><p>There's much more to it than just that&mdash;it's a big document with a lot of ideas on it. But it shouldn't be seen as "ten tablets of stone handed down from God," as Newman put it. "It's a rough, scatterbrain plan of our intentions and direction. Like everything we do, it changes and evolves."</p><p>Facepunch recently released a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rust-update-wants-you-to-stop-building-and-start-exploring/">significant update</a> to Rust that shifted its focus from building to exploration.</p> Total War: Rome 2's Wrath of Sparta campaign releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-rome-2s-wrath-of-sparta-campaign-released/Relive thePeloponnesian Wars in Rome 2's latest campaign expansion.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:26:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/total-war-rome-2s-wrath-of-sparta-campaign-released/Creative AssemblyNewsStrategyTotal War: Rome II <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DL27WYmiTpWC.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pmjzWnder0SX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wrath of Sparta"></p><p>Total War: Attila is out in just a couple of months, but that's not going to stop Creative Assembly from sneaking out a quick Rome 2 expansion. This is, after all, Total War; and&nbsp;not, as you might think, Partial War. Just look at that screenshot of screaming men. There is war happening all over that field.</p><p>The Wrath of Sparta is the latest addition to the Rome 2 pantheon. It brings a new campaign map&mdash;supposedly the earliest in Total War history. The DLC is set in 432 BC, and covers the Greek mainland, islands and Ionian coast.</p><p>But what of the war? You have four factions to fight the&nbsp;Peloponnesian Wars with;&nbsp;Athens, Corinth, Sparta and Boiotia. They bring new tech trees, a "Tribalism" culture variant, and are all constantly threatened by a possible Persian invasion.</p><p>Wrath of Sparta is out now, and costs £10/$15.</p> Game Of The Year Free Game - full terms and conditionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-the-year-free-game-full-terms-and-conditions/Full terms and conditions for the game of the year free game promoWed, 17 Dec 2014 15:34:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-the-year-free-game-full-terms-and-conditions/ <p><strong>Game Of The Year Free Game - FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS</strong></p><p>Promotion Terms &amp; Conditions</p><p>The "Game Of The Year Free Game" promotion ("Promotion") is open to people aged 18 years and over who are resident in a Green Man Gaming trading country ("Applicable Countries") except employees and immediate families of the Promoter, or anyone else professionally connected with the Promotion ("Participants").</p><p>The Promotional site is open for Participants to claim and redeem their Free game from Thursday 18th December 2014 to Friday 2nd January 2015 at 23:59 GMT (the "Promotion Period") or while stocks last.</p><p>To participate in this Promotion, all Participants must complete the following steps during the Promotion Period:</p><p>Visit <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7671493-11969348?SID=110942303">https://www.playfire.com/a/register/user</a><u><a href="https://www.playfire.com/a/register/user"></a></u></p><p> and enter the required details including a valid email address ("Applicable Email Address").</p><p>The Participant must complete this form and submit details – by submitting these details and requesting the Free Game the Participant is accepting these Terms and Conditions, including opt-in to Green Man Gaming and Playfire communications.</p><p>The Participant must link their Playfire account with a valid Steam Account for a period of 90 days.</p><p>The Participant will receive emails to acknowledge their participation in the Free Game Promotion and validate their Steam account, and the second with their Steam key for the Free Game. (<strong>Note: the second email may take longer than 24 hours to send)</strong></p><p>One Free Game only per valid Participant, household or IP address while stocks last.</p><p>The Free Game will be activated on Steam and will require the Participant to have a valid Steam account.</p><p>The Participant should note that Regional restrictions may apply to the Free Game and the Promotion.</p><p>By registering for the Promotion, the Participant agrees that they meet the age certification criteria of the game and the age declared in the submission form completed on <u><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7671493-11969348?SID=110942303">https://www.playfire.com/a/register/user</a></u></p><p>Participants must supply a valid email address and this must be the same email address (Applicable Email Address). Failure to provide the Applicable Email Address will invalidate your redemption of the Free Game.</p><p>By accepting the Free Game offer and submitting their details, the Participant is agreeing to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of this Promotion and the Terms and Conditions of Green Man Gaming Ltd. <u><a href=" http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=110944943&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink">http://www.greenmangaming.com/terms-and-conditions/</a></u>and Playfire Ltd <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7671493-11969348?SID=110942783">https://www.playfire.com/a/terms</a></p><p>If the Participant wishes to unlink their Steam account and/or delete their Green Man Gaming /Playfire account within 90 days of receiving the Free Game, the Promoter reserves the right to have the Free Game deactivated at their sole discretion.</p><p>The Promotion will finish and the Free Game offer will be withdrawn when stock of the Free Game is depleted.</p><p>By submitting their details for the Promotion the Participant is also agreeing to be opted-in to be contacted by Green Man Gaming Ltd.. The Participant may opt-out at any subsequent time by visiting Settings &gt; Personal Profile in their Green Man Gaming account (<a href="http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=110944943&amp;iu=/8644/Textlink">https://www.greenmangaming.com/user/account/#setti...</a> - when signed in) or by using an unsubscribe link in applicable communication.</p><p>If the redeemed activation key for the Free Game is found to be ineffective upon receipt, the Promoter must be notified in writing within 7 days of receipt, otherwise the Free Game will be deemed to be accepted as received. This does not affect your statutory rights (if any).</p><p>If there is any reason to believe that there has been a breach of the Terms and Conditions or incorrect, illegible, fraudulent or other invalid or improper information has been provided, the Promoter may at their sole discretion refuse to process an entry or fulfil any Free Game.</p><p>The Promoter may withdraw this Promotion at any time or amend the offer at their sole discretion.</p><p>The Promoter is: Green Man Gaming Ltd, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BB.</p> Life Is Strange gets release date and first trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-gets-release-date-and-first-trailer/First episode of the time warping adventure due outlate January.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:45:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/life-is-strange-gets-release-date-and-first-trailer/AdventureDONTNODLife Is StrangeNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jloyb3n9FPQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Here's the first trailer for Life Is Strange; the time-warping episodic adventure from Remember Me developer Dontnod. It's about two girls attempting to unravel the mystery of a fellow student's disappearance. Also: one of them can rewind time. I've not played the game, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that could end up being important.</p><p>The game will be released in five episodes, the first of which is out on 30 January. That, by itself, can be nabbed for $5. To additionally purchase the remaining four episodes, a "season pass" will be made available for $17. Or, all five can be bought together for $20.*</p><p>If only there were a gif of a cool storm thing&mdash;it'd really tie this article together. Oh hey, look at that:</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/PlainDistortedArrowworm" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="580" height="326" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"></iframe><p><em>*Square Enix's press release neglected to offer prices for non-US territories.</em></p> Magicka 2 preview: It's still fun, but hard to control a wizard http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-preview-its-still-fun-but-hard-to-control-a-wizard/Magicka 2 doesn't do a whole lot to change the formula, though in Pieces Interactive's defense, it's a brilliant formula.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/magicka-2-preview-its-still-fun-but-hard-to-control-a-wizard/MagickaParadox InteractivePreviews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6nh0M7gUSsC9.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PrszYWPMJEK4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magicka2 Screen"></p><p>According to Paradox Producer Peter Cornelius, all Magicka fans want is more Magicka. Magicka 2 is certainly that, and I enjoyed the first game as well, but from the little I've played of it at a recent demo, it also has the same problems. Mainly, that its complicated controls lag behind its amazingly creative spellcasting system. </p><p>Magicka 2 doesn't do a whole lot to change the formula at all, though in Pieces Interactive's defense, it's a brilliant formula. It's a top-down shooter where you play as a wizard who can cast a staggering number of different spells by combining a handful of basic elements. Take Fire and Earth, cast it as a projectile, and you get a fireball. Take Ice and Arcane, and you get a freeze beam. Pick Fire instead of Heal by mistake and cast it on yourself and your three wizard friends, and you've committed a murder-suicide. </p><p>Such mistakes are common, even expected in Magicka. Friendly fire is always on, and while enemies get bigger and harder as you progress, the real challenge is always in improvising the right spells for the right situation without launching ice missiles at yourself in the process.</p><blockquote>Ignoring the sheer amount of brain processing power this requires, the button inputs alone are confusing.&nbsp;</blockquote><p>My proudest moment during the demo (which barely redeemed me from numerous times I killed my partners), was after the rest of my team had died while exploring a large, damp cave. I was being chased by more goblins I could handle across a narrow bridge, and as I ran, I rained meteors on myself. As I stepped out of the area of effect, the enemies chasing me stepped into their deaths. </p><p>Cornelius said he's never seen that move before. He said there's a lot of combinations and strategies that won't emerge until the game is out in the wild, which is part of what makes it so much fun. There are near endless possibilities open to you from the moment the game starts, and it's just a matter of discovering and mastering them.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o1C6c8o6RVyp.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/P0GkDBkVV28x.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magicka 2 1"></p><h3>Central casting</h3><p>It's not easy. Demos often make me feel like I suck at games&mdash;it's just a result of playing something I've never played before in front of an audience, but I don't think I've ever embarrassed myself by looking down at the controller to make sure I'm pressing the right buttons. Magicka 2 was so confusing at first, everyone who was playing was looking down, bewildered.</p><p>It will doubtless get easier with more time, but I'm disappointed Pieces Interactive&nbsp;has seemingly done nothing to teach, encourage, and in general make the whole learning process easier. I didn't play the first level, so I don't yet know how the game introduces itself to new players, but even if it took the time to walk me through a few example spells and what they're good for, casting accurately and consistently is still difficult. </p><p>Each spell can take five out of eight elements in different combinations, and be cast on yourself or others in different methods. Even ignoring the sheer amount of brain processing power this requires, the button inputs alone are confusing.</p><p>In the first Magicka, different elements were mapped to different directions of the right joystick, unless you were playing with a mouse and keyboard, in which case every element was mapped to a different key. In Magicka 2, the elements are mapped to the face buttons, with two elements for each button that you can alternate between by pressing a shoulder button. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V-OvcRQfQbah.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2W9dt8Vdyd6e.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Magicka 2 2"></p><p>At best, this is a slight improvement which ignores the real issue. It's something that modern character action games have figured out in recent years. Pressing the buttons in the right order is not as interesting as choosing the right move at the right time. In the first Magicka, you could learn a special spell, and look at the combination of elements you needed to choose in order to execute it. It's silly and tedious to bother dialing in these elements every single time for every single spell. </p><p>What I wanted to see in Magicka 2 but haven't yet is some kind of method to not only look at special spell recipes, but save them, map them to different buttons or keys, and cast them without having to press five or seven buttons. That would allow me to focus on the the twin-stick shooting, and, more importantly, the creative aspect of crafting spells without frantically pressing buttons and making mistakes. </p><p>Without some kind of spell casting refinement, Magicka 2 is just more, slightly prettier Magicka. Maybe it's what fans what, but to me it's not enough of an evolution.</p> Hatred reinstated on Steam Greenlighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-reinstated-on-steam-greenlight/Tiresome controversy generator generates tiresomecontroversy.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:50:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-reinstated-on-steam-greenlight/HatredNewsSteam Greenlight <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BNFSiOAtQOeJ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VchmymgnVOjt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steamworkshop Webupload Previewfile 356532461 Preview"></p><p>Hatred, aka. Everyone Please Pay Attention To Me, I'm So&nbsp;Edgy And Controversial: The Game, was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-gets-red-light-on-steam-greenlight/" target="_blank">removed from Steam Greenlight</a> earlier this week. "Based on what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam," Valve's Doug Lombardi said at the time.</p><p>Now, it's back on Steam Greenlight. According to the game's&nbsp;developers, Gabe Newell contacted them to say the following:</p><p><em>"</em><em>Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn't up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn't a good decision, and we'll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers."</em></p><p>Hatred, for those not aware, is a faux-isometric shooter about murdering&nbsp;civilians. It's the game you'd make if you were an anti-social, angsty teenager&nbsp;desperate&nbsp;to prove to the world that you were truly nihilistic, rather than&nbsp;alone in a bedroom lined with ejaculate-encrusted T-shirts. That it's being made by adults suggests that it's a cynical attempt to generate controversy and pander to an audience railing against a perceived moralistic shift in the nature of game criticism and development.</p><p>While it will no doubt generate moral hand-wringing from the type of places that trade in that sort of thing, such worries seem beside the point. It's a grim-dark version of Postal 1, which itself is on Steam.&nbsp;After it came out, nobody cared about Postal. It was tediously mediocre. Take a line picked from the Hatred trailer: "I just fucking hate this world, and the human worms feasting on its carcass." Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sixth-Form Goth Poetry Simulator 2015.</p><p>Back to Valve's statements, you'll notice that they're not contradictory. Hatred is back on Steam Greenlight. Whether it makes it to Steam proper&nbsp;remains&nbsp;to be seen. I suspect it'll ultimately come down to standard retailer&nbsp;policies&mdash;ultimately based on&nbsp;Hatred's content and age rating.</p> The Sims 4 content patch adds careers, cheats and Christmashttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-content-patch-adds-careers-cheats-and-christmas/It's business... it's business time.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:49:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-content-patch-adds-careers-cheats-and-christmas/NewssimThe Sims 4 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aRGguH3ySseA.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g7Hn8Vcppotz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CareersBlog 1"></p><p>Sims 4's content patches sometimes seem like they're conceived by a random noun generator. Pools! Ghosts! Business! Christmas! Gnomes! It's business and Christmas for this latest update, which adds four new career paths, accrued time off, maternity and/or paternity leave, and a free, unlockable Holiday Celebration Pack.</p><p>The new career&nbsp;paths are spread across business and athletic career types. Sporty Sims can pick between&nbsp;Hall of Famer and Mr. or&nbsp;Ms. Solar System, while those with financial aspirations can become an Angel Investor or Business Tycoon.</p><p>Over on the festive side, EA has provided the following instructions for unlocking the Holiday Celebration Pack:</p><ul><li>The Holiday Celebration Pack can be unlocked by logging into Origin and launching The Sims 4.</li><li>Banners within the main menu of The Sims 4 and in The Gallery will show the option to redeem the “Holiday Celebration Pack”.</li><li>Click on the respective banner to surface an in-game pop up that will place the Holiday Celebration Pack in your shopping cart.</li><li>No payment information will be required to check out.</li><li>You will then be directed to an order confirmation page. Click the “Close” button.</li><li>After closing, you will receive a notification that your content is preparing for download. Click the “OK” button.</li><li>Once the download is complete, a notification will inform you that the Holiday Celebration Pack has been successfully installed.</li><li>You will need to restart The Sims 4 in order to see content from the Holiday Celebration Pack in your game.</li></ul><p>Do all that you'll get a bunch of festive objects and some Christmas jumpers.</p><p>Finally, new cheats have been added. One, seemingly, lets you set any object as your Sim's head. Because that might be a thing you want to do for some reason.</p><p>You can see a full list of added features and accompanying fixes over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://help.ea.com/en/article/the-sims-4-updates/" target="_blank">The Sims 4's updates page</a>.</p> Shadow of Mordor 'Lord of the Hunt' DLC pack adds new warchiefs and mountshttp://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-lord-of-the-hunt-dlc-pack-adds-new-warchiefs-and-mounts/Toxic bile-spewing mounts added to the mix.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:38:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-lord-of-the-hunt-dlc-pack-adds-new-warchiefs-and-mounts/AdventureMiddle-Earth: Shadow of MordorMonolith ProductionsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IyYWLCakSPq4.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zi4paYsSs7tz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Photomode5"></p><p>Orc Slaying Simulator aka&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor/">Shadow of Mordor</a> gets its first major expansion today in the form of the Lord of the Hunt DLC pack. Adding what Monolith claims is "hours" of new gameplay, the DLC adds new Uruks called Beastmaster Warchiefs, who are smarter than the average Orc. Smarter, because they can ride mounts and even fight on mounts. That's quite a feat orcs. You can't help but feel a little proud for the ugly oafs.</p><p>You'll be able to fight against Beastmasters on the new Wretched Graug mounts as well, which spew toxic bile, while the new Caragath mount helps with a more stealthy approach. It all sounds very charming, with new runes, missions and challenges also in the mix.</p><p>There's also a new photo mode, which you can see in action below:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aUkmViXJTsQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>New Story &amp; Lore – Discover more tales from Torvin, the Dwarven Hunter, as you work together to tame the beasts of Mordor and fight Sauron’s minions.</p><p>New Missions &amp; Challenges – New Beast Hunting challenges and collectibles open up new trophies and achievements.</p><p>New Nemeses – Face off against the Beastmaster Warchiefs, powerful new Uruks who have the ability to ride monsters and engage in perilous mounted combat.</p><p>New Monsters – Ride into battle on the Wretched Graug to vomit toxin at your foes, stalk your enemies on the predatory Caragath and attack from the shadows or raise an all-consuming Ghul Horde.</p><p>New Epic Runes – Make your Mount unstoppable with five new epic Runes that make you the ultimate hunter.</p><p>Test of the Wild – Test your skills against the Beastmasters and mount your trophies on the leaderboard. </p><p>New Character Skin – Lord of the Hunt skin transform Talion into the ultimate Beastmaster.</p> Dead State reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dead-state-review/Dead State captures the struggle of rescuing and then looking after a group of variously helpful and troublesome people in the zombie apocalypse.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:03:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dead-state-review/Dead StateDoubleBear ProductionsReviewsRPGSurvival <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong>&nbsp;A turn-based zombie RPG in the style of Fallout 2 or Jagged Alliance. <br> <strong>Influenced by?&nbsp;</strong>XCOM, Fallout 2, roguelikes&nbsp; &nbsp;<br> <strong>Play it on </strong>Dual core CPU, 2GB RAM, 512MB GPU <br> <strong>Alternatively&nbsp;</strong>Divinity: Original Sin &nbsp;<br> <strong>DRM&nbsp;</strong>Steam <br> <strong>Price</strong>&nbsp;$30/£23&nbsp;<br> <strong>Release </strong>December 4&nbsp;<br> <strong>Developer&nbsp;</strong>DoubleBear Productions<br> <strong>Publisher&nbsp;</strong>DoubleBear Productions&nbsp; &nbsp;<br> <strong>Multiplayer&nbsp;</strong>None <br> <strong>Link&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.deadstate.doublebearproductions.com/">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> My best day in Dead State was also my worst day.</p><p> On a single scavenging trip, I’d found three consecutive fruit groves: tomatoes, oranges, and apples. It was a huge haul of non-preserved food, one of the hardest things to come by in Dead State’s apoco-sandbox. The same afternoon I recruited a new ally, an ex-con with mechanical skills, and scored nine whole gallons of gasoline, enough to keep our generators going for two more days. I’d also found my first compound bow, a ranged weapon with replenishable ammo. Returning to my shelter that night, the survivors back home had finished building a wooden fence, giving us a better layer of protection against zombies and bandits.</p><p> The next morning, someone else in my group pulled me into a room and shot me. Despite yesterday’s victory, morale in the shelter had cratered over the past week, and they’d had enough of my poor leadership. Game over.</p><p>Dead State captures the struggle of rescuing and then looking after a group of variously helpful and troublesome people in the zombie apocalypse. Holed up inside a high school, your goal is keeping these folks safe, fed, supplied with weapons, in good spirits, and keeping them from each other or killing you. You wade out into the Dead State’s mangled Texas to gather supplies in a turn-based combat system similar to Fallout 2 or XCOM. Everything you scavenge, sometimes at the cost of party members’ lives, goes toward keeping others alive.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/V4DtYxfbTlOm.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Fs2yREpWLkZS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dead State 5"></p><p> This sums to Dead State being one of the best “campaign” games on PC&mdash;on par with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/xenonauts-review/">Xenonauts</a> or the recent XCOMs as single-player experiences where you struggle toward a finish line that you’re trying to get as many people as possible across. But Dead State is also more flawed than these games: bugs, crashes, and engine quirks add a layer of technical struggle atop the story’s. These issues hurt the game’s rhythm&mdash;I found myself quicksaving aggressively out of paranoia that I’d encounter a crash. There are also areas where Dead State’s budget feels too modest for its ambitious scale. Still, this is a memorable and unabashedly PC RPG, admirable in its openness.</p><h3>Doom economics</h3><p>I love the way that Dead State tabulates the progress of my fledgling survivor group, almost in the style of a tycoon game. Each day terminates with a score screen that tallies morale, food, medicine, and gasoline income and deductions. This apocalyptic Excel sheet prompts you to set your own goals: if food’s low, I set out the next morning to see how many fish I could catch at a lake, or knock over a supermarket, or take some party members off guard duty (endangering the shelter’s protective fence) to build a permanent, food-generating shelter upgrade, like a garden. There isn’t a great variety of activities in Dead State&mdash;its verbs mostly amount to kill, explore, loot, talk, and build&mdash;but I always felt like I had complete agency over which problem I wanted to solve and how to solve it. From the moment you exit the shelter, for example, no part of the world is cordoned off.</p><p>Party characters do provide some tasks for you to tackle inside that sandbox. Anita, an ex-trucker, asked me to find a medical dictionary so that her daughter Renee could improve her healing skill. Vic, one of the cops in my party, told me to visit a police camp and gave me unique dialogue options when I chose to bring him along. These people also come into conflict with one another, depending on who you let into the shelter and who’s left alive. The preacher that I took in, for example, contributed to morale on a daily basis, but when I also gave refuge to a brash biker character (who’s a terrific asset in combat), she started harassing him and I had to step in to mediate.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f-nDxqMtQUqA.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mBdJwu6QTMnr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dead State 7"></p><p>These social interactions and Dead State’s story come to a head during “crisis events,” pivotal plot moments in the campaign where party members take sides on issues. When the shelter couldn’t agree whether or not to spend labor and valuable resources to investigate an issue with our water system, I decided to invest as little as possible in solving the problem. A compromise. This weak decision actually upset everyone, damaging morale. But hey, I’d saved some construction parts for other projects, right? Navigating individual character politics while working toward the greater good makes for interesting moral gymnastics&mdash;I later bribed the biker character by letting her take some stuff storage in exchange for her support during the next crisis event.</p><p>As a party member yourself, Dead State gives you a good spectrum of dialogue to pick from, letting you play as a no-nonsense, ruthless slave driver or an understanding, perhaps too-forgiving appeaser. I leaned toward the latter on my first playthrough, and I love that Dead State punished me for it&mdash;my “the more, the merrier” policy&nbsp;meant there were more hands for labor and combat, but also that there were more people butting heads. It was much harder to keep everyone happy, and my morale was slipping. At one point I considered taking a chronically depressed, morale-eroding party member into the field and getting them killed just to alleviate the situation. At another point&nbsp;a different depressed character did me a favor by killing themselves.</p><p>Outside scripted events and interactions, though, the shelter stagnates. It’s an area where I felt the limited reach of Dead State’s budget. Party members operate essentially as static dialogue dispensers. They each have a small amount of personal lore you can plug them for while talking in the shelter, but otherwise all you can do is bribe them with unique luxury items (like deodorant, coffee beans, or batteries) to improve their mood. I wish these characters were more expressive within the shelter itself.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9rg8CrChTO6A.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AnXrVYsR_cjD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Zrpg 2014-12-05 10-10-51-67"></p><h3>ZCOM</h3><p>Far more of your time in Dead State is spent stabbing, bludgeoning, and shooting than talking, though. The combat adopts a standard turn-based template, with AP consumed for each move, reload, or attack a character performs. The balance of it is surprisingly good given the size and varied layout of Dead State’s isometric maps, a few of which are so big that they might take an hour or more to clear. I particularly like the way melee weapons have different utility attacks. In addition to a basic attack, shovels have a higher-cost knockdown attack, for example. Knives have a chance to counterattack. Wrenches and axes can cripple zombies, preventing them from attacking. A sledgehammer and baseball bat can attack diagonally. This asymmetry, combined with character-specific weapon proficiencies, made the process of gearing up satisfyingly deliberate.</p><p>What wore on me, though, was how tedious zombie-killing became after 10 or so hours. Zombies are completely static unless you or an NPC are making noise (by bashing a locked door, for example) or if you enter their line of sight. Once I got a hang of the combat, areas that only held zombies became a cinch to clear because a skilled melee character with the right weapon can kill a zombie in a single round. </p><p>I also had to restrain myself at some points from exploiting Dead State’s noise mechanic, which is extremely effective in some situations. On a snack cake factory map, I lit a single firecracker and lured away every violent biker away from their post, then I looted the interior without a scratch.</p><p>Combat is satisfyingly chaotic when more than two factions are involved, however, and there are points where I liked using noise creatively. In a shopping mall, I wanted to break into a corner of the map that armed looters had barricaded. Knocking on their only entrance would’ve gotten me killed, so I outsourced my siegework to zombies, making noise with my firearms to put them in the looter’s line of sight. This stimulated a fight, thinning both sides enough for me to move in.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zxR7_NPWR3mJ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y0FxJG02RkHQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dead State 9a"></p><h3>Broken world</h3><p>I enjoyed grappling with Dead State, but it fought me plenty along the way. Crashes to desktop&mdash;more than a dozen in 51 hours&mdash;cropped up at various points on two different PCs. I also experienced sluggish performance on some zombie-heavy maps, where Dead State dragged on for needless tens of seconds each combat round as it pondered which chess moves the undead should make.</p><p>There were other, ancillary issues too. One game location, a motel and gas station, was permanently in turn-based mode whether or not I was in combat, making it a tedious chore to navigate. Walls would also occasionally become see-through, letting me get an unfair glimpse at the threat&nbsp;inside before entering. After recruiting a cat to my team, Dead State loaded me into a black screen the next day, an issue I had to load a previous save to work around. I was disappointed that I never had to use antibiotics, a consumable item, to manage infected characters’ health. I’m not sure if that was a bug, luck or bad balance.</p><p>Those issues aside, the biggest design sin is how static the shelter feels. I like that completed upgrades are visible in the shelter, but&nbsp;the limitation of Dead State’s animation is transparent here. New characters simply stand like statues in the same area throughout the campaign, preventing the shelter from feeling more like a lived-in, evolving space, and you from developing a stronger relationship with Dead State’s centerpiece.</p><p>Dead State gets far on the strength of its writing and its pen-and-paper spirit. Its slice of Texas is dotted with busted gas stations, restaurants, and offices that are fun to comb for loot. The game’s technical flaws are a burden to the player, and simple zombie behavior eventually dulls the tension of fighting the undead. Still, what it offers as an RPG&mdash;grounded survival drama, tough character conflicts, and generally good turn-based combat&mdash;is rare enough to make it worth playing.</p> DayZ celebrates one year in Early Access, updated dev roadmap detailedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dayz-celebrates-one-year-in-early-access-updated-dev-roadmap-detailed/You can catch diseases next year.Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:21:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dayz-celebrates-one-year-in-early-access-updated-dev-roadmap-detailed/Bohemia InteractiveDayZEarly AccessNewsSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WucG5_XBQJOZ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7fx-SDE3Jc-B.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="dayz1"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/day-z/">DayZ</a> launched on Early Access this time last year, and since then we've watched it evolve&nbsp;from scrappy&nbsp;Arma mod into a game which&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dayz-update-brings-cannabilism-to-stable-branch/">lets you eat human flesh</a>. To celebrate the milestone, Bohemia Interactive has released a video detailing the game's development as well as an updated roadmap for 2015.&nbsp;</p><p>Regarding the latter, it looks like we'll be getting simple&nbsp;land vehicles in the first quarter of the new year, which is nice. You can look forward to catching diseases, too. In the second quarter both animals and vehicles will become more complicated, while a new user interface and physics system will be ushered in.</p><p>During the third quarter traps, barricades and aerial transport are among the highlights, while we can expect (take a deep breath) animal companions late in the year. For the full roadmap check out the blog post&nbsp;<a href="http://dayzdev.tumblr.com/post/105357749796/one-year-of-dayz">here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Check out the video below:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/uyZV3F6Vkho" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> A newbie plays Dwarf Fortresshttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-newbie-plays-dwarf-fortress/Watch Wes learn to play Dwarf Fortress in our Let's Play series. Updated every Tuesday and Thursday!Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-newbie-plays-dwarf-fortress/Dwarf Fortressnewbie plays dwarf fortressStrategy <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2KavR-aWLSg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Welcome to Illralam, a land of optimistic dwarves and bloodthirsty elves. It's the world of PC Gamer's Dwarf Fortress LP "A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress." Wes, the newbie, teams up with Dwarf Fortress veteran and PCG video producer Will to learn the ropes of the dwarven life simulator.</p><p> We put up new episodes on Tuesday and Thursdays, and now they're all collected in this post. The newest one is at the top there, while the previous episode is&nbsp;below.</p><p> Want to know more about Dwarf Fortress?&nbsp;In early July 2014, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/08/dwarf-fortress-0-40-01-released-in-game-graphics-now-possible-in-older-version/">Dwarf Fortress received its first major update in two years.</a> We wrote about why now is the time to get into the game with our guide <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/25/into-the-deep-its-time-to-learn-how-to-play-dwarf-fortress/">Into the deep</a>. Now you can learn along with us.</p><p> Check back for new episodes every Tuesday/Thursday. And enjoy!</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5qJZNekPjxM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Kjt9HpO3H7Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> New Steam Controller mockup appears in latest client betahttp://www.pcgamer.com/new-steam-controller-mockup-appears-in-latest-client-beta/The latest Steam Controller layout isn't much changed from the one that appeared over the summer.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:29:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-steam-controller-mockup-appears-in-latest-client-beta/HardwareNewsSteam Controller <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/84bVsY15Qpyh.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kjm0e8zLahnv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam controller"></p><p>An updated image of the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-controller/">Steam Controller</a> has appeared in the latest Steam client beta. It's actually not all that terribly different from the one that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-steam-controller-image-suggests-valve-adding-an-analog-stick/">turned up in July</a>, although it appears somewhat more compact, and now has a directional guide on the left thumbpad.</p><p>The controller still boasts the analog stick that was added over the summer, but it also looks slightly narrower, and the shoulder bumpers seem to be rounded down just a bit. The only obvious change is the directional indicator, which <a href="http://www.valvetime.net/threads/steam-client-beta-update-reveals-latest-steam-controller-design.245634/">ValveTime</a> says could indicate that the left pad might provide a "softer, more diverse alternative" to standard D-pads, with more than just four points of movement.</p><p>The fact that the design hasn't changed much over the past half-year suggests that Valve has settled into a design it likes, and is now deep into the refinement stage. The timing would make sense: Valve hasn't made any official announcements about the controller, but it did tell <a href="http://www.techradar.com/us/news/gaming/consoles/valve-won-t-be-at-ces-2015-large-steam-machine-presence-planned-for-gdc-1273542">TechRadar</a> in November that it will have a "large Steam Machine presence" at the 2015 Game Developers Conference, which takes place in early March.</p><p>To get a look at the new Steam Controller diagram yourself, first ensure you're taking part in the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/groups/SteamClientBeta">Steam client beta program</a>, and then check your Steam/tenfoot/resource/images/library/controller directory. </p> Tera: Fate of Arun expansion adds continent, quests, and battle arenahttp://www.pcgamer.com/tera-fate-of-arun-expansion-adds-continent-quests-and-battle-arena/The Fate of Arun expansion is now live and free for all players.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:13:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tera-fate-of-arun-expansion-adds-continent-quests-and-battle-arena/En Masse EntertainmentMMONewsTERA <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s2K4K25Pb0k?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Fate of Arun, the first major expansion to the En Masse MMO <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tera/">Tera</a>, is now live. The free update increases the character level cap to 65, adds new class skills, zones, and dungeons, and "quality of life" improvements that simplify and streamline gameplay.</p><p> The less-poetically-named "Patch 29.03.02" notes serve up a <a href="http://tera.enmasse.com/news/patch-notes/patch-290302">detailed look</a> at the changes in the expansion, but the highlight has to be the addition of a new continent, Val Oriyn, described as "a land of savage jungles, colossal ruins, and the undiscovered homeland of the barakas," that's been cut off from the rest of Arun for hundreds of years. It offers four new zones for players level 60-65, the new baraka city of Highwatch, the Vanguard Initiative reputation faction, and new story quests for each zone and the city.</p><p> The Coliseum Battleground sounds interesting as well: It's a competitive PvE environment in which two teams race to be the first to defeat waves of enemies. There are also a number of new dungeons and crafting recipes, the enchanting system has been simplified, unused crystals can now be fused into more powerful crystals, and players can now teleport directly to dungeon entrances and turn in quests from any location.</p><p> Speaking of Tera, Associate Producer Tina Zhang-Powell recently took some time to show us her rig, and her cat, both of which are pretty cool. You can check them out <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-teras-tina-zhang-powell/">right here</a>. </p> Microsoft building game and app streaming service codename "Arcadia"http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-building-game-and-app-streaming-service-codename-arcadia/Microsoft is hiring for a project called Arcadia, which may be an app/game streaming service for its Azure server platform.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 22:02:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-building-game-and-app-streaming-service-codename-arcadia/HardwareNewsWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2aS0C-gXS6aF.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PNMW9KCqF5bj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows 8"></p><p>Microsoft's Operating Systems Group is assembling a team to build an app- and game-streaming service, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsofts-arcadia-team-is-building-a-streaming-app-and-game-service/">ZDNet sources</a>. The technology is codenamed "Arcadia" (joining Cortana in Microsoft's love of Halo references) and is built on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing infrastructure.</p><p>Arcadia replaces "Rio," the now-discontinued game-streaming service Microsoft demonstrated in 2013. According to Foley's sources (she's been covering Microsoft for years, and tends to have a good line on the company's unnanounced projects), Arcadia will allow users to not only stream games but perhaps also non-Microsoft apps. Job postings for the Arcadia team seeking software engineers with non-Microsoft operating system experience corroborate that idea, or possibly suggest that Arcadia will be able run on non-Windows devices. </p><p>Previously, Rio was Microsoft's look into using Azure-based technology to provide the Xbox One with the same sort of backwards compatibility that Sony offers with the Gaikai-based PlayStation Now service.&nbsp;</p><p>Microsoft is holding an event at the end of January to talk Windows 10 and gaming. Foley says it's unlikely that Microsoft will be showing off Arcadia this early, so we may not hear anything about it at the event, but Arcadia could have something to do with future Windows 10-Xbox One tech crossover.</p> Humble Bundle supporters have donated more than $50 million to charityhttp://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-supporters-have-donated-more-than-50-million-to-charity/Money raised by the Humble Bundle has gone to support more than 50 different charities.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:24:49 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle-supporters-have-donated-more-than-50-million-to-charity/CharityHumble BundleNews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e_yiB1leET4?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-bundle/">Humble Bundle</a> has been around for awhile now, it's sold a lot of games (and ebooks, and music), and even established its own <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/humble-store/">digital storefront</a>. It's therefore not terribly surprising that it's raised a solid chunk of change for charities in that light, but $50 million? That, I find very surprising, and also very pleasing.</p><p>Humble Bundle is probably best known for its "pay what you want" sales and that's what makes this ridiculous sum of money so unexpected, given that generally&nbsp;what people want to pay tends not&nbsp;to be very much. But clearly it's been effective approach: Funds raised have gone to support more than 50 charitable organizations including Child's Play, the EFF, the American Red Cross, charity: water, and Doctors Without Borders.</p><p> "It is hard to truly comprehend the magnitude of $50 million for charity," Humble Bundle co-founder and COO John Graham said in a statement. "We owe our thanks to the generosity of the Humble Bundle community&mdash;to the content creators who entrust us with their works of art and to the consumers&mdash;for making this possible."</p><p> The <a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store">Humble Store Winter Sale</a> is currently underway, with today's highlights including Alien: Isolation for $25, Antichamber for $2, Dead Island Game of the Year Edition for $5, Divinty: Dragon Commander for $10, and Stealth Bastard Deluxe&mdash;which, sadly, seems to have&nbsp;dropped its glorious Tactical Espionage Arsehole subtitle&mdash;for $1. The sale runs until December 22.</p> Sportsfriends is coming to Steam, but without J.S. Jousthttp://www.pcgamer.com/sportsfriends-is-coming-to-steam-but-without-js-joust/The developers of J.S. Joust say there's just no way to make PlayStation Move controllers work with Windows.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:22:25 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sportsfriends-is-coming-to-steam-but-without-js-joust/Johann Sebastian JoustNewsSportsfriends <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h40GP8kaRTc?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Just a hair over two years after <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sportsfriends-reaches-kickstarter-target-in-final-hours/">reaching its Kickstarter funding goal</a>, the multiplayer game collection Sportsfriends is finally on its way to Steam&mdash;in fact, it'll arrive in just a few days. But with the good news comes a spot of bad: Despite the team's best efforts, Johann Sebastian Joust will not be included with the Windows version of the package.</p><p> The problem, according to the most recent <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gutefabrik/sportsfriends-featuring-johann-sebastian-joust/posts/1085473">Kickstarter update</a>, is the game's reliance on PlayStation Move controllers. In fact, trying to get them to work with PCs is a big part of why it's taken so long for Sportsfriends to make it out the door. But while the developers have been able to make Move controllers work reliably under Linux and Mac, Windows is a different matter.</p><p> "Unfortunately, it seems like Windows is engineered in a way that makes it infeasible for us to get pairing working robustly. We looked for experts to help us, and even got in touch with an engineer at Microsoft, who told us 'this is NOT possible in any way shape or form'," the Sportsfriends team explained. "This means that, despite all our research, the Windows version of Sportsfriends will not support JS Joust."</p><p> That's not necessarily the end of the line: They're still looking into creating a custom "JS Joust distro" of Linux that can be booted into via USB stick on Windows-based machines, and anyone who buys Sportsfriends is also entitled to the Mac and Linux versions. As far as playing it straight-up on your Windows-based gaming rig, however, it's just not an option.</p><p> The omission is especially unfortunate because J.S. Joust is such a cool concept&mdash;players must jostle an opponent's Move controller while preventing others from doing the same to theirs&mdash;and the launch trailer quite clearly presents it as the central game in the bundle. In its defense, however, Die Gute Fabrik stated in the <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gutefabrik/sportsfriends-featuring-johann-sebastian-joust">original Kickstarter pitch</a> that "due to Bluetooth issues, native Windows support for J.S. Joust may not be possible," so this shouldn't come as a complete surprise.</p><p> Sportsfriends launches on December 19 on the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/277850/">Steam</a> and Humble Store.</p> Show Us Your Rig: Tera's Tina Zhang-Powellhttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-teras-tina-zhang-powell/Tina Zhang-Powell, producer on Tera at En Masse Entertainment, tells us about herPC and why she loves MMOs.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:29:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-teras-tina-zhang-powell/En Masse Entertainmentshow us your rigTERA <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G0Tz_9CFSZK-.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JNDjbLcx0H5H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show us your rig Tina and Atlas"></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 the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> Tina Zhang-Powell, Associate Producer for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tera/">Tera</a> at En Masse Entertainment, has a beautifully lit and open room for her rig. Sporting two monitors, to match her two cats, and&nbsp;enough space to host game jams and game nights alike. She also rocks a Razer mouse and keyboard that she claims the cats don't jump on, but I'm not so&nbsp;sure a well behaved cat can actually exist. They are probably just biding their time.&nbsp;Tina was kind enough to take some time and tell us about her PC, her rescue cats, and why she loves MMORPGs.</p><p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">What is in your PC?</strong></p><p> Home Desktop:</p><ul> <li>i7 4770 @ 3.4GHz</li> <li>16 GB memory</li> <li>NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770</li> <li>256 GB SSD</li> <li>1 TB HDD</li></ul><p> Surface Pro 2:</p><ul> <li>i5 4th Gen Intel Core</li> <li>8 GB memory</li> <li>256 GB SSD</li></ul><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f85AHvKnRsGN.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vLtG-SMScdVx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show us your rig Tina pc"></p><p> <strong>What is the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</strong></p><p> Some folks may frown upon putting a desktop PC in a cabinet. However, I removed the back panel and front door of the cabinet to allow for more air flow and haven’t had a problem with temperature yet. This gives me more space on my desk area for dual monitors and my Surface Pro 2 laptop, with room to spare. I also don’t like wearing my glasses, so having my desk area set up in the corner lets me to keep my monitors at a good distance while letting me enjoy a nice view of the neighborhood through the nearby window.</p><p> My husband and I have a nice big room for our PCs. It’s great for when we play games together, but the extra space is especially helpful when we do game jams with friends. Having that extra space is absolutely necessary when we’ve got five friends over with their own workstations. I crocheted the little creature in the photo for our game jam group. During our game jams, we put this little guy on the desk of the person who needs the most help!</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nD8TV6YFT2-c.JPG" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9UmaksIYltP_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show us your rig Tina Crochet"></p><p> <strong>What’s always within arm’s reach on your desk?</strong><br> I always have lots of sketch pads and note pads nearby. I’ve found that sometimes sketching out ideas and notes on paper works better for me than typing them up on the computer. Having white boards nearby also helps me organize ideas and information I want to share with co-workers later.&nbsp;</p><p> I also have two cats, both rescued from local shelters. Atlas, the orange cat, loves to hangout whenever I’m at my computer chair. He’s a fan of napping and often sleeps at my feet or on my lap. Somehow, we’ve managed to train our cats not to jump on our desks or sit on the keyboards. But we still have to be careful where we sit. Our cats are quick to occupy seats whenever someone gets up from their chair and yes, I have sat on Atlas quite a few times! I will probably sit on Atlas again soon. I guess neither of us have learned to watch out for each other yet.&nbsp;</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iG1mvJQvTnSt.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y_G_v4M-3tqC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show us your rig Tina Cat"></p><p> <strong>What are you playing right now?</strong><br> I play a lot of indie games and puzzle games on Steam. My recent favorite is&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/32150/">Everyday Genius: SquareLogic</a> (yes, it’s an old game I know). Call me weird, but I find doing puzzles, especially the ones that involve matching, calming and relaxing.</p><p> Working on the launch of&nbsp;<a href="http://tera.enmasse.com/">TERA: Fate of Arun</a> is taking up a lot of time lately. To give my mind something different to think about, I’ve also been playing more board games. I personally prefer co-op board games to competitive board games. Sentinels of the Multiverse along with all of its expansions, is the current favorite amongst our group and we’ve been playing it on almost a weekly basis. Dungeons &amp; Dragons board games also make frequent game night appearances. I recently picked up Pathfinder Adventure Card games and have heard good things, but haven’t got to actually try them out yet.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SlnAoKTQS0qA.JPG" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U2xRpPPieE1J.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show us your rig Tina Keyboard"></p><p> <strong>What’s your favorite game and why?</strong></p><p> My favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy XI, which I have played for many years since launch. I do miss those old days in that game, where monsters never stopped chasing you down until you zoned to the next area. Even searching for a raise 3 from a high level healer after you died, so you would not de-level, makes me a bit nostalgic. You also have no idea who you might meet while playing an MMO. I met my husband in-game in FFXI and we’ve been together for over ten years now!&nbsp;</p><p> We met while doing woodworking in the game and the rest is history. A lot of things happened during those ten years including moving across the country to start a new life together. We still reminisce about the days when I had to use my Bard to help his Dragoon get a leveling group and farming BCNM 40. It is hard to beat the game that brought two strangers from completely different backgrounds together. That’s just another great thing about playing MMORPGs.</p> Hearthstone Goblins vs Gnomes interviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/explosive-hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-interview/We talk to Hearthstone'sBen Brode and Ben Thompson to talk about Unstable Portal, deck slots, and buying the wrong packs.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:25:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/explosive-hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-interview/BlizzardCard GameGoblins vs GnomesHearthstone <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xPzgpFk2RWSU.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1taC1s8q2YXg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Blizzard interview"></p><p><em>With the dust&nbsp;barely settled on the numerous&nbsp;sticks of dynamite which the new Goblins vs Gnomes set has tossed into the Hearthstone metagame, we caught up with senior game designer Ben Brode and art director Ben Thompson to ask, among other things, about card balance, deck slots (again), and what the hell is up with Flame Leviathan anyway?</em></p><p> <strong>PC Gamer: Were you surprised by the number of streamers who managed to buy large quantities of the old packs by accident? Did you refund them or do you plan to change the UI of how you buy packs?</strong></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Ben Thompson</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bah3nmfGSKqY.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LNA0_4kBi_l7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BEN THOMPSON-cropped"></p></div><p> <strong>Ben Thompson: </strong>We’re working with the art team to provide, we’ll call it a visual or aesthetic speed bump to the store area to make&nbsp;players pause a moment as they consider which pack they’re selecting. We’re adjusting the default pack slightly by doing this and closing off some visuals in the store until they’ve physically selected on pack or the other. It should open open up more opportunities for players to make the intended choice.</p><p><strong>Makes sense. Even I, having watched the videos, managed to buy one pack wrong.</strong></p><p> <strong>Ben Brode:</strong> <a href="http://youtu.be/7Dd23MlMmFY?t=4s">[Laughs]</a></p><p> <strong>BT:</strong> Was it a really good pack though?</p><p><strong>No it was not, although my girlfriend pulled one with two legendaries, two goldens, and a wisp.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong>&nbsp;[Laughs]<a href="http://youtu.be/7Dd23MlMmFY?t=4s"></a></p><p> <strong>BT: </strong>Wow.</p><p><strong>Do you guys have any stats on which of the new cards has been the most and least crafted so far? Which are the ones people were most eager to get their hands on?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB: </strong>We do have those stats but I haven’t looked at them since we launched Goblins vs Gnomes. I’d have to go check; I don’t have it on-hand.&nbsp;I know there’s a poll on Reddit and people were most excited about Vol’Jin. I don’t think all the legendaries were in the poll, so I don’t remember what the other end of the spectrum was.</p><blockquote> We just wanted to add more options to all the classes so they felt like they could build a few different deck styles. </blockquote><p><strong>I saved up 5000 dust since Curse of Naxxramas and I vowed to use it very carefully and see how the meta shifted, but on day one I just blew the lot, then immediately regretted that I hadn’t crafted Dr. Boom when I saw all the pros were using him. So my question is, how much of an idiot am I?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong> [Laughs] Well, things definitely change. It’s Dr. Boom today, it could be something else tomorrow. It’s tough to tell, things change so fast especially at the beginning of an expansion like this.</p><p> <strong>BT: </strong>And it’s not 'idiot', it’s 'passionate'.</p><p><strong>I think it’s definitely idiot. It’s early days, but in constructed there seems to be a mixture of wild new experimental decks&mdash;already some of them seem pretty viable, actually&mdash;but then also a lot of people still&nbsp;playing the exact same lists; Control Warrior, Handlock, Undertaker Hunter, and Zoo, with almost no changes at all. Do you think there is a risk that some of those old decks are just so powerful that people who are winning will just keep using them and dominating?</strong></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Ben Brode</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/A7gZqO9MRpeJ.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CtWTuXjqm4nm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="BEN BRODE-cropped"></p></div><p> <strong>BB:</strong> I think what’s probably happening is that those decks have had a very long time to be perfectly tuned, and people right now are experimenting with decks that have not had the benefit of months of tuning. Eventually, once we see some of these newer decks shake out and start being tuned, people who are not as comfortable with deck building and just want to play a really great deck will have a wider variety of choices of which decks to try on the ladder. Also, people are still collecting the new cards. They might not have all the Goblins vs Gnomes cards to build some of the more exciting decks from the expansion. I think as time goes on, and people earn more of the new cards, we’ll see a mix of both old and new decks, and people will try and experiment with some of the new cards in the old decks. I think it should work out great.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/geEFWh0gSlay.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fzG--FkAmlG6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="gvg Siltfin Spiritwalker"></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">I read a quite long post on the&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitiveHS">Competitive Hearthstone subreddit</a><strong style="background-color: initial;">&nbsp;where a guy was ranting about Siltfin Spiritwalker being the worst epic in the game. I actually quite like Neptulon, the other murloc-based new Shaman card, but what’s the deal with trying to encourage Shaman players towards murlocs? Why would you try and guide a class towards a tribe, because that’s how it feels.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong> In general, allowing classes to have a lot of different styles of play is cool, and this was an&nbsp;easy way to add another flavor to a potential murloc deck. So you can play a Shaman deck with Overload mechanics and the Unbound Elemental to try and capitalize on that, you could play just a value deck with Doomhammers and Fire Elementals, but now you have the option to play a murloc Shaman deck. It just gives Shaman a couple more facets which I think is cool.</p><p><strong>Will you follow that through with other classes? I guess you are pushing Rogues a bit towards pirates, but is that going to be a trend that continues? You’re going to pair classes with tribes?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB: </strong>Really we just wanted to add more flavors and even, less obviously, did this with Hunter with things like Gahz’rilla and Steamwheedle Sniper. We’re just trying to enable different types of decks. Warlock actually had the best version of this going into Goblins vs Gnomes; You could play the murloc Warlock, you could play Handlock, you could play Zoo, you could play demon Warlock. There’s a lot of ways to play that class, so if you’re a Warlock fan you have a lot of options. We just wanted to add more options to all the classes so they felt like they could build a few different deck styles now with Goblins vs Gnomes.</p><p><strong>This isn’t a question but I need you to know&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/opening-100-goblins-vs-gnomes-hearthstone-card-packs/" target="_blank"><strong>I pulled</strong></a><strong>&nbsp;a golden Mal’ganis.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:&nbsp;</strong>[Laughs]<a href="http://youtu.be/7Dd23MlMmFY?t=4s"></a></p><p> <strong>BT: </strong>Oh, very nice.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/D68vtXOvTa-z.gif" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MqqRQTFCm29v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="View full size to see it animated" class=""> <figcaption>View full size to see it animated</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Can you give me a sense of how many lapsed players have come back for Goblins vs Gnomes? I know you probably can’t give out exact numbers, but did the number of concurrent players double, triple, or more on launch day?</strong></p><p><strong>BT: </strong>I think that has a lot to do with the same numbers Brode was referring to earlier. We will have more information the longer this set is up, right? We haven’t really looked at those numbers as of yet, certainly on the team it was about maintaining everything that was going on and looking at how people are playing, watching some of the Twitch streams ourselves and getting excited about play there. I’m sure that there will be some passing around of those numbers but we don’t have any of that right now.</p><p><strong>There was obviously a high volume of people trying to&nbsp;get in to buy packs and to play, because we saw some authentication and server load issues on day one, and then the EU launch was late. Did something happen that caught you off-guard, or was it just sheer weight of numbers?</strong></p><p><strong>BB: </strong>Launching new stuff is very challenging. We have a lot of really smart people working on the back end here trying to make sure it all goes smoothly. Often there’s stuff that you don’t anticipate that messes things up a little bit, but we were able to respond very quickly and get things up and running within just the day or two. But yeah</p><p>, it’s always tough to make sure. There’s a lot of moving parts, there are a lot of different methods of payment, a lot of different platforms and it’s tough to get it all working just right. We do focus really hard on getting it right and we’re going to try and do a lot better in the future, but we responded pretty quickly here and the team worked really hard to get it right.</p><p><em><strong>Next page: Balancing Unstable Portal and Bolvar Fordragon</strong></em></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U479WcyHRnOk.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oMSC0mqhdq95.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="gvg Bolvar wide"></p><p> <strong>Going back to the set itself, what were the hardest of the cards to tweak for balance?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB: </strong>With a card like&nbsp;Bolvar Fordragon, the community responded really differently than I expected. That’s a card that I think can be pretty good, but players were sure it was one of the worst cards that we announced. And part of that is just that it’s so different, there’s really nothing to compare it to in the way that it works. Those types of cards where they’re brand new in the way that they work, those are the hardest ones to figure out how good they are.</p><p> <strong>Can you talk to me a bit about the thinking behind Unstable Portal’s costing, because I’ve used that quite a bit and it feels very powerful based on the overall range of outcomes that could happen.</strong></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Unstable Portal</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7MWwkZyrTDqV.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vi7gaEoFvLu8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Unstable Portal" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p> <strong>BB:</strong> That’s a card that we were very excited about. Really, the experiment with Webspinner in Naxxramas set the stage for Unstable Portal. Webspinner we were very excited about, we thought it would be fun and it turned out to be even more fun than we thought. Players responded very well to that mechanic, so we doubled-down with it a little bit in Goblins vs Gnomes with the piloted shredders and Unstable Portal.&nbsp;</p><p> Yeah, it’s definitely a card that you have to play a lot to figure out how good it is, because it’s tough to just look at a card and say, 'Oh, you get about 2.5 stats worth,' you know, or whatever. It’s mostly a feel thing: 'How often do I get something that makes an impact on the game, and then how do I use that card to actually make the best impact on the game?', because I had no idea that I was going to draw Archmage Antonidas or Jaraxxus or whoever I got. So we really liked the way that it felt to play, and tried a bunch of different numbers, and that was the number that we felt ended up being the best.</p><p> <strong>It’s interesting to hear you talk about “doubling-down” on RNG&nbsp;because that’s exactly how&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-blizzard-doubles-down-on-rng/">I described your approach</a><strong>&nbsp;after BlizzCon, and now that the cards are in people’s hands do you feel vindicated in going down that approach, that it is fun?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB: </strong>You know, I definitely feel like&mdash;and we felt this going into Hearthstone at the beginning&mdash;randomness is really important. Cards like Stampeding Kodo and Ragnaros, they’re really important to the feel of the game and we knew that we need to keep randomness around. It helps create these really great player stories, and&nbsp;it actually does increase the skill required to play the game sometimes because you’re presented with all these novel scenarios and have to do a lot more problem solving.&nbsp;</p><p> There definitely was a moment where we previewed a lot of cards with the word random on them at Blizzcon and players got worried, but once you start playing with the cards the pervasive theme we’ve heard from everybody is Goblins vs Gnomes is really fun. And that’s kind of the link from randomness to fun is hard to recognize sometimes, but it’s definitely there.</p><blockquote> [Flame Leviathan] is kind of an experiment in the same way that Webspinner was an experiment for us in Naxxramas. We're seeing: "How does this type of effect feel for Hearthstone?" </blockquote><p> <strong>At your talk at BlizzCon when you had the word clouds up on the screen showing what people liked and disliked about the game, the word Zoo was still absolutely huge on the dislike side.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:&nbsp;</strong>[Laughs]<a href="http://youtu.be/7Dd23MlMmFY?t=4s"></a></p><p> <strong>I’m actually kind of over it, but do you think the RNG elements of these new cards helps mitigate what can be otherwise oppressive deck archetypes? Because, the people who’ve made those brutally tuned decks then can’t account for some of the randomness. As you were saying, Unstable Portal might pull, as it did for me last night, an Ancient of War out of nowhere that you then pay 4 for.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB: </strong>The fact that Ancient of War exists is the type of thing that can be good against Zoo, but we also put some new cards in the expansion that are good against Zoo&nbsp;and also other archetypes. I think in general we need to have cards that are good against a variety of different effects, and if you’re frustrated by a certain type of gameplay you can tune your deck to be good against Secrets or Deathrattle or whatever it is you think you’re going to see a lot on the ladder.</p><p> <strong>So it was about four and a half months between Naxx and Goblins vs Gnomes. Do you think that's going to be the standard amount of time between major expansions?</strong></p><p> <strong>BT: </strong>I think it’s going to take a little more time before we’ll have a firm answer on that. We have to really see how Goblins vs Gnomes takes with the audience. Right out of the gate, theres 30 new&nbsp;cards in Curse of Naxxramas and over 120 in Goblins vs Gnomes, so what's the time to shake out with all that? It’s hard to say, as of yet. There’s still a lot of fluctuation in deck styles and deck types. I mean, five days in is not going to be near enough time, will five weeks? Will five months? Who knows, it really is hard to say. We like providing the right amount of content for the players at the right time, determining what that time is is going to be a real focus in the weeks and months to come.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong>Just before the launch of the new set you preemptively changed a handful of new cards. One of those was Gadgetzan Auctioneer, which felt like it had been long predicted. Was that because you were worried about the interaction with the cheap Spare Parts spells? Because normally your policy is 'Let’s see how the meta shakes out and whether people come up with ways of dealing with a problem.'</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong> Yes, that was definitely part of the impetus for that change. There were always some concerns we had with that card. Anytime you can draw basically your entire deck consistently, it makes the games feel less varied. Games start feeling more same-y over and over again, and feeling like you’re solving new problems and having new situations each game is part of what makes Hearthstone really fun.</p><p> So that was a concern for us, and the Spare Parts made it even more concerning. But really we do want to keep players feeling empowered to solve problems on their own. We did feel like with the launch of a new expansion, and everything changing, that it might be okay to change a couple more cards. We kind of relaxed our view just very slightly and changed more than we would normally I think, with those three cards, just because it was all going to be an upheaval anyway.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uoidl41iRYal.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/abmnn6h7j2mE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GvG Darkbomb Wide"></p><p> <strong>Since the Soulfire change, which went to 1 mana, almost everyone has switched to using Darkbomb. Was that something you anticipated? Do you think there’s still a place for Soulfire?</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong> I certainly think Soulfire is very good and very playable. I think people are experimenting. Darkbomb is also very good, and I think depending on what deck you want to play, and what style of play you’re interested in, there are options for either one.</p><p> <strong>Can you explain to me the card Flame Leviathan? I had it in my free Arena run, and I couldn’t understand the logic of why, in constructed, you would ever want it because you’ve got so little control over the effect.</strong></p><p> <strong>BB:</strong> Basically, the idea with that card is that it’s a 0 mana, 2 damage to the entire board spell, which is very powerful, and the downside for that effect is that you don't control when it goes off. It’s kind of a new take on the Warlock thing where you discard a card to get some very powerful effect, like Soulfire. In this case, the drawback is uncontrollability. It’s kind of an experiment in the same way that Webspinner was an experiment for us in Naxxramas. We’re seeing: 'How does this type of effect feel for Hearthstone?'</p><p> Flame Leviathan is the first of its kind, and it’s definitely a little challenging to figure out when it’s best used. Obviously it’s very good in decks with very few minions, and you could potentially see it in decks with Enrage mechanics in the future, but it is difficult to get it to go off, and you have to feel a little risky for putting that card in your deck&mdash;but the turn when you get a 0 mana AOE against a Zoo deck it’s going to feel really good.</p><p> <em><strong>Next Page: Undertaker and deck slots</strong></em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4YrWRYnZQfuv.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qGbvMJlWbSJX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deathrattles"></p><p><strong>Going back to the card changes, the next one on the watchlist surely has to be Undertaker. Is that high up on the concerns you have?</strong></p><p><strong>BB: </strong>Whenever players give us a ton of feedback about a card they’re frustrated by, it basically goes onto the watchlist. Undertaker is a card I get a lot of feedback about. We did put a bunch of cards into Goblins vs Gnomes that are quite good against decks that feature a lot of Deathrattle, so if undertaker continues to be a big part of what you see on the ladder I think people will start including Lil’ Exorcist and maybe even the Paladin card that damages Deathrattle minions. And if those become very popular, it’s definitely possible we will see less Undertaker and then the meta will shift again.&nbsp;</p><p>So I think it’s too early to say whether or not we’d be making any changes to that stuff. We did add hopefully enough tools to for players to feel empowered to deal with it themselves, but we’re always paying attention to things and watching things and making sure things feel fun.</p><p><strong>How is it always in the Hunter's opening hand? That's got to be a bug!</strong></p><p><strong>BB: </strong>[Laughs]</p><p><strong>Everytime. Everytime. As soon as you see that coin go up, you know what’s happening. So I think you recently sent around a survey soliciting feedback on how future card drops could be done and one of the options was potentially weekly releases. How would that work?</strong></p><p><strong>BB:</strong> I am not familiar with the survey that went out so I’m not specifically sure about any of the stuff that we asked. Yeah, I don’t know. We’re always looking at ways to distribute cards. Obviously the [Curse of&nbsp;Naxxramas] adventures were a huge experiment for us, I think that worked out really well. Goblins vs Gnomes is another big experiment for how we deliver cards, kind of in a more traditional way. I think we’re always looking at ways to make Hearthstone awesome and to deliver content so we’re kind of considering all options. I’m not sure what other options at this point.</p><blockquote>We want more deck slots too, really...&nbsp;Who doesn't want a ton of deck slots?</blockquote><p><strong>So now that spectator mode is out there, what would you say are the main technical things you’re looking to change and improve? Is there quality of life stuff you’re keen to get done?</strong></p><p><strong>BB: </strong>We have a massive backlog of things that are really exciting. We’ve had a lot of suggestions from the community, and from other people around the company, and there are a lot of things that we are really really excited about. One of the biggest things is iPhone. That’s the biggest technical thing we’re working on right now, and Android phone. Android tablet is coming out this month, so those are the biggest technical feature things we’re working on going forward. </p><p><strong>Can you feel that I’m building up to ask about the deck slots?</strong></p><p><strong>BB:</strong> I did sense that!&nbsp;[Laughs]<a href="http://youtu.be/7Dd23MlMmFY?t=4s"></a></p><p><strong>But are there any plans on that front? I have to ask. Or let me phrase it a different way: Did you see the fact that people can’t even buy the right types of packs as vindication of the fact they can’t be trusted with more than nine slots?</strong></p><p><strong>BB:</strong> [Laughs]&nbsp;It’s definitely something we’ve received a ton of feedback on. We want more deck slots too, really. I mean, it’s something that we’re always&hellip; Who doesn’t want a ton of deck slots? It’s a tough problem. We did a lot of testing early on in the game with brand new players and we found over and over again, back in our prototype days, people would enter the Collection Manager and say 'Oh, this is not for me. I’m not interested in building decks at all, it’s too complicated. Maybe this game is not for me.'&nbsp;</p><p>We really had a lot of fear about how changes to the Collection Manager effect those brand new players. The Hearthstone community is super smart and obviously adding additional complexity wouldn't really bother them very much, but it’s something that we’re trying to figure out. I do think we have some cool ideas that we’re talking about internally. Basically we want to find an elegant solution, and we’re not sure what it would be just yet&mdash;but we hear the feedback, we know it’s important. We just need to figure out exactly our strategy here, because it’s surprisingly complicated for us to solve this problem in an elegant way.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sFGh67oPTNC0.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mXBtAuZCbZtP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GvG Kings vs Beasts"></p><p><strong>I think that’s a great answer and I’ll park the question for a while now. I don’t know how many artists are on the team, but do you take the response to cards personally? I watched a lot of streamers being really critical of the poor old King of Beasts, and I felt sad for whoever&mdash;and I apologize if this is you&mdash;but I felt sad for whoever drew it. People were just wailing on that card.</strong> </p><p><strong>BT:</strong> It sounds like you’re focusing more on the art on the cards themselves. I would say a good portion, I hesitate to put an actual number to it, but the largest portion of those pieces of art are by an external community of freelance artists who have many many talented names. I mean you’ve got everybody from Todd Lockwood who has offerings in there, Raymond Swanlund, just really a talented bunch of people that I’ve gotten to work with over the years.&nbsp;</p><p>The thing is, art is subjective, right? There’s no 100 percent right answer all the time, and because of that you’re going to get wildly varying opinions. This is starting to give you some idea of how much fun my job is on a given day. So, because of that we’re very sensitive mostly&mdash;or I should say I’m extremely sensitive&mdash;to whenever we put art in the game, at the end of the day, it has to feel right for Hearthstone. It has to feel right for the vibe and the style of the game. If I got mired down in the 'Gosh, do I think people will like this? Do I think people will hate this? What could they find wrong with it? What could they really love about it?' I would probably be paralyzed into non-productivity very quickly.&nbsp;</p><p>But that becomes an easier job when it really comes down to: 'Does it carry the vibe of Hearthstone? Is it fun? Is it lighthearted? Or is it too aggressive?' I get&nbsp;approached all the time with 'What’s the worst piece of art?'&nbsp;and likewise 'What’s the best piece of art?' I think it depends who's asking the questions as to what the answer will be, and one of the exciting things about art is that there’s no wrong answer to any of it. Reddit would say otherwise. </p><p><strong>The best is Mal’ganis. I don’t know why we’re even debating it.&nbsp;</strong></p> Transformers Universe to shut down at the end of Januaryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-to-shut-down-at-the-end-of-january/Jagex and Hasbro are realigning their plans for 2015.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:07:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-to-shut-down-at-the-end-of-january/HasbroJagexMMONewsTransformers Universe <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2s5xd8sIQ8y5.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fy5-O4P4VbTl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Transformers-Universe-preview-thumb"></p><p>Less than six months after the free-to-play MMO Transformers Universe <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-free-to-play-moba-goes-into-open-beta-on-july-4/">went into open beta</a>, Jagex and Hasbro have announced that it is closing down. Both companies are "hugely disappointed" by the outcome but say it's necessary as they "realign their plans and focuses for 2015."</p><p>The game will continue to run until January 31, 2015, although as of today, new accounts cannot be created, nor can relic bundles or starter packs be purchased. After that, the servers and forums will be taken offline, but game accounts will be maintained until March 31 to allow for the wrap-up of any final robobusiness. </p><p>The good news for players, particular those who sprung for the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-founders-program-includes-450-cybernite-pack/">$450 Founders Pack</a>, is that everyone's getting their money back. Refunds for Founders Packs, relic bundles, and starter packs should all be processed within the next 30 days; players who haven't received a refund by January 16 should contact Jagex support to look into the matter. </p><p>"Once again we want to thank all of the players that have played Transformers Universe and all those that have worked on the project. We’re sure you have thoughts and feelings that you’d like to share on this, so please do so on our forums," the development team wrote in the <a href="https://www.transformersuniverse.com/en/news/2014/12/important-tu-announcement-161214">shutdown announcement</a>.&nbsp;"Please bear in mind that this is obviously a challenging time for all involved, especially the CM team. There will be plenty of things we can’t comment on, so please respect their position."</p><p>Transformers Universe was originally announced all the way back in the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-trailer-and-first-concept-art-released/">summer of 2011</a>, but earlier this year transitioned from a conventional MMO to a "<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/transformers-universe-1/">massively online tactical action game</a>."</p> Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 emerges from hidinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/sniper-ghost-warrior-3-emerges-from-hiding/CI Games says the new Sniper: Ghost Warrior is being created by an "all-star development team."Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:31:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sniper-ghost-warrior-3-emerges-from-hiding/ActionCI GamesNewsSniper: Ghost Warrior 3Stealth <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EP4Hd3Z3Tr-c.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zEEyQloiV6f2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3"></p><p>Sniper: Ghost Warrior was a reasonable game, going by our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sniper-ghost-warrior-review/">2010 review</a>, while its 2013 sequel <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sniper-ghost-warrior-2-review/">didn't fare so well</a>: "A dumb shooter that feels like a rubbish stealth section dragged out across the length of an entire game." Perhaps the third installation will provide a valedictory return to form, particularly since developer CI Games says it will be the "first AAA production effort" in the series.</p><p>It's kind of an odd thing for a developer to say, given the obvious implication that it's been cutting corners&nbsp;until now, but sometimes admitting you have a problem is the first step toward overcoming it. The second step, in this particular instance, is hiring Steve Hart, the former senior producer on Rebellion's better-regarded <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sniper-elite-3-review/">Sniper Elite 3</a>, to head up the development team.</p><p>"We’re fully committed to creating a AAA franchise that gamers can rely on for the ultimate first-person sniper experience," CI Games CEO Marek Tyminski said in a statement.</p><p>The new game will take place during a modern-day conflict between three warring factions in Eastern Europe. It will feature non-linear gameplay on large, open maps, allowing players to do their business up close and personal, or from a safely detached distance. Based on the title I would think the latter option would be the preferred way of getting things done, but as the man said, sometimes you want to put the knife in, and look him in the eye, and see what's going on in there as you turn it. That's what you want to do, right? Come on, Bennett. Let's party!</p><p>Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is expected to be ready for 2016.</p> DiRT 3: Games for Windows Live removal "in progress"http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-3-gfw-live-removal-in-progress/Codies' racer still planning to leave Games for Windows Live in the dust.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:19:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dirt-3-gfw-live-removal-in-progress/Dirt 3NewsRacing <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ht-HChKNR4O7.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WqICLE-GYvvb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dirt 3"></p><p>With Dark Souls having scraped the last&nbsp;remnants of Games for Windows Live from its shoe, there aren't many non-Microsoft games left still using the deservedly maligned service. Here's one: DiRT 3. Codemasters had previously suggested they would be moving the rally racer to Steamworks, but, as of this very moment, that hasn't happened.</p><p>I got in touch with the studio to find out how it was going. I was told that, while they were unable to give out a date, the planned GfW Live removal update was "in progress".</p><p>DiRT 2, meanwhile, won't be so lucky. The game was removed from sale on&nbsp;stores like Steam earlier in the year, and, from the sounds of things, won't be coming back.</p><p>Still, for rally fans, the continued promise of a working version of an excellent racer should be welcome&mdash;even if I understand the impatience that it's taking so long. Hopefully the Steamworks release will also prompt Codies to release the game's various DLC bits&mdash;all of which were lost as of&nbsp;the closure of the Games for Windows Marketplace.</p> A beginner’s guide to Metal Gear Solid Vhttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-beginners-guide-to-metal-gear-solid-v/Prepare yourself for the next game in Kojima's stealth series.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:08:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-beginners-guide-to-metal-gear-solid-v/ActionFeatureHideo KojimaMetal Gear Solid VMetal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainStealth <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-Fu5wi8wQNmQ.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C9jVznqRBlHt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="0" class=""></p><p><em>Spoiler warning: this article hopes to ease new players into Ground Zeroes, and as such contains some spoilers for the Metal Gear series thus far.</em></p><p>Except for mediocre ports of the first two games, the Metal Gear Solid series hasn’t had much of a presence on PC. But that’s about to change with the arrival of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on Steam next year. You don’t have to wait that long to get a taste of it, though. On Thursday Konami are releasing Ground Zeroes, a single-level prologue that showcases its open-world stealth, which is a first for the series.</p><p>If you’re a lapsed fan, or if you haven’t played it before, you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed. There dozens of games worth of dense, complex story preceding MGS V, and the mythology is famously complex. Even series creator Hideo Kojima has said he has trouble keeping track of it all, and he wrote the thing.</p><p>But don’t worry, because I’m here to turn that huge lump of information into something digestible. Here you’ll learn everything you need to know going into Ground Zeroes to understand what the hell is going on, as well as some important backstory.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LUgui1heQrOc.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/g6l_Nks3QEoW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="5" style="font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;" class=""> <figcaption>Big Boss and his mentor, The Boss.</figcaption></figure><p><strong>What is Metal Gear Solid, and why should I care?<br></strong>Metal Gear Solid is a series of stealth/action games designed by Hideo Kojima and his studio, Kojima Productions. They’re defined by their freeform, systems-driven stealth, imaginative boss battles, memorable characters, and how they marry melodramatic, philosophical storytelling with moments of surreal absurdity.</p><p>You should care because Metal Gear Solid is one of the most imaginative games around. Kojima is a master at second-guessing players, and you always feel like he’s one step ahead of you. He’s infamous for his long-winded cut-scenes, but he’s an incredibly smart game designer. To me, Metal Gear (particularly the third game, Snake Eater) is as satisfying a systems-based stealth experience as Deus Ex, minus the RPG bits.</p><p>These are games that reward creativity and give you the freedom to play how you want with a vast array of gadgets, weapons, and ways to interact with the environment. Everything else is just a bonus, and you’ll fall in love with Kojima’s daft, fourth wall-shattering sense of humour. One minute you’ll be listening to a sobering speech about the perils of nuclear proliferation, the next a man is firing bees at you.</p><p><strong>And what is Ground Zeroes exactly?<br></strong>Ground Zeroes is the prologue to the next game in the MGS series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It features just one level&mdash;the Guantánamo Bay-inspired Camp Omega&mdash;and in it you play as Big Boss, a legendary soldier and the leader of nationless mercenary army Militaires Sans Frontières.</p><p><strong>It sounds like a demo. Why are they charging for it?<br></strong>While there’s only one level in Ground Zeroes, it’s a big one, and there are seven missions to complete. Getting through them all, plus two bonus missions, took me eight hours&mdash;and I’m still playing. The depth of the stealth makes it hugely replayable, and there are dozens of ways to approach and complete objectives. You can read my review of the PC version on Thursday at 2pm UK time. Spoilers: I really like it.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0a6ngIc6RvGV.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0KCr096fNqsN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="6" style="font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width: 668px;" class=""> <figcaption>Paz before she was revealed to be a double agent.</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Who is Big Boss? Is he Solid Snake? They look similar...<br></strong>You’ve probably heard of, or least seen a picture of, Solid Snake, the star of most of the main games in the series. He’s become something of a pop culture icon. But Big Boss is someone else entirely. Solid Snake is, in fact, his clone.</p><p>Early in his career, Big Boss was an operative for the CIA. But after being tricked into killing his mentor by the US government, he became disillusioned and created his own army of mercenaries.</p><p>Considered the greatest soldier who ever lived, the US secretly cloned him without his knowledge, to safeguard his genetic legacy. Many of these clones died prematurely, but three survived, one of which was Solid Snake.</p><p>In a cruel twist of fate, the first Metal Gear game (released for the MSX in 1987) saw Solid Snake, at the behest of the US government, tasked with taking down his ‘father’, who had created an independent nation of soldiers in the ‘80s called Outer Heaven and built a walking nuclear-equipped tank to protect it.</p><p><strong>Wait, so Big Boss is the villain?<br></strong>In the first two games, yes. But in sequels Snake Eater, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, and The Phantom Pain next year, he’s the protagonist. In these games we witness his betrayal at the hands of the US and subsequent tragic downfall.</p><p>A major theme in MGS V will be Big Boss succumbing to his demons and, eventually, becoming the seemingly evil figure Solid Snake fights in the 1987 game. Look at the screenshots and you’ll see some kind of shrapnel sticking out of his head, almost like a horn. This symbolises his transition from hero to villain.</p><p>We won’t know the full details of this change until the next game, but I’m sure Kojima has some trick up his sleeve. Big Boss has become as beloved as former series hero Solid Snake, and I expect he’ll give him a good reason for turning ‘bad’.&nbsp;It’ll probably have something to do with The Patriots, a sinister Illuminati-style group that secretly controls the United States.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ub5LkVJ4Su6p.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8K_Fa0uI3G43.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3" class=""> <figcaption>Big Boss and Kazuhira Miller, his right-hand man.</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Okay, got it. So why is Big Boss infiltrating Camp Omega?<br></strong>Two prisoners, Paz and Chico, are being held there by a mysterious, disfigured character known only as Skull Face. Both hold information that could compromise Militaires Sans Frontières, and so Big Boss steps in personally to rescue them.</p><p><strong>Hold up, who the hell are Paz and Chico?<br></strong>Okay, this is where things get a bit more complicated.</p><p>Paz Ortega Andrade first approaches Big Boss to help her drive a mercenary army out of her peace-loving home country of Costa Rica. But it was all a ruse, and she was actually a double agent for an organisation called Cipher (actually The Patriots) who wanted to spy on the MSF: specifically their progress in building a nuclear tank, or metal gear.</p><p>She was apparently killed at the end of MGS: Peace Walker, but survived and was captured by Skull Face. So while she’s an enemy of Big Boss, the information she has about him, his army, and the metal gear project forces him to rescue her.</p><p>Ricardo Valenciano Libre, nicknamed Chico, was a child soldier and fighter for the Sandinistas, a group Big Boss allied with in Costa Rica. Hearing that Paz was still alive, he tried to rescue her from Camp Omega, but was captured and imprisoned himself.</p><p><strong>And what about this ‘Skull Face’ dude?<br></strong>Not much is known about Skull Face, who seems to be one of the antagonists in Metal Gear Solid V. He’s working for Cipher, and is in charge of Camp Omega. But his relationship with Cipher is really a way to locate its leader, Zero, for reasons that are unclear. Probably revenge. It always seems to be revenge in Metal Gear Solid.</p><p>In a recent Metal Gear Solid V trailer, we see Big Boss and Skull Face together, and it doesn’t look as if either of them are under duress. Perhaps the two team up to go after Cipher, although that’s just speculation at this point. Let’s not get distracted.</p><p>Skull Face is obviously a bad dude, but villains in Metal Gear are always products of some terrible abuse in their past, so there’s likely more complexity to his story yet to be uncovered. The real villain in this strand of the series is Zero, the leader of Cipher/The Patriots, and he’s undoubtedly pulling the strings in The Phantom Pain.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8GoD9VZITCKA.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I1xqC_fQBaXd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="2" class=""> <figcaption>Yes, that wolf is wearing an eyepatch.</figcaption></figure><p><strong>My head hurts.<br></strong>Yeah, sorry. I know I said I’d make this digestible, but there are so many organisations and characters with conflicting motivations in Metal Gear that it always descends into a confusing morass of information.&nbsp;</p><p>But, honestly, I don’t think it will hamper your enjoyment of the game. Even fans like me will be screwing our faces up in confusion as we play. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, and it’ll all start to make sense eventually.</p><p><strong>How do the events of Ground Zeroes lead into The Phantom Pain?<br></strong><em>Stop here if you don't want to know how Ground Zeroes ends.</em></p><p>So Big Boss rescues Paz and Chico, but returns to Mother Base&mdash;his offshore HQ&mdash;to find the place under attack from Skull Face’s army. Unable to defend it, he’s forced to flee, but then his helicopter is hit with a rocket and he slips into a coma.</p><p>Nine years later, Big Boss wakes up in a hospital, and this is where The Phantom Pain begins. Thirsty for vengeance after the death of his MSF comrades, he forms a new army called Diamond Dogs. This is the beginning of his eventual downfall.</p><p><strong>Okay, I think I get it now.<br></strong>Phew.</p> How to change the colour of your ship's HUD in Elite: Dangeroushttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-change-the-colour-of-your-ships-hud-in-elite-dangerous/Customise your on-board computer with a simple tweak.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:32:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-change-the-colour-of-your-ships-hud-in-elite-dangerous/Elite: DangerousFrontier Developmentssim <p> <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XbU6B2hrSseO.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WKPZ-BsIPBaN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Image source: Kirisute" class=""><figcaption>Image source: Kirisute</figcaption></figure></p><p> Whatever the colour of your Elite: Dangerous ship, one seemingly&nbsp;immutable constant has been the colour of the on-board computer. It's orange. Very orange.&nbsp;The pop-up HUD forms the basis for every action in the game, from using space station services to plotting your next jump. And while the existing palette&nbsp;<em>is</em> quite&nbsp;fetching, a little variety wouldn't go amiss.</p><p> Step forward Frontier forumite&nbsp;Kirisute, who has&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=73419" target="_blank">posted instructions</a> for altering the colour of the on-board HUD. It's surprisingly simple to do, and has a marked effect on the feel of the game.</p><p> To change HUD colour, first you'll need to find a file called <em>GraphicsConfiguration.xml</em>. It should&nbsp;be in the EDLaunch root&nbsp;directory, in the folder&nbsp;"Products\FORC-FDEV-D-1000".</p><p> Once found, open the file in a text editor like&nbsp;<a href="http://notepad-plus-plus.org/" target="_blank">Notepad++</a>. You're looking for the following section:</p><p> &lt;GUIColour&gt;<br> &lt;Default&gt;<br> &lt;LocalisationName&gt;Standard&lt;/LocalisationName&gt;<br> &lt;MatrixRed&gt; 1, 0, 0 &lt;/MatrixRed&gt;<br> &lt;MatrixGreen&gt; 0, 1, 0 &lt;/MatrixGreen&gt;<br> &lt;MatrixBlue&gt; 0, 0, 1 &lt;/MatrixBlue&gt;<br> &lt;/Default&gt;</p><p>One more thing. We're editing a file the game uses to do stuff, so it's always a good idea to save an unaltered&nbsp;back up copy before you make any changes.</p><p>Once you've done that, though, it's time to go to town. By editing the values of MatrixRed, MatrixGreen and MatrixBlue, you'll change the HUD's colour. But which numbers to use? Anything between 0 and 1 is fine&mdash;0.5, for example, or 0.27. Go wild, and try things out. Or,&nbsp;<a href="http://arkku.com/elite/hud_editor/" target="_blank">use this tool</a>, which lets you play with sliders to find the right look and then&nbsp;tells you the values to use.</p><p>Can't be bothered with sliders? Reddit user Megazen&nbsp;has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/2p3784/you_can_manually_customize_the_gui_colors/" target="_blank">some suggested styles</a>, and pictures to go along with them.</p><p>Once you've entered your own custom numbers, save the file and open Elite: Dangerous. That's it, you're done. And if you want to see just how well such a simple tweak works in game, here's a video of a nice blue hue.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/geMcu6xIifI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> GTA 5 Online Heists revealed in new trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-online-heists-revealed-in-new-trailer/4-player co-op heists due for early 2015.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:41:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-online-heists-revealed-in-new-trailer/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UDd3pTE8UsQ?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe><p>Heist missions have finally been revealed for Grand Theft Auto Online&mdash;GTA 5's self-explanatory online mode. Okay, so the&nbsp;"finally" of that sentence is somewhat&nbsp;bitter-sweet, given that on PC we're still waiting for GTA 5's January release.</p><p>Here's the important bit: GTA 5's online mode didn't previously have heists&mdash;one of the best bits of GTA 5's singleplayer campaign. As of "early 2015," though, it will, and the above trailer confirms that they're coming to the PC version as well.</p><p><a href="http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/12/16/grand-theft-auto-5-online-heists-finally-revealed" target="_blank">IGN</a> has an informative interview on what the feature will entail, and also questions why the co-op heist missions took as long as they have.</p><p>"They just turned out to be a lot more difficult than we originally thought," said GTA Online producer&nbsp;Imran Sarwar.</p><p>"One of the challenges is that unlike a heist in Story Mode," Sarwar later said,&nbsp;"every player needs to feel central to the action at all times, and that’s much more challenging than it appears." In the singleplayer game, players can switch between characters to ensure they're always at the centre. In online play? Not so easy. Sarwar uses the example of a getaway driver, and needing something for that player to do that isn't just&nbsp;sitting around and waiting in a car.</p><p>The co-op heists will be four player multi-segment missions, and, according to Sarwar, will be organised by a&nbsp;designated "heist leader" among the group. As for the missions themselves, "some missions have all players working as one unit, some require players to take on specific tasks like hacking or crowd control, while others require players to split into smaller teams to complete separate high value objectives."</p><p>With no exact release date, it's not clear if online heists will be ready for GTA 5's PC release. That, if you weren't already counting down the days, will happen on 27 January.</p> Elite: Dangerous has launchedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-has-launched/I'm floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:16:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-has-launched/Elite: DangerousFrontier DevelopmentsNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YxV1MC0fQTWs.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VZmjHT0RdpY9.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite Dangerous"></p><p>Almost two years after the culmination of a £1.5 million raising Kickstarter, Elite: Dangerous has released its 1.0 update&mdash;marking the space game's official launch.</p><p>Alongside the release, the game's price has been hiked. It's now £40/$60, slightly up from the most recent pre-order price, but significantly under the cost of alpha and beta stage access.</p><p>It's pretty exciting stuff. Sandbox space sims were, for so long, relegated to a niche space of PC gaming, with only a few titles taking it upon themselves to journey through the stars. The last couple of years have felt like a real turning point in that thinking, and Elite is just one of a few games dedicated to realising the romanticism of space exploration.</p><p>Admittedly, much of that romanticism deals with being a glorified space trucker. There are multiple job types available in Elite, and the most basic of them is cargo haulage. Nevertheless, even what should be a tedious task is elevated by the immense audio/visual feedback that is warping between star systems. It's a beautiful game, even when nothing much is happening.</p><p>The 1.0 update itself isn't much of an advancement over the most recent "gamma" release. You can see the sparse changelist over at the&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=76494" target="_blank">Elite Dangerous forum</a>.</p><p>And now, if you ever wanted to see what a game's launch looks like, Frontier released this video:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/22DAO4dl74w?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Dark Souls' DSfix mod updated for new Steamworks versionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-dsfix-mod-updated-for-new-steamworks-version/FPS fix in place for the newly GfW Live-free game.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:13:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-dsfix-mod-updated-for-new-steamworks-version/ActionDark SoulsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0LvlZsPIS82K.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/96-MSnrTVU3a.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls"></p><p>Remember that guy who&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-completed-with-a-rock-band-guitar/" target="_blank">beat Dark Souls</a> with a Rock Band controller? The game finally defeating Games for Windows Live feels like an even more spectacular achievement than that.</p><p>The new Steamworks version of Dark Souls is now&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-finally-defeats-gfw-live-with-new-update/" target="_blank">available to optionally activate</a>. But GfW Live wasn't the only of the PC port's many problems. Resolution? Yes. Graphics options? Yes. Frame-rate? You bet'cha. Hence DSfix, the work of occasional PCG contributor Durante. The Steamworks upgrade disabled the mod's ability to unlock the frame-rate. A fix for that issue is now here.</p><p><a href="http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?p=652" target="_blank">DSfix 2.3</a>&nbsp;is a Steamworks-compatible version of the mod, and offers the same features of previous versions. The update's speedy arrival comes courtesy of&nbsp;boowoo90, a commenter to Durante's blog. Thanks to them we now have a fully-featured, GfW Live-free version of the tough-as-nails RPG.</p> NEO Scavenger leaves early accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/neo-scavenger-leaves-early-access/Turn-based survival RPG now officially released.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:16:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/neo-scavenger-leaves-early-access/NEO ScavengerNewsRoguelike <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5JLWS4PUTDOp.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gpjAF12lbrNI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Neo Scavenger"></p><p>Humans: always expecting the worst. Sure, right now you might be absorbing&nbsp;information from a glowing rectangle; the totality of knowledge at your fingertips. And yes, right now, if you want a steak, you don't have to track, murder, skin and cook an animal to get at it. Milkshakes exist. Pizza exists. Things are pretty good.</p><p>But, what happens should&nbsp;we find ourselves in a&nbsp;post-apocalyptic future, where survival is harsh and unlikely, and your movements are inexplicably restricted to a few hex grids per-turn? It's an unlikely scenario, but it <em>could </em>happen. We should probably prepare in case it does.</p><p>Step forward NEO Scavenger; a turn-based survival roguelike that released into early access late last year. It's now been released for real, and promises to teach you many lessons about the difficulties&nbsp;of staying alive and in one piece.</p><p>Should you want to give it a try, there's a browser-based demo you can&nbsp;<a href="http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/21" target="_blank">play right now</a>. Should that pique your interest, it's available on multiple stores:&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/248860/?snr=1_4_4__106" target="_blank">Steam</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/game/neo_scavenger" target="_blank">GOG</a> being just two.</p> Kerbal Space Program beta update releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-beta-update-released/Blasting out of alpha, the new KSP update brings over 170 changes.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:48:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-beta-update-released/Kerbal Space ProgramNewssimSquad <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/08aiB15JRRCT.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iC_ENvpcGy05.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Zex7vZ6"></p><p>There's been a lot of early access controversy and disappointment this year. Whatever your overall attitude toward the practice, I'd argue that Kerbal Space Program is&nbsp;one example of it being done well; with no need for reservations or caveats. It's already a&nbsp;good game, and frequently it becomes an even better one. Now, it's a beta one too.</p><p>A few hours ago KSP launched into update 0.9.0&mdash;the official designation of the game's beta release. There are over 170 changes found in the full patch notes, but, in&nbsp;<a href="http://kerbaldevteam.tumblr.com/post/105298544359/kerbal-space-program-beta-than-ever-is-now" target="_blank">a new blog post</a>,&nbsp;the team explain the basics of what it's all about.</p><p>"Building upon a long term project that was introduced with the last update’s destructible facilities," SQUAD write,&nbsp;"players will now have the ability to start from the ground up with a basic space center and turn it into a sprawling compound in the new upgradable facilities feature. It’s not just buildings, either. Players will unlock new capabilities and bonuses as their career path progresses."</p><p>Kerbals also now have a progression path. As they complete missions, they'll gain experience to unlock new skills. Advanced piloting, science gathering and spacecraft repairs are some of the&nbsp;intrepid&nbsp;astronauts' potential upgrades.</p><p>You can see a round-up of changes in the below video, and the&nbsp;<a href="http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/content/322-KSP-has-gone-Beta!-v0-90-0-is-Officially-Released" target="_blank">full patch notes</a> over at the KSP forum.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wd5uVMLGmuA?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Dying Light gameplay: max settings at 1440p on LPC Jr.http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-gameplay-max-settings-at-1440p-on-lpc-jr/Tyler runs away from zombies in Dying Light, which'll be out next month.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 04:44:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dying-light-gameplay-max-settings-at-1440p-on-lpc-jr/ActionDying LightLPCSurvival <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XJVNa2zKMXA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>We have a preview build of Dying Light, Techland's next zombie game, and while we've been asked not to spoil&nbsp;certain story bits,&nbsp;we can do just about anything else we want with it. So here I am playing it at 1440p on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/we-built-the-large-pixel-collider-jr-an-insane-gaming-pc-for-the-living-room/">the LPC Jr.</a>, naturally.</p><p>Techland is the studio responsible for Dead Island&mdash;not a great game, but not a terrible one by any&nbsp;means. So far,&nbsp;Dying Light is&nbsp;better. It's&nbsp;also about zombies and melee weapons, but&nbsp;it diverges in ways I like: a less-arcadey tone, a better-looking world with greater fidelity, and a focus on agile&nbsp;movement over rooftops. Without having upgraded my combat skill tree, whacking undead heads feels far less important than moving fluidly around them&mdash;but I suppose I could go the bashing route if I preferred it. There's also crafting and all the gadgets that come with that&nbsp;to consider, but for now I've just wandered through an early mission to get a sense of how it feels.</p><p>As for the state of the PC version, it seems <em>pretty </em>good at the moment. I couldn't maintain a stable 60 fps at 1440p and max settings, though it<em> is</em> a good-looking game (even if its open world is a bit drab). I didn't experience any stuttering or other problems.&nbsp;I am disappointed that the current graphics options menu doesn't include an FOV slider or the option to turn off individual post-processing effects, such as motion blur. Maybe if I close my eyes and wish hard enough, a few more staples will be introduced before Dying Light releases on&nbsp;January 27th in North America and January 30th in Europe. Or maybe&nbsp;we'll just dig into a config file and hope for the best.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JLbLljcTQYOT.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sHWeyIMLEOMd.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Desktop 12.12.2014 - 13.09.05.03.mp4_snapshot_00.01.06_[2014.12.15_17.32.04]"></p> What makes a good game gun?http://www.pcgamer.com/what-makes-a-good-game-gun/Why is one AK more funner than another? Evan explores.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:48:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/what-makes-a-good-game-gun/Arma 3Counter-StrikeCounter-Strike SourceCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveCS:GOFPSLeft 4 Dead 2Must ReadTriggernometry <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2Clbt42VRRGS.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YaTCL0BTmSCK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Deagle"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">TRIGGERNOMETRY</h5> <p> We write about FPSes each week in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Triggernometry</a>, a mixture of tips, design criticism, and a celebration of virtual marksmanship. </p> </div><p> There isn’t enough poetry being written about guns. Not literal limericks or sonnets (that would be creepy), but words that dig into and capture what makes one game’s AK-47 more fun than another’s.</p><p> “Weapon feel” continues to be the nebulous catch-all for the nuances that make guns fun. Most of the reviews of shooters I read offer the same praise: guns “feel great” or “feel really powerful.” If the writer’s being generous, they’ll use a word like “punchy” to describe an SMG. I’ve been guilty of this too during my six-year term at PC Gamer.</p><p> Months of work goes into designing, animating, and balancing the things that put the S in FPS, so maybe we should take a moment to talk about what makes a good gun good.</p><p>I think the visual design of weapons matters far less than we think it does. There’s a tendency, probably because they’re planted right in front of our perspective at all times, to think of guns as a collection of aesthetics: firing and reload animations, SFX, screen shake, particle effects, and the death animations they produce. Those things make a gun, right? So if those things are good, surely we have an interesting and fun video game weapon, right?</p><p> No. Consider the&nbsp;<a href="http://counterstrike.wikia.com/wiki/AWP">AWP</a>: it’s olive green, it’s bland, and its simple animations are more run-of-the-mill than Rambo. The only aesthetically remarkable thing about the most revered, iconic, and infamous sniper rifle in a video game is that it’s a bit loud. And yet <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2esnhy/valve_we_need_static_sniper_scopes/">thousand-comment debates</a> erupt when Valve tweaks the way the AWP’s scope works. Why?</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/WeightyLavishFieldspaniel" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="762" height="370" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"></iframe><p> A gun’s look and sound are part of its personality, sure. But if you ask me, <strong>great video game weapons have meaningful, interconnected relationships with other game elements</strong>. Those elements differ from game to game, of course. In CS’ case, the appeal of the AWP is born from the fact that CS is an FPS with body-part-specific damage modeling and no respawns. In that context, it’s the only gun that grants an instant kill if you tag someone above the waist.</p><p> That feeling of possibility is fun within the strict rules of CS’ movement: if you can hit it, you can kill it&hellip; but you also can’t be moving too much when you fire. With that power comes responsibility, too. Killed players surrender their equipped weapon in CS, and stolen AWPs not only save your team $4750 but act as a kind of trophy. This is doubly the case in CS:GO, where a player’s custom AWP skin reminds all spectators which irresponsible player allowed their AWP to fall into enemy hands. Buying an AWP, then, to some extent, announces to the rest of the server: “I think I’m a good enough shot to protect this valuable&nbsp;asset from the other team.”</p><p> All of&nbsp;this makes&nbsp;the AWP a weapon with abundant meaning. Even its shortcomings (slow rate of fire, difficult to use in close quarters) are a source of fun: the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xppyoB36O6E">noscope</a> is a revered skillshot.</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/MajorSereneDegu" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="762" height="370" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe><p>In&nbsp;Tribes’ case, its&nbsp;weapons shake hands with its&nbsp;player movement really well, arguably the quality that defines it as an FPS. Again, like the AWP, the Spinfusor isn't visually extraordinary: it fires discs at a medium speed, and its animations and SFX are pretty modest. But the Spinfusor is the perfect fit, the perfect baseline weapon in a game where your targets are typically skiing along the ground at high speed. Its splash damage leaves room for error and its relatively slow travel time creates an exciting feeling of uncertainty as you admire your shot. Like throwing up a three-pointer in basketball, you get to experience that arc of “Will it go in? It might not go in. It went in!” as the disc travels toward its target.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_voeB6lEr4">Fusion Mortar</a> creates the same sort of feeling&nbsp;while operating&nbsp;as a parabolic siege weapon. The design of the weapons actually encourages you to spend as much time as possible in the air: the threat they pose encourages you to master movement to have the best chance of staying alive. In each of these examples, the weapons strengthen the meaning and significance of core systems like&nbsp;movement, damage modeling, or&nbsp;weapon purchasing.</p> DOOM 3DO source code is now publicly availablehttp://www.pcgamer.com/doom-3do-source-code-is-now-publicly-available/Notoriously poor port was completed in ten weeks.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:59:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/doom-3do-source-code-is-now-publicly-available/DoomFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/j-eqQPSkQWCd.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uuYuiNjrC0zp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 11.22.16 am"></p><p>Released in 1995,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/doom/">DOOM</a>'s 3DO port wasn't great. It's widely regarded the worst of DOOM's many&nbsp;ports, and remember&nbsp;there was even&nbsp;a GameBoy Advance port.&nbsp;</p><p>Now we can begin to understand why, thanks to new access to the 3DO port's&nbsp;source code. Programmer&nbsp;Rebecca Ann Heineman released it this week to coincide with the DOOM's 21st birthday, along with some notes describing the nightmarish process of getting the classic&nbsp;to run on the notoriously difficult (and doomed) console.</p><p>Shortly after Heineman took on the project it&nbsp;emerged she had only&nbsp;ten weeks to develop the port from scratch. "This was the product of ten intense weeks of work due to the fact that I was misled about the state of the port when I was offered the project," she&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/Olde-Skuul/doom3do">wrote</a>.</p><p>"I was told that there was a version in existence with new levels, weapons and features and it only needed 'polishing' and optimization to hit the market. After numerous requests for this version, I found out that there was no such thing and that Art Data Interactive was under the false impression that all anyone needed to do to port a game from one platform to another was just to compile the code and adding weapons was as simple as dropping in the art."</p><p>Heineman goes on to list the many shortcuts and compromises she needed to make in order to get DOOM up-and-running on the 3DO. First of all, to save time on porting the music driver she needed to commission new renditions of DOOM's famous level music. She also pulled off some counterintuitive maneuvers to make the most of the 3DO's memory.&nbsp;</p><p>The end product, despite the tiny screen and unplayable-by-today's-standards frame rate, is pretty impressive under the circumstances. Access the code and read Heineman's full account&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/Olde-Skuul/doom3do">here</a>, and see how the 3DO port looked in action below.&nbsp;</p><p>Relatedly, John Romero released some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/john-romero-shows-unseen-doom-art-on-21st-anniversary/">previously unseen DOOM assets</a> last week.&nbsp;</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Nx2k8jrCOUU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Credit card-sized ODRIOD-C1 is a quad-core computer for only $35http://www.pcgamer.com/credit-card-sized-odriod-c1-is-a-quad-core-computer-for-only-35/$35 gets you a fully functional Linux computer that can handle H.64 video.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:34:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/credit-card-sized-odriod-c1-is-a-quad-core-computer-for-only-35/HardwareLinuxNewsTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aXG6yzVaRvWv.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/34pzOalTzB-2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Odroid C1"></p><p>The ODROID-C1 quad-core single-board computer is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G141578608433&amp;tab_idx=1">now available</a>, and it's only $35. </p><p>Like Raspberry Pi, the ODROID-C1 is a credit card-sized single-board computer, but despite the similar price point, it's much more powerful. Short for Open + Android, the ODROID-C1 boasts a 1.5GHz quad-core ARM processor and is capable of running Ubuntu Linux&nbsp;14.04 or Android KitKat. The board has 1GB of DDR3 RAM.</p><p>Despite its small size, the ODRIOD-C1 features a bevy of ports and slots. It has four USB 2.0 ports, a micro-HDMI port, RJ45 Ethernet, a row of GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins, a MicroSD slot, micro-USB connector, Infrared (IR) receiver, and an eMMC module socket, which offers storage access two to three times faster than via the SD card. </p><p>With all this packed into a single board, all you need is a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and power to have a fully functioning super-tiny system. Unfortunately it can't run SteamOS, since Valve's version of Linux currently&nbsp;only supports x86 processors. The ODROID-C1 can't handle game streaming, then, but it could be a mega-cheap living room client for a media streaming setup with something like&nbsp;<a href="https://plex.tv/">Plex</a> installed. Or you could build your very own Android-based Ouya&nbsp;alternative.&nbsp;Or if you just want to tinker and learn your way around Linux and PC hardware, it's hard to do it cheaper than $35.</p> Nvidia cards don't display full RGB color via HDMI—here's a fixhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-cards-dont-full-rgb-color-through-hdmiheres-a-fix/If you're using an Nvidia graphics card and an HDMI cable, make sure you're getting the full RGB color range on your monitor.Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:16:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-cards-dont-full-rgb-color-through-hdmiheres-a-fix/HardwareNewsNvidiaTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zY7llxVtQ5KL.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hZoWFm5e0kU8.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia"></p><p>If you're using HDMI output with an Nvidia graphics card, you likely aren't getting full and accurate color range, specifically at the black and white ends of the spectrum. For some reason, Nvidia cards default to Limited RGB (16-235 levels of differentiation per&nbsp;color) when using HDMI, despite a PC&nbsp;display's ability to support full RGB (0-255 colors).This driver issue has been affecting the HDMI output of Nvidia cards for years, and could be limiting your color range&nbsp;without you knowing it.&nbsp;Luckily there's a fix.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-features-pc-gamers-wantan-open-letter-to-developers-and-gamers/">PC&nbsp;Gamer contributor</a> and all-around PC modding hero Peter "Durante" Thoman has released a <a href="http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?p=83">simple patch</a> to fix the Nvidia color issue. Before Thoman's patch, the only way to fix the issue was via editing your driver's .ini files before installation. </p><p>Limited RGB is a setting designed for TVs, which use a video range of 16-235. In full RGB, each of the three additive primary colors (red, green, blue) has a full range of zero to 255 color value, but in limited RGB the extremes of that spectrum are stripped away. Any color value of 16 or below is just displayed as 16, and anything in the 235-255 range defaults to 235. Presumably, using HDMI output made Nvidia cards think they were displaying to a TV, locking into the TV-designed limited RGB setting even when a full RGB-capable monitor was in use. </p><p>A quick test to see if you're experiencing the issue is to open <a href="http://i.imgur.com/Bw61l68.jpg" class="hoverZoomLink">this image</a>, courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/user/DickNotInCeilingFan">a helpful Reddit poster</a>. If you see four distinct shades, two white on the left, two black on the right, then you're in the clear. But if you only see a black and a white column, you have the problem. </p><p>Being forced into limited RGB meant not getting the full colors you should be able to display. Why settle for muted grey when you could have deeper blacks and brighter whites? Thoman's patch takes care of the issue, but you will have to reinstall it every time you update your drivers.</p><p>Despite this having been a problem for years, Nvidia seems to have finally taken notice of the issue. According to a <a href="https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/523992/geforce-drivers/tip-for-nvidia-users-using-hdmi-and-getting-accurate-color-format/post/4388135/#4388135">screenshot of a conversation with an Nvidia rep</a>, the issue will be fixed in the next driver branch&nbsp;release. That driver is still in development, so there's no ETA, but at least it's on the way. Until then, we have Durante.</p> Hatred gets red light on Steam Greenlighthttp://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-gets-red-light-on-steam-greenlight/Valve says Hatred is not a game it would publish on Steam.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:49:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hatred-gets-red-light-on-steam-greenlight/ActionDestructive CreationsHatredNewsSteam Greenlight <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8DSgq0n3Qpim.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zod6ipv3kJ0r.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hatred Greenlight "></p><p><strong>Update: </strong>Hatred has been reinstated on Steam Greenlight.</p><p><strong>Original:&nbsp;</strong>You've likely heard of Hatred, an isometric action game about a mass murderer who slaughters people for fun, just because he hates humanity. In October its graphic announcement trailer generated exactly the sort of outrage its developers surely hoped for,&nbsp;and Epic Games almost immediately requested that the studio remove the Unreal Engine 4 logo from the footage. Now the game has hit another, potentially more damaging bump in the road: Valve has removed the game from Steam Greenlight.</p><p>The Greenlight campaign was taken down just a couple of hours after it went live. "We wanted you guys to know that based on what we see on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam," Valve told developer Destructive Creations. "As such we'll be taking it down."</p><p>"Even though games like Manhunt or Postal are still available on Steam we of course fully respect Valve’s decision, as they have right to do so," the studio said in a statement. "In the same time we want to assure you that this won’t in any way impact the game development, game’s vision or gameplay features we’re aiming for."</p><p>It also pointed out that in the very short time the Hatred Greenlight was live, it amassed 13,148 "yes" votes, moving it to number seven on the Greenlight list, which contains nearly 2200 games in total. "This is the best proof for us that there are diehard Hatred fans out there waiting for this game to be released. And that we need to keep going to deliver them a game that offers exciting and challenging gameplay," the studio added. "The whole situation only pushes us forward to go against any adversity and not to give up."</p><p>Destructive Creations said that it intends to approach GOG next, and that it will offer the game for sale directly through its own website regardless of which distributors ultimately end up carrying it. Hatred is currently being targeted for launch in the second quarter of 2015. </p> Satellite Reign debuts on Steam Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign-debuts-on-steam-early-access/The spiritual successor to Syndicate is now available for purchase on Steam.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:12:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign-debuts-on-steam-early-access/5 Lives StudiosEarly AccessNewsRTSSatellite Reign <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i0emFb0aKFc?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> I've likely mentioned this already, but I'm pretty stoked for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign/">Satellite Reign</a>. It's a "spiritual successor" to the early 90s Bullfrog RTS <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-syndicate-was-bad-to-the-bone/">Syndicate</a>, in which players control a team of four unique "agents" battling for control of a neon-infused cyberpunk city. Think Shadowrun, maybe, but with less metaphysics and more guns.</p><p> Satellite Reign <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/satellite-reign-hits-kickstarter-target-without-resorting-to-the-persuadertron/">did very well for itself on Kickstarter</a> last year, raising $721,000 on a goal of $547,000, and work has proceeded apace since then. It's still early days, but it's now playable, and also <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/268870">buyable on Steam</a> for $27, a ten percent discount on its full-release price of $30.</p><p> The initial Early Access release was actually the build given to beta backers about a month ago, but it's since been updated to a fresher version. The latest release fixes some bugs, makes some visual tweaks, and adds the ability to adjust the density of civilians, which can significantly impact framerates.</p><p> Satellite Reign looks solid, but remember, as always, that Early Access releases should be approached with a certain degree of caution: Anything can happen, including, as Valve <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-updates-steam-early-access-faq-warns-that-some-games-may-never-be-finished/">warned</a> back in the summer, abandonment in an incomplete state. But if RTSes, cyberpunk, and/or videogames with an old-school flavor are your thing, this is probably one worth keeping an eye on.</p> Fourth Assassin's Creed: Unity patch delayed for "quality control" reasonshttp://www.pcgamer.com/fourth-assassins-creed-unity-patch-delayed-for-quality-control-reasons/The latest effort to fix Assassin's Creed: Unity is taking longer than expected.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:11:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fourth-assassins-creed-unity-patch-delayed-for-quality-control-reasons/ActionAssassin's Creed: UnityNewsUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZGpI93j-SaSk.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MFiYjT8jNL24.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Assassin's Creed Unity 5"></p><p>Saying, apparently without any trace of irony, that "Rigorous quality control is of paramount importance to us," Ubisoft has put the fourth <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity/">Assassin's Creed: Unity</a> patch on hold while it continues to "refurbish" the Paris map. </p><p>The update, intended to fix problems relating to stability, performance, online matchmaking, and connectivity&mdash;in other words, pretty much everything&mdash;was supposed to be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-performance-patch-out-monday/">out today</a>, but Ubisoft is "choosing to hold off until we can give you the improvements we've promised," it announced on the <a href="http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-US/community/liveupdates/live_updates_details.aspx?c=tcm:152-188879-16&amp;ct=tcm:148-76770-32">Live Updates site</a> it established shortly following the launch of Assassin's Creed: Unity, so that players could more easily track the status of its playability. </p><p>"We are committed to delivering major performance improvements, which requires that we refurbish the Paris map and that will take a few more days to hit the high level of quality our players deserve," it added. A specific release date for the patch, which as mentioned will be the fourth major update since Unity came out a little over a month ago, was not indicated.</p> Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 port analysis: Durante's verdicthttp://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-and-xiii-2-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/Square Enix patched FFXIII to support higher resolutions, butit's still missing key features that make a good PC port.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 20:09:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-and-xiii-2-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/Console PortsDuranteFinal Fantasy XIIIFinal Fantasy XIII-2JRPGSquare Enix <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NpNICi73Rhmh.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F6syE7U5SAqV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screenshot 2014-12-04 17-54-30 9"></p><p> <em>Peter "Durante" Thoman is the creator of PC downsampling tool </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gedosato/">GeDoSaTo</a><em> and the modder behind Dark Soul's DSfix. He's previously </em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-2-pc-port-mod-god-durantes-verdict/">analyzed the PC ports of Dark Souls II</a><em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valkyria-chronicles-pc-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/">Valkyria Chronicles</a><em>&nbsp;for PC Gamer.</em></p><p> When Square-Enix announced ports of all three Final Fantasy XIII games (XIII, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns) to PC this September, it came as a surprise. The last Final Fantasy released on PC– excluding a few recent mobile ports&mdash;was Final Fantasy 8 in 1999. Would XIII’s port be any good? Square Enix promised support for a 60 fps framerate, but those mobile ports, like Final Fantasy III, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-3-review/">haven’t exactly been promising</a>. Sure enough, when Final Fantasy XIII was released on PC in October, it was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/finfal-fantasy-xiii-locked-to-720p-on-pc/">limited to 720p and had other performance issues</a>.</p><p> Since then, Square Enix <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/square-enix-dates-final-fantasy-xiii-resolution-update/">promised to patch XIII</a> and to support various resolution options at 60 fps with XIII-2, released on December 11. This article will investigate the quality of XIII-2’s port and Final Fantasy XIII, devoting particular attention to the controversial performance impact of the December patch.</p><h2>The state of Final Fantasy XIII pre-patch</h2><p> At release, everyone skeptical of Square Enix’s PC ports would be proven right. Final Fantasy XIII was locked at a 1280x720 rendering resolution, with no graphical options at all to speak of. Interestingly enough, the game also defaulted to using 4xMSAA, but more on that later.</p><p> Soon after release, I stepped in and provided <a href="http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?s=ff13&amp;submit=Search">a GeDoSaTo plugin</a> which enabled support for arbitrary rendering resolutions.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c3ZeV67rRdqu.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DELAQToROIKf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ff13 First Screen" class=""></p><p> The screenshot above was taken right after I first got arbitrary rendering resolution support to work. I continued extending the plugin to add support for higher-resolution shadows (you can see how necessary that is on Lightning’s arm and face in the shot above), higher levels of anti-aliasing and forced anisotropic filtering for UI elements.</p><p> What I could not fix was unstable performance and hiccups down from 60 FPS down to 30 on many systems. My current working theory is that this is related to the engine trying to perform some kind of frame pacing, but without access to the source code that is hard to ascertain.</p><h3>The graphics options of FFXIII and FFXIII-2</h3><p> After a few weeks of silence, Square-Enix announced that they would provide a patch adding graphic options to FFXIII, and that FFXIII-2 was to offer those options at release already. The resulting launcher screen is shown below. As both games ended up with the same options, I’ll simply show examples from FFXIII-2.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2PlzEFviROS_.PNG" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0zv6NyJ7tXlZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII Options"></p><p> Resolution lists everything your system supports, shadow resolution goes from 512² to 8192², and anti-aliasing starts at 2x (due to the way the game renders transparency e.g. on hair, no AA at all is not supported) and goes up to 16x. If this selection of graphics options sounds familiar to you, that feeling is no surprise: with the exception of the missing anisotropic filtering, it’s the same selection as that offered by my GeDoSaTo plugin. Not only that, but <em>both games even feature the same bug when rendering at 2560x1440 which occurred with GeDoSaTo</em>.&nbsp;If you have a monitor of that native size, your best option is to apply at least some downsampling, either using your driver facilities or GeDoSaTo.</p><p> To be clear, I’m not complaining about this selection of options, or about taking inspiration from my work&mdash;that’s great. But with the relative luxury of source code access making more comprehensive changes much easier to accomplish, and professionals working on the game, wouldn’t it be nice to go beyond that?</p><p> Regardless of the provenance of these options, the real question is how effective they are. Let’s have a closer look.</p><h3>Shadow resolution</h3><p> The shadow resolution setting affects the resolution of real-time rendered character shadows. The following image shows a comparison between the moderate 1024x1024 and maximum 8192x8192 settings.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iFF_tD8iQQSE.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b21NcG8uuESx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII-2 Shadowres"></p><p> Shadows are notably more detailed, but more importantly&mdash;and sadly not visible in the image&mdash;they are far more stable in motion. However, the implementation of shadow resolution increases is somewhat half-baked. Using higher resolution shadows results in increasingly harder shadow boundaries, as the soft shadow filter is not being adjusted to match. Therefore, I’d suggest using a resolution in the 2048 to 4096 range.</p><h3>Anti-aliasing</h3><p> While the settings screen shows a range of 2x to 16x “MSAA”, what is actually on offer at the higher levels is CSAA&mdash;understandable, as no hardware exists which actually supports 16xMSAA. In any case, it is extremely important in this context to note that unlike the vast majority of higher-end games over the past half-decade at least, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 are <em>pure forward renderers</em>. What this means is that, unlike in most recent games which opt for deferred shading in order to support modern post-processing effects and a large number of lights more easily, hardware MSAA is both effective and relatively cheap in terms of performance.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9G6Mw2d6QyeJ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Z_DVm8LoayXI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII-2 AA"></p><p> If you look at the comparison image above at full resolution, you can easily see the difference between the two settings. Two types of objects are particularly affected by the AA level:</p><ul> <li>High-contrast edges at an angle close to vertical/horizontal, for example the horizontal edge between the wood and the white area in the image. With 2xMSAA, there is only one intermediate (grey) step in the staircase, while 16xCSAA is perfectly smooth.</li> <li>Transparent objects such as hair. The FFXIII engine uses a so-called alpha-to-coverage technique to render such transparencies, which render them with less flickering and more detail with larger sampling counts. This is particularly apparent in motion.</li></ul><p> Due to the relatively low performance impact and significant image quality advantages, I’d suggest using the highest quality anti-aliasing option supported by your hardware in these games.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-xiii-and-xiii-2-port-analysis-durantes-verdict/#page-2">On the next page: analyzing the performance of&nbsp;Final Fantasy XIII-2 and the FFXIII&nbsp;patch.</a></p><h2>Performance analysis</h2><p>Final Fantasy XIII’s performance has been a hotly discussed topic since its release. While the game is not particularly demanding in terms of hardware and can be rendered at high resolutions even on modest systems, many players experience frame rate stutter and drops below 60 FPS directly to 30 FPS in various circumstances, seemingly unrelated to hardware capabilities. As I explained earlier, I believe this problem to be related to the engine trying to perform some frame pacing on its own (and mostly achieving the opposite).</p><p>Some expected the patch to improve this situation, but reports since its release have been mixed. Some claim that it fixed or at least mitigated the issues, while others feel that performance actually decreased. I don’t believe in feelings when it comes to quantifiable data, so I performed a rather extensive set of benchmarks to find out exactly what is going on.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kpr-z7VqTkKp.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IxlGpeXM4rrl.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII Screenshot 2014-11-29 22-54-51 26" style="width: 588px;" class=""></p><h3>Performance impact of the FFXIII patch</h3><p>I chose three locations in the game to benchmark both pre- and post-patch, each representing a different gameplay scenario:</p><ul> <li>Chapter 1: Into The Vestige&mdash;Skybridge 103: Exploration with lots of NPCs in a narrow corridor, running the full length up and down once.</li><li>Chapter 6: Sun-dappled Flight&mdash;Sun-dappled Trail: Running up to and fighting the first party of enemies to completion.</li><li>Chapter 10: What Fal’cie want&mdash;The Fifth Ark-Upper Traverse: Running up to the first cutscene, that scene, and roughly 15 seconds of battle.</li></ul><p>I measured each of these scenes using the <a href="http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?p=647">new performance tracing functionality of GeDoSaTo</a>, twice pre-patch and twice post-patch. As there are some random factors (especially in battle), the individual runs are not 100% equivalent, but the variation between each set of two runs was less than 4% in all metrics.</p><div><em><em><table><tbody><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td colspan="2">Average FPS</td><td colspan="2">75% ▲ frame</td><td colspan="2">95% ▲ frame</td><td colspan="2">99% ▲ frame</td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>Pre</td><td>Post</td><td>Pre</td><td>Post</td><td>Pre</td><td>Post</td><td>Pre</td><td>Post</td></tr><tr><td>Chapter 1</td><td>50.6</td><td>51.6</td><td>17.5</td><td>17.4</td><td>33.6</td><td>33.5</td><td>34.3</td><td>34.2</td></tr><tr><td>Chapter 6</td><td>34.5</td><td>34.5</td><td>33.6</td><td>33.6</td><td>34.3</td><td>34.2</td><td>35.1</td><td>34.6</td></tr><tr><td>Chapter 10</td><td>45.0</td><td>46.3</td><td>32.7</td><td>32.7</td><td>34.0</td><td>33.9</td><td>34.3</td><td>34.4</td></tr></tbody></table> </em></em> <p></p></div><p><em>The columns in the table above with the delta (▲) symbol represent </em><em>the interval between consecutive frames in milliseconds</em><em>.</em></p><p>As the summary in the table above indicates, there is no statistically significant difference in performance before and after the patch in any of the scenes I tested. As such, I believe it can be stated with confidence that <strong>there were no performance changes one way or the other introduced by the patch</strong> at all. To further solidify this point, the following chart illustrates the frametimes of the chapter 10 measurement sequence in patched and unpatched state:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gIZhBaxkRtaR.PNG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lvYgjB5LPhv0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII performance Chart" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>The two spikes above 33ms happen at the start of the cutscene and the start of the post-cutscene battle, respectively. As we can see, not only is the overall performance incredibly similar (showing a distinct switching pattern between ~16 and ~33ms frame times, thus 60 and 30 FPS), even the individual spikes during exploration and the cutscene are a rather close match. This continues throughout the opening part of the battle, diverging a bit later on due to battle randomness.</p><h3>Final Fantasy XIII-2 performance</h3><p>Sadly, FFXIII-2 suffers from the same performance pattern that we could observe in its predecessor. The engine still seems to be dead-set on providing either roughly 16ms or 33ms frame time intervals, and jumping between them from time to time. However, in my testing so far, the overall performance is a lot more stable than for FFXIII. The following chart contains frame time traces for an exploration and a battle sequence,&nbsp;and the game achieved an average of ~58 FPS during each of them. However, this average does not fully capture the repeated spikes to 33 ms frametimes, which prevent smooth-feeling gameplay:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F0Umt4spSumN.PNG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AJIGybKObd5b.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy 13 2 Chart" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>One positive aspect regarding both games’ performance is that&mdash;in my experience&mdash;they never drop below 30 FPS, outside of the occasional loading of battles or cutscenes. And those cases usually occur during a black screen transition and therefore aren’t noticeable. The same is true for the few spikes up to 50ms visible in the frame time plot.</p><p>Therefore, by using an external tool such as the GPU driver to limit the framerate to 30 FPS, a very consistent experience can be achieved&mdash;and for people who are less affected by the occasional drop, the 60 FPS support should at least be usable in FFXIII-2.</p><h3>Controls, audio and tweaking</h3><p>Both FFXIII and FFXIII-2 support keyboard and mouse controls. These can be remapped, and while the button prompts don’t switch automatically between controller and keyboard, there is an option for it in the menu. Though these controls work well enough, this is not a case of, say, Valkyria Chronicles, where the inherent nature of the game made them preferable to a controller.</p><p>In terms of audio, FFXIII-2 seems to be affected by a bug related to the number of audio channels offered by your driver and sound hardware. On my system, I’ve observed the following:</p><ul> <li>2 channels (stereo): everything works fine</li><li>4 channels: some voices and sound effects come from the entirely wrong direction</li><li>6 channels: everything works fine again</li><li>8 channels: consistent white noise from some channels drives you crazy</li></ul><p>As such, at least until/unless this issue is patched, you should probably set your audio driver to either 2 or 6 channels, and let it up/down-mix to your actual hardware configuration.</p><p>Finally, the most applicable external tweaks to perform on the game are forcing anisotropic filtering, which I’d consider essential, and&mdash;if you value consistent performance&mdash;lock the framerate to 30FPS using a tool like Nvida Inspector or Rivatuner Statistics Server. My preference would of course be to also use GeDoSaTo in order to get image quality to the best standard afforded by your hardware via downsampling, and take some HuD-less screenshots of the games’ beautiful locales.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TwMIY8b1TfKc.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/shQnP8gpk74T.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Final Fantasy XIII Screenshot 2014-12-03 22-56-56 9" style="width: 668px;"></p><h3>Conclusions</h3><p>With the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and the patch to its predecessor, Square-Enix delivered exactly what they said they would&mdash;graphics options&mdash;but no more than that. The intermittent performance stutters remain unsolved, and the selection of options only covers the bare minimum.</p><p>Personally, I find it both flattering and somewhat worrying that the graphics options they did decide to include match the ones I implemented (by means of an unauthorized interception method without any access to the game’s source code, and within a couple dozen or so hours of hobbyist work) so closely. Is there really no interest in the company to give a single graphics programmer a month or so to develop some highly meaningful features, such as better shadow filtering or a higher quality depth of field implementation? Perhaps fix whatever causes the engine hiccups?</p><p>It’s a shame to see such an incredibly beautiful game world with so much effort put into its art assets neglected to this extent. Of course, the situation now is already vastly better than the locked 720p without any options offered at release, and these are obviously the best versions of each game to play by a huge margin, but much more could be achieved with a bit more focused effort.</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/this-weeks-pc-gaming-deals_Dec15/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 20:00:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/this-weeks-pc-gaming-deals_Dec15/DealsThe Sims 4World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor <p>We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! We’ve partnered with the bargainmeisters at <a href="http://www.techbargains.com/">TechBargains</a> to bring you a weekly list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.</p><p>Some highlights this week: The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rumour-steam-winter-sale-starts-next-week-according-to-paypal-email/">Steam Winter Sale</a> is imminent, but right now you can get a large selection of Lego games for only $4. The Lenovo Y40 laptop is a massive $500 off on their Ebay page. You can get a 240GB SSD paired with an 8GB stick of DDR3 RAM for only $100, even if you have to fill out a few rebates to do so. The Logitech G700s Mouse is down to $50, and the Raidmax Viper ATX case is only&nbsp;$40.&nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zH9aHn-LRL6I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b_1wP4rcanyg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Deals" style="width: 668px;"></p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Collector's Edition</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B00MP4UBZS?tag=tb_pcgmr-20">$64.95 on Amazon</a>.</p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Select<strong> Lego games</strong> are only <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7511556-11190024?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenmangaming.com%2Flego-12-days%2F&amp;sid=1215_pcgmr_lego">$4 at GreenManGaming</a> with the code <strong>DECEMB-202014-GREENM</strong></p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>The Sims 4 </strong>is $10 off for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B00ENQXEX2?tag=tb_pcgmr-20">$49.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Space Engineers </strong>is half off, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/244850/">$10 on Steam</a>.</p><p><strong>&mdash; </strong>Don't forgot that the <strong>Steam Winter Sale</strong> is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rumour-steam-winter-sale-starts-next-week-according-to-paypal-email/">rumored to start</a> this Wednesday!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb1EiqSTRwCB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xogsAmxSJHmE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardware Deals" style="width: 668px; background-color: initial;"></p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Lenovo Y40 Gaming Laptop</strong> is nearly $500 off for <a href="http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&amp;pub=5574654247&amp;toolid=10001&amp;campid=5337565262&amp;customid=1215_pcgmr_lenovoy40&amp;ipn=psmain&amp;icep_vectorid=229466&amp;kwid=902099&amp;mtid=824&amp;kw=lg&amp;icep_item=151489669745">$689 on Lenovo’s Ebay page</a>.</p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Dell Latitude 15 3000 Laptop</strong> is <a href="http://bit.ly/1zoGoGT">$529 on Dell’s site</a> with the code<strong> 73Z7R69RRG59K</strong></p><p><strong></strong><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The<strong> Lenovo ThinkServer TS440 Barebones Server Desktop</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B00ILH15DA?tag=tb_pcgmr-20">$299.99 on Amazon</a>.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>You can get a <strong>PNY 240GB SSD</strong> with <strong>8GBs of XLR8 DDR3&nbsp;RAM</strong> for <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=Es5Ekr9eEBk&amp;mid=14028&amp;murl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tigerdirect.com%2Fapplications%2FSearchTools%2Fitem-details.asp%3FEdpNo%3D9559014&amp;u1=1215pcgmrpnycombo">$119.99 on TigerDirect</a> after two rebates. This deal is $20 cheaper, $99.99, when you checkout with a Visa card.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The<strong> Logitech G700s Gaming Mouse</strong> is <a href="http://cse.ziffprod.com/CSE/go?pricegrabberId=1175519903&amp;referrer=techbargains.com&amp;vendor=bestbuy&amp;trackingcode=g700s_1215pcgamer">$49.99 on BestBuy’s site</a>.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Zalman CNPS10X Optima 120mm CPU Cooler</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-1215_pcgmr_zalmancnps10x-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16835118099">$14.99 on Newegg</a> after a $15 rebate.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The<strong> Corsair H105 Liquid CPU Cooler</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-1215_pcgmr_h105-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16835181060">$99.99 on Newegg</a> with the code <strong>EMCWHWW34</strong></p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB Video Card</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-1215_pcgmr_r9290x-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16814202079">$339.99 on Newegg</a> after a $20 rebate.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Raidmax Viper ATX Mid Tower Computer Case</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-1215_pcgmr_atx512wbg-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16811156300">$39.99 on Newegg</a> after a $20 rebate.</p><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Seagate STDT3000100 3TB External Hard Drive</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-1215_pcgmr_stft3000100-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16822178460">$89.99 on Newegg</a> with the code <strong>EMCWHWW36</strong></p><p><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Halter Dual Arm Adjustable Monitor Desk Mount</strong> is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B00MH9F5HK?tag=tb_pcgmr-20">$199.97 on Amazon</a> with the code <strong>FLK15OFF</strong></p><p>For more tech deals, visit <a href="http://www.techbargains.com/">techbargains.com</a>.</p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.</em></p> First official Hearthstone AMA takes place todayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/first-official-hearthstone-ama-takes-place-today/ The first of hopefully many Hearthstone AMAs begins today at 2 pm PST.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:14:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/first-official-hearthstone-ama-takes-place-today/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNewsReddit AMA <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5rDqK3QuQrK0.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Q7bcRaa-AvIt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heartstone Ama"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a> senior game designer&nbsp;Ben Brode has, by quite&nbsp;some distance, the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3wR6x_4c40">best laugh in game development</a>. Sadly, you won't be able to hear him guffawing as he answers questions from the community, along with producer Yong Woo, and community manager Christina Sims, on&nbsp;Reddit today as part of Blizzard's first&nbsp;ever Hearthstone AMA.</p><p>As this is the inaugural event, the mod team emphasized that there are <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/2p3q72/blizzard_ama_on_monday_the_15th/">rules to this sort of thing</a>, which for the most part can be boiled down to "be nice," with a reminder that memes and Twitch spam will not be tolerated. They also asked that anyone with a question poke around in the <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/">/r/Hearthstone subreddit</a> beforehand to ensure it hasn't already been answered.&nbsp;</p><p>The Hearthstone AMA will run from 2-4 pm PST, with the thread opening about a half-hour in advance to allow the posting of questions. "Dear Ben, why does Unstable Portal only ever summon Tirion for my opponents and Wisps for me? Yours eagerly, Andy."&nbsp;</p> Second playable character from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt revealedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/second-playable-character-from-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-revealed/The new playable character is making her Witcher videogame debut.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:55:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/second-playable-character-from-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-revealed/CD ProjektNewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6rjQys8DS3Sa.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LMtUVlnprYLH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Witcher 3 - Ciri"></p><p>Earlier this month, CD Projekt Red teased a second playable character in its upcoming RPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/">The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt</a>. My fingers were crossed for Yarpen Zigrin, but it will actually be Ciri, an "ashen-haired girl from an ancient prophecy," and a prominent character in the Witcher novels and television series.</p><p> Ciri is a talented swordfighter, possesses great speed and agility, can "blink," and will unlock several unique abilities over the course of the game. There's also a "mythical power" lying dormant within her that CD Projekt will shed more light on in the future.</p><p> "A descendant in a long-lost Elven-blood lineage, Ciri plays an important role in the Witcher lore&mdash;a powerful, living weapon capable of both healing and destroying the world she inhabits," it said. Her presence will allow the studio to dig into some different narrative angles, but it emphasized that the game remains entirely about the Witcher, Geralt.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KtEO2xZ7BzQ?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> A glimpse of Ciri and her Blink ability can be seen in the Elder Blood trailer above, while a more detailed, and likely very spoiler-filled, lowdown may be had at the <a href="http://witcher.wikia.com/wiki/Ciri">Witcher Wikia</a>. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is now set for launch on May 19, 2015.</p> Dark Souls finally defeats GfW Live with new updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-finally-defeats-gfw-live-with-new-update/Victory Achieved! GfW Live has been slain!Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:09:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-finally-defeats-gfw-live-with-new-update/ActionDark SoulsFrom SoftwareNewsRPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rogEVaNtTK6w.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OugagCCirMpO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls"> </p> <p> It's uncouth to dance on a grave&mdash;even that of your mortal nemesis, and so I will be restrained in my celebration of GfWL's latest defeat. </p> <p> A new optional update for Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition will exorcise the horror that is Games for Windows Live. For now, the update is opt-in only, as players have until February 16th to transfer their game saves. </p> <p> Steam users wanting to retain their save data&nbsp;should follow these instructions: </p> <ol> <li>Launch the game and connect to Games for Windows Live.</li> <li>Run the game (only the currently signed-on user’s progress can be transferred to Steam).</li> <li>Close Games for Windows Live</li> <li>Right click on your game in the Steam Library, go into Properties, check that the BETA tab is set to "dsptde-2.0-"</li> <li>Launch Dark Souls&trade; Prepare To Die Edition v2.0 from Steam</li> <li>Sign in using the same live profile used in step-2 to import your Save Data and Achievements from the Games for Windows Live version to the Steam version for the same profile (gamertag)</li> <li>The game will look for previous Save Data and Achievements. If they are detected on your computer, you should be able to continue your progress in the game and achievements should be unlocked in Steam.</li> </ol> <p> For those who&nbsp;bought the game on disc, there's a slightly different process for save transfers that&nbsp; <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/211420/announcements/detail/206368522048405952" target="_blank">you can find here</a>. </p> <p> If you're launching Dark Souls&nbsp;for the first time, just&nbsp;enable the Beta in the game's properties menu and you'll be able to pretend that GfW Live was never a part of the game. The update will become mandatory on 16 February. </p> Euro Truck Simulator 2 gets into the seasonal spirit with new updatehttp://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-gets-into-the-seasonal-spirit-with-new-update/Christmas cargo brings presents and prizes.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:15:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/euro-truck-simulator-2-gets-into-the-seasonal-spirit-with-new-update/Euro Truck Simulator 2NewsSCS Softwaresim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Br5l6RLjTUSd.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YPo4zjtgqaL-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ets2_xmas_event_blog_001 (1)"></p><p>Don't let the reindeers and sleigh fool you: Santa is essentially&nbsp;a glorified trucker. As such, it makes sense that virtual truckers get in on his action. A new Christmassy update has landed for Euro Truck Simulator 2, and with it, a new challenge for would-be gift deliverers.</p><p>Top of the billing is the Christmas event. Truckists&nbsp;can now accept a cargo of "Christmas Gifts" to be ferried around the game's truncated Europe. If a player can, over the course of the event, deliver gifts across the distance from SCS's office to the North Pole, they'll be rewarded with a unique paint skin.</p><p>Also with the update: new fixes and features, including showroom improvements, driving tweaks and, most importantly of all, new sounds for Scania 6 cylinder engines. Game changer. You can see the&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/227300/announcements/detail/127555528264845438" target="_blank">full patch notes here</a>.</p><p>Update aside, I'm writing this more to remind people that Euro Truck Simulator 2 exists and is still surprisingly brilliant. In a year of comedy simulators, it's nice to remember that serious sims can still be a lot of fun.</p><p>Outside of Europe,&nbsp;SCS are making progress with the upcoming American Truck Simulator. You can see some of the latest screenshots over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/227300/announcements/detail/127555528048720854" target="_blank">ETS2 Steam page</a>.</p> Starbound trailer teases Winter Update featureshttp://www.pcgamer.com/starbound-trailer-teases-winter-update-features/New items, blocks, enemies, combat, and just about everything else, too.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:29:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/starbound-trailer-teases-winter-update-features/ChucklefishNewsStarboundSurvival <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4Sz2zr3pZEo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>After a strong release at the start of the year, things went rather quiet for Starbound. Rather than periodic large updates, the team settled into an opt-in&nbsp;'Nightly Build' format for those who really wanted to see what the "Early" in Early Access could mean. That work is now culminating in a massive Winter Update to the more&nbsp;stable beta build of the game.</p><p>For those not keeping up with the Nightly Builds, it should be a dramatic shake up of the game. The above trailer outlines some of the major changes, from new blocks, items and enemies, to a new, fuller combat system.</p><p>The update is due to be pushed out to the game's Unstable branch next week, with the Stable build release scheduled for January.</p> Windows 10 leaked build reveals new Xbox apphttp://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-leaked-build-reveals-new-xbox-app/Early version of Windows 10 reveals Xbox achievements and friends lists, for some reason.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:01:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/windows-10-leaked-build-reveals-new-xbox-app/MicrosoftNewsXbox <p>A early build of Windows 10&mdash;Microsoft's unconventional&nbsp;name for Windows 9&mdash;has leaked. In doing so, it's revealed a new "Xbox app" planned for the OS.</p><p><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/14/7389563/windows-10-xbox-app-cortana-features" target="_blank">The Verge</a> has been having a play about with it. Here are a couple of screenshots:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eWm-O5RcTSqu.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RnuQlY_Cru8O.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows1099013 1020.0"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jtmTDvTWR1OC.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ERrQ54vc4qxc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Windows1099012 1020.0"></p><p>According to The Verge, the app is a window into the "entire Xbox ecosystem"&mdash;achievements, friends lists, activity feeds, etc.</p><p>Is this&nbsp;what Microsoft's Phil Spencer was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/microsofts-xbox-boss-says-its-time-to-talk-about-gaming-on-windows/" target="_blank">referring to last week</a>, when he said it was "time for us to talk about gaming on Windows"? If nothing else, it would be the perfect culmination of Microsoft's attitude towards PC gaming if, for them, "gaming on Windows" meant an app that tells you what's happening on Xbox. Hopefully they have&nbsp;something more substantial planned.</p><p>Also in the Windows 10&nbsp;build was Cortana&mdash;Microsoft's answer to Siri. Think of her as a 21st century Clippy. She's also&nbsp;the AI from Halo, because Microsoft are nothing if not effective at&nbsp;relentlessly&nbsp;re-appropriating their brands in awful, cringe-inducing&nbsp;ways.</p> Mod of the Week: Turn Half-Life 2 into an RTShttp://www.pcgamer.com/mod-of-the-week-turn-half-life-2-into-an-rts/Wake up and smell the strategy withRTS action in the Half-Life 2 universe.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:32:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-of-the-week-turn-half-life-2-into-an-rts/Alien SwarmMod of the WeekRTS <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title" style="margin-left: 0px;">MOD OF THE WEEK</h5> <p> In&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-of-the-week/">Mod of the Week</a>, Chris Livingston scours the world of user-created adventure for worthy downloads. This week, a mod that turns one of the best shooters ever into an RTS. </p> </div><p> Lambda Wars (originally HL2 Wars), a real-time strategy set in the Half-Life 2 universe, is&nbsp;a mod years in the making and has now had&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/270370/">an&nbsp;official launch on Steam</a>.&nbsp;This mod of Alien Swarm provides a bird's-eye view of the struggle between the Combine and rebels&nbsp;and includes both single-player and online play. The world of Half-Life 2 is&nbsp;perfect for a translation&nbsp;into classic RTS play, and the mod is both free and now completely&nbsp;standalone, so there's no reason not to give it a try.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5ueTSkmNQHWL.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MS023XntHTvr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lambda Wars"></p><p> If you haven't played any of the mods earlier incarnations, there's&nbsp;a decent little&nbsp;tutorial to help you get started. You begin with a little base-building. Recruit an engineer from your headquarters, and you'll be able to construct a barracks (which lets you generate rebel soldiers, everything from simple citizens with guns to harder-core veteran grunts, and specialized units like medics and fleet-footed&nbsp;scouts).&nbsp;Build a munitions plant and you'll be able to upgrade your soldier's weaponry, unlocking frag grenades, shotguns, and rifles. There are some nice little animations as the buildings are completed, sort of like the intro to Game of Thrones but with rusty little shacks instead of medieval cities.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/baTmBl96Tw2C.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/apUawCTI0tjQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lw2"></p><p> You can also play as the Combine, who have counterpart units. Their HQ is a tiny little&nbsp;citadel (so cute!) and their engineers are stalkers, those weird, gaunt former humans who shamble around projecting&nbsp;laser&nbsp;eye-beams. You can build city scanners (those flash-photo taking hovering bots) to scout the map, auto-turrets,&nbsp;various Combine soldiers, hunters, and even striders.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aEjzb_x8Sbyx.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jPRZ-dTbZsKv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lambda Wars"></p><p> The sound effects are also&nbsp;straight out of Half-Life 2, and goes a long way to making&nbsp;it feel authentic (when you order your rebel&nbsp;soldiers around, they call you Doctor Freeman). Combat, despite it being an RTS instead of an FPS, still has many of&nbsp;the same elements. For example, shoot a zombie and its headcrab will pop off and leap after you.&nbsp;I also&nbsp;had two Combine turrets wipe out an entire group of my rebel soldiers before I realized, oh yeah, in Half-Life 2 you need to lob grenades at them to knock them down. Same thing here.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oXjui7-2QJuO.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1foHC0uH1J5n.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lambda Wars"></p><p> Multiplayer supports up to eight different teams, and if you're short a few friends the AI can fill in.&nbsp;There are a few different game modes, including one called overrun, which brings in wave after wave of antlions for you to fight off while constructing defenses as fast as you can. Single-player has a number of campaign missions as well.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aItvQHlxSlCt.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MqrvgejOXJeK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lambda Wars"></p><p> Online matches, at the moment, are a little hard to come by: there's a lot of waiting for lobbies to fill, only to have everyone ready to play except for one person, who then leaves, and then everyone else starts leaving to find other lobbies. Hopefully more people will be checking this game out in the days ahead, but in the meantime I found single-player enjoyable enough.&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/270370/">You can grab it on Steam here</a>.</p> Can you play Minecraft on a Chromebook?http://www.pcgamer.com/can-you-play-minecraft-on-a-chromebook/Pat wants help picking out his son's Christmas present, and while they might be fine for schoolwork, we don't recommend a Chromebook.Mon, 15 Dec 2014 00:37:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/can-you-play-minecraft-on-a-chromebook/Ask PC GamerMinecraft <p> <strong><br> </strong></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HgaVHmBYTSi8.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s-uM2e95vJZQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PC Gamer UK Minecraft server"></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> <strong>We are planning on getting a Chromebook for my son for Christmas. Besides schoolwork, he wants to be able to get Minecraft and be able to play it on his new laptop. Does a Chromebook have enough storage (or speed?) to handle Minecraft? If not, is there a certain size laptop I should look for? Thanks. &mdash;P</strong><strong>at</strong></p><p> The good news is that you can play the mobile version of&nbsp;Minecraft on a <em>Kindle Fire</em>, so yep, I'm sure&nbsp;your average Chromebook is powerful enough. The bad news is&nbsp;that power&nbsp;isn't the problem. Chromebooks run Chrome OS, and there's no Chrome version of Minecraft&mdash;it's supported on Windows, OS&nbsp;X, Linux, iOS, and Android.&nbsp;That's going to make it tricky.</p><p> Chrome OS was designed with the idea that we spend most of our time on the web, running web apps like Google Docs, watching videos on YouTube, and all that. So let's forget about storing pretty much&nbsp;anything locally, it says: Let's just make the web browser the OS. That said, Chromebooks generally have 8GB or more of solid state storage, which is more than&nbsp;enough for Minecraft.&nbsp;But Minecraft is a Java application, which Chrome OS has no interest in running.</p><p> That doesn't mean it's impossible.&nbsp;You can&nbsp;<a href="http://lifehacker.com/how-to-install-linux-on-a-chromebook-and-unlock-its-ful-509039343" target="_blank">install a Linux distro</a>, such as&nbsp;Ubuntu, on a Chromebook, and run Minecraft with that. But,&nbsp;<a href="https://help.mojang.com/customer/portal/articles/920822-minecraft-on-chromebooks" target="_blank">as Mojang explains</a>, that sort of defeats the purpose of a Chromebook. They're supposed to be easy to use, and now you're sneaking into developer mode to undo all that simplicity.</p><p>Unless you and your son&nbsp;want to spend Christmas day trying to figure out Linux,&nbsp;it'd&nbsp;make much more sense to get a&nbsp;Windows 8 tablet/laptop. <a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-budget-laptop/" target="_blank">The Wirecutter recommends</a> the&nbsp;~$580&nbsp;Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 14 as a budget laptop, and that will certainly run Minecraft just fine. Plus, it'll be powerful enough to play a lot of other games (though certainly not all) if he ever wants to branch out from Minecraft.</p><p> If you're set on getting something in the&nbsp;$200-$300 Chromebook range, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/15-6-Inch-Intel-Celeron-Laptop-500GB/dp/B00L49X8E6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1418601531&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=best+laptop+for+minecraft" target="_blank">this&nbsp;ASUS 15.6-Inch</a> will work&mdash;I haven't tested this particular model, so I can't vouch for its quality, but I am confident it will run Minecraft (just not gloriously). For reference, here are Mojang's minimum requirements:</p><ul> <li>CPU: Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 (K8) 2.6 GHz</li> <li>RAM: 2GB</li> <li>GPU (Integrated): Intel HD Graphics or AMD (formerly ATI) Radeon HD Graphics with OpenGL 2.1</li></ul><p> Alternatively, you could make your son a PC Gamer fan for life by telling him I recommended the&nbsp;MSI GE60-033 Apache, our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4" target="_blank">favorite budget gaming laptop</a>, which will run you&nbsp;$1250. I mean, the more expensive the laptop, the better his schoolwork will be, right? Makes sense to me.</p> Kerbal Space Program trailer reveals contents of upcoming betahttp://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-trailer-reveals-contents-of-upcoming-beta/KSP will be "beta than ever" soon, according to the new trailer.Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:20:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-trailer-reveals-contents-of-upcoming-beta/Kerbal Space ProgramNewssimSquad <iframe width="594" height="334" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wd5uVMLGmuA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe> <p> As Phil&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/kerbal-space-program-to-enter-beta-with-next-patch/" target="_blank">previously noted</a>, Kerbal Space Program&nbsp;will enter beta with its next patch, the not-too-far-from-release-surely update 0.90.0. At the time, we didn't know what this first beta version would comprise, exactly, but now we do, because developers Squad have released a big video detailing&nbsp;exactly that. As the four-minute-long trailer explains, we'll soon be able to upgrade facilities, level up Kerbals, and take advantage of an "overhauled" editor, which does look slightly less intimidating than the old one. That's in addition to a load of other stuff, some of which has drawn from player mods (with their creators'&nbsp;permission and involvement, obviously). </p> <p> 'Beta' is a word that means different things to different people, but Squad see it as the point at which Kerbal Space Program contains the minimum amount of stuff necessary for it to be worthy of the name. They're going to keep adding stuff during the beta, and even after release, including the long-promised multiplayer elements. The video above is just a glimpse what the game will look like soon, when 0.90.0 touches down on planet Earth. </p> Capcom demos Street Fighter V, reveals first new characterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/capcom-demos-street-fighter-v-reveals-first-new-character/Street Fighter Alpha's Charlie the first character other than Chun-Li or Ryu to be revealed.Sun, 14 Dec 2014 14:19:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/capcom-demos-street-fighter-v-reveals-first-new-character/CapcomNewsStrategyStreet Fighter V <iframe width="636" height="383" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ay-IUE6WlAo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Despite featuring a million billion gazillion characters, the many versions of&nbsp;Street Fighter IV didn't feature <em>all</em> the combatants present in previous Street Fighter games, which is why the promise of more is a bit exciting. They've drawn on most of the characters from the first two by now, but SFIII and the Alpha series remain relatively unpilfered. That changes a little today with the news that Street Fighter Alpha's Charlie will be in SFV (and that's despite him seemingly dying at the end of Alpha 3.) You can catch a glimpse of ol' Charles in the extended version of last week's reveal trailer, above.</p><p>But hang on,&nbsp;don't go anywhere just yet. Capcom had another treat in store this weekend at their Capcom Cup,&nbsp;in the form of a full match of Street Fighter V. It's Ryu vs. Chun-Li again, but this time it's an entire, live showcase of them walloping one another again and again. I haven't played nearly enough SFIV to be able to figure out&nbsp;what's new here, but it seems unlikely that&nbsp;we're going to get something as revelatory as the original version of&nbsp;Street Fighter IV back in the day. Still, this looks very nice, and I appreciate any fighting game that lets you destroy part of the background.</p><iframe width="636" height="383" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GIdnJQZ_lkg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>A reminder: when SFV releases,&nbsp;PC and PS4 players will be able to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/street-fighter-v-will-allow-pc-and-ps4-players-to-beat-each-other-up/" target="_blank">beat&nbsp;each other up</a>, thanks to cross-platform play.</p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://kotaku.com/watch-street-fighter-v-played-live-for-the-first-time-1670853951" target="_blank">Kotaku</a>.</p> The Best Free Games of the Weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-56/Ludum Dare continues to inspire greatness this week.Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-56/browser gamesFreeIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tWww-Eb9SIG_.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zm358PIn9Rd6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Birdsong2"></p><p>There are some meaty games to sink your teeth into this week, including one that's literally about pâté. We have&nbsp;<a href="http://ludumdare.com/compo/" target="_blank">Ludum Dare 31</a> to thank for that and for at least one other game this week, so, you know, thanks Ludum Dare, you're alright. Flappy birds, sentient cubes, and widdling children are also things to expect&mdash;this is a Saturday, after all.</p><h3><a href="http://feiss.be/ld31/" target="_blank">Orion by Diego F. Goberna</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JL3yVvgYSiqm.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6Xxhj2JCeHNf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Orion"></p><p>Orion is essentially the very first part of a super-detailed space sim&mdash;it's only lacking, er, the entire rest of it. (Not that the rest of it was ever planned:&nbsp;this is a quick, and very accomplished, jam game.) In modelling only a tiny part of a simulation rather than the whole kaboodle, Diego F. Goberna has inadvertently given birth the Space Shuttle Cockpit Sim, and this is the best one of those I've ever played.</p><p>As a pilot, your job is to find and hit switches as the voice tells you to hit switches, casting your mouse around in an increasingly urgent tizzy. It's a wonderfully polished and immersive game of switch-flipping, and in another world it eventually blossoms into a full space sim: into a pixel art version of, I don't know, X3. I'd quite like to live in that world&mdash;unless Goberna fancies making it in this one? No rush.</p><h3><a href="http://managore.itch.io/birdsong" target="_blank">birdsong by Daniel Linssen</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zSVOybEmTUCJ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zpcauFJAchvO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Birdsong"></p><p>Daniel Linssen has done it again&mdash;and by 'it' I mean he's made another scrumptious free game. Birdsong is an extraordinary, Metroidvania-y platformer that manages to display its entire, fairly huge map all at once. How? Well, you can tell by the image, but the game enlarges (bulges, really)&nbsp;the part of the level you're in, as the rest slinks into the background. It's a fantastic effect, and a great way to render a whole level while letting the player see what the Hell is going on.</p><p>The platformer underneath is solid, quite challenging, and more than a little cute. Checkpoints are activated by dropping branches into nests, rewarding exploration with more locations to respawn from. As you comb the skyscape, your birdy hero will grow in acrobatic power, letting them reach higher and further platforms, and greater challenges.</p><h3><a href="http://rusty.itch.io/riff-raft" target="_blank">Riff Raft by Rusty Moyher, Sara Gross, Damien Di Fede, Ken Kopecky</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DtR4EoirRbOq.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aPactDXItaZu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Riff Raft"></p><p>A one or two-player action game about being a boy scout, which involves a lot more urine, booze and collapsing rafts than the film Moonrise Kingdom led me to believe. As jerks pelt you with fire arrows, and jerk oncoming rocks attempt to batter your raft, you have to, well, survive them, grabbing as many bottles o' booze and survivors as you're able along the way. Fires can be put out by peeing on them, an approach that incidentally gets you sacked from your local fire department.</p><p>I couldn't try out the multiplayer, but Riff Raft supports controllers if you'd like to play the game with a friend. (Or an enemy. Or your cat.)</p><h3><a href="http://spotline.itch.io/ultimate-pt" target="_blank">Ultimate Pâté by Marine Desmolin and Clément Duquesne</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0nYjYqH1Szm0.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EFrFvPTyoQJZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ultimate Pate"></p><p>Ultimate Pâté is a silly name for such a technically accomplished game, and one that's only a few notches below the beautiful Proteus. It's a walking sim of sorts, and also a sort of hunting thing&mdash;the game ends when you shoot five things until they're dead. These dead things are then turned into a kind of&nbsp;pâté depending on what you shot: another silly touch that suggests a lack of confidence in the artistry present elsewhere. This is one of the few FPSs that works with just the cursor keys, with the view adjusted smartly and automatically as you tramp up hills and down slopes. The wooded area the game takes place in is deliberately indistinct, but nevertheless fairly lovely to look at: the impressive lighting system, and some immersive sound design, lend a lot of weight to those chunky, blown-up pixels.</p><h3><a href="http://acatalept.itch.io/cubrick" target="_blank">cubrick by acatalept</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lL7BxEoETgSx.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aID9nvFNeix7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cubrick"></p><p>I wasn't expecting to find cubrick so emotional an experience, but there's something oddly beautiful about this abstract cube puzzler that separates it from most&nbsp;puzzle games I've played. That's perhaps a strange thing to say about a game without a story or even a real character, but cubrick's ambient piano soundtrack gels perfectly with its absorbing, revolving action, and that got to me somehow. You're trying to turn all the coloured tiles see-through, to activate switches and reach the end of each section, and you do this by rolling onto the&nbsp;dark sides of cubes, turning the world on its head before sauntering over those tiles to make them inert.</p><p>I went into this one blind, so I wasn't aware until I'd stopped playing that you could toggle the perspective, zoom, rotate the camera and create platforms and clones, and that almost seems like too much power to put in the player's hands. I guess that makes this prototype more of a sandboxy toy type thing than a rigorous puzzle game – but whichever way you choose to play it, I expect you'll find something elegent and serene, like I did. According to the itch.io page, cubrick hasn't been updated since February this year, so I hope it's still being worked on in some capacity.</p><p>acatalept's&nbsp;<a href="http://acatalept.itch.io/parasomnia" target="_blank">Parasomnia</a>, and the Oculus Rift-compatible&nbsp;<a href="http://acatalept.itch.io/singmetosleep" target="_blank">singmetosleep</a>, look pretty nifty as well.</p> Cities XXL trailer is adamant that size is everythinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/cities-xxl-trailer-is-adamant-that-size-is-everything/"Design and build a sprawling metropolis" in a greener, more caring Cities game.Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-xxl-trailer-is-adamant-that-size-is-everything/Focus Home InteractiveNewssim <iframe width="594" height="334" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/pVdOHaei_uQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you were disappointed by the size of SimCity's metropoli (metropolises?), your eyes are about to bulge from your head. And I mean that literally: the above teaser&nbsp;trailer has been known to cause eye-bulge, so watch it at your own risk.&nbsp;<a href="http://www2.citiesxl.com/index.php?rub=news-info&amp;id=197" target="_blank">Cities XXL</a> is the latest game from the folks that made Cities XL, and if that extra X didn't clue you in, it's aiming to renew its position as the "world's largest city builder".</p><p>What's in it, apart from bigness? Well, "over 1000+ buildings, 70+ maps including new landscapes and environments, and ecological features", plus a "vastly improved game engine" for rendering all of that. There will also be&nbsp;Steam Workshop support. Here's a big block quote that makes Cities XXL sound rather appealing:</p><p>"Cities XXL features low-level city management mechanics, such as local air and noise pollution levels illustrated with the new stream-lined UI, and beauty hot-spots suitable for holiday locations to supplement cash-flow.&nbsp;At citizen management level, you'll be able to track a person's route to work in order to best manage transport from sea, underground and over-ground rail, or air. Cut-down on traffic queues with the park and ride and buses, or even bike hire&mdash;reducing that carbon footprint!"</p><p>&nbsp;If, like me, you find the naming conventions of citybuilding games a tad confusing, know that Cities XXL bears no relation to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-trailer-talks-services-and-policies-in-its-toilet-town/" target="_blank">Cities: Skylines</a>, Colossal Order's&nbsp;similarly promising, but less embiggened, game of metropolitan management and building placement. Either way, fans of citybuilders are going to be spoilt for choice next year.</p> Strife: Veteran Edition remasters the Doom-era FPS/RPGhttp://www.pcgamer.com/strife-veteran-edition-remasters-the-doom-era-fpsrpg/Featuring new art, higher resolutions, arestored multiplayer mode and more.Sat, 13 Dec 2014 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/strife-veteran-edition-remasters-the-doom-era-fpsrpg/FPSNewsNight Dive StudiosRogue EntertainmentRPGStrife <iframe width="620" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6BxbAP6bLZo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Well here's a lovely Christmassy surprise. Strife&mdash;the Doom-era game&nbsp;that mixed first-person shooting with first-person roleplaying waaay before Deus Ex&mdash;is&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/317040/" target="_blank">now on Steam</a>, in remastered, 'Veteran Edition' form. Despite the name, they haven't tinkered with the game to make it more palatable to war veterans, but they have (optionally) smoothed&nbsp;over many of its jagged pixels, restored a cut multiplayer mode, and generally ensured that Strife should be more compatible with today's mega-monitors, and with the youth of today's pixel-phobic retinas. It's also 25% off until next Friday.</p><p>A persistent&nbsp;complaint I've noticed across Steam reviews and on&nbsp;the game's Steam forum is talk of&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/app/317040/discussions/0/626329186877138863/" target="_blank">sluggish mouse controls</a>, but the developers are aware of this issue and say that they've fixed it in the beta build, so maybe give that a download if you find yourself suffering from that particular&nbsp;problem. Tech talk aside, why should you be interested in Strife? I'll let Paul Dean's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall-strife/" target="_blank">Reinstall</a> and Richard Cobbett's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/saturday-crapshoot-strife/" target="_blank">Crapshoot</a> do the talking.</p><p>Along with the reinstated Capture the Chalice multiplayer mode, automap&nbsp;objective markers, and a Torpedo weapon HUD,&nbsp;Strife: Veteran Edition adds the following stuff:</p><ul> <li>Support for high resolutions, with proper aspect ratio. </li><li>OpenGL for video backend to provide portability and support for vertical sync. </li><li>Dynamic lighting and bloom </li><li>Widescreen support. </li><li>Ability to freely rebind all keyboard, mouse, and gamepad inputs. </li><li>Steam Achievements </li><li>Steam Trading Cards</li></ul><p>If you'd rather buy it DRM-free, it will be coming to GOG in a few weeks.</p> GOG brings back all Winter Sale bundles for a big weekend finalehttp://www.pcgamer.com/gog-brings-back-all-winter-sale-bundles-for-a-big-weekend-finale/The GOG Winter Sale ends on December 15.Sat, 13 Dec 2014 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gog-brings-back-all-winter-sale-bundles-for-a-big-weekend-finale/GOG.comNewssale <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m6gCIxUIQiir.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NQgNlELpkvu4.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GOG Winter Finale 640"></p><p>Winter isn't over by a long shot, unfortunately, but GOG is nonetheless wrapping up its <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/gogs-winter-sale-kicks-off-with-free-age-of-wonders/">2014 Winter Sale</a>. The sale is ending with a bang&mdash;a bang that might actually sound familiar to those of you who took part in the Fall Sale.</p><p>Beginning at a way-too-early 6 am PST on December 13, all 24 Winter Sale bundles will be put back on sale for two days. The Anomaly bundle, the Sid Meier pack, the City Builder series, the STALKER trilogy, the Witcher tag-team, the Leisure Suit Larry load, and more will be marked down by as much as 85 percent. </p><p>There will be flash sales as well, including Larian's hit RPG <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/divinity-original-sin-review/">Divinity: Original Sin</a> at 33 percent off, but it all comes to an end in the wee hours of December 15. Get it while you can at <a href="http://www.gog.com/">GOG.com</a>.</p> A Musical Interludehttp://www.pcgamer.com/a-musical-interlude/This week... singing and dancing!Sat, 13 Dec 2014 09:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/a-musical-interlude/Critical Paths <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/py6vjoCjQwyQ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tWORsWhw5azP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Caba"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">CRITICAL PATHS</h5><p>Every week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.richardcobbett.com">Richard Cobbett</a> takes a look at the world of story and writing in games.</p></div><p>Who doesn't love a good musical number? The answer: people who are wrong. Ever since PCs learned to sing with the sweet voice of a Soundblaster, songs have been used to add a special little something to the experience. Done well,&nbsp;they're often a game's high point. Done badly, well,&nbsp;<a href="http://youtu.be/MHelQq1dXdc?t=33s">let's not dwell on that</a>, though it's surprisingly rare&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxcy2ELPmL8">to find a complete clunker</a>. The chance to do a good music number just seems to energise everyone, from writers to musicians to artists and animators, with a fairly common story being that something began as just a whimsical throwaway suddenly becomes a whole production. The War Song from the first series of Sam and Max for instance, being made on something of a shoestring budget and intense time pressure, went from a quickie to, well, this:</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5L2Gve7oh_4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Doing it well though isn't easy. The Saints Row developers have wanted to create a full musical number for years, but it's not until next year's Gat Out Of Hell standalone expansion that they've finally pulled off a full Disney style routine. (I won't embed it because it's spoilerific, but&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMxVFOCpluQ">you can watch it here now if you like</a>.)</p><p>So, just for fun, let's take a look back through the ages at some of the standout musical numbers. Minus a few like Still Alive, if only because it's the PC's equivalent of Let It Go - I think we've all heard it enough now.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Bastion: Setting Sail, Coming Home</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GDflVhOpS4E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Both of Bastion's songs are fantastic, but it's this amazing combination of the two that puts the perfect full stop on the game. The first half, Build That Wall, is sung by a girl called Zia, so sweetly and softly that it's easy to miss what it actually is - a war song targeted at the main character's people that flat out says "Do whatever you want, we will <em>crush</em> you." The second half, Mother I'm Here, is sung by the villain, Zulf, whose discovery that the Calamity responsible for the game was actually a superweapon intended to destroy his people leads him to the not entirely unreasonable desire to strike back... until his own people tire of the deaths it's causing and turn on him. Both characters' stories are combined for this, the tear-jerking end credits music that reinforce the terrible cyclical nature of Bastion's story in one ending, and its bittersweet conclusion in the other. It's not called the Calamity for nothing.</p><p><strong>Discworld 2:&nbsp;That's Death!</strong></p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L9pQUKV9MuM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The story of this one is that the makers originally wanted to use Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life as the game's intro, making for the fiftieth joke in Discworld 2 that's more Python than Pratchett. Claiming to be bored of that though, and not without cause, Eric Idle instead suggested making up a new one. Working from the brief to sell death long before Manny Calavera showed up, the result was this cheery little number. "Well, the greatest and the finest have already died! Why not simply join them on the other side?" The singing skeleton - "Bone Idle" -&nbsp;later showed up in game too.</p><p>The next Discworld game, Discworld Noir, also had a musical number, though a much simpler one -&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1LK0fcXKX0">a hum, melancholy tune about impending doom</a>. Unfortunately it has bad memories attached for our hero, so we only hear a snip of it.</p><p>And speaking of bad memories...</p><p><strong>Silent Hill: The Room: Room Of Angel</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NdXCsXcs6nA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Generally, original songs are energetic and bombastic affairs intended to be funny, memorable and toe-tapping. Even the bleak&nbsp;Silent Hill series typically gives them some energy, from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LvEj01NBmQ">I Want Love</a> to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsArSDDwOv0">One More Soul To The Call</a>. And then there's this one, which is rather better known to console players than PC gamers since the series never really developed a foothold on our platform. But still, damn...</p><p><strong>Freedom Force: Nuclear Winter</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J8bB90q8vz0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>I'm mostly throwing this one in as a pointer to how just the simplest song can make an impact. Freedom Force's first real supervillain was the soviet Nuclear Winter, whose five line theme and a handful of oh-oh-oh backgrounds was notable for being the actual level background music rather than a cut-scene. It was very disappointing when none of the villains who followed had anything similar.</p><p>(And certainly it was more successful than fellow short song, the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7JI1_lKdPc">No One Lives Forever song</a>, which desperately wanted to be a Bond style intro but just felt like everyone had lost interest midway through. "Cause no-one lives forever. But even then... oh, whatever. Who's for a long lunch?" Great game. But what a shame.)</p><p><strong>Total Distortion: You Are Dead</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2c4hnA8jXwo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>There's&nbsp;one thing worth&nbsp;remembering about this game. That was it.</p><p><strong>The Curse Of Monkey Island:&nbsp;A Pirate I Was Meant To Be</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/y9bXjttMxKY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Lucasarts didn't do that many musical numbers -&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ipFSCgrXHA">this doesn't count</a> - but in a fight between this one and Sam and Max's&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt0Hb1opCjo">King Of The Creatures</a>, this one wins. It's a rare case of an interactive song that also counts as a puzzle, albeit one about as simple as clicking on a button marked "Click This". Arguably though, to go straight to the answer is to fail the puzzle. Certainly, it's to miss the point with a blunderbuss.</p><p>But wait, what's that I hear you say? Probably nothing, because the fact that Lucasarts created an entire musical game at one point has very much slipped through gaming's historical cracks. It was called Mortimer and the Riddles of the Medallion, and readers of Crap Shoot (RIP)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/03/19/saturday-crapshoot-mortimer-and-the-riddles-of-the-medallion/">may remember it as the game that is still locked in their brains</a>. It's the story of a kid on a flying snail who has to solve musical riddles, which aren't the tightest lyrics you'll ever hear, but are clearly designed to NEVER LEAVE YOU.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AJZ2osmrdmI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The reward for all this one of the hardest final&nbsp;levels in the history of the universe, and this final screw-you from the designers. Presented with several options, it turns out the answer is actually something completely different... and, well, just watch. And wince at the rhyming of "Lodius dude / fondued". Not until&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvFMlhoxRCU">Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude's library/therapy pairing</a> would there be a wince like that one.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7WmoN76Lg0Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Luckily, there aren't any other ear-worms quite like- Psych! Here's&nbsp;Laura Bow 2.</p><p><strong>Laura Bow 2: The Archeologist's Song</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v2QZ8osW2Hg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>You may be wondering how long it will take to forget this song. The answer is that you will never forget this song. I am sorry. (Disclaimer:&nbsp;I am not sorry.) For a while, Sierra had a bit of a thing about songs, giving us examples like this,&nbsp;the unforgettable&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSd_m41GK3A">Soylent Clear jingle from Space Quest VI</a>, and the song that made a whole adventure gaming generation ask "Was this even worth turning the microphone on?", the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjWZ7FAsYHk">King's Quest V&nbsp;ant song.</a> Tsk.</p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FVXM0GIGehI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Sierra's attempts were often odd though. By far the one it was proudest of was King's Quest VI's Girl In The Tower, to the point of trying to get players to request it be played on radio stations when it should clearly have been used as&nbsp;musak in cheese shops. A couple of years later though, we got Phantasmagoria, and in my experience most people agree that its opening theme is pretty much perfect for it - a threatening song called&nbsp;Consumite Furore that just&nbsp;drips with menace and devilwork... that will then be completely missing from most of the game, but never mind.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4GWENu6GN1c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Nice.&nbsp;But what played at the end of the game? Uh...</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rDhvRWqV9_E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Ouch! Like being punched in the face by the 80s, right there! If not quite as badly as...</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/yCPL3DJ72tM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>But back to Sierra! While its style tended towards the cheesy, that could be genuinely fun.&nbsp;Leisure Suit Larry 6 for instance threw in a country and western song that on the surface seems a bit out of place. Police Quest players however will instantly recognise it as the story of that game's two lovers, cop Sonny Bonds and his prostitute girlfriend Sweet Cheeks, only from Sweet Cheeks' perspective. Yes, the best in-jokes are always the ones that have entirely too much unnecessary&nbsp;work put into them...&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxgBhaYFkBs">up to and including hiring Melora Hardin to sing a sleazy cabaret&nbsp;song about Kickstarter</a>.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/T-1ivON60aM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Also endearingly goofy, in a very different style, was the intro to Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, which &nbsp;opted to tell its back story like this:</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DTeh4eT_0d8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>For special points though, if you got the demo version of the game you got a different song entirely, this time more focused on selling the game with lines like&nbsp;"Now his life's the stuff of stories. Of computer games with inventories." This was a floppy disk demo, so sadly went unsung. But, if you feel like a rousing chorus yourself, you just have to follow the bouncing ball. The, uh, slightly sluggish bouncing ball.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zn6leKTncPo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>Dreamfall: Rush</strong><strong></strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TyAJsHzPsfY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Here's a slightly different use of music to most, but one I thought was very effective. It comes at the end of the story, so spoilers if you're still to play it. Essentially, it's the main character going home after her quest is seemingly complete, with the use of a soft vocal track used as a push to the fact that things have changed and are drawing to a close... unfortunately with a really painful cliffhanger, but that's finally being resolved in Dreamfall Chapters. Like a lot of Dreamfall's style, it's artistically underplayed and all the more effective for it. (I wrote recently about how much&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dreamfall-chapters-a-stark-contrast-with-cyberpunk/">I love the new game's city, Europolis</a>, with a big reason being its amazing soundscape).&nbsp;<a href="http://youtu.be/5Bk8w5QWBHc?t=27m23s">The link above is the full song in someone else's AMV,&nbsp;but here it is in situ.</a></p><p>All of these are of course just a handful of the many songs sung in games of late, and I can think of a good few that are worth looking at on their own. If you've got any favourites of your own, post 'em in the comments below. Until next time though, there's just one more that has to be included because it wouldn't be right not to - and I think we all know what it is. At some point, someone sitting in an office somewhere thought of this idea and decided "Yes. Yes, this has to be done." And then they convinced other people that, indeed, it had to be done. And then people played it, and they pinched themselves to be sure they weren't dreaming, and they said "Ow" as it turned out that they were not. Yes, I of course mean...</p><p><strong>Legacy Dark Shadows: Credits</strong></p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4Dxe2o8WN2M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>And your guess is as good as mine.</p> David Braben on Elite: Dangerous and the online "vision"http://www.pcgamer.com/david-braben-on-elite-dangerous-and-the-vision-behind-the-online-requirement/Frontier Developments CEO David Braben talks Oculus Rift, 4K displays, flighsticks, and Elite: Dangerous' controversial online requirement.Sat, 13 Dec 2014 00:57:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/david-braben-on-elite-dangerous-and-the-vision-behind-the-online-requirement/Elite: DangerousInterviewsMMOsimVideos <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vN2BWY872M8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a> is&nbsp;now in its 'gamma' phase, and&nbsp;will go to full release next week on the 16th.&nbsp;Last week I had a chat with David Braben, founder and CEO of Frontier Developments, about what they learned during the beta, the latest in VR and display tech, his preferred flightstick, and the decision to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous-will-no-longer-support-an-offline-mode/" target="_blank">require an internet connection for Elite</a>, even in single-player.</p><p>On the latter topic, Braben explained that their vision for an evolving, player-driven&nbsp;story necessitated the online requirement, though he added: "We're still going to look at how to do [an offline mode]. You know, It's not off the table. We just can't promise it, and that's caused a lot of people to get very angry. I am always upset when people are [angry]&mdash;especially when they've backed us&mdash;but we had a vision and we're trying to stick as closely to that vision as possible,&nbsp;which is to do something new."</p><p>Watch the full interview above for more of his thoughts on the topic (the question&nbsp;starts at&nbsp;14:20).</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming-12dec2014/Each week the PC Gamer team gaze down from theIron Zeppelin of Truth and attempts to sift the best bits from the past seven days. Not five. Not six. Seven.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:59:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming-12dec2014/highs and lows <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GHvJqJPUQGeB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AyAtxJEeOL40.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="No Man's Sky"></p><p><b style="background-color: initial;">THE HIGHS</b></p><p><strong>Shaun Prescott: No Man’s Sky continues to look incredible<br></strong>A lot of people seem confused about <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/no-mans-sky/">No Man’s Sky</a>. Initial enthusiasm for the ambitious procedurally generated space adventure has descended into worry. It looks good, they say, but what do you do? Is it just a beefed up exploration sim? What will the combat be like? Can I play it with my friends? Will it even come to PC?</p><p>Well the answer to the last question is that yes, it will, though only after a period of PlayStation exclusivity. Regarding the other questions, I can’t help but feel they miss the point. If No Man’s Sky makes good on its promise, you won’t need any of these elements even should they appear, because No Man’s Sky will offer something we didn’t even realise we wanted. Like the Hello Games team, I was reared on the hard sci-fi of Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov, so the prospect of exploring an alien universe is its own reward. The idea of seeing and contemplating sights no one else is ever likely to see (which is likely, given the sheer size of the game) is what will keep me busy in No Man’s Sky. This week’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/no-mans-sky-footage-shows-intergalactic-portals-and-prehistoric-creatures/">new footage</a> has only increased my excitement for its eventual PC release.</p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Rise And Shine<br></strong>I look at tons of mods every week for our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-of-the-week/">weekly mod column</a>, and often wind up reading blog posts, patch notes, and diaries, sometimes spanning years, about the countless hours of work&mdash;all of it volunteer&mdash;that goes into them. So, it's great when mods get a little extra attention, as Lambda Wars did with <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/270370/">an official launch on Steam</a>. The <a href="http://lambdawars.com/about.php">mod team</a> have been working on it for six long years and it's exciting to see it released as a standalone experience. While their work isn't done (it's still in beta), I'm hoping their spot in the Steam store will greatly expand their playerbase.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pZiTSE21RwGX.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WqWj1DEMwxoq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fractured Space"></p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: A great round of Fractured Space<br></strong>A few days ago I <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/fractured-space-gameplay-giant-ships-blow-up-other-giant-ships/">posted a video of Fractured Space</a>&mdash;a 5v5 giant spaceship combat game on Early Access&mdash;in which I said I’d probably just play a few more rounds before shelving it until future updates come through. I might have been wrong about that. I started playing the other night after a small but important update, and didn’t stop for five rounds.</p><p>There are bugs. There are crashes. There are balance problems. There’s only one map and one mode. There are better games like it. Chris Thursten would probably look at it and ask me why the hell I’m <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">not just playing Dota 2</a>. But despite all that, I’m having a lot of fun being a part of this game’s genesis. In one round, I went something like 7 kills/0 deaths and made a number of vital base captures. It felt great, because for once I feel like I’m in the top tier of a competitive game (never mind that I’m playing with the same small group of early adopters every time).</p><p>I tend to be more of a tourist when it comes to multiplayer games, skimming the surface for what fun I can have before moving on to another game, but I don’t think anything is as enjoyable as becoming an expert. I’d forgotten that. Don’t take this as a recommendation that you go out and buy Fractured Space right now&mdash;this is just me remembering what it feels like to have a home. It’s comforting. I don’t know if Fractured Space will be that game for me long term&mdash;that might depend on how it develops, and if anything else captures my attention (I’ve started playing Elite: Dangerous)&mdash;but at least it’s given me another taste of the joy I had playing Quake 2 every night back in the day. I’m re-hooked on competitive multiplayer.</p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: Good riddance, CZ-75<br></strong>Valve gave CS:GO some love this week. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-gets-reimagined-train-map/">Train got a total visual overhaul</a> (that included <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-patches-bizarre-csgo-exploit-rip-bird-surfing/">a cute exploit</a>, now removed), but maybe more significantly, the oft-criticized CZ-75 auto pistol <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2oxg4t/counterstrike_global_offensive_update_for_121014/">got a significant nerf</a>, cutting its per-mag ammo capacity from 12 to 8 and increasing its time-to-equip. This should spell the end of a period of CS:GO where the CZ was widely used as “AWP insurance” both in professional play and ranked matchmaking, thank goodness. In the same patch, a form of cheating was <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2p2j28/valve_have_now_patched_nospreadrage/">patched out</a>. Valve is doing a better job of listening to the CS:GO community and giving the second-most played game on Steam attention proportionate to its popularity.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gE9dnuiVSjmR.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_us2WYAwcPuk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hearthstone"></p><p><strong>Tom Marks: Blowing up the meta<br></strong>The first full expansion to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a>, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/goblins-vs-gnomes/">Goblins vs Gnomes</a>, launched this week and it is glorious. The meta has been table-flipped and we are in a beautiful, if perhaps fleeting, period of time where anything goes when it comes to deck building. The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reynad-picks-the-10-most-op-new-hearthstone-cards/">pros have their opinions</a> and the net decking has already begun, but for at least the first month after GvG’s launch you can <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/opening-100-goblins-vs-gnomes-hearthstone-card-packs/">open a bunch of packs</a>, decide which cards you like, and build a silly deck that can still hold its own on the ladder. As someone who doesn’t have a lot of cards, the prospect of being allowed to think outside of the box and still succeed is very liberating. The most exciting part of all the experimenting I’ve done is that the new cards are really fun. As much as people complain about RNG, the craziness we’ve seen from some of GvG’s more noteworthy cards have brought me nothing but joy.</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: New Alien modes<br></strong>I thought I was done with Alien: Isolation after 28 long hours of being stalked across Sevastopol by a sweaty sci-fi horror icon, but apparently not&mdash;the inclusion of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-update-adds-novice-and-nightmare-difficulty-levels/">brand new difficulty modes</a>, including one which breaks your motion tracker, adds a Dark Souls-like punishing appeal to a game that wasn’t short of challenge already. I’ve been sampling the Survivor Mode and contemplating another playthrough with that brilliant AI. This Christmas, I may do just that.</p><p><strong>Andy Kelly: </strong>Getting started with Elite: Dangerous<br>The best news for me this week was that progress in the ‘gamma’ version of Elite: Dangerous, which early adopters and backers can play now, will be kept intact when the game launches next week. This means, finally, I can get stuck into the game without worrying about losing my ships and amassed space-bucks. I’m about 10 hours into my first proper ‘life’ in the Milky Way now, and loving it. Last night I set a course for some random, distant star (using the new route planning feature) and went on a sightseeing voyage. I saw binary suns, vivid nebulae, dying stars, spinning space stations, and gorgeous Earth-like worlds&mdash;and that was only a quick run around the block. There are 400 billion systems in Elite, and I’ve visited maybe 20 of them. I can’t wait to see what else I find out there in the depths of space.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ij4-flujQDuu.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/uVgMX5-rWyJP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Elite: Dangerous"></p><p><strong>THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: Getting started with Elite: Dangerous<br></strong>Largely due to Andy’s enthusiasm, I’ve gotten started in Elite: Dangerous for the first time. I think I’m going to like it very much, but until I get to the part where I like it, I’ve got to figure out what the hell I’m doing. Elite’s tutorials are so baffling I had to look up a guide to one of them. A guide for a tutorial! Whatever hints it gave me while it was ostensibly teaching me its systems had a habit of disappearing, or not existing at all. How do you exit supercruise? Hell, what is supercruise? Nothing.</p><p>It turns out that half the commands I needed weren’t bound to keys because I’d attempted to play with a controller, which Frontier CEO David Braben told me last week he sometimes does when a flight stick isn’t at hand. I thought I was being clever by doing what the pro does, but I think I need to stick to keyboard and mouse controls until I have a flightstick of my own to use.</p><p>There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having a steep learning curve. The most rewarding games&mdash;Eve Online comes to mind&mdash;often do. But while my frustrating test flights weren’t enough to put me off of Elite (it’s so full of the fidelity I’ve been craving in a space sim that I can’t help but keep playing it), I do hope that the tutorials get an overhaul sometime after next week’s launch. There’s some joy in learning through experimentation, but if I’m going to recommend Elite to my friends, I don’t want them to hate me for the first five hours of it.</p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: The Witcher 3 delayed<br></strong>I don’t actually mind <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-studio-says-market-is-afraid-of-badly-polished-games/">The Witcher 3 being delayed again</a> in the name of polishing up an RPG that sounds intimidatingly complicated to put together. I list this as a low more for the people waiting for the next big open-world fantasy RPG, as CD Projekt Red’s follow-up has been languishing for quite some time now&mdash;who knows, maybe it’ll make three E3s in a row? Since we’ve not had the opportunity to get hands-on with it yet, I honestly anticipated another delay&mdash;I’m hopeful the results will be worth it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0WSwkSq9Tuaf.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wj7ep4c3FXbt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ralph Baer"></p><p><strong>Evan Lahti: A goodbye to Baer<br></strong>Ralph Baer, the 92-year-old inventor of the first gaming console (which would come to be known as the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnavox_Odyssey">Odyssey</a> in 1972) <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/08/business/ralph-h-baer-dies-inventor-of-odyssey-first-system-for-home-video-games.html?_r=0">passed away last Saturday</a>. PC gaming and the gaming industry at large owes a lot to Mr. Baer, whose invention helped change the idea of computers being things mostly owned and operated by universities, rather than the&nbsp;consumer products we all enjoy in our homes today.</p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Oculus Grift<br></strong>So, Oculus VR <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-hires-the-brains-behind-vrs-most-promising-hand-tracking-tech/">continues to snap up talent</a> for their facecomputer. This is good news for them but bad news for me, because I'm a longtime VR skeptic and my stance&mdash;that mainstream VR is nothing but a goofy pipedream&mdash;is getting shakier with each passing acquisition. It's not that I actively want Oculus to fail, it's just that I still remember the crushing disappointment the first time VR made the rounds. There was the 1992 film The Lawnmower Man, which featured <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NblUhm2Hd3Y">a VR headest-wearing chimpanzee being machine-gunned to death</a>, and of course the 1994 film Disclosure in which Michael Douglas had to walk around on a trampoline in his business-socks for ten minutes just so he could <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFkyV7d5t8o">retrieve some Wordperfect documents</a>. I've been hurt before, people.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3iOs1SEOS8W8.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GNRkBVwZd1HW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA V"></p><p><b style="background-color: initial;">Shaun Prescott: GTA V row still rages in Australia<br></b><b style="background-color: initial;"></b>Just when we thought GTA V was safe from any more controversies, word arrived <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/take-two-boss-slams-removal-of-gta-v-from-australian-retailers/">last week</a> that two Australian retailers, Kmart and Target, have opted to remove the game from sale following a petition. It’s a move that was inevitably going to antagonise video game enthusiasts not only in Australia but internationally, prompting Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick to contribute his own two-cents. The thing is, unlike Australia’s long history of video game censorship, this particular instance is not censorship.</p><p>GTA V is still on sale in Australia completely uncensored. Target and K-Mart, both owned by the same parent company in Australia, are both insignificant blips on the local video game retail market, to the extent that I didn’t even know Target still stocked video games until this week. It’s reasonable to assume that neither retailer is losing much from choosing not to stock GTA V&mdash;certainly not as much as the major retailers would. It seems like a cynical and tokenistic move overall, especially since recent catalogues positioned GTA V right next to Barbie and Peppa Pig, ie, in the kids section. A move from flagrant irresponsibility to moral high ground? Seems dodgy, but it’s not censorship.</p><p><strong>Andy Kelly: More Steam sales on the way</strong><br>Really? Another Steam sale? Jeez, we only just had one. Sales are, of course, brilliant, and one of the best reasons to be a PC gamer. But I have more games than I’ll ever have time to play&mdash;and I play games for a living. But I did think recently, what if I think of my ever-expanding Steam library as my retirement fund? ‘Cause then I’ll have all the time I need to finally get through it. Maybe then I’ll finally play The Swapper.</p> The Scrolls launch trailer marks its long-awaited releasehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-scrolls-launch-trailer-marks-its-long-awaited-release/Mojang's card game is finally out of beta.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:33:46 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-scrolls-launch-trailer-marks-its-long-awaited-release/MojangNewsScrollsStrategy <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Eb_nZL91iqE?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Right on schedule, Mojang's card game <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/scrolls/">Scrolls</a> is now available. Alpha and beta testers will be upgraded to the full version automatically, and those of you still on the fence can take the free demo for a spin to see what you think.</p><p> The Scrolls site now features a list of some "cool things about Scrolls," like that it boasts more than 350 scrolls, all fully animated and "nice to look at," and that everything but the four starter decks can be traded for scrolls or gold. What I find most interesting, though, is the description of the crafting system: Three identical scrolls can be crafted into a higher-tier scroll, which will be "shinier," track stats, and, at the third tier, provide bonus gold when drawn&mdash;but they don't actually provide an advantage in combat. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but then so is Mojang's decision to restrict how much real-money currency players can spend on the game.</p><p>Scrolls will set you back a fiver if you like what you see in the demo. Get it at <a href="https://scrolls.com/">Scrolls.com</a>.</p> X Rebirth 3.0 and free Teladi Outpost DLC are now on Steamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth-30-and-free-teladi-outpost-dlc-are-now-on-steam/Egosoft says the Teladi Outpost expansion is a "thank-you" to its supporters.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:24:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth-30-and-free-teladi-outpost-dlc-are-now-on-steam/EgosoftNewssimX Rebirth <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth/"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-gX4wZzcTHux.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-FdcIsII7NgD.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="X Rebirth: The Teladi Outpost"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth/">X Rebirth</a> was a huge disappointment. The previous X games were fantastic, if somewhat obtuse, open-ended space sims, but Rebirth <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth-review/">was a mess</a>. The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/x-rebirth-sees-huge-feature-overhaul-in-2-0-update/">2.0 update</a> that came out earlier this year made a number of fixes and improvements, but developer Egosoft kept at it, and has now released both the 3.0 update and the Teladi Outpost DLC.</p><p> The announcement of the update includes links to videos explaining the major changes to the game, relating to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhUm6NTW4Qs&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_1745643511">crafting</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eLxA6cV-m4&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_4242692265">trade</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmkDAxB1Y-Q&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_3680058761">fleet captains</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7WvGCLG03A&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_315076069">station builders</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv4g2QVuhW4&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_1824180031">NPC education</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvm8nnnoPvs&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_404569017">hacking and sabotaging stations</a>, and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gATSfKtPL4w&amp;src_vid=JXQijj2-DEw&amp;feature=iv&amp;annotation_id=annotation_1275213597">boarding ships</a>. The full list of changes can be read <a href="http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=4435789#4435789">here</a>&mdash;it's pretty big&mdash;and for those who prefer to dig deeper into the details, an X Rebirth 3.0 manual is up on <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=347274078">Steam</a>.</p><p> The <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/325580/">Teladi Outpost DLC</a> adds two new Teladi systems to explore, one of which contains the Habitat-class "superstation" Overwatch, one of the largest space stations ever to appear in the X Universe. There are also new Teladi ships, items, and upgrades, as well as new dangers, including the Xenon and Pirate factions that can make traveling through some sectors a very risky prospect.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K75uEQV1YMw?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The DLC was initially going to be free for anyone who owned or purchased X Rebirth by November 1, but Egosoft has decided to make it free for everyone as "a thank-you gift for all X Rebirth owners." It does, however, require the 64-bit version of the game; Egosoft said in the patch notes that there will not be a 32-bit version of the 3.0 update, and that the Teladi Outpost DLC is not compatible with prior 32-bit releases.</p> Intel NUC 2.0 images surface on official sitehttp://www.pcgamer.com/intel-nuc-20-images-surface-on-official-site/New Intel NUCs are likely on the way soon.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:59:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-nuc-20-images-surface-on-official-site/HardwareIntelNewsTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lBH-bQJAS9SW.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HgEZXoUCn6c6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel Nuc Broadwell"></p><p>Today we get our first official look at the second generation of the Intel NUC, the company's line of miniature all-in-one PCs, thanks to a handful of system images posted on <a href="http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/overview.html">Intel's site</a>. </p><p>The NUC (short for Next Unit of Computing) 2.0 will be powered by Intel Broadwell processors, Broadwell being the die-shrunk 14nm&nbsp;version of Intel's current-gen Haswell (Core i3, i5, and i7) processors. As <a href="http://www.legitreviews.com/intel-nuc-2-0-rock-canyon-broadwell-system-images-posted-intel_155157">LegitReviews points out</a>, the image (see above) shows three different bodies that the NUC 2.0 will be available in. Two of the bodies appear to be 115mm x 111mm with a height of either 29.8mm or 48.5mm, sizes very similar to the existing models.</p><p>Both of these models appear to have two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports as well as a headphone audio jack.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/89EIZbZeSc-J.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SpAWZjlJuVKe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel nuc Mobo"></p><p>Another image shows what appears to be the NUC 2.0 "Rock Canyon" motherboard, which appears to have a SATA III 6Gbps header, a M.2 drive slot, and enough room to fit a 22x42, 22x60, or 22x80 M.2 SSD card. Dual channel memory slots offer enough room to install up to 16GB DDR3L in the system. The back panel sports two more USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and another port that could possibly be a TOSLINK fiber optic jack. </p><p>The NUC 2.0 models, as well as the Broadwell processor in general, are expected to hit market in Q1 2015. We may be seeing more of them at CES in January.</p> Steelseries Siberia V3 reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/steelseries-siberia-v3-review-2/A sub-zero staple of gaming audio gets a redesign in a bid to stay a fan favourite.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 20:43:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steelseries-siberia-v3-review-2/gaming headsetSteelseries <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> <strong>Frequency response range: </strong>20Hz – 20KHz<br> <strong>Sensitivity:</strong> 80dB<br> <strong>Connection type:</strong> 3.5mm audio jack<br> <strong>Cable length:</strong> 1.2m<br> <strong></strong><strong>Mic frequency response range:</strong> 10Hz – 10KHz<br> <strong></strong><strong>Price:</strong> $100/£100 </p> </div><p><em>By&nbsp;</em><em>Phil Iwaniuk</em></p><p> SteelSeries has been making the Siberia gaming headset in its various forms for years now, and each iteration has offered a good all-round package at the hundred dollar mark, though it must be said without really excelling in any particular area. The Siberia is about covering the bases: its aesthetic has always been appealing, the build quality has always been deceptively good for such light headphones, and the sound production has long been reliable and clear.</p><p> There have been issues along the way, though&mdash;we’ve never found the old model Siberia an especially comfortable headset compared to its peers in the price range (the floating headband design works for some heads and not others), and the mic hasn’t previously been its strong suit either. With its latest range of ‘phones, the Danish manufacturer looks to silence all criticism with a new and improved Sibera V3 model, and an all-new model, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steelseries-siberia-raw-prism-review/">Raw Prism</a>, way down in the $60 range.</p><p> The Siberia V3 is relatively familiar territory. Actually, if you’re familiar with the V2 model, it’s Attack Of The Clones territory. The closed cups are joined by a floating headband and two lightweight structural bands, the idea being that the headset rests on your head without exerting too much pressure, and without the need for adjustment. This works in the field <em>to an extent</em>. Mindful of my previous discomfort with this design, I gave the V3 to a few friends and coworkers to try on&mdash;people with normal-sized heads, essentially. They reported back with largely glowing reports regarding comfort, so I’m prepared to admit that hey, maybe my head’s just a bit small. It might seem a trivial point, but the absence of adjustability in the V3’s headband means it’ll either fit you or it won’t; there’s no in between.</p><p> It’s better news for building materials and design elsewhere. Memory foam contact pads line each earcup, finished in leatherette, sealing off external noise reasonably well and dodging that irritating seashell effect you experience when sound’s allowed to leak in somewhere around your ear. Possibly due to that aforementioned smaller cranium of mine, I didn’t find that the earcups cancelled external noise completely though, which means they do also leak a bit. Pro tip: be sure to turn down the volume a notch or two when listening to the <em>So You Hate Your Sh*tty Job </em>podcast at work.</p><p> Long sessions aren’t a problem while wearing the Siberia V3 headset, largely thanks to its extremely lightweight design. It's easy to perceive this as flimsiness or cheap building materials, but the Siberia models past and present are surprisingly bomb-proof. There’s no creaking, rattling or other such unsettling noise when you put on or take off the headset, and though I don’t dare go through with it I think it could probably withstand being sat on accidentally.</p><p> It’s obvious that SteelSeries opted for plastic rather than something sexier like brushed aluminium to keep the overall weight down. The V3’s long-term comfort is the result of that decision,&nbsp;so it’s hard to berate it on the grounds of its look.&nbsp;Even though that look is a bit plastic-heavy for a $100 headset. Alright, that’s the last I’ll say about it. After all, the absence of any tribal designs and neon lights is a virtue indeed, and it should be noted that the V3’s available in both black and white. Overall it’s a net gain for SteelSeries’ revamped headset in terms of looks.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vanBzPfrTYC1.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pf34h-t14I65.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Siberia V3 3"></p><p> That leads us onto sound quality. The Siberia has never been about making wild claims regarding surround sound or extreme bass, instead delivering a flatter, truer audio than most gaming headsets. That’s one of the reasons the V2 became so wildly popular, and it’s the piece of the puzzle that has changed the least in this redesigned V3 model. It’s clear and sibilant out of the box, before you begin to tweak EQ settings or experiment with profiles in the SteelSeries Engine software, so when you go to listen to your favourite song – number one on the to-do list when testing out some new cans&mdash;you’ll hear the nuances you know to listen out for.</p><p> What you won’t hear so much of is low-end thump. The V2 model was kitted out with big old 50mm drivers capable of rendering quite the bass rumble. The V3 has the same drivers, according to Steelseries, but their placement has been adjusted, and they end up sounding less powerful in the low-end to my ear.</p><p> There are only a handful of situations where you’ll really feel the bass lacking. 1) When playing single player campaigns made by the likes of DICE and Treyarch, and 2) watching the kind of movie the likes of DICE and Treyarch use as inspiration for their games. Explosions aren’t best-in-class from the Siberia V3, but its sound is amply clear enough for multiplayer shooters and stealth games that really require a good, clean audio signal.</p><p> There is the software suite to experiment with, offering a few different EQ presets for varied situations. But as anyone who tried to make their headset more bassy by dragging sliders around on an EQ panel will tell you, you can’t summon good bass from software if it wasn’t there to start with. By boosting signals in the low-end, the overall sound becomes either muddy or distorted. You’ll just have to live with the Siberia V3’s perfectly agreeable, flat-sounding tone.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mdVKdwoCS3qN.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/z9YtAYfbHWJT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steelseries V3 Mic" style="margin: 0px 0px 10px 10px;" class="pulled-image pull-right"></p><p> The Siberia V3&nbsp;does have a clear weakness in its microphone. SteelSeries goes with a retractable mic design that sits slightly in the leftfield compared to its competitors. The advantage is in the neatness of its design&mdash;just push it back into its hole when you’re not using it, or tap the side of your left earcup to mute it.</p><p> The inevitable disadvantage is that by default it’s extremely quiet, so you’ll need to use that SteelSeries Engine software or your OS settings to boost the mic gain if you want people to hear how totally serious you are when you tell freshspawns to hold it right there and take off their shirts in DayZ. However, boosting the signal means you’re also amplifying all the background sounds around you, and the <em>dirty</em> part of the audio signal coming from the electret mic, which the hard-wired noise gate can’t always filter out. In short: you’ll be heard just fine after some tinkering, you just won’t be broadcasting in crystalline tones.</p><p> No headset is perfect, of course, so it’s important to weigh up what each drawback means to you. In this case, very few people will find the less-than-stellar mic anything more than a minor annoyance. If you’re not looking for surround sound and can hack a 1.2m wired setup, the Siberia V3 follows in the proud tradition of its ancestors and offers one of the best all-rounder packages out there.</p><p> It’s lightweight, sounds great out of the box and the custom profiling software on offer is genuinely useful. If you have an opportunity to try on the headset before you buy it, it’s certainly worth doing so. There’s nothing you can do to make it fit better once you put it on, so size should be a real consideration if you tend to find headsets too big for you. A word to the wise for UK readers, too: that $100 pricetag translates to, um, £100. With that in mind the V3 represents considerably less value for money the other side of the Atlantic.</p> Microsoft's Xbox boss says it's time to "talk about gaming on Windows"http://www.pcgamer.com/microsofts-xbox-boss-says-its-time-to-talk-about-gaming-on-windows/Phil Spencer is going to tell us what's what in January.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:38:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microsofts-xbox-boss-says-its-time-to-talk-about-gaming-on-windows/DirectX 12Games for Windows LiveMicrosoftNewsWindows 10 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Nql8JL38QIm7.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WRCnnMxobfVY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dark Souls vs Games for Windows Live"></p><p>Microsoft's history of supporting gaming on Windows is what you might call "spotty." At this point it's not even clear what it plans to do with Games for Windows Live, which earlier this year the company said it would <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-continues-to-support-games-for-windows-live/">continue to support</a>, mere days before it was expected to be shut down. But it's not giving up! In fact, Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, said we're going to be hearing more about the company's plans for Windows gaming early next year.</p><p>In response to an inquiry on Twitter about seeing footage of the Windows 10 UI on the Xbox One, <a href="https://twitter.com/XboxP3/status/543296007664959488">Spencer wrote</a>, "I'll be focusing more on what we are doing on Win10 in January, it's time for us to talk about gaming on Windows."</p><p>It's expected that Spencer will talk about gaming at a <a href="http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2014/12/11/join-us-to-hear-about-the-next-chapter-of-windows-10/">recently-announced event</a> being held on January 21, where he and other Microsoft executives will discuss the "Windows 10 consumer experience." That experience will rely largely on the capabilities of DirectX 12, which promises a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-show-off-the-directx-12-performance-advantage/">significant performance increase</a> over DirectX 11, but he'll hopefully address more gaming-specific topics as well&mdash;like, maybe, what's actually going on with Games for Windows Live.</p> Valve patches bizarre CS:GO exploit, RIP bird surfinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-patches-bizarre-csgo-exploit-rip-bird-surfing/"Bird-boosting" no longer possible on de_train, but Valve has paid homage to the exploit.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:27:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-patches-bizarre-csgo-exploit-rip-bird-surfing/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSValve <iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/EnergeticExemplaryIlladopsis" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="700" height="338" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-gets-reimagined-train-map/">Valve gave classic&nbsp;Counter-Strike map&nbsp;de_train a makeover</a> in this week's update (and thank goodness&mdash;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-and-worst-maps-in-csgo/">it needed it</a>). The overhaul to the map's layout and look has mostly&nbsp;been well-received&mdash;the new&nbsp;Train has a high-contrast look and a less complicated A bombsite.&nbsp;</p><p> But one new map element&nbsp;that Valve snuck in has already been removed: vile, map-unbalancing&nbsp;birds.</p><p> Not long after Train updated, players discovered that they could jump atop the pigeons that were placed along the long route to A from Terrorist spawn (aka "ivy") and pigeon-piggyback into the heavens, blissfully escaping the&nbsp;horrors&nbsp;of combat. Or, as the video below shows, players could use the pigeons as a flapping platform to glitch into&nbsp;the rooftops overlooking bombsite A, giving them a huge advantage over the CTs.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VhenntkfAgU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Valve has hotfixed the <del>foul</del> fowl play, but the current version of Train pays&nbsp;homage to this "bird boost," as it came to be known,&nbsp;with a new sign along the way to where it was once possible.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xhx0Atu4RRCI.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0rfdbBkVA4lu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Birds (1)"></p><p> I've used&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-lens/id383463868?mt=8">Word Lens</a> on my phone to translate this cryptic&nbsp;glyph:</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/730A7tfXRliK.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I1jAPmEshopH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="On Bird Not Tread"></p><p> Immortal words that should inspire us all.</p> Dragon Age: Inquisition 5k screenshot galleryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-5k-screenshot-gallery/Pixel Boost teams up with the Inquisition to capture 25 snapshots oflife in Thedas.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:50:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dragon-age-inquisition-5k-screenshot-gallery/Dragon Age: InquisitionPixel Boost Freespace tabletop game will "gauge interest" in a new PC releasehttp://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-tabletop-game-will-gauge-interest-in-a-new-pc-release/Freespace Tactics is a miniatures tabletop game that's now on Kickstarter.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:41:13 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-tabletop-game-will-gauge-interest-in-a-new-pc-release/Freespace 2InterplayKickstarterNewssim <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/v-FZcfzWRZ-I.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tkaJ6hNmbZUf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Freespace2-01 copy"></p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace/">Freespace</a> games, particularly Freespace 2, were tremendously good space combat simulators. We scored it 93/100 in our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-2-review-january-2000-us-edition/">January 2000 review</a>, and developer Volition, now known for the Saints Row series, admitted a few years ago that it would <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/volition-would-commit-murder-to-make-freespace-3/">kill people</a> for the chance to make Freespace 3. In an odd twist, the Freespace IP actually went back to Interplay last year <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/freespace-ip-returns-to-interplay-for-just-7500/">for just $7500</a>, but it's not the company it used to be, and so excitement over that development was somewhat muted. </p><p>A new, official Freespace project entitled Freespace Tactics actually hit <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/606843645/freespace-tactics">Kickstarter</a> a few days ago, which very briefly raised my eyebrows until I realized it's not for a videogame, but for a tabletop miniatures game "inspired by" the series. I prefer my Freespace with a joystick, but the&nbsp;team behind the game has&nbsp;said that there is actually a videogame connection, of sorts.</p><p>"Part of why we are doing with this project is to gauge interest in the FreeSpace universe," FreeSpace Development Corp., the creator of the Kickstarter, wrote in the <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/606843645/freespace-tactics/comments?cursor=8551068#comment-8551067">comments</a>. "If this is successful, it will certainly help us get a couple steps closer to a new PC game."</p><p>Cynical readers might see it as not-overly-subtle way of building support for this project by tying it to the fate of something that people very much&nbsp;want, and the crowdfunding success of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a> and <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen/">Star Citizen</a> would seemingly make a new Freespace videogame a sure thing. Of course, the question of whether or not Interplay could put together the resources to make such a game looms large: Its most notable actions over the last few years include <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bethesda-interplay-settlement-official-bethesda-gains-full-fallout-mmo-rights/">losing a high-profile legal battle</a> with Bethesda, resurrecting the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/interplay-black-isle-studios/">Black Isle</a> name (although the website at <a href="http://www.blackisle.com/">blackisle.com</a> appears to have gone offline), and, mostly recently, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/descent-fan-reimagining-sol-contingency-shut-down-by-interplay/">shutting down a fan remake</a> of the original Descent.</p> Assassin's Creed: Unity performance patch out Mondayhttp://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-performance-patch-out-monday/Patch 4 aims to address stability and performance issues.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:36:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unity-performance-patch-out-monday/ActionAssassin's Creed: UnityNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yPOOV782TpSj.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Tn50mNiG0lcj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Assassin's Creed Unity Page Two Top"></p><p>Step through this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-unitys-next-patch-should-fix-most-remaining-issues/" target="_blank">hyper-technological link</a> to unlock the&nbsp;genetic memory of three days ago, when Ubisoft detailed the fourth patch of&nbsp;Assassin's Creed: Unity's post-release saga. It's like DLC, except instead of extraneous missions, you get a game that works a bit&nbsp;better.</p><p>That patch, according to Ubisoft, is expected to&nbsp;"be released next week on Monday, December 15 across all platforms". Supposedly it will fix issues of stability, performance, online matchmaking and connectivity. As someone who's had problems with all four of those things in-game, this should be a welcome update.</p><p>Keep an eye on&nbsp;<a href="http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-US/community/liveupdates/" target="_blank">Ubi's AC:U live blog</a> for further information.</p> Areal devs are back, want money for STALKER Apocalypsehttp://www.pcgamer.com/areal-devs-are-back-want-money-for-stalker-apocalypse/The suspended Kickstarter returns with a similarly troubling crowdfunding pitch.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:53:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/areal-devs-are-back-want-money-for-stalker-apocalypse/ArealFPSNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CQeFYgZgSaSt.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/60bPJ0CZkKFU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Not Stalker"></p><p>There's a danger when writing about crowdfunded projects that people will mistake coverage for recommendation. Broadly speaking, I <em>do </em>tend to focus on things I think deserve our readers' attention. That doesn't mean they're good, though. Sometimes a thing deserves your attention because it's bizarre, brazen&nbsp;or downright unbelievable.</p><p>Sometimes coverage is the opposite of a recommendation.</p><p>Keep that in mind as I tell you about STALKER Apocalypse. It's&nbsp;the new&nbsp;crowdfunding project from West Games,&nbsp;the people behind Areal. If you don't remember Areal, you missed one of the stranger Kickstarter projects of the year. Its creators claimed they were making the "definitive spiritual successor to the cult hit S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series," and that their team was mostly "composed of former senior GSC Game World staff members".</p><p>Both of those claims were contested&mdash;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/vostok-games-claim-areal-kickstarter-campaigns-use-of-stalker-assets-is-not-right/" target="_blank">most notably</a> by the former GSC Game World staff members at Survarium developer&nbsp;Vostok Games. Areal's pitch video even used footage from S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and other off-the-shelf Unity assets, without clearly stating that it wasn't from the game they were supposedly&nbsp;making. Finally, shortly after reaching its $50,000 goal, the project was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/areal-kickstarter-suspended-two-days-after-hitting-its-goal/" target="_blank">suspended by Kickstarter</a>.</p><p>The makers of Areal want your money again. This time, $600,000 of it.</p><p>The project is now called STALKER Apocalypse. That's STALKER, you'll note, not S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. West Games doesn't own the rights to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. Here's what they say about that:</p><p>"We have registered a trademark for Stalker Apocalypse, and have every right to use it as our title. Stalker by itself is a common word, and anyone can use it."</p><p>Oh boy, are they going to be in for a shock.</p><p>Remember when the developers of The Banner Saga were&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-banner-saga-3/" target="_blank">opposed&nbsp;by King</a> for trying to trademark the name of their game, despite their game being&nbsp;<em>an actual goddamn saga</em>? This game, to all intents and purposes, is trying to be like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. And everyone already refers to&nbsp;S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as STALKER. And STALKER Apocalypse even <em>calls </em>its protagonist a STALKER. Oh, and then there's the game's logo:</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/73D8rjMLRyOG.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-GyM9vsfYOYn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Notice where the screws are conveniently placed? I'm not sure "is a common word" applies here, whatever your views on trademark law.</p><p>Here's the kicker: STALKER Apocalypse isn't on Kickstarter, but rather "World Wide Funder". From what I can tell, it's a site that's basically Kickstarter but with even less regulation.</p><p>Here's&nbsp;<a href="https://wfunder.com/project/185#basics" target="_blank">a link to the project</a>, if you genuinely want to go and have a look. Remember, though, coverage is not a recommendation.</p><p>Thanks,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/12/12/stalker-kickstarter-2/" target="_blank">RPS</a>.</p><p><strong>Update: </strong>Jas Purewal over at the excellent GamerLaw blog is an actual lawyer, and has both tracked the existing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. trademarks and speculated on West Games'&nbsp;"Stalker by itself is a common word" defence.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamerlaw.co.uk/2014/the-latest-games-trademark-controversy-s-t-a-l-k-e-r-and-stalker/" target="_blank">The full post</a>&nbsp;is worth a look, but here's a particularly relevant quote:</p><p>"What a developer should not do is leave a games studio,&nbsp;build a game that is similar to the one he/she was working on before and call it virtually the SAME NAME and then basically dare the trademark owner to have at him/her (i.e. to sue)."</p> Skyrim mod Enderal teased in impressive trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/skyrim-mod-enderal-teased-in-impressive-trailer/The massive total conversion is planned fornext year. Here's a video showingwhat it's all about.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:24:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/skyrim-mod-enderal-teased-in-impressive-trailer/ModsNewsRPGSkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cQog9lkyH8k?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Enderal is the Skyrim-based&nbsp;sequel to top Oblivion&nbsp;mod Nehrim: At Fate's Edge. It occupies a similar space of disbelief in my mind, too. Normally, I would never assume&nbsp;a total conversion of this size and scope could&nbsp;ever make it to release. But then, I thought the same about Nehrim and that <em>did </em>come out&mdash;despite what years of watching big mods get dragged down by drama has taught me.</p><p>Can Enderal be similarly real? The mod's makers not only think so, but think it'll happen next year. As proof of their intentions, they've released a trailer filled with scenes and environments from the game. It certainly looks like it exists.</p><p>For more on Enderal, head over to its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.moddb.com/mods/enderal" target="_blank">ModDB page</a>.</p> Don't Starve multiplayer standalone hits Early Access next weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/dont-starve-multiplayer-standalone-hits-early-access-next-week/Ward off starvation in the company of a friend.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 05:27:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dont-starve-multiplayer-standalone-hits-early-access-next-week/Don't StarveDon't Starve TogetherEarly AccessKlei EntertainmentNewsSurvival <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LTkYHt6mTh2a.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4NjCZoW2Id4z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 4.14.34 pm" style="font-size: 14px; background-color: initial;"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dont-starve-together/">Don't Starve Together</a>, the standalone multiplayer expansion for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dont-starve/">Don't Starve</a>, will hit Early Access on December 15. As the name implies, Don't Starve Together is a cooperative spin on the top down survival game, pitting friends against the harsh realities of starvation. It'll be a nice, friendship-building experience.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/klei-entertainment/">Klei Entertainment</a> has announced that in its Early Access state, Don't Starve Together will no longer be a free upgrade for existing Don't Starve players. Instead, owners of the original game will pay $4.99 for the Frontier Pack. It's a decent deal though: upgrading will&nbsp;grant you&nbsp;a copy of Don't Starve as well as two keys to the Don't Starve Together Early Access. Those who don't already own the original game will pay $19.99 for the pack. <strong>Update</strong>:&nbsp;If you don't want to take part in the Early Access period, the multiplayer expansion will still be free if you own the game, you'll just have to wait for the final build.</p><p>The Early Access edition follows a beta, which proved so popular that Klei decided to make the upgrade to Steam. "As part of the Beta signup process, we’ve found that there are a lot of people who really want into the Beta, and even while giving out a hundreds of keys every day, it became clear to us that we needed a release valve for the demand.&nbsp;</p><p>"Specifically, people were starting to buy keys in back channels, with varying success. That's why we're now providing the Frontier Pack: a clear, official channel for access."</p><p>Check out the Early Access trailer below:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mvBBp9jl4po" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Steam Holiday Auction lets you turn trading cards into gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/steam-holiday-auction-lets-you-turn-trading-cards-into-games/Turn those useless backgrounds and emoticons into more backlog.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 00:54:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-holiday-auction-lets-you-turn-trading-cards-into-games/NewsSteam <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/S9K1dyktQEaL.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PM5a7SdFtCf2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.41.37 am"></p><p>[<strong>Update two:</strong> The Holiday Auction is back online. Auction timing remains the same: The first auction will end at 7:45 am PST on December 15, with auction rounds following every 45 minutes thereafter until 10 am PST on December 18.]</p><p>[<strong>Update:</strong> Valve has suspended the Holiday Auction over concerns, according to this <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Steam/comments/2p20ai/steam_auction_currently_not_showing_on_front_page/">Reddit thread</a>, that an exploit is allowing users to duplicate gems. "Sorry, but there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam Holiday Auction has been temporarily closed," the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/auction/">auction page now says</a>. "The elves are working frantically to get the issues sorted out, and the auction will start again as soon as they're done."]</p><p>Original story:<br> </p><p>Got a tonne of backgrounds and emoticons in your Steam inventory that you don't know what to do with? Steam has an answer for everything, it seems. Starting December 15, the&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/auction/">Steam Holiday Auction</a> will allow you to turn Trading Cards, backgrounds and emoticons into Gems, which you can then use to bid on 200,000 games in the Steam library.&nbsp;</p><p>The auctions will run from December 15 at 7:45am PST through to December 18, 10am PST. Auction rounds will last for 45 minutes, with each featuring a different selection of games. Sensibly enough, the highest bidder for each title wins. There are 133 pages of relevant games listed on the Auction page, with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, The Forest and Arma III some notable examples. You can also bid on a 2014 Holiday Profile, if that's the kind of thing you're into.</p><p>Full rules are&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/auction/#auction_faq">over here</a>, and they seem pretty straightforward. A couple of things to keep in mind: there's a bunch of games on Steam that reward Trading Cards simply for playing. You can find out which games in your library apply on your Badges page. Steam also advises that you're better off crafting Trading Cards into badges and then transforming those into Gems, because that will often reap higher Gem rewards.</p><p>Oh yeah, and it looks like the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/rumour-steam-winter-sale-starts-next-week-according-to-paypal-email/">Steam Winter Sale</a> will begin next week, so it's a terrible time for anyone with backlog anxiety.&nbsp;</p> An Alien: Isolation sequel has been discussed, says Creative Assemblyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/an-alien-isolation-sequel-has-been-discussed-says-creative-assembly/Potential sequel wouldstick to the series' survival horror roots.Fri, 12 Dec 2014 00:10:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/an-alien-isolation-sequel-has-been-discussed-says-creative-assembly/Alien: IsolationCreative AssemblyHorrorNewsSega <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1qX77c-uRwGy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WMOmJeijmcDJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Alien Isolation"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation/">Alien: Isolation</a> may get a sequel, according to comments made&nbsp;by Creative Assembly lead game designer Gary Napper. Speaking to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.avpgalaxy.net/website/interviews/interview-creative-assembly-post-launch/">AvPGalaxy</a>, Napper spoke a bit about how the team could handle the plot of a hypothetical sequel. Which means, naturally, that some pretty glaring spoilers are contained below.&nbsp;</p><p>"The plot for a sequel is a daily topic in the studio sometimes," Napper said.&nbsp;"People have their own ideas for where it should go, our writers have some solid concepts and yes, we do have a great opportunity to continue her story. I personally think that Amanda did not get infected in the hive, as when she wakes, the closest egg remains closed&hellip;"</p><p>Napper went on to say that the tense, horror experience of Isolation is core to the series' DNA, indicating that the studio is unlikely to produce a more fast-paced affair. "I think the action oriented 'Aliens' style game is very different from what Isolation is," he said.</p><p>"If we made a sequel I would like to stick to the same terrifying single Alien approach but do more with the environment and interactivity within it."</p><p>If you've finished the unbearably gruelling survival horror title on hard, then it's time to put your heart to the test again:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/alien-isolation-update-adds-novice-and-nightmare-difficulty-levels/">Alien: Isolation now has a Nightmare mode</a>.</p> Mechwarrior Online Community Warfare open beta beginshttp://www.pcgamer.com/mechwarrior-online-community-warfare-open-beta-begins/It's time for the Inner Sphere and the Clans to get down to business.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:47:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mechwarrior-online-community-warfare-open-beta-begins/MechWarrior OnlineNewsPiranha Gamessim <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yipq9vOTt-k?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The long-awaited Mechwarrior Online <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/mechwarrior-online-details-upcoming-community-warfare-expansion/">Community Warfare</a> beta has finally begun. The new multiplayer mode pits the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere against the tremendous power of the Clans, with new maps, DropShip reinforcements, and an attack-and-defend "Invasion" game mode.</p><p>The Community Warfare beta actually began a little earlier than most players expected, but Piranha Games President Russ Bullock said in the announcement that the team pushed to get it out as quickly as possible so there would be time to fix any game-breaking problems before everyone took off for the holidays.</p><p> "This phase 2 release of CW is certainly not the absolute end game product that fulfills every desire of the hard core Battletech player, but I don't want to minimize it either, it's truly a game changer," he wrote. "Within Community Warfare I anticipate we will see hundreds if not thousands of matches played every day within this concept of fighting for the great factions of the inner sphere with planets changing possession and the map reflecting that."</p><p>Community Warfare has undergone significant testing, but Bullock acknowledged that that there will still be problems with balance between attacking and defending forces. "We need the live populations to show us the untold number of strategies that will present themselves," he continued. "We will be watching and listening to adjust the levels and game systems within CW to make it as competitive and fun as possible."</p><p> Details about the Community Warfare beta, including a proper breakdown of the Invasion mode and DropShip mechanic, are up now at <a href="https://mwomercs.com/cw">mwomercs.com</a>.</p> Oculus hires the brains behind VR's most promising hand-tracking techhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-hires-the-brains-behind-vrs-most-promising-hand-tracking-tech/Nimble VR launched a Kickstarter campaign for a VR-focused hand tracking camera. Apparently Oculus liked it.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:46:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-hires-the-brains-behind-vrs-most-promising-hand-tracking-tech/HardwareNewsOculus RIFTOculus VRTechvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DQYd1PPvRTe6.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QAQMDFO-DszL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Oculus Nimble Tech"></p><p>Oculus VR's latest virtual reality prototype <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-crescent-bay-prototype-hands-on-experiencing-true-vr-presence-for-the-first-time/">Crescent Bay</a> is so immersive, it's disconcerting to raise your hand in front of your face and not see it rendered in the digital world. Cracking the problem of VR controls is one of Oculus' biggest remaining challenges, so it's not too surprising to see <a href="https://www.oculus.com/blog/nimble-vr-13th-lab-and-chris-bregler-join-oculus/">Oculus scoop up Nimble VR</a>, a startup that's been working on hand tracking for the Oculus Rift.</p><p>Nimble has been working on hand tracking with 3D camera technology (think Kinect) since 2012, and today they ended an already-funded Kickstarter campaign to join the team at Oculus. Oculus VR also hired 13th Lab, a team "focused on developing an efficient and accurate real-time 3D reconstruction framework" for modeling real-world locations. Cities, the Egyptian pyramids, etc.</p><p>Nimble's hiring will likely affect Oculus hardware, while 13th Lab's hiring will more likely affect software, like the video games Oculus is developing in-house, or virtual tourism applications that create 3D models of real environments. Both are exciting, but we're especially interested to see whether Nimble's 3D depth camera is integrated into the eventual Oculus consumer model.</p><p>Nimble's Kickstarter was for a new camera the company developed called the Nimble Sense. Nimble developed the camera after working on software for existing 3D cameras, including the Kinect. Their camera offered a 110 degree field of view for capturing hand movements. Check out the prototype in their Kickstarter video. It's impressive stuff.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v_U3BmDlmtc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The video shows a couple gameplay demos, like cutting and re-fusing alarm wires by hand and&nbsp;a simpler demo of manipulating and rolling dice. Nimble also has a gameplay demo that lets the player blast lightning out of their hands to zap enemies.</p><p>Those demos show the potential Nimble has for simple game interactions. Latency, which is 20 ms&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-11-20-nimble-sense-hands-on-with-virtual-reality">according to GI.biz</a>, doesn't look like much of a problem. It's hard to spot in the video below.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BNiaFrVi9xM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Just Cause 3 screenshot dump promises flexible mayhemhttp://www.pcgamer.com/just-cause-3-screenshot-dump-promises-flexible-mayhem/21 fresh screenshots show skydiving, airborne gas canisters and general violence.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:19:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/just-cause-3-screenshot-dump-promises-flexible-mayhem/ActionAdventureAvalanche StudiosJust Cause 3NewsSquare Enix Oculus Rift racer Radial-G launches on Steam Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-racer-radial-g-launches-on-steam-early-access/Virtual racing, real vomiting.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 21:52:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-racer-radial-g-launches-on-steam-early-access/NewsOculus RIFTRacingRadial-GTammeka <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rzJhHHPlKqE?list=UUk41S9ft15SY2LCvbNnLJbA&amp;vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The high-speed VR racer Radial-G: Racing Revolved hit <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/330770/">Steam Early Access</a> today, and I think it's fair to say that a lot has changed since our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/radial-g-1/">early hands-on</a> in July. The Early Access release includes one world with three tracks, three selectable ships, single-player and 16-player online multiplayer modes, and support for the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2.</p><p> Radial-G took a run at <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tammekagames/radial-g-a-high-octane-sci-fi-racer-for-the-vr-gen?ref=nav_search">Kickstarter</a> over the summer but actually failed to meet its goal. The Tammeka Games development team sees Early Access as an alternative way for fans to support the game's development. "We will pump all the funds generated from Early Access sales straight back into development to bring more content and additional features forward and available sooner, whilst adding the final polish needed for full release," it said in the Early Access announcement.</p><p> A full release date hasn't been announced but the Early Access period is expected to take no more than three months. The full version will include more tracks and environments, additional track features, and fully-implemented audio rather than the current placeholder music and effects. Multiplayer support will be increased to 32 players, and the developers plan to add additional game modes for both single and multiplayer post-launch.</p><p> The Early Access edition of Radial-G goes for $13, while the full version will go for a higher but as-yet-unannounced price. There's also a free, single-player-only demo available at <a href="http://radial-g.com/">radial-g.com</a>.</p> Digital Storm unveils small form-factor Eclipse, starting at $699http://www.pcgamer.com/digital-storm-unveils-new-small-form-factor-machine-starting-at-699/It's a little bigger than an Xbox One, but a whole lot more powerful fully equipped.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:51:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/digital-storm-unveils-new-small-form-factor-machine-starting-at-699/Digital StormHardwareNewsTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7xWmZsDpR3y6.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RG2xZUe_gkW_.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eclipse"></p><p>Digital Storm has <a href="http://www.digitalstormonline.com/eclipse.asp">announced</a> Eclipse, a new small form-factor PC aimed at balancing gaming power at an affordable price. At 15" x 14" x 4", the Eclipse is just slightly larger than a gaming console, but packs&nbsp;the power of a desktop PC.</p><p>The Eclipse comes in four version, priced at $699, $899, $999, and $1,299. The low-end model has an unlocked&nbsp;Intel Pentium CPU and AMD Radeon R7 260X GPU, while the next level upgrades to an Intel i3 4350 and Radeon R9 270X.</p><p>At $999, the processor is beefed up to an Intel i5 4590 and an Nvidia GTX 760, and finally the top tier model boasts an i5 4690K and 4GB Nvidia GTX 970. All four models have 8GB 1600MHz RAM and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD, but the top tier model alone also sports a 120GB Samsung EVO SSD. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4vGqUbKgTLm5.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cj1VLfvJ7-qz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eclipse Specs"></p><p>The front panel has your standard audio outs as well as two USB 3.0 ports, while the back panel features another four USB 3.0s, two USB 2.0, and two HDMI outs for easy dual-monitor setups.&nbsp;</p><p>The small form factor chassis is constructed of reinforced plastic with a steel body, and the case is designed to make component upgrades a relatively simple affair. We'd recommend adding an SSD&nbsp;if you pick up one of the lower-end Eclipse boxes. It's not the kind of case you're going to be doing tons of fiddling around in, though. Digital Storm built this to be compact&mdash;it's a bit bigger than an Xbox One (10.8" x 13.1" x 3.1"), but still compact for a more powerful PC.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zJGsg9ZGQ164.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oFESGN9q0L8l.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Eclipse Interior"></p><p>The Eclipse is available now through <a href="http://www.digitalstormonline.com/eclipse.asp">Digital Storm</a> online.</p> EVE Online Mega Bundle includes starter pack and four add-ons for $5http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-online-mega-bundle-includes-starter-pack-and-four-add-ons-for-5/ MadOrc's EVE Online bundle is a seriously cheap way to get into the game.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:48:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/eve-online-mega-bundle-includes-starter-pack-and-four-add-ons-for-5/CCP GamesEVE OnlineMMONews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H_relmThS7S5.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ID_aB3uP2Bhy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="EVE Online best games"></p><p>Did last month's glorious <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ccp-unleashes-spectacular-this-is-eve-trailer-urge-to-play-eve-rises/">"This Is EVE" trailer</a> fill you with an urge to seek your destiny among the stars? If so, the good people at MadOrc have a deal you might want to look into: The <a href="https://www.madorc.com/deals/eve-online-mega-bundle">EVE Online Mega Bundle</a>, including the Core Starter Pack and four add-ons, for just five bucks.</p><p>The package includes the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/320554/?snr=1_5_9__405">Skirmisher</a>, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/320551/?snr=1_5_9__405">Colonist</a>, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/320552/?snr=1_5_9__405">Explorer</a>, and <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/320553/?snr=1_5_9__405">Industrialist</a> add-ons, each of which adds a new ship to the game, a full set of related skillbooks and equipment, avatar apparel, and other related bits and pieces. They normally go for $5 a pop, on top of the $20 price tag for the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/8500/">Core Starter Pack</a> itself, which makes this probably the best way you're going to find to get into EVE Online short of CCP making it free to play.</p><p>The Core Starter Pack includes 30 days of game time, which unfortunately only new players are eligible for. Existing EVE players can still make use of the codes for the expansion packs, however, so it's still a sweet bargain&nbsp;for anyone who hasn't picked them up.</p><p>And if your first question, like mine, is, "What's this MadOrc business all about?" then I direct you to the <a href="https://www.madorc.com/faq">FAQ</a>. "MadOrc is a new eCommerce solution for gamers, and a spin-off project made by the same awesome people who created Overwolf," it states. "The product you will get is exactly the same as if you bought it for the full price. We are able to offer all those deals because we offer the sellers some serious exposure, for a discount on their product."</p><p>There is one catch: MadOrc offerings come with an expiration date. The EVE Online Mega Bundle comes to an end on December 17, and as the FAQ puts it, "When the deal's done, it's done."</p> The first Evil Within DLC will arrive early next yearhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-first-evil-within-dlc-will-arrive-early-next-year/Do you stand with Mobius?Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:11:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-first-evil-within-dlc-will-arrive-early-next-year/Bethesda SoftworksHorrorNewsTango GameworksThe Evil Within <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tVLXnueEQ-KG.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cpo4ZXOKSk_o.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Evil Within"></p><p>Bethesda Softworks has announced that the first DLC release for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-review/">The Evil Within</a> will be arrive&nbsp;in early 2015. Entitled The Assignment, the new content will be the first of two DLC expansions&nbsp;focusing on Juli Kidman, the mysterious partner of Detective Sebastian Castellanos.</p><p>"We approached the DLC from the perspective that, while Juli is enigmatic during the main game, there were additionally lots of other mysteries about the world and the characters that could be cleared up or hinted at by playing as her. She is a character who seems rather 'aware' of her situation, after all," John Johanas, the game director of The Assignment, explained on the <a href="http://www.bethblog.com/2014/12/11/dlc-takes-hold/">Bethesda Blog</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>"Early on, we listed the things that we wanted to answer and ones we wanted to keep open and worked around that. We definitely leave some of the mysteries open, but I feel we shed a lot of light on the lore of Ruvik, STEM, and the characters while asking (and answering) a whole new set of questions regarding Juli and her mission."</p><p>Johanas said the two sections of the original game that had the greatest impact on the DLC are chapter five, "where you were trapped in a very oppressive are of the game and the horror element was at its strongest," and chapter nine, which was more about exploration and solving puzzles to uncover more of the story behind the game. Juli is also "much livelier" than Sebastian, so there will be more banter and commentary during play.</p><p>The Assignment will be the first of three DLC releases included in The Evil Within <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/318750/">season pass</a>, which goes for $20. Individual DLC pricing and a specific release date have not yet been set.</p> Door Kickers reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/door-kickers-review/Door Kickers is a difficult, rewarding puzzler so obsessed with its tactical ideas that it rejects all elsewhich is probably for the best anyway.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:35:51 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/door-kickers-review/Door KickersReviewsStrategy <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> Single-player, top-down tactical puzzler <br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong> Windows 8, Core i5, 8GB RAM, GTX 970 <br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> Dual-core processor, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 9000 series / Radeon HD series <br> <strong>Copy protection: </strong>Steam <br> <strong>Price:</strong> $20/£15 <br> <strong>Release date:</strong> Out now <br> <strong>Publisher:</strong> Killhouse Games <br> <strong>Developer: </strong> Killhouse Games <br> <strong>Multiplayer:</strong> None <br> <strong>Website:</strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://inthekillhouse.com/" target="_blank">Official site</a> </p> </div><p> Almost immediately after I’m spotted, the bad guys kill the hostage. I take a brief moment to unleash a string of curses and rack my brain. There must be another route I can take, another plan that would give this scenario a happy ending. I tinker with the map and reset, and soon I hear a meaty splat as the hostage gets killed again.</p><p> Door Kickers is a game about cops kicking down doors, and these doors are a lot of fun to kick down. It is also very hard, and I love it for that. Played from a top-down, pausable view, this is the game that happens when Rainbow Six’s planning stage grows up and finds a home on a modern engine. It is also one of the most finely detailed, cleverly executed puzzle games I’ve played in years.</p><h2>Fog of war</h2><p> Each mission in Door Kickers starts with a deployment phase. Within this phase, I see the target house as a set of blueprints, atop which I can change shooters’ equipment and starting positions. As missions become more complex, the deployment phase becomes where I make some of my most important decisions. Door Kickers is a great tactical game because it is a great question generator:</p><p> Are there narrow hallways? Will all firefights be up close? Are there hostages? Do I have sharpshooter support? Is there furniture? Is there evidence to save? Do the bad guys have bigger guns than me? Every piece of information changes the ideal approach and forces adaptation.</p><p> After the deployment screen, the mission begins with time paused. From the paused overview, I drag paths for officers to follow, change the direction they’re covering, and order them to breach a door. This simple array of options becomes a complicated choreography of death pretty fast. In later missions, my eight officers follow a dance routine with hundreds of steps, pauses, shooting angles, and go-codes. Giving these orders is straightforward and malleable, but the interface is missing some important functions. If I give two units overlapping paths (walking single-file next to a wall, for example), I don’t have any way of selecting one trail over another when I want to edit it. To work around this, I have my units walk behind and to the side of each other, but that’s frequently a poor decision, tactics-wise. With eight officers in a narrow hallways, it also gets downright silly.</p><p> Some of the other limitations of this system are simply built into the game engine: there’s no crouching or leaning, so the game’s combat takes place entirely on a two-dimensional plane with straight lines. It rarely <em>feels</em> as flat as it is, but there are occasions where I would love to stack a crouched unit under a standing unit, and these are the times when the game’s simulation feels most like a puzzle game and least like a camera looking down on a real-life SWAT situation.</p><h2>Crime wave</h2><p>After learning the basic commands, which the early missions walk through gently, I set about trying to ace each of the 78 standalone missions, running them over and over again to correct my dumb mistakes. This takes hours and hours, and should I suddenly become talented at Door Kickers (unlikely), I’ll have a powerful map editor ready to create more. The Steam community is populating the integrated Workshop with almost 200 new scenarios, many of which are indistinguishable from the professional efforts. This is the game’s greatest strength: failure is instructive, puzzles are infinite, and restarting is effortless. In some ways the process of attacking a new map reminds me of debugging computer code: first go here, then go here, then do this. Compile. Oops. Do it again.</p><p>I don’t mean to make Door Kickers sound dry. This is a flashy, interesting world full of seedy drug dens and cartel-owned mansions. Blood sprays and broken glass chart my violent progress through every level. And Door Kickers has&nbsp;amazing sound design. The soundtrack is a little too<em> wub-wub</em> for my tastes, but I can’t deny that it runs perfectly underneath splintering doorframes and crackling submachine guns.</p><p>It’s definitely not dry, but it may be slightly too distilled. I find myself mildly uncomfortable with a game that celebrates the trappings of the warrior cop. Every bad guy in the game, from cartel enforcers to bank robbers, is designated as a “terrorist” in the map description. Every solution to every problem is swift and lethal. Every upgrade is a bigger gun. While it is technically possible to subdue and arrest criminals with tasers, the game gives no incentive or reward for anything less than obliteration.</p><p>There’s also no story at all, which simultaneously makes it feel more like a puzzle game and less connected to the consequences of violent law enforcement. There are five campaigns available, with more planned by the dev team, but these are just several thematically connected missions run in sequence. The campaigns raise the stakes for perfectly executing missions, but this is not a game that is interested in telling a story.</p><p>And in many ways more germane than my squeamishness surrounding current events and aggressive policing, that’s perfectly fine. Door Kickers isn’t interested in politics, and no one is going to demand my gun and my badge at the end of the day. This is a finely, keenly produced expression of a problem (a room full of baddies) and its solution (guns). I find that I’m happy to set aside my reservations and enjoy what is, in every meaningful respect, a puzzle game worth solving.</p> The Talos Principle launch trailer hints at mystery and puzzleshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle-launch-trailer-hints-at-mystery-and-puzzles/Allegorical puzzler is out today.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:31:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle-launch-trailer-hints-at-mystery-and-puzzles/CroteamNewsPuzzleThe Talos Principle <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Vu9QFBWb7WQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The Talos Principle is out today. It's a first-person&nbsp;puzzle game about lasers, computers and doing what you're told. Or not doing what you're told, as the case may be. This trailer offers a few hints as to what's inside.</p><p>I've played it for a few hours, and so far have enjoyed placing jammer devices near hovering bomb-bots. Chris, meanwhile,&nbsp;has played it for much longer, and has some more profound and useful thoughts. He's jotted them all down&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-talos-principle-review/" target="_blank">in our review</a>.</p><p>The Talos Principle is available on&nbsp;Steam. I'd provide a link, but if you can't work out how to get there, you're probably not ready for the game's puzzles.</p> Three Lane Highway: how to play Dota 2 and feel good about it afterwardshttp://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-how-to-play-dota-2-and-feel-good-about-it-afterwards/Chris returns to the 'attitude question': just how do you resist the temptation to lose your temper?Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-how-to-play-dota-2-and-feel-good-about-it-afterwards/Dota 2MOBAThree Lane HighwayValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VX7bjiBsSKO7.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O1oPGMwJYaOM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Troll Warlord"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/"><em>Three Lane Highway</em></a><em> is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2.</em></p><p>I've written a lot about the importance of attitude in Dota 2. 'How you act' is as interesting and important a subject to me as 'how you play'&mdash;or, at the very least, it's the subject that I feel I'm more qualified to talk about. I've got two and a half years of Dota experience, but significantly more experience of being a human who has to interact with other humans in order to achieve things and be happy. Dota is no different to a vast number of other difficult things you might try to do with other people in that regard, and there are patterns of thought and behaviour that, once you learn them, are a general help. You will be a better player, I've always argued, if you spend some time learning how to avoid being a dick.</p><p>I've come at this idea from a <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-teamplay-underdogs-and-the-road-to-a-better-community/">couple</a> of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-your-dota-guy-is-having-a-good-time-and-so-should-you/">different</a> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-revisited-anger-as-failure-and-other-thoughts-on-empathy-in-dota/">angles</a> over the last six months. Recently, though, I've had another run of unhappy encounters with the game. You might have picked up half a paragraph ago that there's a 'but' coming&mdash;something that complicates my typically unquestioning approach to The Importance Of Being Nice. There is a 'but' coming, I'm afraid. Specifically, a 'butt'. I am the butt. I have been a butt, lately. That was a pun. I am really sorry.</p><p>I've realised, the hard way, that keeping your shit together during a stressful game isn't something that you learn once and take for granted. Even writing essays about this stuff isn't enough, it turns out, to prevent a backslide into being a backside to your friends. I experience this feeling of having broken my own rules with sufficient regularity that it has become a recognisable psychological scenario in my life: lying in bed about 1am, wishing that I could have closed out that last game of Dota without being a dick in this way or that, feeling generally and pervasively unhappy about the type of person I can become under pressure.</p><p>If you've got to this point in the article and thought "chill out, man, it's just a game" then, well, yes, that's the goal. But games make you have all kinds of thoughts and feelings&mdash;that's why you play them. You probably play Dota 2 because of the feelings it makes you have, and those feelings make you do things. Controlling <em>what</em> the game makes you do is important. There's no 'just a game' here because games are powerful, and no 'chill out, man' because chilling out is, paradoxically, hard and requires work. Besides: I've been going deep on Dota 2 for long enough now that I might as well keep going. I'm pretty far up the Mekong at this point. The horror, the horror, and so on.</p><p>I've realised that setting yourself rules doesn't work if you struggle to provide yourself with an environment where following the rules comes naturally. An analogy for this problem would be the difference between a practice game and a streamed competitive match: the strats you plan, the high-concept drafts you consider can crumble quickly when the parameters of the game change. The same is true for a rule like "never start a sentence with 'why'"&mdash;it makes tremendous sense on paper, but Christ! Why <em>did</em> she/he/we try to contest a Roshan attempt that she/he/we <em>knew</em> they were ready to defend? This stuff is rhetorical comfort food. It's bad for you, but it makes you feel better and it's hard to resist unless you are specifically ready to resist it.</p><p>One of my new rules, appropriately enough, comes from preparing for competitive matches: <strong>treat every game like somebody else is watching</strong>. I realised that my outlook is generally more positive when I'm streaming or playing with strangers. If I treat Dota 2 like a performance then&nbsp;I find it less stressful and my behaviour is better. There are obvious concerns raised here about how authentic I'm being&mdash;but honestly, I'm authentically an asshole. I'd rather be a pretend person who is fun to play with.</p><p>The second point is related, but almost the thematic opposite: <strong>watch how other people play for your benefit, not theirs</strong>. I'm <em>terrible</em> at this, because I'm bossy and habitually micromanage unless I make myself stop. The key thing I've realised is that in the vast majority of cases the small inefficiencies I might perceive in someone else's play are either entirely in my head or totally insignificant to the match as a whole. The urge to educate is more accurately an urge to replicate my own behaviour in somebody else. And I suck! I'm far more likely to learn something about what I'm doing wrong by watching somebody than find something to correct in them&mdash;and its even less likely that what I attempt to correct will be so significant that it's worth sundering the mood of the game to do so.</p><p>There's one exception to this, and it's when someone has actively and clearly asked you to comment on what they're doing. It's nice to be micromanaged by a better player&mdash;useful, fun, energising. You should try it. But doing so unbidden, deliberately or not, is pointless. You might as well walk up to somebody in the street, look at their outfit, and advise them to wear all of your clothes because they're your clothes, and they fit you, so they must be the right clothes.</p><p>The key here, I think, is recognising the benefits of <strong>actively cohabiting rather than passively coexisting</strong>. That sounds pseudish and awful but there's truth there. Being actively engaged is key, because you can't ever trust your passive urges to lead you in the right direction. I might really want to chew somebody out for a mistake, and it might make me feel better, but I know from repeated experience that it'll make me feel bad later. I'd be dumb to fall into that trap again.</p><p>Finally: <strong>quit while you're ahead</strong>. There's another thing you should never do even if you really want to, and that's play another game of Dota 2 when you just lost one and you're already tired but you <em>really</em> want to win. This is <em>the</em> error, for me. It is the fun-killer, the little death that brings total obliteration. You've got to Bene Gesserit up in the face of that 'just one more' urge. It won't be fine next time. You won't learn, because you're already tilting. Nobody ever turned a tilt around by tilting harder in the same direction. Tilts do not work that way. They are not cyclical.</p><p>The ultimate way to create a scenario where you don't lose your temper with your friends is to <strong>go the fuck to sleep</strong>. You can't stare at the ceiling at 1am regretting your decisions if you're happily unconscious by then. This is the nuclear option, I guess, but honestly? The community as a whole would be much more positive place if Valve tried an event where players earned Arcanas by taking a lovely nap every time they lost a game.</p><p><em>To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em></p> John Romero shows unseen DOOM art for 21st anniversaryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/john-romero-shows-unseen-doom-art-on-21st-anniversary/See previously unrevealed DOOM assets, courtesy of the game's designer.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:24:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/john-romero-shows-unseen-doom-art-on-21st-anniversary/DoomFPSJohn RomeroNews Steam Winter sale starts next week, according to PayPalhttp://www.pcgamer.com/rumour-steam-winter-sale-starts-next-week-according-to-paypal-email/The mega-sale cometh!Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:57:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/rumour-steam-winter-sale-starts-next-week-according-to-paypal-email/NewsSteam <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u6L13KwTRQ2D.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xeSSryXVWQth.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Steam Sale hasn't started yet, so here's a steam sail." class=""><figcaption>The Steam Sale hasn't started yet, so here's a steam sail.</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Update: </strong>Reddit thread creator&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/user/Quantumbinman" target="_blank">Quantumbinman</a> just forwarded me PayPal Japan's email, and it's entirely legit&mdash;and mirrored&nbsp;on a PayPal domain. It's official! The Steam sale is exactly one week away!</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-9wRyxbRRJK3.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HAYETWzOlAMh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Steam Sale"></p><p><strong>Original:&nbsp;</strong>PayPal have allegedly done it again. Still heady from leaking the start date of last month's Autumn sale, PayPal Japan has seemingly emailed a Reddit user the date of the Winter Sale. It's December 18th, based on the image linked in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/Steam/comments/2ou501/psa_steam_winter_sale_begins_december_18/" target="_blank">this here thread</a>.</p><p>To be clear, this is unconfirmed. The PayPal early warning system has been a long-standing and reliable indicator of an imminent Steam Sale. But also, I don't get email alerts from PayPal Japan, so can't exactly verify that the screenshot snapshot is real.</p><p>Here's the thing, though: I suspect it might be. Last year, the sale landed on the 19th&mdash;the Thursday before Christmas week. This year, that day&nbsp;falls on the 18th. Common sense says that yes, that's probably the one.</p><p><em>But</em>, there's also this: December 18th is the release date of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and new games aren't traditionally released during the sale period.</p><p>Should you care, only a few weeks after the Autumn Sale? Maybe. The Winter Sale is both longer and bigger, and while many of the Daily Deal discounts will be the same, more games will make it into the featured slots. And they'll probably do something weird with meta-challenges and trading cards and rare collectibles for free-to-play titles, if you're into that.</p><p>Still, if you can't wait to spend money, you can always head to either&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gog.com/" target="_blank">GOG&nbsp;</a>or&nbsp;<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store" target="_blank">Humble</a>, where seasonal sales are happening right now.</p> World of Warships trailer shows first in-engine footagehttp://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-gameplay-trailer/Get a first glimpse ofWargaming's third World of WarThing.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:55:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-gameplay-trailer/NewsWargamingWorld of Warships <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7dvqx9RyzOs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>First, there was the popular World of Tanks. Sometime after that,&nbsp;World of Warplanes happened. Now, Wargaming are preparing to unleash the third in their&nbsp;World of WarThings series.&nbsp;Unless they've got a World of Wartrains in production, it could also be the last.</p><p>World of Warships is currently docked for&nbsp;closed beta. In preparation for the weekend's test, Wargaming has released a new trailer featuring in-engine footage of&nbsp;the game. It's not as bombastic as their CGI shorts, but it should give a more realistic sense of how the finished product will look.</p><p>If you'd like to give this weekend's test a go, you can still get in on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warships-win-access-to-this-week/">our 1,000 key&nbsp;competition</a>. You have until today,&nbsp;at&nbsp;4:30pm GMT to sign up.</p> Y2K is an indie JRPG about hipsters and panda plushieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/y2k-is-an-indie-jrpg-about-hipsters-and-panda-plushies/Travel through a '90s message board, poke a pyramid in the eye.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:53:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/y2k-is-an-indie-jrpg-about-hipsters-and-panda-plushies/JRPGNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vxKzqAW5S06R.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7uJzwrPr1l7m.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Y2k"></p><p> Is it still a JRPG if it's developed by Americans? That's both a 21st century&nbsp;kōan, and a genuine question I have of Y2K. Perhaps it's more accurate to call it a J-style RPG; taking the design philosophies of the genre, and tying them to a Western story that's nevertheless inspired by the novelist&nbsp;Haruki Murakami.</p><p> All you really need to know is that the main character's weapon is a vinyl record. Also that there are&nbsp;"weaponized panda plushies".</p><p> Your own&nbsp;tolerance&nbsp;for hipster culture, plushies&nbsp;or&nbsp;surreal depictions of '90s-era technology aside, the developer has posted a few pre-alpha videos and they're looking pretty promising. Already they offer a good overview of the battles, puzzle-style and weirdness of the game:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6apaASZqZ5M?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/93bc_K0Cm1I?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Y2K is due out for Windows, Mac, Linux and various&nbsp;Playstation devices. There's no release date yet, but you can follow its progress over at&nbsp;<a href="https://ackkstudios.wordpress.com/project-y2k/" target="_blank">the dev's site</a>.</p><p> <em>Note: Y2K was brought to my attention by Cassandra Khaw, who is both business developer for the game's publisher, Ysbryd Games, and an occasional writer for PC Gamer.</em></p> Tropico 5: Waterborne expansion announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/tropico-5-waterborne-expansion-announced/El Presidente goes nautical in Tropico 5's first major expansion.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 10:35:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tropico-5-waterborne-expansion-announced/Haemimont GamesKalypso MediaNewsStrategyTropico 5 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TOWkfF6HSE-G.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0tLIe83e-a3D.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tropico 5 (1)"></p><p>Here's the problem: you're building up your island&nbsp;paradise, and yes, there's some lingering corruption, harsh work practices and perhaps an assassination or two. And yes, as the ruler of that island, you may have instigated all of them. But, just as you're reaching the peak of your vision, you run out of space. What to do?</p><p>In fairness to Tropico 5, its islands are the most expansive and spacious in the series. Nevertheless, developer Haemimont will let you cast off the shackles of land in the upcoming Waterborne expansion. It's not "under the sea," as such&mdash;leave that for the objectivists&mdash;but it is <em>on </em>the sea.</p><p>The expansion comes with a new six-mission campaign, nine off-shore buildings, new islands and, most importantly of all, new background music. I'm not even joking: the song's existing song repetition is one of its most maddening aspects. A few more Dominican ditties are long overdue.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N0pAP4ZjS1mh.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U2XisxdDEbEi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tropico 5 (2)"></p><p>As for what you'll be able to do with these new off-shore buildings, a press release explains:</p><p><em>"</em><em>Organise and coordinate transport to structures like the kelp and oyster farms, construct tidal power plants as an eco-friendly alternative to nuclear power and build gorgeous floating apartments if you’re running out of space on the island! Launch military submarines to bolster your naval forces or create an exotic bathysphere attraction to compliment your bustling tourist paradise."</em></p><p>Tropico 5: Waterborne is out next week, on 17 December. For more on Tropico 5,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tropico-5-review/" target="_blank">here's our review</a>.</p> Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gets reimagined Train maphttp://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-gets-reimagined-train-map/The old classic gets a number of small (and not so small) changes.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 04:33:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive-gets-reimagined-train-map/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSNewsValve <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0Z0YQZvoQa6F.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_2XRPvMaxlr5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 3.09.24 pm" style="font-size: 14px; background-color: initial;"></p><div><p>Beloved classic Counter-Strike map Train has been rebuilt from the ground up for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/counter-strike-global-offensive/">Global Offensive</a>. In addition to a graphical upgrade, the new Train map ushers in some "intuitive layout changes" and is available in the Operation Vanguard map group across a variety of game modes.</p><p>But what of these "intuitive layout changes"? The details can be perused over on this rather <a href="http://www.counter-strike.net/reintroducing_train">thorough blogpost</a>, but whole sections of the map have been removed (such as the middle tunnel in the yard) while the bomb site has been shifted to another corner of the map. </p><p>Check out the video below for all the gory details. The map arrives as part of a new patch which is detailed <a href="http://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/2014/12/11053/">here</a>.</p></div><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5oGRcdMmMXc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Opening 100+ Goblins vs Gnomes Hearthstone card packshttp://www.pcgamer.com/opening-100-goblins-vs-gnomes-hearthstone-card-packs/We opened over100 Goblins vs Gnomes card packs in Hearthstone; let the legendaries flow!Thu, 11 Dec 2014 01:34:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/opening-100-goblins-vs-gnomes-hearthstone-card-packs/Card GameFree To PlayGoblins vs GnomesHearthstoneVideos <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rjBBvm2sjXo" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> When&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-goblins-vs-gnomes-latest-cards-reviewed/">Tim</a> first suggested we open over 100&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/goblins-vs-gnomes/">Goblins vs Gnomes</a> card packs on his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a> account, it was a heartbreaking prospect. Not because he'd have to buy that many packs, but because after we opened them all I would have to return back to the significantly lacking account that has&nbsp;<em>my</em> card collection. But in the end, going through them all and getting a tour of what the new expansion has to offer was a blast. Watch the video to see&nbsp;what we ended up pulling, and to watch us freak out when an unexpected guest appears.</p> Samsung 850 EVO SSD reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-850-evo-ssd-review/The 850 EVO is faster than last year's model, but isn't quite the same great price-per-gigabyte bargain.Thu, 11 Dec 2014 00:06:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-850-evo-ssd-review/HardwareSamsungSSDTech <p>For the past year, Samsung's&nbsp;840 EVO SSD has been a benchmark for SATA SSDs. Crucial’s MX100 surpassed it, offering a slightly faster drive at a slightly better price, but the 840 EVO is still one of the best drives available when it comes to price and performance. That means the 850 EVO has a lot to live up to. Can it take the best of the new high-performance Samsung 850 Pro and offer it in a cheaper, consumer-focused SSD without sacrificing speed?</p><p>The answer is yes, but speed isn’t what’s exciting about the 850 EVO. It’s only marginally faster than its predecessor, the 840 EVO, and with the limitations of the SATA interface, it isn’t as fast as some PCIe SSDs. If you already own an 840 EVO or a similarly speedy SSD, there’s no reason for you to run out and upgrade to the 850 EVO.</p><p>Instead, there are two enticing selling points for new customers: improved durability and a new five year warranty. The 850 EVO is built to last. And, yeah, it’s pretty fast, too.</p><p>Here are Samsung’s claimed specs for the 256GB model of the Samsung 850 EVO, which is the one we tested:</p><ul> <li>Sequential read speed: 540 MB/s</li><li>Sequential write speed: 520 MB/s</li><li>4KB random read speed: 97,000 IOPs</li><li>4KB random write speed: 88,000 IOPs</li></ul><p>For comparison’s sake, the 840 EVO claimed sequential reads of 520 MB/s and writes of only 410 MB/s. But more important are the endurance numbers Samsung puts up:</p><ul> <li>850 EVO: 75 terabytes of writes for 120/250GB models. 150 terabytes of writes for 500GB/1TB models.</li><li>840 EVO: 40 terabytes of writes for 120/250 GB models. 80 terabytes of writes for 500GB/1TB models.</li></ul><p>Samsung guarantees that the 850 EVO will function after nearly twice as many data writes as the 840 EVO, which gives it that nice bump up to a 5 year warranty. To write 75 terabytes of data to the drive in five years, you’d have to do 40 gigabytes of writes every day. And these are just the guarantees; <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/two-ssds-survive-after-more-than-2-petabytes-of-write-tests/">a year-long endurance test at The Tech Report</a> saw an 840 EVO survive for 700 terabytes of writes before giving up the ghost.</p><p>The improved performance and endurance of the the 850 EVO comes from some new technology Samsung has implemented: 3D V-NAND, stacking 32 layers of cells on top of one another. That technology doesn’t have any bearing on using the drive day-to-day, but if you want more detail, <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8747/samsung-ssd-850-evo-review">Anandtech has you covered</a>.</p><p>We benchmarked the 850 EVO against its predecessor, the newer 850 Pro, and a couple other SSDs we had available. All the SSDs were connected to a Haswell-E 5960X system running Windows 8.1 with 32GB of RAM. Here are some basic results from Crystal Disk Mark:</p><div><table><colgroup><col><col><col></colgroup><tbody><tr><td><strong>SSD</strong></td><td><strong>Sequential Read</strong></td><td><strong>Sequential Write</strong></td><td><strong>4K Random Read (QD=32)</strong></td><td><strong>4K Random Write (QD=32)</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Samsung 850 EVO (250 GB)</td><td>510 MB/s</td><td>493 MB/s</td><td>390 MB/s</td><td>334 MB/s</td></tr><tr><td>Samsung 850 Pro (1TB)</td><td>540 MB/s</td><td>501 MB/s</td><td>400 MB/s</td><td>349 MB/s</td></tr><tr><td>Samsung 840 EVO (1TB)</td><td>512 MB/s</td><td>494 MB/s</td><td>351 MB/s</td><td>351 MB/s</td></tr><tr><td>Sandisk Extreme II</td><td>526 MB/s</td><td>483 MB/s</td><td>288 MB/s</td><td>213 MB/s</td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>As you can see, all the drives returned similar results, with just a few standout categories. The SanDisk Extreme II and Samsung 850 Pro delivered very fast sequential reads, but all of Samsung’s SSDs stayed pretty competitive. The 850 EVO’s slower random write speed is partially due to its size of 250GB compared to the other two 1TB Samsung drives we hand on-hand. <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8747/samsung-ssd-850-evo-review/8">Anandtech found</a> that the 1TB model of the 850 EVO performed about 50 MB/s faster in 4K random reads than its 250GB version.</p><p>Our benchmarks with ATTO show how consistently the drives perform, but you can see that the 850 EVO has a slight speed edge over the 840 EVO, and continues to ramp up in speed at larger transfer sizes, unlike the Sandisk Extreme II.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zKeywKhkTTWr.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ItdFcSncBDyL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Samsung 850 Pro Atto"></p><p>The Samsung 850 EVO is plenty fast, and its reliability will be a great benefit for anyone doing gigabytes of writes on a daily basis. Price is where the 850 EVO falters.</p><p>Amazon is currently selling pre-orders of the 250GB drive for $140, which is $10 cheaper than its MSRP. The 840 EVO performs similarly in most use cases&mdash;you’ll be hard pressed to notice the speed difference&mdash;and only costs $125 for 250GB. And the Crucial MX100&mdash;which we didn’t benchmark, but is the current go-to recommendation for a cheap, high-performance SSD&mdash;costs only $110 for a 256GB model.</p><p>The Samsung 850 Pro and Sandisk Extreme II are more premium-priced SSDs at $175 and $185 for 250GB and 240GB, respectively. For gaming and general system usage, there’s little perceivable difference between the consumer and “professional” drives. You don’t need to spend more.</p><p>It’s hard to recommend the 850 EVO over the MX100 unless you’re particularly worried about SSD longevity, or want that five year warranty (Crucial’s warranty is three years). Samsung does offer one other bonus in the form of its Magician Software, which includes a cool feature called Rapid mode. Rapid uses some of your RAM as a cache to speed up transfer performance. It turns in incredible benchmark numbers in some tests (up to 6 GB/s!), but is slower in other situations. It’s not enough to justify the higher price.</p><p>Here's the MSRP breakdown for each 850 EVO model.</p><ul> <li>$100 for 120GB ($90 Amazon)</li><li>$150 for 250GB ($140 Amazon)</li><li>$270 for 500GB ($250 Amazon)</li><li>$500 for 1TB ($470 Amazon)</li></ul><p>The 250GB 850 EVO is a great SSD that’s about $30 too expensive to be the best price/performance bargain out there. If Amazon slices a few more dollars off the price, this will be the SSD to get.</p> Lenovo recalls 500,000 laptop power cords due to fire hazardhttp://www.pcgamer.com/lenovo-recalls-500000-laptop-power-cords-due-to-fire-hazard/If you own a Lenovo laptop, make sure your power cord isn't affected.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:54:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lenovo-recalls-500000-laptop-power-cords-due-to-fire-hazard/HardwareLaptopsNewsTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pob-nl0zSr-z.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kbcVwWv4gcrm.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lenovo Z Series"></p><p>According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/Lenovo-Recalls-Computer-Power-Cords/">Consumer Product Safety Commission</a>, Lenovo is recalling more than 500,000 laptop power cords in the U.S. and Canada. The affected product is the LS-15 AC power cord, about which the company has received 15 complaints reporting burning, sparking, and overheating. Anyone currently using one of these cords should contact Lenovo for a free replacement.</p><p>The recalled cord was manufactured between February and December 2011 and was sold with B-, G-, S-, U-, V- and Z-series IdeaPad laptops and B-, G- and V-series Lenovo laptops between February 2011 and June 2012. The recall is only for the cord that connects the AC power adapter to the electrical wall socket, not the AC adapter itself that plugs into the laptop. </p><p><a href="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/lenovo-fire-hazard-cord-power,28197.html#xtor=RSS-181">Via Tom's Hardware</a>, you can see&nbsp;<a href="http://support.lenovo.com/il/en/powercord2014">a full list of the affected laptops here</a>. If you own a Lenovo notebook, make sure your cord isn't on the list.</p><p>While the recall is for around 500,000 cords in the US and 44,000 in Canada, all incident reports, which include overheating, sparking, melting, and burning, originated outside the US. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported. Let's keep it that way.</p> That Dragon, Cancer successfully funded; stretch goals announcedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/that-dragon-cancer-successfully-funded-stretch-goals-announced/Project now confirmed for PC following successful campaign.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:46:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/that-dragon-cancer-successfully-funded-stretch-goals-announced/AdventureCancerNewsThat Dragon <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Ma3OIusZRpCi.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k0gluohPLbgw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.34.02 am"></p><p>Days before its&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/godatplay/that-dragon-cancer/posts">Kickstarter campaign</a> was scheduled to finish,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/that-dragon-cancer-is-coming-to-pc-and-mac/">That Dragon, Cancer</a> has successful met, and surpassed, its initial funding goal of $85,000. That means its release is a certainty, but supporters are still welcome to contribute to the campaign, with several new stretch goals announced as incentive. If the project raises $95,000, each early backer will receive a high-resolution poster by creator Ryan Green's sister.&nbsp;</p><p>"It was created by my sister, Zoe's Aunt Stephanie, and it will be one of the art pieces hanging on the wall of the hospital in the game," Green wrote.&nbsp;"We hope that if you love it, you will print it and let it grace your own wall."</p><p>Meanwhile, if the project reaches $110,000, each early backer will get a digital .pdf art book. The book will contain art by those who contributed $200 to the project, and these will also appear in-game.</p><p>"Since we have surpassed our original goal, we wanted to offer some small tokens of thanks for helping us reach our future goals," the creators wrote in a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/godatplay/that-dragon-cancer/posts">campaign update</a>.&nbsp;"Every dollar that we raise beyond the original goal will help us avoid $75,000 in debt as we complete the game."</p><p>Originally announced as an Ouya exclusive, That Dragon, Cancer is a tribute to Joel, a 12 month old diagnosed with terminal cancer. The project is the work of Joel's father Ryan Green.&nbsp;</p> Ubisoft announces Heroes of Might and Magic III HDhttp://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-announces-heroes-of-might-and-magic-iii-hd/The 1999 strategy classic is getting a spiffy new coat of paint.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:18:35 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-announces-heroes-of-might-and-magic-iii-hd/Heroes of Might and Magic IIINewsStrategyUbisoft <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6KAK5IWmS4CW.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LgylcIYCAqPV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Heroes of Might and Magic III HD"></p><p>Heroes of Might and Magic III was originally released in 1999 to wide acclaim. According to Ubisoft, it is in fact the most popular turn-based strategy game in the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-might-and-magic/">HOMM</a> franchise. And why would it say such a thing? Because it's putting together a high-definition version for release early next year.</p><p>Heroes of Might and Magic III HD will remain "faithful" to the original, with seven campaign scenarios, 48 skirmish maps, a map editor, local multiplayer, and a Steamworks-powered online multiplayer lobby. But it will look a whole lot better too, with upgraded graphics supporting higher resolutions and widescreen monitors. </p><p>"Community is at the core of the Might and Magic series, and we wanted to thank their everlasting support by bringing back the epic tale of Queen Catherine Ironfist," Might and Magic Creative Director Erwan le Breton said in a statement. "We wanted to keep the heart of what made Heroes III one of the most renowned titles of the series, while providing an enhanced visual experience and offering the possibility to also play the game on tablets."</p><p>Based on the description, it looks like&nbsp;the HD release will only include the original game, and not the Armageddon's Blade or Shadow of Death expansions. Heroes of Might and Magic III HD is scheduled for launch on January 29, 2015. Find out more at <a href="http://might-and-magic.ubi.com/universe/en-GB/games/all-games/might-and-magic-heroes-3-hd/index.aspx">might-and-magic.ubi.com.</a></p> PC Gamer US January 2015 issue: Dragon Age: Inquisitionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-us-january-2015-issue-dragon-age-inquisition/Also: Hotline Miami 2, Star Citizen, andBattlefield Hardline.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 22:55:09 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-us-january-2015-issue-dragon-age-inquisition/Dragon Age: InquisitionJordan MagnusonMagazinePC GamerStar Citizen <div><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/voZ8mF-tSeOZ.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IDHCDxtrRULW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="261banner"></p></div><p>The January 2015 issue of PC Gamer US is on sale now! This issue is&nbsp;full of reviews (with Dragon Age: Inquisition leading the pack),&nbsp;and includes in-depth&nbsp;features on two of our most anticipated games: Hotline Miami 2 and Star Citizen.&nbsp;We also rate the best graphics cards, preview Battlefield Hardline, revisit Dragon Age 2,&nbsp;and check out what's new in PlanetSide 2 as it turns two years old.</p><p>What's better: the print edition includes a code for a&nbsp;<strong>free PlanetSide 2&nbsp;Anniversary Bundle </strong>with&nbsp;an NS-11 assault rifle, implants, and PC Gamer decals.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/subscribe-to-pc-gamer-us/">Jump over here</a> for instructions on how to subscribe to the print or digital versions (get the latest issue free when you subscribe digitally), or&nbsp;<a href="http://shop.futureus.com/2015-issues-pc-gamer/pc-gamer-january-2015.html">buy the single issue in print.</a> Here's just some of what's inside:</p><ul> <li>We talk to Dennaton about the making of Hotline Miami 2.</li><li>Chris Roberts talks&nbsp;Star Citizen: the&nbsp;most successful&mdash;and controversial&mdash;crowdfunded game around.</li><li>Catch up with Battlefield Hardline, The Magic Circle, This War of Mine, Dirty Bomb, Elegy for a Dead World and Virginia.</li><li>Get our verdicts on Dragon Age: Inquisition, Civilization: Beyond Earth, Final Fantasy XIII, Styx: Master of Shadows, Ryse: Son of Rome, Endless Legend, Costume Quest 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, F1 2014, The Evil Within, NBA 2K15, and&nbsp;Legend of Korra</li><li>Revisit Kirkwall in our Dragon Age 2 Reinstall.</li><li>Return to PlanetSide 2 for Update</li></ul><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/8rxErAIbTx6u.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/H0Vr-yD7ZW1C.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PC Gamer January 2015"></p> Seagate now shipping $260 8TB HDDhttp://www.pcgamer.com/seagate-now-shipping-260-8tb-hdd/Mass storage gets a little bit more massive.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 21:06:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/seagate-now-shipping-260-8tb-hdd/Hard DrivesHardwareNewsSeagateTech <p>Seagate is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.extremetech.com/computing/195543-seagates-first-shingled-hard-drives-now-shipping-8tb-for-just-260">now shipping</a> a new line of high-capacity, low-performance hard drives it's calling&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.seagate.com/products/enterprise-servers-storage/nearline-storage/archive-hdd/">Archive HDDs</a>." But what they lack in speed, the drives make up for in cost: $260 gets you a whopping 8TB&mdash;just over 3 cents per gig.</p><p>The drives use a new technology called shingled magnetic recording (SMR) which lets you store more data on fewer platters, but at the cost of performance. The technique increases the drive's areal density, letting Seagate store 1.33 TB on a single platter, as opposed to around 1TB using conventional perpendicular magnetic recording. This means an 8TB drive can be achieved with only six platters, reducing production costs, energy consumption, noise, vibration&mdash;all the side effects of a hard drive's moving parts. </p><p>The problem with SMR is it reduces HDD performance considerably. Seagate's drives (there's also a 5TB and 6TB model) spin at 5,900 RPM with a 128MB cache and average read/write throughput of 150MB per second. But paired with a nice SSD, these drives look to be a nice option for tons of&nbsp;long-term storage.</p><p>The drives are currently being shipped to retailers, and should be officially available in early January.</p> Witcher 3 studio says "market is afraid of badly polished games"http://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-studio-says-market-is-afraid-of-badly-polished-games/Yesterday, CD Projekt delayed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to May 2015.Wed, 10 Dec 2014 20:22:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/witcher-3-studio-says-market-is-afraid-of-badly-polished-games/NewsRPGThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JKbMxsrFQJKk.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C5ugZAdtx9Dk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Witcher3-5"></p><p>Adam Kicinski of CD Projekt has expanded on the decision to delay The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delayed-again/">May of 2015</a>, pointing out that this is the first time the studio has made an open world game and that it's now "paying for" announcing a release date so early in the development process.</p><p>The Witcher 3 was originally supposed to be out in time for the 2014 holiday season, but the studio decided in May that it needed more time and so <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delayed-now-due-february-2015/">pushed it into February 2015</a>. Shortly thereafter, CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski promised there would be <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-witcher-3-delay/">no further delays</a>, which you might expect would make yesterday's news even more disappointing. But Adam Kicinski said most fans are okay with it.</p><p>"Gamers... took our decision very well," he said, according to a <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-12-10-witcher-3-dev-market-is-afraid-of-badly-polished-games-on-next-gen">Eurogamer</a> translation. "[The] market is afraid of badly polished games on next-gen platforms."</p><p>Echoing yesterday's announcement, Kicinski said the immense size of The Witcher 3 is the sole reason for the delay, and implied that its scale actually caught the development team by surprise. "We didn't assume it will be this big. Only after putting all the pieces together, it turned out it's bigger than the two first put together," he said. "Let me remind you: it's open and not linear. We are just learning how to play it and we have to catch the little pieces. We know what to do, we just have to do it."</p><p>He also repeated the assertion that the studio was too quick to commit to a launch date. "We announced the release date very early and we're paying for it now," he said. </p><p>The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is now scheduled to come out on May 19, 2015.</p>