Giveaway: Grab your beta key for new RTS Etherium

PC Gamer at

Tindalos Interactive's Etherium is a throwback to the classic era of real-time strategy games such as Command & Conquer. The game will feature three playable empires, fighting each other to control the game's precious resource, also called etherium. As to be expected, each empire will have its individual characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, technologies, and special skills, such as climate control, espionage and precognition. Sounds like a classic RTS, and now you can see if the game lives up to the hype: We're giving away keys to Etherium's beta.

What do you love about PC gaming?

Evan Lahti at

We interviewed a bunch of different developers last week at PAX Prime. But there was only one question we asked them all: "What do you love about PC gaming?"

GTA 4's #WatchDogsIV mod is absurd

Phil Savage at

Chris Livingston has already extolled the virtues of Grand Theft Auto 4's amazing #WatchDogsIV mod. For the uninitiated, it brings Watch Dogs style environment hacking into GTA's Liberty City. For a full round-up of what it enables, head on over to Chris's Mod of the Week post. For a small look into the type of chaos it supports, head inside.

Firewatch livestream reveals twenty-odd wonderful minutes of first-person mystery

Tom Sykes at

Like an idiot, I've only just got around to watching that Firewatch trailer and, holy wow, everyone was right. However, a recent livestream from developer supergroup Campo Santo managed to improve on that by showing twenty-odd minutes of in-game footage. Probably don't watch the following video if you want to go in completely cold, but if you're on the fence or if you think last week's trailer was maybe a bit serious, know that Firewatch is a lot funnier in-game, at least in this early segment of the "first-person mystery". There's some terrific writing/characterisation in evidence here too: after only a short time, I feel I know Henry and Delilah pretty well as characters, and there's a great sense of chemistry between the two leads.

Spacebase DF-9 update adds angry citizens, lets you lock them in the brig

Tom Sykes at

I'm sure we can all agree that the world needs more vitriol—that or, possibly, the reverse. Either way, Double Fine have added angry, angry citizens to their sci-fi sandbox Spacebase DF-9, along with a brig to stuff them into when they get a bit worked-up. The puntastic 'Brig Ambitions, Broken Dreams' update includes a few other big inclusions and fixes too, and some patch notes I'm going to poke fun at after the break.

League of Legends is rebooting its lore

Tom Sykes at

I hope you're not too attached to the lore behind League of Legends, because it's about to be chucked out and replaced with something new. As the rest of LoL has changed over the years, Riot Games say that the original lore has held them back, leading to "creative stagnation, limiting the ways that champions, factions and Runeterra itself could grow and change". So the lore's being updated to give Riot more freedom, allowing them to tell (hopefully) more interesting stories, and to give their characters better justifications for battering each other across a series of lanes.

Dawn of War 2 drops Games for Windows Live

Tom Sykes at

Back in May, the original Dawn of War and its many expansions cast off the shackles of Gamespy and Games for Windows Live and replaced them with Steamworks. Dawn of War 2 and Chaos Rising, meanwhile, required additional work—work that's now been completed. A new update for both games has just been released, which gives GfWL the old heave-ho and moves achievements and leaderboards over to Relic's servers, while integrating Relic's battle servers to manage multiplayer networking in both entries.

Unreal Engine 4 now free for academic use

Tom Sykes at

We're fast approaching a time when the weirdly shiny Unreal Engine 3 will no longer be used in big-budget releases, and thanks to a new initiative by Epic Games, the same thing may soon be true of student games. Epic have announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now free to use in schools, colleges and universities, or at least those featuring the relevant courses or degrees. Your teacher or professor will need to sign up for the program here, but if your course qualifies, students will gain all the benefits of being subscribers without having to fork over a monthly subscription fee.

Fable Anniversary farting its way to Steam next week

Tom Sykes at

There's a lot to love about the original Fable and its sequel, only one of which ever made its way to PC. We still haven't seen the sequel, and after so many years it's unlikely we ever will, but after a delay of just over six months we're about to get the remastered version of the original game, which hit Xbox 360 back in February. Spruced-up graphics, Steam achievements, and a bunch of additional outfits are the biggest changes here, but it's the same farty, tongue-in-cheek, fairytale action RPG underneath.

BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket provides full online streaming access, for a price

Shaun Prescott at

It so happens that most of the world is not close to Anaheim, California, so getting to Blizzcon can be a hassle. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow the proceedings though, because the internet exists. Not only can you watch everything that happens at Blizzcon live and in HD, but you can also watch people make rude remarks in the accompanying comment section.

Steam Client Beta update brings better AMD support to in-home streaming

Shaun Prescott at

Another week, another Steam Client Beta update. The biggest addition comes in the form of in-home streaming support for AMD. VCE hardware encoding of Direct 3D Games is now possible, so long as you have one of the following cards with the latest drivers: Radeon HD 79xx, Radeon HD 78xx, Radeon HD 77xx, R9 295x, R9 290x/290, R9 280x/280, R9 270x/270, R7 265, R7 260x/260, R7 250x.

Blizzard's Robin Williams tribute spotted in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor beta

Andy Chalk at

Blizzard began working on a World of Warcraft tribute to Robin Williams almost immediately after his tragic death in August, and little more than a week later, what was assumed to be evidence of its efforts was discovered within the code for the beta release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Today, it appears those assumptions were correct, as Robin the Genie has been spotted in the game.

This weird Sims 4 cheat lets you build toilets the size of houses

PC Gamer at

I might have had more fun making gigantic gnomes in The Sims 4 than actually playing the game, at least so far, and right now you can do the same. In what acts like a cheat but seems like a bug (a forgotten debug command?), you can press Shift and ] to grow almost any item you are holding in build mode to a seemingly limitless size. So we decided to push it as far as it could go and capture the results in a video—gnomes, toilets, computers, we made it all huge.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King DLC review

Cory Banks at

The first add-on for Dark Souls 2 restored some of the original Dark Souls’ legendary difficulty, but The Crown of the Old Iron King, part two of From Software’s trilogy of DLC, doesn’t follow suit. Instead, it evokes the sad, forgotten, wistful feeling I got in the first game’s world. It’s built to be explored, with lots of optional areas that branch off the DLC’s main path, and that comes at the cost of difficulty.

Oculus Rift co-founder says consumer release is expected to stay under $400

Andy Chalk at

Oculus Rift development kits have been kicking around for awhile now, and by all reports they've awfully cool. But where are the consumer versions? Will they be meaningfully different from the DK units? And how much are they going to cost, anyway? Read on for answers—sort of.

The best gaming laptops for any budget

PC Gamer at

Gaming laptops are the perfect solution for a very specific group of people—they’re ideal for serious gamers who need a rig that can play demanding games while remaining somewhat portable for frequent travel or LAN parties. They aren’t slim battery life champions, and building a desktop will always get you more raw gaming power for less money, so gaming laptops aren’t the most practical solution for all gamers. That said, a great gaming laptop can play the latest games on high to ultra settings with a good 1080p screen, keyboard, and cooling system.

At $1800 (~£1130), the Asus G750JS-DS71 is our pick for best gaming laptop. The JS-DS71 configuration has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics card, a quad-core Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, and 16GB of RAM, along with a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB hard drive to store games and other media.

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 hits Steam Early Access with a new gameplay trailer

Andy Chalk at

Released to English audiences in 2011, The Book of Unwritten Tales was a wonderful point-and-click fantasy adventure about a gnome named Wilbur Weathervane, who unexpectedly finds himself at the center of a struggle for the fate of the entire world. It was lighthearted, silly, and laugh-out-loud funny in places, and a big hit with adventure fans, as evidenced by the success of the sequel on Kickstarter. The first chapter of that sequel went live today on Steam Early Access, along with a lengthy new gameplay trailer that very nicely explains what the game is all about.

Altitude, the 2D multiplayer aerial combat game, goes free on Steam

Andy Chalk at

If you find yourself with time on your hands and nothing to do on this dull Thursday afternoon, allow me to direct your attention to Altitude. It's a cute, cartoony little 2D multiplayer aerial combat game with multiple modes of gameplay and an unexpectedly sophisticated control scheme. More to the point, developer Nimbly Games is now offering it completely free.

A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress: Ep. 6

Wes Fenlon at

In episode 6 of PC Gamer's Dwarf Fortress Let's Play, Wes and Will begin to suspect that their leader Sibrek is a bit of a bum. Also, they learn all about cooking and brewing!

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas review

PC Gamer at

Between all the bitching about which cards are OP and need nerfing, it’s easy to lose sight of what a remarkably fun, balanced (yes, really) and young game Hearthstone is. By the time it left open beta in March it already had 10 million registered players smashing each other’s faces in with ever more creative card combos. Since then, despite gripes about RNG, as if any card game doesn’t rely heavily on lucky draws, it’s on the verge of exploding as an e-sport, with regular tournaments offering big prizes and a thriving scene of pros and streamers.