Three Lane Highway: four and a half shocking Dota facts they don't want you to know

Chris Thursten at

Three Lane Highway is Chris' sometimes earnest, sometimes silly column about Dota 2.

Dota 2 is a complicated game. Everybody knows that. It's so complicated that nobody understands it completely, and that's why we surround ourselves with experts who are able to pierce through Dota's thick fog of mechanical noise to deliver sound commentary and guidance. Today, I am your guide. Tens of minutes have been invested in bringing you the following Dota secrets: cold scientific facts that they don't want you to know.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter interactive 3D scans are astonishingly realistic

Phil Savage at

Tim's already told you why The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks as good as it does. But as impressive as their photogrammetry looks in still pictures, it's the raw scans that really show how absurdly realistic the method can be. As proof, you need to see, admire and play with the collection of scanned 3D models released by dev team The Astronauts and embedded below. I guarantee it contains the sexiest moss you'll see all day.

Civilization 5 mod brings Blizzard's all-stars to turn-based strategy

Phil Savage at

I understand the desire for a lore-bending battle royale between Blizzard's various franchises. I also understand the desire for that all-star showdown to not take the form of a lane-pushing game. While Blizzard aren't about to create a 4X strategy, modders can certainly shoehorn their characters into an existing one. That's what has happened in Blizzard Allstars, which brings multiple of their factions into turn-based empire-'em-up Civilization 5: Gods & Kings.

Duke Nukem lawsuit continues: 3D Realms deny Gearbox's allegations

Phil Savage at

If Duke Nukem were real, he'd be loving this legal stand-off. As a stuck-in-the-past relic, one only recently dragged out of retirement for an ill-advised comeback, I'm sure the attention would be most welcome. The latest development comes in direct response to Gearbox's lawsuit, which claimed that 3D Realms and Interceptor were violating their Duke restraining order intellectual property. 3D Realms have issued a statement that both denies the allegations and makes counter-accusations against Gearbox.

Torchlight studio's co-founders depart for "smaller-scale development"

Phil Savage at

Two of the co-founders of Runic Games, the studio behind the wizard-bothering Torchlight series, have announced their departure from the company in pursuit of "smaller-scale development". In a post to the Runic forum, Travis Baldree revealed that both he and Eric Schaefer would be stepping down as early as next week. Of course, Runic were originally set up as just such a small-scale studio, but grew after the success of Torchlight and were subsequently acquired by Perfect World. And so, the circle of life continues.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls review

Leif Johnson at

I can’t recall a gaming villain who looks as imposing as Reaper of Souls’ Malthael but leaves so weak an impression. He pops in and out as the narrative unfolds, spouting a few threatening lines before evaporating in a mist of gloom, and thus he recalls Blizzard's similar treatment of Arthas Menethil during World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion. But at least Arthas had the benefit of years of accumulated lore to support his cameos. The star of but one act, Malthael is never around long enough to make us care about his grumbles.

Batman: Arkham Knight: Court of Owls spotted

Samuel Roberts at

I like Batman too much, if such a thing is possible. During my recent first look at Arkham Knight I managed to pick out a neat reference to a popular recent enemy in DC Comics' Batman lore: the Court of Owls, created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo for their 2011-2012 storylines Court Of The Owls and Night Of The Owls, which were very popular and have now caused me to use the word 'owl' a lot in this paragraph.

Worried that I might've imagined the whole thing due to GDC jet lag, I asked Rocksteady's Dax Ginn if I saw it or not - and indeed, confirm if the Court exists as part of the Arkham universe.

CCP says Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift won't change plans for EVE: Valkyrie launch

Ian Birnbaum at

There have been a lot of reactions to the purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook in the last 24 hours, much of it polemic and apocalyptic. Our own reactions ranged from guarded optimism to cautious disappointment, while Minecraft creator Notch immediately canned an Oculus-focused version of Minecraft. EVE: Online developer CCP, on the other hand, has expressed support for the purchase and say that release plans for the VR starfighter game EVE: Valkyrie won’t be changing.

Titanfall now forces cheaters to play with other cheaters

Emanuel Maiberg at

Respawn Entertainment thinks that cheaters deserve each other. The developer recently announced that it’s been collecting data since Titanfall launched, but that as of March 21, it has started enforcing bans using FairFight, which Battlefield and other Electronic Arts games use as well. Interestingly, rather than just locking cheaters out of the game, Respawn is forcing them to play with other banned cheaters.

Goat Simulator trailer riffs on Dead Island, but with goats

Tim Clark at

It's hard not to think that Goat Simulator's ascent from cheese dream inception to being one of the most talked about PC releases of the year owes a lot to just its name. Because you might think, in the same way SimCity theoretically lets you simulate a city (yes, I know), so the name Goat Simulator suggests it will simulate, hopefully in painstaking detail, the life and times of one of the world's lesser loved ungulates.

Rust diary, part 3: "What happened was: I killed you"

Christopher Livingston at

Here's a tip: don't run around at night with a lit torch or you'll get shot. I know this because I once ran around at night with a lit torch and got shot. That's why, more recently, when I was alone and lost in the middle of the night, I only lit my torch for a second to take a quick look. Here's another tip: don't light your torch even for a second to take look around or you'll get shot. I did. For a second. And I got shot.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Panzerhund Edition comes with everything but the game

Emanuel Maiberg at

Today, Bethesda announced Wolfenstein: The New Order Panzerhund Edition, which includes almost everything you’d want in a fancy, pricey special edition of a game. For $100, you’ll get a footlocker-style box containing an assortment of maps, case files, and an x-ray. You’ll also get the obligatory figurine, an 8-inch, hand painted statue of a robotic dog, which you’ve probably seen in trailers and other marketing. The only thing missing in the special edition is the game itself.

How we capture 4K screenshots and video on the Large Pixel Collider

PC Gamer at

Wes and Tyler reveal the secrets of how they record ludicrously high resolution video and screenshots on the Large Pixel Collider.

X-COM creator Julian Gollop holds Reddit AMA: "Indie gaming is the most exciting thing I've seen"

Omri Petitte at

For strategy gamers, Julian Gollop is a name of hallowed reverence. His Belt of Achievements includes pre-millenium classics such as Laser Squad and Chaos. Most notably, he created the X-COM series of turn-based tactical alien fragging and directed 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense—widely considered one of the best strategy games ever made. The franchise spent some time in the engineering bay before returning in 2012 with Firaxis' excellent Enemy Unknown, but Gollop has lately turned to crowdsourced funding with a small team to develop his multiplayer wizard-em-up reboot Chaos Reborn. In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread on Reddit last weekend, Gollop answered questions on his take of the current state of strategy games, alternate funding, and the rise of early access.

TowerFall Ascension review

Marsh Davies at

Gamers aren’t the only ones who blame lag. Indie devs cite it for the current abundance of local-multiplayer-only platformers, of which TowerFall Ascension represents an exquisite pinnacle. Up to four players can plug in pads and then plug each other with arrows, darting around numerous screen wrapped 2D arenas. Its versus mode alone marks the high tide for single screen deathmatch, but the true delight is its brutal two-player wave survival campaign, a thing of rare, beautiful balance and jubilant chaos.

Find out why The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter is so ridiculously good-looking

Tim Clark at

The short answer is photogrammetry, a method of scanning photographs (a *lot* of photographs) to create and texture highly-detailed 3D objects without any of the repetition associated with common video game techniques. A longer, but far more edifying, explanation can be found over at The Astronauts' tumblr

Molyneux on thriving indie scene: "Enjoy this time, because it won't last

Emanuel Maiberg at

Peter Molyneux is known for grand statements, some of which turn out to be incorrect later. His most recently stated opinion is about the rising popularity of smaller indie games. Speaking with CVG, Molyneux said that we should “enjoy this time, because it won’t last.”

EA CEO Andrew Wilson wants to treat Star Wars games like Batman Arkham series

Patrick Carlson at

Since Electronic Arts and Disney agreed last year to team up and produce games in the Star Wars universe, we've haven't heard much about what they have in mind other than a new take on Battlefront. That being said, a new interview with EA CEO Andrew Wilson at CNN Money makes it clear the publisher plans to go its own way rather than tie its games to the stories being developed for the next set of Star Wars films.

Luftrausers review

PC Gamer at

Here’s a little language lesson: "luft" in German means air, and "raus" means empty. "Rausers" is a made up word, but it roughly translates into "emptiers". Dutch studio Vlambeer’s modular vocabulary is apt, because Luftrausers (or Airemptiers) is about grafting together plane parts you've earned from blasting things out of the sky, creating hybridised monstrosities, and blasting things again.

The GTX Titan Z: $1000 more than two Titan Blacks, and probably slower

Dave James at

Because lots of people paid serious money to buy up all the GTX Titans Nvidia could make, they've decided to push things further. The twin-GPU GTX Titan Z is a $3,000 graphics card announced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose. According to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang it exists simply because “the market just wanted so much more performance,” but is it really worth all that money?