guide

Pixel Boost: Clive Barker's Undying at 2560x1440

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: inside the twisted mind of Clive Barker.

If you consult horror master Clive Barker on a video game story, it turns out you get something very, very Lovecraft—but with first-person shooting and spellcasting. Clive Barker's Undying hit the PC in 2001 with a weird mix of occult psychological horror (reminiscent of the GameCube's Eternal Darkness, released the next year) and first-person combat. Barker cited Lovecraft and Poe as inspirations for the game, and that macabre fantasy atmosphere is apparent within the first five minutes of the game. Like Resident Evil, Undying begins in a mansion, but it mixes in spellcasting and an involved occult story. It still feels fresh nearly 15 years later, and you can run it on modern Windows at a high resolution thanks to GOG.

Pixel Boost: Tachyon: The Fringe at 2560x1440

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Cracking wise on the outskirts of space.

Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen. While space sim diehards are fighting over which modern sim is the one true king, Pixel Boost turns its eyes back to one of the greats of the past: Novalogic’s Tachyon: The Fringe. Bruce Campbell stars as sassy pilot Jake Logan, hanging out on the fringes of space and getting in all kinds of interstellar dogfights. Tachyon showed up on PC in 2000, right as the space sim genre peaked and started drifting into a black hole of obscurity, with a branching storyline and multiplayer that still lives today. The game is also easy to play at high resolutions on modern Windows. If you bought a flight stick for modern space sims, time to put it to use with a classic.

Pixel Boost: Deus Ex at 5K

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Looking sharp, JC Denton. Real sharp.

It's one of the best RPGs ever made. It's one of the best games ever made, period. Deus Ex needs little introduction—since 2000, Ion Storm's first-person shooter/RPG has been the benchmark for open-ended game design. There's always a secret vent to crawl through, or a door to hack, or an NPC to persuade. Deus Ex's popularity endures to this day, and modders are still working to make the game look better every year. We decided to pay ol' JC Denton a visit on modern Windows and snap 33 5K screenshots. Here are the tools you can use to do the same.

Into the deep: it's time to learn how to play Dwarf Fortress

PC Gamer at

The above image may look like a cat walked all over an MS-DOS word processor. What it actually depicts, however, is unspeakable violence and brutality. A field strewn with spent arrows, severed limbs, and pools of blood leads to the trap-riddled narrow entrance of an underground fortress. Corpses of elves, goblins, trolls, humans, and even dogs rot in the open air, slain in attacks on peaceful trade caravans. The inhabitants of the fortress do not care. They got what they wanted from the wagons. Any outsiders who happened to be captured alive in the cage traps will soon be thrown screaming into the open magma pits several floors below.

This is Dwarf Fortress: an endlessly sprawling simulator of procedurally generated worlds awaiting dwarves brave enough to plunder their precious metals. Simple graphics interact with the imagination to reveal more detail than the most vivid high-polycount game—for anyone willing to learn Dwarf Fortress's notorious complexity. It's actually not as hard as you think, and 2014's Dwarf Fortress update dramatically expands Adventure mode to tell sprawling RPG adventures with the same depth as Fortress mode. It's the perfect time to learn, and we're here to help. You'll be pouring magma on goblins in no time.


How to create SweetFX-style shaders that don't affect the HUD with Durante's GeDoSaTo

PC Gamer at

In 2012, Peter "Durante" Thoman wrote the popular mod DSfix for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die on PC. In April 2014, he wrote a series of articles for PC Gamer about modding Dark Souls 2.

About 3 months ago, at the same time as the PC release of Dark Souls 2, I released a new tool called GeDoSaTo. At first, it primarily focused on offering a set of graphical enhancement for DS2, but also supported downsampling in a limited set of DirectX 9 games. Since then, its scope and applicability have expanded greatly. Dark Souls 2 is now just one plugin rather than the main focus.

And this is where this article comes in—it is not necessary to know any programming to make significant enhancements to specific games, thanks to the power of the generic plugin. The generic plugin offers all the widely popular functionality of injectors such as SweetFX—SMAA injection, high quality tone mapping, HDR effects, color, contrast, sharpness and gamma adjustments and more—but better, as it allows you to target the application of those effects exactly to where they are needed, while not affecting UI elements or the HUD of games. This article will teach you how to use these capabilities in your own games, and walk through the entire process for Mass Effect 3.

Pixel Boost: Hitman: Codename 47 at 4K

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: our favorite bald assassin's first outing in Hitman: Codename 47.

2012's Hitman: Absolution brought Agent 47 back into the assassination business, though not in the way we hoped. Gone were the sprawling levels that made up Blood Money's brilliantly intricate murder simulator. Six years before IO Interactive perfected the Hitman formula, though, it tapped into that first spark of brilliance with Hitman: Codename 47. The first Hitman introduced the series staples that its sequels would build on: disguises, hiding bodies, observing guard patterns. Codename 47 doesn't love modern Windows, but with a few simple setting changes (thanks OpenGL!) it runs like a champ, even at 4K.

Pixel Boost: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines at 4K

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: the enduring Legacy of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.

It's incredible that Vampire the Masquerade is 10 years old, and the fan community is still patching it to make it a better game. That's dedication. And Bloodlines is a game worth being dedicated to—the writing is up there with other RPG masterpieces like Planescape Torment. And there's vampire politics! Insane Malkavians! Unfortunately, Bloodlines was a buggy mess 10 years ago, and even after a decade of fan patches and fixes, it can be a challenging, intimidating game to run on modern Windows. But it can be done, and I've compiled the most helpful instructions and mods to make Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines run, even in 4K.

Dark Souls 2 modded: Durante's GeDoSaTo enables downsampling, texture modding

Wes Fenlon at

In 2012, Peter "Durante" Thoman wrote the popular mod DSfix for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die on PC, fixing its locked 1024x720 resolution and other issues. In 2013, he released a similar fix for Deadly Premonition. We asked Durante to analyze the PC port of Dark Souls 2 in a series of articles. He also modded the game. The image above is an in-game texture, not a Photoshop.

My first two articles about Dark Souls 2 investigated the PC port’s features and how generic PC tweaking tools like SweetFX can be used to further improve its graphics. Now it’s time to look at the full extent of what can be achieved by modifying Dark Souls 2 on a deeper level. First, I’ll provide a short overview of the general avenues available for PC game modding and how each applies to Dark Souls 2. Then I’ll detail the modifications I have implemented so far with a new tool I’m calling GeDoSaTo, which enables texture modding, arbitrary downsampling, and more. Consider it the successor to DSfix and DPfix—except its final goal is to work with any 3D game, not just Dark Souls 2.

Dark Souls 2 secrets guide: shortcuts, estus shards and more

PC Gamer at

Like Dark Souls' Lordran, Dark Souls 2's Drangleic is a world packed with secrets. There are secret paths to ferret out between areas. Bosses that you may never face in a normal playthrough. Estus flask shards and Pharros' Contraptions and Souls Vessels to find. We've compiled a guide to Dark Souls 2's most vital secrets. If you're just starting out (have you read our beginner's guide?) or a seasoned veteran, you'll find a wealth of useful information for your journey through Drangleic.


Pixel Boost: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.

When it comes to Star Wars games, they don't make 'em like they used to. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series married fun first-person action—full of iconic weapons and sound effects—with stories and characters from a larger fictional world. Kyle Katarn! Mara Jade! Luke Skywalker! They were all there, and the games they were in were good. After the first two Dark Forces, LucasArts handed the reigns to Raven Software, who amped up the lightsaber combat and multiplayer. All of the Jedi Knight games are available on Steam, so I relived my childhood Star Wars fandom with Jedi Outcast and took 25 4K screenshots in the process.

The Elder Scrolls Online guide — 10 essential tips for your first character

PC Gamer at

The Elder Scrolls Online will feel familiar to both Elder Scrolls and MMO players, but not wholly—character building, for instance, uses a system adapted from both games. These tips will set you on a prosperous journey from level one to 10, with little time wasted and a character build you can be proud of.


Pixel Boost: Unreal Tournament 2004 at 4K

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Unreal Tournament 2004 turns 10.

Unreal Tournament 2004 turned a decade old in March. There's still nothing as thrillingly tense as an Instagib match on Facing Worlds, nothing as smooth and satisfying as snatching up a Flak Cannon and instantly turning someone into flying giblets with a spread of molten shrapnel. It's just as much fun as you remember, and the online scene still has active servers hosting fast-paced multiplayer matches today. Even better, Unreal Tournament 2004 installs and runs like a champion on modern Windows, and I've got 34 4K screenshots to prove it.

Titanfall config guide: the best settings to maximize your effectiveness

PC Gamer at

Titanfall is out and thus begins the pursuit of finding best possible experience it can offer. This configuration and tweak guide will help you optimize the game for a better overall experience and to improve your competitive advantage. Bear in mind, users currently have no access to the developer console as Respawn likely intends to limit tweaking to create a similar experience for all users, so our ability to customize and optimize is more limited than with other Source games. Even so, there are lots of useful in-game and system tweaks that beat the default settings.


How to configure Counter-Strike: GO for the maximum competitive advantage

PC Gamer at

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s surge in popularity over the past few months makes now a great time to join one of the most competitive multiplayer shooters on PC. This visual guide will teach you how to set up your game for the maximum competitive advantage. There’s no singular best practice, as a lot of configuration is personal preference, but there are tweaks you can make to graphics and network settings, keybindings, and more to help outplay the competition.


Rust guide: Surviving your first day

PC Gamer at

Welcome to a new day in Rust! Life is hard in the multiplayer survival game (read our alpha review to find out why it's worth playing), but with the right knowledge, you can at least make it through a day.

Which brings us to our first tip: Check the time. If sundown is approaching, consider quitting for 20 minutes and coming back at dawn. It's cheesy, but spending a night in the open without food or shelter puts you at a real disadvantage.


Kerbal Space Program chronicle, part three — Coconut Monkey presents Fuel Trader

Ian Birnbaum at

Kerbal Space Program is an open-world universe simulator that specializes in modeling orbits, atmosphere, gravity and rocket physics. With nothing but your wits and an array of space vehicle parts, your task is to explore. In this chronicle, I will be recording the first missions of the PCGSA, PC Gamer's ambitious new space program.


Kerbal Space Program chronicle — part two: the first Kerbal in space

Ian Birnbaum at

Kerbal Space Program is an open-world universe simulator that specializes in modeling orbits, atmosphere, gravity and rocket physics. With nothing but your wits and an array of space vehicle parts, your task is to explore. In this chronicle, I will be recording the first missions of the PCGSA, PC Gamer's ambitious new space program. If you want to get caught up, start from part 1.

Kerbal Space Program chronicle — part one: achieving orbit for science

Ian Birnbaum at

Kerbal Space Program is an open-world universe simulator that specializes in modeling orbits, atmosphere, gravity, and rocket physics. With nothing but your wits and a hangar full of space vehicle parts, your task is to explore. Look up at the night sky. See a planet? See a moon? Go there. There's nothing stopping you except the relentless hostility of physics.

A comprehensive comparison of Dota 2 and League of Legends

Ben Kim at

MOBA games have been around for a long time, but Dota 2 and League of Legends are the first to regularly pull numbers like the 329,977 concurrent users on Dota 2 and the supposed "Over 500,000 peak concurrent players every day on just the EU West" server of League of Legends.

You'd think that with the sheer popularity of MOBA games, they'd be easy to break into, but that's usually not the case. Fortunately, this guide is here to help! We've written up a huge wall of pictures and text that explain the basic concepts that are common to both games as well as the overarching differences.

Already a veteran, but looking to make the switch to LoL or Dota? Find out just what makes the two games so incredibly different.


4A Games releases first survival training video for Metro: Last Light

Chris Barylick at

You too will know the joys of fighting humans and mutants as you vie for control of a doomsday weapon, comrade. 4A Games has released the first survival guide tutorial for its upcoming Metro: Last Light first-person shooter. The video familiarizes would-be Rangers with the inherent dangers you'll face in the Metro itself, the destroyed surface wasteland and the transition tunnels between the two areas.