Mod of the Week: Altis Life, for Arma 3

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Christopher Livingston at

After two hours of tense waiting, the op was launched. The four of us, all policemen wearing night-vision goggles, slithered from our vehicles, spread out silently, and sprinted around the darkened buildings in the middle of the night. We converged on the civilian helicopter pilot who had landed nearby a moment ago, surrounding him, our weapons drawn and ready. Then we politely asked him to produce his pilot's license. He promptly did. We thanked him, dispersed, and met back at the vehicles. No illegal activity had transpired. Mission accomplished.

Altis Life, the police and civilian role-playing server mod for Arma 3, reminds me a bit of the time—the very little time—I spent on a few Garry's Mod role-playing servers. Rather than engage in multiplayer warfare, players engage in, well, virtual life. If you're playing a civilian, you buy a car, get a job, and collect a paycheck. If you're a cop, you police the civilians and enforce the law. The laws that include the requirement to have a proper license to operate vehicles such as helicopters, boats, and cars, hence the covert nighttime op.


Jane Jensen's Moebius now has a demo, full game out April 15th

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Tom Sykes at

Jane Jensen's Moebius is out soon, and to coincide with the occasion there is now a Jane Jensen's demo to keep us Jane Jensen's occupied in the meantime. The demo gives us the opportunity to step into the sharp-suited, beanpole body of one Malachi Rector (not pictured above), who just might be the best-named game character this side of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's intemperate villain 'Hot Coldman'. Expect to click on things, talk to people, and save a handsome man from hanging in order recruit him to your globe-hopping mystery squad - it's all in a day's work at the following link.


Sir, You Are Being Hunted update adds castle biome and soundtrack

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Tom Sykes at

Big Robot's Britishness simulator has added the final piece of the puzzle - castles - to its procedurally generated landscape of drizzle, rural environments, snacks and murderous robots, which we all face every time we step out the door. The new castle biome, included in the latest update, adds the ruined tourist attractions to the established rural, fens, industrial and mountains biomes, along with the quaint signposts that herd sightseers to their next gawping point. It's an important update for other reasons too: an ambient soundtrack has been added to the game, giving us something to listen to while we're crouching behind a bush waiting to get the upper hand on our AI overlords. And. In. The. Game. More details, and a video, after the break.


Alien: Isolation bursts out in October

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Tim Clark at

In a startling break with standard practice, it seems Sega has taken to announcing the release dates of AAA games on a Saturday. This way lies madness, friends. What next, Half-Life 3 confirmed on Christmas Eve. Anyway. Alien: Isolation. October 7th.


The Best Free Games of the Week

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Tom Sykes at

This week we sample the highlights of the 7-Day Roguelike and Procedural Death jams, which ran simultaneously a week or so ago. (They presumably did this in an effort to get the whole procedural generation thing over and done with in one fell swoop, so we can get back to the business of painstakingly handcrafting levels instead.) Stick around for vamps, lamps, goats and sliding, plus two bonus games with no random bits at all (well, unless you count the fairly random penis door). Enjoy!


Stronghold Crusader 2 trailer has a vendetta against castles, shows off Skirmish mode

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Tom Sykes at

Stronghold Crusader 2 - Firefly Studios' Holy Land-set castle-building, castle-maintaining and castle-sploding RTS sequel - is due out this summer, and will hopefully arrive in a better state than the shambolic Stronghold 3. This new trailer offers a flaming, besieged look at the game's Skirmish mode, which will let you play co-operatively or in rival teams online. Providing you can breach our defences, make sure you have a watch of it after the break.


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided trademark filed, hopefully won't be another mobile game

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Tom Sykes at

We never asked for this reportedly shoddy PC port of the Deus Ex mobile game The Fall. We never asked for this impressive Human Revolution short fan film, but we're glad it got made anyway. We also never asked for this Deus Ex expanded universe thingy, but we'll be glad when it results in another PC game as good as HR. That day may be sooner than we thought, if a recent filed trademark is anything to go by. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is its name, and there is a modicum of evidence to suggest it may be a proper HR sequel, rather than another mobile game. We never asked you to join us after the break.


Saturday Crapshoot: Muppets Inside

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Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, it's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights. It's time to meet the Muppets, in this Muppet game tonight... or from about 18 years ago. One of the two.

What's great about Muppets Inside is that it all goes wrong. Immediately. It starts up with a CD-ROM version of the classic theme - "It's time to boot the disc up. It's time to turn stuff on..." and then it crashes. Loudly. Full on speaker-crashing, back-to-desktop crashing. Well, poo. What a waste of money that was!

Except. "Well, that worked out great, didn't it?" mutters Kermit, as Fozzie Bear pushes open the desktop itself to apologise. "Oh no, not the bear!" shout Statler and Waldorf. "I thought computers were meant to make things better, not worse!" Because what could be more appropriate for a Muppets game than the whole thing to be based on technical difficulties, and a trip backstage to your computer system to put things right so that they can put on a show? The answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.

DayZ developer acquires new studio to work on standalone version [Update: Everything but the name]

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Patrick Carlson at

Update: Bohemia have been in touch to provide the following clarification: they have acquired Cauldron's facilities, technology and staff for their new Slovakian studio, but not the Cauldron brand itself.

It looks like the DayZ Standalone will be getting a few new helping hands. Creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has announced the purchase of Slovakian game developer Cauldron by Bohemia Interactive, with 25 of that studio's staff set to work on the zombie survival sim, according to a report at Eurogamer.

Planetside 2 message notifications disabled after players receive in-game pop-up ads

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Ian Birnbaum at

Image via Reddit user chipay.

Planetside 2’s latest update riled up members of the player community when it appeared that pop-up ads had been introduced to the game. In reality, a pop-up message notification was sending out offers for SOE’s premium membership, and a server error was causing the offers to be sent out several times every hour. Now, SOE has disabled the message notifications and membership offers completely while it sorts out the problem.

Shadowrun Online infiltrates Steam Early Access March 31

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Patrick Carlson at

Shadowrun Online is set to appear on Steam Early Access Monday with a prototype build of the upcoming cyberpunk strategy game. The result of a successful $500,000 Kickstarter from Cliffhanger Productions, the early access version of the MMO will preview the game's campaign and give players a taste of combat and PvP, according to a recent announcement from the studio.


New sandbox craft-'em-up TUG comes to Steam Early Access

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Tim Clark at

It would be lazy and reductive of me to describe Nerd Kingdom’s TUG as a Minecraft-a-like. But this is the internet, where attention spans are measured in picoseconds and hummingbird flaps, and the fact is the game is quite a bit like Minecraft. However, it’s also different in a number of of important ways, as you can find out for yourself, because it’s just gone live on Steam Early Access, where the price of entry is $9.99.


Zombie Monsters Robots announced: free-to-play shooter from former Epic China team

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Emanuel Maiberg at

En Masse Entertainment announced that it will release Zombies Monsters Robots (ZMR), a free-to-play third-person shooter in which you kill the things listed in its title. It’s developed by Yingpei Games, the Chinese studio formerly known as Epic Games China. The game is actually already out in China under the name Mercenary Ops 2, which has more than 30 million registered players.


Titanfall updates matchmaking to address player skill imbalances

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Patrick Carlson at

Titanfall is rolling out some matchmaking changes to try pit more and different kinds of players together, according to an update from developer Respawn Entertainment. The hybrid infantry/mech shooter has added a new beta game mode to test out a solution to what it calls "a problem of a lack of variety" in how the game is assembling opposing teams.


The Week's Highs And Lows In PC Gaming

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Tim Clark at

Each week the PC Gamer team clambers onto a really big couch and recounts the best and worst moments of the past seven days. On this page you get the good stuff. On the next page, the not so good stuff. Guess which one the Oculus buyout is in…

Oculus VR hires Valve VR expert Michael Abrash as chief scientist

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Wes Fenlon at

Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.


Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies standalone expansion due in June

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Tom Senior at

Company of Heroes 2 is returning to the setting of Company of Heroes 1 with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion that's coming out in June for $20. It includes two armies: the US forces and the German Oberkommando and eight new multiplayer maps set in the green, unfrozen lands of the Western Front. There are no single player missions or Theater of war Scenarios mentioned, so it looks like an expansion designed to feed the multiplayer scene, which has been quietly warring away since launch last year.


Flockers is a new Lemmings-style game from Worms studio, Team 17

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Tom Senior at

Team 17's press release describes this as "a twisted blend of Lemmings’ inspired gameplay and Tim Burton style macabre", which suggests a) we'll be guiding queues of suicidal sheep around giant mincing death-traps and b) Helena Bonham Carter will be in it somewhere. It's the first non-Worms game from Team 17 since their top-down shootery Alien Breed games, which had the misfortune of being released alongside Valve's free and superior Alien Swarm. Can nostalgia and a touch of dark humour bring them more luck?


Who is the Arkham Knight? 6 mad theories about the villain's identity

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PC Gamer at

In the newly-revealed Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady unveiled a mysterious brand-new villain who’s actually called the Arkham Knight. But who is this enigmatic robo-Batman with a hint of blue in his armour? Dark Knight aficionados Chris Thursten and Samuel Roberts highlight the most likely candidates from their disgustingly rich knowledge of DC lore.


Galactic Civilizations 3 alpha costs $100, how much is too much for early access?

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Tom Senior at

Editor's note: We've received additional comment from Stardock regarding early access pricing for GalCiv3. Read its statement below our original story.

I like galactic conquest, devastating AI and overbearing tech trees, so I'm very excited about Galactic Civilizations 3. Not excited enough to pay the £76 / $100 asking price for the Founder's Elite version, however, which has been placed on Steam and the GalCiv site with some pretty major caveats from the developers. They warn that "major systems are unfinished and content is severely limited" and, remarkably, say "please be aware that the game isn't actually, well, fun yet."