Oculus VR hires Valve VR expert Michael Abrash as chief scientist

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.

Quake Live standalone launcher gets official release

Patrick Carlson at

Quake Live still knows how to set the stage for a nicely-timed move. Seeking to avoid some of the pitfalls of a strictly browser-based existence, the free-to-play game now has its own standalone launcher, id Software announced today. The arena shooter first revealed the planned switch in November in order to get more control over the game and offer a smoother experience for players.

The Best Guns in PC Gaming

Evan Lahti at

Whenever a new first-person shooter releases, we pick up our conversation around PC Gamer HQ about what video game guns we love most. How did Far Cry 3’s bow compare to Crysis 3’s? Which game has the best Magnum-style revolver in a game? We’re continually interested in the design of the ballistic and energy weapons we bring into shooters—the mechanics they’re imbued with and the particle effects and animations that express their personalities.

As celebration of the inventive designs and as a representation of our collective tastes, we’ve assembled a list of the best video game guns. See the criteria list below to get a sense of how we judged; if your favorite rifle or SMG isn’t here, lobby for it in the comments. We’ll update this list over time as we encounter guns we like in new FPSes, or as we revisit old games that spark new opinions.

TimeGate Studios announces Minimum, creates unholy union between Minecraft, Quake and Halo

Chris Barylick at

Timegate Studios revealed its upcoming third-person shooter, Minimum, which can only be described as a combination of Halo's guns, Minecraft's look and Quake's frantic multiplayer pacing. The company announced that Minimum will be entering a closed alpha launch via Steam's Early Access channel on April 16 and invited players to poke around on the web site, see what's available and begin participating in the forums.

EpiQuake mod updates sounds, music with high-quality recordings

Omri Petitte at

The first Quake helped define the FPS genre dominating the gaming industry today, but it also represented one of the earliest collaborations with a musical band. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor engineered the majority of the familiar roars, blams, and brooding score of the old-school shooter, though what's heard doesn't hold up well with today's audio standards. That's a problem modder beckett007 hopes to fix with his EpiQuake mod which replaces nearly the entirety of Quake's sound library with original high-fidelity effects and musical tracks.

Reinstall: Quake

Chris Comiskey at

I’m in The House of Chthon, the narrowest and most lava-filled level in Quake. It’s a one-on-one deathmatch, and my opponent—[FU]Frost—is trying to rocket-jump up to my position on the second level. I spam grenades, leaving a trail of bombs to slow his pursuit as I backpedal. A quad damage power-up appears at the far end of the map, on an island in the middle of the lava. It’s the ultimate worm-on-a-hook—he abandons his rocket-jumps and beelines it for the quad. But I stay put. I switch to my rocket launcher and pop a missile at the floating quad icon seconds before he gets there. As soon as he reaches the island, my rocket smacks his feet, careening his body into the liquid fire—instant death.

Romero: upcoming indies should stop "waiting for permission"

Owen Hill at

Loot Drop's John Romero has been offering advice for upcoming indies during the "Back to the Garage: The Return of Indie Development (From Those Who Were There and Some Who've Just Arrived)" talk at GDC. Romero has previously worked on Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and Quake, and is regarded as one of the first ever indie developers. He says these days there's too much too much procrastinating and not enough developing going on.

"This whole getting a job question, it hasn't really changed that much since the 80’s," he said.

Tribes Ascend dev on the decline of twitch shooters: blame "multiplatform" development

Owen Hill at

"People have maybe forgotten about the adrenaline rush of the old school shooters like Quake, Unreal Tournament and, of course, Tribes." Executive producer on upcoming free to play shooter Tribes: Ascend, Todd Harris, misses the twitch shooters of old.

We asked him why he thought they were less popular these days. "I think a lot of it is the multi-platform consideration," he said. "Games have this huge marketing spend so many of these shooters look to go multi-platform, meaning not just the PC but at least two consoles as well."

Todd says controllers don't offer the same freedom of movement as a mouse and keyboard, making it harder for devs to put an emphasis on raw dexterity: "The control scheme on the consoles does limit somewhat the speed and the twitch in which a game can operate – I mean your turn distance is only so far."

Quake no longer banned in Germany

Nathan Grayson at

Germany may have banned Dead Island, but, you know, baby steps. As of now, Quake has been removed from the very same "Index List" Dead Island recently joined, according to Joystiq. The rocket-jump-pioneering FPS, of course, rocket-launched way, way back in 1996. It's a very slow baby, OK?

Doom was given a similarly slightly behind-the-times go-ahead earlier this year. It was deemed "mainly of historical interest." On a less depressing note, this also means that PCG US' very own Chris Comiskey is finally allowed to set foot in Germany again. After all, thanks to a certain logo permanently etched into his arm, he's technically a licensed Quake product.

PC Gamer US Podcast #264: Stick Around

PC Gamer at

While the majority of the staff is finishing up the newest issue, Evan leads Chris and both interns, Anthony and Lucas, as they discuss Valve's newest employee, the state of Team Fortress 2, another round of Truthiness & Falsity, tell you how to run away from a fire, and decide who dispenses justice more effectively: Robocop or Judge Dredd.

PC Gamer US Podcast 264: Stick Around

Incredible speed run beats Quake in 48 minutes

Tom Senior at

A team of Quake fans have combined their talents to beat id's 1994 classic Quake in 48 minutes. It's a 100% completion, which means every secret is discovered and every monster in the game killed in less than an hour. The pixel perfect efficiency on show in each level is simply mind boggling. You'll find the video embedded below.