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?

Titanfall's future game modes will be free, Zampella confirms

Phil Savage at

With Titanfall now out (and good), the Respawn team are working on the next updates for their pilot-'n-robot buddy war game. Some of those updates will form DLC, but not all of the planned future content will be hiding behind a paid mini-pack. Last night, Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella confirmed that future multiplayer modes will be released for free, and not tied up as part of expansions.

Reinstall: Silent Hunter 2

Andy Mahood at

Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, we dive beneath the waves and try to keep our voices down in Silent Hunter II.

Slicing through the frigid North Atlantic waters, my wounded Type VII-C U-boat is one well-placed depth charge away from bursting open like a cheap German piñata and sinking rock-like to the ocean floor. Those British destroyers circling manically overhead show no signs of bugging off and leaving me to lick my wounds. Probably because I sunk two of the fattest ships in their convoy 15 minutes ago with a perfectly-aimed torpedo spread. But the sense of elation I felt is transforming into terror. After my fish made contact and turned the freighters into flaming steel coffins, the convoy’s three destroyer escorts descended on me, peppering my crash-diving sub with hull-ripping depth charges.

How to teach an AI parkour

Tom Francis at

When all you expected to be able to do in a third person action game was press a button to jump over a gap, 'traversal' in level design wasn't that hard. Adding the odd bit of scenery you can vault over isn't much harder: level designers place markers that tell your character they can vault, and what animation to play to make it look right.

But full free-running over complex terrain has become an expected feature, and the job of manually marking which bits of a level you can climb, vault or scramble over has become dauntingly huge. At GDC in San Francisco last week, Ben Sunshine-Hill of Havok explained a solution they're offering to developers as middleware: AI.

Deus Ex short film finally released, brings Human Revolution to life

Phil Savage at

A short minute-long teaser for the Deus Ex: Human Revolution fan film was released back in December 2012. Fifteen months later, and you can finally see the short film's extra eleven minutes. They contain improbable hair, piercing arm-spikes, and the non-standard use of a cigar clipper. As was the case back then, it's still a brilliantly realised recreation of the looks and feel of the game.

Cosmonautica mixes trading, life sims and funky music in space

Phil Savage at

On a platform where Euro Truck Simulator 2 can be celebrated as a compelling mix of trade and A-roads, you don't need the romanticism of space to sell your economic simulation. Still, it doesn't hurt - especially when you're also simulating the close-quarters claustrophobia of your spaceship's crew. That's Cosmonautica's aim: a mixture of space management, trading and combat, that, if this trailer is anything to go by, is all backed up by some cheery tunes.

Trials Fusion trailer shows flips, tricks and bails

Phil Savage at

Let's hide away from the strange new reality of virtual reality, and into the escapist fantasy of a silly score-attack video game. A new Trials is on the way, and I couldn't be more excited. Many were the hour spent swearing at the warehouses of Trials 2: Second Edition, and many more words were cursed at the open-air obstacles of Trials Gold. For the upcoming Trials Fusion, things take a faintly futuristic turn. Rather than just being more Trials - as fine a thing as that would be - a new FMX trick system will provide plenty more opportunities for foolhardy failure.

Facebook buys Oculus VR — PC Gamer debates the pros and cons

PC Gamer at

Less than two years ago, we were describing the Oculus as something that began as a “garage project.” Today, Facebook has bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in stock and cash, surprising all and horrifying some. Here in the PC Gamer office, we all have our own theories and thoughts on what Facebook’s involvement means for the future of VR gaming—and how the deal will impact PC gaming as a whole. Here are our reactions to the Oculus purchase, written shortly after the deal was announced.

Notch cancels Minecraft Oculus Rift deal: "Facebook creeps me out"

Cory Banks at

The news that Facebook will acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion in a combined cash/stock deal has, understandably, taken over the internet. Everyone on Twitter is posting reactions—some are excited, many are shocked, and almost everyone is surprised. Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson has weighed in on the news by canceling talks for an upcoming, official version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift.

Facebook to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion

Tyler Wilde at

Facebook has reached a "definitive agreement" to buy Oculus VR for around $2 billion. Oculus is the clear leader in virtual reality headsets—only recently challenged by Sony's Project Morpheus—and though it hasn't yet released a consumer product, the company announced last week that the second version of its Oculus Rift Development Kit will ship this summer.

The best (and strangest) EverQuest Next Landmark creations

Tim Clark at

On Wednesday SOE will take EverQuest Next Landmark out of alpha and into closed beta, in the process taking a wrecking ball to the painstaking creations of its users so far. (The reason you haven't seen an angry petition is 1) this was always the deal, and 2) the users get to keep templates of the stuff they've made.) What better time, then, to look back at the weird and wonderful creations that the community has built so far. Beginning with this AT-AT homage made by Pharoso Fluoroso.

Smite launches out of beta, asks you to punch gods in the face

Omri Petitte at

The MOBA genre already has colossal communities in both League of Legends and Dota 2, but what's missing is an arena where the greatest gods of mythology toss magic fireworks at each other and roast a couple thousand mortal minions. Enter Smite, Hi-Rez Studios' free-to-play god-on-god rumbler, which launches in full today after a lengthy beta period and is available for all to download on its official website.

Valve explains how CS:GO became the second most-played game on Steam

Evan Lahti at

One of three talks Valve delivered at the Game Developers Conference last week was “Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy,” a session by Technical Artist Bronwen Grimes. Grimes’ presentation mainly focused on how Valve developed its method for mostly-automating the creation of new weapon skins that roll out regularly in updates like Operation Phoenix and Winter Offensive.

Vlambeer's Luftrausers turns a profit in three days, after almost three years in development

Patrick Carlson at

Post-launch comments from indie game designers often get right to the heart of what's at stake for them during the development process. After the March 18 release of Vlambeer's aerial shooter Luftrausers, the devs took to Twitter two days later and put the game's apparently successful release in perspective.

Nvidia announce GeForce GTX Titan Z, brings 12GB VRAM for $3,000

Phil Savage at

Nvidia are currently on-stage at the GPU Technology Conference (think GDC for people who really love cores). They've just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z, a $3,000 dual-Keplar GPU graphics card that can supercharge PCs with a total of 5,760 processing cores, and 12GB frame buffer memory. To my untrained eye, then, it essentially sounds like two Titan Blacks duct taped together. I'm sure that in practice it's a little bit more complicated.