Habitat review (Early Access)

Christopher Livingston at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

The planet Earth, malformed and scarred from some unthinkable cataclysm, now sports a massive ring of orbiting space debris, some of it very unusual. Along with items you might expect to find floating around in a sci-fi game, like booster rockets, laser cannons, and abandoned space shuttles, you'll also find ferris wheels, hamburger restaurants, enormous buzzsaw blades, and the head of a giant mechanical fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus Rex. Your job is to cobble together this space flotsam to build bizarre weaponized space stations capable of supporting life and dishing out death.

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.

Areal studio founder Eugene Kim addresses crowdfunding controversy in exclusive interview

Andy Chalk at

With a new, in-house Areal crowdfunding campaign underway, West Games founder Eugene Kim took some time to answer a few questions about why the Kickstarter was suspended, what he knows about the big, late-day contributions that pushed the project past its goal and why the studio continues to use Stalker assets to promote its new game.


Gods Will Be Watching review

Richard Cobbett at

Gods Will Be Watching is a game about the fact that you’re probably not a psychopath, but that hey, sometimes shit happens. First scenario. You’re not terrorists, or at least that’s what you say. Your hostages may disagree, but as you tell them, you’re not looking to hurt anyone here. They’re just there for protection while your team hacks a government server.


Pathologic remake confirmed, will launch on Kickstarter this September

Phil Savage at

An announcement arrives. Where did it come from? A swirling void of unknowable madness? Skittering figures just out of sight? The bloodied heart of a diseased, living city? No, it was just an email. Fortunately, the contents of the announcement are more unusual than its delivery method: Ice-Pick Lodge—creators of The Void and, most recently, Knock-Knock—have confirmed plans to remake their debut game, Pathologic. To fund the creepy RPG/adventure, the developers will launch a Kickstarter campaign this September. As a teaser, they've also released the above image.


Risen 3 trailer looks to the past, rounds up returning features

Phil Savage at

Do I have room for Risen 3? In a year filled with giant RPGs, and preceding what looks to be another year filled with giant RPGs, I don't know if the linear flow time will allow me to squeeze another giant RPG into my list. The game is certainly making a case for it though—Piranha Bytes have released an 11+ minute feature, covering the returning features from past Risen and Gothic games.


GOG introduces Linux support, starting with over 50 games and a sale

Phil Savage at

Old 'n indie repository GOG.com had previously planned to introduce Linux support to its catalogue this Autumn, with an initial batch of 100 titles. Instead, after getting just over 50 games working on the open-OS, they seemingly threw up their arms and went "eh, what the hell?" And so, that first, smaller batch has arrived early, alongside a sale that's running for users of any operating system.


Epic share a work-in-progress Unreal Tournament level

Phil Savage at

Here's some "working concept art" from the upcoming Unreal Tournament. And it does look like concept art, thanks to the clean environments and stylised lighting. In fact, this is an early look at a work-in-progress level, and Epic are taking you on a flythrough tour in their new development video.


Steam Music moves into open beta, desktop interface now available

Phil Savage at

I've spent the last few minutes prodding the Steam Music beta. You can, too: it's now open to all who want to try it. It's, er, well basically, it's an mp3 player. But one that you can access in-game, through the Steam overlay. Yes, I know, not revolutionary, but there are a some reasons why it might be useful.


Titanfall update 5 will introduce a Black Market for Burn Cards and insignia

Shaun Prescott at

Soon you'll be able to purchase Burn Card packs and fancy Titan adornments in a new Titanfall marketplace. The Black Market is 'coming soon' as part of the game's fifth major update, which will also introduce daily challenges and several bug fixes. The Black Market unlocks at level 11 and allows players to purchase Burn Card packs and Insignia with in-game credits. At this stage, real world currency will not be supported.


Crysis 3 lead producer Mike Read leaves Crytek amid reports of financial strife

Shaun Prescott at

Following reports of financial strife at Crytek, another high-profile staffer has left the company. Crysis 3 lead producer Mike Read is now a 'former' producer at Crytek, according to both his LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. It follows news last week that the company's principle graphics engineer Tiago Sousa has defected to id Software.


Beasts of Prey review (Early Access)

Patrick Carlson at

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

Beasts of Prey is for builders and I’m hard at work. I’ve already scavenged enough stone and wood to piece together a crafting bench and a furnace. With a good supply of lumber and a selection of metal ores smelting away, I’m making progress towards a home of my own. But I’ve also got self-defense in mind. I’ve been active on the game’s official PvP server for a couple hours already this session, and I have yet to see another player. Feeling secure in my solitude, despite the countless buildings that dot the hills, beaches and forests, I set out to stock up on resources.

Yogventures developer "as confused as everyone else" about Kickstarter funds

Andy Chalk at

The biggest question currently hanging over the collapse of Yogventures is the fate of the $150,000 in Kickstarter funds that Winterkewl Games founder Kris Vale says went to Yogscast shortly after the Kickstarter concluded. Vale claims a contract specifying how the money was to be used was never drawn up but the amount is roughly triple what the studio estimated as the cost for physical rewards, and he's "just as confused as everyone else" about what happened to the rest of it.


Righting the ship: a look at Elder Scrolls Online's future

Leif Johnson at

"Look up, here it comes," the guy behind me whispers. There's something akin to reverence in his voice. I look up at the screen on QuakeCon's main stage to see footage of some thug pilfering the crates and boxes surrounding a shopkeeper's stand, taking care to avoid her gaze. The text accompanying each of the items is red; he's stealing. A guard catches him, and he's asked to hand over the value of the items, which amounts to a measly five gold. He obliges. The guy behind me is snickering now, and I hear a slap that must be a high-five he shared with his friend.

The perspective shifts; we're now behind the twin blades of some Nightblade slinking about the Daggerfall Covenant town of Wayrest. He sneaks up behind poor Phillic Menant, who's just strolling over to chat with the local stablemaster. The blades flash, Phillic falls with a bloody splash, and the crowd around me collectively leans forward. This is something new; something unexpected. "We'd like to encourage everybody to start killing NPCs in the game," says Paul Sage, ESO's creative director, just as we see an archer fire an arrow through an NPC enjoying the morning air. And the entire crowd goes wild.


The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection goes free for all on Origin

Andy Chalk at

Earlier this month, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims 2 was being "retired," and that to make up for the loss, anyone who owns it would be upgraded to The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection on Origin at no charge. But today that deal got a whole lot more Oprah, as EA is now offering the game to everyone, on the house—even thought it's not actually an On the House promotion.


Interview: Cliff Bleszinski on Project BlueStreak, PC gaming, FPS design, moddability

Evan Lahti at

Earlier this month Cliff Bleszinski revealed his next project: a free-to-play, PC-focused arena shooter called Project BlueStreak created by Boss Key Productions, his new studio. Following a Reddit AMA that answered some surface-level questions about the game, I spoke with Bleszinski about what sort of shooter he’s hoping to create.


New Steam Controller image suggests Valve adding an analog stick

Andy Chalk at

The latest Steam client beta carries with an interesting surprise: An update image of the Steam Controller buried deep within its files.


Red Hood joins Batman: Arkham Knight as GameStop-exclusive preorder bonus DLC

Andy Chalk at

GameStop has confirmed that the Red Hood will be offered as exclusive pre-order DLC for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. This in itself is not surprising—GameStop teased the announcement yesterday with a pixelated but clearly red-capped image on Twitter—but it might just offer a hint about the true identity of the mysterious Arkham Knight.


Exclusive: Shadowgate release date and new side-by-side comparison trailer

Cory Banks at

Shadowgate was a brutally-hard Mac (and later NES) adventure game, where one failed puzzle could murder you and force you to start all over. The remake that Zojoi Studios has coming updates those visuals for the modern age, but keeps the puzzles difficult and the atmosphere dark. When I spoke to developer Karl Roelofs last month about the game's progress, the team still wasn't sure about its release date. Now that date is set, and Zojoi has exclusively revealed it to us, along with a trailer that shows off Shadowgate's commitment to its history.

Minecraft snapshot 14w30b brings "major" improvements to optimization

Phil Savage at

Minecraft is a CPU intensive game, not that its players seem to mind. I've seen teens hunched over laptops, merrily battling single digit frame-rates in order to expand their Creative repertoire. Does it have to be this way? Mojang think not. Their latest Minecraft Snapshot lets player trial what they refer to as "major optimizations" to the client's rendering, hopefully making for a smoother game.