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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.


We're giving away thousands of Wildstar free trial keys on Monday

PC Gamer at

We found a lot to love in Carbine's bright, characterful MMO, Wildstar, when we reviewed it a short while ago, and there's a chance you might too if you take part in our upcoming key giveaway, which will go live on Monday July 28.


The PC Gamer Show episode 2: Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, Divinity: Original Sin

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! Episode two is an RPGstravaganza with special guest Josh Sawyer, who stopped by to demo Obsidian's Infinity Engine throwback Pillars of Eternity. The PC Gamer US team also discussed the greatest RPGs of all time, played some co-op Divinity: Original Sin, and talked to Sawyer about his time as the director on Fallout: New Vegas.


DayZ diary: the fishing trap

Christopher Livingston at

As DayZ slowly winds its way through alpha, we're finally beginning to see more updates to the early access zombie survival game, with new items and features being regularly added. Mechanics for hunting, fishing, crafting, and cooking means there are now new ways to thrive and survive in the post-apocalyptic landscape of Chernarus besides simply scrounging around in buildings for canned food or shooting and looting other players.

I thought I'd try surviving using some of these new tools. Instead of guns, I'd try to use a crossbow to take down some deer. Instead of peeling open canned tuna I'd try to pluck fish from ponds. No more cold beans: I'll cook my food over a roaring fire or gas-powered stove. Essentially, I'm going camping. Strap on a backpack and come along.


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.

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.


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.


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.


We're giving away a million Steam keys for GTR Evolution, with Bundle Stars

PC Gamer at

We're finishing our five-week, million-key giveaway bonanza with the fastest game of the bunch. Grab yourself a free Steam key and blast off into the sunset with a copy of GTR Evolution, the expansion to the lauded Race 07, which is also included in this week's free bundle. GTR Evo gives you a selection of 49 GT cars to drive across 19 tracks, and the original Race 07 package includes 32 additional tracks, including classics like Monza and the Nürburgring, and 300 cars to crash. If you've never tried racing games before, GTR Evo is a great place to start. Claim your free Steam key below.


Dead Rising 3 launching as Apocalypse Edition on PC, will include Untold Stories DLCs

Phil Savage at

Games have really diluted the sense of excitement and fear that should be conveyed by the word "apocalypse". Also from the words "dead", "rising", and "3". Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse edition should be an emotive name. Really, they may as well have called it Dead Meandering 3: Irritation Edition. Still, whatever the name, maybe its contents will be to your liking. Capcom have announced that all PC versions of the game are being upgraded to this special edition, and will come bundled with the four Untold Stories DLC packs.


Hearthstone's Curse Of Naxxramas - Arachnid Quarter verdict

Tim Clark at

The first wing of Hearthstone's single-player expansion has swung its doors open, and despite some connectivity issues we've cleared it pretty fast.


The International 2014: looking back on the Grand Finals

Chris Thursten at

You can find write-ups of all three previous days of play at the International here.

The fourth International is over. As a fan, there's always a hollow feeling that comes with this period - the sense that the last of the hype has finally burned away, that this event that has come to occupy so much of your time and energy has been suddenly brought to a close. Post-International blues are a real thing. This year, though, those inevitable doldrums have been compounded by a Grand Final that won't have been what many fans were expecting when the main event began. Below I'm going to explain why I came away from the finals largely satisfied even though I agree with some of the criticism, and what I think the course of those four games say about the state of Dota 2 as we enter the next year in its life. Spoilers, obviously.

OlliOlli review

Phil Savage at

If OlliOlli proves anything, it's that skating games, unlike the sport that inspired them, aren't yet passé. It perfectly captures the layered thrill of not only mastering a route, but also enhancing it through a performance of tricks and personal flair. There are missteps, for sure, but the core act of flipping, grinding and spinning ensures the action remains stimulating across its many challenging levels.


The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4 review

Wes Fenlon at

Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season. Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.

"I've seen you take care of yourself more than any three adults put together," a bitter survivor says to Clementine in The Walking Dead Season 2's fourth episode Amid the Ruins. I've tried to convince him that I need him--that the group needs him to survive after escaping, battered and exhausted, from Carver's compound. He's not buying it. And he shouldn't.

The problem with survival games

Andy Kelly at

Have you ever seen Survivorman? It’s a documentary series about a guy called Les Stroud who spends a week in the world’s most inhospitable places—deserts, rainforests, tundras—and survives with only the clothes on his back. Fakers like Bear Grylls have doctors on hand, camera crews, and cosy hotels to return to after filming, but Stroud does it all for real—and films everything himself. It’s really good TV, and I promise that after you watch the first episode you’ll be hooked.


Nvidia announces Shield Tablet and wireless controller, an 8-inch Android tablet focused on games

PC Gamer at

Last week Nvidia was rumored to be prepping the reveal of a new device running Android and capable of streaming games from your PC. Today, it revealed the Shield Tablet, an 8-inch tablet that uses Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip to do just that.


Watch Dogs' TheWorse Mod final version released

Phil Savage at

So much of the Watch Dogs discussion has been centred around its graphics. Maybe that can now be resolved with this: the final release of TheWorse Mod. Originally designed to enable the visual effects present in Ubisoft's E3 2012 demo of the game, it's since been expanded to offer a full compliment of graphical and performance related improvements. Maybe now we can't talking about what's really wrong with Watch Dogs: its total lack of dogs.


Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King DLC review

Cory Banks at

The biggest criticism leveled at Dark Souls 2 was that it was too easy. Players who had spent hundreds of hours in the first game found that many of the same tactics worked in the sequel. Maybe you had to dodge left instead of right to get past the Pursuer’s sweeping arc, but generally speaking, the old tricks still worked.

I thought about this as I died—again—while playing Crown of the Sunken King, the first part of From Software’s three-piece downloadable content set. My old tricks failed time and time again, forcing me to relearn enemy patterns and try new tactics. For Dark Souls diehards, that’s a good thing, though you’ll have to slog through some drab environments.