PC Gamer

The first update for the rebooted Doom will add a new Photo Mode designed for taking screens, and a new option to place your weapon in the center of the screen, just like back in the good old days.

Set to go live on June 30, the update will also make changes to the multiplayer mode, a couple of which have already been rolled out. The SnapMap editor is being tweaked a bit, and a number of fixes are on tap as well. The full patch notes are below.

New Features and Optimizations

General: Added Classic DOOM weapon placement/view model option (all modes)

Campaign: Added Photo Mode (You ll find the new Photo Mode toggle in the game settings. It is available through the pause menu once you are loaded into a map via Mission Select)

Multiplayer

SnapMap

Fixes

Single Player

Multiplayer

SnapMap

PC-Only: Fixed Dev Mode incorrectly triggering when the user retrieves their own save data from Steam Cloud

PC Gamer

The Fallout 4 community has been hard at work with the new Contraptions Workshop! Bethesda's latest DLC lets you turn your settlements into factories complete with machinery and conveyor belts, but naturally some players are taking a few liberties and using the parts and pieces to build contraptions of mass destruction (or at least mass annoyance). Here are the best of what we've seen.

There are plenty more clever contraptions in the works, so we'll certainly be adding to this page in the days ahead. And if you see something, say something: drop a link in the comments to any contraptions you've found or made yourself.

Calculator

History has shown us that if a game gives you logic gates, someone is going to use them to build a giant functional calculator. Above, you can see Redditor Quinchilion's proof of concept. First, they built a mechanical register and then followed it up with a 4-bit adder and multiplier. "... it is possible to create a general purpose computer in Fallout 4," Quinchilion says. "I do not suggest doing so, however, unless you want to spend your next two weeks running around and wiring logic gates together." Good point.

Abbatoir

Enterprising farmer '50451' decided to update their thriving mutated creature concern into a meat packaging plant. The radstags are caught using cages from the Wasteland Workshop, and as they're released from their cages, they're killed by sentry turrets. Then, they make a trip through the factory, where they're broken down into component parts and even dumped into boxes for easy shipping. Clever! Gruesome, but clever. The Manufacturing Extended mod was used.

Teddy torture

The first thing I personally tried to build was a cannon to shoot steel balls at a pilloried Blake Abernathy, which sort of, kind of worked, but not really. YouTuber 'Father' went to far greater lengths to punish some of Fallout's characters by building an elaborate teddy bear manufacturing plant, which fed the stuffed toys into pitching machines aimed at the heads of several characters while they were locked in pillories. Getting beaned by cuddly bears won't kill you, but being gently smacked with thousands of them would certainly be maddening.

Companion launcher

I like most of Fallout 4's companions, but just about all of them can get on your nerves once in a while, either by blocking doorways, getting injured, or just picking an inopportune time to want to discuss something personal. YouTuber Klone Wolf decided to take out some of his frustrations by gently coaxing companions (well, whomping them with a radioactive hammer) into a junk mortar and them launching them into a field of spike traps. Take that, endlessly loyal followers.

Four-story armor factory

Not everyone is using contraptions to hurt people. Redditor 'GRZ NGT' has cobbled together an impressive armor factory. It's four stories high, with production beginning on the roof and the components proceeding down, level by level, via conveyor belts. What will be done with all that armor? I dunno. But it's a neat way to make it.

Marcy Mangler

Fallout 4 Fun Fact: everyone hates Marcy. With pillories added to the game, it wasn't going to take long for players to exact some revenge. This neat gadget sends some cannonballs Marcy's way, where she is imprisoned in front of a sign reading, bluntly, "Fuck you Marcy." The fireworks celebration after she gets clobbered are a wonderful touch, too.

Paintball Pillory Punishment

Speaking of pillories, Youtuber 'IAGO' has built a rather complicated Rube Goldberg-esque machine involving ramps, traps, and pressure plates, which culminates in Preston Garvey getting shot in the butt by paintball guns. It looks like it took a lot of work to get right, probably hours and hours of testing and tweaking. Hard to argue with the results though.

PC Gamer

My name is Ivor. I'm an engine driver. I'm wheeling my vaguely-futuristic train through the grey, hushed landscape of post-holocaust Russia, stopping at stations to search for survivors and tend to their needs. It's a grim, bizarre, and occasionally beautiful place, enshrouded in fear and mystery, and also the kind of setup for a videogame that I absolutely love. I went into The Final Station, a 2D, side-scrolling, retro-styled action-adventure game, with very high hopes. But after a few hours with the recently-released preview build, I'm worried it's not quite all its cracked up to be except where the story is concerned.

Stations along the route can't be bypassed, so I was forced to explore all of them, even when shortages of ammunition and medkits left me ill-equipped to deal with the spooky, wraith-like Infected lurking in their halls and closets. And it's really exploration in name only: The layout and contents of each individual station is the same from game to game, and the paths through them are almost perfectly linear. The goal is to find the four-digit code that unlocks the train and allows it to move to the next station in the line. Each code is hidden in increasingly unlikely and convoluted circumstances Bob wrote it down and stuffed it in his pocket before he nipped into town to buy a pack of smokes, and the world ended while he was out and you re stuck until you track it down.

Once you do, you can be on your way, or if you prefer, you can keep poking around and maybe dig up some food, medicine, ammo, or money, all of which will make life on the rails a little easier. Supplies are scarce, and the Infected are not, which can make for some very tense (read: frustrating) moments. Getting a handle on melee combat helped ease the ammo pressure, but the hand-to-hand fights, which are simply a matter of running back and forth past infected and timing right-clicks to punch them as you go by (and hopefully not getting clobbered in kind), aren't much fun.

Risk vs reward decisions are meant to be the basis for much of The Final Station's tension, but it never adds up to much because you can t leave a station and move on to the next without doing a nearly complete circuit through it anyway. The tough calls that are supposedly at the heart of the game are largely non-existent: At one point, I discovered a note warning me not to go to the subway, which was fine, because subways are generally bad news in a post-apocalypse anyway except, whoops, I have to go to the subway, because it's the only way to continue through the level. (And of course it's packed with infected.)

Foreshadowing is fine, but suggesting that I have a choice in the matter, and then almost immediately taking it away is just irritating. I get that there's a story to be told, but I came into The Final Station expecting that I'd have some control over my destiny, and moments like this are an explicit reminder that for the most part, I do not. Similarly, I didn't have the option to reject potential passengers in order to preserve resources; the people I talked to decided for themselves whether or not they'd join my train, without any input from me. (Joke was on them, though: Most of them died long before we made it to our destination.)

Keeping the people I picked up alive was the other half of my job as an the engineer, and that was both trickier and more tedious than I expected. They are (or were, as it almost inevitably turned out) incredibly delicate. People who by all appearances were in good health when I picked them up would starve to death between stations if I didn't bring them food, or suffocate if I failed to adequately monitor the ventilation system. My assumption is that these survival mechanics are meant to inject drama and tension between stations, but it just doesn't work in its current state. It's entirely superfluous, and even silly: These people will literally die in their seats rather than get up and open a window. Death comes so quickly and of such easily avoidable causes that I quickly stopped caring. I became like William Hurt in A History of Violence, staring down at the fallen and wondering how they possibly could have been so stupid. (It didn't help that it seemed not to matter whether they lived or died anyway.)

The Final Station's world was pretty clearly a mess well before disaster struck.

So The Final Station is very linear, and a bit dull, and the segments aboard the train fail to add anything to the experience but a bit of pointless busywork. In spite of all that, I want to see more. The preview build isn't complete the dialog is largely placeholder, mechanics are still being worked on, and it only covers the first, shortest chapter of the game and more importantly, I really feel like there's something legitimately intriguing in it. The preview only hints at it, but The Final Station's world was pretty clearly a mess well before disaster struck. And the end of the world isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds, either. Cities continue to function, with people going about their business, some of them apparently unaware that anything untoward is happening at all. There was also a late-preview surprise that was genuinely disturbing, and subtle enough that I almost missed it.

That's why I'll keep following along, and look forward to playing the final release, whenever it comes out. I wish it was for a better reason than a vaguely-formed hope that its potential will coalesce into something worthwhile, but unless and until the stations become more fun to play through, and I m given some proper freedom to make the decisions that move the game forward, the mystery of this grey, broken world is The Final Station s only real hook right now.

PC Gamer

The TruckSimRadio VTC lines up for an imposing shot.

[Update: After publishing, members of the TSR community and the original interviewees reached out to clarify the origins of the radio station. The article has been updated to reflect those changes.]

For many, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is a stubborn rhetorical question. Why play a game that simulates work, the slow transport of goods across long stretches of pseudo-European highways? Players have to manage everything an actual trucker would: delivery schedules, fuel costs, road tolls, bank loans, and their careers in the cutthroat online trucking industry. Hauling 30 tons for hours at a time, avoiding accidents and obeying local traffic laws all the while can be lonely, stressful labor.

And yet, when you re playing with others, the open road inspires a calm camaraderie. Two of Euro Trucking Simulator 2 s most dedicated players know it best. Mark Watson (Mini in the online trucking world) joined a community effort to start TruckSimRadio (formerly EuroTruckRadio), an internet radio station made specifically for the trucking sim community (and the terrestrial counterpart to EVE-Radio). Later on, Ben Kingdon (Crumbs) came on to provide graphics for the official website and took up the reigns as head of the TruckSimRadio (TSR) virtual trucking company (VTC). With the help of the TSR community, they built something that could only happen on the PC: an amateur internet radio station dedicated to an unofficial multiplayer mod in a niche, monotonous simulation game.

Mini and Crumbs sat down over Skype to tell me how it all came about.

Breaker, breaker

Drivers in Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator can tune their radio any available internet radio station, but Mini felt there was something missing from the simulation. Calling into stations to request songs or send shoutouts to friends is like shouting into the abyss there s no guarantee friends are listening, and calling stations often means dialing another country. The station was created by a group of players active on the ETS2MP.com forums (no longer active) who quickly became passionate about the idea. Rick, the forum-goer with the initial idea, quickly recruited Mini, along with ETS2MP members Clare, Alex, and Mark.

About four or five of us got together, put down some money, bought a dedicated server box, put up a quick website, and started streaming live music.

Mark "Mini" Watson

There was a small group of us at the very beginning," says Mini, "about four or five of us got together, put down some money, bought a dedicated server box, put up a quick website, and started streaming live music.

As much as it sounds like a hobbyist s decision, Mini and friends weren t making the decision lightly setting up a legitimate internet radio station isn t like setting up a Tumblr. Besides the costs of setting up the server, license fees for station operation landed somewhere between 400 and 500. For personal reasons, Rick left the project after 18 months. Even Mini parted ways with the station, leaving behind the trucking scene as a whole. But the call of the open road let to his inevitable return, in which he took over TSR and lead the station to where it is today.

As a place for people looking to roleplay, amateur or not, trucking sims already attract a curious type, which makes them a great low risk place to stretch one s disk-jockeying skills Mini and Crumbs knew they d get applicants without any formal experience, but that s part of why they do it.

Drivers all over Europe know the name.

We like taking on people as if it's their first DJing role. says Crumbs. They re not the best to start off with, but our most recent DJ, when he started off, he didn t even know how to use the software, and he s doing three to four hours in the morning every day now and obviously he loves it. Actually he s part of the radio station management now. He started from the bottom. Now, TruckSimRadio has a regular stream of DJ personalities taking requests and shoutouts. Some show up every day during the same hour, a few come and go as they can, but the schedule is almost always filled with 10 or more hours of scheduled, hosted programming. They ll play music, hold contests, chat about the state of the game, or what they ate for lunch that day. It s an eclectic mix of amateurs and the experienced donating hours of their daily lives just to keep drivers company on the road.

The radio station was, and continues to be a hit. Mini claims they re getting about 200 or more listeners a day, and Crumbs talks up the growth of their Facebook group each week. Euro Truck Simulator 2 has around 13,000 active players at a time, an untold percentage of which use the multiplayer mod, which makes that audience pretty impressive. Because Mini and Crumbs found such a successful mouthpiece, they took the community evolution to its next logical step: public convoys.

We got a mighty (slow) convoy 

In most European countries, the highway code dictates that a convoy a group of vehicles moving in unison is to be treated as a single vehicle. That means other drivers aren t allowed to split the procession at any point, be it on the highway or moving through an intersection. In Euro Truck Simulator 2, convoys aren't exactly sanctioned, but they re not traditional convoys either. They re, as Crumb puts, controlled chaos massive online gatherings where dozens and dozens of truckers meet up to make the same drive. Drivers inch along, snaking their way across low-res Europe, proudly bearing their VTC colors, and chatting all the while. The most popular convoys are scheduled on ETS2C.com, and happen on Wednesday and Sunday, bringing in 80 to 150 drivers regularly. But when Crumbs talks about convoys, his voice strains for enthusiasm.

As it turns out, putting on a convoy isn t just a matter getting in line and hitting the gas it s a marvel that they happen at all. He s no longer in charge of keeping convoys organized, but feels for the two drivers who took over. I did the job they re doing for a couple of months and it was a nightmare, he says. And it s true. If one driver makes a wrong turn, then it s easy for others to follow suit, resulting in a splintered, lost, and frustrated group of 50-plus drivers.

Even so, they re not nearly as much of a mess as they used to be. TruckSimRadio and co. developed a few tactics to keep convoys in line, literally. Before every drive, TruckSimRadio deploys a convoy control team, whose members park near particularly confusing intersections and repeatedly point out which direction to go in the chat. To make it even easier to deploy the convoy control team, they use custom save files to get on point and respond to problems instantaneously. Crumbs came up with the idea to park at every vital convoy control point on the route ahead of time and make a save file for each. By distributing these files, control members are able to spawn at the designated control points simply by loading their appointed save. The files let convoy control team members teleport between save points without affecting the multiplayer server as a whole, because the files are saved locally and only affect the player that uses them they basically reset positional data.

Despite the ease they provide, Crumbs says the advances only turned unorganized chaos to organized chaos, but I d argue small doses of human error are part of a convoy s cryptic appeal.

Anyone can take part in a public convoy, but participating in the TruckSimRadio VTC is a more advanced process. They have a reputation to protect as one of the most popular and respected VTCs. To get in, you need to register on TruckSimRadio.com and then take a driving test as an official panel watches on. If they don t pass the first time we offer them a bit of training and whatever they need, and we get them to come back and do another test, says Crumbs. As soon as they pass that test they can drive as part of our company. It s the ShackTac of truck simulation, roughly.

There s a romanticism about road-tripping with friends, driving for long stretches, watching the plains spin up into mountains and the fog give way to blue skies but when it comes to making the cut, business comes first. There s even a dress code , so to speak, if you make it. Crumbs explains the truck decoration code like he s explained it a hundred times before. We ask that they have TSR VTC (TruckSimRadio Virtual Trucking Co.) in their name, and they drive if in solo, they can drive any truck any color they want. If they drive in a convoy of two or more trucks, they have to use the orange white and black paint scheme. It s fancy uniform.

Dress for the job you want.

While the paintjob is a banner of pride for many in the community, for Mini, it functions as a conversation starter and the hard-earned assurance that his crazy ideas are amounting to some good in the world. You can t drive along the road in the colors of TruckSimRadio and not be noticed. Mini s smile widens. They say oh, great radio, we listen in all the time! It s really great to get that kind of feedback and obvious we re doing things right if people are engaging with us in game.

For younger people it s quite hard for them to know how to pay their respects, how to get involved in things.

Ben "Crumbs" Kingdon

Mini, Crumbs, and the TruckSimRadio VTC are still reeling at the success of convoys even if they can be a logistical nightmare as Crumb says, and now they ve found ways channel the chaos into tangible good. After the horrific attacks in Paris last November, TSR organized a truck gathering in ETS2 s virtual Paris, where every truck wore the colors of the French flag and they talked about the tragedy. What seems like a passive, incredibly closed off method for showing support was actually a somber educational seminar. Because a surprising number of kids and teenagers play ETS2, Crumbs believes that it s their community s duty to be positive role models. For younger people it s quite hard for them to know how to pay their respects, how to get involved in things. They talked with teens about a very sensitive subject in an adult way, something unheard of in most popular gaming communities.

Pictured: the TSR VTC parks it in virtual Paris to chat about the tragedy.

Due to the radio s reach and the popularity of their VTC, TruckSimRadio is making a habit of charity work and educational outreach however they can. Just last October, they put on a 100 hour convoy in an effort to raise money for the BBC Children in Need fund. By the end their long haul, they made over 1000. Shipping goods and shipping good aren t so different for TSR.

Keep on trucking

Despite the growing community, the charity events, and popular radio station, Mini and Crumbs make no buts about how uneventful trucking can be. Crumbs described another event they host, where companies meet up in parking lots to show off their most expensive trucks and chat. They sit in the same place for an hour, an hour and a half, and they love it, they love doing it. It s just one of those things. It sounds extremely boring and people love doing it.

Strip away the trucks, the simulation, and you re left with a group of friends hanging out. Their trucks are just expressions of themselves, tuned and designed to reflect their personality. In the real trucking world, drivers only meet in passing through a quick overtake on the highway or a conversation at the rest stop. A community exists, but it s ephemeral, coming and going as the drivers do.

In a VTC like TruckSimRadio, those artificial barriers of contact dissolve. Mini and Crumbs, with plenty of help, made one of the most unique, positive, safest places in PC gaming, and the closest we ll ever get to a trucker s utopia. It s a virtual reality in which traffic laws embrace the trucker, convoys, and the spirit of open road trust. Business obligations melt away leaving only the drivers with their trucks, each a personal, powerful force sliding through a live pastoral scene, a long monotonous drive with the radio calling their name and a crowded CB as company, exactly the way it should be.

PC Gamer

This is definitely Campo Santo's.

Developer Campo Santo can take pride in the fact that its Firewatch art captured the spirit of the wild so perfectly that a Ford dealership stole it for a sales event. Alas, I fear that even with 0% interest, the Ford Freedom will prove a poor match for the scree and cave systems of Shoshone National Park.

For the avoidance of doubt, allow me to credit the ad to Quirk Ford. Well, the bottom half of it. The art is the work of Campo Santo's Olly Moss. And the screenshot is by Kyle Daigle, via Firewatch co-producer Panic Inc. Everyone acknowledged? Phew.

Campo Santo has responded with wit, if not good humour. No acrimonious copyright suits to see here.

Speaking to Game Informer, Quirk Ford said the image was taken from a wallpaper site a wallpaper site that does not guarantee the provenance of its images. Furthermore, Vanaman pointed out that some elements of the ad could only have come from an old Campo Santo website.

Quirk Ford has since apologised, and the fire is out.

PC Gamer

Nuclear Throne is the rare game that I fail at over and over again, but keep coming back to. It s such a satisfying twitch shooter that I m constantly on edge and terrified for my life in the later levels our review very accurately describes it as a roguelike shooter of insidious grace and flexibility, with every single moving part a source of terrible fascination. When I saw an online multiplayer mod pop up last week, I was immediately compelled to play it what better way to alleviate the stress of an intense roguelike than to have a friend there to help? What an innocent though that was.

Nuclear Throne Together works shockingly well, and is a ton of fun, but if anything, it makes the game more stressful and frenetic. My co-op partner Tom Marks can attest to that, as I spent most of the later levels in our sessions shouting oh god oh god oh god as everything on the screen exploded constantly. We exploded a lot of stuff, Tom and I. It was a good time, and co-op adds an interesting strategic twist you won t find in single-player. When your partner goes down, the game gives you a limited window to revive them and split your HP. If you leave them down, you start taking damage and die yourself. We ride together, we die together. Mutant freaks for life.

I m still a little amazed that this mod exists. Nuclear Throne shipped with local co-op for two players on the same PC. Nuclear Throne Together takes that mode and brings it online, with full Steam integration (friends list, invites, etc.). I m no programmer, but I m pretty sure writing solid netcode for someone else s game especially when the source code for that game isn t publicly available is a hell of a task. Modder Vadim wrote on his website: Should you have an impression that reverse-engineering an existing large game to poke few thousand new lines worth of code into it isn't a bad idea it very well is.

Oh, and that s not all it does. As Vadim wrote, Nuclear Throne never was a coop-centric game, and thus coop mode didn't receive enough attention, remaining ridden with various small bugs. This mod changes that, fixing pretty much every known issue, and giving coop some much-needed polish. He also fixed some other game bugs while he was at it.

From my hands-on time with the mod, it worked perfectly about 90% of the time. In a few moments of heavy action, with tons of explosions going off on-screen, Nuclear Throne lagged to the point of entirely freezing up. This happened about four or five times across three runs (we even made it to the Throne in one of them!) and usually lasted a handful of seconds before clearing up. I believe both of us were on stable connections, though Vadim notes that the mod requires somewhat-low-latency (100ms delay / 200ms ping) connection for comfortable play and Comcast could be to blame for our little lag spikes. Either way, they didn t get in the way of us having fun. For the majority of our time playing Together, it was smooth shootin .

I hope this mod is the sign of a co-op naming trend, by the way. Don t Starve Together, Nuclear Throne Together it s just such a nice way to say two-player. Grab the mod here.

PC Gamer

On a mission to spice up the mid-game, Stellaris' Asimov patch (1.2) is now live, bringing sweeping improvements. I pored over the biggest of the planned changes last week, but now we have an exhaustive changelog. Mercifully, Paradox has compressed the headlines into a handy graphic:

New and significant among those is the inclusion of improved skyboxes (spaceboxes?). The new textures are twice as big and look gorgeous, and as an added bonus, all-new skyboxes have been included too.

Catch up with the monstrous patch notes here.

Asimov's new skyboxes.
PC Gamer

Image via defunct gaming site Freakygaming.

WASD feels inevitable today. Once mouselook became standard in 3D games, it made little sense (at least for right-handed players) to hold your left arm across your chest to reach the arrow keys. The WASD keys were more comfortable, and offered easy access to Shift and Space. But even though WASD seems like the obvious choice now, far fewer players used it 20 years ago.

Our favorite four letter word was never a foregone conclusion, and didn't become standard through some gaseous enlightening that spread to every PC gamer simultaneously. The new movement scheme took several years to catch on, and while we can t know whose fingers found their way to WASD first, we do have a good idea of who popularized the style: the greatest Quake player in the universe, Dennis Thresh Fong.

Fong made history when he took home John Carmack's Ferrari 328 after winning the first-ever nationwide Quake tournament in 1997. And when he won that tournament, defeating Tom "Entropy" Kimzey on Castle of the Damned, his right hand was on a mouse, and his left hand was perched over the four keys we now consider synonymous with PC gaming. But even then, not everyone played that way.

His brother was playing with a keyboard and trackball, and he was winning.

In the early days of first-person shooters, Fong says the keymappings were all over the place, and even the great Thresh had only just started to play with a mouse at all. Imagine him just a few years before, sometime around 1993, as a teenager losing a match of Doom against his brother Lyle. Like many Doom players, Fong used only the keyboard. Without the need to look up or down, it was a natural choice so much that using a mouse was even considered weird. His brother, however, was playing with a keyboard and trackball, and he was winning. It wasn t every game both were excellent players but Lyle won enough that one summer Fong decided he had to learn to play with a mouse. After that, he was unbeatable.

Right after I made that switch, my skill improved exponentially, says Fong. Pretty much, from then on, I never lost.

It took some experimentation including a strange attempt to move with WADX but Fong settled on WASD and has been using it since Doom. Did he invent the scheme? No, probably not. Others were also gravitating to the left side of the keyboard for Doom at the same time. But without Fong's influence, the default could have ended up different. It might have been EDSF, or stranger configurations like ZXC to strafe and move backwards, and the right mouse button to move forwards. Some early shooters bound movement to the arrow keys. In 1994, System Shock used ASDX, while Descent used AZ for forward/reverse and QE for banking (if you didn't happen to have a joystick).

Fong tells us he even knew a player who used ZXCV to move.

I m certainly not going to take credit for the creation of [WASD], says Fong. I stumbled across it. I m sure other people started using it as well just based on what was comfortable for them. I definitely think I helped popularize it with a certain set of gamers, particularly the ones that played first person shooters."

Quake wasn't the first game to introduce mouselook (Marathon came before it), but it was the most influential.

It s likely that he did. The very concept of a professional gamer was new at the time, and Fong was well-known on the west coast as the best player around. As Fong s celebrity grew, the one question everyone asked him was: What s your config? His answer could be most readily found in Thresh s Quake Bible, which describes the WASD formation as an inverted T. And his guide carried weight. Even before his success as a Quake player, Fong was a Doom champion, and so people imitated him, just as the kids at the basketball court by my house spend far too much time trying to hit Steph Curry s 30-foot shots.

The evidence can be found on old bulletin board systems. In one thread from 1997, a poster recommends using Q and E to strafe and A and D to turn. Another suggests using the keypad for movement, and someone else says they use A, Shift, Z, X. It wasn't the case that everyone simply gravitated to the 'obvious' choice of WASD or ESDF, and in another thread, we see how Thresh's performance in the Quake tournament spread his style. His play was so impressive, the poster looking for his config speculates that it was impossible for him to turn so fast with a mouse.

Another legend, Quake programmer John Carmack, took note. Even when I was hanging out with Carmack, wherever, at E3, random people would come up and he would hear them asking me what my configuration was, says Fong. So he ended up building a Thresh stock config into Quake 2.

It was a relief. Not only could Fong sit down at any computer with Quake 2 and instantly load his configuration, every time he got the question, all he had to say was type exec thresh.cfg.

Half-Life was one of the first games to bind WASD to movement by default.

Convenient as it was, Fong doesn t think the inclusion of his config was the main factor in the rise of WASD, and I d agree. By the time Quake 2 was out, WASD was starting to feel like common knowledge. I used it, and I don t remember hearing Thresh s name associated with it at the time, though it s possible his configuration entered my consciousness two or three people removed.

And yet games, strangely, took a while to catch up. Carmack may have bundled Thresh s config with Quake 2, but when it released in 1997 the default controls were still arrow keys. A year later, though, that changed. If Thresh's Quake tournament win was WASD's first watershed moment, the second came in 1998 with the release of Half-Life. The Quake and Doom players at Valve perhaps influenced directly or indirectly by Carmack, Thresh, and other top Doom and Quake players included WASD in Half-Life s default keyboard and mouse config, which helped solidify it as the first-person shooter standard.

Valve engineer Yahn Bernier checked Half-Life's original config file for us and confirmed it included WASD. "I remember finalizing this file (maybe with Steve Bond) during the lead up to shipping HL1 but don t recall specifics about when WASD was settled on or really why. We probably carried it forward from Quake1 " he wrote in an email.

The same year, and less than a month after Half-Life, Starsiege Tribes also made WASD default. Quake 3 followed suit in 1999, and WASD's popularity grew even more. It was also the default binding in 2000's Daikatana, but Half-Life, Tribes, and Quake 3 probably had a bit more to do with its popularity.

In a period of a year, Half-Life, Tribes, and Quake 3 set the standard we use today.

I always rebind to ESDF.

Gabe Newell

There were still plenty of heretical control schemes in 1999 like System Shock 2's, which defaulted to WADX (and S for crouch). But WASD had momentum. If it wasn t already ubiquitous by 2004, World of Warcraft defaulting to WASD codified it for millions of PC gamers. Now it s in RPGs and MOBAs and even strategy games, controlling camera movement over maps.

Interestingly, Valve boss Gabe Newell doesn t use WASD. I personally don't like WASD as it takes your hand away from your typing home keys, he wrote in an email to PC Gamer. I always rebind to ESDF. Newell's not alone there. Do a little Googling and you'll find plenty of people arguing that ESDF is the more natural configuration.

More surprisingly, another Half-Life developer, level designer Dario Casali, also rejects WASD. Instead, he prefers ASXC. It feels natural to me, where WASD feels odd, wrote Casali. But lots of people scoff at my config.

What would PC gaming be like had EDSF or ASXC been Half-Life s default? No offense intended to Newell or Casali, but I shudder to think of it. ASXC just sounds bonkers to me. Newell's fairly commonplace ESDF is more palatable, but as Thresh echoes, it feels harder to hit Shift and Control while easier to mispress one of the surrounding keys. For me, Thresh, and millions of PC gamers, it s WASD for life.

You can read more about the history of Quake in our retrospective celebrating Quake's 20th anniversary. We're also celebrating by running a Quake server through the weekend, and Thresh himself will be playing on our US-West server today, Friday, from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Pacific time.

Wes Fenlon also contributed to this article.

PC Gamer

The great and mighty Quake turned 20 earlier this week, a moment in gaming history we marked (and continue to mark) by putting up our very own PC Gamer Quake servers for the week. We've also got a really good Quake retrospective I'd encourage you to dig into here. Wolfenstein: The New Order developer MachineGames is getting in on the fun too: It's created an all-new Quake episode, and released it for free.

Installing the episode is easy: Just extract the archive to its own subdirectory inside your Quake directory, then run the Dopa batch file. It works perfectly well with the GOG version of Quake and presumably others as well (GOG's release is the one I tried it on), and you can trust me, it's perfectly safe and won't set your PC on fire.

I haven't finished it yet, but I'm midway through the second level and so far it's really good. The level designs have been really clever so far, with lots of secrets to find, and yes, there is a hidden (but not too-hidden) teleporter to Nightmare difficulty, if that's your thing. Enjoy!

PC Gamer

There's lots of competitive gaming to watch this weekend, from top-tier Hearthstone and Street Fighter V to the Dota 2 scene's frantic scramble to make it to this year's International. Skilled players will win thousands of dollars over the next two days: an impressive sum in and of itself if you're American, getting more impressive with every minute that passes if you're British.

Hearthstone: Americas Spring Championship

Starting at 09:00 PDT/18:00 CEST on both Saturday and Sunday, this is a showcase of top talent in the American Hearthstone scene. There's $80,000 on the line, as well as a spot at the Global Finals at BlizzCon. Here's the stream.

Dota 2: The International 2016 Regional Qualifiers

Qualification for the remaining spots at The International begins tomorrow. Play begins at 18:00 PDT on Friday night/03:00 CEST in SEA and at 01:00 PDT/10:00 CEST in Europe. As Europe wraps up, expect play to begin in North America followed by China. It's a packed schedule, so check out GosuGamer's match page for the latest info and stream links.

CSGO: Esports Championship Series

FaceIt's Esports Championship Series concludes this weekend with a dramatic faceoff between the world's best teams in London. You can find the livestream and schedule information on the official site. Up-to-date schedule information is missing at the moment, but expect play throughout the day on British time (CEST-1).

League of Legends: NA Championship Series

Another weekend of play in the NA LCS. Games run today and continue throughout the weekend, starting at 12:00 PDT/21:00 CEST each day and continuing for four-five hours. As ever, the best resource for further information and livestreams is lolesports.com.

Overwatch: OG Invitational

One of the biggest events in NA Overwatch so far, the OG Invitational has a $25,000 prize pool and showcases the region's best teams. Play begins at 10:00 PDT/19:00 CEST and you'll find the livestream right here.

Rocket League: Qualifier 2 Group Stage

After a few weeks of open qualifiers, the pool narrows. NA is playing on Saturday starting at 12:00 PDT/21:00 CEST and Europe plays on Sunday from 09:00 PDT/18:00 CEST. Here's the livestream.

Street Fighter V: CEO 2016

One of the liveliest events in the Street Fighter V calendar, Andi sung the praises of CEO in his column this week. It's a premier event, so expect a very high standard of play. You can find the extensive schedule here and the action will be streamed on Twitch.

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