PC Gamer

Microsoft has unveiled Project X-Ray for Hololens, which is a virtual reality game that offers wearable holograms. Microsoft demonstrated Project X-Ray on stage today at its October Event.

In the demo, a weapon formed around the player s hand, and followed him wherever he moved around the room. The room itself was transformed into a virtual play space, with robots smashing through walls and climbing over furniture that was already in the room.

He was then able to shoot lasers at the robots, or suck them in and fire them back out again using vortex mode. The player was also able to duck down behind a shield that emanated from his hologram to avoid incoming fire.

The developer kit for HoloLens (i.e. not a consumer version) will be available in Q1 2016 for $3,000. When we've tried HoloLens, it's been a cool experience, but with a much more limited field of view than the video demonstrations let on.

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Choose your weapon, mobile road warriors

Microsoft has long pitched its Surface Pro as a tablet that can replace your laptop and that's still the case with its Surface Pro 4 introduced today. At the same time, for users interested in strictly a notebook form factor, Microsoft also unveiled the Surface Book, its first laptop.

Starting with the Surface Pro 4,it's the thinnest and lightest Surface to date at just 8.4mm thin. It also boasts a 12.3-inch PixelSense display with 6th Generation Intel Core m, Core i5, an Core i7 processor options. Despite the slight increase in screen size, the Surface Pro 4 still features the same overall footprint as the Surface Pro 3 so it's compatible with existing keyboard accessories.

From a performance standpoint, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 4 is 30 percent faster than its predecessor. If you want to compare it to Apple's MacBook Air, which Microsoft's Panos Panay was careful not to disparage, the Surface Pro 4 is supposedly 50 percent faster.

Surface Pro 4 will offer up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage space. It will be available to pre-order today starting at $899.

Surface Book

The biggest surprise of Microsoft's hardware event was the introduction of the Surface Book. Pegged as a Surface device in a laptop form factor, the Surface Book is Microsoft's first true laptop built in-house.

It's a little bigger than the Surface Pro 4 with a 13.5-inch optically bonded display with a pixel density of 276ppi. Inside the Surface Book is an Intel Skylake processor, a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GPU with GDDR5 memory, and solid state storage that connects through the PCI Express bus. That's a potent foundation and the reason why Microsoft claims the Surface Book is the "fastest 13-inch laptop anywhere on the planet."

Just as the Surface Pro is a tablet that can replace your laptop, the opposite is true of the Surface Book -- it's a laptop that can replace your tablet (Microsoft isn't pitching it as such). To that end, it sports a detachable keyboard. The Nvidia GPU is actually inside the keyboard dock, so when you detach the display, the Surface Book switches to Intel's integrated graphics.

What if you want the power of a discrete GPU in tablet form? You can keep the keyboard attached and bend the display backwards. Using a "dynamic fulcrum hinge," the Surface Book is able to bend at different points, allowing users to push the screen back 360 degrees.

Some of the of the other features Microsoft mentioned include keyboard backlighting, 5-point multitouch glass trackpad, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, and 12 hours of battery life.

The Surface Book will be available to pre-order today starting at $1,499 and will ship on October 26.

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PC Gamer

Ubisoft has finally lifted the lid on what this Far Cry Primal business is all about: It's a first-person "shooter" set in the Stone Age and scheduled for release in March 2016.

"Welcome to the Stone Age, a time of extreme danger and limitless adventure, when giant mammoths and saber-toothed tigers ruled the Earth, and humanity was at the bottom of the food chain," the description at FarCryGame.com states. "You will play as Takkar, a seasoned hunter and the last surviving member of your group. You have one goal: survival in a world where you are the prey. Grow your tribe and hone your skills to lead your people, conquer the land of Oros, and become the apex predator. Encounter a cast of memorable characters who can help push back the dangers of the wild. Face enemy tribes who will do anything to eradicate you and your allies."

The reveal trailer is more of a table-setting than a meaningful look at what's in store, but Ubisoft was kind enough to also provide a "behind-the-scenes" video, playing below, that digs deeper into the game. Oros is a "savage and primitive world," filled with numerous dangers, which Takkar will arrive in alone, exhausted, and unarmed. Instead of purchasing weapons, players must craft them, first with wood and stone, and later with more and different resources, for more advanced and powerful equipment, like spears, bows, blades, and clubs. The game world will be large but "dense" with various interacting systems, some of which will be "greatly affected" by the day/night cycle.

So it's Far Cry, but with no firearms and no vehicles. That's a bold move, but one I'm looking forward to, even if it might not be as exciting (no dinosaurs) as some of yesterday's predictions. Far Cry Primal is set to come out in March 2016. Don't miss the screens underneath the trailer!

PC Gamer

You can do so much in the bath: read a book; listen to music; pretend to be a mermaid; or invent whole new card games for use in your upcoming RPG. At least, that's what The Witcher 3's senior gameplay designer Damien Monnier did with Gwent.

In an interview with Kotaku, Monnier says that he was given one weekend to come up with a new game for The Witcher 3 to fit where the dice poker game had fit in The Witcher 2. On Sunday evening he had a bath, and while he was in the tub the basic idea washed over him:

"You have a number that's higher than the other person's number, then you have things that will affect that number. Some cards double it, some cards lower it, and ultimately the challenge comes from the initial hand. So, it's about managing your initial hand and bluffing."

By the time he was done with his bath, he had the basic rules. He mocked up some cards and took them into work to play with the studio director Adam Badowski, and it was a hit.

The interview also has some more interesting tidbits about the game itself—apparently it was originally going to be three-player but it didn't look right in the game, and while the physical version is fair the digital version gives the player an unfair advantage—but the bath bit is definitely key here. Clearly baths are very important to game development.

Unfortunately we don't get any details as to the specific kind of bath Monnier had, but if you too want to be a successful game designer you should probably start experimenting with water temperatures and bath products tonight. As you can see, the witcher himself favours a freestanding wooden keg variety. Let me know when you hit on the formula for success.

PC Gamer

The Star Wars: Battlefront beta is on its way very soon, this Thursday (October 8) according to EA, and if you plan on trying it out you'll want to know what kind of a PC you'll need to run it. Fortunately, EA has now released the system requirements for Battlefront, and it looks like I really should get around to getting that new hard drive. And some more RAM.

Here they are:

Minimum PC System Requirements

OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or laterProcessor (Intel): Intel i3 6300T or equivalentMemory: 8GB RAMHard Drive: At least 40 GB of free spaceGraphics card (NVIDIA): nVidia GeForce GTX 660 2GBGraphics card (ATI): ATI Radeon HD 7850 2GBDirectX: 11.0 Compatible video card or equivalentOnline Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection

Recommended PC System Requirements

OS: 64-bit Windows 10 or laterProcessor (Intel): Intel i5 6600 or equivalentMemory: 16GB RAMHard Drive: At least 40 GB of free spaceGraphics card (NVIDIA): nVidia GeForce GTX 970 4GBGraphics card (AMD): AMD Radeon R9 290 4GBDirectX: 11.1 Compatible video card or equivalentOnline Connection Requirements: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection

Do you also need a new machine to hit even the minimum specs? Before you start picking out graphics cards, check out Sam's hands-on to see if it's really worth it.

PC Gamer

Last night, ESL and Valve announced the eight teams being invited to The Frankfurt Major—the first of Valve's new series of 'mini-Internationals' spanning the year-long gap between Dota 2's world championships. The European Major will be held in Frankfurt (if that wasn't obvious) from the 16th-21st of November. This is a world championship-level event, by anyone's standards, and if you're in the area then you can attend for free. Only the Saturday, when the finals take place, will require a ticket.

The invites are, for the most part, fairly predictable. International champions EG are a given, as are CDEC, LGD, Vici Gaming, EHOME and Virtus.Pro—in that order, these teams make up the top 6 places at TI5. Team Secret's new roster gets the next spot, followed by Vega Squadron—the surprise winners of last weekend's ESL One New York 2015 tournament.

Instinctively, it feels like the plan was always to invite the TI5 top six and then settle on the last two places based on ESL One New York: given how early Vega were eliminated from the International, it'd be an amazing act of foresight to invite them prior to this most recent result. Similarly, Secret's 2nd-place finish in New York proved the potential of their new lineup, something that wasn't guaranteed before.

The remaining eight places will be determined by four regional qualifiers—Americas, Southeast Asia, China, and Europe. There are open spots in each of these qualifiers, with anybody able to enter a massive bracket this week to compete for a space. The odds of a Cool Runnings-type result where a group of unknowns enters the open qualifier and goes on to sweep the entire thing are incredibly low, but if you're entering your team—good luck!

The prize pool is $3m and not, as the image above might suggest, some kind of giant golden bust of a peacock. That peacock is, in fact, supposed to be an eagle, and the thing that it's attached to is an item from Dota 2 called an Eaglesong. You may think that it looks like the top of a recurve bow, but it is, in fact, a horn—a horn that grants bonus agility, for some reason. This is confusing because, in DotA 1, Eaglesong was called Eaglehorn—a reference to, of all things, a bow from the Diablo series. That's right! The bow named after a horn became a horn that looks like a bow, and nobody in this process figured out what an eagle's neck looks like.

This is arguably the least confusing thing about Dota.

PC Gamer

A confession: I don't like dogs. Being a person who doesn't like dogs, however, has made me aware of just how many of you do. So for your sake I've checked out the Kickstarter campaign for this homeless dog simulator Home Free and bring you the news that it has bounded past its Kickstarter goal, which means that as long as developer Kevin Canine... sorry, Cancienne, is good people then this game will actually exist at some point.

Home Free raised its initial target of $50,000 in five days, but there are still more than three weeks left in the campaign, and you know what that means: stretch goals!

The first stretch goal has already been hit: $55,000 for "new tricks". This means that you can make your life as a stray dog a little easier by learning tricks to perform to convince humans in the procedurally generated city of Home Free to give you food. I guess "play dead" probably won't be very effective here.

The next stretch goal, at $65,000, is for a new area to the city: Dockside. Expect fish, boats, and "undulating low-poly water". Also, if the campaign hits $80,000, cats. Apparently they'll hang out at the docks, presumably because of the fish, and while they won't be playable I'm sure you'll get to do more than look at them.

No, I know what you're thinking, but I'm not a cat person either.

PC Gamer

"I thought Morgan Freeman was God," Stephen Colbert told Sean Murray last Friday, You're actually my second God."

My favourite thing about Sean Murray's appearance on The Late Show is that Stephen Colbert has clearly done his research. I know it's a presenter's job to know enough about their guest's work to have a proper conversation, but I've seen and heard and read so many people try to talk about games without much knowledge to back it up that I get a little apprehensive when I hear about video games being discussed in a non-gaming context. So Colbert's leading questions are a welcome change:

"By entire universe," He asks, "Do you mean something the size of... the universe?"

Here are some new things I learned from watching the eight minutes of footage available on YouTube:

  • Hello Games created a new periodic table for the game that has "oxycen" instead of oxygen (is oxygen trademarked?).
  • Spaceships heat up as they enter the atmosphere.
  • You can point something that looks like a gun at animals to name them, and you get money for doing so.
  • You can walk around underwater.
  • The only way to know what your avatar looks like is for somebody else to see you, though the chance of running into somebody else is very rare.

Worth a watch for Sean Murray naming a solar system after Stephen Colbert, and for the bit where the audience gets the scope of what Hello Games is doing with No Man's Sky and applauds.

PC Gamer

10 security software options for Windows 10

Now that Windows 10 is available to download and install, how are you going to protect your system from viruses and malware? Don t rely on Windows 10 to keep all the nasties off your hard drive, even though it boasts superior security over previous versions. Instead, you might want to take a look at third-party antivirus and anti-malware solutions.

But they re expensive, you say. Sure, but what will make your wallet cry even more is when your computer rejects anything you type on the keyboard because some hacker has managed to take possession of your desktop or laptop from afar. That would certainly suck.

Perhaps the best road to happiness is to download free antivirus and anti-malware software, as we ve listed below, and give them a test run. If you like what you see, then you can consider keeping the free installation, or making an upgrade to premium versions. Again, what will cost more, the software or getting your identity back?

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+

Developed by Lavasoft, this free security suite includes antivirus and anti-malware protection that detects and neutralizes threats in real time, not when you perform a manual scan. This suite also provides download protection, safe browsing, and a game mode, the latter of which will allow the software to remain active but stay silent while you're playing a game. Some of the features available in premium offerings and not in the free model include external storage scan, parental controls, real-time email protection, a file shredder, and more.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast boasts that its free antivirus product is the best solution worldwide, with more than 230 million consumers using the software. The big selling point is that Avast s software protects the devices on the home network as well, including wireless devices and routers. According to a comparison of Avast s three products, the free edition will scan the network for weak spots and rid the user s browser of annoying add-ons. Features that are only offered in the premium versions include anti-spam protection, a silent firewall, and automatic patching of security holes.

AVG AntiVirus Free

The big selling point for AVG s free antivirus suite is that users can get protection on Widows-based, Mac, and Android devices. In addition to antivirus and anti-spyware protection, the free AVG software allows the user to see all devices on a single dashboard, aka AVG Zen. There s also remote protection, meaning users can scan and remove viruses on a PC from a mobile device, email protection and link protection. Some of the features found only in the Pro offering is an enhanced firewall, anti-spam, protecting private files, downloaded file scanning, and priority updates.

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira claims that its antivirus solution is the best in town. The list of features include an antivirus scanner and real-time protection and blocking harmful files from disrupting the operating system before they become a damaging threat. The software also blocks malicious applications hidden within legitimate software, blocks harmful websites before they even load in the browser, and prevents ad networks from seeing what you actually do online. In addition to the free software, Avira also provides a Pro version that includes technical support, secure online shopping, email scanning, and safer downloading. The company also has an Internet Security suite and the Ultimate Protection Suite, which is jammed packed with more features and tools.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

This software is difficult to find on the Bitdefender website, located at the very bottom of the main page as a link listed under Tools & Resources. The company states that the antivirus tool is the best solution for gamers, as it pauses system scans until you exit out of a PC game. The software is also for both rookies and techies, as it s easy to install and supposedly maintenance-free. Features include HTTP scanning, a real-time shield, and a rootkit scanner. There s also a B-Have tool that will quarantine anything that looks suspicious before it s loaded by the user. In other words, the software scans programs before they can be launched. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition uses an intelligent mechanism that can automatically take the optimum decisions to provide ironclad security without slowing down your computer, the website promises.

Comodo Free Antivirus, Internet Security

Comodo actually provides two free software solutions: Internet Security Premium and Antivirus 2015. The difference between the two is that the Internet Security Premium software includes a firewall while the other Antivirus 2015 program does not. Otherwise, you ll find your standard features in both solutions such as antivirus protection and anti-spyware protection. They also have what Comodo calls cloud-aware security, as they provide an instant cloud behavior analysis, instant cloud scanning, and instant cloud whitelist checking. As for infection defense, the list is long and includes crash resistance protection, malware bypass protection, buffer overflow protection, and loads more. Comodo s premium software includes unlimited live expert virus cleaning, unlimited live expert virus scanning, and a virus-free guarantee.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

The free offering from Malwarebytes claims to find what an antivirus solution will miss. This solution, which can be used along with antivirus products, will also remove rootkits and repair the damaged files. Malwarebytes also boasts advanced malware removal, stating that the company employs industry-leading technology to completely remove malware code. Of course, if you need more than what the free software has to offer, the company also provides a Premium version that s feature-packed. For example, the software can block malicious websites, provide real-time protection, and uses a special driver so that malware can t terminate the program or modify its processes. The Premium software also has a hyper scan mode, a scan/database update scheduler, and more. This Premium version costs $25 and has a 14-day free trial.

Panda Free Antivirus 2016

The big selling point for Panda s latest free antivirus product is that it s extremely light. According to the company, users won t even notice that the software is running in the background. Even more, all the work is done in the cloud, the company insists, adding that the its latest release is the company s best solution to date. That said, the software provides antivirus protection for the Windows platform and comes with standard customer support. Naturally, you really don t see a lot of features until you compare it to the Pro, Internet Security 2016, and Global Protection 2016 versions. For instance, the $44 Pro release adds Wi-Fi protection on its features list as well as an iPhone location service, antivirus for Android, antitheft for Android, device optimization, standard technical support, and multi-device coverage. Of course, the Internet Security 2016 version has even more features for $55, while the Global Protection 2016 has everything Panda has to offer for $77.

Spybot Search & Destroy

This malware-detection solution has been around since 2000, originally developed by German software engineer Patrick Michael Kolla and later picked up by Safer Networking Ltd. The free version scans for malware, spyware, and adware, and removes the menacing software free of charge. Spybot also provides startup tools, blocks known malicious websites, and protects the user from unlisted malicious websites and cookies by providing a proxy. The Home and Professional editions have more features under the hood, including full antivirus protection, live protection, a protected repair environment, support for multi-core processors, and even multiple updates per day. Honestly, Spybot should be added to any system whether they have antivirus protection or not, as Spybot is great for revealing obscure cookies, malware, and more.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

For people who are looking to replace Windows Firewall on their system and don t have any worries about viruses and malware, ZoneAlarm s free firewall should be an ideal solution. Designed for home users, the free version is basic protection for when you re in a hurry. However, Zone Labs doesn t provide any details regarding the free software, but instead focuses on the revenue-generating premium versions. ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus & Firewall includes not only the base firewall, but an antivirus and anti-malware engine, real-time antivirus protection, browser protection, and identity protection, for $45 per year. The Extreme Security model adds even more features, such as anti-keylogging, anti-spam, parental controls, PC tune-up, threat emulation, and the means to find a lost laptop. The cost for the Extreme Security version is $70 per year.

Again, we re not trying to cram software down your throat, but to provide a glimpse of what s available to protect your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Some of the solutions listed here are expensive, but the cost may be worth the pain in the wallet. Naturally, there are bigger dogs out there like Symantec and Norton that provides excellent antivirus software, but we instead focused on the freebies first and their premium offerings second.


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