Most of us are still recovering from the trauma inflicted by Five Nights at Freddy's, a strange survival horror-cum-puzzler featuring violent animatronic animals. PC Gamer's Omri Petitte described it as "a simple design that's devilishly clever at messing with you", which somewhat understates how terrifying it is.
Well I hope you're ready to suffer again, because creator Scott Cawthon has entered its sequel on Steam Greenlight. According to the Greenlight description, Five Nights at Freddy's 2 will feature a new cast of characters which will be "updated with the latest in facial recognition technology". They also happen to be "tied into local criminal databases" which doesn't sound dodgy at all. "As the new security guard working nights, your job is to monitor cameras and make sure nothing goes wrong after-hours. The previous guard has complained about the characters trying to get into the office (he has since been moved to day-shift). So to make your job easier, you've been provided with your very own empty Freddy Fazbear head, which should fool the animatronic characters into leaving you alone if they should accidentally enter your office."
Here's the trailer, which you should definitely watch if you hate feeling good. Vote for it on Greenlight here.
I am a huge fan of The Legend of Korra TV show, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on the game when it launched today. From just the few hours I've played, it's clear that appealing to fans of the show was at the top of Platinum's mind while it developed the game. Unfortunately, the lack of any significant dialogue and the exclusion of many key characters undermines an otherwise faithful recreation of the show's world. We'll have our full review up later this week, but check out the video to see what I think of The Legend of Korra so far, from its incredibly fun combat to its abysmal graphics options.
All has gone pretty quiet on the Titanfall front since the release of the IMC Rising map pack last month, but it looks like we'll be getting some big news soon. According to the official Titanfall Twitter account, Respawn will livestream a presentation tomorrow with details on the game's 'biggest update' yet.
The presentation will kick off October 22, 10AM PDT on Twitch (that's 5pm in the UK and 3am in Australia). No other clues were provided regarding what the update entails, though I'm betting on new game modes.
While some have questioned Titanfall's longevity, Samuel Roberts wrote last week that he's still playing it. "I am a giant robot, staying out of the way, tracing the shifting battlefield, popping out from around corners when your titan is at half health to belt you with a robot punch."
Ultimate General: Gettysburg, the RTS being developed by the creator of the DarthMod for Total War, is now complete and out of Steam Early Access. In a blog post accompanying the release, designer Nick Thomadis talked about his goals for the game, which begins as the real battle did but can unfold from there in any number of ways.
The "designer's note" is actually a rather lengthy look at the game, covering everything from the highly detailed, accurate, and very pretty battlefield map, to its complex line of sight system, AI personalities, the control interface, and more. Thomadis also pointed out that while the Union was the historical victor at the real Gettysburg, this game will allow the Confederates to come out on top.
"There is no pre-determined way to play. Forces arrive from historical directions, but can be delayed or arrive sooner," he wrote. "The first engagement where Buford attempts to delay the Confederates' advance plays a big role in how the battle will escalate, as an opening move does in chess. The next battle scenario is defined depending on key objectives secured and casualties, condition and disposition of units are recorded and transferred as well."
Friendly units will operate with a degree of autonomy thanks to their own AI, and the control system has been designed to be "naturally intuitive using easily perceived, basic gestures," both features Thomadis cited as important when he announced the game. Ultimate General: Gettysburg will include five one-on-one multiplayer maps, but the single-player mode will also have a strong element of replayability.
"The fact that the multi-day battle never plays the same because of random events and different AI commanders gives enough incentive to play multiple times and research all possible outcomes," Thomadis wrote. "Additionally, as you play the campaign you can unlock more than 80 custom battles for skirmish mode."
And because the game is designed with tablets in mind as much as the PC, the system requirements are relatively mild: A 1.6Ghz dual core CPU, 2 GB RAM, 2 GB HDD, and a GeForce 8800/Radeon X1600 with 512 MB of VRAM will get you where you want to be. Ultimate General: Gettysburg is available now on Steam.
If it seems like just last month that Beamdog announced Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, well, that would be incorrect: It was actually August 30, which technically makes it two months ago. But more important than the announcement date is the release date, which we now have.
Without much fanfare Beamdog boss Trent Oster wrote last night on Twitter: "Oh we also announced a launch date for #IWDEE of Oct 30. That's right, just 10 more days to go."
In follow-up tweets, Oster said the game will be released on Beamdog's own platform, as well as GOG and Steam, for both Windows and Linux. "The mobile versions should be very close as well," he added.
The announcement of Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition wasn't really a surprise, given the success of the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Editions, but it was still happy news for old-time RPG fans. The updated game will include an improved interface, cross-platform multiplayer, a new difficulty mode that will allow players to experience the story without having to struggle through repeated beat-downs, six expanded quests with content that was cut from the original game, and new items, spells, and class and kit combinations.
The originals are still available and can be souped up pretty well with external mods, but for gamers who either aren't comfortable with that sort of horsing around or just don't want to be bothered, the Enhanced Editions are a good way to go. Unfortunately, making more of them might be a problem: The dramatic changes made to the remaining Infinity Engine RPGs, Icewind Dale II and Planescape: Torment, "would invalidate all the character classes and require a pretty thorough rework of the entire game to bring in the features from our Infinity Plus Engine," Oster said last month. "At minimum, nightmares abound."
Hearthstone might have already sunk its Bear Form claws into 20 million players, but Blizzard isn t stopping there. Having launched successfully on iPad, the next version will be for Android tablets and, according to a post by the game s community manager, it's due out before the end of the year. From there Team 5 is moving on to a potentially even more lucrative market: mobile phones. That s going to take a little longer, though, as the post explains:
…we need a little more time to get that version right. While we have a build up and running internally, it needs a bit more work, and we don t feel like we ll be ready to share it with you until early next year. It s very important to us that the phone experience for Hearthstone is just as accessible as the tablet and PC versions. One of the biggest challenges with that is revamping the user interface so it feels intuitive and offers the same quality Hearthstone experience, but this time from the palm of your hand.
Great. Because I wasn t dedicating enough of my life to trying to come up with the perfect Handlock deck. Now I can do it on the train too. It ll be interesting to see how Team 5 s user interface designers cram the game into smaller screens, and how connectivity holds up using a 3G signal rather than wi-fi. God forbid you go through a tunnel and come back to find you've missed lethal.
The post also includes a cute infographic that collects up stats from the game so far. Apparently Unleash the Hounds has been played 69 million times. Funny. It felt like more.
With Blizzcon looming at the start of November, we can also expect details on the next expansion set, which will include over 100 new cards. While you wait for official word on those, why not check out my predictions for what s in store for Hearthstone here.
The largely excellent Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor grew a little bit bigger and darker today, with the release of Power of Shadow—a free DLC pack that lets players step into the skin of the Black Hand of Sauron.
The Power of Shadow DLC includes a playable Black Hand skin, as well as three new Epic Runes: "One With Nature," conferring immunity to poison attacks from Uruk Captains or Ghuls; "Ascendant," which doubles the focus time for slow-motion ranged combat; and "Elven Grace," an increased defense that cuts enemy damage in half.
The DLC is available now on Steam to all owners of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and in case you missed it the first time around, it's free. And while WBIE doesn't seem to have released any Black Handed screens, Steam user TrooperCandidate has, and you can lay your eyes upon them right here.
And for those who don't yet have Shadow of Mordor, the good news continues: Over the next couple of days, Bundle Stars is offering the game for 33 percent off its regular price, taking it down to $33. Not bad for a game we called "the best Lord of the Rings-based game to date."
We ve all gone a bit giddy over Nvidia s new 900-series graphics cards. The GTX 980 and 970 are both massive overclockers—the 970 overclocked can run almost as fast as the reference 980—and those overclock boosts help separate them from the still-fast AMD R9 cards and Nvidia GTX 700 series. But you don t need a new graphics card to be able to indulge in a little GPU tweakery. If your card is a year or two (or three) old, overclocking is the best way to squeeze a little more life (and higher graphics settings) out of it without spending any money.
Years ago, eager overclockers did genuinely run the risk of cooking their chips. Overclocking wasn't the most user-friendly process. But now times have changed. There are so many safeguards in place in your silicon that you d have to really try to brick your hardware while doing some standard overclocking. There is still a little risk to overclocking, however: depending on which aftermarket vendor made your card, you may void your warranty. If anything goes wrong, you'll probably just crash your machine and need to restart; you're unlikely to do serious damage to your graphics card unless your overclock keeps the card at dangerous temperatures for long periods of time.
Every GPU is different, and some cards are champion overclockers. I was able to break the 1.5GHz barrier with my GTX 970 G1 Gaming edition, partly because Gigabyte specially check their overclocking card s chips to make sure they re the ones with the most headroom. I was able to get mighty close to 1.5GHz with my reference GTX 980 too, but the extra cooling of the Gigabyte card meant my GTX 970 also runs an awful lot cooler.
Temperature is something to think about before you start tweaking your GPU. If you ve got an AMD Radeon R9 290X with a stock cooler then your card is likely to be running at some 93 C under load already. You re not going to get anywhere overclocking that beastly GPU.
If you're stuck with a bad cooler, you can pick up third-party GPU coolers to fit yourself, though it may be time for a GPU upgrade. Arctic do some impressive aftermarket coolers for the homebrew crowd. Using their Accelero Xtreme IV I was able to run my reference R9 290X at just 66 C compared to the 93 C it was running at with the stock cooler.
Once your card is fit for overclocking—and if you have an aftermarket card from Asus, Gigabyte, Sapphire, EVGA, or another vendor, it's probably raring to go—it's time to dig into some overclocking software.
As I said before, there are certain inherent risks to overclocking your GPU, so proceed with a level of caution befitting tweaking an expensive bit of electronics. That said, in all my years breaking hardware, it s never been down to overenthusiastically twisting the nuts off my graphics cards…
Step 1: Know your limits
Heaven 4.0 benchmark: Stress test your system.
GPU-Z: See in-depth data about your card.
EVGA PrecisionX: Our go-to Nvidia overclocking software.
MSI Afterburner: Popular alternative to PrecisionX.
The first thing you want to do is know where you re starting from. As a control method it s worth getting an accurate measure of your card s current performance. To do so, I recommend downloading some free benchmarking and analytics software.
First off, grab the
Heaven 4.0 benchmark. That will give you a platform-agnostic take on your GPU s performance. It also runs happily in a window on the desktop, which is immensely handy, and will stress your card to make sure it s all stable.
My personal favourite GPU tweaking tool for Nvidia is
EVGA s PrecisionX software. You ll need to create a free account to download it from their site, but there are alternatives, such as MSI's Afterburner, if you re not comfortable with that. PrecisionX also has a handy hardware monitoring window you can pull out which gives you a great bead on how much GPU is being used and the temperature of your card.
With AMD cards, you don't need to download any special software. You can use the Overdrive feature in the Performance tab of the Catalyst Control Centre. Overclocking with Catalyst is a similar basic process to the one I m going to outline with the EVGA tool, and AMD's graphical interface makes overclocking extremely user friendly.
Once downloaded and installed, boot up PrecisionX to pull in the monitoring data from your graphics card.
Then run Heaven 4.0 in fullscreen at your native res and the highest settings with 4x AA to really push the GPU. You can run the benchmark by pressing F9.
Once that s done, note down the minimum and average frame rates, quit the application and then note down the maximum frequency your GPU clocked to and the maximum temperature too.
This gives you your baseline performance.
Step 2: Go easy
To get the most out of your graphics card, your best bet is to adjust both the memory clocks as well as the GPU clockspeed. PrecisionX will allow you to do both, but from the outset you want to raise the power limits to 100% to allow full access to the GPU s power.
Before you start tweaking, boot up Heaven again, but this time run it in a window on your desktop so you can see the looping demo as well as have access to the overclocking controls and the hardware monitor.
Now you can start the overclocking.
Starting with the memory, shift the slider to the right in small, 5-10MHz increments. This will allow you to hopefully see initial instabilities in the VRAM before you fully crash the machine. Moving up slowly like this will give you the best chance of avoiding frying your card too.
After every 10MHz step carefully check the Heaven window for artefacts. You ll know when your memory is starting to fail as you ll notice large blocks of solid colours or stars appear on-screen.
When you see those happen, dial back the settings a couple of notches and check the Heaven window again. Keep going backwards until you no longer see the signs of memory strain and you ve found the limits of your video memory.
Now take a note of the frequency and drop it back down to the default memory clockspeed again.
Step 3: Chip clocking time!
Now we can start overclocking the GPU itself. You re unlikely to be able to get as much extra speed out of the GPU as you were able to with the memory, but you re also likely to get a bigger performance boost from tweaking the actual chip than the VRAM.
Follow the exact same method with the GPU slider as with the memory—move upwards in small increments until you start to see some instability in the Heaven window.
This time, though, you are looking for different artifacts in the benchmark display. Instead of stars or blocks of colour you need to keep an eye out for random, multi-coloured pixel-sized dots around the screen. GPU instability might also appear in the form of coloured flashes on-screen. These are the sure signs that your graphics chip is suffering.
As well as artifacts, it s worth keeping an eye out for the temperature of your GPU in the hardware monitor window. You really want to make sure you can keep your temperature below 90 C, otherwise you re likely to start to see throttling, or severely shorten the life of your beloved graphics card. I'd recommend trying to keep the graphics temperature hovering in the 70-79 C zone.
Again, when you start to see GPU artifacts, drop the GPU clock back until the Heaven window runs normally again. This then is the maximum frequency you ll be able to achieve with this basic level of overclocking.
If you're using AMD's Catalyst Control Center, follow the same process as above. The interface you're using will look slightly different. Use the memory clock settings slider to adjust the memory speed, and the GPU clock settings box to slowly tick up the GPU speed. Remember, as mentioned above, you'll initially want to crank your power limit settings as high as they can go.
Step 4: Combination therapy
Once you ve found the limits of both your chip and the video memory attached to it you can combine the two clockspeeds. In your overclocking application push the GPU and memory clock sliders up to your discovered maximums, hit apply and check your Heaven window.
Don t be disappointed here if your machine crashes or you discover more artifacting in your test window. Pushing up the speeds of both memory and GPU at the same time puts more stress on the card as a whole.
The type of artifacting, as described above, should tell you which component needs dialing back. If you're not sure what the problem is, just set your overclock to 10MHz lower on both memory and GPU when you restart. Keep dropping your overclock by small increments until you get a stable display from Heaven.
Now, close down the Heaven window and restart the application in fullscreen at your monitor s native resolution. Once the application is running hit F9 and it will start the benchmarking run again. This will both allow you to test if your overclock is stable and give you an immediate measure of just how much extra performance you ve got out of your graphics card.
Step 5: Stress test
If your PC manages to get through a benchmarking run of Heaven that s great, but it s probably worth leaving the software open in fullscreen, running through the loop, for another twenty minutes or so.
That will allow you to really stress test your overclock and make sure it wont fall over in the middle of a tough gaming session. You can also use GPU intensive games, like Metro: Last Light with its tessellated character models, to stress your overclock in a real gaming environment. This is also a good way to see how hot your graphics card will get after extended play time.
Should your GPU not make it through the stress test—whether your whole machine crashes or the display adapter stops working—then simply reboot your system and set the overclock slightly lower again and run through the tests.
This patient, methodical approach should allow you to minimise the stress on your components and ensure you are as unlikely as possible to irrevocably brick your expensive hardware.
Once you re completely happy with your overclock, it s time to set it in stone. Your chosen overclocking application will allow you the option to set the new GPU and memory frequencies as Windows starts.
On PrecisionX it s a simple checkbox and you re good to go.
One final thing to remember: don't be too down-hearted if you don t manage to get a huge boost in performance out of your now-overclocked graphics card. You re never going to get an R9 270X running like a GTX Titan, but what you will be doing is improving the smoothness of your gaming experience.
Even a few extra FPS in a games can make the difference between unplayable and playable, or the ability to turn on that extra bit of post-processing.
You should also, hopefully, be closing the delta between the minimum frame rate and the average frame rate. This is the real key to smooth gaming.
And that s it—you re now an overclocker!
What I ve outlined here is the most basic form of overclocking—if you want to go further you can replace the cooler on your graphics card or start indulging in the arcane art of voltage tweaking.
I ve chosen to avoid that in this basic guide, as messing with the power going into your GPU raises the chances of something nasty happening to your hardware.
And if a bit of overclocking just convinces you that it's time for a newer and better card, check out or list of the best graphics cards currently available.
The Paranautical Activity developer who threatened to kill Gabe Newell after the game wasn't properly updated from an Early Access title to a full Steam release has left the company. In a statement posted on the Code Avarice website, co-founder Mike Maulbeck said he's sold his half of the company to his partner and won't earn any money from the sale of the game.
Maulbeck's trouble started yesterday, when Paranautical Activity launched on Steam. For some reason, the front page banner announcing its full release indicated the game was an Early Access title, from which it had actually just emerged; the mixup led Maulbeck to explode on Twitter, accusing Steam of incompetence and eventually threatening to kill Valve boss Gabe Newell.
That was received exactly as well as you'd expect: Paranautical Activity was almost immediately removed from Steam, and it's a fair bet that the studio's odds of getting any future games on the platform have been diminished pretty dramatically. Maulbeck apologized but Valve didn't budge, and so today he fell on his sword.
"As a result of my actions, Paranautical Activity, a game made by 4 or 5 people depending on who you count as team members, was removed from Steam. I feel is it my responsibility to step down from Code Avarice completely so that Steam has no reason to harbor any more ill will towards the company, and maybe even if we can t see Paranautical Activity restored, at least future Code Avarice games may be allowed onto the platform," Maulbeck wrote in his resignation announcement.
"I m really, deeply sorry that my short sighted, hot tempered actions resulted in not only my own dreams and aspirations being destroyed, but those of the entire team I worked with. I m sorry that my statements made Valve and/or Gabe uncomfortable and upset (rightfully so)," he continued. "My temper and tendency to use twitter to vent has been a consistent problem since I entered the games industry, and I just can t do it. I don t have the willpower necessary to be the 'face' of a company. If I do continue to work in games it ll be as an anonymous 1 of 1000 at some shitty corporation, not the most public figure of a single digit sized team."
Maulbeck's now-former partner, Travis Pfenning, called the situation "ludicrous" and said on his own Twitter account that he didn't agree with the decision. But Maulbeck was unequivocal. "[I've] given up all my rights to CA as a company, and all its intellectual properties," he concluded. "I won't receive any money from the sale of Paranautical Activity or any future games CA develops, I won't be consulted on business decisions, and I won't have any hand in development. I'm out."
Whether this will do anything to get the game back on Steam remains to be seen, but at this point the studio has had no further contact with Valve. "I am currently waiting on a reply from Gabe. Not that he will," a studio rep wrote in an email. "I will reach out to them when i can find the time to hunt down a place to actually send a mail that will mean something. On the back end, I am dealing with console releases as I see this the only way to save this game from failure."
Paranautical Activity is still available on other platforms, like IndieGameStand and Desura, but as Maulbeck himself noted shortly after his outburst, without the exposure that comes with being on Steam it will be extremely difficult for it to find any kind of audience.
Article by Kevin Lee
Gigabyte has produced the first miniaturized Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card made for Mini-ITX computers, and it really is a precious little thing. Don t let this mini-GPU s cuteness deceive you, though: it s still packing a lot of power.
The card comes overclocked and running at 1076 MHz base clock speed, which can be further boosted to 1216 MHz. 1076 MHz is actually slightly faster than the 1051 base speed of the reference GTX 970, but keep in mind that full-size cards like Gigabyte s GTX 970 G1 Gaming can overclock as high as the 1500 MHz mark. The full-size card draws power from two 6-pin connectors; Gigabyte s Mini-ITX 970 requires a single 8-pin power connector.
Gigabyte has swapped out the reference cooler for its own WindForce 3X cooler. Despite the name, the cooler only has a single fan. According to Gigabyte, the massive heatsink and three heat pipes were still able to keep the Mini-ITX GTX 970 at a cool 62-degrees Celsius while running the Metro Last Light benchmark test. Gigabyte claimed a reference card equipped with a NVTTM cooler running the same benchmark topped out at a much hotter 76 degrees Celsius.
Now the most interesting bit: Gigabyte is selling its Mini-ITX GTX 970 for $329.99, which happens to be Nvidia s reference pricing for the standard GTX 970. You re not going to get the same overclocking or cooling potential out of the mini-ITX 970 as you would a full-size card, but for a mini-ITX system, it s packing a hell of a lot of power into a smaller form factor.