PC Gamer

As spotted by Eurogamer, Capcom chose the Brasil Game Show to announce the fourteenth (and third new, along with Necalli and Rashid) character for the Street Fighter 5 roster: Matsuda Jiu-Jitsu expert Laura. She comes from Brazil and, like fellow Brazilian Blanka, can harness the power of electricity. Her main fighting style is a "methodical grapple", as you can see in her reveal trailer.

Here are the official descriptions of Laura's V-Skill (Linear Movement) and V-Trigger (Spark Show):

By holding either back or forward and pressing medium punch + medium kick, Laura moves in the corresponding direction, getting her in and out of the opponent's range at will. If no direction is held during the V-Skill activation, she will perform an overhead kick.

Laura gets ready to zap the competition when she activates Spark Show. During her electrifying state, Laura's Thunder Clap projectile flies further, she deals more stun on her attacks and grabs, and moves around further during her Linear Movements.

Want to give her a try? There's a beta coming to PC in a couple of weeks. Check out the system requirements to make sure you're good to go.

PC Gamer

Early in SC2VN, a free visual novel about trying to become a pro StarCraft 2 player in the game's early days in Korea, a character named Jett poses the question that SC2VN will spend most of its length trying to answer.

"Why do you want to be better at StarCraft?"

Jett is the resident hardass-with-a-heart-of-gold in SC2VN, which tends to paint its characters in broad strokes. She wants the main character, Mach, to have an answer to this question before she agrees to help Mach practice.

It's a question that most serious StarCraft fans have probably asked themselves at one point or another. Because despite being an affectionate and somewhat idealized portrait of the early days of the Wings of Liberty progaming scene, SC2VN does not pull any punches when it comes to the emotional toll of playing StarCraft at a high competitive level. It might also be one of the most insightful critiques of the game and the subculture that grew up around it, a story that's as much about StarCraft's eventual decline as it is about its rise.

SC2VN is about an aspiring western pro player, Mach, who is trying to make a name for himself or herself during the early days of Wings of Liberty. The game opens as Mach fails to qualify for VSL, a fictionalized version of the premier StarCraft 2 league in Korea, and confronts the very real possibility of returning home a failure to a chorus of I-told-you-sos.

But Mach's life is changed forever after meeting a friendly Korean Terran player named Accel, who immediately recognizes Mach's talent and offers mentoring. In no time at all, Mach has been pulled into the highest echelons of the StarCraft 2 scene, helping big-name players form a new team and recruiting up-and-coming stars from around the Korean ladder. Eventually, Mach is pulled into a grudge match against an arrogant Brood War legend, with the fate of Mach's new team riding on the outcome.

The real conflict, however, is inside Mach's head. Mach is scared of failure, alienated from friends and family back home, and plagued by doubts. Most importantly, even as the game begins, Mach has moved beyond the point where StarCraft 2 is fun.

"SC2VN does not pull any punches when it comes to the emotional toll of playing StarCraft at a high competitive level."

Jett's question, why do you want to be better at StarCraft, only gets more resonant as the game continues. It's revealing that the smartest and perhaps most talented character in the story, a reclusive amateur named Reva, eventually reveals that she doesn't actually enjoy playing StarCraft. It's just the only way she sees of becoming a progamer, which seems better than more conventional options, even if she's not sure why.

It's revealing to compare SC2VN with another masterpiece of eSports interactive fiction, Owen Hill's CS Story. CS Story, admittedly, has levity that SC2VN lacks. But it also reflects a different kind of fandom. CS Story is about requited love, where the correct answer is to give in and just play the game you really know you want to play, with all of your friends. SC2VN, on the other hand, is a fundamentally a game of agonizing, lonely self-doubt.

I've spent a good portion of the last two years following professional StarCraft and talking to players, and while SC2VN is certainly full of broad, archetypal characters, a lot of the words that come out of their mouths are not so very far from the things I've heard in countless interviews. Even among its greatest practitioners, StarCraft is a game to be loved, but not necessarily enjoyed.

SC2VN has a fairy-tale ending, if you are a virtuous progamer and only play standard macro games rather than resorting to dishonorable, exploitative cheese plays. Spoilers: Mach defeats the villain and joins a new team with all of Mach's new StarCraft friends.

But what's really remarkable about SC2VN is the fact that it paints a loving-yet-unsparing portrait of StarCraft 2 at its highest levels. SC2VN tells us that StarCraft is a beautiful, demanding game whose victories are some of the sweetest you can imagine… when it's not busy making you hate yourself.

When Jett asks, "Why do you want to be better at StarCraft?" she's not just asking a question, but also answering why so many people eventually quit.

PC Gamer

Many tools have been released over the years that claimed to make game development accessible to all. Software like Klik n Play and DarkBASIC promised an easy route into game design, either through simplified programming languages or avoiding coding altogether. But there s a difference between making game design accessible, and making professional game design accessible.

That s where the other apps fell short, and where GameMaker: Studio is different. I think that when we released Studio, the product changed and the user-base changed, says Stuart Poole, head of production at YoYo Games, the makers of GameMaker: Studio. People are now using this as a tool to make a living.

Once a hobbyist development tool, lately GameMaker has formed the basis of several massively successful games, including Hotline Miami, Nuclear Throne, and the original version of Spelunky. Since 2012 its user-base has grown significantly, attracting professional programmers to its simple interface alongside curious first-timers. This success hasn t come quickly or easily. For almost a decade GameMaker was supported by just one person, and its lengthy and somewhat eccentric development means YoYo Games has spent the last few years working with one hand tied behind its back. Nevertheless, GameMaker seems, finally, to be making its mark.

GameMaker was created in 1999 by Dutch computer scientist Marc Overmars. Originally conceived as a 2D animation program called Animo, GameMaker gradually evolved into a simple-to-use game-design toolset.

The core of Overmars idea was to make game design simple, and in pursuit of this he created the two features which remain most prominent in GameMaker today. Its drag-and-drop interface allows users to quickly put together simple 2D games with no knowledge of coding required (technically GameMaker can build 3D games, but few developers have explored that avenue). Through a simple series of button presses, you can define actions such as movement and jumping, and attach those actions to objects in the game world. For more confident users who want greater control, GameMaker facilitates programming through its GML scripting language, which combines colour-coded commands with rigorous error-checking and a detailed help library to make coding as straightforward as it can feasibly be.

For the best part of a decade, Overmars worked on GameMaker alone, chipping away at updates and fostering a small but amiable community of enthusiasts. Then in 2007 he partnered with Dundee-based outfit YoYo Games, with the intent of expanding GameMaker s potential from getting people interested in game development to getting them building and releasing full commercial games.

For the best part of a decade, Overmars worked on GameMaker alone.

What we had before was that folk would kind of grow up with GameMaker, and then they would hit this ceiling, says Mike Dailly, head of engineering at YoYo Games. Whether it was just they felt they were struggling with it or it s time to grow up and use a big-boy s tool now , and then they would move on. With GameMaker: Studio, we made a conscious effort to get rid of that ceiling so you could just keep going.

Released in 2012, the development of GameMaker: Studio involved several threads. Prior to Studio, GameMaker could only run games on Windows, so the team at YoYo Games wrote a new runner component to make it compatible with other platforms. They also designed a new compiler component to connect the maker and the runner, so games didn t just compile their entire source-code on start-up, (making them extremely vulnerable to piracy). Lastly, they added a host of new features to the Maker itself, including a room editor for the quick construction of 2D environments. There was a couple of hundred thousand lines in the original, and we ve added a million and a bit with Studio, says Dailly.

The aim was to make GameMaker commercially viable for developers over the duration of a project, and that work seems to have paid off. Not only are popular and successful games being created with GameMaker now, but YoYo Games itself has expanded considerably since 2007. When they first partnered with Overmars, the GameMaker development team consisted of just two people working in a basement near the University of Abertay. Now YoYo Games employs 30 people in a spacious office overlooking the Firth of Tay. This is still a small team compared to those employed by engine behemoths likeUnity and Unreal, but demand for their product is increasing all the time.

Bar a few extra features, the version of GameMaker: Studio released in 2012 is fairly similar to the one available now. We ll go into the reasons behind this shortly. But in its current form, what is GameMaker like to use from the perspective of a developer?

Tom Francis is a former PC Gamer writer who became a full-time developer after the release of his first, GameMaker-made game, Gunpoint. Francis was attracted to GameMaker after learning that the original version of Spelunky had been created with it. I didn t really do any further research to find out if it was the absolute best choice, Francis says. If it was good enough for Derek Yu, the only question was whether it was easy enough for me. And after doing his and GameMaker s own tutorials, I found it was.

Gunpoint—a sidescrolling stealth game about spies and hacking—formed gradually out of Francis experimentation with the software, initially through the drag-and-drop icons and by following tutorials. I learnt almost everything else by reading reference docs, he says. That s daunting, so it was great to be able to do it only a bit at a time, and keep working with the very basic icon-based stuff to keep it interesting as I went.

His experience with GameMaker raises a couple of interesting points. At the time of his initial encounters with it, GameMaker still wasn t entirely adept at explaining itself to newcomers, especially the transition from drag and drop to GML coding. Indeed, Francis decided to create his own tutorials for GameMaker after experimenting with Unity between projects and finding it a struggle. By far the most helpful thing I found were Alec Holowka s videos on it, Francis says. (Holowka is a Canadian independent developer who in the past has collaborated with Derek Yu). I realised if I d had videos like Alec s for GameMaker, I probably could have jumped straight into the coding side of things and it would have been much quicker.

Francis also decided to stick with GameMaker for his next game, which is significant considering that a big part of thinking behind GameMaker: Studio was to encourage this. Nor is Heat Signature a typical GameMaker game. It s a space exploration game that involves large open environments and makes heavy use of procedural generation. Francis had some reservations regarding how well GameMaker would cope, but found it surprisingly accommodating. I was expecting to have to fake a lot of stuff to make a big space game in GameMaker. Switch you to a separate map mode instead of zooming out, despawn anything off-screen, have a generic infinite universe instead of anything with persistent places. But actually it s handled it all rather well."

With Studio s attempt to professionalise GameMaker a success, the main ambition now is to modernise it. Overmars programmed GameMaker in a language called Delphi. It s effectively an engine that has grown up from 1999, says Dailly. So the codebase is just spaghetti inside. Change one thing over here, five things break over there. You try to fix them and another twenty things break.

Since the release of Studio, YoYo Games priority has been to completely rewrite GameMaker in C#, to make it more stable and above all faster to iterate with. We ve had cases where something in C# that would take us ten minutes, would take us four hours in Delphi. So the simplest thing just takes forever, Dailly says. YoYo Games is also using this as an opportunity to update and introduce new features to the program.

Building a tool for other people to make games with is something of an odd position to be in. Yet aside from being a little less creative and a little more pragmatic, the principles behind doing so aren t vastly different from game development. You figure out where the software s limitations are and what developers want from it by speaking to users and testing the program extensively yourself. I use it a lot at home, and because I use it a lot at home, I know all the bits that really annoy me for the current one, Dailly says, That s why we re talking to developers, to make sure that my most hated bits are theirs as well, and we re all more or less aligned.

That said, GameMaker has the extra problem of being intended as an entry-level program, which means altering or expanding its capabilities must be done without compromising its accessibility. In future, YoYo Games plans to approach this by retaining a basic vanilla program, while separating out the more complex functions as plugins.

Long-term, we re looking at reducing the core of GM, but having more of these things as extensions rather than just the core, says Russell Kay, chief technology officer at YoYo Games. So we re trying to simplify things down, but also expand what we can actually do. These extensions won t have to be manually installed, either. YoYo Games hopes to have GameMaker automatically target required extensions so the developer doesn t have to seek them out.

The last stage in modernising GameMaker is to increase its technical fortitude. YoYo Games has already added a couple of features with this in mind, namely liquid-physics simulation and programmable shaders. The latter are a good example of how YoYo Games is introducing more complex programming into GameMaker. Each of the shader languages has its own syntax, to the point where OpenGL and DirectX are basically two different programming languages, says Dailly. So what we do is let you program in OpenGL ES [a subset of OpenGL used by smartphones, etc], and then we will automatically convert and generate these other ones. So you re only having to learn an initial language.

For those wanting to avoid more complex tasks like shader programming completely, YoYo Games recently introduced the GameMaker Marketplace, where developers can buy, sell or share technology, including shaders. The results are already beginning to emerge. One of the more visually impressive GameMaker games currently in development is Orphan, a 2D platformer about a young boy in the midst of an alien invasion. I had always wanted to make a game but thought programming was too difficult for me, says Brandon Goins, creator of Orphan. I watched a video tutorial on YouTube about basic platforming and literally laughed out loud at how easy it was using GameMaker.

Orphan s visual style is a combination of Goins experience in graphic design, and taking advantage of GameMaker s simplicity. Many parts of Orphan originate from photographs, whether it s simply a photo dropped into GM as a background, or part of a photograph that I ve traced to create some small object in the game, Goins explains. In the end I ve been able to get all the graphics effects I wanted from pure raster graphics and the only shaders I ve used so far were ones I got from the GameMaker Marketplace for distortion and blur effects.

Goins is extremely happy with how GameMaker has enabled him to create agame for the first time—he even goes so far to describe it as life-changing . However, there are certain aspects he would like to see improved. The universal complaint people have about GameMaker is the room editor and I have to agree. It needs support for separate object layers as well as group selection tools.

Tom Francis also has one or two issues he d like to see addressed. The only way to save the code or resource you re working on without saving the whole project is to close the window and open it again, which is pretty mad, he says. And faster compile times, or some built-in tool to live-edit certain variables, would be great for tweaking aesthetic things.

YoYo Games is reluctant to discuss specific features of the upcoming C# version of GameMaker right now. But they confirm that a new room editor is coming, and there are rumblings that other editors, such as the sprite editor, will be getting an update too. The dev team recently did a closed-doors showing of the new version at Develop, and they claim the response was positive.

Fundamentally, we re going to be doing Studio 1.x as the next one, Dailly says, with a very solid foundation that can expand—but modernise all the editors that are in it. So it s like a modern 1.x. Then we can scale up.

Given how much GameMaker s reputation has grown while running on such outdated code, it will be fascinating to see what a completely modern version is capable of.

PC Gamer

A year and a half ago, X-COM creator Julian Gollop raised $210,000 on Kickstarter to create a fast-paced tactical RPG called Chaos Reborn. At the end of last year the game entered early access, got single player and multiplayer modes. Nearly a year later it's finally due for a proper release later this month: October 26.

According to Gollop's update, a few features promised during the Kickstarter campaign aren't yet implemented, "most significantly the demigod and god roles", but they'll be added within the first couple of months after launch. The version launched on October 26 will be version 1.0, but the team will continue to provide updates and add new content.

If you've been playing Chaos Reborn in early access, the launch will see all accounts reset so that new and existing players start from the same place. There'll also be an "extensive" tutorial and improved interface to help those newbies get stuck in.

Thanks, RPS.

PC Gamer

This new trailer for Just Cause 3 is called "On A Mission", and represents an attempt to provide some context for the player's actions, though after watching it I'm still not sure I understand quite why Rico needs to blow up so many buildings. And cars. And planes. And bridges.

Still, at least he's enjoying himself, flying around in his wingsuit with a missile launcher on his back. You get to see demonstrations of his new ability to shoot people while parachuting, and how he can use his grapple to pull himself into or away from danger depending on his mood.

But mostly you get to see him blow stuff up. Just 'cause.

PC Gamer

This article was published in the October 2015 issue of Maximum PC. For more trusted reviews and feature stories, subscribe here.

Dream Machine 2015 was pitched at the Moon; this rig aims for low-Earth orbit

Length of Time: 1-3 Hours | Level of Difficulty: Medium to Challenging

The Flight Plan

When we build the Dream Machine every year, we don t hold back. We get the best parts, regardless of the price. If a part is a tier higher in price, but only renders a performance increase of 5 percent, we go for it. And this year, we really, really went for a Moonshot.

But not everyone can afford a $22,000 Dream Machine for their home. So, in the spirit of our NASA-inspired theme, we decided to go a little smaller. It s pretty much a miniature Dream Machine, with a price point that s a little more down to earth.

MPC116.rd buildit.beauty

We gathered up parts that didn t make it into the Dream Machine for some reason, or that would be a little more sensible in terms of price. Make no mistake: This machine still soars and climbs for excellence. An out-of-this-world PC is still within reach for many enthusiasts who save up their credits. It s not cheap, but no respectable space program is.

Since this is the Dream Machine s little brother, we felt the need to do a little overclocking as well. We weren t able to be as aggressive with our overclocks as the EK custom loop allowed us to be in its big brother, but we still got respectable and stable overclocks. Giving this PC enough extra thrust to leave the atmosphere.

Vehicle Assembly

We based this on a case that was meant for the Dream Machine, but ended up being too small for the custom water loops we used. The case was a prototype of Antec s S10 that we had custom painted by Smooth Creations to replicate a Titan II Gemini Launch Vehicle on a launchpad. We went with a Core i75930X CPU. It s two cores lighter than the Dream Machine s 5960X, but friendlier to overclocks and your wallet. The 5960X is nearly $500 more, meaning you re paying $250 per extra core. We got a nice stable overclock with our 5930K, bumping it to 4.5GHz from the stock 3.5GHz with the help of 1.31 volts. We kept the main engine cool with an NZXT Kraken X61.

The GPUs are a pair of EVGA GTX 980 Ti Superclocked ACXs in SLI. We overclocked these already factory-overclocked rockets further, adding 150MHz to the core clocks and 300MHz to the memory clocks using EVGA s PrecisionX software. We powered the overclock with an overvolt of 31mV. We used 16GB of 2,800MHz DDR4 memory in a kit of four 4GB modules. We ran into problems at 2,800MHz, so underclocked to 2,666MHz for stability.

For storage, we halved what we had in the Dream Machine. We put the 1TB SSDs in RAID 0 for the OS, and kept the 6TB spinning drives in reserve. We mounted all of these goodies onto Gigabyte s X99 SOC Champion mobo, which has more overclocking options than we knew what to do with. We powered our ship with an 80 Plus Gold certified Enermax 1,350W Maxrevo modular PSU.

CaseAntec S10 Prototype Custom$500
MotherboardGigabyte GA-X99-SOC Champion$270
CPUIntel Core i7-5930K$580
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 4 Series 16GB 2800 DDR4$140
GPU2x EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SC ACX 2.0$1,340
PSUEnermax Maxrevo 1,350W$320
HDD2x Western Digital Black 6TB$700
SSD2x Samsung Pro 1TB$1,000
CPUCooler NZXT Kraken X61$140
Fans3x EK Vardar F4 120mm 2,200rpm fans$54
1. Booster Ignition

The pair of 980 Ti S that we used really push this machine into the ionosphere. The main thing to keep in mind is that they re air cooled. Maintaining good airflow was a top priority when we went into the realms of overclocking. Luckily, the SOC Champion s PCIe x16 slots are numbered (from top to bottom) 1, 4, 2, 3. That means that for the best performance, we had to put the second GPU in the third slot from the top. This gave us a nice gap where air could flow freely, in comparison to the 2 5mm it would have if the cards were in adjacent slots.

MPC116.rd buildit.980tis

We also upped the fan speeds in PrecisionX to 90 100 percent when we were searching for a stable overclock. To be sure, there was a lot of air flowing around these two cards. If you look closely, you ll see that spacing these cards farther apart means that you can add an M.2 SSD if you prefer storage speed over a potential third GPU.

2. Cramped Quarters

MPC116.rd buildit.tightfit

Spaceships aren't exactly roomy. Engineers cram the most equipment into the tiniest space available to save on weight and profile. This machine was no different. When we attached the Kraken to the top mounting bracket, we had to really push the bracket into place, smashing the CPU power cables a bit. It s secured by two thumbscrews, and lining up those screw holes was a test of mettle and patience. We could then place intake fans to the front of the case s main compartment to pull in lots of air for our GPUs. The X61 kept our CPU at a cool 25 degrees Celsius at idle, and at 57 degrees while under a 90 percent load, running our Premiere Pro CS6 benchmark.

3. Auxiliary Thrusters

Attaching our X61 allowed us to mount three fans up front to draw in air. We chose a trio of EK s Vardar static pressure fans, 120mm versions of what s in the Dream Machine. These babies spin at 2,200rpm and push 77 cubic feet per minute (131 cubic meters per hour). We hooked up the top fan to the CPU PWM fan connector (our X61 is hooked into CPU_OPT), and the bottom two to the two spare connectors on the X61. It s worth noting that the retail S10 has a PWM fan hub on the back of the motherboard tray, so doing things this way wouldn t be required.

MPC116.rd buildit.fans

For benchmarking, we cranked up the power to get air flowing over the 980 Ti s. Boy, did that air flow. The S10 also features a removable filter on the outside of the main compartments in front of the fans. A tab near the base of the S10 releases the filter for removal.

4. Manual Ignition

When we were first trying to get Dream Machine parts to fit into this case, we accidentally pulled the frontpanel wires loose of the panel buttons and LEDs. Whoops. Luckily, this mobo came with a power button on the board itself. Many modern mobos feature a power button, and they come in handy for things beside compensating for screwups, for example, if you re building on a test bed or want to test a particular feature without connecting the frontpanel buttons.

MPC116.rd buildit.power

There are also buttons to reset the BIOS to defaults, and a toggle that switches to the backup BIOS as well. That sounds trivial, but when you re using all the overclocking features this mobo has to offer, messing up is very possible. Having an easy way to switch to an alternate BIOS or reset to defaults is a good move for tinkerers and overclockers who want to push limits.

5. Open the Pod Bay Doors HAL

One of the things that will first catch your eye is the S10 s separate tower for hard drives. It seems excessive, but it has a realworld purpose: keeping the ambient temperature of the main compartment low. The tower s doors swing open in the front and rear of the case, making installation easy. The slots for the toolless brackets are rubberized, so drive vibration is absorbed, resulting in longer drive life and less sound from platters spinning at 7,200 RPM.

MPC116.rd buildit.harddrivetower

Our pair of 6TB drives were happy, kept plenty cool by a dedicated fan. The fan draws air from under the tower and pushes it up, across the surfaces of the vertically mounted drives. We hooked this fan to the SYS_FAN3 PWM fan header on our mobo, and set the speed to maximum. It stayed quiet at that speed.

6. Control Conduits

MPC116.rd buildit.wiring

We don't often show cable management in our builds. It s not always pretty. But there s good reason to this time. The first thing to notice is how SATA power and data cables get into the hard drive tower. A tab at the bottom of the case can be released. But this tab covers the cable passthrough, where all your SATA cables must go. We positioned the WD drives on the bottom row to stay within our cables reach. Also note that if you want a clean case, the rest of the system s power must snake through a fairly small cutout, requiring long PSU cables. In our build, only the ATX cable was long enough to get where it needed to go. For the CPU power, we had to route through the fl oor grommet into the main compartment, back out the grommet under the mobo, and then back in through the grommet above the mobo.


  1. This red LED-lit fan came with our power supply. While it uses a typical PWM fan connector, it also has a manual dial for fan speed and a switch to turn the lights on and off.
  2. The 1,350W Maxrevo power supply gives us much more power than we need for this build. On the upside, it leaves more than enough headroom for overclocking and adding in more videocards.
  3. The 2.5-inch drive cage in the PSU compartment sits right next to a fan, which helps keep SSDs (or 2.5-inch HDDs) cool.
  4. The custom paint job by Smooth Creations really made this case a star. The retail case comes with tinted glass doors instead.

Reentry and splashdown

At $5,044, this lower-orbit version of the Dream Machine is still plenty pricey, but delivers dreamy performance at less than 25 percent of the cost of our DM s internal parts. This ship is essentially a tier above what we re able to achieve in our Turbo builds.

We had a lot of fun building into this case, which was a prototype that needed a refinement here or there. Even with minor shortcomings, the case presents well, has good airflow in all of the parts that matter, and even had room for our beefy Kraken X61, though it meant a little pushing and shoving to get everything to align. Many of the issues we had have been addressed and fixed in the production case.

When we ran our benchmarks, we really saw the kind of performance the GTX 980 Ti offers with its 6GB of VRAM. The fact that we used factory-overclocked models that we then overclocked some more paid dividends in the frame rate department.

The triple GTX 980 SLI setup in our zero point was outgunned by the higher VRAM the GTX 980 Ti s were packing. Given that a trio of reference GTX 980s cost $1,620 (at $540 each), the pair of GTX 980 Ti s, at $1,340 ($670 each), provides the greater value. Sometimes two really is greater than three.

That performance comes at the cost of power though: Reference GTX 980 Ti s draw 100 watts more than the plain old 980 reference cards do. That s still less power than the 375 watts the Radeon Fury X draws, and two 980 Ti s will put you just 125 watts over the Fury X s power demand.

The i75930K served us well. A hearty overclocker, it got us to the same clock speed we had in the Dream Machine, but was just short two cores. Two cores are a big deal, but with such a huge price difference, the 5930K really delivers bang for your buck.

We could have saved a lot of coin on the hard drives, if that was a motivation, since the lower-capacity WD Black drives are far more affordable than their 6TB brethren. Likewise, builders pay a premium for a 1TB SSD. Opting for 250GB or 500GB models could save hundreds, which could go toward a third 980 Ti, a third SSD for a three-drive RAID array, or a bunch of games on Steam.

All in all, we re very happy with this build, and had a great time assembling this rocket. While still priced at a premium, we feel this mini Dream Machine reaches for the stars, while remaining a little more attainable.

Zero Point
Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec)806558
ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)1,4721,163
x264 HD 5.0 (fps)33.828.5 (15.7%)
Batman: Arkham City 1440p (fps)204238
Tomb Raider 2160p (fps)87.5101.3
Shadow of Mordor 2160p (fps)70.1105.4
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra8,0168,378

Our desktop zero-point PC uses a 5960X CPU, three GTX 980s, and 16GB of RAM. Arkham City tested at 2560x1440 Max settings with PhysX off. Tomb Raider at Ultimate settings. Shadow of Mordor at Max settings.

PC Gamer

According to an ancient scientific study, the awesomeness of a spaceship can be measured by how spectacularly it explodes. Given Star Citizen's status as the most ambitious space sim in development it needs to observe this widely-held truth and judging from the video above, it does.

The clip above is a small segment from a recent and much longer Star Citizen showcase video. RSI explosions expert Matthew Intrieri talks us through the spectacle, pointing out that explosions aren't just a puff of effects over a damaged spacecraft they're actually dynamic events.

"We're making these effects systemic," Intrieri said. "We're gonna motivate these effects through the components on the ship. Literally, what we see in the video is electrical feedback, small explosions, and then a wait, and then a kaboom!"

A kaboom indeed.

PC Gamer

Consumers looking for the latest Wireless AC router that can handle multiple devices without a drop in wireless quality may want to check out TP-Link s new Archer C2600. This new networking device boasts 4-stream and multi-user MIMO technologies that optimizes speed and connection performance. This router also offers one of the fastest speeds on the market, providing up to 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The Archer C2600 is an extremely powerful router with an elegant, streamlined design, said Lewis Wu, executive vice president of TP-LINK USA. Coupled with multi-user MIMO and 4-Stream technology, the Archer C2600 is designed to handle the increasing bandwidth demands of today s modern homes that are filled with multiple users different devices that are all accessing the network simultaneously.

According to the company, many routers on the market send data to one device at a time. However, with MU-MIMO technology, the router can serve several devices simultaneously, meaning your devices won t have to wait in line to send and receive data. This technology is backed by a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz that can support multiple users. Ultimately you get better streaming and gaming thanks to this new router.

In addition to the 1733Mbps speeds on the 5GHz band, the Archer C2600 provides speeds of up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, significantly higher than many Wireless AC routers on the market today. These speeds are complimented by four gigabit LAN ports, a gigabit WAN port and two USB 3.0 ports, which can be used to share a printer or external drive.

Archer C2600 routers provide faster, more efficient Wi-Fi connectivity for the growing number of smart devices on a network, the company adds. Four high-performance external antennas and high-powered amplifiers help Archer C2600 routers maximize coverage area and stability within the home, while beamforming technology further improves the Wi-Fi coverage by helping it locate wireless devices to form stronger, more reliable connections, even when mobile devices move from room to room.

Customers eager to get their hands on this networking speed demon can grab it from Newegg for a meaty price of $250. The company says that the router will be made available on TP-Link s store and other offline and online retailers later this month.

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Astroneer, as it's described on its website, is an interstellar recreation of the Klondike Gold Rush. Humanity has, for reasons unknown, very suddenly developed technology that enables fast, cheap travel to the stars, and now the giant conglomerate Exo Dynamics is offering flights to anyone daring enough to explore and exploit distant worlds as an Astroneer.

The site is actually quite thin on detail, but it does carry a number of lovely screens, and an intriguing reveal trailer as well. There's a faint Lifeless Planet vibe to it at first, but the action starts to take a different, and seemingly deeper, direction around the 30 second mark. There's some terraforming, and some base-building, and then what appears to be a spot of dying cold and alone, and then a storm whips up and everything goes to hell. And then a friend shows up! And there's a spaceship, and a dune buggy, and it starts to feel again like everything's going to be alright.

Speaking of a lonely death far from home, the Astroneer site has a certain portentous tone to it, too. "As an Astroneer, you must find a way to dig out a life on one of a multitude of harsh new worlds. Blast through the terrain to uncover precious artifacts and materials you can use to fuel your quest to become a wealthy baron in the stars. Along the way, discover oddities, raise questions, and uncover mysteries," it says. "Perhaps not all is as it seems."

The Astroneer blog offers a bit more detail about what's going on. Planets will range from small asteroids to huge worlds with atmospheres and landscapes, each one procedurally generated and unique. You'll have to "excavate and deform the land, uncover precious resources, jury-rig equipment to suit your taste and needs, create industrial scale extraction and manufacturing facilities, and locate rare items and artifacts," either alone or as part of a small team. In either case, you'll be "insufficiently trained and equipped by unscrupulous outfitters," but get rich or die trying, right? Probably more of the latter, if we're being honest with ourselves, but best not to dwell on that.

Astroneer is being developed in Unreal Engine 4, and is expected to go into Early Access release in the first quarter of 2016. For now, you can subscribe to the mailing list at Astroneer.space.

Thanks, Rock, Paper, Shotgun.


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