PC Gamer

Some of the best games I've ever played aren't games at all. That is to say: some of my fondest gaming memories have come courtesy of total conversion mods—modifications which take some of the best and most well-known classics and radically transform them into new and exciting things. I imagine most of you will have played at least one total conversion at some point in your gaming careers, but Chris' list of the best total conversion mods ever gathers a large number of my own favourites and may point some of you towards mods you haven't yet played. 

The benefits of total conversion mods are probably pretty obvious. First and foremost, they extend the time spent wandering our favourite game worlds; and quite often offer players the chance to visit new realms and arenas tied to the games in question. These scenarios tend to be dreamt up by hobbyist modders—people who, like you, are fans of the relevant series. The best total conversions therefore portray likely circumstances and credible characters which complement their source material. 

What I love most about total conversion mods is tied to that last part. As hobbyists, the folk behind these projects create them for free—at times designing worlds similar in scope and size to big budget games, fitting development time around full-time employment among other real life distractions. Many have went on to earn cash from their endeavours eventually, but the vast majority of developers start out driven by passion alone. Over the years I've chatted to a few of the devs responsible for some of my favourite total conversions and it's their stories which have been among the most interesting I've ever heard. 

Minh Le is a name some of you will know well. Le, who otherwise goes by the pseudonym Gooseman, is a freelance programmer, modeller and designer for Facepunch Studios' open-world survival game Rust—however also co-founded the one-time Half-Life mod Counter-Strike with Jesse Cliffe in 1999. 

As I'm sure most of you are aware, Counter-Strike has gone onto become pretty popular, however it wasn't until last year that I discovered Le and Cliffe spent the first three years of their respective Valve careers without actually meeting in person. When Valve approached the duo about acquiring the mod they'd crafted using the original Half-Life GoldSource engine, Le moved from Canada to Valve's Seattle HQ while Cliffe spent the next few years finishing school. It was only after this time that Le and Cliffe were ever in the same room together. 

Valve's GoldSource engine and its Half-Life 2 Source engine have been responsible for a number of other total conversion success stories. Garry's Mod celebrates ten years on Steam this year and has seen its community grow exponentially—not to mention its multitude of user-made game modes—in that time. Unlike Counter-Strike's more focused beginnings, Garry Newman designed the sandbox game which would eventually allow him to take up game development full-time as a result of messing around with the Source engine and a desire to see how far he could push it. 

Newman learned coding on the job and in a chat earlier this year told me that without Source Control pre-release, GMod game crashes meant he was forced to bin all previous work and start the entire game from scratch every time he encountered bug-related problems. Further crashes meant repeating this process and then hoping for the best in the next run.

Other total conversion stories of intrigue include Sven Co-op, another Half-Life mod which, although created in 1999, was continually developed and iterated on before finding its way onto Steam for free earlier this year. The prolific and super efficient work of Elder Scrolls enthusiasts and hobbyist modders SureAI has seen the likes of Nehrim and Enderal come to be—both hugely impressive Oblivion and Skyrim mods which are arguably as good, or at least equally as ambitious, as their source material. 

XCOM: Enemy Unknown's ultra-challenging Long War total conversion mod is another of my own personal favourites about which creator John Lumpkin told me back in July: “Last September, I went to the Firaxis offices when they were in the fairly late stages of polishing XCOM 2. I met Jake Solomon there and showed him what XCOM: Enemy Unknown modding looked like. He wondered aloud if I had closets full of chains and leather.”    

He doesn't, it turns out, but Lumpkin's story—not to mention those touched upon above—is but one of thousands of interesting anecdotes behind some of the most outstanding mods-cum-games I've ever played. Furthermore, the dedicated communities these mods have inspired make the mods themselves even more inspiring in my book. Again, Chris' 'best of' list is well worth checking out, and I'd love for you to share your own favourite total conversion stories in the comments below. 

TF2 Blog


The Yogscast Jingle Jam is back, and as always, all proceeds go to charity. You give funds to excellent causes, and they give you fun in the form of games and unique Team Fortress 2 items. Contribute $30 or more to immediately receive a host of awesome games, and more revealed EVERY DAY throughout December!


They have already raised more than $1,000,000, so head on over and donate while supplies last - and help make the world a better place!


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (James Archer)

A new professional Dota 2 [official site] season means new, ultra-high-stakes Major tournaments, and the first is upon us: the Boston Major is underway, with a $3,000,000 prize pool and a neat bird-shaped trophy on the line. The event is live right now, and below you’ll find all the information you need on the teams and the tournament, as well as the links you need to watch.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

According to a report from Variety, Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, other movies about a strange man not acting professional in a professional setting), is set to star in an upcoming movie about esports, playing the part of an esports competitor who isn’t getting worse with age, miraculously. The pro gaming scene is known for players who skew younger as hand-eye coordination and reflexes tend to fade with age, so I’m sure we'll get 90 minutes of Ferrell making jokes about his age and videogames.Michael Kvamme and Jordan Dunn, whose comedic trappings you’ll no doubt recognize from Spongebob Squarepants 3 (which I definitely have not seen), will write the film under the production banner of Legendary Entertainment. Evil Geniuses and Fnatic are currently in talks to appear in the film, but their role is still uncertain.We’re not sure what game will feature in the film, if a real one at all, but I imagine the movie would work best with a big game like League of Legends or Dota 2 at the center. Let’s also collectively hope the writers don’t endlessly riff on how bizarre the concept of esports is rather than provide an informed, relatable backdrop for fans. Just let Ferrell be a goofball, and I think we’re set for some baseline fun. Either way, we’ll be definitely be having the ‘are esports actual sports’ debate in the marketing push up to the movie’s release in a few years. See you then.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Had a week off. (No, not a holiday, no such thing when there’s a three-year-old in the house). Bit of a break from writing about games. Though I’d rebuild and resupply a little, come back fighting fit, ready for anything GAMESWORLD might throw at me next.

Anything but this. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Counter-Strike: Classic Offensive is a remake of Counter-Strike being made inside a remake of Counter-Strike.

Yesterday the modder Z00L released a launch trailer for his curious mod, a project that aims to reproduce the look and feel of the original Counter-Strike (version '1.6' as it's more colloquially known) inside CS:GO. "The main goal of the mod is to get the gameplay from 1.6 right into CS:GO including weapons, sounds, movement, all the old stuff you've dreamed to see in CS:GO," he writes on ModDB. "As you can see, I'm pretty near."

The mod is built within CS:GO's version of Source, and it'll require CS:GO to play. At launch, planned December 25, Z00L says that retro versions of Dust2, Italy, Mirage and Inferno will be playable. Each of these maps exist in the current version of CS:GO, of course, but they've since been aesthetically and structurally reimagined in small or significant ways. 

As stated in August, Z00L's goals with the project are to make weapons that behave similarly to 1.6, remove 'GO'-specific guns, replace all sounds, and remove skins. He also outlines what he is not able to do as a result of the engine:

  • Wallbangs as in 1.6 (even if I change it it won't penetrate more than 32units)
  • Remake the crouching jumping bug (no I won't edit the dlls)
  • Playermodel selection (a plugin could fix that though)
  • See inside smoke particles (the game don't draw the world when inside, so nope..)
  • Bring back the tactical shield
  • Change flashes, smoke time, nade physics
  • Add buying ammo

So although the project is appetizing to folks like me who grew up playing 1.6 in internet cafes, it does seem to be operating under some fundamental constraints that might make it impossible to include certain movement quirks and 'desirable' map bugs what were buffed out over Counter-Strike's different iterations. It's hard to tell from the in-game trailer exactly how well Classic Offensive captures the movement and weapon feel of old CS, but to my eyes it resembles the higher-fi Counter-Strike: Source more than anything. I guess that isn't unsurprising, considering it's the link between 1.6 and GO.

Which version of Counter-Strike was the best, the most pure, or the most tactically interesting remains a hotly debated topic by FPS players. For the year following its release in 2012, CS:GO wasn’t even the most popular version of Counter-Strike—some players were still actively arguing the merits of GO against its thirteen- and nine-year-old predecessors.

TF2 Blog


LuckyLukeTF2 is back with more impressive TF2 action from Insomnia 58, the biggest TF2 tournament in the world. With teams from America, Australia and Europe, watch all the soldier-juggling, medic-gibbing action you want to relive from Insomnia 58 above or here.


PC Gamer

The Dota 2 Boston Major is set to dominate the headlines this weekend, while the Overwatch APEX season 1 comes to an exciting end. There’s plenty to watch besides, from CS:GO’S ELEAGUE finals to the grand finals of Rocket League’s RLCS. All the details on this weekend’s action can be found below. Have a great weekend!

Street Fighter V: The Capcom Cup

It's been a long year, but this weekend the best Street Fighter V players in the world descend on Santa Ana to crown a champion. Catch up on the players here, and check out the official site for loads more information play is ongoing, starting at 10:00 PST / 19:00 CET every day. Here's the livestream.

Dota 2: The Boston Major

The Boston Major is finally debuting this weekend at the Wang Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Sixteen teams will battle through a single-elimination playoff bracket in best-of-three matches, with a best-of-five Grand Finals to determine the winner of the $3,000,000 prize pool. The seeding for the Main Event bracket will be determined by the results of Group Stage which starts tomorrow. You can check out the official stream over on Twitch.

CS:GO: ELEAGUE Season 2 Semifinals and Finals

The CS:Go ELEAGUE season 2 semifinals kick off today with SK Gaming and Astralis fighting it to try secure their place in the finals. The match starts at 14:00 PST / 23:00 CET, while the finals start the following day at 13:00 PST / 22:00 CET. Turner’s ELEAGUE project has been a resounding success, broadcasting Counter-Strike on a weekly basis to television sets worldwide. But for those of you who don’t have TBS can check out all the latest action over on Twitch.

Overwatch APEX Season 1 Final

Overwatch APEX Season 1 is set to come to a climatic end in South Korea this Saturday, with the winner set to take home $90,000. It’s down to Team EnVyUs and AF.Blue, who will contest the final matches. The semifinals saw AF Blue gunning their way to a 3-1 victory over BK Stars, and EnVyUs stole the win over Kongdoo Uncia 3-2 with the help of stand-in Pongphop ‘Mickie’ Rattanasangohod. The finals starts at 00:00 PST / 09:00 CET and can be watched here.

Rocket League: RLCS Grand Finals

More than ten thousand teams signed up for the second season of the Rocket League Championship Series, and it has all come down to the final eight. Four teams from each region will be competing for the grand prize of $50,000. Players will be revving their engines this Saturday at 04:00 PST / 13:00 CET, while the matches continue Sunday at 05:00 / 14:00 CET. The stream can be watched in its entirety here.

Heroes of the Storm: Gold Club World Championship

The Heroes of the Storm Gold Club World Championship is now well underway in Beijing, with $300,000 to be won. The final stages of the tournament will be played at the Water Cube—also known as the National Aquatics Center, which was originally built for the 2008 Olympics. The winners’ finals take place this Saturday, with Ballistix and MVP Miracle kicking things off at 02:30 / 11:30 CET. The grand final starts the following day at 03:30 PST / 12:30 CET. Make sure to catch all the action here.

PC Gamer

It’s December, and although the pro Dota scene has been steadily recovering from the post-International hiatus, the rust still hasn’t quite come off. Now, just as your pub games are starting to go stale, the light is about to burst out from behind the clouds. Ladies and gentlemen, the Boston Major is almost upon us. Here’s what you need to know about the competitors.

THE DIRECT INVITES

Wings Gaming 

If you asked me who Wings Gaming were this time last year, my answer would have been ‘I think I’ve heard of them’. Since then the Chinese team have become powerhouses and the winners of this year’s International. International Winners in the past have almost always been pretty terrible in the months after the tournament ends, but not Wings. 

They’ll be charging into the Boston Major with wins at the Nanyang Championships and the Northern BEAT Arena under their belt. Their strengths lie in their drafts and the sheer amount of trust the players have in each other. Expect mad picks, mad low percentage plays and a 'go hard or go home' style of Dota. They are very capable of winning the Boston Major.

Digital Chaos 

Digital Chaos gave us one of the greatest stories in pro Dota 2 ever. This band of rejects put together a monumental TI run this year which saw them finish the tournament in second place. They draft unpredictably and play unpredictably too, making them a nightmare to come up against. Captain Misery is a veteran of the scene, and despite not even wanting to take up captaincy, he’s proved himself to be one of the best.

Add to that explosive young core players w33haa and Resolut1on, erratic offlaner MoonMeander and stable support Saksa and you've got a recipe for success. After such a great year, offlaner MoonMeander was surprisingly kicked from OG and picked up by DC. This has definitely sparked a rivalry between OG and Moon, who will be looking to get his own back for what he’ll consider an undeserved dismissal.

OG 

OG are the team that I thought were going to win TI6. Cohesion issues within OG appeared to hamper their form at The International, which saw them place a lot lower than people were expecting.

That’s in the past, however, and OG are back with a new team. Best buds n0tail and Fly have put together another strong looking Dota 2 squad, losing Cr1t, Miracle and MoonMeadner while picking up Jerax, s4 and relatively unknown midlaner Ana. 

Their philosophy remains unchanged from last year. It’s the same brand of Dota, just with different pieces—expect exemplary team fight coordination and a mid laner that can completely take over a game. OG could well make up for their poor TI showing, following their second place finish at the Summit.

Evil Geniuses 

After finishing in third place at the International and winning it the previous year, you wouldn't expect the EG line-up to have changed much since TI6. Two players have been swapped out, however, and while that doesn't seem like many, those two were EG's soul.

Captain PPD was replaced by Cr1t, who left OG in search of greener pastures, and Mr EG himself old man Fear was replaced by Arteezy (yes, this is his third time joining EG). Winning one LAN and placing third in another, they’re certainly in good stead for the upcoming major. EG and NP have been building up a rivalry over the past few weeks which we could see develop further in Boston.

Newbee 

Newbee are looking very different to the team that attended TI6. They have three new faces, two of whom I'd never heard of before they joined the squad. I think Newbee have the potential to surprise at this event. Both Sccc and uuu9 rank at around the 9k MMR mark, which is nothing to be scoffed at. If they've used their two months away from competitive Dota improving their teamwork, they could do well.

Also joining the team is Faith, who won TI2 all those years ago with IG. Having a TI winner in your squad can't hurt. Right?

EHOME

EHOME are a mixture of scene veterans and a few newcomers. LaNm, who started his Dota 2 career there way back when, and old chicken, who has played for EHOME for his year or so in Dota 2. They lost iceiceice after TI6 and replaced him with well known carry player Sylar.

EHOME always seem to get the title of 'outside favourites' as everyone that knows they can do extremely well in any tournament they're part of. A major issue for them is consistency, especially at Valve hosted events. Winning a load of the smaller competitions is nice and all, but we all know what the real aim is. I don’t think EHOME will win, but you don’t get labeled ‘outside favourites’ at almost every single tournament you attend for no reason.

MVP Phoenix 

MVP Phoenix play Dota the way you wish you could play Dota. I don't think MVP are actually capable of playing in a conventional way. They just run at you! I don't really know what else to say. It's so simple, but also so incredibly entertaining to watch. It doesn't matter where they are, they will kill you. Underneath tier four towers, doesn't matter, surrounded by the rest of your team, doesn't matter—I think the only place on the map off limits for MVP is the enemy fountain, and even that's debatable.

When they get it right it's unbelievable to watch and they can definitely beat anyone. With Forev recently rejoining after a short, unsuccessful stint with Team Secret, their chances at the Major have definitely gone up.

QUALIFIED TEAMS

Team NP

Team NP were born out of the ashes of the North American scene. EternaLEnVy and Aui_2000, two very established and successful players, created the team in the September after TI6. At the start no one gave Envy and his rag-tag band of North American rejects much of a chance, but oh how they have proved everyone wrong.

They stormed their way through the Boston Major US qualifiers, through the Summit 6 qualifiers and through the ESL One qualifiers (beating Complexity each time). They've placed well in every LAN they've attended. Their extremely efficient farming, good team communication and occasional hilarious misplays all make for entertaining Dota.

compLexity Gaming

Complexity Gaming, or coL, got through to the wildcards of 2016's International, but ended up going out to Execration when they stupidly allowed Meepo through the pool: a Meepo played by a guy with a competitive win rate on the hero of over 90%.

Since then coL are looking a little different. Gone are Swedes Chessie, Limmp and Handsken, in their places are mid laner canceL^^, monkeys-forever offlane and Moo, who has taken up the role of carry. Moo feels he was unfairly kicked from Digital Chaos, and absolutely has a point to prove against his old team.

Oh yeah, and Swindlemelonzz had dropped the 'Swindle' part of his name. He's just melonzz now, dunno why. Just really likes fruit I guess.

LGD.Forever Young

LGD.Forever Young are a sort of spin off from LGD Gaming. The team was formed by Dota 2 veterans xiao8 and Yao after TI6. They won the Chinese qualifiers for the Boston Major, and did so in style, not dropping a single game in the playoffs.

Because of visa issues, support player lpc and exciting young carry player Monet won’t be able to play in the major. Instead LGD.Forever Young will be replacing them with ddc and END of Vici Gaming. Two players, who could very well improve LGD.FY with the amount of big tournament experience they have. They know what it takes to win at an event like this one.

iG Vitality

Another Chinese spin off team—they really seem to love them. iG Vitality are, as their name suggests, a pretty young Dota team. They're made up of a number of Chinese players who were on the fringes of competitive Dota. They'll come into the Boston Major with a point to prove. After finishing second in a Chinese qualifier bracket that included big teams like LGD Gaming, Vici Gaming and CDEC, they have potential. Young, relatively unknown Chinese teams have shown us in the past they can be a force to be reckoned with (see also: Wings) so keep an eye on this lot.

Due to visa issues, both captain super and support player dogf1ghts are unable to attend the Boston Major and will be replaced by Burning and Q from the main iG squad.

Ad Finem

I'm a big fan of Ad Finem. They're a team from Greece that formed mid 2015 and have stuck together ever since. They aren't the greatest Dota 2 team in the world, but they have played at a lot of major LAN events where they have done respectably well. They are always super entertaining to watch. In the tournaments where they've been up against the larger teams, they've always ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

What's great about watching Ad Finem is the symbiotic relationship between their players. They always seem to know what each other are thinking, which in a game like Dota is incredibly important. I don't think they'll win the Major, but they're a team that can certainly cause upsets along the way.

Virtus.Pro

As the only CIS team at the Boston Major, the expectations of an entire region rest on Virtus Pro's shoulders. But these are very strong shoulders. Virtus Pro finished second in the European qualifiers to Ad Finem. They struggled in their first playoff series vs Liquid and dropped down to the losers bracket, but managed to turned it around and qualified for the Major.

VP look unstoppable at the moment. They’ve recently won The Summit 6, pretty much without any competition, destroying OG 3-0 in a best out of five final. And in the same tournament they actually beat Wings 2-0,  and you don't just beat Wings. Especially not two games to none. 

They are an embodiment of CIS-style Dota, playing aggressively in the early game, choking enemy teams out using heroes like Chen and Enchantress perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Virtus Pro win the Major.

Team Faceless

After an average performance at TI6 with EHOME, offlaner iceiceice decided to part ways with the organisation and move back to his home country Singapore. He formed Team Faceless during that time, and they have been dominating the South East Asia region since. They’ve finished first in four tournament qualifiers since they formed, including the SEA qualifiers for the Boston Major. Iceiceice and his team have been establishing themselves as top dogs in that part of the globe.

Iceiceice and mid laner Jabz bring bucket loads of flair to the team, which is music to the ears of German carry player Black^. He gladly uses the space those two provide him to farm more efficiently than almost any other pro player. They've proved themselves in South East Asia, so how about the world?

WarriorsGaming.Unity 

A professional team from Malaysia, WarriorsGaming finished second in the SEA region's Boston Major qualifiers. Like Faceless, they have been doing really well within their own region. The Boston Major is now giving them a chance to prove their worth on an international stage.

Their players won't be used to playing Dota in other regions and playing against the different styles and challenges each team poses. This could work in their favour though. A small, fairly unknown SEA team coming to a Valve event and wiping the floor with a bigger, unprepared team—sound familiar? Think TNC vs OG at this year's International. Core players Ahjit and NaNa are capable of flashy plays and carrying games when they need to, but can they do it on the big stage?

LGD Gaming

Lucky, lucky LGD. They didn't originally qualify, finishing third in the Chinese qualifiers. Now, due to Execration's visa issues they've been chosen to replace them at the Boston Major.

They seem to be the best choice. Captain Maybe led LGD through the round robin stage of qualification with only one loss in nine games. They then lost 2-1 to iG Vitality in the lower bracket final. The new look team includes Xz, a player who finished second with CDEC at TI5, Maybe, an incredibly talented midlaner who has always been the team's real playmaker, and three younger players who have been promoted up from various youth squads.

Community Announcements - Ward


Fall 2016 Treasure IV is now available, featuring new item sets for Wraith King, Meepo, Invoker, Nature's Prophet, and Luna, as well as escalating odds to unlock a Rare Lycan item set or Extremely Rare Alchemist item set that includes a new Unstable Concoction spell effect.

Now, with less than two weeks left until our next tournament champion is crowned, the focus of the Dota community turns to The Boston Major with Group Stage starting this Saturday, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. EST.

Fans can find the Group Stage brackets and complete tournament schedule in the Featured section of the Dota 2 Watch menu, and the broadcast stream will be available live in the main menu of the Dota 2 client once each day's games begin.

We wish all competitors the best of luck, and look forward to welcoming attendees to the Wang Theatre for the Main Event Wednesday, December 7 - Saturday, December 10. For fans looking to go home with some Dota 2 swag, the Secret Shop will be open to all members of the public at the W Hotel next to the venue each day of the Main Event.
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