Project Cars may secretly be the best looking game of the year. It's only playable for Project Cars team members at the moment, but there's no shortage of gorgeous screenshots for the rest of us to gawp at. Efforts like this one from Darkdeus demonstrate how much closer racing games come to photorealism than other genres. Humans are safely hidden behind reflective windscreens, which makes it easier for racing games to navigate the uncanny valley and deliver sublime shots like this.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Chewiemuse
Bethesda's decision to support modders with Steam Workshop support and the Creation Kit have paid dividends in the year since launch. Texture packs, shader tweaks and new character models and armour have turned a good looking game into something a bit special. Chewiemuse shows us how with this shot of a warrior disposing of his foe with the archery equivalent of a triple tap. Boost your own copy of The Elder Scrolls V with the help of our Skyrim mods guide.
Arma 2 by Blackhawk
The Arma 2 engine is certainly powerful, but it's not exactly pretty. It's rare for screenshots to capture the satisfaction of a well executed military manoeuvre, but Blackhawk does it with this shot of a team of soldiers securing a drop zone. Arma is as much about organisation and teamwork as good shooting, and the bleak colour palette is quickly forgotten in the tension and sudden drama of Arma's combat situations. Captured at just the right angle, Arma skirmishes look almost real, as ITV discovered when they accidentally used Arma 2 footage as part of a documentary last year.
Max Payne 3 by Glottis8
Yes, GTA 4 was a shoddy port, but Rockstar have done a much better job with recent releases like LA Noire and Max Payne 3. Glottis8's image of Max surfing an explosive shockwave shows off the improved textures and sharp lines of the PC version in dynamic fashion. It could only be improve if Max was perpendicular to the explosion. And his fingers were wrapped around a pair of handcannons. And he was wearing a trenchcoat. And it was snowing. In New York.
Okay, the third game got away from some of the elements that made Max Payne unique, but that's hardly Glottis' fault. Let's just sit back and enjoy imagining how good that explosion probably sounds.
The Mario Brothers in Garry's Mod by DOAmaster
What's this, the MARIO BROTHERS on PC GAMER? Thanks to the magic of Garry's mod and DOAmaster's screenshotting abilities, the impossible has come to pass. As pleasing as I find those blazing colours, I still haven't figured out exactly what's going on here. If I don't attach a narrative to this thing I'll never make it to the next page and we'll be trapped here in Nintendo world forever. Let's say that Mario and Luigi are holding a belt (small plank of wood?) and this squad of chipmunks (gophers?) is attempting to limbo (???) under it. Plausible? Good enough! Next.
Sword and Sworcery by Glottis8
The pristine and ageless pixel art of Swords and Sworcery is excellent subject matter for trigger happy screen-grabbers. S&S was released on iOS systems originally, but the artwork shifts up to larger screens rather nicely. That's lucky, because it's designed as a cohesive audiovisual tapestry, and it would be a shame for poorly upscaled graphics to spoil Jim Guthrie's marvellous soundtrack, Ballad of the Space Babies, which you can hear here. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery is available on Steam.
Project Cars again by Leviathan
Yep, it's more Project Cars, but look at the stupendous detail on show here. The foil folds of the headlights reflect the horizon of the approaching terrain. Every nut and bolt is present and correct. Look, you can even see the tiny silver mouse periscope popping out of the bonnet in front of the windscreen wipers. Impressive. This slot was a toss up between the picture above and this shot of a car carving up a shiny tarmac track. Not bad, eh?
Team Fortress 2 by Rossrox
Remember when Team Fortress 2 turned into a sparkling, cheerful extension of the Pyro's demented psyche earlier this year? I was happy to be reminded by Rossrox' glittery and violent portrayal of the conflict. I especially enjoy the fact that TF2 has chosen this moment to remind players to be respectful to one another, as a soldier lies burning to death on a floor, and another readies a rocket launcher against a charging Pyro. It's important to remain polite in the face of impending doom. Jolly good show.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Zloth
There was always going to be more Skyrim in this roundup. There's something about that world's frozen peaks that make folks want to take pictures. Screenshots can fail to do justice to the sense of discovery and wonder that Skyrim's most impressive vistas tend to evoke. This grab from Zloth does the job quite nicely, though. Unfortunately it means that any human who looks upon it must endure a sudden urge to jump back into the world and go adventuring again, sinking yet more hours into Bethesda's fantasy juggernaut. The only cure is to look away, so follow me as we go travel onto the next page and absorb the final selection in our round-up of the best screenshots from the PC Gamer community 2012.
Battlefield 3 by RPhilMan1
It's Battlefield! I was a little surprised that there weren't more shots of Armored Kill maps like Alborz Mountain, but this sandy overview of a sprawling industrial warzone will do quite nicely. Look upon it and imagine the different skirmishes that players are having down there. Engineers will be trying to out-ferret each other in the maze of storage crates on the left. The plume of black smoke hints at the presence of a flaming tank corpse behind the tankers in the centre. A small collection of squads will be having their own private war for the squared off mountainous base on the left. It's a good overview that lays bare the variety and complexity of Battlefield 3's maps and drops in a chopper for good measure.
And that's your lot for this year. You can see plenty more on the screenshot thread in our forums. Browse at your leisure, and feel free to drop in a few of your own favourite gaming snaps while you're there. You never know, you might secure a slot in next year's round-up.
Garry's Mod, the oddball Source sandbox and bizarre facial expression generator, is receiving Kinect support. In a preview video posted to YouTube, Gmod's Garry Newman shows... Actually, you're better off just seeing for yourselves.
Garry provided some details as to how it works in the description of the video. "You move your arm and the ragdoll moves its arm. You jump - and it jumps. It's live, your body is directly controlling the ragdoll." And you won't just be performing for your own gratification, as there's multiplayer support too. "You can join a server and take control of a ragdoll. Your friend can join and take control of one and you can dance together." You can read more about the development process of the update over at Garry's blog.
You're now all imagining Half-Life Full Life Consequences as a mo-capped performance, right? Good, not just me then.
Garry Newman, creator of the brilliant sandbox Source mod, Garry's Mod, has posted a graph of the game's entire Steam sales history on Twitter. The graph features a red line that represents Garry's predicted sales, and a white line that depicts the actual sales. There is quite a big difference. Garry predicted that interest would tail off towards the end of 2009, but it just kept on going, and going. It's selling more than twice the number of copies each week than it was when it was first released back in 2007. Take a look.
Look at those spikes. The mini jaggies are all weekends, the massive spikes will be Steam sales and promotions. Garry confirmed to a Twitter inquirer that the graph shows the sale of 1.4 million copies. The steady growth of Garry's Mod will be down to more than just word of mouth. Garry's Mod receives constant updates, all of which are listed over on the official Garry's Mod site. In short, Garry is probably doing quite well from his creation. The success of Garry's mod shows that supporting a game for a long time after release can pay off quite spectacularly.
Garry's Mod is available now on Steam. The outdated Garry's Mod version 9 is free. It doesn't have all the features of number 10, but serves well as a demo if you want to check it out.
Back in 2004, Garry's Mod turned Valve's Source Engine into a toybox. Its intuitive UI, straightforward controls and building tools removed the programming barriers needed to be creative with Source. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have used the mod to attach rockets to the G-Man's head, build a giant robots or mess around with the physics system. The community has created hundreds of new game modes, mods and machinima using the tools.
Today, developer Garry Newman posts on his his site to announce that Garry's Mod has now sold more than a million copies since its launch on Steam in 2007.
"This is a pretty big deal for me considering this all started off as a tiny tiny modification about 6 years ago," writes Garry. "This is more than I could have ever expected or wished for!"
"Even though my name is on the Mod there are a lot of people that have helped out over the years – and GMod wouldn’t be where it is now without them. Particularly Valve & Steam – which made Garry’s Mod technically feasible"
Garry's Mod is available to buy on Steam now for £6 / $10. Garry's Mod 9, an older version with less features, can be downloaded from Steam for free.
The great thing about Garry's Mod is that it simply gives you an arena and gives you all the tools needed to build anything you want. Many Garry's Mod players have found that the best part of building something is the bit at the end when you use a nuclear bomb to blast it to smithereens. Read on for a selection of the biggest and best Garry's Mod explosions.