Humble Jumbo Bundle. That's quite a mouthful, and if you say it ten times fast it will summon both Beetlejuice and Candyman and open a portal to the underworld. So, y'know, it's probably best to avoid that. However, it's also the name of the Humble Bundle's latest pay-what-you-want sale, which this time discounts Sanctum 2, Magicka with two bits of DLC, and Natural Selection 2. Beat the average and you'll also get Orcs Must Die 2, Garry's Mod and Serious Sam 3: BFE throw in too. If your bank account wasn't summarily emptied during the course of the Steam sale, it might be worth a look.
That average, at the time of writing, stands at $4.10, so you won't have to fork out much of your pay packet/poker winnings/pocket money to get your hands on those six games. The charities receiving some or all or none of your money this time are Watsi and Child's Play, and there will of course be more games added to the deal over time.
The Humble Jumbo Bundle ends in a little over 13 days.
Being a captain in FTL: Faster Than Light is a nerve-wracking experience. Hostile aliens could teleport onto your ship at a moments notice, an asteroid could take out life support, and you're constantly put in horrible situations with no clear solution. The responsibility is simply too great, but luckily a pair of fellow space-goers are working on a Garry's Mod gamemode that lets you demote yourself to the role of a single crewmember.
The mod, called Final Frontier, is a 3D representation of the cruel—but rewarding—roguelike we thoroughly enjoyed last year. Where your ships systems were easy to control from your tactical view, everything in Final Frontier must be managed by human players. Firing weapons, teleporting players, and unlocking doors requires a quick mind and quicker hands at the correct console.
The developers hosted a Q&A to elaborate on what their FTL-inspired mod entails:
“This game is (heavily (blatantly)) inspired by FTL, a game we all enjoyed playing but felt would be improved with multiplayer,” one of the developers wrote. “Unlike FTL, you control a single crewmember in first-person perspective, and must manually perform the tasks that FTL characters carried out by standing at their posts mashing keyboards. How well you perform your job is entirely dependent on the skill of the player at that task.”
The two modders say they’re only “prototyping the project in Garry’s Mod,” and that they’re only testing it internally, but plan to set up a public server once the mod’s main features are finished. I suppose I could take this time to look for a top-tier crew that’ll fight and die for me without question. Any takers?
Yesterday, we wrote about a mod-management tool called Gmod. As many PC Gamer readers pointed out, its name creates confusion with GMod, fans' loving nickname for sandbox game Garry's Mod. "Isn't that a trademark infringement?" wondered some fans. The confusion has sparked a bit of an investigation, but now Garry's Mod creator himself, Garry Newman, has come forward with some interesting information on the name mix-up.
In an interview with VG24/7, Newman admitted that Olympus Games actually owns the name—and that the name confusion has been a contentious issue not just among gamers, but also between the two developers.
“It’s actually the other way around," Newman said. "They own the trademark for ‘gmod’ and have threatened to take us to court if we don’t other buy it off them—along with all their domains and Twitter accounts—or post a press release pointing out we’re not affiliated, along with a permanent link on garrysmod.com and our twitter, and force the community not to abbreviate Garry’s Mod to GMod.
"Garry’s Mod pre-dates their trademark, as does the abbreviation of Garry’s Mod to GMod. As a bonus our game is called Garry’s Mod—not GMod. It’s only occasionally abbreviated to GMod out of convenience."
Newman feels that the people behind the mod-management tool should've rebranded long ago to avoid confusion, rather than traverse this rocky legal territory now. However, Skylar Kreisher from the Gmod team says there's another side to the story, which we'll be hearing about soon in their next Kickstarter update. We've also contacted Kreisher directly, and will inform our readers if we hear anything back.
Omri mentioned a mod called gmDoom last month, which allows you to bring the Doom experience, including weapons, enemies, HUD, and entities, into Garry's Mod. After watching a few weeks pass as bugs were squashed and updates were released, I decided it was finally time to pull-start this particular chainsaw and take it for a spin. I also decided, instead of just playing around, to really play. Specifically, I wanted to play through the entirety of the Half-Life 2 campaign, using only the gmDoom HUD and weapons. Space Marine, welcome to City 17!
Hm? What? Who? Space Marine is skeptical.
After getting off the train in City 17, I realize how happy I am to be an angry, violent Space Marine instead of a befuddled, bespectacled scientist. Gordon Freeman didn't pick up a weapon until a good half-hour into Half-Life 2, but Doomguy is always packing a pistol, a chainsaw, and his fists. Rather than wandering through the beginning of the game, helplessly watching as citizens are abused at the hands of the Metrocops, I can immediately right some wrongs by applying a healthy dose of SPACE VIOLENCE.
So, when I see a Metrocop shove a citizen, I punch him to death (the Metrocop, to be clear). That annoying flying camera robot gets a taste from my pistol. What's this? Other cops, standing around doing nothing violent? Not on my watch! They die. I approach a couple citizens as well, just to see if weapons work on them too. (Weapons work on them too.) Oh, and that cop who tries to make me pick up a soda can and put it in the garbage? I saved the chainsaw for him.
Marines. Always. Recycle.
Before long, I'm in the canals, fighting enemies who can actually fight back. It mostly works well: the weapons are effective and feel natural after a few minutes of play, though you have to be pretty darn precise with your aim for long-distance kills. It's also a genuinely neat experience: the sights and sounds of the throwback Doom weapons mixed with the atmosphere and enemies of Half-Life 2. It's double-nostalgic. It's like combining two tastes I love, bacon and chocolate, into one violent, historic mouthful of video game.
Something else I notice: while it feels a little odd in this day and age to play a game where you're constantly staring at your own face, it does make your health quite a priority. Instead of a percentage or a colored bar, you get to look at your sad mug streaked with blood, a pretty visceral reminder that it's not your health meter taking damage: it's your own face. Finding medkits feels a lot more urgent when you're hurt so bad your hair is bleeding.
Space Marine needs food, badly.
Ammo for my Doom weapons, naturally, is not stocked in City 17, so I just spawn some for myself from the Garry's Mod menu when I run out. I try to also give myself new weapons when it feels appropriate. When Metrocops start using machine guns, for example, I give myself Doom's chaingun. When I remember that you don't get a shotgun until you get to Ravenholm, I give myself one anyway, because screw that.
After escaping City 17, I wind up deciding to skip the second half of the canal levels. Making a Space Marine drive a crummy boat powered by a fan just seems insulting. It's like making Willy Wonka eat a celery stick. He knows not of, and cares not for, such primitive tools. Fast-forward, then, to Ravenholm!
Plus a quick stop in Black Mesa East to kill a disgusting alien. You're welcome, Vance family!
In the zombie-patrolled streets of Ravenholm, our Space Marine seems quite comfy. Hideous shambling monsters, blood, gore, horror: these are what Doomguy was made for. I admit, I do pine for the Gravity Gun, because flinging giant circular blades into zombies is still awesome. The super shotgun works just fine, though.
These zombies don't shoot back? You got off easy this time, Earth.
After blasting my way through Ravenholm with kindred spirit Father Gregori, I decide to skip the driving sections of HL2 as well, mostly because the driving feels like 100% Half-Life 2 and 0% Doom, and the mix is what's really making this fun. I skip to the lighthouse at the end of the coastal maps, and dig in with the resistance as they fight off the Combine attack.
After defeating a few waves of drop-ship soldiers, I run into a little problem when the Synth Gunship arrives. I've given myself Doom 2's rocket launcher, but it only fires in a straight line, as opposed to HL2's laser-guided launcher. The Gunship doesn't shoot my rockets down, but there's no need: I keep missing because the Gunship keeps moving. Try as I might, I just can't hit the sucker. He, however, has no problem hitting me. It's time to call in reinforcements.
No shame in a Marine calling for backup. SPACE backup.
I use G-Mod to spawn a Doom Cyberdemon-- shut up, that is TOTALLY FAIR-- and the gunship and the Cyberdemon immediately decide they hate each other. (Isn't introducing one enemy to another enemy always awkward, like when your work friends meet your personal friends?) Unfortunately, the Cyberdemon is also unable to hit the gunship. Finally, exasperated, I just take out my G-Mod physics tool and hold the stupid gunship in place, letting the demon blast it to pieces. ALSO FAIR.
Hold still. This will only hurt a lot.
And, having used a physics tool from 2006 to help a cyborg demon from 1993 kill a biosynthetic airship from 2004... that's where my play-through of Half-Life2 abruptly comes to an end. It was a fun experiment, sure, but holding a three-dimensional gunship in the sky with my finger so a two-dimensional demon can whomp on it serves as a massive reminder: I don't just have two great games to play with here, I've got three, and I've all but forgotten about the Garry's Mod part of the experience. I've been eating bacon and chocolate, YES, but I've been completely neglecting the GLORIOUS BOTTLE OF BOURBON sitting right there to wash it all down with.
Time to switch from playing Half-Doom 2 and start playing a game I call Make Everything Fight Everything Else By The Lighthouse For Six Straight Hours!
Combine vs. Heavy Weapon Dudes!
The Combine win!
Pinky vs. Combine!
Arch-vile vs. Antlion Guard!
Antlion Guard wins -- but Arch-vile really does raise the dead Doom monsters! Awesome.
Antlion Guard vs. Spiderdemon!
Spiderdemon wins (eventually)!
Helicopter vs. Pain Elementals and Lost Souls!
Draw. Spawned helicopter doesn't seem to ever die, and Pain Elementals never seem run out of Lost Souls.
After making Everything fight Everything Else for six hours, I do, eventually, return to Half-Life 2 proper, mainly to see if I can take down a Strider with a Doom 2 rocket launcher (I can, and quite handily) and to try out the plasma cannon on the Combine (it works amazingly well). And, of course, to unleash the BFG on a store-front full of Combine soldiers.
Looks like the store... *sunglasses* ...is CLOSED.
Putting this mod into that other mod and putting both mods into Half-Life 2 is amazing. Do it! Do it now!
Installation: Mostly simple! However, you'll need a WAD file from one of the Doom games to import all the assets. If you don't own a Doom game, you can use a WAD file from the free shareware version of Doom and still get most of the weapons (I used Doom2.wad; full list of what the various WAD files give you access to here). Drop the WAD in the garrysmod/garrysmod folder in your Steam directory. Then, just subscribe to the mod on Steam Workshop and when you boot up Garry's Mod, it will be enabled. You can spawn all your weapons and monsters from the menu by pressing Q, and enable the HUD using the console code doom_cl_hud 1.
Also, and perhaps this is obvious, but you'll need Half-Life 2 installed for all the Half-Life 2 stuff.
As far as giving an older game the Source treatment, GhorsHammer's gmDoom port project is probably the quickest to elicit a "Holy %)#@" out of me since Black Mesa. It chainsaws out the UI, enemy, and weapon sprites from the proto-FPS and stitches them into Garry's Mod with astonishing smoothness. I can't imagine how downing a Strider with a blast from the BFG would work, but after seeing it in action in GhorsHammer's video, I can't imagine how it wouldn't work.
The mod is undergoing a final round of bug testing and tweaks, and it'll show up in Steam Workshop sometime this week for download. It looks like the Frankensteinian bridge between Doom and Source flows both ways, as you're seemingly able to set up fights against classic hellspawn such as the Cacodemon and Revenant while touting Half-Life 2's arsenal. That includes vehicles, and running over crowds of Imps in Episode Two's muscle car while blasting E1M1 sounds all kinds of awesome.
Garry's Mod, that wonderful physics sandbox of posable characters doing very silly things, has done rather well since attaching a $10 price for its tomfoolery back in 2006. Last December, GMod passed the milestone of 2 million copies sold, an accomplishment made possible by word-of-mouth and creator Garry Newman's regular feature updates. Responding to a fan's question in a blofg post, Newman reveals the mod accrued an astounding $22 million over seven years, but he also says taxes took large bites out of the monstrous moneydollar amount.
"Over seven years, GMod has made about $22 million dollars," he writes. "We get less than half of that though. The tax man gets a bunch of that. Then when we take money out of the company, the tax man gets a bunch of that too."
A Google Image search for "Garry's Mod tax man" sadly doesn't provide an appropriate response image for Newman's achievement, instead showing a balloon chair, ponies, and a Teletubby mugging a Companion Cube. Wait, what am I saying? They're all appropriate.
As for the future of Garry's Mod and what's next for Newman and the rest of his team at developer Facepunch Studios, Newman lines up a few upcoming features in the works.
"Hopefully, we’re gonna get the Linux version out," he says. "Then hopefully we’ll move to SteamPipe, and I’ll get the NextBot stuff hooked up. Then I want to do another Gamemode Contest. But I want to knock out a bunch of gamemode creating tutorials first to help people get their foot in the door."
By the way, if you're leery of plopping down a Hamilton for a constantly updated playground of imagination ("Garry's Mod what are you thinking" in Google), you can grab the old-but-free Garry's Mod 9 from Mod DB.
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.