Welcome to the PC Gamer Ultimate Christmas Giveaway! This is the biggest competition we've ever done: packed with peripherals, games, and exclusive items signed by some very important people. Why are we doing this? Because it's Christmas! And we love you.
The Ultimate Christmas giveaway will run until Christmas Eve. Every day we'll be posting about a new prize that's up for grabs, and you'll have 24 hours after the time of publishing to enter. Sadly, we're only able to open this competition to UK residents.
Ah Christmas, a time for family, a time for giving, and a time for blowing the heads of mutants, at least that's what the guys at id think. So, to wish everyone a Merry Headshotmas, they've sent us a Rage poster signed by their staff, including John Carmack himself! They've also thrown in a copy of Rage and the Rage strategy guide too, that's one hell of a prize.
Check inside for details, plus a closer look at the poster.
She's a beauty isn't she? All this could be yours if you answer one very simple question:
When the world is destroyed in 2012, what is your plan to survive in the harsh post apocalyptic wasteland?
The best, coolest and funniest plan will win the loot. If you win, you'll get a private message via the forums. Let us know your address and we'll send you your prizes shortly after Christmas. Remember, this competition is open to UK readers only. Also, if you don't claim your prize within three weeks of being notified we'll offer it to someone else. Full terms and conditions can be found here.
Good luck out there wastelanders! Don't forget to check back at 4.30 for the next prize, which will involve pointing and clicking.
15 years ago, the original Diablo hacked and slashed its way into PC gaming history. Now, on the run-up to Diablo III, we take a trip to Blizzard to look back at how all began, and forward at where it’s going—including insight into the Diablo III that almost was! Plus, we’ve got Battlefield 3 sniper survival tips, a special report on what Windows 8 means for gamers, and an emergency guide to wrestling your accounts back from hackers. Then read our reviews of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rage, Hard Reset, Driver: San Francisco, and more!
It's all on newsstands now! Or, if you can’t make it to the store, we’re available on Coverleaf.com and Apple Newsstand.
Update - RockPaperShotgun let us know that Peter Hines has called this rumour 'complete bollocks'.
Kotaku are reporting that id Software's Doom 4 has been put on hold following Rage's launch issues. Kotaku's unnamed source tells them that Bethesda felt that the problematic launch demonstrated a "a serious lack of confidence" in the id management. These rumours are of course just that, and must be taken with a grain of salt.
In our Rage review Rich enjoyed the game, but found it very linear and old fashioned. While opinion was more divided over it during the our recent podcast. What do you think?
Tim's had a baby! That means his ideas about what's been happening in the last couple of weeks in the world of PC Gaming are sketchy at best. Graham, Rich and Owen step in to help bring Tim up to speed, with discussions about Planetside 2, Rage, Battlefield 3, the Project Zomboid disaster and a brief debate about whether or not horses are evil (they are).
Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
You may have heard about Gamasutra's slightly contentious interview with id CEO Todd Hollenshead and artist Andy Chang about the direction id took with Rage. Interviewer Brandon Sheffield took a surprising amount of criticism for his tone, and the fact that he questioned most of the answers id gave him. Today, Sheffield explains a bit of the context for that interview, and why he took such a questioning approach.
"I asked these questions to Chang and Hollenshead, because I couldn't figure out why they'd done it this way," Sheffield writes. "This is not some amateur developer, this is id, so they had to have good reasons for their systems, and the makeup of the universe they'd created. The hostile tone people may have picked up on was likely a misinterpretation of my surprise at their responses."
Both the original interview and Sheffield's coda are good pieces and reveal a lot about why Rage might have been an underwhelming game when compared with the expectations surrounding it. But perhaps the most surprising thing is that Sheffield had to write the second piece at all. As he points out, the interview should be entirely unremarkable.
"It was the bare minimum we should expect from journalists," he says. "If something is said that doesn't match what you saw, ask about it. If you're curious about this or that, ask a question, no matter how 'important' the interviewee may be. And sometimes the best answers can be gotten by playing devil's advocate."
On Saturday a massive patch landed for Rage, eagerly awaited by players struggling with blurry, popping textures, low framerates, psychedelic artefacts and more. The mess of a PC launch has been so severe that John Carmack referred to it as "a real cluster !@#$" in a written statement to Kotaku, and attributed the problems to the release of incorrect drivers by AMD and Nvidia.
"When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work," Carmack wrote, adding "we knew that all older AMD drivers, and some Nvidia drivers would have problems with the game, but we were running well in-house on all of our test systems."
This weekend a huge patch hit, adding workarounds and tweaks to counter the most severe crashes. A number of graphical options have been added to the menu as well, letting players take over from the auto-detection system that was supposed to automatically tweak Rage's options to help it run as close to 60 fps as possible. Players can now alter V-sync, Anisotropic filter and texture cache settings manually.
"The original release of RAGE does not expose many video/graphics options for people to tweak because some of these settings, although desirable from a quality perspective, simply will not work on specific configurations either due to hardware limitations and/or driver bugs," reads a note in the Steam patch notes. "Due to popular demand for more video and graphics options, this patch updates the video settings menu and exposes several quality and performance settings. However, not everyone may be able to increase the settings due to hardware limitations and/or driver bugs."
The Steam patch notes have extensive details on how each aspect of the new graphics options will work, and a list of known issues with certain graphics cards. Meanwhile, here's the summarised list of patch notes.
Implemented workaround for AMD driver crash right after intro cinematic on Win 7 32-bit systems. Disabled UBOs because they are causing animation issues with AMD drivers. Don't allow swap-tear to be enabled on AMD while the extension is not exposed because it may crash. Support for new video settings: "texture cache", "vsync" and "anisotropic filter" Automatically adjust vt_maxPPF based on the number of available cores. Improved performance for SLI cards when GPU transcode is enabled. Fix for GPU Transcoding option being disabled after exiting gameplay. Added safe mode to restore video settings to default values. Allow g_fov to be changed from the RAGE launch options in Steam. Server now forwards text chat from clients to all other clients while
RAGE - bless its scorched, probably irradiated post-apocalyptic heart - didn't exactly have the smoothest launch on PC. Turns out, though, that this wasn't a "how the mighty have fallen" situation for a once notoriously PC-only developer. The car-centric shooter was, in fact, undone by drivers that just couldn't keep up.
Resident tech guru John Carmack, however, insists that id believed it'd BFG-blasted this particular issue off the face of the earth. It did not, he told Kotaku, release an "unfinished" game component on purpose.
“We were quite happy with the performance improvements that we had made on AMD hardware in the months before launch," he said. We had made significant internal changes to cater to what AMD engineers said would allow the highest performance with their driver and hardware architectures, and we went back and forth with custom extensions and driver versions."
“We knew that all older AMD drivers, and some Nvidia drivers would have problems with the game, but we were running well in-house on all of our test systems. When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn’t work. The fact that the working driver has incompatibilities with other titles doesn’t help either."
He even went on to call the whole thing a clusterf-- well, you know. Ultimately, though, Carmack doesn't believe the incident justifies a return to PC-first game development. He's nothing if not a realist, and he believes times have changed.
“We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games," he explained. "That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version. A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it."
“Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases.”
Well then, someone who's never shown up anyway just got uninvited to my birthday party.
Killing in the name of! That's how every PC Gamer podcast would start if Chris and Lucas were the only participants. As it stands, we have Gavin in the lead this week with Chris, Dan, Evan, and Lucas in tow, discussing their experiences thus far with Rage, our TF2 Killer Exclusive, the glory that is orc genocide in Orcs Must Die!, and Neverwinter MMO heartbreak. And when Evan calls a Truthiness and Falsity question "a good one," you know it must be excellent: does playing defense suck?
PC Gamer US Podcast 290: Rage Against My Machine
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A hidden corner of Rage's world has been turned into an 8-bit prison vault. No, it's not an example of worsening texture problems, it's a lighthearted reference to the id classic, Wolfenstein 3D. Within the vault lies the Wolf Trophy, which is described as being "of German craftmanship." Sadly, no 8-bit Nazis appear to stop you from taking it. An impromptu boss fight with Mecha-Hitler would have been pleasantly surreal. Instead we'll have to settle for the sight of a gleaming 8-bit doorway in a world of post-apocalyptic mega textures. If you're playing Rage, you'll find it next to the TV in the Ghost hideout.
New AMD drivers should solves the worst problems that made the game effectively unplayable for PC gamers running AMD's family of graphics cards. "Playable" is faint praise for a PC release, but it's a big improvement from where Rage was yesterday. We tested the new drivers and saw a big improvement.
AMD card owners who have had trouble with Rage should get the latest drivers right away. They can install it following these steps.