PC Gamer

Work on the Myst-inspired Obduction is proceeding apace, according to the latest update on Kickstarter, and in fact the game is now playable from start to finish, albeit in a very pre-alpha state. And even though it should probably go without saying under the circumstances, developer Cyan also made a point of noting that despite what you may have heard, it has not actually run out of money.

I'm not sure where the "no more money" impression came from, to be honest. The October 16 update offers a Kickstarter post-mortem and a breakdown of what, in Cyan's opinion, made it such a successful campaign. But nothing else about it, at least to my eye, has a ring of, "Oh, by the way, the money is gone." Yet that's how some backers took it, and so in a second update, posted the day after, Obduction Project Manager Ryan Warzecha clarified that this is not the case at all.

He also revealed that the full game is now playable "in a very rough pre-pre-pre-alpha state," and that the studio is actually expanding to meet the project's needs. There's now a website up at obduction.com as well, although it doesn't yet contain any new information about the game.

There is one small spot of bad news: Backer rewards, specifically the Obduction t-shirts, have been delayed. "Everything takes longer than expected, and because we want to keep the team small, everyone is taking on multiple roles. (Rand is even the maintainer of the Kickstarter/Paypal database code.)," Warzecha wrote. "This all to say, we are being very careful up front so we can provide you the best possible experience later."

Receipts will be sent to backers within the next few weeks, he added, and once shipping information has been confirmed, the order will be placed and shipped. Obduction itself, a "real-time, first-person adventure that harkens back to the spirit of Cyan s earlier games Myst and Riven," is currently scheduled to come out in mid-to-late 2015.

PC Gamer





As anyone who's ever taken a driver's test knows, parallel parking sucks. But parallel parking in space? That's awesome, especially when it's done at ludicrous speed, with no regard for the safety of yourself or those around you. And if you happen to have a talent for that sort of intergalactic hotdogging, you might be able to score some free Elite: Dangerous loot with it.

The "Frontier Competition" speed docking contest actually began in July, when Elite: Dangerous forum user EidLeWeise, aka Ben Moss-Woodward, established some simple rules and posted videos of his efforts on YouTube, then challenged other players to best his mark. But earlier today, Frontier Developments made it an official contest.

"At the end of the working week (Friday 4PM BST) we'll be putting the top ten times in to a prize draw—the winner will get an Elite: Dangerous goodie bag," Community Relations Manager Edward Lewis wrote. He initially said that different classes of ships could be used in the contest, but the studio eventually decided to keep the challenge as it was originally laid out: An unmodified Sidewinder starting from 5 km out, facing away from the station.

At last check, the top gun was Kerrash, who went from the start position to landed in a ridiculous 39 seconds. Watching him hit the spot in the video above, it becomes clear that this is going to be a tough time to beat; the only place I can see other pilots shaving a second or two off is during the landing sequence, although since I've never played Elite: Dangerous myself I don't know how quickly you can actually get these things turned around and on the ground. This might be as good as it gets.

It's not quite as exciting (or dangerous) as Isinona's famous and thoroughly crazy
unpowered smuggling run, but standing on it through such a tiny slot, and then getting on the brakes hard enough and fast enough to land without turning yourself into a smear, is still a risky business—risky enough for Frontier to warn on Twitter that you pays your dime, you takes your chances.

Full contest rules (although there's really no more to it than what's mentioned above), entry links, and other relevant information can be found on the
Elite: Dangerous Fan Creations forum.

PC Gamer

Article by Kevin Lee

Have you been noticing any slowing performance with your Samsung 840 EVO SSD? Well fret no more: Samsung has a fix for a recently discovered read performance bug called the Performance Restoration Software. The software will return your SSD back to full working order with its original read and write speeds.

The restoration tool will essentially run like an automatic program by first loading the SSD with a new firmware, after which users will have to restart their computer. Once rebooted, the drive will go into a three-step restoration process, which will rewrite all the data on your drive. Samsung claims the process won t wipe your drive, but we would suggest backing up your data to be on the safe side.

Currently the tool is only available for Windows. However, Samsung says it is working on a version for OS X and Linux machines. The restoration tool will also not work with 840 EVO SSDs set up in a RAID array, so you ll need to dissolve a multidrive configuration before running the software.

For the last month 840 EVO users have been reporting slow read speed performance with Samsung s most popular SSD. The sluggish issue seems to stem from the drive falsely identifying corrupted read points. This problem invariably caused the SSD to repeat the read process multiple times and thus slowed the drive s performance. AnandTech goes into a deeper detail about the issue.

Even if you re not experiencing any noticeable read performance issues, if you own an 840 EVO SSD, check out this software fix. According to Anandtech, there have been a few reports that the bug also affects regular 840 and OEM drives, so hopefully the Samsung can come up with a solution to squash the problem across its entire SSD line.

PC Gamer

Evan writes about CS:GO and other FPSes each Monday in Triggernometry.

Counter-Strike became a more interesting game to me the moment I embraced that it's as much about information gathering as it is about gathering sick AWP noscopes.

In a five-on-five format—the way you should be playing Counter-Strike, regardless of your skill level—CS shrinks to a size that fits in your brain. Every player action—footsteps, reloads—produces information, and every information piece paints a clearer picture of what the enemy team is up to that you're meant to adapt your tactics and positioning to.

You play within a possibility space shaped by bottlenecks and fixed spawn positions, and this distinguishes CS from other FPSes, which begs the question: are you playing CS like it's a different game?

It s obvious that Battlefield 4, for example, is spatially larger than CS:GO. But think about the way that BF4 s scale, along with the design of its respawn systems, make information decay quickly. Players can spawn on one another, on any owned capture point, or parachute from the sky—the three medics you saw on capture point D a moment ago can multiply into a dozen by the time the tank you've called in arrives. It's a game of fluctuating hotspots mostly played on open, flankable terrain. It's a game about putting out fires and starting your own.

CS, by contrast, is a checkerboard slowly revealed as you move through it. There are only so many positions an enemy can occupy, and unless you leave a hole in your collective vision, they can't magically appear behind you through teleportation. Where enemies are (and, secondarily, what resources they have (HP, armor, weapons)) is reliable information with a measurable lifespan. Without having some of that information, you're simply hoping for the best, relying on your aim to get you out of every situation.

Embrace scouting as a necessary aspect of Counter-Strike, and you may improve your win rate on the way to appreciating the tiny maneuvers that drive CS' strategic depth.

Jump-Scouting

It was during the ESL One Cologne that I finally realized I could win rounds of Counter-Strike with my eyes. There's a position on de_mirage beside the van on bombsite B, and I watched teams jump like kangaroos here, elevating their eyes for a moment each time to peek down apartments. Even if the Terrorists are rushing B flat-out, this move buys the defenders a few more seconds to get their asses to the bomsite, which can absolutely make a difference. (If you're daring, you can also land jumping Scout or AWP shots.)

This was a huge epiphany for me; up until then, I'd been hurling smoke into the Mirage apartments at the start of every round on the assumption that someone was there. Smoke has the ability to stop pushes and burn precious time off the clock, but deploying it there was also denying me the opportunity to gather visual information. I was putting myself in a position to be surprised every round and hoping that my aim could get me out of it.

Few maps offer the jump maneuver I mentioned on de_mirage as a quick, usually-safe scouting option. More often, the technique you want is a shoulder peek: making the smallest possible movement around a corner with no intention of engaging. The whole idea of the shoulder peek is to not stick your neck out long enough to even observe enemies, but 'process' what you've seen behind cover. You're snapping a quick photo, jerking back, then essentially looking at it in your own brain while you're safe. Do this with a knife out to be as fast as possible.

We ll dig into shoulder peeking more another week. The takeaway here is that in CS' five-on-five format there's an unusually high value to knowing where enemies are: it determines your aim, positioning, and grenade tosses—three essential elements of CS. Part of playing well, then, means learning how to gain information with as little risk to your resources (HP and the weapons you're carrying) as possible. Recognizing the map locations and round situations where information is available at a low cost (i.e. risk to your team s lives, position, or weapons) is a valuable step to playing a more deliberate game.

PC Gamer

The days when you could just buy a game safe in the knowledge that you were getting all of that game are long gone. Now big games are routinely carved up into increasingly Byzantine packages of pre-order bonuses and day one DLC. In which spirit Ubisoft has released details of the Far Cry 4 season pass, which will include an exclusive launch-day mission, a new PvP multiplayer mode, five missions with Hurk, and maybe even a Yeti or two.

The season pass will go for $30 and include the following:

  • The Syringe Available from launch exclusively for Season Pass holders, players must keep a rare and potent recipe from falling into the hands of Pagan Min s forces. Playable in single-player and co-op, players will need to ensure that he does not use its devastating effects on the rebel forces.
  • Escape from Durgesh Prison Ajay and Hurk have been rounded up and tortured in Yuma s prison. Team up with a friend to escape and survive the hostile lands of Pagan Min s Kyrat.
  • Hurk Deluxe Pack Five missions, playable in single-player and co-op, including Yak Farm, Blood Ruby and Hurk s Redemption are available. Access an arsenal of new weapons including a harpoon gun for Hurk.
  • Overrun Team up as Rakshasa or Golden Path in this PvP mode and control a series of neutral locations across Kyrat s countryside to protect them from being overrun by your opponents.
  • Valley of the Yetis Ajay s helicopter has crashed on an unforgiving Himalayan ridge. Explore the frozen landscape and find tools to upgrade your camp and protect it from a dangerous cult when night falls. With single-player and co-op options, players will not be alone, but in the darkest caves players will have more to fear than just the cult as the yetis await their prey…

It looks to be a fair chunk of content, but it's a fair chunk of change for an up-front DLC purchase, too—even at a 20 percent discount off the combined, separate purchase prices. The game and the pass are also available in an all-in-one Far Cry Gold Edition, but at $90 there's no further discount for getting it that way.

Far Cry 4 comes out on November 18.

PC Gamer

Pre-release access to games through beta tests or various forms of early access have become so ubiquitous that we tend to expect it, especially when it comes to major titles. Grand Theft Auto V certainly qualifies as one of those, but Rockstar says in no uncertain terms that there will be no public beta for the game.

"Please note: There is no pre-release 'beta' test for Grand Theft Auto V," the message, written in white block caps on a stark black background, warns anxious GTA fans. "If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some kind of online phishing scam."

The message doesn't warn against any specific scam, but enticing gamers with the promise of free stuff is a relatively common practice. A FIFA World Cup scam went after EA Sports accounts over the summer, and phishers try to dig up Steam account information with almost admirable determination; the Malwarebytes Unpacked blog also recently warned of scams involving purported Xbox emulators.

As usual, the bottom line is simple: Always ensure that beta offers come through official channels, and always ensure that those channels are, in fact, official. The PC release of Grand Theft Auto V is scheduled for January 27, 2015.

PC Gamer





Sometimes dumb stuff happens in video games, episode #351: in which The Evil Within's god mode leads to unintended consequences.

Normally, were a giant spinning blade to pass through the neck region, the game's protagonist would die. Here, though, he has been imbued with the power of a deity. Not an omnipotent one—one that could disintegrate the blade down to its very atoms, before reforming them into, I don't know, a nice bowl of rum and raisin ice cream. Instead, it's the kind of god that would be used as the punchline for a fable about the folly of immortality. Probably one of those old Greek ones, or something.

He has no head but the game is still playing. That's what I'm trying to say here.

The video's creator refers to it as a glitch, but, as Bethesda told VG247, it's the result of activating the immortality console command.

Why, yes, it is a slow news day. Why do you ask?

(Thanks, Kotaku.)

PC Gamer

The Golden Joystick Awards are nearly here. All across the world, top developers are nervously eyeing their competition—hoping that they'll win out in this Friday's publicly voted award ceremony.

You have one day left to help decide those winners. Just head over to the official Golden Joysticks voting site, and choose the most deserving game in each of the categories. Voting closes tomorrow, 21 October.

If you need an extra incentive, you can receive a free copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown while stocks last. You'll also be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Air.

More than that, though, you'll have the chance to help the PC come out as ultimate winner—demonstrating to the world the power and potential of the platform. If you need some voting suggestions, we've listed our picks for each relevant category.

PC Gamer

Transmission is a puzzle game about communication networks. Created for London's Science Museum, it charts the history of telecommunication through their connections—showing the increased complexity of every new development. It starts with telegrams, then telephones, then computers, then broadcast, then... well, I don't know, I haven't got that far yet. Maybe MySpace?

At its most basic, you need to move information from a transmitter to a receiver—dragging a connection into existence between the two nodes. As you move through the technology, the amount of information that can be moved increases, but so does the complexity of making that happen.

It's neat—relaxing, with a nice tactile pleasure to drawing out connections. It does take a while to become taxing. You should breeze through the telegram and telephone phases, with things not requiring much thought until the computer phase.

You can play Transmission now, for free in your browser, by visiting the Science Museum website. For more info, head over to the game's official web page.

PC Gamer

Ex-Runic founders Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer have revealed the first project of their new studio, Double Damage. Rebel Galaxy is the name of the game, and it won't involve clicking on a seemingly never-ending number of goblins. Instead, it's a exploration-based space adventure, due out next year on PC and PS4. An announcement trailer shows the game's interesting take on trade negotiation.

"As the commander of an immensely powerful star destroyer," explains the announcement post, "you ll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer or maybe a little of each."

Money earned can put towards bigger ships with more guns and better defences. That increased power will let you get further out into the galaxy—searching out hidden secrets. 

You can find more details over at the game's website, and see more screenshots below.

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