PC Gamer

 

It's tempting to describe Minecraft's ascent as a "rags to riches" tale, but Notch was never in rags. One thing's for certain though: Notch did not own a $70m megamansion in Beverly Hills five years ago. Nobody could have anticipated that.

It's true though: according to a report over at Curbed, the former Mojang boss now owns a house most of us could only dream of building in Minecraft. The report breathlessly lists off some of the home's features, including "a candy room, a car showroom, vodka and tequila bars, a 54-foot curved glass door that opens onto the pool, eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, apartment-sized closets, and a movie theater."

You read correctly: the house has 15 bathrooms. It was also bid on by Beyonce and Jay-Z in what Notch's  representatives describe as the "highest price paid for a house in Beverly Hills". Considering the inclusion of M&Ms towers and "giant Grenade art", I'd hazard that the price is just right.

It's not the first time Notch has purchased something very expensive: he paid $45k for a rare Aphex Twin album earlier this year.

Photo via Curbed.

PC Gamer

Divinity: Original Sin was a pretty fantastic game by just about any measure, but Larian Studios boss Swen Vincke wasn't entirely happy with it. In fact, he spent a full paragraph of his most recent blog post knocking the story, combat, interface, dialog, loot system, high-level character progression, and a number of other aspects. The problem, he said, was primarily due to a lack of "development capacity," which forced a number of compromises on the game. To avoid that in future projects, Larian is expanding.

Vincke revealed that the studio has begun work on two new RPGs, both of which will use the engine created for Divinity: Original Sin, which is one of the reasons work on that game is continuing. "It means that whatever we fix in D:OS, will automatically be present in our new RPGs. It also means that we can spend most of our resources on developing new cool stuff without having to reinvent things that worked well already," he wrote. "And it immediately gives us a rationale for putting unreasonable amounts of effort in fixing the things we didn t do that well in D:OS, meaning our existing players will continue to get improved gameplay for as long as we can maintain compatibility."

To support that effort, Larian is increasing its headcount and opening a new office in Quebec City to take advantage of "the experience and talent that s running around there." Vincke acknowledged being "quite apprehensive" about the move, but said, "The commercial success of D:OS has given us an opportunity to make true some of our bigger RPG ambitions and I ll be damned if we don t seize that chance. Going all-in paid off in the past so we might as well try again."

Vincke asked players to continue providing feedback on Original Sin, and to sound off about what they'd like to see in future games as well. He also reposted a "year in review" video that emphasizes the impact of player input on the development of the game—and that hints at at least one more big change coming in the future.

PC Gamer

In keeping with its efforts to offer an authentic WW1 trench warfare simulator, Verdun studios M2H and Blackmill Games will host special truce Christmas events in-game this month. This is in keeping with the historical truce between French, German and British troops during Christmas 1914, where soldiers downed weapons in order to share Christmas carols and, reportedly, play some friendly matches of football. 

You'll still be able to engage in bloody military warfare, but the truce scenarios will play out between matches from December 18 until Christmas day. During the scenarios players can play football or engage in jovial snowball warfare. 

The events will be complimented with a series of competitions, detailed below. 

  • 19 December; a YouTube Christmas Truce video contest for the best video about this event
  • 20 December; a Steam Hub screenshot competition for the best in-game Christmas Truce screenshot
  • 21 December; a Twitch TV giveaway for the Verdun streamers
  • 22 December; a Twitter competition for the best WW1 Christmas carol text twittered @VerdunGame
  • 23 December; a Facebook Christmas Card contest for the most entertaining Verdun best wishes card  
PC Gamer

The December update of Clockwork Empires is now live, complete with a trailer illustrating a new and interesting way for things to go terribly wrong in your poorly-located Steampunk colony.

The December update introduces new Naturalist behavior that will have them explore, study nature, and find artifacts—not necessarily a good thing—and adds laboratories and Scientists to study them. In a possibly-related development, you may also notice that your colonists start transforming into monstrous creatures under certain circumstances. As well, buildings and modules may now be dismantled, and you can use prestige to call in supplies, skilled workers, or (if you have no prestige), extra criminals.

"These don't feel at first glance feel like 'positive' feature developments, but what they do is introduce the essential element of iteration," Gaslamp Games wrote in its development progress report. "Alongside this we wanted to introduce some fun themed gameplay elements, so we've fleshed out the behavior of Naturalist characters, added the Laboratory along with Scientists and Laboratory Assistants to work in them, and sprinkled the world with Strange Artifacts to discover, study for prestige, and possibly (probably) make things go Terribly Wrong with."

A number of smaller fixes and changes are also included with the update—you can see the full breakdown here—and of course there's this trailer, which is my favorite part of the whole thing. Merry Fishmas, everyone!

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Ever wanted to mount your PC components to the wall, like some sort of souped-up game-powering fuse box? Then Lian Li's new O Series is for you.

Recently announced, the O Series is an open-air PC chassis designed to make it easy to secure your components in an aesthetically pleasing spot—even mounted on the wall. It comes in four different form factors: the mini-ITX PC-05 and PC-05S, micro-ATX PC-06S, and ATX PC-07S (the S denotes water-cooling compatibility.)

The four models are relatively similar in design, despite their different form factors. All four maintain a slim build by installing graphics cards parallel to the motherboard via a PCI riser card and extension, and they all feature an oversized tempered glass window to easily view all the pretty components inside. You are hanging it on your wall, after all.

The bizarre hybrid of wall art and PC enclosure doesn't come cheap, though. The O Series is expected to launch in the US in February starting at $289.

PC Gamer

Spintires is an off-road driving simulator in which you take hard-as-nails Soviet-era vehicles on excursions through the rugged Russian wilderness. The outstanding physics make for a very realistic simulation of hardcore off-roading, but as a game, it doesn't have a whole lot else going on. You're not racing for the flag against other players or hurrying to evacuate Strelok from the Exclusion Zone; you're just driving around muddy woods. Andy Kelly said in his June review that it felt like an Early Access game because its scope is so limited, and now it appears that it could stay that way forever.

In a message posted on the Russian social network VK and translated on Steam, developer Pavel Zagrebelnyj accused UK-based publisher Oovee of taking the money and skipping town, leaving him unable to update the game. "Sad news... just seemed like the development process started, I almost finished my map and tools to develop mods (free upgrade)... as our Englishmen from oovee together with the loot disappeared," he said. "I don't have permissions to upload the update to Steam. So now I'll complete and release map editor, in the version it is now, and this will be end of Spintires."

He also claimed that Oovee was deleting his posts from its official English-language forum, effectively cutting him off from a large part of his audience. Oovee, however, has denied the allegations, saying Zagrebelnyj has been paid in full and that there is no breach of contract on either side. It also expressed hope that development will resume soon, and said that talks to expand the team to allow for faster and more wide-ranging development were also planned.

"Unfortunately there have been some communication issues recently which appear to have lead to this post being made by Pavel on the Russian forum," it wrote on its own forums. "Oovee has not been notified of any contract terminations or anything of that matter—a discussion will be held on the subject to rectify any misunderstandings."

As for future updates, it added, "As Oovee owns the rights to Spintires, we have no plans of our own to halt and/or cease to develop the game further."

Zagrebelnyj said he still holds the rights to the technology and source code, however, and may use that to create another, similar game. 

PC Gamer

Evolve is a game about a team of hunters taking down 30-foot-tall mega-monsters, "team" being the operative word. But there may be times when you can't, or simply don't want to, bother yourself with the presence of other actual human beings, even for the noble goal of blowing monsters into gooey chunks. Which may lead you to wonder if Evolve can be played offline, all by your lonesome—and the answer to that question is yes, it most definitely can.

The ability to play solo "was always part of the plan," Chris Ashton of Turtle Rock Studios explained on the Evolve website. "Playing Evolve competitively, against other players online, can be a lot of pressure. We wanted to make sure anyone could play the whole game, including Evacuation, alone, with, or against the AI and it s still fun."

In gameplay terms, the solo mode will be essentially the same as the multiplayer mode, with bots controlling the other hunters on the team. In that sense, it's similar to Turtle Rock's previous game, Left 4 Dead, but solo players will also be able to swap hunters on the fly, allowing them to control all aspects of the battle.

Having to actually disable your internet connection, as demonstrated in the very brief offline mode tutorial, is a bit clunky, but it's also coming out of the back of a console, which at least leaves open the possibility that the PC version will provide a more elegant solution. Either way, the important thing is that if you don't want to be online, you don't have to be online. 

Turtle Rock recently revealed the third member of Evolve's monstrous triumvirate, the Wraith, which you can read more about here. Evolve comes out on February 10, 2015.

PC Gamer

Ubisoft pulled the plug on the Assassin's Creed: Unity season pass last month, offering a free game in its place as a replacement and apology. The freebie offer wasn't actually live at the time, but now is.

There are six games to choose from: The Crew, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, Rayman Legends, and Just Dance 2015. Some restrictions apply, however: As noted by Rock, Paper, Shotgun (because I'm not eligible for the offer and thus can't look into it for myself), the free game must be on the same platform as Unity, which among other things means that for PC players, Just Dance 2015 is not an option. Dry your eyes.

They're also only being offered via Uplay—no Steam codes—and while the system is up and running, you may still experience some wonkiness: On my first attempt to log in I was unable to establish a secure connection, although a refresh got me through quickly enough.

The free game offer, which you may take advantage of at acu.ubi.com, will remain open until March 15, 2015. Ubisoft warned that seasons passes activated after November 25 may take up to ten days to register with its systems.

PC Gamer

Welcome to Metal Gear Solid, a strange world of plot twists, conspiracies, in-jokes, code names and moments that reach right through the fourth wall to poke you in the eye. The Metal Gear Solid team fill their games with dozens of secrets to reward players that explore every area and listen to every codec entry. Ground Zeroes is no different. It may take place on a single base, but it's packed with important collectibles, casette tapes containing morsels of bonus plot and loads of callbacks to Metal Gear Solid 1. These goodies only add value to what we called "a deep, entertaining stealth sandbox with endless scope for mastery" in our review.

Maybe you don't fancy scouring every inch of the base for that last missing XOF patch. Maybe you think you've found everything, but wonder if there's more out there. Let series affacionado Iain Wilson guide you, with descriptions of every casette and patch location, and a few more treats besides.

Page 2: XOF patches - the location of every patch you'll need to unlock the bonus op missions.

Page 3: How to find and hear every casette tape in the game.

Page 4: A few more hidden Easter eggs.

XOF Patches

After seeing them scattered to the wind during the opening cinematic, one of your tasks in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is to track down the nine XOF Patches that are now spread around Camp Omega. Finding all of them unlocks an exclusive Extra Ops missions, D j -Vu and Jamais Vu. These were bound to different consoles initially, but we get both on PC.

The XOF Patches only appear in the main Ground Zeroes mission, and although they can be collected in any order over multiple playthroughs, once you have them all you need to complete the operation for the Extra Op to unlock. Let's begin.

Patch 1

Although it's pretty hard to spot, the first patch is actually stuck to your own back! To dislodge it you need to lie down and hold aim, then click the left stick to roll and keep going until a cutscene plays. Once it finishes, grab the patch from the ground next to you.

Patch 2

Turn around from your starting location and head to the edge of the cliffs that were behind you, to find the patch next to some bushes.

Patch 3

After picking open the lock on the gate under the watchtower to enter the camp, follow the road to the left then duck through a gap in the fence on your right and go down the bank. The patch is to the right of the stack of planks and the oil drum, on top of a small pile of rubble.

Patch 4

To the north of the three white rectangular buildings in the centre of the camp, pick the lock for the cage housing the generators then climb on top of the one to your left for the patch.

Patch 5

Just to the west of the helicopter Landing Zone in the northern open area near the large buildings, the patch is in a puddle in line with the windsock.

Patch 6

In the north of the camp near the armoury, follow the shallow drainage tunnel west to the other end (emerges near the APC) and look for the patch behind the metal grille.

Patch 7

After passing through the red door into the area with stairs leading down to Paz's holding cell, climb onto one of the generators and use it to jump onto the roof opposite the raised walkway then grab the patch from the vent.

Patch 8

On the approach path to the north of the old prison area where Chico is being held, climb on top of the guard tower to find the patch on the roof.

Patch 9

After picking the lock on the gate to the old prison area, look on the ground just inside to your right to find the patch.

Complete the mission

Once you've secured all nine XOF Patches, rescue Chico and Paz to complete the operation and the bonus Extra Ops mission will be added to your menu once the final cutscenes have played.

Casette tapes

If you want to get the complete story of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, you'll need to locate all twelve of the Cassette Tapes that are distributed throughout the game.

Some of the tapes can be discovered around Camp Omega during the various operations, whereas others are unlocked after meeting certain criteria before clearing a mission, and each one provides additional intel to help fill in the story of Ground Zeroes.

Chico's Tape 1

Mission: Intel Operative Rescue Simply complete the Intel Operative Rescue mission to receive this tape.

Chico's Tape 2

Mission: Ground Zeroes In the Administration building area, climb the ladder to a raised walkway and follow it along to the watchtower, then grab the tape from the desk inside.

Chico's Tape 3

Mission: Ground Zeroes This tape is received automatically after extracting Chico to the helicopter.

Chico's Tape 4

Mission: Ground Zeroes After extracting Chico to the helicopter, head to the area with tents on the west of the camp near your original infiltration point. Deal with the guards then pick up the POW near the portaloos and extract them via helicopter. NOTE: If you rescue Paz before Chico you won't be able to locate this POW.

Chico's Tape 5

Mission: Ground Zeroes In the northwest corner of the Administration building area, beyond the stairs down into the boiler room, the tape is sat on top of the bins down an alleyway. NOTE: You need to collect this tape before rescuing Chico from the old prison area.

Chico's Tape 6

Mission: Eliminate the Renegade Threat In the area where you originally entered the camp during the Ground Zeroes mission, there's a single storey white storage building with a red door. Pick the lock then grab the tape from the corner behind some shelving.

Chico's Tape 7

Mission: Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacements Head to the boiler room area where Paz was held during the Ground Zeroes mission, to find another prisoner. Extract them via helicopter and complete the mission to receive the tape.

Other tapes

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Mission: Ground Zeroes In the old prison area, pick the lock to the cell that backs onto Chico's and grab the tape from inside.

Agent's Recording

Mission: Classified Intel Acquisition In the Administration building area, climb the ladder to a raised walkway and follow it along to the watchtower, then grab the tape from the desk inside. NOTE: Allow yourself to be spotted by the security camera inside the watchtower to trigger additional dialogue for the next tape.

Classified Intel Data

Mission: Classified Intel Acquisition Once you have the previous tape, head down to the boiler room in the same area and sneak up on the bald soldier here. Use CQC to interrogate him several times and he'll drop the next tape.

D j -Vu / Jamais Vu

Mission: D j -Vu / Jamais Vu At the start of the mission head down the cliffside path to the extraction point to find the tape on top of a rock. Make sure you use your NV goggles here as there are mines in the area. NOTE: To unlock this mission you first need to find all XOF Patches.

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner

Mission: ALL Complete all missions (Ground Zeroes and Extra Ops) on the Hard difficulty setting to receive this final tape.

Other secrets

It wouldn't be Metal Gear Solid without some extra Easter eggs. Kojima's playful sense of humour is given free reign in the D j vu mission, which hides great rewards for fans of the series.

Meet Hideo Kojima

The very important person in the VIP mission is none other than series director Hideo Kojima. His reaction to Snake changes depending on your mission rating. Get an S rank and he'll give you some high praise. Worth it. Once rescued, be sure to linger on the mission select screen with Koj in the background to witness another mischievious moment.

Play as Solid Snake and Grey Fox

Collect all of the XOF patches and you'll unlock the D j vu mission, a nostalgia trip for series fans. Complete the mission with all flashbacks unlocked and you'll get a Metal Gear Solid quiz. Beat that and you'll get the classic Playstation skin for Solid Snake. Complete it on hard mode and you'll get Grey Fox. Replay the mission as these guys and enjoy the added nostalgia of a snowy Camp Omega, patrolled by the Genome guards of MGS1.

Encounter FOXDIE

Once you've unlocked the MGS1 Solid Snake skin head back into the D j vu mission and return to the place you'd normally find Chico and Paz. You'll find they've been replaced by the president of ARMS-Tech and the DARPA chief, both dying of the FoxDie disease. It's best not to spoil how this one plays out.

Find Johnny's dad

Also in the D j vu mission, check out the bathroom stalls near the prisoners and you'll hear the harrowing sounds of a soldier enduring infinite evacuation. Listen to his moans and gurgles as long as you like, they never seem to end. This is a reference to the colonically challenged Johnny from MGS1 and MGS4, though given the time difference between those games and Ground Zeroes, this must surely be Johnny's dad.

Hear a message from Psycho Mantis

The D j vu mission is bursting with neat secrets. This one requires that you find the logos of prior Metal Gear Solid games scattered throughout the base. Erase them all with the torch on the AM MRS-4 rifle for a tiny message from Psycho Mantis.

...

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