PC Gamer

I can't remember how long it took me to finish Half-Life 2. It's been a while, after all. But I can say, with absolute confidence, that it was a lot longer than the breathtaking 40:49 it took the SourceRuns Team to do it.

As is usual with speedruns, this is not a typical playthrough of Half-Life 2. It's done using a 2006 build of the game that used the original engine, which has significant movement differences, as well as a long list tricks and glitches that have since been patched out. It's also segmented, which basically means that it's a group effort: Different players hammer through different bits of the game, and the best of them are stitched together into what you see in the video.

The net result is fast, furious, and funky, as the runners clip through walls, fly over levels, and blow past the talkie bits. It doesn't look like much fun in the conventional videogame sense, but it's a hell of a sightseeing tour, and a remarkable accomplishment, coming in at just one-third of the world-record mark the SourceRuns team set in 2013.

A spreadsheet that breaks down just about every element of the run you can imagine is available here, and the SourceRunners have also posted a separate video explaining how clipping works on YouTube.

PC Gamer

Image via Steam Workshop, click for source.

Cheating in CS:GO is its own small sub-industry, a hard-to-kill parasite riding on the skin one of the PC s most popular games. Some ne'er-do-wells get off avoiding the notice of the VAC system for as long as possible. Others leverage cheating as a profitable enterprise, offering premium programs and services. Some professionals have even used cheats during competition (with disastrous, career-ending consequences). For Valve, combating the risk of hacking is an endless war. Just last week, Valve s elimination of a popular Team Fortress 2 cheat nabbed nearly 170 pro TF2 players. And last year, it dealt over 1 million bans to suspected accounts; with ownership counts likely exceeding 20 million, CS:GO likely represents a significant chunk of that figure.

Earlier this year, CS:GO player AndroidL was inspired to take matters into his own hands. In late January, AndroidL created and dispersed a pair of free hack programs on a popular cheat forum. Unbeknownst to their downloaders, the programs were time bombs. They d function normally for a set period of time before permanently skewing the user s view angle to an abnormal tilt and enabling a constant bunnyhop script huge, obvious red flags that would immediately trigger a VAC ban. Although clever, the first few hack releases earned modest attention roughly 1,000 downloads apiece, according to AndroidL s Reddit post.

CS:GO has a cheating problem, AndroidL explained to me over multiple private messages. I don t think Valve is doing enough to prevent cheating; it doesn t speak publicly about VAC (for obvious reasons) or cheating in general. For such a competitive game with such an active and thriving community, Valve fails to at least acknowledge cheating is an issue in CS:GO which is appalling. Due to their failure to communicate, we aren't sure if Valve are actually attempting to combat cheaters or not. It's impossible to play a game of CS:GO today without suspecting someone on the enemy team of cheating.

AndroidL used this chart taken from vac-ban.com to illustrate the impact of each hack's release.

AndroidL s hack took a more direct approach. It dispensed with timers and prompted a ban the moment a user would load the hack and enter a match by continuously topping off health, ammo, and armor values. Yet despite the almost instant effect, it achieved greater success, accumulating over 3,500 downloads.

Contributing to the hack s propagation was a simple testing method: I set the launch options of CS:GO to +sv_lan 1 -insecure which disables VAC (but consequently prevents me from joining any VAC enabled servers), AndroidL wrote. This means I can test the hacks without getting banned. I just played an offline game with bots where I was able to confirm the features such as editing my view angles along with health and ammo numbers.

Once the hack s usability was confirmed, AndroidL uploaded it onto the cheat forum through a VPN to stay anonymous. The forum account was only days old with no reputation, which would typically undermine the legitimacy of the hack. But to promote the hack, AndroidL went for a straightforward solution: I had a few of my friends post messages such as great, the hack worked! and so on until the comments overflowed onto a second page. Most hackers don t check the second page of posts; they ll only read the first few comments and then download the hack. As publicly released programs tend to last only a few days before detection by VAC, dummy nods of approval was enough to push the scheme in front of as many eyes as possible while it lasted.

AndroidL s favorite forum complaint. It's strange how people think they're entitled to free hacks, as if someone else is to blame for the consequences of their cheating.

And it worked. The hack s impact was magnified by its sheer efficiency; a cheater couldn t react fast enough between launching CS:GO and meeting VAC s awaiting hammer seconds later. As bans started snowballing, users flooded the host forum with warnings and grievances of their sudden downfall. AndroidL feigned innocence by coming up with excuses as to why it wasn't my hack banning people to encourage others to download it.

Members of the CS:GO community could already participate in culling the cheater population through Valve s Overwatch initiative for a few years now, but AndroidL s accomplishments demonstrate how one can more surgically hamper hackers with only modest extra effort. The victory could very well be temporary at best devoted cheaters can simply create a fresh Steam account and spend the $15/ 11 on another CS:GO copy but from AndroidL s perspective, the self-demise of those who sought an ostensibly easy access to a hack was worth it.

The skewed view that a hacker would eventually see with AndroidL's hack.

I think Overwatch is a very good idea, AndroidL wrote. It's another filter cheaters have to go through, but the only reason Overwatch exists is because VAC lacks the capabilities to detect all cheaters. Although I believe VAC is a good safeguard against cheaters, I don t believe it is a strong enough safeguard. There is little to no effort involved for a hack developer to bypass VAC it is a decent system to keep away the masses of people using public cheats, but other than that VAC is essentially futile.

I do have a plan with similar tactics and I probably will do this again sometime, AndroidL continued. It would be great if I could cooperate with Valve to get a larger number of cheaters banned. Taking cheating into our own hands seems to be the only solution right now, and I encourage others that have the skills to do this to create similar fake hacks. Furthermore, I want to put off those thinking about cheating. This wasn t the first fake hack, and it definitely won t be the last.

PC Gamer

So Modern Warfare Remastered is officially a thing. Though it was confirmed via, of all things, a poop emoji a few days ago, we didn't hear anything more of it until today's moderately leaky Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare reveal. When the official trailer finally landed, a couple of hours ago, it was accompanied by a coda revealing that Remastered would be a pre-order bonus for Infinite Warfare's Legacy Edition.

Now, a press release sheds a bit more light on how Modern Warfare has been spruced up for modern audiences.

Firstly, it's being developed by Raven Software, which has been involved with COD's development for some years now. Secondly, it features "vibrant current generation visuals, with fully improved texture resolution and detail, high-dynamic range lighting, lit and shadowing VFX particles, revamped animation and audio, stunning sound and much more", suggesting it's a wee bit more involved than many remasters. Ten of the original's maps will carry across to this new version, including Crash, Backlot, and Crossfire.

You can see a few comparision shots in this NeoGAF thread. It does look better.

One thing that isn't clear (I suspect purposely so) is whether or not Modern Warfare Remastered will be available to buy separately, or whether you'll have to shell out for Infinite Warfare's Legacy Edition, or above, to get hold of it. I think it's extremely unlikely that it won't be available separately at some point, but here are the various pre-order offers anyway:

Legacy Edition and Digital Legacy Edition Includes both Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Digital Deluxe Edition Includes Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and Season Pass

Legacy Pro Edition Includes Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, Season Pass, collectible Steelbook, official game soundtrack and additional digital items

PC Gamer

Oh look here's a sizable update for rhythm roguelike (somehow, it's still the only one) Crypt of the Necrodancer, that adds a whopping two new playable soundtracks to the game. Soundtrack the first is a "retro freestyle" OST by Shovel Knight composer Virt, while the second is a work of "pulse pounding synthwave" from Girlfriend Records. You can switch between the current soundtrack, and these new ones, from the menu.

There are also a load of bug fixes, but more importantly for those of us that don't yet own Necrodancer, there's a sale on Steam. You'll save 67% if you buy the game in the next 30-and-a-bit hours, which sounds like a bonny deal indeed.

PC Gamer

Update: here's the trailer in good-o-vision, on the official COD YouTube account. It reveals that if you pre-order the 'Legacy Edition' of Infinite Warfare, you'll get that recently revealed COD4: Modern Warfare remaster bundled with it.

Well, here it is. A reveal trailer for the teased Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, now on Hulu, and in a million potatocam YouTube videos, one of which I'll embed below. One suspects this trailer has arrived slightly ahead of Activision's orchestrated marketing schedule, given that the official COD Twitter account hasn't yet posted anything about it, and hurrah for that.

As you can see, COD:IF will be out November 4, and will feature a big battle where an armoured vehicle thingy rolls down some stairs. Also, you'll be able to blast off into space! Fancy that. I should probably write more, but I wanted to post this posthaste, in case it suddenly disappears from the interwebs.

PC Gamer

Eric Barone has been understandably busy these past few months, but after a short break to play Final Fantasy IX (among other games), he s ready to talk about Stardew Valley s future. The biggest talking point is that cooperative multiplayer is definitely coming, and it might not take too long either: Barone has agreed to let publisher Chucklefish handle some of the more finicky programming duties.

There s obviously a huge amount of work involved to achieve all this, and I am just one person, Barone wrote in the update. I know in the past I ve been very adamant about doing everything myself, and I still am when it comes to game design and content. However, I ve decided to seek outside help for some of the more technical things listed above.

In addition to cooperative play, localisation for other, non-English speaking countries is on the cards. In the more immediate future is version 1.1, which will roll out a bunch of new gameplay additions and changes, such as:

More late-game contentNew farm buildingsNew cropsNew artisan goodsNew advanced farming/producing mechanicsShane and Emily will be marriage candidates. They will also have more events and dialogue as a result.More marriage content for all spousesMore events for the non-marriage NPC sImprovements/Additions to mining and combatAbility to move buildings and other convenience featuresMore bug fixesMore secretsMore small, fun touches to the world

Have you played Stardew Valley yet? At least a million other people have, and according to our reviewer it s definitely worth your time.

PC Gamer

Eric Barone has been understandably busy these past few months, but after a short break to play Final Fantasy IX (among other games), he s ready to talk about Stardew Valley s future. The biggest talking point is that cooperative multiplayer is definitely coming, and it might not take too long either: Barone has agreed to let publisher Chucklefish handle some of the more finicky programming duties.

There s obviously a huge amount of work involved to achieve all this, and I am just one person, Barone wrote in the update. I know in the past I ve been very adamant about doing everything myself, and I still am when it comes to game design and content. However, I ve decided to seek outside help for some of the more technical things listed above.

In addition to cooperative play, localisation for other, non-English speaking countries is on the cards. In the more immediate future is version 1.1, which will roll out a bunch of new gameplay additions and changes, such as:

Have you played Stardew Valley yet? At least a million other people have, and according to our reviewer it s definitely worth your time.

PC Gamer

Leaving and receiving gifts is one of the few genuinely nice things you can do in Dark Souls 3. After all, if you ve got 99+ Embers in your inventory, why not drop a bunch for the pyromancer you ve just invaded? Better still, why not hand off that boss weapon you don t need anymore? It s a noble gesture for sure, but it looks like some hackers have been using the system to destroy save files.

In a statement by Bandai Namco at the weekend, the publisher warns that players receiving an invalid game data message upon booting the game might be the unsuspecting receivers of illicit goods. Basically, if a hacker has jacked the damage up on a weapon and then attempted to hand it to another player, the recipient will receive the message until they ve removed the offending save data.

This message is intended to inform end users that some external file, modification of game save data, exploit or cheat/hack, or alterations to the game have been detected by the Dark Souls III server team and that the end users' account/profile has been flagged for further investigation, the statement reads.

As a result of these shenanigans, players are warned to remove the offending save data quickly if they receive the message. Meanwhile, all users are warned to regularly back-up their save data if they want to keep swapping goods with other players.

The warning message will continue to be displayed until the Dark Souls III server team has determined whether or not a violation of the End User License Agreement (EULA) occurred, the statement continues. At that point the account/profile will either have restrictions placed on it (to limit the online interactions during multiplayer sessions and a further penalty message of "You have been Penalized" issued) or the "Invalid Game Data" warning message removed.

It s an unfortunate situation, but with an online system as freeform as Dark Souls these problems are bound to emerge. If you ve not mustered the bravery to interact with other players in Lothric yet, here s a good argument for why you shouldn't.

PC Gamer

LMAOBOX is a program designed to allow players to cheat at Team Fortress 2, for instance by adding automatic aiming or removing weapon recoil. Somehow until now at least it's managed to pass under the radar of Valve's VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) technology, but LMAOBOX has finally been detected, despite claims on the website that it was VAC-proof. And with the detection, comes a wave of VAC bans. It's not clear exactly how many people have been affected, but it includes nearly 170 professional players in the TF2 UGC league. Here's a full list of the competitive players affected, in a Google doc seemingly sent to the players themselves.

PCGamesN has a good write-up of proceedings, but a few more details have come to light since publication. While the developer of LMAOBOX apparently stated that they would now quit the project and make the source code public, a moderator of this Reddit thread reckons that post was made by someone else, and that the (fake) code provided was riddled with malware. Others have disputed claims that the bans are backdated to anyone who has used LMAOBOX in the previous two years, suggesting it has only hit players who have used it in the last two weeks instead.

Either way, this is surely good news for anyone who plays TF2 in the traditional, non-cheaty manner. (Ta, mxdwm.com)

PC Gamer

This week on the Mod Roundup, Fallout 4 gets a dynamic depth of field mod that changes depending on what you're looking at, plus a nifty configuration tool that lets you pop a holotape into your Pip-Boy and change the settings while in-game. Speaking of visuals, Cities: Skylines gets a mod that lets you enable weather and even change the position of the sun in the sky. Meanwhile, Stardew Valley gets a mod that easily lets you determine which of your animals feel loved, and which need some attention.

Here are the most promising mods we've seen this week.

Dynavision, for Fallout 4

Nexus Mods link

This mod provides a convincing dynamic depth of field that changes depending on what you're looking at. There's a documentary-length video above you can watch above to see how it works, and in an extremely clever touch you can edit the mod settings while in-game by inserting a holotape in your Pip-Boy and fiddling with the settings. Cool.

 Ultimate Eyecandy, for Cities: Skylines

Steam Workshop link

This mod really lets you go to town on your city's visuals. Change the sun's position in the sky as well as its intensity, switch on rain, snow, and fog, swap to your favorite LUTs while in-game, and save your choices as a preset that you can instantly apply to your other cities.

Loved Labels, for Stardew Valley

Nexus Mods link

This mods provides a tooltip when you mouseover your farm's critters and creatures. At a glance, you'll be able to tell if they feel loved or need a bit more attention. It's not just a time-saver for you busy farmers, it's also customizable, letting you enter your own text for the labels.

Looking for more mods? Check out or lists of the best Stardew Valleys mods and the best mods for Fallout 4.

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