Have you got any plans this weekend? Maybe you're thinking about going somewhere nice or meeting up with a few friends. Fool! Weekends aren't about that any more. These days, they're for trialling games that have been made temporarily free to play, then pondering whether they're worth the rather hefty discount they've also been given.
From now until Sunday evening you can download and play the hardcore World War 2 multiplayer FPS Red Orchestra 2. Should you find doing that a pleasurable experience, there's a 75% discount in effect until Monday, bringing the game down to £3.74.
This is all to celebrate the release of the Fall 2012 Free Content Pack, which brings a new map - Barashka, from the first Red Orchestra - and a redesigned Countdown mode.
There's also a 75% discount on the Tripwire bundle, which includes both Red Orchestras, first-person puzzler The Ball, Dwarfs?! and the rather good zombie co-op FPS Killing Floor.
Anyone planning to give this a shot? RO2 was pretty wonky on release, but I've since heard that it's been fixed up nicely and is well worth a try.
Red Orchestra 2, our 2011 multiplayer shooter of the year, is now on Steam Workshop. As I write, only one map and a selection of SDK tutorials have been posted, but phase two of Tripwire's $15,000 RO2 mapping contest should incite a blitzkrieg of community-made content for the WWII shooter.
Also, for the next few days, the Tripwire Interactive Bundle is 75% off on Steam. That's $15/£12.49 for Red Orchestra, Red Orchestra 2, Killing Floor and its DLC, The Ball, and Dwarfs!? (I wasn't angry and confused about that list, the game is called "Dwarfs!?" Or is it?!)
Speaking to PCGamesN, Tripwire Vice President Alan Wilson said the exclusion of modding tools from accessible genres -- most notably shooters -- is a choice they "really can’t wrap our heads around."
"Why would you stop people from modding your game?" he asked. "Why would you prevent people from being creative with your material? Just look what done for everyone concerned, for example. Arma 2 has been on the top-ten sales charts on Steam for about the last four months solid because of what one of their employees did for fun in his spare time."
Originally a team of spirited modders, Tripwire elevated to a full-fledged development studio after Red Orchestra took the grand prize in Epic's first Make Something Unreal contest. The standalone followup, Red Orchestra 2, gets its first expansion later this year.
"Frankly, we can see zero downsides to allowing people tools and letting them mod a game," Wilson added. "I never understand why companies effectively block people from doing that stuff."
Meanwhile, DICE recently reiterated that the closed environment it has established in Battlefield 3 should remain that way, warning players not to use a mod which affects the game's color saturation.
Excellent co-op kill-o-geddon Killing Floor now has Steam Workshop support, letting fans share maps, mods and weapons. The most popular mods include a version of Killing Floor that uses Doom 2 assets, a map set in hell, a version of classic Counter-Strike mod, Gun Game and a scythe. That's a pretty good cross-section of the sort of bonus extras we can expect from Killing Floor's active modding community.
Red Orchestra 2 will be getting Steam Workshop support soon as well. To celebrate, a Tripwire Steam bundle has been on sale all weekend at 66% off. There's still seven hours left on the deal, which includes Killing Floor (and all DLC character packs), Red Orchestra 2, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45, The Ball and Dwarfs!?
This week's best deals ► FTL, Max Payne 3, and more FTL: Faster Than Light released at 10% off on both Steam and GOG, GameStop opened its trunk in the parking lot to reveal deals on Max Payne 3, Killing Floor, and Amnesia, and Guild Wars 2 is 25% off at Get Games for European customers. That's just the beginning of our weekly savings spelunking expedition, so come along with me for more unnecessary analogies. And weekend deals.
25% off Guild Wars 2 at Get Games - $41.24 (Europe only) 50% off Max Payne 3 at GameStop - $29.99 50% off Killing Floor - $9.99 at GameStop 15% off Battlefield 3 at Amazon - $33.81 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light at GOG - $8.99 (Also on Steam) 30% off Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD on Steam - $6.99 25% off PC downloads at Green Man Gaming with the voucher code GMG25-1BW0K-K1A3G
Steam ► Sam & Max, Oddworld, and more Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD released today at a 30% discount, and Steam has also put together an Oddboxx bundle with all of the Oddworld games for 10.49. Also, Train Simulator 2013.
30% off Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD - $6.99 75% off Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $7.49 70% off Sam and Max Complete Pack - $14.99 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light - $8.99 33% off Vessel - $9.99 10% off Train Simulator 2013 - $26.99! More Steam deals
Green Man Gaming ► 25% off everything
Use the voucher code GMG25-1BW0K-K1A3G to receive 25% off a digital download by Monday September 17th at 4 a.m. PDT. Plus, tons of Saints Row: The Third DLC is on sale! Fun fact: if you mush all the DLC together, you get Saints Row: The Fourth, the illegitimate, possibly inbred son of Saints Row: The Third. He eats K-Y Jelly.
Get Games ► Guild Wars 2 You can still get Sleeping Dogs for 25% off and Borderlands for 50% off. New this week, Guild Wars 2 25% off codes are back in stock. There's also the usual selection of pre-order and other discounts.
25% off Guild Wars 2 - $41.24 (Europe only) 25% off Guild Wars 2: Digital Deluxe Edition - $56.24 25% off Sleeping Dogs - $37.49 50% off Borderlands - $9.99 More deals from Get Games
GameStop ► Max Payne 3, Killing Floor, Amnesia GameStop continues to cross off every price it can, but digging through its pages of sales this week revealed some pretty darn good stuff. Here are some of my favorites:
75% off Age of Empires III: Complete Collection - $9.99 50% off Max Payne 3 - $29.99 50% off Killing Floor - $9.99 75% off Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - $4.99 75% off Mirror's Edge - $4.99 50% off Amnesia: The Dark Descent - $9.99 67% off Hard Reset - $9.99 More GameStop deals
GOG ► Diamonds of D&D Aside from 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light, GOG has its usual themed sale. This weekend, it's all D&D deals...wait, what's this?! *Spit take.* Something new for GOG: the discounts scale with the number of games you buy. At one game, you'll get 30% off, buy two and get 33% off each, and so on up to all nine games for 65% off each. *Cleans up spit.*
Links to the individual games are below, but if you want the scaling deal, you have to go to the hub.
30% - 65% off Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Baldur's Gate 2 Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Neverwinter Nights: Diamond Edition - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Icewind Dale 2 Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Icewind Dale Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off The Temple of Elemental Evil - $4.19 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Planescape: Torment - $6.99 - $3.49
Amazon ► The Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle Regular Amazon is way less fun than Labor Day Amazon -- it's pretty much back to the same 'ol, with games like Modern Warfare 2 and Civilization V on sale again. There is a new bundle sale, at least: the Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle includes 13 games. You probably don't want all 13.
85% off The Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle - $14.99 50% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - $9.99 15% off Battlefield 3 - $33.81 50% off Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 - $9.99 21% off Sid Meier's Civilization V - $23.82 51% off Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $14.68 60% off Mount & Blade - $6.03 More Amazon PC game downloads
GamersGate ► A horde of romance
It's the same deal as last week: a giant, colorful patchwork of box art and red discount stickers. Only a few deals stick out at me. 50% off BioShock? Sure. 20% off To The Moon (Friday only)? Not bad. Miss Chic Romantic for only $7.48? Sounds goo- hey, wait a minute.
GameFly ► L.A. Noire L.A. Noire is the highlight of GameFly's sparse list this weekend.
75% off L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition - $7.49 75% off L.A. Noire - $4.99 More GameFly deals
Let us know in the comments if you find any more great deals, and if you feel like sharing: what are you playing this weekend? It's all FTL: Faster Than Light for me. Well, not all, but lots of it.
Tripwire's WWII shooter Red Orchestra 2 gets its first expansion, Rising Storm, later this year. Yesterday, the dev posted a new gameplay video which shows off the expansion's Pacific Theater hallmarks, including booby traps, flanking spawn bunkers, flamethrowers, and banzai charges, all set within iconic battles including Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, and Iwo Jima.
Rising Storm is a Tripwire-backed mod which turned into a full collaborative effort between the studio and the modding team. The standalone expansion -- which Tripwire says includes RO2's original multiplayer content as a bonus -- focuses on the war's Pacific front and the fierce jungle scraps waged between American and Japanese forces.
This week Josh, Evan, Tyler and T.J. talk about what it means for Diablo 3 to be the PC's fastest-selling game as we do some critiquing of its bosses and item drops balancing. We also touch on the TOR layoffs, leaked information that sheds light on Bungie's development of a massively multiplayer-style sci-fantasy, over-hyphenated action-shooter for the PC, and RO2's new patch. At 55:00, Evan shares a tale from Day Z.
PC Gamer US Podcast 317: Bosses From Hell
Have a question, comment, complaint or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Steam fairies are ferrying an updated version of Red Orchestra 2 to PCs today. This is RO2's "GOTY Content Pack," a free patch that includes a new map and a heap of fixes. To commemorate the occasion, Tripwire has sent along a grim bit of video that you can watch above. Bunkers! Ditches! These are the places you'll die.
"One of the things we learned from the fans after the release was that many of them thought the game was too hardcore, not hardcore enough, or just not enough like the original game," Tripwire President John Gibson says in the video above. Most developers absorb an array of contradictory feedback after a game launches, and observing that strange soup of commingled praise and hatred while you decide how to react to it isn't something I envy about game development.
Red Orchestra 2's GOTY Edition Free Content Pack represents Tripwire's response to player feedback, and it seems like a truly comprehensive update to a game we already love. To kick off the roll-out of the update later this week, Red Orchestra 2 will also be free to play on Steam this weekend, beginning on Thursday.
What's in the update?
Mamayev Kurgan, a new multiplayer map lined with bunkers and trenches "'Action' mode - Featuring a crosshair, easier aiming and toned down recoil, reduced damage and open access to a wide range of weaponry Action mode is the perfect first step for players into the world of Red Orchestra." "'Classic' mode blends the gameplay innovations of the new game with the tactical and edgy gameplay of the original giving the fans of the first game exactly what they want." Vehicle improvements, including a toning-down of AI tank accuracy Machineguns are now "easier to use," according to Tripwire Performance improvements, including revamp of dynamic shadows, changes to UI rendering, map optimizations, and more Optional client-side hit detection Refinement of spawn-on-squad leader, spawn protection, overtime, and Lockdown
Red Orchestra 2 will be free to play on Steam beginning at 10 AM PST on Thursday, May 24 until Sunday, May 27.
The full version of the Red Orchestra 2 SDK has been released for free, giving RO2 owners the opportunity to create maps and game modes for Tripwire's multiplayer shooter. The developers have released a few limited versions of the SDK, but the full suite of tools is now available.
"Users can now make and publish everything from simple mods and mutators, through custom maps and on to full total conversion mods," Tripwire say, mentioning that big mods like Rising Storm, In Country Vietnam and Iron Europe are already in development. You can grab the mod tools from the Tools tab of your Steam account.
Tripwire are no strangers to the modding scene. Killing Floor and Red Orchestra started out as mods for Unreal 2004. Hopefully the SDK release can inspire another wave of talented modders.