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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Doom II project offers up 32 new maps based on original names">doom2bynameonly







Here's a fun mental game for you: imagine if Doom II never released. I know it hurts, but bear with me. Imagine if Doom II never released but somehow the engine, level editor and some map names were discovered. Now imagine what a community could cobble together based on this scant information.



Doom II In Name Only is a community project which imagines just that, and after two years (or more specifically, 666 days) it's finally complete and ready to download. The new .wad works with vanilla Doom II and makes use of inbuilt textures only. There are no new monsters, no new weapons and no fancy tricks, just 32 new maps influenced by the map names iD Software dreamt up.



It's an interesting project, especially since the 20-year-strong Doom II community has created maps which would probably make 1994 John Romero's mind boggle. 20 years of finely honing techniques and tricks to squeeze more juice out of the engine has no doubt resulted in a much more graphically impressive game than the original, but I suppose you'll have to download the .wad to see.



The Doom II In Name Only Doomworld page has screenshots for each level, with most demonstrating how the level name has influenced the new creation. 'O for Destruction' takes things literally, while 'Barrels O' Fun' contains lots of... barrels. The project was founded by writer and developer Ella Guro, who has written extensively on Doom and Wolfenstein level design on her blog. Those come very highly recommended.



It's good timing, because interest in Doom is high thanks to the recent behind-closed-doors reveal of the next Doom, though non-QuakeCon-attending proles like myself are unlikely to see it until next year. In other Doom II related news, this recent mod makes the 20-year-old game look like the product of a 21st century Triple-A studio.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Euro Truck Simulator 2 update adds three new cities and, finally, seat adjustment">Euro Truck East





Unironic truck driving game Euro Truck Simulator 2 now has three new European cities to drive to and away from. Venice, Graz and Klagenfurt are now feasible destinations thanks to update 1.11, which also introduces a range of other new features and fixes. For example: you can now adjust your seat. It s possible to adjust your seat in real world trucks, so it s about time this was reflected in Euro Truck Simulator 2.

There s more of course. Car AI code has been tweaked extensively, there are new cruise control features, the radio player now has sorting and filtering options, while the user-interface has been given a significant overhaul. Here s a list of the major changes, with the full changelog available on the Euro Truck Simulator 2 website. The update is available right now.







3 new cities: Venice, Graz, and Klagenfurt with a lot of new kilometers to explore





Seat Adjustment feature





Several months of tweaks of car AI code





Re-designed radio player for with additional sorting and filtering options





New Cruise control features





Displaying current road speed limit in Route Advisor (disable, or switch car or truck speciefic limits in options)





Complete UI facelift





Support for sway bar simulation





Refined the truck suspension for more control over truck and trailer stability





Recalculated the center of gravity of each cargo (more individual behavior of the whole rig)





Controls to adjust trailer stability in options





Improve collisions of player's truck and AI vehicles





Re-created all scratch and crash sounds in the game





Equalized the sound volume of in-cabin engine sounds and external engine sounds for all trucks





More realistic timing for the air brake sound





Retarder indicator is lit during automatic retarder usage





Ability to sell a garage





Ability to relocate your headquarters to another city



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Breach And Clear: DEADline is coming to Steam Early Access later this year">breachandclear







Breach & Clear was a reasonably well-received tactical strategy shooter released in 2013. Developed by Mighty Rabbit Studios and helmed by former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling, the series has already spawned a sequel in the form of Breach & Clear: DEADline. The game is set to hit Steam Early Access this fall (or spring in Australia) and will release for PC and Linux only, with the studio forgoing Android and iOS this time around.



The catch is this time you'll be fighting to eradicate the wrath of "infectious parasitic worms" responsible for "turning average citizens into horrifying monsters". You'll command a Special Forces squad tasked with navigating the "sprawling" Harbor City in search of these monstrosities, while picking up the occasional side quest along the way. It already sounds a lot more open and a lot less serious than its predecessor, neither of which are entirely bad things.



The sequel also introduces a new 'Command Mode' which apparently allows a greater level of control over how scenarios play out. Along with Breach & Clear's combat aspects, this mode will offer more depth to the tactical aspect of the game, allowing full control over each member in the player's squad. Squadmembers, by the by, can also be levelled up and kitted out with new abilities and loot.



The game will cost US$19.99 in Early Access. No word as yet on when the final release will emerge.



 



 
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Elder Scrolls Online European megaserver migration happening tomorrow">a0037c45d3d5bb28d0940d6847ebb391







The Elder Scrolls Online European megaserver migration promised in May will take place on July 29 yes, that's tomorrow and unfortunately for those who play on it, it's going to be an all-day process.



You might want to come up with something else to do tomorrow if you play ESO on the European megaserver. Beginning at 8 am EDT (1 pm BST) on July 29, ZeniMax Online will begin the process of migrating the game to its European data center. The process is expected to take until 5 pm EDT (10 pm BST) and during that time, the game will be unavailable to anyone who plays on the European side. The North American megaserver will not be affected.



And why is the European server migration happening during North American business hours? "Moving everything over to our new datacenter is a complex operation involving a large number of our engineers and support staff in Europe and North America," the studio explained. "It s important to us that everyone we need for the process is awake, ready, and available. This will help us make the transition as smooth as possible."



From the perspective of players, nothing will change as the result of the migration, and no patching will be required. Character transfers from the North American server to the European one won't be available after the migration either, although ZeniMax hinted that it might be allowed at some point in the future.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to League of Legends’ new champion Gnar teased by Riot">gnar







A fearsome new League of Legends Champion known as Gnar has broken free from an icy tomb, but who or what is it?



Gnar was a happy... whatever he is, going by the primitively illustrated League of Legends Champion preview page. But then something bad happened, and his family was torn asunder! This left Gnar extraordinarily miffed and then he was entombed in ice! That last bit really comes out of nowhere, but the Gnar teaser released today has a semi-happy ending: Gnar makes his escape, which is good, but comes out looking like an enraged were-gremlin with murderous intent, which is probably somewhat less so.



It's not much to go on but at this point, it's all we've got. There's plenty of discussion underway on the League of Legends forums, however, one bit of which notes that this may have been "foreseen": In September 2012, the user Lunarwind posted a "Champion suggestion" for "Gnar, The Snowmass Sorrow."



"This 'cute' yordle is one that enjoys living in cold areas and learnt to master the power of cold and ice, like nunu," the description states. "Unlike nunu, Gnar focuses on area denial and crowd control in some extent." It also contains a hand-drawn image of a red-mittened Gnar that's considerably less threatening than the one being teased today.



It's impossible to say what the connection between the two is, if any, without knowing what the "new" Gnar brings to the table in the way of abilities, but it's hard to imagine that the original suggestion didn't at least inspire the design. We'll let you know when we know; in the meantime, thoughts?
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Watch Dogs comparison video: TheWorse Mod 1.0 vs. standard at 1440p">WatchDogs_Header







Article by Tom Marks



Last week, modder TheWorse released the final version of his now infamous Watch Dogs graphical mod, and we decided to put it to the test by offering it up to the angry god we call the Large Pixel Collider. Ubisoft has stated that the mod could have a negative impact on performance and gameplay, so I jumped on Watch Dogs ummodded with the settings maxed out, and then installed TheWorse Mod 1.0 to document the changes and to settle this once and for all.







Before creating his mod, TheWorse found shaders and graphical settings labeled "E3" in the Watch Dogs code. Switching them back on enabled graphics closer to those shown from Watch Dogs initial announcement at E3 2012. Since then, he s gone in to fine tune those settings and teamed up with modder MaLDo to add textures intended to reduce stuttering on some machines.



I played both the modded and standard versions on the LPC at 2560X1440 resolution with all the graphics settings cranked to the max. TheWorse Mod can be used with or without the MaLDo textures, but I chose to use them. An important note to anyone who does the same: in order to use the MaLDo textures, you must set your texture detail to High and not Ultra.











It s hard to deny that TheWorse Mod makes Watch Dogs look more cinematic, and when shown in a side-by-side screenshot the standard game seems much flatter, but it s very easy to make a still image look good. What the above image doesn t capture very well is how strong the depth of field is in TheWorse Mod. You can barely see the people across the street from you, as if installing the mod also removes Aiden s contact lenses. The extreme depth of field makes images and videos of TheWorse Mod look phenomenal, but when you are actually playing the game it can be incredibly distracting.



Ubisoft said that this mod could hurt performance compared to the standard game, and right off the bat I noticed stuttering and frame skipping in both versions. Standard Watch Dogs was running at a consistent average of 50 fps, but it would occasionally stutter, especially during fast driving segments. I found that with TheWorse Mod installed, the game was running at around 10 fps slower, averaging around 40 fps. The stuttering was identical during the day, but was also much more common at night and while raining, to the point where it affected my ability to drive well.











Bad weather taxes Watch Dogs' performance the most, and one of the largest changes I noticed in TheWorse Mod was increased rain density and intensity of lighting effects. TheWorse Mod makes almost all times of day darker while bumping up the contrast. It gives all the landscapes more depth, but the darker scenery resulted in the TheWorse enabling streetlights and headlights during rain at any time of day. During the daytime, the game s performance was comparable to the unmodded version, but at night and in the rain there is a noticeable drop in stability.



Based on our testing, Watch Dogs averages a lower framerate with TheWorse Mod 1.0 installed. The trade-off for that performance hit is more dramatic lighting and weather effects and stronger depth of field, which looks fantastic in screenshots but can be overbearing during gameplay. We experienced stuttering playing both vanilla and modded Watch Dogs, but the game may perform differently on your system.



If you want to test TheWorse Mod 1.0 for yourself, it's simple to install (and uninstall, if it doesn't improve your experience). Watch the video above to see vanilla and modded Watch Dogs side-by-side, and let us know if the mod increases or decreases performance on your PC.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to John Romero says PC is “decimating” consoles thanks to free-to-play and Steam sales">Romero-thumb







Former id Software designer John Romero says the PC is once again dominating the videogame industry, not because of any inherent technological superiority over consoles but because of the rise of the free-to-play payment model and ultra-cheap Steam sales.



An awful lot of PC gamers have a powerful dislike for free-to-play, but Romero isn't among them. He spoke strongly in favor of the model during an interview with GamesIndustry last week, saying that the problem isn't with free-to-play itself, but with developers who use it "the dirty way."



"With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks. The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios," he said. "It's a different form of monetization than Doom or Wolfenstein or Quake, where that's free-to-play . Our entire first episode was free - give us no money, play the whole thing. If you like it and want to play more, then you finally pay us. To me that felt like the ultimate fair . I'm not nickel-and-diming you. I didn't cripple the game in any design way. That was a really fair way to market a game."



Romero said studios are getting better at "the freemium design," and that's helping gamers accept the proposition that it can be done well, and also making it easier to differentiate between "fair" and "dirty" implementations.



"That's what everybody is working hard on. People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way," he said. "They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you're doing it wrong... For game designers, that's the holy grail."



Of course, the underlying technology is a factor too: Romero said the closed systems and long life cycles of consoles put them at a serious disadvantage when compared to "continually evolving" PCs. "If I want to play a game that's in DOS from the 80s, I can, it's not a problem," he said. "You can't do that on a console."

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to ESPN “delighted” by The International, wants to expand its e-sports coverage">dota_2-web







The recently-wrapped International 2014 was carried live on ESPN for the first time ever, and the broadcast was such a success that inside sources say the network now wants to dramatically expand its coverage of e-sports events.



ESPN's live coverage of The International was widely regarded as a major step toward the mainstreaming of e-sports, and fortunately for those who want to see more of that sort of thing, it went over very well. A source "close to ESPN" told The Daily Dot that the network was "delighted" with the response to the event, which actually went beyond its expectations "across the board."



"ESPN have seen enough recent successes with e-sports and are about to double down," the source said. "The numbers they hit with The International have only cemented the view that the time is right."



Next on the list is Major League Gaming's Call of Duty league, which ESPN had success with in June as part of its X Games coverage. MLG President Michael Sepso said at the time that the ESPN collaboration wouldn't be a "one-time thing," and now the network is reportedly in "advanced talks" with MLG about bringing future Call of Duty events to both web and television broadcasts. Coverage of other games is also being discussed, although those talks are at a much earlier stage.



Interestingly, the source also said that the number-one viewing platform for the PC-exclusive Dota 2 event was the Xbox.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Civilization: Beyond Earth designers talk about the science behind the game">civ-be_screen3







In an op-ed written for Space.com, Civilization: Beyond Earth Lead Designers Will Miller and David McDonough talk about the game's scientific underpinnings, how the tech tree will differ from previous Civilization games and why "the inflection point" means that humanity's first interstellar colonists will be completely on their own.



In prior Civilization games, players build their civilizations from virtually nothing, progressing from the most basic sorts of technology to futuristic wonders. Civilization: Beyond Earth is different, because it begins with space travel and branches out from there. But that doesn't mean that humanity has come together in peace and harmony as it boldly ventures out among the stars.



"In Beyond Earth, we start with the premise that humanity has emerged from a period of great difficulty with a renewed interest and drive in exploring space. In our game fiction, this is galvanized by a few key events, such as the first image of a habitable world, another pale blue dot around a distant star," Miller and McDonough wrote. "But it is also driven by need. Settling an extrasolar planet would be a massively resource-intensive process, and as resources become scarce, eventually, there won't be enough to support mass colonization, which is an idea we're referring to as the Inflection Point."



As a one-off journey, help won't be forthcoming from the homeworld, which is obviously a central element of gameplay; after all, it's not much fun if you can just phone home for more stuff. The need to be self-reliant, as well as the open-ended possibilities of the future, means that while early-game technologies will "draw inspiration" from real-world research currently underway, the Beyond Earth tech tree is actually a web, "showing that humanity might pursue any number of technological directions in the future, and leaving those discrete choices in the player's hands."



"Buried through the game are bits of what we've learned about thorium reactors or transgenic medicine or climate engineering," they wrote. "As designers, our main goal is for people to enjoy playing Beyond Earth, but if our players run across something in the game, and they're curious enough to look into it a bit more, then we'll be ecstatic to have done our part to raise a little more love for space and science."



Civilization: Beyond Earth comes out on October 24.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 4K Screenshot Showcase: Trine 2">Trine4K







Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.



A 2011 release, Trine 2 is remembered as one of the most lavishly produced platformers ever. Each area is awash with vivid greens and yellows and purples, as if the developer Frozenbyte's primary aim was to hit every single angle on the colour wheel. Whether it's a sun-drenched tropical paradise, fog-enshrouded churchyard, or greasy-walled dungeon illuminated by glowing slime and torchlight, it's essentially end to end graphics all the way. It makes for a richly saturated sugar rush of a game, sometimes sickly but no less sweet.







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