PC Gamer

Titanfall's Frontier's Edge map pack is out today, so you might as well watch this video showing off the three new arenas. Impressions based on the above footage are mostly positive, though it's a shame there's nothing as aesthetically bracing as 'War Games' from the Expedition pack. The colour palettes don't really depart from what we've seen before.

New maps are great, but there are other new additions to the game today which come free of charge. These include a new Black Market for Burd Cards and Titan insignia, as well as a bunch of other changes and fixes as detailed last week. Frontier's Edge costs $9.99 / 8.00 / $13.45AUD.

PC Gamer

I still play Minecraft a lot. Usually I build fortresses and islands in the sky, and I'm often very happy with my airbourne sanctuaries. Not anymore though, because the entries in Planet Minecraft's 'Head Into The Clouds' contest easily put everything I've done to shame.

The contest tasks players with building something, anything, on Planet Minecraft's Floating Island map. There are several rules: texture packs cannot be used, and the basic structure of the Floating Island map should be preserved, which means no deep excavation, and no removing pesky mountains or water beds.

Head Into The Clouds has attracted 206 entries, and most of them are a sight to behold. Entries are closed, with the winner expected to be drawn next week. In the meantime here are three choice entries, but you really should check them all out. They can be viewed and downloaded on the Planet Minecraft website.

Aeternium - Symphony of Dreams

"Floating high above the Earth exists a vast fantasy dreamworld, full of strange and extraordinary mechanical creatures. Clockwork bumblebees fly among the mountains whilst a mechanized turkey grazes below."

Iduna - Angelic City

"There they were, standing in front of the walls of Iduna, the holy city responsible for angelic beings and whose powers are used to protect the Good."

Hydrata - The City of Water

"High up in the sky, above the clouds, where the heat from the volcanoes and magma cannot reach. Oxygen is thriving up there, the air is light and fresh, its cool enough for water to condense, so rivers are not a rare landform."

If mere world building isn't impressive enough for you, this guy built a giant functioning mech in vanilla Minecraft.
PC Gamer

It's been six years since Ubisoft first hinted at a Beyond Good & Evil sequel. Following news overnight that creator Michel Ancel will launch his own independent studio, Ubisoft spokespeople confirmed that not only will he continue to work on in-progress titles at Ubisoft Montpellier, but that one of them is the long-awaited Beyond Good & Evil 2.

In a comment provided to Eurogamer, Ubisoft made it explicit that the sequel is still in development. "It's still far too early to give many details about this new title, but what we can say is that while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game. The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we'll have more to share later, as it progresses."

It's not dissimiliar to comments made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2012. According to the executive, work on the two most recent Rayman games has taken up a lot of Ancel's time but the publisher is still determined to get a game out. The fact that it's allowed the room to breath is probably a positive thing.

As for Ancel's new project, Wild Sheep Studio is a 13-strong team currently working on its first game. Details on this will be shared at a later date.

PC Gamer

A new teaser entitled "Spark" has appeared on BioWare's "You've Been Chosen" website. It's slightly longer than the "Nightmare" video that turned up last week, but unfortunately it's not any more informative.

A young man sits alone at a table in an empty diner, drawing circles on a napkin with a black marker. It is nighttime, and raining. His phone rings. The caller is unknown; he ignores it. It immediately rings again, and again he dismisses the call. Then a third time, and now he's annoyed. Why won't this person leave him alone?

Suddenly, lightning! Zappo-KABLAM! Beef fried rice everywhere!

The hooded stranger watches.

I actually quite enjoy a good videogame tease, even when I have absolutely no idea what it means, as is the case here. But it seems very likely related to BioWare's collaboration with Failbetter Games that was announced in February: The whole "You've Been Chosen" thing is deeply weird, as you'd expect from the studio behind Fallen London, and BioWare's Aaryn Flynn has already confirmed that the game isn't being developed by either of its Canadian studios, nor is it the "completely new IP" teased at E3.

The video is accompanied by a cryptic message, slightly changed from the one that preceded it. "Do you know they are watching? Your power is rising. Cologne, Germany. 08.13.14." The obvious implication is that all, or at least some, will be revealed at Gamescom, which runs from August 13 to 17 in you guessed it Cologne.
PC Gamer

The original Mastertronic actually disappeared in the mid-90s, but it was reborn in 2004 when one of its co-founders, Frank Herman, helped negotiate the purchase of the name from Sega. Sadly, the UK-based games publisher, now known as the Mastertronic Group, is once again facing a bleak future, as it has announced plans to close its headquarters, lay off 40 percent of its staff and completely exit the business of publishing physical copies of games.

Mastertronic Managing Director Andy Payne revealed the news in a lengthy blog post on Develop, in which he acknowledged that the company has been suffering cash flow problems that came to a head when one of its creditors demanded repayment in full on a loan from 2013. Unfortunately, Mastertronic could not meet that demand.

"We were threatened with the issue of a Winding Up Order, something that is very, very serious and something we needed to protect ourselves against," Payne wrote. "We got a little extension in return for a payment against the loan, but we faced being officially wound up on Monday 21st of July at 9 am, unless we met the debt in full."

Faced with no other option, Mastertronic entered into a Company Voluntary Agreement (or Arrangement), an insolvency procedure that allows companies to continue opearting while they pay off their debts over a set period of time. The creditor who prompted the process actually granted Mastertronic an extension to pay off its debt three days before it was set to begin, but at that stage it was too late to halt the procedure.

Mastertronic's plan under the terms of the CVA will allow it to "cut all costs not directly attached to digital development and publishing of games," including the closure of its headquarters and the elimination of 40 percent of its employees. It won't actually enter into the CVA, however, unless and until it is approved by its creditors in a vote scheduled for August 11. Payne said he's confident the plan will be approved because Mastertronic's financial problems are the result of "unexpected historic debuts from the area we have exited," while its digital business is actually in very good shape.

PC Gamer
SpeedRunners (4)

Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.

SpeedRunners takes the fast, challenging 2D platforming from games like N and Super Meat Boy, throws in three other players via local multiplayer or online matchmaking, and lets them race one another. That idea on its own is lighting in a bottle, but there are a few other subtle things that SpeedRunners does to make every match exciting, funny, and always worth playing for just one more round.

Even when playing online, all racers share the same screen space, the speed of which is dictated by the lead runner. If you can t keep up and fall off the edge of the screen, you die. There isn t a finish line. Instead, players keep going around the level until only one runner remains standing.

Once the first player dies, a red frame appears around the screen and starts growing, making the play space smaller and smaller. It s a little stroke of genius that makes every round a nail-biting sudden death mode, where the distance between the lead and the other runners gets tighter as the match goes on.

Frantic wall jumping to stay out of the red.

Of course, none of it would be worth a damn if the platforming fundamentals weren t fun. With the exception of a grappling hook you can use on certain surfaces to swing forward for extra speed or to reach shortcuts, the speed, acceleration, and floaty jumps are more or less identical to the physics in N. The ability to use momentum to slide up walls and laser and rocket traps are also lifted directly from that game. This particular aspect of SpeedRunners might not be original, but I loved the feel of N, and I love it here too.
SpeedRunners solves a problem that plagues many racing games, where taking a corner the wrong way can set you back so far that playing the rest of the race feels futile. In SpeedRunners, it s completely common for the last place player to overtake the pack in a blink of an eye, and it never feels unfair. Each level is filled with high risk, high reward opportunities that can put you back in the game if you re desperate and skilled enough.

If I m far behind, for instance, I could follow the rest of the pack through a lower tunnel and hope that one of them makes a mistake, or I could take the upper tunnels, try to make an extremely difficult jump and slide through a stack of boxes. If I crash into them, I m out for sure. If I thread the needle, I skip an entire jumping section and I m back in the lead.

A well-timed swing can change everything.

There are also power-ups to collect along the way la Mario Kart: boxes you can drop and trip other players with, rockets, and speed boosts. The most interesting of these is a special grappling hook you can use to pull yourself past another runner. They re especially helpful and intense when it s down to the final two players. With the screen shrinking to the size of a postage stamp, half a millimeter away from death, an emergency grappling hook shot can really ruin someone s day, though that player can make yours even worse if he immediately counters with a grappling hook of his own.

As to be expected from an Early Access game, SpeedRunners has a few bugs crashes to desktop, players falling through the level but nothing devastating. It also has a bunch of single player levels to go through, and they re pretty fun, but nothing like the finely tuned levels in Super Meat Boy or N. They are three options down from the first item on the game s main menu, the multiplayer mode, which is pretty much all you need to know about SpeedRunners priorities. Steam Workshop integration also offers a bottomless supply of user-created levels, but these are hit and miss.

SpeedRunners has great characters, like this lucky cat.

Besides ironing out some bugs, the only thing I d really like to see SpeedRunners improve before its official release is its presentation. Conceptually, its angular, outline-less comic book aesthetic works, but levels tend to be a little too plain, with what few details there are bleeding into each other. I don t want too many unnecessary decorations, but a splash of color here and there and higher quality assets for critical elements like pickups and traps will really make it pop. For music, it needs more than just the one track, which is starting to drive me crazy.
With the exception of the occasional bug and some rough art assets, SpeedRunners is a fully realized idea, a great platformer, and a terrific party game that s fun online as well.
Good. SpeedRunners is already a great game, well worth $10. It s only a question of how much content and polish DoubleDutch can cram into it before its official release.

Version reviewed: r30, July 11, 2014.
Reviewed on: AMD FX 4200, GTX 660 Ti, 16gb RAM
Recommended: You can almost definitely run it.
Price: $10/ 7
Publisher: tinyBuild
Developer: DoubleDutch Games
Multiplayer: four player online and local.
Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/207140/
PC Gamer
Hatoful Boyfriend - Screen 8

I want to play Hatoful Boyfriend. Not because I'm into avian amore, but because the mere concept of a "pigeon dating simulator" is so utterly bizarre that I feel compelled to fire it up and see what it's all about. And in roughly three weeks time, I will finally be able to satisfy my twisted curiosity with a swanky collector's edition, no less.

Finding love is never easy, but as the only human in St. PigeoNation's Institute, it's a particularly tricky task for you. You'll need to navigate the social complexities of the avian world, boost your stats through elective classes like art and gym, purchase tasty bird feed for your prospective partners and pursue dark mysteries and hellish fiends bent on unleashing the apocalypse, all while maintaining a grade-point average that will get you into a respectable school. Boy, sophomore year is tough.

Hatoful Boyfriend launches on August 21 in both a $10 standard edition and a "Summer of Dove" Collector's Edition, which will add a soundtrack, a digital comic from original Hatoful Boyfriend creator Hato Moa, exclusive Oko-san wallpapers and the St. PigeoNations Class of 2014 yearbook for an extra five bucks. Both versions are now available for preorder, with a ten percent discount off the regular price, on Steam.
PC Gamer

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.

First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.

Install it

I installed Sid Meier's Pirates! on Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines with the original CDs, but you can grab the game from Steam for $10. And while it's not covered in this guide, if you feel like playing the original version of Pirates, you can grab that on GOG for $6.

The Steam version of Pirates! should install just fine, but if you run into an issue running it, see the steps below.

Run it in high resolution

After installing Pirates!, run it once to make the game create a config file. If, for some reason, it gives you a DirectX error and won't start, you can create a config file yourself.

The file will go in this directory: C:\Users\\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Pirates!

If you need to create your own, simply open notepad and add these parameters, then save the file as config.ini:

Gamma = 1.000000
KeypadStatus = 1
DisplayShadows = 1
TrilinearFiltering = 1
DisableShaders = 0
AdvancedLighting = 1
WindowWidth =
WindowHeight =
WaterDetail = 2
WorldDetail = 5
ObjectDetail = 2
MasterVolume = 1.000000
MusicVolume = 1.000000
SFXVolume = 1.000000
DanceVolume = 1.000000
IsSlowMachine = 0
MyName =
Fullscreen = 0
3DAudioDriver =
CustomSail =
CustomFlag =

Delete Fullscreen = 0 (or change the value to 1) if you don't want the game to run in windowed mode. With this technique, I was able to render the game at 2880x2160, the 4:3 equivalent of 4K resolution. Unfortunately, Pirates! doesn't have any mods that retrofit its UI for widescreen resolutions. You can force the game to render at 1920x1080, but the UI will be stretched. For the appropriate aspect ratio, render it at 1440x1080.

Mod it

There are no must-have graphical or gameplay mods for Sid Meier's Pirates!, but there are mods for customizing the game. A whole bunch of custom flags and other flourishes are available for download on the Hooked on Pirates fansite.

Sid Meier's Pirates! at 2560x1440 on the LPC

These screenshots were taken on the Large Pixel Collider, with Sid Meier's Pirates! running at 1440p.

PC Gamer

Update: Blizzard is making progress on the Plague Quarter issues, but serious problems remain. In an update posted today, the studio said it has fixed the bugs that caused players to be charged twice for Plague Quarter access, that denied access to the Plague Quarter after successfully completing the purchase and that caused an improper appearance of the "Closed" sign on the in-game shop. Unfortunately, the fixes are only good for players who haven't previously run into trouble; if you've already encountered the bugs, their effects will remain on your account and the current fix will do you no good.

Problems with payments giving the "Waiting for authorization" and "Another transaction is still in progress" messages, and players being prompted to purchase access to the Arachnid Quarter for zero currency are still under investigation.

Original Story: Blizzard is counseling patience as it digs into a Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas bug that's preventing players from purchasing access to the Plague Quarter.

A large number of players are reporting that after purchasing access to the Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas Plague Quarter, they're still not being allowed in. Some transactions are failing outright, while others succeed without actually granting access. The one sliver of good news is that Blizzard is aware of the problem and working on getting it fixed.

In-game gold will be returned about ten minutes after a failed transaction, according to a technical support update, although you'll need to log out and then back in again to register the change, while real money should be back within 72 hours, depending upon your bank's policies. Successfully-completed transactions that fail to grant access are a little trickier, and people in that boat will just have to be patient while Blizzard figures it out. It's also investigating a bug in which players are greeted with "Shop Closed" messages when trying to purchase access to Naxxramas wings.

Despite the assurances, some players are reporting that the refunds aren't actually being issued. Blizzard is asking anyone encountering problems purchasing and accessing the Plague wing to report them in a Battle.net forum thread. You may do so here. Also, check out our lengthy interview with Hearthstone developer Team 5's Ben Brode and Jason Chayes here. More deck slots or riot.
PC Gamer
Final Fantasy XIV screenshot 13

Just two weeks after inviting inactive Final Fantasy XIV players back for a free weekend, Square Enix is now offering free two-week trials to everyone with a few restrictions, of course.

I thought at first that this latest bit of Final Fantasy XIV generosity was just an extension of the free weekend from earlier this month, perhaps heralding an impending move to free-to-play. On closer inspection, however, it seems like a much more mundane free trial program, at least superficially similar to the one Blizzard implemented in World of Warcraft a few years ago.

Anyone can take part in the free trial, but only once, and only if they're not already a FFXIV player. The trial accounts allow the creation of just one character per world, and those characters can only advance to level 20. Trial players cannot use the shout, yell or tell commands, they cannot trade, they cannot use the Market Board or the Moogle Delivery Service, they cannot hire retainers, and they cannot do a whole bunch of other things, either. There are also limits on the amount of "gil," FFXIV's in-game currency, that trial players may acquire, although the FAQ doesn't say what the limit actually is. The most significant difference from the World of Warcraft trial, obviously, is that once the 14 days are up, you're done.

It's a long list of limitations, but on the other hand, it's free, and if you like what you see and sign up for a subscription within 90 days of the end of the free trial, your character will carry over. And it appears that this will be an ongoing program; the 14-day period begins immediately following account creation, and there's no "get it while it's hot" expiration date on the free trial site that I can see.

Square Enix also launched a new "Recruit a Friend" campaign today, offering in-game rewards to anyone whose invited friends subscribe to the game for either 30 or 90 days.

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