I've always thought that Warface is somewhat of a strange title for a game, mainly because I can't read it without imagining R. Lee Ermey screaming in my face and telling me I don't scare him. Which isn't really relevant to the recent announcement of an upcoming Warface expansion set in the chilly mountains of Sibera, but I can't stop thinking about it nonetheless.
Operation Cold Peak will add three new maps to the game, leading to a secluded stronghold in the Altai Mountains. It will require a particular focus on team-based play, as each map is filled with enemies boasting "advanced tactical AI," along with new new bosses and even suddenly-appearing blizzards that will "change the state of play."
Crytek's focus on Warface, and on the free-to-play market in general, caused the studio no small amount of grief over the summer, but the situation has seemingly smoothed out. And while Warface isn't great, it's far from the worst thing you could do with your time, and it's free, which remains a compelling price point. The expansion will be as well, when it comes out, but at this point a release date has not been announced.
There's tonnes of bugs remaining to be fixed in the notoriously buggy Assassin's Creed: Unity. Over 300 bugs in fact, according to notes for the game's forthcoming patch. It'll be the third patch since the game launched two weeks ago, but it won't be the one to specifically address the game's framerate problems, with Ubisoft writing that this will be the theme of a future patch.
As for this particular patch, the notes are extensive so you'll want to read them all over here, but some highlights include fewer instances of Arno falling through the bottom of the map, fixes to cooperative matchmaking and a whole host of fixes to specific missions.
The full notes are of Tolstoyan proportion so set aside an afternoon. It's due to release for PC later this week, and follows a pretty hairy November for Ubisoft, with ongoing issues affecting both Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4. Tsk tsk.
need to know
What is it? A first-person horror game of observation, fast reflexes, and poor career choices. Reviewed on: Windows 7, Core i7, 8GB RAM, GTX 670 Play it on: Just about anything Copy protection: Steam Price: $8/ 5 Release date: Out now Publisher/Developer: Scott Cawthon Multiplayer: None Link: Developer site
The horror of Five Nights at Freddy s 2 begins and ends with a hallway. Down its dark length lurks walking robot animals out to kill me, and I m only armed with a goofy bear mask and a flashlight. If I light up the hallway, I m treated to snapshots of terror: toothy jaws hanging open at weird angles, outstretched arms of patchy fur and gut-like cables, and eyes with a pinhole-sized glow staring right back at me. The hallway is a funnel of fear.
I peered down that hallway a lot during my roughly six hours playing Freddy s 2, sole developer Scott Cawthon s followup to his first spooky suit stalker simulator released in early August. Cawthon didn't wait long to leverage word-of-mouth popularity and YouTube celebrities horrified faces with a sequel that further establishes his skills at crafting a truly frightening experience.
What I wanted from a Five Nights sequel was more mind games and more uncertainty. I wanted the plodding animatronic suits to find me and rip my face off in new and interesting ways. I wanted working legs. What I got was a horror game dipping heavily into deception and subtlety, a wonderfully cruel cocktail of supernatural mystery and jolts of panicked adrenaline. Enjoying the good parts, though, comes with a cost of a frustratingly steep difficulty.
Once again, I ve made the questionable career move of taking the overnight security shift at a children s pizzeria for a measly pay rate. Strange Things occur among the tiled corridors and empty dining rooms at night, and staying alive entails warding off walking murderous animatronic animals by tracking their movements through grainy camera feeds.
I m still rooted in place with no degree of movement beyond swiveling my head left or right; a slight disappointment to my hopes of freely wandering around. The first game used that restriction as an added layer of stress, and that s effective enough the second time around, but the novelty feels a little worn now. Freddy s world is interesting enough that I want to explore it. I wouldn t mind poking around a corrupted version of Chuck E. Cheese s.
Silly hats only
Cawthon s other gameplay adjustments for Freddy s 2, however, are discernible attempts at reducing passivity. In a fit of corporate penny pinching, the security office s doors are gone, replaced with a single, large hallway yawning into darkness and flanked by two vent entrances. Excusing the fact that whoever designed the place doesn t quite grasp what security means anymore, the room s reconfiguration gives suits multiple angles of entry to threaten the dryness of my pants at any time.
Fending off the fuzzy intrusions involves jamming a Fazbear mask over my head to briefly fool the bots into seeing me as one of them, but I can t check areas or use the cameras while wearing it. Having to choose between safety and awareness was thrillingly stressful, particularly during last-second peeks at the cameras and hallway.
Get used to enemies entering the office at almost a non-stop pace. After the first night, attack frequency ramps up considerably thanks in large part to a new set of suits shambling alongside the original quartet. Bonnie, Chica, Foxy, and Freddy return in various states of disrepair alongside redesigned versions of themselves sporting glossier exteriors and the same vacant, chilling stares. Two new characters round out the bunch: a toothily grinning, balloon-vending boy animatronic and a midnight black puppet that appears exactly like what you d expect a puppet to look like in such a cheery place.
It s these last two newcomers that present the freshest differences to surviving Freddy s 2. Balloon boy doesn t attack directly but instead disables the flashlight, another vital addition. Robbed of the ability to illuminate threats lurking in the hallway, vents, or on horror-cam, I became easy prey—and I quickly learned to hate balloon boy so very much.
The puppet stayed put in his room as long as I was mindful to keep a music box continuously wound with a tinkling tune. Here s perhaps the strongest example of Cawthon s push for increased player activity; whenever I slipped and let the box wind down, the puppet would rush the office and tackle me into an instant game-over. Death by puppet isn t an epitaph I want.
Too much to bear
With the way the mask, flashlight, and music box work in concert, confrontation is inevitable. I appreciated that evolution of the first game s dread-lined sense of inevitability, and the paranormal mystique surrounding the suits and the pizzeria s checkered history is a great backdrop for the inherent creepiness of everything. Crank up the volume for some wonderful ambient noises and helpful auditory cues such as shuffling feet, demonic moans, or shudder-inducing giggling.
Actually skirting death for the full five nights (or seven for an added challenge) is where Freddy s 2 blunders into a few major problems. Most significantly, the constant pressure is astounding. At full swing, I m saving my neck from ten animatronics who aren t exactly receptive to waiting patiently in line. I latched onto those brief moments where nothing happened to soak up the atmosphere, but I wasn t given anything beyond a couple seconds before the craziness resumed.
By the fourth night, I had resorted to parking my camera feed on the music box room and nowhere else—a shame, since this was the same issue that cropped up with the Pirate Cove area from the previous game. I would ve loved more opportunities to explore other rooms and notice more details, but I was too busy keeping the hall lit, flipping the mask on and off, inspecting the vents, and keeping that confounded music box playing.
Veterans of the first game might appreciate having extra tasks to juggle, but dying from a single misclick or for slowing down a tiny bit quickly grew tiresome for me. There were moments where I d simply get overwhelmed and have to step away for a bit to cool down. The enigmatic story and gut-wrenching fear is there in plain sight to enjoy, but I feel the creative theme is somewhat soured with long and exasperating death chains, and that may be the lingering impression new players will have.
The makers of Natural Selection 2 have revealed their next project, Future Perfect, a game about making games—specifically, about "discovering, creating and playing games online with your friends." It's not ready for a full release yet, but gamers willing to deal with the foibles of "earliest access" can pick it up now and take part in the development process by viewing and voting on the studio's internal task tracking system, and playing through daily builds released on Steam.
Future Perfect features a built-in editor that lets players create their own games and share them on the fly, as part of the game itself. "The interface is easy enough for complete beginners to use, but also supports advanced capabilities," the website explains. "It is possible to import art and create gameplay scripts. In Future Perfect, editing isn t a single player affair. Live editing during play is not only possible, it is encouraged!"
The studio says in the Future Perfect development blog that the game was inspired largely by playing mods at LAN parties. It will be made up of two separate parts: various first-person co-op and competitive gameplay modes, and the editor, which will enable the creation of new modes of play. The "Earliest Access" release can only be purchased through the official website—it's "rough" and not yet ready for a proper Early Access launch—but the daily builds will be downloadable through Steam.
"You should only buy Future Perfect right now if you like playing in, breaking, and messing about with unfinished games," the studio warned. "Future Perfect is not a finished game." If a finished game is what you're after, it recommends you sign up for the mailing list instead, or add it to your Steam wishlist. There's currently no word on the expected full launch date.
Black Friday isn't here just yet, but as is the tradition these days, Electronic Arts has fired up its Origin Black Friday sale a few days early. Games and DLC both new and old have been marked down by as much as 75 percent from now until the end of the month.
There's a lot of good stuff up for grabs in the sale, including recent releases like The Sims 4 for $40, Battlefield 4 for $15, and Titanfall for $15 instead of $20. (Titanfall is down to $20 already? Wow.) My favorites, though, are the older games: Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Battlefield 3, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Bulletstorm, Tomb Raider, and a bunch of others are all down to $5 each. You can even afford to indulge your morbid curiosity about Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which is going for $2.50 during the sale.
That's not a recommendation, by the way—35/100 review score, remember—but this might be: The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3, a 15,000-word interactive documentary about the making of the Mass Effect trilogy, is on sale for a measly 74 cents. It's been awhile since we all got mad about Mass Effect 3 and it's not like the regular price is all that steep anyway, but a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of such an important and influential RPG franchise seems like a pretty good way to blow a dollar.
Spend your money however you see fit, but do it (fairly) quickly: Origin's Black Friday sale ends at midnight PST on December 1. Want more? Keep an eye on our list of the Best Black Friday Gaming Deals right here.
Fractal Design has introduced the newest entry in its Define series of PC cases. The new Define R5 comes in two models—one featuring a solid side panel for $110 ( 83) or a windowed side panel at $120 ( 90)—and in three colors: Black, Titanium, and White. Both versions are compatible with ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX motherboards, and provides eight 3.5/2.5-inch hard drive bays, two 5.25-inch ODD bays, and two 2.5-inch SSD bays. Seven expansion slots give you plenty of space for components or cooling air flow.
Speaking of airflow, the case features nine "ModuVent" slots, letting PC either install more fans or keep the slots covered for more sound absorption. The front and back slots come equipped with Fractal Dynamic GP14 fans out of the box, and the front and bottom slots sport removable filters. If water cooling is more your speed, the front drive bays can be removed to accommodate a 120 to 360mm cooler, one up to 420mm in the top, or 120 to 240mm in the bottom and 120 to 140mm in the rear.
The case's front panel is a nice clean faux-brushed aluminum. Inside the sound-absorbing front-door panel (which is reversible, by the way) is a three-speed fan controller, the two 5.25 bay covers, and the easy-to-remove fan filter. Up top the case sports four USB ports—two 2.0 and two 3.0—and your standard audio output, reset button, and lights for both Power On and HDD activity.
On the sides, the case features a quick-release system that allows the left side panel to easily open and close. On the inside, there's room for graphics cards measuring up to 310mm, or 440mm if you remove the cage. Velcro straps and 20 to 35mm of space behind the motherboard plate help with cable management, and if that's not enough, pretty much everything can be ripped out and reconfigured to your heart's content.
The Define R5 looks a whole lot like its predecessor, the R4, but has small tweaks all over the place to make opening the case, building a PC, and keeping it clean a simpler process. Not bad for just more than a hundred bucks.
Logitech does not just test mice and keyboards. It tortures them. It mashes keys 13 times per second, 24 hours a day, for two months straight. When the company needs to test the range and directionality of a wireless mouse receiver, it builds an anechoic chamber to seal away every errant wireless signal and precisely measure the receiver s radiation pattern. When Logitech s engineers designed the G402 Hyperion Fury gaming mouse to accurately track at speeds of more than 450 inches per second, it built a spring-powered arm to whiplash the mouse so fast it would malfunction.
The arm didn t move fast enough, so they built a bigger one.
Every company that makes PC hardware—peripherals like mice and keyboards, or components like fans and hard drives—does some degree of testing, but it s rare for us to get an inside look at what that testing really looks like, or to talk to the engineers doing the work. When a mouse s switches are supposedly rated for two million clicks, we don t know how rigorously that claim was tested. If a keyboard can survive 60 million keystrokes, will the keys still feel just as good after all that abuse?
Last week, Logitech invited a group of journalists to its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to see its testing facilities firsthand. Though Logitech has offices all over the world, it s in Switzerland, where the company was founded in 1981, that Logitech does its most rigorous testing and designs its most crucial components: mouse sensors.
Unlike most press events, which are organized to promote a specific product, Logitech invited us to Switzerland to observe, learn, and talk to engineers about, more or less, whatever we wanted. They weren t really trying to sell us on their latest hardware, I realized—they were trying to sell us on Logitech Gaming itself. For years, Logitech has been doing what is almost certainly the most rigorous product testing and most advanced sensor design in the world. It just wasn t telling anyone about it.
It s significant that Logitech is showing us its testing now, because in 2014, Logitech has released its best, and most noteworthy, mouse since 2005 s legendary MX518. If you don t care about the history of gaming mice, jump on over to the next page for photos of Logitech s labs and insight into how they develop and test their mice and keyboards. You can also see the same testing equipment in action in the video above.
The rebirth of Logitech Gaming
From 2005, to about 2010, we were focused on a number of different businesses, as well as, and especially, gaming, said Vincent Tucker, the director of Logitech Gaming, in an introductory presentation. However, about 2009, 2010, we lost our focus, lost our way. There were a lot of other opportunities to take advantage of. We got into the tablet market, the Bluetooth speaker market. It s our bad, really, for taking our eye off the ball. But I think you ll find today that our eye is back on the ball.
Though no one at Logitech dwelled on the company s mistakes, I thought this humble admission was important. For years, Logitech was the undisputed king of gaming mice. The MX518 sold 16.4 million units over its lifetime, said Tucker, which makes it one of, if not the, best-selling gaming mice of all time. But from 2009 to 2013, Logitech Gaming did little to innovate. It released the G500, and the G500s, and a number of other models, with only minor changes and improvements.
Meanwhile, Razer attracted loyal fans with the Deathadder. Steelseries made the definitive ambidextrous mouse with the Sensei. Against Razer and Steelseries and Roccat and Mionix and Corsair and Mad Catz and all the rest, Logitech was the old guard, and its mice didn t look much different in 2013 than they did in 2005.
In 2014, that finally changed. Logitech released the G502 Proteus Core in January, with a brand new sensor never used in another gaming mouse (most gaming mice have been using customized versions of the same handful of sensors that are now years old, and are often being pushed beyond their intended limits).
One of my original design briefs to the people who did the actual form [of the G502] was: I want this to feel like the G500s, I want it to feel like I m holding my own friend, but I open my eyes and I m looking at the future instead," said Chris Pate, senior product manager at Logitech Gaming. Pate has worked at Logitech for nearly his entire career. Outside of the engineers actually designing sensors at Logitech, it's probably hard to find anyone who can speak about gaming mice as knowledgeably as Pate. With the G502, Pate said, "the goal was to develop a product that is familiar and consistent with what the gamers who are fans of the existing products like, and hopefully draw new people in with the better features, better responsiveness and nicer design."
Next came the G402 Hyperion Fury, which creatively combines a highly accurate low-speed sensor with an accelerometer to handle the high movement speeds of FPS players. Finally, there s the G302 Daedalus Prime, light and barebones and built with shallow left and right buttons for fast-clicking MOBA players. Logitech also built a new mechanical key switch for the G910 Orion Spark keyboard and wisely dropped its expensive integrated LCD screen, opting instead for a free companion smartphone app. Even the names, silly and garish though they might be, are a nice change from Logitech s typically stolid product numbers.
Logitech didn t suddenly wake up in 2014 and decide to make great gaming mice again, then whip them up inside a year, of course. The G502, G402, and G302 have been the culmination of a couple years of work, a response to that turn-of-the-decade loss of focus Tucker mentioned.
We were already working on the next generation of stuff when we put out the 500s, Pate said. Those were products that we are still proud of. We still believe they were the right thing to do. Logitech used the G500s, 400s etc. to relaunch and rebrand its gaming peripherals under the Logitech G name, explained Pate. We were trying to improve. We weren t trying to disrupt.
I don t know if Logitech has disrupted the mouse market in terms of sales, but with the G402 s accelerometer Fusion Engine and the G502 s sensor, it s certainly pushing gaming mice technology ahead more than any other company in the field. Logitech s labs in Switzerland are a testament to that fact, because when Logitech builds a new mouse, it often has to build a new piece of equipment to push it to its limits.
I spent a day touring Logitech's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, which are located right next to the campus of EPFL, an internationally renowned engineering school. A couple floors above ground, there's a room packed with keyboards and mice being hammered on, tested for reliability for hours on end. Underground, however, is where the real magic happens—that's where Logitech's labs house sophisticated machines built to test the sensors its engineers design.
Before we saw the second example below, used to test the mice movements of up to 500 inches per second, Maxime Marini, Logitech's senior director of engineering, had this to say about Logitech's lab:
"Today, if you buy your mouse from a competitor, you will see some spec on the box. So, that spec, it will come from where? From the chipmaker. Now, the question is, where is the chipmaker getting that spec? This machine...They really come here to test it, because they can t test it themselves. We are enabling the full industry. We are setting the standard."
Marini's proud, but after touring Logitech's headquarters, it's easy to see why. I haven't been inside the facilities at companies like Razer or Steelseries, or the sensor makers like Pixart, which Logitech works with. They may have some equipment similar to what Logitech has in its Swiss labs. But the machine used to test the G402 below is certainly one-of-a-kind, because no one aside from Logitech has built a gaming mouse that comes close to tracking at 500 inches per second.
Springloaded arm for testing tracking speed
The G402's "Fusion Engine" pairs a sensor accurate at low inch-per-second movement speeds with an accelerometer that's very accurate at high movement speeds.
Said senior engineer Fran ois Morier: "We had to make an arm that was spring operated, because at the beginning of the project we just wanted to have a very basic arm to validate, to be able to break the speed of the optical sensor and to see the transition between optic and accelerometer to make sure that this happens correctly. This is just moving the mouse. The speed here is about 250, 280 ips. It s sufficient to break the speed of the optical sensor, but it is not sufficient to [break the accelerometer]. So we had to create another one. It has been used to validate that the mouse is the fastest in the world."
Air pressure arm for testing tracking speed
Here's the second arm Logitech built to test the G402 (and other mice, but mostly the G402's sensor-to-accelerometer hand-off). The screen to the left charts data from the mouse in real-time, and shows the sensor losing accuracy (and then regaining it) as the mouse moves too quickly and then slows down again. In the middle, the accelerometer takes over, with no delay in the hand-off.
"They were kind of disappointed with me when I told them [the first arm] wasn t going fast enough," senior product manager Chris Pate said with a laugh. Where the first arm topped out at around 280 inches per second, this one tested the G402 to about 500 inches per second. The mouse is actually capable of tracking at even faster speeds, according to Logitech; this arm still wasn't enough to overcome its tracking. While the arm can move at faster speeds when it's charged with more air pressure, more pressure causes vibration which throws off the results.
Turntable for surface testing speed, acceleration, and latency
Fran ois Morier: "This setup is a turntable that has been designed and used to validate maximum speed, maximum acceleration, as well as latency. With this machine we can change the disk so we can move different kinds of surfaces. The performance of the sensor is very dependent on the surface. Especially depending on the optical configuration, the angle of illumination, you ll be able to work on shiny surfaces or not. This depends on your optical configuration. With our new designs we try to make the surface calibration, the ability to work on different surfaces, as large as possible."
The G502 includes a surface tuning feature to fine-tune the sensor for a specific mouse pad or desk. When the mouse is tuned to a particular surface, it won't track as well on another surface, but it will be able to track accurately at higher inches per second and support a lower lift-off distance on your surface of choice.
Mouse acceleration testing
Logitech had a similar turntable machine, which I forgot to grab a photo of, built to test mouse acceleration. The mouse would be quickly swiped in one direction, then slowly returned to its starting position. The machine was hooked up to a system running Counter-Strike; it would fire off a shot, then show that after the fast swipe and slow return, the cursor lined up on the exact same spot.
Acceleration is one of the big no-nos of gaming mice; when a sensor exhibits acceleration, that means that the cursor will move a different distance based on the speed you move the mouse. Swipe fast and the cursor moves further (or not as far) as a slow swipe. That inconsistency can make it hard to judge exactly where your pointer will be. Logitech proudly proclaims the new G502 exhibits absolutely no acceleration.
Chris Pate, referring to the test machine: "This specific mouse was collected from a user who was experiencing what he felt to be inaccuracy or acceleration. So I contacted him, got the mouse back, got him a different one, shipped it off to Fran ois to validate. Because it s not that we re trying to prove that anybody s wrong. We want to make sure that everything we do meets the standards that we ve set. So in the event that there was something wrong with the mouse, we collected it to make sure, and we validated that it actually does perform as we ve specified. We narrowed it down to one of two things. Either the USB port that he was using, or the fact that he was removing the weight door to reduce the weight because he wanted a lighter mouse, and if you remove the weight door it removes one of the feet, and you can actually pick the sensor up a little bit when you re swiping it."
One of Logitech's non-gaming mice tracking on a glass. Morier and his other engineers spent months developing a sensor to that could track on glass surfaces. It's built for office mice, not gaming mice; it doesn't track at the speeds or DPI levels gamers want, but is a great technology for office workers with glass desks.
Keyboard reliability testing
Logitech s keyboard testing machine presses 13 keys per second to ensure that its new Romer-G switches can stand up to 70 million keypresses. After 70 million presses, says Logitech, the keys must be within a 30% threshold of their original keyfeel. Part of the G910 Orion Spark s reliability comes from a dual contact design. Unlike the Cherry switches that the vast majority of mechanical keyboards use, the Romer-G switches have two metal contacts that register a keypress, not one. If one of those contacts breaks (or is taken out of commission by dirt or soda) the keyboard will continue to function normally.
Logitech built an anechoic chamber to develop its wireless mice. In order to accurately study the radiation patterns of its wireless mice—to ensure that the mouse will remain in contact with its receiver, regardless of its position relative to the computer—they had to cancel out interfering signals from Wi-Fi networks and other radio waves. Mice, laptops with attached receivers, etc. are placed on the light blue platform for analysis.
After touring through Logitech's facilities, I spent about two hours talking to Pate and Morier about all things gaming mice. Look for more coverage from my trip to Logitech, including a deep dive into mouse sensors, in the near future.
Thimbleweed Park has very quickly become the latest big videogame success on Kickstarter. Just a week after it went live, the collaboration between veteran developers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick on a new adventure in the style of the LucasArts classics of the 90s has easily blown past its not-insubstantial goal.
It's really not a surprising outcome. Kickstarters by established developers seeking a return to the days of old have traditionally done well, and that's a paradigm Gilbert and Winnick, whose past credits include Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, and The Secret of Monkey Island, fit very well. Thimbleweed Park also came out of the gate very strongly, raising more than $71,000 in its very first day.
The upside for backers, aside from the fact that the game will get made, is that it leaves lots of time left to hit stretch goals, which were announced over the weekend: translations into other languages (including a German version by Boris Schneider-Johne, who did the German version of Monkey Island), mobile versions of the game, and full voice acting.
"The support has been overwhelming and it's making us giddy," Gilbert wrote in the latest update. "Before launching this Kickstarter, Gary and I debated endlessly if people would want a game that felt like it was made in 1987. A game made at the beginning of the golden era of point & click adventures. I think we have our answer."
Thimbleweed Park is currently sitting at $403,000 on a goal of $375,000, and there's lots of time left: The Kickstarter doesn't end until December 18.
Show us your rig
Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.
David Rosen—founder of Wolfire Games which, in turn, created the Humble Bundle—clearly knows what he likes. He works from three different locations; one in the Double Fine offices, one in the Humble Bundle offices, and one at home, but they all have matching mice, keyboards, mouse pads, and chairs. He's also an incredibly smart guy, as evidenced by a talk he gave at GDC earlier this year about the procedural animation in his latest game, Overgrowth. David was kind enough to take some time and show us not one, but all three of his rigs.
What's in your PC?
I actually have three different setups! All of them include:
- Razer Goliathus 2014 Extended CONTROL Soft Gaming Mouse Mat
- Logitech G500 mouse
- Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
- Ergotron LX Desk Mount LCD Arm, Tall Pole
- Steelcase Leap chair
My setup at Double Fine has:
- Free GB-BXi7-4770R Brix Pro from Steam Dev Days
- ViewSonic Monitor VX2252MH 22-Inch LED-Lit LCD Monitor
At Humble Bundle I use:
- Dell U2713HM-IPS-LED CVN85 27-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor
- A mechanized sit/stand desk, not sure what model
A "CyberPower" PC from 2011:
- Intel Core i7 X980 @ 3.33 GHz
- 12 GB RAM
- AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series
- 128 GB SSD C300-CTF DDAC MAG SCSI
- 2 TB HD WDC WD20 02FAEX-007BA0 SCSI
A 15" Macbook Pro from 2011:
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB
- 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
- 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7
At home I have:
- 15" Macbook Pro from 2006
- GeekDesk Max sit/stand desk
- Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro Gaming
- Heated pad for feet when it's cold
A CyberPower PC from 2013:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card
- 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3/1600MHz Quad Channel Memory
- 250 SSD GB SAMSUNG 840 Series SATA-III 6.0Gb/s - 540MB/s Read & 250MB/s
- 2TB HD (2TBx1) Western Digital Caviar Black SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM
- Intel(R) Core™ i7-3930K Six-Core 3.20 GHz 12MB Intel Smart Cache LGA2011
- Dell U2713HM-IPS-LED CVN85 27-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor
- Microsoft surface pro 2
What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?
Probably that I have three of them! I have a home office, and guest desks at Humble Bundle and Double Fine. I work from home on off hours or when I need quiet (like for recording video narration), work from Humble Bundle when I want to hang out with old friends, and work from Double Fine when I want to be near other game developers.
I also budget an equal amount for ergonomics as I do for computer hardware itself, with adjustable chairs, flexible monitor stands, and sit/stand desks. Usually the bottleneck in development is myself more than my computer hardware, so I have to make sure it's comfortable to use for many hours at a time, especially when doing seven-day game jams.
What's always within arm's reach on your desk?
I always have a water bottle, a notebook, and a pen. Sometimes problems are easier to solve on pen and paper than any other way! At Humble I usually go out to get bubble tea with my brother or other friends, so that is usually on my desk in the afternoon. I also always have headphones handy so I can listen to music in the background: often game soundtracks, predictably, but sometimes the different 'mood' playlists on Spotify.
What are you playing right now?
Right now I am playing a whole bunch of different games to help contribute to the first stage of IGF judging, and I also try to play most major releases to stay up to date on what other developers are doing. Most recently, I've been playing Far Cry 4, Walking Dead Season 2, This War of Mine, and Nuclear Throne. The games I keep coming back to are usually the ones I use as excuses to hang out with friends, in person or online. I'm looking forward to my Wii U delivery so I can practice for the Humble Smash Bros tournament!
What's your favorite game and why?
I could go a lot of different ways with this question, from which games were formative to my understanding of the medium, to which ones were most effective at achieving their goals. I keep coming back to Marathon though, Bungie's second FPS game (after Pathways). It still holds up today as a fun game with a solid story, and holds up historically as an underappreciated leap forward in the genre. It was the first FPS with a significant storyline with interacting characters, the first that allowed the player to look up and down, the first with guns with secondary fire, the first with reloading magazines, the first with rocket jumping, and so many other innovations. It had deep modding potential, especially after they released official tools for the sequels, and that was a big part of my introduction to 3D level design.
Team Ninja's upcoming fighting game Dead or Alive 5 Last Round has already been announced for consoles of both the next and last-gen variety, but the Entertainment Software Rating Board says it's headed to the PC as well.
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round is set to come out on February 17 and is billed as the last instalment in the Dead or Alive 5 series. It will add new content and features to all versions of the game, including "breathtaking enhanced graphics" for the PS4 and Xbox One editions.
Team Ninja's DOA5 site breaks it all down in detail, but it makes no mention of a PC release; the ESRB does, however, as part of an entertaining rating summary that notes, among other things, that "breasts frequently jiggle" and "players have the ability to zoom in on female fighters' cleavage and/or posterior and take pictures." What a time to be alive.
It's quite possible that the ESRB rating is wrong. It makes no mention of the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions, although that may be because previous releases of the game have already been rated. We've reached out to publisher Tecmo for confirmation and will update if we receive a reply.