PC Gamer

PC owners can now take on the role of a man dressed as a bat without fear of plummeting framerates, thanks to a new patch for Batman: Arkham Knight. The patch quietly appeared yesterday before disappearing, but it has now officially rolled out: patch notes and all.

User reports from yesterday suggest the patch has fixed the game's myriad performance problems. I've not tested it personally, but the patch is designed to address the issues, according to a sample of the notes below:

Reduced frame rate hitches Optimizations for system memory and VRAM usage Improved performance on all GPUs (requires the latest drivers) More Comprehensive In-Game Settings Fixed low resolution texture bugs Fixed hitches when running on mechanical hard drives (HDD)

Check out the full patch notes here.

PC Gamer

The Secret of Monkey Island released 25 years ago this month. A lot has happened since then: the internet now rules the world, you can send text messages to your fridge, and I've eaten more than 100 bacon and egg rolls. Ron Gilbert has commemorated the game's release over on his Grumpy Gamer blog (check out that beautiful Commodore 64 theme!) and while the whole thing is definitely worth a read, there was one quote that stands out from the rest.

The quote concerns a possible future for the Monkey Island games. Gilbert doesn't own the rights to the Monkey Island IP that ball is in Disney's court but that doesn't mean he hasn't taken steps to be involved in the series' future.

"I don t know if I will ever get to make another Monkey Island," Gilbert writes. "I always envisioned the game as a trilogy and I really hope I do, but I don t know if it will ever happen. Monkey Island is now owned by Disney and they haven't shown any desire to sell me the IP. I don t know if I could make Monkey Island 3a without complete control over what I was making and the only way to do that is to own it. Disney: Call me."

While we reported back in 2012 that Gilbert intended to contact Disney about Monkey Island, it looks like he has now, but with negative results.  Whether there's a future for the series or not, you should definitely go and read Gilbert's whole blogpost, because in addition to some interesting insights into the game's development, there are some really beautiful fan letters.

PC Gamer

I had to stop playing Rocket League because I don't like disappointing people. In Rocket League, I invariably disappoint everyone. The rest of the world is still playing it though, and the forthcoming patch 1.05 should make PC players happy. It'll introduce new matchmaking options, including the ability to filter out PS4 competitors. This should satisfy anyone worried that mouse and keyboard players have any (dis)advantage against controller users. Apart from that (and of course, you can use a controller on PC), I'm not sure why you'd want to do it, but hey. Options.

In other less-consequential patch news, you'll also be able to decorate your vehicle with Chivalry: Medieval Warfare flags and decals. Similarly, Chivalry will receive a patch imminently with Rocket League-themed armor. This is surely a highlight in the history of zany video game cross-promotions.

Finally, you'll be able to program your own music, so if you're not a fan of the game's vanilla bargain bin dubstep then why not add some Brahms instead? The patch is due within the next fortnight. While you wait, read about how Sam Roberts likes to be a dick in Rocket League.

PC Gamer

Your gears are metal. Your cyborg arm is crying out in phantom pain. You ve got a great PC port loaded up on Steam. That s it: you re ready for Metal Gear Solid 5. Aren t you?

Sure, you could start playing Metal Gear Solid 5 right now. Or maybe you re already 30 hours deep, and pleased with how well MGS5 performs on two year-old PC hardware. But if you love to tweak every setting for the best possible performance, there are a few things you can do to make Metal Gear Solid 5 look even better. Or, if you re running on weaker or older hardware, we ll tell you what to tweak for better performance. If that's the advice you're after, go ahead and skip to page two right now.

Amping up the graphics

MGS5 runs well. Really well. So well, that if you have a new-ish graphics card like a GTX 970, running it at 1080p, 60fps won t even max out your card s performance. Let s push it to the limit.

Downsample with Nvidia GeForce Experience

You can use that leftover GPU muscle to up your image quality by downsampling: running the game at a higher resolution, then crunching it down to your monitor res.

Our go-to utility GeDoSaTo is out, as it only works for DX9 games, currently. But Nvidia card owners can easily downsample through the GeForce Experience software by enabling Nvidia s DSR. Go to the Games tab, select MGS5, and click the little wrench icon next to Optimize. Set DSR to your desired resolution—for our 1080p screen Nvidia suggested 2715x1527—and hit apply.

Boot up the game and check out performance. If your framerate suffers, you can always dial back to native resolution... or overclock your graphics card for more juice.

Downsample with the AMD Control Panel

To use AMD s Virtual Super Resolution downsampling with a compatible GPU, open the AMD Control Panel and navigate to the My Digital Flat Panels > Properties page. Select your monitor and check the Enable virtual super resolution button and hit apply.

Now right-click on your desktop and open up the resolution menu in the control panel. You should be able to select a higher resolution to downsample from. Apply that resolution. When you boot up MGS5, make sure it s set to that same resolution. Enjoy your downsampled image!

Enable HBAO+ in the Nvidia Control Panel

Ambient occlusion adds shadowing around the edges of 3D objects, and generally adds a great sense of depth and solidity to game worlds. MGS5 has high and extra high ambient occlusion options, but you can inject an even better ambient occlusion solution through the Nvidia Control Panel, if you have an Nvidia graphics card. It s Nvidia s HBAO+.

Nvidia has some comparison widgets of HBAO+ compared to no ambient occlusion and the game s extra high setting.

No AO vs. HBAO+: look at how flatter and more plasticky the world looks with no AO.

Extra high AO vs. HBAO+: Notice how the HBAO+ shadows are overall a bit lighter and much cleaner. The lift cart near the left side of the screen is the most obvious example, where extra high goes overboard.

To enable HBAO+, open the Nvidia Control Panel and go to the Manage 3D settings page. Switch to the Program settings tab to apply settings specifically for Metal Gear. You ll probably need to click the add button next to the drop-down box to add MGS5 to this list. Once it s there, highlight the Ambient Occlusion box and change the setting to Quality before hitting save.

Remember to update to Nvidia s WHQL driver for MGS5 if you haven t already done so. Now boot up the game and go into its graphic settings. Make sure to disable ambient occlusion in-game so that the Nvidia Control Panel setting applies properly.

Keep in mind this will give you an even greater performance hit than the extra high setting, which may drop your framerate below 60 fps.

On the next page: a few tweaks to improve performance in MGS5.

Improving performance for that rock solid 60

If your hardware is a few years old, or if you re perhaps struggling to maintain a perfect 60 fps at 1440p, some settings are worth tweaking more than others. Here are two settings you should change in Metal Gear's graphics options menu to see the biggest performance difference.

Effects

As Nvidia points out in its extensive performance guide, the Extra High Effects setting can cause the framerate to tank at higher resolutions like 1440p and especially 4K. At 1080p, this setting may not dramatically affect your framerate, so it s worth trying it at extra high from the start. But if your framerate tends to take a nosedive when explosions stop popping off and the sky is filled with smoke, turn this setting down to High for much better performance.

Post-processing

You likely don t want to turn post-processing settings down below the High threshold, as that s required for anti-aliasing and depth of field to work, even if DoF of those settings are enabled separately. Extra High again will significantly lower performance to improve the post-processing effects.

Smoothing out frame timing

Even if your game is able to keep up a solid 60 fps, the way those frames are rendered could still be uneven thanks to poor frame timing. You can read more about frame timing in our Witcher 3 guide The Alchemy of Smoothness, and we re going to offer the same advice here that we did then: use RivaTuner to ensure the smoothest possible performance.

Download RTSS RivaTuner and add the MGS5 executable if it s not automatically detected. Install it and run the program; it ll show up in your system tray. Open it up and click on the wrench in the top-right corner, and make sure to set compatibility to 64-bit, and that Enable 64-bit applications is checked. Then click OK.

The executable we care about is named mgsvtpp.exe and you can find it in your Steam install directory. Add it to RTSS by clicking the + icon in the bottom-left corner. Change the Framerate limit box from 0 to 60, assuming you have a 60Hz monitor, and hit enter.

Now boot up Metal Gear. In the graphics options, disable V-Sync and the automatic framerate limit. This will ensure RTSS applies its own framerate limiter to the game. Run in borderless fullscreen and marvel at how smoothly you can Fulton bears into the atmosphere.

What s still to come?

Mods. At least, we hope so—Ground Zeroes had some light modding that improved anti-aliasing and made some other graphical tweaks. Metal Gear Solid V is still too fresh for those changes to have arrived yet, and some small changes to the engine since Ground Zeroes means the technology isn t totally identical. But that shouldn t stop modders from working their magic in the weeks to come.

PC Gamer

Bethesda Softworks says Fallout 4 has more than 111,000 lines of speech, and if you think that sounds like a lot, you're right. In fact, it's more than Fallout 3 and Skyrim put together. Sadly, none of it will be spoken by the wasteland's finest DJ.

"Many years of #Fallout4 voice recording complete! Just over 111k lines," the studio tweeted. "More than Fallout 3 and Skyrim combined." This, of course, is because the Fallout 4 protagonist will, for the first time ever, actually speak. Given the size of the game—it's really big—that means it will require a whole lot more talking than was necessary in the past.

Unfortunately, there will be a whole lot less talking from one of Fallout 3's best characters. Erik Todd Dellums, the voice of Three Dog, confirmed in a separate tweet that he's not involved with the new game. "I admit, the finality of this tweet felt like a gut punch," he wrote. "Sad not to be included. Best with the game."

It is sad, isn't it? Three Dog, the man who warned us about the importance of taking care of our guns—"If your weapon is falling apart, the only Wasteland asshole it's gonna kill is you"—played a big part in bringing the Capital Wasteland to life, and I was really looking forward to hearing more from him in the next game.

Thanks, GamesRadar.

PC Gamer

After playing Assassin's Creed Syndicate at Gamescom, Phil wondered, "Is invisibility a stealth trick too far?" After playing the same demo at PAX Prime last weekend, I'm asking the same question.

Syndicate, on the whole, looks promising. The London setting is a natural fit, contributing tall structures to the map mix. There are some modest improvements over Unity's slightly "out-of-control" combat system. The new Assassin's Gauntlet grappling hook strikes a balance between being a useful escape and traversal tool but not so much so that it's a get-out-of danger button, as I say in the video above.

But I wonder whether the ability to turn invisible as Evie (one of Syndicate's two protagonists) practically at the touch of a button will help or hinder a stealthier playstyle. As someone who'd rather see Assassin's Creed become a bit more grounded and martial rather than more supernatural, the mechanic (along with omniscient feats like the Eagle Vision) worries me a bit.

You can find all of our coverage from PAX Prime 2015 right here.

PC Gamer

After playing Assassin's Creed Syndicate at Gamescom, Phil wondered, "Is invisibility a stealth trick too far?" After playing the same demo at PAX Prime last weekend, I'm asking the same question.

Syndicate, on the whole, looks promising. The London setting is a natural fit, contributing tall structures to the map mix. There are some modest improvements over Unity's slightly "out-of-control" combat system. The new Assassin's Gauntlet grappling hook strikes a balance between being a useful escape and traversal tool but not so much so that it's a get-out-of danger button, as I say in the video above.

But I wonder whether the ability to turn invisible as Evie (one of Syndicate's two protagonists) practically at the touch of a button will help or hinder a stealthier playstyle. As someone who'd rather see Assassin's Creed become a bit more grounded and martial rather than more supernatural, the mechanic (along with omniscient feats like the Eagle Vision) worries me a bit.

You can find all of our coverage from PAX Prime 2015 right here.

PC Gamer

Have you ever said to yourself, "Do you know what I need to really make my life complete? A Mega Man movie!" If you have, then you will be pleased to peaches to hear that, according to The Tracking Board, one is actually being made.

Mega Man's been around for quite awhile now, having debuted in 1987 on the NES. Nine sequels and numerous spin-offs have followed over the years, including a few PC releases. Most recently, he appeared in the Mega Man Legacy Collection, a "faithful reproduction" of the first six Mega Man games that hit Steam last week. He's been on television, in comics, and even the subject of a novel, but he's never starred in a feature film—until now.

The Mega Man movie is being developed by 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, with Peter Chernin, whose previous credits include Planet of the Apes (Rise Of, Dawn Of, and War Of), Oblivion, The Heat, and Exodus: Gods and Kings, producing. There's no indication whether it will be an animated or live-action flick, although, without any evidence whatsoever, I'd put my money on the latter. That's all we've got to go on right now, but we'll keep you posted.

PC Gamer

We know all about Intel s Skylake processors now, and we won t be getting any socketed Skylake parts with eDRAM for desktop, at least not any time soon. The Tech Report asked the question recently, but Intel said that it has no plans to produce a socketed Skylake derivative with eDRAM for desktop systems. It's not the end of the world, but it is a shame, because a Skylake CPU with eDRAM could actually deliver the kind of performance gains over Haswell that many hoped to see from Skylake.

What makes this so disappointing to some enthusiasts is that we won t be getting anything to follow in the footsteps of the Broadwell Core i7-5775C. This socketed chip ran on the Broadwell architecture, which was released just a few months ago after major delays and mostly skipped in favor of Skylake. It had 128MB of eDRAM. In some tests performed on recent games, the 5775C beat out newer, more powerful Skylake hardware. This is because its eDRAM acts as a level 4 cache for the entire processor, the sheer size of which makes up for the lack of performance in power and clock speed.

The cache created by eDRAM on the newer Skylake architecture is an exciting prospect, but it remains a dream for now. One of The Tech Report s sources said that we may see a revival of the socketed desktop parts with eDRAM as part of next year's 14-nm Kaby Lake refresh. Schedule concerns may have been a factor in the decision to not release any yet. It took a long time for the socketed Broadwell processors with eDRAM to come out, and they re still not that common, so perhaps Intel is waiting until it can get everything sorted this time. But Intel clearly recognizes the size of its gaming market, as it highlighted gaming performance overclocking when it launched its first Skylake CPUs.

Tech Report also suggested that the Skylake CPU and the eDRAM chip could be incompatible due to size constraints. There just might not be enough room for the chip alongside the processor, the way the 5775C is laid out.

For the overclocking crowd, a processor with Skylake s high clock speeds combined with a huge cache would be a dream come true. Intel has catered to these enthusiasts in the past (even recently with the unlocked K-series of Skylake hardware), but it remains to be seen whether we ll ever get socketed Skylake desktop parts with eDRAM.

For more on the subject, check out Ars Technica's article on the disappointment of no eDRAM-equipped Skylake.

PC Gamer

There was never any doubt. Before Huni and Reignover ruled the roost, before Febiven knocked Faker down at Tallahassee, Florida—drawing metaphorical blood like a shocked boxing champion with a split lip—there was sOAZ and xPeke pulling miracles out of the black-and-yellow hat. FNATIC gets to claim only half-jokingly that they fielded two teams to Worlds this year, thanks to the successes of both its 2014 and 2015 classes, further cementing them as Europe's single most successful esports organization in the modern era. And not just in League of Legends! Their Counter-Strike team is similarly legendary, and considered the single best team in the world.

Team Origen gets shorthanded to OG, and there is no doubt that the moniker fits. The paradoxically rookie veteran team didn't quite sweep through the EU LCS in their first split, but the original generation of Europe's best and brawliest put up a convincing show over the summer and the regional gauntlet. There is a lot to be said for sheer veteran strength after all, and few in the League of Legends scene has kept at it as long as they have, much less as consistently high-caliber.

Of course, if there's any critique to be leveraged, it is that they were dependent on that veteran experience in the first place. Origen's pick-ban phase was notably sloppy, especially versus ROCCAT. And versus FNATIC proper, it was made clear that their late game coordination was going to need a lot more polish.

Of course, FNATIC wasn't perfectly crisp either. A notable early-game weakness plays perfectly into Origen's solo lane advantages, though even with the roster changes the organization maintained their reputation for maverick mid-game plays and picks that turns even the most disadvantageous situations around in their favor. Not that Origen will have a chance to exploit this, of course, unless they meet up in the Worlds playoffs—something that leaves the both of them breathing a sigh of relief.

Or more than relief. The estranged brothers are reunited, and 4/5ths of the 2014 FNATIC roster can once again work together towards a common goal: European viability on League of Legend's most important stage. And they will definitely want to work it out. The competition from Korea might finally seem mortal this year, but only because China's done a bit of vampirism on them—and the resultant hybrid teams are a force to be reckoned with. FNATIC's early-game weaknesses must be accounted for, and Origen's poor pick-ban phases need to be repaired in the month left for them to do so.

But if they can do it? Then, just maybe, the World title's coming over to the western hemisphere this year.

Star-spangled banner

As for America: I can go at length to praise Cloud 9. Their performance over the North American Regionals gauntlet was nothing short of a miracle run: back-to-back reverse sweeps to yank victory out of the clenched maws of a 0-2 deficit, beating back both Gravity and Team Impulse for a chance at heavily favored Team Liquid. But maybe Liquid was too heavy in the end, unable to drag Cloud 9 back from reaching escape velocity for the heady heights of the championship stage.

To confirm, yes: this means that Team Liquid is once again in a nominal fourth place, just behind the 3-team cutoff line for the Worlds representation tickets. Fate has a cruel and unusual humor, especially when Steve's team is involved.

There's a lot to be said about Cloud 9's stumbling starts versus Gravity and Impulse alike, but it's worth noting what a tremendous accomplishment it is for any team to achieve what they have this week. It takes particular mental fortitude to come back from the cusp of defeat and shrug off that bitter tang of disappointment from getting whomped twice in a row—and to do it again the next day and the next. Cloud 9 was by no means the favored team for North America's last slot, despite their past accomplishments: they were on the cusp of relegations this year, after all, and the announced retirement of their jungle and mid lane core was a wrecking ball to the team's hopes and dreams—even importing Incarnati0n seemingly did nothing to resolve the internal strife that dragged them to the edge of the Challenger scene abyss.

Yet recover they did. And it was all on the shoulders of one player. Not Incarnati0n, who eventually proved to be the wisest player investment Jack's made for his League of Legends team, putting up consistent results even as his team fell behind (a case study in what I'd call Chawy Syndrome, given the Taipei Assassin's similar situation this year). It wasn't on Sneaky, who played a breathtakingly skillful Vayne to perforate the competition this weekend.

No, full credit goes to Hai Lam, who came out of retirement and changed roles for the specific purpose of bringing his team back to Worlds.

To be fair, Hai retired in the first place because he wasn't playing up to the increasingly rigorous mechanical standards of mid lane. But the difference between having Hai on the team and not was like night and day: a weak mid lane might spell disaster for Cloud 9's overall strategy, but it was still a strategy they knew how and when to execute. A strong mid lane, as was with Incarnati0n, did nothing to alleviate their tactical woes—mainly because, though their new European ace was highly talented, he was by no means a natural leader.

Hai's re-introduction to the team didn't immediately change their fortunes around, but it's clear now the nature of his contribution: a steadfast determination and optimism in the face of seeming impossibilities. He's now on his third trip in a row to the world stage, along with the rest of the team. And if he retired right afterward, it would be to go out in a blaze of well-deserved glory, regardless of the outcome.

Experience and wisdom

The storyline for the third-seed western teams this year is simple enough: they've gone through this wringer more times than anybody else. Excepting their new mid laner, Cloud 9 is a three-time World Championship veteran team. Origen's players, excluding AD carry Niels, have all basked in that limelight, and suffered the burdens of disappointment and defeat. They know better than anybody else in the scene the pressures and demands required of them to make it to that level... and know better than anybody else how badly they fell short of it in all prior years.

That's not unique to them. Many of their peers have joined them on that stage, and they've clamored over the bodies of those that were eager for it, but simply not yet good enough. What is unique, however, is the level of persistence they've demonstrated. Esports players peak fast and burn out faster, whether discouraged by a lack of results or forced out by the community's capricious demands.

But this is an error on their part. There is a quality superseding even talent that exists only among the stalwarts and the steadfast. Something that, unlike game mechanics, has to be cultivated rather than trained. Any team can take a 2-0 lead and turn it into a flawless victory. Any player can feel confident when they start with a lead. The true hallmark of greatness isn't demonstrated when everything is already in their favor, but in finding one's balance, dancing on that thin red line between exaltation and misery.

Now we just have to see if they can dance fast enough for China.

...

Search news
Archive
2015
Sep   Aug   Jul   Jun   May   Apr  
Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2015   2014   2013   2012   2011  
2010   2009   2008   2007   2006  
2005   2004   2003   2002