PC Gamer

Wrack 09

First-person shooters in the vein of Quake and Unreal Tournament appear to be making a comeback of late, and while Wrack could be slotted into this niche, it s actually been in development for six years. That s a long time, but it appears the wait is over: Wrack is now available to purchase on Steam, and judging by the launch trailer below it s sure to satisfy anyone who is reluctant to hide behind cover while shooting at things.

I ve not played Wrack, but I m sold on the art theme. According to Keiji Inafune the game reminds him of a first-person shooter Mega Man, which is high praise coming from the man who made Mega Man. Alongside the art style and high speed movement is a kill chain system, which rewards players for killing things as quickly and relentlessly as possible. In theory it sounds like a more simplified version of Bulletstorm s skillshots.

In addition to the core gameplay of shooting at things while moving around frantically, there's also Steam Workshop support, meaning a wealth of user-generated maps will likely appear if the game builds a following. It's currently selling with a 10 per cent discount too.

The Wrack launch trailer:

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Screencheat doesn't release until October 21, but if you pre-order on Steam you can get immediate access to the beta. To sweeten the deal Surprise Attack has added new content to the beta today including a game mode entitled Murder Mystery, as well as a new map. Both will also feature in the complete game when it releases next month.

Described as "Cleudo with dishonorable combat", Murder Mystery requires each player to hunt down a specific target in order to gain a kill. As the video below demonstrates, this adds a tactical dimension to a game which is otherwise pretty twitch-oriented. Rather than keep your finger on the trigger, Murder Mystery's requirement to kill a specific player with a specific weapon means players will need to pay more attention to their foe's location.

Meanwhile, developers from Samurai Punk will take part in a few developer player sessions every week until the game's launch. These will take place every Monday and Wednesday from 7pm PDT in the US, and every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm in Australia.

Here's the trailer:

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Valve Logo

Four hackers aged 18 to 28 have been charged with a series of alleged breaches which resulted in the leaking of Modern Warfare 3, a Zombie Studios military simulator and pre-announcement details on the Xbox One. Two of the four charged - from Canada and the United States - have already pleaded guilty, while the remaining two based in the US are still being investigated.

The group faces an 18-count indictment which includes conspiracies to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets. According to a statement by the US Department of Justice, the group is allegedly responsible for stealing $100 million worth of intellectual property and proprietary data.

According to the department s evidence, the group was responsible for allegedly hacking Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games, Valve Corporation, Zombie Studios and the US Army. While the Xbox One, Gears of War 3 and the Zombie Studios military simulator are all mentioned specifically, it s unclear what data was obtained from the Valve breaches. The group is said to have accessed the information via SQL injection and stolen log-in information.

In addition to the four charged North Americans, the Australian hacker SuperDaE is also being charged under Australian law for his alleged involvement. SuperDaE, who claimed responsibility for a series of breaches similar to those described above, including the alleged sale of an Xbox One dev kit, became notorious last year when he was raided by Australian law enforcement, as Kotaku reports.

The American economy is driven by innovation. But American innovation is only valuable when it can be protected," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in relation to the two guilty pleas. "Today s guilty pleas show that we will protect America s intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.

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The big problem with most MMOs is that they're static: Wait your turn, clobber the bad guy, report in, wash, rinse, and repeat. Go back a month later and the same quest-giver will still be there, offering the same reward for the same beat-down. That's obviously a generalization, but it's not inaccurate; it's also something that Sony Online Entertainment is trying to get away from with Everquest Next.

"In EQ Next, you won't walk into an area and see a group of NPCs standing around with question marks over their heads," Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser explains in the new video. "Instead, you'll be guided to areas where events are taking place." These events are happening "all the time, all over Norrath," and players will have the ability to influence them in different ways.

The system is built around NPCs who lead virtual lives based on attributes assigned to them by the developers, and NPC groups who will pursue their own goals, which can have a far-reaching impact on other aspects of the game world. Using an internal design tool, Danuser and Storybricks Lead Designer Stephan Bura demonstrated the system in action by showing how a Kobold incursion into the Serpentspine Mountains could ultimately lead to the awakening of destructive evil spirits, depending on the choices players make.

"Player actions can trigger rallying calls, which are gigantic, world-changing events," Danuser says. "The bloody Kithicor rallying call brings players together from across the server, and will leave Kithicor permanently changed. Players on other servers might have made different choices, and could see dramatically different consequences."

One enthusiastic developer video isn't enough to completely convince me, but it certainly sounds promising. If SOE can pull this off, Everquest Next might actually be the MMO that finally earns my sword. A shorter version of the above video, for those who don't have 30 minutes to dedicate to the whole show, can be found here.

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Welcome to Illralam, a land of optimistic dwarves and bloodthirsty elves. It's the world of PC Gamer's Dwarf Fortress LP "A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress." Wes, the newbie, teams up with Dwarf Fortress veteran and PCG video producer Will to learn the ropes of the dwarven life simulator.

We put up new episodes on Tuesday and Thursdays, and now they're all collected in this post. The newest one is at the top there, while the previous episode is below.

Want to know more about Dwarf Fortress? In early July 2014, Dwarf Fortress received its first major update in two years. We wrote about why now is the time to get into the game with our guide Into the deep. Now you can learn along with us.

Check back for new episodes every Tuesday/Thursday. And enjoy!

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Hearthstone 1

The tricky bit about making a collectible card game like Hearthstone is that in order to keep players engaged, you have to keep putting out new cards. Blizzard revealed back in August that the next expansion will add somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 new cards to the game, and while it still hasn't been officially announced, it sounds like we could be hearing more very soon.

"One of the things that we spend a lot of time talking about is pacing," Production Director Jason Chayes told Polygon. "Not just the pacing of the game as it is, but pacing of the rollout of new content. We really want to make sure the pacing is great not just for seasoned Hearthstone players but for new players coming into the game too.

Chayes said the development team was excited about the drawn-out launch of the Curse of Naxxramas adventure mode, which expanded the game by 30 new cards over the course of a five-week stretch. That approach "worked out great," he said, and if the upcoming expansion goes as smoothly, "We could imagine a future where we do a combination of [single-player] adventures like Naxxramas and expansions kind of intermixed to have different sorts of experiences going out over the course of a year."

As for when the next expansion will be announced, Chayes said only to expect something "very soon," which makes this a good time to remind everyone that Blizzcon 2014 will take place on November 7 and 8, just over a month away.

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Jes Work

Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, where we feature the PC gaming industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Josh Sawyer, project director on Pillars of Eternity, is clearly a man who loves his art. With an office that looks more like an art gallery, Josh has dressed the walls around both his home and work set-ups to the point where you could convince me there wasn't any wall behind the frames at all. He was gracious enough to take some time and tell us about his computers and the well-decorated areas he works and plays in.

What's in your PC?

Work PC:

  • Dell XPS 8700

  • Motherboard - Dell OEM

  • CPU - Intel i7-4790 @ 3.60 GHz

  • RAM - 12 GB DDR3 @ 1.60 GHz

  • Video - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760

  • Power Supply - Delta Electronics 460W

  • Displays - Dell U2412M, 2407WFP, 2408WFP

I do a lot of Inspector window comparisons when I'm working in Unity, so having three monitors comes in handy. I use a Das Keyboard Ultimate, it's good for forcing touch typing but has a goofy quirk where it will double input some letters when I'm using the keyboard for the first fifteen minutes every day. It makes logging in an adventure. These monitors are so crazy bright that I have to use f.lux to dim them in the evening. to dim them in the evening. I use a bigger, older Wacom at work. I'm not a good artist, but I can do enough in Photoshop to illustrate examples, mock up interfaces, and Photoshop our CEO's head onto a t-rex body.

Work Computer Horizontal

Home PC:

  • Motherboard - Gigabyte LGA 1155

  • CPU - Intel i5-3570 @ 3.40 GHz

  • RAM - 16 GB G. Skill DDR3 @ 1.33 GHz

  • Video - EVGA GeForce GTX 670

  • Power Supply - Corsair TX650W

  • Case - Antec SLK3700AMB

  • Displays - Dell 2405FPW

  • Speakers - Audioengine A5+

I'm still using a Microsoft Intellimouse on this machine and will probably never stop using my IBM Model M keyboard with WordPerfect color coding. I have a tiny Wacom Intuos5 Touch hidden away for Photoshop time. The monitor is rotated so I can reference .pdfs more easily - specifically, Ars Magica rulebook .pdfs.

My desk is this clean for about 2 weeks out of every year. For a true picture of what it normally looks like, scatter bills, tiny notebooks, loose change, and small bicycle parts over every open surface.

Home Computer


  • Motherboard, etc. - I don't know, man. It's some Apple stuff.

I use an iPad 2 for English tutoring and sketching. The case is a Portenzo. I recently stopped using my noble Toshiba netbook because 1024x600 doesn't cut it for any serious typing (it has a really nice keyboard, though). The MacBook Pro is great for writing and it has really nice battery life. Mac OS continues to drive me insane, but I can deal with it. I ride my bike a lot and often take either the tablet or laptop when I go, so I like that they are both relatively light.

Laptop Tablet

What's always within arm's reach on your desk?

At home, there's always some RPG rulebook on or near the desk. I try to keep up to date on new RPGs and every once in a while I'll pull an old book off the shelf to refresh my memory. I recently revisited Cyberpunk 2020 and Over the Edge, those were wild. Now, I'm reading through the D&D Next/5th Ed. player's handbook, The Burning Wheel, and various Ars Magica supplements. The home computer's guardians are two ceramic cats my girlfriend found somewhere (one repainted to look like my cat), an odd Japanese cat tape dispenser, and a wooden whale whose sole purpose is to hold my little space pen.

At work, there's always a tiny Field Notes notebook, a bunch of dice, and, sadly, a Coke Zero in reach. Various dictionaries and grammar books also get desk duty. Under the main monitor, Grand Wizard Cartman, a tiny model BMW Isetta, and a mini Eames elephant keep watch.

Work Computer Close

What are you playing right now?

Papers, Please. I think it's a great game, and it does a fantastic job of merging mechanics with the themes of the story. We've been playing some Tribes at work but, unfortunately, I'm no good at it anymore. I'm a little way into Child of Light, which is also pretty fun but unusual for me, style-wise. The combat system is enjoyable and the art style is beautiful though. Unfortunately, I only have about an hour in on Divinity: Original Sin and Wasteland 2 is coming out next week. My go-to quick game is still Hitman: Blood Money, I never get tired of goofing around on those maps.

I honestly haven't played it recently, but I have to recommend Kentucky Route Zero. I don't care if it fits a universal definition of "game" but it's enjoyable and really well made.

What's your favorite game and why?

I still go back to the original Fallout, Pool of Radiance, and Darklands. The last in that list may be my true favorite just because it's the most obscure of the three and the one that helped generate my interest in history. It was an extremely unusual RPG for its time and still is, even now. It opened my mind to different ways of playing with common RPG rules and concepts.

We also interviewed Josh about Pillars of Eternity recently, watch the full thing below:

PC Gamer

You don't have a pulse rifle. You don't even have a crappy old shotgun. And the tried-and-true strategy of "run away!" is clearly a non-starter. But you do have a flare. And having provided that, the new Aliens: Isolation trailer once again asks: How will you survive?

Quietly now—pop the flare. Kind of amazing (and disappointing) that the Xenomorph doesn't notice anything untoward until a few seconds after you've thrown it, but no sense looking a gift alien in the mouth. Slink around behind the crates while it's distracted. Now down the stairs, and you're in the clear.

Whoa! What the—What's up with glowy-eyed Mr. Clean here? Come on, this is not cool. Better get free soon or—whoops! Never mind. Boy, that's going to leave a mark.

As the trailer demonstrates (and we've seen previously), Alien: Isolation is considerably different from its predecessors, which were actually Aliens games and thus served up far more offensively-oriented action. This one is all about staying alive by staying out of the way, and while I have no doubt that the opportunity to drop the hammer, or perhaps the airlock door, on the Big Ugly will come up at some point, you're probably not going to do it with an M56 strapped to your chest.

Alien: Isolation comes out on October 7.

PC Gamer

Windows 10

Microsoft officially unveiled its new operating system at an event in San Francisco this morning, but contrary to expectations, it's not Windows 9.

The version of Windows 10 on display at the presentation, reported by The Verge, is a "very early build," Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said. But it will offer a desktop/taskbar/Start menu layout that will be familiar to users of Windows 7. "In Windows 8 when users launched a modern app, it sort of had a different environment," he said. "We don't want that duality, we want users on PCs with mice and keyboards to have their familiar UI"

The idea here seems to be all things for all users: Windows 10 is intended to make multitasking easier for newcomers through its new "Task View" button, and it will also support multiple desktops, each capable of running multiple apps simultaneously. The command prompt is not only still around but has actually been improved, and Belfiore said Microsoft also intends to continue supporting Windows 8 users "who have touch machines and are getting a lot of benefit out of them."

It's still very early in the process, but Operating Systems Group chief Terry Myerson said Microsoft is "planning to share more than we have ever before, frankly earlier than we ever have before." The Windows Insider program will launch tomorrow at preview.windows.com, for users who know that "DLL is not the new OMG," while the full version of Windows 10 is expected to ship "later" in 2015.

As for why Microsoft opted to name the new operating system Windows 10 rather than the more sequentially-obvious Windows 9, or perhaps even Windows One, Myerson said only that once the new Windows is fully unveiled, "I think you'll agree with us that it's a more appropriate name."

PC Gamer

Steelseries Siberia V3

Last week Steelseries came by the office to show off a line-wide refresh of its Siberia headsets: the Siberia v3 is replacing the Siberia v2, and the Elite Prism is replacing the Siberia Elite. Steelseries is also adding a couple new headsets to the line: the Siberia v3 Prism, which is just like the v3 (with fancy lighting!), and the Raw Prism, which adds an entry-level $60 option to the mix.

The Siberia v3 and Elite Prism are the important headsets here. Steelseries upgraded its audio drivers from the v2 to 50mm drivers in the v3, and in a quick listening test they sounded great. Steelseries also adjusted the leather earcups and their spacing to add a bit more distance between ear and driver. The v3 is a $100 headset, though the Prism alternative, which adds programmable RGB lighting around the earcups, tacks on an extra $40.

The $200 Elite Prism has seen the most dramatic upgrade. Steelseries original version of the Siberia Elite looked like an incredibly comfortable headset, with huge, inch-thick puffy earcups. It looked like a headset that cost $200. It even felt comfortable at first, too, but that didn t last long. The headset was too heavy, and the non-adjustable headband was too tight, which turned those big marshmallows into sweaty, painful head clamps. Strangely, the Elite s microphone also sounded cheap and tinny, not like something that belonged on a $200 headset.

Steelseries Siberia Elite

I used the Siberia Elite for a few days before abandoning it, but I noticed an immediate difference when I put on the redesigned Elite Prism. Steelseries made the earcup padding thinner, but also enlarged the earcup so the pads wrapped around my ears instead of resting on top of them. Most importantly, they loosened the headband to give the Elite Prism a more relaxed fit. Steelseries also switched out the microphone, which I didn t get to test out, but promised it s an upgrade over the previous mic.

Siberia is Steelseries all-around headset line, so they re not as tuned for gaming audio as the H-Series. I didn t get a chance to play games with the new headsets, but I did listen to music on them, and the v3 and Elite were both pleasingly bassy without sounding overdone on the bottom end.

We ll be testing out the new cans more thoroughly in the next few weeks, so check back soon for more detailed impressions.


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