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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Ryse: Son of Rome PC gameplay video max settings at 2560×1440 on LPC">ryse son of rome

Come one, come all to see an Xbox One launch game running at 1440p! We recently got a preview build of Ryse: Son of Rome's PC port, so Tyler went through the introductory level with the graphics settings maxed (minus supersampling, but come on). It's pretty, isn't it?

And it even controls well with a mouse and keyboard. Granted, it's still Ryse: Son of Rome, which didn't fare especially well with Xbox One critics but we'll have our own review next month. Ryse releases for PC on October 10th.

Want more from the LPC video archive? Recently we've hit Metro 2033 Redux, Deus Ex, NeoTokyo, Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein: The New Order, the Titanfall beta, Max Payne 3, Metro: Last Light, and Arma 3. There's much more to come. Have a game in mind you'd like to see the LPC take on at ultra settings? Tell the LPC directly on Twitter.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Hack ‘n’ Slash review">Hack 'n' Slash review

Hack 'n' Slash is a game by programmers about programming, and if you're not interested or experienced with the subject it will eventually leave you behind. It looks and controls like Zelda, but unfolds more like a point-and-click adventure game, asking you to use a variety of items to solve puzzles. The twist is that you're able to hack various objects in the game and manipulate them in order to find a solution.

It starts with a simple door. Rather than pick the lock or find a key, I only needed to hit it with my USB sword and switch it to the open state. Things ramp up quickly though, and soon I m hacking a nest of turtle eggs, fiddling with their spawning speeds and reconfiguring their behavior routines to defeat a boss. Rather than attacking me, I reprogrammed them to turn, run right into the the giant evil turtle, and explode on impact.

Hack 'n' Slash's first half is a well-paced series of surprising discoveries. One of my pet peeves about games is traveling through big, uninteresting environments with a character that moves slowly. There were a few of these areas in Hack 'n' Slash, but just as they were testing my patience, I figured out that I could toss my boomerang, turn around, and hit myself in the back of the head to hack my character. One of the values I could change was movement speed, which I immediately cranked up to a value of 700. I zoomed through the rest of the game like a bullet.

A kitty called Script. A Script Kitty. Get it?

I wasn't actually reprogramming my character or the turtles, but Hack 'n' Slash made me think about how they work, technically, and how I could tinker with them to get ahead.

Around the midpoint, however, Hack 'n' Slash becomes something that feels much more like actual scripting. It's a jarring, steep increase in difficulty that I never quite got used to, and after a certain point, didn't care to.

I was introduced to a new item that allowed me to jump into scripts, and change simple "if-then" statements to move bridges into place or change enemies' behavior in greater detail. I tried to keep up with the new material, but the scripts get longer, more complex, and near infinite, allowing me to dig deeper into components within components of a sequence, Inception-like, and modify them further. At that point, Hack 'n' Slash feels less like a game and more like text-only coding environment.

This is only a little less confusing in context.

I love games, but I don't really care about ports, understanding what an "arg" is, and generally how algorithms work. It's on Hack 'n' Slash to convince me that I should care about this stuff and make learning about it entertaining. It does neither.

Critical errors

I'm no longer trying to figure out how to move platforms to get my character across a chasm so he can reach the castle and defeat the evil wizard. I'm trying to figure out what a "GETTABLE" is, and if moving it through a purple switch will move the platform where I want it to be or break the game. Usually it's the latter, and while Hack 'n' Slash is good about resetting to the nearest room after the inevitable crash, it's still a chore to start over, especially if the puzzle is preceded by a dialogue you have to skip through every time.

I ended up doing what I did in algebra class, which is learn the least I could to get by just so I could move on with my life to more interesting things. I started changing values randomly and solving puzzles by accident, which is even worse than being stuck. I progressed without learning what the game was trying to teach me. It relies on my retaining the lesson going into the next puzzle, but I didn't, so it's even more impenetrable. The fact that one of the puzzles pivots on the self-aggrandizing programing motto "hack the planet" is indicative of how self-referential and insular Hack 'n' Slash can be.

I spent too much time looking at stuff like this.

It doesn't look good either. The visual nods to Zelda are cute, and help ground its high concept, but are executed poorly. Everything in Hack 'n' Slash's environment has a muddy, grainy texture, and highlights the pixels on every edge. Worse yet, the designs themselves are bad, with bland backgrounds and characters that look like Microsoft Word clip art.

I was also disappointed that Hack 'n' Slash didn't develop a real story. I usually don't care about that stuff, but there is so little keeping its world together, it feels unfinished. I often didn't know where I was headed next or why.

The first half of Hack 'n' Slash proves that it has an idea worth exploring. For as long as I could keep up with it, I enjoyed hacking a guard into thinking I wasn't a threat rather than fighting him like I do in every other game, or disabling a pipe spewing fireballs rather than dodging them. I love the notion of a game that looks like it's challenging me to jump around and fight like Link, but allows me to overcome every obstacle without breaking a sweat, just by using my wits and under-the-hood access.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

It can be hilarious too. At some point, I got a tool that allowed me to slow down time. It's not some super empowering ability. I wasn't dodging enemies like Neo. It slows down everything, including menus, so I had to wait quite a bit for them to reopen so I could switch back to normal speed. It's funny the first time, and annoying every time after that.

That's Hack 'n' Slash. It starts with good intentions, but eventually becomes an inside joke between programmers. I'm sure it's funny if you get it, but I wasn't laughing.


Price: $20/ 15

Release date: Out now

Publisher/Developer: Double Fine Productions

Multiplayer: Nope

Link: Official site

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The week’s highs and lows in PC gaming">FFXIII_top

Each week PC Gamer s writers take gaseous form and co-mingle until they achieve the perfect ratio of opinion-to-outrage. Here are the results

Phil Savage: Flight of Fantasy

Why not Final Fantasy X? Why not Final Fantasy XII? Fair questions both, and I'd like to see them arrive on PC too. But for now it's Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels that we're getting. This is good news. Firstly, because any game leaving console exclusivity is good news. At TGS this week, Square Enix showed FFXV. Could this port signify interest in bringing that game to PC? I hope so. I want to go on a big monster road-trip.

It's also good news because Final Fantasy XIII is a good game. It has significant problems, sure, especially if you're allergic to linearity and cutscenes. But the Paradigm Shift is one of the most elegantly expressed battle systems in the series. It asks you to create specific combinations of roles tactically defining the way your party fights. Then, at any point in battle, you can switch these roles. Your job is to read the overall flow of a fight, responding and shifting based on the activities of each enemy. It's fast and fluid, tied to a game that is slow and rigid. As a whole, it's no classic, but it doesn't deserve the hate that it gets from the series' diehard fans.

Shaun Prescott: We re Dooooooomed

I spent most of my early teens in a dark room with a handful of death metal CDs and Doom as my sole companions. I regret nothing, and I like to think I turned out okay. So witnessing the Doom modding community continue to flourish is a point of sentimental pride for me, because I remember the feeling of limitless potential I experienced when my uncle handed me a Doom level editor on a 3.5 inch floppy. It s amazing to see that potential continue to blossom, and while the engine has undergone considerable tweaks over the years, the fact that projects such as this Donkey Kong Country mod and this DoomZ mod can exist within a 20-year old framework warms the cockles of my heart. I love you, Doom modding community. What you re doing is amazing.

Andy Kelly: Sims subversion

This week, I had fun torturing a tiny man. I ve never really played a Sims game properly before, and I m absolutely hooked on The Sims 4. But I m not playing it the way you re supposed to. Instead, I m seeing how dark I can make it. The presentation of the game is so cloyingly saccharine, it s just begging to be subverted. That s why I made The Cube of Despair, and will be doing another equally sinister diary next week. I get a weird feeling when I play The Sims, like it s bringing on an existential crisis. I m sitting here watching a small man taking a shit while my own, real life slips away. I need a lie down.

Cory Banks: Copy that, Desert Rangers

My last week at PC Gamer has been a good one. Wasteland 2, inXile s crowdfunded follow-up to one of the best classic RPGs and the inspiration for Fallout, is done and out and playable. And probably sitting in your Steam or GOG account, if you were a backer. I played it for our review, and think it s fantastic. It s not perfect no game is but it s got some of the best writing in a game from this year, and continues 2014 s trend of an RPG renaissance. In a lot of ways, it s the Fallout sequel we never got but always wanted. I can t wait to hear what you all think when you play.

Tim Clark: B A N K S B O Y S

My high is Cory leaving. /braveface

Sam Roberts: Evil most Resident

I don t think anyone actually liked Resident Evil 6 by the time it arrived on PC last year, but this week partly prompted by the game being on sale for almost no money on Steam recently I ve become absorbed by its Mercenaries mode, a staple of the series that arguably kicked off the horde concept popularised by Gears of War and then subsequently found in every major shooter from about 2008-2012. This bonus mode is more fun than playing the main campaign, which is 30 uneven hours long across four storylines (in total, there s about one-and-a-half classic Resi games in there, but way too much filler surrounding the great bits hence why no-one really likes it).

Mercenaries, though, demonstrates how surprisingly well-judged some of Resi 6 s combat abilities are, particularly the jumping slide that s perfect for avoiding gunfire and arriving into a crowd of zombies with ludicrous panache. It s about keeping a combo going and finding more time around the environment to extend the countdown. You then do your best to take a chunk out of the 150 enemies the game throws your way, while exploring each arena for items along the way.

The campaign clearly isn t for everyone, and I m quite convinced my obsession with Resi has become unhealthy (I was playing it until 2AM last night). This was the last place I was expecting to find an interpretation of the third-person shooter where it actually feels like there are new things to learn and perfect. Tl;dr I have gone mad and decided Resi 6 is at least partly a great game.


Sam Roberts: No Halo for you

This is my favourite non-answer from an interview this week, in a discussion about the possibility of Halo: Master Chief Collection coming to PC (spoilers: chances are slim). "That's one of the things I love about the PC community," said 343 Industries David Ayoub to Kotaku, more specifically referring to the first game s continued community support. "You've got so many cool things going on . And then you've got the breadth; PCs are everywhere all over the planet. Obviously as part of Microsoft PCs are part of our business. When you look at that market and community, there's almost limitless possibilities in terms of what we can do."

Yes, limitless possibilities! And yet, Halo: Master Chief Collection is still an Xbox One exclusive, and a Halo game hasn t been released on PC (an FPS Halo game Spartan Assault doesn t quite count) since Halo 2. Port Reach. Port Halo 3. Hell, port Halo Wars with mouse controls and no unit cap. The sentiment is sort of nice, acknowledging that PC gaming is what a thing? But it s a gesture of almost no value when the prospects of Halo returning to PC are so slim.

Shaun Prescott: Fashionably frustrating

Metal Gear Collection 2014 isn t a series retrospective coming to PC, but instead a fashion line. To be honest, I m not too upset about this: I don t think I d play them anyway. But I do think it s representative of the way blockbuster publishers like to toy with their audiences. I mean, is anyone happy that a big tease ended up like this? What purpose did the tease serve? What response could it have provoked other than disappointment? Sometimes it feels a bit condescending, that sacred cow publishers and developers are so certain of their audience s dedication that they can cruelly defy expectations like this. It s not clever, it s just annoying.

Phil Savage: An age-old question

I turned 30 this week. It's the sort of big-sounding milestone that's technically meaningless but still manages to elicit a mild existential crisis. I am, to all intents and purposes, an adult. I have to fill in tax forms, pay bills and sometimes eat vegetables. I've also been replaying Dragon Age: Origins, which gave rise to a quandary. Can I really justify the fact that I spent upwards of 15 hours this week running around a big fantasy world flirting with witches and explaining the geopolitical ramifications of the fact that dragons are bad.

You know what? I think I can. If you're tired of dragons, you're tired of life. Here's to another ten years of gaming.

Cory Banks: Thanks, PC Gamer!

This is an easy one leaving PC Gamer is tough, and I m sad to say goodbye to the fantastic team here. I ll miss the writing and the brainstorming and the meetings (I think I m the only one who likes meetings), and I ll definitely miss the great comments and feedback from our amazing community.

But though I m not going to work here anymore, I ll always be a PC gamer it s in my heart. I love how serious we are about our rigs, about our mods, about our competitions. No other platform lets us take the games we love and make them better ourselves, running at the resolutions we want. And there s never been a better time to play PC games. Independent development, early access, big mainstream games we get it all, and we get it without having to compromise. I never want that to go away, and honestly, it never will.

Thank you so much for reading and watching what we do for you here. It s been my honor, and my pleasure.

Tim Clark: Endless war still surprisingly depressing

Whenever I read Tom Senior writing about 40K, as he does here in this 10 year Dawn Of War retrospective, my brain starts whirring with ideas for reboots. Much as I d love a killer new RTS, the dream for me will always be a big budget FPS. Quite what possessed Kuju to use the Tau to star in 2003 s Fire Warrior I do not know, but the results were deeply underwhelming. Presumably it was some sort of licensing shenanigans involving saving the Space Marines for a bigger project. Unfortunately, when that opportunity arrived in 2011, (this time in the hands of Dawn of War dev, Relic) the perspective had shifted to third-person and the chance was only slightly less fluffed.

This, as Blur so sagely noted, is a low. Because a quick Google reminds me that the licence now belongs to Slytherine, who are working on Warhammer 40,000 Apocalyspe a very trad-looking hex strategy game, which might well be great, but isn t the Far Cry in Space my heart aches for. (My real low is Cory leaving. Was it something I said? Or wore? Or didn t wear?)

Andy Kelly: Ubi should slow down

The producer of Assassin s Creed: Rogue says the game might be coming to PC. You mean like every other AC game, including that one on Vita? Quelle surprise! This game rubs me up the wrong way, because it s so obviously being rushed out, using existing assets/gameplay from Black Flag. I wish Ubisoft would take their time with these games. I always enjoy the series, but imagine how much better it would be if they weren t so betrothed to this idea of releasing one a year. Rogue might be good, and I m interested in seeing the world from a Templar s perspective, but with such a quick turnaround, I m wary.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Battlefield 4 Fall Patch is “right around the corner”">bf4-fall-patch-2

Fall is coming, and so too is the Battlefield 4 Fall Patch. It's a big one, with changes to game modes, sight improvements, modified player movement, and a "massive" final fix list, and it's expected to be here by the end of the month.

Battlefield 4 Live Producer David Sirland said in the announcement of the forthcoming patch that there have been fewer updates than usual on the Community Test Environment because developer DICE has been focused on stabilizing and finalizing the build. The certification process has now begun on "several" platforms, however, and the hope is that it will be ready to go live by September 30.

The full list of fixes won't be released until then, but highlights include the addition of the Obliteration Competitive sub-game mode, the elimination of "visual recoil" in the close and medium range sight reticules, changes to player movement to make it "almost identical" to Battlefield 3 (but with Battlefield 4 animation sets), changes to the revive mechanic, updates to weapons and attachments, and more.

The new Teamplay Initiative will also be implemented, although that will "span more than one release, as there are many things to look at," Sirland wrote. "We will of course continue looking at the previous remaining issues and fixes in the areas of Netcode, Core Gameplay and balance as we go on."

"This small list of features only scratch the surface of what we want to look at," he added. "A full list of our goals with this initiative will be published on the CTE this week if you are interested what we ll be working on in following releases." Community Test Environment access is available to Battlefield 4 Premium members on PC.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Hearthstone Ranked Play graph illustrates the difficulty of becoming a Legend">Hearthstone giveaway

Do you ever get the feeling that your quest to become a Hearthstone Legend just isn't going as well as it should? You probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over it: As Blizzard's recently-released breakdown of the Hearthstone Ranked Play ladder shows, the vast majority of players sit in the bottom ten ranks, and less than one percent have achieved the coveted rank of Legend.

Hearthstone's Ranked Play pits players against one another in duels, ranking them based on wins and losses hence the name on a 25-step ladder. Those who achieve Rank One can then shoot for the ultimate goal: Legend Rank. That's obviously not an easy task, but some players are apparently starting to feel a little discouraged.

"Recently, we ve seen some comments from our players that feel they are not performing well in Ranked Play compared to others, or disappointed by the fact that they haven t hit Legend rank. We re here to let you know that you re actually doing better than you think!" Blizzard wrote in a new Hearthside Chat. "In fact, most of Hearthstone s Ranked Play players lie between Ranks 25 and 15. Many players aspire to acquire the unique Hearthstone card back each season that awaits at Rank 20. Even going from Rank 20 to Rank 15 is an impressive feat."

The numbers tell the tale: Fully 75 percent of all Hearthstone players are rated between Rank 25, the entry tier, and Rank 15. Only 7.5 percent of players are at Rank Ten or higher, Rank Five and up has only been achieved by two percent of players, and fewer than 0.5 percent of all players have achieved the Legend Rank. (And yes, the graph does add up to more than 100 percent; Blizzard said it's because of rounding.)

It really shouldn't come as a surprise. Blizzard announced earlier this month that Hearthstone had reached 20 million players in just six months, and even though not all of them are on the Ranked Play ladder, there's still a huge number of people vying for a shot at the title. Working to even the midpoint of a field of that size is, as Blizzard says, quite an accomplishment.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Pathologic stretch goals tease a trip to the “Termitary and Abattoir”">pathologic

The Kickstarter for the Pathologic remake is going well enough that developer Ice-Pick Lodge now feels comfortable adding a few stretch goals. Each of them will allow the team to deepen the experience by expanding existing areas or adding brand new ones, some of which promise to lead to some very bizarre places.

Despite Pathologic's infamous oddness, the update announcing the stretch goals is almost disappointingly normal. "As is stated in 'Risks and Challenges,' we do have investments that would allow us to make Pathologic in any case, and this whole Kickstarter is like a huge stretch goal for us. The pitch says the money we ask for is what we need to make a perfect game, and that s true," the studio wrote. "Still, we have more ideas that we believe will fit Pathologic. They re mostly non-essential, but Pathologic is a game about different points of view and these ideas would allow us to bring even more angles to look at the events of the game from."

The new goals start at $300,000 for "The Town Extended," which will add more content to the town in which the game is based, and go all the way up to $500,000 for "A Small Prequel," planned as a single-day story that will outline some of the events that led up to the game. Despite being a stretch goal, the studio said the prequel won't be Kickstarter-exclusive, nor will it feature the playable characters from the main game. "The whole point of the prequel is to show you the things that the main trio would never be able to see and learn," it wrote. "But you will."

With 17 days left on the clock, the Pathologic Kickstarter has brought in roughly $220,000, putting it well on its way to the $250,000 goal. The campaign comes to an end on October 7.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to DirectX 12′s new rendering features are coming to DirectX 11.3 too">Apollo

At this year s Intel Developer Conference and Nvidia s Maxwell Editor s Day, Microsoft were busy banging the DirectX 12 drum. They were demonstrating its CPU efficiency boosts as well as talking up the new rendering features they re implementing to show off the latest GPU hardware around.

Microsoft also announced the new rendering features are also going to be part of the DirectX 11.3 API, which is being shipped at the same time as DirectX 12. That sounds great, but it also fills me with fear. Back in 2007, DirectX 10 was exclusive to Vista, leaving popular Windows XP in the dust. The same thing could happen with Windows 7 and DirectX 12.

Microsoft wasn't talking about which versions of Windows DirectX 12 would land on when it showed off the API, but it was talking about some impressive new features.

The principal development lead for Direct3D, Max Mullen, must have thought I was stalking him. Sat in the front row for his talk at IDF in San Francisco, I was scribbling down notes about frighteningly complex coding paths that my feeble mind could scarcely compute, and then the following day I d tracked him down to Monterey at Nvidia s Editor s Day covering the new Maxwell graphics cards.

The new DirectX 12 API is set to really revolutionize the way developers code their games for the PC. The improvements to CPU overhead efficiency and boosted scalability across multiple cores are going to do great things for us folk with multi-core processors (y know, all of us) and that s something Intel itself is eager to support.

Speaking to Intel representatives last week they told me: It used to be pretty difficult to do multi-threading. It's been what, ten years now, we've been trying to drive multi-threading. The tools are a lot easier now, it's a lot easier to manage the different things going on in codes. DX12 is structured to allow easier segmentation of your code so that you can do multi-threading.

DirectX 12 s efficiency benefits are going to do great things for small form factor machines (a growing segment in PCs) and mobile gaming too.

The balancing act that DX12 can do between CPU and GPU load, demonstrated by the asteroid demo Intel and Microsoft were showing at both SIGGRAPH and IDF, means that the API is able to determine when the GPU needs the most power and can cut back the CPU when it s not being needed.

This means you can dial back the CPU cooling as the chip s not being so heavily used, greatly reducing fan noise, and that also means in the mobile world your processor isn t chewing through your precious battery life so quickly.

At Nvidia s Editor s Day though the focus, obviously, was on graphics performance. In particular on a set of new rendering techniques that are being introduced to the next generations of the Direct3D family of APIs.

After trying to digest the in-depth rendering deep-dive my brain was hurting...

McMullen introduced four new rendering features - rasterizer ordered views, typed UAV load, volume tiled resources and conservative rasterization. The reason these were being first spoken about at an event demonstrating Nvidia s latest graphics architecture is because they link directly in with new graphical effects they re both hoping developers take on board.

The first technique, rasterizer ordered views, is very much like the Direct3D extension Intel introduced last year, Pixel Sync. They both allow for order independent transparency, a tricky thing to reproduce in real-time gaming, and that means we ll get cheaper and more effective blended textures and complex transparent objects - hopefully including smoke effects.

Volume tiled resources and conservative rasterization both lead into the new voxel-based lighting system, VXGI (Voxel Global Illumination), that Nvidia has introduced with their new Maxwell GPU architecture.

That s a method of lighting a scene based on light rays bouncing off surfaces. To be able to function in real-time on a GPU it only calculates the first bounce, but it leads to incredibly accurate lighting models.

VXGI looks like being an important step on the path to genuine real-time ray-tracing. You can read more about it here.

It was first researched by Nvidia engineers back in 2011, but with the combination of work Microsoft has been doing with Direct3D 12 and the new hardware acceleration that the GTX 980 is going to enable, it s finally going to be usable on a desktop PC rather than a hulking great workstation.

The image is converted into voxels to quantify the lighting data that passes through the 'boxes'

Once the voxel calculations are complete the final scene has much more realistic lighting

VXGI basically converts a scene into voxels, surrounding the images in large boxes, and then calculates how light moves and reacts through those boxes. The twin benefits of volume tiled resources and conservative rasterization allow this voxelisation of a scene to be done quicker, cheaper and with a greater degree of accuracy.

This voxelisation isn t actually rendered out to the display though, so you wont see Witcher 3 rendered as a set of boxes for example, but it will use the lighting data to create incredibly accurate lighting models.

These new features aren t restricted to DirectX 12 though.

The reason we re doing this really is Direct3D 12 is an awesome improvement in the ability to render rich, immersive scenes with lots of objects, explained McMullen, but not every game actually needs the CPU overhead reduction or the scalability across cores. Direct3D 11 has been, and is, a great API for a large number of games, and will be for the next few years.

"If you re not CPU limited, chances are you are GPU limited. If you look at the history of hardware features, they tend to do two things. They either enable new scenarios that were never possible before, or they greatly increase efficiency in what you re already rendering. That s exactly why we re bringing these new rendering features to 11. If your game still fits the CPU profile of D3D11, but you need more GPU perf you ll get it with the new hardware features.

So we ll get all this new graphical goodness dropped into DirectX 11.3 when that s released alongside DirectX 12 next year. On the surface that sounds great and fingers crossed it s only happening so existing DirectX 11-coded games will be able to leverage their benefits.

But my concern is that it will more easily enable Microsoft to limit DirectX 12 support to either Windows 8 or 9, cutting out the hardcore Windows 7 fans, in order to encourage them to upgrade.

If Windows 7 is limited to DirectX 11.3 with DirectX 12 being restricted to later versions of Microsoft s operating system there s going to be a lot of upset PC gamers out there.

Here s hoping that s not the case.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Elite: Dangerous beta 2 goes live at the end of the month, original Elite is free right now">etlei

Frontier Games has announced that the second beta version of Elite: Dangerous will be out on September 30, bringing with it a host of new additions and enhancements. And if you're unclear as to why that's good news, you might want to have a look at the new "Interstellar Bounty Hunter" combat video that's been making the rounds on YouTube.

The second Elite: Dangerous beta is a "major gameplay upgrade," adding new combat ratings from "Harmless" to "Elite," a system-by-system and galaxy-wide reputation system that will influence attitudes and prices, 500 new star systems to explore, a greater variety of upgradeable ship modules, new weapons, outposts, and a whole bunch more. A number of smaller improvements and optimizations have also been made, including "additional rock, ice and metal planetary ring types, a lot more music and some optional 'simulator' tutorials."

"We are excited for people to start playing Beta 2 on 30 September," Frontier Developments CEO David Braben said in a statement. "It's another major step forward in development, and the team continues to work hard towards the full release later this year."

While you wait, you can try your hand at the original Elite, which is currently being offered free as part of the game's 30th anniversary celebration. A 30-year-old game may not offer the most compelling entertainment experience ever, but free is free, as they say. If you're in the mood for something a bit more eyeball-spinning, this video should fit the bill: It's 12 minutes of a bounty hunter plying his trade in a lawless region of space, and it is spectacular.

Elite: Dangerous is scheduled to come out in early 2015, but access to the beta is available now for $75 at the Elite Dangerous store.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to The PC Gamer Show episode 6: Due Process, Oculus Rift DK2, and a fond farewell">pc gamer show episode six

It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode six, Evan and Tyler play indie tactical shooter Due Process, Andy subjects the office to Cyberspace on the Oculus Rift DK2, and we say goodbye to a friend.

In this episode...

Act I: Evan and Tyler play Due Process with the developers, defending and attacking procedurally-generated rooms with grenades, flashbangs, wall charges, and many, many bullets.

Act II: (18:36) Andy makes everyone queasy with Cyberspace, an Oculus Rift DK2 theme park ride.

Act III: (26:20) A fond farewell.

The PC Gamer Show is a new and evolving project for us, and we want your feedback to help make it better. What kind of segments do you want to see? What games should we play and talk about? Who should we have on as guests? What's coming up next?

Shout at us in the comments below, or shoot us an email directly at letters@pcgamer.com. We're listening. And we'll see you in two weeks.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Clang, Neal Stephenson’s swordfighting simulator, is officially dead">clang

Neal Stephenson's swordfighting simulator Clang didn't get a lot of coverage here when it hit Kickstarter in mid-2012, but it did manage to pull in quite a bit of cash, to the tune of more than $526,000. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to get the job done, and the developers said last year that they were settling into "evenings and weekends" work on the game until they could find another source of financing.

That effort has come to naught, however, as Stephenson yesterday posted a "final update" acknowledging that the project has been shut down completely. Members of the team, including Stephenson himself, "absorbed significant financial losses" in trying to complete the game, he wrote, but in the end, "Additional fundraising efforts failed and forced the team to cut their losses and disband in search of steady work."

Stephenson said the Clang team has processed roughly two dozen requests for refunds received through email and Kickstarter comments, totaling about $700. "We think that is within the normal scope of a Kickstarter project and we don't think it sets any precedents that would give other organizations misgivings about using Kickstarter to fund their projects in the future," he added.

Predictably, the confirmation that Clang will not be completed, coupled with Stephenson's acknowledgment that some people have already been given their money back, has triggered a large number of new calls for refunds. Whether or not that's going to happen isn't clear; Stephenson invited backers to join a new mailing list for future projects, but said nothing about the possibility of future refunds.


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