PC Gamer
Half-Life 2 Cinematic mod


The sky churns with deadly energy. Looming above, the stricken Citadel claws into the heavens, its tip crackling with transdimensional discharges. The stage is set. Lights, camera—wait, hold everything. I almost forgot to switch on the Cinematic Mod which adds a bevy of high-quality textures, shadows, and a film-style lighting filter to the works. There we go. Now I'm Director Freeman.

The Cinematic Mod has been around since 2005, but updates continue rolling out regularly, with the most recent 12.1 patch releasing last month. Installing the meaty 30GB(!) mod results in a slew of immediately visible differences: high-resolution skins for everything (yes, everything, including character models for Alyx Vance, Barney, and others), dynamic shadows, and flared lighting seemingly ripped straight from a Mass Effect nightclub. The potpourri of post-production punch "gives the HL2 trilogy a more stressed, darker, and uncomfortable look," according to the mod's website.

It's essentially Half-Life 2's version of the popular ENBSeries add-ons, and the Cinematic Mod needs some hefty hardware. You'll want at least a quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM for the suite of color adjustments and shader smoothing. The upside? You'll get to find out what really lurks within the GMan's pockmarks. Head over to the mod's website for more info.
Kotaku

Reader Brandon passed this video along yesterday, which he helped make, wondering if we'd ever seen it. I had to say "no", which tore me up inside, because it is absolutely perfect.


Sadly ineligible from winning a Saxxy award due to its use of copyright material, that won't stop it winning hearts here today, because if there's one thing Team Fortress 2 needs more than less hats, it's more Queen.


QUEEN FORTRESS [YouTube]


Kotaku

The Beautiful, If Misguided Crusade To Keep Half-Life 2 Looking BeautifulThe Half-Life 2 Cinematic Mod has been around forever, and in that time has proven fairly divisive. Sure, it adds some lovely effects to the game, but it also makes so many changes that some feel it loses a little of Valve's original vision for City 17 and its surrounding countryside. The "improved" character models are a particular bone of contention.


I could never get past the latter, with almost everyone in the mod looking like a Baywatch reject, but if all you care about are environmental effects and the crusade to make a game that's nearly ten years old look brand new, you might want to watch the new video below and see how far the mod has progressed since its inception back in 2005.


If you can meet its surprisingly hefty specs (at least for the full range of effects, considering the game's age), you can download the mod below.


Cinematic Mod [Official Site, via PC Gamer]



CM11.35 Trailer - Mod DB


Kotaku

Fucking Zachariah Scott, man. He is a visual genius, and his partnership with composer Lars Erik Fjøsne is a genius beyond comprehension.


The video above is a Turret Anthem, internally known as Megadub, and it's a fantastic song. The video is great too, of course, as you watch the tiny turrets slowly overtake GLaDOS in her confusion.


Definitely something I will listen to on repeat.


PC Gamer
sonic tf2


We don't get too many kart racers on PC, and for that I'm entirely thankful. However, the word on the streets of Green Hill Zone is that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a good 'un - and it's power-sliding its way to PC on January 31st. Not only that, but this new version of the game features three additional characters, based on iconic PC series Total War, Team Fortress 2 and, um, Football Manager.

From Total War: Shogun comes a Samurai Guy, riding a samurai-themed vehicle that transforms into a plane, a boat, or a kart depending on the track's current surface. (It's not so special - all the vehicles do that.) He's joined by Football Manager's The Tactician, a genero-guy in a suit in a car/boat/plane that does a footbally effect when it transforms. So far, so terrible - BUT. They're saved by the appearance of not one but (sort of) three characters from Team Fortress 2: The Pyro, the Spy and the Heavy, who are swapped out depending on whether you're in the water, in the sky, or on terra firma. If you've always wanted to pit the cast of TF2 against a quite-fast hedgehog with an attitude problem, then your insane wish has come true at long last.

Here is a video of the entire gang in action. I have my fingers crossed for TF2 Tennis next:

(Thanks to PCGamesN.)


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Naturally, Heavy's boat is propelled by miniguns.

You can’t make this stuff up. Well, I mean, I suppose it’s technically possible. I could tell you, right now, that the puck from Ricochet will be getting its own talk show on Adult Swim this fall. But is it really that> much more preposterous than a Football Manager (no, not player) plying some variety of ball-based voodoo magic  in Sonic And All Stars Racing: Transformed? With Team Fortress 2′s Heavy, Spy, and Pyro, and Shogun: Total War 2′s, er, Shogun in tow, no less? Here, though, is the absolute craziest part of all: The blue-blur-themed kart racer’s apparently kind of amazing.

(more…)

PC Gamer
NeoTokyo Fuchikoma


Query your cortical data node and you'll recall NeoTokyo was chosen along with 20 other titles for Steam Greenlight's second round of approvals back in October. The mod itself has been around for much longer, originally appearing in simple deathmatch form for Unreal Tournament 2004. Four years later it transitioned to the Source engine, where it languished without updates--until today, when developer Studio Radi-8 released a fresh version out of nowhere (which is apparently becoming a thing now), adding eight new maps and higher-quality weapon models.

The modes: deathmatch and Capture the Ghost (the latter, in a tip of the hat to NeoTokyo's inspiration from dystopian sci-fi anime classics such as Ghost in the Shell and Akira, replaces the flag with an android torso). The classes: Recon, Assault, and Support. Each brings special vision modes such as motion-tracking and infrared, and with the exception of the Support role, everyone can cloak for a short duration. Before each round, you select your primary weapon from an armory that grows as you gain rank from kills and victories. Think cyberpunk Counter-Strike.

It's quite the fun setup. The maps stick to the cyberpunk theme of dense city blocks, military installations, and industrial decay, with plenty of near-future gadgetry and set pieces of glowing computer interfaces and multi-legged tanks with scary-sounding Japanese names. Server selection is rather sparse at the moment, but it should hopefully jump up as word of the update spreads. You and your fellow operatives can get in the action by downloading NeoTokyo from its official website.
PC Gamer
Dota 2 Steam Guide overlay


Someday, Valve will eventually run out of wonderful features to pack into its mega-gaming-hub Steam. Let's hope it's a long way off, because we'll all be busy poring over the user-written manuals, walkthroughs, and tips for our various games in the newly launched Steam Guides section of Steam's Community area.

Anyone can create and submit a guide for the game of their choice by clicking the new Guide tab on a game's Community Hub page. You can pretty up your words with images and embedded YouTube videos as well, and the guides also appear upon Steam's overlay whenever you're running a program. Neat. I can finally whip up my "How to avoid tigers" guide I've been planning for Far Cry 3 quickly and easily.

Head over to the Steam Guides page to take a look at the over 1,000 guides already created.
TF2 Blog


Race for first place as the Pyro, Heavy and Spy in the upcoming game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Save 10% when you pre-purchase on Steam today.

Kotaku

Team Fortress 2's Heavy, Pyro and Spy will all be playable characters in the PC version of Sega kart-racer Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. We didn't like the game all that much, but many readers did, so... this is good news, PC/Valve-loving folks!


The game will be out on PC at the end of the month.


This news also should please anyone who plays six-degrees-of-separation with video game characters. See, Sonic has fought all the Nintendo characters in Smash Bros. and now Sonic has raced against TF2's characters. The Heavy was in Telltale's Poker Night, which also starred the rabbit from Sam & Max and others. One step closer to Kevin Bacon!


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