PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Black Friday deals: the best PC game and hardware sales on the web">black_friday







Good news, everyone! Steam, Amazon, Blizzard, and more have kicked off Consumer Season by booby trapping the web with potent spending bait such as 33% off XCOM: Enemy Unknown, 50% off The Walking Dead, and 66% off StarCraft II. We spent the morning stumbling through the minefield to compile a list of some of the best seasonal discounts, but stay vigilant: more surprise server-busters are bound to go live as we approach the spendiest weekend of the year.







Steam: Like the Summer Sale, the Steam Autumn Sale rotates deals daily, with even more fleeting Flash Sales lasting only 10 to 15 hours, so serious shoppers should check in at least twice a day. As a bonus, you get to follow Steam's adorable doodle story: currently, it seems a turkey is being forced to enter a Felix Baumgartner-inspired high diving competition.



But don't just look at the front page: Steam isn't promoting most of its deals, so scan the full list now and then. Here are some of the better discounts at the time of writing:





33% off XCOM: Enemy Unknown - $33.49 / £20.09

50% off The Walking Dead - $12.49 / £10.49

25% off Borderlands 2 - $44.99 / £22.49

75% off ARMA II: Combined Operations - $17.99 / £14.99

25% off Dishonored - $44.99 / £22.49

50% off Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - $11.24 / £8.99

33% off The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - $40.19 / £23.44

75% off Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - $2.49 / £1.74

75% off Limbo - $2.49 / £1.74

25% off Torchlight II - $14.99 / £11.24

75% off Cave Story+ - $2.49 / £1.74

More Steam Deals











Amazon: (Some deals are region-specific) Amazon hasn't been quite as liberal as Steam with the big games, but it has conjured a storm of Lightning Deals on desktop PCs, components, and peripherals. The scattershot selection below should give you an idea of what to expect.



HARDWARE:



17% off iBuyPower AM699 Desktop - $579.99

18% off CyberpowerPC GUA890 Desktop - $499.99

39% off Dell S2330MX 23" Ultra-Slim VGA Monitor - $139.99

40% off Samsung Series S24B30BL 23.6-Inch Screen LCD Monitor - $119.99

33% off Corsair Vengeance C70 Mid Tower Case - $97.45

31% off Logitech Optical Gaming Mouse G400 - $34.49

19% off Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse - $64.62



GAMES:



50% off The Walking Dead - $12.49 (Steam code)

80% off Dungeon Defenders - $2.99

10% off Hitman: Absolution - $44.99

75% off all Assassin's Creed games (excluding Assassin's Creed III)

More Amazon Deals









Blizzard: Blizzard has joined the party with Diablo III for $40 / £33 and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty for $20 / £17.







GOG: GOG's current sale nets you five games from a list of 20 for a mere $10 (just over £6). The list is loaded with some great indie adventure and puzzle games, so if you don't already own them, now's a good time to prepare for that "it's cold outside, so I'm going to drink tea (whiskey optional) and not leave my screen for the next forever hours" feeling.







Green Man Gaming: While Green Man doesn't celebrate consumerism with a morbid-sounding Friday, it is offering its usual voucher code. Enter GMG20-1FYLZ-EDG8R when purchasing a PC download for 20% off any game, except those already on sale. At the time of writing, GMG's daily deal (North America only) is Mass Effect 3: N7 Digital Deluxe for $15.99.







Newegg: (US and Puerto Rico only) Newegg has taken this whole "Black Friday" thing awfully far. Not only has it preempted Black Friday with "Black November," it's re-preempting it with a Pre-Black Friday Frenzy sale. How about a 500 GB Western Digital WD Blue hard drive for $50? A Samsung B350 Series LED monitor for $180? Keep in mind that if you visit Newegg from now until December 1st, you should not expect to then purchase other things, like food.



If you find any great deals as the weekend progresses, we'd love it if you shared them in the comments. And if all these sales combined with a poorly-timed lack of funds has you feeling down, remember that buying stuff is only briefly thrilling, while instead you could be continuously thrilled by PlanetSide 2, MechWarrior Online, Tribes: Ascend, or many of the other new free-to-play games we're thankful for this year.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro Tip video shows how to become a noob camping AWPer">Counter-Strike Global Offensive Pro Tip AWP







At least, that's probably the sort of nomenclature you'd reap from public servers after applying the skills picked up from Team Dynamic marksman Keven "AZK" Larivière for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's one-hit wonder AWP sniper rifle. As part of Valve's Pro Tip video series, Larivière spills the bullets on the best uses of a sniper's superior oversight, when each of the two zoom levels come most in handy, and how shooting the legs off a careless opponent equates to a high-caliber "tsk-tsk."



The real secret of a successful AWPer, however, probably lies with mastering quickswitch tics in a cacophony of deployment noises, as Larivière's lightspeed weapon swapping both defies and defines efficiency. Its mesmerizing effect probably lulls unaware victims into an easy kill like a rubber-armed spider.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 11/16/2012

[ MISC ]

- Eliminated the vignette effect from the scoreboard.
- Scoreboard has been narrowed.
- Smoke grenade visibility on the edges of smokes has been adjusted to obscure vision less.
- Improved some cases of particle sorting between smoke and molotovs and other particle systems.
- Adjusted the loser bonus for Terrorists when time has run out. Surviving Terrorists get no income, but dead teammates receive a normal payout.
- Removed match start and round end info panel animation sfx.
Product Update - Valve
Release Notes for 11/15/2012

[ GOTV ]
- As a GOTV client spectator, the flangbang effect from first person is now reduced a bit and there is now text that says "(BLINDED)"
- Fixed overhead targetIDs not showing sometimes when spectating with XRay mode on.
- Added a convar "cl_teamid_overhead_maxdist_spec" that can set the max distance overhead TargetIDs will show up when spectating
- Changed player target selection input from hardcoded number keys to keys bound to "slotN" commands.
- Changed X-Ray toggle key from hardcoded 'X' to whatever is bound for "radio2", which defaults to 'X'.
- Fixed health/armor/ammo of the spectated target not being displayed as a GOTV client.
- Made bomb visible in GOTV clients' map overview at all times.
- Fixed money not showing up in GOTV scoreboard for either teams.
- Fixed flashbang effect flash retriggering when changing spectator target.
- Fixed missing winpanel when GOTV spectating.
- Revised GOTV autodirector behavior.

[ MISC ]
- Repacked content to reduce CS:GO disk usage from 6GB to 4.8GB.
- Implemented separate sound for distant grenade explosions to make the distance easier to gauge. Sound crossfades near and distance sound between 800 and 2800 units.
- Reduced audible distance of scope zoom.
- Fire devices have been modified ( Molotovs and incendiary grenades ):
  - Fire can now be extinguished by smoke grenades and deployed smokes now deny fire device detonation and spreading.
  - Fire now spreads a bit faster and not quite as far.
  - Fire "tagging" slowdown has been removed.
  - Adjusted fire armor penetration value.
- Fixed Terrorists getting loser bonus payout for running down the clock. Now Terrorists get no income if the round timer runs out.
- Armor Penetration is now shown for weapons in the buy menu.
- 3rd person and first person default duck speed has been slightly increased.
- Tapping the duck key frequently in short intervals will cause your duck to slow, but cools down very fast.
- Smoke grenade visibility inside a smoke has been reduced to give less advantage to players inside and more to players outside.
- Design changes for Scoreboard
  - Added team names to scoreboard.
  - Made score more prominent.
  - Win banner states are now team specific.
- Design change for win panel and alert messages.
- Server log changes:
  - Added xyz coordinates to messages.
  - Added nade messages.
  - Added team change messages.
  - Added 'assist' messages.
- Fixed a case of loss of mouse and keyboard input.
- Server browser filter settings are now saved.
- Big Picture Support
  - Fixed not being able to dismiss server browser dialog with controller.
  - Added ability to disable all controllers.

Thanks to the following for input on the balance changes:
NiP, Ubinited, Team ALTERNATE, Area51, Mousesports, Anexis, FM.TOXiC, VeryGames, RegnaM.
Community Announcements - Chet

Ninjas in Pyjamas defeated Verygames to become the Counter-Strike Global Offensive world champions at ESWC. Ninjas in Pyjamas with their all-star line-up has become the dominate CS:GO team. We will have to see if someone can unseat them on their home turf in Sweden later this month at Dreamhack.

In the Women's division Ubinited made a stunning comeback against ALTERNATE to retain their ESWC title.

The Free Weekend is drawing to close. While the game will turn off for free players at 1pm, it doesn’t have to end there. The game will continue on sale until Monday at a full 33% off. We say 33% off because the Counter-Strike community is global and people all over the world will be paying in different currency. In the USA this means $9.99. But in your country? You will paying 33% fewer Rubles, Euros, Pounds, Krona, Yen, or whatever your favorite currency is.

What is the future for CS:GO? We are continuing to tweak our Competitive Game Mode and Skill Groups along with the rest of the core game. We continue to work with mod developers for cool mods like Zombie Escape, Jail Break, Pirate Wars and more. With ESWC over, the competitive world will look to Dreamhack next and a 2014 filled with major tournaments.
Nov 3, 2012
Community Announcements - Chet

As the ESWC finals continue and the Free Weekend kicks into full gear, there is more to see than just the game itself. Counter-strike has always been about a large vibrant community and CS:GO is no different.

If you are not up to the level of competing as a pro, you can always join one of leagues. Two of the most popular are ESEA and ESL. Don’t worry, you can compete at all skill levels in these leagues.

While we have been posting a Pro Tip series, the community has also been making their own videos. WarOwl from the forums even made a video to help you if you are new to the game. You can also checkout these weapon guides, um.. uh.. this, or you can check out a ton more on the Game Hub video page.

Current players, don’t forget to attach your Steam account to your YouTube account so you can post your videos to the CS:GO game hub.

You should also make sure to post your favorite screen shots and death cams to the CS:GO Game Hubs. While you are there check out what other people are posting. See something you like – up vote it. Curious about something - ask a question. Join the community.
Community Announcements - Chet
Starting yesterday at 10am until Sunday at 1pm PST – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is free. You can click this link, visit this page, or launch steam and start downloading the game now. All weekend you can play the complete game.

CS:GO is more than just the best looking CS. We have expanded the game with new characters, new weapons, new maps, and new game modes. So you don’t get overwhelmed, let’s break down the game modes and give you a suggestion on where to start based on your skill level.

For everyone, a good first stop is the Weapon Course where you will get some quick tips and training on new mechanics.

If you have never played a first person shooter – first, what’s wrong with you? You have been missing out. A good intro that isn’t about map strategy, team goals, etc – is Arms Race. It’s pretty simple. Kill the guys who don’t look like you. Every time you kill one, you get a new weapon. There are some things that happen at the end with a knife if you are the top player in kills, but do you really think that is going to happen? Okay, let’s pretend it does. You get a golden knife – then what? Stab a guy and win the game. If you do that, you better take a screen shot and post it on the CS:GO Game Hub – otherwise no one will believe you.

If you do actually play first person shooters but maybe haven’t played much Counter-Strike or it has been a bit – try Demolition Mode. These are small intense maps that remove the buy round at the start and throw players right into the action. Plant the bomb, defuse the bomb, kill a guy – it all helps.

Has it been a while since you last played CS? The franchise has existed for 12 years, so at this point you could have last played in 6th grade and since graduated college, gotten married, and had your first kid by now – so we’ll excuse your rusty skills if you are bouncing the new kid on your lap as you play. A word of warning on that - don’t play Competitive Mode if you think you need to drop out mid-game or just want to drop in and out of games, instead play Casual Mode. It is classic Counter-Strike with some relaxed rules on purchasing weapons and we leave all talk on so players can chat while playing.

Are you a CS player? Think you have what it takes to win but have been scared to try CS:GO? If you think you are up for it – jump into Competitive Mode. This is where it is all about skill, win 10 matches and you will get put into a Skill Group, keep winning and you’ll be placed into a higher Skill Group, lose and you might get placed lower. Match making will make sure you keep playing in games at your skill level. Leaving a match will put you into a timeout period for Competitive match making. We even have a FAQ here for you if you want more information.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Evidently, this counter-terrorist is battling against a squad of Storm Troopers.

Given that you’ve paddled your browser over to this isle of the vast Internet ocean, I feel fairly safe in assuming that you’re a PC gamer. Therefore, you have – presumably, in some form or another – played Counter-Strike at some point in your life. But maybe that was back in ye olde futureyear of 2000, or perhaps you gave Source a go around the time Half-Life 2 came out. So along comes this newfangled “Global Offensive” thingamawhatsit, and naturally, you’re suspicious. I mean, what if they replaced all the guns with bottles of Mountain Dew? Or maybe Valve turned the series into a piece of postmodernist art, with us taking the role of a deeply contemplative bomb forced to witness the futile conflicts of man. These are very legitimate concerns, but this weekend, you can find out whether or not they hold any water. For free!

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive free to play from today until Sunday">Counter-Strike Global Offensive - confused soldier in suburbia







An excitable post on the Counter-Strike blog announces that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be free to everyone from today through until Sunday to celebrate the climax of the Electronic Sports World Cup.



"This weekend? CS:GO is free. Download it. Play it. Love it. It’s free. Who knows, we might even put it on sale if you want to keep playing after this weekend," say Valve. They've recently updated their spectator tools with GOTV, an in-game service that should let you check out the pro action happening in Paris this weekend. If you're suitably inspired, you can start climbing the ranks and taking on CS regulars.



If you've never played Counter-Strike before, you won't have to worry too much about running into crack sharpshooters right away. "Ranked players will only meet Free Weekend players skilled enough to climb into their skill group." In the meantime, Valve have put out another Pro Tip video to give you a head start while the client downloads.



PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Discouraging mod development “doesn’t make sense” says Black Mesa dev">Black Mesa Source







Nailing down the range of possibilities afforded by modding's creativity yawns past the comprehension of us mere mortals. Yet, for a platform housing exploding horses, rug-cutting Combine, and the nesting-doll appeal of Minecraft's game-in-a-game sandbox, the PC keeps its lot of closed environments precipitated by developers and publishers as a means for balanced gameplay or brand protection. In an interview with True PC Gaming, Black Mesa Project Lead Carlos Montero flatly stated such a hindrance for mod growth "doesn't make sense."



"When you think about it, modders are like the ultimate fans," Montero explained. "They love this game so much, they're doing real, difficult, skilled work that you usually pay people for. Not only that, but they can add so much value to your game for the rest of your audience. Yet you still see companies look at this as competition. They sue and shut down these projects and ignore or drop support for people to mod their games. It doesn't make any sense. In my opinion, it’s the product of businesses (or lawyers) looking at this too analytically and short-term without understanding the long-term value it can create for their games."



Although Black Mesa earned the silent blessing of Valve during its lengthy session in the testing chamber, other ambitious projects met a not-so-friendly response from license holders legally stifling efforts. Montero's thoughts—the rest of which you can read in the interview—reflect a sentiment by modder-turned-developer Tripwire Interactive expressing confusion over why companies would stop mods on their games.
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