PC Gamer
mann vs machine


Yellow-bellies beware! Valve are cracking down on the cowards who flee games prematurely, leaving their team-mates in the lurch just to avoid an X in their ledger. The changes affect Mann vs Machine mode only, at the moment, and have been designed so as not to penalise people who get booted by the odd connection issue.

The Mann vs. Machine FAQ breaks the changes down. You are only ever punished for abandoning a game. This is different from leaving a game. Abandoning happens when:

You leave a game while playing a Mann Up game on an official server; and
You have not played through a single wave to completion or failure; and
There are 5 or more players currently connected to the server (including you).

Otherwise, you are cool to quit. In fact, even if you do satisfy the abandonment criteria, you will not be punished - at first. The punishments only kick in for repeat offences, though it's not specified exactly how many or often. Luckily, if you leave the game by pressing the disconnect button, you will be informed if you're at risk of punishment.

Said punishment means being placed in low-priority matchmaking pools, making it longer to get into a game.

If you just crash out, or your connection drops, your spot will be reserved for three minutes, allowing you to rejoin without incurring any penalty. Getting kicked for idling is considered the same as quitting intentionally, so you can be penalised. However, being vote-kicked does not count, and you won't be penalised for leaving. Though you may still be an asshole, which is a kind of punishment in itself.



So, quitters, cowards and wheyfaced weaklings - you have been warned. In the words of Saxton Hale, the not-actually-real-though-I-wish-he-was President and CEO of Mann Co:

"I gave you mercs one simple thing to do: Defend Mann Co. from an unstoppable robot horde. Now Bidwell's telling me some of you are abandoning the fight in the middle of attacks. Firstly: What am I even paying you in found money that falls out of robots for?

Secondly — actually, put this first, it's more important — I am coming for you."
PC Gamer
bonk


Since its launch, Valve's Source Filmmaker has helped budding directors create literally hundreds of movies - some good, some bad, most.... incredibly goofy. The Team Fortress 2 cast especially has sung seemingly every song, played out every meme and worn every hat and every expression - sometimes at once! But what are the ten best creations? We've scoured YouTube in search of the funniest, the most dramatic, and the just plain prettiest Source Filmmaker movies.

Scout vs. Witch



Easily one of the best directed SFM movies out there, mixing Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead and a fine sense of timing. Scout (no relation to Scout) is one of the more popular TF2 mercs, with his cockiness the perfect antidote to all that zombie misery. At least, while the moment lasts.

Just One More Hat



And he's back, in this fashion-conscious spin on one of Disney's most parodied songs. More worksafe than Dirty Little Mermaid, more morally conscious than Slaughter Your World, it also wins bonus points for having an original TF2 version of a song instead of just looping in a more general one.

Meet The Family



Mostly made (naughty naughty) with the leaked SFM, this was one of the first epic projects to be finished and still one of the best. Scout and Spy team up as literal brothers in blood to kick off a perfectly choreographed race for that all-important Intelligence. Guest starring music from The Incredibles to add pace and more than a little style. No "da-da-da" sting at the end though.

Adventures Of The F2P Engineer



He's smart enough to whip up teleporters and sentries on the battlefield... but he didn't pay for the privilege, so he's probably doing it with his flies open and his shoes undone. When he's having this much fun though, can you really begrudge him? The answer is yes. Even if you're on the other team, sometimes it just gets... sad. Luckily, there are other engineers on hand, like...

Practical Problems



An epic war between two professionals who know what they're doing, but don't know when to quit. A little parable about the importance of good manners, respect, and most importantly, not ****ing with another man's sandvich. A true Lesson For The Ages, with some fine music right alongside.



Meet The Soldier (Directed By Michael Bay)



We're firmly back in parody territory for this one; a relatively straight replay of Meet The Soldier, but with rather more boom and a surprising (though not unwelcome) lack of Alyx, Zoey, Rochelle or Chell forcibly being draped over a motorbike or anything at any point to complete the picture of one of cinema's most successful nostalgia murderers. Love or hate it, it's better than Transformers 2 any day.

The First Wave



It's not just a game mode... it's war! Mann vs. Machine gets dramatic in this epic four minutes of the mercs facing their durable doubles for the first time. Bonus points for a return of the disembodied Blue Spy, and a death scene with the power to spawn a thousand bits of erotic TF2 fan-fiction. Which exist. You'd better believe they exist. You have been warned.

DOTA Hero Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise



Not so much a 'parody' of the Potter Puppet Pals original as a straight copy with DOTA characters in it, this is still one of the more accomplished movies to come from that game. We just need another eighty or so instalments to cover the other characters, and I see no reason new players shouldn't have enough data to compete at professional level/troll like champions.

Heavy Doo, Where Are You?



I never understood "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" as a show title. Admittedly my memory is a little fuzzy about the actual cartoons, but I definitely remember Fred, Daphne and Velma doing most of the mystery-solving gruntwork, with Scooby's role being to blunder into helpful things. If you called him, you'd prevent him from doing that. The song makes no sense, is what I'm saying. This movie is more reasonable. If you had to fight Old Man Peterson, having a Gatling wielding Russian psychopath on hand definitely beats anything Scrappy Doo could serve up. Admittedly, so would a crouton.

After Aperture



Chell's life after Aperture isn't exactly unexplored territory, but this Exile Vilify backed slice is one of the more interestingly melancholic SFM movies so far. A little clunky in terms of animation, largely due to the poor Chell rig (at least one other movie opted to reskin Zoey instead of using it), but it makes up for it with a different kind of atmosphere to most and that lovely outdoor setting.

Those are our picks, but there are many more SFM movies out there. Have any particularly caught your attention, impressed you, or just made you laugh? Share their names below...

PC Gamer
mann vs machine


Mann vs. Machine, Team Fortress 2's robot-infested co-op mode, has been given its first major update - and, as mentioned earlier today, it's a doozy. The free patch adds two new Tours of Duty: Operation Gear Grinder and Operation Oil Spill, which Valve rate as "very hard" and "less hard" respectively. If you're wondering where Operation Steel Trap - the original MvM tour - falls on that scale, it's "hard", or somewhere in the middle.

The Tours come bundled with a bunch of new loot, which can only be acquired by braving Oil Spill or Gear Grinder. Squirreled away in the former are "rusty, blood-covered 'bot heads" (Valve buy the best gifts), while the latter boasts "24-carat diamond 'bot heads". You can see these delightful trophies below.



A smaller, but no less welcome, part of the humungo-update is the promise of improved matchmaking. Valve reveal that "you can now select multiple missions you'd like to play, to maximize the chances of finding compatible players as quickly as possible. We’ve also added some handy buttons that'll let you select all missions of a particular difficulty level, or all missions not yet marked off on a Tour of Duty." Which is nice. You can read the full update here, complete with brilliant Goldilocks analogy.
PC Gamer
XCom Memorial


By the time you are reading this, hundreds -- nay, thousands -- of brave XCOM soldiers have laid down their lives to defend the earth. Take a moment to contemplate their digital sacrifice, and then help yourself forget by emptying this shot glass of PC gaming news. Today's poison features some oak cask aged Far Cry 3 footage, and a full-bodied announcement of the first major update to Team Fortress 2's Mann vs Machine.

Team Fortress 2's Mann vs Machine co-op mode is getting its first major update. The perfect way to take out your anger about the death of your best XCOM sniper on some goofy-looking robots with a few friends.
Far Cry 3 has another insanity-laden trailer for us, to help remind you that you're not alone in the grief-driven psychotic spiral you've entered thinking about all of those good men and women you got killed fighting aliens.
Project Eternity has raised enough stretch goal cash to unlock Barbarians and Ciphers. For another 200K gamers will get Paladins and the bard-like Chanters thrown onto the class heap. Just like the lifeless bodies of your brave... yes, I'm kind of emotional about my XCOM squad wipe, okay?!
Of Orcs and Men is on the way, and we have the trailer to prove it. I won't come up with any kind of self-pitying tie-in for that one. I can get past this.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to walk to my car with this song playing.
PC Gamer
steam top sellers

Valve did a sneaky, small-but-significant thing recently: it expanded its "Top Sellers" list on Steam to include one hundred games. The sales leaderboard doesn't tell us exactly how many copies a game sold, but it gives us a vague idea of how well certain games are doing on Steam in a given moment.

It's an inherently misleading metric—take that as a disclaimer. Still, as we sit in the shadow of some of 2012's biggest releases, I'd like to take a crack at gleaning what we can from this moment in time.

2K's having a great end of the year.
The $50 pre-sale of XCOM is outselling everything but Borderlands 2 on Steam. We might be able to chalk that up to fairly generous pre-purchase incentives (which could include a free copy of Civ 5 if enough people pre-buy it). It might be mild evidence that demos still work, too. Borderlands 2's high concurrent user count over the past few days (reaching 123,758 last weekend) is also evidence that 2K will win the weeks connecting September and October on Steam.

Digital pre-orders are a thing.
XCOM isn't the only thing-you-can-buy-but-can't-play-yet doing well. Joining the unreleased are Dishonored at #7, War of the Roses at #12, Football Manager 2013 at #17, Company of Heroes 2 at #29, and Hitman Absolution at #51. Even though there's no chance of a game going out of stock, Steam users don't seem to mind putting money down in advance, especially if they're rewarded with bonus content or a small discount for doing so.

Where are the MMOs? Oh, right.
Zero MMOs appear in today's top 100. I might consider that unsurprising—we wouldn't expect too many people to be picking up competitors while Guild Wars 2 and Pandaria are drawing the attention, and neither are available on Steam. Still, it's a little surprising not to see RIFT ($10) or EVE Online: Inferno ($20) popping up anywhere.

Call of Duty remains a PC fixture.
The sense that Call of Duty remains a fixture for PC gamers is supported by SteamGraph data. Some form of Call of Duty make up 10 whole entries of the Steam's top 100. Many of those are map packs, but the performance of Call of Duty: Black Ops - Mac Edition (#41) is interesting to me. It released yesterday, September 27, and it's outperforming stuff like Civ V: GOTY and Natural Selection 2. Modern Warfare 3 is 50% off until October 1, and it's sitting comfortably at #5.

DayZ continues to have a long tail.
I don't think Arma 2: Combined Operations (what you need to play DayZ) has left the top ten of Steam's Top Sellers since it caught on in May and June. It seems to be outperforming other games that released in May and June like Sins: Rebellion (#56), Max Payne 3 (#76), Civ 5: Gods & Kings (#20), and Spec Ops: The Line (unlisted).



Below: the data, captured at 6:05 PM PDT. Ctrl + Fing encouraged.



Top Ten
Borderlands 2
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Total War Master Collection
Torchlight II
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Dishonored
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Arma 2: Combined Operations
Empire: Total War



#11-25
Castle Crashers
War of the Roses
Borderlands 2 Season Pass
FTL: Faster Than Light
Cortex Command
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Football Manager 2013
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard
Garry's Mod
Sid Meier's Civilization V - Gods 'n Kings
Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition
The Binding of Isaac
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy
Left 4 Dead 2
Hell Year! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit



#26-50
F1 2012
Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
Rome: Total War - Gold
Company of Heroes 2
Total War Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Counter-Strike: Source
Borderlands: Game of the Year
Worms Revolution
Total War Mega Pack
Terraria
The Walking Dead
Rocksmith
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Collection 3: Chaos Pack
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Mac Edition
Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb
Portal 2
McPixel
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Game of the Year
Total War: SHOGUN 2
The Sims 3
Counter-Strike Complete
Hearts of Iron 3 Collection
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition



#51-100
Hitman: Absolution
Borderlands
Train Simulator 2013
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
Medieval II Gold
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
Orcs Must Die! 2 - Family Ties Booster Pack
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
The Amazing Spider-Man
Orcs Must Die! 2
Saints Row: The Third
Dead Island: GOTY
Natural Selection 2
Orcs Must Die! 2 - Complete Pack
Half-Life 2
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Rome: Total War - Complete
The Orange Box
Borderlands 2 + Official Brady Guide
Batman: Arkham City GOTY
Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead
Grand Theft Auto IV
Endless Space
Killing Floor
Call of Duty: World at War
Max Payne 3
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
SPORE
I Am Alive
Fallout 3: GOTY
Fallen Enchantress
Valve Complete Pack
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition
Mount & Blade: Warband
New Star Soccer 5
Portal Bundle
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Collection 2
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Expansion
Counter-Strike
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® 3 Collection 1
Arma 2
Might & Magic Heroes VI - Danse Macabre Adventure Pack
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD
STAR WARS: Knights of the Old Republic II
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Planets Under Attack
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection

Reiterating: We don't know what formula or data drives Steam's Top Sellers rankings. It's probably safest to consider them a representation of what games are selling well in one moment of time on Steam.
PC Gamer
Company of Heroes 2


Company of Heroes 2 has rolled out its tiered pre-order goals on Steam, each of which will unlock a new level of free stuff for everyone who shells out for the Eastern Front rumble. Just for pre-ordering, you're guaranteed beta access and two medium vehicle skins (one for the Russkies, and one for the Germans). Three more unlockable tiers will be added if enough people pre-order the game.

At the first reward tier (specific numbers for how many pre-orders are needed to unlock each one aren't given), everyone gets a German and a Soviet hat for Team Fortress 2. The second tier adds a free copy of Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2's stand-alone Retribution expansion. The third and final tier unlocks an "In-Game currency gift to be used towards purchasing future content," an XP boost, a unit boost, and a new commander archetype.

This is the first we've heard of CoH2 having any sort of in-game currency system, and xp/unit boosts sound similar to the kinds of things you can buy in free-to-play multiplayer RTS games like Age of Empires Online. They're also reminiscent of the canceled Company of Heroes Online, and it would be unsurprising to find that some ideas from that project have been rolled into this sequel. It seems like a persistent commander leveling system in multiplayer has been all but confirmed.
PC Gamer
Team Fortress 2


Team Fortress 2 established itself as some of the best team-based shooting ever, but according to Lead Designer Robin Walker, PC Gaming's premier hat sim was also a test case for Valve's long-term survival. In an interview with Gamasutra, Walker revealed how the game's successful item economy doubled as an exploratory probe into MMO mechanics which Valve felt would factor into its livelihood going forward.

"Our secondary goal was to see if we could explore specific game and business design spaces that we felt were potentially a requirement for the long-term survival of our company," Walker said.

", MMOs were the dominant story in the industry, and one concern we had was that we might not be able to survive if we didn’t build one. We didn’t think we were ready to undertake that, but we did think that we might be able to build some pieces of one, learning enough so that if or when we did need to build one, we had less risk on the table. We decided that persistent item design and storage seemed like a reasonable amount of risk for us to bite off, and could be made to fit into TF2’s gameplay."

Valve's decision to turn Team Fortress 2 free-to-play last year also stemmed from monitoring ongoing MMO trends of shifting from subscriptions to microtransactional and pay-once models. "A couple of years later ... we were starting to feel the same way about microtransactions as we did initially about MMOs: that our company was at risk if we didn’t have internal experience and hard data on them," said Walker.

That most players I encounter during my rocket-spamming binges seem festooned head-to-toe with user-made badges, hats, facial hair, clothing, deodorant, and even spectral high-fives speaks volumes of Valve's favorable foray into MMO economics, a financial result Walker also acknowledged.

Read the full interview at Gamasutra.
PC Gamer
Scream Fortress 2


Halloween is one of the few events I forgive for being teased obnoxiously early by halfhearted grocery store decorations and late-night Elvira beer commercials. Similarly, you've probably noticed Team Fortress 2's Steam Workshop page populating with Halloween-themed items already. Valve extended an official call-out yesterday for entries and ratings to the shambling Scream Fortress 2 update.

Crafters have until October 1 to cram the Workshop full of hats, weapons, and...well, more hats celebrating summer's end with ghostly effects and loud wailing noises. "Scariness doesn't just happen, people," Valve chides. "It's serious business."

Established modding communities already jumped to the task - TF2Mods' nearly month-old Night of the Living Update packs almost 60 items so far - but I'm looking forward to individual efforts and killcams of players donning the best Halloween tributes in the best hat simulator around.
PC Gamer
XCOM: Enemy Unknown


Today, 2K Games revealed XCOM: Enemy Unknown's system specs and a peculiarly designed pre-order deal on Steam. All of the pre-order rewards, which include a free copy of Civilization V, are not guaranteed: in a post yesterday, 2K said three tiers of incentives unlock as more pre-orders roll in, with purchasers receiving the accrued spoils on XCOM's October 9 release.

The first tier, the Elite Soldier pack, gussies up your squad with "several aesthetic upgrades to armor suits" using "a variety of colors and tints." You'll also nab a soldier sporting the classic flattop hairdo from the original XCOM.

Tier 2 inflates your overflowing Team Fortress 2 item backpack with a flattop hair-helmet (sans appropriate theme music, sadly), an "Area 451" Sectoid head-over, and a giant Vigilant pin.

The last tier keeps it simple: a free copy of Civilization V, which is giftable for those who already own it. As I write, the progress bar is at around 80 percent into the first tier.

2K has also revealed XCOM's system specs. In addition to packing in more tasty tactical treats for the PC version, XCOM's development team gratified the PC's "superior hardware" with increased detail depth and graphics power, but the below system requirements show support for a wide range of setups:

Minimum Requirements
OS: Windows Vista
Software: Steam Client
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 20 GB free
Video Memory: 256 MB
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT/ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or greater
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

Recommended Requirements
OS: Windows 7
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Athlon X2 2.7 GHz)
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 20 GB free
Video Memory: 512+ MB
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 9000 series/ATI Radeon HD 3000 series or greater
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
PC Gamer



Don't call it a comeback: T.J. is misguidedly given dominion over the podcast for a second week running as we discuss whether the new Black Isle Studios has anything to do with the old Black Isle Studios, what our plans are for the launch of Guild Wars 2, and whether we will actually see the World of Darkness MMO before the apocalypse. Plus, new DayZ storytime from Evan, T.J. proposes to Crusader Kings II, and Tyler asks new Associate Editor Omri Petitte what (railgun) is best in life?

Saddle up for the content-crammed extravaganza that is PC Gamer US Podcast 327: Pixel Blood

Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext 724 or email the mp3 to pcgamerpodcast@gmail.com.

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Follow us on Twitter:
@ELahti (Evan Lahti)
@tyler_wilde (Tyler Wilde)
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