PC Gamer
Tribes Ascend thumbnail

Experience gained from Tribes: Ascend matches in public and custom servers will be doubled starting tomorrow and lasting until Tuesday, a perfect excuse for some Labor Day CTF and a string of Shazbots directed at the nefarious moving flag in the recently added Blitz mode.

Only baseline experience from rounds is doubled, but VIP status or other experience boosts will stack on top of the bonus.
PC Gamer
Aliens: Colonial Marines

The multiplayer portion of Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines seeks to offer a good time for both the Marines, who should learn to avoid dank, dimly lit facilities, and the Aliens, who very much enjoy hunting down and eviscerating those Marines. Today, publisher Sega announced a new mode called Escape. Just like it sounds, Escape challenges Marine players to an extraction point sprint as the Xenomorphs chomp at their heels with their acid-drooling mouth-in-mouth jaw things.

Sound familiar? Back in 2001, Monolith's Aliens vs. Predator 2 featured a multiplayer mode named "Evacuation" which featured the same cat-and-mouse gameplay for both Marine and Xenomorph teams. Colonial Marines' Escape echoes the same concept (sans Predator), with expected chokepoints, heroic last-stands, flailing alien appendages, and menacing motion-tracker ping noises.

The 4 vs. 4 mode also includes a few controllable Xenomorph variants with different properties. The Soldier touts durability and close-combat brutality, the Lurker ambushes with leaping pins and agile strikes, and the Spitter spews caustic goo as a stealthy marksman. The Marines, of course, pack the expected arsenal of heavy ordinance. Expect turrets, flamethrowers, heavy cannons, and a finger planted firmly on the sprint button.

Aliens: Colonial Marines releases February 12, 2013. Read our most recent preview for more on its horror-soaked space violence.
PC Gamer
Steam Greenlight

Greenlight, Valve's voting platform for indie game submissions on Steam, has just switched on, and eager developers are pouring in pitches for their games.

As an initiative by Valve to merge community interaction with its approval process for Steam publishing, Greenlight allows users to browse, comment, rate, and track indie games under consideration through bios, screenshots, and video collections. Several noteworthy names have already popped up, including our 2011 Mod of the Year pick No More Room in Hell, as well as Incredipede and The Intruder.

By involving players in the publishing process, Greenlight creates an outlet for lesser-known developers to promote their games while also giving the community a new-found chunk of regulatory power. How well it will work is to be seen, but we'll be on the watch for the experiment's first success stories. How do you feel about Greenlight?
PC Gamer
Tryst - Zali race

Tryst isn't about a rendezvous amid red satin and scented candles -- it's BlueGiant Interactive's upcoming real-time strategy game. Reading about it makes me loll my head like a flummoxed dog. Aside from the odd name, I wonder if it's really trying to invade StarCraft territory, or if that's only an illusion cast by its aesthetic. It's definitely a look-a-like, but at least one impression indicates that it's a faster game, where MOBA-style challenges mesh with resource management and base building.

Also, like many older RTSes, there are only two sides to the war. It's humans vs. the Zali, a race of super-evolved robot miners who, at some point, stormed out of the humanity fan club. We were offered the opportunity to reveal a briefing on the Zali race, and I thought it would be a good way to learn more about how Tryst will test our tactical brains in its own way.

Tryst's Ethos system splits the Zali's war plan into three paths. Choose the Path of Silence for stealth and mobility upgrades, the Path of Strife for direct attacks, or the Path of Preservation for a defensive approach. The paths aren't exclusive -- different units can be directed differently. Zali units' mechanical parts also allow them to merge with each other to become more powerful, or morph into defensive structures. That could be an interesting way to make sudden tactical shifts, such as by transforming an offensive force into a fortified base on the fly.

Below are the Zali's attributes according to BlueGiant:

Discipline & Dedication – Choose focus on a single Ethos path or disperse your available abilities out across multiple disciplines.
We are One – Merge different Zali units together to create more powerful machines of war.
No Right Path – Whether you choose to adhere to different Temples or commit completely to one; the abilities and units you choose to use will ensure that there’s never just one way to play the Zali.
Never Back Down – Just because your enemy got the drop on you once, doesn’t mean they can do it again. Specialized units and even more specific upgrades, ensure you have an answer for just about anything. The Zali are a race of counterunits waiting to be evolved.

Tryst is currently in closed beta, and its official site offers just a few more bites of information. I hope to speak with the developer about the game soon, but in the meantime, here are a couple more screens of the Zali in action. What do you think about Tryst's place in the robustly-occupied RTS landscape?

PC Gamer

A corridor stretches before you. Draped in murky tones of grey and black and punctuated by pools of light, the passageway beckons you forward. You're unarmed. No information appears on the screen. You can't even jump. The only goal: figure out where the hell you are.

Where Am I? is the newest project by indie developer Mark "AgentParsec" Hadley, creator of the hit shiver-fest Slender. As part of Ludum Dare's 48-hour game jam, where developers gather to craft games over the course of a weekend, Where Am I? mirrors Slender's straightforwardness, mounting foreboding, and less-is-more scare factor. The disorientation grows as you walk, your vision scrambling with a static effect and hallways seemingly opening and closing on their own. It results in a better-than-coffee wakeup jolt of terror -- an impressive feat, considering I'm sitting in a brightly lit office in the middle of the day.

Want to play? Hadley's official website hosts the browser-based version, and you can also download a higher-resolution version for free.
PC Gamer
PCG Podcast

Chris and Tom bid farewell to Owen and discuss his time with the Oculus Rift as well as Hawken, Battlefield and Call of Duty co-op, Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2 and, for the first and final time, musical theatre.

Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.

Show notes

Our video interview with Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey and hands-on with the headset.
Chris' Guild Wars 2 review in progress.

PC Gamer

Incredipede is an indie puzzle game that "celebrates the vast diversity of life in the world" by letting you pull bony limbs out of a giant green eyeball, and then fasten muscles to its twisted joints to create a monster capable of traversing 60 increasingly perilous levels. It's disturbing and strangely beautiful, and I can't wait to play it.

The eyeball has a name: Quozzle. Its staring iris betrays nothing of its suffering or joy as the player in the latest trailer forces it to climb trees and stomp over lava flows. Early levels will let you experiment with basic limb structures, but advanced worlds will let you "stretch her into new shapes to better navigate her surroundings. Long arms can reach up high to grab ledges, while many feet make for faster crossing over dangerous terrain." You'll want to see what that looks like, I imagine. Step forward, young trailer, and show us your stuff, so that we may giggle, or cry at the sight of Quozzle's flailing.

Incredipede is made Colin and Sarah Northway, a husband and wife team backed up by artist, Thomas Shahan and a bunch of music artists listed on the Incredipede credits page. This is due out in October, and will be hitting Steam Greenlight when that goes public. Find out more on the Incredipede site.
PC Gamer
PC Gamer Ultimate Hardware Guide

Are you planning to upgrade? Are you building a new PC? Do you find yourself wandering the internet, seeking up-to-date information on which hardware components are worth your money? We have a one shot solution for all those worries. We've put together a mighty technological tome called the Ultimate PC Hardware Guide. It's packed full of 195 in-depth hardware reviews penned by our hardware experts. Whether you're after Network devices, SSDs, controllers, headsets, keyboards, laptops, mice, speakers, 3D cards, cases, motherboards, RAM, processors, coolers or monitors, our Ultimate PC Hardware Guide contains plenty of advice to help you make the best choice for your PC.

You can buy it now for £9.99 / $19 from My Favourite Magazines. It could save you a lot of money further down the line.

If you're looking to build a PC from scratch, we've included a step by step guide to constructing a working version of the PC Gamer rig, designed to deliver power at reasonable a reasonable cost. Want to know how much thermal paste to put on your CPU? Is there a dangling cable in your case that you don't recognise? The answer to these questions and any more are contained within the Ultimate PC Hardware Guide's 146 pages.

If you'd like a copy and you're ordering from outside of the UK, simply select your region from the drop down menu on My Favourite Magazines and you're good to go.

Alternatively, from September 4 you'll be able to buy the bookazine from iTunes in lustrous digital form.

PC Gamer
Whore of the Orient

LA Noire director Brendan McNamara announced his new project, Whore of the Orient, back in November. A few precious flakes of fresh information have landed on the Whore of the Team Bondi site, including a blurb that fills in a bit of background.

1936 Shanghai is the setting, described in the fresh front page text as "the most corrupt and decadent city on the planet, where anything can be had or done for the right price."

The games' vision of Shanghai positions it as a "plaything of Western powers who greedily exploit the Chinese masses" and a "boiling pot of Chinese nationalism, with the Kuomintang ruthlessly trying to suppress Communism and the labour movement."

It's also "home to the International Police Force, a group of Western cops hopelessly trying to keep the lid on and keep the peace." I'd be prepared to bet 10p that we end up playing as one of those chaps.

Whore of the Orient is being developed for "next generation consoles and PC," and there's little to tell beyond that, so let's take a look at the first image of the game, which looks like it could be a very touched up screenshot.

PC Gamer
League of Legends

Heroes of Newerth recently followed Dota 2's example and made their entire roster of heroes free to new players from the outset. League of Legends, however, still retains its original system. You get to try a cycling selection of heroes for free, but must pay a wad of in-game currency or a bit of real money to unlock them permanently. Owen asked lead champion designer Ryan Scott whether Riot were considering a shift to free heroes.

"Well I think a game with a more traditional Moba design you actually have to make all the characters free," he said. "The reason for that is that the game design doesn’t lend itself well to not having all the characters and still being able to be viable. It’s a little more rock paper scissory. There are very hard counters for characters, and not having access to those counters can really just change the entire game.

"League of Legends doesn’t really operate in that way because of the way our characters are made, and the way we balance all the time and things like that. Not having a bunch of characters doesn’t make you unable to play."

Hard counters are heroes with a skill set perfectly tuned to shut down their opposite number, their presence in Dota 2 is one of the reasons the pre-match picking session is so important in top level tournaments. Not having a hero available to pick would be a serious problem in that context, but Riot have different concerns in mind when they're expanding their roster. Every addition is designed to shake up the battlefield and keep fans interested.

"The constant content additions are what keeps us fresh and we ask of our players not only mastery ... it’s like you have to master the game yes, but you also have to be adaptive. You have to always be learning and trying new things, because there is that trickle of new content regularly that can change up all the strategies in one go. And that’s exciting, that’s fresh. I think that’s why I like the way we do things but I can understand why maybe some other designers do not do it that way."

It's vital that Riot ensure that new hero additions are varied, both visually and mechanically. Scott recalled a problem Riot had earlier this year with a rush of heroes, Darius, Draven and Jayce, that put players off. An event Scott referred to as the "Doompocalypse."

"Even though they were different roles. That kind of thing when they came out literally one, two, three on release and that made people very upset about it, not because those characters were bad, or not that they wouldn’t want them all in the game, but literally with them all next to each other it fatigues people out on a certain type."

Scott said that Riot still have a huge backlog of new champions they're planning to implement, shuffled up a bit to prevent another Doompocalypse. Given the variety of their current line-up, it feels as though they could add almost any creature/animal/machine they saw fit. Do they have any rules in mind when inventing new characters?

"We don’t like rules we like guidelines," said Scott. "Rules are things that will prevent you from doing things while guidelines are what’s a League of Legends character, what’s it’s style, what do players respond to. Those are guidelines and sometimes we break those rules as we learn more."

League of Legends is free to play. If you fancy giving some of those champions a whirl, you can download the client from the League of Legends site.