Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I'm Jarl Shepard, and I approve of this unofficial patch

I can’t entirely attest to the efficacy of this performance mod for Skyrim as framerate is about the one problem I haven’t had while playing TES5 on my main PC, but it did seem perhaps a little smoother on my puny laptop. The creator reckons it can add a performance boost of around 40% in CPU-dependent scenarios; for instance, around 10 frames per second to chug hotspots such as the lovely waterfall-based city of Markarth. It’s been achieved, apparently, by fixing an alleged tiny oversight on the part of Bethesda. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

Up, up and awaarrrgh....Ludocraft send word that what they are calling a “pre-alpha” build of their Air Buccaneers is now available. They explain: ” It is still work in progress, though, and all your feedback is highly valuable for us. There are still graphics, sounds, features and effects missing, but we hope that it quenches your thirst for buccaneering and plundering for now.” Servers are going up and the team request you point your feedback at the forums. I can’t wait to get back into the skies, frankly. Merry Christmas, you crazy sky-pirates!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

What light from yonder Ukraine breaks?

A surprise Christmas present from GSC, at which there appears to remain some life despite the awful news that they (and with them Stalker 2) had apparently been shut down earlier this month:

“Dear Stalkers: We will not be releasing any official news until around mid January. However there is cause for hope! Good hunting!”>

That is all. But that is something. And it’s the second claim that all might not yet be lost in as many weeks, meaning the rescue operation is hopefully bearing fruit. Good luck, brave Ukrainians.

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

It's Christmas Eve Eve!

I can already hear Horace’s giant claws tearing away at the fabric of reality, preparing for his grisly entry into our “Earth” on tomorrow’s tomorrow of Horacetide Day. Children will press their noses against the frosted panes, watching as he tears through the fragile frames of any too slow to avoid his infinite arrival. Ah, so lovely. But today there’s this:

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Nobody expects the Risenquisition

Not everyone inhabiting Risen 2′s archipelago will be a pirate, although all players will start that way. But what is a pirate without an authoritarian regime to cock a snook at? The Inquisition, now in a world without magic, are “organised very strictly”, which is why they have short haircuts and “walk around in goosestep”. Crikey. They’re just asking for a carefree buccaneer to rob their precious things. Then there are “the natives”, with their shaman, warriors and hunters. Many of them have been enslaved and forced to work on plantations. As for the pirates? They’re “drunk most of the time”.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Tim Stone)

A heavy snowfall has half-buried the Imperious War Museum's outdoor exhibits. Can you still identify them?

Because some swine has swiped the three kings from The Flare Path nativity diorama, the gold, frankincense, and myrrh are now being conveyed to the baby Jesus’ manger-side by three 1/32 Airfix Paras. Joseph and the shepherds don’t seem that bothered, but Mary’s looking a little peeved. “Stens and brens… here>?” her crudely-painted-yet-intensely-holy visage seems to say. “This place is beginning to look like an Oosterbeek basement circa September, 1944!”. She’s got a point. War and Christmas go together like Tiger tanks and multi-storey car-parks. If I had any decency, I’d devote this week’s column to sleigh sims, rather than use it to discuss a work-in-progress WWI TBS and a tantalising Eastern Front wargame in search of a name. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Robert Yang)

Level With Me was a series of conversations with level designers like Dan Pinchbeck, Jack Monahan, Magnar Jenssen, Brendon Chung, Davey Wreden, Ed Key, and Richard Perrin. At the end, we all collaborated on a Portal 2 mod. You can download that mod here. Liner notes, installation notes, and screenshots are after the jump. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jim Rossignol)

Fight fight fight!What I presume will be the final 2011 “insider” video for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning focuses on its action-RPGness, which means talking about the combat and the stuff that articulates the combat, the art and animation. It’s quite an interesting angle to take, actually, looking at how the animators have to try and portray the fight ‘em up mechanics that the designers are trying to put into it. And it looks good. There’s no doubt that Kingdoms will be quite a light Swords & Conversation sort of a game, and I’m certainly interested to see exactly where they take it, particular in terms of how open their open world actually is. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Yes, let's loot some corpses.

It’s Christmas eve’s eve, which is cause for some excitement, surely? What better way to celebrate the imminence of gift-exchange than to accept this freebie from me? More accurately, it’s from Jeremy Jurksztowicz, the chap who made it. Going by the name Mysterious Castle, Jeremy’s game is a graphical blend of roguelike and turn-based tactical combat. There are loads of exciting plans for the future, including random quests and defined lair-like areas, but it’s already a fine piece of work, with a simple and convenient party system and plenty of monsters to biff. Download it for free, right here.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Robert Yang)

“Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 7 of 7.

Richard Perrin is currently working on Kairo, a slow-cooked first person puzzle game where you explore monumental ruins of a past civilization – it’s a game without words or dialogue, just spaces. He’s shown the game at Develop, Notgames Fest, and PAX to generally favorable reactions and has one of those alpha pre-order thingies up too.

(There are some moderate spoilers for Kairo, but the final game will be so different / you’ll have forgotten it by the time you play it.) (more…)

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