Grab a cup of eggnog, a candy cane, some other Christmas clich s, and celebrate the holiday with developer Tripwire Interactive's fourth annual Killing Floor Twisted Christmas event. This year, it brings us two new maps, "Hell" and "Forgotten," both from the mind of community mapper swift_brutal_death. That just screams holiday cheer to me, or maybe what we're all wishing for anyway as we untangle the Christmas lights.
The limited-time event also brings back all the previous Twisted Christmas maps and enemies, and another opportunity to unlock the special Baddest Santa character and ZED gun.
If you want to get in on the fun, now would be a good time, as Killing Floor is 50 percent off on Steam ($9.99) until Jan. 2.
Tripwire Interactive also used the opportunity to announce new content for its other big game, The Ball. The new content pack is free, and includes a two-hour campaign. All players who own The Ball will now also be able to use its protagonist, Harchier Spebbington, in Killing Floor. The Ball is also 50 percent off ($4.99) until Jan. 2.
John Gibson has been making PC-exclusive games for more than a decade. As President of Tripwire Interactive, he’s helped push Killing Floor, Red Orchestra 2, Rising Storm out the door of the developer’s Roswell, Georgia studio. He also happens to have a pretty nice sound system for his PC. We asked Gibson to weigh in on Valve’s trinity of announcements.
PCG: What's your reaction to SteamOS?
John Gibson: An open platform OS created by a company focused on gaming and meeting customers needs--how could we not be excited by SteamOS?
Are you actively developing for SteamOS?
Gibson: We actually just learned about SteamOS a few days before the rest of the world and we haven't gotten our hands on it just yet. Fortunately Valve gave us a heads up a while back that adding Linux and Big Picture support would "be a pretty good idea going forward." So we started working on Linux and Big Picture support soon after that. We've now got three of our four games released on Linux and one of those games with Big Picture mode support. That has put us in a really good position to take advantage of SteamOS when it is released since it is essentially Linux + Big Picture + Awesome Performance Optimizations + Other Cool Stuff. We'll be working on setting up the rest of our recent titles with SteamOS support in the not too distant future. We also plan on releasing our next unannounced title with SteamOS support right out of the box.
John Gibson, President of Tripwire Interactive "For years we've seen the Windows OS getting in the way of game development in many ways." What impact do you expect a Steam-centered OS and set of hardware to have on PC gaming?
Gibson: I believe that the combination of SteamOS, Steam Machines, and Steam Controller will be the best thing to happen to PC gaming since digital distribution, perhaps the biggest thing to happen to gaming itself in a generation. For the first time ever the entire path from game developer to the customer's hands is being created by a company focused on game development and giving gamers what they want. Digital distribution, particularly Steam, took two roadblocks out of the path--the big publishers and retail stores. Before digital distribution you couldn't get your game into customers’ hands without a big publisher and retail stores--both of which in most cases didn't add value at all for the end user, the gamer. This blocked a lot of innovative games from getting into gamers hands. Then you've got the OS as another step in the path. For years we've seen the Windows OS getting in the way of game development in many ways, and Apple has been pretty apathetic about gaming on Mac OS up until just recently. Getting an OS completely geared towards gaming, with all of the OS bloat that slows games down removed sounds like a godsend to game developers and gets another roadblock out of the way.
Next you have the hardware. PC gamers have been loath to move to the consoles because they are outdated so quickly and can't be upgraded, the game prices are bloated, and they can't stand the idea of giving up the quick responsiveness of the mouse and keyboard. Console gamers on the other hand have been limited to the closed console ecosystem where modding is cut off and things like Counter-Strike, Desert Combat, and Dota would never have existed. In the closed console ecosystems games like TF2 or our own game Killing Floor that constantly put out free content and provide value to the gamer wouldn't have been allowed to do all those free updates.
Steam Machines sound like the best of both worlds. It opens the door to the living room for developers like us to get our games into the living room on a platform that is open and allows the kind of innovation that PC game developers are used to. It also opens the door for a whole generation of console gamers to experience what they have been missing out on. It sounds like there will be a wide variety of Steam Machines that fit all gamers' budgets which is great. Since Valve have done the smart thing and left their platform open that will encourage competition between hardware manufacturers, which can only serve to keep the cost of the machines down and bring value to the gamer. Finally, if the rumors going around are true and this "input" that Valve has hinted about is a controller that allows you to have mouse-like aiming and control while sitting on your couch--well that is the holy grail of gaming right there. "We're incredibly excited about Steam OS and Steam Machines and will be supporting them fully." What are your concerns regarding adding SteamOS as a development platform?
Gibson: There are a few concerns that a developer has to look at when releasing a game on a new platform. What is the cost going to be to port/maintain compatibility and will we make our money back? How is the performance going to be? Is there good driver support? What we've seen in the past since Steam has come to Mac and Linux that about 10 percent of our game sales are now on those platforms. That extra 10 percent in sales was definitely worth putting our games on those platforms.
For our newer games we do have some concerns about maintaining two rendering paths--DirectX for Windows and OpenGL for Linux, Mac, and SteamOS. But actually the biggest hurdle for us is adding controller support to our existing games. Since they were designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard, and the interface was designed for a mouse and keyboard it will be quite a bit of work to get them functioning well with a standard console controller. We're now designing our newer games to work well with both mouse and keyboard and controllers from the start. Even with these concerns, we're incredibly excited about Steam OS and Steam Machines and will be supporting them fully. We think like most things Valve do this is going to be huge, and if I were Sony or Microsoft I would be very concerned right now.
Valve released this diagram of a hypothetical set of Steam Controller bindings for Portal 2. "What I like about the device is that Valve clearly took a 'clean slate' approach to it's design," Gibson says of the device.
Tripwire’s known for making PC-exclusive FPSes. How confident are you that Steam Controller is going to be an improvement over the Xbox 360 controller for first-person shooters? What do you like about the device?
Gibson: Valve actually gave us the heads-up about the controller a while back although we didn't know all of the details until we learned them today with the rest of the world. We haven't gotten our hands on one yet (very soon though) so I can only make assumptions at this point. The thing about Valve though, is they don't make claims lightly. They are PC gamers and shooter players. So if they say they made a controller that works as well as a mouse and keyboard then I'd put my money on them having done it and done it right. As a hardcore PC FPS player, and former competitive FPS player I really can't stand playing FPS games on a console controller like the Xbox 360 controller. Playing shooter games with the instant aiming and precision that a mouse provides is an extremely exciting and visceral experience. It is an experience a whole generation of console shooter players have been robbed of. "Honestly I couldn’t be more excited about this controller." If the Steam Controller can provide mouse-like instant aiming and precision then it will be a vast improvement over all previous console controllers. I actually play quite a few shooters on my mobile phone, and one of the things I had noticed was that using the touch screen on my phone to aim actually gave me pretty similar control and precision to using a mouse. So if the trackpads on the Steam Controller have that level of resolution and fidelity, I could see them working well for playing shooters.
What I like about the device is that Valve clearly took a "clean slate" approach to it's design. The ability to look around/aim as well as with a mouse was clearly at the top of the list, and I'm glad someone finally had the balls to take on that problem. Every new standard console generation I've waited with baited breath to see if any of the big console makers would tackle this problem only to be let down when I see their new controller is just like their old one. I also think the touch screen in the middle will be a really cool feature. I can't wait to talk to our design team and see what type of cool functionality we could use it for. Honestly I couldn't be more excited about this controller. I've been dreaming about something like this for over 10 years, and from the looks of it it's finally here.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad with Rising Storm
As if my FPS plate wasn’t full enough already with MechWarrior Online, Arma 3, and Shadow Warrior, Tripwire Interactive just published a free content update for Rising Storm (one of our favorite shooters of the year) and Red Orchestra 2 that adds a new map and a Multiplayer Campaign mode, among other improvements.
The new map is Betio, a beachside cluttered with barracks and bunkers that puts the Americans on the attack. Tripwire says it “recreates the push of the US 2nd Marine Division across the devastated island against their counterparts in the 6th Special Naval Landing Force (the Japanese ‘Marines’) as the US forces attempt to disable key tactical objectives such as naval guns and transmitter stations. The map favors desperate pitched defenses and assaults at all costs.”
Island Assault also adds Multiplayer Campaign mode, a longer format for Rising Storm and RO2 multiplayer where the results of individual matches affect a strategic map over multiple rounds. Two new guns are also included: the PPS-42 SMG for RO2 and the Japanese Type 97 sniper rifle in Rising Storm, which Tripwire says is “more accurate than the existing Type 99 sniper rifle.”
In coordination with the content release Rising Storm is free on Steam today through Sunday, September 29.
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad with Rising Storm
Tripwire Interactive have executed the final phase of an almost half-year long rescue mission. After identifying the winning maps of a $35,000 mapping contest, they managed to smuggle the first batch into Red Orchestra 2 back in April. Now, they've returned, and those that were left behind have become the brave survivors of Operation: Counterattack Map Pack 2.
Here's what the second community bundle contains:
Bridges of Druzhina, by Kieran Tobin: "features asymmetrical gameplay with the Soviets attacking across open country supported by a single tank, through a destroyed city and on to the final bridge." Cold Steel, by Johan van Pelt: "a lethal warren of huge factory buildings, creating both longer-range fire-fights and sudden, brutal close-quarters battles." Gumrak Station, by Maik Dokter: "a re-imagining of an old favorite from the original Red Orchestra, as the Germans assault through trenches and a small village to the railway station of the title."
The maps are now available in Red Orchestra 2 and Rising Storm multiplayer. And if you're not impressed by the official addition of maps that have been available on the Steam Workshop for months, a currently running Rising Storm mapping contest should ensure new warzones are due soon.
If you don't own Red Orchestra 2 or its Pacific brother Rising Storm, a current Steam sale has them both reduced until Thursday.
Guns, guns, and more guns might just be some of John Gibson's favorite things—he's the President of Tripwire Interactive, the studio behind Red Orchestra and Killing Floor.
Name: John Gibson Occupation: President of Tripwire Interactive Location: Roswell, GA Twitter: @RammJaeger
Who are you?
My name is John Gibson and I am the President of Tripwire Interactive. Most people know me from my work on Rising Storm, Red Orchestra 1 and 2, and Killing Floor. I do a lot of business and leadership work here at Tripwire, but I also work on designs and I even get to code quite a bit still. If you love the weapons in Tripwire's games, I've worked on the code for most of them (along with some really talented artists, animators and sound designers). If you hate the weapons in Tripwire's games, well, I guess you can blame me for that too... "You have fallen into a pit of angry wolverines and are eaten..." What's in your PC?
My PC runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit with an Intel Core i7-3930k CPU at 3.2GHZ, dual Nvidia Geforce GTX 470's in SLI mode, a Creative Recon3d sound card, dual Asus monitors, and Logitech Z-5500 THX certified speakers.
What's the most interesting part of your setup?
I guess it would be the Logitech 5.1 THX certified 5.1 surround speakers. Because I do a lot of work with the audio and weapons coding in our games I get to run a rocking sound system on my rig. Because of this, when we had our office space built they actually put a lot of extra sound deadening material in the walls to protect the innocent bystanders in the nearby offices. From what I hear though I still drive them nuts with my loud speakers...
Image hunt: Spot the copy of PC Gamer!
What’s on your desk?
Aside from the usual PC peripherals, I keep a copy of Military Small Arms of the 20th Century on my desk most of the time. My wife gave it to me as a gift when I got my first job programming games back in 2003 and I've used it for reference on every game I've worked on since then. On the shelf on the other side of my monitors is a picture of my lovely wife Jessica. That picture reminds of all the love and support she has given me throughout the years of getting Tripwire off the ground and keeping it going. Above that is a picture titled "The Full Armor of God" with a quote from Ephesians 6. That one keeps me focused on my faith.
What are you playing right now?
I'm usually an FPS person through and through, but lately I've really been sucked into Telltales' Walking Dead games. They remind me of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was a kid. If you never read those books they worked like this:
"You see two doors in front of you. If you choose the left door turn to page 5. If you choose the right door turn to page 10." I choose the left door and turn to page 10. "You have fallen into a pit of angry wolverines and are eaten..."
"I really enjoy stepping outside myself for a while and being a big kid playing make believe on my computer." But seriously, I love watching my decisions play out through the episodes. The writing and characters are amazing. Aside from that I really enjoy flight sims and racing games when I can be bothered to hook up my flight yoke or steering wheel and my TrackIR. Honestly though, I spend most of my spare gaming time playing Tripwire games. You would figure I work on them so much that I wouldn't want to, but I really enjoy playing them. Especially Rising Storm, because it started out as a mod created by a different team, it is a lot more fresh to me. I got to come in and play as a fan because I didn't work on it from start to finish. So most days you'll find me on servers leading banzai charges or burning people with flamethrowers.
What’s your favorite game and why?
My favorite game in the past few years was Mass Effect. The game really sucked me in with its storytelling and universe. If you go way back, the original Deus Ex is probably my favorite game of all time. If you go way, way back I really loved the original Doom so much that my band named one of our songs "Knee Deep in the Dead."
Why do you game?
I game because it allows me to have experiences that I could never have in everyday life. Whether it is storming the beaches of Iwo Jima or unraveling the secrets of a sci-fi universe, I really enjoy stepping outside myself for a while and being a big kid playing make believe on my computer.
How I Game is a weekly spotlight of developers, pro gamers, and community members. Know someone who you’d like to see featured? Drop a comment below.
Tripwire continues to create reasons to hop back into its four-year old co-op shooter. After bestowing a low-grav moon base map last Christmas, Killing Floor kicks off a new holiday event tomorrow, the Summer Sideshow Pier of Pain, bringing with it the first new mode since it released.
“Objective Mode” layers tasks like VIP escort and item retrieval atop Killing Floor’s standard, wave-based monster killing. The mode is initially playable on Steamland, a new map, but Tripwire is also including mod tools in the Pier of Pain update for the game’s community to create more Objective Mode maps. Tripwire invited me to an exclusive playtest of the map earlier today, shown in the video above.
Killing Floor will be free to play for a week beginning July 4. New weapons and skins are also packaged in the update as unlockables or DLC, shown below.
Community Steampunk Weapon Pack
The Orca Bomb Propeller - The Orca Bomb Propeller tosses little delayed explosive bombs. Good for those bank shots! Multichamber ZED Thrower - A steam-powered lead launching auto shotgun, with a secondary steam discharge that will knock enemies away! Single Piston Longmusket - A finely crafted long rifle from the Victorian era fitted with telescopic aiming optics. Dr. T's Lead Delivery System - Thy weapon is before you. May it's drum beat a sound of terrible fear into your enemies.
Golden Gun Weapon Pack 2
Golden Tiger-Striped Hand Cannons Golden Chainsaw Golden Flamethrower Golden AA12
Here at PC Gamer we like to play PC games. Sometimes, we even like to play them with other people. That’s why we’ve got a huge lineup of game servers hosted by GameServers.com. Feel free to hop on whenever, or join us on Community Friday or during our other random events.
All servers hosted in the US. We'll update this list with PC Gamer UK's servers as soon as possible. CS:GO Arms Race
The in-game matchmaking system only lets 10 players duke it out in Arms Race. Our server has room for 24 players with the latest and greatest custom Arms Race-compatible maps from the Steam Workshop. CS:GO Classic Casual
Our very first community events took place on the server we like to call: The Psychedelic Den of Map Experimentation. Try out some of the best maps available on the Steam workshop in our 24-player, 128 tick server. Rising Storm
Join the Axis or Allies as we battle it out on PCG’s Rising Storm server. Territories mode is the name of the game with our soon-to-be ranked server. Battlefield 3
Vehicle enthusiasts can drive around in our 64-player Battlefield 3 server. Watch out for mortars! DayZ
Part of the public hive, our DayZ server is a great place for you to scavenge for loot, meet new friends, or hunt down some bandit scum. Minecraft
A 32-player Minecraft server with the Tekkit Classic mod installed. Download the Tekkit client before jumping on to play! Team Fortress 2
Show off your hats and other accessories on the PCG TF2 server. We’re running the official maplist with support for 24 players. Left 4 Dead 2
If you’re looking for a reliable dedicated server for your co-op zombie escapades, look no further than the PCG 8-man Left 4 Dead 2 server. Pick your favorite flavor of L4D2 and murder some zombies. Unreal Tournament 2004
A staple of the PCG offices, now you too can join in on the fun with our 32-player UT2K4 server. GoldenEye: Source
If it wasn’t already clear, PCG loves mods. In fact, we love them so much that we’ve set up a 16 player GoldenEye: Source server for you guys to play on. Natural Selection 2
For whatever reason there’s a 10-slot maximum on our Natural Selection 2 server. We like to think that this encourages teamwork. Killing Floor
Another co-op zombie classic, jump into our 6-player Killing Floor server to play with other PCG community members.
If you’ve got server requests, plugins, mods, or other suggestions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If I was nerdy enough to have a "favorite engine," it would probably be the Unreal Engine—not necessarily for its technical achievements (though you can't say it hasn't been an essential tool for developers in the past decade), but for its accessibility. The easy-breezy development kit has been especially kind to indies, and because of that, some brilliantly creative games have been built on the engine. Now Steam's flogging an Unreal Indie Bundle, and for $20, it's actually got a pretty admirable selection of games.
In the seven-game lineup, the stand-outs for me are the hypercute Dungeon Defenders and slick-looking Sanctum - these are two tower defense games I've dragged numerous pals into playing the past couple of years, and I'd feel pretty pleased with myself if I could drag the readers of PC Gamer into playing it too. Meanwhile, I'm also looking forward to giving Primal Carnage a whirl. While our preview in October last year thought it decent despite not seeming quite fleshed out, it's half a year onward, and I'm dying to see if those promisingly savage dinosaurs have cut their teeth on the beta stage and become truly, frighteningly awesome.
The other games included in the package are Q.U.B.E., The Ball, Unmechanical, and Waves. All up, the games are worth about $80, but in the Steam bundle? You can get 'em for twenty. Though there isn't a specified end date for the promotion, it's warning that it'll be around "for a limited time only."
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad with Rising Storm - PC Gamer
In this episode we discuss the crime games of yesteryear, the team's adventures in Red Orchestra 2 and Chris' first faltering steps into Defiance. Also featuring round two of our' ongoing attempt to figure out Tomb Raider and what happens when Graham answers Twitter questions before he's had his milk.
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or download the MP3 directly. You can also listen on YouTube. To ask us questions, follow the PC Gamer Twitter account - we'll put out a call in the morning before we record, which is usually a Monday. You can also follow us individually:
Chris - @CThursten Tom Senior - @PCGLudo Graham - @Gonnas Marsh - @marshdavies
Show notes Graham's Red Orchestra 2 review from a while back. Chris' Tomb Raider review. Last time, we promise. First footage of EA's next shooter, 'The Adventures of Captain Gets His Leg Trapped Man'. Current descriptions of Thief 4's plot describe Garrett as returning to The City, so it sounds like the new game isn't quite a straight reboot.