Dota 2

It's a familiar experience: you spend a bunch of money on a dazzling PC, then four years later it's somehow just hovering above minimum specs for that new FPS you've had your eye on. You check your bank account. An upgrade is just about within reach, sort of. You put your holiday plans on hold, because this game can't wait damn it

This weekend, we ask: which game made you upgrade your PC? Here are our answers, but more importantly, we'd like to read your comments below. 

Philippa Warr: Dota 2

I put off buying a desktop PC for as long as possible, making use of a bootcamped Macbook to play games including Dota 2. It was a well-documented disaster. I had to run Skype through my phone to use voice chat with friends, which meant I couldn't have sound on from my laptop, so I spent months of Dota not playing with any of the sound cues which are essential. I was also often playing while sitting on a bed, using a Where The Wild Things Are gift box to rest my mouse on. Oh, and the button you use to ping the map in Dota is right next to the button which, on my bootcamped setup, crashed the game. 

When I finally got a desktop PC the first game I installed was Dota 2, and gosh was it an eye-opening experience! I didn't exactly buy the PC to play Dota, it was more that the Dota problems exemplified the limitations of the setup when trying to do anything related to this hobby, and the non-bootcamped side of things was struggling to keep up anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I definitely definitely didn't drop cash on a whole new PC to throw tiny casks at people as a wizard.

Samuel Roberts: Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Did it really look like that? In my head it was the most realistic thing I'd ever seen.

As an adult, I've upgraded a rubbish PC to play Alien: Isolation, because playing that at double the framerate of PS4 owners was incredibly important to me back in 2014 just after I joined PC Gamer. As a kid, though, hardware upgrades were infrequent, and basically came when my dad could afford to buy a secondhand PC off of one of his colleagues. After I told him all about trying Medal of Honor at my friend's house and how I'd never played anything that cinematic before, he managed to magic up a PC that could run it (albeit not brilliantly). World War 2 games were made for him.

This kicked off my second era of PC gaming as a kid. I picked up Mafia, Jedi Knight 2, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and more, games which all ended up having a pretty profound effect on my tastes to come. The lesson, for any kids reading whose parents are holding out on an upgrade, is to convince them that they're missing out on a game that was made specifically for their interests. 

Wes Fenlon: C&C: Tiberian Sun

The first game I remember being heartbroken I couldn't play was Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. Our home PC had a 133 MHz Pentium; the game needed a 166 MHz. Eventually I got my very own PC, a much slower hand-me-down 486 that I'd use to play LucasArts adventure games and the like. 

Fast forward to 2006 and I had an HP laptop in college, with an ATI GPU inside. The hardware wasn't upgradeable, but I remember having issues with outputting a video signal to my brand new, hot shit LCD TV, and I wanted the best possible performance, so I turned to some old voodoo: Omega drivers. Back then, there were actually custom graphics card drivers that promised to improve performance and give you more features. I vaguely remember them being a complete pain in the ass, and they probably never made my games run better. But the Omega drivers did support more resolutions and helped me output a signal to my TV, so at the end of the day it was a win. And I felt elite. 

Jarred Walton: Wing Commander

I see how it is: let's trot out questions just to make Jarred feel incredibly old! Well, let me tell you about my first PC.

It was a 286 12MHz with 2MB RAM, 40MB hard drive, both 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy drives, with an Adlib sound card and some generic VGA adapter. I saved up money all summer during 1990 to buy this PC, as before this I was switching between using my dad's PC when I was at his house, and playing games on an incredibly slow Commodore 128 at my mom's place. I knew the C-64/C-128 scene was dying, and I wanted to get a proper PC when I took the plunge. I had also learned all sorts of arcane rituals necessary to free up as much of the base 640K memory as possible (config.sys and autoexec.bat hacking were skills I acquired in my gaming pursuit). $2,200 later, I was the owner of this awesome PC, which was already quite outdated when I bought it, but I simply couldn't afford a 386. (Those were the Core i9 of the day, at something like $800 just for the chip.)

Everything went great for a couple of months, and then Wing Commander launched. The back of the box proclaimed "Every image on this box was taken from the game," which looked awesome, but my poor 286 could barely run the game and it looked nothing like the box art and was sluggish as hell. Commence me weeping and wailing and pining for a 386. Thankfully, my dad pulled some strings, managed to sell my 286 for more than I paid for it ($2,500), and I had earned some more money since the initial purchase. I took the $2,500, added $500 of my own, and upgraded to a 386 16MHz, with 4MB RAM, an 80MB hard drive, a Sound Blaster card, an SVGA card, and for added awesomeness I splurged on a Roland CM32-L (MT32 compatible) MIDI sound module ($550 just for the CM32-L).

And let me tell you, it was all worth it! The graphics still didn't look like the box art, but the game ran much better, and the full MIDI orchestral score was miles above any other games I had played. I still have fond memories listening to MP3 versionsof the Roland MIDI files. Anyway, don't complain to me about the cost of gaming PCs today. I spent $3,000 as a 16-year-old for what was still several steps down from a top-of-the-line system. And if you want to build a great gaming PC for a third of that, you can. PC gaming has never been more accessible, and the vagaries of himem.sys and emm386.sys are thankfully far in the past. You kids never had it so good. Now where's my cane?

Andy Chalk: Doom

I'd had a 286 for a few years when Doom came out, and by and large I was quite happy with it. So when I read that Doom required a 386, I headed up to the city, where there was a big computer store—and I tried to negotiate. "What's really the difference between a 286 and a 386?" I asked. "It's just a little faster, right? I can still run this game on it, right? It'll just be a little slower, right?" But no, it was not right (and the guy was kind of a dick about it, too), and so I was faced with a choice that was really no choice at all. I scrounged and saved and begged and borrowed and put off college for a few more years, and eventually I bought myself a Fujikama 386SX/25.

I don't remember much about it, but it ran Doom, and basically my life, for the next couple of years. Took me a year just to pay the damn thing off. It was totally worth it. 

Chris Livingston: Oblivion

I could tell myself I needed a new PC anyway, and would have bought one for reasons other than gaming, but I'm pretty sure The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had a lot to do with it. I'd fallen head over heels for Oblivion back in 2006, and was perfectly happy playing it on whatever slow-ass PC I had at the time (sorry I can't recall the specifics of the actual hardware). It still nagged at me that it just didn't look like the screenshots I was seeing and naturally the first thing I did when I got my new PC (I can't remember the specs of it, either) was load up Oblivion. The difference was astounding to me, like night and day. "Oh, wow, I can see Imperial City even when I'm not standing with my nose pressed up against it. Oh, wow, there is actually detail on my weapons and armor. Oh, wow, trees look like trees instead of like they've been cut out of construction paper."

It's probably for the best that I can't find screenshots from that PC because they'd probably look laughably unimpressive today, but at the time it was like my new computer let me step into an entirely new world.

DOOM

Modders and level creators continue to produce goods for the original Doom. Some even allow you to romance the demons. But nowadays they're often designed for modernised versions: source ports like ZDoom or GZDoom. These are cool, but it's neat to find a new Megawad created for the original DOS game, built under the ye olde engine restrictions (no free look, no slopes).

That's what Rekkr is, but it's not the only cool thing about it. It's a Viking-themed Megawad complete with 25 new levels, boasting its own textures, music and sound. It'll work in ZDoom and other source ports, but you'll get just as much out of it if you load it into the original game (that might be a hassle for modern PC users, though, unless you want to use DOSBox).

Check out the trailer for Rekkr below. If you're after some more cool wads, there's plenty over here, or perhaps you'd like to try some recent maps from John Romero? Thanks to Rock Paper Shotgun for the heads up.

DOOM II - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Rekkr

When it comes to mods for old games, I love seeing just how far their structure can be pushed with modern engines, but there’s still some wisdom in the old ways. Viking-themed Doom mod Rekkr takes it all the way to the old school and back again, uphill both ways in freezing snow.

Built to authentic retro specs (making it compatible with even the original DOS version, should you so wish), there’s no vertical aim, crouching or jumping here, just 25+ levels of weird techno-magical viking violence, with new enemies, weapons and art.

(more…)

DOOM - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 10.01.07 AM

Quake Champions is a fascinating experiment in remaking a game and trying to make that game both exactly like the original game but just More>. The title has been impressively on top of their game, regarding monthly-ish updates and the addition of new characters, maps, and balance tweaks. They’ve also made the way that you and your pals explode into meat much more specific. Now, there’s a way to free yourself of your terrible online name choices AND there’s a beautiful, relaxing river cruise down The Molten Falls, in a newly added map.

(more…)

DOOM

Lasers are a mainstay of shooters. From Star Wars: Battlefront and Destiny to Doom and Wolfenstein, everyone loves a good laser rifle (at least, in videogames). But according to Gizmodo, China loves laser guns the most: it's only gone and made one. The country's ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle can result in "instant carbonization" of targets a kilometer away, reports claim, burning human skin and igniting flammable materials. The South China Morning Post adds that researchers say the laser can "burn through clothes in a split-second" and cause pain "beyond endurance." Yay, science. 

That being said, we're not quite at BFG levels of laserdom just yet. An official report describes the ZKZM-500 as a non-lethal anti-terrorism tool which could, in theory, "temporarily disable" targets in the event of a hostage situation, and from the sound of things I reckon it would disable the shit out of 'em. And because the gun is silent and its laser is invisible, researchers believe it could also be used in "covert military operations," just in case this gun wasn't sounding Deus Ex enough.  Speaking of which, just look at the thing:  

Image via Gizmodo 

Granted, it doesn't look much like the BFG, and the BFG isn't a particularly covert weapon, and OK sure it's also better known for, erm, permanently disabling targets. But if this thing can carbonize human flesh, it can probably do the same to demons (which may well be necessary).

On another note, modders from Thailand have already made a PC out of a damn gun, and modders from Japan turned a pile of guns and lights into a beast of a rig. I have the utmost confidence that China's modders can and will turn the ZKZM-500 into a gaming PC, and that they will RGB the laser. 

DOOM

Image via Gizmodo

Lasers are a mainstay of shooters. From Star Wars: Battlefront and Destiny to Doom and Wolfenstein, everyone loves a good laser rifle (at least, in videogames). But according to Gizmodo, China loves laser guns the most: it's only gone and made one. The country's ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle can result in "instant carbonization" to targets a kilometer away, reports claim, burning human skin and igniting flammable materials. The South China Morning Post adds that researchers say the laser can "burn through clothes in a split-second" and cause pain "beyond endurance." Yay, science. 

That being said, we're not quite at BFG levels of laserdom just yet. An official report describes the ZKZM-500 as a non-lethal anti-terrorism tool which could, in theory, "temporarily disable" targets in the event of a hostage situation, and from the sound of things I reckon it would disable the shit out of 'em. And because the gun is silent and its laser is invisible, researchers believe it could also be used in "covert military operations," just in case this gun wasn't sounding Deus Ex enough.  Speaking of which, just look at the thing:  

Image via Gizmodo 

Granted, it doesn't look much like the BFG, and the BFG isn't a particularly covert weapon, and OK sure it's also better known for, erm, permanently disabling targets. But if this thing can carbonize human flesh, it can probably do the same to demons (which may well be necessary).

On another note, modders from Thailand have already made a PC out of a damn gun, and modders from Japan turned a pile of guns and lights into a beast of a rig. I have the utmost confidence that China's modders can and will turn the ZKZM-500 into a gaming PC, and that they will RGB the laser. 

DOOM - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Summer Games Done Quick

Update: The show is live right now. Tune in for games being thrashed to within an inch of their lives.

The Summer Nerd Olympics are almost upon us. Every six months, the best and brightest in gaming assemble under the Games Done Quick banner to demolish games extra-fast and raise heaving sacks of cash for good causes. This Sunday, the speedster swarm will be descending on Bloomington, Minnesota to destroy games as you know it, all in the name of supporting Doctors Without Borders. As usual, the whole thing will be streamed live on Twitch (and archived on YouTube) and runs for an entire week, 24/7.

Below, find some of our must-watch picks from the full schedule.

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DOOM

Hoo boy, this Doom cosplay. This freaking Doom cosplay. Is it any wonder it won Australia's Sydney Supanova? It's absolutely immaculate, right down to the tiniest details. I especially love how battered it looks. This is the Doom Slayer, after all. His armor has seen some shit, and this cosplay captures that beautifully with holes and gouges—little imperfections that add up to even more perfect cosplay. After it popped up on Reddit a few days ago, I had to know more about how it was made, so I reached out to Oarin of Scrap Shop Props. But first, here it is in all its glory: 

 Cosplay by Scrap Shop Props. Photo by Steamkittens.  

Oarin originally built this Doom Slayer cosplay for PAX Australia 2017 (it won the cosplay contest there, too). Remarkably, he made it in just 18 days, primarily from a lightweight material called EVA Foam and with a little help from a 3D printer for the gun and helmet. He says he spent around 18 hours a day building when he first started, pared his schedule back to 10 hours a day for a while, and then pulled two all-nighters leading up to the event. "It just had to be done at that point, noise or not. When I'm not shackled by noise problems I tend to work at least 12 hours a day, motivation permitting," he says. 

Cosplay has become a career for Oarin. Apart from private commissions, he's also worked with studios like Blizzard and Riot Games to promote their games. Just recently he worked with Henchwench Cosplay on some Zealot Blades for Starcraft's 20th Anniversary, which have been sent all over the world. His company, Scrap Shop Props, is a one-man band, but he's worked with Henchwench on "just about everything," and he's in the process of moving into a "mega-workshop" with Zaphy Cosplay and Robb Props & Cosplay. "It'll be a very messy house," he says. 

Oarin got into cosplay around the start of 2016. His first build was Mass Effect's Garrus Vakarian. His background is in engineering, so he took right to all the measuring and sculpting. From there, he tried his hand at Overwatch's Reinhardt, bringing a stunning armor set to PAX Australia 2016. I'm partial to Doomguy myself, but they're both fabulous. Have a look: 

Cosplay by Scrap Shop Props. Photo by Steamkittens

You can find more information and pictures on Scrap Shop Props' Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

DOOM - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Fraser Brown)

OMDO

I m not sure about you lot, but I m always worried that my eyes aren t getting enough of a work out when I m playing games. OMDO, then, might be exactly what I need to help me shed excess eye weight. It s DOOM, but every frame is a autostereogram, hiding the screen inside a wall of dots. To see anything, your eyes will need to get off their lazy behinds and break a sweat. (more…)

DOOM - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Id Software today announced Doom Eternal, a sequel to their unexpectedly great 2016 reboot of Doom. As in the series’ original run, the sequel is bringing Hell to Earth, and it looks pleasingly meaty in the announcement trailer. Click on through to watch. (more…)

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