Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls, Day 2: The Solas Effect

By Alec Meer on November 21st, 2014.

Solas *always* slightly approves

Continuing a Dragon Age: Inquisition diary.

I seem to have found friends by default. They were just there when I performed my Act Of Ultimate Heroism (i.e. wavey green hand shtick) and now they won’t seem to go away. I already introduced you to the relentlessly serious Cassandra, a very, very solemn ex-Templar who first wanted to kill me and is now telling the world that I’m its salvation. In a fight, I’m her boss. Outside of a fight, she’s calling the shots. Not sure how I feel about that yet. There are two others who’ve decided they’re going to stick to me like glue. They’re bit… full-on.
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The Flare Path: Learns To Stop Worrying And Love BOMB

By Tim Stone on November 21st, 2014.

It has come to my attention that some Flareopaths are not obeying all 1405 tenets of The Flare Path Pledge. I have it on good authority that last Saturday a reader from Leeds watched Battle of Britain from beginning to end without wincing slightly every time an Me 109-impersonating HA-1112-M1L ‘Buchon’ appeared. Incredibly, I’ve also heard of cases where FPs have referred to railway stations as ‘train stations’ and failed to genuflect when Donald Featherstone was mentioned. Most disturbing are the reports that some of our brethren are routinely ignoring Tenet 933. Yes, it seems there are those among us who, on spotting a ‘We need a Crimson Skies sequel!’ forum post, stay silent instead of pointing out that a spiritual sequel already exists. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Impossible Architecture Of The Stanley Parable

By Philippa Warr on November 21st, 2014.

A perfectly normal office

About a year ago I interviewed Davey Wreden and William Pugh about the architecture of The Stanley Parable but never published the article. I’d been thinking about how the game intertwines narration and level design for a while, but it was a gif which finally converted solo pondering into getting the pair on Skype. Here’s what happened when Wreden and Pugh dug into the ideas behind The Stanley Parable’s disorienting and utterly impossible building.

CAUTION: There will be spoilers.

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Week in Tech: SSD Update – It’s All About (NV)Me!

By Jeremy Laird on November 20th, 2014.

Turns out Samsung's 840 Evo is a bit borked...

One word. NVMe. Take it from me, you want some of it. So, you’d better start to get your head around it. Luckily, it’s all you need to know about solid-state drives or SSDs over the next year or so. Well, that and whether your motherboard can support NVMe. Oh, and the difference between M.2, SFF-8639 and SATA Express. I know. This whole SSD thing is a nightmare to keep up with right now. But let me simply say this: some early solid-state drives with that NVMe stuff I just mentioned have appeared in recent months, and these things absolutely fly.

Time, then, for an SSD update and for me to make something intelligible out of the technosoup that is emerging SSD tech. Also, can there really be any of you left without an SSD of some kind? If so, shout out below and let’s see if we can all encourage the laggards to finally make the leap. SSDs are cheaper than ever (an eminently viable 100GB-120GB drive can be had for as little as about £50 / $70, possibly even less with some deft shopping), and I can promise that you will not be disappointed.
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Why Far Cry 2 Is Still The Best In The Series

By Marsh Davies on November 20th, 2014.

Did you know the word barbecue is one of only a few surviving words from a lost Caribbean language (having since been filtered through Spanish)?

You shouldn’t always give people what they want. This is focus testing’s fatal flaw. It’s also the reason that Far Cry 2 – a game which doesn’t give you what you want and slaps you for asking – is the best game in the series by far.

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Two Year Talk: Interviewing Planetside 2’s Creative Director

By Jim Rossignol on November 20th, 2014.

Planetside 2 is two years old today and still going strong. It’s a Planniversary, if you will.

Ahem. I’ve written a bunch about my time with the game, including this. Yes, I like it a lot. One person who has been at the forefront of that long campaign of making me like something for two whole years, and who was also implicated in the complex saga of development beforehand, is Matt Higby. He’s headed up the SOE team throughout the twenty-four months of the game being live, and still seems to have plenty of energy for the future of this peerless F2P shooter. With those two years in mind, I had a chat with him.

Read on below for a myriad of thoughts on the game that does a war of red, blue, and purple like no other.

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The Ferelden Scrolls: A Dragon Age Diary, Part 1

By Alec Meer on November 20th, 2014.

are we in New Zealand?

Beginning a new diary series for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Yes, I’m mostly doing this so I have an excuse to play Dragon Age: Inquisition during work hours. There will be spoilers and there will be presumed knowledge, but there probably won’t be much taking anything seriously.

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Dote Night: Foreseer’s Contract And We Need Megawings

By Philippa Warr on November 19th, 2014.

A spectral explosion

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

The current big news in the Dota 2 community is the kerfuffle surrounding the Foreseer’s Contract. A short comic heralded the event on Friday and served as an introduction to the newest hero on the roster, Oracle (you can find him in the test client at time of writing but not in the regular game).

Why does the coming update make players – myself included – so concerned?

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The Elitist, Part Five: Hunting Dogs

By Brendan Caldwell on November 19th, 2014.

Brendan continues his life as space misfit in our Elite Dangerous Diary. In this final entry, he finds himself settling down among the stars with a steady delivery job. But how long can the simple life last?

There she is, the Asp Explorer. A gargantuan beast of a spaceship, she is able to blast every wannabe outlaw out of the sky and still jump 10 lightyears to drop off one-hundred tonnes of coffee to some jittery, caffeine-starved miners two systems away. Able to function both as a military vehicle and a civilian transport, she is the interstellar equivalent of a Land Rover. Standard fittings include multi-cannons, heat sinks, point defence turrets. Average engine mass of 500 tonnes, power usage threshold of 17.00mw. She is wonderful. I watch as the Asp veers over my head, out of the docking bay and into the black beyond. The Asp is not my ship. No. This is my ship…

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Wot I Think: World Of Warcraft – Warlords Of Draenor

By Tom Mayo on November 19th, 2014.

World of Warcraft is ten years old and over that decade it has dominated the genre it popularised back in 2004. Given the size and devotion of its playerbase, it isn’t surprising to see another spurt of growth, adding bulk in the form of a stack of new content. Tom Mayo explored that content and found that the game hasn’t just expanded – with the release of Warlords of Draenor it may have received its most intriguing new feature to date.

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Epic Fail: What Failing In Games Can Teach Us

By Graham Smith on November 19th, 2014.

I spent half my evenings this week advancing through Advanced Warfare. Call of Duty games are uniformly about forward progression, but some of their most memorable moments comes from points of scripted failure: missing your chance to grab a gun as a Russian soldier in the first Call of Duty, or the nuclear blast in Modern Warfare 1. You learn something about the realities of those scenarios in both moments.

Advanced Warfare squanders its one point of necessary failure: the first mission’s unfortunate end incites action from both the player and from Kevin Spacey, but there’s little that’s real about it. You lose an arm, you gain a robot arm. As a player, you learn nothing. Failure in videogames can be so much more, both as a way of generating interesting play experiences and in making less abstract the knowledge we hold about the world around us.

Here are some games that I think do failure better, and what those failures taught me.

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things (In PC Games)

By Alec Meer on November 19th, 2014.

every feature needs a montage

Some moments in some games stay with you. The right event, the right surprise or the right hats at the right time, and it’s imprinted on your memory forever. I’ve been playing PC games for almost 25 years: I’ve got a million of these, and so have you. I’ll show you just a few of mine if you show me yours.
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Cardboard Children – GRAVWELL

By Robert Florence on November 18th, 2014.

Hello youse.

This past week, the soon-to-be-extinct human race of universe 34876.5 landed a robotic craft on a comet. To its great credit, that civilisation is fascinated by space exploration, despite the fact that extinction will occur long before any contact with other civilisations with occur. That civilisation is also fascinated by games, and designs many games based around space exploration. One of these games is called “GRAVWELL”.

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