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    by Published on May 15th, 2017 02:00 AM
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    The majority of bestselling video games belong to a franchise, and it often comes as a surprise to today's gamers that most of these multiplatform franchises originated as PC exclusive games. In this article, we present a list of multiplatform game franchises that originated on PC, usually with their first game (but sometimes more) being PC exclusive at least for a year. We will also discuss the impact that becoming multiplatform had on each franchise.

    The impact of multiplatform success was usually significant and the older games in each franchise are usually quite different than the newer games; this is because the very first game in each franchise was designed to be unique in order to stand out and capture an audience, but as time went on they conformed to the changing gaming industry, which in this day and age means dumbing down the game in all aspects, removing content in order to spend as little money as possible on the game, and reusing the same formula (with all its restrictions) that other successful games in the genre use. For this reason, the older games in every franchise shouldn't be skipped, as they almost always offer something different and typically they offer more.

    While other popular franchises did not begin as PC exclusive, most of them still trace their design back to PC exclusive games (excluding games originating from Japan of course), like BioShock being a spiritual successor to the PC exclusive System Shock franchise. There are also franchises like StarCraft that fit the criteria of this article, but we do not think it is necessary to include them since their popularity on consoles is not great enough. Everyone already knows they originated on PC.




    Franchise Name: Battlefield
    First Release: Battlefield 1942
    First Release Date: 2002
    Genre: FPS
    Developer: DICE
    Publisher: Electronic Arts

    Battlefield is one of the most popular multiplayer shooter franchises today. Its popularity skyrocketed with the release of Battlefield 3 in 2011, largely due to it being an impressive technological showcase. Its most recent release was Battlefield 1, poorly named but popular nonetheless, and seen as a bit of a turnaround for the franchise due to it having a much more stable launch than Battlefield 4 and not being poorly received like Battlefield: Hardline was. Although its single player campaign is poor, repetitive, and historically inaccurate, and its multiplayer is pathetic for a PC game.

    But the first game in this franchise was Battlefield 1942, which was not a modern warfare game as one may expect. That's right, it took place in World War II, and believe it or not it predates Call of Duty (and Medal of Honor predates both).

    Battlefield 1942 was not the only PC exclusive Battlefield game however. The first three sequels, Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 2, and Battlefield 2142 were all PC exclusive. Four games, four different settings, making for excellent variety and a very strong start to the franchise.

    How did these games compare to Battlefield today? They featured the same core game modes and sometimes more, like Titan in BF2142 which is the favorite of many Battlefield players ...
    by Published on April 27th, 2017 03:00 AM  Number of Views: 6161 
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    Unfortunately, many game franchises have died off without a proper ending, leaving the story hanging. In this article we will look at the most needed sequels in the video game industry. Many of the sequels we mention were at some point in development, but not all of them.




    The industry desperately needs a successor to Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which is a one of a kind RPG and one of the finest ever made. Traditional fantasy RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons and Dragon Age are familiar, but Arcanum is truly unique, being a mix of that traditional fantasy and Steampunk. Magic versus technology.

    As a result, the contrast in possible player character builds is unmatched; your character can be a more traditional sword and shield warrior, a mage skilled in whichever of the 16 spell colleges you choose, or one who strongly pursues technology and ranged weapons, including guns. Needless to say, we need a new RPG like this, with such a unique world. Steampunk combined with fantasy.

    But Arcanum's excellence goes beyond that. It is one of the finest RPGs ever made, having huge disparity in dialogue responses and quest availability based on your character build, and so many possible world and plot changes coming from this. It has many different races to choose from, and race strongly influences reputation and dialogue. So do the eight attributes and your own reputation. Reputation changes dynamically depending on what you do, like Fallout and Fallout 2 (obvious inspirations for Arcanum, as most of Arcanum's developers worked on Fallout and Fallout 2 as well). The entirety of the game is rewritten based on your intelligence score, with very low intelligent characters being almost incomprehensible verbally and in their written journal like in Fallout 2, as well as much different, more refined dialogue responses for highly intelligent characters.

    Quest design, for the most part, is also greatly superior to the RPGs of today, being more open ended, more logical, having less hand holding, not involving repetitive tasks, and having unique gameplay opposed to just combat or dialogue. Writing quality also stands far above the RPGs today, with its so much more detailed world and characters, and a thematically rich story as well.


    Like other great classic RPGs, Arcanum was rich with unique style, seen as early as the game's cinematic intro shown above.

    All of these distinct, positive attributes we have described about this game and other great classic RPGs are now extinct from the genre. They no longer have a unique, unmistakable style like Troika and Black Isle Studios did. No longer do they have such a variety of possible character builds with the depth that allows them to be truly unique. No longer does anything about your character build greatly impact the course of the game beyond combat, and even those combat changes ...
    by Published on January 2nd, 2017 04:00 AM
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    With 2016 being concluded, it is time for our annual game of the year awards. 2016 had many noteworthy releases, so we are excited to get this one underway. Get started on the next page!



    Mod of the Year - Overhaul


    Mod Title: Sky Reclamation Project v1.1.1
    Game Title: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky (2008)
    Release Date: July 9, 2016
    Platforms: PC
    Genre: FPS
    Developer: GSC Game World
    Publisher: Deep Silver

    Sky Reclamation Project is a massive unofficial patch for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky, aiming to fix all of its bugs and improve many aspects of the game, adding new gameplay mechanics in the process. Lots of optional features are included like true pistol iron sights, altered emission frequency, reduced AI grenade spam, and far more. It is a perfect mod. There is no reason to play the unmodded game since Sky Reclamation Project is a universal improvement, not to mention more stable.

    2016 was full of excellent overhaul mods. Settlements Expanded for Fallout 4 lets you do things like this compared to this from the unmodded game, and far more. Hearts of Iron IV: The Great War does not ride on the shoes of Battlefield 1; instead it showcases one of the most terrible events in history in its own unique, Grand Strategy way. Brutal DOOM 64 brings a re-imagined version of one of the most interesting ports of the original DOOM, borrowing from the acclaimed Brutal DOOM's mod legacy.

    Warcraft: Armies of Azeroth seeks to remake one of the best strategy games of all time on the Stacraft 2 engine, and TemplarGFX's ACM Overhaul seeks to make the disappointing Aliens: Colonial Marines into something actually worth playing. Quite the task all these mods have, but through sheer tenacity and respect for the original work and the art form, all are worthy of our time!

    Other Nominees

    • Settlements Expanded (Fallout 4)
    • Hearts of Iron IV: The Great War (Hearts of Iron IV)
    • Brutal DOOM 64 (Doom 2)
    • Warcraft: Armies of Azeroth (StarCraft 2)
    • TemplarGFX's ACM Overhaul (Aliens: Colonial Marines)




    Mod of the Year - Total Conversion


    Mod Title: Call of Chernobyl 1.4.12
    Game Title: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (2010)
    Release Date: October 24, 2016
    Platforms: PC
    Genre: FPS
    Developer: GSC Game World
    Publisher: bitComposer Games

    Call of Chernobyl is an extremely ambitious total conversion mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat, adding many new locations, tons of new equipment (with gorgeous gun models), and new gameplay mechanics with a ton of new options not only for gameplay but also UI, sound, weather, and more. Of course, graphics are improved as well. Call of Chernobyl features every single location from all S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, and more. You can even create your own character like an RPG, something totally new ...
    by Published on November 19th, 2016 06:00 AM   
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    Multiplayer shooters have fallen further than most other genres. Time has really taken its toll on it. We talked about it to some degree in this article which compares many past games to present day counterparts. It was also mentioned in this article. But we felt this specific subject deserves its own article because so much has been taken away from this genre.

    There are of course exceptions to the rule. Valve, Tripwire Interactive, Bohemia Interactive, and others preserve the greatness and the flexibility provided by older PC exclusive multiplayer shooters. But these exceptions are rare. In general this genre, along with RPGs, have been watered down so much that it really is baffling and depressing.



    The release of Battlefield 1 and the positive reception triggered many of us at GND-Tech, kickstarting this article in the process, but the negative trends it follows are older than the game itself. The Rental Server Program, the only way to host a server, is what really got on our nerves. Details below:

    As you know, Rental Servers for PS4 and Xbox One have gone through EA. Now with Rental Servers going through EA, thereís quite a lot of questions. Letís answer some now:

    How
    ...
    by Published on October 24th, 2016 05:00 AM   
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    Today's article is unlike others you will find on this site. It is no secret we write a lot. Today, we are writing less and instead presenting screenshots and videos. This article serves simply as a demonstration of some of the most spectacular visual art in video game history (mods included). Most gamers are too focused on graphics fidelity (while failing to understand and even see fidelity in the first place), opposed to art design and attention to detail. Too many only notice and focus on bloom, lens flare, and inaccurate depth of field, opposed to things like non-repeating environments and textures, materials processing, terrain formations, detailed and logical architectures with distinct designs.

    Remember, this is just about visual art. Video games are an art form for other reasons too, such as their ability to tell stories in different, incredible ways, explored here. Furthermore, every game listed here isn't just designed around the set pieces like recent Call of Duty games are. So while they look spectacular, there is much more to them.

    You know what they say; a picture is worth a thousand words. Behold the value of thousands upon thousands of words, as we present to you the visual art of games! All screenshots in this article are indeed unedited.



    We are starting things off on quite the high point, on what is in my opinion the most visually mesmerizing game of all time. Obduction is Cyan's latest game, released in August 2016. We reviewed it here. They also created one of the most important games ever, Myst, and Obduction is likewise a pioneer in its own right.

    Obduction shows why fidelity is still rather important. It wouldn't be as awe inspiring without its state of the art graphics technology powered by Unreal Engine 4.


































































































    Myst may have been the first game to argue that video games can be art. Its environment was made up of still images, but realMyst: Masterpiece Edition from 2014 is a full 3D remake with free roaming capabilities. An amazing improvement even if the graphics fidelity is far from top notch, but despite this its environments are jaw dropping and so imaginative.

    So the version we are looking at is indeed realMyst: Masterpiece Edition. Behold.































    Praise must be given not only to Bethesda Game Studios who created The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, but also the modders who brought its visuals up to standards seen years later. Morrowind has one of the most visionary, unique, otherworldly fantasy worlds in video game history; the island of Vvardenfell. See for yourself. The mods shown are listed here. Note that view distance and anti-aliasing can be improved further than what the screenshots, but even an i7 6700k running at 4.6 GHz with 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz RAM and a GTX 1080 struggle to run it! That's the downside of adding so many new graphics features to an old engine.





































    Now some of you younger gamers may understand why some people prefer the world of Morrowind to those of Oblivion and Skyrim.



    The visuals of Dishonored were a thing of controversy. The press often praised its artistic attention to detail, but criticized its apparent lack of fidelity. Although as far as fidelity goes, it only lacks in texture resolution, and this was intentionally part of the art design. Textures are meant to appear "painted" and can look oily at times, really demonstrating this. Combined with its post-processing effects and lighting (which are still fairly advanced even by today's standards), it really does resemble the painting.

    In order to look stunningly beautiful, Dishonored should really be played at larger resolutions combined with supersampling. This is because aliasing is a real problem with its graphics, as is the case with most other modern games. Furthermore it benefits greatly from forced ambient occlusion via NVIDIA drivers (far superior to injected shader implementations, e.g. ReShade and ENB). The result of these tweaks (not mods) is magnificent, as seen below.









































    All of these screenshots were taken on max detail, 2560 x 1440 resolution, with forced 2x fullscreen sparse grid supersampling as well as forced high quality ambient occlusion, both through NVIDIA drivers. So yes, a NVIDIA graphics card is needed to squeeze out the best visuals of this game.

    Dishonored's lack of repetitive environments, with every level having distinct textures and architectural design (even within each level, e.g. when comparing buildings in different regions ...
    by Published on September 11th, 2016 10:00 PM
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    There are some unfortunate trends that single player game developers are following, and many excellent design concepts that aren't being used. In this article we will show you both sides of the equation.

    It is no secret that most single player games today follow the same formula, falling into our "Don'ts" category and largely ignoring the things in our "Do's" category. But everything in our "Do's" category has been done in the past, but unfortunately they seem to be primarily a thing of the past now.

    From storytelling to gameplay design, level design and sound design, we will be looking at a bit of everything. This is by no means a complete list of course; a complete list for such a thing can't really be compiled as game design involves creative, artistic work. But everything here should be considered by developers and publishers.

    This article revolves around more story-driven single player games, not strategy games, and the concepts we encourage are vague enough to apply to many different kinds of games. Let us first begin with the "Don'ts" or the design pitfalls most games are falling into.

    Beware that this article is filled with spoilers for various games. Also, special thanks to Charcharo for aiding with this article and adding ideas and examples.



    This page contains design choices that are overemphasized or misused. We are not saying these concepts need to be abolished entirely. Except for one, which is the use of waves of enemies with infinite respawns. Non-stop enemies. It's excessively gamey and serves no purpose other than to add synthetic difficulty and to chew up time. Developers, never use this.

    Now, let's look at the bigger concepts.

    Cinematic Presentation

    Let us tackle perhaps the biggest issue first. So many games now are emphasizing a cinematic approach, but rather than using cinematic presentation in a way that benefits the games, they are simply trying to copy movies completely and making huge sacrifices in gameplay, level design, and storytelling. These games try to get you to focus on the "cinematography" as well as the visuals and acting, and skimp on actual writing quality.

    Another storytelling sacrifice is interactivity. Video games are an interactive medium, but these overemphasized cinematic games disregard this interactivity in favor of copying movies, thus you watch rather than play. Therefore, it is clear that these games ...
    by Published on August 6th, 2016 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 2142 
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    A game is nothing but an idea without an engine, and in today's gaming industry there are many options when it comes to engines and APIs. When cost and royalties are factored in, the choice may become difficult. But in this article we are putting that aside and focusing purely on technology, and believe it or not, for the most part it is quite clear which technologies have the most potential.

    By game technology, as you may have guessed we are largely referring to game engines, but also physics engines, graphics APIs, and audio APIs.



    The Engine


    Several engines are worthy of respect, and many are not. Far too many studios stick to their own inferior, outdated, and terrible engines just because of familiarity. Bethesda Game Studios and Bohemia Interactive are perhaps most guilty of this because their games are in need of a new engine more than most others.

    But one engine seems to have it all. One engine supports practically every platform you can name, has an array of both graphics and audio API options, is very easy to use even for newcomers, is loaded with most of the features one could ask for, and allows you to build essentially any kind of game. And it's free to install and use, and is even open source! This engine is Unreal Engine 4.

    Unreal Engine has come a long way. Unreal Engine 3 was perhaps the most used game engine for the last 9 years. Examples of UE3 games include, but are not limited to:

    • Every game by Epic Games since 2007 obviously, such as Unreal Tournament 3 and the Gears of War games.
    • Mass Effect trilogy
    • Every Batman game since and including Arkham Asylum.
    • Borderlands and Borderlands 2
    • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rising Storm, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
    • Killing Floor 2
    • Thief
    • The
    ...
    by Published on July 10th, 2016 05:00 AM  Number of Views: 2426 
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    It is time for another RPG article! Role-Playing Games are endangered, and with this article and many of our others we do our best to preserve knowledge relating to them. In this article we have created a "tier list" if you will of wRPGs, sorted from least role-playing to most. Here is the catch; we are only listing story-driven RPGs with a solid amount of role-playing, an amount somewhat satisfactory to us or better. Every wRPG excluded on the list either does not provide enough role-playing to be worthy of inclusion, or we simply have not played it.

    The purpose of this article is to enlighten gamers as many of today's gamers have only experienced dumbed down RPGs with a minimal amount of role-playing, such as The Witcher franchise (something we have written about before). Mainstream role-playing games today are very limited with how much role-playing they actually provide. Only indie RPGs provide enough to compete with many of the classics.

    For more details, go on to the next page to begin scrolling through our tier list. Tier 1 represents the most role-playing, while Tier 6 represents the least. The actual order within each individual tier is unsorted; every game listed within a tier has a comparable amount of role-playing.

    It is important to note that the only thing we are taking into consideration is how much role-playing each game actually offers, not the quality of each individual game. All is explained in the next pages, for each individual game. This article does not contain many spoilers, and the few present are behind spoiler tags.



    The Elder Scrolls III - V (2002, 2006, 2011)


    With this entry, we include Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. While Morrowind does have more role-playing than the other two, it isn't a big enough difference to justify putting them on different tiers.

    Compared to the other games on this list, The Elder Scrolls is unique. While they sacrifice none of the freedom that Fallout 2 boasted, adding even more on top of it in fact, almost none of that freedom is ever recognized or has any impact on the game. You can play as one of many races: Nord, Imperial, Redguard, Dunmer, Bosmer, Altmer, Argonian, or Khajiit. These games also have right around two dozen distinct playstyles, so they are formidable action RPGs just as far as gameplay mechanics go.

    Morrowind is distinct from the others in that it has more unique dialogue depending on your race, as well as a reputation system that can completely change conversations. Players with poor reputation will be insulted and can't inquire about much or anything, and will be refused services like lodging and trading. Furthermore, Morrowind lets you alter and ruin the main campaign/story at will, the result of the player becoming a murderer and failing to properly fulfill his/her prophecy. Whereas the campaigns of Oblivion and Skyrim have zero flexibility ...

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