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The Trial of Battlefield 4

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The Trial of Battlefield 4

Six months after its release for general sale, Battlefield 4 remains a bug-ridden, broken game. Despite repeated patches from DICE and EA, the moment one problem disappears another six seem to make an appearance. 

Fed up with Battlefield’s crimes, the FBI haul it into custody and place the game on trail. This is the thrilling courtroom drama that results from such arrest. 

The trail will be overseen by Judge Reinhold. Representing the players and purchasers of Battlefield 4 is District Attorney Ernest Arthur Suchs. Battlefield 4 has been assigned a Public Defender in the guise of PCGN writer Matt Purslow. You - the jury - have been sworn in, and the case is about to begin.

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A cheeky bug has been building invisible walls in Battlefield 4 - and we've only just noticed

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A cheeky bug has been building invisible walls in Battlefield 4 - and we've only just noticed

Fleshy men repelling rockets; bullets dissolving on contact with oxygen; grenades bouncing off patches of thin air. These are just some of the unexplained phenomena that have been confusing Battlefield 4 players.

In a game that began life riddled with bugs, their cause has been left undiscovered. But Youtuber Jack Frags might have just uncovered the culprit - the newly-named ‘Death Shield’ bug.

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Battlefield 4 loadout presets to let us spend more time toppling skyscrapers from today

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Battlefield 4 loadout presets to let us spend more time toppling skyscrapers from today

Load in... load out. Load in... load out. Oh, sorry friends: you’ve interrupted me during my morning pre-battle ritual. I find the slow assembly and disassembly of weapon configurations helps ready me for the day - but you might like to take advantage of DICE’s new loadout presets, which are designed to ease match startup in Battlefield 4.

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Battlefield 4's elusive megalodon finally discovered hanging out in a Naval Strike map

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Battlefield 4's elusive megalodon finally discovered hanging out in a Naval Strike map

For a good long while, intrepid shark hunters have been searching for the megalodon, the giant prehistoric shark, in Battlefield 4. There have been suggestions that it was hiding in the water since not long after the game’s launch, and despite finding further clues, players were still unable to find something that seems far to big to hide. 

As it turns out, this was because it was lurking in the waters of one of the Naval Strike maps, Nansha Strike, the DLC expansion which has only just been released. But the big beastie has finally been discovered, and it’s quite the sight to behold. 

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Battlefield 4: Naval Strike DLC deployed for premium Battlefield 4 players

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Battlefield 4: Naval Strike DLC deployed for premium Battlefield 4 players

Battlefield 4’s Naval Strike DLC turned out to be more of a navel strike when, on the eve of its intended release, DICE looked inwards to attend to some serious PC performance issues. Those apparently resolved, we’re now rattling through the normal map pack release procedure - which begins with a brief early access period for Battlefield 4 premium players.

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Battlefield: Vietnam turns 10. “There was actually an entirely new game mode that was cut late in the project”

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Battlefield: Vietnam turns 10. “There was actually an entirely new game mode that was cut late in the project”

It’s ten years since the release of Battlefield: Vietnam and DICE are getting whimsical with nostalgia. They’ve got together members of the old team to talk about the game’s development and it’s turned up a couple of juicy details. For instance, “There was actually an entirely new game mode that was cut late in the project." And it sounds like a real challenge.

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Battlefield 4: Naval Strike's four maps will look like this, if you squint a bit

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Battlefield 4: Naval Strike's four maps will look like this, if you squint a bit

Naval Strike is the name of Battlefield 4’s next round of maps - the conveyor belt for which has started rolling at full speed again now DICE have made a concerted effort to tackle the game’s myriad bugs.

Its headline feature is a new Carrier Assault mode DICE have been telling everyone is an explicit tribute to Battlefield 2142’s Titan mode. There’s one image of that, and three others, below.

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Battlefield 2142 veterans will feel "right at home" with Battlefield 4's Carrier Assault mode

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Battlefield 2142 veterans will feel "right at home" with Battlefield 4's Carrier Assault mode

Carrier Assault is the contemporary “reimagining" of Battlefield 2142’s Titan mode we learned about last month. Now we know how it works. DICE say pining 2142 players will “feel right at home" with the mode’s array of optional objectives - despite the new setting.

“We hope you will get the same thrill out of parachute-spawning down to a carrier as you did when blasting off in a rocket pod towards a Titan," said lead gameplay designer Gustav Halling.

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DICE make fixing Battlefield 4 netcode issues one of their "top priorities"

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DICE make fixing Battlefield 4 netcode issues one of their "top priorities"

‘Netcode’ sounds like a term so broad that it could mean absolutely anything, and it is. In Battlefield 4 it refers to problems ranging from faulty latency compensation to glitches in movement and shooting.

DICE have made these issues and everything in between one of their “top priorities", effective immediately - and plan to keep players updated on their progress in tackling the most worrisome issues.

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Battlefield 4 patch thaws freezing bug, smoothes Mantle integration

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Battlefield 4 patch thaws freezing bug, smoothes Mantle integration

Wounds aren’t patched in war - they’re dressed, sutured, or removed in amputations. With enough patches, though, Battlefield 4 might just become the game we’d have liked it to be four months ago. By now it’s covered from head-to-toe in plasters, thanks to a pledge from DICE to drop DLC until the game is fixed - and yesterday’s update was a figurative thermal blanket, designed to stop the game from freezing.

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Battlefield 4 pre-match grouping system to roll out from tomorrow, like tanks might

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Battlefield 4 pre-match grouping system to roll out from tomorrow, like tanks might

If you’re looking for proof that DICE have their comedy ear-horns pointed in our direction, consider this it. Just a few months after proclaiming “no plans" for a pre-match lobby system, here the Battlefield 4 developers are talking up a comprehensive Battlelog grouping feature that goes someway beyond the equivalent Battlefield 3 players had on the consoles.

Platoons will be rolled out over the next week or two, beginning tomorrow, February 27.

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Party up like Charlie Sheen: Battlefield 4 'Platoons' feature will allow pre-game grouping

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Party up like Charlie Sheen: Battlefield 4 'Platoons' feature will allow pre-game grouping

“Right, men. Whatever happens, we stick together."

Those were the last words I heard our Tim say before the PCGN we-don’t-need-a-parachute regiment sallied forth into the Titanfall beta last week. I watched haplessly as a perk-boosted Nick sprinted off into the undergrowth, and only caught fleeting glimpses of my colleagues thereafter.

The same won’t happen for much longer in Battlefield 4, at least. Players will soon be able to join up with other players before joining a match, rather than during.

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Unlock down: DICE to hand out "shortcut" weapon kits for Battlefield 4 over next two weeks

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Unlock down: DICE to hand out "shortcut" weapon kits for Battlefield 4 over next two weeks

We haven’t written a lot about about Battlefield 4’s Player Appreciation Month, and if we could write our way through February again I’m sure we’d do the same. Where DICE’s pledge to drop DLC until they’d fixed everything that was broken in Battlefield was a sober and sensible mark of respect to their suffering playerbase, a month of in-game unlocks and community missions didn’t seem like an awful lot of skin off their backs.

That said, the men and women who regularly shoot at you in Battlefield 4 are about to become significantly better equipped - and you’ve a right to know about that, and choose whether or not to join them. DICE are releasing a couple of voluntary “shortcut kits" over the next two weeks, which will unlock a number of the game’s existing higher-level weapons.

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EA CCO says publisher "did things wrong" for Battlefield 4's launch - but won't accept it's a "bad product"

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EA CCO says publisher "did things wrong" for Battlefield 4's launch - but won't accept it's a "bad product"

In the months since Battlefield 4’s October(!) release date, DICE have kept their heads down. They’ve postponed all post-release expansions to tackle bugs, and remained deeply apologetic for the high profile cock-up that was the game’s launch.

EA have stuck to a largely similar script throughout - but what they won’t do is call Battlefield a failure.

“We did things wrong," said chief creative officer Rich Hilleman at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. “We know that. We’re gonna fix those things. We’re gonna try to be smart about what customers want in the future. But I’m not willing to accept – and I don’t think most of my customers are willing to say – ‘it’s a bad product, I wish I didn’t buy it’."

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Oculus founder discusses the future of virtual reality and the problem with light bulbs

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Oculus founder discusses the future of virtual reality and the problem with light bulbs

In a passionate but nervous presentation at DICE, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey outlined the possible, ambitious future of virtual reality and the many hurdles ahead. 

“It’s going to be driven by games," Luckey said. But gaming isn’t the end of the road for VR. Luckey sees it spreading into entertainment more generally, as well as into hospitals and schools. But it’s the game developers at the front of the charge.

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Fullbright's Steve Gaynor warns developers that "expectations are very high" for new indie titles

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Fullbright's Steve Gaynor warns developers that "expectations are very high" for new indie titles

Speaking at DICE yesterday, Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor warned new indie developers that tougher times are coming compared to “the first wave" of developers - like Gaynor, himself - who rose to prominence thanks to digital platforms and low-cost development. 

“When the first wave came out all they had to worry about was AAA," said Gaynor. "They had this proposition of something different that didn't cost $60 that people were saying was really cool. But the thing that is happening now is that those guys are making their follow-ups and those games are being marketed and perceived differently than the first wave, which were surprises. Expectations are very high."

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AMD release Mantle API drivers that make Battlefield 4 giddy (on the right GPU)

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AMD release Mantle API drivers that make Battlefield 4 giddy (on the right GPU)

It was with a metaphorical M16A4 salute that DICE announced their new Mantle renderer for Battlefield 4 last week, and rightfully so: in conjunction with the right graphics card, DICE’s files can pull up to 45% better performance out of your PC.

Just one problem: at the time, AMD had neglected to release the drivers necessary to take advantage of the renderer. And so it sat dormant on everybody’s machines - until Saturday, when the Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers showed up.

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AMD Mantle rendering hits Battlefield 4; ups game performance in "virtually all scenarios"

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AMD Mantle rendering hits Battlefield 4; ups game performance in "virtually all scenarios"

AMD’s Mantle API has spent the last two years methodically moving its tentacles about the exterior of Battlefield 4’s Frostbite engine, looking for an in. Today it’s finally gnawed through its scales - in this squidy metaphor, DirectX - finally breaking down the barrier between the game and your GPU.

The result? Performance gains of up to 45%, if you’ve the right sort of hardware.

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