Halo Infinite beta gets Bazaar, its third and final map

Drop in for some Bot-slaying in a familiar locale.

What you need to know

The first Halo Infinite technical preview is currently ongoing.
After previously adding a new map to the test called Recharge, another map called Bazaar is coming to the fray.
The technical preview is currently set to run through August 2.

The Halo Infinite technical preview is continuing, with two maps so far. When the test initially went live, only Live Fire was available for players, with Recharge added the second day. Now, 343 Industries confirms that players can try out Bazaar, a map set in Mombasa, a location that players may recognize from the Halo 2 campaign. Fans who signed up and were selected through the Halo Insider program now have access to three maps for the remainder of the test.

We’re continuing to track the list of maps and modes in the multiplayer technical preview, as well as all of the bugs and launch issues players are running into. If you weren’t selected for this test, there’ll be future opportunities, as this is just the first of several planned “Flights” for 343 Industries to stress test different portions of the game ahead of launch. Anyone selected also needs to be giving feedback on what is and isn’t working in order to aid that process.

Halo Infinite is currently scheduled to be available at some point in Holiday 2021. It’s coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and PC.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

See at Microsoft
$60 at Best Buy
See at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

Halo Infinite beta gets Bazaar, its third and final map

Do you like the leaked Surface Duo 2 camera setup?

Take a peek at the leaks and share your thoughts.

It’s been an exciting past few days for fans of the Surface Duo, otherwise known as the Microsoft device that’s been seeing record-low prices every other week as part of an unending stream of fire sales. The reason for the excitement is that leaked images of the Surface Duo 2 have hit the web!

It’s true: The Surface Duo 2 is on the horizon. We’ve just gotten a serious look at the sequel device and its new camera setup, which will pack three lenses in a tiny bump. That’s a big change from the existing Duo. Our question to you, the reader, is: Do you like the changed design, based on what you’ve seen of it so far?

Do you like the leaked Surface Duo 2 camera setup?

We’ve extensively discussed the leaks of the Duo 2, specifically with regards to the camera shakeup. The camera bump isn’t just an aesthetic twist; it has some physical consequences as well. One is that the bump is going to stop the Duo 2 from laying flat on itself. And there’s also the worry that the bump could introduce structural issues, such as bending or breakage when the device’s two sides are closed together.

It seems like a logical assumption that if these things were issues, Microsoft would have already ironed them out. Or, perhaps Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on fixes right now as the device gears up for launch. But who knows for certain? It’s unlikely that any glaring issues exist at such a late stage of the prototyping process, but the only way consumers will know for sure is when they get their hands on the Duo 2 and start using it.

If your thoughts on the Duo 2’s camera require some elaboration, don’t limit yourself to a vote in the poll. Hop in the comments! Whether you’re an existing Surface Duo owner or simply a spectator of Microsoft products, your thoughts are welcome.

Do you like the leaked Surface Duo 2 camera setup?

Halo Infinite spoilers have leaked, here's how you can block them

Stay vigilant, Spartans.

What you need to know

The first Halo Infinite technical preview is currently underway.
343 Industries has confirmed that portions of the campaign were datamined from files and spoilers are now across the internet.
There’s a few things you can do to reduce the chance of seeing these spoilers.

The first multiplayer technical preview for Halo Infinite is ongoing but unfortunately, some parts of the campaign have now leaked. Halo Infinite Creative Director Joseph Staten confirmed on Friday that files from the campaign were datamined from the technical preview,

Hey folks, heads up: we unintentionally included a small number of #HaloInfinite campaign files in the tech preview build. Unfortunately, these files contain spoilers. 1/2— Joseph Staten (@joestaten) July 30, 2021

Fortunately, there’s a couple of things you can do to help ensure you remain unspoiled for when the game launches. You can mute various words or phrases on Twitter, as well as use the advanced muting options. For a more complete firewall against spoilers, you can download Spoiler Protection 2.0. It’s a Chrome extension (that also works on Microsoft Edge from the same link) that filters out results on the internet based on key phrases you decide. Do be aware that taking these steps will make it a bit tougher to follow official information on the game.

The current Halo Infinite beta dates and times originally ran for four days from July 29 through August 1. This was then extended through August 2. Halo Infinite is currently slated to launch in holiday 2021 and will be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and PC.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

See at Microsoft
$60 at Best Buy
See at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

Halo Infinite spoilers have leaked, here's how you can block them

The Recharge map arrives in the Halo Infinite technical preview

More battlegrounds to explore and challenging foes to fight.

What you need to know

The first Halo Infinite technical preview began on July 29 and is scheduled to run through August 2.
Previously, there was only one map available for players to test against ‘Marine’ level Bots.
343 Industries rolled out a second map, Recharge, alongside more difficult ‘ODST’ level Bots on Friday.

The first Halo Infinite technical preview is still underway. Players who signed up for the Insider program and were selected have been testing one map, Live Fire, alongside 4v4 multiplayer against Marine-level Bots. On Friday, developer 343 Industries added a new map called Recharge to the test, alongside higher difficulty Bots for players to face off against.

The list of maps and modes in the multiplayer test indicates there’ll be one more map added to this particular test, Bazaar. As this is a technical test, players are likely to continue encountering a whole host of bugs and launch issues, which the developers can hopefully identify and fix before the full launch of the game.

The introduction of Bots is a new feature for the Halo franchise, allowing players to fight in multiplayer against non-human opponents. In the full game, Bots will come in four difficulty levels: Recruit, Marine, ODST, and Spartan. Halo Infinite is currently slated to launch at some point in Holiday 2021 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and PC.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

See at Microsoft
$60 at Best Buy
See at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

The Recharge map arrives in the Halo Infinite technical preview

Rainbow Six Siege and toxicity: Why censorship is not the solution

Bubble wrap is not a solution to real problems.

Be it in real life, media, or video games, healthy discourse has taken a serious nosedive in recent years. This past year alone, Microsoft conducted research to confirm that people are growing less civil online. As a result, many places have taken a “no conflict” approach, seemingly because the idea of radio silence is better than the idea of entertaining potentially provocative speech.

Look at how many videos on YouTube disable comments. Look at all the sites and forums that manually delete posts and cherry-pick what stays and what goes. Look at the absolute state of Rainbow Six Siege, a game that has struggled with toxicity in multitudinous forms yet only ever decided to crack down hard on something as immaterial and irrelevant as bad words. Fear of diversity of thought, be it constructive or destructive, runs rampant right now, even though said diversity is just a symptom rather than a root cause.

With that in mind, I’d like to make an argument for why we need a new approach to toxicity, specifically in gaming, that focuses more on the big picture and less on making sure everyone is adequately armed with earmuffs and sight blinders.

The deal with toxicity

We can’t discuss toxicity without first defining it or, rather, highlighting how vague its actual definition is. Merriam-Webster says toxicity is “an extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful quality.” Here’s the issue: That means speech-based toxicity is different for absolutely everyone.

Why are mean words considered the absolute pinnacle of toxic behavior?

You know when you lose in a match of Rainbow Six Siege and someone posts a series of smiling emoji to taunt you? For a great many people, that’s just as, if not more, toxic than that same person calling you a good-for-nothing sack of expletives who should uninstall the game. It’s far more passive-aggressive and petty, to say the least. And even if the symbols are different, the intention is the same: to build unhealthy rage in an opponent. Yet the person who posts the baiting smiley faces will not be banned, whereas the person who calls someone else a $^%&head will, even though the degree of offense communicated with each type of message is immeasurable and subjective.

Furthermore, if we stick with the Rainbow Six Siege train of thought, remember: You can mute people and turn off chat. You can take matters into your own hands and build a walled garden around your eyes and ears so no one can hurt you. The tools are there for people to speak freely while also not offending your sensibilities.

So why, then, has Ubisoft, along with many similar companies such as Riot Games, decided that mean words are the absolute pinnacle of toxic behavior and placed a premium on combatting that peripheral bogeyman instead of the underlying issues causing the mudslinging in the first place?

Skewed priorities, hollow accomplishments

Rainbow Six Siege is a game that breeds toxicity from its very foundation. Permadeath means if you die for any reason in a round, you lose five minutes of your actual life. Always-enabled friendly fire means permadeath at the hands of a teammate is a constant threat, especially in a game with a community such as Rainbow’s, which is made up of an even four-way split between tryhards, griefers, braindead goobers, and young children who probably shouldn’t be playing a game with such adult themes.

Herein lies the real toxicity. Between these four groups, virtually every match of Siege will feature one, multiple, or all of the following events:

A teammate will teamkill you either by accident or on purpose.
A squad of people will gang up on a solo queuing player via teamkilling, team injuring, or destroying gadgets every round.
A player will bait you, either by damaging you or your gadgets, into teamkilling them to make you a target for being a “TKer.” (This is how players get around R6’s poorly implemented “reverse friendly fire” penalty)
A player will go AFK (away from keyboard), essentially robbing you of a teammate and throwing the match.
A player will deliberately or unintentionally ignore or avoid the objectives, thereby throwing the match.
A player will place reinforcements and traps in counterproductive places, thereby throwing the match.
A player will use cheats without consequence, despite BattleEye’s best (but not good enough) efforts.

Notice how none of these incidents involves someone talking smack in a little text box in the corner of a screen, yet all have far more serious, material ramifications for your enjoyment of Rainbow? It’s easy enough to tune out some nonsensical, jibberish text (either by not paying attention to it or literally blocking it). But when teammates are deliberately denying you access to your game by making you wait entire rounds just to be teamkilled, the toxicity is on a whole ‘nother level. Especially because if you quit a match to escape the malicious parties (of whom there are millions in ranked matches), you will be penalized and temporarily banned for abandoning your squad.

These are concretely toxic actions in the sense that they are objective illustrations of maliciously motivated, harmful behavior. And yet, none of them are effectively combated by Ubisoft. Ubisoft seems fixated on going after a far more easy target: the folks who type mean things, either as a result of having suffered the above annoyances or just because they enjoy saying nasty stuff.

Ubisoft has gone to drastic measures such as disabling “all” chat by default, so you only ever read thoughts from half the players in a given match. The company has given people a multitude of muting and hiding options to make sure no player has to indulge another player’s voice or text messages. Yet Ubisoft has taken it further, to the point where expressing basic frustration (not slurs, targeted harassment, or anything of a “more serious” nature) via mic or chat can result in a temporary or permanent ban.

Ubisoft’s efforts to curtail rude speech are the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on the Titanic.

In concept, this strictness is good, as it’s intended to enforce friendly competition amongst players. But again, that circles us back to the issue of what’s toxic. Players can still taunt you verbally or textually in ways far worse than a simple “f&^* you.” That goes unpunished, while bad words — spoken inside a game about brutally murdering people acting out terrorist attack scenarios, no less — receive near zero tolerance.

It’d be one thing if Ubisoft applied this hardline approach to all of the game’s toxicity issues, but here’s the problem: Ubisoft doesn’t. All of the aforementioned numbered toxicity items in Siege run rampant. Ubisoft’s efforts to curtail rude speech are the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on the Titanic and punish people for the simple act of venting or getting competitive when the real issues arise.

It often seems that the report buttons in Siege, the ones meant to help you flag griefers and troublemakers to Ubisoft, do nothing and have zero consequence. They’re just there to make you feel good, much like BattleEye is supposed to, even when cheaters run rampant. The only tool in Ubisoft’s arsenal of toxicity battling measures with any visible effect is the chat auto moderator, which is quite possibly the most effective operator in the game in terms of killing off players. No Jackal or Caviera will rack up as many eliminations as the chat auto moderator, even though half of those eliminated will likely be your own teammates.

Not an isolated problem

The issues that plague Rainbow Six Siege are not exclusive to it. If you recall the famous video titled “I’m Done with League of Legends” wherein YouTuber videogamedunkey formally quit LoL for good, he cited similar reasons for why he abandoned his game of choice. He broke down how the inner workings of the experience were inextricably linked to toxicity and that no amount of blacklisting players who said mean things would change the fact that the game’s fundamental mechanics routinely led to anger.

Toxicity is alive and well, even if developers have deluded themselves into thinking otherwise.

And yet, toxicity ceaselessly plagues Rainbow, LoL, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and just about every other multiplayer experience in existence. It’s almost as if the very nature of competition invites conflict, which produces speech and behavior that is not, strictly speaking, “nice.” And by attempting to pacify people to such an extreme degree, developers and publishers are essentially forcing a boiling kettle to never overflow, preventing it from ever cooling down.

So, when the kettle boils and has no way to let off steam via sh*tposting, what happens? We then get a player base like Rainbow Six Siege’s, where players spend copious amounts of energy and time figuring out how to anger others via in-game mechanics instead of speech, resulting in a game where teamkilling and sabotaging one’s allies is commonplace. In an attempt to cure a disease by only seriously addressing a single symptom, Ubisoft and similar developers only make the overall illness worse while continuing to pretend that they’ve done a good job.

Look at Overwatch, wherein abusive text crackdowns are being cited as cures for the problem. And yet, anyone who plays knows this isn’t true. Toxicity is alive and well, even if developers have deluded themselves into thinking that fewer mean words translate to a net decrease in overall bad behavior.

Bringing it full circle

To make the point I’m trying to make, I have to take the stance of absolute freedom of speech and, at least when it comes to things as trivial as games and entertainment media, freedom from consequence. I do not think anyone should be prohibited or deterred from sharing their thoughts or from using any words they need to communicate said thoughts, so long as they’re not actively threatening one’s livelihood or physical safety. That’s why you won’t ever see me delete readers’ comments here on Windows Central, regardless of what they say (though I cannot speak for my colleagues in this respect, nor should I).

With that said, I’m not here to encourage little Timmy from Idaho to hop on his Xbox Series X and shout racial slurs and abusive language at people; that sort of behavior isn’t productive or healthy, and if a game gets someone in the mood to act that way, the ideal solution is that they find a game that makes them happier. However, I also don’t think such behavior is the real foundational issue we all need to be focusing on. That aspect of toxicity can be muted or ignored. The root cause of said behavior is what we need to handle.

Chat abuse in games is a symptom of real problems, be they bad parenting, bad influences, anger issues, or the natural consequence of video game experiences deliberately designed around getting under people’s skins as much as possible. I can’t do much about people’s parenting styles or individuals’ anger management problems, but here’s the deal: If a game is designed for toxicity like Rainbow, League of Legends, and others are, let the troubled people who choose to play such games have their therapeutic venting space so that the negativity is not brought offline.

Alternatively, demand that developers strip out the inherently toxic elements so that such negativity is not actively bred in their games, though such an endeavor may be fundamentally impossible given the nature of the beast. But limiting communication is the equivalent of putting a layer of bubble wrap over a jagged, rusty piece of metal. It’s not fixing the issue; it simply shows how much deeper the problem really is. And if you choose to slam into that metal thinking the bubble wrap is enough to protect you from the real danger, don’t be surprised when you get cut.

Rainbow Six Siege and toxicity: Why censorship is not the solution

The Microsoft Surface Duo 128GB is down to a shockingly low $389

Just when you thought Surface Duo deals couldn’t get any steeper, they fell off a cliff and crash-landed into sub-$400 territory. That’s right: The Duo is down to $389 right now!

The big caveat is that it’s locked to AT&T. As long as you can stomach that, you’re primed to snag the 128GB model for less than it’s ever cost, meaning you can get in on the Duo at the lowest possible entry price until next week rolls around and it goes on sale for even cheaper (probably).

Microsoft Surface Duo 128GB (Locked, AT&T)

$389 at BuyDig

Microsoft’s Surface Duo can be yours for an all-time low of $389. It’ll be locked to AT&T, but as long as you’re cool with that, you can snag the 128GB model for a record-low price. The coupon that brings the Duo down to its current tag expires August 4, 2021, so act fast if interested.

Before you buy, consider that this could be a good trial run for you if you’re interested in the upcoming Surface Duo 2 but aren’t sure you want to shell out full price for Microsoft’s unusual device’s newer iteration. A classic Duo at $389 could be a way to dip your toes in the water without having to bear the full financial load of what will soon be Microsoft’s latest and greatest.

The Microsoft Surface Duo 128GB is down to a shockingly low 9

Microsoft outlines steps to mitigate latest Windows 10 printer issue

You can now follow steps from Microsoft to mitigate the latest printer issue on Windows 10.

What you need to know

Microsoft has shared steps on how to mitigate a printer issue on Windows 10 related to smart card authentication.
The company also released an out-of-band update for the same issue this week.
Mitigation requires you to work with the Windows registry.

Microsoft recently issued an out-of-band update for a problem that prevents some printers, scanners, and multifunction devices from working. Now, the company has outlined steps to temporarily mitigate the issue.

The complication only affects a small set of devices, but for anyone with a device that runs into it, updates and mitigation steps are always welcome. Microsoft explains which devices are affected in a support doc:

After installing updates released July 13, 2021 on domain controllers (DCs) in your environment, printers, scanners, and multifunction devices which are not compliant with section 3.2.1 of RFC 4556 spec, might fail to print when using smart-card (PIV) authentication.

Here are the steps for temporary mitigation from Microsoft:

To use the temporary mitigation in your environment, follow these steps on all your domain controllers:

On your Domain Controllers, set the temporary mitigation registry value listed below to 1 (enable) by using the Registry Editor or the automation tools available in your environment.

Note: This step can be done before or after steps 2 and 3.
Install an update that allows the temporary mitigation available in updates released July 27, 2021 or later (below are the first updates to allow the temporary mitigation):

Windows Server 2019: KB5005394
Windows Server 2016: KB5005393
Windows Server 2012 R2: KB5005391
Windows Server 2012: KB5005389
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: KB5005392
Windows Server 2008 SP2: KB5005390

Restart your domain controller.

Note that editing the registry incorrectly can cause serious issues. Here is the registry value that Microsoft mentions in its instructions:

Device Manager Name
Version and Update

Registry subkey
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesKdc

Value
Allow3DesFallback

Data type
DWORD

Data
1 – Enable temporary mitigation. 0 – Enable default behavior, requiring your devices into compliance with section 3.2.1 of RFC 4556 spec.

Restart required?
No

Microsoft outlines steps to mitigate latest Windows 10 printer issue

Halo Infinite beta system requirements: Can my PC run it?

Is your PC up-to-snuff, Spartans?

The first Halo Infinite beta test has proven to be a massive hit so far despite its rough edges, and if you were lucky enough to get invited to the test flight through the Halo Insider Program, you’re probably eager to jump in yourself. But just how powerful of a PC do you need to play the Halo Infinite beta, anyway? We weren’t sure leading up to the technical preview’s release, but now that it’s live, 343 Industries has provided fans with a full breakdown of minimum and recommended PC specs for the first Halo Infinite beta test. Here’s what you need to know, including what the minimum and recommended specs are as well as a way you can check if your PC meet these requirements.

List of Halo Infinite beta system requirements

Halo Infinite’s minimum requirements will likely be fairly accessible for most players, as they’re not too demanding. With that said, more powerful hardware never hurts to have, especially if you want to push for a sky-high framerate on one of the best PC gaming monitors available.

Here’s what 343 Industries lists as the minimum required specs for the Halo Infinite beta:

OS: Windows 10 RS3 x64 1709 Fall Creators Update
CPU: Intel i5-4440 or AMD FX-8370
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or AMD RX 570
VRAM: 4GB
RAM: 8GB

With this hardware, you’ll be able to play the Halo Infinite beta with decent visuals and an acceptable framerate. However, you’re going to need beefier specs if you want to enjoy the game on higher settings with smoother FPS.

Here’s what the developers list as recommended specs for the Halo Infinite beta:

OS: Windows 10 19H2 x64 1909 November 2019
CPU: Intel i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
VRAM: 8+ GB
RAM: 16+ GB

These specs will give you the power you need to play Halo Infinite at ultra settings with buttery smooth framerates, although it’s worth noting that many of these components (particularly the GPUs) are hard to come by right now. If your specs don’t match or surpass these recommended ones, try turning some settings down.

Will my PC run the Halo Infinite beta?

If you’re unsure whether or not your PC meets the minimum and/or recommended specs listed above, don’t worry — there’s an easy way to check. All you need to do is do a quick analysis with the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, which allows you to review what hardware you’ve got installed in your system with just a few clicks. Here’s how to use it.

Click the Windows button on your taskbar.
Type dxdiag.
Click dxdiag in the search results. Windows will then show your PC specifications.
Navigate to the System tab for details on your processor, memory, and Windows version.
Navigate to Display tab for details on your graphics hardware and video memory (VRAM).

If a part of your PC isn’t up-to-spec for Halo Infinite, you’ll be able to tell with this handy tool. Don’t forget to check out our guides to the best cheap graphics cards and the best budget CPUs if you need to make an upgrade, as the minimum specs for Halo Infinite are pretty affordable. Alternatively, you can also check out our roundup of all the best graphics cards and the best processors for your custom PC if you want to make some big upgrades to your rig. Hopefully you’ll be able to find powerful GPUs in stock despite scalpers’ efforts to ravage retailer inventories.

For more information on Halo Infinite itself and its beta, make sure you check out our full coverage on the Halo Infinite beta schedule as well as our list of Halo Infinite beta known bugs and launch issues. Also, make sure you read our guide on how to play the Halo Infinite beta so that you can properly sign up for the next flight if you haven’t already. Read our full Halo Infinite beta hands-on impressions as well to get our detailed thoughts on the technical preview.

Halo Infinite is expected to launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs during the Holiday 2021 season, and may specifically launch in November based on a possible leak in a donut ad. The campaign most likely costs $60, but the multiplayer will be completely free-to-play. With any luck, it will end up being one of the best Xbox games ever.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

See at Microsoft
$60 at Best Buy
See at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is the biggest Xbox game of the year by far, and based on the beta as well as on what we saw at E3 2021, it looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

Halo Infinite beta system requirements: Can my PC run it?

Splitgate beginner's guide: Tips and tricks for victory on the battlefield

Splitgate can be overwhelming. Here are some tips that will help you succeed.

The free-to-play arena shooter Splitgate has gotten incredibly popular lately (the game’s launch was even delayed due to server overload during open beta), with many fans falling in love with its “Halo meets Portal” gameplay design that combines the sandbox-focused structure of classic arena shooters with the creativity and momentum-based movement of Valve’s iconic puzzle game.

It’s an incredibly refreshing take on the multiplayer shooter genre in an era where battle royales and the class-based approach are dominant, but it’s also a bit difficult to get started with Splitgate as a new player because of how deep and nuanced the gameplay can be. After all, when you add the ability to teleport and fling yourself around the battlefield with portals to a shooter formula that’s known for its mechanical depth, things are bound to get complicated. If that’s you, though, don’t worry — we’re here to help with some valuable tips and tricks that will help beginners succeed.

Never stop moving

Above all else, it’s crucial to make sure you’re always moving around in Splitgate. Unlike many other arena shooters where holding sightline angles for an extended period of time can be advantageous, doing so in Splitgate will usually result in your death since enemies can easily flank you with their portals. Constantly moving around will make it harder for enemies to get the drop on you, which gives you a better chance to come out on top.

You should also use your portals to move around the map as well. If you’ve been in one area for more than 30 seconds or so, try using your portals to quickly switch positions to a new location. Not only will this make it harder for enemies to track you, but it can also open up opportunities for you to ambush unsuspecting opponents as well.

Use portals to get into optimal range

One of the best ways to use your portals is to get into the optimal range for your current weapon. For example, players that pick up an SMG or shotgun should try to use their portals aggressively to close the distance or flank opponents, while people using a battle rifle or sniper rifle should try to teleport to an elevated vantage point where you can see a lot of the battlefield from afar.

This tactic is effective for all of Splitgate’s weapons, but it’s particularly deadly if used with the rocket launcher power weapon. If you’re lucky enough to pick up the rocket launcher before someone else does, use your portals to get up close and blast the other team with rockets. The splash damage is capable of killing multiple people at once, so if you see a group of enemy players, don’t hesitate to aggressively teleport to them and deliver a devastating blow.

Shoot through your portals

Another great way you can use your portals is to create your own sightlines with them by placing a portal on the wall in front of you and then another one in a lane you want to watch. All of Splitgate’s weapons are capable of being fired through portals, so don’t hesitate to do so if the situation calls for it.

This strategy is a great way to shoot at foes in a hotly contested area without actually putting yourself in much danger, as if enemies begin to retaliate, you can just close your portals and cut off the sightline. Just make sure you don’t get campy with this tactic, as you’ll likely be flanked and killed if you don’t change your position after scoring a few kills.

Experiment with momentum

If you’re looking for ways to catch your opponents off guard, try falling through two vertical portals over and over again to build momentum. Then, place one of your portals on a vertical wall while falling to turn that momentum into a horizontal movement boost across an open area. The huge speed increase you get while doing this will likely surprise enemy players you encounter, and you can shoot them while in the air before they adjust their aim.

This trick is also incredibly useful if you want to cross a dangerous area without simply teleporting to the other side, which experienced players tend to expect and watch out for. Just make sure you don’t use this trick for the entire match, as players will eventually catch on.

Use grenades to destroy enemy portals

While grenades are usually used to soften opponents up and flush them out of cover in arena shooters, the grenades in Splitgate are unique. They don’t do any damage to other players, but they do have the ability to destroy enemy portals. Therefore, if you see an enemy trying to execute some portal shenanigans, put a stop to it with a grenade throw.

Destroying portals is also an excellent way to confirm kills on fleeing opponents. Many enemies will try to escape from a fight they can’t win by teleporting away, but a grenade throw will prevent this and ensure that you’re able to finish your adversary off.

Your thoughts

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any of your own that you think we should add to the list? Let us know.

Splitgate is available in Early Access on both Xbox and PC now, and it’s expected to fully launch in August 2021. It’s one of the best Xbox games and best PC games available right now if you’re a fan of arena shooters, so we highly recommend checking it out.

Portal shooter

Splitgate

Free at Microsoft (Xbox) Free at Steam

This innovative shooter is like a Halo game crossed with Portal, and as it’s free to play there’s really no reason not to give it a shot.

Splitgate beginner's guide: Tips and tricks for victory on the battlefield

Valve explains how Steam Machines paved the way for the Steam Deck

Refining in line with lessons learned so far.

What you need to know

The Steam Deck is Valve’s upcoming handheld gaming device, designed to take PC games on the go.
Valve’s previous attempt at Steam-focused hardware, the Steam Machines, failed to find a large audience.
Valve explains that the Steam Machines helped Valve learn important lessons when designing the Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck isn’t the first time Valve has taken a stab at Steam-centric hardware, with the infamous Steam Machines arriving and then quickly disappearing back in 2015. Speaking with IGN, Valve indicates that the Steam Machine rollout was an important learning process that paved the way for the Steam Deck.

“We didn’t really want to bring this device to customers until we felt it was ready and that all those boxes were checked essentially,” says designer Greg Coomer, adding “I don’t think we would’ve made as much progress on Steam Deck if we hadn’t had that experience.”

Designer Scott Dalton adds that Valve’s experience with trying to make a gaming PC that ran on Linux eventually led to Proton, the compatibility layer allowing the Steam Deck to run Windows games, at least in theory. Valve also explains that designing Steam Controller also provided valuable insight into the eventual design of the Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck specs list indicate it’s packing impressive handheld tech, though Valve has noted that many games will be targeting 30 FPS.

An ultimate PC handheld

Steam Deck

From $399 at Steam

Play your Steam library anywhere

Wanted more places to play your Steam library? Now you’ll be able to with the Steam Deck. This machine comes in three iterations, which each allowing you to play your games locally and portably.

Expand your games

SanDisk 256 GB SD Card

Store more games

$34 at Amazon
$45 at Best Buy

The Steam Deck supports expandable storage through SD cards, meaning you can grab one and just slot it in to make room for more games, especially if you don’t have a model with an SSD.

Valve explains how Steam Machines paved the way for the Steam Deck