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PC gaming communities you may not know about

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The PC gaming community landscape has changed dramatically over the years. In my youth in the late 90s, PC gamers flocked around IRC and various web forums around the world. I was in a Quake 2 ‘clan’ that played in a league organised in one such forum (BarrysWorld, RIP). In modern times, PC gamers have migrated from the traditional forum to places like /r/pcgaming and Discord. Entire communities have formed around individuals that who stream and commentate on Twitch and YouTube. Gone are the days of the dedicated server community.

I am fascinated by how gaming communities form and how they have changed over time. It’s a shame that there doesn’t seem to be a proper history of PC gaming communities (perhaps that’ll be another post..). However it strikes me that there isn’t even a contemporary ‘guide’ to what the current PC gaming community landscape looks like right now, which is why I’ve put together this little article. When you Google for ‘best PC gaming communities’ you get this rather paltry PC Gamer article which is barely representative of the PC gaming community. I’d like to attempt something more comprehensive.

Another thing to note is that reddit has entirely dominated the PC gaming ‘forum’ concept in the English speaking world. As of right now /r/pcgaming has over 1.5 million subscribers. Other niche subreddits also exist such as /r/battlestations /r/mechanicalkeyboards /r/ultrawidemasterrace - these would have been very niche communities in the past, but by virtue of being on reddit, they probably account for some of the most visited PC gaming community sites on the internet. I am not going to include any subreddits on the list as they are so popular they could easily make a list all on their own.

In this article I am also not going to attach the forum juggernaut - Steam Discussions - which has a subform for every single Steam game, is clearly the de facto place to to post discussion and technical support. For example when Metro Exodus was released exclusively on the Epic Game Store (which didn't have its own forum), gamers used the Steam Discussion forum to discuss technical problems with that platform (or to moan!). Similar to Steam Discussions, GOG forums where the most active discussion about games still take place. However although these are amazing resources, I would like to draw our attention to smaller PC gaming communities.

What excites me the most about writing this article is the comments that will inevitably come up where readers will reply with new and exciting PC gaming communities that we have never heard of. My plan is to later collate this information to help expand our wiki article: PC gaming online communities.

Criteria:
  1. A community is a place where a member can create threads of discussion (not just comments on posts)
  2. Not exclusively on reddit
  3. Not attached to an individual company (e.g. Overclockers)
  4. Communities that span multiple games, not just a single game or series
 
The Widescreen Gaming Forum was founded back October 13th, 2003, back when widescreen displays were just becoming popular. At the time, many games didn't support 16:9 resolution, or if they did the game would stretch the interface from 4:3 to 16:9 or there would be presented in the dreaded Vert- format (Vert-/+ and Hor-/+ being terms coined by WSGF at the time.). You can read all about the origin of this community in an interview we conducted a few years ago. Now, WSGF is at the forefront for multi-monitor support, FOV fixes and support for new aspect ratios such as 21:9 and 32:9. The community members have been creating fixes and hacks to add PC game support for these aspect ratios for years and it is often the very first place to find them published.
 
Unfortunately due to some issue with Google - as of 2019 - much of the website is currently incorrectly flagged as holding malicious content. These are false positive results due to the nature of the files being hosted (trainers, hacks, etc.). PCGamingWiki are currently in the process of migrating files to our Files section, and discussion forums have been archived and moved to a new subreddit. The main bulk of their 'Detailed Reports' remain on the main website, and community members are encouraged to submit reports.
 
VOGONS stands for Very Old Games On New Systems. There's a huge crossover of content between this old school forum and PCGamingWiki, as we both aim to get older games working on new computers. However where VOGONS really shines is the exploration of old PC hardware - your pre-Window XP beige box, which many would argue is the correct way to play many older games. On the forums there are threads about capturing video from a GeForce MX 440 or identifying 286 and 386 motherboards.
 
The adventure game may have waned in popularity on PC, but it is thriving more than ever on the Adventure Game Studio platform. These forums are the place where players, hobbyists and professionals come together to discuss adventure games built in the Adventure Games Studio engine, or to talk about the classic 2D adventure game genre in general. Many developers with successful Steam releases will hang out and make announcements and updates here like Wadjet Eye games. Other games you’ll see in development which - if you follow long enough - you may see on more mainstream releases. It's fascinating to see indie games like Tardigrades announced on the forum, slowly get updates and then see how it slowly became entangled in the Star Trek: Discovery lawsuit.
 
SimHQ's forums remains one of the best places to discuss very deep 'simulation' games that have often been the exclusive realm of PC gamers: flight simulators. air combat games, tank games and in-depth grand strategies. Dig out your HOTAS! Here you can discuss the best mods and hardware setups for games like Falcon 4.0, IL-2 Sturmovik and DCS World.
 
This gaming community for Linux gamers founded in 2011 by Liam Dawe. It is the premier place to find information and reviews on Linux games. This community is particularly passionate about any new releases or Linux ports of games and crowdfunded Linux port promises, and has enough momentum to be able to turn the fortunes of smaller developers who offer Linux ports, for example, Space Mercs received 35% of its sales through Linux users. The website itself receives daily updates and the community is active on its forums.
In 2019, Space Sim Central's forums aren't as active as they used to be, but there is a forum with thousands of posts all about the latest and greatest space simulator games whether you're into recent releases like Everspace and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw or classic space games like Freespace or Wing Commander. Special mentions to Hard Light Productions (Freespace modding forum) and Wing Commander Combat Information Center, which have very active space game communities too.
 
Perfected your aim in CS:GO and want to those transferable skills to work in Apex Legends? These community profiles and tools are shared in this active forum dedicated to having the same mouse sensitivity feel in multiple games. Find out what the best mice and mousepads from the experts, or find out the 'optimal' sensitivity in this megapoll of over 1000 users.
 
Teeters on the edge of being a game series community for SimCity, but manages to span multiple ‘city builder’ style games - specifically SimCity 4, SimCity 2013 and Cities: Skylines. I’m sure if other worthy city building games were released they would also be included here. This community shares swathes of modding tools, packs and content like new buildings, animations, and things to fill your simulated city.
 
The Cutting Room Floor is a very specialised wiki dedicated to finding cut content from games that are still left on disc or in the data files. These unused files often contain clues as to what the developer initially envisioned the game to be, but simply didn't have time to implement - such as unused audio files, textures, dialogue trees, etc. This isn’t specifically a PC gaming community, but has some fantastic PC content - for example - Deus Ex music files contain all sorts of secret cryptic text messages or the prototype of Half-Life 2 that was leaked by hacker Axel Gembe in 2003 contains references to a mysterious 'Spire' set in a snowy location, which sounds awfully a lot like a destination in Episode 3 'Borealis' location.

Its counterpart old-school forum is run by the same founders and is called Jul, and is a proper sleuth's view into the archaeology of games. Fantastic threads include this one on Fallout: New Vegas, which unearthed data which suggested that Obsidian planned for a much more ambitious game world - for example The Strip would have been a huge single open environment, and there were plans to have world map locations dynamically change hands following successful Legion or NCR quests.
 
A community dedicated to creating cheats for games - whether these are single player titles where cheating is ‘harmless', or multiplayer games for cheats, aimbots. These cheat mostly mostly come in the form of CheatEngine tables. Notably made the rounds in recent news due to cheating and microtransactions being patched in Wolfenstein: Youngblood. If you enjoy getting an advantage in games then this is the best place to download or submit your cheats and trainers for virtually every PC game.
 
Yes this is a forum based around a YouTuber - but this is more of a media company of over 20 staff of PC hardware enthusiasts, rather than just an individual personality who happens to be an avid PC gamer. The forums are a great resource for every aspect of PC hardware and building and has an active PC gaming forum.
 
Probably so ubiquitous it barely deserves a mention, but NexusMods is the forefront PC game modding community consisting of game content, mods, and clients. Primarily this was a modding site for Skyrim, and has expanded to hundreds of different games, the most popular being Bethesda titles like Fallout 3, 4 and New Vegas, as well as titles like Dark Souls. It has been a real boon to PC gaming, where you'll find many quality of life fixes as well as additional game content mods.
 
HowLongToBeat is a fantastic resource for information about how long it takes to complete a game. For a game like Skyrim, you'll be pleased to know that the main story takes a generous 25.5 hours to complete. However a 'completionist' run time averages out at 226 hours. The community invites users to submit their playtimes to help make their information more accurate. The forum itself is kind of like a support group for the typical gamer's Steam backlog (although note this is a multiplatform website). Each user profile encourages players to increase their percentage of 'completed' games. They even coined the term of 'retirements' or games that aren't worth completing, and they host a monthly game club (like a book club, but for games!).
 
And there's us! We are a passionate group of PC gamers who enjoy collating fixes and cataloging information about PC games. We have over 300 active editors and produced over 750,000 edits since our project began in 2012. If you'd like to help out please check out our Assignments system and join us on our Discord, we'd love to welcome new members to the community.

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Most gaming forums that I have been visiting were shut down in the last two/three years; Seriously Forums, Facepunch Forums, WidescreenGamingForum and one abandonware forum. Some moved to Discord, that I don't use, and reddit, which I am not a fan of. I mostly use GOG forums now, but the company doesn't seem to care about the state of the forums. It has a lot of potential to become something bigger now when other forums are being shut down left and right and more old-school people like me are searching for alternatives. I visit Vogons because the dev of dgVoodoo is there and some other good people that fix old games.

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Used to be a regular over at Revora back in my teenage years. It's a modding community known mostly for its member's efforts on mods for Command & Conquer, Battle for Middle-earth, and Petrolution (SW: Empire at War, at the time) games.

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