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The latest articles from GamingOnLinux
Updated: 1 hour 27 min ago

Sunless Skies is steaming ahead towards release, UI overhaul is out

2 hours 41 min ago

Tags: Indie Game, GOG, Steam, Early Access, Unity, Humble Store, RPG

Sunless Skies from Failbetter Games is leaving Early Access on January 31st and it recently had a pretty big UI overhaul. Note: My copy was provided by GOG.

What is Sunless Skies? Well, it's a Gothic horror RPG where you're the captain of a locomotive that travels through space. The game has an exceptional atmosphere, with a heavy focus on the narrative and exploration.

Last month, they released what seems like their last major update before the official launch. It's a big one too, one that changes the game in quite a lot of ways. The first massive change is the interface, which has had a complete makeover:

Failbetter Games are known for their good story-telling and Sunless Skies shows why. The way they write is practically unmatched in the indie space. The new interface for different elements of the story and events, is much better. As an early-game shot below (to not spoil much) will demonstrate:

If you're interested in more design details about the UI work, they made this post on Gamasutra about it.

To round out the game, they've also finished up player weapons to include mines, rockets and exotic weaponry. Docking is no longer automatic, so you need to be a little bit more careful which naturally means I crash into everything possible when trying to get into position. One of their stretch-goals from the original Kickstarter is finally in too with the smuggling feature, along with the ability to have hidden compartments on your locomotive which sounds fun.

For those who haven't played it in some time, you will be shocked at just how different it feels. The opening section is completely different too, with some light tutorial elements and it feels drastically better overall as a much better introduction to the game. Compared to when I last played it, I hardly recognised it.

Sadly, it's another Unity game with graphical issues on NVIDIA. Something I've talked about a lot across various articles here, for now you can get around it by launching the game with these extra commands until they upgrade their Unity version:

-force-glcore42 -force-clamped

Once you do that, it will have no graphical distortions and it does run very nicely. Really pleasing to see another game funded on Kickstarter come along so well, the light at the end of the tunnel is almost here.

You can find Sunless Skies on GOG, Humble Store and Steam.

ATOM RPG, the Fallout-like game now has a full tutorial starting area and more

3 hours 55 min ago

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, RPG

The developers behind the Fallout-inspired ATOM RPG certainly have been busy since releasing it in December.

While the game is pretty damn good, I've no doubt about that, there is one part it could have done better which is the introduction. Previously, it put you into the game with a small fight scene and you were left to your own devices.

That's changed, with the addition of the new ATOM base along with an actual tutorial.

While a lot of it was quite obvious to me, as someone who has played tons of similar games, it does give it a more polished feeling. For those who are perhaps a little slow on the uptake, it will make the starting experience drastically better. It lets you run around and test various weapons, along with teaching your some of the UI basics. What's even better, is that you can easily skip over it by just entering the main building so they've dealt with players who don't want to do it too.

Additionally they've done a balancing pass on random encounters, fixed plenty of bugs, improved companion AI and they implemented more optimisations. It really does run rather nicely now and I said in a previous article, it's practically Fallout Russia.

Since release, they've managed to get a "Very Positive" user review rating on Steam so it looks like they've managed to accomplish their mission.

You can find ATOM RPG on Steam.

Deadly Days, the strategic zombie survival rogue-lite has continued to evolve into a better game

4 hours 34 min ago

Tags: Zombies, Steam, Indie Game, Rogue-lite, Early Access

There's a number of Early Access game that I'm keeping a close eye on for having a huge amount of promise, Deadly Days is one such title that has come along very nicely recently.

It's what the developers are calling a 'unique strategic zombie survival rogue-lite' and that's a pretty reasonable description. You loosely control a group of survivors during the apocalypse and it's your job to oversee their survival. You have 15 days to scavenge what you can, in the hopes of finding some medicine to prevent them turning.

Last time I checked it out in November last year, I noted how it had a much more interesting direction and that's even more true now since some recent updates to the game. It truly feels more interesting and everything has more of a purpose, not to mention the way you control your squad actually makes a lot more sense now too.

When you're out exploring, there's now some fog of war which definitely adds to the suspense, you no longer have the entire map explored as soon as you arrive which makes it quite a bit more fun. They also added a special building, a 'MKing' burger house which will continuously spawn basic zombies. One of my major issues was also solved, which was the confusing control scheme for telling your group where to go. While they explore by themselves, you did have the ability to mark a specific location for them to go to and now it's a lot more clear.

Features:

  • Currently more than 35 crazy items that make each game unique, including toothpaste.
  • Over 20 powerful special abilities that can dramatically change the outcome of a battle
  • Three different specializations where you can unlock new abilities, items and weapon types
  • Currently over 20 weapon types with randomly generated modifications
  • Procedurally generated cities and missions
  • More than 20 survivor skins to discover
  • More than 10 different types of zombies that only want one thing: Brains.
  • Additionally three unique bosses to defeat
  • Over 30 achievements to unlock
  • Lovingly designed pixel artstyle

Happy to see progress going well on Deadly Days, can't wait to see what else they have planned to make the exploration more interesting.

Find it on Steam in Early Access.

Night of the Blood Moon, a cramped Nuclear Throne-like shooter is now in Early Access

5 hours 37 min ago

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, Early Access, Action, Rogue-lite

Night of the Blood Moon from sole developer Tyler McDermott is a cramped and quite interesting action game that feels like a twin-stick shooter inspired by the likes of Nuclear Throne. It was funded on Kickstarter back in August last year with 179 backers helping it become a reality.

Note: Key provided by the developer.

It arrived in Early Access on Steam only recently and after putting a few hours into it I really was impressed. It's a little rough around the edges but it's a promising and rather fun game.

Much like Nuclear Throne from Vlambeer, you go through level after level in what are essentially small arenas, once you defeat all the enemies in the current level you're done and you move on. Even the ammo mechanic is similar in both style and how it works, with defeated enemies dropping little amounts.

Check out the trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

It has some random elements, so you could class it as some sort of rogue-lite with each run-through being different. Maps and enemies are random, the skill tree you use to pick new attributes is also different each time and so it has a good amount of replay value to it. There are some permanent unlocks like weapons, which you can unlock using what look like feathers you earn during each run.

The game does get quite difficult too, especially the levels where they're a lot darker and so you don't see as much which can make it tricky to avoid enemies as well as their attacks.

I mentioned that it's a little rough around the edges, as enemies sometimes get stuck on the edges of the map so it's not quite a polished experience just yet.

While it advertises "Full controller support" it seems to not work at all with the Steam Controller directly through Steam. I tried it with SC Controller too, no dice there either. Dusting off my trusty backup, the Logitech F310 and that was the same, so it seems gamepad support doesn't work on Linux right now.

For those not on Ubuntu, the developer mentioned this:

GameMaker Engine requires non-Ubuntu users to make a few extra steps to with the game file:
Properties -> Set launch options and LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. %command%

Find it on Steam, just remember it's in Early Access so it's not finished. I like what I've seen quite a lot, it just needs more time in the oven and so I will be keeping a close eye on it.

Sparticles, a fast-paced platformer that reveals hidden terrain with particle explosions is now on Linux

6 hours 23 min ago

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Platformer

We have a lot of platformers, however Sparticles is one that looks incredibly unique visually due to the hidden terrain mechanic. It looks very colourful and really quite interesting.

As you bounce around, the terrain will reveal itself with particles exploding all over the screen and it looks wild:


Watch video on YouTube.com

The game released back in August of last year for Windows and it just gained a Linux version across the weekend. However, it seems they didn't actually link any content to Linux downloads which I mentioned to them so hopefully they will fix that soon.

Features:

  • 100 platforming levels to test your skills
  • Defeat challenging Bosses!
  • If there are enemies, you must destroy them to unlock the exit portal
  • Scoreboard to see the best time of all users and friends on each level
  • Repeat as many times a level, death is very fast!

Find Sparticles on Steam. It's also on itch.io but only for Windows there I've asked if they will put the Linux version there too.

Age of Fear: The Free World, a free fantasy turn-based strategy game

6 hours 26 min ago

Tags: Free Game, Strategy, Steam, Indie Game

For those in need of their next turn-based strategy game, the Age of Fear series now has a free entry for you to test the waters.

Age of Fear is a long-running series of fantasy turn-based strategy games. Loved by fans for its tabletop wargame battle system and in-depth RPG customization.

Age of Fear: The Free World serves as a COMPLETELY FREE introduction to the series' tried-and-true gameplay, focusing on non-linear exploration and combat in an Open World style. Choose your faction, build a unique army and embark on countless exciting quests awaiting you throughout the realm! (scroll down for a list of features)

Previous paid titles in the series seem to have done well, with a positive rating on Steam. Having a free version, to get you into the mood for it sounds like a mighty fine idea.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Some of the features you can expect to find:

  • HEX-FREE BATTLES - test your tactics with a novel movement system where size matters and units aren't constrained by artificial grids!
  • OPEN WORLD - play procedurally-generated battles or take a quest and solve mysteries. Play this game as you want!
  • GLOBAL EVENTS that occur while exploring the World Map, à la Battle Brothers. This feature is still being developed and could serve to provide more lore and fun unit interactions conditional on the player's party!
  • PARTY CUSTOMIZATION - build and upgrade a custom army from more than two hundred unique units, skills and spells (but be aware of racial animosities!).
  • DEEP BATTLE MECHANICS - learn the basics in a hurry, then develop new strategies around a huge variety skills, spells and battle hazards like neutral factions and environmental effects (yes, you can anger bystanders!).
  • EASY TO MOD - create your own missions, or even full-fledged campaigns, to be shared with the Steam community!

Seems to work quite nicely on a low-end notebook, so for a bit of gaming on the go it's a nice free game to try out. While it might not look like much graphically, the gameplay at least seems interesting enough in the few hours I've given it.

Find it on Steam.

I’m in shock at just how well Overwatch runs with the latest DXVK and Lutris

6 hours 49 min ago

Tags: Wine

You might remember, that back in September last year I talked a little about Lutris and Overwatch [Official Site] together and how it was working well. Here’s an update on how it’s been going.

Overwatch, developed by Blizzard, is an online team-based shooter that feels a lot like Team Fortress 2 from Valve. However, as much as I’ve tried to get into TF2 it just doesn’t stick. TF2 feels like it has no identity, it feels…bland.

Overwatch on the other hand, is an incredibly exciting experience and I’m still very much a beginner. It has a pretty loud and proud identity, along with various animated shorts which help to suck you into the world. It’s something friends play practically religiously too, so it’s one of those times where I’ve felt a bit left out, well—no more!

When I tried it previously back in September last year, the performance was pretty good. Fast-forward multiple months, a few new versions of DXVK have come along and the experience is mind-blowing. I don’t want to oversell it, but seriously it’s so smooth I completely forget that the work done to get it working on Linux wasn’t done by Blizzard directly.

I should note, there’s still one downside. Before a cache is built, it will stutter and it doesn’t look good. However, before even when the cache had built there would still be odd bits of noticeable stutter and slowdowns. Since switching over to DXVK 0.95, that’s basically all gone. Honestly, it’s smoother than the majority of actual Linux versions of games I’ve played recently and that’s saying something big.


Watch video on YouTube.com

My complete lack of skill aside, how smooth it is in that video I took of a recent game should speak for itself. You can see how well it performs and that’s with it on very high settings.

Additionally, an issue where the Blizzard Battle.net client would fail to login and say it went to sleep (something like that anyway) also seems to have gone away so that’s awesome too. The only issue I’m left with, is it starting in windowed mode needing a quick ALT+ENTER to fix and away I go. That’s less effort than I have to put into for some “native” Linux games, so it really doesn’t bother me.

It’s funny really, some of my own first steps on Linux involved mucking about with Wine. Here I am some thirteen years later, enjoying another game thanks to it (DXVK has helped a lot too of course). In a world without Windows, having Overwatch run rather nicely on Linux could be a big help for those looking to switch and test the waters.

Another shout out to Lutris, for making installing and managing the game a mostly painless experience. If you do have issues with Overwatch on Linux, this page can certainly help.

Lord of Dwarves will have you build large structures and defend them, developed on Linux

Sunday 20th of January 2019 09:03:31 PM

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Coming Soon

Here's a fun one, Lord of Dwarves from developer Stellar Sage Games is a game about helping a kingdom of dwarves survive, build, and prosper. It's made on Linux too and releasing in Early Access in March.

The developer emailed in about it and to let everyone know that it was "developed in Linux using only open source software". You can actually see them showing it off on Ubuntu in a recent video.

While it's going to be in Early Access, they told me it's "feature complete with a full campaign and sandbox mode" with the extra time being used for feedback and to polish it as much as possible.

Features:

  • Fully constructible/destructible 3D block world
  • Full Campaign and tutorial
  • Extremely customizable Sandbox mode
  • Fresh game play objectives like "build a stone tower 8 blocks tall" or "chop down an evil forest"
  • Control over 100 dwarves
  • Invaders siege your custom built structures
  • Tiered resource system allows for ever more powerful weapons, armour, & crafts
  • Random procedurally generated terrain with millions of blocks

Follow it along and wishlist on Steam. It should be available on March 8th, I will take a look and give it some thoughts at release as the developer has already kindly provided a key for testing.

Dead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure game

Sunday 20th of January 2019 08:48:31 PM

Tags: Point & Click, Adventure, Open Source, Free Game

For those wanting to check out another open source game or perhaps see how they're made, Dead Ascend might be a fun choice for a little adventure.

Developed by Lars from Black Grain Games, Dead Ascend features hand-drawn artwork with gameplay much like classic point and click adventures.

A horde of Zombies chased you to the old radio tower. Your only chance is to ascend up through the tower - solving a host of puzzles on your way to your rescue.

The developer actually notified me about it quite some time ago, sadly I was unable to compile it at the time. Recently, they emailed again to mention it now has a pre-built Linux version so I took a quick look.


Watch video on YouTube.com

While it's somewhat basic, it does the job pretty nicely. It was fun enough for me to play through it and I actually did enjoy the experience. Since it plays much like a hidden object/point and click adventure, it did feel like it was missing the ability to highlight objects so it took me a while to find everything needed while just clicking everything I could at times. The multi-part text was a little too fast too, would have been better if it switched between parts of the text with a button.

You can find the source on GitHub, with an AppImage to download and play right away on itch.io where the developer accepts donations too.

The new System Shock is looking quite impressive with the latest artwork

Sunday 20th of January 2019 08:26:33 PM

Tags: Unreal Engine, Coming Soon, Video, Indie Game

System Shock, the remake coming eventually from Nightdive Studios continues along in development and it's looking impressive.

In their latest Kickstarter update, they showed off what they say is the "final art" after they previously showed the game using "temporary art". I have to admit, while this is only a small slice of what's to come, from the footage it certainly seems like it will have a decent atmosphere to it.

Take a look:


Watch video on YouTube.com

I missed their last few updates, since this is one game I am trying not to spoil too much from seeing all the bits and pieces start to come together now.

They put out a few more updates since I last took a look, showing off more interesting parts of their final art like these:

I'm very interested in seeing the final game, Nightdive Studios have done some pretty good work reviving older games and System Shock is clearly a labour of love for them. It's using Unreal Engine, so I do hope they're getting plenty of Linux testing done closer to release since many developers have had issue with it.

There's no current date for the final release, will keep you posted.

vkQuake2, the project adding Vulkan support to Quake 2 now supports Linux

Sunday 20th of January 2019 08:25:22 PM

Tags: Vulkan, FPS, Open Source

At the start of this year, I gave a little mention to vkQuake2, a project which has updated the classic Quake 2 with various improvements including Vulkan support.

Other improvements as part of vkQuake2 include support for higher resolution displays, it's DPI aware, HUD scales with resolution and so on.

Initially, the project didn't support Linux which has now changed. Over the last few days they've committed a bunch of new code which fully enables 64bit Linux support with Vulkan.

Screenshot of it running on Ubuntu 18.10.

Seems to work quite well in my testing, although it has a few rough edges. During ALT+TAB, it decided to lock up both of my screens forcing me to drop to a TTY and manually kill it with fire. So just be warned on that, might happen to you.

To build it and try it out, you will need the Vulkan SDK installed along with various other dependencies you can find on the GitHub.

For the full experience, you do need a copy of the data files from Quake 2 which you can find easily on GOG. Otherwise, you can test it using the demo content included in the releases on GitHub. Copy the demo content over from the baseq2 directory.

Protontricks, a handy tool for doing various tweaks with Steam Play has been forked

Sunday 20th of January 2019 08:23:18 PM

Tags: Steam Play

For those brave enough to attempt to get more Windows games to run through Steam Play, Protontricks is a handy solution and it's been forked.

As the GitHub page says:

This is a simple wrapper script that allows you to easily run Winetricks commands for Steam Play/Proton games. This is often useful when a game requires closed-source runtime libraries that are not included with Proton.

You might be wondering why it was forked, well, it seems the original creator has decided to pack up shop and leave it all behind. So thankfully, the community has already picked up from where it left off.

The developer of this newly forked project said this on Reddit about their newer version:

I've refactored the code and incorporated new fixes and missing features. Most notably the script now detects custom Proton installations and game-specific Proton versions (eg. if you have configured a custom Proton installation for one game), and the script can now be installed and updated using pip. A more detailed changelog can be found here.

Always fun to see what tweaks people can come up with, to make gaming on Linux a better experience however people decide to do it.

Hopefully as Steam Play and everything it includes like Wine, FAudio and DXVK mature, less little fixes will be needed. The less people have to configure and tweak, the more likely we are to win over a larger amount of people to try Linux gaming.

Find the fork here, original here.

If you enjoy our content, we would appreciate your support!

Saturday 19th of January 2019 07:49:36 PM

Tags: Site Info

Hello everyone, I hope you're all having a good weekend playing some fun games. Just a reminder, that we rely on user support.

First of all, to everyone who has supported us in the past and to those who continue to do so now—thank you! Thanks to you, there's no adverts to be found anywhere on the website and never will be.

Hopefully we have enough ways covered for people to consider throwing their support behind us:

You can also buy games using our affiliate links each time:

All the ways to support us, can be found on this page.

It's already looking like it's going to be a very interesting year, with a lot of fun things going on behind the scenes. I've got quite a few plans of my own for the website this year, both in terms of content and new features that will roll out as the year goes on.

If you ever wish to contact us directly to request an article, video or something else our inbox is always open.

We had a strong 2018, let's have an awesome 2019!

Valve put out another Steam Beta Client with minor Steam Play changes

Saturday 19th of January 2019 10:57:03 AM

Tags: Valve, Beta, Steam Play

Valve are pushing out updates rather often to the Steam client lately, with the fourth this month now out.

On top of removing Steam Play options for Mac and Windows, along with a Steam Input bug fix we also saw these updated to the Steam Play integration on Linux:

  • Fixed an issue with invalid Steam Play tool selections if user had previously opted in to enable Steam Play for all titles. (Note: this will cause a one-time reset of all Steam Play global and per-app selections to the default state).
  • Added the ability to force Steam Play compatibility tools for non-Steam game shortcuts

Nice to see the ability added for shortcuts, for games from other sources you add into Steam. Could be pretty handy.

Note: Apparently there's an issue where it can remove your Steam Play games and redownload them. A fix is to set Steam to use Steam Play for all titles and restart the client as soon as possible after updating. You can also try it in offline mode, to prevent any downloads. 

See the announcement here.

Juicy like the good stuff, Wine 4.0 RC7 is out with a delightful aroma

Friday 18th of January 2019 11:02:50 PM

Tags: Wine

No need to worry about a sour aftertaste here, we're of course talking about the wonderful software and not the tasty liquid.

As usual, they're in bug-fix mode while they attempt to make the best version of Wine they can and so no super huge features made it in.

They noted 13 bug fixes this time:

20728 Multiple video players crash when opening audio or video file (MPC-HC v1.6.5, PotPlayer 1.5.x)(FilterGraph_create releases/destroys controlling IUnknown) 26369 A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda 1.x (.NET 2.0, XNA 3.1 game) crashes during intro ('quartz' FilterGraph2_Connect must translate HRESULT of failures more correctly) 29461 BurnPlot (VB6 app) fails to start, complaining with "Run-time error '438'" (WshShell3 'SpecialFolders' collection 'item' method invocation fails) 34884 Touhou Danmakufu 0.12m's font becomes distorted 35573 gdi32:fonts test_stock_fonts() fails on Windows 7 in the Japanese and Hebrew locales 36082 Cannot Read Text In "Question" Boxes On Microsoft Money 2005 Installation 36084 Microsoft Money 2005 Window Going "Black" After Certain Menu Operations 43211 NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.x installer fails due to 'setupapi.SetupDiDeleteDeviceInfo' stub 44796 Age of Empires II: The Conquerors is broken when CSMT is enabled 45874 Secret Files 1-2: hardware mouse cursor corrupted 46212 Multiple games have performance issues (Project CARS, NFS: Hot Pursuit (2010), Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage) 46459 Secret Files 1-2, Ufo: Extraterrestrials: mouse cursor invisible when anti-aliasing and hardware mouse enabled 46480 Invalid write of size 2 in ntoskrnl.exe/tests/ntoskrnl.c

I imagine when 4.0 is out and final, Steam Play will see an update to it. We haven't seen a Steam Play update since 3.16-6 in December about a month ago now. It might be a good idea to wait, to get all the fixes they can and then rebase onto a stable and modern version of Wine.

What? Were you expecting a pun? Wine not! I'm corked after a long day.

Become a fish inside a robot in Feudal Alloy, out now with Linux support

Friday 18th of January 2019 10:03:38 PM

Tags: Humble Store, GOG, Steam, Indie Game, Action, RPG

We've seen plenty of robots and we've seen a fair amount of fish, but have you seen a fish controlling a robot with a sword? Say hello to Feudal Alloy.

Note: Key provided by the developer.

In Feudal Alloy you play as Attu, a kind-hearted soul who looks after old robots. His village was attacked, oil supplies were pillaged and so he sets off to reclaim the stolen goods. As far as the story goes, it's not exactly exciting or even remotely original. Frankly, I thought the intro story video was a bit boring and just a tad too long, nice art though.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Like a lot of exploration action-RPGs, it can be a little on the unforgiving side at times. I've had a few encounters that I simply wasn't ready for. The first of which happened at only 30 minutes in, as I strolled into a room that started spewing out robot after robot to attack me. One too many spinning blades to the face later, I was reset back a couple of rooms—that's going to need a bit more oil.

What makes it all that more difficult, is you have to manage your heat which acts like your stamina. Overheat during combat and you might find another spinning blade to the face or worse. Thankfully, you can stock up on plenty of cooling liquid to use to cool yourself down and freeze your heat gauge momentarily which is pretty cool.

One of the major negatives in Feudal Alloy is the sound work. The music is incredibly repetitive, as is the hissing noises you make when you're moving around. Honestly, as much as I genuinely wanted to share my love about the game it became pretty irritating which is a shame. It's a good job I enjoyed the exploration, which does make up for it. Exploration is a heavy part of the game, as of course you start off with nothing and only the very basic abilities and it's up to you to explore and find what you need.

The art design is the absolute highlight here, the first shopkeeper took me by surprise with the hamster wheel I will admit:

Some incredible talent went into the design work, while there's a few places that could have been better like the backdrops the overall design was fantastic. Even when games have issues, if you enjoy what you're seeing it certainly helps you overlook them.

Bonus points for doing something truly different with the protagonist here. We've seen all sorts of people before but this really was unique.

The Linux version does work beautifully, Steam Controller was perfection and I had zero issues with it. Most importantly though, is it worth your hard earned money and your valuable time? I would say so, if you enjoy action-RPGs with a sprinkle of metroidvania.

Available to check out on Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

Ravva and the Cyclops Curse looks like a rather nice NES-inspired platformer

Friday 18th of January 2019 09:10:39 PM

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Platformer, Retro

Another lovely looking retro-inspired platformer! Ravva and the Cyclops Curse from developer Galope just released this week with Linux support.


Watch video on YouTube.com

More about it:

Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is a short 8-bit platform adventure inspired by classic NES games, both in art style and gameplay. You’ll meet Ravva, a young summoner apprentice who is now in a desperate situation. The child’s mother is a powerful summoner, but then a terrible foe emerged: the Cyclops Lord. After an intense fight, he stole the summoner powers and cast a terrible curse upon her! Now little Ravva must gather all courage available to face a dangerous journey to face the Cyclops and end the curse.

Mixing in some challenging looking level design with an aim to challenge you. You're not powerless of course, with the ability to summon different creatures to aid you, each of them having a different strength to help you overcome the various enemies and level hazards.

If it looks like your kind of thing, you can find it right now on Steam and it's 15% off until January 22nd. Even without a sale, it's ridiculously cheap at £2.09 and early Steam user reviews seem to give it a positive outlook.

Battle Motion, a really silly massive fantasy battle game will have Linux support

Friday 18th of January 2019 08:44:37 PM

Tags: Coming Soon, Steam, Indie Game, Early Access, Action

Sometimes when looking around for new games I come across something that really catches my eye, Battle Motion is one such game as it looks completely silly.


Watch video on YouTube.com

I thought it looked familiar and when I looked up another game called Totally Accurate Battle Simulator I was quite surprised, visually they look a lot alike. I asked the developer about that, they said this:

My game is closer to battle arena games, than to battle sandboxes. Where you're battle (as one of the units) with the enemy team and try to reach some specific goal (in different game modes). If you've want comparison, then, I think, the game is closer to Ravenfield (but in the middle ages :steamhappy:). Btw I've like to add progression to the game in the future, so it will have managements aspects too (Castle Mode).

When asked about Linux support, they said:

And yes, I confirm, that Linux, Mac and Windows builds will be available.

Good to know! there's an early build available on itch.io, which sadly freezes on me during a battle so I haven't been able to see what it's really like just yet. Will keep an eye on it as it does look amusing.

Seems like the main release will be on Steam, so you can wishlist and follow there.

Steam Play versus Linux Version, a little performance comparison and more thoughts

Friday 18th of January 2019 04:25:22 PM

Tags: Steam Play, Benchmark

Now that Steam has the ability officially to override a Linux game and run it through Steam Play instead, let's take a quick look at some differences in performance.

Before I begin, let's make something clear. I absolutely value the effort developers put into Linux games, I do think cross-platform development is incredibly important so we don't end up with more lock-in. However, let's be realistic for a moment. Technology moves on and it's not financially worth it to keep updating old games, they just don't sell as well as newer games (with exceptions of course). The intention with such comparisons is not to favour any developer or any method of gaming on Linux. It’s just to show what’s possible, what the differences are, what doesn’t work and so on. As the years go on, there will be more ways to run older games better and better, of that I've no doubt.

I'm not a zealot for any one particular method of gaming either and as a fan of all things gaming, software and technology, I thought it might be interesting and hopefully you do too.

Note: All tests done at 1080p on Ubuntu 18.10, with the NVIDIA 415.25 driver and my 980ti.

First up, let's take a look at Tomb Raider (2013) which arrived on Linux back in 2016. Since Tomb Raider has a handy built-in benchmark tool, we will start off simply by showing the results:

Benchmarks also only tell one part of the story. In the case of Tomb Raider, through Steam Play it needed to run through entirely at least once or there was quite a lot of stuttering which wasn't the case in the Linux version. However, the Linux version has parts of the game where performance dives a lot and the Steam Play version is better there. To Feral Interactive's credit (who ported it to Linux), their later ports are miles ahead of this.

Sidenote: For the videos, the titles "Steam Play" and "Linux" show their corresponding videos to the side, in case that wasn't clear.

In the case of Cities: Skylines which released on Linux back in 2015 at the same time as the Windows version, testing out the "Benchmark" map from the Steam Workshop resulted in something I didn't expect. The performance was very close but the Linux version was noticeably smoother with a couple of extra FPS.


Watch video on YouTube.com

As you can see, both versions work quite well. I've completed the game more than once and I was actually happy enough with the performance of the Linux version, it was good enough and playable. However, the Steam Play version with Vulkan is at times around double the performance of the Linux version which is quite striking.

Next up, I tried Total War: WARHAMMER II. A Linux port from Feral Interactive released only in November last year. This would have been quite an exciting comparison, since the Linux version uses Vulkan. First issue encountered when trying it in Steam Play, is that it gives you a completely blank white launcher, so you need to opt into their new launcher beta which does work in Steam Play.

So you hit play on the fancy new launcher, guess what happens next? You get a brief moment of life, a glorious flash of black…and then it just quits to the desktop. Happens across both Proton 3.7 and 3.16. So, Total War: WARHAMMER II in Steam Play is a dud whereas the actual Linux version does work rather nicely.

The curious one is Rise of the Tomb Raider, I've been told this should work in Steam Play to do a comparison. However, it faced the same issue for me as Total War: WARHAMMER II. A black screen for a moment and then it quits on me. I have sent a log to the creator of DXVK for that, maybe it will help somewhere. Again, the Linux version from Feral works nicely.

 

The testing in this article was going to be longer, I had some grand plans for doing a lot of comparisons. However, Steam Play is still in beta and it has an uphill battle ahead of it. Rise of the Tomb Raider, Total War: WARHAMMER II, Civilization VI, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and BioShock Infinite didn't work at all in Steam Play across both Proton 3.16 and 3.7 but the Linux versions do work. Sad about not being able to test more, but it's an example of how a supported release is the better option for certain games (especially multiplayer games like Darwin Project) and not the answer to everything as some claim. Great as an option but not quite ready for prime time overall, it will be fun to watch it evolve over this next year.

As I've said before though, with Steam Play it's not just a case of squeezing out extra performance. It's also a question of support and features of the Linux version (gamepad support, fullscreen issues, missing graphics options and so on). From a performance standpoint though, it shows clearly Linux can be a gaming platform that performs well.

The biggest question in my mind is: do you really get any true support with games you purchase to play in Steam Play? What exactly are you paying for? I don't really have an answer for that. For a purchased game, the developer (you would think) would be focused on it and fix issues as they come up. With Steam Play though, it covers such a massive list you could end up waiting a while for a fix (if it's possible at all). Thankfully, Valve has made a good step towards stopping Steam Play updates breaking games, since the latest Steam client beta no longer overrides the Proton version for a game in the whitelist.

I may do more tests in future, if readers want me to you will need to let me know what games you want to see tested (they have to have a benchmark mode in the Linux version). We still don't have a decent amount of Linux games that actually do have a benchmark mode, so it does make such a thing rather tricky to get a lot of value out of it and comparison videos eat a huge amount of time for even the most basic rough editing.

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Quake 2 now has real-time path tracing with Vulkan

Friday 18th of January 2019 02:06:32 PM

Tags: Open Source, FPS, Vulkan

If you have one of the more recent NVIDIA RTX graphics cards, here's an interesting project for you to try. Q2VKPT from developer Christoph Schied implements some really quite advanced techniques.

As the developer describes:

Q2VKPT is the first playable game that is entirely raytraced and efficiently simulates fully dynamic lighting in real-time, with the same modern techniques as used in the movie industry (see Disney's practical guide to path tracing). The recent release of GPUs with raytracing capabilities has opened up entirely new possibilities for the future of game graphics, yet making good use of raytracing is non-trivial. While some games have started to explore improvements in shadow and reflection rendering, Q2VKPT is the first project to implement an efficient unified solution for all types of light transport: direct, scattered, and reflected light (see media). This kind of unification has led to a dramatic increase in both flexibility and productivity in the movie industry. The chance to have the same development in games promises a similar increase in visual fidelity and realism for game graphics in the coming years.


Watch video on YouTube.com

It requires the VK_NV_ray_tracing extension, looking over recent NVIDIA driver releases it looks like you would need at least 410.57 which added support for it.

See more on the official site with the source code on GitHub.

I will admit, this is all going a little bit over my head, but the idea of it sounds very interesting.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Audiocasts: Linux in the Ham Shack (LHS), Linux Action News, Open Source Security Podcast and Let’s Encrypt

  • LHS Episode #266: #$%&! Net Neutrality
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  • LHS Episode #267: The Weekender XXII
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  • Linux Action News 89
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  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 130 - Chat with Snyk co-founder Danny Grander
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Review: Sculpt OS 18.09

The Sculpt OS website suggests that the operating system is ready for day to day use, at least in some environments: "Sculpt is used as day-to-day OS by the Genode developers." Though this makes me wonder in what capacity the operating system runs on the machines of those developers. When I tried out the Haiku beta last year, the operating system had some limitations, but I could see how it could be useful to some people in environments with compatible hardware. In theory, I could browse the web, perform some basic tasks and develop software on Haiku. With Sculpt though, I was unable to get the operating system to do anything, from a user's point of view. The small OS could download packages and load some of them into memory, and it could display a graph of related components. Sculpt could connect to my network and mount additional storage. All of this is good and a fine demo of the Genode design. However, I (as a user) was unable to interact with any applications, find a command line, or browse the file system. All of this put a severe damper on my ability to use Sculpt to do anything useful. Genode, and by extension Sculpt OS, has some interesting design goals when it comes to security and minimalism. However, I don't think Sculpt is practical for any end-user tasks at this time. Read more

This Week in Linux, Chrome OS, and Death of Windows 10 Mobile

  • Episode 51 | This Week in Linux
    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got some new announcements from Inkscape, Purism, Solus, Mozilla, and Steam. We’ll also check out some new Distro releases from Netrunner, Deeping, Android X86 and more. Then we’ll look at some new hardware offerings from Purism and Entroware. Later in the show will talk about some drama happening with a project’s licensing issues and then we’ll round out the episode with some Linux Gaming news including some sales from Humble Bundle. All that and much more!
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    Microsoft has formally set the end date for support of its all-but-forgotten Windows 10 Mobile platform. The Redmond code factory said today that, come December 10, it's curtains for the ill-fated smartphone venture. The retirement will end a four-year run for a Microsoft phone effort that never really got off the ground and helped destroy Nokia in the process. "The end of support date applies to all Windows 10 Mobile products, including Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise," Microsoft declared.