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Updated: 3 hours 14 min ago

It’s a tough time to be an indie developer, with Steam’s new sale event causing wishlist deletions

Thursday 27th of June 2019 01:28:58 PM

Tags: Misc, Steam

As an unintentional side effect of Valve's latest sales event, the Steam Grand Prix, it seems a lot of users have begun cleaning out their Steam Wishlists.

Why? Well, it gives you the chance to win an item from your Steam Wishlist but only from the top three slots, it's not random. Valve's rules are pretty clear on how it all works but it still seems to have caused a lot of wishlist deletions. Removing games doesn't actually improve your chances, but likely will affect your future purchases of games you're no longer following as a result of it.

I don't think it's just that though, it's likely also a result of more people also now remembering that they've wishlisted a ton of games, some they're not likely to buy but either way it's not good news for smaller developers.

As an example of this, Raymond Doerr developer of Rise to Ruins (an awesome indie city-builder) shared this image on Twitter to show just how many are being removed:

You can obviously see how clear it is and that it started around the Summer Sale. They're not alone in this, tons of indie developers are seeing the exact same thing, my Twitter feed is absolutely full of developers talking about it over the last few days, some seem quite concerned by it. From what I've seen, it's quite normal to see a drop around these events but nothing like it is currently. Steam Wishlists can be one of the deciding factors on whether an upcoming game will see many sales and whether an already released game will continue to live on. When a lot of indie developers are already struggling, this is obviously not great.

Sounds like for many indie developers, the Steam sale hasn't been too kind to them with many seeing quite a drop compared to previous sales too. I spoke personally with David Stark, developer of Airships: Conquer the Skies, who said:

Looking at the stats for the first day of the sale of my game, Airships: Conquer the Skies, I noticed that for every copy sold, around three other people simply deleted the game from their wishlist. Clearly, some players are just taking the opportunity to tidy up their wishlists, but talking to other devs and players on Twitter, it seems that at least people are misunderstanding how the Grand Prix sale promotion works, and are deleting all but the most expensive games from their lists, in the hope of reaping the maximum reward. I really don't think this was Valve's intent, but it's unfortunate, especially as long-tail sales for games really rely on wishlists.

I also spoke with Tom Vian of SFB Games, developer of titles like Detective Grimoire and Haunt the House: Terrortown who allowed me to share their image too showing the same thing for their titles:

Certainly seems like something awry here.

Going further into it, J. Kyle Pittman, co-founder of Minor Key Games (Slayer Shock, Eldritch, Super Win The Game + more) also shared this image:

When I asked Pittman how that compared to previous years, keeping in mind they're another developer that's been through many years of sales, they said:

Previous summer sales have looked similar to the one from May. Some deletions but mostly purchases and additions. Last year’s holiday sale was about 50/50. This is the first time in history that deletions have exceeded purchases and additions by a wide margin.

Another who didn't want to be named, who I've followed for multiple years also said "I've never seen anything like it, we rely on Wishlists for so many reasons, it's a disaster". Plenty more like this, this one, also this one and so on. That's not many examples, sure, but keep in mind I follow thousands of developers (and getting permission to quote takes a long time in some cases) and not a single one has said anything good about what's happening. Every image I've seen, is showing the same issue—oh dear.

Another factor in all this, is that more people might possibly be heading over to the Epic Games Store. I know, I know, I've mentioned Epic Games and it's likely to cause a riot somewhere but stick with me a moment. Epic Games also only recently kicked off their own Mega Sale, so the timing of that likely hasn't helped things. Same with GOG and Humble Store, but Epic Games likely have a bigger pull than those two put together.

Tough times to be an indie game developer indeed. Being discovered on Steam seems like it's getting a lot tougher as time goes on, as thousands more are released on Steam each year, which may end up pushing out a lot of smaller developers. There's also been a ton of talk about Steam changing their algorithms, which has also reduced a lot of traffic to some developers.

Not only that, I've also seen numerous developers post about how Steam has been emailing wishlist sale notifications to a vastly smaller percentage of users than usual, in some cases around only 10% of emails have gone out compared to previous years.

Something to remember though, is that it's not Valve's job to market every game possible. Realistically, that's the job of the developer and publisher, Valve just provide the store and the tools to help a little along the way. However, when some of these tools start to work against them (even when unintentional) it's obviously not good.

Seems like developers are going to have to get a lot more creative somehow in pushing people towards their Steam pages. If any of it makes you think and you want to help, then perhaps next time you enjoy a game putting up a little review on Steam will help. Oh, and stop removing games from your wishlist when you don't need to.

Note: After publishing, Valve put out a post to clarify some elements of the game. They also clarified in that post, that you don't need to remove items. Along with this PSA on Twitter, it's clear Valve now knows it caused an issue.

Article was updated after publishing with more info.

An interview with Bearded Giant Games about Linux, development and their game Space Mercs

Thursday 27th of June 2019 12:20:43 PM

Tags: Interview, Steam, Indie Game, Upcoming

Today we have another interview for you, with Bearded Giant Games who are currently making the extreme space shooter Space Mercs.

What is Space Mercs?

Space Mercs is an extreme arcade space combat game where the amount of projectiles and lasers on-screen is only toppled by the amount of stars in the universe! Will you be able to complete all the mercenary missions and become the best pilot in the Galaxy?

Let's see what they had to say…

GOL: First of all, can you introduce yourself?

I'm Zapa, the Bearded Giant with a gentle heart, a 28 year old game developer from eastern Europe who also happens to be a sugar daddy for two cats: RTFM (Arty Efem phonetically) and Wilson. When I'm not working on a game I spend most of my time tinkering with Arduino and Raspberry Pi powered electronics, dabble in 3D printing or, when in the mood to socialise, in a nice pub surrounded by Stroh shots, beers and other developers. Recently I started teaching Game Design courses at the, aptly named, Game Dev Academy in Bucharest.

GOL: How did you get started making games, before you were “living the dream” being an indie developer, did you work for others on games?

I've been designing games almost non-stop for 13 years now. In 2005 I saw a documentary about Krome Studios, on a VHS tape my father brought from one of his trips and something popped in my brain and I immediately knew that was what I wanted to do. At the end of 2005 I took a trip to Barcelona with the family and, in a mall, I found a piece of software called Dark Basic classic that was advertised to be used to develop games in. So I bought it and that kickstarted everything for me.

I was officially employed as a Game Designer in 2010 by Gameloft Bucharest and there hasn't been a month since when Game Development hasn't paid my rent in one way or another. In the past 9 years I think I developed more than 40 games, most of them being Game Jam games, with a handful of commercial releases sprinkled here and there. Big name titles that I worked on include the Dark Knight franchise, Frozen and N.O.V.A.

GOL: You started what you call is the “Linux First Initiative”, where all your future games will be designed, developed and tested on Linux as the main development platform. What made you decide to do this?

Around the time I started making games I also discovered Linux. A friend of mine gave me an "official, original, Ubuntu 6.04" cd that he got from Canonical, back when they were snail mailing CDs to people's houses. I was excited to finally have a "non-pirated Windows". I called all operating systems till then Windows, funny as that sounds. Ubuntu was so strange for me that it fascinated me from the start and since no one in my vicinity knew how to use it made me feel special. So I stuck with using Linux ever since. In 2011, the first time I dabbled with the independent side of game creation, I actually drafted a business plan towards setting up a business that develops games exclusively for Linux but sadly, it never came to fruition outside of a few checklists, one prototype and a cheesy video somewhere on the internet on a forgotten account. At the end of 2018 I decided to put the original plan to work and just do it.

The Linux First initiative was the title of my manifesto that outlined the reasons I wanted to make a business that focused on Linux primarily. A few of those reasons where related to the lack of software, and more specifically, games on the platform. But it also feed onto one of my regrets: The fact that I was born too late to catch the early computers and platforms of the 80's, where developers were writing games for the C64, ZX Spectrum, Windows - where a ton of different platforms existed and you were happy to represent your favourite one. I spent a huge chunk of my youth watching documentaries on early PC's and I really wish I could have been part of that era. So for me, targeting Linux first, is my way of chasing that dream.

On a more serious, business-focused, note - developing first on Linux comes with a bunch of benefits. First and foremost, porting hassles to other platforms (outside of consoles) are mostly nil. If the software you are using works on your favourite Linux distribution, it's going to work on Windows and Mac. This includes Middleware, Tools and Engines. So there's a huge benefit if you are looking for cross platform support from the get-go. Another advantage is that it limits your scope and possibilities, and this is good. Instead of spending a ton of time thinking "Should I use Unreal or Unity? DirectX or OpenGL? Photoshop, Paint.NET or Gimp? What if I do it like that or like this?". For me, thinking about what to use and what to do means I'm not actually doing something - just beating around the bush. And I love actually doing something and putting things into motion. So when I say my options are a bit limited, I mean it in a good way. Limits breed creativity.

And then there's the users. Wake me up in the middle of the night and offer me 10,000$ to drop Linux for my next two, three projects and I'll instantly say no. My Linux giants are amazing on all aspects. More appreciative of my work, great technical knowledge (that sometimes converts to amazing qa) and almost always truthful. There's no beating around the bush with Linux people and I love this. To use a free-2-play (eww) term - Linux users are high quality users! I guess the reasons behind the Linux First Initiative make sense now right?

GOL: What’s it like to make a game mostly on Linux compared to other platforms?

I think I covered this in the previous answer, but I'll sum it up really simple: Developing mostly on Linux is Liberating. I know how far to stretch and what to use. It saves me time and gives me a ton of joy. There's a single other platform that gave me just as much enjoyment as Linux for development, and that's the Nintendo DS (on which you can install Linux on if you want). It allows me to focus on getting the job done and it also plays to my heart.

GOL: In your own opinion, what’s the best game engine to developer with on Linux and what’s the worst?

My answer is going to be limited by my experience with game engines. Most of my years making games I used to roll my own stuff or build my own engines on top of existing frameworks (like MOAI, Love2D, Irrlicht, SDL). In the recent years I switched towards using Unity, especially with the 2018 version so I'd say Unity is a top choice right now. Heard a ton of good things about Godot but I wasn't able to try it for too long. I have to pay rent and, at this point in time, my time budget for making a game is literary less than 3 months so I cannot afford to learn to use it until I get into a better financial situation. As for the worst well, I'd say Unreal at this point - main reason being the lack of streamlined usage. If I use a engine I want it to just work for my needs and Unreal requires jumping through a few hoops to get it to work properly, at least that's how it was at the end of 2017 when I tried it. Maybe things changed (and I hope they did) but for me it's not something I'd want to touch with a 10 foot pool. But, in the end, I guess the answer comes down to what ever you are comfortable with.

GOL: For others looking to make games on Linux or simply put their games on Linux, any advice? Anything that should be their priority to look out for?

Ogh boy, here we go. If you're using Unity do not buy into the "One-click export" advertising or at least, don't buy into it if your game is more complex than an Asteroids clone. If at any point you decide to use any middleware, systems and templates, or anything else that's literary not sounds, textures or 3D models form the asset store: BUILD FOR LINUX as soon as you have it integrated. Don't wait for 2 weeks before release, do it the first chance you get. Chances are, it's not going to build by default due to a myriad of reasons.

Test early, test often and you won't have to explain to the backers that funded your project why the advertised/promised Linux build won't come upon release (or ever in some cases).

Watch out for file naming and hard-coded paths - you have no idea how many times this came up from fellow developers asking me for help on Linux ports.

If you're using your own engine or software, the second you #include "Windows.h" you're shooting yourself in the foot. Make your life easier, use SDL, even if it's only for window creation.

Treat Linux users as first-class citizens, you're a business (or trying to be). If you publish for Linux you damn well better support it. You're not doing anyone a favour by having a Linux version just sitting there - it's a commitment.

It's okay if you officially support a single distribution. For a small indie, it might be hard to test across several different Linux distributions when you lack the manpower and hardware - just make sure to signal it: "The game was tested and is officially supported on x!". Ask for help from the community to see if your game runs on other distributions and if not, what can be done to get it to run. Offer refunds if it doesn't run.

GOL: Okay, let’s talk about your upcoming game Space Mercs, an “extreme arcade space combat game”, what inspired you to create it?

After the contract with my previous client ended, I was left with enough money to be able to spend 3 months developing a game. In my current situation my hardware is a little on the low-spec side and I cannot afford to purchase a gaming computer. So games like Everspace don't work on my machines. So I put two and two together (the need to make a game in a short amount of time AND the need to play a Space Combat Game) and Space Mercs was born.

GOL: I'm a huge fan of space shooters from Freespace to Everspace. How will Space Mercs differ from other 3D space shooters? What makes it unique, why should people buy it?

If I had enough money, I would have aimed to make a game like my all time favourite series: The X-series, with X2: The Threat taking the proverbial cake. Sadly, I had to lower my scope and focus on a single thing that I wanted fleshed out and that's my skills as a pilot.

Space Mercs puts you in the cockpit of a fighting focused space craft and tells you just one thing: Bullets are bad so stay clear of them. By the way, there will be literary dozens of ships on screen that are going to shoot at you so you'll deal with hundreds of bullets at all times.

When I call it an extreme arcade 3D space combat game I mean it. The sheer amount of projectiles on screen is enough to earn the game a bullet-hell tag and now, with the new dog-fighting AI I came around to implementing, the extreme label earned it's reputation. So to keep things short and concise: Space Mercs is the child that came after one drunken orgy between Asteroids, Everspace, Elite Dangerous and the X-series.

GOL: If Space Mercs does well enough at release, will you be adding in additional levels and/or game features or is it mostly set in stone now?

For my last game I did quite a few rounds of updates - it was a linear first person dungeon crawler with hand crafted levels. A week in I added procedural dungeons. Two weeks in I introduced new NPC's and contents and I supported the game for a year after release, culminating with a anniversary update that introduced overhauled graphics and on-screen controls.

Space Mercs is far from being the space game I always dreamed off making so I do have plans to improve it. So far, the features are set in stone for release: 30 Missions and a post-game survival mode that lightly inspired by Everspace. If I hit my sales target, I'll be able to develop another game in a similar time span. If my sales exceed my target, Space Mercs will get a Sandbox mode bringing it much closer to the X2 game I so much love: Docking AT (not in) Space Stations, trading wares, purchasing ships and completing missions from a bulletin board.

Most of the features are already in the game (just this Monday I added the ability to pickup cargo from space) so most of the needed features are there. I lack the resources needed (3D Models) and time to polish everything up and make them usable AND fun. So if the game sells beyond my target hell yeah I'm going to invest in giving it an update with the features mentioned above. Until then, that's all I can do with my limited budget.

GOL: While developing Space Mercs, what has been the most hilarious bug you’ve encountered?

This one - https://twitter.com/zapakitul/status/1142137140916215808:

Never drink and drive, folks! Never! Today's WTF bug!

GOL: Space Mercs is going to be your second game on Steam after Ebony Spire: Heresy, what important lessons did you learn from shipping ES:H? How will you be handling Space Mercs differently?

I'm already handling Space Mercs differently and, hopefully, better. Ebony Spire had a one month development cycle from prototype to release and back then I had my expectations set to my 2012 experience with Steam: A ton of visibility and sales. I did not know about the tags, discoverability algorithms and pretty much went in blind and almost lost the house with it. Luckily, due to a series of lucky events, the game picked up traction and I managed to survive it although It did take me almost two years to release another game on Steam and recover.

There's a huge chance the same will happen with Space Mercs at launch, as this is the reality with Steam at this point. 3 months for development and marketing is not enough to do anything meaningful to be able to benefit from Steam's exposure algorithm however I'm using it as a learning mechanism for both me and other indies. The hurtful truth I learned from the Ebony Spire debacle is that reality is hard and it can cost you a lot so, even if I fail, I want to make sure other people learn from this. This is why I'm releasing weekly reports on my marketing efforts, their results and I'm publicly offering wishlist data and knowledge to other developers.

For people interested to do a Steam release, here's the situation: Steam is more akin to an advertising company than a store front when it comes to giving exposure to games. It's really business and profit focused. Let's say you have two companies, A and B, releasing a game on Steam. Both companies, initially, get the same amount of traffic from the store front - let's say 100 views. Company A sells 20 copies and company B only sells 8. On the next round of traffic, Steam is going to give 200 views to A and maybe 20-30 to B.

So the better you sell in the beginning to more eyeballs Steam will throw at you. My efforts with Space Mercs marketing revolve around getting enough sales in the beginning for Steam to give it some exposure and it all comes down to wishlists. The amazing indie extraordinaire Jake Birkett released a post some time ago with some conversion formulas (crowdsourced from other indie releases) and I'm using them front and center for my marketing plan. In short, it seems, that after one week the ratio between the number of wishlists you have on launch day and the copies you sell on week 1 is 2:1. So for 1000 launch wishlists you can, on average, expect about 500 sales. So I'm trying my best
to reach the 1000 wishlist threshold for Space Mercs and, luckily enough, I'm 60% of the way there with a month to go. Now, with the conversion rate staying the same (0.5 or 50%) with a 1000 wishlist I can afford, in theory, another 3 more months to do one more project. If it's lower I'll have to postpone my next game and get a job - with the opportunity to try again later. And this knowledge alone came from the need to understand why Ebony Spire failed in the beginning. And now you guys can learn from it :D!

You can view my public wishlist data here.

GOL: Are you cooking up any plans for more games once Space Mercs leaves the nest?

I already have two games planned after Space Mercs, although only in concept based on the results. Like I previously said, if Space Mercs fails hard - I go back to designing ewwwy free2play games for clients and coming up with scummy tactics to "convert players into payers".

Space Mercs buys me another 3 months of development time and I'll work on a first person space station crawler that focuses on building your own pirate station. You'll have to board and pillage space ships, planet cities and other stations for crew, gear and materials in order to build your own.

Space Mercs exceeds my expectations and I'll be off updating it with the remaining content on my feature list before I move on to design a new RPG I have planned for a few years now. It all comes down to how many months of development I can afford to do, as it affects my scope.

GOL: What are your thoughts on the Epic Games Store and Exclusives?

I have three perspectives here. From a business stand point, I agree with Tim Sweeney that there's no other way for them to take down Steam from their position. No amount of features, good will, community support can compete with a huge huge library of games in a gamer's account. Business wise, what they are doing makes sense and they can afford to do it.

As a gamer I'm okay with exclusives, especially with growing up on Linux and being used to not having access to the games I want. Kinda got used to it. However, the stunt Epic Games are pulling right now hurts us as Linux users. The shop itself does not target Linux, nor does it allow game binaries to be distributed with the game for Linux and when they go around purchasing studios and exclusivity I can't help but feel that all the progress we made towards Linux as a gaming platform is going straight to /dev/null. Take Rocket League for instance, if they remove it from Steam as a purchase options, yeah, it will still be in my library. However, once Epic starts rolling out their own multiplayer services or matchmaking services a high profile game like Rocket League will be the best choice to use it. Now, as a business, there's no way in hell they'll support competing platform features while also developing and expanding their own. At some point, the Steam version WILL lose parity with the Epic Store version and that's the time we can kiss it goodbye.

As a game developer I don't like the Epic Store and Epic. Right now their own interest comes first, and that's bringing more gamers to the platform and catering to them. Once enough games are in there, the 12% cut will fly out the window. Their way of handling sales pretty much sealed the deal for me in not wanting to be on the Epic Store. As an indie, it's already hard when you want to price your game above 6-7$ and most gamers always wait to purchase it on sale and in a bundle. When Epic comes around and offers a price drop from the very first week and your 10$ game can be purchased for 3$ that's it, you're done with the game. The perceived value become so low almost no one will buy it at full price, and that's the reason why many developers pulled their games from the last sale.

From a business perspective I understand what they are doing. However they have their own interest at heart and not the game developers or even the consumers. They are akin to the business devs in the free2play market or, better said, the bullies in your school yard with lots of money. It's their way or the highway and they own the highway and have enough money in order to keep you away from alternate roads.

 

I would like to thank Zapa from Bearded Giant Games for having a chat with me. If you're interested, you can wishlist/follow their upcoming game Space Mercs on Steam and it's due to release on July 31st.

The Colonists is a city-builder that's worth your time with cute little robot workers

Thursday 27th of June 2019 11:13:49 AM

Tags: Steam, GOG, Humble Store, City Builder, Strategy, Review

Now that the dust has settled with the Linux version of The Colonists out in the wild, I spent some time playing it and came away quite impressed by it.

Note: Key provided by GOG.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Inspired by the likes of The Settlers and the Anno series, you can see some of the inspiration pretty clear but it definitely feels like a unique game.

One of the best things about The Colonists is how it lets you decide how you wish to play it. As you advance through the campaign, you are given the choice between a Peaceful or a Combat mission which pleased me quite a lot. Sometimes I want to just build, sometimes I want to be challenged and destroy, so giving players the option was a smart idea. There's also a Sandbox mode to play campaign levels how you want, along with custom map support with a map editor, so there's a lot of room for extra content.

There's something quite amusing about watching a little robot with a hat roll along to a fishing hut, cast a rod and sit there catching a bite. They really do want to evolve and become more human, it's quite sweet. I've not had any problems with it on Manjaro, it's been an absolute joy to play. I played a huge amount of hours in both Settlers and Settlers II and it does remind me of it in many ways, feels great to have something similar but more modern to play on Linux.

Something to keep in mind about The Colonists, is that while it starts off quite slow and relaxing, it does fairly quickly add in some more complex systems. Managing routes takes some planning and real thinking when you start getting quite a big colony. This can cause a little frustration if you build up too quickly, I've had to restart a mission once or twice due to this but it's part of what makes it interesting, it's up to you to make a colony that works.

The sci-fi setting appeals to me too of course as a huge space nerd, so it gets a recommendation from me for engaging gameplay and a sweet style.

It's still being updated too with a fresh release just a few days ago adding in new campaign missions, leaderboards to custom maps in the Steam Workshop and bug fixes. Codebyfire are also planning another update, which will include a new "Hard Mode" as well as additional campaign missions.

You can find The Colonists on GOG, Humble Store and Steam. It's also on sale with 30% off during the Steam Summer Sale.

OXXO is the next puzzler from the developer of Zenge, Art Of Gravity, PUSH and more

Thursday 27th of June 2019 09:45:03 AM

Tags: Indie Game, Puzzle, Upcoming, Steam

Hamster On Coke Games are at it again, with a new puzzle game on the way called OXXO that promises an experience that evolves as you play it.

They previously made Scalak, Zenge, PUSH, Art Of Gravity and more and their games are always quite highly rated. Personally, I played through Scalak back in 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed it so I'm happy to see more unique puzzle games from the same developer come to Linux.


Watch video on YouTube.com

The idea is simple, you just need to group-up similar blocks, however from the footage above it looks like a bit of a brain twister since it's in 3D with you needing to rotate everything around and slide them across, looks just as sweet as their previous games! I like the sound of it, a relaxing puzzler with no time limits and you can't actually lose, you just keep going until you solve the puzzle.

You can wishlist/follow it on Steam for release in August. I will be happily taking a look at this when it's released.

Bird by Example is quite possibly the weirdest game I've played in a long time

Thursday 27th of June 2019 09:33:30 AM

Tags: Casual, Indie Game, Free Game, Itch.io, Unity

I'm thoroughly confused and also slightly amused with Bird by Example, what the developer says is a "mock RPG where all the other occupants are horrifying birds who mimic your behaviour with deep learning".

I will admit currently the game goes a bit over my head, I don't quite get it. However, I've toyed around with it for a while and eventually it could be something special. There's something really unnerving about a group of really buff birds, that start copying you.

As I was running around, watching my freaks of nature walk into walls, they eventually started copying my walking and they started exploring. As I started to jump around, a few them then starting bouncing around and it continued on like that. It's so weird! I decided to see what would happen if I punched one of them, sure enough, they learned how to do it too and there was a bit of brawl going on.

What exactly is the developer planning with it? Well, in their own words:

I want more than anything for Bird by Example to be a storytelling engine. I want to develop flexible dynamic systems and hope that emergent play... emerges from the interplay between the AIs and (importantly) you, the player.

You can find it free (or with a donation) on itch.io.

Hat tip to win8linux.

Classic open source RTS "Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries" has a brand new release out

Thursday 27th of June 2019 08:53:10 AM

Tags: RTS, Free Game, Open Source

Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries, a proper classic RTS that's open source continues living on with a fresh release now available to download.

Originally released way back in the 90's, Enlight Software later decided to open source it in 2009 and since then it's seen quite a number of updates as well as a Linux port which works rather nicely.

Here's what's new in 2.15.2:

  • Fixed queue buttons in the Harbor and War Factory, and in the tutor dialog for the non-blocking button code.
  • Fixed AI crash when trying to use a skilled unit that has been deleted.
  • Added German, Portuguese, and Spanish translations.
  • Correct mobilizing other nations spies in firms under your control.
  • Fixed AI crash when fort being used to attack has been deleted.
  • Fixed crashes on bullets hitting targets due to not being attributed correctly.
  • Fixed crash when a seat of power is destroyed at the same time the greater being casts magic.
  • Fixed AI use of uninitialized memory when defending a general or king, which can cause a desync.
  • Added mouse wheel support for map scrolling on touchpads. (sraboy)
  • Added scenario completion tracking. (sraboy)
  • Fixed crash in automated attack helping where one unit selects a target, the target unit enters a building (or deleted), and the local team then tries to assist, but the target unit is no longer on the map.
  • Added advanced config file support. This will allow changing more aspects of the game without recompile.
  • Enabled sync checking in replay mode.

You can see the official site here.

7K:AA was actually one of my earliest RTS games, so it holds a special place in my heart and I love that a community has built around it. I used to spend entire days playing this, which is somewhat amusing to think on now considering how basic it is compared to a lot of modern games. For the time period though, it wasn't even revolutionary and came up against other amazing games like Total Annihilation and Dark Reign, even so it's still fun.

DOSBox is still alive, with a new bug fix release available

Thursday 27th of June 2019 08:33:53 AM

Tags: Open Source, Emulation

DOS lives on! Not just in our hearts but thanks to DOSBox [Official Site] you can continue playing some serious classics and a new update is available with some fixes.

Here's what's changed:

  • Fixed that a very long line inside a bat file would overflow the parsing buffer. (CVE-2019-7165 by Alexandre Bartel)
  • Added a basic permission system so that a program running inside DOSBox can't access the contents of /proc (e.g. /proc/self/mem) when / or /proc were (to be) mounted. (CVE-2019-12594 by Alexandre Bartel)
  • Several other fixes for out of bounds access and buffer overflows.
  • Some fixes to the OpenGL rendering.

Compatibility for this release should be no different to 0.74 and 0.74-2, so you should be able to upgrade without seeing any issues appear. They're also still working on the next major release with DOSBox 0.75, but some bugs are currently holding back a release.

I love DOSBox, before OpenXcom became fully playable for the classic X-COM experience I used it quite regularly. Cannon Fodder is also a rather guilty pleasure of mine, a true classic. What are some of your favourites you still play thanks to DOSBox?

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  • Semtech SX1302 LoRa Transceiver to Deliver Cheaper, More Efficient Gateways
  • In-vehicle computer supports new MaaS stack

    Axiomtek’s fanless, rugged “UST100-504-FL” automotive PC runs Ubuntu 18.04 or Windows on 6th or 7th Gen Intel chips, and offers SATA, HDMI, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 3x mini-PCIe, a slide-rail design, and the new AMS/AXView for MaaS discovery. Axiomtek announced a rugged in-vehicle PC that runs Ubuntu 18.04, Windows 10, or Windows 7 on Intel’s Skylake or Kaby Lake processors. The UST100-504-FL is aimed at “in-vehicle edge computing and video analytics applications,” and is especially suited for police and emergency vehicles, says Axiomtek. There’s also a new Agent MaaS Suite (AMS) IoT management suite available (see farther below).

  • Google Launches the Pixel 4 with Android 10, Astrophotography, and Motion Sense

    Google officially launched today the long rumored and leaked Pixel 4 smartphone, a much-needed upgrade to the Pixel 3 and 3a series with numerous enhancements and new features. The Pixel 4 smartphone is finally here, boasting upgraded camera with astrophotography capabilities so you can shoot the night sky and Milky Way without using a professional camera, a feature that will also be ported to the Pixel 3 and 3a devices with the latest camera app update, as well as Live HDR+ support for outstanding photo quality.

  • Repurposing A Toy Computer From The 1990s

    Our more youthful readers are fairly likely to have owned some incarnation of a VTech educational computer. From the mid-1980s and right up to the present day, VTech has been producing vaguely laptop shaped gadgets aimed at teaching everything from basic reading skills all the way up to world history. Hallmarks of these devices include a miserable monochrome LCD, and unpleasant membrane keyboard, and as [HotKey] found, occasionally a proper Z80 processor. [...] After more than a year of tinkering and talking to other hackers in the Z80 scene, [HotKey] has made some impressive headway. He’s not only created a custom cartridge that lets him load new code and connect to external devices, but he’s also added support for a few VTech machines to z88dk so that others can start writing their own C code for these machines. So far he’s created some very promising proof of concept programs such as a MIDI controller and serial terminal, but ultimately he hopes to create a DOS or CP/M like operating system that will elevate these vintage machines from simple toys to legitimate multi-purpose computers.

today's howtos

Audiocasts/Shows/Screencasts: FLOSS Weekly, Containers, Linux Headlines, Arch Linux Openbox Build and GhostBSD 19.09

  • FLOSS Weekly 551: Kamailio

    Kamailio is an Open Source SIP Server released under GPL, able to handle thousands of call setups per second. Kamailio can be used to build large platforms for VoIP and realtime communications – presence, WebRTC, Instant messaging and other applications.

  • What is a Container? | Jupiter Extras 23

    Containers changed the way the IT world deploys software. We give you our take on technologies such as docker (including docker-compose), Kubernetes and highlight a few of our favorite containers.

  • 2019-10-16 | Linux Headlines

    WireGuard is kicked out of the Play Store, a new Docker worm is discovered, and Mozilla unveils upcoming changes to Firefox.

  • Showing off my Custom Arch Linux Openbox Build
  • GhostBSD 19.09 - Based on FreeBSD 12.0-STABLE and Using MATE Desktop 1.22

    GhostBSD 19.09 is the latest release of GhostBSD. This release based on FreeBSD 12.0-STABLE while also pulling in TrueOS packages, GhostBSD 19.09 also has an updated OpenRC init system, a lot of unnecessary software was removed, AMDGPU and Radeon KMS is now valid xconfig options and a variety of other improvements and fixes.

MX-19 Release Candidate 1 now available

We are pleased to offer MX-19 RC 1 for testing purposes. As usual, this iso includes the latest updates from debian 10.1 (buster), antiX and MX repos. Read more