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Narrative exploration RPG 'Vagrus - The Riven Realms' enters Early Access

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 05:42:49 PM

Lost Pilgrims Studio have finally released Vagrus - The Riven Realms into Early Access on GOG and Steam.

Vagrus - The Riven Realms puts you in the shoes of a travelling caravan leader, as you explore the wastelands left over from the gods getting angry at humanity and basically annihilating everything while also leaving behind all sorts of horrors. It's a setting that demands to be explored and sucks you right in with the impressive world-building.

It's been a long time coming, after being available on the crowdfunding platform Fig for a year already. This is where they used a hybrid model of Early Access / Crowdfunding to raise funds to develop the game further while also providing people with a copy to play right away. Which obviously proved to be worthwhile for them, as the campaign recently passed $95,000.


Watch video on YouTube.com

It's a very slow-burning game, and your enjoyment will largely depend on your appreciation of the writing. In some ways Vagrus is like an interactive dark fantasy book. For me, I have a tendency to read a bit too fast and so Vagrus was a bit of a struggle to get into it initially, thankfully though I very much enjoyed the style of everything and the mystery of the world. The ability to pull up previous info is nice to let it all sink in when you're able to. Then you also have the turn-based combat, with all sorts of freakish enemies and resource / people management.

Keeping in mind it's still early, there's a lot left to do and this is the widest it's been available there's going to be plenty of rough edges but it's incredibly promising.

You can buy Vagrus - The Riven Realms on GOG and Steam, with a demo available in the form of a Prologue also on GOG and Steam.

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The no-violence survival platformer 'Residual' gets a demo and Kickstarter

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 04:40:26 PM

Orangepixel are a long-time indie game developer with titles like Space Grunts, Gunslugs, Heroes of Loot and more. Their next title is Residual, a survival platformer with a difference.

Setting itself apart from the rest, there's no combat. The whole idea is to have a non-violent game of survival and exploration which I will admit has made me most curious about it. Stranded on a strange alien world, your task is to find a way off as you come across the residual technology left behind an ancient advanced race.

Check out the video with the developer talking about it and showing off some early footage:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Feature Highlight:

  • Everything in the world is procedurally generated, from the layout of the environments to the flora, fauna, temperatures, water, types of fruit, and range of creatures you'll encounter. Each playthrough will offer a completely unique experience and there's a virtually endless supply of new planets to explore.
  • There are no guns in the game, but that doesn't mean the world isn't filled with danger. You'll just have to discover creative solutions to avoid being killed by creatures who view you as tasty snack, flesh-eating plants, and whatever else the world you're exploring throws up.
  • Each planet is full of useful resources, and you can use mining and crafting to take advantage of them. Collect resources, combine items, craft tools, and fix your ship!

I always love the style of Orangepixel's pixel-art and their recent releases have been pretty good, I especially enjoyed a good few runs in Space Grunts 2 that released with Linux support back in May. Orangepixel have supported Linux with their games for a great many years too.

Now on Kickstarter, they're hoping to raise at least €7,200 with the game already around 50% done. Their current work is going into fleshing out the actual content and gameplay mechanics, now that there was enough for a demo to demonstrate the idea. It's also using their new 'Nature engine', designed to allow procedurally generated planets based on a set of nature rules like temperature, how much sunlight it gets and so on.

See the demo on Steam and back it on Kickstarter here. At release for PC (Linux, macOS, Windows) it's planned to be available on itch.io and Steam.

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Sorting the mess of vendor specific lighting apps, OpenRGB has a new release

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 04:23:47 PM

Having something with pretty RGB lighting and want to play with it on Linux? Often the hardware vendor doesn't bother with Linux tools or drivers but the OpenRGB firmly has your back.

This is not just another open source project for Linux to make up for vendors ignoring Linux, in fact it's actually made for Windows too. Their aim is to sort the big stinking mess of vendor-specific tools and applications to deal with RGB lighting across various motherboards, GPUs, strips, keyboards and more. As the project page states:

One of the biggest complaints about RGB is the software ecosystem surrounding it. Every manufacturer has their own app, their own brand, their own style. If you want to mix and match devices, you end up with a ton of conflicting, functionally identical apps competing for your background resources. On top of that, these apps are proprietary and Windows-only. Some even require online accounts. What if there was a way to control all of your RGB devices from a single app, on both Windows and Linux, without any nonsense? That is what OpenRGB sets out to achieve. One app to rule them all.

A very noble aim and one I can get in with. OpenRGB recently had a new 0.3 release. According to the developer, it pulls in support for more devices and thanks to a rework with it now using hidapi-hidraw, it should nicely coexist with other tools too. It's got quite a long list of devices it supports too, which is most impressive.

While I can use ckb-next for my Corsair keyboard, having just one application needed for it and more is a very nice idea but currently ckb-next is a lot more functional for my Corsair keyboard. I'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on OpenRBG from now on.

Feature Highlight:

  • Set colors and select effect modes for a wide variety of RGB hardware
  • Save and load profiles
  • Control lighting from third party software using the OpenRGB SDK
  • Command line interface
  • Connect multiple instances of OpenRGB to synchronize lighting across multiple PCs
  • Can operate standalone or in a client/headless server configuration
  • View device information
  • No official/manufacturer software required

See more about OpenRGB on GitLab.

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Euro Truck Simulator 2 gets a big free update with SSAO

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 03:41:52 PM

For those who prefer trucking around Europe instead of America, SCS Software just upgraded Euro Truck Simulator 2 with some nice engine upgrades and location improvements.

Much like they also did with American Truck Simulator just recently in their big update, this update for Euro Truck Simulator 2 brings in some graphics updates. This includes Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), a redesigned route advisor, a redesigned RGB colour picker with support for specific color inputs (HSV, RGB, and HEX), and more. All dealership locations across the Euro Truck Simulator 2 map have received a refresh too, with each being unique. There's plenty more map updates, improved automatic transmission for vehicles and so on. SCS continue giving ETS 2 plenty of attention. You can see their overview video below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

It's pretty amazing actually how popular it remains. After releasing for Windows in 2012 and then for Linux in 2013, it's continued to pull in many thousands of players. Looking over the statistics now, it regularly sees around thirty thousand players online at the same time.

SCS Software have certainly done well for themselves with both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator. Quite amazing really, just goes to truly show how wide peoples tastes are for gaming. I'll admit to enjoying it quite a lot with my Logitech Driving Force G29.

You can buy Euro Truck Simulator 2 on Humble Store and Steam.

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SuperTuxKart has a fresh Release Candidate out for testing

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 11:49:06 AM

The classic free and open source racer SuperTuxKart continues to mature, with a brand new testing release available with some changes to the tech used.

It seems the current focus for SuperTuxKart is to improve the overall look and feel of it right now, giving it that all important professional feel. One of the big changes behind the scenes is the move to using more of SDL2, instead of Irrlicht which is missing some big features. They're now using SDL2 for things like window creation and input handling. As a result it should get better with gamepad handling, hot-plugging and less gamepad input annoyances.

The interface is also going through something of an overhaul to make it more modern. With the 1.2 update bringing in a "Modern" skin. A highlight there is the addition of SVG icons, along with work to enable the SuperTuxKart engine to properly render SVG files to ensure the UI looks great at high resolutions. They said they plan to blog about this more work in a future update.

After testing it out, the new interface does look quite nice, which you can see in the two below shots. Gamepad input handling was also vastly improved with my Logitech F310.

Multiple new camera modes are also in, addon karts can be used online and the 'Pidgin' kart was upgraded with lights, new tires and a spoiler—oooh, fancy. A fantastic and constantly improving kart racer, one that's great for children and adults alike thanks to the family-friendly theme. Wonderful to see it improve further.

There's no mentioned plan of a specific date on the full 1.2 release yet. They're also still going through with their plan to have dual-licensing for SuperTuxKart under both the GPL and MPL which they gave reasons for here.

You can try out the first Release Candidate for SuperTuxKart 1.2 over here.

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It's now easier than ever to play STAR WARS: The Old Republic on Linux

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 11:32:36 AM

With EA continuing to dump their older games onto Steam, the popular MMO STAR WARS: The Old Republic is now available thanks to Steam Play Proton it's easier than ever to play it on Linux.

Confused? Don't know what Steam Play or Proton are? Check out our dedicated page first.

This free to play MMO originally released in 2011 and it's set thousands of years before the original Star Wars movies. A time when the Sith are very much around and something not explored in any of the movies. As a huge Star Wars fan, seeing this easy to access on Steam makes me happy. Not a fan of Origin? Good news for Linux users, as it's not here. The Old Republic is one EA title that does not come with the Origin client and so it should be less of a nuisance.

Like the fancy HUD in the corner? That's MangoHud.

With the latest stable version of Proton with 5.0-9, the game works and performs well. Tested across a character I had left on it from a great many years ago, to a brand new character pictured above. There is one issue though: with the typical Star Wars intro video giving you a blank white screen with audio. It's possible to just skip it but thanks to that one issue it's not perfect out of the box. Still, an overall minor point when the rest of the game works so well.

Looks like the Steam release is quite popular, unsurprisingly, with well over twenty-five thousand players online. Looks like another EA game to get a player boost thanks to Steam. You can find STAR WARS: The Old Republic on Steam.

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Linux distro Fedora 33 may get DXVK as the default for Wine

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 10:40:13 AM

If you make use of the Wine compatibility layer on Fedora, it seems the upcoming Fedora 33 release may end up defaulting to DXVK for better performance.

Currently in Fedora, like most distributions, Wine is mostly left alone. Once installed, it's up to users to tinker with it and configure it (I much prefer using Lutris personally). That may change though if this latest proposal is accepted for Fedora 33 which releases in October 2020. There is currently a dedicated wine-dxvk package you can install to get it but this change would set DXVK as the default graphics backend for Wine to translate Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan.

The benefits are obvious, like giving users of Wine a much better gaming experience for Windows-only titles. DXVK is used in Proton for Steam Play, it's developed at a quick pace for game compatibility and the performance is often far better than Wine's own wined3d which translates Direct3D to OpenGL.

See the proposal here if interested.

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Widelands, the Settlers II inspired RTS has a huge Build 21 release out now

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 10:05:31 AM

Widelands, a free and open source strategy game inspired by the classic Settlers II has now formally released the massive Build 21 update.

Recently I wrote about the upcoming update after doing some pre-release testing, and it's proven to be a wonderful RTS that keeps the spirit of the classic Settlers experience alive. Widelands is a strategy game where you don't have direct-unit control, instead you place down orders and everyone gets to work—as long as your road system is connected up properly. I'll openly admit to getting a bit carried away with playing Widelands recently sinking half a day into it.

Some of the highlights from Build 21 include:

  • A much stronger AI
  • New “Peaceful Mode” and several new starting conditions
  • More detailed user controls for game speed, map scrolling, and many properties of building windows; new hotkeys; re-added quick navigation with ‘,’ and ‘.’; partly redesigned and modernized user interface
  • Allow the player to choose the soldiers to send in the attack box
  • New planning-ahead ship scheduling algorithm
  • Ferries carry wares over waterways
  • Improved display of work areas
  • Spritesheets and mipmaps provide high-quality graphics when zooming in

While Widelands has a big set of features and can be enjoyed just like another other game, it's always under development and it's not "finished" in the traditional sense. Part of this release was to help with that, as they did a huge clean up of the code and plenty has been refactored to help expand it in future.

Not only can you play against the AI, it also has online play and LAN support.

Find out more on the official Widelands site.

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KDE teams up with Slimbook to bring a stylish new AMD Ryzen 4800H laptop

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 09:12:10 AM

Power, style and what looks like a pretty good price too. KDE and Slimbook team up to announce the KDE Slimbook, powered by a beefy AMD Ryzen processor. They're not the first to announce a Linux laptop with a newer AMD Ryzen processor though, as we only just had TUXEDO announce their Pulse 15 too.

This isn't actually a brand new initiative either, KDE and Slimbook have actually been good partners for a few years now. This is the third generation, so hopefully together they've been able to craft something special and it certainly looks that way. If you're in the market for a new laptop with Linux, this could be what you need.

It's interesting to see multiple vendors announce AMD Ryzen lately. Not a surprise though, as historically you had to go Intel if you wanted the best performance but AMD have truly had a resurgence thanks to the Zen architecture and they're proving to be popular with all types of computing needs from compiling to gaming and more. The AMD Ryzen 4800H chip in the new KDE Slimbook III is certainly no slouch, in fact it's actually a pretty powerful CPU.

Tech specs:

Processor AMD Ryzen 4800H
8 CPU cores
7 GPU cores
16 threads Screen size / Model 15.6" IPS FullHD display or 14" IPS FullHD display
1920x1080 (16:9)
SRGB 100%
60Hz Storage SSD m.2 2280, NVME
Up to 2Tb SSD storage
250GB base config RAM Up to 64Gb RAM (8 base config, 16, 32, 64 available)
3200 MHz RAM
Has 2 sockets, supports dual channel Battery 47‑watt‑hour battery for 14"
92.6‑watt‑hour battery for 15.6" Ports 3 USB slots
1 USB-C slot
HDMI
Ethernet (RJ45)
Intel Wifi 6 AX200 (max speed 2.4Gbps) OS Choices Ubuntu, Kubuntu, KDE Neon, Ubuntu MATE, Manjaro, Linux Mint and more Pricing Starts at:
€899 for 14"
€929 for 15.6"

Available to order now with shipping expected after 2-3 weeks assembly time, Slimbook appear to ship worldwide. You can also configure it with a few different keyboards including English UK, English US, Spanish, French and German. You can find the official announcement over on the KDE news post.

In related news Slimbook's other line, the PRO X is also getting AMD Ryzen so you're getting even more choice. Check out the Slimbook store if you're interested.

Over the last few years, we've definitely seen a small surge in the amount of vendors coming along to do Linux. We have System76, TUXEDO, Entroware, Laptop With Linux, Purism, Slimbook and more. We even have Lenovo adding Ubuntu to a bunch of theirs too. Great to see.

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Accessible and colourful fighting game 'Fantasy Strike' goes free to play

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 08:29:49 AM

Fantasy Strike, a fighting game designed to be easy for all types of players that released in July 2019 has now officially gone free to play.

Created by Sirlin Games, they're an ex-Street Fighter developer and they think of themselves as something of a "hardcore" fighting game player. Fantasy Strike was their attempt to create a fighting game that anyone could become reasonably good at quickly to enjoy it.

Originally £23.79 / $29.99, with the free to play release all characters are unlocked for everyone to play with. Everyone also has access to online casual play, online ranked play, offline practice mode, and offline “single match” mode against AI so out of the box it's a pretty full game. The update also came with two entirely new characters to boost the roster, Chancellor Quince and General Onimaru.


Watch video on YouTube.com

To unlock all other game modes - Arcade mode, Versus mode for local play (including standard and team battle), Survival modes (including 4 sub-modes), and the over-the-top Boss Rush mode it's a single purchase of £15.49 / $19.99 / €16.79. They're also monetizing it using Fantasy+, a subscription which gives dedicated players a special replay section with a Netflix-style interface and an XP boost.

Currently, free to play players cannot play with friends who have the Core Pack but the developer said that after feedback this will be patched soon to allow it. That's good news, as locking playing with friends behind the paywall was a bit of a daft decision if they wanted to pull people in.

Overall I thought Fantasy Strike was a pretty great fighting game. I'm exactly who it was aimed at too, someone who is not a regular fighting game player and it felt pretty fun to play. Visually vibrant too, great characters. Give it a try if you haven't before now you've got no barrier to entry.

You can play Fantasy Strike now free on Steam.

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The Humble Daedalic Bundle 2020 is live with some really good experiences

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 06:17:16 PM

Another game bundle for you to build up your collection with landed with The Humble Daedalic Bundle 2020. Daedalic are usually pretty good supporters of Linux too, with plenty of their modern titles being made available for Linux officially.

This new bundle runs until Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 and it's full of good looking games. Here's the run-down on what you can grab from it.

In the lowest tier you get:

  • Fire! - Linux supported
  • The Night of the Rabbit
  • A Year Of Rain

Pay more than the average for:

  • State of Mind - Linux supported
  • The Great Perhaps - Linux supported
  • AER Memories of Old - Linux supported
  • CryoFall

With the top tier having:

  • Iratus: Lord of the Dead - Linux supported
  • Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth - Linux supported
  • Iron Danger
  • The Suicide of Rachel Foster
  • 1 Month Free of Humble Choice for New Subscribers

Overall it does look like quite a nice selection. Our contributor Scaine was a fan of State of Mind (review), and I quite liked the recent Iratus: Lord of the Dead and Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth is quite an adventure to go through too.

Check out the full bundle here.

As a reminder: there's also the Humble Warhammer Bundle 2020 that's live too.

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BallisticNG, the anti-gravity racer inspired by Wipeout gets a big update and DLC

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 02:40:47 PM

Miss the classic Wipeout and feel the need for speed? BallisticNG is a fine choice and it just expanded with a DLC and a huge free upgrade for everyone.

First, the expansion! BallisticNG - Outer Reaches adds in 6 seriously cool looking tracks, each of which can be played in reverse giving you 12 options in total. A pack for big fans of the game who want more official tracks and looks to be worth picking up. Have a looksie at the trailer below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Now onto what's even bigger, with the BallisticNG 1.2 update. Honestly, it's massive. There's a bunch of new music, the Custom Race menu got a nice overhaul to be more streamlined and easier to use, multiplayer mod support expanded although "code mods" can only be used over direct IP connections to keep multiplayer secure, reworked lighting of tracks, two new game modes with 'Rush Hour' and 'Team Race', tons of improvements to weapon behaviours and the list goes on with AI updates, ship updates, bug fixes and more. Everything you would expect from a major post-release update.

There's also a bunch of new settings, allowing you to tweak the racing experience a bit further to your likely. New options include the ability to change screen shake intensity, muffled audio when in vacuums, custom track music overrides, cockpit audio filtering, fine tune the camera distance and more.

I definitely don't remember Wipeout being as challenging as I find BallisticNG. Even getting to grips with the correct amount of acceleration and good braking with the flaps is difficult enough, once you get it down though it's totally exhilarating and it works so wonderfully with good performance too. If you love retro-inspired racers like this, you should check it out.

You can buy BallisticNG and the expansion on Steam.

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Shape-shifting casual bird sim 'Fugl' adds Vulkan support and 'High-detail' biomes

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 02:05:14 PM

Experience serenity with the peaceful bird flying sim Fugl, now with added support for Vulkan and more updates.

Currently in Early Access while they build up the world and the core experience, it's already quite a wonderfully relaxing game if a bit thin on encounters and things to actually do. It's like a bit of a walking sim, except, well—you're flying. It's a bit wonderful though and one I keep a keen eye on to see what they do with it in the end.

Recently, it had an update in late June that overhauled a bunch of the rendering to bring in Vulkan API support across Linux and Windows. This came with a few problems initially that they've been cleaning up, although the last patch makes it run great overall here. The major update also added in pretty high-detail biomes, new addition biomes, some tweaks to avatars and 'many' bug fixes.

Just look at how pretty it is (click to enlarge):

Current features:

  • Freely control different flying creatures and enjoy the freedom of flying
  • Hundreds of animal friends to discover
  • Make your own avatar or mix from what you discover
  • Free roaming gameplay on your own terms – no pressure or set goals
  • Absolutely no hoops to fly through, but lots of caves
  • Diverse areas to explore
  • Morph into nearby animals and change your appearance and physics
  • Find mythical creatures
  • Customize in-game physics

Find Fugl on Humble Store, itch.io and Steam.

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Turn-based classless RPG 'Dark Bestiary' has left Early Access

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 01:43:26 PM

With tons of customization and a classless progression system, the turn-based RPG 'Dark Bestiary' has left Early Access.

The main aim of the game here is combat, and lots of it. If you enjoy turn-based character building with plenty of loot then you're likely going to feel right at home. It's quite a streamlined game one that does away with forcing you down the path of specific skill sets and big open worlds to explore. Instead you go through various smaller maps picked from a board of missions, with each one being a series of encounters to battle through.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Dark Bestiary definitely isn't a fancy game but if you love wildly varying character builds and lots of turn-based combat, it's all you need in a simple streamlined package. There's no tutorial and no easing you into it. It's quite abrupt which I noted originally when taking a look in 2019 and it seems that hasn't improved. Still, if you've played pretty much any turn-based strategy/RPG type of game, you will be able to pick up the game mechanics without any fuss.

Feature Highlight:

  • Dark fantasy theme.
  • Turn-based tactical combat.
  • Small but mechanically deep game.
  • Flexible character development system that allows you to create almost any build that can come to mind.
  • More than hundred of skills.
  • Craft and equipment upgrading.
  • Wide variety of monsters.

You can find Dark Bestiary on Steam.

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TUXEDO Computers announce the Pulse 15, a high-end AMD Ryzen laptop

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 01:04:20 PM

TUXEDO Computers, a hardware vendor that specialises in providing Linux systems has today revealed the TUXEDO Pulse 15 and it sounds like a wonderful beast.

It seems every time we write about hardware lately, the comments here and elsewhere are always "AMD RYZEN WHEN?!" or something to that effect. TUXEDO Computers listened closely and they've delivered with the new TUXEDO Pulse 15, which you can choose to be powered by a high performance AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (eight core) or the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H (six core). Thanks to the integrated RX Vega 6/7 Graphics, you should get some good overall power out of it.

This isn't the first AMD CPU powered unit from TUXEDO, as they also launched the TUXEDO Book BA15 back in May but that was on a previous generation of the Ryzen processor so this is much more exciting.

While they're nowhere near as big as System76, TUXEDO Computers do seem to be slowly growing themselves. They provide their own tailored Linux OS based on Ubuntu with their own tweaks and their fancy TUXEDO Control Center gives you a nice fresh dashboard UI for fan control, CPU speeds and more.

Here's some tech specs for their new Pulse 15:

Processor

AMD Ryzen 5 4600H (6x 3.0 - 4.0 GHz Hexa-Core, 12 Threads, 8 MB L3-Cache, 45 W TDP)
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (8x 2.9 - 4.2 GHz Octa-Core, 16 Threads, 8 MB L3-Cache, 45 W TDP)

Graphics AMD Radeon™ RX Vega 6 Graphics (AMD Ryzen 5 4600H)
AMD Radeon™ RX Vega 7 Graphics (AMD Ryzen 7 4800H) RAM

8 GB (1x 8GB) 2666MHz Samsung base config, up to 64 GB (2x 32GB) 3200MHz CL22 Samsung

Screen 15.6 inch 1080p LED with IPS non-glare HDD 250 GB Samsung 860 EVO (M.2 SATAIII) base config, up to 2000 GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus (NVMe PCIe) Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 & Bluetooth 5.1 (up to 2400Mbps) Ports 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Typ-C (DisplayPort: no; Power Delivery: yes)
2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Typ-A
1x USB 2.0 Typ-A
1x HDMI 2.0 inkl. HDCP (4k UHD@60Hz / 2k FHD@120Hz / 2x FHD@60Hz (Daisy Chain))
1x Gigabit LAN/Netzwerk RJ45
1x 2-in-1 Headphone/Headset (Headphone & Microphon
1x Kensington Lock
1x Card-Reader (micro-SD)

A serious bit of enthusiast kit, with the power to back it up too. It comes with a "91 Wh Lithium-Polymer battery" which they say can give you 10 hours of run-time in "practical use". Oh, you also get their little "TUX" key to replace the Windows icon as standard. The base configuration costs around €896.81.

The TUXEDO Pulse 15 will ship from August 17 and can be pre-ordered now. See more here.

I have to admit I quite enjoyed the recent ShortCircuit (Linus TT) video which showed off a Tuxedo laptop with a custom keyboard, quite an amusing service Tuxedo offer. They later made a joke about Linus' video taking down their store from high traffic with another funny keyboard.

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General Horse and the Package of Doom might be the dumbest FMV I've ever played

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 12:12:56 PM

Released back in June, General Horse and the Package of Doom is a Full Motion Video game that might just be the dumbest FMV I've ever put time into. Note: key from the developer.

When some developers email in their games their attempts to cut through the noise can including lots of big marketing speak, flashy images, telling us how amazing we are so on. Studio spektar though? Hilariously brief and honest noting that it's "hours and hours of zero-budget films turned into a video game"—sold. Even their official website hilariously looks like something I put together in the early days of the internet.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features according to the dev:

  • Full Motion Video - The whole game is played alongside high quality video sequences
  • Resource management - You must survive your travels through hostile space by trading, stealing and using resources and special items. Try not to starve or crash into a planet.
  • Replay value - There is enough scenes and choices to play more than once and still see something new.
  • Highly intelligent humor - Only the smartest people will get the subtle jokes in this dark and mystical space drama.
  • Method acting - Many of our high quality actors were never even given their scripts. They were carefully guided to become their characters and then we just let the script happen.

If their aim with it was to put me into a loop of smiling, chuckling and cringing from embarrassment at the acting then they did well. Games don't need to be serious, we have enough of that everywhere else in life and General Horse and the Package of Doom certainly doesn't shy away from being completely ridiculous.

To put it into perspective it's like picking out a B-movie to watch, one you know is not going to win awards or be talked about for years to come. It's stupid but it's fun and that's the point. Grab a bottle of your favourite drink, a tasty snack and settle in for the ride.

You can find General Horse and the Package of Doom on Steam. They shared a few technical details here too if you're interested.

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War Selection is a free to play Early Access RTS now available for Linux

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 11:39:04 AM

Currently in Early Access, War Selection from Glyph Worlds is a somewhat promising looking real-time strategy game and they just released it for Linux officially. It's free to play too, so at least in terms of cost there's no barrier to getting involved and giving it a try. Looking over the monetization model, you have to pay for access to specific nations and the single-player content.

A few different game modes are included like a free for all, a survival mode to face the hordes, ranked 1v1 matches, team games and more. For a proper RTS, it sounds like it has all the basics there to build upon to a full release.

Seems most players have been enjoying it too, as it regularly sees a few hundred online at any given time. Not only that, it's being rated by users on Steam positively too so they must be doing something right at least. Like some of the classic strategy games, you rise through different ages from throwing rocks to firing tanks and more.

Personally testing it, I found everything did work as expected with the new Linux build but the game assumes you will already know your way around it. There didn't seem to be anything to help ease in new players, which I hope they work on as it closes in on leaving Early Access. At least with the Sandbox mode you can play around building and check out the mechanics first before diving into an online match.

You can play War Selection on Steam.

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Linux support for ASUS ROG laptops is coming along nicely

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 11:13:41 AM

Back in April we revealed the ROG-Core project, with an aim to better support ASUS ROG laptops on Linux and it seems it's really coming along nicely now.

This special 'Republic Of Gamers' brand of ASUS laptops (available here) comes with a bunch of flashy features, most of which are only directly supported on Windows. Frustrating for Linux buyers of course but great to see a community project spring up to allow Linux users to fully appreciate their kit.

While it started off initially focusing on the Zephyrus GX502GW, which the author of the project owned, it's now progressed onto supporting quite a lot of models including: GM501, GX502, GX531, G512, G712, G531, G532 and more like GA14/GA401 depending on kernel patches. Impressive progress for something so new. It also shows how hardware vendors could and should be doing it if a few people hacking away in their free time can do it so well.

So what can it do? Quite a lot now. Per-key LED settings, fancy LED modes, modifying built-in LED modes, a Daemon mode, various system control options like screen brightness and Touchpad toggle, hotkeys for things like media controls and more.

It's gained a bit of a following now too, and has spawned another project with ZephyrusBling which builds upon ROG-Core to allow owners of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 with the AniMe Matrix LED display on the back to do things like this:

While I have no need of it, I suddenly feel like I need it. How could you not love that though? Brilliant bit of useless flashy tech for the super nerd to show off a bit.

See the ROG-Core project here and the ZephyrusBling project here. Going even further, there's even now another project aimed at supporting AMD based ASUS laptops.

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NVIDIA 450.56.02 Vulkan Beta Driver is out for Linux

Monday 20th of July 2020 07:13:20 PM

NVIDIA continue expanding their Linux driver support, with a fresh Vulkan Beta Driver going live today.

In terms of overall changes, it's quite a small one as NVIDIA continue firming up further Vulkan API support with two new extensions now available. Both of which landed with the Vulkan 1.2.148 specification update, which was released on July 19, here they are:

Additionally, a Linux-specific fix made it in which was "Fixed flipping behavior of X11 swapchains that have more than 2 images". You can see the NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver any time here.

Reminder: you know it's a special Beta driver thanks to the additional two numbers on the end of the version string, with the newest stable version of the NVIDIA driver for Linux at 450.57 which released on July 9. This special Vulkan beta driver is where all the shiny new stuff goes in before making its way into the stable release for everyone. Really, it's mostly aimed at developers and serious enthusiasts. Unless you need what's in them, it's generally best to use the stable drivers.

If you just want to know when a new stable driver is released, you can follow our dedicated Drivers tag.

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Quirky 8-bit sailing adventure The Caribbean Sail gets a free expansion

Monday 20th of July 2020 04:08:30 PM

Sail across the seas and probably die a thousand deaths, The Caribbean Sail is a quirky retro 8-bit take on sailing the world in the 1700's and it got a huge update.

"Set sail across the Atlantic with your best friend, food. Food will keep you alive and food will keep you well- you get food by throwing harpoons at fish and turtles. Then one day BAM! The RNG screws you over and throws a pirate ship at you and you're forced to fight and defend your food!"

Covered here on GOL back in 2018, our contributor BTRE gave it a favourable look. Recently, the developer put out the Fantasy Toggle expansion to The Caribbean Sail adding in a completely new story, new encounters, new events, new opportunities, treasure hunting, sea monsters, mythical locations and a lot more.


Watch video on YouTube.com

The Fantasy Toggle update is practically a whole new game, and it took a lot longer than expected, which the developer attributed to 'the calamity maelstrom that has been 2020'.

Not played it before? Expect an 8-bit soundtrack of traditional shanties and naval tunes, ship and character upgrades, real-time naval combat, harpoon fishing to replenish supplies and all the dangers that comes with sailing a boat in the 1700s. There's lots of little details to it that make it quite the fun experience and it seems the majority of players agree, with it now having a Very Positive user rating on Steam.

This new fantasy themed expansion so far seems great, with a very different atmosphere to the main game. It's an option you can toggle so you can turn it on/off for each new run as you wish. Depends if you want to die by pirates and disease or mysterious fantasy creatures.

I have to admit the soundtrack is quite hilarious too. 8-bit drunken sailer is wonderful.

You can find The Caribbean Sail on Steam.

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More in Tux Machines

Stable Kernels: 5.7.14, 5.4.57, 4.19.138, and 4.14.193

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