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Gaming

The Linux Mint 19.2 Gaming Report: Promising But Room For Improvement

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GNU
Linux
Gaming

When I started outlining the original Linux Gaming Report, I was still a fresh-faced Linux noob. I didn’t understand how fast the ecosystem advanced (particularly graphics drivers and Steam Proton development), and I set some lofty goals that I couldn’t accomplish given my schedule. Before I even got around to testing Ubuntu 18.10, for example, Ubuntu 19.04 was just around the corner! And since all the evaluation and benchmarking takes a considerable amount of time, I ended up well behind the curve. So I’ve streamlined the process a bit, while adding additional checkpoints such as out-of-the-box software availability and ease-of-installation for important gaming apps like Lutris and GameHub.

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Games: AI War 2, Dominus Galaxia, Sipho, Lonely Mountains: Downhill and More

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Gaming
  • AI War 2, the massive RTS game confirmed for launch on October 22

    Arcen Games have now fully confirmed that October 22 is the final launch date for AI War 2 to leave Early Access.

    This is the sequel to the critically acclaimed AI War: Fleet Command released back in 2009, which eventually came to Linux too later in 2014. The release of AI War 2 is going to mark 10 years since the original! Funded on Kickstarter back in 2016 with the help of around 2,545 backers.

    AI War 2 is a grand strategy RTS hybrid against an overwhelming, inhuman enemy who has conquered the galaxy. The enemy has made only a single error: underestimating you. You must steal as much technology as you can, take enough territory to fortify your bases and launch your last stand.

  • Dominus Galaxia, a 4x strategy game heavily inspired by Master of Orion 1 has a Linux demo up

    Their aim with Dominus Galaxia is to be an upgraded spiritual successor to the original Master of Orion, they said to think of it like if Master of Orion 2 was a proper sequel and not a "a radical re-imagining".

    It's currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter which has 10 days to go with nearly 50% of the funding needed, with a bit of a stretch it may be able to make it. Just recently, they put up a full demo of the game with Linux support on itch.io.

  • Creature building action and survival game 'Sipho' adds some fun new zooids for your monstrosity

    Swim, kill, adapt and hopefully survive. That's the aim of the game in Sipho and the recent update adds in some new pieces for you to unlock to build your horrific sea creature with.

    It's such a strange game, blending together furious action with a creature builder where you unlock different parts and species. Based on real science, inspired by the Siphonophorae with your creature being built with zooids, an animal that forms part of a colony that all move together.

  • No Linux version of Lonely Mountains: Downhill yet due to IL2CPP in Unity

    Megagon Industries have now confirmed the status of Lonely Mountains: Downhill for Linux and currently it's not good news.

    This is a game that was funded on Kickstarter, that had Linux as a platform for release. If this sounds familiar, it's because we wrote about this game recently where the developer seemed a bit confused on the Linux version and they weren't clear on what they were doing.

  • Project RIP, a new FPS released recently with Linux support and it looks action-packed

    Fight off waves of demons in Project RIP from developer Storming Tech, a new Unreal Engine first-person shooter that has Linux support. This is the same developer who also made Escape Legacy: Ancient Scrolls, an escape room puzzle game which also seemed quite good.

  • The Northgard free Conquest expansion is launching October 22

    The huge free Conquest expansion for the strategy game Northgard is now confirmed to be releasing on October 22.

    As announced before this free update is going to include a new standalone game mode, which can be played solo or in co-op. Offering up a series of missions, offering a what they claim is "100+" hours of extra possible play time. The missions don't seem to be linked, offering up something new each time with specific victory conditions and rule sets.

  • The impressively smooth roguelike Jupiter Hell has a big AI upgrade and a first sale

    ChaosForge continue advancing their turn-based shooter roguelike shooter Jupiter Hell, with another big update now available.

    A big focus has been on the AI to actually make it a bit smarter. Humanoid enemies will now attempt to take cover and not always run in a straight line at you, which can make it a little more difficult for sure. Most enemies will also react to noise you and other NPCs make. The demon-like enemies will now track you by smell, so you can't hide from them. You might find the need to retreat more often, to find a better position.

2D using Godot

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Development
OSS
Gaming

This brings me to the GUI parts. I’m still not convinced that I understand how to properly layout stuff using Godot, but at least it looks ok now – at the cost of some fixed element sizes and such. I need to spend some more time to really understand how the anchoring and stretching really works. I guess I have a hard time wrapping my head around it as the approach is different from what I’m used to from Qt.

Looking at the rest of the code, I’ve tried to make all the other scenes (in Godot, everything is a scene) like independent elements. For instance, the card scene has a face, and an is_flipped state. It can also signal when it is being flipped and clicked. Notice that the click results in a signal that goes to the table scene, which decides if the card needs to be flipped or not.

The same goes for the GUI parts. They simple signal what was clicked and the table scene reacts. There are some variables too, e.g. the number of pairs setting in the main menu, and the points in the views where that is visible.

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Games: The Universim, POSTAL 4: No Regerts, RPCS3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Games Archive and X-Plane

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Gaming
  • City building god sim 'The Universim' will now let you launch rockets with satellites into orbit

    The Universim is slowly turning into a city building god game truly worth playing, with the Sky High update now available expanding the game into planetary orbit.

    Being able to actually launch things into space is a stepping stone towards visiting other planets. Currently, the Cosmodrome will allow you to send up Defence Satellites that will enable ground to air defences for your Defence Towers. So now you have a reasonable chance to take down meteors and other threats from space.

  • POSTAL 4: No Regerts released into Early Access, Linux version likely in future

    Running With Scissors are back, with a surprise release of POSTAL 4: No Regerts on Steam and a Linux version is looking likely in future.

    Naturally, someone posted on Steam to ask about the possibility of Linux support. This is something that happens a lot but here it's a bit different. RWS already supported Linux with multiple previous Postal releases.

  • PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 is coming along quickly with their August progress report up

    Delayed as usual due to the progress reports being done by contributors, the team working on the PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 have another post up to show off more incredible progress.

    To start with, they have again changed how they list what games are playable and not with the removal of games that won't work due to servers being shut down. They said even if RPCS3 becomes 100% complete, they wouldn't work unless someone accurately emulated and hosted servers for them. With that in mind, they also did a lot of testing of games that previously only went in-game to see how many are now properly playable. Thanks to all the testing, the Playable category has jumped up to 1,426 titles!

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition arrives on Linux on November 5th

    Feral Interactive have finally confirmed the Linux release date for Shadow of the Tomb Raider after announcing it for Linux back in November last year.

    They've said today it will officially release as "Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition" on November 5th! Looking around at dates, technically this is the earliest we've seen any of the newer Tomb Raider series arrive on Linux. The first Tomb Raider came to Linux in 2016 after an original 2013 release, with Rise of the Tomb Raider arriving on Linux 2018 after an original 2016 release and we get the final game in the reboot trilogy next month!

  • The Internet Archive website has added another 2,500 MS-DOS games

    Another point scored for game preservation. The Internet Archive have added another 2,500 MS-DOS games you can play right in your browser.

    In their official announcement, they said that while they've added a few more to their collection here and there this is the biggest yet and it ranges from "tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago".

  • 2,500 More MS-DOS Games Playable at the Archive

    Another few thousand DOS Games are playable at the Internet Archive! Since our initial announcement in 2015, we’ve added occasional new games here and there to the collection, but this will be our biggest update yet, ranging from tiny recent independent productions to long-forgotten big-name releases from decades ago.

  • Vulkan support is not far away now for the flight sim X-Plane 11, physics & flight model updates coming

    X-Plane 11, the detailed flight simulator is finally closing in on an update that will bring in Vulkan support as detailed in a new developer blog post.

Software and Games Leftovers

Filed under
Software
Gaming
  • Rudimentary KBibTeX client using Kirigami2

    KBibTeX is a bibliography editor (BibTeX and somewhat BibLaTex) used in conjunction with LaTeX and friends. Based on this code base, a SailfishOS client called ‘BibSearch’ exists which allows to search for bibliographic data in various online sources (IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, ACM Digital Library, …). BibSearch's code makes use of KBibTeX's C++ code, has its user interface implemented in SailfishOS's Silica QML, and provides just two C++ files on its own to glue together everything.

  • Unoon, a tool to monitor network connections from my system

    I always wanted to have a tool to monitor the network connections from my laptop/desktop. I wanted to have alerts for random processes making network connections, and a way to block those (if I want to).

    Such a tool can provide peace of mind in a few cases. A reverse shell is one the big one, just in case if I manage to open any random malware (read downloads) on my regular Linux system, I want to be notified about the connections it will make. The same goes for trying out any new application. I prefer to use Qubes OS based VMs testing random binaries and applications, and it is also my daily driver. But, the search for a proper tool continued for some time.

    [...]

    A few weeks back, on a Sunday late night, I was demoing the very initial version of the tool to Saptak. While we were talking about the tool, suddenly, an entry popped up in the UI /usr/bin/ssh, to a random host. A little bit of search showed that the IP belongs to an EC2 instance. For the next 40 minutes, we both were trying to debug to find out what happened and if the system was already compromised or not. Luckily I was talking about something else before, and to demo something (we totally forgot that topic), I was running Wireshark on the system. From there, we figured that the IP belongs to github.com. It took some more time to figure out that one of my VS Code extension was updating the git, and was using ssh. This is when I understood that I need to show the real domain names on the UI than random IP addresses.

  • Godlike village sim 'Rise to Ruins' has officially left Early Access with a huge upgrade

    Rise to Ruins (formerly Retro-Pixel Castles) is a great blend of genres, pulling in inspiration from the likes of Black and White, Rimworld, and Dwarf Fortress to make something entirely unique.

    After being in Early Access for nearly five years, this is a huge milestone for Raymond Doerr of SixtyGig Games. It's another title I've followed along closely all these years, after personally purchasing it back in 2015 and it's really delightful to play. The Linux support has been in good shape for a long time too, no noteworthy issues.

  • Stranger Things have entered Rocket League for the Haunted Hallows event

    As a big fan of both Stranger Things (the TV series) and Rocket League, I approve of the little crossover they're currently doing for the new Halloween event the Haunted Hallows.

    Running from now until November 11 at 6PM UTC, the Farmstead Arena has been given a bit of a makeover to be a bit more spooky. Complete with a freaky creature called the Mind Flayer watching over the arena. During the event you can once again earn Candy Corn to redeem for new themed in-game items. I'm quite a big fan of the animated spider decal, looks awesome.

Games: Tangle Tower, Lawgivers, Fertile Crescent and More

Filed under
Gaming
  • Odds and ends, the Linux and gaming Sunday Section

    Almost time to begin another week full of news, before we do let's run over a few interesting happenings recently.

    Let's start with two bits of recent news about Godot Engine, the free and open source game engine. The 3.2 release cycle is going strong, with a second alpha release now available. A massive list of new features and improvements coming to Godot 3.2 can be found here. What's even more exciting though is the Vulkan work coming with Godot Engine 4.0, with another short progress report post up for it. The new visual frame profiler coming certainly looks useful to help developers squeeze out some more performance.

    More AMD news for you, as it has been reported by Wccftech that AMD now command around 30%+ market share of the CPU market. That's some very impressive growth, pushed forward by the Zen microarchitecture from 2017. As seen in the graph below from cpubenchmark.net, this is the highest they've seen it since 2007.

  • SFB Games to bring Tangle Tower to Linux post-launch if there's enough demand

    British indie studio SFB Games, developer of the highly rated Detective Grimoire are working on a new game called Tangle Tower and with a little push they could bring it to Linux.

    Tangle Tower is a fully voiced point and click murder mystery adventure, set in a strange and twisted mansion. You will need to interrogate suspects and solve unique puzzles as you progress. Looks and sounds like a great game. Sadly though it's currently scheduled to release later this month only for Windows and macOS on October 22nd, so no Linux support at launch.

  • Turn-based political simulation game 'Lawgivers' adds Linux support with the latest update

    Today I came across Lawgivers, a turn-based political simulation game which recently added Linux support and it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

    Since it's a political sim, you will be tasked with leading your party into elections. If you manage to get voted in, you will be responsible for approving laws and shaping your country’s destiny.

  • The completely silly fighting game Foreskin Fury is out in Early Access

    After a short delay, you can now jump into Foreskin Fury and have a cock fight. Yes this is a very real game.

    Made in Unreal Engine, the aptly named Stupid Industries said it started off as a joke and they ended up actually learning Blender and Unreal Engine to turn the joke into something a little more real. Here we are, Foreskin Fury was accepted onto Steam and it supports Linux.

  • The currently free indie RTS 'The Fertile Crescent' should now work better at different resolutions

    The Fertile Crescent is an upcoming in-development indie RTS that feels like a retro Age of Empires and it's really quite good. A new update is out (and it's still free) fixing up the UI for different resolutions.

    I think more of you need to try this one, it's a wonderful little RTS game that I honestly can't wait to see expand. Hopefully now more of you actually will be able to try it, as they've made it so the interface properly scales with your resolution. Previously, there were problems if you had anything other than 1080p. Not only that, most of the interface was actually redesigned and it gives you more information.

  • Chiaki, the open source and cross-platform PS4 Remote Play client now supports the PS4 7.0 update

    Sony recently upgraded the system software on the PlayStation 4 which broke compatibility with the open source Remote Play client Chiaki. The developer acted quickly and a new release is up.

    This is the software we tested out recently and came away pretty impressed with it. Allowing you to stream games from a PlayStation 4 to a Linux desktop, seriously handy stuff since Sony don't support it on Linux officially.

Games Leftovers

Filed under
Gaming
  • What have you been playing recently and what do you think about it?

    Having seen a number of great Linux releases lately, it's getting tough opening Steam and actually picking something to play. The very new release of Pine has certainly sucked away a lot of my time, something about the world Twirlbound created has seriously pulled me in. It's not without issues though. While forcing my CPU to stay in Performance mode has made it smoother, it definitely needs improving.

  • Dota 2 matchmaking may be less terrible now for solo players and more difficult for toxic people

    Valve continue to do some pretty big tweaks to the matchmaking system in Dota 2, with another blog post and update talking about all the improvements they're implementing.

    This is following on from all the other changes recently like the ban waves and sounds like they're really pushing to make the Dota 2 community and gameplay better for everyone.

    Ever played a game of Dota 2 by yourself and get matched against an entire team of people? I have, it sucks. They're all forming a strategy, while half of your team are telling each other they're going to report them. It happened for a lot of others too and Valve have finally put a stop to it. In the latest blog post, Valve said that now a five-player team will only be matched up against other five-player teams. For Solo players, they will now only be matched up with a party maximum of two, so Solo players will either now be against an entire team of other Solo players or possibly three solo players and one party of two.

  • Arizona Sunshine | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

    Arizona Sunshine VR running through Steam play.

Games: SanAndreasUnity, Legend of Keepers, X-Plane

Filed under
Gaming
  • The GTA: San Andreas remake in Unity has a new release out

    SanAndreasUnity, an open source remake of the game engine for GTA: San Andreas that aims to be cross-platform has a new release out, with better Linux support included.

  • Tactical dungeon management game Legend of Keepers has a free prologue out

    Goblinz Studio are currently development Legend of Keepers, a tactical dungeon management game where you're the bad guys. It now has a free prologue available to test on Linux.

    From what they said, it's a mix between a "Roguelite and a Dungeon Management" game. Blending two different game phases together, where you first setup a defensive force for your dungeon and then wait for the heroes to come along and see if you manage to mount a successful barrier. A bit like "a reversed dungeon crawler", as they say anyway.

  • X-Plane 11.50 Flight Simulator Bringing Vulkan Support

    For years we have been looking forward to the realistic X-Plane flight simulator rendered by Vulkan as an alternative to their long-standing OpenGL render and with X-Plane 11.50 that is finally being made a reality.

    X-Plane has long offered great support for Linux on-par with their Windows and macOS support. X-Plane's OpenGL renderer has been showing its age for a while and now the developers at Laminar Research have confirmed their Vulkan (and Apple Metal) renderer support is coming with X-Plane 11.50.

Upcoming change will make Linux gaming a reality on Chromebooks

Filed under
Linux
Gaming

Linux on Chrome OS, a.ka. Crostini has primarily focused on creating a viable path for developers to adopt Chromebooks as a primary device. The addition of GPU support did a lot to advance that goal but there’s still a large group of Linux users that could benefit from Crostini if this latest update has anything to do about it. That group is gamers.

Now, I know that we’re all excited about Stadia launching next month. If rumors are correct, it could change the face of gaming as we know it. Still, there are a lot of games out there that live in the PC environment that will never see the grand stage that is Stadia. Personally, I am a huge fan of Source games that run on the Steam network and since I don’t own a PC anymore, my only option to jump into a Day of Defeat GunGame match has been to use the old school Crouton method on a Chromebook. All-in-all, most of my Steam games run quite well using the “hacky” Linux method but I would love to be able to install Steam via Crostini and play my games natively.

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Games: Descenders, BOC, Pegasus Frontend, Runefall 2 and Dota 2

Filed under
Gaming
  • Extreme biking game 'Descenders' adds mod.io integration and a funny Wipeout inspired map

    Get ready for a few more cuts and bruises as RageSquid and No More Robots just gave Descenders the biggest update yet. Modding support is now in using mod.io along with a massive new map.

    Thanks to the mod.io integration, you can subscribe to and download mods directly in the game and it works perfectly. They said they went with mod.io instead of the Steam Workshop to ensure that everyone could play together easily, which is part of the point of mod.io to make mods cross-platform with open APIs.

  • 4x strategy game 'BOC: The Birth Of Civilizations' is now on Kickstarter

    BOC is a game we highlighted last month as it certainly seems like an incredibly interesting 4x strategy game that will be supporting Linux. It's now on Kickstarter to take it through to release.

    Impressively, they built their own custom cross-platform game engine for BOC. Allowing them to create a huge world for you to spread your civilization across. The developer, Code::Arts, has some rather grand sounding plans for it too. Check out the new trailer for it below:

  • Pegasus Frontend, the customizable open source graphical game launcher has a new release up

    Pegasus Frontend is certainly promising, an open source graphical game launcher you can use across Linux, MacOS, Windows, Raspberry Pi, Android and more.

    With a focus on customization with full control over the UI, support for EmulationStation's gamelist files and more it certainly sounds like a useful application to manage your game library especially for big-screen usage.

  • After a casual game for the weekend? Runefall 2 brings some more match-3 to Linux

    Just released this week is Runefall 2 from Playcademy and GC Games, a pretty great looking casual match-3 game.

    Match 3 games are still underserved on Linux, with very few high quality titles of the genre so it really is great to see more. People often underestimate how big the casual market is. As for Runefall 2, this is the first Linux release from Playcademy!

  • Dota 2 matchmaking may be a less terrible now for solo players and more adjustments for toxic people

    Valve continue to do some pretty big tweaks to the matchmaking system in Dota 2, with another blog post and update talking about all the improvements they're implementing.

    This is following on from all the other changes recently like the ban waves and sounds like they're really pushing to make the Dota 2 community and gameplay better for everyone.

    Ever played a game of Dota 2 by yourself and get matched against an entire team of people? I have, it sucks. They're all forming a strategy, while half of your team are telling each other they're going to report them. It happened for a lot of others too and Valve have finally put a stop to it. In the latest blog post, Valve said that now a five-player team will only be matched up against other five-player teams. For Solo players, they will now only be matched up with a party maximum of two, so Solo players will either now be against an entire team of other Solo players or possibly three solo players and one party of two.

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Open Source Firmware updates for the masses! (Part 1)

Thanks to the Linux Vendor Firmware Service it's now much easier to update firmware on Linux. The LVFS supports a huge amount of devices, brings it's own firmware database, has a nice UI and periodically checks if new firmware updates are available. Hardware vendors can upload their firmware to LVFS, which charges no cost for hosting or distribution. Read more Also: Coreboot Support Is Being Worked On For Fwupd/LVFS

GNU: GCC, GNU Assembler and Spring Internships at the FSF

  • AMD GCN OpenMP/OpenACC Offloading Patches For The GCC 10 Compiler

    Over the past year Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working extensively on the new AMD Radeon "GCN" back-end for the GCC code compiler. With the code that is found in GCC 9 and up to now in GCC 10 hasn't supported OpenMP/OpenACC parallel programming interfaces but that could soon change with patches under review. The Radeon GPU support in GCC up to now hasn't supported OpenMP or OpenACC for offloading to the graphics processor and thus its practicality has been limited.

  • GNU Assembler Patches Sent Out For Optimizing The Intel Jump Conditional Code Erratum

    Now that Intel lifted its embargo on the "Jump Conditional Code" erratum affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake processors, while Intel's own Clear Linux was first to carry these patches they have now been sent out on the Binutils mailing list for trying to get the JCC optimization patches into the upstream Binutils/GAS code-base. Well known Intel compiler toolchain expert H.J. Lu sent out the five patches on Tuesday for optimizing around the JCC Erratum. The GNU Assembler (GAS) patches aim to mitigate the performance by aligning branches within 32-byte boundaries for various instructions. The behavior is activated via the -mbranches-within-32B-boundaries command line switch.

  • Spring internships at the FSF! Apply by Nov. 29

    Do you believe that free software is crucial to a free society? Do you want to help people learn why free software matters, and how to use it? Do you want to dig deep into software freedom issues like copyleft, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or surveillance and encryption? Or, do you want to learn systems administration, design, or other tasks using only free software? The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is looking for interns to spend the summer contributing to work in one of three areas: campaigns, licensing, or technical. These positions are unpaid, but the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interest.