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Games: Ultra Off-Road Simulator 2019: Alaska, ET: Legacy, Godot Engine, Bomb Squad Academy, SNES in Switch Online

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Gaming
  • Ultra Off-Road Simulator 2019: Alaska will be supported on Linux with enough requests

    The developer of Ultra Off-Road Simulator 2019: Alaska [Steam], a surprisingly good looking off-road driving sim may gain Linux support with enough requests.

  • ET: Legacy 2.76 Released For Letting Enemy Territory Live On In 2019

    The ET: Legacy open-source project derived from the id Tech 3 sources and letting Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory live on almost two decades later is out with their biggest release yet: version 2.76. ET: Legacy 2.76 itself is a big release but the developers involved still have more plans moving forward.

    ET: Legacy 2.76 continues retaining client/server compatibility with the last official Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory 2.60 release stream. With version 2.76, which they have dubbed "The Enemy Is Weakened", there is now a Bayesian skill rating, error fixes, WolfAdmin as the default game manager, and the open-source project has deployed their own master server for the game should the id Software master server ever be retired. The developers say v2.76 is their most comprehensive release yet and a big step forward for the project.

  • The FOSS game engine 'Godot Engine' has a very exciting 2019 planned for features

    While the big Godot Engine 3.1 release isn't out yet (soon), they're already working out a list of exciting features for the next few versions.

    Taking to Twitter, Godot Engine head honcho Juan Linietsky has been posting about their plans. Turns out, there's a lot. Some of it sounds incredibly exciting too for a free and open source game engine. Talking about it, they said their aim is to make "Godot 4.0 2D and 3D rendering top notch with nothing to envy from the big guys (but still keeping it as easy to use as always)".

  • Snip wires, flick buttons and save the world in Bomb Squad Academy

    Bomb Squad Academy, a game I totally missed from 2017 (yes really, woops!) is an interesting puzzle game about disarming bombs.

    It seems to have had Linux support since release and thanks to it getting an update at the end of last year, I was made aware of it. Since the update, it's gained many more puzzles to solve as well as performance improvements.

  • Switch Online Code Suggests Upcoming Support For SNES Games

    He found the references to 22 SNES games in Switch Online code. Some of the titles include Super Mario Kart, Super Soccer, Legend of Zelda, Contra 3, etc. Kapu has also posted his findings on Pastebin.

Graphics and Games: Vulkan, Godot, Hero of the Kingdom III and Rogue Empire

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming
  • Vulkan 1.1.98 Brings A Dozen Fixes

    Last weekend there was the Vulkan 1.1.97 specification update with five new extensions including some notable ones like memory priority and buffer device address while out today is the much more mundane Vulkan 1.1.98.

    The Vulkan 1.1.98 update doesn't feature any new extensions but has some basic fixes and clarifications to this graphics/compute API specification and associated documentation. Of the roughly dozen changes, no real standouts but just lots of ongoing improvements.

  • Godot 4.0 Game Engine To Work On Vulkan Port, Big Rendering Improvements

    While Godot 3.1 isn't even out yet, our eyes are already looking forward to Godot 4.0 for 2D and 3D rendering improvements, but most notably Vulkan API support. 

    Godot Engine lead developer Juan Linietsky has tweeted his rendering TODO list moving forward for this increasingly-used open-source game engine. The biggest item on the list is porting to Vulkan for Godot 4.0, which doesn't yet have a release timeline. Other Godot 4.0 rendering changes anticipated are shader cache support and the ability to have bindless textures while not altering the engine's current rendering design too much.

  • Hero of the Kingdom III should now work on newer Linux distributions

    Hero of the Kingdom III, a casual RPG from Lonely Troops released back in August last year but it seems it came with a few issues for those on newer distributions.

    In a post on Steam, the developer did note originally about the limited Linux support. Earlier this month, they updated it to replace the older 32bit version with a 64bit version which seems to have solved the problems. Nice to see some good support there!

  • Rogue Empire, a dungeon-crawling RPG is leaving Early Access later this month with Linux support

    Rogue Empire, a dungeon-crawling RPG from Portal Entertainment is ready to leave Early Access on January 25th.

Graphics and Games Leftovers

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming
  • FOSDEM 19 Is Happening In Just Three Weeks, There Will Once Again Be A Graphics Room

    If you are able to make it to Brussels, Belgium in three weeks, the wonderful FOSDEM event is taking place as easily one of the best open-source/Linux events in the world and it's free to attend.

    FOSDEM 2019 is taking place 2 to 3 February this year and once again at the ULB Solbosch Campus in Brussels. This year there are keynotes about blockchain, cloud, and other hot topics. All of the usual main tracks and developer rooms are again taking place.

  • SDL Picks Up An Initial OpenSL ES Implementation For Android

    Helping to make the SDL cross-platform library more attractive for mobile/Android developers, the latest SDL2 code has an initial OpenSL ES implementation. 

    OpenSL ES is the Khronos Group's effort as an industry-standard sound library for embedded hardware while offering up 3D positional audio support, optional integration with OpenMAX, audio effects, and other advanced sound capabilities. 

  • SuperTuxKart, the open source Mario Kart clone, achieves beta status with network support

    While I appreciate hardware makers and game developers pushing the boundaries of what gaming can be, it is important to remember one important fact -- fun trumps all. In other words, it doesn't matter how much processing power a computer or console has, or how beautiful a game's graphics are, if it isn't fun to play! That's probably a big reason why retro-gaming is so popular these days.

Games: Gravity Ace, ArmA, Volcanoids, Arc Savior, Pikuniku and Darwin Project

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Gaming
  • Free public Itch alpha of space shooter Gravity Ace is up for grabs

    If you would cry happy tears at the thought of a modern successor to 80s games like Thrust and Gravitar, then brace yourself for a river. Developer John Watson is making that dream a reality with his first commercial release, Gravity Ace. And you can try it for free!

    John is clearly pining for the 80s and decided to do something about it when he launched a first alpha of Gravity Ace on Itch just 3 months ago. He’s the sole dev on the project and is developing on Linux using the excellent Godot Engine 3.

  • ArmA 3 Chernarus Winter - Jolly Good Fighting

    You know it. ArmA 3 is the only FPS worth playing. For nearly two long decades, the Operation Flashpoint franchise has dominated the genre of serious war simulation, with nothing else coming close. A golden standard to realism. And fun, too.

    A big part of the joy factor comes from the community maintaining the thousands of maps, scenarios, mods, and other add-ons that make the game superb and fresh. Feeling nostalgic? Operation Flashpoint stuff at your disposal rendered in modern graphics. There you go. ArmA 2 maybe? That can be arranged. After all, Chernarus has always been a darn good map, and it had that Cold War feel that Altis and Stratis don't really offer. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the Winter edition!

  • Volcanoids, the steampunk survival game with massive drills has a Linux version ready for Early Access

    As promised by the developers of Volcanoids, the Linux version of their very interesting first-person steampunk survival game is live and ready for when they hit Early Access.

    It's currently only available to a limited selection of testers, you can join their Discord Channel to find out how to get early testing access. They're setting the minimum supported distribution to Ubuntu 18.04, with OpenGL by default while they continue to polish up Vulkan support.

    Since I have access, I've put a few hours into it and honestly I came away pretty impressed by it. The whole idea of it is really unique with your steampunk-style drill that you travel around in and upgrade.

    Naturally, since it's not even in Early Access yet it has plenty of rough edges which they're gradually smoothing-out as time goes on.

  • Arc Savior, another space combat game will be supported on Linux after release

    Arc Savior, a new space combat game from developer Squid Monkey Studios is releasing later this month and it looks quite interesting. Turns out the developer is going to support Linux too.

  • The cute and quirky puzzle-exploration game 'Pikuniku' is coming to Linux

    Pikuniku from the studio Sectordub and Devolver Digital is releasing January 24th and it will support Linux at release.

    I've been following it for a while as it looks really quite sweet, with a simple and quirky style to it. After popping a message to their official Twitter to ask about Linux support, they replied simply to say that "Yes" it will. Seems Steam and GOG already show this too, which is great.

  • Darwin Project no longer works in Steam Play, due to Easy Anti-Cheat

    After spending a good few hours enjoying the Battle Royale game Darwin Project [Steam] on Linux thanks to Steam Play, it has come to an abrupt end.

    I wrote about it working only recently in December. Much to my surprise, it only really needed a quick manual adjustment to pick the region you wish to matchmake in. Then it worked pretty much like any other game, exactly what Steam Play is supposed to do and I was happy.

Games: Mana Spark, Hellshots Golf, X-Plane 11.30

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Gaming
  • The fun and challenging action-RPG 'Mana Spark' can now be found on GOG

    While it's had Linux support for a few months and has been available on other stores, today GOG have added the action-RPG Mana Spark.

    As covered here in GOL in our previous article, it's actually a pretty good game that's worth a look. Nothing new to say about it really, as it hasn't really seen any interesting updates since release. Still, it's nice to have more choice on where you can purchase it.

  • Hellshots Golf is basically Doom Golf and it's somewhat amusing

    Always interested to see what silly (and sometimes amazing) things people do with Doom, enter Hellshots Golf.

    Amusingly, in the comments to the trailer the developer said "This really should not have taken half a year to put out." which is quite amusing too.

  • X-Plane 11.30 Is Final

    It’s out the door! (Steam should go “final” tomorrow morning, but you can get the final now – it’s still marked as a “beta”.) Here’s everything that happened.
    I expect we’ll do an 11.31 bug fix patch in the next week or two – 11.30 release candidate three was just critical fixes, e.g. fixing crashes on startup for Nvidia users with Windows 10 and the moon and stars aligned just right. Some less super-critical bugs are fixed and waiting for the bug fix patch.

  • X-Plane 11.30 Released As The Best Linux-Supported Flight Simulator

    X-Plane 11.30 is now available as the latest feature update to this realistic, cross-platform, mature flight simulator system that has long provided native support for Linux.

    X-Plane 11.30 has a lot of improvements but it's not the release yet to introduce its long-in-development Vulkan renderer - that is still coming. It does though have a rebuilt shader system as part of its work in porting to Vulkan.

It’s probably too early to call the Mad Box game console vaporware, right?

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Gaming

But maybe there’s another way. Part of the reason Valve’s Steam Machines initiative stalled was that after the company developed a gaming-centric, Linux-based operating system to run on desktop computers… potential buyers quickly realized that most PC games were still Windows-only.

A growing number of developers have started to support Linux… but Windows still has the lion’s share of support from game makers (and gamers… there’s sort of a chicken and egg problem here).

But Valve launched a new tool that lets users run some Windows games on Linux using Steam Play even if the developers never officially added Linux support. It’s not a perfect solution — not every game works. But it did dramatically increase the number of games that are theoretically playable on Linux computers.

So if Slightly Mad can do something similar and ensure that gamers will be able to play titles that haven’t specifically been designed for this console then maybe… just maybe it could sell. But so far that hasn’t really worked for Steam Machines.

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Games: SpatialOS Controversy, Steam Play, SuperTuxKart

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Gaming
  • Epic and Improbable are taking advantage of Unity with the SpatialOS debacle, seems a little planned

    As an update to the ongoing saga between Improbable and Unity in regards to SpatialOS, Epic Games have now jumped in to take advantage of it. To be clear, I don't consider myself biased in any way towards any game engine, especially as I am not a game developer.

    As a quick overview of what happened:

    - Improbable put out a blog post, claiming Unity overnight blocked SpatialOS and made Unity out to be a real bad company. Improbable then open source their Unity GDK.

    - Unity made their own response, mentioning that they told Improbable a year ago about the issues. Let's be real here, revoking the Unity licenses of SpatialOS wouldn't have been a quickly-made decision. Unity have also mentioned repeatedly now about making their TOS (terms of service) a lot clearer.

  • Steam Play recently hit 500 Windows games rated as Platinum on ProtonDB

    Here's a fun statistic for you today! Steam Play, Valve's fork of Wine which includes DXVK has recently hit 500 titles rated as "Platinum" when going by ProtonDB reports.

    So that's 500 games, that aren't supported by the developer on Linux that should for the most part be click and play from within the Steam client on Linux. If we include games trending towards a Platinum rating, it's even higher at 569. That's pretty impressive considering Steam Play hasn't been out for too long. It's worth mentioning though of course, that Wine has been around for a long time.

  • SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta Released With Initial Networking Support

    The Tux-themed MarioKart-inspired SuperTuxKart animated racing game is out with its v0.10 Beta 1 release that delivers on initial LAN/Internet-based multiplayer support.

    Today's SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta 1 release brings initial WAN/LAN networking support for being able to race against others with this preliminary networking implementation.

    The networking implementation is light enough that a Raspberry Pi 3 is powerful enough to act as a SuperTuxKart game server.

1080p/1440p Linux Gaming Performance For Radeon RX 590/Vega & NVIDIA 1060/1070/1080/2060/2070

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Gaming

Complementing the benchmarks done earlier this week in the our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Linux review, here are more benchmarks of the GeForce RTX 2060 $349 USD graphics card that is beginning to ship next week. This article offers up a plethora of 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 Linux gaming benchmarks while providing the very latest driver performance results on the AMD Radeon RX 590, RX Vega 56, and RX Vega 64 while on the NVIDIA side was the GeForce GTX 1060/1070/1080 and RTX 2060/2070 graphics cards.

The RTX 2060 Linux review featured a number of 1440p/4K results while this article is focused on the 1080p and 1440p Linux gaming performance with the range of eight graphics cards tested. On the NVIDIA driver side was the 395.25 driver atop the Linux 4.20 kernel. On the Radeon side was the latest Mesa 19.0-devel state built against LLVM 8.0 SVN via the Padoka PPA as of this week, offering a look at the near-final Mesa 19.0 RADV/RadeonSI performance with the 19.0 code entering its feature freeze next week.

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Build a retro gaming console with RetroPie

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Linux
Gaming

RetroPie is a fantastic open source project dedicated to preserving classic games and an asset to game collectors everywhere. Having a digital copy of my physical game collection is extremely convenient. If I were to tell my childhood self that one day I could have an entire game collection on one device, I probably wouldn't believe it. But RetroPie has become a staple in my household and provides hours of fun and enjoyment.

If you want to see the parts I mentioned as well as a quick installation overview, I have a video on my YouTube channel that goes over the process and shows off some gameplay at the end.

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Games: WARP-TEK, Free Game, and New Rant Over a Low-Quality Port

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Gaming
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GCC 8.3 Released and GCC 9 Plans

  • GCC 8.3 Released
    The GNU Compiler Collection version 8.3 has been released. GCC 8.3 is a bug-fix release from the GCC 8 branch containing important fixes for regressions and serious bugs in GCC 8.2 with more than 153 bugs fixed since the previous release. This release is available from the FTP servers listed at: http://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html Please do not contact me directly regarding questions or comments about this release. Instead, use the resources available from http://gcc.gnu.org. As always, a vast number of people contributed to this GCC release -- far too many to thank them individually!
  • GCC 8.3 Released With 153 Bug Fixes
    While the GCC 9 stable compiler release is a few weeks away in the form of GCC 9.1, the GNU Compiler Collection is up to version 8.3.0 today as their newest point release to last year's GCC 8 series.
  • GCC 9 Compiler Picks Up Official Support For The Arm Neoverse N1 + E1
    Earlier this week Arm announced their next-generation Neoverse N1 and E1 platforms with big performance potential and power efficiency improvements over current generation Cortex-A72 processor cores. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) ahead of the upcoming GCC9 release has picked up support for the Neoverse N1/E1. This newly-added Neoverse N1 and E1 CPU support for GCC9 isn't all that surprising even with the very short time since announcement and GCC9 being nearly out the door... Arm developers had already been working on (and landed) the Arm "Ares" CPU support, which is the codename for what is now the Neoverse platform.

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