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The latest articles from GamingOnLinux
Updated: 3 hours 44 min ago

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

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

Tags: Wine

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

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

They noted 13 bug fixes this time:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: Key provided by the developer.

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


Watch video on YouTube.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Platformer, Retro

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


Watch video on YouTube.com

More about it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watch video on YouTube.com

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

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

When asked about Linux support, they said:

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Steam Play, Benchmark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Watch video on YouTube.com

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Quake 2 now has real-time path tracing with Vulkan

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

Tags: Open Source, FPS, Vulkan

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

As the developer describes:

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


Watch video on YouTube.com

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

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

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

Dicey Dungeons, the new unique roguelike from Terry Cavanagh and co introduces quests

Friday 18th of January 2019 01:31:17 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Roguelike, Itch.io

We have a lot of roguelikes available on Linux (seriously, we do) yet Dicey Dungeons from Terry Cavanagh, Marlowe Dobbe, and Chipzel still remains fresh due to the rather unique game mechanics.

I still can't get over how fun the dice mechanic is, as you slot dice into cards to perform actions. It's different, clever and works really well.

Update 0.15 was actually released at the end of the last year, which I missed since they didn't put out an update post on it. The itch client also decided to keep me on an older version, for some reason that is unknown to me.

They also recently showed off a new trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Recently, it was updated to include a new quest system, as Cavanagh describes:

The heart of this update is the game’s new quest system. Quests are alternate game modes for each character, evolved from the old guild system. They’re about showing you a new side of each character, making you think differently about them, while providing some interesting challenges on the way!

Each quest is a tweak to the basic rules - there’s one for the Warrior that makes you lose max HP when you level up, one for the thief that lets you keep enemy equipment, one for the Witch that gives you a predictable sequence of dice, and lots more. I’m eventually planning to have 36 of them, six for each character (this build has 20).

Not just that, enemy AI has also been improved. They make better decisions, they're a little more menacing and so there's more of a challenge to give it that essential fun factor to make you want to have another run.

There's plenty of new artwork too, it's actually starting to look like a more complete game. This includes a lot more actually being animated, so the game feels properly alive and less like you're moving bits of paper around.

Keeping a close eye on it, however I still think it's a lot of fun even in the unfinished state. Do take a look, you can even play some really old versions free here as a basic taste test. However, it's come a long way since those.

Currently only available on itch.io while it's in development, it's also heading to Steam sometime this Spring.

The Beta of Zombie Panic! Source was updated recently, should work better on Linux

Friday 18th of January 2019 01:15:31 PM

Tags: Free Game, Source Engine, Steam

Zombie Panic! Source is currently going through an overhaul, as part of this it's coming to Linux with a version now in beta and the latest update should make it a better experience.

For starters, the first beta was missing some options meaning you would have been unable to join any servers. That's now been fixed! There's plenty of other bugs fixed across all platforms too, so it should be more stable.

Additionally, they've been reworking melee to improve how it feels including hit detection and how it actually works, so you shouldn't feel like you have super long arms any more. You can also now hold your secondary mouse button, to do a more powerful charged melee attack with weapons like the sledgehammer, chair, and shovel.

To join in, they will be hosting some 3.1 beta multiplayer events on the 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th at 7PM UTC. More info on the events as they change available here.

I personally haven't been able to make any of the events yet, so I have no real thoughts on the game. Once it's out of beta and all servers are updated, I will be taking a proper look as it looks fun. No idea when this version will leave beta, might be a while yet.

See the news post here. Available free on Steam.

Another Steam Client Beta is out, adds the ability to force Steam Play

Friday 18th of January 2019 12:01:10 AM

Tags: Steam, Valve, Beta

Valve are working fast to improve the Steam client this year, with another beta now available including an option that was highly requested.

Firstly, Steam Input gained support for the HORI Battle Pad and HORI Wireless Switch Pad. Additionally, Big Picture mode had two bugs fixed. The usual stuff there and nothing major, that is until you get to the Linux section of the beta changelog.

Users have been asking Valve pretty much since Steam Play arrived, to add a method to force a native game to use Steam Play instead. So now, if you've opted into the Steam beta client you will see this on the properties of a game (the bottom option):

Why is that so interesting and important? Well, honestly, some Linux ports get left behind for months and years and some really just aren't good. Additionally, some Linux games have multiplayer that's not cross-platform, this could also help with that. Not to downplay the effort a lot of developers put in, it's just how it is. The ability for users to control between the version from the developer and running it through Steam Play is a nice to have option.

Linux changes:

  • Added the ability to force-enable Steam Play in per-title properties, including for native games
  • Fixed incorrect scroll offset in the in-game overlay
  • Reworked global Steam Play enable settings to only override the Proton version used by unsupported games
  • Fixed a bug where the global Steam Play enable setting wouldn't prompt for a Steam client restart

See the announcement here.

While not noted, the Steam client now actually shows what version of Proton is used for each title. Here's Into the Breach for example:


I would have played more but fullscreen is broken for me and it's a whitelisted title…

One of the next big stages for Steam Play, will be actually showing it for whitelisted titles on store pages. I'm still very curious to see how Valve will be handling that. Valve might also want to update the Steam support page too, it's rather outdated.

Gravel, the 'ultimate off-road experience' is now officially supported on Linux

Thursday 17th of January 2019 05:58:03 PM

Tags: Racing, Humble Store, Steam, Virtual Programming

The second racing game from Milestone has arrived on Linux with Gravel, what they claim is the 'ultimate off-road experience'.

Much like the previous port of MXGP3, Milestone once again teamed up with the porting company Virtual Programming to bring it to Linux.

More about it:

Take a tour around the world to discover the range of extreme and wild environments that will offer you a fully off-road experience. There are four disciplines where you can compete with the most powerful cars.

  • Cross Country: Huge areas with different layouts, perfect for competing in checkpoint races in the most evocative landscapes. Run through a waterfall with the aurora borealis as backdrop or try the right grip in the largest deserts in the world.
  • Wild Rush: The wildest locations where you can compete in lap races. Unique environments with natural obstacles that will force you to race your way through the slopes of a mountain, on paradise islands, and through masses of debris and quarry rocks.
  • Speed Cross: Races set in the most beautiful tracks in the world. Real-world tracks, from Europe to America, where you can show your skills in incredible jumps and chicanes.
  • Stadium: Real and fictional arenas, full of jumps and spectacular layouts!

It's worth noting, that on Steam user reviews don't paint a very good picture. It's sat on Mixed overall, with the most recent being Mostly Negative. As always, take it with a pinch of salt.

According to the supported peripherals list, my Logitech G29 is included so it could be quite fun to try out as there's no mention of differences in the Linux version. I've reached out to Milestone about a review key, so hopefully we can have a proper look.

Going by the specifications, both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs are supported.

You can find Gravel on Humble Store (on sale) and Steam.

Space station building sim 'Meeple Station' is now on Steam, with the new publisher Modularity

Thursday 17th of January 2019 05:30:10 PM

Tags: Steam, Itch.io, Early Access, Simulation, Strategy

Meeple Station from Vox Games (Regions of Ruin) officially arrives on Steam today in Early Access, backed up by the new publisher Modularity from the folks behind Indie DB, Mod DB and most recently mod.io.

Meeple Station is a cooperative simulation set on a (dis)functional space station you build, inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Rimworld. Meeple are simple creatures. They're not human, nor are they incredibly intelligent. They're a race of space fairing beings who enjoy industry, work, and exploration. But they need a lot of guidance, YOUR guidance, in fact. Build everything from simple furniture, like bedding and seating, to complex machinery, life support and power grids. You choose where and how to build it all, and your Meeple will have to adjust to your changes.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features:

  • Open ended campaign objectives
  • Explore the universe with your space station (and scout ships)
  • Discover new artifacts and explore new Meeple stuff
  • Research new and exciting Meeple Technologies
  • Manage and accommodate many Meeple with a mind of their own
  • Custom design and build your very own Meeple Space Station
  • Space Pirates, Clowns and Squids
  • Highly moddable
  • Up to 12-player co-op gameplay (coming soon)

I've had access to it for a little while now and I must say, I'm impressed at the rate they're churning out updates to it. Even so, the current status of the game is extremely rough and I'm being pretty kind here. The tutorial doesn't guide you very well to build a station, but thankfully at the click of a button it will build a random station design for you (which is actually pretty sweet).

It's quite limited as it is right now, after an hour or two you've seen most of what it has to offer. I like the idea, I like the style (apart from the horrible UI) and they do seem to be going in a decent direction with it overall. It certainly has some similarities with Spacebase DF-9, hopefully it won't go the same way.

It's promising though for sure, I have enjoyed the building aspect to it especially since you can build across Z-levels it opens up a lot of options. However, it would be better if it had camera rotation, as it can end up a little cramped. With the right amount of polish and more to do, it could be something great. I'm keen to see what people mod into it too.

Their current plan is to remain in Early Access for 6-9 months. Find Meeple Station on Steam or itch.io.

As for the new publisher, Modularity, they're going to be pushing for developers to use their mod.io service, a Steam Workshop-like service that works across platforms (including Linux). You can also find out more about Modularity here.

LandTraveller, the really sweet 2D RPG had a pretty huge update recently

Thursday 17th of January 2019 01:29:01 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, RPG, Early Access

LandTraveller from WolfCoder Workshop is a sweet 2D RPG that combines elements from traditional action-RPGs with sandbox building options and it continues to grow. Note: This game is currently in Early Access.

Become a kemonomimi and thrive in this action RPG! See a constructive world from a new perspective. Customize, battle, and grow with deep action RPG elements. Play through a story or explore with friends. Search for lost knowledge and rare material to craft powerful equipment. Challenge the powerful enemies waiting for you deep inside the dungeons. Invite NPC citizens to join your cave or village. Discover your inner beast and realize your full potential!

LandTraveller is a hybrid between a traditional action RPG and a modern indie sandbox combining interesting randomized environments with hand crafted world building. With different modes of play and online multiplayer, there's lots to explore.

Earlier this month, the Chapter 3 update was released adding in a substantial amount of new content in the form of quests, a new area to explore, multiple new types of enemies to encounter, new items and so on.


Watch video on YouTube.com

After not playing it in quite some time, I came back to take another look and came away even more impressed than I was before. It feels a lot more polished now, including it no longer crashing when going into fullscreen—hooray. The Linux version has been running very nicely now, good performance and no crashes at all for me.

I tend to find these types of exploration RPGs a little addictive personally, time just seems to melt away as you explore, gather and craft. I'm a sucker for the progression system too, that has abilities level up the more you use them so I end up going off on long expeditions just to increase my skills and totally forget what quest I was supposed to be doing.

If you enjoy games like Stardew Valley, you might find this to your liking too. A rather cute throwback to some of the earlier action RPGs in style, while still having plenty of modern elements.

It can be played in both single-player and online with servers. Find LandTraveller on Steam.

Comedy point and click adventure 'Guard Duty' to arrive on Linux this Spring, looks awesome

Thursday 17th of January 2019 12:09:27 PM

Tags: Adventure, Point & Click, Comedy, Coming Soon, Steam

If you need a sprinkle of comedy in your life, the comedic point and click adventure Guard Duty looks like it could hit the spot.

Not one I had heard of until today, I will be honest. Looking over it, Guard Duty was funded on Kickstarter back in March of 2017. Linux was noted as a platform back then and they're still very clearly advertising Linux support—awesome!

While it has obvious retro inspirations, complete with hand-crafted pixel art that looks right out of the 90's it does actually look really damn good.


Watch video on YouTube.com

It will feature (according to the developer):

  • A full stand-alone game spanning across two drastically different time zones – Past or future, choose your actions wisely. This is not a tale for the faint of heart.
  • Full voice acting - Over 6000 lines of fully voiced dialogue.
  • Hundreds of detailed animations – Be it the flicker of candlelight, leaves blowing in the wind or the jaws of a giant Wrinkleworm you can be sure those pixels will be pulling their weight.
  • Bespoke music and sound – Guard Duty features over 30 unique musical compositions with hundreds of sound effects created in-house specifically for this project.
  • Cross-platform support of cloud saves.
  • Integrated 'to-do list' keeps track of current goals and objectives – Never lose sight of your goal, Guard Duty features a familiar RPG styled quest tracking system.
  • Streamlined inventory and puzzle design – The feel of a classic, without all the faff. Puzzles are logical with an intuitive interface, Guard Duty features a modern mentality to game design whilst retaining a classic aesthetic.

The actual release is currently being said as sometime this Spring, however they said a final date should be given out sometime soon.

Find out more and wishlist on Steam.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus updated, fixes a few Linux issues and it's looking great

Thursday 17th of January 2019 11:42:35 AM

Tags: Steam, Humble Store, Strategy

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus update 1.1.1 is out and the Linux beta has seen some nice fixes making it in.

While the Linux version still remains in a "soft" launch phase (not officially advertised), it's good to see Bulwark Studios and Kasedo Games give it some attention.

In this update, they've fixed the intro video being black and also the game should no longer be capped to 30FPS if you had that issue. Additionally, it seems you no longer need to opt into any beta to access the game.


Watch video on YouTube.com

For someone who hasn't been a Warhammer fan for very long, even I will admit that the design work in Mechanicus is really something. There's quite a lot of Warhammer games out now, a number of them not particularly good but Mechanicus really sets itself apart.

Take control of one of the most technologically advanced armies in the Imperium - The Adeptus Mechanicus. As Magos Dominus Faustinius, you’ll lead the expedition on the newly rediscovered Necron planet of Silva Tenebris. Customize your team, manage resources, discover long-forgotten tech, and control your Tech-Priests’ every move.

Your every decision will shape the missions ahead and ultimately decide the fate of the troops under your command in over 50 hand-crafted missions. Choose your path carefully - the Imperium depends on it.

Mixing in some engrossing story-telling, exploration and XCOM-like battle mechanics it certain has a fantastic overall atmosphere to it. The ability to scan enemies to reveal any information on them certainly keeps it interesting, as does the need to acquire resources as you progress through each battle.

I'm really not surprised it seems to have reviewed well overall by users and other critics, as I've been greatly enjoying my time with it. If you like turn-based tactics (even if you're not a Warhammer fan) I think it's a good one to pick up.

You can find Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus on Humble Store and Steam.

Dis Pontibus will have you solve puzzles and connect islands together in a procedurally-generated archipelago

Thursday 17th of January 2019 10:57:36 AM

Tags: Indie Game, Puzzle, Steam, Itch.io

Who would have thought something as simple as connecting blocks together could be so good? Dis Pontibus will keep you going for hours.

Note: Key provided by the developer to our Steam Curator, give us a follow!

The idea is simple, to get to each new island you need to build a bridge by walking over blocks and moving them around. It's not a lot to look at, the graphics and presentation are about as simple as it gets but it gives off a huge amount of charm in such a small package.

Have a peek:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Some of the puzzles are really surprisingly clever, requiring you to give them a good few attempts before you get the blocks in the right order to cross over. I think the developer Marcos Donnantuoni managed to make something really quite unique here.

There's only really one downside, which is that the puzzles do end up getting a little repetitive. I would love to see the idea expanded, to include a couple more mechanics. It's already pretty good but even two more mechanics would expand the possibilities dramatically.

Just a note for those on a notebook with a lower screen resolution: The Unity launcher has a rather large logo on it for the game, pushing the controls off the screen. I've let the developer know.

You can grab it now from itch.io and Steam.

The Tyranids have arrived in Warhammer 40,000: Gladius

Thursday 17th of January 2019 10:14:02 AM

Tags: DLC, Strategy, Steam, GOG, Humble Store

Things are about to get a little more intense on Gladius Prime as the Tyranids have arrived to consume everything in their path.

The Tyranids are an extremely original and unique race.

Their playstyle is rather different compared to the other factions: they field large numbers of cannon-fodder infantry which is best employed to cover for very powerful heavy infantry. They have access to highly specialised units (more on them in a units diary later this week) as well as flying monstrous creatures!

They are an aggressive, expansionist race. If you play against a Tyranid AI and you find yourself bordering a ‘nids infestation, best to prepare your defenses. If you are playing as Tyranids, don’t refrain from going on the offensive and don’t worry about losing a few units. It’s not a faction for the faint of heart.

Trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

I have to admit, the addition of the Tyranids sounds like it will make Warhammer 40,000: Gladius a vastly more interesting game with their unique mechanics. Their focus on expansion especially will mix games up rather a lot, since they literally feed on the planet and leave nothing but a wasteland behind.

Find the game and the expansion on Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

HyperRogue, the unique roguelike with a non-Euclidean world has been updated

Thursday 17th of January 2019 10:00:54 AM

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, Itch.io, Roguelike

Probably one of the most unique roguelikes around, HyperRogue has such a mind-bending world it's really quite something. See my previous thoughts here.

Taking place in a non-Euclidean world it can be a little confusing and it certainly is a difficult game. I've never managed to get very far from it, but it's so incredibly interesting it's a game I regularly come back to just to explore some more.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Recently, version 11 was officially released adding in three entirely new lands to explore, new geometries and projections, new music and a few more little improvements. There's quite a lot to take in, even though it doesn't sound like a great deal, so I do recommend reading their blog post on it.

For those doing some gaming on the go or you simply don't have a powerful gaming PC, it's a good bit of low-end gaming that will keep you occupied for hours. You will get lost, confused, amused and perhaps a little dazzled but it's well worth a look. I could go on for a long time about just how weird and interesting it is, I've got a lot of hours in it now and I still find the experience hard to fully describe.

Find it on the Official SiteSteam and itch.io. You can also grab an older version to try out for free, which is pretty sweet and the source code is on GitHub.

Valve put out a new Steam beta client, plenty of Linux fixes and no more Steam Play zero-byte downloads

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 08:16:58 PM

Tags: Valve, Steam, Beta

Valve have put out their second beta update to the Steam client this year and this is actually a rather nice one.

Firstly, the big annoyance of Steam Play titles always having a zero-byte download when you first load the Steam client has been solved. It will still do it once but when you update them again now, it won't happen again (confirmed that myself). While in reality it was a really minor issue, it was damn annoying so it's great to see it fixed.

On top of that, Steam now supports ipv6 for "connections to download servers", DPI and screen size changes bugs were fixed, a new force quit option in the normal Steam Overlay if a game is frozen but the overlay still works that will be handy.

Steam Input gained support for the PDP Wired Fight Pad Pro and PDP Faceoff Wired Pro Controller along with some bug fixes.

Additionally, they added preliminary support for collecting source pipelines from Vulkan applications.

Then we get to the other Linux issues that were fixed, this time there's a pretty healthy dose on the menu:

  • Fixed incorrect mouse wheel scrolling offsets
  • Fixed an issue where some games wouldn't be properly detected as still running despite some of their processes still lingering in the background
  • Fixed system tray including menu sometimes including too many recent game entries
  • Fixed settings dialog incorrectly always prompting for a client restart
  • Added gnutls 3 to the Steam Runtime, fixing network connectivity issues in many Steam Play titles
  • Fixed an issue with host libssl on newer distributions breaking some titles
  • Fixed a bug that could result in being unable to create shortcuts for certain games. To unblock previously affected titles, delete all *.ico and *.zip files from ~/.steam/root/steam/games and "Verify Game Files" to re-download the icons with the right format
  • Fixed a crash with in-game purchases in Big Picture

See the full changelog here.

Unity have updated their Terms of Service and they seem a lot more fair

Wednesday 16th of January 2019 03:32:10 PM

Tags: Unity, Misc

After the debacle (and this) over Unity and Improbable's SpatialOS, it seems Unity has made some solid steps after a lot of feedback on their Terms of Service.

To save you a click, from the other article I did, here's a very concise version 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.

- Epic Games and Improbable team up to help developers switch game engines.

They took a lot of heat for what happened, some of it was rightly deserved and some not so. From the post Unity has put out, it looks like their team has taken a lot of the recent feedback to heart.

When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want. Our TOS didn’t reflect this principle – something that is not in line with who we are.

The problem is that Unity's TOS weren't clear enough, many developers had an issue with them and Unity's ability to change the terms whenever they felt like it was highlighted as an issue too. Unity has addressed that too, saying that developers will now be locked into the terms "for the same major (year based) version number" which sounds a lot more sane and allows developers to note have any sudden issues. If you're going to use a proprietary game engine, knowing what the terms are and knowing they will stay the same is pretty important, you don't want things suddenly pulled out from under your feet.

Setting the record as straight as possible, SpatialOS is no longer an issue as well as Unity say:

Today’s change in our TOS means Improbable is no longer in breach by providing you a service, and that we are able to reinstate their licenses. But we do not consider them a partner, and cannot vouch for how their service works with Unity as we have no insight into their technology or how they run their business.

Hopefully this will settle any lingering issues developers had with Unity. I'm no Unity developer, but to me the newer and updated terms sound a lot more fair to everyone who would want to make use of Unity.

They also put some extra bits, to make it clearer on how you can use the Unity name and logos.

See the full blog post here. If you have questions, they're hosting an AMA (Ask me anything) on Reddit at 6PM UTC.

Damsel, the fast-paced action platformer with comic-like story-telling is worth a look

Monday 7th of January 2019 03:13:44 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Action, Platformer, Steam, Review

After being sent a copy of Damsel from Screwtape Studios to our Steam Curator, I spent some time as Special Agent Damsel.

Damsel is an action platformer that requires some quick thinking and good finger reflexes. A platformer that starts off fast, gets a little faster and then decides to throw more and more at you as time goes on. You're not just a vampire slaying bad-ass, you're also a bomb disposal expert who can hack computers and crack open a safe with time to spare.


Watch video on YouTube.com

It's a great game for those who love their platformers, especially considering Damsel has a seriously good style going for it. The mix of tight platforming with fast paced action, along with some mini-games like bomb disposal and setting hostages free certainly keeps it interesting.

I will admit, I've accidentally shot my fair share of hostages when I've tried to better my times in certain levels. It's easy to do though, when you're thinking and acting a little bit faster than all parts of your body can keep up with. Jump down to a platform, destroy the CCTV so another vampire doesn't pop out while you're falling to take down another vamp and pop, you just killed a hostage—woops.

While the challenge does increase, there was no point I felt it was unfair. Sure, I failed a couple of missions multiple times but that's part of the fun. It balances all the gameplay elements pretty nicely. Although, this is perhaps due to the fact that I'm taking a look after they've put out patches to balance it more. One of those patches actually removed a bunch of mini-games. A shame, it would have be interesting to see more left in on a higher skill level for those who want a bigger challenge.

For the story elements, it has some rather lovely comic-style bits to flip through before each mission, although annoyingly it seems there's no way to skip it when you're replaying a level. The story isn't amazingly interesting, it merely serves as a nice breather between levels.

It's not without issues though. Both my Steam Controller and Logitech F310 were not correctly detected as a gamepad. They work but the game displays mouse and keyboard prompts, so it's not ideal. It's 2019 and I'm still having to write things like this, gamepad support for such well-known pads should be flawless by now.

Performance is good, although with VSYNC turned on it did seem to cause issues and made it feel and look noticeably sluggish. Turning it off made it run like a dream.

Overall, Damsel is a decent action platformer with a lot to like about it. The colourful style mixed with a little humour and good gameplay meant I had genuine fun playing it. It currently contains two chapters, with a third "Coming Soon" and I'm actually keen to play more of it.

You can find Damsel on Steam.

More in Tux Machines

Programming: NetBSD/Clang, C-Reduce, Rust, Python and More

  • NetBSD Exploring LLVM's LLD Linker For Lower Memory Footprint
    The NetBSD project has been making good progress in utilizing the LLVM compiler stack not only for the Clang C/C++ compiler but also for the different sanitizers, the libc++ standard library for C++, and other improvements most of which are working their way into the upstream code-bases. One area of NetBSD's LLVM support being explored most recently is using the LLD linker. NetBSD is exploring the use of the LLVM LLD linker over GNU's ld linker due to the lower memory footprint. LLD generally goes through far less RAM than the current GNU ld linker.
  • Finding Compiler Bugs With C-Reduce
    Support for a long awaited GNU C extension, asm goto, is in the midst of landing in Clang and LLVM. We want to make sure that we release a high quality implementation, so it’s important to test the new patches on real code and not just small test cases. When we hit compiler bugs in large source files, it can be tricky to find exactly what part of potentially large translation units are problematic. In this post, we’ll take a look at using C-Reduce, a multithreaded code bisection utility for C/C++, to help narrow done a reproducer for a real compiler bug (potentially; in a patch that was posted, and will be fixed before it can ship in production) from a real code base (the Linux kernel). It’s mostly a post to myself in the future, so that I can remind myself how to run C-reduce on the Linux kernel again, since this is now the third real compiler bug it’s helped me track down.
  • Structuring Rust Transactions
  • Tidy up the user interface of the video editing application
  • Intel Vulkan Linux Driver Adds Conditional Rendering, Draw Indirect Count
    First up, the Intel Vulkan driver now supports VK_EXT_conditional_rendering after a lengthy review/revision process. VK_EXT_conditional_rendering was added to Vulkan 1.1.80 last July and allows for rendering commands to be made selective based upon a value in the buffer memory, in order to allow discard rendering commands based upon a result in GPU memory without having to wait on the application/engine. The conditional rendering can be used with Vulkan draws, compute dispatches, and clearing of attachments. VK_EXT_conditional_rendering is supported by Haswell "Gen 7.5" graphics and newer with the upcoming Mesa 19.0.
  • Episode #113: Python Lands on the Windows 10 App Store
  • Lambda Functions in Python
  • Find Your System's Biggest CPU Hogs

today's howtos

Get started with Roland, a random selection tool for the command line

There seems to be a mad rush at the beginning of every year to find ways to be more productive. New Year's resolutions, the itch to start the year off right, and of course, an "out with the old, in with the new" attitude all contribute to this. And the usual round of recommendations is heavily biased towards closed source and proprietary software. It doesn't have to be that way. Here's the seventh of my picks for 19 new (or new-to-you) open source tools to help you be more productive in 2019. Read more

Nginx vs Apache: Which Serves You Best in 2019?

For two decades Apache held sway over the web server market which is shrinking by the day. Not only has Nginx caught up with the oldest kid on the block, but it is currently the toast of many high traffic websites. Apache users might disagree here. That is why one should not jump to conclusions about which web server is better. The truth is that both form the core of complete web stacks (LAMP and LEMP), and the final choice boils down to individual needs. For instance, people running Drupal websites often call on Apache, whereas WordPress users seem to favor Nginx as much if not more. Accordingly, our goal is to help you understand your own requirements better rather than providing a one-size recommendation. Having said that, the following comparison between the two gives an accurate picture. Read more