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Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

Build your own ruler in the massive Crusader Kings III update out now

6 hours 32 min ago

Paradox has released the big 1.2 update to Crusader Kings III, with it comes a fun new feature that lets you properly design your initial ruler.

Since the release you've been able to step into the shoes of pre-set historical monarchs and leaders. Carrying their legacy on through the ages, and across the world. Now though, Paradox are giving us much more control over our game and our leader. You can now design them yourself with various options including appearance, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more with the results sometimes looking quite amusing. You start by choosing a location, then the option to design your own will be available.

Unlike how it was handled with Crusader Kings II, this is an entirely free feature added to the base game.

You can see this new advanced feature in action below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

There's actually quite a lot of options you can tweak, which Paradox will likely need to spend a bit of time cleaning up as sometimes when you get right down into the new options it can end up causing some character model issues. Minor graphics glitches when you truly mess with all the slides aside, it's a really great feature and there's so many sliders to mess with to create your ultimate ruler.

You could make a picture of perfection like Eadric, and then you could also make Frank…867 was a tough year for Frank.

You get the point, you can change their entire appearance as well as give them all sorts of traits both positive and negative depending on how you want to play.

That's not all that's included though, there's plenty more in the 1.2 update like:

  • Kill List that tracks the executions, battle slayings, and (known) murders by characters in the game.
  • UI Improvements to the Dynasty view.
  • Military Improvements allowing you to attach armies to your main force and prevent raising levies in a province beyond its supply limit.
  • Siberian Paganism added to the game as a new Faith.
  • Ugly characters now have more exaggerated facial features.
  • Changes to rules and options. Nudity is now a game setting, not a rule. The rule set can now be configured to affect the frequency of AI matrilineal marriages.

I'm still quite enjoying my time playing CK III as if it were an RPG and less a huge strategy game, especially as it's far easier to get into than other previous historical strategy games from Paradox.

You can buy Crusader Kings III from the Humble Store or Steam.

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Deep survival game Vintage Story has my full attention with the latest expansion

9 hours 44 min ago

Vintage Story has a huge new version almost ready to release, with a couple of Release Candidates going up for the 1.14 release and it's looking awesome.

This is the survival game for those of you who love the blocky style of Minecraft but want something deeper, something much more complex and exciting. With full Linux support, Vintage Story is a good choice and the developer is definitely dedicated to their idea.

With the 1.14 update pulling in lots of often requested features including character customization, the "Steel Age" along with assorted items to build like a metal door and a mechanical powered Pulverizer building that can grind down things for you which looks awesome. Your body temperature now matters more too with clothing giving warmth, frost damage during harsh winters, lots of new blocks, new graphics with shader effects and lots more. Check out the new trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

I have to admit though, I still haven't gotten very far despite dumping a good few hours into it now. Vintage Story is a slow game, one for people who don't like how other games rush through things. It's weirdly relaxing too. Although, with the new enemies shown off the exploration and combat is certainly about to get a whole lot more interesting. Scorpions with a sawblade on their tail - what the hell? You can find the full update notes here.

Once this update is out, the developer will be moving onto expanding the game in other areas. They have a poll up on their forum for users to vote on new features, and it looks like the "Homesteading" update is going to win which will bring in: fruit trees, alcohol, improved meals, more animals, more crops, birds, animal leashes and pies for the 1.15 update. 

You can buy it from Humble Store and the official site.

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Vulkan for the Raspberry Pi 4 with V3DV is now conformant and official

11 hours 40 min ago

Great news for the Vulkan API and for fans of the Raspberry Pi 4, as the upcoming V3DV that will be part of the next Mesa release is now an official conforming driver.

Sharing the news on the official RPi blog, guest poster Iago Toral from Igalia announced that nearly a year after being first announced, the V3DV Vulkan driver for the Raspberry Pi 4 now passes The Khronos Group's Vulkan 1.0 conformance tests and is now officially listed.

The idea of these conformance tests are so The Khronos Group can ensure consistent implementations of Vulkan, across all different vendors. It also means they can now use the Vulkan logo to show it off and officially call it "compliant" or "conformant". It's a big deal for a little board.

Work is still to be done, as Toral mentioned this is not the end of the journey but a big milestone. They're continuing to expand the supported Vulkan feature set, improved performance and work on bugs. Since it's now officially part of Mesa, the V3DV will be widely available with Mesa 20.3 which will release hopefully soon.

If you own a Raspberry Pi 4, will you be testing out the Vulkan support? Let us know in the comments what your plans are.

In other Raspberry Pi news, did you see the Raspberry Pi 400 announced recently? Check that out here.

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Amnesia: Rebirth is easily one of the scariest and best games of 2020

12 hours 36 min ago

After a rough launch, Frictional Games have nicely fixed up Amnesia: Rebirth and overall the experience is one we're not going to forget any time soon.

"In Amnesia: Rebirth, you are Tasi Trianon, waking up deep in the desert of Algeria. Days have passed. Where have you been? What did you do? Where are the others? Retrace your journey, pull together the fragments of your shattered past; it is your only chance to survive the pitiless horror that threatens to devour you."

While our livestreamer did a full playthrough live on our Twitch Channel cheered on by viewers which you can watch through on-demand on our YouTube Channel, I was spending it entirely alone in a dark room with no one but myself to count on. Not the best idea, because I am a complete wimp. I'm at least honest about that though and Amnesia: Rebirth was, in a word, terrifying. Okay, not all the way through, but plenty of it was.

Amnesia: Rebirth might be Frictional's weirdest yet too. All of their games are strange in their own way but it feels like they really went hard on the darkness in Amnesia: Rebirth. It worked well though, not many games have made me terrified to look at a tiny window on a door before while I search a room for anything useful to keep me going that little bit longer.


Watch video on YouTube.com

I don't want to spoil anything about the plot, because getting engrossed in Amnesia: Rebirth largely depends on you not really knowing what's going on or what's going to happen. So I won't go into details on the story, other than you managing to survive a plane crash in the middle of the Algerian desert. I can't say much more than that, without really giving anything away. Safe to say though, I thoroughly enjoyed the story too and while plenty of it was expected it still manages to surprise in many ways.

With it having the usual elements we've all come to love in Frictional games with sneaking, hiding, being chased by something horrible and picking up and looking at everything you possibly can. While it's supposed to be a follow-up to the previous Amnesia: The Dark Descent, it doesn't need you to have played it thankfully because I didn't remember all that much from it and it didn't cause any issues for me. However, there's clearly plenty of lore sprinkled throughout for people who wish to continue the story on.

At this point it seems pretty clear that Frictional Games know what they're doing when it comes to all sorts of horror settings. However, there's clearly plenty of tweaks they've done to continue to improve on the horror formula and no doubt it will influence more developers just like their previous games with The Dark Descent and SOMA.

The key thing is how Amnesia: Rebirth pretty carefully builds up the atmosphere. It's quite thick from the early moments, tense all throughout and it keeps on building on top of that to provide an experience you can't forget. Amnesia: Rebirth could easily be 2020's scariest game and it's fantastic. We can easily recommend it.

You can buy Amnesia: Rebirth from GOG and Steam

If you missed it, Frictional also open sourced Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Read more on that news here. Continuing to be a developer well worth your time and support.

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The Internet Archive are keeping Flash creations alive with the open source Ruffle

13 hours 25 min ago

Like many of you, I have certain fond memories of playing various Flash games many years ago. There's obviously many better ways to do web games now and Adobe are killing Flash in December.

On December 31, Adobe will be cutting off Flash from any further updates, it will effectively be End Of Life. There's a few projects around trying to keep it alive, like the open source Ruffle emulator written in Rust. Ruffle is still in development but even so the results are impressive, and it can already play thousands of Flash items. All you need is an up to date browser and it does it all for you with no plugins needed. If you have any Flash stuff, you can even test it online.

Seems people have taken notice of this effort, like The Internet Archive who are known rather well for their Wayback Machine that stores websites at various dates. Announced in a blog post on November 19, the archive's Jason Scott announced that they're now storing and emulating various Flash animations, games and toys in their growing collection.


Helicopter Game is just as challenging as ever.

Quite a big collection is already brewing, with over 800 Flash creations now live on the archive which will no doubt grow pretty quickly over a short time.

The Internet Archive has moved aggressively in making a whole range of older software run in the browser over the past decade. We’ve done this project, The Emularity, because one of our fundamental tenets is Access Drives Preservation; being able to immediately experience a version of the software in your browser, while not perfect or universal, makes it many times more likely that support will arrive to preserve these items.

Flash is in true danger of sinking beneath the sea, because of its depending on a specific, proprietary player to be available. As Adobe Flash is discontinued, many operating systems will automatically strip the player out of the browser and system. (As of this writing, it is already coming to fruition a month before the end-of-life deadline.) More than just dropping support, the loss of the player means the ability of anyone to experience Flash is dropping as well. Supporting Ruffle is our line in the sand from oblivion’s gaze.

This initiative is not done just by The Internet Archive, they do acknowledge multiple others who have been involved in the process to get it rolling. They're also not the only one doing this, there's also BlueMaxima's Flashpoint.

You can see the full collection of Flash here from The Internet Archive.

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Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator from IPACS is now available on Linux

13 hours 48 min ago

Need to take to the skies? We can possibly help with that. Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator from IPACS recently quitely released a Linux version. They don't seem to have announced it in a news post but it's up and live on Steam right now. A reader emailed in about this, and the developer has confirmed it on their Steam forum.

Looks like quite a detailed flight sim too with a number of aircraft included like the A320, B737-500, F-15, F-18, Aermacchi MB-339, King Air C90 GTx, Learjet 45, ASG 29 and Swift S1 gliders and more. After being released in Early Access in 2016, then a full release in 2017 it's continued being supported for a long time now. Most recently, it had a big update adding in the EC135 helicopter along with a bunch of optimizations to the game.


Watch video on YouTube.com

They actually asked for testers of it back in 2018, so it's good to see it actually made official now.

Features:

  • Realistic flight physics
  • Interactive Flight school for learning the basics of flying
  • High resolution aerial images and over 200 airports for the South West of the United States
  • World wide elevation and aerial images
  • Display terrain features like mountains, lakes and cities for easy VFR navigation
  • Route editor for easy flight planning
  • Adjustable time of day
  • Adjustable wind, clouds, visibility, thermal activity and turbulence
  • Replay system
  • Different view modes
  • VR Support

You can buy Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator on Steam.

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Valve funds open source developer to work on Zink, the OpenGL on Vulkan driver

14 hours 20 min ago

Developer Mike Blumenkrantz has announced that they're now being funded by Valve, so Blumenkrantz's work on the OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan with 'Zink' will continue.

Hold on, what actually is Zink? As described by Collabora dev Erik Faye-Lund it's an "OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan. Or to be a bit more specific, Zink is a Mesa Gallium driver that leverages the existing OpenGL implementation in Mesa to provide hardware accelerated OpenGL when only a Vulkan driver is available".

After working on Zink for a while, Mike Blumenkrantz posted a blog entry back on November 6 saying it was the "last day" due to the end of it being hobby work while being between jobs. In a new blog post titled "Don't Call It A Comeback", Blumenkrantz mentions that "Valve has generously agreed to sponsor my work on graphics-related projects" and that the focus will be on Zink.

The plan for Zink is a big one and things are moving quickly. Working together with Collabora developer Erik Faye-Lund, together they're doing "Operation Oxidize" to get the majority of their work in progress code for Zink into mainline Mesa by the end of the year. This will give Zink basic OpenGL 4.6 and OpenGL ES 3.2 support along with "vastly" improved performance.

Nice to see Valve continuing to get involved with open source and Linux to improve all sorts of areas.

For those curious on the question of why — well, Vulkan is the future. This video can explain it in more details:


Watch video on YouTube.com
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You can now try the RetroArch Playtest on Steam for Linux

Monday 23rd of November 2020 07:54:03 PM

With the awesome RetroArch application for running emulators and all sorts coming to Steam, they now have a Playtest available you can opt into to try it out.

Using the new dedicated Steam Playtest feature announced by Valve in early November, developers can have a banner on their Steam store page letting users request access. So the Libretro team have put this up, and as of today it also has Linux builds available for testing.

All you have to do is go to the RetroArch Steam page, and look for this banner:

The way it's setup appears to give instant access, so you should be accepted instantly to then be able to see it switch over to saying "Play Now", which then let's it download. The Linux build on Steam is using an AppImage, so it should work nicely across most Linux distributions.

Currently it only has a limited amount of emulator cores available. At release, they will be putting up more cores as free DLC to download to access more emulators.

Pictured - RetroArch on Steam for Linux.

So far so good, everything appears to work pretty much as expected. Their Linux support has been in pretty great shape for some time now, so that's not exactly surprising. Still, having it on Steam is going to be a boon for the project as so many more people will be able to see and use it. Another great example of open source in action.


Pictured - Golden Sun running through mGBA with RetroArch.

You can try it out on Steam or simply head to the actual RetroArch site for the main downloads.

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A chat with Trese Brothers Games about the upcoming cyberpunk Cyber Knights: Flashpoint

Monday 23rd of November 2020 12:47:46 PM

We have a chat with Trese Brothers Games who are currently developing Cyber Knights: Flashpoint following a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier in March 2020.

 

GOL: Who are Trese Brothers Games? Tell us about the studio. How did you get started?

(Andrew) We’re a duo of brothers who started making games ten years ago now. I’m the younger, Cory is the elder. We started like all indies, working on a small game and the two of us did everything, we wore every hat. 

(Cory) What we did differently has made our studio who we are. We’ve been extremely close with our community from the very beginning. We update our games constantly for years after release for free with new content and new features. We lean on our community with multi-month pre-release alpha tests to help us perfect our games. We make games that are rewarding in their complexity and insanely replayable. 

 

GOL: Tell us about your upcoming game Cyber Knights: Flashpoint. What is it?

(Cory) Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is a cyberpunk tactical RPG coming to Steam in 2021. You are a cyber knight, an elite covert operative who leads a team of mercs, hackers and thieves in New Boston in the year 2231. Welcome to the high-stakes world of the city’s power-brokers, pick your friends and enemies wisely, you’ll need to stay sharp to keep you and your friends alive.

(Andrew) When you take a mission, your first step will be to prepare for your heist. You’ll be working your network of contacts, paying bribes and acquiring critical equipment which can let you alter the structure and parameter of the mission to better suit your team and style. Once you are on the ground, you’ll use a mix of stealth, hacking and combat to get the job done.

 

GOL: I’m a big XCOM fan, sell it to me and other turn-based strategy fans. Why should we be excited to play Cyber Knights: Flashpoint? What’s unique about it?

(Andrew) Cyber Knights: Flashpoint has inspirational roots in games like XCOM and other cornerstone turn-based strategy games. If you love those games, you’re going to find a lot to love in Cyber Knights but are also going to find that we’ve run a very different playbook than what you might expect. 

(Cory) We’ve mixed it up. We ripped out the grid, replaced cooldowns with a slick recharge system, wove in a deep and emergent RPG storyline and elevated stealth and hacking to first-class citizens in the turn-based scenarios. If you love finely tuned, well-balanced tactics games, Cyber Knights will be your jam but you’ll find it has a lot of depth beyond that core of cover, overwatch and accuracy percentages.

GOL: We see AAA/AA developers often going for these big trendy ideas they hope are the next big hitters as they spend millions and billions, as opposed to much smaller indie outfits like you at Trese Brothers Games who manage to be a success. Cyberpunk is obviously a big thing right now (hello Cyberpunk 2077), as a developer doing a Cyberpunk theme what do you think about these trends and how much bigger studios operate?

(Andrew) From down here in the indie trenches, it's hard to imagine the big publisher and studios' strategies. They get these huge budgets to pour into a game, but the people giving them these budgets have all these boxes they think the game needs to check to have a chance to be a hit. And sometimes it seems like more money and time gets shifted into making people think they've checked those boxes than gets given to teams making the game to make one that really resonates with players. Just 2020 has seen some spectacular AAA titles arrive and die very quickly.

For us, as a smaller indie studio, all of the money we have to work on a new game is coming as a direct result of how much people loved our previous games. Everything we gained from Star Traders: Frontiers (our last game’s) success has been poured into Cyber Knights: Flashpoint.

(Cory) That means just chasing a big trend isn’t a good plan for us. That’s too risky. Our only way to fund more games in the future is to produce an amazing game in the present. Which is why we use our special brand of game dev. 

Our alpha teams, our community engagement and our very active Steam Early Access periods all help us ensure we build games that gamers want. If our 1,000 player alpha team of Cyber Knights: Flashpoint doesn’t love the game, then we’re going to work on it until they do, because we know if they don’t love it we can expect to get murdered in Early Access. Each step along the way helps us get feedback from actual players and hone in, so that when we fully launch the game, we’re sure it’s going to hit the right target.

 

GOL: You’ve released eight other games - compared with the above questioning what’s it really like to develop smaller like you do with titles like Star Traders: Frontiers and Templar Battleforce?

(Cory) The challenge is to constantly try to create more with less. You have smaller budgets, you have less time, you have more technical limitations. As the engineering lead, that means I pay a lot of attention to our tooling, automation and testing. In the great balance of time, money and scope -- you can regain a lot of time by having great automation and automated testing. The more time you can recapture, the better you can deliver on your scope because the budget sure isn’t changing.

(Andrew) More with less, for sure. As the story writer and artist on some of the games, we’ve had to create immersive worlds with 2D graphics and often a lot of text. Which forces you to up your game where it counts, I think. 

 

GOL: Cyber Knights: Flashpoint was funded in part thanks to a Kickstarter campaign (your third success too!). You managed to get a reasonable $226,709 back in March 2020 - how far does that sort of development money really go and what is it truly like to manage a crowdfunding campaign like that?

(Andrew) Crowdfunding campaigns of any size are exhausting. We were extremely happy that our core community came out strong on the first day and we funded in less than 24 hours. That reduced a lot of the stress but when you sign up for a Kickstarter you know (or at least we did, as it was our third) that you are in for a non-stop 30 days. It’s a grueling sprint and we’re just lucky to have so many fans who believe in us and our record of delivering. That said, it’s also a grueling sprint to prepare for one! We spent 8 months getting ready for it.

(Cory) The success of our Kickstarter helped set the game’s total budget. We were making Cyber Knights: Flashpoint either way and the Kickstarter’s success helped us blow that scope up significantly. We build each new game on the shoulders of the last game -- both technologically and financially -- so Star Traders: Frontiers and our other games stepped in to “match” the Kickstarter basically. Our final crowdfunding total helped us set a final budget of well over $500,000 for the entire game. 

 

GOL: What’s your current release plan for Cyber Knights: Flashpoint?

(Cory) Cyber Knights will follow our tried-and-true process which means its next major milestone is a release to our Kickstarter alpha team. We’ll ship a playable -- but very early -- version of the game to these 1,000 backers and work with them for months to perfect it even as we fill it up with more and more content. We’re targeting the second half of 2021 to bring the game to Steam Early Access.

(Andrew) We know Early Access games can earn a bad reputation -- games left to die, games without updates for weeks, games that update and invalidate saved games. When you get in on a Trese Brothers Early Access, you’ll see a completely different style. For Star Traders, over 8 months we released 89 updates, added huge waves of content and features and never invalidated any saved games (and still haven’t at update 240).

 

GOL: Any last thoughts or words of wisdom to share to gamers and game developers alike?

(Andrew) If you’ve gotten this far and you like turn-based tactics and strategy games, you’ve got to check out Cyber Knights: Flashpoint. This heist RPG is coming to Steam in 2021 and the wishlist is open right now.

(Cory) If you’re creating something, get out there and share it. Our game dev story started ten years ago with a project we never intended to be more than a fun thing between the two of us. If we hadn’t shared the original Star Traders game, we wouldn’t be here a decade later with the amazing community we have today around us!

Before you do run off and wishlist their great sounding game, you can check out the latest footage of Cyber Knights: Flashpoint in a new trailer they put up in November. Keeping in mind this isn't even in Early Access yet, so plenty of animations and art are subject to change and improvements:


Watch video on YouTube.com

You can find Cyber Knights: Flashpoint on Steam.

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Vulkan Ray Tracing becomes official with Vulkan 1.2.162 (updated)

Monday 23rd of November 2020 11:34:17 AM

The day has arrived, along with the release of Vulkan 1.2.162 being tagged in the Vulkan-Docs repository on GitHub the Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions are now officially released. From being announced as a provisional set in March 2020, The Khronos Group formally announced it's done.

"Welcome to the era of portable, cross-vendor, cross-platform ray tracing acceleration!" - Daniel Koch, NVIDIA

With Vulkan 1.2.162 being tagged a few hours ago, the changelog shows these new extensions being available along with the official Vulkan Ray Tracing release:

This is a huge step forwards for the Vulkan API! Now having a vendor-neutral set of Ray Tracing abilities. This means AMD, NVIDIA and Intel will all be supporting Ray Tracing with Vulkan. For Linux that's especially good, since on Windows you already have DirectX Raytracing (DXR). On Linux, we did have the NVIDIA Ray Tracing with their own extensions since NVIDIA 410.57 in 2018 but now at least we have something all hardware vendors can and will use.

They mentioned that this is just the start, with the full ecosystem of supporting toolkits and validation layers to all get updates to support it. You can follow updates to the ecosystem being updated here.

They've also confirmed that the overall functionality has been unchanged since the provisional release. However, there are still some differences like VK_KHR_ray_tracing being split into three extensions (linked in the list above). There's a few other changes, including those requested by developers of translation layers. See the full announcement for all the info.

Going along with it NVIDIA have released the Vulkan Beta Driver 455.46.02 to support it. NVIDIA also released an updated Vulkan Ray Tracing tutorial and their Nsight Graphics tool version 2020.6 is also out with added support for the new Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions. Meanwhile, Intel will have support for it in 2021 with the release of their dedicated Xe-HPG GPUs, AMD have a Windows driver up for it today but no mention of a fresh Radeon Software for Linux update yet - it's likely the new Mesa 20.3 open source driver update will work with it when it's released soon.

Update 23/11/20, 2PM UTC - The Khronos Group has now formally announced it. The article was updated to reflect this.

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The upcoming metroidvania RPG 'Heart Forth, Alicia' is looking gorgeous

Monday 23rd of November 2020 10:46:51 AM

Here's a game I haven't heard of for a few years. Heart Forth, Alicia is an upcoming modern Metroidvania RPG, filled with devious monsters, lethal dungeons, creative puzzles, lively towns & many uncharted wonders.

"On the night of your coming of age trial, the sky rains fire over your village, scorching everything in its path. Soon, you’re catapulted into an ongoing war between the wizards of the forest and the desert army of the West. Desperate to reunite with your loved ones, you embark on a journey across the landscapes of a beautiful but threatening world, sculpted by the pulsing violence of its past."

You will be forgiven if you also forgot all about it, as it was funded on Kickstarter back in 2014 where they managed to get $232,365 in funding. Years later, it's still being developed (as good games take time) and it's really looking promising. In a recent update, the developer posted a new 2 minute gameplay preview:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Nice to see that little "Tux" logo for Linux support.

Developed as something of a homage to the classics like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Zelda and the narrative found in the likes of Xenogears and Final Fantasy Tactics. However, they say it's a modern take on it all "combining the tight gameplay from the classic action platformers with an epic and serious narrative akin to the iconic '90s RPGs".

It now also has a Steam page up so you can wishlist / follow if you want. Sounds like the release is still quite some ways off, however a fresh Alpha build will be going up for certain Kickstarter backers sometime soon. They're also continuing their regular development livestreams on Twitch.

It was missing from our dedicated Crowdfunding Page, so we've added it there now too.

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Have a short immersive narrative adventure with Beyond Your Window

Monday 23rd of November 2020 10:30:23 AM

A pretty apt game for 2020, as Beyond Your Window is a narrative game about what goes on outside as you look outside your window as you search for new stories to tell. Quite on-point, given the various lockdowns across the world thanks to the COVID19 pandemic.

Developed by Italian studio Team SolEtude, it's something of a visual novel / narrative adventure filled with wonderful art and relaxing chilled tunes. Divided up into four short-stories, with each giving you an epilogue that changes depending on your choices.

"While searching for new stories to tell, you look outside your window...and catch glimpses of other people's lives. Observing their struggles, you ask yourself what you would do if it was you living those moments, those situations. As you immerse yourself in stories filled with love, choices and difficulties, will you be able to find something to inspire your ideas?"


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features:

  • 4 choice based stories about love struggles and apartments.
  • Multiple endings for each story.
  • A total of 15 characters.
  • 30min/1h for a single walkthrough.
  • Music by Gròa.

What also captured my interest with this title, apart from the lovely artwork, is the lengthy Post-Mortem the developer posted up on their itch blog which gives lots of background information on what they wanted to do with it. I found the post quite insightful and genuinely interesting to learn the thought process of what a team went through to bring out their first release.

You can pick it up free (or donate) on itch.io

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The modern retro adventure Alwa's Legacy is now available on itch.io

Monday 23rd of November 2020 10:03:34 AM

Do you prefer to buy your games from the indie store itch.io? Good news, another quality game arrived with the platformer adventure Alwa's Legacy. A good chance to remind you about this one, as it's really good. Successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2019, it was released on other stores back in June 2020 and has gone onto receiving positive reviews overall.

If you usually like metroidvania styled games, you should like this. Crisp pixel-art, fun exploration and plenty of challenge to be found. Check out the trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features:

  • Customize how you play - With our upgrade system you can choose how you want to play - Explorative, offensive or strategic. It’s your choice!
  • Exploration is rewarded - Don’t leave any stone unturned, the world of Alwa is filled with secrets and finding them requires you to explore and solve puzzles
  • A non-linear experience - Combining exploration and different item upgrades allows you to find your own way through this adventure
  • Looks and sounds amazing - Enjoy crisp pixel-art combined with modern effects as well as a soundtrack made by chiptune extraordinaire RushJet1
  • A challenge awaits - Quick reflexes are needed to navigate through the many challenging rooms and with easy-to-change settings anyone can enjoy Alwa’s Legacy

This is also another time to plug our previous interview with the developer, Elden Pixels. If you want some special behind the scenes info, do go and give it a read.

Now you can buy it on itch.io in addition to GOG and Steam.

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Open source Linux game overlay manager GOverlay adds more customization

Monday 23rd of November 2020 09:54:06 AM

GOverlay helps you to manage Linux game overlays including MangoHud, the vkBasalt effects layer and also the ReplaySorcery screen recorder. A pretty useful application putting a bunch of sort-of related open source projects under one roof, giving you a few easy buttons and check-boxes to fiddle with instead of typing lines in configuration files.

Recently the application moved over from GTK2 to QT for the toolkit it's built with, along with the Fusion QT Style which means it should look the same across all Linux desktops. There's also a bunch of new options, including the ability to quickly switch between a full and minimal readout for MangoHud. You also now get the ability to change the text colours of more titles right inside the app.

Pictured - testing GOverlay to configure MangoHud.

Nice to see this application continue to evolve and improve. Making things simpler for people to setup things should enable more people to use things like the awesome MangoHud.

You can find GOverlay on GitHub.

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A Monster's Expedition, one of 2020's best puzzle games is now on Linux

Saturday 21st of November 2020 03:33:06 PM

After an initial release in early September, Draknek & Friends have now put up a Linux build of their absolutely gorgeous puzzle game A Monster's Expedition. Created by some of the same talent behind other great games like A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, which our contributor flesk called a "must-have" in a previous review.

It's an open-world styled puzzle game where you walk around little islands, pushing around trees to create paths between them and learn about the history of "humanity". Seems this is set in the far future, as the idea is you're learning about "the mythical humans from the perspective of curious monsters".

Check out the trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

It seems the initial lack of a Linux build was due to a Unity game engine issue with FMOD. A problem a lot of developers saw with Unity 2019.3 and newer which Linux porter Ethan Lee talked about on Twitter. Lee mentioned they shared the fix with Draknek & Friends so the Linux build of A Monster's Expedition went up.

After one of the developers, Alan Hazelden, sent word to us about the release yesterday I've been playing through it without issues and it is absolutely wonderful. You walk from island to island, reading the various plaques you find to hilariously explain things these humans from "Englandland" did. It just keeps getting better the further you go into it, although it does get quite challenging.

This open-world approach is pretty sweet too. Giving you the ability to go off in a few different directions, so if you're stuck in one part you can take a walk and see some sights somewhere else. Thankfully, keeping it all chilled you can reset step by step on and island or refresh your current island if you get stuck.

Such a ridiculously calming game and a thoroughly charming experience. You can buy it from Humble Store, itch.io and Steam.

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Want a great virtual tabletop for RPGs? Check out Foundry VTT

Saturday 21st of November 2020 02:30:19 PM

After we pointed out Fantasy Grounds Unity adding Linux support a while ago, some readers pointed out another virtual tabletop experience for fans of making and playing tabletop RPGs with Foundry VTT.

Foundry VTT (Foundry Virtual Tabletop), is a self-hosted solution making it quite brilliant actually. Only the "game master" needs to buy it, and they then host it for players to be able to join. There's no special tiers or editions, just one single purchase to gain access to the entire setup. Buy it, set it up and get users to join in the browser - it couldn't get easier. It has wide support for various features like character sheets, rolling dice, exploring battlemaps, moving heroic tokens and the list just goes on to include rich dynamic lighting, fog of war, audio playlists, video chat using webcams and so on. It really is huge.

Check out their release trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

The developer of Foundry said they stick to a few guiding principles when developing it:

  • Offer one-time purchase software for GMs where players can connect for free.
  • Relentlessly innovate using powerful and modern web technologies.
  • Empower community developers with a best-in-class API and modding tools.
  • You own your own content; no dependency on external services and no feature gating.
  • Provide a powerful system agnostic framework that can be extended for homebrew.
  • Incorporate direct integrations to other helpful game-mastering tools.

It's proven to be popular too. Not only can you buy a copy of it but you can also support the developer on Patreon, where they currently get over £6,500 per month from supporters - so it's clearly found its place amongst digital tabletop fans.

Popular with rights holders too, as they're bringing over some official games to it too like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay from Cubicle 7 which arrived on Foundry earlier this month.

You can buy Foundry VTT from the official site

Update: As an added note, the developer mentioned to us on Twitter that it's Linux-first, "Foundry was built for Linux first - and then I invested in making sure it could work for other OS".

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TUXEDO announce the InfinityBook S 14 with Intel Tiger Lake and Intel Xe

Saturday 21st of November 2020 02:06:17 PM

Linux hardware vendor TUXEDO are jumping in with Intel with a brand new lightweight laptop the InfinityBook S 14.

Their latest in a long line of Linux hardware, the sixth generation InfinityBook S 14 builds directly on the "great success" they saw with the previous iteration of the model. Coming with the Tiger Lake, the TUXEDO InfinityBook s 14 comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 giving you four cores and eight threads backed up by Intel's new Xe graphics platform, which should give you good performance and reasonably low power consumption. TUXEDO claim "up to" 41% better performance than the previous InfinityBook model.

Specifications:

Screen Full-HD IPS-Panel, 1920 x 1080, matt/anti-reflective/non-glare Processor

Intel Core i7-1165G7 (max. 4.7GHz Quad-Core, 4 cores /8 threads, 12MB Cache, 15W TDP)

GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs RAM DDR4 3200 MHz SoDIMM
8GB standard, up to 40GB Storage 250 GB Kingston (NVMe PCIe) as standard
Up to 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus (NVMe PCIe) Ports 1x USB-A 3.2 Gen1
1x USB-A 3.2 Gen2
1x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4.0 Gen3x2 (DisplayPort 1.4b, Power Delivery DC-In*)
1x HDMI 2.0b (with HDCP)
1x 2-in-1 audio (headphone + mic)
1x microSD card reader
1x SIM-card reader 1x DC-IN/power connection (also via USB-C*)

According to the specifications, it comes with a 73 Wh battery which TUXEDO claim will give you around 14 hours of life while "video streaming" with up to 24 hours idle time. Playing games would bring that down of course but you would still get quite a lot of hours on a single charge. It's also pretty small at 16.8mm flat and weighing about 1.1kg.

One day soon, I really hope hardware vendors stop shipping with 8GB RAM as a their minimum because so much now just eats ram like it's candy you don't get a lot done with it unless you're willing to really watch everything you use. Apart from that, it seems like a nice unit.

It comes as standard with TUXEDO_OS 20.04 LTS 64Bit, which is their own branded version of Ubuntu with a few tweaks for their hardware. You can swap that for standard Ubuntu 20.04 and openSUSE 15.2 too if you prefer. Additionally, they say you can disable the Intel Management Engine (IntelME), Webcam, Microphone, WLAN and Bluetooth if you need to at the BIOS level for extra security.

Starting price €1,146.50 and it's available to order now. Find out more here.

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Valve expand Steam Input to support more of the PS5 DualSense Controller

Saturday 21st of November 2020 11:22:56 AM

Valve sent over a press announcement to highlight that the Steam Input API has expanded its support of the brand new PS5 DualSense Controller.

This has been ongoing work since earlier in November, with multiple Steam Client Beta updates expanding the Steam Input API. Starting off initially with just supporting basic input. However, across other Beta updates on November 18 / 19 and 20 they've now added in support for: 

  • LED
  • Trackpad
  • Rumble + Rumble over Bluetooth
  • Gyro functionality
  • Allowing external audio based haptics while rumble is enabled

With all this hooked up, Valve say that now all games that support the Steam Input API "are now fully compatible with the new PS5 controller - with no developer updates required, it just works".

You still need to be opted into the Steam Beta Client, with full support rolling out for the PS5 DualSense Controller into the stable client after further testing has been done.

As for how it works on Linux, you're going to need some updated udev rules to work fully. Valve contractor Timothee Besset mentioned on Twitter they've put out an update to the Steam Installer, and you can also find the full udev rules on Valve's steam-devices GitHub.

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Wine compatibility layer development release 5.22 is up, video fixes and 3DES support

Friday 20th of November 2020 09:26:22 PM

Wine project leader Alexandre Julliard announced that the Wine 5.22 development release is now officially available.

Continuing to chase the dream of closer compatibility with Windows games and applications, here's the highlights of the Wine 5.22 release:

  • C runtime libraries converted to PE.
  • Use fontconfig cache for faster startup.
  • Video playback improvements.
  • 3DES cipher support.

The Wine 5.22 release also brings with it a note about 36 bug fixes which include fixes for: Guild Wars 2 Launcher, Elite Dangerous Launcher, Fallout New Vegas, Wargaming.net Game Center, Ghostrunner, Overwatch and more.

You can see the release announcement here.

Need to know what Wine is? Here's a quick primer: it's a constantly improving compatibility layer that allows the running of Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. It's one of the driving forces behind Steam Play Proton. Helping you to get whatever you need done on Linux, or perhaps so you don't have to give up that favourite game.

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Facebook are now funding the open source 3D creation suite Blender

Friday 20th of November 2020 04:45:40 PM

In a move that's sure to raise a few eyebrows, the Blender Foundation has announced that Facebook has joined the Blender Development Fund.

Facebook are joining as a Corporate Patron, meaning they will be supplying Blender with at least €120K/year or more. It's not a small sum but for the likes of Facebook, it's likely still money they found down the back of a sofa. Ton Roosendaal, Chairman of the Blender Foundation mentions, "We at Blender see this as another important signal of the industry’s willingness to migrate to open source, and contribute to open source’s continual improvement.".

This money will go towards funding Blender developers to improve this excellent open source 3D creation suite. It does mean at this level that Facebook will be a bit more involved, as Corporate Membership gives companies the option to monitor what gets funded with their monies and access to speak to the Blender team directly.

Lots of companies are doing this now including NVIDIA, AMD, Unity and Epic Games at this same level. At lower levels you also have the likes of Microsoft, Ubisoft, Intel and more. Checking in on the Blender funding page, they're now hitting €116,507 a month but it's not clear if the Facebook monies has been added to it yet.

Learn more about Blender on their website. Free, open source, used by game developers, film creators and more.

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More in Tux Machines

Oracle/IBM/Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

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    Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Elections voting is open through 3 December. Fedora 31 has reached end of life. EPEL 6 will reach end-of-life on Monday.

  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Ksplice made easy with free training

    This week’s training blog presents a set of free, short videos on using Oracle Ksplice on Oracle Linux 8. Oracle Ksplice allows you to install the latest kernel and key user-space security and bug fix updates while the system is running. You don’t need to coordinate with users to schedule system down time. You don’t need to stop running applications and you don’t need to reboot your systems to install kernel and user-space updates.

  • More for developers in the new Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 web console - Red Hat Developer

    Red Hat OpenShift 4.6 streamlines developer onboarding in the OpenShift web console, but that’s not all. This article details improvements and new features in the topology view and introduces OpenShift’s new, form-based approach to creating horizontal pod autoscalers and Helm charts. I also touch on application monitoring improvements and the latest updates for Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines, Red Hat OpenShift Serverless, and the Kiali Operator in OpenShift 4.6.

  • Log-On Wave for IBM Z Simplifies Administration and Operation of Virtualized Linux Infrastructures on IBM Z and LinuxONE

    Log-On Software (Log-On) an IBM Business Partner and developer of software solutions for IBM Z, has announced Log-On Wave for IBM Z, with general availability planned for January 2021. According to the company, Log-On Wave for IBM Z simplifies the administration and operation of virtual Linux servers running on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE. The result is that IT organizations and service providers benefit from an intuitive graphical interface and intelligent functionality that improves productivity by simplifying administration, configuration and management and future-proofs operations by shielding complexity and enabling less experienced administrators to easily manage highly virtualized infrastructures.

  • Implementing storage: Compliance concerns for stateful financial services applications

    There’s little doubt that industry pressures have driven financial services firms to implement - and to continue to adopt - transformative solutions to maintain competitive advantages that help streamline operations and introduce new products. However, along with having to surmount technical issues, this industry presents special challenges regulatory and compliance concerns, in addition to technology considerations. Regulators play a major role in financial institutions, therefore, by necessity, banks create organizational models and processes to ensure that work is being delivered with the most minimal risk possible - and technology solutions must also adhere to this regulatory overlay.

  • Web interfaces for your syslog server - Blog - syslog-ng Community - syslog-ng Community

    This is the 2020 edition of my most read blog entry about syslog-ng web-based graphical user interfaces (web GUIs). Many things have changed in the past few years. In 2011, only a single logging as a service solution was available, while nowadays, I regularly run into others. Also, while some software disappeared, the number of logging-related GUIs is growing. This is why in this post, I will mostly focus on generic log management and open source instead of highly specialized software, like SIEMs.

  • Red Hat Quarkus Java stack moves to OpenShift

    Red Hat’s Quarkus framework for building Kubernetes-native Java applications is now included with the company’s OpenShift 4.6 open source container application platform, a step Red Hat describes as important in bringing Java into modern cloud-native application development. Previously supported in Red Hat Runtimes middleware, Quarkus now is natively integrated into OpenShift to provide for easier development, the company said. Developers can use familiar tools and do remote development on clusters via IDEs such as CodeReady Workspaces. Developers also can do serverless workload deployment and application storage management.

Torsten Franz: My first month at the Ubuntu Community Council

In the last few weeks I have been asked by many people what topics we have in the Community Council and what we are doing. After a month in the Council, I want to give a first insight into what happened in the early days and what has been on my mind. Of course, these are all subjective impressions and I am not speaking here from the perspective of the Community Council, but from my own perspective. In the beginning, of course, we had to deal with organisational issues. These include ensuring that everyone is included in the Community Council’s communication channels. There are two main channels that we use. On the one hand, we have a team channel on IRC on Freenode to exchange ideas. The channel has the advantage that you can ask the others small questions and have a relaxed chat. To reach everyone in the Council, we have set up the mailing list: community-council at lists.ubuntu.com No, I haven’t yet managed to read through all the documents and threads that deal with the Community Council or how to make the community more active again. But I have already read a lot in the first month on the Community Hub and on mailing lists to get different impressions. I can only encourage everyone to get involved with constructive ideas and help us to improve the community of Ubuntu. I haven’t worked on an international board since 2017 and had completely forgotten one topic that is more complex than national teams: the different timezones. But after a short time we managed to find a date where we all can basically do it and we had our public meeting of the council. This took place twice and the second time we all managed to attend. The minutes of the meetings are publicly available: 1st Meeting and 2nd Meeting. We have decided that we will hold the meeting twice a month. Read more Also: Design and Web team summary – 24th November 2020 | Ubuntu

GTK: At the Heart of GNOME

GTK is at the heart of the GNOME application and software development kit. GTK is used to create graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for desktop environments, applications, and window managers. Since the GTK 4 development process began in 2016, we have about 250 individual contributors, with more than 100 active this year. Thanks to the funding received by the GNOME Foundation in 2020, the GTK development team was able to run hackfests, including one we were lucky enough to have at FOSDEM. This funding also supported Emmanuele Bassi, Core GTK Developer at the GNOME Foundation, working on GTK full-time. For most of 2020, Emmanuele worked on implementing a new accessibility interface for GTK 4, to ensure that more people can use GNOME applications, including those with disabilities. We are building a diverse and sustainable free software computing ecosystem where everyone can be empowered by technology they trust. Since Emmanuele works directly for the Foundation he’s uniquely able to focus on the needs of the community, project, and users to support these goals. GTK is a project with a long history, and throughout that history, it has gone through multiple iterations. A new major release is on the horizon. After four years of development that included a complete overhaul of the internals of the toolkit, GTK 4 promises to be faster through hardware acceleration; more efficient, in terms of performance and power consumption; and more ergonomic, for both application developers, and end users. Over the past four years, the GTK team has continued work on the existing stable versions of GTK and put out multiple releases. Read more Also: GTK Planning More Improvements In 2021 From Better Accessibility To Animation Framework

Platform exclusivity, DRM, and independent authors: A cautionary tale

Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you wrote a book. You've worked on it for years, and you want to share it with the world. You want to reach as many people as possible, but it would be nice to be compensated for your hard work. How many weekends did you spend at home, polishing your manuscript instead of going out with friends? How many sleepless nights have you spent staring at a blank page, looking for inspiration? While researching the best way to publish, you hear horror stories about authors finding their books sold on counterfeit Web sites or distributed gratis without the author's consent. You read stories about authors feeling violated as their hard work is stolen in such a way. As you read about these activities, you also see mentions of companies that claim that they would protect your work against it. Should you publish your book through them, your book would only be available through their application. People could only access it through their store, and they wouldn't even be able to open the file on a device that isn't vetted by the company. The app is very popular, so most people use it anyway, and authors do not have to worry about a lack of interest. Only dealing with one store would also make things easier on your end. You won't have to manage different things. They'll even format your book for you. Sounds easy enough, so you take the deal. Weeks pass, and you make a few sales. It's by no mean a huge success, but you got a few positive reviews, mostly from family and friends. You keep mentioning your project to everyone you know, and find some limited interest. One day, a friend you hadn't talked to in a while asks about your book. They say that they don't like the app your book requires, and they don't want to buy it through the one store you signed an exclusivity deal with. They explain that Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) restricts their freedom to read the book on their device of choice, and won't even let them make backups of the file. They tell you how they once used a similar app, but were locked out of all the books they purchased after moving away from said application. After hearing your friend's story, you decide to give them a DRM-free copy of your book. After all, you wrote it so people would enjoy it first and foremost, and you want your friend to see the fruit of your labor. Read more