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Updated: 39 min 4 sec ago

Littlewood is a seriously peaceful town-building RPG out now

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 05:19:42 PM

After a successful Kickstarter campaign in the beginning of 2019 and an Early Access release later that same year, Littlewood has grown into a wonderful town-building RPG.

In a world where the evil has already been defeated, it asks the question: what now? The answer, of course, is to rebuild everything and attempt to live out the rest of your lives in peace and perhaps find a little love along the way. Easily comparable to the likes of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, it offers up a similar experience of letting you do what you want at your own pace and just relax.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Littlewood has a surprisingly large amount of content and activities, I don't think there's ever been a time with it where I've been confused either. Everything in Littlewood is so easy to understand, it's actually great. The developer Sean Young hasn't tried to make it even remotely complicated, with an intuitive and clean UI and all the game mechanics stay quite simple the entire way through.

While it of course starts off small, you do gradually unlock more and more of it. New locations to visit, new people to find and bring into your town who each have their own wants and needs. The more you play, there more there is to do. It's a cycle of doing…stuff and things. Mining, chopping trees for logs, catching bugs, a little fishing, finding cards to play the simple card game Tarott Master and tons more.

The progression system in Littlewood is part of what makes it unique too. Instead of having a set day and night cycle, everything depends upon your personal energy bar. It puts you in direct control. That's truly what's brilliant about Littlewood: control. Right from the earliest moments, you're doing whatever you want. A little farming? Sure. Landscaping the entire town? Yeah, you can do that too.

Personally, I've found games like Littlewood that constantly give me things to do, even tedious little things to be what's kept me going during the COVID19 lockdown. It's so brilliantly easy to just zone out and be at peace, while building up a sweet little village and try to make everyone happy. I'm having difficulty thinking on many negative points to talk about, in fact my minds gone blank on that. Littlewood might not be as deep mechanically as other somewhat similar casual life/farming RPGs but that's good too because it's less overwhelming, it's easy to pick up and play any time of day and when you're in any state of mind.

Any issues I previously had were solved during Early Access, the release is looking real good. The 1.0 release of Littlewood came along with a big patch too adding in multiple new town events, multiple new special moments, Steam Trading Cards, new dialogue, new and updated music tracks, tons of new items and of course the usual assortment of bug fixes you would expect in a full release.

You can buy Littlewood from GOG as well as Steam.

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Free to play collectible card game 'Doomtrooper' enters Early Access

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 04:51:17 PM

Reviving the collectible card game from the 90s, developer Secret Cow Level has now launched Doomtrooper CCG into Steam's Early Access program.

"Get ready for demonic aliens, cyber-mechanical vehicles, and interplanetary chainsaw warfare! Doomtrooper is a digital adaptation of the physical card game by the same name. Play Warrior cards to form your squad and earn victory points by eliminating the enemy's forces."


Watch video on YouTube.com

With it being in Early Access, it does have the main features already implemented. There's a tutorial, a single-player practice mode, ranked multiplayer and daily/weekly missions to earn rewards. They plan to remain there for 'less than' 6 months to add in more cards and content, improve the tutorial, update the new user experience and so on.

Another game funded from Kickstarter too, where they originally pulled in over $30K back in 2017. Nice to see the Linux support status has been kept up nicely. While it's free to play, the monetization model will include being able to buy 'bundles of packs' (cards). The current 'pre-order' pack the game has in the store is $49.99 which includes a special title, 60 card packs, a special card back and a special avatar.

Feature Highlight:

  • Gameplay based on the 90's Doomtrooper CCG, but re-imagined with a modern flair. Relive your nostalgia for a classic card game!
  • Choose from 7 different factions when constructing your deck, each with their own unique cards and playstyle.
  • Complete Daily Missions to earn yourself some coins to spend on packs, avatars, card backs and more!
  • Try and hold your own in Ranked mode! Work your way up through the ranks to unlock special avatars, titles, and other rewards.
  • Challenge a random player in casual Versus mode, or use our Discord features to send a match invite to your friends.
  • Play the Single-player Story Modes to unlock special rewards and learn more about the Mutant Chronicles universe.

The team at Secret Cow Level are small and they say they're different from the rest as it's all a "labor of love and community". They started the company because "we played Doomtrooper in the 90's and wanted to bring it back so we could all play again" and they mentioned that it's not following trends or trying to grab cash as it's "something that we care deeply about". They said the community is heavily involved in all of it, from features to pricing of in-game rewards and items.

You can try it out free on Steam, keeping in mind there's rough edges aplenty while it's in Early Access.

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GOverlay makes Linux gaming overlay MangoHud even easier to use

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 04:24:38 PM

MangoHud has become the go-to way to get a decent readout of game performance with an overlay on Linux, and now with the latest improvements the GOverlay interface has made it much easier to use.

Don't know what MangoHud is or never seen it before? It's an open source overlay for monitoring FPS, temperatures, CPU/GPU load and more. It looks something like this:

Usually if you wish to configure MangoHud you would need to edit configuration files or set environment variables. Neither of which are particularly user friendly and that's where GOverlay came in. A dedicated application to let you tick boxes and move sliders to configure MangoHud settings. GOverlay had one major drawback until now: it didn't load your saved settings. As of GOverlay 0.3.7 released on August 3 it does! The experience is now getting close to perfect.

Here's another fresh very quick basic demonstration of it in action, and showing that it will keep the settings and then just quickly showing it working in Serious Sam Fusion:


Watch video on YouTube.com

You can find GOverlay on GitHub, which needs MangoHud too.

Over the last year, there's definitely been an uptick in the amount of people focusing on building useful applications like this to fill a need. Nice to see more of a focus on the user experience. Making things easy like this is wonderful.

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Ecosystem building sim 'Terra Nil' now gives you a whole continent to restore

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 03:39:37 PM

A building sim that's as relaxing as it is challenging, Terra Nil has a truly wonderful idea and I absolute love following it along in development with a new big update out now.

In Terra Nil, you're tasked with turning a barren wasteland into an ecological paradise complete with different flora and fauna, then clean up after yourself to leave the environment pristine. Quite clever mechanically, giving you a certain percentage you need to hit on each map with your greenery. Originally it just gave you random maps to play through but now the progress is evolving.

As for Terra Nil 0.4, it gives you a whole continent to restore with different biomes across the areas you're trying to restore. When you do complete a level, the menu map then covers that area in greenery and it's actually quite slick.

The update also adjusts the difficulty to be more generous with the curve, there's lots of little tweaks and fixes all over to. Now, it's really starting to feel like a full and proper game. It was already good before but now it feels a little more complete and if you've not tried it yet you should try it.

Starting off with nothing you need to work out power then split a few building across the map like water pumps, toxin scrubbers and all sorts while you then use greenhouses and other buildings to spread lush greenery across the level to build up your reclamation level to eventually hit the percentage it needs to complete.

Find it free on itch.io. Absolutely wonderful game.

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The fab physics bridge-builder Poly Bridge 2 gets a huge free content update

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 09:42:19 AM

Already finished Poly Bridge 2? Looks like it's time to jump back in as Dry Cactus have just released a huge free content upgrade with lots of new goodies to play with.

What is Poly Bridge 2? The sequel to the hit bridge-building physics puzzler from 2016, it brings with it new levels, new mechanics, a custom physics engine, workshop campaigns, and much more. It was already fun and it's constantly improved since release with all sorts of tweaks and little extras but this update released on August 2 is on a whole different level.

World 5 has been added, bringing with it the Serenity Valley location with 16 brand new levels and challenges, along with new achievements to hunt down. If that's not enough for you the Sandbox Mode was also expanded with: a new theme and vehicle type, support for duplicating multiple selected items, accurate selection for boats and planes, undo support for multiple changes and a custom shape option.

Plenty more came with it like Hydraulics Controller improvements, with the panel being semi-transparent and you can click through it to add/remove split joints and hydraulics. There's also a vertical scrollbar added when there are too many phases to fit on the panel.

There's also numerous usability improvements like improved collision accuracy, optimizations, an improved system to highlight vehicles/flags/checkpoints in Build Mode, items will be highlighted on hover in drop-down menus and plenty of bug fixes too.

You can buy Poly Bridge 2 on Steam for £11.39 / $14.99 / €12.49.


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Unrailed! is gearing up for launch with a discount before the price goes up

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 09:08:50 AM

Unrailed! is an absolutely fantastic co-op game from Indoor Astronaut and Daedalic Entertainment that has you frantically build a train track to keep your train going as far as possible.

It entered Early Access back in September 2019, with Linux support arriving in February 2020 and now they're looking to the near-future with a full release approaching. They've not said exactly when but they have confirmed the price will be rising, so they've put it on a reasonably big discount (42%) until August 17.


Watch video on YouTube.com

This has to be one of the most hilarious and chaotic co-op experiences I've had in the last year. Trying to keep the momentum going, with one of you cutting trees while the other moves around resources and gets extra pieces of track put down all while you're trying to keep the train cool and not derail—with a partner it's just such good fun.

Additionally a demo and a new character will be coming soon, along with a promise of much more info to come.

You can pick it up on sale from both Humble Store and Steam.

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xoreos, the FLOSS game engine for titles like Knights of the Old Republic has a new update

Monday 3rd of August 2020 08:30:37 PM

xoreos is an in-development effort to create a free and open source game engine reimplementation of the BioWare Aurora Engine that powers games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

It's finally had a new release with xoreos 0.0.6 and it still seems like quite early days for games being playable. This release appears to have laid the groundwork for more improvements to come. The biggest change is that the original Knights of the Old Republic now has a partially working tutorial, it doesn't sound like a lot but for a reimplementation project it's quite a big step forwards to show what it can be capable of.


Watch video on YouTube.com

On top of that, work went into x to have Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic II build off a 'common base', meaning they share a lot of code now and it makes things easier. Sounds like Knights of the Old Republic II has some early game interactions now possible too. Again, small but important steps. Having both of these games properly working in a free and open source game engine would be pretty awesome for modding, portability and so much more to extend their life further.

They mentioned that a lot of other user-invisible work went into this release too including:

  • Partial implementations of ActionScript and Scaleform GFx for Dragon Age menus
  • Partial implementations of XACT WaveBanks and SoundBanks for Jade Empire
  • Partial implementations of FMOD SampleBanks and Events for Dragon Age: Origins
  • Partial implementations of Wwise SoundBanks for Dragon Age II
  • WebM (Matroska + VPx) support for the Enhanced Edition of Neverwinter Nights
  • Support for big-endian GFF4 files found in console ports
  • Support for resource files found in mobile ports
  • Support for more Neverwinter Nights 2 structures

See the release announcement here. As it's such a big project like other reimplementation efforts, they could use some help. Be sure to check out the GitHub and get in touch with their team.

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Vulkan API gains new extension to aid translation layers

Monday 3rd of August 2020 07:26:58 PM

Today, the Vulkan API 1.2.149 spec update went out and it includes another extension that's aimed at helping translation layers like DXVK. While we don't usually comment on such minor specification updates to Vulkan, we do pick it up in cases like this where it may directly benefit compatibility layers for Linux gaming.

VK_EXT_4444_formats is the new extension, which was worked on by Joshua Ashton (original creator of D9VK, now part of DXVK) for Valve and Jason Ekstrand for Intel. This is actually Ashton's second extension, following on from the release of Vulkan 1.2.140 back in May.

So what's it for? From the official documentation:

This extension defines the VK_FORMAT_A4R4G4B4_UNORM_PACK16_EXT and VK_FORMAT_A4B4G4R4_UNORM_PACK16_EXT formats which are defined in other current graphics APIs.

This extension may be useful for building translation layers for those APIs or for porting applications that use these formats without having to resort to swizzles.

When VK_EXT_custom_border_color is used, these formats are not subject to the same restrictions for border color without format as with VK_FORMAT_B4G4R4A4_UNORM_PACK16.

Nice to see Vulkan continuing to evolve as an API. Having it open like this is great, as they can continue to push through the latest and greatest features (like the upcoming official vendor-neutral Ray Tracing extensions) on top of bringing in extensions to aid translating from older and competing modern APIs.

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With less than a month to go there's a new Crusader Kings III dev video

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:48:20 PM

Going over more features we can expect to see in Crusader Kings III, Paradox Interactive have a new dev video up ahead of the release next month.

This diary explains more about character portraits and how they change over time. It sounds pretty fun and has more depth to it than the previous game, with each character having a DNA stream that determines their appearance based on their parents. Character features change over time due to age too along with their lifestyle and any diseases. It also goes over changes made to the vassal contract system and how user testing has helped along development.

From what I've been told, we can expect more info to come before release. Anyway, here's the video:


Watch video on YouTube.com

You can see some of the full written dev diaries the above video goes over via the links below:

At release I'm hoping to take a look at it, from the perspective of someone new to it who struggled a lot with the previous entry. Thanks to the effort Paradox has put into the tutorial and help systems, it sounds like it won't be so overwhelming to get into it.

Crusader Kings III will be available on the Humble Store, Steam and the Paradox Store on September 1. The price will be about $49.99 / £41.99 / €49.99 and it's confirmed to be supported on Linux. You can also pre-order. More on the official site.

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Aliens and enemy ships weren't enough for Space Haven so now there's space hazards too

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:22:48 PM

Space Haven is an Early Access game that blends together elements of FTL, RimWorld and other such building and survival sims to create a promising mix of space exploration and people management.

After entering Early Access in May following a successful Alpha period for backers of their Kickstarter campaign, Bugbyte continue to expand the gameplay systems. It wasn't enough to deal with space pirates, ship to ship combat and aliens that pinch your crew members and put them into cocoons—you now have to deal with Space Hazards like: Solar Flares, Micrometeoroids, Siren Worlds (they mess with crew brains) and Nebulae to add a little more variety to your exploration.


A Solar Flare in action.

These Space Hazards can be tweaked and turned off, as thankfully Bugbyte want to ensure you play the game your way.

A lot more came with Alpha 9 including Crew Fights if they annoy each other enough and a lot more interactions possible with the various factions. Space is a lot more, well, alive. A new character status is in with refugees, who might be stranded when their ship is destroyed. You can pick them up and have them as a member of your crew for a while. Factions will now reach out to you to ask for all sorts of things, with a new signalling system along with faction requests like needing resources, delivering refugees belonging to their faction that you picked up along the way and more. You can also now choose to lie about refugees and keep them for yourself, perhaps they're good workers. Oh and other ships can now scan you, to see if you're lying. Get those turrets ready.

You can buy it from Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

Honestly I think it's a fantastic start, with some seriously cool sci-fi artwork going for it. Screenshots don't do it enough justice, you really need to properly see it in action. Space Haven is probably one of the most promising in-development games available for Linux and Bugbyte are a developer worth supporting.

If you've not seen it yet, check the original trailer below:


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Summer camp building gets a little supernatural in the upcoming Camp Canyonwood

Monday 3rd of August 2020 01:52:34 PM

Coming from the same team as We Need To Go Deeper, Deli Interactive LLC have announced Camp Canyonwood which looks like it puts a quirky spin on building up a summer camp.

What can we expect from it? Well, you're going to be responsible for building the camp and looking after your visitors. Their fun, education and safety lies in your hands and things might go bump in the night. I'm getting a bit of a Don't Starve vibe from this. Have a look at the brand new trailer:


However, the developer has been keen to point out it's not another Don't Starve. In fact, there's no traditional "survival" elements to it. No starving, no freezing or going insane and it's much closer to the likes of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley but with a little more mystery and danger but you still cannot die. The dangers end up hurting you financially, which is why you need to keep everyone safe.

Feature Highlight:

  • Live the Camp Life - Go hiking, fishing, swimming, bug catching and more in a scenic Utah-inspired wilderness.
  • Guide Your Troop - Lead troops of campers each summer in pursuit of Merit Badges. The more they learn, the more you earn.
  • Camper Personalities - No two campers are the same. Each have their own unique personalities and quirks. Learn their needs to better reach them!
  • Build Your Dream Camp - Gather materials and funds to improve your camp each summer, and design it as you see fit.
  • Beware Dangers - Camping isn't always easy. Protect your campers from dangers both natural and supernatural.

One of the biggest ways they're trying to expand from other similar games are the campers. You play as the head counsellor, who is responsible for training the campers up to gain new skills and the interactions you have with them is a key part of the experience. Speaking to the developer on Steam, they confirmed it will be supporting Linux.

You can follow it on Steam now.

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Half-Life: Absolute Zero mimics Half-Life's original vibe, run on Linux with Xash3D FWGS

Monday 3rd of August 2020 01:08:29 PM

The original Half-Life turned out to look and feel rather different than what originally shown before release. This fan project seeks to give players a different experience more inline with that original design.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Half-Life didn’t always look and feel the same way as the final product. The actively-developed fan modification Absolute Zero seeks to capture the feel of those early days and is working towards having a finished product by year’s end. It’s definitely a cool project and well worth checking out for any curious fans of Half-Life.

Now, because this mod uses an old version of the game engine that predates Valve’s port of Half-Life to Linux, the developers aren’t able to put out their own native builds. I can confirm that the game runs with Proton (albeit a little poorly) but a clever Reddit user has posted a solution that used the open source Xash3D FWGS engine to run the mod instead. These are the steps needed:

Instructions, click me

1) Install Half-Life and Half-Life: Absolute Zero

2) Download and extract xash3d_fwgs_linux_0.19.2.tar.xz (recent Xash3D FWGS 0.20 doesn't run the mod.)

3) Copy ~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common/Half-Life Absolute Zero/AbsoluteZero and ~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common/Half-Life/valve into Xash3D FWGS's directory.

4) Copy ~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common/Half-Life/valve/cl_dlls/client.so into /AbsoluteZero/cl_dlls

5) Launch the game with following command:

LC_ALL=C ./xash3d.sh -game AbsoluteZero -dll dlls/az.dll -clientlib cl_dlls/client.so -console

6) If some NPCs' skins are robot skins, disable German censorship in /AbsoluteZero/config.cfg

sv_germancensorship "0"

 

I've tried the above instructions and can report that things work rather well. I was able to play for a while and progress without any issues. Now, Absolute Zero isn't quite finished yet and the game is still unbeatable as of the time of writing. It's the mod team's hope that things will be done by the end of October. Still, speaking as someone who has played through Half-Life a few times, it's really interesting to see this alternate visiion for the game.

You can get Half-Life: Absolute Zero on Steam though you'll need a copy of the original Half-Life as well.

Thanks for the tip, RTheren

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X4: Foundations update 3.30 arrives with a crew transfer system overhaul

Monday 3rd of August 2020 12:49:05 PM

Egosoft are continuing to improve and expand their detailed space trading, exploration and combat sim X4: Foundations.

Along with a bunch of gameplay improvements, one of the highlights of this release is the overhaul of the crew transfer feature. Instead of needing to make an order and having the ships meet up, it's been streamlined to be less of an annoyance. Now you can do it anywhere, along with it being possible to move any amount of people as they will use crew capsules to move around independently. Once you start getting far into the game and build up a little empire, this sounds like it will be much nicer.

The user interface for the new crew transfer system can be found under the Empire Overview in X4: Foundations.

Other patch highlights include:

  • Improvements to alerts and notifications
  • More information on the Logical Station Overview
  • New map filters and key bindings
  • Enhancements and fixes to trade behaviour
  • Lots of smaller fixes and quality of life improvements

X4: Foundations is such an impressive game when it comes to the scope of it. Being able to fly across a huge universe, with so much simulated as you move around it's crazy. The economy, all the different factions, NPC ships and stations and so much more. Some of the visuals in 52.50 X4: Foundations are absolutely wonderful too.

Want to pick up a copy of X4: Foundations and find your space legs? It's available from Humble Store, GOG or Steam.

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Arcane Fortune is a grand strategy empire building game you can play in your terminal

Monday 3rd of August 2020 12:17:30 PM

Newly released is Arcane Fortune, a free game inspired by Civilization and SimCity with their ultimate goal to have the same 'detail and realism as Dwarf Fortress'.

In the developers own words, "Arcane Fortune is a game of empire building, diplomacy, conquest, construction, and deconstruction. Whether or not you build some form of paradise, or a hell on earth is entirely up to you". It has an absolutely huge scope to include the handling, managing and instigating social and political turmoil in your and other empires. Even further out they want to make a formidable AI, with the help of 'deep-learning techniques'.

You can play it entirely in a terminal of your choice too, simply download it and then run it in terminal to begin. So you can probably make it look pretty wild with some of the retro terminal apps out there.

Pictured: the start of my civilization.

So far, it seems like it has a lot of good ideas and the interface is actually quite good for a terminal-based experience. I didn't have any trouble getting around it, although the beginner's guide helps with that. Sounds like things get pretty wild as you progress through it, especially with the technology tree—eventually you can get uranium and ICMB-loving civilizations might end up wiping each other out…or you. You definitely get the classic Civilization vibes from it but with the zoning elements of SimCity to end up making something like neither of them. I can feel the next time-sink coming on.

While it's not open source, it does have a reasonably permissive license allowing you to distribute it and modify it under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Find out more and download on the official site.

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Aloof looks like a wonderful feature-filled upcoming puzzle-battler

Monday 3rd of August 2020 11:35:40 AM

Something of a recent discovery is Aloof, an in-development puzzle-battler somewhat inspired by the likes of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Puyo Puyo Tetris with its own unique take on it.

According to the full description of the game, you summon and defend small islands all the while you build combos against your opponent. What makes it different is that the puzzle pieces don't descend by themselves and you can even move up, you can also flush them all away. They said the game ' isn't about zoning out. It's about responding to your opponent, taking your time to think and move fast when you can'.

It actually looks and sounds quite charming, take a look at their new trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Sounds like it's going to be ridiculously feature-filled too. They're planning a full campaign that can be played solo or in co-op, there's going to be local and online competitive multiplayer, the ability to play it offline while also searching for an online opponent, multiple win conditions and of course full support of Linux.

It appears that an actual release is still quite some time away but I'm already looking forward to it as it looks quite wonderful.

You can read more about it here and follow it on Steam.

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System76 are teasing their own brand Keyboard again

Monday 3rd of August 2020 11:12:11 AM

System76, the company that provides various Linux hardware along with their own Pop!_OS Linux distribution have started teasing their upcoming Keyboard again.

Originally talked about in a blog post back in March last year, we haven't really heard much since then. Things sounded pretty experimental back then but in a fresh blog post from July 30, it seems it's moving forward. However, it also sounds like it's not close to being finished yet either, as they stated:

We’re approaching our keyboard in 3 different ways: Redesigning the keyboard itself, maximizing your efficiency when using it, and empowering you to fully customize your keyboard to your whims.

We’ll announce the release of our keyboard through our newsletter and social channels once the prototyping phase is complete. This will take some time.

System76 say they want to build a keyboard you will 'fall in love with' and it seems they're going to be moving some keys around to make more use of all your fingers and thumbs. They're going with three key sizes:

  • 1U (letter/number keys)
  • 1.5U (tab keys)
  • 2U (shift keys)

They're also chopping up the spacebar into two '2U' sized keys, they said that apart from just making it smaller it will also 'bring useful functions closer to the center of the keyboard, but this also allows you to remap another commonly-used key to where it’s easy for you to smash with your other thumb'.

Swapping around keys will be part of the design focus to allow you to customize it, and to help with that they're planning to release an application to configure your layout properly. This application will also work with their laptops that have the System76 Embedded Controller Firmware which they say will 'enable you to use the same custom keyboard layout on both your laptop and desktop'.

Certainly will be interesting to see what design they ultimately settle on, with it also being design to work well with the new Auto Tiling feature found in their Pop!_OS Linux distribution. Speaking about testing their new keyboard layout, the System76 CEO, Carl Richell, said "I’ve found using the new keyboard layouts with Auto-Tiling is so addictive that when I go to another computer, it feels like I’m in a foreign land.".

If you were to change one major thing about the standard keyboard design, what would it be? Let us know in the comments.

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Looks like the recent upwards trend of the Linux market share has calmed down

Monday 3rd of August 2020 10:43:05 AM

Recently, the NetMarketShare website and the Steam Hardware Survey showed the Linux share was rising but it appears both have now calmed down.

For NetMarketShare, something pretty big happened over the last few months. Back in March the Linux share they recorded was only 1.36%, and then it quickly rocketed upwards to 3.61% in June after multiple months of rising. The kind of rise you can't easily just write-off since it continued happening. No one really knows what caused it, possibly a ton more people working from home and not attached to their corporate Windows workstation. Now though, it seems to be levelling out as July's figure now shows it as 3.57%. Considering more people are being told to go back to work, perhaps it was as a result of COVID19. Across this whole time though, it's worth noting StatCounter which also tracks it has hardly moved much during it. So you may want to press X to doubt on it.

It's a tough thing to truly measure though, considering they all tend to rely on visitors browsing a specific set of included websites. They capture things like your browser string which can often be faked, but they're still about the best we have for an overall picture of any possible trends. One thing is for certain though: not a lot has changed overall.

As for the Steam Hardware Survey, it rose from 0.83% back in February up to 0.91% in May but it also has been slowly trickling down with it now sitting at 0.86% as of July's numbers. At least when looking over the past ~2 years, it's still trending upwards slightly overall. We're tracking it on our dedicated Steam Tracker page here, in case you haven't seen that before. We also recently added the ability to filter to specific year/months on our Steam Tracker, to allow for fine-tuning and adding more historic data.

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FNA and FAudio get a 20.08 release, with FNA3D and Vulkan getting closer

Monday 3rd of August 2020 10:15:01 AM

Game porter and software developer Ethan Lee announced the 20.08 releases of both of FNA and FAudio, as work continues on the newer FNA3D.

What are they? FNA is an accuracy-focused XNA4 reimplementation for open platforms with it being used by a ton of games including the likes of: Celeste, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Full Metal Furies, Owlboy and a plenty more. While FAudio is accuracy-focused XAudio reimplementation for open platforms, which is used for a number of games and also by the Wine / Proton compatibility layers.

For FNA, it was quite a quiet release as the majority of their work is going into bringing up FNA3D which will soon be merged in with FNA directly. They simply upgraded to the new FAudio, removed some dllmaps for iOS/tvOS due to macOS ARM and removed some dead code elsewhere in 'ModelReader' which 'should mildly improve load performance'.

Slightly more exciting is the FAudio release, as it now has support for XAudio2.9-compatible reverb further expanding it's audio capabilities. On top of that, they're also now using GStreamer instead of the FFmpeg backend for WMA decoding, which should help more games with Wine and Proton.

On the subject of the upcoming FNA3D, the new 3D Graphics Library for FNA, Ethan Lee mentioned that while work is going well, Vulkan support is 'still really really tough'. They're looking for developers to help bring up their Vulkan support especially with 'threaded Vulkan and render graphs, command reordering, stuff like that' which you can help out with by joining their Discord. Sounds like Vulkan support is close though!

See FNA on GitHub and FAudio on GitHub.

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You can now support Wine Staging directly on Patreon

Monday 3rd of August 2020 10:03:07 AM

Wine Staging, the highly experimental area where all the latest (and often not "greatest") code comes in for Wine testing now has a Patreon so you can support it directly.

It's perhaps not as well known as the normal Wine project or Valve's fork with Proton but it is an important project itself. Containing a set of patches that are applied on top of the main development branch of Wine, the idea is to provide experimental features and fixes faster in a way that users can grab and test that eventually get upstreamed into the main Wine project once they're ready.

Wine Staging is still very much a volunteer project and it's been going for a few years now, as they keep updating patches and attempt to get more upstreamed. They said having this new funding campaign allows them to buy games, software and hardware required for all the testing they do.

You can find Wine Staging on GitHub and their Patreon here.

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Quench that weekend thirst with the release of Wine 5.14

Saturday 1st of August 2020 11:20:44 AM

The Wine team today announced the released of Wine 5.14, the next development release on the long road to Wine 6.0.

If you're curious on what Wine is: it's the 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.

The short highlights of Wine 5.14 include:

  • More restructuration of the console support.
  • Initial version of the Webdings font.
  • Beginnings of PE conversion of the MSVCRT libraries.

On the subject of bug fixes, they only checked off 26 this time. Some freshly fixed, some sorted a while ago. These bug fixes include issues solved for Battle.net, Oblivion, Godot Engine, Diablo III, StarCraft: Brood War and more. It's quite amusing to see Webdings make it in, considering it's been around since the 90s.

You can find the full announcement here.

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More in Tux Machines

Servers: Hosting, Supermicro and Containers

  • Linux vs. Windows hosting: What is the core difference?

    If you are having a budget constraint, Linux hosting is always a better option. But if you want to run certain complex applications on your website or web hosting that is specific to Windows, Windows hosting is the solution for you. If you are looking for a bulk of free and open-source applications and content management systems such as WordPress to run, it is better that you select Linux hosting.

  • Supermicro Launches SuperServer SYS-E100-9W-H Fanless Whiskey Lake Embedded Mini PC

    US-based Supermicro is known for its server products, but the company’s latest SuperServer SYS-E100-9W-H fanless embedded mini PC targets other applications, specifically industrial automation, retail kiosks, smart medical devices, and digital signage. The mini PC is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8665UE Whiskey Lake Embedded processor coupled with up to 64GB DDR4 memory, and offers plenty of connectivity options with dual Gigabit Ethernet, eight USB ports, four serial ports, and dual video output with HDMI and DisplayPort. [...] Supermicro only certified the mini PC with Windows 10, but looking at the OS compatibility matrix for X11SWN-H SBC used inside the mini PC, 64-bit Linux OS like Ubuntu 18.04/20.04, RedHat Enterprise Linux, and SuSE Linux should also be supported. The company also provides SuperDoctor 5 command-line or web-based interface for Windows and Linux operating systems to monitor the system and gets alerts via email or SNMP.

  • OpenDev 2020: Containers in Production – Day 1

today's howtos

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (pillow, ruby-kramdown, wpa, and xrdp), Fedora (ark and rpki-client), Gentoo (apache, ark, global, gthumb, and iproute2), openSUSE (chromium, grub2, java-11-openjdk, libX11, and opera), Red Hat (bind, chromium-browser, java-1.7.1-ibm, java-1.8.0-ibm, and libvncserver), SUSE (LibVNCServer, perl-XML-Twig, thunderbird, and xen), and Ubuntu (samba).

  • Have I Been Pwned to release code base to the open source community

    Members of the general public can submit their email addresses into the Have I Been Pwned search engine to find out if they have been "pwned," and if their emails have been linked to a data breach, each one and a summary of what happened is displayed -- as well as what information has been exposed. Since its launch in 2013, Hunt has poured more resources, including time and energy, into managing the search engine over time, expanding the service to include domain monitoring and breach alerts. At the heart, one main operator isn't enough to ensure future scalability or sustainability, and with this in mind, Hunt previously attempted to find a buyer to help expand his life's work. Unfortunately, the merger and/or acquisition process failed, and so Hunt has decided to pursue another alternative -- opening up the Have I Been Pwned code base to the open source community.

  • Researcher Demonstrates Several Zoom Vulnerabilities at DEF CON 28

    Popular video conferencing app Zoom has addressed several security vulnerabilities, two of which affect its Linux client that could have allowed an attacker with access to a compromised system to read and exfiltrate Zoom user data—and even run stealthy malware as a sub-process of a trusted application. According to cybersecurity researcher Mazin Ahmed, who presented his findings at DEF CON 2020 yesterday, the company also left a misconfigured development instance exposed that wasn't updated since September 2019, indicating the server could be susceptible to flaws that were left unpatched.

Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

  • Fedora Nest 2020

    This year Flock did not happen due to COVID-19, and in its place, Fedora Nest happened. After many events I’ve seen going virtual in the last few months, I was skeptical. I was yet to see an acceptable online platform to run events. I was wrong on the platform. Fedora Nest used Hopin , which is by far the best platform for events I’ve seen so far. Don’t get your expectations too high, though, because when I say the best one I’ve seen so far, only means that it is usable, and it does not mean in any way that is on par of real conferences. I might be a weird being, but I find traveling relaxing, so I usually add to the joy of the conference the pleasure of traveling. In addition to this, at conferences, I find myself to connect with people - sometimes briefly, sometimes more deeply - and this does not occur in online events. For those reasons, I really hope we will be able to soon go back to in-person conferences.

  • Miroslav Suchý: Nest 2020 - my notes

    This year, we had Nest conference instead of traditional Flock, which has been canceled due to COVID. The conference happened purely remotely over the Hopin video conference. This was good and bad. The good is that we saved a lot on traveling and that it happened at all. It would be bad if it was canceled. The bad part was that I found it hard to focus on the conference. There are too many distractions at home. It was much harder to socialize. And a lot of people had issues either with microphone or internet upload. It was sometimes hard to follow. The conference was organized mostly for US folks, and therefore some sessions were very late in my timezone.

  • Btrfs by default status updates, 2020-08-09
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    Fedora developers continue embracing the work on making the Btrfs file-system the default for F33 desktop variants. Their latest progress report indicates new installation options being wired up for the Btrfs support. A new Anaconda Kickstart install configuration knob is being added for setting the async discard behavior for solid-state drives. This configuration option will simply set the Btrfs DISCARD option to be enabled by default per the /etc/fstab options. They are still weighing whether to make it the default or more than likely that default transition would be next year for Fedora 34.

  • “To be, or not to be,” vulnerable… How customers and partners can understand and track Red Hat security vulnerabilities

    That is the question. Yes, I believe William Shakespeare was thinking about container security when he began Act 3 of Hamlet. He probably scanned his Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) 8 container with multiple vulnerability scanners, and with "the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks", noticed each report told him something different. One report said his container had a vulnerability, another indicated the vulnerability was patched, and another didn’t even show the vulnerability. As Hamlet contemplates his fate, it’s no wonder he says: "With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action." In other words, he rips up the reports and does nothing! In many ways our customers are experiencing the same vulnerability inconsistencies as Hamlet. But unlike our hero’s tragic fate, there is some good news: Red Hat is working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to help drive vulnerability consistency for both Red Hat and our partners.

  • Kubernetes and the hybrid cloud with Skupper

    DevNation Tech Talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions plus code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about Kubernetes and the hybrid cloud with Skupper from Ted Ross and Burr Sutter.