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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Vulnerability found in GRUB2 bootloader, nicknamed ‘BootHole’, compromising Secure Boot

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 09:09:35 PM

Users of the popular bootloader may want to update their systems in order to mitigate the danger of this new exploit.

It’s been revealed that a series of bugs in GRUB2 compromises the chain of trust in a Secure Boot-enabled system. You can read about the full scope of the exploit here but the short of it is that arbitrary code can be executed by an attacker on virtually any system running GRUB2 and using Secure Boot. The attack allows modification of GRUB2’s configuration file and allows for privilege escalation which could potentially mean that intrusions can go undetected by booted operating systems.

Now, most of the risk comes from an attacker already having some level of privileges but this is still something that should give system administrators some pause. And while Windows systems are theoretically vulnerable as well, it’s far likelier that systems affected in the wild will be running Linux.

Researchers from Eclypsium were responsible for identifying this vulnerability and have responsibly disclosed the bug to maintainers and the wider ecosystem. Expect package updates in your distro sometime soon. Even then, updates aren’t a complete solution as the keys that Secure Boot rely upon also have to be updated and older ones blacklisted. The Debian project have a good overview of what should be done and I expect that other distributions will follow suit with their own advice on how to deal with this exploit.

GRUB2’s code has been audited since the initial disclosure and a series of other bugs have also been found in the last few weeks. While many users will ultimately be unaffected by this exploit it’s still a good reminder to keep your system up-to-date and keep an eye out for security advisories.

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Free and open source 3D creation suite Blender gets funding from Microsoft

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 02:02:13 PM

It feels like FOSS is on a roll lately, with more and more great open source applications seeing funding from big names. Blender is back in the spotlight again, with backing from Microsoft.

Announced by the Blender team today, July 29 2020, Microsoft has joined them as a 'Gold' level Corporate Member. This means Microsoft will be giving the Blender Foundation at least €30K a year, which the Blender team say pays for half a year of developer time to improve Blender. The statement from the Blender Foundation Chairman was short and sweet:

We at Blender are very proud of this support statement, it’s another important signal that the industry migrates to open source and finds ways to contribute to it.

This follows a string of other major companies throwing their backing behind Blender. Over the last year we've seen Embark Studios, AMD, Adidas, NVIDIA, Ubisoft and Epic Games all pledge monies towards it. There's plenty more that already contribute like Google, Ubuntu developer Canonical, Valve and more.

Looking over their funding page, they're currently getting about €94,175 a month across 41 corporate sponsors and 4,601 individuals. Sounds nice on the surface but that's not much when split between a few developers. Hopefully this level of funding keeps up and they manage to pull in more as Blender is such a fantastic bit of open source software.

Also, it's worth noting that the Blender team have some open job positions right now including a back-end developer, a writer to blog about what they're doing and a community coordinator.

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Cult classic Beneath a Steel Sky is finally available free on Steam

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 01:41:42 PM

It's hard to believe that until now, Beneath a Steel Sky wasn't available on Steam. With the launch of the sequel Beyond a Steel Sky recently, Revolution Software decided to fix that.

Currently, the build on Steam is only officially available for Windows. Thankfully though, with it being such an old game now from 1994, it's easy to get it running on Linux and through Steam directly too thanks to the Steam Play feature in the Linux Steam client. Remember, Steam Play is just a feature to run compatibility layers (the biggest being Proton) and there's one named Roberta designed for running adventure games like this using a native Linux build of ScummVM.

Instructions (make sure you have scummvm and inotify-tools installed). Open a terminal app of your choice, and then go into the compatibility tools folder (create it if it doesn't exist):

cd ~/.local/share/Steam/compatibilitytools.d/ || cd ~/.steam/root/compatibilitytools.d/
Next up, download the release archive of Roberta and extract the contents:

curl -L https://github.com/dreamer/roberta/releases/download/v0.1.0/roberta.tar.xz | tar xJf -

Once done, you can open / restart Steam and it will show up as an option in your Steam Play settings when you right click -> Properties on a game:

Currently though, there appears to be an issue you might encounter with ScummVM 2.1 (at least on Arch / Manjaro Linux) with it not working. If this happens to you as well, you can use this as a launch option (Right click -> Properties -> Set Launch Options...):

LD_LIBRARY_PATH="" %command%

The question is though: why would you want to play it on Steam when it's been available elsewhere easily on Linux for a number of years? Simple: because you can. Minor jokes aside, it's more a matter of personal preference and convenience. Plenty of people want all their games in one place, this may help with that.

Find Beneath a Steel Sky free on Steam. Otherwise it's available on GOG, various Linux distributions have it right in their repository / software centres to install easily too.

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Wilderness survival roguelike Wayward gets a big free expansion

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 12:48:00 PM

Currently in Early Access, Wayward is a wilderness survival roguelike from developer Unlok and the 9th major update is out now with the Seafarer expansion.

With this now out, the developer mentioned this brings an end to the limited amount of exploration that was possible as you can now sail the seas to explore new lands. Sounds like a pretty huge advancement for the game and not something that was easy for the team, a feature they had originally said 'would probably never happen' but an important milestone for making it much more enjoyable.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Update highlights:

  • Added infinite persistent travel to up to three different types of islands, "Coastal", "Arid" and "Ice Cap".
  • Players in multiplayer can now travel together to new islands using a new voting system.
  • Encumbrance, dehydration, starvation, and exhaustion are all now status effects that appear in the UI. Their tooltips provide additional information and are more accurate with increased anatomy skill.
  • Added new locked forms of all chests with varied/tiered loot and quality for both generated chests and unearthed treasure chests.
  • The "Traverse the Seas" action and functionality have been removed in exchange for the new travelling system. The bull boat/sail boat can now be used to "paddle" like the raft.
  • Water now has a depletable but slowly regenerative amount of fish and items. You will need to move to other areas to successfully fish when depleted.
  • Dying in casual mode or with the "respawn" option enabled now causes players to become a ghost with a "respawn" button available. The ghost can travel around to any revealed location in the world.

This is only their first step towards different islands to explore, with a lot more planned to come across the next bunch of releases although they may be a bit slower to release because of the focus on bigger amounts of content. They want to add in features like 'temperature, more biome content and other unique island-based features like charting/mapping' and more like that.

You can grab Wayward on Humble Store and Steam.

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Event-driven open source game engine GDevelop adds a live preview feature

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 12:17:36 PM

GDevelop is an in-development free and open source game engine, one that is powered by a drag and drop event system and it continues bringing in new and fun features.

One feature it just added in the latest release is Live Previews, otherwise known as Hot Reloading. This is where you can apply a bunch of changes in the game engine editor, with the game currently running and then at the click of a button have your changes applied. It's a useful feature, one that could aid debugging and prototyping nicely. Here's a real basic demo of it in action:


Watch video on YouTube.com

GDevelop 5.0.0-beta98 also brings in a new Command Palette feature, which gives you a quick command bar when pressing the hotkey (CTRL+P) to run quick commands like switching scenes, changing events and a lot more. They also upgraded Pixi.js to 5.3.0 allowing games to run with WebGL 2, which also brings with it various performance improvements. On top of that there's a fun new Particle Effects demo project included from Wishforge Games, allowing you to play around with a ton of built-in GDevelop effects and see how they work behind the scenes in the event editor:

It's really great to see another lesser-known FOSS game engine continue to improve in big ways.

See more on the official site and GitHub.

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Take a walk and take some nice snaps in Shutter Stroll

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 11:45:22 AM

Shutter Stroll, a walking sim about taking nice photographs across hundreds of generated islands is a pretty sweet experience for when you want to properly relax.

There's no goal, no timers and not much else. It's a small game about slowing down, taking things in and just appreciating a bit of beauty. With you starting off in a little boat, camera in hand, you set off to find the perfect shot. Once you find a spot you bring up your camera, switch between different filters by pressing F and take your snap. Then it's back to your boat to pick some coordinates and explore somewhere else.

Here's a few snaps, click to enlarge the thumbnails because they're high resolution shots. Having the coordinates of the island generation on the pictures is a nice touch too.

This is one of my favourites I jokingly like to call the lonely island, because hilariously that's all there was to it apart from a few rocks. Still, it was quite a beautiful little sight to see.

I love small experimental experiences like this, because they're such anti-games compared with all the big noisy AAA powerhouse releases and show how even tiny titles like this can be enjoyable. Sounds like the developer isn't finished with it either, as they're planning to expand it.

Not just the sweet idea and the very colourful islands that captured my interest though, it's the funding model. The game costs $5 on itch.io but every purchase unlocks a free copy for someone else to claim. The developer said these 'community copies' are intended for 'marginalized people and those who are experiencing financial hardships'—I really love seeing things like this in the industry and it's great that the itch store allows such things. Part of what makes itch a wonderful little store.

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Steam has a sale on to celebrate Swiss Games and Developers

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 11:11:56 AM

If it wasn't enough that there's multiple good Humble Bundles going on, and a big RPG sale on GOG - Valve have launched a sale to celebrate Swiss Games.

Never one to miss an opportunity to run a sale, Valve picked this to go along with Swiss National Day, a national holiday of Switzerland on August 1. With the Swiss sale running until August 3 at 5PM UTC, you can save big on some quality games made by people all over Switzerland. There's some really good indie choices there too.

Here's a little highlight of some Linux supported gems for you.

It also highlights a few upcoming games from Swiss developers too with Helvetii and Deep Space Gardening looking quite interesting. There's also My Exercise which looks a bit bizarre.

See the full sale over on Steam.

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AMD confident in Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs launching in 2020

Wednesday 29th of July 2020 10:50:51 AM

Another quarterly earnings report is out from AMD, along with the usual conference call and it seems all is going well over in camp AMD.

In a somewhat stark contrast to the recent Intel announcements, that 10nm is still some ways off and 7nm based CPUs have been delayed further, AMD are showing off how confident they are in their own tech. In their Q1 earnings report, AMD confirmed that RDNA 2 and Zen 3 on track for this year and they've pretty much just reiterated that for the Q2 report that went up on July 28. During the Q2 report, AMD CEO Lisa Su said:

While there continues to be some macroeconomic uncertainty and pockets of demand softness, our product portfolio is very strong, and our markets are resilient. We are on track to deliver strong growth in the second half of the year driven by our current product portfolio and initial shipments of our next-generation Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs that are on track to launch in late 2020.

Zen 4 was also mentioned, although only very briefly on that they're 'in development' on it.

You can see the AMD revenue report here, and the conference call here which remains up for ~12 months.

As for what's next for AMD? They previously confirmed that we'll be seeing Zen 4 CPUs and RDNA 3 GPUs before 2022 so there's a huge amount of hardware coming up in the next few years to be excited about.

In related AMD news, a System76 engineer is currently porting over coreboot to newer Zen CPUs and Valve has contracted another developer to work on open source AMD GPU drivers.

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The Humble Raw Fury 2020 Bundle is out with some sweet gaming action

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 06:35:56 PM

Another game bundle has been released today with the Humble Raw Fury 2020 Bundle and there's some good looking Linux games included with it.

For the initial entry tier there is:

  • GoNNER BLüEBERRY EDiTION - Linux supported
  • Kathy Rain
  • Tormentor X Punisher

If you pay more than the average you get:

  • Kingdom - Linux supported
  • Kingdom: New Lands Royal Edition - Linux supported
  • Whispers of a Machine

The next tier has:

  • Mosaic - Linux supported
  • Bad North: Jotunn Edition
  • Night Call

And finally, they split the last one off into it's own tier with Kingdom Two Crowns which also supports Linux. If you do buy the top tier, you also get 1 month free for Humble Choice if you're a new subscriber to it.

See the full bundle here if interested.

As a reminder there's also the Humble Daedalic Bundle 2020 which has 6 days left, plus the Humble Best of Paradox Interactive Bundle with 8 days left and Humble Store has a big sale on indie games that are highly rated with some wonderful titles like Plague Inc, Mini Metro, Wizard of Legend, For the King and plenty more going cheap.

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Valve gets another developer to work on Linux graphics drivers, starting with AMD RADV

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 05:24:22 PM

It appears that Valve aren't stopping their push to improve Linux gaming, as they just recently hired another developer to help improve open source graphics drivers.

The new hire is Tony Wasserka, a programmer with a lot of experience. Looking over their resume, Wasserka previously worked for the likes of Imagination Technologies where they worked on the Vulkan driver for PowerVR graphics chips. Additionally they also help to found the Nintendo 3DS emulator Citra, they're a contributor to the GameCube and the Wii emulator Dolphin, they also contributed in the past to the Wine compatibility layer and more. It's pretty safe to say they know their way around some complicated code.

After posting for help on Twitter only a few days ago, today Wasserka posted a surprising new update to mention this:

It's settled: Going forward I'll be working with Valve on improving the state of open-source graphics for Linux, starting with the RADV AMD driver!

Note - RADV is the Vulkan driver for AMD GPUs with the open source Mesa drivers.

Considering all the resources Valve are putting into Linux gaming across a number of developers to work on the actual graphics drivers, the ACO shader compiler, the Steam client on Linux, the Linux Steam Runtime container system, working with CodeWeavers on the Proton compatibility layer for Steam Play and more they must be pretty confident in their plans for Linux gaming as a whole. No matter what, everyone on Linux ends up benefiting from all their work since it's largely open source.

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5 new titles and 1 leaving Stadia Pro in August, Celeste out now + more Stadia news

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 05:05:17 PM

Here's your regular dose of Stadia news, as today Google revealed a bunch more games coming to their Linux-powered game streaming service.

For Stadia Pro on August 1 subscribers will get free access to play Strange Brigade, Kona, Metro 2033 Redux and Just Shapes & Beats. If you don't subscribe to Pro, all games will be available to purchase on Stadia as normal. Zombie Army 4: Dead War will also be leaving Stadia Pro at the end of this month, so claim it now if you haven't already. On top of that Google has confirmed that Rock of Ages III will release on Stadia on August 14, launching right into Stadia Pro.

If you enjoy playing PUBG on Stadia, it's also getting a new season on July 30 with the latest 'Survival Pass' being given free for Stadia Pro subs as well.

Available as of now is Celeste! The brilliant, difficult and very highly-rated platformer. According to game porter Ethan Lee on Twitter, the release of Celeste to Stadia brings with it the 'newly-certified Stadia backend for ANGLE, meaning it's the only OpenGL game on the platform' and it also 'debuts Stadia support from FNA and FNA3D'.

Here's an up to date list of all the Stadia Pro games:

  1. Crayta: Premium Edition
  2. Destiny 2: The Collection
  3. Get Packed
  4. GRID (2019)
  5. Gylt
  6. Just Shapes & Beats - arrives August 1
  7. Kona - arrives August 1
  8. Little Nightmares
  9. Metro 2033 Redux - arrives August 1
  10. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  11. Orcs Must Die! 3
  12. Panzer Dragoon: Remake
  13. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
  14. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  15. Rock of Ages III - arrives August 14
  16. SteamWorld Dig
  17. SteamWorld Dig 2
  18. Steamworld Heist
  19. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
  20. Strange Brigade - arrives August 1
  21. SUPERHOT
  22. The Turing Test
  23. West of Loathing
  24. Zombie Army 4 - leaving July 31

For any Android mobile/tablet gamers amongst our readers, Stadia will also soon let you play across 4G/5G with a new experiment you can opt into in the Stadia App. This is on top of the current experiment that lets you opt into playing on any Android device that can install the Stadia App.

Play on Stadia.com. You need a Chromium/Chrome browser for Linux.

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4 new titles and 1 leaving Stadia Pro in August, Celeste out now + more Stadia news

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 05:05:17 PM

Here's your regular dose of Stadia news, as today Google revealed a bunch more games coming to their Linux-powered game streaming service.

For Stadia Pro on August 1 subscribers will get free access to play Strange Brigade, Kona, Metro 2033 Redux and Just Shapes & Beats. If you don't subscribe to Pro, all games will be available to purchase on Stadia as normal. Zombie Army 4: Dead War will also be leaving Stadia Pro at the end of this month, so claim it now if you haven't already. On top of that Google has confirmed that Rock of Ages III will release on Stadia on August 14, launching right into Stadia Pro.

If you enjoy playing PUBG on Stadia, it's also getting a new season on July 30 with the latest 'Survival Pass' being given free for Stadia Pro subs as well.

Available as of now is Celeste! The brilliant, difficult and very highly-rated platformer. According to game porter Ethan Lee on Twitter, the release of Celeste to Stadia brings with it the 'newly-certified Stadia backend for ANGLE, meaning it's the only OpenGL game on the platform' and it also 'debuts Stadia support from FNA and FNA3D'.

Here's an up to date list of all the Stadia Pro games:

  1. Crayta: Premium Edition
  2. Destiny 2: The Collection
  3. Get Packed
  4. GRID (2019)
  5. Gylt
  6. Just Shapes & Beats - arrives August 1
  7. Kona - arrives August 1
  8. Little Nightmares
  9. Metro 2033 Redux - arrives August 1
  10. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  11. Orcs Must Die! 3
  12. Panzer Dragoon: Remake
  13. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS
  14. Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
  15. Rock of Ages III - arrives August 14
  16. SteamWorld Dig
  17. SteamWorld Dig 2
  18. Steamworld Heist
  19. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
  20. Strange Brigade - arrives August 1
  21. SUPERHOT
  22. The Turing Test
  23. West of Loathing
  24. Zombie Army 4 - leaving July 31

For any Android mobile/tablet gamers amongst our readers, Stadia will also soon let you play across 4G/5G with a new experiment you can opt into in the Stadia App. This is on top of the current experiment that lets you opt into playing on any Android device that can install the Stadia App.

Play on Stadia.com. You need a Chromium/Chrome browser for Linux.

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The upcoming game 'qomp' turns you into the Pong ball as you try to escape

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 12:58:47 PM

That poor ball, stuck between Pong paddles that just bounce it around and they've done it since 1972. The ball has had enough of this and it's going to escape.

qomp is the name and it's currently in development by a team of indie developers including Stuffed Wombat, Britt Brady, Miroko and Clovelt. The idea sounds quite hilarious, a seemingly self-aware sprite that's had enough of this arcade game life and wants to escape. Imagine if you were smacked by paddles for multiple decades, you would be pretty annoyed too. Using one button you will defeat bosses, solve puzzles and overcome platforming challenges. Check out the brand new trailer below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

qomp is a game about freedom, or is it? What exactly is at the end? I'm keen to find out. Speaking to one of the team on Twitter, they confirmed Linux support as they 'have enough time to do it well'.

  • An intense tale about the forgotten world behind the paddle
  • Unique one button controls
  • A meditation on freedom in 3 parts
  • A plethora of surprising mechanics and intriguing obstacles
  • Branching paths and hidden doors
  • Bossfights
  • Freedom?

You can follow qomp on Steam.

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The free pixel-art Bronze Age RTS The Fertile Crescent continues evolving

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 12:27:46 PM

If you enjoy a good traditional real-time strategy game and you haven't already tried The Fertile Crescent, you're really missing out on a wonderful title that keeps getting better.

The Fertile Crescent is a little like a streamlined pixel-art Age of Empires, although they do have a different focus and it does play in a unique way, that comparison gives you a reasonably close idea of it mechanically. You build, you gather resources, explore and fight others. With support for AI battles and cross-platform online play, there's a lot there to love.

While work is progressing on adding walls and siege units, which sounds awesome and will open up many more tactical options for defeating opponents and securing your village, they've put out some smaller but important updates to keep players going until those big new features are ready.

One of the big improvements is their new Fog of War system. Previously, if you explored a part of the map while it would hide units it wouldn't hide new buildings or trees getting chopped—bit of a cheat! They've now totally re-done that, with a system that basically takes a snapshot of the map at that point. They gave the below example to show a place being explored, then no one is there to see it and then exploring it again later and you see it has changed. Exactly how it should work so that's great.

On top of that there's also now a visual and sound effect that's shown / played for buildings being destroyed, buildings can now have siege armour to better protect them, villagers will have handcarts when a player has researched the Wheel giving other players a visual indicator of their research progress and there's now a multiplayer stats so you get a better idea of how the game went.

Honestly I can't overstate how impressive The Fertile Crescent is for a game that's currently free, with it being made as a passion-project.

Give The Fertile Crescent a try and find it free on itch.io.

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WWI FPS 'Tannenberg' adds a big new free map with a famous fortress - on a big sale

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 11:45:51 AM

M2H and Blackmill Games recently released Tannenberg, their WWI FPS on consoles but they haven't left the PC version behind with a fresh update out with a new map.

Since Tannenberg, like their previous game Verdun, is one based on historical accuracy the inclusion of Przemyśl as a map is quite interesting. During the First World War, it was the location of what's known as the 'Siege of Przemyśl' which was the longest siege of the whole war. For Tannenberg it's a fun map to blast through, giving you lots of open spaces along with multiple forts to battle to capture.

Giving a little more background on it, here's what M2H and Blackmill Games mentioned:

Surrounding the town of the same name, the Przemyśl fortress was a series of defenses originally planned to include 41 distinct fortifications. However, construction proceeded in stops and starts depending on the diplomatic relationship between Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire from 1854 until the start of the First World War.

Nonetheless it was still a formidable position, as the Russians found when they tried a direct assault on October 7, 1914. Ten thousand of the attackers became casualties, with around 3,500 killed. The Russian siege held until March 22, 1915, when the remaining defenders chose to surrender. As food ran out and morale plummeted, 119,000 men were taken prisoner after a failed breakout attempt - though not before destroying the remaining artillery. Now you can explore some parts of this famous fortress yourself, as you fight for control of two key forts along with their surrounding trenches and gun pits!

I've had a run through it myself and it's as brutal as the rest of the game. If you love big team battles in a reasonably realistic setting, Tannenberg can be a lot of fun. Requiring a fair amount of patience and skill, the slower pace to Tannenberg is quite refreshing with so many fast-paced shooters around and another free historical map is always a welcome sight.

Update highlights:

  • New map added: Przemyśl!
  • Fixed being able to instantly respawn after dying
  • Increased checks to avoid wall & climing exploits at certain places
  • Optimised performance of lights in some maps, preventing framedrops
  • Fixed some issues with localisation not updating when switching languages
  • Fixed issues with HMG ammo count desyncing, causing consistency issues

Tannenberg is currently on a big discount on Humble Store and Steam until July 30.

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Saint Kotar will bring a psychological horror adventure as a Kickstarter success

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 11:12:27 AM

After the release of a free Prologue with Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask and a Kickstarter campaign that is now completed, the full Saint Kotar experience is on the way.

Saint Kotar is a psychological horror adventure game placed within a beautifully hand-painted world, brought to life with an amazing chilling atmosphere and soundtrack to recount a dark and frightening tale of change.

Showing that the point and click adventure genre is very much alive, Red Martyr Entertainment didn't just finish their crowdfunding campaign, they actually ended up getting €50,178 in funding which was quite a bit over the initial goal they had set. Thanks to that, they're going to ensure the game has full voice acting and there will be a DLC (free for backers) to explain some backstory.


Watch video on YouTube.com

The demo, Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask, was actually quite impressive so it's not exactly surprising that they managed to pull in enough people to get the funding. We also had a chat with the developer, you can read our previous interview here for some interesting background info. Since it's now funded, it's listed on our dedicated Crowdfunding Page.

Planned release features include:

  • Dark psychological horror adventure set in the small rural town of Sveti Kotar.
  • More than 70 locations to explore of a vast and foreboding world.
  • Up to 20 hours of gameplay weaved into a mysterious and gripping branching plot.
  • Two fascinating playable characters, two captivating storylines.
  • Decisions are fateful and affect the storylines.
  • Hand-painted distinctive art style that fits the game’s mood.
  • Fully voiced.
  • Eerie original soundtrack.
  • Modern twist on a classically inspired point and click adventure gameplay.

Check out the finished Kickstarter here, and try the free Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask on Steam now. You can also wishlist the full Saint Kotar game on Steam. The full game is due to release in August 2021, although that date may change.

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The latest art of rally demo update adds in crowds, improved handling

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 10:56:12 AM

art of rally, an upcoming stylized rally experience from the creator of Absolute Drift still has a demo available and it was recently updated.

Unlike other sims like Dirt Rally, art of rally is aimed to be more fun and accessible. This includes the different viewpoint, with it giving you an overhead camera so you can completely focus on the stages by seeing upcoming road features without needing pace-notes. While work goes on to produce the full game, they still want to show off how it's going and gather feedback and wishlists with the demo.

Pictured: art of rally on Linux, using the wonderful Photo Mode.

The latest updates continue impressing with it bringing in improved handling, grip and 'more features in line with current development' including a new dynamic crowd system. This new crowd system places a bunch of NPCs across the roads who quickly move out of your way. It's a small change but makes art of rally feel a bit more alive.

What it will feature at release:

  • Progress through the golden years of rally in Career Mode
  • 50+ iconic rally cars from the 60s, 70s, 80s, Group B, Group S, Group A
  • Completely overhauled handling from the car physics system of Absolute Drift
  • 60 rally stages in Finland, Sardinia, Norway, Japan and Germany
  • Repair performance damage between stages
  • Daily and weekly challenges with leaderboards
  • Original soundtrack by Tatreal

You can try the updated demo on itch.io and Steam. It's due to release with Linux support later this year.

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Thrive, the free and open source evolution sim has a fresh release with save support

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 10:24:14 AM

After moving over to Godot Engine as the base for Thrive, the team behind this free and open source game of evolution have a new and important update available.

Thrive is a survival sim based on evolution, starting off a tiny microbe the plan is to eventually allow you to progress through many different stages of evolution including: Microbe, Multicellular, Aware, Awakening, Society, Industrial and Space. It's still early and in development but it's showing a huge amount of promise. Since it's free and open source, anyone can help too.

With the latest release, it's become far more playable as well thanks to proper saving and loading support, including quick load / save. You can finally progress through it a bit more and actually come back to it, this makes exploring the world a lot nicer. There's also new Chromatic Aberration and Distortion effects, improved performance in places, some improved visuals, code clean ups and more. Check out the release trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Originally inspired by the core concept behind the game Spore, I'm very keen to see Thrive become something bigger.

See more on the official site and GitHub.

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A System76 engineer is porting coreboot to newer AMD Zen systems

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 10:05:42 AM

System76 have begun providing more AMD based hardware for Linux enthusiasts, and the next step in their plan to be as open as possible appears to have begun.

They're certainly busy! After announcing the AMD powered Serval WS back in early June, they also then revealed the Oryx Pro later in June which was their first laptop with Coreboot, Open Controller Firmware and NVIDIA all together. This is all on top of working on their own Linux distribution too with Pop!_OS which launched the 20.04 LTS at the end of April.

Keeping things interesting and exciting, while no official product announcement has been made, writing on Twitter the System76 Principal Engineer, Jeremy Soller, mentioned this:

I have seen the light of the great @LisaSu. Today begins my journey to port coreboot to Matisse and Renoir. See you on the other side!

This would replace the proprietary BIOS found in their newer AMD laptops, making the systems that little bit more open which is a wonderful thing. It could also result in faster boot times, it's more flexible and of course control for the end user since coreboot is open source.

One thing to be aware of, is that only coreboot directly is being mentioned so far and it seems the AMD Platform Security Processor (also known as AMD Secure Technology) will still be there with its proprietary bits. The result though and the point is just having more of the system open as much as possible. It's also entirely possible in future the work may progress onto dealing with that too somehow.

While System76 have yet to announce anything formally for coreboot and newer AMD Zen products in their lineup, it's worth mentioning that when Soller previously teased the NVIDIA work that same month System76 went onto announce the Oryx Pro. If / when they do announce something, we will let you know.

You can check out their Linux hardware on System76.com. They're easily one of the top Linux vendors around.

Article from GamingOnLinux.com - do not reproduce this article without permission. This RSS feed is intended for readers, not scrapers.

KDE Plasma 5.20 will properly support screen recording on Wayland and more

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 09:42:06 AM

The KDE team working on the Plasma desktop environment are busy pushing ahead for the 5.20 release due later this year and it's sounding great.

Developer Nate Graham blogs about work done quite often, with a recent post catching my attention. While Wayland support has come along nicely now, there's still areas that are lacking compared to the ancient X11 and they keep on plugging those holes.

With Plasma 5.20, screen recording and screencasting are one area that should be a lot better, as they've now wired up what's needed for it to be properly supported with Plasma on Wayland. Their code is based upon using Pipewire, a project that itself aims to greatly improve handling of audio and video under Linux. Graham mentioned that this will work with OBS Studio and that there's "more to come".

Klipper, the KDE clipboard manager was also ported over to Wayland, so it should work as you would expect. Additional Wayland work includes the last-used keyboard layout actually being remembered now too.

Another nice feature enhancement is the ability to adjust what you're shown when clicking on grouped apps in the window list / icons only task manager. Say you have a bunch of Dolphin file manager windows opened, when you click on the icon you can configure what happens now like having a text list pop up instead of a big overlay of windows.

There's also a bunch of bug fixes and performance improvements coming, read more here.

KDE Plasma 5.20 is due to release in October 2020.

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More in Tux Machines

Linux 5.9 Performance Is Off To A Great Start With FSGSBASE Boost

FSGSBASE particularly helps out context switching heavy workloads like I/O and allowing user-space software to write to the x86_64 GSBASE without kernel interaction. That in turn has been of interest to Java and others. While going through patch review, we've benchmarked FSGSBASE patches at different points and found the performance benefits to be evident and helping in areas hurt by the likes of Spectre/Meltdown. FSGSBASE is supported on Intel CPUs since Ivy Bridge as well as newer AMD CPUs, where the performance is also helped. On Linux 5.9 where FSGSBASE is finally mainlined, it's enabled by default on supported CPUs. FSGSBASE can be disabled at kernel boot time via the "nofsgsbase" kernel option. On Linux 5.9+, looking for "fsgsbase" in the /proc/cpuinfo is the indicator whether FSGSBASE kernel usage is happening though note prior to 5.9 on supported CPUs the "fsgsbase" string is always present. For this article are some early data points of Linux 5.9 tested out-of-the-box on a Git snapshot and then again when booting that kernel image with "nofsgsbase" and repeating the tests. Via the Phoronix Test Suite various benchmarks relevant to FSGSBASE testing were carried out. Quick tests on both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen are done for this article while additional tests will be coming of Linux 5.9 over the weeks ahead -- 5.9-rc1 isn't even out until next weekend as marking the end of 5.9 features landing. Read more Also: User Xattr Support Finally Landing For NFS In Linux 5.9 Please pull NFS server updates for v5.9

Python Programming

today's leftovers

  • "Hey, DT. Why Arco Linux Instead Of Arch?" (Plus Other Questions Answered)

    In this lengthy rant video, I address a few questions that I've been receiving from viewers. I discuss fake DistroTube accounts on social media, my thoughts on PeerTube, my experience with LBRY, my thoughts on Arco vs Arch vs Artix, and what YouTubers have influenced my life.

  • 2020-08-10 | Linux Headlines 186

    elementary OS teases big changes coming in version 6, RetroArch rolls out major search improvements with version 1.9, Microsoft releases Minecraft: Education Edition for Chromebooks, and the new Krita Scripting School website aims to help developers expand the painting application.

  • R600 Gallium3D Now Has Compute Shaders Working With NIR

    If you are still rocking a pre-GCN AMD Radeon graphics card on the R600g driver for the HD 2000 through HD 6000 series, you really ought to consider upgrading in 2020, but otherwise at least from the open-source community there continues to be improvements.

  • NVIDIA GeForce are teasing something for August 31, likely RTX 3000

    Ready for your next upgrade? NVIDIA think you might be and they're teasing what is most likely the GeForce RTX 3000 launch at the end of this month. We don't know what they're actually going to call them, although they will be based on the already revealed Ampere architecture announced back in May. It's probably safe to say RTX 3000 for now, going by the last two generations being 1000 and 2000 but NVIDIA may go for something more fancy this time.

  • How to Learn Python in 21 Days?

    Before moving further, let’s have a brief introduction to Python Language. Python, designed by Guido Van Rossum in 1991, is a general-purpose programming language. The language is widely used in Web Development, Data Science, Machine Learning, and various other trending domains in the tech world. Moreover, Python supports multiple programming paradigms and has a huge set of libraries and tools. Also, the language offers various other key features such as better code readability, vast community support, fewer lines of code, and many more. Here in this article, we’ll discuss a thorough curriculum or roadmap that you need to follow to learn Python in just 21 days!

  • This Week In Servo 135

    Last week we released Firefox Reality v1.2, which includes a smoother developer tools experience, along with support for Unity WebXR content and self-signed SSL certificates. See the full release notes for more information about the new release.

OSS Leftovers

  • Richard Stallman Discusses Privateness Dangers of Bitcoin, Suggests 'One thing A lot Higher'
  • The many meanings of 'Open': Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards

    It is important to note that open source software is not always “free” software. The difference is in the licensing and the level of effort required to customize the code for your use case. According to GNU progenitor and software freedom advocate Richard Stallman, free does not mean non-proprietary but rather suggests that “users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software” for any purpose. (“This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer,’” Stallman says.). One also has the freedom to sell the software after modifying it. Implementing open source software inside a business enterprise frequently requires customization for your organization’s workflow. Whether this customization is done using internal resources or with the help of external consultants, it typically is not free, nor is the subsequent maintenance of the software. Successful open source software is designed and built using a collaborative community software development process that releases frequent updates to improve functionality and reliability. The key is in the “community” adoption and development.

  • How an open community rebrands

    As an open community evolves, so does the way it expresses its identity to others. And having open conversations about how you'd like your community to be recognized is an important component of community engagement. Simply put, your community's brand is what people (especially potential contributors) see first when they encounter you. So you want to make sure your brand reflects your community—its values, its principles, and its spirit. [...] Together, then, we were able to augment Jim's experience at Red Hat (though we always welcomed his perspectives along the way). Over the past half-decade, the Open Organization community has grown from a small group of passionate people debating nascent ideas about the "cultural side" of open source to a bustling bunch of thought leaders who have literally written the definition of what it means to be an open organization. To put it in open source terms: Our entire upstream project continues to evolve from that founding gesture.

  • LibreOffice 7.0 arrives, improves performance and compatibility

    AMD sponsored the developers' implementing the Skia graphics engine in LibreOffice. In Windows this open source 2D graphics library provides upgraded performance. Additionally the engine is accelerated by the Vulkan graphics and compute API.

  • TinyFloat, Troll Arithmetic, GIMP Palettes

    I've been working on a 64 bit extension to the 6502 processor architecture. This is for the purpose of implementing a secure computer which also has a hope of working after post industrial collapse.

    Along the way, I have found a use for a practical use for 8 bit floating point numbers. Floating point representations were historically used for scientific calculations. The two components of a floating point number - the exponent and mantissa - work in a manner similar to logarithms, slide rules and the scientific representation of numbers. For example, 1.32×104 = 13,200. Why not just write the latter? Scientific notation works over a *very* large scale and is therefore useful for cosmology, biology and nanofabrication. For computing, floating point may use binary in preference to decimal. Also, it is not typical to store both the exponent and mantissa within 8 bits.

  • Open Source Contributions on the Rise in FinTech, Healthcare and Government [Ed: "The Linux Foundation sponsored this post." So the Foundation is now busy distorting the media instead of actually supporting developers who develop Free software on shoestring budget.]

    Enterprise use of open source remains stable, and a new generation of companies are increasing their engagement with open source communities. Led by financial services, healthcare and government, more organizations across most industry verticals are regularly (frequently or sometimes) contributing to upstream projects, going from 42% to 46% over the last three years.

  • TODO Group Survey Shows Stable Enterprise Open Source Use

    The “Open Source Programs in the Enterprise” survey, from The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group and The New Stack says “enterprise use of open source remains stable.” An article by Lawrence Hecht reports that more organizations across industry verticals are regularly contributing to upstream projects, increasing from 42% to 46% over the past three years. “The multi-year effort provides a solid baseline for measuring change, growth and effectiveness of efforts to guide corporate open source policies and community participation,” Hecht said.