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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Synergia is a vibrant cyberpunk visual novel that stands out and it's available now

Monday 27th of July 2020 04:17:32 PM

Admittedly, the Visual Novel genre is not one I go to often but I couldn't resist with Synergia because of the incredible atmosphere and wonderful design work that went into it. Note: key provided by the publisher.

"Synergia is a yuri thriller visual novel that takes place in a cyberpunk future, wrapped up in a beautifully unique, vibrant neon aesthetic. At the end of the world, sometimes love is the ultimate crime."

Radi Art and Top Hat Studios have crafted something that gives off a definite Ghost in the Shell vibe, the Anime versions I mean, not the questionable 2017 movie. Synergia is genuinely quite a surprise! You're greeted first by a pumping intro with music that sounds like it's something out of Blade Runner and it certainly commands your attention. That demanding atmosphere carries through the game too, it's quite something.


Watch video on YouTube.com

What's quite impressive apart from the audio and atmosphere is the overall style to it. You really get a feel that it's a true dystopian cyberpunk future. The art style too is great, using a mix of clearly drawn lines along with vibrant colours and futuristic overlays that all blend together in unique ways.

Your enjoyment of Synergia will depend on how much you like the adult themes involved. There's plenty of talk involving sexuality (including suggested acts with machines) and depression, a few scenes with suggestive imagery and that sort of thing. Very much a novel designed for adults. That said, there's no actual sexual / explicit content in the game as it focuses on the storytelling and the characters themselves.

Synergia was another game funded from a Kickstarter too, back in 2019 they managed to pull in around $15,491. You can see it and plenty more on our dedicated Crowdfunding Page.

Feature Highlight:

  • Nearly 100 combined, unique backgrounds and CGs
  • 20+ characters, all with interesting backgrounds and personalities deeply woven into the narrative
  • An estimated 6-9 hours of gameplay
  • A unique, vibrant art aesthetic that pervades the neon dystopian setting of the game
  • A beautiful, vivid soundtrack that complements the game's aesthetic, composed by Andy Andi Han, one of the composers of Katawa Shoujo and Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story
  • Choices that deeply affect the protagonist's journey and world around them, with multiple endings

If someone like me who very rarely enjoys Visual Novels can appreciate it, they did good. You can buy Synergia on GOG, Steam and itch.io.

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ReplaySorcery is an open source instant-replay solution for Linux

Monday 27th of July 2020 03:51:56 PM

Need a project to easily capture the last 30 seconds of action? ReplaySorcery might just be the open source project that you're looking for.

Unfortunately, on Linux the GPU vendors like AMD and NVIDIA do not provide their special tools like ShadowPlay or ReLive. On Windows, those can give you simple to use and high quality instant-replay recording. On Linux, you could use OBS Studio but it's a bit overkill, needs it to always be open and always recording. This is where ReplaySorcery comes in, giving you a new way to capture the action.

Here's an example video, after some testing by me:

 

That's a completely unedited recording done by ReplaySorcery. Game featured: ScourgeBringer.

How does it work? You set it up as a systemd service, so it's running in the background. You can then just hit Ctrl+Super+R (info: the Super key is otherwise known as the 'Windows key'), and then it will output it into a video file for you into your Home / Videos folder. Curiously, it encodes it using JPEG and then when you come to save it switches over to x264 to make a video file.

The result as you can see is wonderfully smooth too and after testing it in a few games, I didn't see a drop in performance for them either—nice! While it currently doesn't support audio capture, that's eventually part of their plan. It's also not currently supported on Wayland. While there's other ways to do it, If all you need is a quick and simple capture tool, ReplaySorcery definitely does the job.

Check out ReplaySorcery on GitHub if you're interested.

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The 'Old World' update for ScourgeBringer adds a whole new realm

Monday 27th of July 2020 02:54:41 PM

From the developers of NeuroVoider which also supports Linux, ScourgeBringer is a fast-paced free-moving roguelite platformer that's seriously fun and it's had a huge upgrade.

Currently in Early Access, this is part of a series of planned big upgrades that they've successfully delivered from their roadmap. The focus of the 'Old World' update appears to be boosting the overall content with it adding in a whole new realm to battle through with its own unique enemies, a mini-boss and a main boss. There's also now challenge rooms and an alternate mini-boss for the first world too. They've also gone and tweaked the difficulty, as some rooms will alternate between easier or harder enemy waves to make the difficulity of the game a little more progressive.

Have a look at the new trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

More came with the update including new settings you can tweak like enemy bullet speed and HP regeneration. They also added in a new NPC that will show up rarely to 'cheer up learning players'.

Gameplay in ScourgeBringer definitely hits an interesting mark between difficulty and entertainment. With small rooms like you would see in Monolith with fast-paced action like Dead Cells and tricky platforming like Celeste. It's a thoroughly unique blend of action though, thanks to the movement style of being able to zip around in the air and off the walls.

What to expect from it as a whole?

  • Slash and shoot your way smoothly with super fluid platforming controls
  • Sharpen your skills with a frantic combat system focused on attacks only
  • Dash forward to the otherworldly adaptive sounds of Joonas Turner (Nuclear Throne, Downwell, Broforce...)
  • Defy hordes of unspeakable enemies and giant bosses holding the secrets of the Scourge
  • Explore the infinite depths of an ever-changing dungeon
  • Uncover mysteries and find mementos of previous explorers to unlock reality defining secrets

You can find ScourgeBringer on Steam.

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GOG have a 'Grand RPG Sale' going on with tons of good games going cheap

Monday 27th of July 2020 01:24:23 PM

DRM-free store GOG have today launched a Grand RPG Sale and they've filled their store full of sales on some top RPGs, from smaller indie titles to big hitters.

That's a pretty good way to start off a week, giving you a chance to pick up a game that might keep you going for quite some time. A lot of really good stuff is included too. Here's some quick highlights:

Plenty more of course, that's just a few quick-picks. You can see the full Grand RPG Sale here which GOG placed into a nice handy list of all the good deals going.

The retro indie RPG Exiled Kingdoms has also now been released on GOG for Linux too. There's a few other Windows-only RPGs that also landed on GOG recently. See them all on GOG.com.

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Ron Gilbert, developer of Thimbleweed Park is switching to Linux

Monday 27th of July 2020 11:46:28 AM

Ron Gilbert is a name most in the game industry will know from the likes of Thimbleweed Park, and earlier works like The Cave while at Double Fine and they were even the producer on my all-time favourite RTS Total Annihilation. More than that, Gilbert was also the creator of the classic Monkey Island and it appears they're now attempting to switch to Linux.

Terrible Toybox, the actual team behind Thimbleweed Park are working on a new game and game engine too. They released Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure in May 2020, as a small standalone title that acts as a prototype for their newer game engine. They even put up the source code for the Delores game on GitHub, although it's not under an open source license. It doesn't support Linux yet but that appears to be planned.

So what's the fuss about? They're switching their development flow to Linux and they've started blogging about the adventure too with a first post about their new hardware a few days ago. Seems they've settled on a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu Budgie. The question is: why are they doing it? As they said in the post:

My goal is to see how far I can get developing my new game on directly on Linux and not the Mac (I haven't developed on Windows in years). Can I ditch the Mac and go 100% Linux?

For working on the "game", this shouldn't be a problem once the engine runs on Linux. The few custom tools I use (Wimpy, for example) and all built from the same code the engine is, so once it's working under Linux, they should compile as well.

It's quite interesting to see more developers try out Linux, although not too surprising with how Apple is now again moving CPU architecture. Not just that though, as Apple have been getting more hostile for indie developers, with all sorts of extras being needed now and that's on top of the "Apple tax" that forces you onto their hardware. Gilbert mentioned this as well, with Apple being 'more paranoid and authoritarian' as time goes on.

Since their initial blog post it seems it went mostly okay, and they're continuing to learn and find the software they want. Will be fun to see how it all goes. Good luck, we're here if you need us Mr Gilbert and our Forum is always open. We're always happy to help game developers on Linux.

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Mixing together Minesweeper with a roguelite, DemonCrawl is coming to Linux

Monday 27th of July 2020 11:22:22 AM

Therefore Games have announced that their popular roguelite puzzler DemonCrawl is coming to Linux, and it's currently in Beta with a release due in a few weeks. I've not played this one myself yet but it does look quite fun. The basic idea of Minesweeper, with roguelite and RPG mechanics thrown in with hundreds of unique items, stages, and abilities.


Watch video on YouTube.com

There's an absolutely huge amount of content included with 600+ unique items, multiple difficulty modes, 50+ different stages to battle through, special 'stage mods' to dramatically change how you play it, multiple game modes and open-ended progression allowing you to find and spend tokens on character Talents. On top of that there's even online leaderboards, Steam Achivements and more.

While playable in the Proton compatibility layer, it does have a number of issues. In the announcement, they said that the problems don't exist in their new upcoming Linux version. They will only officially support the latest stable Ubuntu build, but it should work across most distributions and they shared a shot of them working on it:

You can follow DemonCrawl on Steam. Once we get an idea of a release date, we will let you know. They said you can support their Patreon to get Beta access, details in the announcement.

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Looks like Steam is getting a 'Playtest' feature for some developers

Monday 27th of July 2020 11:07:31 AM

Valve are always upgrading the Steam store and it appears another new feature has begun rolling out, at least in a limited form with official playtests.

Currently, if developers want to let people try the game before release they hand out special Beta keys. It's a messy system, and has in the past caused all sorts of issues with Beta keys being handed out incorrectly with keys being revoked that shouldn't have been and more. It's taken a long time, around five years or so since hints of it appeared but they've now apparently shipped a new 'Playtest' feature on Steam.

Noticed by xPaw on Twitter, the creator of the super useful SteamDB website, it seems the first title to use it is Total War: ELYSIUM. It has a dedication button on the store page allowing you to register your Steam account for a Playtest.

This could certainly streamline how developers let people access games early, if it becomes widely available. Steam has been a lot more than just a games store for quite some time now and features like this seem pretty obvious to add in. What do you think?

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3D rail shooter 'Ex-Zodiac' is a Kickstarter success and coming to Linux PC

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:53:20 AM

With inspiration coming from classics like Star Fox, the in-development 3D rail shooter 'Ex-Zodiac' managed to get quite a bit of funding with the Kickstarter now complete.

2,181 backers pledged around £50,036 to help make this Godot Engine powered shooter a reality, which is quite a bit over the initial £20,000 goal set. Unlike a lot of other Kickstarters, the developer Ben Hickling did not set a bunch of wild extra stretch-goals, as all money will go towards just finishing it and making it a good game. Going by the demo they released which is still up on Steam, it was mighty impressive.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features:

  • A retro, colourful, low-poly visual style
  • 12 main levels (plus secret areas and side-paths)
  • Multiple routes to complete the game
  • Major bosses at the end of each level, each piloted by a member of the Zodiac
  • A 16-bit style soundtrack by +TEK combining FM and wavetable synthesis

You can follow it on Steam and see the finished Kickstarter here. They're being helped by Pixeljam a developer / publisher who has worked on a lot of games including Dino Run and Nova Drift, they will be helping with some marketing as it's very much an indie game with one developer. As for when it will release? They're planning an initial Early Access launch with about half the content of the full game, with it sticking in EA for a year until full release.

Since it's fully funded, we've added it to our dedicated Crowdfunding Page.

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Strange Brigade, Sniper Elite 4 and SUPERHOT: MCD coming to Stadia

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:40:40 AM

Google have confirmed even more games coming to Stadia, their Linux-powered game streaming service that works on Linux in a Chromium / Chrome browser.

Firstly they announced SUPERHOT: Mind Control Delete, a recent release which is actually available on the Linux desktop and a thoroughly enjoyable action game. Time barely moves until you move, it's great and I can imagine such a game actually working quite well on Stadia.

Additionally Sniper Elite 4, the 'largest and most advanced World War 2 shooter ever built' is also confirmed to be coming from Rebellion. Sniper Elite 4 gives you a lot of freedom in how you play, which is part of the appeal along with the big levels and 'genre-defining rifle ballistics' making you take into account wind, gravity and more. It will have single-player, co-op and competitive multiplayer.


Watch video on YouTube.com

From the Stadia blog post, they didn't make it too clear but it appears that all three will be available to play on Stadia on August 1.

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You can now get the enhanced SpaceChem Community Edition on Steam

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:28:01 AM

SpaceChem, the classic Zachtronics design-based puzzle game not only got a sweet update recently to improve the tech behind the game, it's also now super easy to grab the updated community version.

There's no doubt that SpaceChem is a good game, if you're a fan of puzzle games that require you to design special solutions across mind-bending puzzles it's a great choice. It is missing some features though that they added to their later games, like allowing you to keep multiple solutions to each puzzle to test more easily.

Some time ago the SpaceChem Community Edition was announced, with approval from Zachtronics a few dedicated people banded together to upgrade the game with an unofficial patch. With blessing from Zachtronics, it's now being distributed directly on Steam. All you need to do is opt into the 'community-edition' Beta by right clicking the game on Steam, going to Properties and then select it in the Betas tab.

What does it actually give you? You get a small UI adjustment inspired by Exapunks, letting you load a level and then open a solution picker to create and pick from your designs. You can also export and import solutions to puzzles, added keyboard accessibility controls and a number of other enhancements some of which are still highly experimental.

You can buy SpaceChem on Steam, which is the only version that supports the Community Edition. Otherwise there's itch.io and GOG.

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Wonderful adventure game Jenny LeClue - Detectivu is now fully voiced

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:04:47 AM

Originally launching in September 2019 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the mystery adventure Jenny LeClue - Detectivu just got a huge upgrade.

This Kickstarter had a stretch goal on it for voice acting, a funding goal that was actually hit. Seeing it release without it was a bit of a let-down but the game as a whole was still thoroughly wonderful. As of July 24 2020, the voices are finally in and they sound brilliant. It appears they picked some great voice talent for it and it really does make an absolute world of difference to a game like this. Makes it go from good to great instantly.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Highlights of the big 2.0 release include:

  • Featuring voice acting for the entire game!!!
  • Play the game like an animated movie with new auto-play dialogue!
  • Touch control improvements!
  • Bug fixes galore

When taking a look originally last year, I did thoroughly enjoy it. The setting and story, the style and the really vibrant colouring was quite the highlight. Now though, it's well worth a second play through.

Jenny LeClue - Detectivu is available to buy from GOG and Steam.

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Free to play sandbox MMO 'Wurm Online' has launched on Steam

Monday 27th of July 2020 09:46:53 AM

Something of a classic, the free to play survival MMO 'Wurm Online' that originally launched in 2012 is now available to play on Steam. Compared to Wurm Unlimited, which is the standalone paid version, Wurm Online is firmly controlled by the developers so you join their big servers.


Watch video on YouTube.com

While it is a free to play game, there is a Premium subscription. This gives players the ability to get higher level skills, increased rare item chance, the ability to invite villagers into your settlement and more. Here's a quick feature highlight:

  • Explore huge, diverse landmasses extending over 2,000 sq km in total.
  • Modify the terrain; dig, raise, flatten and sculpt the land around you.
  • Craft, trade, and use thousands of unique items.
  • Capture and breed animals from the environment, with uses from resources to food and mounts.
  • Train over 130 skills in a classless skill system without levels or caps.
  • Hunt legendary creatures such as dragons, the Troll King and Forest Giant.
  • Become a follower, patron or champion of your deity and learn powerful spells and enchantments.
  • Construct, crew or even captain ships with other players, from small rowing boats to impressive caravels.
  • Found your own settlement wherever you desire; own land, build a castle, a village, or even an underground city.
  • Build roads to connect your lands with others to trade goods.
  • Live off the land by creating fields to farm a huge amount of crops from food to resources.
  • Cook over 500 different meals with over 10,000 variations of skill bonuses.

They've already added in a new PvE server named Melody, to give players more fresh land to explore due to so many players jumping into their main servers. Hopefully it's not as painful as my experience in Wurm Unlimited, although looking at the initial set of user reviews it doesn't really sound like they've done much to improve Wurm Online for a Steam release.

See it on Steam and the official site.

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What play button have you been clicking on lately?

Sunday 26th of July 2020 12:24:43 PM

Oh, hey! We didn't miss the weekend this time. Time for another community chat and giving out your latest recommendations.

After mentioning last time about my current love affair with the Raspberry Pi 4, that has very much continued. Everything seems to be holding up nicely on it. There's been plenty of Steam Link game streaming, which has been quite the highlight due to how smoothly it has been working.

For actual games though, I'm going to take this moment to totally plug CARRION again (see my review) because it's just wonderfully crafted. I'm now onto my second play-through to see if there are any fun things I missed. Sounds like it's been quite a successful launch too.

Here's a bit of trivia for you: the levels in CARRION were almost entirely made using Tiled, a free and open source general purpose tile map editor.

If you're stuck for something to play, here's a quick reminder on some good deals:

Over to you in the comments: what have you been gaming on Linux lately?

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Reminder: Update your PC info for the next round of statistics updates

Sunday 26th of July 2020 10:10:41 AM

This is your once a month reminder to make sure your PC information is correct on your user profiles. A fresh batch of statistics is generated on the 1st of each month.

You can see the statistics any time on this page.

PC Info is automatically purged if it hasn't been updated, or if you don't click the link to remain in for 2 years. This way we prevent too much stale data and don't hold onto your data for longer than required. If this is still correct and it has been a long time since you updated, you can simply click here to continue to be included. If this isn't correct, click here to go to your User Control Panel to update it!

 

 

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Cooler Master are doing a slick Kickstarter-exclusive Raspberry Pi 4 case

Friday 24th of July 2020 08:57:38 PM

Need a good sturdy case for your favourite little mini-PC? Cooler Master think they have something that will interest you with the Cooler Master Pi Case 40.

It's a Kickstarter exclusive, meaning they're using the crowdfunding platform as a place to order it and that will be the only place you're able to grab yourself one. It's designed to be a 'long lasting, premium enclosure for Raspberry Pi 4 pro users' giving you a durable shell that protects, keeps it cool and offers a number of pretty sweet sounding additional features baked right into it. They're also saying it will be super quiet even under 'heavy' overclocks, because of the thermal design so you don't need a fan.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Case Features Highlight:

  • Remappable power ON/OFF button
  • Full accessibility to board’s connectors
  • 100% passively cooled
  • 0 Db operation
  • Overclocking ready cooling solution
  • Outdoor proof materials and finishes
  • Unrestricted WiFi/Bluetooth reception
  • Direct view of status LEDs
  • Redirected GPIO pins to the side
  • Labeled GPIO pins
  • Universal VESA/Wall mounting system

You know what's great about it apart from all that? They're going to release the full schematics and 3d model free, for anyone to download and use themselves once the campaign is done and finished. While that might sound like a nice touch, it was initially locked behind a funding stretch-goal at $75,000 but that was hit already.

So why are Cooler Master doing Kickstarter? According to them, it's only a small team of Pi enthusiasts doing this and they're doing it with community backing. Looking around, it seems a lot like the existing FLIRC case.

I'll admit, I am becoming something of a Raspberry Pi nut after grabbing mine as an early 32nd birthday present this month. Honestly it's getting to the stage where I feel like this picture is going to be me, as I pull it out the bag at a friends house with a "hey, want some Pi?" like some sort of fancy drug.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is just such a fantastic little device for so many uses, and yes plenty of gaming too through emulators, game streaming both local and cloud and more. Expect to read about me gushing over it more often.

Anyway, if you want you can check out the Cooler Master Pi Case 40 on Kickstarter. Seems like it's been a big success for them so far with tons of funding coming in. The Kickstarter ends on August 19.

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Prepare to get your feet wet in the latest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive maps

Friday 24th of July 2020 08:26:36 PM

A fresh Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update is out and Valve has done some map rotations to keep it all fresh. Prepare to get your feet wet.

For the maps, Chlorine and Jungle have now left the official matchmaking pool. They've been replaced with two new community maps: Mutiny and Swamp across the Casual, Deathmatch, and Scrimmage game modes. Both have a theme of getting your feet wet with one being a bit flooded and the other having one team start on a pirate ship. Slightly amusing.

Trusted Mode also got a few tweaks too. This is the additional way Valve are trying to combat cheating, by preventing more programs interacting with CS:GO. It's now totally default to launch with it, with old launch options deprecated. If you wish to turn it off you can use "-allow_third_party_software" as a launch option but it reduces your Trust score.

On top of that there's a few minor gameplay tweaks included like: Grenades show the correct amount of damage to teammates if thrown by another teammate who switched teams or disconnected, adjustments to the Drones in the Danger Zone game mode for Steam Workshop maps and other misc fixes.

You can play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive free on Steam.

It seems the rumour mill has been grinding away for some time about CS:GO moving over to Source 2, although so far nothing actually concrete has ever been announced by Valve on this. Really though, does it even need it? As a competitive shooter, CS:GO holds up well to do exactly that.

That said, Danger Zone pushes what it can do pretty far, perhaps there it could have done with some more upgrades but the base modes of CS:GO all do just fine as they are. Valve themselves said before in a Reddit AMA some time ago, that whenever Source 2 comes up they question people on the "why?" - and people often mentioned hitboxes, so they just worked on better hitboxes. Over time, they gradually upgrade parts of CS:GO to be more modern anyway like with the Panorama UI. No doubt the rumours will continue until perhaps we see a new Counter-Strike game in the far future.

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Werewolf: The Apocalypse releases in Q4 2020 with a new trailer, confirmed for Linux PC

Friday 24th of July 2020 03:58:47 PM

Today, July 24, Different Tales and Walkabout have confirmed that Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest will be launching in Q4 2020 with a brief new trailer.

Previously announced in June, it comes from the makers of Wanderlust: Travel Stories and The Witcher 1. Heart of the Forest is a narrative adventure game based on the legendary role-playing game Werewolf: The Apocalypse. You play as Maia, a young woman looking to uncover her family’s history. In the pursuit of past mysteries, she arrives at the Białowieża Forest, an ancient wilderness full of ancient and dangerous secrets.

Check out the new short trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

The game's mechanics are based around three main resources: Rage, Willpower, and Personality. These will determine the choices available to Maia and influence the overall presentation of every scene. With a style that blends together an RPG with a Visual Novel it certainly looks like it's going to be engrossing with the incredible look.

Set in one of the 'last primeval forests of Europe', the Bialowieza Forest which is a vast area located in Poland that apparently comes with a whole bunch of myths and legends. They said the 'mix of nature and mystery makes the Bialowieza Forest a perfect setting for a World of Darkness story'.

Check out some brand new shots of it:

"Heart of the Forest is one of the few video games that actually represent the traditional pen-and-paper role-playing mechanics. The game assumes the role of the game master and guides us through the adventure. It’s one of the best renditions of traditional RPG I’ve ever seen in gaming," said Piotr Gnyp, Head of BizDev at Walkabout Games and a long-standing fan of tabletop RPGs.

As noted in our previous article on it, they gave a bit of a wink-wink that it would be coming to Linux. Today that's fully confirmed in the press details and on the store pages it's clearly noted now too. That's great and wonderful to see Different Tales and Walkabout continue their Linux support.

You can wishlist/follow it on GOG.com and Steam.

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Orcs Must Die! 3 on Stadia is a vibrant and thoroughly entertaining romp

Friday 24th of July 2020 03:44:22 PM

Orcs Must Die! 3, a hybrid of tower defense and third-person action set in a slightly silly fantasy world from Robot Entertainment with publishing by Stadia Games and Entertainment is a huge amount of fun.

It's a really ridiculously easy game to get into, and that's why I think I've enjoyed playing Orcs Must Die! 3 so much. You get to play through various levels that throw waves of Orcs at you, as you run around placing down traps and at times using your special character abilities and just blast through hundreds of enemies. There's no big fuss to it, it's good stress-free fun for anyone after a more laid-back experience that still has plenty of action involved.

As you progress through it you get to upgrade your character, your weapons, your traps and unlock new traps to create all sorts of crazy mazes of death. It's not gory though, as they keep it quite cartoony to appeal to a wide audience. There's a great variety to what you have too including spiked floors, spiked walls, anti-gravity suckers, a rip saw to place in the floor, rap-fire ballista and a whole lot more. Thanks to the level design mixing cramped corridors and open spaces, you get to be quite creative with your traps.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Orcs Must Die! 3 can be a surprising challenge too. As totally laid-back as the game setting is in how it represents everything, that doesn't mean it won't test you. There's been a few times I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of enemies that came running in during a wave. It definitely can keep you on your toes. This is due to not just the amount of enemies that end up on screen but the variety of them too. After all, it would be boring if you were the only one to have a few tricks up your sleeve. There's small and slow enemies, bigger enemies that take a fair amount of effort to take down, and speedy little nuisances that run right past everything and set off all your traps stopping their effectiveness.

As for how much playable content there is? There's 18 standard levels, along with an Endless mode for you to be able to go back and truly test yourself with three differently difficulty settings. You also have a rating based on how you do each time, which allows you to unlock more so the perfectionists have plenty to go through. Overall though, it's not a big game but enough there that's certainly worth a go.

What makes it quite special though are the War Scenarios. These are much bigger levels, that end up throwing hundreds of enemies at you. It's here, that you get to use some of the bigger mounted weapons and it's all kinds of chaos. They can take quite a while to get through too, and they act as a sort-of boss battle. I just wish there was more of them, it was like being in a big Lord of the Rings battle.

It might not be the best game available on Stadia right now but it's absolutely a quality game, and that's what's important. Just good wholesome fun. If you've ever played a tower defence styled game where you control a character in the level, you know what to expect from it.

Curiously, even though it's a game from Stadia Games and Entertainment it's only a timed exclusive for Stadia. Presumably this is only because Google chucked Robot Entertainment some cash to help out, which is why it's not a permanent exclusive. At some point, it's confirmed that it will release onto other platforms too (including Windows on Steam). Until then though, Stadia is the only place to play it which admittedly will be quite the deal-breaker for some.

Thankfully, Stadia in my own testing has remained strong. Performance hasn't been an issue outside of a few minor stutters that no game can get away from on any platform and with wireless Stadia Controller support in the web browser that was enabled a while ago, it's actually pretty great. Input with mouse / keyboard in Orcs Must Die! 3 on Stadia felt fantastic too, really smooth.

Orcs Must Die! 3 is currently free to grab with a Stadia Pro subscription and you still get 1 month free of Stadia Pro when you open a Stadia account, otherwise on Stadia it's a $29.99/€29.99 purchase. Find it on Stadia.com in a Chromium/Chrome browser on Linux.

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Puzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story announced and now on Kickstarter

Friday 24th of July 2020 02:23:26 PM

Puzzle Explorers: A Tangledeep Story is the next game from Impact Gameworks, set in the same world as the great Tangledeep dungeon crawler they've gone for something quite different.

The gameplay combines classic Tetris-like falling-block puzzle mechanics with an "Active Time Battle" inspired JRPG battle system, plus other unique puzzle and town-building gameplay and a full story line to progress through. With the real-time combat, you and your party face off against up to 3 monsters. While monsters and your allies take turns attacking and using special abilities, the main character - Mirai - controls the flow of battle on the puzzle board. As you clear lines, you do damage to your enemies. There's a lot more to it than that though with special attacks, monsters that can mess with your puzzle board and more.

On top of the action side, there are also some puzzles to complete. Using the same block-dropping mechanic, you can re-build ruins for rewards. Like any good puzzle feature, they said it starts easy and will definitely get challenging as you go. This falling block mechanic is everywhere across the game, it's even used for resource mining as it turns into a time-attack puzzle where you have 2 minutes to get all the resources you can. Check out the trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

It's been in development for some time now, and they've been providing early builds to go along with it. You can see some of their development posts on it here. Nice to see Linux availability was kept after Tangledeep's release and put in early for Puzzle Explorers to ensure good support.

They're hoping to have it in Early Access later this year.

You can support it on Kickstarter where it also has a demo available to download with Linux support. Their goal is to hit at least $20,000 by Friday, August 21. With plenty of time left as it's only recently started, they've already managed to pull in quite a bit of funding.

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Ova Magica blends Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley and Pokemon in the tech demo

Friday 24th of July 2020 09:55:27 AM

Currently available as a tech demo with the developer needing feedback, Ova Magica looks like a promising start of a new casual sim blending lots of different gameplay features.

Ova Magica looks like it mixes in a farming-life type of sim, with a creature hatching and battle system with blobbly little creatures that look like something slightly resembling what's in Slime Rancher. Inspired by the likes of Azure Dreams, Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Pokemon, Grandia and many more it's in early development but they're planning full Linux support. The developer, ClaudiaTheDev, is being backed up by Top Hat Studios who are also helping to publish Steamdolls and Synergia for Linux too.

Have a look at some early footage:


Watch video on YouTube.com

Want to check it out? You can try the latest tech demo on itch.io. According to Top Hat Studios who got in touch there's a Linux easter egg in there somewhere too. The developer would appreciate any feedback and Linux testing / performance info from a wide pool of Linux users.

If they get this right it could be the next big casual sim.

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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.