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The latest articles from GamingOnLinux
Updated: 3 hours 4 min ago

Laservasion looks like a nice twist on Asteroids with great music and colourful visuals

Monday 5th of August 2019 10:43:23 AM

Tags: Retro, Action, Arcade, Shoot 'em up, Steam,, Upcoming

Laservasion is the next game from Red Phoenix Studios (prev. Poly Towns, A New World: Kingdoms), a shoot 'em up that resembles the classic Asteroids only it seems to get a lot more intense.

Speaking about the new game, the developer said they wanted to make a game with a smaller scope than their previous titles, so they decided to make something inspired by the classics. What they've managed to come up with in Laservasion actually looks pretty good, a retro-inspired shoot 'em up with some colourful effects going on with some good beats:

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  • - 30 progressive levels
  • - 2 extra game modes to offer different challenges
  • - Stunning visuals mixing retro and modern graphics
  • - Boss levels to keep you out of your comfort zone
  • - Difficulty increases as you progress with the introduction of new enemies
  • - Steam leaderboards to challenge your friends and the world
  • - A collection of achievements

You can follow it on and Steam. At release it will be priced around £7.99/$9.99/€8.99 with a release expected in September.

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Co-op submarine adventure roguelike "We Need To Go Deeper" officially released

Monday 5th of August 2019 10:29:08 AM

Tags: New Release, Humble Store, Steam, Indie Game, Adventure, Roguelike, Unity

After over two years of Early Access, the silly co-op roguelike submarine adventure We Need To Go Deeper has released. Very similar in idea to Barotrauma, with a much more playful setting and style to it.

When I last tested it, I wasn't overly impressed. A messy interface, no help or guidance on what to do with no tutorial. The layout has certainly improved, things are a little clearer now but there's still no tutorial, it still just dumps you into a game without the slightest explanation of what to do. Due to this, it can be somewhat frustrating, although also highly amusing while you're discovering what to do.

Watch video on

If I could give you a bit of advice if you're thinking of getting it: Play with the AI first, not other players online. While some members of the community will be helpful, others will just swear at you for not knowing what you're doing or join your game and say nothing at all. It's not overly complicated, thankfully but the game telling you nothing really is a problem that should have been solved before the release. The AI bots aren't particularly smart either, but they good enough to get you going by issuing commands to them.

As for what happens, well the game actually is highly amusing at times. There I am, minding my own business, looking out into the vastness of the sea completely oblivious to the fact that we were under attack. Some kind of monstrosity had made it aboard:

Thankfully, combat is super simple with you just mashing left click on your mouse and healing up simply requires you get a little rest in the bed. The various creatures have some pretty wild and fun design to them, especially when you're exploring some of the deeper areas of the game.

We also don't talk about the time I got eaten…

From what I've been told and what I've played, the idea is just to get as deep as possible and repeat. Dealing with all sorts of creatures, exploring caves to find some treasure which you can use to buy equipment and unlock extras in the menu for your character. It's a game that's more about the humorous journey than reaching the end.

They at least upgraded their Unity version since the last time I tested too, so the Linux version seems to work a lot better. I'm no longer seeing double input whenever I try to type something, so that's nice. Performance seems to be acceptable too, no issues there either.

Feature Highlight:

  • 2-4-Player Online Co-op - Designed with human interaction in mind, in We Need to Go Deeper you communicate or perish. Play with friends, strangers, or bots!
  • Crew Your Submarine - Pilot, repair, load torpedoes and reroute power as you and your crew dash around one of several unlockable submarines on your voyage into the deep.
  • Explore The Living Infinite - The Living Infinite is an ever-changing undersea trench – with randomized biomes, on-foot expeditions, loot, civilizations and a dynamic difficulty system to keep you guessing every time you take a dive.
  • Wield a Variety of Tools - From wrenches, to wedding rings, to electricity-powered weaponry, a wide selection of tools and weapons await discovery.
  • Customize Your Adventurer - Choose from a wide variety of era-specific outfits from the 19th century so you can dive in style! Non-gender-specific mustaches included.

Overall, I do really like it. Compared with other similar games, it's quite streamlined but it needs a basic tutorial and in-game guide to get you going which really lets it down at release. Still, if you have a little patience there's a lot of fun to be found here.

Get ready to go deep, pick up your copy on Humble Store and Steam.

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Collabora detail more work going into Monado, their open source OpenXR runtime

Monday 5th of August 2019 09:24:49 AM

Tags: Open Source, Virtual Reality

With the 1.0 release of the OpenXR 1.0 specification, Collabora have begun to detail more work going on with Monado their open source OpenXR runtime for Linux.

As a quick reminder on Monado (source):

At the center of Monado is a fully open source OpenXR runtime for Linux. It is the component in the XR software stack that implements the hardware support, it knows how to process non standard input from HMD devices and controllers, it knows how to render to those devices and it provides this functionality via the standard OpenXR API.

Before getting too excited, they make it pretty clear in the latest update (posted a few days ago) that Monado isn't quite ready yet, with "many pieces missing". They've invited anyone adventurous to join their IRC or Discord.

As for work being done, they've made improvements to the OpenXR state-tracker, making it more complete and getting it closer to conformance. They still have more work to do, including "code to handle rebindings of actions to various hardware". They've merged in four new drivers to work with PSVR for the HMD, PS Move Controller driver, OSVR HDK driver and the Razer Hydra tracked controller driver.

As for what else is to come, they say the biggest chunk of their work is going to be tracking, with two main types to deal with including "outside-in where sensors in the world track an object, and inside-out where sensors in the object track landmarks in the world (this is a gross simplification)". They're focusing first on "outside-in color based tracking system" with the PSVR, to help with their goal of being maker/hacking friendly. I suppose it helps that PSVR compared with other VR systems, has a pretty low cost.

Find the full post with all the technical details here.

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FOSS game engine "Godot Engine" making fantastic Vulkan API progress

Monday 5th of August 2019 09:10:22 AM

Tags: Game Engine, Open Source, Vulkan

Godot Engine developer Juan Linietsky continues pushing ahead with Godot's move to Vulkan, with another impressive progress report now available and it all sounds great.

Firstly, Linietsky goes over improvements to the lighting and shadows system, with Godot 4.0 having all "2D lighting is now done in a single pass", which will give it a decent performance although now there's a few limits in place but the improvements should be worth it. Additionally, they've added the ability to use "specular and shininess both as parameter and as textures supplied to Sprite, AnimatedSprite, Polygon2D and other nodes" for 2D lights.

Further improvements include a new 2D material system, which enables writing custom shaders with their fancy new Vulkan renderer and there's no restriction on the amount of textures shaders can use. As another performance boost, shaders are compiled and cached on load reducing game stalls. Shader compilation is also now fully threaded "greatly improving performance". There's more multi-threading work being done, with even more to come later too.

Now that they have their 2D engine with Vulkan mostly done, they're getting to work on the 3D side of Godot with Vulkan. With Godot 4.0 it's going to be faster, more capable and "smarter regarding resource allocation". They ended the post with a note that "August will be fully dedicated to the 3D rendering side of things, so stay tuned!"—exciting.

Read the full report here. You can also support their work on Patreon.

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Another SteamVR release is up, further improving the VR experience on Linux

Monday 5th of August 2019 08:57:52 AM

Tags: Virtual Reality, Steam

Valve continue to move at a rapid pace to improve SteamVR across all platforms, especially with the Valve Index being so new there's plenty of teething issues to address. This is not a beta release, this is an official release of SteamVR.

Something that has been posted across the web (and emailed to us), is an issue with the Valve Index Controller thumbsticks. Like a lot of thumbsticks, you can click it in to perform some sort of action. However, it seems you're not able to click it in all the time and in certain positions it won't click or won't register it has been clicked. To the point that VR game developers have been working to remove the need for it. So what have Valve done? They added this ability:

Added a setting in joystick modes that allows thumbsticks to consider themselves clicked if they are deflected more than a threshold amount. This lets a user click in the center, move a thumbstick to the edge and release the physical click, but still keep the thumbstick clicked as far as the game is concerned.

Well, that's one way to attempt to address some sort of hardware issue.

There's plenty more updates that come with the SteamVR 1.6.10 update too like: automatic firmware recovery if updates were interrupted or failed, numerous crashing bugs were fixed with SteamVR, Lighthouse has seen improved device discovery to reduce the impact of misbehaving USB drivers and devices, there's a fix for some Valve Index users experiencing Base Station Power Management intermittency, the Valve Index should now have a more neutral (less-blue) white point, improved controller binding options for legacy applications, improved startup reliability for users of all headsets and so on.

On the Linux side, these fixes and improvements made it into this release, so hopefully the Linux SteamVR experience will be a little less finicky:

  • Fixed Index HMD always notifying a firmware update is available.
  • Fixed being unable to re-start SteamVR after vrserver is killed/crashes (aka LfMutexUnlockRobust crashes.)
  • Fixed vrwebhelper crashing the Steam client.
  • Fixed 'psychedelic' colours in the Steam client caused by exiting SteamVR.
  • Fixed 'Restart SteamVR' prompts exiting SteamVR but not restarting it.
  • Fixed various vrcompositor crashes.
  • Fixed 'ioctl(GFEATURE): Broken Pipe' spam in stdout.
  • Adjusted basic dialogs during startup to use the host's zenity program when available.

See the full update notes here.

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The developer of Gloomhaven wants to see what kind of demand there is for Linux support

Monday 5th of August 2019 08:37:28 AM

Tags: Steam, Early Access, RPG, Board Game, Strategy

Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the acclaimed board game recently entered Steam's Early Access program and it appears the developer Flaming Fowl Studios continued to be open about Linux support.

This wouldn't be the first time they've talked about Linux support. In fact, their latest word on it does seem to be a bit of a backtrack from a previous statement, but priorities change and nothing is ever set in stone when a game is in development. That was multiple months before Early Access even started though, to be fair.

After being asked a few more times, they've decided to give an update on it. Here's what they said:

We are open to Linux port sometime in the future, but it's not in plans for the Early Access. We are focussing on one platform, for now, to make the whole development process more manageable. Please share your +1, so we would have a better understanding of our community's demands.


Linux version is doable from the standpoint that we are currently at. We didn't make any tests to confirm it for 100% though. For now, the priority is the current build. When the Early Access is closer to an end, we will come back to this idea and see how big the demand really is.

So if you really would like to see Linux support for Gloomhaven, it might be a good idea to post your support in this linked forum topic. As a reminder though, it's important not to just post "+1" as Steam moderators see that as spam, say why you want it.

See more about Gloomhaven on Steam.

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What have you been clicking on this weekend?

Sunday 4th of August 2019 05:49:04 PM

Tags: Misc

The weekend is almost over and a nice week full of news is about to begin. Before it does, let's get talking! What have you been playing?

Brigador: Up-Armored Edition has been sucking up a lot of my time recently, thanks to a new update coming out with a bit of new content. I have so much love for the destruction in this game it's unreal! This is where I have honestly spent most of my time, stomping on everything and identifying explosive areas to set off fun chain-reactions from a shot or two and just watching everything go to hell. Love the customization too, plenty to unlock from vehicles to pilot to ridiculously powerful weapons.

Since Abandon Ship got a Linux beta recently, I've also been putting some time into that while chatting to the developer to help ensure a smooth release later this month.

I also helped the developer of Elteria Adventures identify a bug preventing the upcoming Linux version from launching, so that was fun too.

What have you clicked on lately? Do give us your recommendations in the comments.

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Futuristic lonely single-player survival game "Drift Into Eternity" adds Linux support

Saturday 3rd of August 2019 07:52:31 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, New Release, Survival

As the only survivor of a distressed long-haul spaceship, you're trapped and faced with a failing ship. It's do or die. Drift Into Eternity originally released in December of 2016, with Linux support arriving at the end of July.

Watch video on

Interestingly, this is one where I spoke to the developer way back in 2016. They said back then they were hoping to release that year. That came and went but years later here we are, they made it. Speaking about the release, they did note they're currently classing it as an "open beta", as it needs some additional testing.

Feature Highlight:

  • Enter a cold, stark, silent ship, drifting in an asteroid field, its hull slowly being hammered by all sides, and its atmosphere being poisoned by its own toxic fuel released during the accident, while its vital functions die out one by one.
  • Explore and chart the ship for materials to repair its many devices, for food and water to prevent starvation, and try to keep your morale up to avoid fatal depression.
  • Repair the many damages slowly tearing apart the ship: close the breaches, repair its many devices, fight the many electrical fires, cleanse the corrosive and lethal atmosphere slowly infiltrating the hull.
  • Use the help of a sarcastic AI to gather the mandatory knowledge of your surroundings.
  • Study, craft, research and upgrade your tools to improve your chances of survival.
  • Take care of your diseases and wounds rapidly, if you don't want them to hinder your progression or put an end to it!
  • Minimal hand holding, you're the one trying to beat the game, we will only give hints on the very basic mechanics. Learning and progressing is all up to you. 

From the sounds of it, Drift Into Eternity is a challenging game and not one if you don't have some patience.

You can find it on Steam for £15.49/$19.99/€19.99.

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MiniGolf Maker lets you build a course and play with friends, now available on Linux

Saturday 3rd of August 2019 06:59:31 PM

Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Early Access, New Release, Sports, Casual

A bit of MiniGolf anyone? Road Turtle Games released MiniGolf Maker into Steam's Early Access program back in March, with Linux support landing yesterday.

As the name suggests, this is a game for those who love to create as much as play. It includes a Course Creator, allowing anyone to set everything to their own liking with multiple themes including Desert, Medieval, Winter, Pirate, Dreamscape, and Polyworld. Interestingly, you're not limited by the pre-made pieces as it allows you to adjust the shape and size of them all, along with a dynamic behaviour and event system which certainly piqued my interest.

Watch video on

The Linux version arrives alongside a big content update, which has an entirely new Desert theme for the course creator including new objects, music, wall styles and terrain. They also said existing terrain has a new and improved look.

Additionally, they put out their plans for some upcoming updates. Responding to feedback about the "lack of holes available out-of-the-box to play", they will be spending some time overhauling the existing courses (with new courses still planned too). They're also planning more power-ups, along with more behaviours and events for the Course Creator.

From what they said about it, they're hoping to leave Early Access in around a year.

I'll admit that most Mini-Golf games tend to underwhelm me, but this actually looks reasonably good. Being able to do local and online multiplayer is a bonus too.

Find MiniGolf Maker on Steam for $6.99/£5.19/€5.69.

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Moonlighter - Between Dimensions DLC, some thoughts

Saturday 3rd of August 2019 06:43:32 PM

Tags: DLC, Steam, GOG, Humble Store

Moonlighter - Between Dimensions DLC, the expansion to the hit mix of dungeon crawling action and shopkeeping released recently and now I've blasted through here's a few thoughts.

I actually really quite enjoyed Moonlighter. It's a bit of a weird mix but it does work and when we have so many similar games coming out, I've really appreciate a game that at least tries to be a little more unique. It's not just yet another 2D RPG with some dungeon crawling.

The new content is fantastic, with a good price point for what's there. Featuring 10 new original enemies and 5 mini-bosses, the variation in the types of enemies you can now encounter is great and with the different abilities they have the combat certainly can be compelling. That's not all though, the expanded story and lore is also pretty interesting with some fun writing too giving you a nice break between dungeon crawling and shopkeeping when chatting to other characters.

Watch video on

Thanks to all the additions, you can sink quite a few hours into this DLC. A mark against it is that you do need to have finished the main game. For dedicated players, not an issue of course but it's a shame they couldn't balance it in a way for the majority of the content to be open to everyone. To help with that, this DLC did also come with a bunch of free stuff for everyone too:

  • A new thief trying to steal your money from the cash register!
  • A new client – the indecisive customer - better hurry and attend them!
  • A bothersome bird terrorizing your customers - so little, yet so dangerous!
  • 4 new Baby Slime companions - too cute to be true!
  • And on top of that, the basic Rings and Amulets (not the ones from the DLC, tho!) are now available during your first playthrough (if you didn't know: before they were available only in New Game+ Mode).

It hasn't been an entirely smooth release though, the DLC and update came with quite a few really annoying bugs. Thankfully, Digital Sun (the developer) have been pretty quick to release small updates to solve them as they get reported and they've been good with their communication on the issues.

Between Dimensions is bursting with new features and content to discover, it really makes Moonlighter feel more entertaining. Overall, it's a great addition to an already fun game.

You can pick up Moonlighter and the Between Dimensions DLC on Humble Store, GOG and Steam for a copy.

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A three-way look at Rocket League on Linux, with D9VK versus Linux Native

Friday 2nd of August 2019 09:45:12 PM

Tags: Benchmark, Steam, Steam Play

After chatting on Twitter with a fellow Rocket League enthusiast about the performance of the game, I decided to take a look.

Rocket League originally released for Linux back in 2016, using an older build of Unreal Engine 3 with OpenGL as the renderer. With that in mind, it's one of the older major Linux ports available to us. Age is just a number though, it's a fantastic game. It's not perfect though and there's plenty of room for improvements.

To demonstrate this (and see how far D9VK has come), I've taken a look at it three different ways:

  • Firstly, there's the native Linux version of course.
  • The next, is the Linux native version again, but this time using NVIDIA's threaded OpenGL optimizations (more info here) which NVIDIA rarely switch on by default (there's about 7 titles in their whitelist for it) and Rocket League doesn't tell the driver to turn it on. To use it, simply add:
    As a launch option on Steam for any OpenGL game.
  • Finally, there's Steam Play using the experimental D9VK (added in Steam Play Proton 4.11) which translates the Windows version into Vulkan to run it on Linux. Use "PROTON_USE_D9VK=1 %command%" as a launch option on Steam to use D9VK with Direct 3D 9 games.

For reference: The testing was on an up to date Manjaro Linux install, using an NVIDIA 980ti and the 430.26 driver with an Intel i7-5960X. Results will obviously vary based on CPU/GPU and more.

The results are pretty surprising, using the same replay of a crowded 3v3 match on probably the most demanding map in the game at 1080p with all settings maxed out:

Watch video on

As we can see, without NVIDIA's threaded optimizations the Linux version comes in dead last easily in both videos. With it, performance is much closer and it's smoother but Steam Play with D9VK comes out on top in both. There's a few moments where the Linux native build with threaded OpenGL beats Steam Play with D9VK but not many. Impressive really, since D9VK is classed as "experimental" and likely has plenty more optimizations still left to be done before it's ready.

So what's the takeaway here?

Well, Rocket League on Linux can be enjoyed quite easily and Psyonix (the developer) should absolutely enable NVIDIA's threaded OpenGL optimizations on Linux. They don't even need to update the game, they can just add the launch option themselves by default. If you do have some performance issues, Steam Play can likely make the experience even smoother again. The biggest difference is hitching, with Steam Play the game remains a lot more fluid overall. This doesn't mean Steam Play is suddenly better than native games of course, it all depends on how the game was ported to Linux. To be clear, with Steam Play it has its own issues that I've not seen in the native Linux version. Sometimes with Steam Play the game will repeat bits of audio, crash and hard-lock my PC (rare but it happens).

Also we are comparing OpenGL to Vulkan, that alone can make a big difference depending on the implementation. It's all about the time spent on the Linux version, with Steam Play (as shown) clearly Linux is a gaming platform that can perform well (and in many cases threaded OpenGL does great too). With enough time and a bigger market share, developers would spend more time on their Linux ports. First we have to get there.

If you wish to join me in adoring Rocket League like a second child (it really is my #1 game), you may find it on Humble Store and Steam.

The article was updated after publishing with a second video and some wording adjustments.

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Not The Wine O'Clock News is now showing at 4.13

Friday 2nd of August 2019 08:00:12 PM

Tags: Wine, New Release

This isn't in reference to the lovely fruity stuff, we are of course talking about the Wine compatibility software. The Wine team have been hacking away at their code again, with a brand new release now available with Wine 4.13.

Quite a small one in terms of features included in this round, partly as Wine developer Alexandre Julliard had a vacation recently. I expect things to pick up again now.

Some highlights from this release:

  • Support for Passport HTTP redirects.
  • A bunch of header updates.
  • Various bug fixes.

As for bug fixes, this time around 15 were noted including issues solved with: A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda, Final Fantasy XIV, an issue affecting multiple D3D11 games and more. Usual note though, often bug reports noted as fixed were actually solved in a previous release that are just now being closed.

See the full release notes here.

I'm also running alarmingly low on puns. Complaints? Pun suggestions?

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Extreme arcade space combat game "Space Mercs" has officially released

Friday 2nd of August 2019 07:28:16 PM

Tags: Action, Steam, Indie Game, New Release, Unity

Designed and developed by Bearded Giant Games, Space Mercs is an extreme arcade space combat game like some of the classics and it's out now with Linux support.

As a reminder, Bearded Giant Games have been developing Space Mercs entirely on Linux with the Unity game engine. Working from a low-powered Notebook, they've put a special amount of attention into the optimizations so it should work great across a huge variety of systems. It certainly does look good, with an impressive atmosphere to it!

Feature Highlight:

  • Huge, real-time, space ship battles, with up to hundreds of spaceships on screen at the same time
  • Mission battles range from small (3-10 ships) and scale up into the gigantic sector wide battles (400-500 ships)
  • Single-player campaign where the stakes increase with every mission
  • Thousands of projectiles on screen at every time
  • Consistent graphics and performance even on really low hardware specs
  • Shooter-style control and flight system optimized for Keyboard and Gamepad use
  • Instant battle mode where you are thrown in a procedural generated battle of epic scales
  • Loadout system for ship weaponry and internal systems
  • Coffee-break design where you can pickup and play in short 3 to 10 minute sessions
  • Functional cockpit display

As a surprise feature announced along with the release, Space Mercs includes a Battle Designer. Once you complete the main missions, it will allow you to make custom battles to participate in with up to 4000 ships. The developer provided some interesting screenshots taken from that mode (click to enlarge):

If you enjoy classic arcade space action, Space Mercs should be on your radar. It would be worth reading their release info post, which contains a few extra important bits of info (especially for owners of an AMD Vega GPU). Also, do check out our previous interview with Bearded Giant Games here.

You can find Space Mercs on Steam. With an release due later.

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The next Humble Monthly is out, with a nice deal for Linux gamers

Friday 2nd of August 2019 05:14:42 PM

Tags: Humble Store, Game Bundle

Heads up all you card-game roguelike enthusiasts as the Humble Monthly has a new bundle up with some early unlock titles.

As usual, Humble give you two games to play right away when you subscribe:

  • Slay the Spire - Linux supported
  • Squad

Once the bundle is over next month, you will also get an additional bunch of games. On top of that, as always, you also gain access to the Humble Trove. The Humble Trove is their curated selection of DRM-free games, while subscribed you can download them any time and keep them. Last I looked, the Trove had around 47 Linux games in it.

For $12, that's a pretty good deal overall I would say.

Find the Humble Monthly here if interested.

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System76 are prepping a powerful new Linux laptop, the "Adder WS"

Friday 2nd of August 2019 03:42:59 PM

Tags: Hardware, Upcoming

System76 sent word earlier about something new. A new (and rather powerful) Linux laptop named the Adder WS. The Adder WS will be the first Linux machine from System76 to include an OLED display, with a 15" size and 4K support it's sounding impressive.

They're saying it's a "workstation laptop", as it's going to be quite the beast. The base standard configuration will have an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and you can push it up to an i9-9980HK, the top end Intel offer for Laptops (according to System76). It will also come with an NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU which "uses effective cooling techniques that allow the graphics card to reach its full performance potential"—so it sounds like a pretty damn good unit for some intense Linux gaming sessions.

For the rest of it you can have it with up to 64GB RAM, and up to 8TB storage, which includes up to 4TB NVMe storage. It also includes three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, three video ports (HDMI, mini DisplayPort 1.3, DisplayPort 1.3 via USB-C 3.1 Gen 2), Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, a pair of 2-in-1 Audio Jacks (headphone/microphone, microphone/SPDIF), and an SD card reader (up to USH-II) so it's fully decked out for all occasions.

They're preparing for release and a bigger announcement in "early August", with the initial details shared early. Will let you know when they send over any more details about it.

Find the official System76 site here.

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Zachtronics latest game "Eliza", is a Visual Novel that involves an AI counselling program

Friday 2nd of August 2019 03:24:16 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Steam, Upcoming, Visual Novel

This was quite unexpected, Zachtronics who are known for their challenging and high quality puzzle games have announced a Visual Novel called Eliza and it sounds unusual.

Eliza is a visual novel about an AI counseling program, the people who develop it, and the people who use it. Follow Evelyn Ishino-Aubrey as she reconnects with people from her past, gets to know the people of Seattle who use Eliza for counseling, and decides the course of her future.

A pretty big departure from what they're known for, with previous titles including EXAPUNKS, Opus Magnum (incredible game), SHENZHEN I/O, Infinifactory and more.

Watch video on

Feature Highlight:

  • A thought-provoking story told in the form of a visual novel from an award-winning indie team.
  • Follow Evelyn’s journey through a present-day Seattle brought to life with beautiful hand-painted art.
  • Get to know Eliza’s clients and the employees of Skandha, the technology giant behind it, with over a dozen fully-voiced characters and powerful performances from a highly regarded cast.
  • An evocative, ambient original score by the composer for Infinifactory, SHENZHEN I/O, Opus Magnum, and EXAPUNKS.
  • Is AI-driven counseling better than nothing? Is it worse than nothing? What responsibilities come with technical skills? Consider your own answers to these questions and more.

Not sold on yet? Well, Eliza also includes Kabufuda Solitaire for when you want to take a break from the counselling sessions. They say it's a new take on solitaire using Japanese kabufuda cards…they just couldn't resist some sort of strategic/puzzle element to it I see.

You can wishlist and follow it on Steam, releasing August 12th. I imagine it will make it to like their other games at some point too.

Hat tip to Caique in our Telegram Group.

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In the top-down action game Decoy, you are the distraction and it looks amusing

Friday 2nd of August 2019 02:09:16 PM

Tags: Action, Indie Game, Steam, Upcoming

Most action games give you some sort of weapon, dump you in front of lots of enemies and have you go at it. Decoy is a different, your only tool is your vehicle and you are to distract the enemy.

An infiltration team is searching for information, so to keep them out of harms way you will need to drive around like an insane person to distract, evade and survive. You have nothing to defend yourself, other than your awesome driving skills.

Watch video on

That actually looks like it could be a huge amount of fun.

Recently appearing on Steam with Linux system requirements. Ensuring that was correct, I spoke to the developer on their Steam forum where they confirmed Linux support when it enters Early Access.

It will have a campaign mode, starting off easy and as you progress it will of course start to really challenge you. As you progress, you will earn Stars to adjust your ride with more speed, an improved chassis and special abilities. Additionally, there will be a multiplayer mode to see who can survive the longest along with power-ups enabling you to sabotage other players.

There's no exact release date yet, I will update you when that changes.

You can wishlist/follow Decoy on Steam.

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Secret Government, a grand strategy game about leading a secret society will be on Linux

Friday 2nd of August 2019 01:14:26 PM

Tags: Upcoming, Steam, Strategy

A recent announcement from Russian developer GameTrek and publisher 1C Entertainment is the game Secret Government. It's planned to enter Early Access in October this year with Linux support.

Taking place from the 18th century to the present day, Secret Government tasks you with leading a secret society as you spread your influence across the globe, rewriting key historical events - from the War of Independence to the French and Napoleonic Wars. Manage your resources as you manipulate the actions of the world’s leaders. From strategically planting your agents in vulnerable regions, to infiltrating powerful institutions of authority, anyone can be your pawn as you exploit their resources and seize control over key decision-makers.

It lists Linux system requirements on the Steam page, so I spoke with the publisher to ensure that's accurate and they've confirmed Linux support to me.

Watch video on

Feature Highlight:

  • Rewrite History - From the 18th century to the present day, the War of Independence to the French and Napoleonic Wars, each mission will drop players into major global conflicts, tasking them with manipulating the outcome to serve the Brotherhood’s ambitions.
  • Play Your Pawns - The world’s most powerful figures - from national rulers to military superpowers - are but mere pawns to you. Learn to manipulate their complex AI machinations as you leverage their unique abilities to shape the world to your needs.
  • Indirect Influence - Why should you have to do the heavy lifting of executing your diplomatic, economic, and militaristic ambitions? Plant your own agents and indirectly coerce others to do your bidding with over 50 types of actions intended to upend the world’s balance in your favor while keeping your hands clean.
  • Manipulate a Living World - From ideologies to social classes, taxes to civil unrest, the world of Secret Government is comprised of countless interconnected sociopolitical systems that effectively simulate a believable and reactionary world. While world leaders strive to maintain the status quo, how will you destabilize the system and trigger worldwide change?
  • You’re Not Alone in the Shadows - Facing down a hostile secret organization that isn’t afraid to manipulate their way into the history books, make every action and choice count in order to outthink the competition and maintain your hard-earned secrecy and level of infiltration in the shadows.

The publisher has offered a press key, so hopefully this will be one I can take a good look at sometime around the release. Will keep you posted if anything changes on the release date.

You can wishlist/follow it on Steam.

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Sunless Skies has added the important feature of tooting your horn in the latest update

Friday 2nd of August 2019 12:55:18 PM

Tags: Indie Game, Humble Store, GOG, Steam

The Horn update for Sunless Skies went live on July 30th adding in a highly requested feature, the ability to toot. There's, uh, other things as well of course.

Sometimes we just want simple things and tooting your horn in Sunless Skies was apparently the "second most requested feature since launch". So, they added it in with a note that "The horn has no gameplay effects whatsoever, but we think it sounds quite nice. You're, umm, welcome."—hah.

More interestingly, they did add some other fun stuff. Multiple creatures and locomotives have new attacks, improved AI or visual updates. They also included a quick look at the "much more menacing Scrive-Spinsters":

They look delightfully horrifying!

For those travelling through Eleutheria, you should keep an eye out for more variety in the agent encounters as well. They also added nearly 100 new ambient messages, Blue Kingdom spawns have been adjusted for difficulty, Vitrified Structures will sometimes now reward captains with Condemned Experiments, Abandoned structures now have a chance of spawning Guest Dreadnoughts and much more.

Full update notes can be found on their official blog post.

Also, they've announced the Hoarder Update is coming next as well, which will include:

  • A new officer: the Chiropterous Hoarder! Recruit a winged horror of profound cunning and unreliable manners. Rumoured to have once been one of the Masters of old London, this peddlar of immortality has fallen on hard times. Take it on a macabre journey to perfect a new method of prolonging life. Perhaps you might become friends on the way. Perhaps you might become more...
  • Engine upgrades. Your locomotive will receive a new slot for engine equipment. When equipped – and when you have enough crew members to take full advantage of a superior engine – your locomotive will be able to travel faster, at a premium in fuel...
  • An opportunity to construct an additional transit relay. This will be a substantial undertaking, but once complete, it will provide captains with a quick and convenient route between two previously unconnected regions of the Skies.

You can find Sunless Skies on Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

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Dota Underlords just had a massive update, changing the way you play

Friday 2nd of August 2019 12:30:38 PM

Tags: Valve, Steam, Free Game, Strategy, Update

Valve are reacting quickly to feedback along with implementing some needed features for their auto-battler strategy game Dota Underlords. The latest major update is out now, with some big changes to the gameplay.

Previously, all the battles in Underlords took place differently. So while you might have been facing player X, they at the same time would be fighting player Y. Not any more! Players now get paired up to fight directly against each other, both taking part in the same shared combat. If there's an odd number of players, one of them might fight a clone of a player.

The ranking system has changed, as they detailed before. Your rank is now a number that moves up and down in a predictable way and rank change is based solely on where you finish in a ranked match.

This update also introduces the split matchmaking pool with both Casual and Ranked modes. However, Valve went back on their decision to force Solo matchmaking for ranked play, instead allowing up to three people to rank together. Daily Challenges and Achievements can be gained in both modes, with brand new players needing to unlock ranked play by doing 5 casual games.

A new Achievement system also made it in, allowing you extra chances to earn Proto Pass XP (the Battle Pass):

Some balancing changes were also done, multiple items were added or removed, there's a few UI changes and a bunch of bug fixes too. Additionally, a bunch of heroes got new styles for two and three star upgrades.

Dota Underlords continues to be one of the most popular games on Steam, regularly pulling in over sixty thousand players each day.

As usual, find Dota Underlords free on Steam and find the full update notes here.

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More in Tux Machines

LWN: Spectre, Linux and Debian Development

  • Grand Schemozzle: Spectre continues to haunt

    The Spectre v1 hardware vulnerability is often characterized as allowing array bounds checks to be bypassed via speculative execution. While that is true, it is not the full extent of the shenanigans allowed by this particular class of vulnerabilities. For a demonstration of that fact, one need look no further than the "SWAPGS vulnerability" known as CVE-2019-1125 to the wider world or as "Grand Schemozzle" to the select group of developers who addressed it in the Linux kernel. Segments are mostly an architectural relic from the earliest days of x86; to a great extent, they did not survive into the 64-bit era. That said, a few segments still exist for specific tasks; these include FS and GS. The most common use for GS in current Linux systems is for thread-local or CPU-local storage; in the kernel, the GS segment points into the per-CPU data area. User space is allowed to make its own use of GS; the arch_prctl() system call can be used to change its value. As one might expect, the kernel needs to take care to use its own GS pointer rather than something that user space came up with. The x86 architecture obligingly provides an instruction, SWAPGS, to make that relatively easy. On entry into the kernel, a SWAPGS instruction will exchange the current GS segment pointer with a known value (which is kept in a model-specific register); executing SWAPGS again before returning to user space will restore the user-space value. Some carefully placed SWAPGS instructions will thus prevent the kernel from ever running with anything other than its own GS pointer. Or so one would think.

  • Long-term get_user_pages() and truncate(): solved at last?

    Technologies like RDMA benefit from the ability to map file-backed pages into memory. This benefit extends to persistent-memory devices, where the backing store for the file can be mapped directly without the need to go through the kernel's page cache. There is a fundamental conflict, though, between mapping a file's backing store directly and letting the filesystem code modify that file's on-disk layout, especially when the mapping is held in place for a long time (as RDMA is wont to do). The problem seems intractable, but there may yet be a solution in the form of this patch set (marked "V1,000,002") from Ira Weiny. The problems raised by the intersection of mapping a file (via get_user_pages()), persistent memory, and layout changes by the filesystem were the topic of a contentious session at the 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. The core question can be reduced to this: what should happen if one process calls truncate() while another has an active get_user_pages() mapping that pins some or all of that file's pages? If the filesystem actually truncates the file while leaving the pages mapped, data corruption will certainly ensue. The options discussed in the session were to either fail the truncate() call or to revoke the mapping, causing the process that mapped the pages to receive a SIGBUS signal if it tries to access them afterward. There were passionate proponents for both options, and no conclusion was reached. Weiny's new patch set resolves the question by causing an operation like truncate() to fail if long-term mappings exist on the file in question. But it also requires user space to jump through some hoops before such mappings can be created in the first place. This approach comes from the conclusion that, in the real world, there is no rational use case where somebody might want to truncate a file that has been pinned into place for use with RDMA, so there is no reason to make that operation work. There is ample reason, though, for preventing filesystem corruption and for informing an application that gets into such a situation that it has done something wrong.

  • Hardening the "file" utility for Debian

    In addition, he had already encountered problems with file running in environments with non-standard libraries that were loaded using the LD_PRELOAD environment variable. Those libraries can (and do) make system calls that the regular file binary does not make; the system calls were disallowed by the seccomp() filter. Building a Debian package often uses FakeRoot (or fakeroot) to run commands in a way that appears that they have root privileges for filesystem operations—without actually granting any extra privileges. That is done so that tarballs and the like can be created containing files with owners other than the user ID running the Debian packaging tools, for example. Fakeroot maintains a mapping of the "changes" made to owners, groups, and permissions for files so that it can report those to other tools that access them. It does so by interposing a library ahead of the GNU C library (glibc) to intercept file operations. In order to do its job, fakeroot spawns a daemon (faked) that is used to maintain the state of the changes that programs make inside of the fakeroot. The libfakeroot library that is loaded with LD_PRELOAD will then communicate to the daemon via either System V (sysv) interprocess communication (IPC) calls or by using TCP/IP. Biedl referred to a bug report in his message, where Helmut Grohne had reported a problem with running file inside a fakeroot.

Flameshot is a brilliant screenshot tool for Linux

The default screenshot tool in Ubuntu is alright for basic snips but if you want a really good one you need to install a third-party screenshot app. Shutter is probably my favorite, but I decided to give Flameshot a try. Packages are available for various distributions including Ubuntu, Arch, openSuse and Debian. You find installation instructions on the official project website. Read more

Android Leftovers

IBM/Red Hat and Intel Leftovers

  • Troubleshooting Red Hat OpenShift applications with throwaway containers

    Imagine this scenario: Your cool microservice works fine from your local machine but fails when deployed into your Red Hat OpenShift cluster. You cannot see anything wrong with the code or anything wrong in your services, configuration maps, secrets, and other resources. But, you know something is not right. How do you look at things from the same perspective as your containerized application? How do you compare the runtime environment from your local application with the one from your container? If you performed your due diligence, you wrote unit tests. There are no hard-coded configurations or hidden assumptions about the runtime environment. The cause should be related to the configuration your application receives inside OpenShift. Is it time to run your app under a step-by-step debugger or add tons of logging statements to your code? We’ll show how two features of the OpenShift command-line client can help: the oc run and oc debug commands.

  • What piece of advice had the greatest impact on your career?

    I love learning the what, why, and how of new open source projects, especially when they gain popularity in the DevOps space. Classification as a "DevOps technology" tends to mean scalable, collaborative systems that go across a broad range of challenges—from message bus to monitoring and back again. There is always something new to explore, install, spin up, and explore.

  • How DevOps is like auto racing

    When I talk about desired outcomes or answer a question about where to get started with any part of a DevOps initiative, I like to mention NASCAR or Formula 1 racing. Crew chiefs for these race teams have a goal: finish in the best place possible with the resources available while overcoming the adversity thrown at you. If the team feels capable, the goal gets moved up a series of levels to holding a trophy at the end of the race. To achieve their goals, race teams don’t think from start to finish; they flip the table to look at the race from the end goal to the beginning. They set a goal, a stretch goal, and then work backward from that goal to determine how to get there. Work is delegated to team members to push toward the objectives that will get the team to the desired outcome. [...] Race teams practice pit stops all week before the race. They do weight training and cardio programs to stay physically ready for the grueling conditions of race day. They are continually collaborating to address any issue that comes up. Software teams should also practice software releases often. If safety systems are in place and practice runs have been going well, they can release to production more frequently. Speed makes things safer in this mindset. It’s not about doing the “right” thing; it’s about addressing as many blockers to the desired outcome (goal) as possible and then collaborating and adjusting based on the real-time feedback that’s observed. Expecting anomalies and working to improve quality and minimize the impact of those anomalies is the expectation of everyone in a DevOps world.

  • Deep Learning Reference Stack v4.0 Now Available

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to represent one of the biggest transformations underway, promising to impact everything from the devices we use to cloud technologies, and reshape infrastructure, even entire industries. Intel is committed to advancing the Deep Learning (DL) workloads that power AI by accelerating enterprise and ecosystem development. From our extensive work developing AI solutions, Intel understands how complex it is to create and deploy applications for deep learning workloads. That?s why we developed an integrated Deep Learning Reference Stack, optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processor and released the companion Data Analytics Reference Stack. Today, we?re proud to announce the next Deep Learning Reference Stack release, incorporating customer feedback and delivering an enhanced user experience with support for expanded use cases.

  • Clear Linux Releases Deep Learning Reference Stack 4.0 For Better AI Performance

    Intel's Clear Linux team on Wednesday announced their Deep Learning Reference Stack 4.0 during the Linux Foundation's Open-Source Summit North America event taking place in San Diego. Clear Linux's Deep Learning Reference Stack continues to be engineered for showing off the most features and maximum performance for those interested in AI / deep learning and running on Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs. This optimized stack allows developers to more easily get going with a tuned deep learning stack that should already be offering near optimal performance.