Gaming on Linux
Tags: Humble Store, Game Sale
Another week, another sale giving you a chance to pick up some Linux games you've been missing out on. Humble is currently running a sci-fi week sale!
Here's what they have for Linux going cheap:
- The Talos Principle - 80% off - Steam key only.
- Valley - 75% off - Steam key only.
- Stellaris - 60% off - Steam key only.
- The Signal From Tölva - 50% off - Humble says it offers a DRM free build and a Steam key.
- EVERSPACE - 40% off - Keys for both GOG and Steam. Linux version not yet on GOG, but should be coming with the full release as it's currently in beta for Linux on Steam. I'm a huge fan of this game.
- Avorion - 25% off
There's more, but those are my main picks of what's really worth a look. The sale ends in around 6 days, plenty of time to decide if you want to pick up anything.
Humble do have some other deals ongoing as well, like the Humble Strategy Bundle which is worth it for Tooth and Tail, this ends in 7 days. There's also the Humble Book Bundle: Game Studies by MIT Press for some interesting reading that's open for another 6 days.
One you absolutely don't want to miss, is the current Humble Monthly which has RUINER which recently gained a Linux version and Kerbal Space Program. It allows you to cancel any time, so you can simply do it for this bundle and be done with it, the choice is yours.
Tags: Steam, Action, Indie Game, Local co-op
Jump Gunners is a fantastic couch co-op experience, now it's also a good experience with AI players and a new Horde mode.
For those unfamiliar, it's a fast-paced shooter that feels a lot like Broforce, only it's not campaign-based and has a few different game modes. I quite enjoyed the game when I tested it in co-op with Sin, so I'm pleased to see it continue to get post-release updates as big as this. The AI does only work with the Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes so it's a little limited, but they are quite challenging to take down.
The developer put out a big update to only yesterday, here's some of the major changes in this version:
- BOT AI players for selected game modes
- Horde mode, survive against waves of AI players for as long as you can
- Tons of new levels added and existing levels re-balanced
- Weapon re-balances across the board, and increased bullet collision accuracy
- Major camera tracking improvements
- Gameplay re-balancing, fixed a lot of issues with the overall game feel
- Major performance updates, faster level load times
A great game for when you have friends over and now not too bad for when you don't. Find Jump Gunners on Steam.
Tags: Humble Store, Steam, Indie Game, Simulation, Early Access
PULSAR: Lost Colony is a space exploration game where you and friends (or AI) can team up to play a unique role on board a spaceship. It just had a pretty huge update!
This big update, has revamped all the character art to give them a much improved look, along with a new appearance menu and more unlockable cosmetic items. They also added two entirely new playable races: The Sylvassi and Humanoid Robots.
Each race has their own unique feature too, Humans can be revived once per "jump", Robots can be repaired with a tool and The Sylvassi can cloak themselves. The AI was of course updated to support these new features too.
Last time we jumped in, which was a long time ago myself, Samsai and Sin did have a fair bit of fun. The amount of content they've added in the last year is most impressive. The only thing they really need to do now, is make exploring planets more interesting and add some more story content.
Find the full update notes here.
Tags: Free Game, Strategy
For those interested in more traditional RTS games on Linux, Balanced Annihilation [Official Site] is another one to take a look at that was updated recently.
Like with Zero-K, Balanced Annihilation runs on the Spring RTS Engine, which originally started out as a 3D game engine for Total Annihilation. It has spawned many mods and new games, with Balanced Annihilation being one of the games that still resembles to Total Annihilation with graphics updates, balance changes and much more improved.
Note: The legal status of it is still a grey area, since it uses a fair bit from Total Annihilation.
BA 10.07 (and later a BA 10.08 hotfix) was released earlier this month, which aims to improve multiple areas of the game. The movement of the Kbot unit (they look like walking mechs) was improved, to make it feel less random. Aiming was improved too, as they no longer need to rotate their body and then begin whatever weapon activation that was needed, they now happen together (which makes a lot more sense).
Air Transporters were also made much more useful, you can now easily transport units across them map and tell all your transporters to unload and watch the magic as they should work nicely together.
They also updated some graphical effects in the game, like missile luanching looking awesome with a nice dust effect:
They weren't the only buildings and units to get a better firing animation either:
There's also a new voice system, which will notify you of important events like a nuclear missile being launched. On top of that, they also finally split the settings UI into tabs, which is much nicer.
See the full update notes here.
If you wish to download it, you just need Spring Lobby installed (available in most distributions), it will automatically download any game you're missing when you try to join any multiplayer game. Alternatively, you can download it directly here and plop the file in your home "~/.spring/games" for it to be detected.
Tags: Roguelike, Card Game, Coming Soon, Indie Game, Steam, Itch.io, GOG
Cultist Simulator [Official Site] looks like a very interesting narrative crafting digital card game, where dangers are many.
It's being developed by Alexis Kennedy, creator of Fallen London and Sunless Sea and it's another game funded on Kickstarter, where they managed to get £82K in funding. I must admit this took me by surprise, since I completely missed any mention of it before.
Check out the trailer:
Here's a little more about the game:
Cultist Simulator is a game of apocalypse and yearning from Alexis Kennedy, creator of Fallen London and Sunless Sea. Play as a seeker after unholy mysteries, in a 1920s-themed setting of hidden gods and secret histories. Perhaps you're looking for knowledge, or power, or beauty, or revenge. Perhaps you just want the colours beneath the skin of the world.
In this roguelike narrative card game, what you find may transform you forever. Every choice you make, from moment to moment, doesn't just advance the narrative - it also shapes it.
Become a scholar of the unseen arts. Search your dreams for sanity-twisting rituals. Craft tools and summon spirits. Indoctrinate innocents. Seize your place as the herald of a new age.
Tags: Strategy, Steam, Itch.io, Simulation
How long your villagrs live, depends on you. Keeping them fed, hydrated and happy with a home is key to their survival, but also now linked to how old they will reach when they die. Once they reach a certain age, they will stop working as village elders and pass on their knowledge in the form of XP to other villagers.
Additionally, the previous unstable build added a new "Corruption System", that the developer jokingly said "the game will randomly corrupt your save files". Obviously it doesn't, as one of the next lines read "Due to overwhelming negative feedback, the game no longer will randomly corrupt your save files the longer you survive in an attempt to increase difficulty.". Sadly though, some people didn't pay any attention to the joke.
Jokes aside, the actual Corruption System is a new mechanic that spreads across the map, consuming the world around you. Although this latest build has made it a little easier, as your village now has a new "corruption resistance" range. Monsters will also no longer spawn or attack during the day, instead they start at dusk getting more intense at night and returning when it's day time.
If you wish to try out all the new stuff, you need to manually opt-in to the beta on Steam. Find the full changelog for all the recent unstable builds here.
Interested in knowing how Rise to Ruins has been selling on Linux? See our previous article on that.
Tags: Platformer, Steam, Humble Store, Indie Game
Developed by QUICKTEQUILA, this is the third game in the Lovely Planet series, with all three of them now being available on Linux. I must admit, it does actually look quite sweet, take a look at their release trailer:
What makes it interesting is perhaps the simplicity of it. There's no skills to unlock, just you and the jump button against the world.
The way the developer describes it is also rather amusing "Is the game difficult? Yes, only if you're not good at it"—hah!
Humble Store links are affiliate links.
Tags: Simulation, RPG, Steam, Indie Game, Early Access, Strategy
SAELIG [Steam] is a hard game to properly describe, with it pulling in elements from many games. It has features found in simulation and building games as well as RPGs, it's also now on Linux.
We last wrote about the possibility of it arriving back in June of last year, where the developer laid out their intentions. Some in our comments were sceptical of it coming, so it's good to see another developer deliver!
In the forum post talking about Linux support, the developer simply said this yesterday to announce it:
That's all good. The current version includes a linux build. Just to let you all know.
There's no SteamOS icon yet, with the developer likely waiting on more reports of how it runs before adding it. It does seem that the build is properly live though to download and play.
About the game:
At its core SÆLIG is a trading and management game centred around the accumulation of wealth, and the prosperity of your household. You will be in charge of managing the life and affairs of a young Anglo-Saxon in the kingdom of Wessex, a kingdom at constant war with Vikings. It is in this world that you must find a way to thrive, and make a name for your family.
SÆLIG also incorporates many role-playing and simulation features, including: relationships, buffs, skills, health, missions, needs, character based interactions, and direct character control.
Also, in regards to "does it count as a Linux sale?" this is another developer who has said they saw sales from Linux, before it even had a Linux version. So the way Valve actually track it, still isn't entirely clear. Hopefully though, that will put your mind at ease about buying a game that has a Linux version, but no SteamOS icon.
Tags: Game Sale, GOG
The DRM-free store is having a pretty good sale with a lot of its most-wanted titles being significantly discounted.
There’s a lot to parse as 150+ titles and DLC are on sale. In case you don't know where to start, here are a few of my personal picks of Linux games that are worth playing:
Some of you may have tastes that differ from my own impeccable picks. In that case, don’t worry! There’s a large variety of games available on sale and it's more than likely that you'll find something that will appeal to you. When in doubt, make sure to check GOL in case we have a review or some thoughts on a game, it might help you decide if it's worth it.
This sale will be ongoing until April 23 so you have plenty of time to impulse buy whatever you like.
Please note that above links are affiliate links and GOL gets a little cut if you buy games using them.
Tags: Action, Review, Shoot 'em up, Steam
This eye-catching shoot ‘em up mixes constant action with Mesoamerican motifs and a story about revenge. I stuck with it despite dying a large amount of times and have some thoughts to share about the game.
Note: Key provided by developer
As you might expect, Pawarumi [Official Site] plays like your standard shump for the most part. That is to say, you’ll face a vast number of enemies as you scroll through stages and it’s up to you to dodge their fire while destroying as much as you can. There is a twist to the formula in the form of color-coded enemies and attacks. You can freely alternative between red, green and blue types of shots and these work in a rock-paper-scissors type manner when it comes to damaging enemies. Additionally, recharging shields depends on hitting foes with the same color shot as they are and powering up your bomb is done by hitting an enemy with the color they are resistant to.
It’s not the worst system in the world but I feel it fails to equal the simplicity of something like Ikaruga. Even after playing for a few hours, it never felt second nature to me to change colors on the fly to maximize damage. The shots themselves change characteristics depending on the color which muddles some of the decision-making process. So if the screen is swarmed with enemies, it doesn’t always make sense to switch to the limited-range red missiles. Even if a lot of the enemies are weak to red, it might be better to use the penetrating blue laser to damage multiple waves at once. It’s a system that’s slightly too clever for it’s own good and shows cracks during the more frantic segments of gameplay.
That said, I really, enjoyed the designs for enemies and the player’s own craft. They manage to be unique and easy to tell apart what type an enemy is at a glance. They all clearly are marked with their color so if you’re better than me at remembering what defeats what, you can quickly switch attacks accordingly. Bosses are likewise color-coded and usually have different segments that are affected by powers differently. These are exciting engagements that do a good job of pushing player’s to play well in order to survive without being too unfair.
While the difficulty curve of the game feels mostly right and depends on the setting chosen at the beginning of each run, there are still parts that can feel a little uneven in challenge. After thinking about what made those parts unexpectedly difficulty, I came to the conclusion that a big portion of it is due to the aspect ratio of the action. The widescreen format isn’t really suited for top-down scrolling games as there’s less time to react when either bullets or enemies fill the screen. There are places in some stages where there’s a lot going on in the background, including displaying enemy craft, which can make it confusing when enemies appear on the actual plane of action. It’s often not that important to have the extra amount of lateral space to move to as attacks tend to spread themselves out, anyhow.
Pawarumi also doesn’t employ the common feature of having terrain obstacles that you must navigate around for the most part either. That’s fine with me, a lot of great shumps don’t have that either, but I think it’s a recognition of the fact that it would be too unwieldy to implement given the vertical screen real estate. I know it may sound like I’m being too harsh on this fundamental design decision but I think that the enjoyment you’ll get out of this game heavily depends if you’re okay with the compromise made here: it’s a full screen with plenty of pretty action at the cost of it sometimes being unclear what is going on. Bullet hell type games usually fill the screen with projectiles but even then you can usually tell what you’re doing because there is enough contrast between bullets, stage background and player craft. This isn't always the case here and if you're serious about high scores and challenge, it might frustrate you.
Still, all in all, I had a great deal of fun with this one. It’s not easy to find good shoot ‘em ups on Linux, especially ones with such an interesting art direction. The music and sound design is also appropriate for what it’s trying to do. The story, while basic in execution, features a strange ensemble of characters and a futuristic setting that I found interesting despite the brevity of the exposition. It’s easy to recommend Pawarumi to people looking for a solid action game that runs well on Linux. I think some of the dogged veterans of the more hardcore shumps might find issues with some of the execution of the ideas, but it’s still a fun experience.
You can get Pawarumi on Steam.
Surviving Mars’ upcoming “Opportunity” update will be adding several goodies based on player feedback
Tags: Survival, Update, Strategy, Coming Soon
The next big patch for the strategy title is in the works. The developers have shared a little of what we can expect and it’s looking good.
Surviving Mars released earlier this year and it allows you to experience the challenges of colonizing the red planet. It’s a generally fun game that runs pretty well on Linux and I’ve personally sunk in about 30 hours since launch. Liam also seems to have been enjoying it and since release there have been several patches that have addressed some of the shortcomings of the game.
The upcoming patch, named Opportunity, will further change the game following the feedback developer Haemimont has gotten from the community. The biggest and most noticeable change is that domes can now be directly connected, allowing colonists to use goods and services as well as go to work in adjacent domes. Previously, the devs wanted ot make players carefully think about what they built in each dome and manage space but it had the result, in my experience, of making true dome specialization impractical. So I’m glad that they’ve changed this part of their game design and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. There will be losses in efficiency and output for interconnected domes so it won't be a no-brainer to specialize domes as much as possible either.
There will also be new sizes of storage buildings for resources and, more importantly, new late game buildings called workshops that offer an alternative outlet for your colonists. They can now pursue some of the finer vocations in life and work on art and music. It comes with a new milestone for those advanced colonies that have more or less conquered Mars and it shows that leisure isn’t just for Earthlings.
The last of the bigger changes is the introduction of game rules. Games will be even more custumizable in the beginning with optional rules that make the game harder or easier, or just outright different. This system takes inspiration from Paradox Development Studios’ title Crusader Kings 2 and it is open for modders to play around with much like the rest of the game.
You can read the full developer diary for yourself here. There’s still no release date for this upcoming patch but I can’t wait until it’s out. It’ll be a good excuse for me to jump back into the game.
GOG and Humble links are affiliate links
Tags: Action, Steam, Indie Game
Final Directive is a pretty good shooter that released for Linux back in February and we have a copy to give away.
Disclosure: Key provided by the developer.
Much like Nuclear Throne, Final Directive squeezes you into small areas full of enemies you need to take down. Unlike other similar shooters, it's a story-driven game with some rather nice comic cut-scenes to split the action up. The story is quite simple, so it doesn't really get in the way of the action at the heart of it.
To give you a good idea of what to expect, here's a quick look at one of the early levels:
It has tight controls and intense action, with a good variety in the types of enemies and weapons that you will encounter.
There's an endless mode, as well as the single-player campaign. Don't want to go alone? It also features local co-op support for both of those modes. You can find it on Steam, it's cheap too and it has 25% off right now.
How to win a copy?
Draw your best action hero in GIMP or your favourite image editor and link it in the comments. I will announce the winner on April 18th around 8PM BST.
Tags: Wine, Vulkan
For those keen to keep up with the exciting progress of the Vulkan-based compatibility layer for D3D 11 and Wine 'DXVK' [GitHub], you will be pleased to know a fresh release is now out.
Version 0.42 adds in:
- Added support for DXGI Gamma Control functions, which should fix the Gamma slider in The Witcher 3 (and likely other games too)
- Avoid compiling the same DXBC shader multiple times
- Implemented missing HLSL semantics for tessellation and geometry shaders
There's also five bugs that were reported as fixed which affected: World of Warships to fix a crash where MSAA was enabled, Ni No Kuni II had a fix for a bunch of missing textures and Overwatch should now show enemy outlines.
The progress here has been absolutely amazing, here's another video produced by GOL supporter and YouTuber Xpander showing off F.E.A.R. 3 using Wine Staging and DXVK:
Very impressive stuff. Obviously we would all prefer to get native and supported games, but for the times where clearly a Linux port isn't going to be made or for a new Linux user not wanting to lose access to their favourite Windows games, Wine is a great tool.
Tags: Steam, Sports
The first Rocket League tournament we ran went quite well, the second not so much. So for the next two tournaments we're going to give them a bit more exposure.
When are they?
- April 20th, 9PM Pacific Time/4AM UTC - US West
- April 21st, 9PM BST/8PM UTC - Europe
Hopefully, with an event for both Europe and the US, it might make it easier for some of you to join in. There's no password on either, as I believe that was a barrier on our second event for quick entry. All matches are Soccar, with a max of 64 players and a best of three.
I will be personally joining the EU event on April 21st, not that I expect to make it past the first match like last time…
Note: You need to turn up a good ten minutes before it starts, to actually register. You cannot enter either once they have begun!
Tags: Survival, Steam
Now that Rust is out of Early Access, their big monthly updates are quite interesting. The latest added in plenty of fun.
It's been teased for a long time, but the Chinook Event is finally in the game officially! This doesn't replace the traditional helicopter, it's an additional server event.
Be warned though, there are AI scientists aboard and they are prepared to defend it. It will do a run through some in-game monuments and then eventually release the payload it's carrying. What makes it interesting, is that it's not a traditional box that it drops. Instead, the loot will require some time to disarm the locking mechanism, which will make it very interesting for groups going after it.
In additon to that, there's now boats! They can be found along the shores and require low grade fuel to operate. However, act quick as they decay if they're left outside for too long. It's not enough just have boats though, to spice things up there's now floating junk piles in the water full of loot to find as well.
They also did another pass at the vegetation in Rust, adding in more variety to the types of trees you will see as well as making forests a bit more common and more dense. There's less chance of seeing boring and barren empty fields and more of this:
Find the full update notes here.
Find the details on our servers here. Be aware, our community-run Rust server is "friendly PvP" not the traditional experience you would find in official Facepunch Rust servers. Essentially, don't repeatedly go for the same people and take all their stuff all the time. The server is wiped on the first Thursday of each month, which is forced by the developer and helps keep it fun.
Tags: Coming Soon, Strategy
BATTLETECH, the turn-based strategy game from Harebrained Schemes and Paradox Interactive has a new story trailer.
Sadly, the Linux version was delayed by Harebrained Schemes so we won't see it for a few months. The Windows release is coming up this month on April 24th.
It does look and sound like it's going to be a great game for those who enjoy turn-based strategy. With over 30 BattleMechs to choose from with plenty of upgrade options, along with managing your own mercenary company it's going to be interesting.
It will have a single-player, a skirmish mode as well as online PvP to play against friends and the wider community.
As I said before, I've no doubt Harebrained Schemes will deliver the Linux version as promised. Absolutely no reason to doubt them in this case, hopefully with the delay the Linux version will see plenty of polish.
Tags: Battle Royale, Early Access, Steam
Begin warming up the hype machine, as it looks like Battle Royale game 'Darwin Project' [Steam] might be getting a Linux version.
I posted about this one recently, as the developer actually said one of their team would love to do a Linux version. This might actually be a bit closer to reality, as TuxDB (thanks for the tip NuSuey) has shown. Looking further into it on SteamDB, it seems there's both a "linux" and "devellinuxshipping" branch (versions) now present with hints starting from April 12th. Obviously nothing is confirmed until the developer says so, but it's a damn good sign to see all this.
About the game:
Darwin Project takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic landscape in the Northern Canadian Rockies. As preparation for an impending Ice Age, a new project, half science experiment half live-entertainment, is launched. It's called "Darwin Project" and it challenges 10 participants to survive the cold and fight to the death in a treacherous arena.
I actually opened a post on Steam back on March 1st, before it released in Early Access as I was following it—hoping. If you want this to be on Linux, be sure to post there to let them know.
Wine 3.6 is now officially available with some new features and a healthy dose of bug fixes to keep Wine users happy.
In terms of feature highlights, here's what's in:
- Support for PNG format icons.
- Support for 1D textures.
- More infrastructure for high DPI support.
- OLE data cache improvements.
This time around, it seems quite a few bugs were noted as fixed, 53 in fact. Some notable bugs that got fixed were seven specific to BattlEye, along with multiple games requiring a "d3d11_device_CreateTexture1D" implementation (Need For Speed: The Run, Sniper Elite V2, Overwatch, Battlefield 3), along with fixes for Cuphead and plenty more. As a reminder though, not all noted bugs were specifically fixed in this release, some were fixed earlier and only updated now.
Quite an exciting release in terms of bug fixes there.
Tags: Action, FPS, Crowdfunding, Indie Game
I'm sure plenty were worried about the break Nightdive Studios were taking with the new System Shock reboot, however this latest Kickstarter update sounds promising.
In the update, Stephen Kick, CEO of Nightdive Studios notes how they've let go a few developers while keeping a "concentrated team" full of people who worked on the original Unity demo. Kick himself has even taken over as game director, so hopefully he can get everyone to stick to their vision of the original System Shock.
They also shared some new shots:
They clearly state that it will have "more reliable performance and higher fidelity visuals" thanks to the switch to Unreal Engine. They also state that they haven't started over completely, as they're re-using a majority of the work that was already done and it sounds like progress has been good. So good in fact, that they will be sharing a private test build with the highest tier backers in September.
In regards to funding, they said they have all they need to finish the game. It's an ambitious project and reboots can easily end up nothing like the original for better or worse, let's hope it's good.
Tags: Sandbox, City Builder, Action, Steam, Indie Game
Voxel Turf [Steam], the urban sandbox that's a little like Minecraft with elements of a city-builder and GTA has just had a huge update.
Just released today with update 1.1.0, the AI has become a whole lot smarter! Now, if you decided to hire some goons to help you out, you can actually order them around. They can be set to follow you, guard a location, go to a waypoint and return to their home base. This opens the game up quite a bit more for human players, since they can hire a small army to attack their enemies if they wish.
Additionally, AI factions are now able to properly build. They can establish new bases and construct new entire regions in a city. The developer said that they won't do it without reason though, if you have as many bases as them or you approach their Networth.
There's also another game mode "Strat Zero", which is where up to 16 people can start on an empty map and build a city from scratch, but in this mode the AI will start wars. They say it's a mix between the other Turf Zero and Strategy modes.
Voxel Turf has also seen a major tweak to construction costs, with them all being reduced quite a lot. This is so players can get right into the meat of the game, without being forced through high-paying missions first.
I've been really impressed with how the developer of Voxel Turf has improved the base game and expanded upon it since the initial release. At a glance, they've added:
- 1.0.28 – Waypoints appear in the world, new bandit bases, improved mouse code, strategic pause
- 1.0.26 – Boats, Hovercrafts, Marinas and Hovercraft shops. Hovercrafts can boost by holding sprint or hover by holding jump
- 1.0.23 – Improved AI pathfinding, added headshots
- 1.0.19 – Blocks crumble when destroyed and go flying when explosions happen
- 1.0.18 – You can place fortifications as bases from the construction screen
- 1.0.14 – Massive FPS boost due to cpu/gpu binding opimisations. Can result in up to 3x improvement in frame rate
- 1.0.11 – Removing blocks returns the item to your inventory
- Plus assorted performance upgrades and bugfixes
Honestly, it's great. I enjoy it, my son adores it and I'm sure more of you will when you check it out too.