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The latest articles from GamingOnLinux
Updated: 1 week 2 days ago

With a few days left on the Kickstarter, Ova Magica has been an incredible success

Monday 22nd of February 2021 12:09:46 PM

Making games is hard, marketing games and cutting through the noise is just as hard but for Claudia Gorsky they've managed both amazingly well with Ova Magica.

A blending of many genres including farming, life-sim and monster taming with a battle system - Ova Magica sounds like it's going to be a weirdly interesting game to play through. Perhaps that's why it's doing so well on Kickstarter with a campaign set to end on February 26, the €20,000 goal was smashed completely with well over €200,000 from thousands of backers helping to make the game a reality.

With the current funding level it's ticked off a bunch of stretch-goals to add in extra features which include: a marriage system, character customization, the ability to play with blob creatures, an additional blob world, a photo mode, the ability to expand your house and much more.

It very much sounds like Stardew Valley in 3D with monster raising and combat. Ticks quite a few boxes for me I must admit. Linux support is confirmed too and clearly stated.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Interested? You can follow it on Kickstarter and Steam. Plus it's listed on our dedicated crowdfunding page.

As always, we will keep you up to date on development and the eventual release

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Puzzle-battler Aloof is launching on March 25 and it looks fab, do try the demo

Monday 22nd of February 2021 11:37:23 AM

A puzzle-battler? Think like Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Puyo Puyo Tetris but with a new and fresh spin and that's what you're going to get with Aloof on March 25.

In the world of Aloof you summon and defend small islands while you're building up combos against your opponent. Unlike other similar games, you have more control over the pieces as they move wherever you want them to and they do not start dropping by themselves. You can even flush away all your pieces to get a new set. The developer said it's not a game to kick back and relax with, instead it's about keeping up with your opponent and staying on your toes.


Watch video on YouTube.com

From my time spent playing the demo I do think it has a genuinely nice take on it, and I'm thoroughly curious to see how well this works online which I've yet to find a match for with the demo but that's not surprising given it's a niche title. The single-player in the current demo at least gives a really good taste of it across a few levels. I do also like the idea that you can play single-player while waiting for an online match, it's a real nice touch.

As for the actual gameplay mechanics: being able to have full control over piece positioning positioning along with being able to spin your board around to build on both sides is pretty slick too, enabling you to not mess up work towards filling existing shapes. This absolute control you have over pieces being able to move them in all directions, along with stick pieces together mid-air as long as they match is great. Unlike other games, pieces don't fall with the gravity. So if you're building up to hit a particular shape you can just move a piece next to it, and then press the direction and the matching pieces then just stick it's pretty sweet.

Game Modes:

  • Full solo or co-op campaign with puzzle levels, matches versus AI, rescue missions and bosses!
  • Play against your friends in 1v1 or 2v2 matches (offline).
  • Beat the online adventure by defeating 3 opponents in a row, but lose and start all over (1v1 or 2v2).
  • Or practice the online adventure against AI opponents, get familiar with the levels and tune your tactics (1v1 or 2v2).

You can wishlist / follow Aloof on Steam for release on March 25. There's also a demo available.

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Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition returns on June 16

Monday 22nd of February 2021 10:50:16 AM

Ready for a bunch more demos, livestreams and more? The Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition is set to return on June 16 and Valve are looking for developers to get involved.

Just like the previous events it's a multi-day thing running from June 16 until June 22. For us players, it's a chance to try out a slice of upcoming games that might interest us, for developers it's that all important exposure that's hard to come by these days and a good way to gather feedback too.

Going by the dates of the Steam Summer Sale, it might even lead directly into the next big Steam sale too with the sale last year beginning on June 25.

For developers who want to get their demo into the Steam Game Festival they have until April 14 to register and to be eligible here's the criteria (source):

  • Have a Steamworks developer account in good standing
  • Have a game you plan to release on Steam after the event and before January, 2022. If your game is releasing after that date, you may register for a future event.
  • Set up and release a playable demo for the duration of the Steam Game Festival. You may choose to retire the demo after the festival concludes or leave the demo available
  • Have not participated with the same game in either the Winter 2021 or Autumn 2020 Steam Game Festivals.

What are you hoping to see and play during the 2021 Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition? I'm still sucked in by the Loop Hero demo which appeared during the Steam Game Festival back in February. Looking forward to seeing that release on March 4!

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Take-Two Interactive hit the DMCA nuke on GTA III and Vice City reverse engineered effort

Monday 22nd of February 2021 10:16:14 AM

It was only recently that we picked up the news of both GTA III and Vice City getting a fully working reverse engineered game engine, along with plenty of upgrades. Sadly, and expectedly, it got nuked from orbit.

Even though it required you to own the game assets, so you would have needed to purchase a copy of either to use the re3 and reVC game reimplementations that wasn't enough to satisfy Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., the parent company of Rockstar Games. They've now given it the DMCA treatment, with the main repository and all known forks at the time to be taken offline on GitHub.

Sad but fully expected. Big publishers really don't like these sorts of projects, even though they can help revive their older games and perhaps even get them more sales. Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights are a legal minefield at the best of times, so the only way we may get this treatment in future is a fully clean-room reimplementation more like OpenMW for Morrowind or OpenRA for classic Westwood RTS games.

Perhaps now someone can pick up OpenRW again.

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Linux Mint want to remind you to run updates

Monday 22nd of February 2021 10:05:59 AM

In a fresh blog post, Linux Mint's leader Clem Lefebvre has written about some statistics on people running out of date software and warned people to ensure they're running updates.

While Linux users often claim they know what they're doing, they're smarter than Windows users and more (I've seen a lot of claims over the years…) plenty still seem to delay or just not run updates it seems. When you hear about new security problems all the time, it's never been more important to stay up to date. Especially your web browser, the last thing you want is to have that and your entire online life compromised!

In the post Lefebvre mentions that only around 30% of users updated their web browser in less than a week, although perhaps much more alarming is that between "5% and 30% of users run Linux Mint 17.x" which has not seen security updates for two years since it reached EOL (end of life).

0% of users should run Linux Mint 17.x! Anything above is not good, whether it’s 5% or 30%.

The actual statistics they have should be taken with your usual pinch of salt, as they vary depending on where you look but either way it's a big reminder to ensure your computers are up to date. Just being on Linux doesn't make you suddenly secure - remember that.

Perhaps it's not surprising though, with Linux Mint often recommended to complete newbies and older users trying out Linux. If you have done a setup for a friend or family member, perhaps give them a nudge about running updates eh?

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Linux lands on Mars with Perseverance and Ingenuity

Monday 22nd of February 2021 09:50:34 AM

Here is your morning dose of miscellaneous Linux news. Not gaming but still very cool - Linux has officially landed on Mars with the Perseverance Rover. Before we've been able to hit that mythical year of the Linux desktop, heck before Wayland has even been able to replace X11 on Linux desktops, we have now managed to blast Linux to another planet far away.

If you're not even the slightest space nerd like me you might be a bit confused, NASA just recently landed the Perseverance Rover on the red planet. That's cool by itself but Perseverance came with a rather fancy little Helicopter named Ingenuity, which according to NASA is "the first aircraft humanity has sent to another planet to attempt powered, controlled flight".

Image Credit - Nasa

As it turns out, it's powered by your friendly neighbourhood penguin — Linux! In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, Timothy Canham who is a Embedded Flight Software Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mentioned:

This the first time we’ll be flying Linux on Mars. We’re actually running on a Linux operating system. The software framework that we’re using is one that we developed at JPL for cubesats and instruments, and we open-sourced it a few years ago. So, you can get the software framework that’s flying on the Mars helicopter, and use it on your own project. It’s kind of an open-source victory, because we’re flying an open-source operating system and an open-source flight software framework and flying commercial parts that you can buy off the shelf if you wanted to do this yourself someday.

So how long will it be before there's a new game about flying a little helicopter on Mars?

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Open source RTS 0 A.D. Alpha 24 is out now with plenty of new features

Saturday 20th of February 2021 05:18:15 PM

After a few years of waiting, Wildfire Games have released a big upgrade for the free and open source real-time strategy game 0 A.D. with Alpha 24 now available. Still one of the most impressive open source games around, their attention to detail on it is impressive.

This latest version is named Xšayāršā, after Xerxes the Great, ruler of the Achaemenid Empire from 485 to 465 BC.

Quite a feature-filled upgrade with highlights including building snapping, improvements to the renderer, a hotkey editor, unit formation improvements, status effects, improvements to the online Lobby system, new models, new skirmish maps, unit behaviour improvements and more. Release trailer is below:


Watch video on YouTube.com

One of the features that makes me most curious about this release is the inclusion of a "Reinforcement-learning interface", which they say can use Machine Learning to teach the AI how to play. Sounds very interesting and the team is rather excited to see it included as it allows for the setup of more complex environments without having to recode everything. Looks like we might see some fun AI to fight against in future.

Quite a lot of rendering improvements were made too, along with bumping up the lowest possible OpenGL requirement to run it to 2.0 so it should still work on pretty old GPUs. With this they added in anti-aliasing support with FXAA and MSAA now possible plus there's also a Contrast Adaptive Sharpening filter now available.

Now that this long development cycle is over, which included an upgrade to some major internals, they're hoping to be a lot more regular with releases.

The full list of changes can be found in the release post.

Find out more on the official site.

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Direct3D 12 to Vulkan translation lib VKD3D-Proton 2.2 is out, prepares DirectX Raytracing

Friday 19th of February 2021 09:13:20 PM

We just recently had the DXVK 1.8 release for Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan and now we also have the VKD3D-Proton 2.2 release landing as well. As the name suggests, this is the project especially made for the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer to work with newer games that use Direct3D 12.

According to the developer, the VKD3D-Proton 2.2 update is only a "maintenance release which fixes bugs and regressions" but as a big step it also "unblocks significant future feature development" so things shall continue to get exciting on it.

For the Windows games Death Stranding and Cyberpunk 2077 they have a workaround replaced with a "more correct and performant implementation" and there's also a workaround removed for Assassin's Creed Valhalla that's also no longer needed.

Seems like Cyberpunk 2077 should work better overall now too, as they mentioned their inability to reproduce a previous GPU hang. It's not clear if the game was fixed or if their work in VKD3D-Proton with a "memory allocation rewrite in 2.2" fixed it. Either way it seems to work okay now.

For other game specific improvements you can expect Horizon Zero Dawn to have better screen space reflections on water surfaces, DIRT 5 can get in game but not playable yet and stability on AMD Polaris cards should be improved in "certain titles".

On top of all that Variable Rate Shading tier 1 is supported now and for the big one — there's been a lot of background work added to support DirectX Raytracing but it's not supported just yet. The previously mentioned memory allocation rewrite has paved the way for more progress on it. As more and more games add in Ray Tracing or release with it, along with AMD and NVIDIA having capable hardware and Vulkan having an official Ray Tracing API - it's vital work.

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Collabora share big progress on the Wine compatibility layer with Wayland

Friday 19th of February 2021 03:34:07 PM

Collabora have shared a great progress update on getting Wine working directly with Wayland, which is going to eventually replace X11 on most Linux distributions.

Notes for newbies: Wine is a translation layer that can run Windows games and applications on Linux, Wine is a huge part of what makes Steam Play Proton do anything. Wayland is the next-generation replacement for the ancient and now mostly unmaintained X server on Linux.

Originally announced in late 2020, Collabora has been developing a Wayland driver for Wine. The idea is to hopefully remove the need for XWayland and remove one more layer between things causing more complexity and likely performance hits. Collabora engineer Alexandros Frantzis has now put up an RFC (request for comments) onto the Wine development mailing list, so they can hopefully find the best way on progressing it and getting it upstreamed directly into the Wine project.

The focus of this update is to support a number of new features that are useful for applications and games, and which have also been considered potential integration pain points for the Wayland driver. These are copy/paste, drag-and-drop and support for changing the display mode.

Copy/paste support works well in both directions (native Wayland apps <=> Wine apps) with many common formats already supported. Drag and drop works in the direction of native Wayland apps to Wine apps for many common formats.

Implementing the display mode change is particularly interesting since Wayland doesn't allow applications to directly change the mode in the display hardware. However a similar effect can be achieved for particular surfaces by scaling in the compositor (typically using the GPU). In case of a Wine mode that doesn't match the current compositor mode, the driver instructs the compositor to scale the window contents so that they appear as if the hardware display mode had been changed while respecting the aspect ratio.

You can see more in a video demonstration below:


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There's no stopping the Viking invasion as Valheim hits 3 million sales

Friday 19th of February 2021 03:18:57 PM

Valheim has truly become an absolute runaway hit. A survival game about Vikings running around in co-op chopping down trees and facing off against big bosses.

Less than three weeks since the Early Access release, Iron Gate announced today that it's now sold three million copies. This is just absurd but it's genuinely well deserved. This isn't some AAA or even AA team with a huge budget, Iron Gate is a tiny team backed up by Coffee Stain Publishing.

The team shared some other records they've managed to hit recently too including over 60,000 user reviews with an Overwhelmingly Positive rating, they're now doing so well they're rising up the Steam Top 250 and it has been one of the most popular games on Twitch lately too. There's just no stopping it.

A lot more content is planned for the game too, some of which PC Gamer managed to get from the developer after a recent interview. New content will include more objects to build homes with, new exploration encounters, ship customization and a more fleshed out ocean, new biomes and so on. Quite a bit to be excited about!

At this point, you don't really need me to recommend you go and buy it do you? Well, you should. It is a huge amount of fun and the majority of my time has been spent alone in solo because it's been fun to discover all the secrets of the world. Being able to take your character online to whatever server you want is a big bonus too, just try not to die.


Seems to have caused a surge for LinuxGSM too, the really great tool for managing game servers. Going by their stats we can see Valheim is now the most popular game being hosted with their kit with over 750 servers live.

Have you been enjoying Valheim? Be sure to show us your great constructions in the comments, we would love to see what you've been building.

With full Linux support you can buy Valheim on Steam.

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Crusader Kings II gets a monthly subscription for all the DLC

Friday 19th of February 2021 02:57:23 PM

Paradox Interactive are branching out with revenue models and they're now doing a subscription for Crusader Kings II, which itself is free to play. Even though Crusader Kings III is out now, the classic Crusader Kings II is tried and tested with multiple thousands of people still playing it regularly. It being free also makes it a good entry point for Paradox strategy titles.

The subscription service is now live on Steam, giving access to everything that the game has to offer. Like other Paradox Development Studios titles, it has a lot of DLC available and it can be a little overwhelming on both the cost and what to pick from. If you wanted to buy all of it you're looking about £228 whereas the subscription is £3.99 / $4.99 / €4.99 per month.

For that monthly sub you get:

  • 13 major expansions, including the fierce Norse of The Old Gods, the eastern riches of Rajas of India, and the scheming vassals of Conclave
  • 12 unit packs, including new army sprites for your medieval forces
  • 14 music packs, including two heavy metal scores
  • 10 portrait packs of clothing and faces for rulers around the world
  • The Game Converter, which lets you export your saved game to Europa Universalis IV
  • The Crusader Kings II Ruler Designer, so you can create your own starting monarch
  • and many more improvements to the core game experience

It remains entirely optional, with DLC purchases not going away.

Paradox confirmed they continue to look into making the same subscription system available to other titles.


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It's officially game over for Rochard with studio Recoil Games shutting

Friday 19th of February 2021 12:47:56 PM

Recoil Games appear to have filed for bankruptcy a while ago and sadly a casualty of that is their game Rochard, which has now been removed for sale.

Rochard was an award-winning side-scroller puzzle-platformer, originally released in 2011. It was also part of the early indie game push for Linux, thanks to it being part of the Humble Indie Bundle 6 back in 2012 it was ported to Linux especially for the bundle. Not only that, it was also one of the first commercial Unity games (possibly the actual first) to be built for Linux too, so it holds something of a special place in our history.

Sadly, you can no longer buy it officially.

In a short announcement post on Steam, the developer said this:

Recoil Games has applied for bankruptcy quite a while ago. We've been trying hard to find a new home for the game. Unfortunately there were no offers that would have enabled the bankruptcy estate to close the deal. The bankruptcy estate will soon be closed and the publishing agreement with Steam will be terminated.

This means Rochard can no longer be purchased on Steam. However, the game will remain available in your Steam libraries as is.


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Portal 2 from Valve gets a big update with Vulkan support from DXVK

Friday 19th of February 2021 10:44:14 AM

Portal 2, the classic first-person puzzle game from Valve available on Steam, just had a huge upgrade come out of nowhere along with Vulkan API support powered by the DXVK project.

To stop any rumours: no, this is not Source 2 or anything of the sort. Portal 2 by default uses Direct3D 9 on Windows and OpenGL on Linux. For the Linux version, original Source engine games like this used a translation layer called ToGL to translate D3D9 to OpenGL.

With this update it now includes a special native build of DXVK along with some extra dedicated Source tweaks, which allows you to run Portal 2 with "-vulkan" as a launch option to switch it over to Vulkan. It might give you better performance depending on your setup, although the OpenGL build already performed quite well overall.

That's not all though, there's a lot more included in this update. For the Linux version it's especially great, as there's a few very specific fixes done for us including: it actually has an icon now, a Linux startup crash was solved, they fixed a credits corruption on Linux, a few intro videos weren't playing on Linux, BEEMod should work better on Linux and the game should no longer appear in the top left corner of the screen for some Linux players.

Apart from that, here's what else has changed:

Improvements:
  - Improved compile time for Perpetual Training Initiative puzzles.
  - Improved advanced video settings descriptions.
  - Made the game Hi-DPI aware.
  - Smarter default video settings.
  - Improved resolution of player avatars throughout the game.
  - Players can now be invited to play co-op on controller.
  - Button text contrast and padding has been improved when using a controller.
  - Implemented a 360° Spin action.
  - The portalgun is now correctly affected by dynamic lights (projected textures) in the scene.
  - Improved client-side prediction for coop play.
  - Added the ability for workshop levels to pack particles into their map with a particles/map_manifest.txt
  - Misc. rendering optimizations.
  - Removed the "Trading Coming Soon" button.
Bug Fixes:
  - Fixed a crash in the PeTI if you placed a light strip above a laser catcher on the floor and linked it to a fizzler.
  - Fixed the fizzler not playing the retract animation when turned off in new PeTI maps.
  - Fixed being able to copy 'uncopyable' items in the PeTI leading to invalid/broken levels.
  - Fixed some items in PeTI not maintaining their portalability state when expanding the chamber boundaries.
  - Fixed a crash if PeTI avatars could not be retrieved.
  - Fixed Cave Johnson's lines not progressing when playing queued workshop levels.
  - Fixed a memory leak that could occur when changing levels.
  - Fixed a bug where you could no longer ping/taunt via mouse/keyboard if you have ever used a controller.
  - Fixed the ping menu being visible when quick pinging on controller.
  - Fixed the game instructor not respecting input types for respective players in split-screen mode.
  - Fixed rumble not being respected for respective players in split-screen mode.
  - Fixed the wrong avatar being used if playing coop after playing a workshop level.
  - Fixed the OnFiredPortal2 output not firing.
  - Fixed some text being duplicated on the screen multiple times.

You can buy and play Portal 2 on Steam.

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D3D9, D3D10 and D3D11 to Vulkan translation layer DXVK 1.8 is out now

Friday 19th of February 2021 10:12:58 AM

Usually used for Wine and Steam Play Proton, the translation DXVK layer that moves Direct3D 9, Direct3D 10 and Direct3D 11 to Vulkan has a new release available with DXVK 1.8. The first release since December 2020, while a lot of work is currently ongoing with VKD3D-Proton to do the same for Direct3D 12 to Vulkan.

Nice to see it quite alive and well though, and you're likely to see smaller updates for years to come due to thousands of games being released ever year and some end up needing tweaks.

Here's what's new in DXVK 1.8:

  • Fixed some build system warnings with newer Meson versions.
  • CPU-based Vulkan implementations such as Lavapipe will now always be enumerated last. This should avoid issues on systems without a dedicated GPU where games could potentially default to a CPU rasterizer.
  • Optimized image layout transitions, which may improve performance on Intel GPUs in some games.
  • D3D9: Improved performance of texture uploads and occlusion queries in some cases.
  • D3D9: Fixed an issue where supported back buffer formats would be reported incorrectly.
  • DXGI: Enabled multi-monitor support. This requires a relatively recent Wine version with XRandR 1.4 support to work correctly.
  • D3D11: Fixed a number of reference counting issues that could potentially lead to stability issues (PR #1887, PR ##1888).
  • D3D11: Improved correctness of NaN handling in shaders with VK_KHR_shader_float_controls, and removed most app workarounds setting d3d11.enableRtOutputNanFixup.
  • Enabled d3d11.enableRtOutputNanFixup by default on older RADV versions.
  • Enabled d3d11.invariantPosition option by default to fix common Z-fighting issues, especially on RDNA2 GPUs.
  • Atelier Ryza 2: Added workaround for video playback breaking D3D11 rendering, like in other games of the series.
  • Battle Engine Aquila: Fixed broken textures (PR #1759).
  • Dark Messiah of Might & Magic: Work around out-of-memory issues on startup.
  • Everquest: Work around performance issues.
  • F1 2018/2020: Work around broken compute shaders causing artifacts on AMD drivers, similar to F1 2019 (#1897).
  • Hitman 3: Work around AMDAGS issues on AMD GPUs similar to Hitman 2 (PR #1909).
  • Nioh 2: Work around black screen issues.
  • Tomb Raider Legend: Work around performance issues (#1685).

As a reminder: if you're making use of Steam Play Proton which includes DXVK - you can upgrade this by itself, without waiting for a new Proton release. To do so you can just overwrite the existing DXVK files with the release download of DXVK 1.8. You can find your Proton install somewhere like this (depending on your Steam Library drives):

path-to-your/SteamLibrary/steamapps/common/Proton x.x/dist

Where x.x is whatever Proton version installed you wish to give a new DXVK.

Inside there you will see "lib" and "lib64", for 32bit and 64bit. Inside each of those, there's a "wine" folder and inside there is a "dxvk" folder and that's where you replace the files with new versions. Do so at your own risk but it's usually harmless. If you mess anything up, one way to ensure it gets reinstalled cleanly is just to remove the "/dist" folder.

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Mutropolis is a sci-fi adventure where you revisit Earth in the year 5000

Thursday 18th of February 2021 10:00:08 PM

Set in the year 5000 when we're all living on Mars after some kind of great disaster on Earth, it's time to go back and discover what's still left. Note: key provided by the publisher.

"It is the year 5000, and the greatest achievements in human history are forgotten. The pyramids, the Mona Lisa, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – forgotten.

Forgotten by everyone except Henry Dijon and his ragtag team of archaeologists. They left Mars to dig up lost treasures on the wild and inhospitable Planet Earth. Life is sweet, until Henry’s professor is kidnapped, and thing start to get... weird."


Watch video on YouTube.com

Featuring over 50 hand-drawn scenes full of characters, full English voice over with text translations for Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese this is the debut adventure game from Madrid-based artists Beatriz Gascón and Juan Pablo González who make up Pirita Studio. For a first game, it's definitely on the impressive side and crammed full of charm.

It does start a little abruptly though after the intro video but once you get going, it's actually quite engrossing. Very much a classic styled point and click adventure to the core, with you hunting for items and trying to piece together clues to progress. The way it turns into an amusing investigation to find your missing trowel was genuinely quite funny to solve, especially with the well-done voice acting and the animations - it all came together nicely and did give me a chuckle going through it to find it. Mutropolis is thoroughly quirky and leans right into it to great effect.

Towards the end of Act I though, things definitely take a turn for the weird. You'll be hard-pressed to put it down, I certainly wanted to just keep on going to figure out what exactly was going on. The silliness of it thankfully keeps on going, even with the darker more urgent tone the story takes with plenty of witty dialogue and some amusing bits of dubious history.

For the Linux version, for now you're going to need to play it in windowed mode due to a fullscreen bug with the Visionaire Studio game engine. However, a fix for that should be coming within the next week or so. Alternatively it may work okay in Proton if no fullscreen bugs you enough.

Note: if you need to adjust the config file manually it can be found in "/.local/share/Pirita Studio/Mutropolis/".

A really easy recommendation for point and click adventure game fans.

You can buy Mutropolis from Humble Store, GOG and Steam for $16.49 / $19.99 / €19.99.

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Learning Factory is like Factorio with lots of cats and plenty of automation

Thursday 18th of February 2021 06:21:33 PM

Combining the ideas found in Machine Learning with automation and Factorio styled conveyor belts everywhere, Learning Factory from Luden.io has entered Early Access.

This is from the same developer who created while True: learn(), a popular and positively rated puzzle/simulation that also deals with Machine Learning to try and understand your cat. Seems Luden.io have a bit of a theme here, as Learning Factory is all about a certain genius building a factory on Mars to try and work through understanding cats. Yep.


Watch video on YouTube.com

What you'll be doing:

  • Renovate an abandoned factory on Mars
  • Design and automate production chains
  • Produce and sell exquisite goods to cats
  • Collect and analyze data with Machine Learning
  • Scale and make the factory more efficient
  • Get deeper into real Machine Learning and cats

According to the developer it's all backed up by real Machine Learning, and is in plenty of ways educational on the topic. It includes links to hand-picked videos on it, plus an in-game wiki for extra learning material. They plan to keep in in Early Access for at least one year and probably longer.

For the current version they say you can get easily 4-6 hours out of it with two machine learning models "Linear Regression and Polynomial Regression". There's already multiple types of cats to deal with, a bunch of included comics, a research tree to go through with 33 nodes and some pre-generated worlds. For the full version they're going to be adding in procedural worlds, 20+ hours of gameplay, Neural Networks-based machine learning models and much more.

I played quite a lot of the early builds and even back then it was very promising, although if definitely felt quite Factorio-like so I'm keen to see how far they've taken it into the very unique sounding direction. The developer has just sent us a key so we will be taking a look in future.

You can buy Learning Factory on Steam.

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Open-world, turn-based RPG 'Relic Space' gets a trailer and release window

Thursday 18th of February 2021 04:41:38 PM

Love turn-based tactical battles in space? Well the upcoming Relic Space is showing a huge amount of promise and it will be entering Early Access later this year. Briefly mentioned here on GOL recently, it now has plenty more information up along with an actual trailer so you get an idea of what it will be like.

Taking place in the year 2612, Relic Space features more than 30 distinct regions that players can explore by customizing and upgrading their very own ships. Beyond grid-based, tactical turn-based combat familiar to roguelike fans, Relic Space also features a narrative filled with multi-part missions and their accompanying narrative arcs, realistic damage models and physics in space – along with status effects for individual items. Each weapon, engine or utility item can catch fire, leak power, and generally be buffed and debuffed. Equipment items also affect the ship in unique ways – including manual adjustments for heat and energy levels!


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 “This is a momentous time for Relic Space. The Alpha build is ready, and we just released a brand-new teaser. When I’m able to stop and think for more than a few minutes, I often recall the early days when Relic Space was more of a standard roguelike, with simple 2D graphics. That didn’t last long! My vision for the game soon evolved to actually transcend the genre by including 3D visuals and the narrative depth usually associated with RPGs. That’s the ambitious game I intend to deliver throughout Early Access and beyond.” – Jonah Wilberg (Founder, Fourfold Games)

I've personally played a bunch of the Linux Alpha build provided by Novy PR and it's impressive. They've totally nailed the combat feel, thanks to the movement system and the auto-firing mechanics that do feel as slick as the movement found in Jupiter Hell. After watching through The Expanse series, this is exactly the type of tactical RPG I've been needing.

Planned Features:

  • Tactical turn-based space combat: “One-tile-per-turn” mechanics inspired by traditional roguelikes.
  • Flexible development: Acquire more powerful ships and equip them with countless weapon and utility combinations. Earn new piloting abilities through a flexible skill tree.
  • Deep simulation: Realistic combat mechanics simulate damage to individual ship components. Each weapon, engine or utility item can catch fire, leak power, and acquire many more status effects.
  • Real space: Movement rules based on actual space physics; motion in a straight line is free – but turning, starting or stopping will cost energy.
  • Immersive setting: Uncover a rich, branching narrative threaded with endless procedurally-generated stories in a detailed setting inspired by hard sci-fi.
  • Open world: Explore a vast procedurally-generated solar system with handcrafted elements. Factions and NPCs pursue research, trade, construction projects, and other goals apart from you – though your actions do affect their success or failure!

Relic Space will be available on Steam Early Access in Q3 2021. It's not exactly clear if the Linux build will be available on day 1 of Early Access or a little later. Will keep you posted.

You can wishlist and follow on Steam.

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Dungeon crawler Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is out in Early Access

Thursday 18th of February 2021 03:55:28 PM

Ready for another game that makes you stay up all night for one more run? Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is now out in Early Access on the Steam store. Creating a follow-up to a much loved roguelike ADOM is no easy task but with the original team involved, they certainly know what they're doing.

Check out the release trailer:


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“We’re really excited to bring players back to the world of ADOM,” said Assemble Entertainment CEO Stefan Marcinek. “The genre has seen a bit of a renaissance over the last few years and we’re very proud to help Team ADOM bring this highly anticipated sequel to life and share it with a whole new generation of players.”

“We’re all extremely excited to welcome players new and old back to the world of ADOM,” said Thomas Biskup, Creator of ADOM. “We know what players loved about the original title in 1994 but also what players are looking for from their games in 2021. Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is the perfect blend of tried and tested mechanics and the quality and depth of contemporary titles.”

Features:

  • Endless procedurally generated dungeons, countless monsters, items and a grand selection of very different skills allow for unlimited replayability.
  • Interactive surroundings! Topple braziers, push coffins, smash doors or turn them into wooden golems to (hopefully) serve your bidding.
  • Choose or toggle between graphic mode and traditional ASCII at any time. Toggle between 3D mode and top down view, in ASCII or in the graphic mode.
  • Intuitive control system will get rid of the need to memorize hundreds of keys. Though you can still do so, if you're into that. We are not judging.

The publisher, Assemble Entertainment, provided us with a key and so we shall be following it along in development. The team has big plans for the game, with it to remain in Early Access for at least the rest of 2021. You can see some of what they have planned here.

Currently, there's no save and load feature so you will need to go through entire runs. This will be added in a future build and already exists but it is deactivated, as they said "this feature proved to do more harm then it would do any good" for now. So far, it seems to run perfectly and with both mouse and keyboard support you can thankfully play it however you want as it's quite accessible but it's clearly early on for it.

Find Ultimate ADOM on Steam. It's supported on Linux and is 15% off until February 25.

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Blasphemous: Strife & Ruin free upgrade out now with a Boss Rush Mode

Thursday 18th of February 2021 11:27:10 AM

Blasphemous has another free expansion out now with Blasphemous: Strife & Ruin, pulling in Miriam from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night along with more free content.

Tasked with helping Miriam return to her world, you go through a series of platforming challenges and collect shards to repair a portal for Miriam to go home. Filled full of traps it's a challenge mode to improve your precision platform abilities and you get a special reward if you manage to finish it.

Another major addition is the Boss Rush Mode, which you need to complete the main story to access. This mode features courses containing a selection of bosses that you take on using any save file and each has a score attached to it with medals awarded.


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You might also spot an arcade cabinet hidden in a secret location, that allows you to play through a special "Demake area" that pays homage to classic 8-bit platformers. This special mode has the mechanics tweaked too which they say was done to match the classic styling. On top of that, there's also some new built-in retro rendering modes to emulate old CRT screens for those that want to go hard on nostalgia.

Here's an example of the new filtering system with one of them next to the original:

You can buy Blasphemous from Humble Store and Steam for a key, sadly the Linux build is still not available on GOG.

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CrossCode: A New Home expansion announced for February 26

Thursday 18th of February 2021 10:46:08 AM

CrossCode, the retro-inspired 2D Action RPG set in the distant future is set to get an expansion with CrossCode: A New Home confirmed to be releasing on February 26.

"A New Home continues right after the Events of CrossCode and offers more of what you learned to love already: A story rich experience filled up with tons of enemies, bosses and puzzles. Follow Lea on her journey figuring out the truth, use your elements like never before and don't forget to finish the raid. This time for real."


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What's actually in it:

  • Fresh Content which will entertain players for about 8 - 10 hours
  • The biggest dungeon in the history of CrossCode
  • New challenging enemies and bossfights
  • New music tracks
  • And of course: The final chapter of the Raid.

Since release in 2018, Radical Fish Games have add plenty of free extra content but they've teased a big DLC for years too and to see it announced with such a close release date is great. Really popular game too with players, as it has a "Very Positive" user rating on Steam from over eight thousand people.

The DLC will be release on GOG and Steam.

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More in Tux Machines

Python: Security and NumPy 1.20 Release

  • Python Package Index nukes 3,653 malicious libraries uploaded soon after security shortcoming highlighted

    The Python Package Index, also known as PyPI, has removed 3,653 malicious packages uploaded days after a security weakness in the use of private and public registries was highlighted. Python developers use PyPI to add software libraries written by other developers in their own projects. Other programming languages implement similar package management systems, all of which demand some level of trust. Developers are often advised to review any code they import from an external library though that advice isn't always followed. Package management systems like npm, PyPI, and RubyGems have all had to remove subverted packages in recent years. Malware authors have found that if they can get their code included in popular libraries or applications, they get free distribution and trust they haven't earned. Last month, security researcher Alex Birsan demonstrated how easy it is to take advantage of these systems through a form of typosquatting that exploited the interplay between public and private package registries.

  • A pair of Python vulnerabilities [LWN.net]

    Two separate vulnerabilities led to the fast-tracked release of Python 3.9.2 and 3.8.8 on February 19, though source-only releases of 3.7.10 and 3.6.13 came a few days earlier. The vulnerabilities may be problematic for some Python users and workloads; one could potentially lead to remote code execution. The other is, arguably, not exactly a flaw in the Python standard library—it simply also follows an older standard—but it can lead to web cache poisoning attacks. [...] [Update: As pointed out in an email from Moritz Muehlenhoff, Python 2.7 actually is affected by this bug. He notes that python2 on Debian 10 ("Buster") is affected and has been updated. Also, Fedora has a fix in progress for its python2.7 package.]

  • NumPy 1.20 has been released

    NumPy is a Python library that adds an array data type to the language, along with providing operators appropriate to working on arrays and matrices. By wrapping fast Fortran and C numerical routines, NumPy allows Python programmers to write performant code in what is normally a relatively slow language. NumPy 1.20.0 was announced on January 30, in what its developers describe as the largest release in the history of the project. That makes for a good opportunity to show a little bit about what NumPy is, how to use it, and to describe what's new in the release. [...] NumPy adds a new data type to Python: the multidimensional ndarray. This a container, like a Python list, but with some crucial differences. A NumPy array is usually homogeneous; while the elements of a list can be of various types, an ndarray will, typically, only contain a single, simple type, such as integers, strings, or floats. However, these arrays can instead contain arbitrary Python objects (i.e. descendants of object). This means that the elements will, for simple data types, all occupy the same amount of space in memory. The elements of an ndarray are laid out contiguously in memory, whereas there is no such guarantee for a list. In this way, they are similar to Fortran arrays. These properties of NumPy arrays are essential for efficiency because the location of each element can be directly calculated. Beyond just adding efficient arrays, NumPy also overloads arithmetic operators to act element-wise on the arrays. This allows the Python programmer to express computations concisely, operating on arrays as units, in many cases avoiding the need to use loops. This does not turn Python into a full-blown array language such as APL, but adds to it a syntax similar to that incorporated into Fortran 90 for array operations.

4 Best Free and Open Source Graphical MPD Clients

MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis. MPD runs in the background playing music from its playlist. Client programs communicate with MPD to manipulate playback, the playlist, and the database. The client–server model provides advantages over all-inclusive music players. Clients can communicate with the server remotely over an intranet or over the Internet. The server can be a headless computer located anywhere on a network. There’s graphical clients, console clients and web-based clients. To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 4 best graphical MPD clients. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to listen to their music collection via MPD. Here’s our recommendations. They are all free and open source goodness. Read more

LWN on Kernel: 5.12 Merge, Lockless Algorithms, and opy_file_range()

  • 5.12 Merge window, part 1 [LWN.net]

    The beginning of the 5.12 merge window was delayed as the result of severe weather in the US Pacific Northwest. Once Linus Torvalds got going, though, he wasted little time; as of this writing, just over 8,600 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.12 release — over a period of about two days. As one might imagine, that work contains a long list of significant changes.

  • An introduction to lockless algorithms [LWN.net]

    Low-level knowledge of the memory model is universally recognized as advanced material that can scare even the most seasoned kernel hackers; our editor wrote (in the July article) that "it takes a special kind of mind to really understand the memory model". It's been said that the Linux kernel memory model (and in particular Documentation/memory-barriers.txt) can be used to frighten small children, and the same is probably true of just the words "acquire" and "release". At the same time, mechanisms like RCU and seqlocks are in such widespread use in the kernel that almost every developer will sooner or later encounter fundamentally lockless programming interfaces. For this reason, it is a good idea to equip yourself with at least a basic understanding of lockless primitives. Throughout this series I will describe what acquire and release semantics are really about, and present five relatively simple patterns that alone can cover most uses of the primitives.

  • How useful should copy_file_range() be? [LWN.net]

    Its job is to copy len bytes of data from the file represented by fd_in to fd_out, observing the requested offsets at both ends. The flags argument must be zero. This call first appeared in the 4.5 release. Over time it turned out to have a number of unpleasant bugs, leading to a long series of fixes and some significant grumbling along the way. In 2019 Amir Goldstein fixed more issues and, in the process, removed a significant limitation: until then, copy_file_range() refused to copy between files that were not located on the same filesystem. After this patch was merged (for 5.3), it could copy between any two files, falling back on splice() for the cross-filesystem case. It appeared that copy_file_range() was finally settling into a solid and useful system call. Indeed, it seemed useful enough that the Go developers decided to use it for the io.Copy() function in their standard library. Then they ran into a problem: copy_file_range() will, when given a kernel-generated file as input, copy zero bytes of data and claim success. These files, which include files in /proc, tracefs, and a large range of other virtual filesystems, generally indicate a length of zero when queried with a system call like stat(). copy_file_range(), seeing that zero length, concludes that there is no data to copy and the job is already done; it then returns success. But there is actually data to be read from this kind of file, it just doesn't show in the advertised length of the file; the real length often cannot be known before the file is actually read. Before 5.3, the prohibition on cross-filesystem copies would have caused most such attempts to return an error code; afterward, they fail but appear to work. The kernel is happy, but some users can be surprisingly stubborn about actually wanting to copy the data they asked to be copied; they were rather less happy.

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro is a compact Amlogic S905X3 SBC

Banana Pi has already designed an Amlogic S905X3 SBC with Banana Pi BPI-M5 that closely follows Raspberry Pi 3 Model B form factor, but they’ve now unveiled a more compact model with Banana Pi BPI-M2 Pro that follow the design of the company’ earlier BPI-MP2+ SBC powered by the good old Allwinner H3 processor. BPI-M2 Pro comes with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC storage, HDMI video output, Gigabit Ethernet, Wifi & Bluetooth connectivity, as well as two USB 3.0 ports. Read more