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The latest articles from GamingOnLinux
Updated: 2 hours 10 min ago

Sky Racket is a brilliant and colourful mix of a shoot 'em up and a block breaker, out now

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 08:14:27 PM

Tags: Steam, Humble Store, New Release, Action, Shoot 'em up, Review, Unity, Pixel Graphics

Sky Racket combines two styles of gameplay in such a fantastic way, with beautiful bright colours and feel like a classic Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) game. It's out today and it's a huge amount of fun. Note: Key provided by the developer.

They're calling it a Shmup Breaker, since it combines the side-scrolling action found in tons of classic shoot 'em ups with block breaking not too far from Breakout. It's so incredibly weird to see the two different styles put together like this, but it really does work. The colourful and cheery presentation is incredibly inviting too, couldn't help but smile at the cheesy retro-cartoon intro video.

Watch video on

One of the key features of Sky Racket is how you don't have a weapon, only a tool. You have a magical laser Racket, which is basically a Tennis Racket that appears out of a handle a bit like a Lightsaber. Enemies shoot at you, so you serve it back to them with increased speed and power. You get to meet some little friends along the way, like a flying elephant head that can shoot every so often (which seemed optional, it gave me the choice of having them join me).

What's really caught me with Sky Racket is how damn satisfying it is to get a good rebound on enemy fire, to have it bounce furiously around the screen smashing blocks everywhere as it goes. It looks glorious! Sky Racket also adds in a little sprinkle of Bullet Hell too, especially with the boss battles. The first one, for example, has you face off against a giant angry Banana:

This is a fantastic example of how to do a retro-inspired game in modern times. Mix up the features, add a bunch of surprises with some on-point humour which hits that line just before weird becomes insane. The kind of strange where long, flying cat sandwiches open up to reveal a little turret inside.

Just look at this, at one point a bunch of furry little critters jumped on me and I had to wiggle them off. That's after a section where I was constantly dodging a barrage of critters falling from the sky, all wanting to hop on. I don't have even the slightest clue what's going on but it's stupidly charming.

I will add, those same furry critters actually turn into grenades when you shake them off, for you to serve up a good shot right through a group of enemies in front of you. The earlier section where they're constantly dropping from the sky now makes a bit more sense. Luckily I got to re-try it after my utter failure at the hands of an extremely angry two-sided monkey thing, who fires big laser things out of their mouth which drops down spikes from above.

Look, nothing I say about this game is going to begin making sense, you just have to play it.

Feature Highlight:

  • Dodge and dive through fanciful shmup levels! Blast bullets back to break blocks and bust bad guys!
  • Gorgeous pixel art and fluid animation so good it’s BANANAS, literally and figuratively.
  • Co-op multiplayer to share this funky fun with friends!
  • Befriend the best little buddies to aid you in a colorful and whimsical universe!
  • Catchy original soundtrack sure to please 16-bit fans!
  • Bizarre boss battles! No really, they’re very strange...
  • Bullet hell challenges to thrill and test your will!
  • Master the mechanics of rebounding attacks and find creative ways to use your enemies’ weapons against them!

Since writing about the demo back in July, gamepad support on Linux seems to have improved with the button prompts properly showing up on the Steam Controller so it's been quite a smooth experience.

You can find Sky Racket on Humble Store and Steam. Absolute recommendation, pure joy.

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Space grand strategy game AI War 2 has now officially launched

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 03:52:44 PM

Tags: RTS, Strategy, New Release, Humble Store, Steam, GOG

Arcen Games have released a new deadly AI into space with the grand strategy game AI War 2 now available as it has left Early Access. This comes ten years to the date since the original launched as well. Note: Key provided by the developer.

This is the 11th title from Arcen Games to support Linux after AI War: Fleet Command, Tidalis, A Valley Without Wind, A Valley Without Wind 2, Shattered Haven, Skyward Collapse, Bionic Dues, The Last Federation, Starward Rogue, In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor and now AI War 2. You've got to hand it to Arcen, they treat Linux well as a platform for gamers.

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Feature Highlight:

  • Many optional factions, each with their own goals and strategies, create a living galaxy.
  • A new Fleets system gives you even more ships than before, and allows you to customize your empire more than ever.
  • A ton of map types, and with a lot of sub-options to make them even more varied.
  • Outguard to hire, factions to ally with, and oodles of targets to capture or hack -- with the AI or aliens.
  • Warden, Hunter, and Praetorian Guard sub-fleets of the AI provide for new challenges (and sometimes opportunities) in how both you and the AI interact with each other.
  • Crazy moddability, with many levers available in easily-accessible XML.

As for what's new compared to the original, naturally quite a lot. Over an hour of extra music, more approachable gameplay yet still deep, a lot more to do, reptitive boring tasks removed, a cleaner redesigned interface, multi-threading for better performance taking more advantage of modern systems, 1,900 lines of spoken dialogue from more than 25 actors and tons more.

Some of the scenes are quite fantastic too, just look at how gorgeous this system is:

Included recently are a bunch of newer tutorials and they're a huge help. AI War II, like the previous game, is still massive and in many ways complicated. A lot of what happens is a learning on the job type of deal. At least now though, the initial barrier to enjoyment is a lot lower.

The Linux version supports both OpenGL and Vulkan, with the latter being experimental and it didn't actually show any ship graphics for me only icons. So for now at least, keep it to OpenGL for the best experience.

You can pick up AI War 2 on Humble Store and Steam along with it newly arriving on GOG today as well.

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Chilly survival game The Long Dark has released Episode 3, Survival Mode update due December

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 01:54:39 PM

Tags: Steam, Humble Store, Indie Game, Survival, Adventure, Update

Today, you can venture back into the frozen wastes of The Long Dark, as Episode Three CROSSROADS ELEGY is now out. You can skip right ahead to it too.

With the first two episodes following Mackenzie, this new episode instead follows Astrid after she and Mackenzie get separated in Milton at the opening of Episode One. Due to that, Hinterland Studio said they've just unlocked the first three episodes for anyone to jump in where they want. They said there "may be some minor spoilers for the earlier episodes, but in general we think this flow can work" and while they still recommend playing from the first episode you now have a choice.

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Additionally, Hinterland said their Halloween event Four Days of Night will be returning on around 5AM UTC on October 28th (10PM Pacific Time on the 27th). During this event the sun will not rise, light sources last longer, there's "Demon" wolves roaming around plus Halloween themed snacks and items to find. Nothing new this year, due to their focus being on the main game.

On top of all that Hinterland also said they're on track for another update to the Survival Mode during December. No notes yet on exactly what that will have, we expected them to give details on it next month.

You can find The Long Dark on Humble Store and Steam.

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The Children's Commissioner in England has called on the government to class loot boxes as gambling

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 01:31:36 PM

Tags: Misc

Here could be the start of another nail in the coffin for loot boxes, as the Children's Commissioner in England has put out a new report after a little study was done.

Never heard of the Children's Commissioner? It's a public independent body in England that is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children (read more here). The current head is Anne Longfield, who today released a pretty damning report on the state of how certain games and companies really attempt to suck money out of people at every opportunity.

I won't quote all of it to spare you some of the things we all already know but it's good to see such a thing being done over here. It's needed, it has been for a long time now. This particular study had them speak to children between 10 to 16 about their gaming habits, what they liked and disliked and so on. Games included that were talked about include Fortnite, Call of Duty, FIFA, Roblox and more which do have some pretty aggressive advertising of the in-game items and subscriptions.

Not all of it is terrible in the report though, thankfully Longfield does carefully mention how playing games can help people to socialise, learn new skills and have fun. All of this applies to adults, just as much as it does to children both the pros and cons of it all.

The result of the study is where it gets interesting. The Commissioner has called for multiple things to be changed, a few of which I will summarise below:

  • A place to track historic spending in games
  • A maximum daily spending limit in the games as well
  • Calls on the UK government to adjust the Gambling Act to regulate loot boxes as gambling
  • Calls on the UK government to have a wider review into the definition of gambling in the Gambling Act, due to all the new forms of monetization appearing in games
  • Games distributed online should get a legally enforceable age-rating system like physical games
  • A requirement of additional warnings for games which have in-game transactions

This bit especially caught my attention:

The amount of money spent, and the lack of a guaranteed reward meant children often feel like their money is wasted. In some cases, they lose control of their spending and attempt to ‘chase losses’ by spending more.

That sure as hell sounds like gambling to me…

You can find the full report here.

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Dead End Job, a twin-stick ghost-sucking shooter releases December 13

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 11:41:28 AM

Tags: Steam, Upcoming, Twin-stick shooter, Action

Ant Workshop and publisher Headup have announced the madcap mash-up of Ren & Stimpy meets Ghostbusters, Dead End Job, is releasing on December 13. If you love 90's cartoons (who doesn't?) and ghost hunting adventures then you're probably going to enjoy Dead End Job.

Interestingly, Ant Workshop was founded by Tony Gowland, who previously worked for Rockstar Games and their first game as an indie was Binaries released back in 2016 with Linux support arriving a little later. On top of that, they're getting the music in the game produced by the award winning Wil Morton of Solid Audioworks, who also worked for Rockstar Games.

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Speaking to the publisher today just to reconfirm Linux support, the answer was a super clear "Yes.  :)". They also very clearly show a Linux icon under the Steam logo on the official site.

Feature Highlight:

  • Clean restaurants, offices and other buildings of ghosts using a plasma blaster, your trusty vacuum pack and a whole range of supernatural items.
  • Save your mentor's soul before the next full moon, or she'll spend eternity as a spook (voted “Least Preferred Fate” in Ghost Hunter Monthly).
  • Drop in/drop out couch co-op, as your mentor appears to lend a hand!
  • Stunning cartoon-quality high resolution artwork inspired by favourites like Ren & Stimpy.
  • Featuring original music by the award-winning Will Morton (Grand Theft Auto series).
  • Twitch and Mixer integration allows viewers to help or hinder the streamer by choosing their powerups.

If interested, you can wishlist/follow Dead End Job on Steam.

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Devespresso Games join with Headup for Western release of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 10:11:42 AM

Tags: Upcoming, Steam, Action, Adventure, Horror

The Korean survival horror-adventure The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters from Devespresso Games is now getting a helping hand from publisher Headup for Western audiences.

Also confirmed through the press emails is that The Coma 2 will be entering Steam Early Access on November 5th, with a full release expected in "Q1 2020".

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Feature Highlight:

  • Fear Dark Song’s relentless pursuit to kill you, now with an all-new AI.
  • Craft items to prepare for critical life-or-death situations or risk permanent injury.
  • Explore the nightmarish district of Sehwa and discover its dark secrets.
  • Scavenge resources to survive deadly encounters and afflictions.
  • Unlock tools and upgrades to reach previously inaccessible areas.
  • Hide to avoid detection and certain death. Pass challenges to conceal your location.
  • Featuring vibrant, hand-illustrated in-game visuals and comic strips.

When speaking personally to Headup, they confirmed "a Linux version is planned indeed" although it's not 100% clear just yet if that's for Early Access or the full release. Will let you know when we have a concrete date for the Linux version.

You can wishlist/follow The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters on Steam.

Devespresso Games previously released both The Coma: Recut and Vambrace: Cold Soul with Linux support. Headup are a pretty Linux-friendly publisher too, one we've talked to many times. They helped out multiple other titles come to Linux including Slime-san, Bridge Constructor Portal, The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk and plenty more to come.

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Kowai Sugoi Studios close up so they've made their point & click horror 'Shiver' free

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 09:59:39 AM

Tags: Indie Game, Free Game, Steam, Point & Click, Horror

Times are tough for indies, with Kowai Sugoi Studios announcing they're closing up shop and so they've set their point and click horror title Shiver free for everyone.

Kowai Sugoi Studios said in a blog post on the official site that this month they're shutting down, no reason for it was given but they gave their "sincere appreciation to our friends, family, and fans" for supporting them along the way. Shiver seems to be their only game, released originally back in 2017. You can see the original trailer below:

Watch video on

More about it:

Shiver is a beautiful and chilling point-and-click horror adventure from Kowai Sugoi Studios. As you explore the recently closed Windy Oaks National Park, you must rely on your wits and bravery to conquer challenges and search for rescue. Spanning the course of one captivating hour, you will attempt to unravel the mysteries of the park and escape with your body intact.

Feature highlight:

  • Atmospheric point-and-click puzzle-horror game
  • Art constructed through a combination of painting and photography
  • Spine-tingling experience, lasting 30 minutes to an hour
  • Spiritual successor to popular indie game Cozy

Find it free now on Steam.

Hat tip to Eike.

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Humble Store is doing a Female Protagonist Sale, plus the upcoming Steam sale dates leaked

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 09:33:31 AM

Tags: Game Sale, Humble Store, Steam

The week has only just begun and there's plenty of sales going on, with even more coming up. Let's have a little look. First up, Humble Store is doing a Female Protagonist Sale celebrating various heroines across multiple genres.

Here's some of the highlights of what you can find for Linux:

See the whole sale here.

As for Steam, the upcoming sale dates have been leaked once again:

  • Halloween Sale: October 28 - November 1
  • Autumn Sale: November 26 - December 3
  • Winter Sale: December 19 - January 2
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Another OpenRA preview build is up needing testing, Tiberian Sun support is coming along

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 09:18:26 AM

Tags: Open Source, Game Engine, Strategy, RTS, Update

Work continues on the open source game engine OpenRA which allows you to play Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune 2000 on Linux and other modern platforms with support for Tiberian Sun progressing well.

Following on from the last test release which added in saved game support another was put up yesterday. Here's whats changed in the latest test build:

  • Fixes for several issues with game loading/saving
  • Fixes for several crashes and a desync issue
  • Fixes for several glitches related to unit movement
  • Fixes for several mission related issues in Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn
  • Fixes for several compatibility issues with Linux and FreeBSD
  • Refinements to the new spectator UI
  • Further Red Alert balance adjustments

With the Linux fixes, it's probably a good idea for some of our readers to jump in and give it a re-test so we can ensure another polished release.

As for the Tiberian Sun support they've been working on for a long time, it sounds like it's coming along well. They've been pretty quiet on it but they've by no means forgotten about it. The team said that multiple past releases have overhauled parts of the code specifically for it and that continues even now.

One issue they've been dealing with is deployable units in Tiberian Sun, while OpenRA had basic support for the feature due to the Construction Yards in classic C&C it wasn't suitable for Tiberian Sun. Now though? They've overhauled it and expanded it. You can now queue up deploy commands between other orders, deployable units can be ordered to pack up and then move somewhere else as a single action too. 

Additionally, the code for aircraft and helicopter movement has also been given an overhaul to add in many of the extra features and dynamics needed for Banshees, Orcas, and Carryalls. The transport behaviour for the Carryall was also updated, with unit pick-up behaviour closer to the original game and allowing you to queue up multiple transport runs.

No release date yet for when the Tiberian Sun mod for OpenRA will release but the next stable OpenRA build should be soon. See the full news post here.

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Steam 'Remote Play Together' is now in Beta, allowing local multiplayer games over the net

Monday 21st of October 2019 07:51:18 PM

Tags: Steam, Update, Beta, Valve

Today, Valve have released an exciting update to the Steam Beta Client which adds in Remote Play Together, allowing you to play local co-op, local multiplayer and shared/split screen games over the net with your friends.

From what Valve said, it will allow up to four players "or even more in ideal conditions", meaning if you all have reasonable internet connections you might be able to play with quite a few people.

Something that has of course been done elsewhere, although the advantage here is no extra payments or software needed as it runs right from the Steam client. It's very simply done too. Just like you would invite friends to join your online game, you invite them to Remote Play Together from the Steam Friends list and if they accept…away you go. Only the host needs to own the game too, making it easy to get going.

Feature Highlight:

  • Play local multiplayer games with Steam Friends online
  • Stream video, audio, input, and voice between players
  • Use your own controllers, or share control of the keyboard & mouse
  • Play together across Windows, Mac, and Linux

You can see the full announcement on Steam here.

To access it, you need to be in the Steam Client Beta. To do so is simple: click Steam up the top left, go to Settings and then hit the Change button which will bring up the box on the right below:

After that, Steam will need to restart and you will have access.

Giving it a test run earlier with contributor Samsai we fired up CRYPTARK, Wizard of Legend and Enter the Gungeon and sadly none of them seemed to work at all. They all have the Remote Play Together tag on Steam to show they should work but neither of us could connect to each other as the host. I put up a bug report here.

This is what a Beta test is for of course to iron out all the issues, hopefully it will start working sometime soon as it sounds like a good feature. It could even be Steam servers being overloaded or not entirely fully up for such a brand new feature. Will let you know when we get it working.

Perhaps if Valve keep doing interesting features like this, more developers might consider the 30% cut Valve take as worth it? Valve seem to be taking Steam in quite an interesting direction with Steam Play, Remote Play, Remote Play Together and lots of other smaller features.

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Failbetter Games are upgrading owners of Sunless Skies to the Sovereign Edition next year

Monday 21st of October 2019 04:57:05 PM

Tags: Update, Indie Game, Upcoming

Failbetter Games have announced that Sunless Skies is getting a bit of an upgrade with the Sovereign Edition and it's going to be free to existing purchasers when it's release next year.

Part of the reason, is that it will be releasing on Consoles so they're polishing the experience up some more. It's not just a special console edition though, it's coming with a bunch of new content and various improvements to the flow of it. To release on PC at the same time as Consoles, free for existing players.

See the update trailer below:

Watch video on

From what they said about it they're adding in new stories when your crew is starving, giving you the ability to try and eat "a variety of unwise, unpleasant or tragic things"—oh my, that sounds terrible. They're also overhauling the character progress interface and a bunch more stories to define your captain's past. Interestingly, the late game experience is getting a boost too. Once you hit the level cap, in this new edition you will be able to continue raising your stats if you really enjoy it.

More is coming too like gamepad improvements that were needed for Consoles, new trading opportunities, a new "exotic" engine to acquire and so on.

Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition due out sometime in the first half of 2020. Until then, if you wish to pick it up and play it now you can do so across Humble Store, GOG and Steam.

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After making Crusader Kings II free, Paradox are now giving away The Old Gods expansion

Monday 21st of October 2019 04:32:16 PM

Tags: DLC, Steam, Strategy

It's been a bit of a whirlwind of Paradox news recently and we have even more to share. With a tiny amount of effort, you can get The Old Gods expansion for Crusader Kings II free.

This is after Crusader Kings II was set free to play and Crusader Kings III was announced just like I suggested it would be.

So how do you go about getting more free goodies with The Old Gods expansion? Quite simple really, sign up to their newsletter/account here (a normal Paradox account login seemed to work) and when confirmed you can login and grab your free expansion Steam key.

However, it's not entirely clear if this is supposed to only be for new subscriptions. For me it when I login to the subscription page, it has a tick by the expansion and my Paradox account shows it in my game list so from everything shown I should have it but the page lists no Steam key. Seems others are having the same issue, so might just be a temporary problem. Still, worth doing if you don't own it for whenever they fix it.

Update: Paradox replied:

We are aware that some customers have not been provided with the Old Gods DLC after signing up to the email list. This is down to the sheer volume of sign ups (you rock!) and we are fixing it by the end of the week. Don't worry, you'll get your DLC, it's just going to take a little bit of time as we spent all last week at PDXCon and also moved offices so we have our hands full at the moment ;)! Please check your games tab ( at the end of the week and you should see it there.

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vkBasalt, an open source Vulkan post processing layer for Contrast Adaptive Sharpening

Monday 21st of October 2019 12:16:24 PM

Tags: Open Source, Vulkan

This is an interesting open source project! vkBasalt is a new Vulkan post processing layer that currently supports Contrast Adaptive Sharpening.

Unlike Radeon Image Sharpening, vkBasalt supports Linux and works with both NVIDIA and AMD. This isn't entirely reinventing the wheel though, as it's partly based upon the ReShade port of AMD's CAS. Still, it's fun to see what hackers are able to do with little layers like this, especially when we don't have official support.

Want to see the difference it makes? The developer included a comparison shot of Skyrim:

See a bigger comparison on this dedicated page.

Seems like a really fun idea, although the result might not be to everyone's tastes it's very much personal preference. It does make it look quite a lot sharper to my eyes.

It's already seeing plenty of activity on GitHub with others helping out, in time this could be quite an interesting Vulkan layer if more options get added in.

You can find it on GitHub.

Hat tip to RTheren.

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You can now grab the Gotrek and Felix DLC for Total War: WARHAMMER II free

Monday 21st of October 2019 09:23:09 AM

Tags: DLC, Steam, Feral Interactive

Just a quick tip for Total War: WARHAMMER II fans this Monday morning, as you can now grab the previously White Dwarf Magazine exclusive DLC Gotrek and Felix for free.

While they're only for Total War: WARHAMMER II, if you own both Total War: WARHAMMER titles they are also available in the expansive Mortal Empires campaign.

A little about them:

  • Gotrek and Felix are initially recruited from their quest marker as a pair. Gotrek effectively functions as a Lord, and Felix is a Hero that accompanies him. This means they can function as an army just by themselves, and you can send them off around the world on adventures of their own, or supply them with troops and have them function in the same way as your other armies. Although with a rather powerful pair of characters leading it!
  • They might be swords for hire, but they have a certain moral code and will only enter the employ of Empire, Bretonnia and Dwarf factions. If you so much as look like a rat from a distance, don’t ask.
  • Gotrek and Felix will only stay with your faction for so long, around 20 turns or so, before Gotrek gets itchy feet and his deathwish commands him to seek adventure elsewhere.

Speaking about why they made a limited-time exclusive DLC for a magazine, the Total War team said that they preferred this method to spending marketing money as the magazine promoted the game in exchange for a really brief exclusive period (around a month). This would hopefully bring in more players to the game, allowing the team to continue working even longer on it to provide more updates.

How to get them? You need to head over to the official Total War website and sign-up/login to their Dashboard. Once done, you can link it to your Steam account and then claim the free DLC.

Don't own it? It's available on the Humble Store, Steam and the Feral Store.

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Need an easy way to manage a Linux game server? LinuxGSM is great and recently passed 100 supported titles

Monday 21st of October 2019 09:07:24 AM

Tags: Misc, Open Source, Toolkit

A project that perhaps isn't as well known as it should be: LinuxGSM makes managing Linux game servers easy and they recently hit a fun milestone.

It supports running servers for games like 7 Days to Die, Barotrauma, various Counter-Strike versions, Don't Starve Together, Minecraft and a ton more. Starting way back sometime in 2012, the lead developer Daniel Gibbs emailed in to notify us that they recently hit a huge milestone for the project as it now supports over 100 different games.

There's a number of other ways to run game servers but the point of LinuxGSM is that each game is tweaked and tested by them, with an easy to run installer and script to manage all parts of it. Running updates, getting notifications sent to various places like Discord, Telegram, Email and more when it's having issues is simple to setup.

We actually use LinuxGSM here at GamingOnLinux, as it makes sorting out our 7 Days to Die server we put online for our livestreams (Twitch) super easy. All the handy scripts it comes with and the documentation they provide have taken away so much hassle it's crazy. It's basically my go-to any time I want to spin up a game server, it just makes it simple to do.

Perhaps next time you wish to boot a game server up for a tournament or to play with friends, knowing about LinuxGSM might make things a little simpler.

Interested? Check out the official LinuxGSM website. Of course it's all open source too, available to see on GitHub.

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Boxtron, the Steam Play compatibility tool for DOSBox brings more improvements in another update

Monday 21st of October 2019 08:43:46 AM

Tags: DOSBox, Open Source, Update, Steam Play

The Speedy Staging 0.5.3 of Boxtron is out, further improving this Steam Play compatibility tool for DOSBox gaming on Linux.

As a reminder of the what and why: Just like how Proton enables you to play Windows games in the Linux Steam client, Boxtron is a tool that can be manually added to the Linux Steam client to run a native version of DOSBox. It's supposed to give you the best experience possible with DOS games on Steam. Rather than running them through Proton you get lower input lag, working Steam integration, better fullscreen support and so on.

Last night, Boxtron 0.5.3 was released. Here's what came with it:

  • Makefile updated to support system-wide install (system-wide installation only available in Steam Beta client at the moment). Boxtron can now be properly packaged in distro repositories.
  • Improvements to CUE sheets handling (fixes e.g. music and video cutscenes in Carmageddon using software renderer - the game now runs perfectly when combined with dosbox-staging test build).
  • Tweak for Lords of Realm.
  • Documentation updates and other small fixes and cleanups.

It also includes a newer test build of DOSBox Staging you can also try out.

Since it wasn't too clear exactly what DOSBox Staging is and if it's officially part of the DOSBox ecosystem I spoke to the developer to find out. From what they told me, it's a collaborative effort to improve DOSBox while keeping it in sync with the main DOSBox code and hopefully they will get patches accepted into the upstream project.

Here's what's changed in the second test build of DOSBox Staging:

  • Merged with upstream SVN trunk@4272
  • Implementation of dynamic core for 64-bit systems by jmarsh, which significantly improves DOSBox performance on Linux
  • Workaround for NVIDIA-specific OpenGL rendering bug by Qbix
  • Updated version of krcroft's audio patch
  • Slight update to splash screen by me
  • More compiler optimizations turned on, which significantly improves DOSBox performance compared to previous test build
  • Various smaller fixes for type safety, removing memory leaks, addressing compiler warnings and static code analysis issues, etc.

Easy to install! Simply download the latest release, extract it and place the extracted folder into your Steam "compatibilitytools.d" folder, usually located here:


Once done, restart Steam and you can select it as your choice of Steam Play tool when going into the Properties of a game on Steam. See this section at the bottom:

To try out DOSBox Staging you need to download that separately, extract it somewhere safe and then point Boxtron to it. All the details can be found on GitHub.

Great to see it continue to get better!

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Humble Monthly will be changing to Humble Choice later this year

Sunday 20th of October 2019 01:58:23 PM

Tags: Humble Store, Game Bundle

If you're interested in getting a bunch of games each month, the Humble Monthly has at times been quite generous with the selection. Things are about to change, with it being renamed to Humble Choice with new options.

Currently, you pay a set fee of $12 a month (or less for more months) and get at least one game to play early. Then at the end of each month, they give you a bunch more games ranging between 7-11. That's changing sometime later this year with Humble Choice. As the name suggests, it does seem to actually give you a little more control. Games are revealed upfront instead of being a mystery and you pick the ones you want from a larger list.

Instead of a single monthly payment, they're splitting it into tiers (click to enlarge):

So it's going to be ~$8 per month more expensive for the main plan, with cheaper options for those who want it. Previously the standard Humble Store discount was 10%, with that now rising to 20% for people on the higher plan. In addition to it no longer being a mystery, they're also committing to giving you an exact amount of games too instead of it sometimes being 7, the next month 10 and then 8 the next and so on.

However, if you're a current subscriber of the Humble Monthly, they said you will get to keep the top tier of the Humble Choice subscription at your current cheaper price until you cancel (pausing is still fine). If you pick it up any time before Humble Choice launches, you will keep the cheaper price too. You can see their new page to talk about Humble Choice here.

You can see their announcement video about it below:

I'm in two minds about it. I've seen a lot of talk about Humble being "greedy" and all sorts of colourful language being used. To me, the reaction from comments across other sites has been a bit odd. Of course, no one likes a price increase and it is a lot more expensive there's no getting around that for new customers. Existing and new customers before the change get a good deal, new customers after get less. The tactic used is obviously to get a bunch of people to sign up now, to get it for less.

Thinking on it though for $20 a month with 9 games to keep (or $12 a month + 10 games if you're an existing sub), a 20% store discount and access to whatever DRM-free titles you want from the Humble Trove any time at least to me still sounds like a fair deal overall doesn't it? Heck, chucking them $4.99 even for a single month for the basic plan to grab the 60+ DRM-free titles from the Trove itself is a good deal. For Linux gamers especially, actually now knowing what games you get to pick from is a good bonus.

Obviously, the value of it for you all depends on what your usual purchasing habits are like. Once they have a date set and launch the change, I will let you know.

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Odds and ends, the Linux and gaming Sunday Section

Sunday 20th of October 2019 12:32:15 PM

Tags: Round-up, Misc

Sunday is a day mostly of rest, relaxation and kicking butt in some games. Before that though, let's have a little look at a few bits and pieces of missing news and what was interesting recently.

It was recently announced that the source code for the PC version of Saints Row 2 had been found, so Volition said "work has begun on updating/fixing performance, stability, multiplayer, and adding the previously console-only DLC". The Linux version was done by Virtual Programming back in April 2016 and it was quite messy. In reply to a question about updates for Linux, they said on Twitter "Our focus right now is fixing the Steam windows release which all other ports are based on.".

The OldUnreal team, who work to keep the classic Unreal Tournament alive have reached an agreement with Epic Games to allow them to properly take over maintenance of the Unreal Tournament code base. They also said they will be looking for Linux testers. Read more about it here.

Seems like gaming on Chrome OS might be about to get a little better. You've been able to run normal Linux applications and games on Chrome OS using Crostini for a while but it's had limits and problems. One problem is pointer lock, with 3D games in particular needing better access to your mouse. A change to help with that has now landed, it's not perfect but it's a step in the right direction.

Valve have been teased the huge update coming to Dota Underlords, their free to play auto-battle strategy game. Across the posts we've learned that there's going to be a lot more heroes and new alliances including Insects (Weaver, Broodmother, Nyx Assassin), the Champion Alliance with Legion Commander, the Brute Alliance with Lifestealer and Magnus plus Shadow Demon, Bristleback and Sven with even more being announced tomorrow. No date for the big update other than "Soon" and that it will mark "the beginning of the end of the Underlords Beta".

Ubuntu and all the extra flavours like Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie and so on officially released the 19.10 update a few days ago bringing them much more up to date with all the upstream packages. You can find many enhancements like NVIDIA drivers on the iso, experimental ZFS file system support, faster boot up and more. In addition, System 76 also released their Pop!_OS 19.10.

On the subject of Ubuntu, today it turns 15. Has it really been that long? Yes it has! The first release of Ubuntu was 4.10 (Warty Warthog) on 20 October 2004. I might not be here without all the effort that was put into it and the following releases. I stuck around and a few years later launched GamingOnLinux. Happy Birthday Ubuntu!

How about some more distribution news? Entering the GOL mailbox recently was a message from the founder of GamerOS, a distribution built on Arch Linux with an aim to create the "definitive couch gaming experience". Think of it like an alternative to SteamOS, with an interesting update system where they give you a single downloadable image that is put into a read-only volume to give "zero downtime updates that require no human interaction".

To end our little roundup, I saw someone mention that Steam recently passed six thousand Linux games. Well, not quite. It's getting close but there is a problem with how Steam lists game releases. Even when you sort by release date there's a lot that aren't actually released. Steam is showing me 6,059 games but 80+ in the first ~33 pages don't even have a release yet. Just something to keep in mind.

Recent noteworthy updates:

Sales reminder:


If you wish to support GamingOnLinux you can do so across places like Patreon, Paypal, Liberapay, Flattr and Twitch. In addition to our affiliate links with GOG and Humble Store.

Unless something urgent comes up, see you all tomorrow for another week full of news. Hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend.

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Imperator: Rome is getting a free Punic Wars content pack in addition to the big Livy update

Sunday 20th of October 2019 11:42:43 AM

Tags: Upcoming, DLC, Update, Steam

One piece of PDXCON news missed from yesterday: Imperator: Rome is getting a free Punic Wars Content Pack along with the upcoming Livy Update.

Paradox Development Studio sure are busy. Not only are they working on multiple Stellaris expansionsCrusader Kings III and Hearts of Iron IV: La Résistance they're also trying to turn around the rough launch of Imperator: Rome. Another big free patch is coming out named Livy which will include: a new character experience system, a rework of the family system, a procedurally generated mission system, a map with greater details including showing war on the map with burning cities and more not yet announced. It's going to be big!

Not stopping there, the free Punic Wars Content Pack was also fully announced and you can see their fancy announcement trailer for that below:

Watch video on

Feature Highlight:

  • Roman Mission Pack: Ten unique mission trees for the star of Imperator: Rome to guide your conquest of Italy and neighboring regions.
  • Carthaginian Mission Pack: Ten unique mission trees for the children of Tyre to help you plan your mercantile and military dominance of Africa, Spain and the rest of the west.
  • Numidian Unit Model: New army model for the Numidians, North Africans often hired as mercenaries by larger powers.
  • Carthaginian Ship Model: A unique ship design for Carthaginian navies.
  • New Music: Three additional music tracks to soothe your conquering soul.

They're putting a huge amount of effort into basically rebuilding Imperator, something I definitely plan to go back to and have another proper go of once this update and content pack are out as it sounds quite good. That is, once you can pull me away from exploring space in Stellaris.

Currently Imperator is on sale too with 33% off across Humble Store, GOG and Steam to celebrate PDXCON.

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Continuing the Counter-Strike 20th anniversary Valve put out skins, plus a possible Operation and update coming

Saturday 19th of October 2019 12:13:48 PM

Tags: Free Game, FPS, Valve, Steam

After starting off the celebration for Counter-Strike turning 20 back in June with the retro version of Dust II, Valve have now added a refreshed version of the map Cache and a themed Weapon Case and Sticker Capsule.

We're expecting some bigger updates to come but let's go over what they've already done.

The latest update to Valve's free to play first-person shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, released yesterday added in the latest version of the Cache map for official servers across Casual, Deathmatch, and Scrimmage:

Additionally, Valve also released a pack of stickers to slap on your weapons and a box of themed anniversary weapon skins. Some of the weapon skins look really damn good too, but as usual you need to open your wallet and hope you get the skins you want since they're still using a loot box system. You can see what they may contain below (click to enlarge):

It's possible that a big new operating is on the way, something CS:GO fans have been waiting on for some time. The last operation, Hydra, was back in 2017. This is the longest wait players have had, especially since in the past Valve released multiple operations in the same year.

All pure speculation at this point though, since Valve haven't talked about it. However, some with a keen eye have noticed lots of little things. One of the new weapon skins for example, it's called Hydra and includes the text "worth the wait" (credit). Of course, that could also be nothing.

VNN's Tyler McVicker also released another of his highly speculative videos talking about lots of other things that could be pointing to a new operation. With a possible update coming that may include: custom Danger Zone modes, a new Danger Zone map, new Danger Zone weapons, co-op missions, hats and other wearable items, player taunts and more being speculated on.

I personally hope Valve do put out a big update, since their celebration so far has been a bit lacklustre. An old map, a refreshed map and some skins you have to pay for. Not exactly big or exciting really so far. Speaking personally again, I'm still very much enjoying Danger Zone so if they do expand it I will be quite pleased.

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

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