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Tags: Apps, Valve, Steam

Now that Valve have upgraded the chat and friends system in the desktop Steam client, they've also rolled out a brand new dedication mobile application to do the same.

This isn't the normal Steam mobile application, instead they've oddly decided to split them in two. Touching on that, they said the original Steam mobile application is going to get some upgrades "focused on account security" including better Steam Guard options, like QR codes and a one-touch login.

Features included in the new Steam Chat Android/iOS application:

  • Friends List - See who’s in game or online at a glance. Never miss an opportunity to play.
  • Rich Chat - Your chats get even better with higher fidelity links, videos, tweets, GIFs, Giphy, Steam emoticons, and more.
  • Invite Links - Add new friends on Steam with a link. Generate an invite link you can text or email.
  • Customizable Notifications - Mobile notifications mean you'll never miss a message or game invite. You can customize your notifications per friend, group chat, and chat channel.
  • Group Chats - Get everyone on the same page. Groups make it easier to do things like stay in touch with your communities and organize game night with your best friends.

Valve said they're going to be bringing in voice chat later too. See the official announcement here.

Testing it out myself today, it does seem to work fine. However, one thing they seem to have missed is the ability to leave a normal chat with a friend. Mine shows up with a chat with someone I removed, with no way to get rid of it. Entirely possible I've missed it but it's clearly there for group chats and not normal chats. Hopefully this small oversight will be sorted.

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Tags: DLC, Humble Store, Steam, Strategy, City Builder, Simulation

Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order have put school back on the map, as the Cities: Skylines - Campus expansion is out now. In terms of features and new content, this is one of the bigger expansions to be released.

Adding in a little extra complexity for those who want it while also giving you even more freedom at the same time with the way you design your campus. Much like what came with the Parklife expansion, Campus lets you freely zone an entire area to build your fancy new education system.


Watch video on YouTube.com

As you design your campus, you will also gain access to various sports arenas all heavily inspired by American education. There's American Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track & field and swimming arenas which opens it up even more as you sell tickets, hire coaches, collect prizes for winning and so on. There's also five new maps, three new hats for Chirper, graduation ceremonies, museums and more.

Additionally, a free update went out for everyone to go along with it. This free update includes new Public Library and Academic Library buildings, bus line customization, a Yellow School Bus model, job titles for citizens and modding plus a rebalanced education mechanic and the usual assortment of bug fixes.

It continues to work well on Linux, good fun to play for those who don't want something overly serious. One of those gems that I find myself consistently coming back to play. Just don't expect to make that dinner date, it will suck away your time like a real demon.

You can pick it up from Humble Store and Steam.

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Tags: Game Bundle

Here's something to keep you going for a little while, the Humble tinyBuild Bundle 2019 went live today and it has plenty of Linux games.

If you pick the lowest tier at $1 you will get:

  • Punch Club
  • The Final Station
  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (not on Linux - only one "Platinum" Steam Play rating, no others rated yet)
  • SpeedRunners

If you wish to dig a little deeper for more than the average payment, you will get access to:

  • Hello Neighbor (not on Linux - "Platinum" Steam Play rating)
  • Streets of Rogue (one of my favourites!)
  • ClusterTruck
  • Party Hard + Party Hard: High Crimes DLC

Finally, for the top $13 tier you get:

  • Party Hard 2 (not on Linux - "Silver" Steam Play rating)
  • Graveyard Keeper

You have just under 14 days to decide if you want to pick up a copy. Check out the Humble tinyBuild Bundle 2019 here.

Actually not bad at all, worth it alone just for Streets of Rogue which costs quite a bit more than this bundle! The Final Station is also quite highly rated amongst users.

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Tags: Steam, Indie Game, Coming Soon, Early Access, Party Game, Casual, Action

Tank Maniacs, a local multiplayer party game about blowing up everyone with tanks looks really fun and it's coming to Linux. I managed to get confirmation from the developer on Twitter, who mentioned a Linux build is now up for those testing it.

A game that doesn't exactly need a long description, you each pilot a strange tank and attempt to destroy everyone else. As the developer says "It's mostly about destroying your closest friends' hopes and dreams with weird tanks."—hah.


Watch video on YouTube.com

Looks incredibly fun, a simple idea that will take some time to master. Likely a fantastic game for me to pick up and play with the mini-me to have a good laugh with. The developer has already sent over a key for testing, so once it's released I shall have some proper thoughts up on it.

Features:

  • 11 wonderfully weird tanks
  • 7 different maps (we are continuously adding more during the beta)
  • 2 game modes
  • Couch madness up to 4 players
  • Support for a wide range of controllers
  • Unforgiving AI bots

You can wishlist/follow it on Steam, it's starting off in Early Access whilst they add in more content including maps, tanks, and game modes.

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Tags: Coming Soon, Early Access, RPG, Steam

Here's another game successfully funded on Kickstarter, one we missed, which looks fantastic and it's coming to Linux. It's called Pixel Noir and it sure does look stylish.

It was funded on Kickstarter back in 2015 with the help of nearly two thousand backers. Interestingly, the reason we didn't pick it up is that the campaign wasn't originally targetting Linux as a platform. It wasn't until nearly a month later, they put out a Kickstarter update which said:

Something we've seen a lot of interest in was Linux support. You guys have been vocal about wanting this and so we looked into it and we've found a viable path forward here. We are pleased to announce that Linux will be joining our target launch platforms!


Watch video on YouTube.com

Features:

  • Solve a variety of mysteries as Pinnacle City’s cheapest Private Eye! From missing pets to murder investigations, your detective skills will earn you either fortune or face punches.
  • Fight enemies in turn-based combat. Unleash devastating combo attacks by teaming up with other heroes in your team!
  • Explore Pinnacle City--a wretched hive of scum and villainy harboring black market trade & hawked by colorful characters.
  • Use your investigation mode to reveal clues and over time unearth new secrets and storylines!

You can follow it on Steam, the Early Access release should be sometime soon going by their most recent Kickstarter update.

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Tags: Crowdfunding, Puzzle, Adventure, Indie Game

Afterlight really does look beautiful, with a "2.5D" style this puzzle-adventure is one to firmly keep an eye on.

It's currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, with Linux as a planned platform for release "Our main platform is PC (Windows, Mac & Linux) via Steam" and their FAQ also makes it clear Linux is a target too. With 24 days to go, they're closing in on half of the $35K goal.

Afterlight is an introspective adventure into the mind of an isolated astronaut in Titan.

This journey is about trust and forced friendship, perception and psychological traumas -as a metaphor for toxic relationships in desperate overcomes. 

Check out their trailer:


Watch video on YouTube.com

The teaser doesn't give away too much but it does the job! As a space sci-fi fan, I think it looks very interesting. Will be keeping a close eye on this one!

Features they say it will have:

  • A creative interpretation of a large documentation on Titan's environment -bringing a dreamy and beautiful setting.
  • An emotional insight into mental disorders, not focused on the cliché aspects, but to talk about their consequences in relationships and personal growth.
  • Carefully crafted animations to tell from gestures and little details.
  • Vast possibilities in puzzles by getting to control giant robots.

If you wish to pledge your support you can find the Kickstarter here. If you wish to just follow along, it has a page ready up on the Steam store. The full release isn't for a while though, with an estimated date of sometime in "Q3 2020". They've said they do plan a DRM-free release too, with GOG being directly mentioned.

Hat tip to Cyril.

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Tags: DRM-Free, GOG, RPG, Adventure

Regions Of Ruin from Vox Games and Poysky Productions, a side-scrolling RPG with town-building is now available DRM-free on GOG. A nice reminder of it too, one we completely missed actually being properly released for Linux.

The developer did reach out back in 2017 to ask for help testing but it seems we completely lost track of it, as it did gain full Linux support.


Watch video on YouTube.com

They claim it's a little like the side-scroller Kingdom, only with more elements of an RPG. It does look good, so I'm surprised we did miss the main release. The developer also mentioned earlier this year that Regions of Ruin 2 is on the way, although they're also working on Meeple Station.

Features:

  • Styled combat system with stats and levelling
  • Skill tree to focus your fighting style
  • Extensive loot and rare items to discover
  • Forge your own equipment or smelt it for resources
  • Open world exploration with a hand crafted environment, no randomized maps or levels, everything you see has been made with care
  • Customised town building and expansion
  • Rescue and recruit dwarves for your township (save them from extinction!)
  • Send workers to harvest resources from explored regions
  • Hire Mercenaries to help in battle
  • Multitude of Quests and a main storyline

You can now find it on GOG, also on Humble Store, itch.io and Steam.

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Tags: Action, Survival, Indie Game, Steam, Early Access, Itch.io, Update

Sipho is another pretty interesting indie game I'm following, one where you construct an organism from various parts and attempt to survive. The latest update adds an entirely new breed and it's pretty fun.

The whole idea of the game is pretty sweet, giving a different kind of action and survival experience. It has a nice gameplay loop to it already with you picking a breed, constructing your creature and then attempting to survive while also possibly unlocking a new breed if you collect enough of their DNA. Once you manage to take down the Queen, you also get to play with the Aquarium feature, which is basically a sandbox area to do whatever you want.

Included in the latest update is the Vagorians and they come with some interesting abilities like the Twister:

Another ability they have is the Burstopod, allowing you to launch a shell that breaks "with great force" making it useful for both defence and offence as it damages a small radius around it. They also have smaller structure blocks than the other breeds, allowing for some compact and interesting designs for creatures.

It's a really tricky game, one that does need you to stick at it for a bit but I honestly really enjoy it. A fun way I found to deal with the early game is to make heavy use of poison, by getting the smaller creatures to follow you as you leave a trail of deadly fumes. Once you manage to unlock the Grabber, it's quite amusing to pull a creature towards you and smother it in a cloud.

Works quite well…until you run right into the jaws of something much bigger—there's always a bigger fish.

Looking forward to seeing how much this one expands, although it's already quite interesting. You can pick up a copy of Sipho on Steam and itch.io.

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Tags: Arcade, Action, Steam, Review, Pixel Graphics

Not originally scheduled to release same-day with Linux support, Hell is Other Demons, developed by Cuddle Monster Games and publishing from Kongregate is out now and it's damn good.

Hell is Other Demons is a ridiculously good retro-looking arcade shooter, one that I've pretty much fallen in love with. From the moment I got to test it, I was hooked right in thanks to the incredible styling. That's not all though, while the game is mechanically simple as it's basically a platform shooter with tiny arenas it's in no way easy. It manages to do a lot with the simplicity, while also giving you a lot of choice.

It mixes in a heavy synthwave soundtrack composed by Rémi Gallego, of The Algorithm, and retro sound effects by Magnus Pålsson, composer of the VVVVVV OST so there's a lot going for it.

When I originally covered it back in February, the publisher sent word right after that it wasn't actually coming to Linux at launch even though the Steam store page went up with Linux listed. The developer reached out later, and a few of us here gave it a test and it didn't have a single issue. Thanks to that, it seems the Linux version was launched for all to enjoy.

To show it off a bit, our contributor Samsai managed to capture himself getting into the top 10 in the Arcade mode, take a look at just how mad it can get:


Watch video on YouTube.com

I'm also in the top 15 players for the Arcade mode which I've found to be menacingly addictive but I doubt my reign there will last for long. Even so, each run I get that tiny bit further and I'm not doing it because I feel like I have to write about it, I'm doing it because it feels so ridiculously good. In the Arcade mode, you simply progress through an endless amount of random levels and enemies while chasing your (and everyone else's) high score. As you take enemies down, you grab new and often insane weapons while also picking perks as you level up.

The campaign mode is great fun too, giving you a nice bit of progression with some absolutely insane boss fights. You progress through nodes on a main map, full of different fights, shops to pick upgrades and new weapons and so on.

Progression in the campaign is different, since it's persistent and you can choose your load-out before heading into a fight which is pretty sweet. You have a limited amount of energy to pick your equipment but this can also be upgraded, with you being able to turn anything on and off on any mission to mix and match styles to your choosing. Honestly, it's fantastic.

You can grab Hell is Other Demons on Steam, absolutely worth your time. My thumbs seriously ache but I just want to play more, that's the true sign of a good time.

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Tags: Apps, Open Source

For those who create videos and livestreams, OBS Studio is for the most part all you need. It continues advancing too, with a Release Candidate out for OBS 23.2.

New features this time around include a hotkey to toggle the preview, the ability to preview scene transitions, the ability to estimate recording time available based on disk space (not that I've seen it, might be Windows only), a "luma" key video filter, the ability to copy and paste filter to/from scenes in addition to sources, the ability to centre items vertically or horizontally in the transform menus, a message when there's no sources included in a scene to help new users and numerous other enhancements.

Some notable Linux issues were fixed too. These included issues with OBS unable to capture some monitors and an issue with the VAAPI encoder where CBR would not always output at a constant bitrate. Other bug fixes and improvements include more SVG icons to look better across different DPI scaling, dark theme improvements, various memory leak and crashing fixes, a fix made it in to stop OBS Studio freezing in the middle of a recording or livestream with an encoder error and so on.

Service Integration is still not yet available in the Linux version, so no fancy integration with Twitch and other services. Originally they said it was Windows-only while Linux support for it was "planned and a priority" but I've not seen much more on it since then. Going by a pull request to get the obs-browser fixed up on Linux, it seems some issues still remained. Hopefully it won't be too much longer, it would be incredibly useful but it's not essential.

See the full release notes here.

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