This week has seen some new stuff released so how about we check out that stuff! First of all, we saw the release of Surviving Mars, a city-builder set, unsurprisingly, set on Mars. GOG provided us with some copies so we'll take it for a spin. Secondly, an open source ARPG called Flare made their first release in a while so I figured we'd have a look at it since we don't see many free and open source games on the stream typically.
Finally, as you might expect, we'll be continuing our Livestream Project which happens to be Shadow Warrior at this moment. So we'll be swinging some Wang... ehm... katana around after the random games segment!
Hopefully you will enjoy tonight's gaming menu and may you all have a wonderful weekend!
The developer of One Hour One Life [Official Site] and The Castle Doctrine [Official Site] has made two interesting posts lately, one about not launching a game on Steam and one about keeping your game code and assets open to anyone.
Firstly, yes, I am being careful with my wording here. The code and assets are open, but they're not open source. As far as I can see, they don't have actual licenses and the developer just says they're public domain. It's really great to see, but not technically open source. I have to say this, or else people (rightly so) bug me about it. Now, with that out of the way…
Firstly, there's been a large number of developers concerned about the growth on Steam. How they released their games in the past on days where nothing or only a few others were releasing. Today things are rather different, today alone there's around 20 games being released on Steam (across all operating systems).
The developer in question, Jason Rohrer, is well aware of this. He's decided so far not to release One Hour One Life on Steam. Writing in this news post, it's really quite encouraging how well he's actually done. Going by one of the charts he showed off, he's gained over $67K and the game has only been out since late February and you can only purchase it directly from his site.
One thing he also said, is that he thinks game press is essentially gone. I wouldn't say I agree with that, the fact that we're here and we do generate a lot of sales for developers (thanks to same stats I can see) shows that gaming press still has a long life left in it (we're still quite small too). However, what he's saying is partly true, a lot of "press" has shifted over to places like YouTube and Twitch (we're there too, see the links), which is also a good way for people to experience a game through videos of people genuinely trying to play it so they can see if they want to buy it, it's a very different world to the written word.
Screenshot taken today in the Linux build of One Hour One Life
He says he designed One Hour One Life specifically to fit in with how things are now, something people will keep coming back to, he calls it a "a unique-situation-generator". He's not wrong either, One Hour One Life is certainly unique as a survival game, one that can create many funny stories. It's also a very strange game, one full of terrible parenting and a civilization currently no further along than what I imagine from Neanderthals. It’s a very experimental game, one that tells you quite literally nothing from the moment you’re born into it.
Rohrer also recently took to reddit, to post about "How I made $670K over the past 8 years with 100% Open Source games" (again, see my note above though). In this post, Rohrer talked about how you can sell games, even when they are open for anyone to get in some form. What he's saying for the most part is exactly right too, people will 99% of the time pay for the convenience of just downloading a ready working build. I know I will pay for that convenience, I'm also much more likely to do so if the code is open source too.
All encouring and interesting to read, I do like his views on DRM and how you really can't stop people doing what they want, it's such a waste of time and effort in the end. What are your thoughts?
Tags: Coming Soon, Steam, City Builder, Simulation
Greetings wannabe dictators, El Presidente is back with another new trailer of Tropico 6 [Steam] to show off some new features.
Tropico 6 - Gameplay Trailer (EU) - YouTube
I have to say, it certainly looks good, but it's still not showing enough of what the actual gameplay will look like. Even so, from the short slices we've seen it looks like it might have quite a bit more depth than Tropico 5.
Tropico 6 will feature:
Play on large archipelagos for the first time in the series. Manage multiple islands at the same time and adapt to various new challenges.
Send your agents on raids to foreign lands to steal world wonders and monuments, to add them to your collection.
Build bridges, construct tunnels and transport your citizens and tourists in taxis, buses and aerial cable cars. Tropico 6 offers completely new transportation and infrastructure possibilities.
Customize the looks of your palace at will and choose from various extras.
Tropico 6 features a revised research system focusing on the political aspects of being the world’s greatest dictator.
Election speeches are back! Address the people and make promises that you can’t possibly keep.
Co-operative and competitive multiplayer for up to four players.
It's still confirmed to be releasing on Linux, but there's no date for any platform yet other than this year. The official press email sent only said Windows PC, but I've been told directly the Linux release is still on track and it's just an error with the wording.
This time around, Limbic Entertainment are developing it instead of Haemimont Games (who just put out Surviving Mars).
That's right, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case [GOG, Steam] the follow up title to The Silver Case which gained Linux support in an update to the remastered version last year. This time around, we saw day-1 support.
Like the previous game, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is actually a remaster made with completely rebuilt HD assets and this is the first time the game has been available outside of Japan, it also includes new content not found in the original release.
Disclosure: Copy provided by GOG, GOG links are affiliate links.
The 25th Ward: The Silver Case Announcement Trailer - YouTube
About the game:
It is five years since the events of 1999’s “The Silver Case,” set in the new 25th Ward that arose in the bayside area of Kanto. In a room of the “Bayside Tower Land” apartment complex, a woman is found murdered under mysterious circumstances. This sets off a series of seemingly random events bridging across multiple protagonists including The Silver Case’s Tokio Morishima. With all viewpoints assembled, a truly shocking pattern emerges…
A SUDA51 Trip - Set in the “Kill the Past” universe, the series continues its bleak look into a semi-futuristic world on the edge of collapse and the misfits and antiheroes that inhabit it.
Brave New World - The return of the signature “Film Window” system is brought to The 25th Ward for the first time! New visuals, sounds and controls capture the game in a fresh perspective.
One Story, Many Sides – Explore this dark take on Tokyo from three different perspectives, “Correctness,” “Placebo,” and “Matchmaker.
Testing the Linux version sent over by GOG, everything seemed to work exactly as expected, it includes both a 32bit and 64bit build. It's a Unity engine game, thankfully it seems it was built with a version of Unity that doesn't have the blackscreen bug on Linux (hooray!).
For those who do try it, it's TAB to access the in-game menu. Took me a while to find that…thankfully that's a big improvement over the previous game, being able to save where you are easily.
It's currently 10% off across both GOG and Steam. Great to see more Japanese games arrive with Linux support.
There was a slight delay with the Linux build on GOG, but it's now arrived too.
During a recent livestream, the DayZ [Steam] developers mentioned Linux and a few people went wild. Sadly, they meant this in relation to dedicated servers, but the door remains open.
Here's what they actually said during it:
After that we're just going to give you the server files, both for Windows and maybe down the road Linux which is in preparation right now.
I had multiple emails, a bunch of mentions across our social spaces and it popped up on reddit that people thought it was coming to Linux. I just want to make sure the record is set straight. I spoke to the DayZ developers, who said this to me directly today (quoted with permission):
That mention was indeed dedicated to us supporting Linux servers mostly. We’re definitely open to supporting Linux for the game itself, but that’ll be realistic only after we reach the 1.0 version of the game, as the multi platform/system development would become a bit tricky when still in Early Access.
Who knows, maybe we will see it later down the line, maybe not. It's good that they remain open to it, but for now it's not coming to Linux.
It's certainly no secret I'm impressed with Starmancer [Kickstarter], the Dwarf Fortress inspired space station sim. It has a Linux demo and the funding is still coming in, the stretch goals they've reached sound fantastic.
In my last post about it, I said how it would great with a creative mode. Good news everyone! Since I wrote that, they've hit a stretch goal to expand their team, they've hit the goal required for Creative Mode and on top of that they've even hit the goal to include a Robotic Faction! I don't think I can get any more hyped up about this…
Starmancer Kickstarter Trailer - YouTube
They're now running at around $128K, with the next stretch goal at $140K to include "Xenos", which will include old alien ruins to search through and scavenge, although with only 15 hours to go they're not liking to reach that one. Shame, but amazing they've done so well!
If you're interested in reading more, they've also put up a blog post talking about the needs of your colonists. They're going to need you to look after them, as they will need: Oxygen, Water, Food, Toilet Breaks, Warmth, Sleep and Social Interactions. I've enjoyed killing them often in the demo. For those wanting to try the demo, it's available here.
I've personally backed this one, the demo works quite well and the developer has been very responsive to feedback.
Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion [GOG, Steam] is the first expansion for the amusing rocket-building sandbox game and it adds some pretty decent content.
Disclosure: Key provided by GOG, also GOG links are affiliate links.
Kerbal Space Program: Making History Launch Trailer - YouTube
Here's what it adds:
Mission Builder: This robust new feature puts the process of creating and editing missions in players’ hands with endless possibilities. Players can customize their own missions to include launches, landings, rescues, malfunctions, explosions, repairs, and much more. Unique victory conditions, exciting challenges, and unexpected obstacles provide an array of complexity in these missions. Challenge others by sharing your created missions with the KSP community.
History Pack: Play a variety of pre-made missions inspired by humankind’s own space exploration. From spacewalking to crash landing and everything in between, players can attempt to recreate moments inspired by historic events, but with a unique Kerbal twist.
New Parts: This expansion also includes dozens of new parts along with new astronaut suits, all inspired by the historic Space Race. Players can use these parts and suits throughout Kerbal Space Program.
It's certainly not an easy game, one which I've personally struggled with quite a bit. It's amusing though, my failures have kept me going as I've wanted to do better. Some games are fun to fail in, KSP is certainly a game that fits there. For me, I hadn't actually played for quite some time, so it was interesting to re-learn it all. What I especially like about KSP, is how simple it actually is to build a ship. Getting it to work properly and go where you need to is another story altogether, but the tutorials are decent enough to get you going.
If you were already a fan of KSP, picking it up I would consider to be a no-brainer. The Linux version seems to work really well, which is awesome. KSP has an already active modding community, which the developer has now given a big boost thanks to the Mission Builder, it will be interesting to see what people can come up with.
Find the expansion now on GOG and Steam, for those who don't own the actual game it's currently 50% off on both stores for another few hours.
It seems Croteam will be doing a talk at GDC this year and it sounds like it's going to be quite interesting, with it being centred around getting games to perform smoothly. The talk will be presented by the Croteam CTO, Alen Ladavac.
For those not familiar, Croteam have been pretty great supporters of Linux gaming. Thanks to them we have The Talos Principle and multiple Serious Sam games. Not only that, they were one of the first developers to get their games on Steam when it initially released for Linux.
That wouldn't exactly be newsworthy by itself, sure, but Valve has actually been working directly with Croteam in order to find solutions to the issue of micro-stuttering in games. This is the issue of a game running at 60FPS, yet it might stutter and not be as smooth as you would want and expect it to be.
Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais tweeted this out about it:
We've been helping @Croteam with their quest to resolve frame pacing and stuttering problems that have been affecting all gaming platforms for a long time; the Linux graphics stack lets us create solutions.[…]
With Croteam's CTO then thanking both Pierre-Loup and Keith Packard "for the driver that's able to finally pull this off!". It's very interesting to see Linux being mentioned liked this, exciting to see in fact.
Tags: Strategy, Simulation, Steam, GOG, City Builder
Martian city-builder Surviving Mars [GOG, Steam] is the latest strategy game from Haemimont Games and it’s now available on Linux.
Disclosure: My copy was provided by TriplePoint PR. GOG also kindly provided a key for Samsai as well. Thanks to them both for supporting GamingOnLinux!
Surviving Mars - Release Trailer - YouTube
The hook with Surviving Mars is that it's a city builder where you're given a little more direct control over certain parts of the game (like manually moving vehicles around) and you're building in a place with no oxygen, no food and not much in the way of anything really. It's how you get from nothing to a sprawling colony that makes it so very different to what I've played before. The way the planet starts off barren and ends up as a busy city full of people, industry and more as you struggle to have enough resources and deal with any disasters that appear.
Sadly, this is one time I haven’t been able to review the game fully before release. While they supplied me with a review build, it wasn’t ready due to a text rendering bug. I struggled on for a while nonetheless and I ended up really quite enjoying it. That truly says something about a game, that even with such a glaring bug I was able to enjoy it. I've had it confirmed to me that it is indeed a game bug and it will be patched, likely in the first patch but there's no ETA. While the game remains playable, it's hard not to be dissapointed in this.
To make up for the lack of a full day-1 review, I shall be livestreaming it tonight on our Twitch channel at approximately 18:15 UTC, it will be a longer than usual stream to celebrate, as long as the text issue doesn't cause too many problems.
By far, my favourite feature in the game is the Photo Mode. Not enough games give you a way to completely hide the entire UI to really take everything in and get some good snaps. It’s not just that fact that it hides stuff away you don’t want in your shots, you can also adjust: the time of day, filters, exposure, fog and more resulting in some great shots. Here’s a few of my favourites taken in the Linux version:
There are a few things I think they can improve on, like controlling drones. You can only select them one a time, dragging to select more than one would help a lot, something I’m surprised they haven’t put in the game. I've no doubt this will see some good post-release support and I imagine it's one small addition they will do. On top of that, there's no priority system for drones. You can set building construction to a higher priority, but you can't do a similar thing with drones. For example, having a few dedicated to repairs and a few dedicating to building work would help.
There’s lots of details that I do love about it, some of them are quite simple too like how the Power Accumulator rises from the ground depending on how much power is stored, also the Water Tower which has a float that rises to show how much is stored. Simple pleasures, but it’s all the small things that add up. Some games don't focus on the simple things, but Haemimont Games seems to have put real attention to details in Surviving Mars.
The developer and publisher actually did a reddit AMA (Ask me anything) yesterday as well, where they answered two of my questions. My questions were answered by Robin Cederholm, Lead Producer at Paradox Interactive (the publisher, not to be confused with Paradox Development Studio).
How hard was it for you to support Linux with Surviving Mars?
As a Publishing Producer I can say that it wasn't super hard :) I know that for Haemimont the difficulties between different Linux distributions are extremely difficult to navigate though. Luckily the Linux users are usually resourceful and help each other out, so that helps a lot.
Would you say supporting Linux is worth it, given you've previously put games on Linux?
I'd say it's worth it most of the time, otherwise we wouldn't do it. But it's not so much about monetary gain as it's about letting Linux players enjoy our games as well. We typically recoup the cost, but we're talking small numbers here.
It’s pleasing to see someone at Paradox Interactive say it’s worth it! That makes me happy. We know our numbers aren't huge, but the fact that they do usually recover costs is a good sign.
About the game:
Surviving Mars is a sci-fi city builder all about colonizing Mars and surviving the process. Choose a space agency for resources and financial support before determining a location for your colony. Build domes and infrastructure, research new possibilities and utilize drones to unlock more elaborate ways to shape and expand your settlement. Cultivate your own food, mine minerals or just relax by the bar after a hard day’s work. Most important of all, though, is keeping your colonists alive. Not an easy task on a strange new planet.
It's a very slow-paced, but satisfying game from what I've been able to play so far. I've put quite a few hours into it already and I think it's certainly worth looking at. My concern right now, is how it will feel to play it again from the start considering the slow pacing. A lot of my time has been spent in the faster speed because of how slow it can be. However, once you start getting colonists it really does become a lot more interesting and more difficult.
You can find it now on GOG and Steam. Just keep in mind the text rendering bug I noted earlier.
GOG links are affiliate links.
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