The Linux Rain Linux General/Gaming News, Reviews and Tutorials

Articles found under tag: tutorial

How to garble

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In 2003 a strange paragraph made the rounds on email. It read: Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a…

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DMS to DD to KML with AWK and sed

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In a 2014 Linux Rain article I describe a fast 'points plotter' for Google Earth. First I copy a list of latitude/longitudes (lat/lons) from a spreadsheet to the clipboard, then I launch a shell script with a keyboard shortcut. The script builds a KML file from the copied list and opens the KML for…

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Grouping things with AWK

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In this article I explain one way to group data items with AWK arrays. The code is a little mysterious but the results are impressive, especially in my second example! Case 1: Cricket stats The table 'runs' is tab-separated and lists the 86 national team cricket players who scored (or have so far…

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Building sequences of numbers on the command line

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There are two easy-to-use tools for generating numerical sequences. 'Brace expansion' is a BASH shell built-in, while the seq command is included in the GNU/Linux 'coreutils' package. Each tool has its peculiarities and advantages, as shown below. Simple sequences One difference between the two…

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Building a Desktop Wikipedia Checker

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I often look something up in Wikipedia when reading non-browser documents, like PDFs, ODTs and emails. I wanted to have a little desktop window for those look-ups - somewhere I could check Wikipedia without opening a browser and without leaving the document I'm reading. This article describes how I…

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How to repeat a script, or not

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I have a data-entry script which adds records to a plain-text data table. It's a fairly complicated script with a GUI dialog, and until recently it added one record at a time. To add another record, I had to launch the script again. Was there a simple way (I asked myself) to re-run the script, or…

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On dates and stuffed non-dates

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Nothing gives my wife the Screaming Meemies like dates in spreadsheets. Unless she formats the target cell in advance as text, the spreadsheet will turn a perfectly innocent, non-date string like 23/2/6 into '23-Feb-2006'. When she types 6420-11-3, according to both LibreOffice Calc and Gnumeric,…

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The header line: how to add, delete and ignore it

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In a plain-text table, the first or header line usually contains the names of the fields. In this article I've pulled together a variety of ways to add and delete a header, and also how to do things with the rest of the table while leaving the header intact as the first line in the file. Add a…

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Joining Tables on the Command-Line

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This article compares 3 different ways to join tables on a common field. All 3 work OK on small tables, but there's a big difference in speed when the tables to be joined are large, as shown below. Table joining isn't something you need to do if you store data in a simple, flat-file database like a…

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Splitting a File Elegantly

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In a previous Linux Rain article I compared different ways to delete blank lines, and showed that the AWK way was the simplest and most thorough. Here I show how to split a text file into multiple text files using a surprisingly simple AWK command. Background In 2013 I published an article in Free…

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News Elsewhere

Linuxtoday.com

Surviving systemd: Lucas Nussbaum satisfied with init system outcome

 ITwire: It would not be an exaggeration to say that no leader of the Debian GNU/Linux Project has had to cope with more troubling times than Lucas Nussbaum.

VirtualBox 5.0 Will Bring Disk Image Encryption, Paravirtualization Support for Linux and Windows Guests

 softpedia: Highlights of VirtualBox 5.0 Beta 1 include paravirtualization support for both Linux and Windows guests

Linux in the Old Homestead

 FOSSforce: Since starting with Linux in 2006, I've mostly used Fedora or Fedora-based distros, with a recent foray for a couple of years into the now-departed Debian-based CrunchBang

A Linux user tries out Windows 10

 NetworkWorld: Bryan Lunduke spent a few days running the Windows 10 technical preview to see if there's anything Linux users can learn from Microsoft's newest OS.

How Moodle is driven by user and community feedback

Dealing with many different viewpoints can be a challenge for many open source community moderators.

Why DBaaS matters to OpenStack operators

 opensource.com: In this interview, Tesora CTO Amrith Kumar provides an update on the Trove project and explains important management considerations for databases in the cloud.

Kernel.org Renamed to Hurr Durr Archives for 4.0 Release

Linux.com: In preparation for the Linux kernel 4.0 release, the project's official website Kernel.org has been renamed The Hurr Durr Archives.

How to Generate/Encrypt/Decrypt Random Passwords in Linux

 tecmint: In this article, we will share some interesting Linux tips and tricks to generate random passwords and also how to encrypt and decrypt passwords with or without slat method.

$13 HAT aims Raspberry Pi at real-world I/O projects

 LinuxGizmos: Pimoroni's $13 "Explorer HAT" add-on for the Raspberry Pi can drive motors and touchscreens, integrate sensors, interface with 5V devices, and more.

GamingOnLinux.com Latest Articles

The GOL Nouveau Experiment – Conclusion

I have now spent two weeks using the open source Nouveau driver on my desktop and I have some results here. Let's see how well Nouveau did for me!

Let's start by talking a bit about a thing called GPU reclocking. By default your GPU will most likely be running at a low clockrate to conserve power and prevent unnecessary heat build-up. Only when the GPU power is really needed, it will get reclocked to a higher power level by the GPU driver. For the longest time this was a problem with the Nouveau driver as it suffered from a lack of GPU reclocking, leaving your GPU to the lowest possible power level each and every time. So it's not surprising that Nouveau gained the reputation of being a very under-performing driver.

Work has been done to fix this issue recently and on some cards you can access higher power levels. This is done manually by echoing values into /sys/class/drm/card0/device/pstate. Not really all that intuitive but I was able to reclock my GPU. However, this functionality is still very experimental and attempting to reach the two highest power levels turned my screen into pixel salad.

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Luckily I had some reclocking capability and I was able to push my cores up to around 79% of the maximum clock rate. In the case of my GTX 760 that means 966 MHz out of 1228 MHz. Memory clockrate wasn't too good and the 0a power level I had access to only yielded 1620 MHz out of the 6008 MHz maximum, which naturally affects the performance in some games.

But regardless of these reclocking limitations, performance with most games has been surprisingly good. When I last tried Nouveau the clockrates were limited to the BIOS values which are too low to run most 3D games at a reasonable framerate. Now I get over twice as much power out of my GPU and the results reflect that.

A surprising amount of games work just fine with Nouveau, some of them even being big titles. Naturally you are limited to games that run on OpenGL 3.3, so Metro Redux and Bioshock Infinite are out of the question but the majority of games out there still use GL3. So these past two weeks, even if I haven't gotten to test out Bioshock Infinite, haven't been completely devoid of games. My gaming has mostly consisted of Mount & Blade: Warband and Cities: Skylines but, like I promised at the beginning of the experiment, I also widened my horizons just a bit and tried to play as many games as possible.

In basic usage Nouveau mostly worked flawlessly. One annoying thing has been this weird vertical purple line on the left side of my monitor. It's only a pixel or two wide, so it doesn't really negatively affect my screen space but it was a bit distracting at the beginning. I barely even notice it now but it's a thing I'd like to get rid of. It also seems like the image quality took a hit when I switched from the blob and everything seems a bit blurrier. I'm not quite sure what is the cause for that but luckily the difference is barely noticeable and I forgot about it in two days. Some software can also make Nouveau act a bit wonky. For example viewing a video in Flash (ugh) in a browser and then switching to another workspace while the video is playing seems to somehow mess with the screen buffer and make all kinds of weird things happen on the screen. I ended up switching to HTML5 video on YouTube with Firefox due to this problem. Same thing happened with SimpleScreenRecorder when I attempted to capture a certain region of the screen but fullscreen recording worked fine. The area I was recording also looked normal. Maybe someone with more knowledge can explain what might be happening with that. OBS was also a dead end and only seemed to output weird, distorted green video even when the preview looked fine. So video production was a bit tricky at times on Nouveau.

Okay, let's talk about something that might interest you more than my video production worries. Let's see how games worked on Nouveau.

I have to say, I was positively surprised by the performance of various games. Games like Mount & Blade: Warband and Xonotic worked absolutely fantastic with average framerate of 60 fps and beyond. I also had plenty of success with Source titles, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive which also ran at solid 60 FPS. Valve certainly has optimized their games well. The only Source game that wouldn't cooperate was Left 4 Dead 2 which for some reason complained about glGetError. As far as I know my card should support the necessary spec even on Nouveau, so it could be a bug either in Nouveau or in L4D2. I also tried Dota 2 and after some slight tweaking it too ran at 60 FPS. Sadly my testing with it was limited by my abilities so I couldn't do extensive testing with it.

Note: the following CS:GO video was captured at 720p but that was to compensate for the recording. The game actually ran at 60 FPS at 1080p.





Those games are nice, but surely you'll want to see something more. So let's bring in the big guns. Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel were games you wished I would test, so I downloaded them both. The results were a bit mixed. TPS ran at a solid 60 FPS but it crashed only after a couple of minutes of play. BL2 on the other hand ran at a lower framerate, around 30 FPS, but seemed more stable. To my understanding they should run on the same engine so I'm left puzzled why one is more stable than the other. The performance difference is easier to explain, since BL2 has more going on in its world than on the barren moon of TPS.

The following video was captured at 720p with everything set to low.



When you think of a graphically intensive game, what comes to mind? Well, some people would say Metro: Last Light and that's what I decided to test. Due to the missing GL4 components in Nouveau I had to go with the original Metro port, but that's better than nothing. The results were surprising. Not only did Metro: Last Light run but it actually ran pretty well. It's most certainly not solid 60 FPS all the time but without recording it did manage to mostly stay above 30 FPS. The more open areas and large amounts of fire did have a pretty big impact on the framerate but I'd consider it playable if not smooth. I also tried some Unreal Tournament pre-alpha. Not the smoothest experience ever but once again playable.





You also wanted me to find out how well Unity3D games worked. Here the results were a bit mixed. Interstellar Marines, unsurprisingly, ran at 20-30 FPS and Kerbal Space Program didn't do much better. Wasteland 2 also had trouble reaching 30 FPS. Not all Unity3D games performed badly though. Ziggurat, one of my favourite Unity3D games, ran at a respectable 40-60 FPS at 1080p and at a pretty much solid 60 FPS in 720p. Hand of Fate also ran at an acceptable 30-40 FPS.

The experiment wasn't just sunshine and rainbows though. Let's take a look at the disaster department.

While most games would run, some stubbornly crashed and burned either after just a couple of minutes of gameplay or immediately after launching them. The Feral ports were especially unlucky. XCOM: Enemy Unknown would crash immediately when you entered combat and Empire: Total War was even worse. When you started up Empire it would first turn everything on your screen red and then lock up your GPU entirely, making your computer hang. Sometimes the OS managed to recover from the situation by restarting Xorg, sometimes it would just hang until you forced a reboot. Same thing happened with Talos Principle and War Thunder. These GPU lockups were probably the biggest problem I encountered, since they made everything crash, not just the game and recovering from them was time consuming and annoying.

Luckily they didn't happen just randomly. They consistently only happened when certain games were run or when you tried to do something a bit “exotic”. I found a way to trigger it by streaming a game from my desktop to my laptop using Steam's In-Home Streaming and then trying to alt-tab on my desktop. If I let the host be, In-Home Streaming itself worked flawlessly.

In conclusion, Nouveau isn't perfect but it most certainly isn't unusable. A hardcore gamer probably wouldn't find Nouveau to be all that useful but for someone into more casual games and possibly an interest in software ethics it could be just powerful enough. Though someone like that probably would rather use an AMD card with a lot more complete open source driver. It's also not the most newbie-friendly, since you have to navigate quite deep into the system folders to even reclock your GPU. Once that process is automated and you can reliably access the highest possibly power states, I can see Nouveau becoming a viable alternative to the blob even for the less-technical people.

This experiment was a pretty fun one and I enjoyed testing all kinds of stuff with Nouveau. I imagine some of you might also want to test Nouveau to compare your experience to mine but a word of warning before you wipe that blob of yours: GPU support in Nouveau is limited. Especially if you are on one of those new Maxwell cards (GTX 750 + 900 series) you might find that you completely lack graphics and the reclocking only seems to work on Kepler hardware. So if you have a 600 or 700 series card you might be able to test it out. No promises, I'm no Nouveau dev.

Hopefully you found this experiment interesting. I will definitely keep an eye out for Nouveau's progress and probably test it out a lot more frequently than I've done so far. Have you tested Nouveau recently? What have your experiences been with it?

Grass Simulator Fully Released With Linux Support


April Fools! Wait, this is real? Grass Simulator added Linux support recently, and today they have released the final version.

About the game (Official)
Strap it on and lock 'n' load in Grass Simulator, where you will Shoot, Loot and MOO! your way through multiple game modes revolved around...GRASS!. Grass Simulator will revolutionize the way you look at grass; Instead of it being that green stuff that you occasionally see in your garden that you never mow (Yes - We know you neglect it).

You play as Garry Rambler, a rogue mercenary that escaped from hell who has sworn to take revenge upon the illusive cows that lurk among the shadows whom murdered his family, stuck in a purgatory filled with nothing but cows, grass and more cows. Only equipped with his moustache, cliché 80's mullet and magnum revolver; the exact revolver he used to kill the legendary cow god that ordered his family to be executed, he must fend for himself in a cruel, unforgiving dimension.

Check out Grass Simulator on Steam.

I know Simulator games are big, and I thought Goat Simulator was a funny idea, but this is too much. There seems to be no point to this "game" at all.

New Linux Gaming Survey For April

The new GOL survey for April is now available, so please make sure to fill it in if you have the time.

The results of the previous (March) survey will be published in the next couple of days.

You can find the link here, and please share with other Linux gamers if you can!

Retro Style Arcade Game 'Pix The Cat' Now Available For Linux On Steam

Pix the Cat by developer Pastagames is a fast-paced arcade game that draws inspiration from classics like Pac-Man, Snake and Bomberman. Originally released for PS4 and Vita last year, the game was released for Windows in January and is now available for Linux on Steam.



The game features four different game modes: arcade, nostalgia, laboratory and arena. Arcade is the main mode, and is an intense score-fest with over 500 unlockable levels. The nostalgia mode is a twist on Snake and laboratory mode is a slow-paced, more puzzle oriented game mode. Arena is, as the name suggests, the multiplayer mode and it supports up to four players locally, with two players on the same keyboard and two on separate controllers.

Reviews of the game have been very favourable so far, with Destructoid calling it "a heck of a lot of frantic, neon fun", but noting that the game might be on the short side and can be difficult to control without an arcade joystick. The game doesn't appear to have gotten much of an audience on Steam yet, but of those who have played it and reviewed it, most have enjoyed it. I have a lot of games on my plate at the moment and haven't had a chance to try it myself.

Here's the full Linux and Mac version announcement on Steam.

About the game (from Steam)
In Pix the Cat, you are Pix, the first cat in the world to play his own game! Progress in the Grid of Infinity, deeper and deeper through its nested levels. Hatch the eggs to stack up ducklings behind you. Drop them off at target circles to set them free. Avoid hitting walls and obstacles at all costs! Still with me?

Developed by the French studio Pastagames, who created the excellent Rayman Jungle Run, Pix the Cat is a critically acclaimed intense arcade game that will challenge your reflexes and your wits, pitting you against your friends and the world in a race to the highest score!

In the Arcade mode, make your way through the flashy digital levels, pulsing to a galvanizing groove that won’t fail to make your heart skip a beat or two! With art that feels dug up from an old attic, the Nostalgia mode is an adventure oozing with surprises! Each of the 70 levels offers a new skill challenge and yet another blister under your thumb! In the Laboratory, your results are measured by your number of moves. Keep them minimal while dodging dangers to collect the bonus stamp!
Finally, joust against your friends in the local battle mode hosting up to four PixBots!


Pix the Cat is one of the weeklong deals on Steam and is 20% off until Monday.

Casual Adventure Game 'Grim Legends 2: Song Of The Dark Swan' Out On Steam, Our Review Of The Game

The latest game in the fantasy hidden object puzzle adventure (HOPA) series Grim Legends, Song of the Dark Swan, was released on Steam for Linux last week.



Song of the Dark Swan puts you in the role of a famous healer who has been summoned to Eagle Castle to cure the queen of a strange illness which has rendered her mute. When the infant prince is abducted under mysterious circumstances shortly after your arrival, the queen is accused of practising dark magic, and it is up to you to unravel the sinister plot.

I enjoyed the previous game in the series, The Forsaken Bride, and would rank it among my favourites in the HOPA genre. Since the story in Song of the Dark Swan is not related to the previous game, it can be played and enjoyed without any previous experience with the series.

The good
Song of the Dark Swan is possibly the most puzzle focused of Artifex Mundi's games so far. There are relatively few hidden object screens, and of those that are, many are of the puzzle oriented variety. This is of course a matter of preference, but to me that's a definite plus. The adventure game puzzles and minigames are also good, and though they might be on the easy side for a seasoned point-and-click veteran, they feel satisfying to solve.

Artifex Mundi has gotten pacing down to a fine art, and, for the most part, this game is no exception. I did get stuck for a short while on a couple of occasions due to not being able to find hotspots in the environment. In my opinion, these could have been signposted better, and I ended up having to systematically swipe backgrounds for hotspots. I always play these games on expert difficulty though, and if you play on casual mode you won't have this problem, as hotspots are highlighted with regular intervals.

These problems apart, the visuals are of the usual high quality, and the game has a clean colorful look, which makes it easy to spot objects you can interact with. The game itself runs flawlessly on my system, like the previous games from Artifex Mundi.

The bad
A while into the main story you come across a spirit who has the ability to grow or shrink plants using fairy dust. This could have made for some interesting puzzles. Unfortunately, they are always spoiled, since the spirit makes a sound to indicate them; even on expert mode. I also found the sounds these spirits make slightly annoying, and since the bonus story is centred around them, they really got on my nerves by the time I got through the bonus story.

And it's not just the spirits, since the voice acting in the game overall is a mixed bag. The voices of the most prominent characters are for the most part good. Not triple A quality good, but of the usual quality, and they get the job done nicely. There are a few exceptions though, and the children especially were almost painful to listen to.

Conclusion
The main game and bonus story took me a little over five hours to beat. This makes it a bit shorter than the previous game in the series, but in the range of the 5-7 hours it usually takes me to complete one of these games. If you care about achievements, you'll be happy to know that this game only requires one playthrough to get them all. I enjoyed the game, and though I prefer the previous instalment in the series, this game might be among my top five favourite Artifex Mundi games.

Grim Legends 2: Song of the Dark Swan is available from Steam and is 40% off until Thursday. If you missed it, you might be interested in reading our interview with Artifex Mundi from last month.

Star Citizen For Linux Is Being Held Up By Crytek


In a very recent video from Star Citizen's Chris Roberts, he outlines what's going on with the Linux version, and sadly the news right now isn't too healthy. It's not all doom and gloom, but it doesn't sound like we will be able to play it any time soon.

In direct response to a user question (8:05 time index), Chris states that Crytek hasn't been able to get their OpenGL renderer to an acceptable state.
Chris RobersWe run all of our servers on Linux, so we basically compile the game on Linux. The issue for Linux is graphics drivers.

Crytek was working on one, but they haven't managed to get it working to a state where performance is acceptable, and that's kinda what's really held up us being able to support Linux and also Mac.

He also mentions they are talking with people about "OpenGL Next" (Vulkan). So it's not all bad news.

It's really pleasing to see Chris talk so openly about it, and hopefully Crytek will finish their base OpenGL implementation for CryEngine.

I'm not too bothered by this right now, as Star Citizen is still so early in development. I hope the next time he talks openly about Linux support that the message is more positive.

You can see a very early video of different parts of the game below:


The GDC Videos From This Year Are Now Online, Including The Video On The Vulkan API

While we didn't get a chance to attend GDC due to it being expensive, the videos are now online for all to see. It's good to finally see a high quality video for the Vulkan presentation.

We can't embed them here, so you will need to go to the GDC website directly.

The most interesting video for us is the "glNext: The Future of High Performance Graphics (Presented by Valve)" presentation video.

You can see all of the videos they posted online here.

Humble Indie Bundle 14 Is Out, Outlast & Shadow Warrior New To Linux


Well, I was writing up both Outlast & Shadow warrior, then I checked my twitter feed and...dayam! Outlast & Shadow warrior are both now on Linux and in the brand new Humble Indie Bundle 14, what a day!

There goes ALL my time tonight! Of course they all have DRM free builds as well, so we can all get in on the fun.

The Games
Pixel Piracy
UnEpic
Super Splatters

Pay $10 or more to unlock!
Shadow Warrior Special Edition - Steam currently claims it's not on Linux for me, so it hasn't reached all of their networks yet.

Pay more than the average of $5.49 to unlock!
Outlast
Torchlight II
La-Mulana

More games coming soon!

Looks like Humble are back on form this time! Amazing bundle!

Check out Humble Indie Bundle 14 here.

Outlast Performance
Since this is a new port I decided that rather than spam out lots of articles, to keep it here.

Setting everything to Very High gives me a near solid 60FPS. Not sure if turning VSYNC off actually works, as my maximum FPS never went over 62FPS. I know VSYNC is usually 60FPS, but I just find 62 odd.

As I begin to play all that's going through my mind is "please be buggy, please don't make me play this!". Sadly, to my despair everything works really, really smoothly.

As I continue through the Asylum everything is working as expected, and the visuals really are quite good. Also, please don't make me crawl through that bloodied air vent .

I proceed to push a door and...nope, just nope. I jumped in my chair. Do not want.

it seems the port has some graphical glitches. We are uncertain how common they are, but so far they are not game-breaking. We will update you when we know more, or when we can force ourselves to play some more, it's bloody scary.

Shadow Warrior Performance
I downloaded the DRM free build since it isn't on Steam yet, and there are a few issues with the game.

On a dual monitor it stretches across both and positions itself in the middle, which is highly annoying. Full screen seems to lock all input, so I was unable to alt+tab. Luckily, I did manage to get it to work fully in Windowed mode!
This doesn't happen on the Steam version, I can alt+tab and fullscreen just fine.

I can't quite put my finger on what's going on with the graphics, but even on Ultra it looks nothing close to the fidelity shown on the Steam store.
A developer responded saying Linux is missing graphical features that are being worked on.

Performance is perfect though, I'm getting over 100FPS a lot!

Torchlight II
We already did a port report on that here.

UnEpic
Seems to work just fine in my testing, gives me a solid 60FPS and the gameplay is very smooth.

I haven't played too much of it, just the tutorial, and everything worked as expected.

AIRLINE TYCOON DELUXE Released On GOG For Linux


The dated (but still good) simulation game is now available DRM free from GOG. The Linux version only appeared on Steam in December, so GOG are only 4 months later on this one.

If you pick it up be sure to let us know how well it works.

About the game (Official)
Airline Tycoon Deluxe is a funny economy simulation proceeding in real-time and assigning you the complete responsibility for an airline. However, don’t be fooled by the funny comic style or the included jokes: A variety of tasks are requested and your competitors never miss a chance to set a trap for you in order to put a spoke in your wheel.

Your abilities are put to the test continuously playing Airline Tycoon Deluxe: Will you be able to use your airplanes to capacity and land some profitable charter flights? Can you establish routes for lucrative scheduled flights? Airplanes cost millions; will you be capable of increasing the share price and obtaining enough funds by the issuing of securities?

Can you stand up for the construction of new airplanes in your role as an engineer? Are you able to avoid your competitors’ deceitful attacks? Accept this unusual challenge and win virtual laurels with Airline Tycoon. The deluxe version contains 20 new airports as well as new opportunities. It is as interesting for professional tycoons as for beginners.

Check it out on GOG now.

Developer Infamous Quests Has Announced Two New Point-And-Click Adventures To Be Released This Year

The developer of the Kickstarter funded adventure RPG Quest for Infamy recently announced two new projects, which they aim to release by the end of 2015. One is a prequel to Quest for Infamy and the other is the first game in a planned anthology series.

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Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin is the planned prequel to Quest for Infamy and will be a challenging puzzle oriented point-and-click adventure game with optional hidden objects to be found for additional in-game rewards. The game tells the story of how the protagonist, Mister Roehm, got in trouble with the baron he is on the run from in Quest for Infamy. The game will not be a full-length game and will be sold at a lower price.

image

Order of the Thorne: The King's Challenge will be the first in the anthology of games set in the fantasy realm of Uir. You will take the role of Finn the Bard, who has a magical lute that he can use to solve puzzles. This sounds similar to how you solve puzzles in Loom; something that has me excited, as I feel this is an underused game mechanic in adventure games. In this first instalment you are one of the challengers in a competition held by the King to find his missing Queen.

Both games will use the open source Adventure Game Studio engine, which was also used in their previous game. Quest for Infamy recently won four categories in the AGS Awards 2014; including the awards for best gameplay and best puzzles. I have only put about half an hour into the game so far, but I like what I've seen and I look forward to hearing more about their upcoming games.

Create A Rad Spaceship In Captain Forever Remix, Now On Linux & Thoughts Thrown In


Captain Forever Remix is a colourful and fun spaceship action and building game that just released into early access, and I took a look.

About the game (Official)
Can you create the raddest spaceship? Captain Forever Remix is the spaceship builder roguelike. Voyage across the Solar System and blast apart randomly-generated enemies for spare parts.

You better build a pretty tough ship, because you're gonna need it. Your mutant little brother is being a total butthead and must be stopped! He froze the Sun, poked out Jupiter's eye, drank Neptune's oceans, and cracked Earth like an egg! Set off across a messed-up Solar System to put a stop to the big jerkface once and for all!

Captain Forever Remix is an officially-licensed re-imagining of the indie classic Captain Forever.

My thoughts
I’m a sucker for space games, and I do love being able to build something simply and quickly, so it already appeals to me quite a lot. Captain Forever Remix does make the building simple to do, but creating a decent ship isn’t as easy as it looks that’s for sure.

I held off on covering it at the initial release, as it did have a small bug with boosters not working properly, but testing it again today and everything seems fine!

What I most love about this game is that you can re-build your ship at any time during the gameplay, and pick apart modules from destroyed enemy ships to attach to yours. It works well, and it can be pretty amusing playing around with silly designs.

It has funky sounds, and funky graphics that do remind me of old cartoons I watched as a child, and that is exactly the style they are going for. This doesn’t mean it’s meant for kids, but it means a younger audience will probably enjoy it as much as I have been.

It’s a really interesting idea for a game, as you jump from planet to planet trying to reach your brother at Pluto. Each planet has a new bunch of randomly generated enemy ships, and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be either! The third planet had a level 3 enemy, and it literally tore my ship apart block by block with the amount of lasers it had.

My next try was even worse, although I was much happier with my ship since I had about 6 boosters, and 6+ lasers (I forget how many exactly), but just as I become happy with my ship, I end up finding a level 4 enemy, and that too obliterates me block by block with rapid speed. Game Over, damn it!

It’s one of those games that really makes you think “well, this isn’t going to end well”, as you see a million lasers being fired at the very edge of your screen.

Each time you finish an area you get 60 seconds to rebuild your ship before you automatically jump, so it doesn’t leave you masses of time to prepare. You can upgrade the amount of time you get to rebuild through the money system, along with other upgrades. As each ship you destroy rewards you with a small amount of cash for upgrades on the next run.
I do love that when you jump, any modules floating in space around your ship jump with you, so you can still rebuild in the next area, but it will be risky with new enemy ships trying to find you.

Some of the banter you get between the brother and sister does make you chuckle too, like the third or fourth planet basically looks like a big blob of snot layered on top of a ball of ear wax, and the answer your brother gives about what it is made me chuckle. I won’t say what they say exactly, as I don’t want to ruin the giggles for anyone who tries it out.

It actually reminds me of Reassembly a lot, but styled in a very different way and with more linear gameplay.

Final Verdict: It’s a cracking idea, and certainly kept me entertained! Even with it being in early access, there’s tons of replayability here, and it worked really well.

You can grab it from the developers directly, or on Steam. It’s on sale right now, and the price is due to go up once it exits early access, so now is a pretty good time to buy it.

Pirates, Vikings, And Knights II Released For Linux, It's Free On Steam


It's free game Saturday! Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II a free source engine action game to brighten up your weekend.

The game was released originally some years ago, and with the latest updates they added in Linux support.

I've played a rather small amount of it, and it's pretty much a mindless online first person hack and slash fest, so if that's your thing you will enjoy this.
In my limited testing the game gave me very smooth play, and high FPS, so it works well at least.

I feel the combat in Chivalry is so much better, but sadly that game is a crash fest.

About the game (Official)
Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II boasts a unique three-team symmetry and a myriad of colorful characters to promote exciting, strategic, and fun gameplay. It features several game modes, each requiring its own special brand of cunning to master. Do battle on a tropical island for control of bountiful treasure. Appease your gods by spilling the blood of your enemies deep within a Mayan temple. Conquer your foes by taking control of precious badlands territory. But most importantly, have FUN!

Check out Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II on Steam.

Spirits Of Xanadu, A Creepy Space Adventure Released For Linux, Some Thoughts Thrown In


Spirits of Xanadu is a creepy mix of exploration and adventure that was just released, and I decided to take an early look to see if it's worth your time.

About the game (Official)
At the farthest edge of the explored universe, the research ship Xanadu slumbers in orbit around a mysterious planet. Her systems remain active but there has been no message from her crew for months. Now a lone operative has been sent to wake the Xanadu and bring her home to Earth.

Spirits of Xanadu is an atmospheric exploration game set aboard a deserted starship in an alternate 1980s. It draws inspiration from classic sci-fi films, novels, and games to create an immersive and highly interactive environment, featuring puzzles and FPS elements in the service of a unique and layered plot.

My thoughts
Never judge a book by its cover, and that saying is quite true here. While it may not look like much graphically, it has some good ideas, interesting gameplay and the awesome creepy factor going for it.

I've played it for a little while now, and there are parts to it that are really interesting. Take saving for example, you need to find a computer, and manually use the save function on it. It's an interesting way to do it, and I haven't seen too many games do something like this.

It has a little bit of combat with your single laser weapon, and it is quite basic as it seems that it's not a combat focused game. It took me half an hour to realise I could hold down the fire button to charge up the gun shots too. That was a nice little extra touch they put in. There's also a peaceful mode to the game, so you can play it without any combat if you wish, so that's another nice little extra.

I do like games that make me think a bit, and this game is all about discovery and keeping you guessing. It's quite well done as you find audio logs that help you piece together what happened, and I've figured out most of it now. The speech for the audio logs is clear and well done as well, so that's a bonus point right there.

I haven't finished it yet, and it has three different endings, so I look forward to seeing what I can make happen!

Performance has been great, with VSYNC on I've been getting a solid 60FPS and ultra smooth gameplay with all the highest settings, so that's fantastic. I didn't expect it to make my system crawl though, as there aren't too many effects going on.

Visuals wise, it's not going to win awards, and it would have been nice to see a little more variation in the rather bland textures, but for a two man team I think I can forgive them.

Final Verdict: I found it interesting, and if you like exploring and trying to figure things out for yourself, then you might like it.

Check out Spirits of Xanadu on Steam.

Out Of The Park Baseball 16, Latest Sports Management Sim Now Available

The latest instalment in the baseball simulation franchise Out of the Park Baseball was released earlier in the week. It's the first in the franchise to have officially licensed brands and teams, going back over a hundred years of historical seasons, so baseball fans will be able to enjoy playing around with their favourite Major League Baseball teams. Not only that, but leagues in Australia, Japan and elsewhere are also represented, adding flavour and variety to the teams.



Plenty of other changes and improvements have been made over the last installment and can be seen fully here.
This annualized series is in the vein of Football Manager and the upcoming Sportball Manager, meaning that gameplay is centered around the management and business side of things. These types of simulations tend not to be graphically impressive but offer a lot of depth and freedom for players to attend to every detail if they so wish.

I personally haven't gotten sucked in by the genre despite trying a few different games out but it's great to see all sorts of games make it to Linux. I know that in the case of Football Manager, it's regularly in the top 10 played games on steam at any given moment; getting more of these types of games is good news.

You can get Out of the Park Baseball 16 on Steam or directly through the developer.

Prepare A New Set Of Pants, Outlast Releases For Linux On Tuesday


Well there goes my Tuesday night. Outlast, one of the scariest games ever made is releasing for Linux on Tuesday the 31st of March!

The official press release emailed to us was short and sweet:
QuoteWhile the team is working very hard on Outlast 2, we are pleased to announce that Outlast and Whistleblower, its DLC, will be released on Mac and Linux on March 31st, 2015, available on Steam.

As ever, thank you for your interest in Red Barrels.

I highly suggest you prepare for the experience by keeping a new set of undies handy, or a pillow to hide behind.

The Whistleblower DLC will also be on Linux, so we get the full frightening experience.

I can't wait to hear Samsai scream in fear in a future GOL Cast. Let us know if the comments if you want see our Samsai play it (please don't make me, make him!).

About the game (Official)
Hell is an experiment you can't survive in Outlast, a first-person survival horror game developed by veterans of some of the biggest game franchises in history. As investigative journalist Miles Upshur, explore Mount Massive Asylum and try to survive long enough to discover its terrible secret... if you dare.

Check out Outlast on Steam, but remember not to buy it until the release.