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Open gaming roundup for July 12 - 18, 2015
Linux games market, Nixie Pixel on Tacoma, and more open gaming news
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Hello, Linux gaming fans! In this week's edition, we take a look at Introversion Software's views on the market for Linux games, new games out for Linux, and more.
Open gaming roundup for July 12 - 18, 2015
Introversion Software on the Linux market
British developer Introversion Software has been making commercial games for Linux for a very long time. Their first game, Uplink, a hacking simulator adventure, came out in 2001 and was released for Windows and Linux simultaneously. Given the company's long history of supporting Linux, Boiling Steam interviewed Mark Morris, Introversion's Managing Director, about the company's experience with developing and publishing games for Linux.
The entire interview is worth taking the time to read, but two major points really stood out. The first is that Introversion supports Linux out of respect the for community. Morris said, "[i]t's not a huge effort to include Linux support and we've just felt that we've wanted to do it out of respect for that community rather than for a commercial objective." The second point is just as interesting; Morris thinks that the Linux community is different and that's why Introversion's games are such a good fit for Linux. Morris states:
I don't like making sweeping generalizations about a community of people, but I do think you have to be smart (and dedicated) to use Linux. I've always felt that UI design is low down the list of priorities—even the good work done by Ubuntu to try to improve it have fallen short of (say) OSX. A bad UI almost mandates a higher level of intelligence, so I would agree that our games are quite "cerebral" and I'd also use that word to describe the Linux users.
I found Morris's thoughts about Linux game development and the Linux gaming community to be very insightful. It might be easy to get defensive about his comments about Linux UI design, but he does have a point. Linux has so many valid options and different ways of doing things, even within a single desktop environment, that it is almost a puzzle game in itself. That is not a bad thing, but it is not for everyone. Linux users like a challenge, and the games Introversion Software creates connect with that audience.
Nixie Pixel previews Tacoma
Nixie Pixel recently took an early look at Tacoma, a science fiction adventure game that is being developed by the indie studio Fullbright and is due out in 2016 for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Xbox One. Tacoma is inspired in part by the classic role playing game/first person shooter hybrid System Shock 2, and you can clearly see the influences in the trailer for the game. The player will explore a seemingly abandoned lunar transfer station, exploring a beautify environment while unlocking the mystery of what is going on. Nixie does an excellent job of covering what we know thus far about the game, and she quips that "Tacoma is not really gonna be a game that we get until we get it." That said, Tacoma already looks like it will be an excellent spiritual successor to the System Shock series.
Pick of the week: Argentum Age
Argentum Age is a new, fantasy-themed, digital collectible card game. Some of the developers have worked on the open source strategy game The Battle of Wesnoth, but unlike the purely open source Wesnoth, Argentum Age is opting for a hybrid release model. The code is open source but the art, music, and more are under a slighly more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. The game's alpha release is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, so give it a try, and if you would like to share your thoughts about the game, one of the developers recently posted to the /r/linux_gaming subreddit to solicit feedback. Further discussion of the game takes place on the game's own subreddit, /r/argentumage.
New games out for Linux
The number of Linux games available on Steam grows by the day! Here are a couple of recent releases that caught my eye.
Amygdala is an action platformer with dynamically generated levels. Like many indie platform games, Amygdala is easy to approach, but also has surprising depth and replayability. Steam user Stickman states in their review that "[Amygdala is] easy to pickup and not time consuming, and permadeath love it or hate it, is super well implemented in this case dragging you back for one more run!"
Starship Rubicon is a mash-up of the classic arcade game Asteroids and several rogue-like features. Epic space battles take place against backgrounds containing actual images of outer space, right from NASA! In addition to the wonderful background art, the pixel art in this game is very polished, and has an excellent nostalgic look to it. If you were a fan of the classic arcade shoot-em-ups, give Starship Rubicon a try for a classic gameplay experience updated and enhanced with modern features.