Old 'n indie repository GOG.com had previously planned to introduce Linux support to its catalogue this Autumn, with an initial batch of 100 titles. Instead, after getting just over 50 games working on the open-OS, they seemingly threw up their arms and went "eh, what the hell?" And so, that first, smaller batch has arrived early, alongside a sale that's running for users of any operating system.
The word went out in late May that the hit strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown was in the process of being ported to Linux by Feral Interactive, as were its DLC and expansion packs. Today that port went live, just in time for a pretty sweet Steam Summer Sale price.
For years, PC gaming was synonymous with Windows gaming. DirectX was the go-to API, and if you wanted to play the latest and greatest games on your killer rig, you did it under the auspices of Microsoft's operating systems. But Alienware Product Manager Marc Diana expects that situation to change dramatically once Steam Machines (and, more specifically, the SteamOS that drives them) are finally unleashed.
E3 is in full swing and that means an overload of press events, trailers, interviews and hands-on time with the latest and greatest of upcoming videogames. But I'd like to take a break from all that sound and fury for a moment, if I may, to let you all know that the strategy classic Sid Meier's Civilization V is now available for Linux and SteamOS. (Oh, and it's on sale, too.)
Long-suffering Linux gamers will get a nice treat later this summer as XCOM: Enemy Unknown will finally make its way to the platform, in a bundle including all add-on content and the Enemy Within expansion. The "new" game is being developed by Feral Interactive, which until now has worked exclusively on games for Apple platforms (including the OS X version of XCOM), as its debut Linux project.
It's been but a month since Epic unleashed the source code and toolset for its powerful Unreal Engine 4 to studios and individual subscribers alike, but major updates are already bolstering the engine's considerable capabilities. The big news in Epic's 4.1 update notes is full support for packaging games onto SteamOS and Linux platforms, a strong move catering to indie game-smiths and companies looking to unhook themselves from a reliance on Windows.
GOG are taking the advice of a decades old advertising campaign, and choosing to p-p-p-pick up a penguin. Rather than a disappointing British biscuit, though, this penguin is made of electricity and open-source code. The DRM-free digital distribution service will soon support Linux. "At least" 100 games will gain support for the OS, GOG say, and that catalogue will include a selection of classics making their Linux début.
We’ve seen Microsoft teasing the GDC announcement of the latest installment in their popular DirectX series — subtitled "A Storm of Low-Level Hardware Interaction" — and now it seems the open source brigade are countering this new Microsoft offensive. Valve have freely released a software layer, ToGL, which will translate Direct3D calls to OpenGL.
Can it run Crysis? If you’re using Linux, the answer will eventually be “yes.” The German developer behind the first Far Cry and the Crysis games announced that it will show off its impressive CryEngine running natively on Linux for the first time during GDC.
Steam Dev Days, the developer-only conference kicked off by Valve in Seattle this morning, is off to a roaring start. In the first two hours of the show, every attending developer has been given a new Steam controller and a promise of a free Gigabyte Steam Machine. Now, Valve founder Gabe Newell has stated his goal of getting rid of the often-troublesome, frequently controversial Steam Greenlight system.
Buying a Steam Machine right now—if they were available—would be a curious decision. You'd have an attractive, compact gaming PC meant to go under your TV—a good thing, but pricey—with a Steam-modded version of Linux that you'd be best off uninstalling. SteamOS might be better-designed than Windows for your TV, but a GTX 780 is a bit overkill for the small portion of Steam's library that runs natively on Linux. That's Valve's challenge, and expanding Steam's native Linux library is its priority, says Product Designer Greg Coomer, who spoke with PC Gamer at CES 2014 today.
2013 has been a big year for Linux gaming. For the first time, there's a glimmer of hope for a gaming future for the OS. Games are being built in Unity, being sold in Humble Bundles (which tend to require Linux versions), and though it's more of a trickle than a flood, things are picking up a little. And then there's Steam. Valve's push towards Linux, with an existing Steam client as well as a Linux-based OS in the works, mirrors my own frustrations with Windows: I'd quite like an OS that's not going to completely change shape, size, colour, and usability when it comes time to upgrade it, but I'd like to have a supported OS as well. So once a year I'll try out Linux's friendliest face, Ubuntu. Is this the year it stays on my PC*?
My initial plan was to dual-boot my Windows 7 desktop with the latest version of Ubuntu. I have a laptop with Nvidia Optimus (it has two GFX cards: one Intel card for undemanding chores, then it swaps to the Nvidia card when it needs more power), and the driver support for that in Windows is a mess, so I didn't imagine Ubuntu mobile drivers would fare any better. But Ubuntu just didn't want to install where I wanted it to install on my desktop. No matter what I tried, it would attempt to squeeze onto a hard-drive that ultimately wouldn't allow it to boot. This left me with little option but to make room on the Optimus laptop and install it there. After a relatively painless few minutes, I was dual-booting PC with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 13.10. So far so good.
These kids with their hip new terms. Creative Assembly have announced that Total War: Rome 2 will be "coming to SteamOS". Which is a fairly torturous way of saying that Total War: Rome 2 will be coming to Linux. Which it will, because SteamOS is Linux.
The reason for specifically name-checking Steam's upcoming OS is because CA seem keen to tout the game's move to conquer the living room, with planned support for Big Picture mode and the Steam Controller. After all, as Ceasar himself once said, "I came, I saw, I lounged lazily in my pants, eating crisps and moving tiny generals around a campaign map."
After Valve revealed plans for a Linux-based SteamOS this week, commentary from programmers who port games to Linux is also cropping up. Software developer Ryan "icculus" Gordon has ported a wide variety of games to Linux since the 1990s, and told Gamasutra that Linux has "empowered" both players and developers "to have the system [they] want to have."
This week's podcast is all about Steam's three, big announcements. What do SteamOS, Steam Machines, and the Steam Controller mean to PC gaming? How does it all work? How much does it cost? Does Valve want to replace your main rig? Your living room entertainment center? All of the above? How would Nicholas Cage fare in the political landscape of the 15th Century?
Valve's vision of a Steam Machine in every living room is generating plenty of excitement, not only from gamers, but also developers. Double Fine, for example, is "rooting" for Valve's success. Double Fine vice president of business development, Justin Bailey, and brand manager Greg Rice, told PC Gamer that the creators of Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, and the upcoming Broken Age are ready for SteamOS, and excited about the prospects of Steam moving into the living room.
On Monday, Valve announced SteamOS, a free Linux-based OS for living room gaming PCs. Today, it revealed part two of its plan to expand PC gaming beyond the desktop: Steam Machines. Beginning next year, multiple SteamOS systems will be available from different, unnamed manufacturers. “There will ultimately be several boxes to choose from, with an array of specifications, price, and performance,” says the Steam Machines announcement page.
This week, it seems, everything is coming up Linux. First Valve announce their own Linux-based OS, and now, Nvidia are making moves to get more involved with the open source community. Nvidia's Andy Ritger contacted the developers of Nouveau - an open source, reverse-engineered version of Nvidia's proprietary drivers - offering information on the workings of their GPUs.
By announcing SteamOS yesterday, Valve declared that PC gaming is more than desktop gaming, that Windows is not our master, and that—finally—cats can own Steam accounts. The free, Linux-based, cat-friendly operating system is designed for gaming on living room PCs, because PC gaming according to Valve isn't about WASD and DirectX—it's about openness and collaboration.
We're free to choose our hardware, our software, our mods, and soon more than ever, how we play, where we play, and whether or not Microsoft gets a cut. If SteamOS takes off, PC gaming will undergo one of its most dramatic changes ever—possibly one more significant than the introduction of the free-to-play model and crowdfunding. That's thrilling, but also scary as hell, so we've worked through our fears with a list of SteamOS pros and cons, followed by deep breaths in anticipation of tomorrow's announcement.