“It feels a little bit funny coming here and telling you that Linux and open source are the future of gaming” are the words that Valve Co-Founder and Executive Director Gabe Newell opened with during a panel at this year’s LinuxCon held in New Orleans. Fortunately, Mr. Newell took the time to elaborate on what he meant by that statement, and how he thinks we’ll get there. The short answer: You.
Animal creation puzzler Incredipede is holding an "Open Source Appreciation week", in which Linux users are being rewarded with a free copy of the game. As users of the open-source OS crawl, roll and sproing away with their newly gifted present, there's no need for other platform users to feel abandoned. You're being given a not insignificant 50% off, instead.
Valve has thrown a bit more of its weight behind Linux with the release of beta builds of Portal and Left 4 Dead 2. If you own either (or both) games you should find that beta versions have materialised in your Steam library - along with Portal 2, according to some. The Linux build of the first-person puzzler has so far gone unheralded by Valve, but here's a blog post describing the latest beta version of Left 4 Dead 2. In addition to letting Linux users play Valve's zombie hit, the download acts as a "testing ground" for its new Extended Mutation System. Thankfully, you can try the beta on Windows and Mac too.
Stealth Bastard Deluxe is a world of frighteningly fast-paced, dancing-between-the-deadly-lasers fun, so you can't blame Curve Studios for wanting to get it out to as many people as they can. Yesterday marked its official release on Mac and Linux (or as I like to call it, the penguin OS). But if you're a regular ol' Windows gamer like me, you might wonder, "Huh. What do I get?" Don't worry, friend. No matter the platform, everybody can now get the pixelly stealth platformer on Steam for 50% off. No longer will we be divided by our choice of operating system. Discounts for everybody!
It's a new month, meaning, for the most part, very little. Still, fans of minor incremental gains and losses in granular data do get the joy of a fresh Steam Hardware Survey, reducing down Steam's userbase into a comparable list of percentages. February's numbers bring strong gains for Linux, a new chunk of Windows 8 users, and the continued and seemingly unstoppable dominance of Windows 7.
It's been tested, it's been debated, and it's now available to all: Valve announces the official launch of the Steam Linux client after nearly four months in beta. Expectedly, a sale is going on for all Linux-supported games in Steam's catalog, including Crusader Kings II and Counter-Strike: Source.
The Steam pages for Valve classics Half-Life and Counter-Strike have been updated with small, penguin-shaped icons. No, they aren't unsubtle emblems of a secret flightless waterfowl cabal, but they do signify newly added Linux support for both FPS games as part of Valve's compatibility push.
While you could sum up Valve's plans for Linux compatibility as "full Steam ahead," it seems that not everyone is as sold on the OS's role in mainstream gaming. Yesterday, John Carmack questioned the wisdom of development studios working to make their games run natively in Linux. He tweeted, "Improving Wine for Linux gaming seems like a better plan than lobbying individual game developers for native ports. Why the hate?"
Carmack later expanded on his comments in a thread on Reddit's r/Linux, saying, "I don’t think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today."
Gabe Newell has been talking about the dangers faced by Valve's Steam Box - and other living room based PCs. You'd think the greatest threat to couch-centric gaming would come from the existing dominance of Sony and Microsoft, but Newell disagrees. "The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," he says. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."
Linux gamers can now neglect sleep and join in on the medieval backstabbing and kingdom building of Crusader Kings II, which recently shot past Skyrim and Civilization V to be my most played game on Steam. It's SteamPlay enabled, so owning it for any platform now unlocks it for PC, Mac, and the new Linux version. The trailer above has been released to celebrate, and to distract you from your sister-in-law slipping poison into your coffee so she can push her punk, bastard son's claim on your realm. You can pay me back for that information later.
With Valve positioning themselves at the forefront of bringing big-name PC titles to Linux, and indies quietly supporting it for ages now, Penguin-enabled gaming must be looking increasingly attractive to developers. Phoronix are reporting that Blizzard are working on an Ubuntu port of one of their games, set to release sometime this year.
Valve's monthly Steam hardware survey/tech-peen comparison chart has been updated to reflect what users have been playing on through December. The big change this month is the emergence of Linux, after the open-source OS went into full public beta at the tail-end of last year.
There's a large penguin on Steam's about page, so either TF2 has got itself a surprising 10th class, or Valve have released Steam's experiments in Linux delivery to the public.
It's the latter (although I really wouldn't put it past the TF2 team). Now anyone can join the Steam Linux beta, simply by clicking the install button from one of the relevant operating systems.
OMG! Ubuntu are reporting that Valve have started listing Linux system requirements on Steam's game pages, possibly hinting that the company is preparing for an official Steam Linux release.
Hopeful applicants of Valve's Linux testing survey have much to rejoice today as a limited-access beta client for Steam's Linux version awaits testing starting today. Valve's official announcement states the studio received over 60,000 entries for its request for testers, and a slowly increasing group of players will receive access to the client going forward.
Earlier this week I had a chat with CD Projekt RED PR Specialist Agnieszka Szóstak and GOG Head of PR & Marketing Trevor Longino. We briefly discussed several topics, including CDP RED's upcoming open-world RPG Cyberpunk 2077, GOG's take on Windows 8 and its new Mac library, as well as some of the piracy issues CDP has been so vocal about in the past. Here are the best responses on those topics.
A Slashdot user has spotted that the beta version of Team Fortress 2 has received a sneaky update, introducing changes which emit the heady and appealing whiff of Linux support.
"Among the modified files are some Linux-related files including a hardware driver compatibility list, optimal graphics settings, and a shell script launcher (previously only for OS X, now with a case for Linux as well)," writes Slashdot submitter spacenet.
A request to developers of popular Linux distro Ubuntu seems to have revealed that Steam for Linux will launch some time this week. OMGUbuntu.co.uk spotted the correspondence, in which Canonical employee BryceH asked for some technical information about the distro citing, "These [details] are needed for the Valve Steam release that happens in a few days."
There’s an update over on Valve’s Linux blog that the Steam for Linux beta is less than five weeks away, and the team reckon they’ll have something to show outsiders running Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10 by the end of October.
That’s the good news. The bad is that it’ll be restricted to 1,000 users for the first stage of testing.