XCOM: Enemy Unknown Linux entry surfaces in Steam DB

After being finally released for the Android platform, XCOM: Enemy Unknown finally conquered all distribution platforms. Now it seems Firaxis has turned their attention to colonizing the sub-platforms available for PC users, which is Linux, the last frontier till universal presence. According to a recent edit a few days in the Steam Database, it seems XCOM: Enemy Unknown is all set to move in to Linux, through Steam for Linux.

The lines that raised the bells to this happy incident goes as follows:

Changed UFS

  • rootoverrides/2/os: linux
  • rootoverrides/2/oscompare: =
  • rootoverrides/2/pathtransforms/1/find: My Games/XCOM – Enemy Unknown/XComGame
  • rootoverrides/2/pathtransforms/1/replace: feral-interactive/XCOM/SaveData
  • rootoverrides/2/pathtransforms/2/find: My Games/XCOM – Enemy Within/XComGame
  • rootoverrides/2/pathtransforms/2/replace: feral-interactive/XCOM/XEW/SaveData
  • rootoverrides/2/root: WinMyDocuments
  • rootoverrides/2/useinstead: LinuxXdgDataHome

In addition there is also an entry that specifically mentions the Mac & Linux version as up for Beta testing, here. The line goes something like this:

35236: XCOM: Enemy Unknown Mac and Linux for Beta Testing

This line in itself kind of confirms that the previously mentioned entry might not be in error and could be the actual thing. Although Firaxis and 2K are yet to confirm anything, they did the same for the Android version too; they remained completely mum over the existence of such a version till it was ready for release. For all we know, if this comes to fruition, Linux gamers will have another great gaming title that has won multiple accolades on all other platforms, now including hand held too. Plus, since it will be released for Steam for Linux, SteamOS/Steam Machines will be getting another stellar addition to its promise of 500+ games when it launches at the end of this year.

Source: SteamDB

Steam controller may not arrive until year end

People waiting for a summer release of Valve’s Steam Boxes are in for some bad news. Valve’s controller is apparently not yet ready for release and will be pushed back to October or November of this year.

This critical piece of information comes from PC Gamer, who got their hands on this juicy bit of news from a trusted hardware source with knowledge of Valve’s Steam Controller. The news was acquired by the PC Gamer staff at PAX this year. According to the leak, Valve is not ready to release the controller just yet and will release sometime around October or November. The source also added that the controller is the final piece that would precede the release of the Steam Boxes. Thus, from this piece of information we can interpret that the Steam Box’s launch will be around the end of this year. Another piece of information that the source shared is the number of games. According to the source, the number of games available for the Steam Box at launch will be 500 titles, which is quite a good number for a launch.

The Steam Controller was last modified mid-March, when Valve announced the addition of two four button button diamonds to the Controller and the removal of the Touchscreen. The two haptic trackpad still remains as it was previously present.

Given that the Steam OS hasn’t yet reached a stable release of version 1.0, this news seems all the more concrete. Plus, if Valve DID in fact push it back to the end of the year, we could expect more games, as more and more games are migrating to Linux and declaring Steam OS support with every passing day. Overall, this delay might actually work in Valve’s favour!

Source: PC Gamer

5 puzzle games you should check out today

While mainstream gaming tends to revolve around space marines and army guys (and a bit of Batman), the indie scene tends to pick up the genres that can get overlooked a little. We all like to feel smart sometimes, and nothing helps that feeling like a good Puzzle game. When all the pieces finally line up and you get that feeling of “Oh man, that’s so obvious” in hindsight, you know it’s a good afternoon.

As an added bonus, puzzle games are usually something you play for short intervals of time, without requiring the 20+ hour commitment of a big roleplaying game or strategy game. These games are generally all fine for young children, having little to no questionable content or scary parts. Smaller children may still benefit from playing with a parent, to avoid getting stuck or frustrated.

So here are five little puzzle games you should consider checking out today:

Frozen Bubble

This one goes back quite a ways, and can be found in most distro repositories. It’s a simple colour matching game: You shoot coloured bubbles into the air, and if they touch existing bubbles of the same colour, they pop and disappear. Your goal is to clear the screen before the ceiling descends on you. Cute, colourful graphics (with penguins no less), relaxing music and a two player mode round out this very nice free offering.

Frozen Bubble is likely in your repo’s and otherwise available here

Dynamite Jack

A mix between a 2D stealth game and a Bomberman clone, Dynamite Jack has you walking around a prison complex, trying to escape by blowing up obstacles, avoiding guard routes and bypassing locks and barriers. It’s one of those titles where you’ll understand the basics in minutes, but you’ll be surprised how much tension a silly little 2D game can generate, when you are rushing to hide from a swarm of guards.

http://www.galcon.com/dynamitejack/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/202730/

Crayon Physics Deluxe

You are trying to get from one point to another. To do so, you draw things on the screen, and those things appear in the game. This is the sort of game that’s actually easier to explain to children. Wonderfully intuitive and with a good amount of levels (and bonus points for coming up with clever solutions), this is a solid and original puzzle game.

http://www.crayonphysics.com/

Linux version not currently on Steam

Waking Mars

Physics platformer seemed to be the default state of indie gaming for a while, and there’s been quite a few. I found this one rather enjoyable. You are interacting with different, alien plant life, each of which will respond to certain influences. As you make them grow, react and change, they will help you overcome each challenge in turn. As a bonus, the game is nicely voice acted, and has a level of polish a bit above that of your average puzzle title.

http://www.wakingmars.com/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/227200/

Gravity Badgers

My son is a huge fan of Angry Birds, and this game plays on a lot of the same elements, while not being an exact clone.
You are propelling badgers through space, hopefully avoiding obstacles in the path. Some objects will attract the badger while others will repel, teleport or stop the poor critter. There’s a fair bit of trial and error going on, but you can usually figure out reasonable attempts by carefully looking at the screen. As a bonus, you even get a bit of story inbetween the levels as well, in a nice cartoon style.

And where else can you get a game with badgers?

http://www.walesinteractive.com/#!gravity-badgers/cbuf

http://store.steampowered.com/app/267060/

Valve publishes the patched branch of Mesa for SteamOS

Valve recently put up their patched branch of the Mesa on github for anyone to study and modify. The company used it for SteamOS. With this move Valve has once again showed that they not only support Linux programming practices, but also embrace the Linux culture practices.

In addition, by making the Mesa fork of the open source implementation of the OpenGL drivers, Valve is opening it to the community so that they can contribute to the development of the drivers, an important milestone in getting Steam Boxes become a major part of the PC dominated gaming scenario.

Looking at the change log though, it seems as though they haven’t made many changes, but with the creation of this fork, they can now be saved from upstream regressions while using recent versions of Mesa. This makes it easier for developers who need to make small changes to libraries while developments. This way the upstream can be kept flexible by making it adapt to the change at its own rate, while also keeping the development going using the Mesa fork without any bumps. The source of the patched branch of Mesa can be found here on github.

The Mesa project was originally started by Brian Paul. It is an open-source implementation of the OpenGL specification – a system for rendering interactive 3D graphics. A variety of device drivers allows Mesa to be used in many different environments ranging from software emulation to complete hardware acceleration for modern GPUs. It is the OpenGL implementation for several types of hardware made by Intel, AMD and NVIDIA, plus the VMware virtual GPU too. There are also several software-based renderers: swrast (the legacy Mesa rasterizer), softpipe (a gallium reference driver) and llvmpipe (LLVM/JIT-based high-speed rasterizer). Mesa ties into several other open-source projects: the Direct Rendering Infrastructure and X.org to provide OpenGL support to users of X on Linux, FreeBSD and other operating systems. Work continues on the drivers and core Mesa to implement newer versions of the OpenGL specification.

Source: github

Move on Oculus Rift, True Player Gear is the new kid on the Block

A new player has just entered the Virtual Reality market named True Player Gear. True Player Gear is a tech startup based in Montreal Canada by five individuals. The five passionate gamers have been working on this technology for nine full years. So far they had kept the entire project hush-hush and under wraps. But with the news of a big sale to a corporation, they thought that it is high time that such a piece of hardware that is made by passionate gamers for passionate gamers is revealed to the world.

They had dropped just a tiny bit of hint about their existence back at the VR Mixer at Game Developer’s Conference. Now they have fully revealed their product to the world, complete with a Kickstarter Project too. They hope this to be a viable alternative to the currently available VR sets, but with much more flexibility than what is being offered by others. They are currently on the final stretch of developing a 5th Generation prototype of their VR technology dubbed the Totem that they are aiming to present on Kickstarter as a dev kit.

The Totem has some really good features going for it, like hardware acceleration where most VR processing is offloaded to hardware integrated on in the device. In addition, each of the lenses can be adjusted to vision correction so that people with spectacles don’t have to wear contact lenses nor have their spectacles squashed between their face and the VR headset. In addition, the Totem features an integrated camera that allows the user to interact with the real world without having to take off the VR headset. This feature also allows positional tracking without the need of a fixed camera staring at you. Along with this they also intend to bring in Augmented Reality, thus completing the entire immersion experience. The Totem also features expansion ports that allow users or developers to add more sensors to add to the already impressive feature set. The Totem is said to support Linux as mentioned in this Reddit comment, “We will support Linux of course, we are also fans of SteamOS and OpenVR!”

Specifications:

  • Screen – 1080p OLED
  • Field of view – 90 degrees
  • Connectivity – HDMI input, USB output (tracker)
  • Sensors – 2x cameras 1080p, 3 axis 1kHz gyro, 3 axis 4kHz accel, 3 axis magnetometer
  • Audio – 5.1 over stereo
  • Emulated controls – USB mouse, Playstation controller, Xbox controller
  • Non-game controls – Up, Down, Select/Real World
  • Supported engines – Unreal, Unity, Havok, CryEngine
  • Platforms – PC, Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox One & 360, Linux, SteamOS
  • Supported media – All 3D formats, SBS preferred
  • Size – 6.6″ x 4.4″ x 5.4″

Source: Reddit & True Player Gear

Halo: Spartan Assault Heading to Steam

Halo: Spartan Assault, the game that bridges the gap between the stories of Halo 3 and Halo 4, is slated to arrive on Steam come this April 4th. Spartan Assault provides a context for the Spartan Ops feature that can be found prominently featured in Halo 4.

The twin stick shooter game will arrive on Steam and will feature all the bells and whistle Steam has to offer for its games. These include Steam achievements to show off your bragging rights along with full controller support. So, if you aren’t really comfortable with controlling the game with just the keyboard or mouse, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Halo: Spartan Assault is a top down shooter that was developed with mainly casual gamers on mind. As such the game is an action shooter than can be picked up and played by both the casual gamers as well as Halo series’ veterans. The game is set after the events of Halo 3 and goes up to the events that leads to the settings of Halo 4. The game delves deeper into the back story of the Human Covenant wars and examines the first missions of the Spartan Ops Program. You are given a choice of either playing as Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis stationed aboard the UNSC Infinity while they fight battles against the Covenant. The game contains 25 unique missions along with a Weekly challenge system that allows you to compete against your friends in order to fight for your position on the leaderboards.

Source: IGN

Latest SteamOS update brings many fixes, improvements

A new update for the SteamOS has just been released. The update, dubbed the update 96, is now integrated in the alchemist repository. The content is the same as the alchemist_beta that was made available last Monday.

This new update brings a lot of fixes. One of the major changes is the inclusion of fully unattended installation. Thanks to this update, the SteamOS can now be installed without having to login multiple times in to Steam or the desktop and then having to run scripts manually to complete the install. All of that are now taken care of automatically thanks to the unattended installation.

Other changes include fixes for Gigabyte Brix systems that also offer better stability and performances along with the addition of the Bluetooth driver, which was previously missing for these systems. All firmware packages are now pre-installed so it makes life easier for a user. Another significant inclusion is the updated AMD graphics drivers, so people with AMD systems can utilize the features unlocked by the updated drivers.

This release also improved support for multiple languages, all these languages are now pre-installed thus enabling a localized SteamOS desktop environment. A critical bug has also been fixed that used to delete packages during updates. Along with these, other minor bugs have been fixed that improve the stability, performance and compatibility of this release of the SteamOS.

The updated installer ISO and ZIPs can be found here for download.

The full change log of update 96 follows:

  • Fixed performance and stability issues with wireless on the Gigabyte Brix systems
  • Added Bluetooth driver support for the Gigabyte Brix box.
  • upstream updates to tzdata
  • Added dynamic passthrough mode support in PulseAudio, you can now change in and out of passthrough mode using tools like XBMC while Steam is running
  • Fixed a critical APT bug resulting in packages sometimes being erroneously erased during updates (many thanks to Michael Vogt and Simon McVittie)
  • Added support for detecting hybrid configurations and using the driver corresponding to the primary VGA output by default
  • Fixed a bug where “Preparing hardware drivers…” would be erroneously printed during startup
  • Preinstalled all the languages that are supported by Steam client to enable a localized SteamOS desktop
  • Fixed lightdm so the desktop Region and Languages control panel can change the per-user language
  • Fixed “Metro: Last Light” on Intel graphics by backporting GLX support for ARB_create_context from newer X servers
  • Added Thai and CJK fonts
  • Fixed steamcompmgr to properly focus “CID the Dummy”
  • Updated AMD graphics driver to 1:14.1~beta1.3-1 from Debian jessie
  • Updated gnutls26, file, xserver-xorg-video-intel packages,udisks, python2.7 and iceweasel to incorporate upstream Debian fixes

Source: Steam Community

Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India arrives on Steam

The all new DLC, Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India got released on Steam and is available for the price of $14.99. This is the sixth expansion for the highly acclaimed grand strategy Crusader Kings II, a game from the masters of the genre, Paradox Interactive.

In Crusader Kings II, you are the leader of your house in one of the most turmoil ridden times in the history of Europe, the Crusades. It is up to you to lead your house and unify the land under your firm rule. This new expansion pack to the highly popular game focuses on Eastern Persia and India, expanding the game’s content to cover Eastern nations. The expansion pack Rajas of India allows you to play as a Hindu, Jain or Buddhist and challenges you to protect Dharma from the invading foreigners and bring order to the subcontinent through your decisions as the ruler of the land.

In order to celebrate the launch of their new DLC on Steam and encourage new gamers to join in to the series, there is even a sale going on for the entire series. The base game is on sale with a discount of 75% which brings it price down to $9.99 instead of the regular $39.99. The sale even extends to Crusader Kings II Collection and Crusader Kings II DLC Collection each with a 75% discount and going for $19.99 & $12.49 respectively. The sale runs for another two days and is part of the midweek madness sale of Steam, so better whip out those credit cards and virtual shopping baskets before time runs out. The game is available for Linux, Mac & Windows.

Source: Steam News

Witcher 2 available for download for Linux users

CD Projeckt is moving fast, really fast. Just days after their wholly owned subsidized online DRM free distribution platform hinted at a probable Linux support, they officially announced that indeed they would be launching games and even porting some to Linux. Follow this with the Witcher 2 turning up in the SteamDB recently. And now, according to an image floating around on Reddit, the Witcher 2 files are already available for download for users who have purchased the game on any other platform at no extra cost at all!

The Witcher 2 had, only recently been spotted in the SteamDB for Linux, speculating that a new native Linux version might be in the work. Now, not even a month apart from that incident, Linux users are now able to download the 18GBs of the game to their Linux system, with but only one caveat.

The main binary file for the game that is needed to run the game has not been uploaded yet thus making the game unplayable at the moment. But with 18GBs of data already uploaded it seems doubtful that the move was a mistake. If anything, this move is perhaps like the pre-release access, where the users can download the required files before-hand and is able to start playing the moment it launches. Maybe CD Projeckt is trying to achieve something of that sort. Also, given that the recent announcement from GOG saying that they will be releasing about a 100 DRM free games on Linux, with many games ported for the first time to Linux, this incident suddenly rings true.

Another fact that cements the game’s launch on Linux is the fact that the game has a version already released for Mac OS X, which uses OpenGL. Since the game is running smoothly on Mac, it points to the fact that the game engine is OpenGL friendly and is not just using Wine Wrappers to get the job done. So, in all possibility, a Linux version is anything but confirmed. Additionally, if Witcher 2 gets a native Linux release, there is also a possibility that their new games Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 might also get Linux support at the get go. Both the games are scheduled for 2015 release, giving them enough time for a native Linux version. Whatever maybe the case, keep an eye out here as we shall cover the news as they come in.

Source: Imgur

Steam Beta now with Virtual Reality Support

Between Oculus Rift gradually nearing the commercial launch window and company like Sony and Valve entering the Virtual Reality market, Virtual Reality sure has gathered a lot of momentum. The latest update from Valve to their game distribution platform Steam reflects the same. The recently released Beta of Steam now comes with Virtual Reality support for the lucky users who have access to a supported Virtual Reality or Head Mounted Display device.

The announcement came on a community posting detailing the improvements made in the new versions of the client. Curiously, along with the standard entries this update had, for the first time, a new subsection, called the Virtual Reality Mode. The said section listed the following on the post:

Virtual Reality Mode

  • Added “Virtual Reality mode” to the View menu and removed the –vr command line option. This will only appear if SteamVR is installed and if a supported HMD is detected.
  • Added support for switching from desktop mode to VR, then back to desktop and into Big Picture.
  • Added support for detecting when an HMD has been plugged in after Steam has started.

This announcement and implementation from Valve seems to point to the fact that Steam is pretty much ready to launch their VR headset to the market perhaps. The coming time is surely going to be full of some interesting scene for innovations in immersive entertainment.

Last February, Valve had announced that they were working on VR technology of their own and according to a lucky reporter who was shown 15 demos of the technology; it was “light years ahead of what Oculus had with their Oculus Rift.”

Source: Steam Community