Virtual Programming Have Been Busy, Looks Like They Are Doing The Arma 3 Port

image
Thanks to the about page on Virtual Programming’s official store, we have found out that they are the mystery external porter of Arma 3 that should see a Linux release.

On the about page it says this:

QuoteThe company is responsible for bringing many exciting titles to the Mac and Linux during the past several years, including: Bioshock Infinite (Linux), SpecOps The Line (Mac and Linux), Dirt Showdown (Mac and Linux), Arma 3 (Mac and Linux) and many others.

Facts done, now some thoughts
I have mixed feelings about Virtual Programming ports in general, but I really do want to like them. The problem is even after fixing up their porting technology to perform well, I get crash bugs in all of their games. Performance is one thing, stability is another. BioShock Infinite has crashed for me on every play-through for just one example, and I can’t currently bring myself to load it up again and lose progress. I did report the issue here back in April, and no progress since then.

I was also okay with it being older games, when the developer maybe didn’t have the time or resources to port it themselves, but this is a game that is still being worked on. The main problem is how graphically intensive the game is, and not to put down the stellar work Virtual Programming has done in bringing performance up a lot in their eON porting tech (really good improvements!), we need all the performance we can squeeze on a rather heavy game like Arma 3. There is an overhead on their wrapper, that is undeniable.

What are your thoughts?

Fifth_Element_General_Belt_1_4957

Page Updates

I have updated the Technologies page, and the Contact Me pages.  The technologies page now has many links to information on the technologies listed.  This is to help answer any questions anyone may have as to what the acronyms were for.  As far as the Contact Me page; the form has been removed, and my information is listed.  This includes my social media information for those looking.

Pages Updated:

Thanks,
Matt

Casual Clickers 'AdVenture Capitalist' And 'Time Clickers' Now On Steam For Linux

AdVenture Capitalist is a so-called “idle game” that has been available as a Flash game on Kongregate since last year, and is now available for Linux after a few months on Steam. If you’re not familiar with the genre, this short trailer should give you a good idea of what it’s like:

Basically, you invest in-game money in different kinds of venues and wait for more money to trickle in, and then invest your profits in more outlets and upgrades. At first you have to trigger the revenue stream from each store, but you’ll soon get enough money to hire managers that automates this process, meaning you won’t have to keep a constant watch on things to earn money. You can then just quit the game and go play something else while you earn money, which is the reason the developer Hyper Hippo describes their game as “the game you play while playing other, better games”.

There are several upgrades to choose from that will increase the speed at which you gather profits, and there are also bonuses tied to milestones such as owning 25 of each type of outlet. For every purchase of a specific type, the unit cost increases, so once you’re past your initial investments, there isn’t a lot to do in the game at a time. This makes it a nice game to pick up for a few minutes every day or so. Though if you really can’t wait for the in-game money to pile up, there’s the possibility of paying real money for gold bars, which lets you speed up time, among other things.

AdVenture Capitalist is powered by the Unity3D engine, and I didn’t have any issues playing it, other a minor annoyance: The default Unity settings window is used, and the custom graphic in it takes up so much space that the window doesn’t fit on my laptop monitor. The first time I played the game, I had to Alt+drag the window to be able to set my resolution. On subsequent sessions though, Alt+O to accept my previous settings have sufficed, so it’s not a big problem.

Time Clickers

For an alternative that is completely void of micro-transactions, Time Clickers by developer Proton Studio was also released on Steam last week, and had Linux support from the start. In this game, you eliminate targets by shooting at them with a weapon, which can be upgraded to cause more damage.

I found this game a bit more monotonous, since there doesn’t appear to be a lot of variation in what you can do. In addition to the mentioned core mechanic, you can also hire AI team-mates, who help you take out targets. These keep working while you’re not playing, so you can keep playing this game while you’re not playing too.

Like AdVenture Capitalist, Time Clickers also runs on the Unity3D engine, and I didn’t encounter any issues with this game. The developers have also made a WebGL version available on their website, so neither Steam nor Flash is required to play their game.

So, what do you think of games like these? Good casual fun or complete wastes of time?

SysAdmin Day

desk-sysadmin-day

 

Everyone post your SysAdmin desktops to show support!  If it weren’t for your local systems administrator you would likely not be using a computer right now.  These guys are the hard working backbone of any IT department.  These unsung heroes go unnoticed in their back offices until something breaks…

DiRT Showdown Confirmed For Linux By Virtual Programming, Pre-orders Open Up

DiRT Showdown is a good looking racer that is now officially confirmed for Linux, and it is available to pre-order.

We didn’t know who was doing the port before today, but a tweet just sent out by Virtual Programming confirms it’s true, and that you can pre-order it from their store.

The game will officially release on the 7th of August according to their store, no reason to doubt it as VP own that store.

Note: We advise never to pre-order anything, ever. The main news here is the game is confirmed.

DiRT Showdown for Mac & Linux, 20% discount on preorders only.
http://t.co/sBnR5hj67m
#Linux
#Mac

— Virtual Programming (@virtualprog) July 31, 2015

System Requirements:

QuoteMINIMUM:

OS: Ubuntu 14.10, Mint 17.1 or similar Linux distribution
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 or Intel Core2Duo @3.2Ghz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia/AMD OpenGL 4.1 level compatible
Graphics Memory: 1GB
Hard Disk Space: 12GB
Sound: PulseAudio/ALSA Compatible
Steamworks (Requires a third-party download and account)

RECOMMENDED:

Processor: AMD Bulldozer or Intel Core i7
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia/AMD OpenGL 4.2 level compatible
Graphics Drivers: nVidia: nVidia 346.72 or better; AMD Catalyst (fglrx) 15.7 or better (MESA drivers and Intel Graphics are not currently supported)

How do you feel about this? Their porting has improved a lot that’s for sure.

Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor Released For Linux, We Love You Feral Interactive

Feral Interactive have released an absolute whopper—Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is now actually available for Linux. This is a seriously good game! Initial port report now included.

Warning: AMD and Intel cards are NOT supported. If you wish to play the game using an AMD graphics card, you should update your graphics driver to version Catalyst 15.7 or higher. You should be able to run the game without experiencing stability issues or graphical glitches, but you may still experience poor performance.

As a big fan of the Tolkien universe this pleases me beyond words, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a game of this calibre on Linux.

Shadow of Mordor is an open world, action RPG with some excellent graphics. It has easy to manage combat with several fun abilities, parkour climbing (think Assassin’s Creed) and a very interesting boss system.

The “Nemesis” system is the real killer in this game, as you have Uruk captains that command a bunch of soldiers, and defeating them can give you special upgrades. However, if they defeat you, they will get a lot stronger. This makes dying more interesting to the point of making you be careful about who you go after.

You can also have random events that happen between captains, as there’s a lot of in-fighting in the Uruk camps. You can chose to take part in these events, and favour one captain over another. There’s lots of fun little quests like that, and it’s part of what makes me love the game.

We will be giving it the full review, and no doubt the GOL Cast treatment on this one as it’s such a big (and extremely satisfying) title. Just give us some time to pump some hours into it to get a real feel for how it is.

We are downloading it now, please wait for the port report to be done. Feral kindly gave me a key, so we just need my internet to go into overdrive.

The early port report

Intel i5 4670k, Nvidia 970, 16GB RAM, 1080p resolution
Performance on Ultra was quite smooth, ranging from 40-70FPS, but sadly after a while it did crash to the desktop. Booting it up again gave me an error message that suggested I revert to lower settings. This is expected, as Ultra needs a lot of VRAM, and more than the Nvidia 970 has. I guess I need to invest in something even better…

Trying it on one notch below at Very High was fine performance wise, but I still encountered a crash bug. I was killed by a captain, and afterwards it refused to show me the captain screen where they move about and level up, so I had to force quit it. I have not since been able to reproduce it.

FPS wise on Very High settings it gave me a minimum of 46FPS and I saw it top off at 100FPS when not being able to see much going on, but the average is around 50-60FPS. It’s very much playable for the 970 on Very High, and that has me rather happy, as it looks fantastic.

What I do find very interesting, is that the game will seamlessly switch the on-screen prompts between gamepad and keyboard depending on what you last pressed. I’ve never seen that before, and it’s really quite a nifty little feature.

The game isn’t kidding about full controller support either, as my Logitech F310 has been utterly flawless. It’s incredibly responsive, and I couldn’t imagine playing it with the mouse.

For a brand new AAA game on Linux, to have only one real crash bug in two hours of testing is pretty incredible. The wait was worth it for sure!

Intel i5 4670k, Nvidia 560ti, 16GB RAM, 1080p resolution – For lower end users.
On very high settings the game was giving me an average of 20FPS, so it wasn’t playable at all.

On High settings it was between 27-36FPS, even with it dropping below 30FPS it was still surprisingly playable, not perfect, but still reasonable for such a demanding game. I know people will argue with me on it, but if the FPS counter was off, I wouldn’t be able to tell personally. It did crash once while alt+tabbed to the desktop, so that could be a window manager or driver issue.

On Medium settings there wasn’t much difference at all to high settings. It stayed around 30FPS a bit longer than on high settings, but it never went lower or higher than it did on High.

I would say it’s perfectly playable on Medium/High on a 560ti, so that should give the lower end guys something to go by performance wise. It’s worth noting that Mordor is only supported on Nvidia 6xx and up, so this lower card I tested is below their minimum requirements.

On Low settings the game went between 41-60FPS, with it mainly being around 50FPS. I honestly think the game still looks visually pleasing on Low settings, and it’s a perfectly playable FPS for a rather old card now.

About the game (From Steam)
Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.

System Requirements
OS: Ubuntu 14.04.2 64-bit / SteamOS
Processor: 2.6 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB NVIDIA 640 or better with driver version 352.21 or later
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 47 GB available space

RECOMMENDED:
OS: Ubuntu 14.04.2 64-bit / SteamOS
Processor: 3.4 GHz Intel
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: 4GB NVIDIA 9xx series card or better with driver version 352.21 or later
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 47 GB available space

Check out Shadow of Mordor on Steam now.

You can also get it directly from the Feral Interactive store, and support their porting directly.

If you pick it up, be sure to come back and tell us how it runs for you and include your system specifications so we can get a rough idea.

You have my sword Feral, and my axe.

Ziggurat Update 12 Has Been Released, Arrives On GOG

It’s been a while since we last mentioned Ziggurat but the arrival of update #12 has given me a reason to remind you of this quite awesome game. The update comes with some new content and a daily challenge mode. Oh, and it’s now on GOG.

For those who don’t remember, Ziggurat is a first-person roguelite which pits you against the horrors of the Ziggurat, a testing ground for new mage apprentices. You need explore each level, kill the enemies you face and then slay the randomized level boss in order to reach new levels. On the way there you will pick up randomized perks, amulets and weapons.

The new update comes with various smaller content updates, like new perks, 5 new playable characters, two new enemy types and a new boss called Brunilda, the Carrot Princess. In addition to these is a new room type called Scavenge in which you need to pick up crystals and avoid enemies and only when you have picked up the crystals can you empty the room of enemies and exit. Along with these content updates there are a couple of bug fixes.
You can read the full change log here.

The big addition of this update is the daily challenge mode. It plays out like the daily challenges in various other games of similar nature: you get a new challenge every day with the same starting conditions and dungeon layout as everyone else. You have one shot at the dungeon and you will be ranked against other players. It’s a nice way to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone to try out characters you normally would have avoided. You also get to play (and unlock) characters you haven’t yet unlocked in the normal game mode.

For some people the most important thing might be Ziggurat’s arrival on GOG. You can now get it completely DRM-free from there. Yay!

Ziggurat is a nice game and I do recommend it. I wrote and recorded a GOL Cast about the game back when it was still in Early Access. Some parts of it are now outdated and most of my issues with the game were addressed in later patches.

Get it from GOG: http://www.gog.com/game/ziggurat

Don’t Be Patchman Is The First Game On Steam To Be Linux Only

Don’t Be Patchman is releasing very soon on Steam, and it’s going to start by being a Linux-exclusive title. This won’t stay forever though, but the developers are focusing on Linux first.

About the game (Official)
The Sheeple are in trouble – they’ve been enslaved by the Drones – and it’s all Patchman’s fault! Now it’s up to you to redeem Patchman, rescue the Sheeple, and uncover the awful secret behind the Drone army. Stay out of sight, wear clever disguises, search the forest for seeds, grow fruits and plants, tear down propaganda, awaken the Sheeple to break the control scheme, and power down those nasty robots!

The game itself looks quite funny, so I look forward to testing it out. I am glad they aren’t going to be exclusive forever, as no matter what platform I support, I don’t like the idea of something always being exclusive to one platform.

You can find Don’t Be Patchman on Steam, releasing today.

Codename CURE, A First Person, Co-operative Zombie Game Now On Linux

Codename CURE is a reasonable well rated first-person shooter on Steam, and it has been updated to include a Linux version.

The game is free to play, so you lose nothing by trying it. It has quite lot of positive reviews going for it too, if you trust user reviews.

About the game (Official)
Codename CURE is a first person, co-operative zombie game with support for up to five players, providing immersive, fast-paced zombie fragging with fully dynamic and objective-based missions.

As a team of special military operatives utilising a range of powerful weapons and equipment (assault rifles, shotguns, sentry guns, supply chests and more), players are tasked with curing infected areas of a post-apocalyptic world by planting controlled explosives before pulling a short sharp exit.

CURE can be played both on and offline, with or without computer controlled team mates. The game sports a variety of difficulty options which adapt dynamically with the number of players. It includes five balanced player classes: Pointman, Support, Assault, Technician and Sniper.

Find Codename CURE on Steam.

Try it, and tell us what you think to it!

Nuclear Throne, The Action Roguelike Has A Load Of New Content

It has been a while since I covered Nuclear Throne, and it’s getting more awesome with every new build.

In the latest build Nuclear Throne now has boss intros, a brand new mutation screen, a new late-game weapon, more balancing and a lot more.

I’ve had a lot of fun with the game, and I hold it up as one of the great Early Access games done correctly. They work on feedback, constantly release new content and the developer is great too.

About the game (Official)
Nuclear Throne is Vlambeers latest action roguelike-like about mutants fighting their way through a post-apocalyptic world. The radioactive waste in the world allows mutants to get ahead by mutating new limbs on the fly, the abundant availability of powerful weaponry make the quest to become ruler of the Wasteland one frought with peril.

Check out Nuclear Throne on Steam.