Our friends over at Unigine Corp love to push the bounds of graphics realism in their Unigine Engine, which continues to be one of the most advanced commercial game engines, and right now is certainly the most advanced game engine for Linux. While there are not many game studios actually shipping products based on Unigine's technology right now, Unigine Corp is known for producing a couple technology demos and working with us on the Phoronix Test Suite. Their Unigine Sanctuary benchmark was phenomenal, their Unigine Tropics benchmark was even better yet and set a new Linux OpenGL precedent, and now Unigine Heaven takes it unbelievably further. Today Unigine Corp is finally unveiling the Linux version of Unigine Heaven with its OpenGL 3.2 renderer. We have had our hands on a pre-release copy of Unigine Heaven and so now we are able to share our thoughts on this impressive benchmark / tech demo along with performance numbers for an assortment of ATI / NVIDIA graphics cards.
Recently on our forums, Frank Earl (who goes by the synonym Svartalf), has been seeking the input of Linux gamers as to what games they would like to see ported to Linux. Frank has been working for Linux Game Publishing for a few years porting various titles to Linux and has done work independently on bringing new software from Windows to Linux. Frank was overwhelmed by the response on our forums and it has even led to new Linux games with many other possible ports being looked into. To get his view as where Linux gaming is currently at, he has answered a few of our questions about Linux game porting, Linux gaming in general, and other questions that may be of interest to gamers and Linux enthusiasts.
Back in October we reported on the release of Alien Arena 2008, which brought several graphical improvements, such as GLSL enhancements, parallax mapping, and new shaders. The developers behind Alien Arena and its Quake 2 derived engine had not stopped there, but they immediately began work on Alien Arena 2009. Now just a mere six months later, we have Alien Arena 2009 and it brings more graphics improvements along with many other technical improvements and new game content.
While the Unigine game engine may not be as widely known or used as the Unreal or id Tech engines, its capabilities and features have been increasing at an incredible rate. Last year there were two tech demos released by Unigine Corp to demonstrate the capabilities of their proprietary engine -- both of which were very impressive -- but since then their software stack has picked up a slew of new features like improved physics and multiplayer support. This year they are slated to release a new in-house game / tech demo that will be even more impressive and will go head-to-head with the latest high-end commercial game engines. Through all of their game engine development work, they continue to support Linux gaming, so we recently carried out an interview with them to learn more about their current and future work.
It has been nearly a year since the last update to Sauerbraten, the 2008 CTF edition, but the open-source developers behind this game and its engine of the same name have been preparing for a new release. Within the next few days we should see the first 2009 release of Sauerbraten and it brings a host of new features. In this article is a rundown on some of the key features along with screenshots we captured when running their latest Subversion code.
Last week Nexuiz 2.5 was released and we said it raised the bar for open-source gaming as it already offered impressive graphics and this new release was greeted by various engine improvements, new models, and over 3,000 other changes. Well, Nexuiz is not the only open-source first person shooter striving for perfection even without the backing of a major game studio. A relatively unheard of game engine is XreaL, which has not had a stable release yet but its lead developer claims that it is definitely the most advanced open-source game engine.
Nearly a year ago Nexuiz 2.4 was released and it offered impressive graphics along with a new menu design, improved networking performance, reduced memory usage, and many other enhancements to this open-source game. The developers behind this first person shooter have now outdone themselves again with the release of Nexuiz 2.5. This latest release of Nexuiz brings even better graphics capabilities along with a new HUD, network communication improvements that cut the bandwidth in half, smarter bots, even better graphics, and several new maps. In total more than 3,000 changes make up Nexuiz 2.5!
Nearly a year ago we shared that two new PC action games were being ported to Linux. The games were Shadowgrounds and, its sequel, Shadowgrounds: Survivor. Both games were supposed to ship in the first half of 2008 for Linux, but that never ended up materializing. A Finnish game studio known as Frozenbyte originally developed these games and the Linux port was contracted to a company known as IGIOS. In August we were told that the delay was due to publisher negotiations and that they would hopefully have something in a week or two. That never ended up amounting to anything, but a month ago, we finally learned that Linux Game Publishing was working on Shadowgrounds: Survivor. Well, last night we finally got our hands on a beta copy of Shadowgrounds: Suvivor for Linux.
Cube was early on one of the first open-source first-person shooter games designed around its own engine. The 3D graphics for Cube were not the best, but development of this game had been going on since 2001. Based upon the Cube engine was then the Sauerbraten game that was also referred to as "Cube 2" with its engine being redesigned. Now though another game is emerging and its engine is derived from Sauerbraten. This game is called Blood Frontier and in this article we have a few screenshots of this game, which is working its way towards a stable release for the open-source community.
Earlier this year we shared that Valve's Source Engine is coming to Linux after receiving some information that pointed in this direction. In addition, a year ago Valve Software was publicly looking for a senior software engineer to port Windows-based games to Linux platform. There have long been rumors and hopes among Linux users that Steam games would become natively available for Linux, but we have additional confirmation that Valve Software has ported their Steam game client to Linux. In Valve's most recent title, Left 4 Dead, there are shared Linux libraries shipping alongside this Windows game client.
While not commonly mentioned at Phoronix, Alien Arena is an open-source sci-fi first-person shooter that has been around since 2004 and uses the CRX engine, which is a derivative of the Id's GPL source-code. Version 7.20 of Alien Arena 2008 was released this week and a few features had caught our attention. In addition to a number of game-play improvements, Alien Arena has received a number of improvements to its graphics renderer with GLSL program management, parallax mapping, new lighting, new shaders, and other work.
A week ago we shared that Linux Game Publishing, the company that has ported games to Linux such as Cold War and X2: The Threat, was bringing Jets 'n' Guns to Linux. Just a week later this 2D side-scrolling arcade game is now being distributed to LGP's closed testing community. We have our hands on the first beta of Jets 'n' Guns for Linux and in this article are a few screenshots.
For several months the Blender and Crystal Space projects have been working together to develop an open-source game they hope will be of a professional quality and deliver an industry standard 3D gaming experience. This game, now called Yo Frankie, was supposed to be released at the end of August, but that deadline wasn't met. However, released now is the first technology demo for the Blender Game Engine. This tech demo is playable and includes a small level from Yo Frankie, but to be released soon will be a more game-oriented demo that includes additional characteristics and game-play options.
For seven years Linux Game Publishing has been selling their Linux-ported games with no form of copy protection on their CD/DVDs, but beginning with their forthcoming port of Sacred: Gold that will be changed. Linux Game Publishing has developed their own Internet-based game copy protection system for Linux, and in this article we have more details on this scheme as well as their motives behind this work.
In addition to game updates for Savage 2 and Sauerbraten last week, also released was the first beta of Sacred: Gold for Linux. However, unlike the other games, Sacred: Gold is limited to the beta testers within Linux Game Publishing's closed program. Though as we are part of this testing team, we have screenshots and more details on this game being ported to Linux.
Formerly known as Cube, Sauerbraten is an open-source first person shooter game built upon the Cube engine that has been entertaining gamers for years. Sauerbraten has come along way when it comes to advanced rendering features, maps / game-play modes, and other features, with a sign of these improvements being the Sauerbraten 2008-06-17 CTF Edition release. As implied by its name, this most recent release of Sauerbraten introduces a capture the flag game-mode. In addition to the CTF gaming support, there are many other improvements and new features, with this being the first update since the end of 2007.
Back in February we shared that Cedega 6.1 was soon to be in beta and yesterday it finally arrived. The first beta release of Transgaming's Cedega 7.1 (codenamed "Tovik") is now available. Cedega 6.1 ships with support for Shader Model 3.0, new game capabilities, stability improvements, performance enhancements, and more.
There have been rumors since last year that Valve may be serious about porting Source games to Linux after Valve Software began seeking a senior software engineer with the responsibility of porting Windows-based games to the Linux platform. Valve Software has yet to officially announce Linux clients for any of its software, but at Phoronix we have received information confirming that Valve is indeed porting its very popular Source engine to the Linux platform.
In addition to CodeWeavers announcing the availability of their new CrossOver Games product to play popular Windows games on Linux, S2 Games has today announced the availability of the Linux client for its "Savage 2: A Tortured Soul" game. Savage 2 is a fantasy-themed game that is a combination of a first person shooter, real-time strategy, and action role-playing game. This is the sequel to "Savage: The Battle For Newerth", which was also ported to Linux some years ago.
While we're continuing to see new Linux-native games introduced (such as the recent Shadowgrounds announcement) and the continued work by Linux Game Publishing with different games, the Linux gaming market is still far from being saturated and it keeps many gamers from even trying out Linux because of the limited choices. As they near version 1.0, WINE has been making strides at allowing gamers to run their Windows game binaries on Linux and last year Transgaming had introduced Cedega 6.0 with expanded game support -- among other improvements. Today though another option has been introduced and that is using CrossOver Games to run your favorite Windows games on Linux.
It has been nearly four months since Unreal Tournament 3 first shipped for the PC, while the Linux client is still missing in action due to software legal issues. At the same time, Linux Game Publishing is running late on delivering their Linux ports of both Bandits: Phoenix Rising and X3: Reunion. Over the past couple of quarters it's definitely been an unpleasant time for the Linux commercial gaming scene, but this week there is good news coming out of Finland and that is two games -- both relatively new to the marketplace -- being ported to Linux.
Since the release of Nexuiz 1.0 in 2005, we have been tracking its progress as one of the leading open-source first person shooters. With time, this fast-pace game has picked up a nice level of artificial intelligence for its in-game bots, engine optimizations, single-player campaign missions, and a variety of technical advancements. Nexuiz has always been one of the leading open-source first person shooter games, and with the release of Nexuiz 2.4 yesterday it reaffirms that you don't need to be a major game studio -- or a game studio at all -- to develop a quality title and even for being a free software game it has impressive graphics. With the graphical settings near maximized, a GeForce 8600GT on a quad-core system was brought to its knees by this free software (and free content) game.
Linux Game Publishing, the company behind porting such games to Linux as Cold War and X2: The Threat, has prepared a new Linux GUI installer for its forthcoming titles. While this new installer doesn't feature any overwhelming additions, it has been written finally to use GTK2 and other new functionality for this setup utility.
At Linux Game Publishing, much of their attention as of late has been focused upon their port of X3: Reunion, which is Egosoft's successor to the (already Linux ported) X2: The Threat. However, outside of this space adventure title that shipped for Windows in 2005, Linux Game Publishing has also been working on a few other game ports, among which is Bandits: Phoenix Rising. The closed beta for Bandits: Phoenix Rising had started in January of 2007, but there was only one beta released and no further information from LGP on this game was released. Frankly, we forgot a Linux port was even being worked on. However, thirteen months later the second beta of this Linux port is now available to those in LGP's closed beta testing program.
Accompanied by an updated Windows release, last week id Software had released its Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.4 update for Linux. We have previously shared most of the details surrounding this major ET: Quake Wars update with the same changes as the Windows build. One of the most interesting features, however, is the new threaded renderer for improved multi-core performance.
While Unreal Tournament 3 for Linux has been tied up in Epic's legal department, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars has been maturing quite nicely since its introduction earlier this year. This week the Windows development team had announced ET: Quake Wars v1.4 would be available before Christmas with a host of new features. Today at Phoronix we can now confirm that this update will also be available for Linux gamers in a timely fashion.
Last week Ryan "Icculus" Gordon had confirmed that the Linux client and server ports of Unreal Tournament 3 were caught up in a legal issue regarding some middleware used in this latest PC title from Epic Games. However, what is the middleware that Unreal Tournament 3 is caught up in? There is a strong possibility that it deals with the PhysX licensing from Ageia Technologies.
Last week we mentioned that X3: Reunion for Linux was going forward with beta testing, which is going on ten months after Linux Game Publishing originally announced they would be porting this X2 - The Threat sequel. Well, those fortunate to have closed-beta access privileges at Linux Game Publishing were finally greeted with the X3: Reunion Linux binary yesterday. In addition to the Linux binary, there is also support for DragonflyBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. X3: Reunion was originally supposed to ship for Linux back in August, but seeing as the closed beta testing hadn't even started until yesterday, don't expect the final release until the first half of 2008.
The Battle for Wesnoth is not your typical run-of-the-mill TBS game. The genre turn-based strategy, or TBS, is very self-explanatory. It is, simply put, a game where-as the game flow is broken down into turns or rounds and the game plays from there on. Although there are many other fantasy-themed titles floating around the Internet, this one does stand out of the crowd with its many intriguing features. For starters, the game offers nearly 200 forms of units along with 16 variations of races and six factions to choose from. The game allows the users to become creative and embark on their own personalized journeys. From conceiving your own units and characters to forging the worlds you dream of being in, the Battle for Wesnoth is a must-have download for any gamer out there.
Last weekend we provided benchmarks for NVIDIA's GeForce GPUs on Enemy Territory: Quake Wars after the native Linux client was released on the previous day. However, we hadn't delivered our ATI Radeon benchmarks since we knew the release of the fglrx 8.42 driver was just days away. Now that the AMD 8.42.3 Linux Driver was released this afternoon, we have ET: Quake Wars benchmarks to share from the Radeon X1950PRO, HD 2600PRO, and HD 2900XT.
124 linux gaming articles published on Phoronix.