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A Linux Game That's Still Not Selling Well

Gaming

Published on 21 March 2012 09:09 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Gaming
26 Comments

While the new Humble Bundle is already pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars, there's a new Source Engine game coming to Linux, and Wasteland 2 is likely coming to Linux, as just some of the recent Linux gaming achievements, there's still not a surplus of Linux-native games. Even without there being excessive amounts of Linux-native games, not all of the titles that do come are destined to sell well.

Last month I wrote about the Tomes of Mephistopheles reaching an alpha state, which is a game being developed by Kot In Action -- the same studio behind the popular Steel Storm series. Tomes of Mephistopheles is powered by the DarkPlaces engine, which is a great game engine for being free and open-source, and that alpha access to this Kot In Action title is available for a $10 USD pre-order.

Kot In Action was betting big on pre-orders in order to continue full-speed with Tomes of Mephistopheles development as well as Steel Storm 2. The company was even deciding whether to base Steel Storm 2 off the mighty-impressive Unigine Engine rather than DarkPlaces, if pre-orders were a success. As I then ended up following up on, not all Linux games sell well as based upon the Mephistopheles orders. That article was greeted by more than 70 comments why it's not popular with all Linux gamers.

Last week I followed up with Kot In Action to see where their sales were pacing, but there wasn't much change. From Alexander Zubov, the founder of Kot In Action, "No, unfortunately not even close to the goal :/ We already have multiplayer working, so once polished enough, we will release another alpha and maybe that will get players interested more."

Now to further address the comments and questions by Phoronix readers that have been brought up recently in the forums wondering how Linux games get covered on Phoronix... With Tomes of Mephistopheles, it's an interesting story.

Alexander Zubov, the founder of Kot In Action, contacted me via email in mid-February. He quickly alleged that Unigine Corp was paying me to promote OilRush on Phoronix, since OilRush "was on the front page of the phoronix.com and Steel Storm was never there." (In reality, however, I did mention Steel Storm several times on the front page such as when Burning Retribution was released, it was available via Desura, it was part of Humble Indie Bundle #3, when Steel Storm 2 was announced for Linux, etc.) After making these bullshit allegations, Zubov proceeded to ask, "If so, how much does it cost for our games to be always featured on Phoronix, with benchmarks and previews / reviews ?"

As explained to Zubov, Phoronix doesn't accept payments or other compensation to be featured on Phoronix.
First of all, I have in fact written about Steel Storm several times on Phoronix in the past, e.g. when it was released, when part of HIB #3, when it was announced Steel Storm 2 is coming to Linux, etc.

Why is Unigine covered much on Phoronix? It's certainly not because of any payment from them or any other form of compensation. Their engine is quite technologically impressive and interests me, their engine/demos allow for automated-friendly benchmarking, and perhaps most importantly is that they routinely contact me in advance of making any news / announcements to inform me on news-worthy matters so I have time to evaluate them in advance. I believe this is the first time you have ever contacted me.

Why haven't I written about Tomes of Mephistopheles yet? I haven't even heard about it up until now. However, I will probably write about it this week after looking more into it.

If you wish your titles to be talked about more on Phoronix, I would suggest contacting me in the future to make sure I am aware of such announcements.

Additionally, if you wish the games to be shown off a lot on Phoronix, that the demos of your game have some form of automated benchmarking capability where some either timed demo or other standard mode can be started from the command-line (along with passing any other graphics-related settings) and then exiting gracefully while providing some metric to the output or some other log file. From there I can easily incorporate it into OpenBenchmarking.org / Phoronix Test Suite. As far as I'm aware none of your games currently offer this benchmarking functionality, but if there was such, it would mean that the games get exposure when doing hardware / graphics driver comparisons, etc.

So there you have it, for those wondering. And, of course, no payment or other compensation was accepted by Kot In Action.

Those wanting to check out Tomes of Mephistopheles or to pre-order, visit this web-site.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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