Last week Unigine launched a game development competition where they will be granting a free Unigine Engine licensee to the development team that proposes the best original Linux game using their engine. This competition is still going on for a few more days so get your submissions soon [we are hoping to be able to share some of the submissions with you at some point]. While this competition may still be going on, the Russian developers behind Unigine continue working on the advanced, multi-platform game engine this holiday.
It's now two months since Linux Game Publishing went offline due to a failure of their only web server and full service has still not been restored. Last week their service was partially restored with the LGP DRM system going back online along with some of their other web-sites, but the main Linux Game Publishing web-site is still down with no update since the 23rd of November.
Back in May we reported that Ryzom was released as free software, with Ryzom being a massively multi-player online science-fantasy role playing game developed by a French game studio. Six months after putting the code out there, Winch Gate Properties Ltd is announcing the official release of their native Linux client for the Ryzom game.
I anticipated this being a slow Linux news day here in the United States with Thanksgiving being today and most US employees being on holiday this half of the week, but there ended up being an interesting email in my inbox this morning and it presents a new reason for Linux gamers to be thankful today: our favorite game company is soon to announce something to further embrace and support Linux game development.
It's been seven weeks since LGP's server disaster where their single server with a single disk with lackluster backup capabilities suffered a massive failure. The disk suffered from firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, among other problems, and located on this drive were LGP's web-sites, their online store, and their entire Digital Rights Management implementation for the games they ported to Linux. Fortunately, their services are starting to come back online.
Last week we reported on the situation where LGP has been without its server for a month and a half after their single server lost its lone hard drive used to host the Linux Game Publishing web-site (along with the LGP-owned Tux Games and Happy Penguin web-sites), their online store, and their Digital Rights Management platform for their Linux games. LGP didn't keep around any recent backups and this server was not mirrored but just running with an off-the-shelf Serial ATA hard drive that evidently failed and then additionally suffered from firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, according to Michael Simms, the CEO of LGP.
This summer on Phoronix there was an article entitled Is LGP Going The Way Of Loki Software? The situation of Linux Game Publishing was looked at where this company over nearly a decade has ported around two dozen games to Linux, but as of late there's been little activity. In fact, for the past month and a half they haven't even been online due to a complete failure of their only server.
A few days ago I wrote about major changes coming to the Urban Terror game that up until now has been a popular ioquake3-powered game that originally began as a Quake 3 mod. Urban Terror is now going to be referred to as "Urban Terror HD" and they are switching from an open-source engine to being an id Tech 3 licensee, which is sad news for those interested in open-source games/engines. While hope may be lost with Urban Terror HD, it seems the XreaL version of Enemy Territory is moving along nicely.
It's been two years since the release of Urban Terror 4.1, an open-source first person shooter powered by the ioquake3 engine that started out originally as a Quake 3 mod. Extensive work has been made towards the next release, Urban Terror 4.2, with significant improvements being made from new maps and visuals to a new graphics renderer. However, this past week the Urban Terror developers announced some rather surprising changes, which includes Urban Terror no longer being distributed as an open-source, GPL game.
While we are still waiting for Unigine Corp (or their partners) to actually release a game based upon the Unigine Engine (Primal Carnage backed out and so their own OilRush game should be the first when it ships this quarter or next), the advanced multi-platform engine continues marching forward. The Unigine Engine already supports OpenGL 3/4 and has amazing graphics as shown by their tech demos like Unigine Heaven and many other features, but they have just made another huge update to this Linux-friendly game engine.
After being in development as a closed-source game for more than eight years, this past summer the 0 A.D. game was open-sourced by Wildfire Games. A month later, the first alpha release of this real-time strategy came emerged. Now three months after being one of the newest open-source games for Linux / Windows / Mac OS X, a second alpha release is available for testing with many advancements.
At the start of September we reported on Unigine's OilRush game, which will have a native Linux client and really be the first title to make its debut that's powered by this advanced OpenGL (and DirectX) engine (after Primal Carnage abandoned Unigine) that up until now has just really been seen by gamers and consumers with some amazing tech demos. The OilRush game is still expected to be released this quarter, but some new screenshots for now are available.
We have just received an email from John Diamond, the lead developer of the open-source Alien Arena game, that the Alien Arena 2011 release will be coming this Fall (in North American terms) and we have been told some of the features to be found in this new version.
While many Linux gamers were looking forward to seeing the Primal Carnage game on Linux in the coming months, it looks like you may have to guess again, at least for a launch in tandem with the Microsoft Windows version. The developers have now switched from the Unigine Engine to using the latest Unreal Engine, which puts its Linux fate into question.
During the summer we were giving away free beta keys for Heroes of Newerth, a game developed by S2 Games that had a native Linux client. During that time we gave away more than 1,000 keys, but since then the retail version of the game was launched to much excitement for both Linux and Windows gamers. This week we learned from S2 Games about how they view their Linux port.
While Unigine Corp has been busy finishing up their first in-house game, OilRush, they haven't stopped work on further refining their upstream game engine. Unigine Corp has just reported on some of the most recent advancements to the Unigine Engine, which includes many enhancements and an updated terrain system.
Back in May we reported that Epic Games finally admitted that UT3 for Linux would likely never materialize. This first person shooter was released back in 2007 and was supposed to have a Linux client that was to be ported by Ryan "Icculus" Gordon. He was working on this Linux client as recent as last year, but it never was released and no other information was provided by Epic Games, Ryan, or other sources. In May we heard from Epic's Steve Polge that the Linux client would likely never materialize. Today we have been passed along a note from Mark Rein, the VP of Epic Games and creator of the Unreal Engine.
A few days ago Unigine Corp announced OilRush, their first in-house game that's coming from the creators of one of the most advanced multi-platform engines. Unigine developers are also fond of Linux and properly support it with the OilRush game receiving the same level of support and there will be a Linux client on launch-day.
A month ago we reported that the Amnesia game was getting ready for a Linux release and now the Swedish developers behind this game, known properly as "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" have released a demo of the game. Frictional Games has released this demo for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X gamers.
Back in July we reported on the 0 A.D. game going open-source, an OpenGL real-time strategy title that had been in development for nearly a decade but hadn't yet had a stable release so the decision was made to take the game open-source in hopes of spurring new development efforts. Well, just a little over a month after that announcement, the first alpha release of 0 A.D. is now available.
As was reported earlier this week, id Software has open-sourced Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Opening up these older games under the GNU GPL was done as part of id's long-standing tradition of putting out the code into the public domain once it makes sense for them a few years after their succeeding engine updates have fully replaced them in the marketplace. The developers behind ioquake3, the project that's based around the Quake 3 engine that was previously opened up by id Software, is already working on iowolfet and iortcw forks to incorporate this new code, but other free software developers are already utilizing this code too.
id Software has announced from their annual QuakeCon event that they have open-sourced their Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Return To Castle Wolfenstein games under the GNU GPL. id Software is known for open-sourcing their games and engines after some years of use and this day has finally come for these two very popular Wolfenstein titles.
For those too impatient to wait for next month for a new native Linux game release when Amnesia: The Dark Descent is set to premiere, there is another game with a native Linux client that was released today: And Yet It Moves.
For those trying to find a new Linux game that offers good graphics while not being a first person shooter with little to no plot -- as is the case for a majority of the commercial and open-source games available for Linux -- the Amnesia: The Dark Descent game is expected to be released next month. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a graphic adventure horror game that will have a Linux-native client and has been in development by Frictional Games, the same studio that developed the Penumbra series.
One of the free software projects we have been talking to as of late about better enhancing their benchmarking capabilities for likely integration into the Phoronix Test Suite is Rigs of Rods. While the graphics within this driving simulator may not be the best (at least when compared to Unigine, or within the open-source world, Nexuiz) it's not the graphics that the developers pride themselves on but rather the physics capabilities. Rigs of Rods began as a truck driving simulator game, but since then has turned into a rather interesting physics sandbox of goodies. A new release of their code-base was just made.
Back in May there was the initial Alien Arena 2010 (v7.40) open-source game release of this year, but now John Diamond has come about with another update that continues to offer up a number of new features and other improvements. The previous update introduced five new game levels and rendering improvements while this newest update offers:
If you are looking to do some Linux / open-source gaming this weekend but are looking for something new besides the recent release of VDrift, the Sauerbraten developers are out with their first update in 14 months. Sauerbraten 2010-07-19 "Justice Edition" has been released with plenty of changes.
Earlier this month the developers behind the Unigine Engine shared their latest update on this advanced 3D engine that's fully supported under Linux. With the latest work on this game engine, there are significant performance optimizations to UnigineScript (the developers say these optimizations are "HUGE"), volumetric light shafts, optimized rendering of meshes in non-instanced mode, optimizations of the Unigine math library, and a note there is a new terrain system on the way, among other changes. Unigine Corp also dropped their first public confirmation of a new strategy game they are developing.
Over the night on Phoronix an article was published entitled Is LGP Going The Way Of Loki Software? Linux Game Publishing has been around since 2001 when Loki Software had collapsed, but in recent months LGP has been eerily quiet, has stopped responding to inquiries from customers and other Linux gamers, and their only announced game ports are titles they began working on back in 2002 and 2003. This had led many to worry and wonder whether LGP is dead.
Last month we reported on four indie games going open-source that were part of the pay-what-you-want "Humble Indie Bundle" after the developers experienced very favorable returns. The source-code to Aquaria has now been published with the source-code to the three other titles (Lugaru, Gish, and Penumbra Overture) already being available.
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