Unreal Tournament 3 was released for the PC over three years ago, and as sad as it may be, if the Linux client was released today it still would be rated highly in terms of its graphical capabilities and game-play simply due to the lack of other first-rate commercial games on Linux. The Linux gaming scene is beginning to improve thanks, in particular, to efforts by Unigine Corp and another company, but 2010 was not very exciting while 2011 should be much better.
Times are good for Unigine Corp. Besides enhancing their Linux game development competition to now bring three new games to Linux atop their advanced multi-platform engine and also getting ready their OilRush game, they have also picked up another customer. Dilogus: The Winds of War is a fantasy RPG that is now being built atop the Unigine Engine and it will feature a native Linux client to accompany their Windows build.
Last weekend we reported that Alien Arena 2011 was coming this week, and over the night it has in fact arrived. Alien Arena 2011 brings rag-doll physics using the Open Dynamics Physics Engine, two new maps, updated player models and skins, faster particle rendering, new in-game music, updated/improved shaders, and many other key improvements.
As was pointed out in our forums this morning, the second "Humble Indie Bundle" has arrived. It was just five days ago that there were hints of a second bundle on the way after the very successful first bundle that led to all of those games being open-sourced. Now though the second Humble Indie Bundle is now available and with all new games.
Yesterday we talked about Frozenbyte wanting Linux gamers to help test their Linux game port of Trine. We also mentioned that Frozenbyte's Trine 2 would likely be coming to Linux and that this work for Frozenbyte was being done by Alternative Games, a company we never heard of. We have now received an email from Tapio Honkonen, the CEO of this company that's said to be all about Linux gaming.
In continuation of yesterday's news (read it if you haven't), Unigine Corp has expected announced the three winners of its Linux game development competition. The three winning teams that will now be granted Unigine Engine licenses to develop their titles include Kot-In-Action, Gamepulp, and MED-Art.
Put out earlier this morning on Phoronix were Linux virtualization benchmarks comparing the native performance of a high-end Intel Core i7 system to that of the de facto standard Linux KVM virtualization method as well as Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.12 and Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Beta 2. These tests focused largely upon the disk and CPU performance within Ubuntu Linux virtual machines, since that's often where enterprise users are most concerned with virtualization performance. For desktop users, there's also the matter of 2D/3D acceleration support within virtual machines.
If you are a Linux gamer there's a lot of hopeful opportunities coming up especially with up to four Linux games coming from Unigine, but that's still months out. Right now though if you're looking for a new Linux native game to play, Frozenbyte is looking for testers of their Linux client port of Trine.
Last month the company behind the very advanced Unigine Engine launched a Linux game development competition whereby they would give away a free license to the game development team that came up with the best game idea and would provide a native Linux game client. Submissions for this contest ended on Friday.
John Diamond, the lead developer of the open-source Alien Arena game, has emailed in tipping us off that Alien Arena 2011 will be released next week. Alien Arena is a science-fiction first person shooter game that's powered by a modified id Tech 2 game engine. We first reported on Alien Arena 2011 in October when talking about some of the planned features we were informed of, but as of next week it will be available to all Linux gamers (and those on Windows too) as an early Christmas present -- it was just in May that Alien Arena 2010 was released.
Earlier this year there was the "Humble Indie Bundle" where anyone could purchase a set of four Indie computer games (that are Linux compatible) for any price they wanted. The games included World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru, and Penumbra Overture. This ended up being such a success with the game developers that they ended up open-sourcing the games after raising quite a bit of money off this bundled deal. Now it appears the developers are working on a second Humble Indie Bundle.
More than two months after their sole server with a single consumer-grade SATA disk drive had failed and was then compounded by firmware corruption, chemical degradation, and file-system damage, Linux Game Publishing is now back online. As of this evening, there's this notice on their web-site:
For those into the World of Worldcraft computer game, which lacks a Linux client at this time, the Cataclysm expansion pack was released over the night. Fortunately, for those not wanting to use Microsoft Windows to play this popular MMORPG, CodeWeavers is out with CrossOver Games 9.2.1, which brings WoW: Cataclysm support to Mac OS X and Linux gamers.
At the beginning of October there was the announcement of the Unigine OilRush game, a strategy game developed atop the Unigine Engine and developed by Unigine Corp itself as one of the first real games available to multi-platform gamers of this advanced, very interesting game engine. The screenshots continue to look impressive and it was supposed to be released in Q4'2010, but now Unigine Corp is sharing that the game's release date has been pushed back to March of 2011.
As we shared last week, Unigine Corp launched a Linux game development competition where any independent game teams/studios could submit a written proposal to them for a new Linux game and then later this month they will pick one submission and grant them a free license of their expensive, very advanced, multi-platform engine. There's still another week left to this competition, but we have learned some details from Unigine Corp about the submissions thus far.
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.
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