Our Russian friends at Unigine Corp, who have their very impressive Unigine Engine that is multi-platform and delivers the best graphics on Linux and have said they like Linux very much, last month released Unigine Heaven. Heaven is the most-impressive tech demo / benchmark yet, but when released in October it only came out for Windows with its DirectX 11 renderer. However, as we exclusively shared, Unigine Heaven is coming out to Linux. What pushed back their Linux release was waiting on functional Linux drivers from AMD that would allow their demo to run with the tessellation mode enabled without causing a bunch of visual artifacts. They hoped AMD would have a fixed Catalyst Linux driver release in a month or two.
Earlier today Unigine Corp shipped their Heaven tech demo with their latest game engine code that contains many new features since their Tropics demo last year, including a DirectX 11.0 renderer for Microsoft Windows 7 users. Right now Unigine Heaven is just available to Windows users, but as we mentioned earlier today, a Linux build will be coming.
Our friends at Unigine Corp have today unveiled their "Heaven" benchmark, and the graphics capabilities in this tech demo are heavenly to say the least. Last year Unigine Corp had unveiled the Unigine Tropics benchmark / tech demo in the Phoronix Test Suite and it certainly set a new OpenGL precedent on Linux.
Alien Arena 7.31 was released just earlier this month and it brought improved shadow volumes, vertex buffer object management, sound improvements, new weather effects, and other improvements to this open-source first-person shooter. While this update was significant to Alien Arena gamers, today it has been outdone by Alien Arena 7.32.
Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of the Unreal Tournament 3 release, but to this day the UT3 Linux client still has not been released. Up to this point we have been told by Ryan Gordon (the one porting over the game and engine to Linux) that it is still being worked on and Epic Games has similarly told us -- just two months ago -- that it is slowly being worked on. We've been told similar statements now going back many months that the Unreal Tournament 3 Linux client was still being worked on, but there was no ETA for when it might be released -- even though Ryan has been porting the game for over two years and originally he was hoping to ship the Linux client on the same-day as the game's release.
It's been a while since last hearing anything from Icculus, a.k.a. Ryan Gordon, about any games or other software that he has been porting to Linux. The main project that we still have yet to see from him is the Unreal Tournament 3 client that is now going on two years late. Early this morning Ryan provided an update on his "finger" (blog), but Unreal Tournament 3 nor any other game projects were mentioned.
Just days after the release of Nexuiz 2.5.2 that brought many new features to this popular open-source game, Alien Arena is out with a new version. Alien Arena 7.31 is the new version of this multi-platform first-person shooter and it too boasts a modest change-log.
The Unigine Engine is arguably the best gaming engine that supports Linux with its very impressive graphics and growing set of features, albeit there's a lack of games that actually use this engine on Linux besides a few tech demos (found in the Phoronix Test Suite). Earlier this year we found out that Unigine Corp was working on their own game and it looked to be a very exciting project. However, this game of theirs we found out had been delayed due to their developers being busy with working on a Microsoft DirectX 11 renderer for this engine.
There's a new point release available for Nexuiz that brings a fair number of changes. This newest release, Nexuiz 2.5.2, adds support for a "CTS" game mode where the players much work their way from one point to another on a map, a new heads-up display, changes to video settings, and motion and damage blurs have been added. There have also been a few other changes with Nexuiz 2.5.2, which can be read about on the game's news page.
For the better part of a year, LGP was porting Shadowgrounds: Survivor to Linux after in early 2008 we learned that Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds: Survivor were coming to Linux (back when they were being ported outside of LGP). However, in late August, Shadowgrounds: Survivor went gold. Never did Linux Game Publishing comment on the original Shadowgrounds title. This morning though there is a surprise: they have ported this original action game.
Last week we confirmed that Unigine's Linux compatible game has been delayed by a few months since Unigine Corp had diverted their resources to finishing out their DirectX 11.0 renderer. This week Unigine has now publicly confirmed their DirectX 11.0 renderer and have said that it is almost ready, but the tessellation support is yet to be implemented. Shader Model 5.0 is also supported by the Unigine Engine.
Contrary to earlier reports stating that the forthcoming id Tech 5 engine from id Software would likely not be ported to Linux due to the involved work, cost, and lackluster Linux graphics drivers (according to John Carmack), it looks like we will end up seeing this next-generation game engine running with Linux.
Koonsolo Games, an independent game studio that developed Mystic Mine, is amazed at the rate which Linux users are purchasing their game. We know that Linux gamers are excited for new games, but Koonsolo has released figures showing the proportion of Linux gamers to those on Windows and Mac OS X. Surprisingly, the Linux market-share is not in third, but second!
Earlier this year we shared that Unigine was working on a new game that was being developed internally and would run on Linux with their continually improving game engine that already sets an OpenGL precedent on Linux. Following that we did a Linux interview with the Unigine developers to talk about their proprietary engine, gaming on Linux, etc. But months later, what is the status of this game project? Well, rather bleak right at the moment.
While most open-source games still lack the graphics quality and features that the latest proprietary game engines support within retail games that are backed by the large studios, their quality has been improving as with their artwork and other characteristics. As an example of this, Warsow 0.5 made it out this week with a horde of new features and improvements.
Shadowgrounds: Survivor is a game from an independent Finnish-based game studio that was supposed to come to Linux last year around the second quarter, but then it was stuck in limbo for several months until this January we found out that LGP is now porting Shadowgrounds: Survivor. A month after that we showed this game running on Linux thanks to their closed beta program, but finally this game is getting ready to ship to Linux customers. Linux Game Publishing has ended their closed beta program for this game and has announced that this game has gone gold.
Quake Live, the project by id Software that effectively puts the classic but popular Quake III: Arena game and puts it in the web browser, is now available for Linux. Linux gamers interested in running this first person shooter just need to go to QuakeLive.com and install a plug-in for their web-browser. At the same time, id Software also announced this update is now compatible with Mac OS X too. Playing Quake Live is free, as it's backed by in-game advertisements.
There's a new game coming to Linux and it's called Aquaria. This is an underwater fantasy game developed by Bit Blot. This independent game allows for underwater exploration, combating, creating your own worlds, and more. Aquaria is currently available for Windows and Mac OS X, but a Linux port is now being worked on. In this forum thread at Bit Blot, the administrator confirms the port and shows this underwater game running on Linux.
The Unigine Engine, which is likely the most advanced 3D game engine that natively supports Linux, has stepped further ahead today. Unigine Corp has provided word of several new features and updates to this advanced game engine. With the latest code, the Unigine engine now is able to process physics much faster, adds continuous collision detection, multi-threaded simulations of physics, an updated Ogg Theora loader, new physics samples, support for Maya 10.0, and quite a bit more.
Unreal Tournament 3 was released for the PC nearly two years ago, and there was the promise of a Linux client and it was being worked on by Ryan Gordon, but to this day there is still no such client. Back in March it was said that it was still undergoing work, but there was no ETA for its completion. The work that it was supposedly undergoing was just optimizing the code, bug fixes, etc.
A week ago when S2 Games let us start handing out beta keys for Heroes of Newerth, their forthcoming title that is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In about 24 hours we had already given out around 450 beta keys and Linux gamers were very excited. Well, as of this afternoon, we have given away more than 1,000 keys to allow Linux gamers access to this closed beta program.
It seems as if Linux gamers are indeed really excited for having new games on Linux, well, "really excited" may still be an understatement. About 24 hours ago we talked about Heroes of Newerth, a game being developed by S2 Games, was coming to Linux and we were able to hand out beta invitations to begin playing the game immediately as part of their closed testing process. Beyond that though, S2 Games has asked that the media refrain from sharing many details about this online role playing game that is derived from DoTA, but with much fancier graphics. In the past day we have already given out far more than 450 beta invitations to Linux users and there is no sign yet that the requests are letting up.
A few hours ago we invited everyone to come play this new Linux-native game with us, which happened to be Heroes of Newerth by S2 Games. This game is still under development and details surrounding this title are very scarce as the media (including Phoronix), is not yet allowed to post any media or really talk about the game that much. However, a closed beta is currently going on for this game, both with the Linux and Windows editions. S2 Games was surprised by the interest that was building around this new game of theirs on Linux, so they decided to let us start handing out keys to join the beta program. Well, so far, that is going extremely well.
S2 Games may not be as well known as id Software or Epic Games, but what distinguishes them from most of the other game companies is that they actually support Linux. With S2 Games' Savage 2, for example they provide a Linux-native game client. S2 Games is hard at work on another title, Heroes of Newerth, and that too will be supported on Linux. In fact, it's already running on Linux and Linux gamers will likely find a native client binary around the time of the game's release on Windows (read: it won't be released months or years later, like what we frequently find with Linux ported titles). Sound pretty great, but too impatient to wait for the game's release? Well, come play it with us right now! And for free!
Wildfire Games has decided to switch their development model for their real-time strategy title, 0 A.D., from closed-source to open-source. This 3D real-time strategy game is now having its code licensed under the GNU GPLv2 and the game content is going under the Creative Commons Attribute-Share Alike license.
The Unigine Engine, which is an impressive multi-platform game that hasn't really been widely used in any games yet but does offer some very impressive tech demos (via the Phoronix Test Suite), continues to advance and pick up new features. As we have shared earlier, the company behind Unigine is working on a new game that will run on Linux, which is not too surprising when considering the fact that the company is very Linux friendly.
Yo Frankie, the open-source video game that was developed around the Blender modeling software, has received its first major update after reaching version 1.0 some seven months ago.
Alien Arena 2009, which is the successor to Alien Arena 2008, has been released. We previously talked about the graphics improvements that were coming and now they have arrived.
Last year Linux Game Publishing launched their own game copy protection system to combat pirating of the games they port to Linux and now they have announced another fundamental change. At last, Linux Game Publishing will be making their games available by electronic download and they are also launching a game rental service.
Svartalf, a member of the Phoronix Forums and developer for Linux Game Publishing, recently asked our readers on the forums to provide a wish-list of games they wished to see ported to Linux. There ended up being an outpouring of interested Linux gamers with more than 1,120 replies! Svartalf shared that "[the] effort that actually did much more than I'd hoped for" and "as it stands, we've got one on contract (stalled though...) and one complete game as a result of this thread."
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