Unigine Heaven has finally arrived! Unigine Heaven, a tech demo / benchmark that offers heavenly graphics and was released for Windows 7 back in October with a DirectX 11 renderer, is now available on Linux with its OpenGL 3.2 renderer. As we suspected, the Linux support has arrived with the release of Unigine Heaven 2.0, which includes an updated Windows binary as well.
Nexuiz, an open-source first person shooter that we have been covering since its first release in 2005 and has turned into a game that offers impressive graphics and raises the bar for open-source gaming, has been forked by many of its core community developers. This is coming after the Nexuiz founder and others ended up agreeing to an Xbox 360 re-make deal whereby a company known as Illfonic will take the code and re-make it within a closed-source game using their own artwork, etc. With Illfonic not looking to contribute back to the GPL-licensed Nexuiz and some community members not liking this capitalist move, they have parted ways and started work on a new project.
We've been itching for Unigine Corp to publicly release the Unigine Heaven tech demo for Linux with its advanced OpenGL renderer, since the DirectX 11 version launched last October with heavenly graphics, but GPU driver bugs have held up the OpenGL Linux release.
Valve, the makers of the popular Half-Life and Counter-Strike franchises (along with numerous other titles) and the company behind the Steam software delivery system, have announced today that they are now bringing their games (including Steam) over to Mac OS X. Not only are they bringing these games over, but they intend to provide first-rate support for Apple's operating system.
Back in December we shared that a dinosaur game is coming to Linux known as Primal Carnage and it's using the Unigine engine. The Unigine engine is the most advanced game engine that we have seen available for Linux that offers incredible OpenGL graphics now with their Unigine Sanctuary and Tropics tests and also coming soon with Heaven and its OpenGL 3.2 renderer. The Unigine engine developers are also Linux friendly.
We reported a month ago that Unigine Heaven on Linux is still trash with the ATI driver so Unigine Corp is continuing to hold off on releasing the Unigine Heaven tech demo with the OpenGL renderer that supports hardware tessellation until there is a good Catalyst release. Unigine Heaven was released for Windows 7 back in October on this operating system's launch day using a DirectX 11.0 renderer, but buggy Linux drivers have held back the public Linux-OpenGL build. We have been fortunate to run Unigine Heaven on Linux internally and it's a beautiful tech demo / benchmark to say the least even without a bug-free tessellation experience.
While the ioquake3-powered OpenArena game is not as advanced or popular as say Nexuiz, it is a fairly popular free software game amongst those using an open-source Mesa3D driver stack. It's not too graphically rich yet provides competitive and fun FPS game-play -- it can also be used for Mesa driver benchmarking.
While there are many open-source games available (just see the recent discussion about the most advanced GPL-ed FPS), most of them are based upon the ioquake3 game engine that in turn is based upon id Software's open-source id Tech 3 engine. There's also games like Nexuiz that use the DarkPlaces engine and then also Warsow that uses QFusion. There have also been projects like XreaL that seek to greatly expand upon the visual capabilities of the ioquake3 engine, but many of these projects go on without ever making it to a release stage. Today there is yet another open-source game engine in development.
Version 1.7 of the Irrlicht Engine has been released. For those unfamiliar with Irrlicht, it's an open-source, real-time 3D engine that has OpenGL support as well as its own software renderer. Irrlicht is used within games, technology demos, and other projects -- even areas like using it as a 3D renderer in CAD applications. Irrlicht 1.7 is a particularly large release that is coming less than six months after the 1.6 release.
We have just received official word from Unigine that they still are not ready to release their OpenGL Linux version of their Unigine Heaven benchmark. "Unfortunately we were asked by a hardware vendor not to release current version :(," said Denis Shergin, the Unigine Corp CEO. Catalyst 10.1 was just recently released and obviously it still doesn't make the cut, which has been pushing back the Unigine Heaven release for Linux. Now we are waiting for Catalyst 10.2 or later...
While the Linux community is still waiting on the native Linux release of the OpenGL3-using Unigine Heaven tech demo with its heavenly graphics (it's being held off by a bugged ATI Catalyst driver), the core developers working on this advanced game engine continue adding in new features. One of the latest features added into this proprietary engine is physical destruction with a destructible body type currently offering three destruction patterns. The videos below show off what this physical destruction in the Unigine Engine looks like for a user.
Bob Sutor, who has served at IBM in one position or another since 1982 but currently holds the title of VP of Open Source and Linux after serving as the VP of Open Source and Standards, has decided to share his thoughts on Linux gaming. Dr. Sutor had drove IBM's adoption of the ODF document format and has many other open-source wins for the company, but on his blog he now begs the question will video games make desktop Linux into a killer consumer platform?
The Nokia N900 mobile computer may just have a 3.5-inch display and a 600MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, but it does have a PowerVR SGX graphics processor that is capable of providing OpenGL ES 2.0 support, albeit through a binary-only driver. While this hardware is not much, it is enough for some gaming even with the ioquake3 engine. The ioquake3 engine, which is the free software project founded around the open-sourced id Tech 3 engine, is used by games like World of Padman, Tremulous, Urban Terror, and other free software games. Now thanks to the world of Oliver McFadden, an ioquake3 port is running -- and running quite well -- on Nokia's N900.
There's a new game under development that is another first-person shooter but takes the roles of dinosaurs fighting humans and vice-versa. This game is Primal Carnage and is currently under development by a relatively unknown studio called Lukewarm Media. We have been told by the studio that the game's engine will soon be announced and it does offer Linux support and thus they intend to release a Linux binary of Primal Carnage once released in 2010. More details for now can be found at ModDB.com.
For those of you that still have time off of work from the holidays, there is a new release of the Alien Arena first-person shooter if that piques your interest. Alien Arena 7.33 has been released, which is coming just two months after Alien Arena 7.32.
Back in October Unigine Heaven was released for Microsoft Windows 7 with its DirectX 11.0 renderer, but there was no Linux client to be found. This was not because Unigine Corp is liking the Linux platform any less, but because none of the Linux graphics drivers could simply handle the complexities of this technology demo and rendering its OpenGL 3.2 implementation correctly.
We have received confirmation from Unigine Corp that with Catalyst 9.12 for Linux now released with its proper OpenGL 3.2 support and bug-fixes, this paves the way for Unigine Heaven to be released possibly as soon as next week.
A game that Ryan Gordon has been porting to Linux for some time has just went into an open beta testing process. However, it's not Unreal Tournament 3 that went from being potentially one of the greatest games for Linux to an uncertain future to now being dead, but it's a much smaller game. This game now in an open beta is Aquaria, which comes from the Bit Blot indie game studio.
We are still waiting on Unigine Corp to release Unigine Heaven for Linux -- their latest engine demo that shows off their latest improvements, including an OpenGL 3.2 renderer and other mighty impressive advancements. Unigine has the Linux version of Heaven completed (we have seen it and even benchmarked it, and it's amazingly great), but they are waiting on AMD to publicly release a Catalyst Linux driver that can even handle this demo as right now the Linux drivers out there simply don't work because this demo is absolutely gruesome on the driver stack and hardware. Unigine Heaven will hopefully be here this month or next. However, Unigine Corp developers aren't sitting around idly but continue to advance their flagship game engine.
While we are still waiting on the release of Unigine Heaven for Linux, the Unigine Corp developers continue advancing this multi-platform game engine. The latest code being worked on for this engine adds support for physical cloth along with physical wind that impacts physical cloth areas. There's also been some other changes too, but their newest feature is for the physical cloth. Unigine Corp has also provided a few videos showing off the new effects.
While quality native Linux games are rather in short supply, those that do end up coming out of the professional game studios end up being first-person shooters, just look at Doom 3, Quake 4, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Cold War, Unreal Tournament 2004, etc. Even on the open-source side there are many first-person shooters from Nexuiz to Warsow to many others. If though you have been trying to find a new non-FPS game that has native Linux support, there is a new one emerging and that is QuantZ.
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.
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