sethfrost / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
513 92 218

sethfrost Blog

Lords of the Fallen (PC) - What is "NVIDIA Apex Turbulence"?

"Apex Turbulence" is a framework with its own API using DirectCompute (DirectX 11), PhysX and CUDA, for the GPU to do some advanced physics calculations through the programmable shaders.

In plain English: the developer uses the graphic card to calculate high definition smoke, fog interaction, dust, sand & snow storms - everything that needs a high amount of particles and therefore particle calculations.

Here's an article on the NVIDIA Developer Website with several video (game) examples:

https://developer.nvidia.com/apex-turbulence

This feature seems to have been the reason why some people have had game crashes on their PCs. It needs a Kepler architecture or above NVIDIA GPU. Notebooks are also not the best environment to play the latest (modern) games on highest settings, no matter what the Alienware & Co. marketing people are trying to tell you.

apex_gpu_support_enabled = false in the settings.ini disables the feature.

If you want to dig even deeper, there is a tutorial for UE3 users:

https://developer.nvidia.com/apex-turbulence-tutorials

This is all part of NVIDIA GameWorks™ which is a middleware product, providing game developers with specific development tools & libraries:

https://developer.nvidia.com/what-is-gameworks

PS: I am not working for NVIDIA nor trying to 'sell' you something. I use AMD/ATI, Intel and all sorts of GPU/CPUs. So, please, no 'flamewars' - we had those since ca. 1999.

The Art & Design of Alien: Isolation

THE MOVIE

What you may or may not know, the film director Ridley Scott, the director of the first Alien movie and later on Blade Runner and many other Hollywood blockbuster movies, was already a superstar when he started making movies.

He studied art & film at the West Hartlepool College and began his career doing Television for the BBC in the 1960s. Later on he and his brother Tony Scott (who also became a famous Hollywood director and made a bunch of movies with Denzel Washington) founded their own company and Ridley Scott made top commercials through the late Sixtees and the 1970s.

"He is a visual guy" is something everyone who worked with him would tell you. He draws. He draws a lot. He has the abiltiy to express his film vision through a pen & piece of paper and that is a powerful tool for a director. He is doing his own storyboards (the scene-by-scene drawings you sometimes see) to flesh out the movie from early ideas to what his set director and director of photography will have to turn into life.

THE ARTISTS

The legend goes, that Ridley Scott was browsing through the art books of Hans Rudi Giger, an already famous but certainly obscure Swiss artist. While they contacted Giger and he was willing to cooperate in a movie production, the producers of the Alien movie hired well known Science Fictions artists, to do concept art on the movie.

The facts are, Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett, who were trying to pitch their Alien movie story to the studios in Hollywood, asked Ron Cobb to make some illustrations for them, to help pitch the movie.

Once they found a producer, they immediately tried to convince them to hire their favorite artists for this film project.

Among them were Chris Foss (known for his space ship designs for book illustrations), French comic book star & graphic novel artist Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius (the man who created the visual design of 'The 5th Element', who also worked on an early version of Dune, the movie. He also illustrated a great Science Fiction story called 'The Long Tomorrow', written by Dan O'Bannon & Ron Shusett for Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal Magazine) and Ron Cobb, who started his career as a young kid at Disney. He earned his film credits by working on the spaceship for Dark Star (1973) and did some work on Star Wars too (his later credentials include John Milius Conan movie, True Lies, E.T. and the new Alien movie "Leviathan", working again with Ridley Scott.

If you can find it (and afford it), I recommend a Ron Cobb art book from the 1980s which had tons of his film drawings and illustrations. It has a lot of drawings and sketches of the interior design of the Nostromo and if you have seen the movie you know how much the video game by Creative Assembly stayed true to that design. Next to Syd Mead - another famous Graphic & Industrial Designer (who worked with Kubrick on "2001: A Space Odyssey"), Ron Cobb was 'the guy' for futuristic interior design.

THE GAME

The art style follows the visual concept art of Ron Cobb and the vision of Ridley Scott and his 1979 Alien movie closely, yet manages to not copy it, but re-invent it, creatively. They even recreated the semiotic standard icons Ron Cobb created for the original movie, into the video game (look at your achievement icons).

It embraces the 1970's and 80's technology and replicates it into the future. You see and hear(!) computer tape machines, neon-tubes firing up/flickering, old harddrives spinning, CRT monitors, etc, etc.

Using advanced shader and DX11 tech & features (DirectCompute), the graphics rendering serves to mimic typical movie and camera lens effects and so creating depth of space and atmosphere. but also recreating a retro 'look & feel' of the original movie. Darkness is interrupted by dynamic (deferred) lighting effects and volumetric fog/steam. Chromatic abberation serves to 'blur' the look, planar reflections help to set the mood reflecting single light sources in a room or corridor, ambient occlusion helps selliing the plasticity of the objects and the architecture of the space ships and space station, Depth of Field and Bokeh, used to the most intense cinematic effects, having your point of view suddenly out of focus, etc. You enter a dark room and slowly the neon lights start to lighten it up, gradually progressing through space, making you 'see' how long the corridor is. Music and ambient sound plays a huge role in selling this effects, too. All rendering tricks and effects are used to make the 3D virtual space believable and make it look 'real' and successfully resemble the 'old' movie, at the same time.

Following the movie aesthetic of old, it is also a concept pulling away from the often 'clean' look of video game level design, no matter how much lighting tricks some developers try to implement. There is always something sterile about many 3D spaces. Using modern technology to get away from the 'clean' look is still rare. Lense flare effects alone cannot cut it. Equally, many Unreal Engine games still carry the 'shiny meat balls' effect to this day, unable to turn it off.

Ridley Scott followed the 'spaceships are not clean' concept of George Lucas' first Star Wars movie. Both were a reaction to the immense success and influence Stanley Kubrick's "2001 - A Space Odyssey' had. While Kubricks's vision of the future was all 'clean' and filled with futuristic 1960's designer chairs (the kind, you cannot sit in, comfortably), Lucas and Scott wanted to show the opposite. 'Dirty' space ships and corridors, 'every day' future technology, which looked used and used up.

Btw, many aspects and visual effects reminded me of Doom 3 when used with the Sikkmod, but in the most positive way. (see some screenshots from my former posts or googlebing in general 'doom3+sikkmod'). The most memorable part of Doom 3, was the opening sequence (for me). Exploring space, wandering around. Most of all 3D virtual worlds are a 'spacial art form'.

Some spoiler-free screenshots from the game:

THE ARTISTS

Creative Lead: Alister Hope

Lead Programmer: Clive Gratton

Lead Artist: Jude Bond

Lead Designers: Garry Napper, Clive Lindop

Lead Level Design: Iain Wright

Lead Environment Artist: Mark Radcliffe, Paul Abbott

Lead Technical Artist: Andrew Oakley

Lead VFX Artist: Howard Rayner

Lead Lighting Artist: Ben Hutchings

Lead Engine Programmer: Michael Bailey

etc, etc, etc ...

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux Finale (28-50)

This will be a disappointing post. Apologies, dear three readers.

The list of the remaining games, I installed over the past weeks. Tested but no write-up, due to lack of time. All games are working:

27. Kentucky Route Zero - 28. The Cave - 29. Unity of Command - 30. Dwarfs F2P - 31. Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers - 32. Splice - 33. Stacking - 34. Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP - 35. Dungeon Defenders - 36. Amnesia - 37. Penumbra Overture - 38. X3: Terran Conflict - 39. X3: Albion Prelude - 40. X3: Reunion - 41. Multiwinia - 42. Darwinia - 43. Defcon - 44. Uplink - 45. Costume Quest - 46. Legend of Grimrock - 47. Team Fortress 2 - 48. Left for Dead - 49. Day of Defeat Source - 50. Counterstrike: Condition Zero

________________________

what also works/worked using WINE & Winetricks:

Black Isle Games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment), Morrowind (OpenMW), Company of Heroes Gold/Tales of Valor, Doom/Quake

most recent:

Europa Universalis IV Demo

________________________

Europa Universalis IV Demo currently not available for Linux ... runs on Linux ... the full game will be available for Win, Mac AND Linux ... because the Paradox guys are crazy - just look at their games!

This all started as a proof-of-concept, after reading a troll post on the less and less interesting Steam forums. Somebody complained that Linux games on Steam "are not there yet."

I revisited the Linux Steam client and went through my library, trying to find out for myself. Installation is no longer the problem, since the Steam scripts take over the process and provide the necessary library dependencies.

The thing that is left, is mostly related to "first runs" (autodetection/configuration) and input and graphics/audio drivers. Many of these "2nd tier" issues can easily be resolved, by minor adjustments and manual tweaking (fullscreen resolution).

What still remains is the bigger issue.

The biggest issue ...

... there is no user base.

Not big enough to justify ports or native development from scratch for a game. The user base on Steam did not explode, nor is it rising only because Valve was offering Linux versions of some games. The user base hit the ceiling and is declining, month by month, to a new all time low.

The only hope - and there IS hope - is the support of cross-platform development by 3rd party engines and middleware companies. It is Apple and the rise of smart phone and tablet gaming that had the biggest impact on non-console and non-Windows game platforms. Developers took a deeper look at OpenGL and that was the key, for (more open) cross-platform development. Those new business opportunities made the 'final extra step' look less far, for certain companies. The question is "how much manpower and money do we have to invest?" and "how much more (additional) money can we expect to make". And then Android came along.

What is missing, are millions and millions of Linux Desktop users, who do exist, but who are not visible to the video game industry. A move like Valve's is the biggest "turn-around" Linux users could have ever hoped for (despite the GNU/FOSS/DRM related issues) and Valve must be disappointed by the result so far.

Making a game for PC means making a game for Windows first. That is where the money is. That is where the market is. That is, where at least 99,999% of all PC gamers are. Debating about the exact number of crumbs is a waste of energy. Can game developers, studios and publishers make a living, a profit by making Linux-only games? One day? I doubt that. Why would they want to?

Game devs are not on a crusade for the superior Operating System, unlike some users seem to pretend to be. If you are a PC Gamer, you HAVE to have a Windows OS. But the (pure) Linux gamers are NOT always "gamers". Those people are the additional "target market" - new customers. Most of them are on Android (hardware) - not Linux PCs.

In the end, the Linux platform is here to stay. The tools will be there and easy to use eventually. People will make games ON Linux and FOR Linux, just because they can?

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux (Update 7)

Game 20 of 50

Crusader Kings 2*

You thought the loading times on Windows were kinda long? Wait until you fire up your Linux version. God and/or Odin work in mysterious ways?

2521106-2013-07-28_00001.jpg

 

2521120-2013-07-28_00015.jpg2521119-2013-07-28_00014.jpg2521118-2013-07-28_00013.jpg2521117-2013-07-28_00012.jpg2521116-2013-07-28_00011.jpg2521115-2013-07-28_00010.jpg2521114-2013-07-28_00009.jpg2521112-2013-07-28_00007.jpg2521113-2013-07-28_00008.jpg2521111-2013-07-28_00006.jpg2521110-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521109-2013-07-28_00004.jpg2521108-2013-07-28_00003.jpg2521107-2013-07-28_00002.jpg

 

One of the best games of 2012, a strategic gem, by the crazy Swedes from Paradox Interactive, also made it to the Linux Platform. I am happy to report, it runs smoothly, even the (shader based) cloud effects made it to the Linux side, as did the animated rivers and ocean water.

Certainly nobody plays this game for its bombastic graphics, or rather the lack of it, but graphics do matter in this game! The typo rendering, the pop-up messages, the UI in general and mouse controls are responsive and smooth as butter.

"The Old Gods" DLC allows you to have a pagan party every 9 years. The ultimate Nordic rave. Sacrificing humans and animals alike. How would you NOT buy that DLC, right?

2521116-2013-07-28_00011.jpg

 

Unlike with the Windows version, this (or my?) Linux version does not start the Game Launcher Window (where you see, what kind of DLC and mods you have), but it runs ad hoc in fullscreen mode. Inside the game, you see the active DLC in the lower left corner. As far as I can tell, there is no way to activate or deactivate single DLC content. The Aztecs stay outside. If you know more than me, please feel free to comment.

I also purchased The Old Gods DLC via the Steam client. Restarted the Steam client. Restarted the game and it was automatically loaded and available to choose within the game menu.

*) Idle Thumbs' Introduction to this Baby Marriage Simulator

 

Game 21 of 50

English Country Tune

2521133-2013-07-25_00003.jpg2521132-2013-07-25_00002.jpg2521131-2013-07-25_00001.jpg

 

Indie dev Stephen Lavelles first commercial title. A Unity based 3D puzzle game, also available for Mac, iPad, iPhone, which you can run in fullscreen with your OpenGL 3D accelerated graphic cards. Runs well. Nothing more to say. Play it?

Game 22 of 50

Kerbal Space Program (Demo)

"Ground Control, to Major Tom ..." - David Bowie

2521146-2013-07-26_00003.jpg

 

Runs. No problems. You can safely crank up the graphics to the max.

I still dont know why so many people (and game developers) are crazy about this game (simulation). Dean Rocket Hall could not stop talking about it (this one, and Prison Architect). I refuse to buy both of those Alpha Access titles. I installed Kerbal Space Program now for the fourth time, trying to figure out, what I am missing. I have no clue. Maybe you do?

2521155-2013-07-26_00012.jpg2521154-2013-07-26_00011.jpg2521152-2013-07-26_00009.jpg2521153-2013-07-26_00010.jpg2521151-2013-07-26_00008.jpg2521149-2013-07-26_00006.jpg2521150-2013-07-26_00007.jpg2521148-2013-07-26_00005.jpg2521146-2013-07-26_00003.jpg2521147-2013-07-26_00004.jpg2521145-2013-07-26_00001.jpg

 

Btw, if you like ambient electronic (spacey music), I can recommend an Australian Radio Station called Ultima Thule (ultimathule.info). They are airing ambient and electronic music for like 30 years now. And they offer their previous episodes as free podcasts (each 90 minutes long). You can relax, fall asleep or play some ambient games, while listening to them, in the background). Youre welcome.

Game 23 of 50

Stealth Bastard Deluxe (Tactical Espionage Arsehole)

2521316-2013-07-28_00001.jpg2521317-2013-07-28_00002.jpg2521318-2013-07-28_00003.jpg2521319-2013-07-28_00004.jpg2521320-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521321-2013-07-28_00006.jpg2521322-2013-07-28_00007.jpg2521323-2013-07-28_00008.jpg

 

Starts in fullscreen. This game runs as groovy, as the intro music suggests. Keyboard or Gamepad - your choice. Gamepad runs from the get go. No adjustments necessary (but available). Internet connectivity and functionality. Controls feel responsive. Another great Linux version of a good game.

 

2521324-2013-07-28_00009.jpg

 

Game 24 of 50

Proteus

Pro Tip: If you really want to space out, despite using substances of your choice, reduce the FOV (Field of View) as far as you can handle?

2521310-2013-07-28_00007.jpg

 

2521303-2013-07-28_00001.jpg2521304-2013-07-28_00002.jpg2521305-2013-07-28_00003.jpg2521306-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521307-2013-07-28_00007.jpg2521308-2013-07-28_00008.jpg2521309-2013-07-28_00009.jpg

 

 

Now that the heated debates of ... but is it a GAME? died down, you can enjoy this experience on Linux via Steam. It is a cross platform game for Win/Linux/Mac and runs perfectly fine. First run, it detects your desktop resolution and gamepad (if you have one attached). You can adjust everything as in the Mac & Win versions. Game looks gorgeous, for a Yellow Submarine child of the Sixties. At some point I will have spent as much time on Proteus Islands, as I have spent in Skyrim.

"Sleepy time!" - Sure, nothing bad will happen, right?

2521311-2013-07-28_00004.jpg

 

Game 25 of 50

Little Inferno

2521300-2013-07-28_00008.jpg

Using Fire propagation? A class of algorithms to simulate the spread of fire

 

2521293-2013-07-28_00001.jpg2521294-2013-07-28_00002.jpg2521295-2013-07-28_00003.jpg2521296-2013-07-28_00004.jpg2521297-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521298-2013-07-28_00006.jpg2521299-2013-07-28_00007.jpg2521300-2013-07-28_00008.jpg2521301-2013-07-28_00009.jpg

 

The game for your lovely neighbourhood pyromaniacs? Starts in fullscreen (desktop resolution). No visible option menu. On a Linux PC, you need your mouse (or similar input) to start the game. Some framedrops during the awfully authentic burning of virtual papers and letters. Your perfect fire simulator. Whos that knocking on my door? And why does it suddenly smell so funny in here?

"maximum allowed size of message is 20000 characters" (Gamespot - Twitter-style restrictions. Nobody reads these days?)

 (to be continued ...)

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux (Update 6)

Hello, all three readers. The Saga continues...

 

Game 12 of 50

Aquaria (v.1.1.3)

2521091-2013-07-24_00009.jpg2521092-2013-07-24_00010.jpg2521090-2013-07-24_00008.jpg2521089-2013-07-24_00007.jpg2521088-2013-07-24_00006.jpg2521087-2013-07-24_00005.jpg2521086-2013-07-24_00004.jpg2521085-2013-07-24_00003.jpg

 

Game starts in 800x600. Go Fullscreen. Change the resolution to your actual desktop size, if you prefer. The game also supports gamepads. Graphics and visual effects look smooth. Controls (mouse/keyboard or gamepad) feel responsive. Overall a good version of the game.

Game 13 of 50

Brütal Legend

UP THE IRONS, IRON MAIDENS! \m/

2521094-2013-07-24_00027.jpg

 

Full disclosure: I am too old to be a fanboy of anything or anyone. I drink Pepsi AND Coke, Jack Daniels AND 40 Year old Dalmore. Double Fine and Tim Shafer is the closest, I will ever get to be called that fanboy thingy. I just like the company. My view may not be unbiased. Also, Brutal Legend is the greatest game ever made. No. EVAR. Only including Ronnie James DIO (RIP) and Iron Maiden would have made the game better. I digress.

If you have not played Brutal Legend on PC (Windows, Linux or Mac*) you missed out on smooth improvements, the game devs made to their game, since the XBox release. They tweaked the engine and one day somebody will hopefully write a book and kids will learn at school about DFs Buddha engine, the cow, that keeps on giving. I digressed again.

Lars Gotrich, you never looked better!

2521105-2013-07-25_00010.jpg

 

The game - on my Linux machine does run into framerate issues now and then (no time to test it on different PCs, at the moment). I dont want to blame the game, I cannot blame the audio/video drivers without really knowing, neither. Its just a fact - now and then, the game will halt for a 10th of a second (just like with TF2), even offline.

You can setup the visual and graphic options to the most metalest settings, it will impact you on Linux just as it would do on Windows, depending on your system and graphic card. 4xSSAA is demanding, if you run it in 1080p.

2521104-2013-07-25_00009.jpg2521103-2013-07-25_00008.jpg2521102-2013-07-25_00006.jpg2521101-2013-07-25_00005.jpg2521100-2013-07-25_00004.jpg2521099-2013-07-25_00003.jpg2521098-2013-07-25_00002.jpg2521097-2013-07-25_00001.jpg2521095-2013-07-24_00028.jpg2521096-2013-07-24_00029.jpg

 

The question you have to ask yourself is, do I really need it?. Your choice. Again - on Windows or Linux (or Mac?)

Otherwise, the game plays great. Gamepad support. Sound/Graphics all fine. The Metal Gods approve this game!

*) Yes, Macs are personal computers too. Especially since they switched to the Intel chip.

"You did what? Sorry bro, FreeBSD or bust!"

2521325-2013-07-24_00001.jpg

 

Game 14-18 of 50

Half Life 2

Half Life 2: Deathmatch

Half Life 2: Episode One

Half Life 2: Episode Two

Half Life 2: Lost Coast

(yes, it's like cheating - but this is not a review)

2521144-2013-07-28_00011.jpg2521143-2013-07-28_00010.jpg2521142-2013-07-28_00009.jpg2521141-2013-07-28_00008.jpg2521140-2013-07-28_00007.jpg2521139-2013-07-28_00006.jpg2521138-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521137-2013-07-28_00004.jpg2521136-2013-07-28_00003.jpg2521135-2013-07-28_00002.jpg2521134-2013-07-28_00001.jpg

 

Of course, this is a question of pride. Valve, Steam Half Life 2 must run on Linux, if Valve decides to make the Linux move. Framerate is great. You can drive the buggy at full speed. The physics related gameplay elements also have no framerate impact. Gunplay is precise as it is on Windows.

There is nothing much more to say, really. Your Half Life 2 Linux experience will be excellent. Future generations of Linux based PC gamers, will not have to think about which version they need to have. One thing, I will say. Too bad, Valve did not get rid of their Loading screens. It would have been too much work, it seems, to switch this old game, to a more modern, streaming data engine version, instead having to load levels every couple minutes, making me (and everyone else, playing) wait.

Random frame hickups occur**

**) when I refer to framerate hickups, I mean occasional frame stuttering for a 10th of a second. This may be related to the current graphic driver version or the audio driver. Or it can really be related to the actual frame rendering (which I would doubt. But I am no expert). These things can also be related to the data streaming (I/O), the access of the harddrive and the ACPI (power management) settings of your Laptop/PC. Several possibilities. You will not hear nothing conclusive from me. I am not qualified for that.

I did play through the games on Linux from the beginning to the end. This is not a review, neither. It installs, it runs fine, as I can tell, is all I can say for now. That was what I was trying to figure out in the first place.

Game 19 of 50

Portal (only Portal 1 not 2!)

"Always be testing. Not only on Linux!"

2521158-2013-07-28_00003.jpg

 

2521161-2013-07-28_00006.jpg2521160-2013-07-28_00005.jpg2521159-2013-07-28_00004.jpg2521157-2013-07-28_00002.jpg2521156-2013-07-28_00001.jpg

 

Portal 2 would have been an interesting test case to see how good (or how different?) Linux would handle the very CPU demanding fluid simulation? Meanwhile Portal The First runs just fine. You might want to enable VSync to get rid of the massive tearing. I have not played the later levels, where the gameplay can get a little bit frantic, but I doubt very much, there are any performance issues with this particular game.

 

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux (Update 4-5)

Game 10 of 50

Wargame European Escalation

Mine here, are boring; the screenshots you see on the devs website or the Steam page are actually 100% accurate! The game really looks that darn good!

Since this blog is about installing and (hopefully) successfully running the Steam selected Games on Linux, I will spare you my praise for this game. It is the predecessor of "Wargame Airland Battle" and was made by the French Duders, who brought you R.U.S.E.

This grand strategy game has one of the more impressive game engines out there. You can zoom in seamlessly and in milliseconds from a top-down view, to the shadow casting grass leaves. "So it's like Peter Molyneux's Populous?" you might ask. Well, more sophisticated, I'd say.

When you first fire up the game, it asks you, if it may run a test, determining the graphic settings (does the same thing on Windows). If you say "yes", it will test different desktop resolutions settings (flickering) and different rendering quality settings. In the end, it all depends on you and how much of the visual fidelity you want to sacrifice for a smoother framerate (especially in multiplayer matches, which this game in the end is all about).

2520126-2013-07-25_00011.jpg

You can go nuts in the settings menu: MSAA, SSAO, Single grass leaf real-time shadows, etc, etc,

 

I maxed the settings out, in Single Player Campaign mode, and it ran great. You get a ton of explosions, particle effects, blur, etc. during the battles, but the mouse and movement always felt responsive, never failed to get me from A to B, eSport Starcraft/Dota style.

The OpenGL (Linux) version does not look as nice, as the D3D/DirectX (Windows) one. I don't want to say more, since my brain is like a sieve, but I think the explosions, don't look as good. I didn't read up on the graphic features of the Windows vs Linux versions. But don't let that fool you for a second! This game looks gorgeous, if you like Warsaw pact tanks blowing up and East German flat lands. The Cold War is gettin' HOT, in this game!

Game 11 of 50

Polynomial

... the 3D musical 'space shooter' for space hippies. I love this 'game' and the mathematical visual style. Dmytry Lavrov made this game, and he's a cool Dude. You might check his website, if you like. He does cool stuff. A fellow admirer of volumetric clouds.

2520148-4monitors.jpg

1-2-3-4 monitor support. Stretch dat phase!

 

The Game does not start ... and how to easily fix it.

delete

$HOME/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps/common/ThePolynomial/bin/lib32/libvstdlib_s.so

$HOME/.local/share/Steam/SteamApps/common/ThePolynomial/bin/lib32/libtier0_s.so

will resolve the issue, as Dmytry posted on a Steam Community thread earlier. He also confirmed today, that the game will get an update, so you won't have to do this trick in the future.

2520147-graphicsettings.jpg

Hey girl, "Anaglyph" stands for Anaglyph 3D - pick up your fancy glasses, if you can find them.

Otherwise, the game supports all the visual styles and tricks and gimmicks it has to offer! And you can chose Rythmbox as your default audio player. Far out! "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out", Duder.

2520149-2013-07-25_00006.jpg

"Im transforming, Im vibrating, Im glowing, Im flying, look at me, Im flying, look at me now" - Nick Cave

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux (Update 1-3)

Instead editing my blog post and maybe breaking the website(!), I am rather updating posts as comments. (cross-post from/to Giantbomb)

Game 4 of 50:

SUPER HEXAGON

 

Terry Cavanagh's game for clearly crazy people?! It is hard for me to say or write something like: "You can play Super Hexagon on Linux", because - let's face it - CAN YOU PLAY SUPER HEXAGON ON ANY PLATFORM? Really? Haha!

Yep. The game runs just fine. Also supports Fullscreen (playing it on 1080p). Responsive, as in "unforgivingly so". No excuse for people on the Linux side of things, trying to come up with: "Oh the controls didn't work right" - "There's some kind of weird lag" - "It's broken on Linux, kinda" ... nope. Nothing of that kind at all. If you cannot last, then it is because you suck, just like me, at that 'game'. Whose idea was it to nominate it for "Excellence in Game Design" at this years IGF? Are you people high like ALL the time?! Game devs, tststs ...

2519708-awesome_res.jpg

Before the game starts, it runs a "Setup" message box. Choose your resolution and overall graphic settings.

 

Game 5 of 50:

Awesomenauts

 

 

... your 2D Moba during Dota 2 breaks? Runs perfectly fine. You can also play it with a (wired) 360 Controller on Linux(!!), if you like to. Just plug it in and it should run.

Open a terminal and type in:

dmesg | grep xpad

to check. Latest Linux kernels support gamepads without having to recompile the kernel or modules. You don't know, what I am talking about? Good for you!

Game 6 of 50:

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

 

"An alien ship has crashed in Baghdad ..." - you are part of a British Special Forces Team(?). Remember the Steam Christmas Sale two years ago, when a bunch of games had Holiday related DLC? You were able to play those levels and get some "rewards" - yeah. Steam Achievements & Badges dry run - before it really happened.

That was the only time I played this game and now, I regret not having played more. It is a 'reverse' tower-defense game. The graphics look really nice (both visuals and technical). Stuff blowing up around you all the time, while you try to get your unstoppable unit from one end of the map to the other, without losing them.

The game runs smooth. Framerate on highest settings is great, even during heavy fights. You cannot set any details in the in-game menu though. The fonts do seem to have some Aliasing Artifacts on the edges. But who really cares? Steam overlay seems not to work or being turned off? I usually leave the Steam In-Game Overlay on, while some say in some forums, that they gained some frames, by turning it off.

A bigger issue, I stumbled upon (your mileage may vary) is when 'exiting' the game. The game does not quit properly, rather switches from fullscreen to a window and hangs there.

2519710-anomalanomaly.jpg

Screen froze on exit each time. Some games are so awesome, THEY don't want to quit on you?

 This is another of these "You better know some Linux" moments, which would be too much for anyone, who just started to play around with a Linux System. On Windows Operating Systems you would ctrl-alt-delete and end the task. DO NOT press ctrl-alt-del on a Linux system! It might reboot your PC!

2519704-anomaly_killall.jpg

Anomal Anomaly

 

What you have to do is open a terminal (again, those Unix/Linux/Fallout terminals!) and type: sudo su. The command line terminal will ask you for your password and you type it in. Next thing is to find the process of the still running game to "kill" it. Type: ps -A and find the Anomaly game. Look at the ID number and then type: kill ( means, you put the number in, do not actually type . For example: kill 12479

This does the trick.

Game 7 of 50:

ROCHARD

2519904-2013-07-25_00001.jpg

Played it on Windows before. Do you want to continue on Linux? Savegames in Space!

 

Space Miners! Time to punch in that card again. A "Unity"-Engine powered cross-platform game, has a first surprise to offer: my 16 months old save file, stored on the Steam powered Cloud (take a moment to enjoy all those references!) was transfarted to my Linux version of the game. The game was asking me, if I want to "continue". What sounds trivial to some, is rather not as trivial, if you are in game development.

Game runs smooth. Controls (gamepad!) feel super responsive. Makes me want to think, how super awesome Super Street Fighter IV on Linux could be, for some reason (no. it's not really working).Sound, graphics, visual effects - all superb. I am starting to understand why game devs like Unity.

2519905-2013-07-25_00003.jpg

Game supports Pads of the controlling kind. Not just the official XBOX controller - you can plug in anything on your Linux machine that is of plastic and has buttons. Somebody wrote a driver for it?

2519909-2013-07-25_00002.jpg

Fonts look Cleartype smooth on the edges.

2519910-2013-07-25_00004.jpg

John Rochard - unlike Dead Spaces Isaac Clarke, THIS guy is actually working for his money?!

 

Game 8 of 50:

 

Mining in Space Part 2

Space Pirates and Zombies (SPAZ)

2519929-2013-07-25_00001.jpg

"... but what, if it had Space Pirates AND ZOMBIES?!"

 

Game starts a 2D windowed screen, detecting your monitor screen resolution, asking you to confirm the settings. There was no cloud savefile with this one, but the keyboard/mouse configuration and the pre-generated 'Universe' was recovered from my previous play (January 2013) on this fresh new Linux install.

2519930-2013-07-25_00003.jpg

Big Bang! In the beginning, there was the procedurally generated Universe. Video game developers are Gods?!

 

Mouse controls, keyboard all fine and responsive. I am always amazed of the lack of lag, when it comes to Linux and Fullscreen mouse cursor movement. I am THAT old. Gazillion graphic cards, kernel versions and drivers later. As if I could not be happy, when there is no problem. Speaking of ...

2519931-2013-07-25_00002.jpg

"But nobody can hear you in space, anyway" ... aren't you clever.

 

NO SOUND! (... and how to fix it!)

On Ubuntu (and some other Linux Distros**) the game has no sound.

You need to create a link in the SPAZ directory to a shared library*

Solution 1:

Open a Terminal (sounds familiar?) Navigate to the SPAZ game directory. Should be

cd /home//.steam/steam/SteamApps/common/Space Pirates and Zombies/game/gui

and type:

ln -s /usr/lib/libopenal.so.1 libopenal.so

Solution 2:

go to the /usr/lib directory in your file manager.

Find and copy your "libopenal.so.1.13.0" file (the version number in my case) to the game directory and rename it to plain "libopenal.so" (without any following numbers)

Start the game.

You have sound!

2519933-2013-07-25_00004.jpg

This is the kind of game I uninstall to save myself from losing my daytime job. Addictive, mindless mining is my weak spot.

 

 

*) .so = shared object - the ".dll" of the Linux world)

**) btw, "Distro" is short for Distribution, which stands for different pre-packaged Linux releases. You see, "Linux" in itself, is just the core Operating System. A Kernel and a bunch of modules (drivers). To actually have something for users to click on, there needs to be a notepad, a music player, a torrent client ... uhm, etc. Profit and Non-Profit companies (and single Dudes, probably also "single" in many cases) "package" a collection of software which is freely available (check your BSD/GPL license versions) and re-distribute that as a ... new Linux Distribution. You can get a gazillion different Linux OS versions over here (Distrowatch), if you want to check it out.

Game 9 of 50:

Frozen Synapse

A critic's darling, award winning game. Runs on Mac's and Androids (Google Play) and was on Linux before Steam was on Linux?

2520115-2013-07-25_00002.jpg

"Something bad happened, the last time around?" Yes.

 

Minor issue. It starts in window mode 800x600 (that's not the issue, that's the good part). If you chose a higher resolution first and then switch to Fullscreen, your mouse will be stuck in the previous window resolution borders! You cannot click on anything (especially "apply" or "cancel") anymore, because it is out of your reach! Esc key doesn't work, if I recall correctly. You have to "kill" the game.*

2520116-180944.png

Remember: FIRST go Fullscreen, THEN change to a higher desktop resolution, to avoid mouse issue.

 

You avoid this problem by switching FIRST to fullscreen (800x600) and then applying the higher resolution.

The game runs fine. Online chat & play too. Not demanding at all (from a pure technical point, of course. You will be challenged by the gameplay, duh).

One more hickup of the former sort, when exiting the game. It is "stuck". I pressed "exit", the screen went black. These kind of driver related issues can happen. Does not mean, it will happen to you and your PC. I kept the Ubuntu install strictly "vanilla" - no 'extra' software installed (no "restricted"-codecs, or VLC, or any other thing than Steam & Ubuntu updates. This is a scientifick(!) experiment, right?

*) see methods above. Only, in this case, you are stuck in Fullscreen mode. On Linux - no problem. Hold ctrl-alt-F1 to switch to another (virtual) desktop (rather terminal). You will see a command prompt. Login. Kill the XOrg process.* Your friendly Linux will then switch to the window manager login screen. Login.

Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux (Live Blog)

This will be a "live-blog" sort of thing, with continuous status updates.

 

July 24th 2013 - UTC +1 (Europe, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin local timezone)

 

What is the goal:

... check, test, play Steam (PC) games on a Linux Operating System.

 

How to start:

 

... from Windows:

llusbc

1. USB Linux Live USB Creator: http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/home

This small app, allows you choose form many different Linux "Live" OS versions and install any on a USB thumbdrive. Your mainboard must supports booting from a USB drive, you can first test and then install a Linux Operating System from it. This is one well established tool, easy to use and works very well. I used it today to install the Steam supported Ubuntu 12.04 LTS version. Otherwise ...

2. Download your Linux Distro manually and burn it on a DVD/CD

http://releases.ubuntu.com/precise/

3. Installing Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

What I did was starting the Ubuntu CD (700 MB, x86 - which is the 32bit version) in "Live Mode" first, instead installing it from the get go. Ubuntu starts and first thing I did was, to configure a connection to the Internet. I checked quickly the hardware settings, just to make sure, no critical error messages are already popping up. Everything was good.

I already prepared my harddrive (partitions for Linux root and home and other things). I was good to go.

Next step. Click the "Install Ubuntu" icon ...

You have to trust the expertise of decades of Unix/BSD and Linux Kernel developers, Debian Developers, and the Ubuntu people, that these install scripts and Kernel modules are all detecting your hardware and make everything "work" (from your obscure no-name webcam, to your 3 different soundcards, to the unknown chinese chipset on your US 'branded' mainboard. In most cases, the drivers are there and will detect your hardware ... even the Monitor and graphic card (latter, in most cases - still, not always. It's a long story, for another day).

Ubuntu is installing and - due to the Internet connection, I established - updating the packets it needs to install itself. After ca. 30 minutes, it is all done and there comes the ...

... reboot. NOW, is the time, when it starts to get tricky for a while.

In my case, I got some ugly artifacts during the startup. Ubuntu is not using ATI or NVIDIA drivers for your ATI and NVIDIA cards automatically. (This too has a long history and you can read books about that history some place else). In my case, I have the default Gallium free open source driver, which did its job eventually.

Next step:

1. Establish an Internet connection.

2. Wait (or start the "Update Manager" manually)

3. Update your Ubuntu Installation.

This is crucial, since the initial installation, despite being already connected to the Internet, did not really "update" the system from the vanilla CD/DVD version. It only downloaded additional files for the installation process. THIS now is the true update. Also, beware of the differences of an "update" and an "upgrade".

Reboot.

Now comes the 'fun' part. Not really.

This is when things are supposed to work, but usually don't.

In my case, the application, which allows for a NVDIA upgrade, did not detect any available (propriatery) NVIDIA drivers. This would be the moment, I guess, every new non-Linux Linux user would stop or start searching the Googlebing webs for help, ending up under a virtual pile of mostly desperate and useless forum posts, filled with mostly clueless and useless comments by Linux-wannabees, and - after hours of searching - maybe find some thoughtful solutions and help, or even articles or bug reports, describing the exact same problem and figuring out, that this bug is unsolved for months if not years - btw, "you are welcome to join". "Don't report a bug, FIX a bug" is a common saying in those cricles. I digress.

nodrv

"Yo, bro. Your option is, you can haz no option, bro"

Maybe 1-2 hours in, and this is the moment, every Linux newbie is leaving the green grass and unicorn rainbow realms, to join the FIGHT CLUB, that is the X (now curated by XOrg formerly XFree86, but that is ANOTHER really, really, really long story) This is the moment 90% give up with their Linux adventure and 1% of the remaining 10% end up being programmers of the stinky, brilliant kind.

You just have to do this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install 

... as described here.

This means, you joined the "update-my-drivers-everytime-I-am-online-to-the-latest-version-even-if-its-beta-and-can-break-everything" club. Congratulations!

Reboot.

The NVIDIA driver should be now doing the job of rendering that beautiful METRO UI ... ehm, UNITY UI, without you having to open and edit the xorg.conf file (I have heard, there are 'new' generations out there, you never saw the X11 directory. Is it true?)

Now download and install the STEAM CLIENT FOR LINUX from the "Ubuntu Software Center" (create an Canonical account, login, "pay" zero dollars - that's how they get your name & address & credit card) or directly - without hassle - from Valve's page (it's a direct .deb link!).

After downloading the Steam client, the installation is the same as on the Windows platform. Login. Client update ... and voil`a:

steamlinux

Buy once - own it on all platforms. Valve loves you?

Usually, my "goto" benchmarking game for testing my video card drivers on GNU/Linux or BSD is Quake 3 Arena - a native linux installer from the id software ftp server (gone, but never forgotten? wait!), let you install the game easily and quickly and it ran. On many Linux versions, it ran even faster than on Windows, because Linux OS scales better (if everything is set up right & the driver version was 'good'), or you could just recompile the game and it would be an optimized version, specifically suited for your personal ... uh, computer.

Today, instead, I downloaded Unigine's Oil Rush, while waiting for Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 (#BIGPLAYS) to download too. Oil Rush may not be the greatest game of all time (certainly isn't; doesn't really need to be), but it is a great showcase of fairly modern demanding graphics for a Linux OS game.

oilrush

S**t blowing up on screen: yay video games!

It runs in 1920x1080 with Anti Aliasing on and all visual settings on maximum at 50-60 FPS (vsync on) on my rig (AMD 4x3.6GHz, GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB VRAM). It's a good start.

Next stop was: HOTLINE MIAMI

hlm

H O T A - L I N E mee-am-mee ... somewhat Russian

In the true spirit of Linux OS jinx, the Hotline Miami games shows up in the Steam Folder, you can click "Install" ... but nothing happens! To make the game acutally, really, mos def, install on a Linux platform, you have to right click "Properties", choose the BETAS menu tab and opt in to the Beta. Now it says "Enter beta access code to unlock private betas" - hmm. Let's try the hacking game, 1990's Hackers style. How about: hlm - this does the trick. Now it installs. I had it running, but no music playing in-game (music ran during menu screen). Not a problem. The Linux version seems to come without the soundtrack? But if it isn't already playing in your head, you can copy paste it from your Windows version?

 

[UPDATE 1]

Next stop: DOTA 2

Dota 2 ... runs in fullscreen mode, runs in 1920x1080 with THIS graphics settings ... and no visual glitches or framedrops because of intense graphicking (rendering). For an old Unix/Linux veteran, it felt like Christmas ...


2519610-2013-07-24_00001.jpg

"How about THIS video settings?!" (I even turned on Ambient Occlusion - no frame drops)

... but, nothing in life is ever perfect, right? On my rig, with my settings (not using HDMI, no extra soundcard) the SOUND ... sounded ... poor. Pulseaudio is doing its best, I guess. And even the Microphone Test you know from the Steam Settings tab works as is.

 

ssa

Sound y'all!

 

And because of this sound (driver problems ... - audio on Linux, just like graphics ... has a loooong, long bloody history - don't ask.) maybe, is my personal guess (not tested it properly), I DO GET some hickups and frame stuttering. It could also be a bandwidth issue, but I tested it playing 4 bot matches, so the up-/downstream load wasn't that high - except for the simultaneous TF2 download ... in short: I cannot say either way. No conclusions here, as of now.


ff

What, Kessler? NOT playing DOTA?? Linux version must be broken?!ccc

"Abaddon & the Dota 2 Bots Band" playing on an ext4 near you!

 

But all in all, YES! Dota 2 runs just fine!


(to be continued ...)

CIV V: Brave New World of Relativism

vciv

 

Played BRAVE NEW WORLD demo, listened to the latest THREE MOVES AHEAD PODCAST on the game, and made a comment about both:

Since this is such a highlight and everyone is so positive about it, let me bring you all down, if I can. Let's start by telling you, I always had trouble with video games using historical settings on a world scale. It is my fault. I cannot abstract the idea of playing a video game from the intention to 'use' history and historical facts (names, places, cultural landmarks, technology)

I started the "Brave New World" and my Morrocan ruler (one ruler to rule them all, as always - never mind tribal culture - but that's fine) from the Saadi clan just discovered the Kilimanjaro, a few tiles away (never mind the biggest desert on Earth in between, I guess). My first "General" is called "Rommel"(!) - most certainly beloved by the Morrocans. Next, my neighbors - a native American tribe (Shoshone, on the soil of AFRICA!) said hello.

Take a moment to let this sink in. Explain it to a four year old you know.

I am not so dumb, to doubt, that the Civilization games - and especially this latest incarnation - have a lot of great 'systems', game mechanics and offer great gameplay. What you all seem to enjoy (and I envy you for it), is the complexity of how the systems are more refined and allow for more complex gameplay than ever before. If anything, the idea to turn reality into game mechanics is fascinating and thrilling to game designers and developers, for sure.

My problem with this (and these kind of games) is: everything in the world is reduced to one unified ideology: follow the game rules (mechanics).

 

This games' mechanics are propagating a unified view of the world and the people in it. Everyone and everything under "one" game mechanics (which means "one set of rules"). Diversity, complexity, heritage and history, are just different colors on the same set of units. "History" as lipstick.


"Social policies" do not "naturally" progress into "Ideology" It is a field of controversy and world views, It is a topos for political and theoretical debate, based on highly complicated rules of who is saying what to whom. Neither Hegel's nor Sid Meier's "Weltgeist" is the "End of History" all-in-one ideology. But while Fukuyama tried to tell Hegel's story to a wider audience, at least, Sid Meier can say "Hey, it's just a game." Suddenly YOUR ideologies and YOUR believes discussing the 'real' world are colored (or limited) by thoughts, that are informed by game design decisions. Mixing 'real' world history debate with ideas based on 'compelling' game design, turns everything into ahistorical relativism? Relativism is the death of history.

Again - all my fault. Because I cannot divide the real from this virtual terra nouva, when every "terra" is a "terra nullius". This game truly is a "Brave New World" as it turns real history and the origins of real culture into (meaningless) toys. History as a 'science', as a source, is always fragile, always under threat, always 'up for grabs', for debate. The fear of mixing my thoughts about toys with the real world, makes me not enjoy any of these games.

 

And seeing "culture as a weapon" is certainly ONE way to see the world. Not mine.

 

Source: http://www.idlethumbs.net/forums/topic/8764-episode-225-brave-new-world/?p=244351

Train Simulator 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 ...

A while ago, I  watched a funny Giant Bomb Quick Look stream, featuring a game called Train Simulator 2012.

6 months later, I made myself buy the basic version ... and loved it.

pica

pix

pxy


picb

I never was a big 'train' fan. I understand, old people, even older than me, grew up in the ages of no Internet and black and white TV and they used to play with model trains, when there was no Gameboy nor Pokémon.

These people have fond memories of their childhood and relive it by playing model trains even in their late 50s and 60s.

Then the "Personal Computer" came along ... and "video games".

train sim pic 1

Is it an oil painting? No! It's a screenshot I made from the actual  game.  San Bernardino Mountains, California. Moody morning hours. That's the kind of thing you get with this "game", which is rather a "simulator" (of morning hours).


Now, those expensive model trains have a virtual version. People "play" with trains within video games.

You can drive passenger trains, from station to station, trying to stay on time. You can operate steam locomotives on nostalgic, historic routes, or transport wood over the Marias Pass, or carry coal, having to work the switches along your hour long drive to your destination, while an accident ahead have happened, etc.

One of these companies trying to make a buck by selling you your nostalgia online is RailSimulator.com.


pic3

pxa

Cockpit view. I like to listen to podcasts while driving my trains. It is rather relaxing. The game supports some "modern rendering" elements,  incl. Pixel Shaders and Bump Mapping. There are some subtle lighting effects.


They understood, that people wanted nicer graphics. Yet they are stuck in their business model of selling you overpriced virtual train models instead innovating and making their engine more of a "real" game engine.


I - again - fall into the trap of writing a comment (on Steam, this time) and not deleting it before posting.  Here are some thoughts on how to make a more contemporary attempt of what could be a 'fun' experience, if you like ... trains.


30 seconds video I made, showing all you need  to know, to decide, if you like or dislike what you are just reading about.


"How about this: 

A brand new game engine which also can pull free open source geo data and mingle ANY (available) railroad tracks w o r l w i d e, and map it on to a dynamically generated landscape, which looks more like recent landscape generators, (supporting latest DX11, OpenGL, Shader technology)

A new editor, which allows for editing, having descriptive names for menus, instead Sesame Street icons, allowing equally for quick and easy mission design as for complex scripting, including train signal and traffic pattern based - again - on publicly available meta-data (like real world train schedules) - via dynamic scripting languages and metadata.

 


Volumetric clouds and fog. 
3D foliage. 
Bees & Butterflies. 
5.1 Sound. 
Mac/Linux versions.

Basically, RSC should focus on developing and providing the tools. They could still sell their locos for 30 quid, to those, who want them? They would also have to host cloud servers for the databases and streaming data to the players. Advanced cloud services would switch the (own digital) 'retail copy' to a 'pay to play' online service.

Or maybe some other company will execute on those ideas, from above? I am tempted to make some "proof-of-concept" demos on existing game engines (CryEngine, UE4, Arma3 Engine) in combination with other middleware and mentioned public metadata, but it would take a considerable amout of time (+ buying some licenses), I do not have at the moment.

"Generate mission - from ...

Tokyo to Kyoto, or 
Moscow to Novosibirsk, 
Johannisburg to Victoria Falls, 
Adelaide to Melbourne

... Saturday 8:00AM, July 15th 2013 - current local weather" - would be one click away."