Monthly Archives: February 2010

Troy Hepfner the president of My Game Company has posted sad news on the Linux Hardcore forums regarding GNU/Linux versions of Grubby Games :

“Earlier this week, Big Fish Games, which bought out indie developer Grubby Games last year, canceled affiliate sales for the Linux versions of all games produced by Grubby Games. Their games include The Amazing Brain Train, FizzBall, My Tribe, Professor Fizzwizzle, and Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery. I’ve had to remove the Linux versions of these games from my site.

I wrote to Big Fish Games to ask them about this move, and they were not willing to reconsider. They want all sales of the games to come through the Big Fish Games site, and right now they have no plans to add a Linux section to their site.

At the moment, the Linux versions are still available on the Grubby Games site, but I don’t know for how long. If what BFG told me is true, then I suspect the Linux versions might be discontinued soon (because they have no provision for Linux on their site).

If you were ever interested in any of these games, you might consider buying them now before Big Fish Games discontinues them entirely. The games are only $6.99 each. Some sales of the Linux versions might send a message to Big Fish Games (one of the largest online casual game portals) about how you feel about having Linux support for games. The Grubby Games site is

I realize the audience here is probably made up of more hardcore gamers than casual gamers, but still this is a good way to get the attention of a major game publisher. If one takes notice, others might too.

Note: just to be clear, I won’t be getting any commission or credit for any sales of these games. I just don’t want to see the Linux versions discontinued. There are so few commercial games for Linux as it is, and these were some pretty good games.”

Lets hope that they will reconsider this step and make a GNU/Linux section for the already developed games and continue developing new games for GNU/Linux.

My Game Company
Troy Hepfner Post On LxH
Linux Hardcore
Big Fish Games
Grubby Games

I rarely write game reviews because you can already find such reviews for the Windows ports on other gaming websites.
In fact the only review I wrote was of the game Mystic Mine by a request from the Koonsolo developer Koen Witters.

I was late to write news about Galcon Fusion release so I’ve decided to write a review…
When Galcon Fusion was released for GNU/Linux I thought it was another of those simple games that I will play for 10 minutes and lose interest very quickly – but I was so wrong…
This is one of the most addictive games I have ever played !
After 10 minutes of playing I just had to buy it (and it’s very cheap, just $8.99 this week, original price $9.99).

I’ve tested the game on Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit and heard no sound at all – apparently the developer used the proprietary sound library irrklang which had a bug on 64-bit GNU/Linux systems (the library searches in the wrong directories for alsa).
Fortunately I’ve found a GNU/Linux “Guru” nicked “samus_aran” on the Linux IRC channel at the Freenodes server and got him addicted to the game in no time.
He just had to fix the problem and even supplied us with a code he made (required php5) which worked great.
I’ve uploaded the fixed file to a share server for everyone to use and this problem was fixed.( the thread about the sound problem + fixes ).
An official update was released fixing the GNU/Linux 64-bit sound problem.

When you start the game you have a very simple tutorial which sums up all the basics of gameplay.
In the beginning of each game you start with one (or up to three in MP) planet which generates spaceships at specific rate (each planet has an “production” number, larger planets build spaceships faster).
You have to conquer all enemy planets buy taking neutral planets and building a fleet using many strategies (which come to use with 3 player game, specially in MP).
The first few game difficulties are very easy to beat, but when you reach the Admiral difficulty you have no chance unless you use a specific strategy (which seems to work on 1v1 games very well).

The game has no campaign but it has endless random maps and several play modes like :
Billiards : the planets are always at move, making you consider other tactics every second.
Stealth : Your spaceships become invisible to the enemy and enemies spaceships become invisible to you, making you guess where he attacks next.
Crash : Small map in which all 3 players are close to each other (in single player mode) making it instant action, no time or need to conquer the small neutral planets.-, plus – you are able to crash enemies spaceships in mid-air.
Assassin : each player is assigned a target which he needs to eliminate.
Beast : you start alone and after about 2- seconds all neutral planets become hostile and attack you – you need to conquer them all.
Vacuum : “conquer them all” in specific amount of minutes
3-Way : you now have additional opponent to worry about, let the best “man” win.

But the real jewel is the multiplayer game.
Except the single player modes you also have a new teams mode in which you and your team needs to conquer the other team/s which is a lot of fun, you can send your spaceships to backup your teams planets and arrange attacks with your team and use different tactics for the “common good”.
Still the most popular mode in multiplayer is the “Classic” mode which is conquer all enemies, everyone for himself.
But it’s not as stupid as it might sound, in many occasions one player becomes to powerful and you still need to help your other enemies to conquer the big one, so you will have a chance to win.
Pure strategy, tactics and plots – pure fun !

After a few games you are able to see your online stats and rank (even single player states and rank) and even maybe one day reach the top 10.

Except the sound issue the game had no bugs that I’ve encounter and run very smooth on my machine.
The only complaint I’ve seen on the forums is to add shortcut keys so you could select the % of spaceships faster – but I didn’t see a huge need to this feature.


This game is very fun and I suggest to at least try it – you will get addicted at no time.

Galcon Fusion
64-bit sound problem thread + fixes
Official update for the GNU/Linux 64-bit sound problem

Today I’ve received an email from Frictional Games whom I’ve interviewed a few months ago about their upcoming survival horror game Amnesia : The Dark Descent :

“Helsingborg, Sweden – 19th of February 2010

From the makers of the Penumbra series comes a brand new survival horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Today we are happy to announce the release of the game’s web site and a first look at actual in-game footage, in the form of a horrifying teaser.

“We recently finished a massive testing session of the game to much success. With that behind us we now know how Amnesia will play like and what it takes to finish it. This means we feel confident in moving forward and sharing more juicy details about the game. This includes crucial things such as availability, pricing and what the game is all about.”
– Thomas Grip, Co-founder.

Web site
General information about the game, screenshots and a teaser are the main additions to the heavily updated web site . We have also added information about how to pre-order and where the final game will be available for purchase. Check back for future updates with new screens, information and, as release draws closer, a demo.

The web site also features something of a first in the history of computer games – the “pre-order-o-meter”. Watch as blood fill up for every new pre-order placed! If we reach 2000 pre-orders before end of May, new content will be added to the game.

Take a deep breath and prepare yourself to experience the first real gameplay video released. This teaser gives a first look at what sort of experience we are aiming for when playing Amnesia, it lasts for over three minutes and consists of one single clip. The idea is to convey as clearly as possible that the player is in control of the character throughout the whole game. There are no cut-scenes or any sort of moments where control is taken away to force the narrative forward.


Status of Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The game is now up and running on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X! All platforms have participated in the recent testing session and performed over expectations. We are pleased to announce that the game will get a simultaneous release on all platforms!

Many companies seem to view the PC as a “dying gaming platform” and we see this as a great opportunity. Amnesia is a modern 3D game that from the very beginning has been created with the PC in mind. It has modest demands on the PC hardware compared to recent console ports and because of this we are able to make sure a broader audience can experience the game as intended.

Release and availability
With an estimated release date of August 2010, you can pre-order it now for USD16 and save 20% on the release price of USD20. The pre-order is available at our own online store and is for the digital download version of the game. At the release in August the game will be available for purchase in just about any of the major online stores. Further details can be found at the Amnesia web site and more information will be released shortly. A boxed version for retail release is also planned and information will be released as it becomes available.

About Frictional Games
We are a small independent game developer located in the south of Sweden or, to be more precise, located on the Internet – the company is office-free. We develop unique technologies in form of a game engine and tools that are tailored specifically after the games that we create. Currently with a crew of five in-house and a network of contractors to utilise during production we can be dynamic and efficient, increasing production at key moments. Visit for more information.

Also make sure to visit our blog,, to follow our work in progress and to participate in the discussions about game development, design, horror and other related topics.”

Frictional Games
Amnesia : The Dark Descent
Interview With Frictional Games – Amnesia. (25/11/2009)

The small independent game development studio Data Realms are working on a new tactical management arcade style game named Cortex Command.
This game will be ported to GNU/Linux by Frank Earl aka Svartalf – the man who ported the successful Caster game (and will also port his sequel). (ref)

In Cortex Command, you play as a prospector and explore in a time where complete cybernetics and whole-body amputations are common practice. Your severed brain is able to control many different types of bodies remotely from its underground bunker: clones, robots, spaceships, defensive turrets, and so on.

A typical scenario starts with a building phase where you get to construct your own bunker complex from scratch. Then you need to mine precious gold from the deformable pixel terrain in order to buy more and better ships, soldiers, weapons, digging tools, and deployable defenses. Use these assets to defend your disembodied brain and destroy or bankrupt your opponent!

Control your team of remote bodies either directly or let the friendly AI do your bidding through real-time strategy elements built into the game. Play with up to four players in split screen — 2 vs. 2 players, or all four cooperatively against the computer. Eventually, you can play the campaign missions together with friends

In the world of Cortex Command, many humans have opted to amputate their entire natural bodies in order to prolong their lives and enable interstellar space travel. Their disembodied brains are hardly helpless, however, as they can remotely control all kinds of machines and craft through artificial interfaces.

Playing as one of these people’s brains, you can quickly switch control between many different expendable bodies in order to complete otherwise dangerous tasks – all from the physical safety of your command bunker. Use these technological powers of telepathy to collect gold out of the fully destructible terrain, then purchase even more bodies and materiel with those newly acquired funds!

You can even program the crude A.I.s of your puppet army to complete simple tasks (patrolling, digging, etc.) while your attention and direct control is somewhere else. Use your accumulated forces to protect your brain, explore the world, and defeat your competition!

Key Features

Fully destructible environments – The gold you need to excavate is sprinkled throughout the terrain of each scene. Use special digging tools to blast your way into the dirt and debris. All the pieces of bodies and ships from your struggles will fall to the ground and permanently add to the battlefield. Get more powerful (and expensive) diggers and you can even tunnel into your enemies’ bunkers from below!
In-game buying menu – At any time and place during the game, bring up a powerful menu to order new bodies and equipment, all delivered at the location and by the transport ship of your choosing. Rockets are cheaper but unreliable and harder to land. Drop ships are far more expensive but can quickly deploy entire groups of puppets onto difficult terrain. Ships and equipment returned to the TradeStar are refunded to your account.
Build your own bunker – At the start of most missions, you are able to take your time and build your own command bunker from scratch. Easily design twisting tunnels and place doors, traps, and turrets to thwart your enemies’ intrusions! Pre-deploy and equip bodies in and around your installation to prepare yourself for your objectives. Don’t spend too much though, or you won’t have enough funds left when the mission starts!
Four-player cooperative and/or versus multiplayer – Gather your friends and plug in those game controllers! Play skirmish or campaign missions with or against up to three of your buddies. 2 vs 2, 1 vs. 3, 4 vs. the CPU – it’s up to you! (rhyme intended). Flexible control settings allow you to use the keyboard, keyboard + mouse, or any generic game controller you can find and plug in.
Built-in editors and modding – Several in-game editors allow you to easily create your own stuff. The game’s engine is built to make it very simple to modify and add your own content. Design your own missions, guys, ships, weapons, tools, bombs, and shields – and easily share them with your friends. Join and download some fantastic mods from the community at the Data Realms Fan Forums.

Data Realms
Cortex Command
Frank Earl’s Future Projects
Data Realms Fan Forums
Cortex Command Wiki

Youyungames are working on a new 3D fighting adventure game named HurricaneX2 for the 12th Independent Game Festival.
Attempts to port the game engine to GNU/Linux are being made and there are a very good chances for their success.

HurricaneX2 is a 3D Kung Fu fighting game developed by a Chinese Kung Fu practitioner. It is a game for players to express themselves in the form of martial art by the smooth control of various Kung Fu moves acquired in the game. It is a game deeply rooted in the Chinese culture and philosophy. It is a game that emphasizes timing and anticipation over brute strength and provides a variety of fighting gameplay with a unified mechanic.

HurricaneX2 is a thrilling 3D action game developed using XNA2.0 and Idealist3D 2.0 with striking graphics in the form of a fantastic oriental legend. By playing the role of Hua, with the final purpose to find out his true identity and fulfill his destiny, the player will start the adventure around various places of interest in China and fight with all sorts of enemies, e.g. monks, assassins, demons, etc, some of whom are the Kung Fu Masters from different martial art genres.

Though the player is supposed to learn the utmost awesome martial arts from different genres in the game play, the game control is deliberately designed to be simple and creative. Further, the game provides a special action system which could adjust the difficulty level automatically, and it will satisfy the need of each unique player.

With the advanced graphic techniques, the art work simply looks gorgeous, and the players would appreciate the beautiful sceneries of China as well as experiencing the sentimental Chinese culture, while at the same time hooked by the exciting fighting challenges from all kinds of enemies to improve their Kung Fu techniques, and finally understand the true meaning of fighting.


12th Independent Game Festival HurricaneX2 Evolution Page

One of the Unknown Worlds developers, Max has posted a blogpost about the GNU/Linux port for their upcoming game Natural Selection 2 :

“Beat Wolf asks: What platforms will be supported? (Linux, OS X, XBox, etc..) The web page still mentions Linux and OS X as target platforms, but there have been many doubts with the inclusion of Steamworks and because the question seems to be avoided for some time now.

Well let the issue be avoided no longer! Currently our engine and tools only work on Windows, and that will be the only platform Natural Selection 2 will be available on at release. However, most of the engine is not platform specific. The largest Windows-specific piece is the low level rendering code which is built on Direct3D. In the interest of having our engine run on Linux and OS X someday, this low level rendering code is wrapped up so that it’s mostly separate from the rest of the engine. With a small amount of effort, we can swap out this piece with an OpenGL implementation that will work on Linux and OS X. All of our tools are built using the cross-platform wxWidgets framework, so once we get the engine working on another platform, bringing the tools over won’t be too much work.

Now that I’ve convinced you that we’ve taken steps to allow us to bring our engine to other platforms, you might be wondering why we don’t just go ahead and do it. The answer is simple; we don’t have the time right now. As an alternative to doing it ourselves, we’ve considered “open sourcing” or publishing the low-level APIs for the pieces that are Windows specific and inviting community members to contribute their own implementation. If you like this idea let me know in the comments.

Now the issue of Steamworks. For those of you who don’t know, Steamworks is the core technology of Steam, like the friends list, server browser and voice chat. We’ve integrated Steamworks into Natural Selection 2 because it saves us the effort of implementing these things ourselves, and gets the game into your hands faster. Unfortunately Steamworks (which essentially is the Steam client) only works on Windows. We’ve setup Natural Selection 2 to work without Steamworks, but you lose the services that it provides. For example, instead of being able to browse for a server you’d have to type in its address in the console to connect to it. For an OS X or Linux client, we’d have to substitute in our own implementation of those missing services. This certainly isn’t out of the question for a post-release update to the game, but it’s not something we’d delay the initial Windows release to incorporate.

I should add to this discussion, that none of this applies to running dedicated servers on Linux. Dedicated servers don’t require graphics, input or any of those other platform specific things. And one of the great things about writing all of the game code in Lua is that it’s inherently platform agnostic. Dedicated Linux server support will be in the initial release.

If you have more questions you’d like to see answered, feel free email me at The more specific the better! “

So one way or the other a GNU/Linux port will be made, but I wonder if the Sparks Game Engine will be also available for GNU/Linux :

“Spark is the entire game engine and tool set we’re using to build Natural Selection 2. This includes the graphics, sound, networking, physics, scripting, path finding and effects system (probably others too). It also includes tools like the Editor, Builder, Viewer and Cinematic Editor.”


Unknown Worlds
Natural Selection 2
Blogpost about NS2 and GNU/Linux

A few months ago I’ve posted about Primal Carnage which is an upcoming multiplayer first person shooter where the player takes the role of humans or dinosaurs.
Now Luke Warm Media the developers of Primal Carnage revealed that they are using the cross platform Unigine game engine and made a new website for their game with lots of new information.

Also it has been confirmed that the game (at least at this early stage) runs on 64-bit and on GNU/Linux (PS, Maxz is NOT me )

About Primal Carnage
Combining the fast paced action of an all out multi-player FPS, and the need to accomplish specific objectives by each team member to complete a section of each level, Primal Carnage® will raise the bar for co-op gameplay.
With immersive, high fidelity sound, stunning visual and enviroments, late night pizza will be the call from your team members as you attack the next level. Can you be the top ranking Merc or Jurassic crew in the world?

Human Class Summary:
The mercenaries specialize in working together as a squad and rely heavily on their arsenal and equipment.
There is a system in place called the Nemesis System which will easily inform the player of each class’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Dinosaur Class Summary:
The dinosaurs rely heavily on teamwork and unique activated abilities.
There is a system in place called the Nemesis System which will easily inform the player of each class’s own strengths and weaknesses.

Multiplayer Overview:
Power Grid requires the Mercenary team to activate power nodes across the map until they have powered the radio station on the island. The Dinosaurs’ objective is to stop the mercenaries from accomplishing this at all costs.

Player Count: The maximum number of players per game is 20 (10v10). The minimum players to start a game is 10 (5v5). Assuming someone leaves the game during gameplay the game should automatically even out the teams or should be replaced by an AI player until another player joins.
Time Limit: There is a set time limit during which the mercenary players must capture all the points. Failing to do so will cause the mercenary team to lose.
Sub-Mode A: Time will be added when the mercenary team successfully captures a point.
Sub-Mode B: Time will not be added when the mercenary team successfully captures a point, adding greater pressure to the mercenary team.
Score: Score is determined by how many points the human team captures, and an undetermined system will be in place to allow the dinosaur team to accumulate score points.
Rounds: Each game will have a total of 2 rounds, after each round the players switch teams.

Game-Play Mechanics
Human Team Objectives:
human team must work together as a squad, travelling across a large environment capturing key points. These points are captured when the human players hold the point for a designated amount of time. Capture all the points before the time is up to win the round.
a point is captured, the human players can now re-spawn at the captured location once killed.

Dino Objectives
The dinosaur team must work together to take down the human team. The main objective is to stop the humans from activating the capture points at all costs.

Survival mode Overview:
Players team up to test their skills in an epic battle against AI dinosaurs while defending a moving object (train, boat) and completing objectives together to reach the end, where they will encounter a boss battle and be required to use teamwork to succeed.
Survival Rules

Player Count: The limit is 5 players per team. Difficulty is adjusted for teams starting with less than 5 players.
Time Limit: Survival mode consists of a moving vehicle on a track and final destination. Each map will play until the destination is reached or players have been exterminated. Time will vary based on the amount of time it takes the team to complete objectives at key stopping locations throughout the map.
Score: Score is determined by how long the team survives as well as individual statistics for kills, wounded, and other various competitive statistics.
Rounds: Each round consists of an attempt to survive the longest. After the team completes the map, or is exterminated, the map is over and the next on the server list is activated.

“More game modes, maps, information coming soon and is subject to change during development”


Background Story:
Dinosaurs have been unleashed on an old military-controlled island due to an experiment gone awry. A team of mercenaries have been dispatched to contain the threat.
Game Objective:
Primal Carnage is a multiplayer First Person Shooter where players must work as a team to complete game mode dependant objectives.
Total number of levels: 5 Capture the point / 4 Survival modes
Playable characters: 5 Humans / 5 Dinosaurs
Single player gameplay
Multiplayer game modes
Unigine engine MODSDK + Primal Carnage SDK for mods
Custom content
and much more…

“More game modes, maps, information coming soon and is subject to change during development”

Much more…

Unigine Corp the developers of the Unigine game engine, also posted an announcement :

“Tomsk, Russia – February 5, 2010 Unigine Corp. announces the licensing of its top-notch Unigine™ engine to Lukewarm Media, an independent game developer. The first Unigine-based project by Lukewarm Media (“Primal Carnage” action shooter) is currently close to the end of pre-production stage.

Primal Carnage

Primal Carnage is a co-operative multiplayer action shooter combining fast paced action with stunning visuals and immersive environment of dangerous and savage jungles.
The game is set on an abandoned military controlled island where an experiment gone awry unleashing colossal dinosaurs out of control. A team of tough mercenaries have been dispatched to prove to be indigestible and contain the threat.
A player can choose any of the opposing forces: selecting human side brings the first-person experience, while dinosaurs are controlled from a third-person perspective. With each faction containing unique abilities and each mission having various objectives, Primal Carnage will offer gamers a balanced and highly competitive gameplay experience.

What makes the game unique?

* Primal Carnage is one of the few games based around Dinosaurs (ever wanted to play as a T-Rex?)
* Team focused online gameplay with 5 human and 5 dinosaur playable characters
* Several game modes: Survival (4 variations), Capture The Point, single player storyline
* Arcade style fun that’s simple and easy to pick up and play at any time
* Long term support with DLC
* Mods SDK, custom content support

Primal Carnage is planned for release for the Windows and Linux operating systems in Q4 2010. More info is available on the official website of the game: ”

“Lukewarm Media is a rare combination of daring talent, passion and experience in game development industry. Being built in less than 2 months, the Unigine-based demo of Primal Carnage has really impressed me. When powered by such a productive team, the game has very good chances to gain significant success. Along with providing our middleware solutions to large established companies, our company has also granted support for a lot of independent companies. Independent development is quite a rocky road, so we will make our best from the technical side, thus helping this willing and audacious team to release their feature-rich game”. – Denis Shergin, CEO of Unigine Corp.

Unigine Engine
Unigine™ engine provides photorealistic 3D render (it works with DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11 / OpenGL), powerful physics module, object-oriented scripting system with a very rich library (more than 3000 methods out-of-the box), full-featured GUI module, sound subsystem, and a set of flexible tools. Efficient and well-architected framework supporting multi-core systems makes Unigine a highly scalable solution, on which multi-platform games with different hardware requirements can be based.
Currently both the engine and the toolset are available for Windows and Linux platforms. This feature-rich middleware is successfully used in various VR projects as well as in modern games of different genres. Unigine is also the technology base for the first ever and well anticipated DirectX 11 benchmark “Heaven”.

“Working with the Unigine engine has been an inspirational yet fantastic experience. Lukewarm Media feels privileged to work with a support team as dedicated and motivated as the Unigine team. With Unigine’s top-end visual rendering system and support they offer their clients, it’s no question that Unigine will be a top choice for many developers in the coming years. The Unigine engine, with its quick-to-learn toolset, has helped Lukewarm Media bring its ideas to reality. There are a number of other exciting aspects to using the Unigine engine including (but not limited to) its support for DirectX 11, and being able to include the Unigine toolset and SDK for development of custom content and mods. This is a mutually beneficial partnership as it should allow both the Unigine and Primal Carnage communities to flourish. Overall, Unigine is an engine that without doubt has the amount of power needed to get a dinosaur moving!” – Ashton Andersen, Producer – Lukewarm Media

About Lukewarm Media
Lukewarm Media is a newly established independent multimedia design studio. The team has a highly passionate, dedicated and gifted group of artists, programmers and developers who share in Lukewarm Media’s common goal of making high-quality, immersive games that bring gamers to the edge of their seats. The studio has grown exponentially in size since it was founded and with its ever-growing roster of up-and-coming talent, will look to ride the wave with the next generation of game developers in this exciting and always expanding industry.

About Unigine Corp.
Unigine Corp. is an international company focused on top-notch real-time 3D solutions. The development studio is located in Tomsk, Russia. Main activity of Unigine Corp. is development of Unigine™, a cross-platform engine for virtual 3D worlds. Since the project start in 2004, it attracts attention of different companies and groups of independent developers, because Unigine is always on the cutting edge of real-time 3D visualization and physics simulation technologies.
Unigine Corp. is a registered developer of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (previously ATI Technologies Inc.), NVIDIA Corporation and Creative Labs Inc. Being a registered developer, the company works closely with hardware vendors in order to provide the best level of performance and stability of its products. The company also has a license to develop tools and middleware for PLAYSTATION®3 platform.

Primal Carnage
unigine announcement
Luke Warm Media