Jack Houston And The Necronauts Developer Opens Direct Funding After $10k Kickstarter Pledge Falls Through

Jack Houston And The Necronauts kickstarter campaign was a success, however after the campaign was over the $10k backer backed down from his pledge leaving the campaign short by 2k from it’s goal.
Luckily they still managed to get most of the money (~54k) from Kickstarter/Amazon – but they still need to reach their goal.

“Why” you ask ?
If they managed to get only $12k more they will be able to upgrade to Unity4 which will allow them to support GNU/Linux !
All kickstarter pledge tiers are still in effect, so if you donate (via Paypal) $15, you will get the game !

Detailed Announcement :

Warbird Games, an indie games studio in Fort Worth, Texas, is asking for direct donations via its website after a $10k Kickstarter pledge fell through, leaving them short of their target amount.

Earlier this month, the studio raised $64,256 via a successful Kickstarter for Jack Houston and the Necronauts, a classic point and click adventure for the PC with stop-motion animation visuals. However, celebration turned to distress when their largest donor failed to honor a $10,000 pledge.

“After the exhilaration of passing our goal by almost $10k, I was expecting to spend the next few days getting ready to start production on the project.” said lead designer, Stacy Davidson. “Instead, I spent them frantically trying to find out what was going on with the donation, whether we’d even get the other funds and glued to email for any news.”

The developer have now opened up direct funding via the Warbird Games website in the hope of filling this gap in funding. The same rewards as Kickstarter will be offered to backers supporting the project through this method.

Additionally, the studio has been able to dramatically lower its stretch targets to bring the game to iPad, Android, Mac and Linux and into FIGS localisation after renegotiating with contractors and receiving offers of help with translation from backers.


More details on Jack Houston and the Necronauts:

Join legendary test pilot Jack Houston on the adventure of a lifetime. Set in an alternate universe heavily inspired by classic sci-fi authors and artists, Jack Houston mans a mission to Venus in 1999, only to have a terrible accident leaving him in stasis for 1000 years. When he awakes on the savage world, the life he once knew has long gone, and he heads out into the unknown.

Key features:

Old meets new – combining classic click and point adventure gameplay with amazing HD visuals, the game will feel both familiar and incredibly new to anyone who loved adventure games in the 80’s and 90’s

Rip-roaring story – join captain Jack Houston as he faces the perils of Venus in a journey that will have you travelling through space and time to seek the truth.

Story and art inspired by the masters – enjoy a truly vintage experience with a captivating story and unique art based upon esteemed sci-fi masters such as Chesley Bonestell, Robert E. Howard and Frank Frazetta.

Stop-motion animation – a unique technique that was used to create 1950s sci-fi serials such as Flash Gordon is being used to create a truly authentic experience in-game and a unique visual aesthetic

World-class soundtrack – produced by Iain Kelso, internationally acclaimed for his work on the feature movie Jacob.


Development History
Warbird Games is a brand new studio formed by industry veteran Stacy Davidson, who started developing text adventures and RPG prototypes on his Commodore 64.He then spent a year in Quality Assurance at Origin Systems during their last days before stepping out on his own, publishing Shadow of the Lost Citadel via Shareware services.Davidson has spent the last 11 years working in the film industry as a director, producer, cinematographer, editor, sound designer and visual effects supervisor at his own studio, Odyssee Pictures.He returned to the games industry in 2010 after his fan-game project, Han Solo Adventureswas featured in Star Wars: Uncut and The People vs. George Lucas. After gaining serious momentum and a fan-base, Jack Houston and the Necronauts was born.Using a combination of game and film design, the team at Warbird Games are striving to make something that is both visually striking and has a strong story to tell.



So if you want to help bring this game to GNU/Linux, feel free to help !

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30 August

Tales of Illyria – An Unique Episodic Party-Based RPG

Tales of Illyria is an unique episodic party-based role playing experience that simulates the experience of playing a pen and paper role playing game.

The RPG aspect of the game is played somewhat like the good old classic Darklands, and the combat is like Disciples 2  but in platform view.

But unlike Disciples 2, you can equip your party with armor and weapons.

The graphic is 2D and each character change it’s avatar depends on what armor/items he has.

The development stage is very advanced, the game engine is already complete and the first episode could be out in several months, if funded.

If you pledge $20, you will get all the future episodes (3 are currently planned) of the series.

New tiers were added !

New Video has been uploaded !

Tales of Illyria is a unique episodic party-based role playing game that simulates the experience of a pen and paper role playing game. It will be released on Windows, GNI/Linux, IOS, and Android.
Gameplay Video – Animation will be improved if funded !

An Epic Story

Tales of Illyria borrows the dark fantasy tone of Game of Thrones and mixes it with the high fantasy elements found in Lord or the Rings and role playing games such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

The lands of Illyria are split into disparate kingdoms on the verge of a civil war. The kingdom of Hysperia, which rules the rest of Illyria, has its allies and its enemies. The player steps into the role of Elric, who is brought in by the lord of Hysperia’s greatest enemy to bring down the tyrannical rule of King Gareth and allow the kingdoms of Illyria to rule on their own in peace.

The story is wrapped in an engaging soundtrack, with music composed specifically for this game. Nearly a hundred individual tracks set the mood in places such as taverns and towns, as well as quicken the pulse in battle.

The story is full of developed characters – not just your party members, but also characters you come across in your journey show a great deal of personality. All characters have different loyalties, alignments, morale, and reputations, keeping the cast diverse and believable. As you travel, you will be engaged in many conversations, in which the characters show their true personalities.

Illyria is not only populated by humans. Elves, ogres, and even sea people dot the landscape, while far more intimidating monsters lurk in the darkness of caves. These non-human people are accepted as equals in some communities, such as the more tribal kingdom of Kourmar, but are shunned and considered monsters in others.

Travel the World

One of our main sources of inspiration is Oregon Trail. Like Oregon Trail, you are on an epic journey. Your party is subject to all the dangers of pre-modern era travel. The weather, disease, access to food and water, and bandits provide a constant threat to your party and mission. As the party travels, seasons change. Each season brings a new challenge, be it from different monsters that are active, or from different challenges the weather brings.

The travel screen features parallax scrolling, helping to submerge the player into the richly developed world. As with all of the art, each layer of the environment was carefully painted to make the world feel real.

Dangers of Illyria

We have developed a very unique feeling real-time order based combat system. As the battle commences, each party member can be selected and commanded to perform an action, be it cast a spell, use a skill, or simply attack. The characters will continue that action until told to do otherwise. The characters aren’t completely helpless without you, however. As enemies fall, your party members will shift into better position to damage the enemy.

The party battle area has two rows: a front row, for your main melee attacks, and a back row for ranged attacks and spells. If a party member in the back row can’t act, and there is a space in front of them, they will move into position to better face the threat at hand.

With battle comes arms and armor, and Tales of Illyria makes sure the player has plenty to choose from. Players can choose from a wide range of helmets, armor, swords, axes, and even horses to help them in their journey. Each weapon type has a different way it damages, some ignoring armor at the cost of speed, while others being quick but less effective against heavily armored opponents.

Equipped armors will change the character’s appearance appropriately, in their talking portraits, travel animations, and battle animations. We have created over 5,000 unique images to reflect the individual appearance of each piece of equipment.

Battles aren’t the only danger in Tales of Illyria. Party members can be stricken with disease from drinking spoiled water, or break a limb while hunting. These status ailments will impact the party member’s ability to perform well in combat and in their skill-based actions.

Skills, Karma, and Reputation

There are many non-battle events that the player will come across in the game that will require the characters to rely on specific skills, rather than physical prowess, to succeed in. Characters can increase these skills by using them in events, as well as by visiting different guild halls.

The decisions the player makes while playing the game makes a large impact in how other characters react to them. We have developed Karma and Reputation systems, which will determine how not only people you pass act, but also your party members. Do too much evil, and you will lose the morale of your good characters. Act to purely, and your evil party members won’t be happy.

Your decisions will also affect your reputation with the different kingdoms. If you harass too many people or cause too much trouble in a kingdom, you will find that people are less willing to work with you, and you may have more trouble with guards. That said, causing trouble in a kingdom can raise your reputation with that kingdom’s enemies.

Not Vaporware

Tales of Illyria has been in the works for two years. Our team is small, but dedicated, and we want to be able to share our project with the world. If we are able to be funded, we will be able to cut the release date back from over a year to mere months.

As this is just the first chapter in a much longer saga, we have developed a unique game engine that handles everything from travel to random events, as well as a complete battle engine that engages the player while allowing the characters to behave semi-autonomously.


• Over 5,000 unique sprites for full character customization
• Passage of time & seasons
• Cinematic Parallax travel
• Epic story
• Food & water, attrition of goods
• Interacting characters
• Diverse land with individually developed kingdoms
• Event based Dungeon Master system
• Real-time order based combat
• Weapon and armor weaknesses
• Alignment, Morale, Karma & Reputation systems
• Custom music – Include full intro music, Text
• Game Engine Complete – Video & Text
• Tools & Technology fully developed – Video & Text
• Translated into different languages – Realtime Google Translation
• Not vaporware: Once funded, the game could be completed in mere months

Thanks for taking an interest in our project. Stay tuned for updates.
Check out our other games, too: ‘Legends Arcana’, and our free game ‘The Ultimate Bad-Ass Game of All Time’, both on the Android platform.

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28 August

Clockwork Empires: The Press Release

Clockwork Empires: The Press Release

aka: “Project Odin”

August 27th, 2012 – Gaslamp Games, Inc., independent game developers and makers of the critically acclaimed Dungeons of Dredmor, are pleased to announce their new title, Clockwork Empires, for the Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms.

The Clockwork Empire is expanding! Brave people, seeking glory and wealth, are setting forth for uncharted lands in search of fame and fortune. This is a new age of Science – fearless naturalists, clever tinkerers, and brilliant inventors hold sway over the imagination of the common folk, wielding voltaic energies and constructing chromed brass clockwork engines. It is an age of The Arts – poets lie expiring on every street corner, crying for Reform and more laudanum, while the Empire Times spews forth from the great presses of the Capitol, filled with stories of inspiring hubris and adventure from The Colonies. It is an age of Trade – the many arms of the Imperial Chartered Antipodean Trading Company lurch across the oceans like the limbs of a commodity-crazed octopus, dredging untapped markets for wealth and glory. It is an age of Politics – scheming agents of the Empire skulk through the slums and grottoes of the colonies, dodging anarchist schemes and cultists’ rituals, and fulfilling secretive missions on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. Meanwhile, in the Capitol, favours are curried in the Houses of Parliament and the Panopticon between the artistocratic Lords and the rising classes of Industrial Barons.

Fly the Union Cog over all three identified corners of the world!

But not all is well in the Empire. Strangers gather under lampposts and in bars, telling stories of Those That Live Beyond The Stars, operating in invisible geometries from another dimension. The Queen, some whisper, has been locked away at the behest of her own Prime Minister… but to what end? The Church of the Holy Cog prays for the salvation of the Empire, yet everybody fears the indescribable colors that trace lines through the darkest woods and beyond the reassuring glow of the gas-lamps. The fortunes of the Clockwork Empire are watched, silently, by unseen eye-clusters and malevolent entities trying to breach the walls of reality into this world.

Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ever-hungry maw of industry and commerce. Build mighty colonies, fill them with magnificent factories and tortured machinery, and harness the power of steam and energies brought forth by determined, unregulated men and women of Science!

Glory is yours to seize; the world is yours to do with as you please. For fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!

But wait, there’s more!

Herein, the good folk of Gaslamp Games present a small selection of their “penny dreadful” game development features, demonstrating wonders never-before seen in plebian entertainment:

  • Dynamic, city-building, citizen-simulating action. Every imperial subject has a purpose and agenda of their own, and their interactions are rich, exciting, and often lethal!
  • New “procedural extrusion” technology lets you design your colony the way you want! Buildings are procedurally generated and extruded directly from the aether to your specifications!
  • Tame the uncharted continents by land, sea, and air! Set forth in mighty Zeppelins to do battle with Sky Pirates, or take to the seas in search of fortune and probably sea serpents!
  • Create magnificent acts of plumbing, link together mighty gears, and build ominous Megaprojects!
  • Tangle with the machinations of malevolent entities! Scry the legacy of the Invisible Geometers, fumigate the baleful moon-fungus of the Selenian Polyps, and cleanse the scuttling creepiness and poor personal and moral hygiene of your everyday, average cultist.
  • Losing is still fun! When your colony fails miserably, earn medals, promotions, and titles as befits a true politician and scion of the Empire!
  • Multi-player mode, with up to 4 players, lets you co-operate with your closest friends to build a glorious city… or fight a horrifying economic battle to total annihilation!
  • Round-Robin mode lets you share your Clockwork Empires with friends! Take turns running a colony directly into the ground then argue for fun-filled hours about whose fault it was! (Like Monopoly but with more exploding Zeppelins!)
  • Rendered in glorious GaslampVision! Thrill as the colours are brought to life by Gaslamp’s team of caffeine-addled artists labouring under the technical specifications of our elite programmers* to bring you a game that is rendered in Each of the Three Dimensions! New multi-core technology by Actual University Students lets you use every last ounce of power in your computer to run a thrilling and vivid simulation!
    (* We’ll see about that, Nicholas. Soon. – David)
  • Featuring the new Dynamic Soundtrack Orchestra – the Soundtrack that Adjusts to Your Gameplay! (Mr. M. Steele, conductor)
  • No always-online DRM requirement, unlike certain other games we don’t want to mention. You know who you are and your mothers are very disappointed.
  • Comes complete with the Gaslamp Games Quality of Excellence that you know and love, and if you don’t like something you can mod it yourself in the best tradition of Empire Craftsmanship!


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28 August

Scope Creep Hack-Venture – Learn GNU/Linux And Hacking!

Scope Creep Hack-venture is a very unique game in which you learn real life useful GNU/Linux and Windows hacking skills while playing the game !

The first module will be released for free, while there are still options to get exclusive and non-free content if you pledge :

  • A modded version of the game with the focus of teaching you GNU/Linux skills
  • A detailed walk trough of the game in PDF format – for learning purposes
  • A video walk trough of the game (completes the PDF)
  • And more…

Like many other games today, this game also uses the Unity game engine, and the most interesting/strange/absurd/shocking part, is that the developer never really intended for this game to have a GNU/Linux client in the 1st place, only after Unity4 offered a GNU/Linux support – he said he will try to make it work (and as we seen before, it’s easy to port to GNU/Linux using Unity4).


Here is our little mail exchange :


Hello !

While Unity4 should support Linux it’s a bit odd that you chose Unity for such a game even before you knew that there will be a Linux support.
I mean, most (or at least a huge part) of the people who want to pledge are…Linux users.
So you better make your game run on Linux, specially that it is ABOUT Linux.

It’s like making a Penguin games and making it only run on Windows (yep, that happened)



MidGames :

“Hi Maxim,

I am an avid Linux user myself and want the game to have Linux support. That being said, I am limited by both budget, and time constraints. Unity3D seemed the best platform for this particular game based on these factors. Needless to say, when I heard that Unity4 will potentially offer Linux support I was ecstatic (and doubtful!)

Scope Creep is focused on teaching Ethical Hacking and in my experience it is not long before beginning hackers will quickly move away from Windows and start using either Mac or Linux. Most of the ‘missions’ in the game will require some Linux knowledge to run the tools, if the users do not have the required skills they will have the guidance needed to continue playing and hopefully gain some valuable practice. The commands used in the game will emulate a mix of Operating systems including (mostly) Linux but are not being run on actual virtual instances of these machine types.

The Linux training mod that will be available for Kickstarter backers only will have strictly Linux based challenges and allow a player to learn the basics and intermediate command line skills necessary to get around and administrate a Linux machine. I imagine that many of the people that are looking forward to playing this mod are not already using Linux as their primary OS and that they need/want to know more about how to actually use the OS on a day to day basis. – I could be wrong. 🙂

All of that being said – I agree that this game series needs to be available on Linux one way or the other and I will make it a priority if it turns out that Unity4 drops the ball on us.

Thanks for the insight and advice and have a great weekend!

Lee Allen

PS: I did not know about the penguin games that only run on Windows!!! ACK!


About the game

Learn Linux or Ethical Hacking from the ground up while playing a 3D fully immersive and interactive adventure game. Web/GNU/Linux/Windows/Mac

I would like to introduce you to a unique approach that combines adventure gaming and blended learning.

Take on the role of Merl McPenrite, an ethical Hacker that unwittingly gets involved in a conspiracy far beyond his control. He will need a combination of hacking, computer, and problem solving skills to be able to get out of the mess he finds himself in. Do you have what it takes to get him out alive?

In case you were curious as to where the characters name came from: MERL is an acronym for May Emulate Real Life.

It is my firm belief that learning should be fun. Some people spend thousands of hours playing repetitive games that require a wealth of knowledge to be successful. Why not use that time to learn something that is actually useful and beneficial!  Hacking and other computer skills are generally best learned through repetitive action. People go as far as to create virtual labs with hundreds of systems to be able to practice their art. Why go through all of that when you could start up a game and lose track of time while your are practicing skills that you need to know in the real world?

Scope Creep is but one of many projects that MidGames will be producing over the next several years that focuses on bridging the gap between learning and fun.

The game will have several different difficulty levels:

  • Easy – If you are just starting to learn about hacking then this is the level for you. Challenging enough to keep you entertained and yet basic enough to prevent frustration from setting in. You are able to use a menu driven approach when attempting do things such as scanning a network or hacking a computer within the game. You get to try things multiple times so that you can learn as you progress. This difficulty level requires very little real world knowledge and is a great starting point for people that that just want to enjoy a fun game and possibly learn something valuable along the way!
  • Medium – You will still have a menu driven approach available but now you will also be able to type in the actual commands necessary to make the systems do what you need it to. Do not expect this level to be easy. This is the level that most beginning ethical hackers should already be at. Bad decisions will have a minor impact on the game world. You may get second chances.
  • Hard – You want hard, you get it. This attempts to simulate the real world as closely as possible. You will have to know the commands for the challenges you will face. Bad decisions will have a huge impact on the game.

There will be a collection of mini-games made specifically to reinforce the skills necessary to make it through the game.  Why should you read a boring book when you can practice your knowledge in a game?

The game is set in a interactive 3D world where the character can interact with NPC’s, pick up items, use items and more. The computer simulations are clear and crisp and emulate the types of tools that you would need to know and understand to get through the challenges that Merl will face. The challenges are not all computer based as the ethical hacking field requires a large subset of skills such as hardware hacking, social engineering and more.

Here is an early screenshot of the first office area that Merl McPenrite begins his journey in.

There are several other areas but I do not want to give away the plot or the challenges in the game. 

Screen shot of the initial office 'tutorial' area. Realtime shadows are off and we did not fully lightbake yet.
Screen shot of the initial office ‘tutorial’ area. Realtime shadows are off and we did not fully lightbake yet.
This is the receptions tutorial area. No post processing and real time shadows are off.
This is the receptions tutorial area. No post processing and real time shadows are off.

It will be playable in your Browser, your PC, Mac, or just maybe even on your Linux box (Dependent on Unity 4.0 release date. We will also need to test the port at that time to ensure it actually works as expected.)

Although we are fully dedicated to this project and willing to put hundreds, even thousands of hours into making this learning experience something unique, entertaining, and well… Awesome, we still need to buy licenses and handle other expenses. If funded, the project will be released much sooner and will contain features otherwise unavailable. We are willing to spend the hours, but we still need the financial assistance to make this happen. The funding goal is the absolute minimum we still require to get the game released in a timely manner. Any additional funding would be used to make the game better in many different ways such as graphics improvements, additional features, etc.

Midgames (Pronounced similar to ‘Mighty-Games’) is a small startup led by myself. I have managed to recruit a few (2..) members to share my dreams and spend some time working on level design, graphics, and story line. You may be surprised at how difficult it was to convince talented individuals that they should invest their time on projects that will be given away for free :-).

The MidGames mission is to provide innovative interactive blended learning for various fields. As previously mentioned, Merl is but one of many areas we would like to move forward with. We are building out a reusable framework that will be viable for various other areas of focus as well. If the skill requires repetitive action, memorization, and quick thinking we believe that we can probably make it less painful to practice using our techniques.

About Me

I am an experienced security professional with over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. I hold many industry certifications such as the CISSP, MCSE, Net+, OSWP, and more. I am also an avid Unity 3d fan.

I am also the author of “Advanced Penetration Testing for Highly-Secured Environments: The Ultimate Security Guide” published by PacktPub.

I am the author of this book.
I am the author of this book.

If by chance the demand is high and we start to hit higher funding levels we will post a listing for what our reach goals would enable us to accomplish. This project is but the tip of the iceberg and we have a lot of plans for expansion down the road. Right now we are just managing scope creep and working within our means to get a solid product delivered to the community in a reasonable time frame.

If you made it this far, I would like to thank you for your time. This dream is going to become a reality one way or the other and I would love to have you join my adventure through assisting in this KickStarter.


How much will the training materials cost if I do not get them as part of the Kickstarter campaign?

We are offering our backers at the $25 level and higher a complete technical walk-through (in PDF) of the game. This training will not make any skill level assumptions and will cost at least $50.00 after the campaign has stopped. Basically, our backers at this level get the training at half price. (Not to mention that you make this project possible in the first place!!!)

At the $85 level and higher our backers receive a fully detailed video training module that goes along with the PDF they will also receive. This training will cover all scenarios available in the game such as password cracking, wireless hacking, system enumeration and more. This is targeted at the beginning level user and does not assume any skill level other than typical computer skills. It will be broken down in a clear and concise manner along with additional exercises to solidify your new or existing skill set. After the campaign is over this training will only be available at the rate of $250 dollars. This ensures that our $85 backers receive the best deal possible. Without your assistance the game may not be published for another year or so. Thank you so much!


How far along is the development of this game?

Proof of concept modules have been created for all technical aspects of the game. We have the art we need ready for production but it still needs to be finalized and incorporated into several areas of the game such as the graphical user interface, and the final game play area (The equivalent to a final boss in typical games).  We are currently working on the missions and making sure that everything fits together in a logical manner. The game has a basic linear structure with side ‘missions’ that can be completed along the way.

Items completed and currently being merged with the game:

Computer Emulation \ Hacking System – Fully tested. Now we are filling out the gaps and making sure it has everything that people will expect a hacking game to have such as working file systems, etc.

Mission System – Implemented. Adding missions every day followed by lots of testing. Similar to some popular games on the market today you will have dialog choices that will have an indicator as to how ‘good’ or ‘evil’ the choices are. Some things are not as clear and will need to be learned through playing or just understood to ensure that you know the difference between ethical hacking and what would be considered black hat activity.

GUI – Still trying to find something that is intuitive but still powerful. We have something that works already, what we are looking for now is something that is awesome.

Ethical Status Indicator – Every decision in the game is measured by typical ethical standards. This is represented on your Heads Up Display (HUD) by a hat that changes color from White to Grey to Black based on the choices Merl makes throughout the game.

Item interaction mechanisms- Implemented!

Animations – Working out the bugs. We will be spending at least a month on additional cut scenes and improving the animations.

Achievements – Technology has been implemented, we are still discussing if we even really want this. 🙂

Mini games – 1 memory game (we hope to surprise you with the way we handled this one) and a coder graphics version of our ‘race and learn’ minigames have been created. These still need work. The final release will include at least these two mini-game. We hope for more but a lot of that is resource limited and depends on funding, etc.


Do I need to be a hacker\penetration tester\security guru to play this game?

Simple answer – No.

You can play the game from start to finish by choosing the ‘Easy’ game play mode. This mode provides ‘Hollywood Hacking’ in that there are GUI menus for all tasks such as scanning a network or cracking a password. You will be presented with option icons and your choices will allow you to play the game as if it were a standard adventure game with lots of options and puzzles. For instance, instead of having to pick the proper lockpicks when trying to open a door you would be able to choose the ‘Pick the Lock’ button (If you have picked up the lockpicks along the way!!)

In the medium and hard modes you will need to have a certain skill level. These modes are for people that want to practice and learn. The medium level will have menu options but instead of icons or simple descriptions they will need to pick the right commands from the choices when doing any hacking. The hard level just provides a computer terminal with whichever operating system is on the system you selected in the game.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Merl McPenrite series will be provided in ‘episodes’ with each episode increasing in difficulty with each episode.  Each episode will have a distinctive and logical start and end point. This first episode will focus on hacking basics and then move on to some intermediate ‘missions’ to get Merl out of the mess he gets into.


How does the hacking mechanic work?

In easy mode we use a mechanic that allows you to choose options. If you choose the right options you get to move on. For some of the harder scenarios there are clues around that will help you pick the right answers. Easy to use for all but still based on real procedures or techniques.

In the other modes this is a bit different: For instance, if you are asked to crack a password file on a system in the office. You would walk to the work station, use the GUI menu option to ‘Use’ the computer at which point the screen fills up with the computer terminal or screen. You will be able to use this emulated system to accomplish your task.

In the medium difficulty you would still have menu options available to help you out, in hard mode it will all be based on what you already know and the clues we have provided. Many of the more obscure options in certain tools we emulate will not be available. Those options that are available would work in a virtual lab you build just as well as they do in the game (That is how we know what to expect from certain commands that are typed, at this point we cannot place real virtual machines in the game.) Maybe with funding and time we could eventually add that feature.


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27 August

Starry Expanse – 3D Riven: The Sequel To MYST Port !

Starry Expanse is an attempted to create a realtime 3D port of Riven: The Sequel to Myst.

The developers (who are also looking for volunteers to help them developing the project) use the Unity game engine and say that GNU/ Linux port is definitely on the table.



The Starry Expanse Project is a collaborative attempt to create a realtime 3D port of Riven: The Sequel to Myst. We carefully study screenshots and videos taken from the Riven game and recreate it to the best of our ability.

Starry Expanse is a long-term project; the original game took dozens of artists years to complete. We are a much smaller team and do not have the same freedom of time as the original creators, and so we must take our time and ensure that every detail is as accurate, realistic, and true to the original game as possible. Eventually, we expect to release a beta program which will let users test various interactive parts of our recreations. Our goal is to recreate the game of Riven in its interactive entirety.

For more information, watch the presentations given at Mysterium 2010 , 2011 and 2012. You can also follow our progress on Twitter, by following @starry_expanse, although the best place to find news and updates is this website.



Recently they had an interesting IamA in which they gave insights about their project :


“We’re currently targeting the main platforms that Unity supports, Windows and OS X. Future versions of Unity will support Linux, so that may be a possibility in the future, as well.”


Years at this rate. Maybe two, maybe three. Unless we actually decided to work on this full time, at the expense of our real jobs and schoolwork, the work is going to remain slow and steady. Riven is a big, big place to recreate.


The atmosphere is absolutely something we want to retain from the original. It’s a reason we love Riven too. Retaining atmosphere is an issue that sometimes even conflicts with the freedom we’re trying to inject, yes. For example, sometimes in the original, the feeling of a certain scene is dependent on the direction the player is looking. We may have to limit the player’s view for scenes like that, to get them to see everything that needs to be seen, but questions like that are still up in the air.

In terms of content, we’re changing very little. We want the puzzles to play the same, we want the player to be just as well guided and we want the story to be told exactly the same way. The changes we want to make are purely aesthetic.”


We have most of the islands in the game at least a little bit under-way. Prison Island is near completion, and Boiler Island is pretty far along, as well. We’re still nowhere near a concrete date for beta testing, however.

For a number of areas throughout the game, we’re going to have custom actions that are only performable at that location. This includes places like the gate on Temple Island, the submarine on Jungle, the maglevs, and the cart between Jungle and Boiler. These will all require custom camera actions, which wouldn’t really make sense at any other point in the game.

There’s been a lot of discussion on invisible walls. In general, we really don’t like them. At the same time, Riven is a complicated enough game as it is, if we let the player roam truly free, it gets even more confusing. For that reason, we’re probably still going to be constraining the player a lot, and that includes keeping them away from cliff edges and deep water.

While there’s always the possibility of ‘backstabbing’, it’s extremely unlikely as we’ve picked our group pretty carefully. Also, not having to deal with Hollywood, or any overseeing corporation/group (outside Cyan), we have a much more hands-on level of control with the project. I think that this means fewer fights, less drama, and a more cohesive group overall.

We want to have things be as dynamic as possible, so as much as we can, yes, little objects will be at least a little moveable.

Being huge fans ourselves, we would love to have more of Tay explorable. Our main concern with Tay, however, is that The Stranger would not plausibly be able to explore much more of the hive, or surrounding area. Catherine trusts us, but her people do not – there’s a reason that door was locked in the first place.

And no, the Stranger cannot see his or her reflection.


Ubisoft actually lost the rights to the games a few years ago. They were held by GameTap and its parent company for a while, but by now all of the rights for the Myst series have returned to Cyan Worlds.


Early Gameplay Video


It’s still early and it will take a few years, but it looks good even at this early stage and for those who love the classic – it will be a good refreshment and update to our current technology.



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23 August

ADOM: The Resurrection – Funded ! Pledge For Stretch Goals.

ADOM (Ancient Domains of Mystery) is a a roguelike video game by Thomas Biskup with an ASCII graphics.

Development of ADOM started on July 12, 1994 and continued steadily since until November 20, 2002 but due to personal life issues and unavailability of the source code the development was put to stop…till now…

Recently the Indiegogo campaign to continue the development of ADOM was successful with almost $50,000 raised and 9 more days to go  !

The new stretch goals promises graphics with the help of Zeno’s NotEye ($50,000) , Customized tile sets ($55,000) additional classes and races ($60,000) and much more ! (Those goals are totally achievable)

In addition, there is a chance that this time the game will finally be open sourced !


ADOM is one of the most successful roguelike games ever created, with downloads in the millions and many more every day. ADOM was the first roguelike to add a true role-playing experience to the roguelike genre, and boasts a brilliant mix of story, exploration, and intensely strategic and flexible combat. ADOM was in development from 1994 until November 2002, when the last build was released. ADOM is still part of the roguelike conversation, even after ten years of frozen development.

Concept art sketch

ADOM is primarily known for being the first roguelike to include vibrant towns, NPC dialog, and quests, but it offers more than just a rich story line in a complex fantasy world:

  • A huge game world with dozens of locations such as towns, randomized dungeons, and secrets
  • Loads of races and classes allowing for almost infinite play styles
  • Hundreds of monsters and items, many with enhanced random features
  • A corruption system forcing you to balance lust for power with fear of damnation
  • Spells, prayers, mindcraft, alchemy, and more
  • Dozens of quests and branching story lines
  • Numerous wildly different endings that might alter reality itself!

Sadly, although ADOM was highly polished, it was left in an unfinished state. Bugs, loopholes and other problems have been identified over the years, but I never had the resources to fix them. I believe I’ve found just the team of experienced, enthusiastic developers and artists to pick up where I left off and make ADOM something truly epic.

Ancient Domains Of Mystery Logo


If this Indiegogo campaign is successful in reaching the funding goal, you will see a new release of ADOM, version 1.2.0. Here are some of the things you can expect:

  • New stable releases for all supported platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Amiga, NetBSD, FreeBSD; Android and iPad/iOS are going to be stretch goals). Operating systems have evolved since 2002 and compatibility is becoming a serious issue.
  • Bug fixes for every bug we can find
  • Game balance patches
  • At least 12 new corruptions will be added to the corruption system.
  • 13 new items will be added (but see below for that extra level).
  • 4 new monsters will be added (but see below for that extra level).
  • As a result of “getting over with funding on August 22nd” an extra special new boss monster with a special new map, 2 new artifacts, 4 new minion monsters for said boss and 16 new items that only will be recoverable on said special level are going to be added to the game.
  • More elaborate interaction for many things that are currently only handled superficially
  • UI improvements to bring ADOM up-to-date with the progress the roguelike genre has made, to be decided upon based on recommendations of players in the forums (e.g. colored message, some kind of auto-exploration and others)
  • A series of magical statues distributed across the dungeons
  • A roster of new named random boss monsters with special powers
  • Exciting new graphics for the title screen and some quest-related events
  • Audio for sound effects and music for the game areas and important events
  • A freshly revised manual

Honestly, I have very high hopes for ADOM. I’m keeping this campaign modest, but I have big ideas in case we surpass the goal. I‘ll be announcing the stretch goals later in the campaign, but let me give you a taste of what I have in mind. I‘m thinking at least two new races and classes, builds for Android and iOS, a scripting module for user extensions, and finally, the release of the ADOM source code as open source, with community management, building, and training included.



STRETCH GOAL #1: NOTEYE SUPPORT (upon reaching $50,000)

As the first stretch goal we intend to integrate Zeno’s NotEye into ADOM. NotEye provides a graphical front end to textual roguelikes and seems to be the perfect option to provide tile support for ADOM (and best of all: for ADOM II, too, so effectively you are supporting two games in one). This will allow for

  • graphical tile sets in various resolutions (32×32 and 64×64 at least)
  • custom tile sets provided by the community
  • selecting either a graphical or ASCII version of ADOM for play
  • the possibility of a 3D mode (even if it’s more of a joke mode)

Our Youtube video video shows a sample demo, using NotEye, a demo tile set and an early version of a composition by Lucas Dieguez. Enjoy!

The following image gives a more detailed impression of what NotEye can do for ADOM:

NoteEye & ADOM

STRETCH GOAL #2: CUSTOMIZED TILE SET (upon reaching $55,000)

This stretch goal will provide a customized tile set for ADOM, done solely by Krys, our artist. Krys will do his utmost to create the most beautiful tile set ever. See the image below for a sample of what Krys is capable of:

Demo of the planned tile set for ADOM and ADOM II

Two new PC races will be added: Mist Elves and Ratlings. Two new PC classes will be added: Duelists and Chaos Knights.

STRETCH GOAL #4: ADOM DELUXE ON STEAM (upon reaching $65,000)

At this level we will produce the long ago promised Deluxe version of ADOM, specifically to be published to Steam. And we’d try to do our best to also support other platforms like Gamersgate and Desudura. All donors from the $40 and above levels of this campaign will receive a free license for ADOM Deluxe if we reach this level. ADOM Deluxe will include new challenge games, restorable save files and an extended character generation process allowing you to select from more options. ADOM Classic still will remain free, the idea of this stretch goal is to use the awesome tile support at this level to make ADOM Deluxe more of a mainstream game in order to be able to fund the continuing development of the free ADOM Classic version.

STRETCH GOAL #5: ACHIEVEMENTS (upon reaching $70,000)

At this level we will add achievement systems and global high scores to the game, hopefully even more furthering the appeal to more casual gamers.

STRETCH GOAL #6: VOLCANO QUEST (upon reaching $75,000) 

A highly detailed and extensive quest related to volcanoes (no, not a boring variant to the tower of eternal flames) will be added to the game. It’s going to be chilling to the bone, believe me!

STRETCH GOAL #7: QUEST FOR ROLF (upon reaching $80,000)

The mysteries surrounding Rolf finally will be solved with a series of exiting new levels and quests introducing many new monsters, items and artifacts and unravelling one of the many mysteries of AODM.

STRETCH GOAL #8: TWO MORE NEW QUESTS (upon reaching $85,000)

Two additional new quests will be added to the game, details to be discussed with the community.

STRETCH GOAL #9: THREE MORE NEW QUESTS (upon reaching $90,000)

Three additional new quests will be added to the game, details to be discussed with the community.

STRETCH GOAL #10: FOUR MORE NEW QUESTS (upon reaching $95,000)

Four additional new quests will be added to the game, details to be discussed with the community.

STRETCH GOAL #11: FULL-COLOR ADOM Lite RPG (upon reaching $100,000)

At this level the ADOM Lite RPG will be done in full color. All donors for the RPG will receive this upgraded print for free!

That’s it, folks. If we ever should come close to the stretch goals in the nineties I will think of more exciting stuff!


So it’s  your chance to pledge and make ADOM even greater !

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22 August

Blood Enhancements Port

I am a huge fan of the first Blood game, and luckily I’m not alone and there is a whole Blood community that wants to see this game remade and continued.

Recently Jace Hall who was the founder of Monolith Productions Inc, the company who developed Blood – posted on The Postmortem forums his wishes for a modern enhancements port of Blood which will be available on GNU/Linux for free.

Take note that this is not intended to be a remake but a modernized port to suite the modern OS’s and hardware.


The compiled list of things discussed includes :

Port Necessities (Maintenance & Convenience)

  • two executables of focus: Blood (the game) and MapEdit
  • no modification of the original maps, art, sounds, music, or gameplay
  • incorporate an updated BUILD Engine from the EDuke32 project
    • this will immediately add cross-platform, stability, and video advancements
      • multiplatform support (Linux, Mac OS X…)
      • increased screen resolutions (up to 3072×2304)
      • (optional) OpenGL rendering support
      • widescreen support
      • “highres” content support
      • vsync
      • uncapped framerate
      • improvements to the map editor
    • closed-source compatible license (but only for the engine; game and Mapster32 are GPL)
    • This would actually need to be done or else a lot of time would be wasted re-porting the BUILD Engine from DOS.
  • cross-platform support (start with Windows and GNU/Linux; Mac and all other ports follow easily)
  • improved control setup and mouse input
  • fix demo recording, which has always been broken in BloodBath, and in SP cannot complete levels
  • replace outdated UPX network code with functionally equivalent or superior modern code
  • fix MapEdit bugs such as inaccurate mouse pointing
  • remove/increase level design limits, such as floor/ceiling mirrors causing hall of mirrors and maximum sector, wall and sprite limits (previously 1024, 8192, 4096)
  • add support for using CD audio without a physical CD (via FLAC and OGG files)
  • ensure proper support for the Bink/Smacker movies
  • port the original Blood command-line tools as well

All of the above should be made first priority before the below is attempted.


Port Enhancements

  • easier launching of user maps, mods, and TCs (RATM, Bloody Pulp Fiction, Deathwish, etc.)
  • add support for additively-loaded zip files and user folders in addition to RFF
  • add options to fix original gameplay bugs (warps, eternal fire, panel glitches, stone gargoyle, etc.) but it must be customizable like ZDoom’s compatibility options
  • Multiplayer: client/server protocol, mid-game joining, map/kick/ban voting, “pure” flag, spectating
  • Multiplayer: more configuration options
    • option to have timelimit in multiplayer mode
    • option to force players to respawn after a set time in multiplayer mode (very important with the timelimit)
    • option to have team specific spawning points in team games in multiplayer mode
    • support for more multiplayer spawn points per map
    • option to force ‘show opponents weapon’ off in multiplayer mode, chosen by the player that starts the map
  • Multiplayer: keep text chat record, visible in an overlay window when T is pressed
  • per-player configuration of auto aim: complete enable/disable and options to tone it down (though cap it at original strength to keep it fair)
  • support for additional episodes in the main game (ie. the ability to load user created episodes / maps within the game)
  • status bar shrinking at higher resolutions
  • “modern” small HUD option, like EDuke32’s
  • bloody footprints (after stepping in a blood pool, footprint decals for 3-5 steps)



  • Multiplayer: additional game modes
    • capture the flag
    • monster rush / horde / endurance
    • king of the hill
    • 1v1 duel
  • Multiplayer: voice chat
  • Multiplayer: target hit confirmation, visual and audible
  • Multiplayer: server lobby
  • Multiplayer: leaderboards: frag tracking, map time records, # of secrets found, hit/miss accuracy
  • Multiplayer: tournaments
  • Multiplayer: multi-skin support, optional clan skins
  • Lua support for modders
  • surround sound
  • achievement system
  • patches and updates for years to come!


Stuff We Don’t Want

  • “PunkBuster” or similar buggy and problematic anti-cheat
  • anything having to do with ZBlood
  • changing the original game (by default)
  • a remake, either in whole or in part


I personally can’t wait for this game to be ported to the modern OS’s , you can join the discussion and help bring this project to life.


Thanks to Curly Brace for letting us know about those wonderful news !

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21 August

Planetary Annihilation – A Next Generation RTS

If you are a fan of Total Annihilation (and Spring), you would be as excited as I am to know (if you didn’t read it already on other GNU/Linux Gaming websites) that many of the same developers will be doing a spiritual sequel on a much bigger scale, now you will be able to build bases on different planets and asteroids, and use the asteroids as  a Doom’s day weapon (you got to see the concept video below).
As with Total Annihilation – mods will be supported !

Almost $500,000 of the $900,000 required have been pledged so far, and there are stretch goals to reach (like a full campaign)

This game is called Planetary Annihilation, and the GNU/Linux port is confirmed – so what are you waiting for ? this could be the best RTS game yet !

Planetary Annihilation brings Real-Time Strategy to a new generation of gamers in a way they’ve never been seen before: Total Annihilation-inspired gameplay on a planetary scale.

We all know that the RTS genre has taken a hit. There just aren’t that many quality original RTS games coming out. If you love to play games like Total Annihilation your options are pretty limited. This is where Planetary Annihilation comes in. It is meant to be a truly innovative spin on what RTS games can and should be.

A Solar System Is Your Playground

Expand your empire to harness the resources of entire solar systems to create vast armies with which to annihilate enemy planets, destroy rival systems and win the Galactic War!

Pick Your Battles

Play a quick skirmish with a friend on a single planet map with a low unit cap or a 12+ hour game with 40 of your closest frenemies and thousands of units. You can also hone your skills against Planetary Annihilation’s AI or team up with a friend against multiple AI’s.

Advanced Command and Control

Planetary Annihilation’s order queuing interface allows you to control massive armies spread across multiple worlds with ease. Get strategic views of the action anywhere, anytime by zooming in and out of the war zone, and use split interfaces and multiple windows to keep an eye on multiple battlegrounds at once.

Procedural Planet Creator

Create custom or randomized maps with our procedural planet creator. Like what you see? Save them and share them with the Planetary Annihilation community.

Streaming Resource Economy

Use resources to build mega projects. Assign swarms of construction units in realtime to manage your economy. Reclaim wreckage and terrain to quickly regroup after a battle.

War Machine

Planetary Annihilation’s rendering engine is brought to you by the team that developed the rendering engines for Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander. Our engine will allow you to explore vast, new procedural worlds with diverse terrain and build on everything from small, airless rocks to huge earth-type planets. No two maps are exactly alike.

Client-Server Networking Architecture

Other than Total Annihilation, which was asynchronous, most Real-Time Strategy games use a synchronous networking model, which means that all the computers in a given game are held back by the slowest machine. The Planetary Annihilation engine uses a client-server model so that the “heavy lifting” can be done on a game server, freeing up gamers’ machines to engage in bigger battles with more players!

Advanced Modding features

Create new units, gametypes, maps and planet archetypes.  Run your own servers with your own sets of units and game modes.

Uber Entertainment is an independent game studio founded in 2008 by a team of industry veterans who wanted to create high quality games in a small team environment. In 2010 we released our first title, the critically-acclaimed Monday Night Combat. In 2011 we brought MNC to Steam and in 2012 we released Super Monday Night Combat, which we continue to update weekly.

(We all really really want to make this game for you.)
(We all really really want to make this game for you.)
(We each have a lot of experience in building and delivering.)
(We each have a lot of experience in building and delivering.)

Folks at Uber Entertainment have worked on games like Total Annihilation, Command & Conquer, Supreme Commander and Demigod. We are hugely passionate about Real-Time Strategy and can’t wait to show you our vision for the future of the genre.

(Steve and Jon are our leads. Design and dev are BFFs at Uber.)
(Steve and Jon are our leads. Design and dev are BFFs at Uber.)

Jon Mavor has worked in the game industry since 1993. As a longtime game engine technologist, Jon wrote the graphics engine for Total Annihilation and was the lead programmer on Supreme Commander. He has been the CTO of Uber Entertainment since its inception and is the creative lead for Planetary Annihilation.

Steve Thompson got his start in 1997 at Cavedog Entertainment, where he worked on Total Annihilation. In 1999 he joined Gas Powered Games where he worked as an animator, director of cinematics, and art director for the Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander franchises.  Steve joined Uber in 2008 and is the art director on Planetary Annihilation.

For more information on the dev team, please visit www.uberent.com.

Let’s face it, game publishers today want sequels in very restrictive genres. In many cases game publisher overhead makes small projects not interesting to them.

That’s where you, the RTS fan, comes in.

(We can only get it off the ground together.)
(We can only get it off the ground together.)

It’s very unusual to put something like this in front of gamers this early in the process.  We are in a new era where you get to decide what we spend our time on.  Planetary Annihilation is meant to be a truly innovative spin on what RTS games can and should be. You as the customer get the ultimate vote in whether we make this game. Your dollars are your votes and the better we do the more resources we’ll have to bring you a great game.


Thank you so much to everyone that has supported us so far. The response has been fantastic and while there’s a bit to go, it’s really awesome to know we have so many votes of confidence and a ton of encouragement already behind us.



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20 August

Let’s Play Expeditions: Conquistador !

Expeditions: Conquistador  which I wrote about earlier is tactical RPG  with turn based combat which is similar to the good old classic Fallout games in it’s combat.
Recently they released 3 Let’s Play Expeditions: Conquistador videos which explains the combat in more depth.
So if you were unsure about pledging to this project, I hope those videos will help you decide.
Also note that like in the classic Fallouts – you don’t always have to pick the fighting option and there are also more diplomatic resolutions to game situations.

Let’s Play Expeditions: Conquistador Part 1


Let’s Play Expeditions: Conquistador Part 2


Let’s Play Expeditions: Conquistador Part 3


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16 August

The Humble Indie Bundle For Android And GNU/Linux 3 !

The Humble Indie Bundle For Android And GNU/Linux 3 is out now !

Games of this bundle including :


Subatomic Studios

Take your towers on the offensive against an endless sprawl of baddies in this tower defense classic. Your goal is to keep your opponents from crossing the battlefield and taking you down. Populate everything in between with deadly towers and create intricate mazes to incinerate, freeze, laser, and electrocute your way to victory.



Gaijin Games

BIT.TRIP BEAT is a charming, retro-inspired music rhythm game. Players must deflect an onslaught of projectiles, each successful deflection resulting in a musical sound. Link ‘em together to get a rhythm going! Every move is crucial, as letting anything through will threaten to disrupt the beat. This is the BIT.TRIP sensation that has — so far — spawned five awesome spin-offs and sequels.



Zachtronics Industries

In SpaceChem, players take on the role of a Reactor Engineer, designing complex reactors that transform raw atoms into the complex chemicals needed to survive sinister threats on the frontier colonies of space. It’s a maddeningly addictive puzzle game, and with the help of the built in level editor, it’s ensured that you’ll have plenty of challenging atomic manipulation at your fingertips.

* Note that the Android version of SpaceChem is designed for devices with a resolution of 1280×800 or greater. Please try this demo on Google Play



Introversion Software

Break into computer systems and nab valuable, secret information as you take on the role of a hacker for-hire in Uplink. The hacking gameplay in Uplink is textbook cyberpunk, complete with cracking software, credits, and nasty megacorporations. It’s like a puzzle-adventure with all the action taking place between bits and bytes in cyberspace.

* Note that the Android version of Uplink is only compatible with tablet devices.



Spaces of Play

In this beautiful puzzle-platformer, autumn has arrived and you must help the spirits of fallen leaves find their way home. With only indirect control at your fingertips, you must choose a few good spirits to build stairs, change wind flow, and act as guides for the rest of the spirits, making decisions that may ultimately sacrifice the few to save the many.


The Humble Bundle for Android 3

Five amazing games for your mobile delight. We’re bringing you a mountain of entertainment for your Android devices. Pay-what-you-want to get BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, and Uplink! And if you beat the average price, you also get the beautiful platform-puzzler Spirits! Please note that Uplink and SpaceChem require tablets if your are playing the Android version.

Love your desktop? So do we. Buying the Humble Bundle for Android 3 also gets you the games on Windows, Mac, and Linux! For your listening pleasure, each game also comes with an official soundtrack.

Pay what you want. On their own, these fantastic games and their soundtracks would cost to the tune of $52, but we’re letting you name your price!

The games work great on Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux (system requirements here). Note that this is the initial release for many of the Android and Linux versions of the games. Please be patient while the developers fix any 1.0 bugs as quickly as they can, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you run into any issues.

Support vital charities. You get to decide how your purchase is divided: between the developers, the Child’s Play Charity, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And, if you choose, a Humble tip for putting this promotion together is much appreciated!


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15 August