Gaming on Linux -- Liam Dawe
Battle in real time strategy like an Egyptian.
Like an overdue Christmas present the team at Wildfire Games has released the fifteenth alpha version of the epic open-source real time strategy game 0 A.D. The latest alpha version added some really essential features that were previously missing, including a multi- player lobby, so it should now be a total cinch to find people to play online. In addition to being easy to play online there is yet another playable civilisation – the Ptolemaic Egyptians – with unique units and gameplay features included for them.
0 A.D. aims to be of AAA production quality, which shows in abundance. It was originally closed source, but the team opened it up with the aim of gaining new members, and this strategy has paid off. They have run several successful crowdfunding, and are now using it to fund programmers to make 0 A.D. even better! http://play0ad.com
THE BATTLE FOR WESNOTH
A seriously slick open-source turn-based strategy.
Cheering the cold, dark winter months considerably, the team behind The Battle for Wesnoth have released a new version of this well known turn-based strategy adventure. They have further tweaked the UI of the game to make it more playable, including an overhaul of the mouse interaction in the game, and the Khalifate faction, which doesn’t use magic, is now playable in more multi-player areas too.
Battle for Wesnoth has some great single-player gameplay alongside online multiplayer too, so you can play your friends across the world. It has been around a few years now, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t aged well! It is updated all the time with new features, tweaks and bugfixes to keep it fresh. It’s currently Stable, meaning game-breaking bugs should be very hard to find, so feel free to really enjoy this one. www.wesnoth.org
Faster Than Light
Faster Than Light has announced a free DLC expansion pack to this infuriating game. Included in this free update are new ship layouts, and a brand-new alien race called The Lanius, whose members don’t need oxygen to live. Not only that, but they will suck oxygen out from any room that they are in. Scary! www.ftlgame.com
METRO: LAST LIGHT
Graphics cards of a nervous disposition, look away now: what we have here is probably the most demanding, hardware-punishing game on Linux. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s a first-person shooter, from 4A Games called Metro: Last Light, which promises to simultaneously cooing with delight at its prettiness while screaming with terror when an enemy jumps across your screen.
4A Games is a Ukrainian studio, and Metro: Last Light draws on the the work of Russian novelist Dmitry Glukhovsky, particularly his novel Metro 2033. Set in a bleak world that has been ruined by nuclear weapons, the game forces you to rely on your wits as much as brute force, with limited ammunition forcing players to think rather than just run around shooting at things.
While we Linux gamers don’t have the prequel game (also called Metro 2033) just yet, it will hopefully only be a matter of time now that we have 4A Games bringing its catalogue to Linux. http://store.steampowered.com/app/43160
The post-Christmas presents haven’t stopped yet folks! There’s another open source game engine with a brand-new release: this time it’s OpenMW, which brings us The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind RPG. This new version includes probably the most important features, including combat AI and spell casting, including visual effects for magic.
Much like Corsix-TH, OpenMW is an open-source engine designed to let you run Morrowind on your favourite open source operating system. It’s undergoing heavy development and missing some essential features from the original, but it’s well worth keeping an eye on. https://openmw.org/en
Remember Theme Hospital from Bullfrog? Well Corsix-TH is an open source engine for playing the comedy hospital simulation game natively on Linux, and it recently released version 0.3 which further enhances the engine. While the engine is free, you have to purchase the game assets from a site such as GOG.com. This is one of the awesome things about the Linux and open source community – rather than being forgotten, games that we loved when we were younger get revived with brand-new features.
It may be in beta, but Corsix-TH is fully playable and extremely fun. https://github.com/CorsixTH
Valve has graced us with another great free-to-play title: Dota 2. A multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), Dota 2’s Linux version includes some pretty nifty features not available on other platforms, as well as a pop-up notification when a game is ready to play – very handy for serial Alt+Tabbers. http://store.steampowered.com/app/570
There’s an expansion pack to Awesomenauts, titled Starstorm, which includes new playable characters, game replays and custom game- modes. This is another MOBA although it’s far simpler than Dota 2 and plays like a platformer. The community is a little friendlier, due to it being a simpler game to get into. http://store.steampowered.com/app/204300 Our hero catching up to his minions for another fight. Go red power ball, go!