Installing 50 Steam Games on Linux Part Deux (Games 12-27)

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

Game 12 of 50

Aquaria (v.1.1.3)

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

Game 13 of 50

Brütal Legend

UP THE IRONS, IRON MAIDENS! \m/

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

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

Lars Gotrich, you never looked better!

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

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

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

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

[Edit:] Btw, I will take you up on this Tim; you said something like "I [will] play with every Linux gamer" on your Brütal Legend Mac stream, the other week? I guess, Linux gamers and readers of this blog are in the same 2 digit numbers. We all should know each other by our first names, by now?

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

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

Game 14-18 of 50

Half Life 2

Half Life 2: Deathmatch

Half Life 2: Episode One

Half Life 2: Episode Two

Half Life 2: Lost Coast

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

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

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

Random frame hickups occur**

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

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

Game 19 of 50

Portal (only Portal 1 not 2!)

"Always be testing. Not only on Linux!"

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

Game 20 of 50

Crusader Kings 2*

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

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

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

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

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

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

*) Idle Thumbs' Introduction to this Baby Marriage Simulator

Game 21 of 50

English Country Tune

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

Game 22 of 50

Kerbal Space Program (Demo)

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

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

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

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

Game 23 of 50

Stealth Bastard Deluxe (Tactical Espionage Arsehole)

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

Game 24 of 50

Proteus

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

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

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

Game 25 of 50

Little Inferno

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

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

Game 26 of 50

Intrusion 2 (v. 1.024)

Yep. XFCE Screenshot plugin couldn't handle Intrusion 2. (But the game was "there"), in that box. I swear!

Trying to run Intrusion 2 with a gamepad (supported in the Windows version of the game). This is now a good time to introduce to you xboxdrv - a homebrew xbox 360 controller driver for Linux, made by Grumbel.

What happens with Intrusion 2 can be found on this Steam Linux Forum Thread, if you are into reading a lot (something Linux people have become very familiar with, although RTFM came even before the Unix/UNIVAC days?

This Russian (Aleksey Abramenko) Flash based game runs poorly on Linux? Lag? Slow. Setup options could be as well in native Russian, they are so cryptic, like cyrillic fonts to the non-slavic gamers. Display “Fullscreen” while in Windowed Mode means: “Dou you wanta fulla-screen mode klicka here”. “Resolution” knows two states: “Default” and “0x0” - clicking apply does nothing, which suggests, in Linux, there is no choice. Either play in state 1: window mode (800x600) or go fullscreen (desktop resolution). At least, both work & switching does not result in lockups or crashes.

Finally a game, I won’t recommend on Linux. Not that it’s bad, the Linux port is just bad (in my opinion). This series is not about my taste or opinion about games! Please ignore earlier comments on this subject. I played only a bit on the Windows side, which ran far better. The lesson to be learned? Don’t base your Linux port on Adobe Flash. Flash games are so 1990s. Since this game is also available as Freeware on many websites, I am wondering why it made it’s way to the Steam Store in the first place? And why the hell did I BUY IT??

(comments, corrections, opposing opinions all welcome ... unless your name is Marcus Beer)

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