Happy Friday! Transistor and Icewind Dale:EE are Out!

transistor

In case you still did not get enough games to play recently following the excellent Humble Indie Bundle released a couple of days ago (you can still grab it by the way), here’s two big releases: Transistor, from the authors of Bastion, and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, one of the best old school RPGs in recent History (2000), from the masters of the genre, Black Isle Studios.

First, Transistor, from Supergiant games, is an action-RPG with lots of combat. You play the role of a female singer who was attacked one night after a performance by a group of people wielding a great sword… and ended up being saved by someone. Waking up, she finds herself next to the corpse of a man, stabbed by this same huge sword… called the Transistor. A speaking sword, calling her to take action. The singer takes the sword and starts hunting the group who attacked her in the first place…

Just like their previous game, Bastion, the overall execution is top-notch: visuals, voices and soundtracks are all of the highest quality. It has been very well received in Steam since it launched earlier this year in May on Windows. This is what one user, Akasharose had to say on the Steam community about it:

Transistor made me cry.

Not okay.
At all.

The game may start slow, but as soon as you hit the first boss… boom- I couldn’t stop. This game was so beautiful and entrancing that I played through twice, with 9 limiters my second run: it’s the first steam game I’ve gotten every achievement for. The story is tragic and twists to dark areas I didn’t know that the game could even consider twisting. The bosses are all interesting and fun to fight, though the first two become rather simple once you get their strategy down.

Buy the game, play it, listen to the soundtrack, find all the news broadcast stations, and experience some major feels.

Note that this is a real port (no wrapping / W(h)INE-ing) and it should therefore run very well on most configs out there. The minimum specs are a dual core CPU, 4GB of RAM and OpenGL 3+ support, which means even laptops with HD3000-4000 graphics should run this game without any problem. Ethan Lee is responsible for the port, and has just mentioned a few details related to the work required for the Linux and Mac versions.

Basically, I took all the files in their MonoGame branch that referred to OpenTK, and replaced them with the FNA versions of those files. That’s about it. Most of the files never changed, and the FNA files that replaced the OpenTK files went through minor changes to line up with the internal APIs (primarily, fixing things to work under the XNA 3.1 spec, but not actually changing any functionality). For the actual game it was mostly the obvious set of changes, like save paths, and very little else. I made a couple changes so my very old Mono compiler would be happy, but those changes aren’t relevant in the shipping version since the C# assemblies you’re playing with are built by VS2012, primarily to ensure accuracy in the assembly output.

Most of the porting process was apparently relatively straightforward, except for the Middleware part, that was not available for Linux until then. Fmod, in particular:

I updated FMOD Studio to 1.04.05 to get Linux compatibility. Just updating this one library took most of my time. I honestly don’t want to talk about this one right now…

And the Linux version is even better than the Windows version, if you have a Dual Shock 4 controller:

Middlewares aside, this port was about as straightforward as I anticipated, and you can expect it to be very accurate to the Windows version, with Light Bar support being a feature even Windows doesn’t have.

dualshock-4-touchpad-lightbar

The Light bar at the back of the Dual Shock 4 Controller.

You can get it now on Steam for 50% off, at less than 10 USD, during the Halloween sale. Another pack with the soundtrack is available for 5 USD more.

Next, Icewind Dale. This is not a new title, since the original edition was released in 2000 by Black Isle Studios, the same team which brought you stuff like Fallout 2 (the best in the series so far!) and the excellent Planescape Torment. This is a classic RPG set in a frozen world, with tons of customization options to make your party completely unique. A lot of the game revolves around combat as well, and how to make the best use of your characters to make it through the adventure… which gets increasingly hard from start to finish.

Despite its age, the game still looks fantastic. It’s all 2D in its glorious details everywhere you look. For the Enhanced edition, they added a bunch of things, such as new items and spells, new classes of characters, a new interface making loot faster, cross-platform multiplayer mode (SWEET!!), additional quest content, and of course, of course… bug fixes!

It’s available for less than 20 USD on Steam right now. Note that it’s not on sale and if you want to get it slightly cheaper and do not intend to play it right now, you may want to wait for the Autumn sale on Steam (end November) of the Christmas sale (end December) later this year. This being said, if you want to show your support for the nice, first-class citizen Linux port (native), there’s nothing wrong with purchasing it now at full price.

All in all, two very nice games coming on Linux before the weekend. Now, you just have to wish it rains, so that you are forced to stay at home in front of your screen.


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