You may have noticed there were not much news on BoilingSteam in January. Well, there are two reasons for that. First, there was not much happening in the Linux Gaming world this month. Sure, there were a couple of things to say, but nothing really major, really, that’s why I decided to do a single post to review most of what was announced. The second reason is, I did not have the heart to write that much recently - I have just lost a close relative to cancer, and I was certainly not in the mood to do anything.
Anyway, there’s only one big release that is worth mentioning this January, and it was Medieval II: Total War. It came as a a half surprise. Feral had released it late 2015 for the Mac Store, but they did not announce anything regarding any future Linux port. At the same time as they released the Steam version for Mac this January, they made it available for Linux as well. This is now the third game on Linux for the Total War series, after Empire: Total War (Feral) and **Total War: Attila **(in-house, with pretty bad performance it seems). Medieval II is an old game already (2006) so it should run on most modern configs.
Sadly Rocket League that was originally planned to be released before the end of December keeps being pushed back, and now it could be as late as March until we see the actual port on Linux:
Just yesterday, some folks did notice that SteamDB seemed to indicate the upcoming port of Tomb Raider, the 2013 game. We have no idea at this stage who is responsible for the port. It could be Feral again, but they have not announced anything yet, nor was there anything we could guess about this game in their Feral Radar. Since I have played this game before, all I can say is that it’s probably as close as an Uncharted game that you’ll ever going to get on a non-Playstation platform.
One thing we know for sure, however, is that XCOM2 is coming along nicely since Feral did a live Twitch streaming session a few days ago to showcase the gameplay on Linux. It seems likely that it would be coming as a Day 1 port, but we won’t be sure until February 5th. Street Fighter V is also planned for a Feb 15th date, while we still don’t know whether we should expect a Day 1 release or not.
ARMA3 seems to be progressing well, too, as indicated by GamingOnLinux: they have plans to upgrade their Linux beta to make it compatible with BattleEye servers. If things continue to go well we may finally get a full release in this year.
Progress on ongoing ports is great, but new announced ports is even better. We are now aware that Undertale, Master of Orion and Black Mesa will be coming to Linux at some point. Black Mesa was supposed to remain a free mod in the first place, but well…
A member of the r/linux_gaming community has also recently launched OpenGameBenchmark to gather benchmarks of Linux games. This is a good initiative to have one source where multiple tests can be compared and analysed. The author also provides the actual graph of the framerate along with the median, first quartile and third quartile from each benchmark which is a great way to understand how steady the framerate is.
On the SteamOS/Steam Machines front, nothing much new apart from a 2.60 SteamOS release that now supports Bluetooth devices. I have not tried it yet, but this could pave the way to easier setup of Playstation controllers, as well as headphones/speakers and the like. Of course it’s already possible to do so by yourself, if you go in the command line and install the appropriate packages, but at least now it seems Valve cares about it enough to try to make things more user-friendly. More upstream work is happening to support XboxOne controllers on Linux too, as indicated by this pull request by Valve for the 4.5 kernel. This should be directly linked to the Steam Machines, since we know Valve tries to push for SteamOS to use the latest kernels as much as possible for hardware support.
And I think that’s about it for this month. As you can see, things are getting ready in many ways, so while releases were few, we can expect most of the action to occur in February. There will be definitely more to write about soon.