What’s New Since April ?

That’s a valid question since I was more or less off for the past 3 weeks ! There’s actually quite a few things to talk about, so let’s make sure we did not miss anything. First, there has been quite a lot of activity regarding upcoming ports and new games confirmed:

  • Civilization VI. After the previous Civilization V (a good game) and Beyond Earth (a not so good one) ports on Linux, we can now expect a (Day 1?) release of Civilization VI for our platform as well. It’s supposed to come out on October 21st this year.

  • Stardew Valley: this Open-Farming-RPG with Japanese looks has been confirmed for Linux as well, following the recent release on Windows in February 2016.

  • Worms WMD: it’s TBD but Linux is clearly planned along with other platforms. They are apparently recreating the look and feel of the original Worms game for this new episode, and while it remains mostly 2D, the graphics seem extremely polished. I’m actually excited by this one!

  • Hearts of Iron IV: we were already aware it was coming for Linux, and a recent update confirmed not only that the game will be much easier to mod, but that they already have working Linux builds in development (according to the screenshots running on Ubuntu).

  • Corpse Party: for its PC release, XSEED has decided to rewrite their game engine completely to a different language, and the added benefit is an upcoming SteamOS/Linux version according to a recent development post. You could already play it on Linux via PPSSPP for example, but having a proper desktop version is highly desirable.

  • F1 2015: it’s been leaked and removed several times on Feral’s website (so there’s no link I can give you right now), but let’s not kid ourselves and pretend it does not exist. It’s now pretty clear it’s coming at some point – while Codemasters is currently developing the upcoming F1 2016 game.

  • Dirt Rally: while we lack an official announcement it seems like it’s coming to Linux according to SteamDB changes. This is one of the best racing games to date, and probably the best rally game ever – it’s amazing to get a port that soon after the recent Dirt Showdown and GRID Autosport ports for Linux.

Note that there are still no news about Rocket League, which is now WAY late versus any prediction from the devs. It’s like the Divinity: Original Sin fiasco all over again. With any luck, the community will be completely dead by the time it launches on Linux. Great.

Now in terms of recent releases:

  • Stellaris is now out. It’s apparently a very approachable Sci-Fi Management game, but several critics pointed out the weakness of the AI. Net, it does many things right but lacks in other areas compared to previous Paradox games. Expect patches and/or DLCs down the way.

  • The Culling, a Battle-Royale kind of simulator, has now SteamOS support. Too bad the game has got mixed reviews in the past 30 days…

  • Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf. I’m not really sure if I would enjoy any Golf game in front of a computer screen, but if you consider Golf a sport, well that’s one of the very few sports game we now have on Linux. I’d be a lot more excited by a soccer game, but we’ll have to be more patient for such things.

  • Vector36 (in development) is a Physics-based racer taking place on Mars. It has just received a Linux client.

WINE’s implementation of DX10 is making real progress even though it’s under the radar these days. It seems like the DX10 implementation is already close to be finished, while DX11 will still require a lot more work. But with DX10 support, it opens the door for games like Just Cause 2 and a few others, but most of DX10 games also work with DirectX9 so that’s not the real hanging fruit. DX11 is where the real game is, with a lot more recent AAA titles requiring DX11 to work. We are already getting some of those games with the work of professional porters like Feral, Aspyr or VP, but games from specific publishers (EA, Ubi Soft) may never see the light of day on Linux and that’s why having WINE for such games is a great option.

There’s even news for SteamOS with the Release of 2.70 as a new stable target. Among the numerous small changes and security updates, we get an updated nVidia driver (not the latest one, but 355.x series. which is better than 352.x we were stuck with for a long time…). This update brings Vulkan to SteamOS, and can in theory work with the Talos Principle. I did try to run it, but somehow the Talos Principle refuses to run for me under 2.70. I guess I’ll have to file a bug somewhere…

That’s all for now, but that was a mouthful.

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