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Shroud of the Avatar successfully Greenlit

Shroud of the Avatar, the new Richard Garriott RPG for Linux, Mac and Windows PC is staking a claim for a Steam release via Greenlight.



It has a prospective release date of first-half 2015.

That’s not particularly exciting but reminds us that development has been chugging along and that this crowd-funded game, unlike others, is well on its way to release.

Backers have been intermittently invited, since Christmas 2013, to play-test new builds of the game. What started off looking like a housing simulator now has proper player-versus-player combat and team arenas.

The budget, too, has risen, from the original Kickstarter sum of $1.9m, up to $4.8m.

Full-time live access to the unfinished game - rather than intermittent - is schedule for the end of the year.

Here’s a video with, err, interesting music, taken from the latest release - Release 9 - and showing PVP.

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Mother 4 coming to Linux and it will be completely free

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Rather than waiting for Nintendo to make a sequel to Mother (Earthbound aka Mother 2), a small team made up of fans of the original, are taking matters into their own hands by making a sequel to the highly-regarded RPG. After having been dormant since 2006, when Mother 3 hit the Game Boy Advance in Japan.

Starting work on a fourth game in the series — something which original creator Shigesato Itoi believes is “impossible” — a group of dedicated fans has decided to take matters into their own hands and produce Mother 4 themselves — without Nintendo’s support or, more importantly, its permission.

The game is scheduled for launch this year on Linux, Mac and Windows PC, and will only be released in English. Oh, and it’s going to be completely free of charge, too.



As you can see from the trailer, the team has certainly captured the look and sound of the original games. However, projects like this — even when not being produced for any commercial gain — are often viewed very dimly by copyright holders. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will allow such a venture to proceed without getting its legal department involved, but from what we’ve seen, it would be a real shame if such a heartfelt endeavour was nipped in the bud before release.

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Doublefine to release source code for Spacebase DF-9

Doublefine is set to pull the plug on Spacebase DF-9, to the disappointment of some who bought in via Steam Early Access.

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Spacebase DF-9 will officially exit Early Access as version 1.0 in October. The full source code will be released shortly thereafter, according to a Steam Community post.

Reception to the news has not been entirely positive. Doublefine has been accused of mismanagement of the project, and some users feel that the version 1.0 feature set is not as complete as they expected when they contributed to the game’s funding via Early Access.

Doublefine boss Tim Schafer opened a Steam Community discussion to respond to user questions, saying that Doublefine had an “open ended-production plan”, and was hoping to see the sort of successs some other alpha-funded games have enjoyed.

“We wanted to keep working on Spacebase for years. But Spacebase spends more money than it brings in, and that’s just not something we can afford to do any more.”

“Some of its early sales numbers indicated this might be the case, but slowly things changed, and it became clear that this was looking like a year and a half of production instead of five or so,” he said.

“With each Alpha release there was the hope that things would change, but they didn’t. We put every dime we made from Spacebase back into Spacebase, and then we put in some more. Obviously, spending more money than we were making isn’t something we can afford to do forever. So, as much as we tried to put off the decision, we finally had to change gears and put Spacebase into finishing mode and plan for version 1.0.

“We are not silently pulling the plug. We are announcing our finishing features and v1.0 plan. I know it’s not a lot of advance notice, but we’re still here telling you our plan instead of vanishing quietly in the night.”

Schafer said that Doublefine has learned a lot during this first foray into alpha-funded development and one of its key takeaways is that it needs to communicate more.

“There should have been more communication to the players about the state of the game, and we apologize for that,” he said.

“But for us, it was never clear whether development was going to end because we always hoped that the next update would turn it around and allow us to extend development. So I suppose, ultimately, the answer was we always had hope we weren’t going to end it, until the end.

“I understand that the recent announcement was a disappointment. It was for you, and it was for us. We wanted to keep working on Spacebase for years. But Spacebase spends more money than it brings in, and that’s just not something we can afford to do any more. Set up against the expectation of the game being in development as long as Prison Architect or Dwarf Fortress, it’s hard not to find fault in the game by comparison. But we continued to sell the game, and will continue to sell the game, because we feel that based solely on its own merits, Spacebase DF9 is still a fun, clever, hilarious, beautiful and complete game.”

The full post is a highly recommended read.

An Amnesia Fortnight project, Spacebase DF-9 hit Early Access in October 2013. It was partially funded by investment from the Indie Fund, and paid back that amount in less than two weeks.

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Action-roguelike TinyKeep released the end of September

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All the intense creature filled, randomly generated dungeons, ruins and hellscapes you could ever want will be available on Steam and other major digital distribution channels when Phigames and Digital Tribe release the highly anticipated indie crawler TinyKeep this September 29th for a suggested retail price of $14.99 on Windows PC.

Gamers eager to be the first to try and fight their way through the hordes of clever beasties and ever-changing trap-filled twisting pathways will be able to pick up TinyKeep on Steam at a special discount of -33% off of the suggested retail price at launch. This celebratory discount will run for a limited time.

Linux Game News reached out to Digital Tribe to make sure a native build is still in the works, “Linux ver is planned but still TBD on a date." Which makes the upcoming release sale of TinyKeep and randomly generated dungeons that much more appealing.

Players will assume the role of a hopeless prisoner held deep in a forgotten dungeon - left to perish in the deepest, darkest cells of the keep. The nights pass by and all hope seems lost, you realize that the end is drawing near. But on one fateful day, you wake up and find yourself mysteriously free of your shackles, and in front of you lies a broken, unlocked door. There is only one thing left to do, you must now escape TinyKeep!

"We wanted to create a game that feels alive, where the dungeon’s inhabitants have their own motivations and needs” says Phi Dinh, founder of Phigames. “For example, in one playthrough I decided to release a fellow prisoner from a makeshift wooden cell, but instead of being eternally grateful, he attempts to attack me in his crazed delirium. The noise attracted some nearby prison guards, who come rushing into the room, accidentally setting off a number of deadly spike traps. The next few minutes were absolute mayhem and chaos.”

Get a glimpse of what everyone is waiting for in this all new Teaser Trailer:



FEATURES INCLUDE
  • Procedurally generated random dungeons. No play-through is ever the same!
  • Watch your step as it can be your last! Extremely challenging Permadeath gameplay.
  • Explore a variety of beautiful but deadly environments. From the cold slimy walls of the dungeon to the hot fiery pits of hell, TinyKeep is a visual treat.
  • Battle a variety of intelligent enemies, each one determined to make your escape as difficult as possible. Creatures work together to chase you down, flee from threats and fight each other for dominance.
  • Use traps and environmental hazards to your advantage - fire, spike pits and rotating crushers hurt your enemies as well as you!
  • Collect coins from fallen foes to purchase random player-altering Buffs that just might give you the advantage you need to make it out alive.
  • Rescue other captives to fight alongside you, but beware as you never know which ones have gone crazy trapped up in the Keep.
  • Experience 3 separate endings to the game, depending on how you play.
  • Hours of gameplay with Secrets that extend the experience – Discover secrets and weapons that can slow down time, render you invincible or provide secret saves.
  • Includes Steam Achievements, Trading Cards and partial Controller Support.
TinyKeep will be available for Windows PC at launch, September 29th, for -33% off of the suggested retail price of $14.99 on Steam and other major digital distribution channels.

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Cannon Brawl gets an official Linux release on Steam

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Cannon Brawl officially released on September 19th with native Linux support at 25% off on Steam (Mac and Windows PC included)! Influenced by GunBound, developer Softnyx’s turn-based multiplayer game, as well as several other of his favorite game types. The release of Cannon Brawl also comes with full controller support while giving the gaming community another completely playable game on our beloved platform.



Here is the gist behind Cannon Brawl:
Cannon Brawl is an exciting mix of real time strategy and artillery gameplay. Command your airship to capture gold mines and build everything from cannons to lasers. Drop attack buildings from your airship, then pop into them to take skill shots at your opponent in real time. Upgrade each building to boost its devastating power. Advance across the kingdom in single player to unlock and discover new buildings, then experiment with each one to find your favorite combination in online multiplayer.

Addictively fun and fast-paced, Cannon Brawl is launching on Steam for PC and Mac.  This is an intense action-strategy game that combines the skill-based play of a classic artillery game with the rapid-fire pacing of an RTS. Matches are quick and players will need to think fast to outwit and outmaneuver their opponents.  Players choose from a wide array of pilots and war machines to create a combination of buildings that they can drop from airships across destructible 2D multiplayer maps to decimate their opponents.  With resource management, territory control, and war machine upgrades, players will find a fierce real-time battle experience wrapped up in an enchanting fantasy world.
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When a round begins, you find your castle positioned near the edge of a cramped map. As rousing battle themes pipe from your speakers, you stake your claim to verdant hills and blue skies, to deserts so yellow you might wish you could vacation within one. Floating landforms populate the foreground, which you and your opponent can blast away with shots from cannons, lasers, and other such contraptions. There’s no turn-based respite, though, in spite of the cheery vibe; you make your decisions and you execute all plans on the fly, with as little hesitation as possible. Speed is a necessity, or else you might line up a beautiful shot just in time to find out that your laser tower has been blasted to smithereens by a roaming ball of explosives.

Using your keyboard or a gamepad (the latter works particularly well), you can pilot the ship anywhere you like without having to worry about taking damage. You must make quick trips back to your castle to grab new structures, then plop them down at key points along the map. Your expansion options are limited at first, until you have placed enough surveillance balloons, mining camps, and other such attractions along the way. Then you can dock with a given point of interest—for example, a rocket launcher—and direct its actions. Although there are times when dropping buildings and docking require excess fiddling, particularly when too many structures are in close proximity, the interface works beautifully and allows you to work at the brisk clip gameplay demands.

As the game begins, there are only a few offensive measures available. Even once you advance far enough in the campaign that your list of options expands, you can bring along only a handful of tools. You almost always have to survive without something important, and your computer opponents are great at adapting to diffuse any winning tactic you might employ. This means that if you try one technique in a round and it fails for a particular reason, switching to a different one the next time around is no guarantee that you’ll find success: the AI could easily adapt and catch you by surprise in some other manner. Such adaptations keep matches interesting, because you always have to stay on your toes and watch for attacks from a few potential directions even as you replay the same map.

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You start by claiming as much territory as possible and building mines. Then you drop a few towers and dart between them, firing shots at your opponent and hopefully taking out his or her resources before the tide of battle can turn against you. Your greatest ally besides speed is momentum, and the combination of the two often wins out against the more creative and interesting approaches that the the game allows you to explore. Even in online matches, simple strategies easily overwhelm opponents using more varied forms of weaponry. Over time, you earn experience points that allow you to access additional pilots and structures in the armory.

The game’s difficulty level already feels punishing enough when you play on the higher settings. Almost before a round even begins, it throws up shields, health-regenerating towers, and upgrade cannons. Meanwhile, you might still be struggling just to get a few balloons in the air so you can start mining. Such battles commence with momentum and resources already working against you; the obstacles are hardly insurmountable, but if you want a fair conflict, you’re better off finding human opponents instead.

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Cannon Brawl is interesting to keep you more than entertained but once you start, time passes, you get apt to finding new in-game challenges. Then if you’re brave, take on higher difficulty settings or play online. If you can find a few friends at a similar skill level to challenge, you’ll likely enjoy several hours of strategy mayhem. Coupled with exceptionally nice graphics on accommodating sound effects and music, you will be engrossed in no time. To top it off… Cannon Brawl is now 25% off on Steam.

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Now officially available on Linux and Mac - Tropico 5

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Tropico 5 island simulator launched on Mac and Linux platforms yesterday, September 19, after making its debut back in May this year for PC.

The sim places players in the role of El Presidente, who is tasked with guiding the infamous island of Tropico through the centuries as the world changes and moves forward. He must also tackle the changing needs of his people, as well as opposing governments and factions, and thus lay the foundations for his own dynasty.

Despite prior word that Tropico 5 would reach the PlayStation 4 during 2014, a new announcement from publisher Kalypso Media bumps the banana republic simulation to “early 2015.” Kalyspo offers no explanation for the PlayStation 4 delay, but does note that the Xbox 360 version of Tropico 5, which has long been scheduled for a November 2014 release, has not been delayed.



In more positive news, the aforementioned message issued by Kalypso announces the launch of both Mac and SteamOS versions of Tropico 5. “Starting today, Mac & SteamOS users can now visit the island paradise of Tropico in the award-winning dictator sim,” the announcement states. Those suddenly interested in picking up a copy of Tropico 5 can find the game either on the Mac App Store or Steam.

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Neverending Nightmares due out in September on Steam

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You may see a few articles floating around other websites right now about a developer who suffered a rather big defeat with one of his other games, called Retro/Grade, but is taking another stab at it with a new psychological horror game called Neverending Nightmares for Linux, Mac, Windows PC and Ouya. Partly based on Retro/Grade creator Matt Gilgenbach’s own experience in dealing with mental health and the dark place he was after Retro/Grade.

Update: Sept. 18th, 2014 12:52pm PST: We have just received word on when this game will finally make it to the Ouya console. While there is still no official confirmation as to when Neverending Nightmare will be arriving for Android tablets, this game will be launching on the Ouya console and Steam,  September 26th, 2014. It will be on sale to celebrate its launch for $13.49. We will post another update once it is live.

While this game explores certain mental health issues, it is coming from Matt’s own experiences and battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. The game consists of 2D black & white visuals, with splashes of red for blood, and an incredibly dark and atmospheric soundtrack. While the graphics are 2D, the developer is using 3D graphics techniques to create the more stylized look the game has. The visuals are also very vivid, graphic and twisted at times.



Neverending Nightmares will have players dealing with all sorts of nightmares and horrors. Stealth will play a large role in this game and overall the game is about exploration. The more vulnerable you are at any point in this game, the more amplified the horror in the game becomes. Working to avoid confrontation is key but if you have to fight, there are some combat mechanics to take advantage of.

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FPS roguelike Heavy Bullets now released on Steam

Heavy Bullets, an FPS roguelike wherein you only have six bullets, has launched on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam through publisher Devolver Digital (of Hotline Miami and Hatoful Boyfriend fame).

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We posted news about Heavy Bullets before it launched on Steam Early Access, but for the uninitiated, it’s a procedurally-generated psychedelic shooter about someone trying to reset a security mainframe in a neon Tron-like environment.

Armed with only six bullets, players must make each shot count. Thankfully, players can snatch their bullets back from downed enemies in a Towerfall-like fashion, although they can only reload one bullet at a time.

Non-ammo items will be limited too, as you can only hold one item at a time - unless you find a backpack. Some items include homing bombs, a teleporter, and coin magnets. You can even invest in things like a life insurance policy or will to give you an advantage in your next attempt.

Heavy Bullets typically costs $9.99, but it’s 15 per cent off at $8.49 through 25th September. Here’s a launch trailer.



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Sylvio horror game on Greenlight with a new trailer

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Indie developer Niklas Swanberg has just released a trailer for the upcoming Sylvio, a horror game about a woman who records the voices of ghosts.

The trailer is spooky and intriguing, and sets up the plot of the game. In search of good ghost conversation, protagonist Juliette sets off for an abandoned (and cursed) park, which was shut down in the seventies, after a deadly storm wiped out a bunch of people.



The game has a definite David Lynch vibe, who is listed as a direct inspiration. The music, the heroine, the old-timey nostalgia and even the overall theme (there’s a darkness in the woods!) scream David Lynch, while the set-up is pure Silent Hill.

Sylvio is currently up for vote on Steam Greenlight. It’s slated for release on Linux, Mac and Windows PC, with no firm release date at the time of writing.



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Crusader Kings 2 sold more than one million units

Crusader Kings 2 sells more than one million units

Crusader Kings II, the Paradox Interactive developed game, has sold more than one million units. The game launched in February 2012 for the Linux, Mac and Windows PC. The game has seen many pieces of DLC released with combined sales of more than seven million units.

“Whenever we discuss the sort of games we like to make, and the sort of fans we make them for, Crusader Kings II is one of the titles we point to as a shining example,” said CEO Fredrik Wester. “I want to thank every one of those million fans who have picked up Crusader Kings II for proving our point about game design for the truly dedicated. We make games for people who want to dive deep and explore a title with endless possibilities, where each player develops their own in-game story - and our players have responded.”

Players have spent on average 99 hours of play time and averages 12,500 players every single day. There is also more than 100,000 monthly active users.

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Quoting Deadly Premonition in the Merge Games Weekly Bundle

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The Humble Weekly Bundle: Merge Games runs for one week and will end the coffee break on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time.


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Counter-Strike: GO meets Gone Home in map mod

If you felt like Fullbright's coming-of-age drama Gone Home was missing something, and that something is guns, then you’re in luck! Steam modder Nipper has faithfully recreated that game’s setting, the Greenbriar estate, as a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map.

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For the true Gone Home experience, play this mod while listening to Heavens to Betsy.

There’s even a hint of a story as Nipper infused this spin-off with the following description: “Your family is mysteriously missing again. But you can figure that out later. Right now you have more pressing issues to attend to, like the fact that your house is full of terrorists and some dude has been taken hostage. Rescue him by taking him to the garage where you can make a swift getaway on that old bike thats been sitting there for twenty years.”

The level supports up to 32 players, but Nipper suggests playing it with significantly fewer than that. The Greenbriar’s new home is large by middle-class suburban standards, but smaller than your average urban warzone.

You can download cs_gonehome here on Steam Workshop, or check out a video of it in action below. And even though Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is not fully available on Linux just yet, playing the mod in WINE still lends to the experience.



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