LinuxGameCast Weekly EP178 – Devil’s Bradvocate

The VALVeberry Pi goes native! Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut brings the MODS, someone leaked HL3 details on the Reddits, and another Steam developer goes full-metal Streisand. Then Taimumari faces the CHAIRQUISITION! All this, plus your hate mail.

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Steam

News

Review

Hate Mail


Steam News:

Colour key: Venn Jordan Pedro

They’ve gone native
http://steamcommunity.com/app/353380/discussions/1/451850849178928882/

  • That’s a slightly slower version of my ARCHOS 101 G9 with only half the RAM.
    • It could/can run Netflix and Plex but only just.
      • That’s more or less what I was saying last week
  • How is this going to work though?
    • Poorly!
  • Using C++ for  your app ecosystem is a bold move Cotton.  Let’s see how it plays out.
  • The linux example is very instructive.
  • WHAR DooM port!?

Ooops
https://steamdb.info/forum/790/

  • Valve accidentally published a partner-only recap of the Winter Sale to the SteamVR blog.
  • Basically confirms what we already know.    The steam sales are good for everyone involved.   Especially Valve.
    • But especially the developers and end users.
      • But especially valve
        • You said VALVe, twice.
          • Valve are you valving about?  I valve valvectly good valve.

Speeeeed
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/01/valve-deploys-100gbps-internet-ports-to-handle-75-traffic-growth/

Confirmed!
https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/40j84n/drama_in_rhalflife_possibly_the_first_legitimate/

  • Only because that “I’ve played Fallout 4” post way back when.
  • It all sounds very nice, but we will have to wait and see.
  • If anything, we’re probably not going to hear anything official until Vulkan becomes a real boy
  • Welcome to Reddit Drama Cast, I’m just gonna go away and keep fueling some more stupid rumors.

Feral evil
https://www.feralinteractive.com/en/news/572/

  • Another Sega game comes out for Linux
  • Further fueling the speculation that the Dreamcast 2-thing may be a Linux based console.
    • That was never  an official sega Press release.   Just some folks trying to convince sega that it’s worth it to get back into the hardware game  Honestly, I don’t think it’s worth it for sega to go back into the hardware game.   And honestly, aside from AI, there aren’t that many great performing current sega games under linux
    • “Project Dream” is not Dreamcast 2, but a campaign to get SEGA into the game console market again.
  • 4:3 goodness.
  • Now we can fill 50% of an SSD with the “Segaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” music!
  • But will it beat COH2 For performance?
    • Don’t even joke about that.

Now with mods
http://steamcommunity.com/games/404730/announcements/detail/58911146479153526

  • Don’t see any mentions of the Steam Workshop *BOOO*
  • Steam has made me lazy.
  • If I’m gonna use mods by the time I finally get around to playing Wasteland 2 to the end, I don’t want to go hunting for them on sketchy ass websites and follow readmes that make me look like a competent writer in comparison.
  • Well, I for one won’t turn my nose up to mod support.   More games should get on that business.

x86 32bits !
http://store.steampowered.com/app/435080/?snr=1_7_7_230_150_1

  • How am I supposed to play it on my 286 then!
  • 32-bit ONLY?!11!?
  • Guess we’ll never see a Atari Jaguar port [sic]
  • Have we gone full circle and are now back to the olden times when Myst came out?
  • Dear indie devs: Myst only did that because the hardware at the time couldn’t handle a fully rendered 3D world in which you could move around.
  • Nowadays, even a low end netbook can play Real Myst.
  • Seems like the devel is a class act.

Supposedly coming for Linux
http://www.overclock3d.net/articles/gpu_displays/homefront_the_revolution

  • Seeing as it’s a Deep Silver game, I’m guessing eON.
    • I’d say one more and they go on the shit list.  You can only ride on Metro’s coattails for so long
  • I’m curious since DeepS purchased the title from Crytek.
    • Curious if the version of cryengine they’re using is the one with support for an OpenGL renderer.   Ah, who are we kidding.   They’re going to go with the cheaper option.
      • Prove me wrong deep silver!
  • Tweets are not a good way to confirm games.
    • Let’s just say if you’re taking release cues from David Scammell, you have bigger issues to worry about.
      • Why did you make me include a picture of Nory?
    • Deep Silver themselves are confirming it, this time.

News:

316.18
https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/910375

  • Added support for two new video cards
  • But I’m curious, since that steam regression was sneakily fixed with the last driver released, what other sneakiness have they been up to
  • I asked Aaron and he said:
    • “There are often changes to the code that don’t end up with a changelog entry. E.g., 361.18 hacoms some SLI fixes that didn’t make it into the changelog before the build happened.”

 

i915 GRiD Autosport bwahahahahahaha
http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/mesa-announce/2016-January/000196.html

  • Hey, even if you have to run the game on low, it’s better than not at all
  • We talk a lot about how linux breathes new life into older hardware, but for gaming that is not the case. Anything done to correct the issue is a step forward in the right direction
  • In all fairness, you still get better performance out of an Iris Pro than an R9 290 with the open sauce drivers.

 

And?
http://www.anandtech.com/show/9938/amd-cuts-price-of-radeon-r9-nano-to-499

  • This is why I wish AMD would pull a Summer /w thier drivers.
  • I would LOVE to make a Steam boxen /w one BUT
  • If you want to spend $499 on a card that delivers 960 performance, have at.
  • And to be fair, why would they give a shit about their OpenGL implementation when they make a lot of their money on their directX givings
    • Oh wait, except for that lucrative enterprise market they’ve been desperately clawing at in order to make a dent
  • As far as Linux is concerned, you’re still better off with the Mini ITX GTX 970 from Asus or Gigabyte.
  • It performs better and it’s cheaper.

 

Oh Fnap!
https://github.com/FNA-XNA/FNA/blob/master/src/FNAPlatform.cs

  • Flibit’s done and added a platform abstraction layer for FNA.   Now you can add more supported platforms, beyond Win/Mac/Linux/Android/Etc

 

Ozzy
https://github.com/obozrenie/obozrenie

  • Sort of reminds me of gamespy from back in the day
    • Yahoo’s All Seeing Eye was what I used.
  • Neat, but don’t most of these have in-game browsers?
    • Might be neat if something like this was integrated into Lutris, so you could launch the game and join the server a la steam.

 

Re-fund
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/epicmindsinc/midora-0/posts/1463740?ref=backer_project_update

  • Protip: Don’t base your Kickstarter goal on hopes that you will get a publisher / additional investors.
  • Homecheese is not offering refunds; he’s letting people know that he would like to.
  • So much stockholm syndrome in the comments section.   Although at this point, most of us are used to unfulfilled kickstarter goals
    • *Carmageddon waves in the distance*

 

Wall run
https://www.unvanquished.net/?p=930

  • You can power slide, but no cock push ups.
  • they’ve also given the players super upper body strength, as now you zoom up ladders.
  • Fix a division by zero bug.
    • cmake -Dchuck_norris=1
  • No other funny commit messages from their commit bot.   Sad.

 

NWScripting Xoreos
https://xoreos.org/blog/2016/01/12/disassembling-nwscript-bytecode/

  • Basically, the scripting you can do in the Aurora toolset will let the Xoreos project (with some LUA thrown in there) fill in the blanks of every single game that uses the Aurora Engine (KOTOR, NWN ,NWN 2, Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Sonic Chronicles for the DS).
  • They’ve created a decompiler and have, to some degree of success been able to decompile some bytecode from NwN and have it dumped.
  • They’re hoping to have the decompiler create a .ncs file which can in theory be decompiled much more easily.

CHAIRQUISITION:
CHAIR
– Nooope

CHAIRCHAIR– Not sure if want

CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR– Check it out

CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR– Shutupandtakemymonies


Game: Taimumari (pending)
Webzone:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/375520/
Devel: TERNOX
Engine:
GameMaker: Studio
Price: 4.99 / CDN 5.49

Wazzat: Retro-style platform game in keeping with the best traditions of games of our childhood! Take control of the Himari, the young female wizard travelling across various ages to settle the balance in time across the whole world!


Makes with the working

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

J-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

P-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR


Total-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIRCHAIR


Shiny / Sounds

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • It’s hipster-pixel tastic!
  • Fortunately on a scale of fugly to meh it leans towards meh.
  • It’s the best kind of meh you can expect from someone who never played retro games on a 480i CRT.
  • That said, the sounds are as close to legit as I’ve heard in a long time.

J-CHAIRCHAIR

  • Yeah, they’re just kind of there.   Nothing terrible, but really nothing remarkable either

P-CHAIRCHAIR

  • I can’t give it 1 chair because the graphics, hipster-pixely as they are, work and the sounds, grating and ear-stab inducing as those are, do work as well.
  • That said, I muted both the “music” and sound effects after 5 minutes.

Total-CHAIRCHAIR


Control

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • Works OOTB /w the Xclone.
  • Double jump can be hit-or-miss at the absolute worst times.

J-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • Takes a bit of fuckery to make it work with the steam controller, but once that’s done it controls tightly

P-CHAIRCHAIR

  • That full controller support is a lie!
  • The game is clearly detecting the controllers, both the F310 and the SHIELD show up on the options menu.
  • None of the buttons do anything, though.
  • I don’t mind platforming with the keyboard
  • But this was very clearly meant to be played with the controller.

Total-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR


FUN

V-CHAIRCHAIRCHAIR

  • In an age where I own 350+ LINUX games, it’s easy to forget the days of NES/Master System.
  • Back then you might only get 2 or 3 games a year and you played the ever loving shite out of them no matter the difficulty.
  • I mean what else were you going to do? Go outside?
  • Hell, if Shadow Warriors was released today it would be called rage-bait.
  • These days, if a game genuinely challenges the player (even on easy) it’s often called FK YOU hard for the sake of being FK YOU hard™
  • Usually by millennials who consider the latest wave of hand-holding hipster-pixel bullsh*t “retro gaming”
  • I’m not saying rage-platformers don’t exist *glares at Super Meat Boy* but they are usually built for that purpose.
  • Taimumari is FK YOU hard for a different reason… it’s poorly made.
    • No knockback (enemies run straight through you)
    • Double jump spite fails (granted, it keeps things interesting)
    • Protagonist is covered in crazy glue (chucks of levels consists of running from thing X)
  • At the end of the day you are fighting a poorly made game but FSM help me beating a level is hella satisfying.
  • In fact, I’m almost tempted to say $4.99 is a small price to pay for a game that made me wish my monitor “peace among worlds” in celebration.
  • I beat two levels, bitches.

J-CHAIRCHAIR

  • This game borrows a lot from the classic megaman formula
  • The no knockback thing is ok, considering you stun the enemy in place for about a second or two
  • Using the rear buttons on the steam controller helps a lot with double jumping
  • And then it turns into tappy chicken
  • The platforming is actually pretty fun.   The boards are just a little too unvaried for my taste
  • I have no strong feelings one way or the other

P-CHAIR

  • Oh look, it’s a youtube-bait rage platformer.
  • There is no skill involved here.
  • All it takes is 5% of memory and 95% of trial and error.
  • After 10 minutes of playing this game I had my opinion “set in stone”, as it were.
  • I only played to the one hour mark for the sake of the Chairs.
    • Steam says I played over 100 minutes, but that’s because I Alt+Tab’ed out and forgot it was running.
  • This is one of those platformers that brings absolutely nothing new to the genre.
  • It’s just regurgitating tropes and borrowing mechanics wholesale from other, much better, games.
  • Hell! It even has what can only be described as Flappy Bird segments, on some of the levels.
  • If you want me to care about your hipster pixel action platformer, you better do something different.
  • Like Risk of Rain. That’s a good game! Go play that instead.

Total-CHAIRCHAIR


Final –CHAIRCHAIR


Hate Mail:

Looking
http://slexy.org/view/s2prNSafT8

  • Let’s break this down:
    • This doesn’t really matter. But, since you’re coming from Windows, Linux Mint (with cinnamon), Lubuntu, Xubuntu or Ubuntu Mate will feel the most familiar.
    • This one depends on your budget, if you have $300 to spend GTX 970, $200 – 960, $1000 Titan X or a 980Ti.
    • Your best option here is to, assuming you went with Mint or one of the Ubuntu flavors, install the WINE builds ppa and WINE-staging:
      • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wine/wine-builds
      • sudo apt-get update
      • sudo apt-get install wine-staging
      • Then you can just run the Battle.net installer and most games should JustWork™
  • If you use Windows for gaming you might as well keep using Windows for gaming, it’s good for that.
  • I’m a Linux user who likes to game and that’s where you need to start, or you are going to have a bad time.Don’t take this the right way, but you don’t know what distro/DM you should use.
  • You need to learn the OS first and find the mix that works for you.
  • Spend some time /w the Penguin and caress its hips (they have them, look it up)
  • Gaming isn’t really a reason to switch to linux.  I cut over full time because I hate working in windows, and only after games started to become available for linux
  • If you’re a fan of multiplayer games, I wouldn’t recommend switching because a lot of the more popular ones out there are windows only/tricksy to get running in WINE
  • Additionally, Windows games tend to be more performant than their linux counterparts simply because most developers really don’t know how to work with openGL
  • With all of that in mind, I encourage you to take the plunge.   So many headaches went away by ditching windows, but be mindful that there is a learning curve.   Not all OSes are created equal, so don’t expect everything to work the way you’re used to
  • Also, suck it up and learn some command line.  It’s really not that hard.
4 Comments
  1. The xoreos NWScript bullet points are not quite what I wrote. They’re not quite correct.

    First of all, a .ncs is just the compiled bytecode. NWScript is written as a C-like source code, saved as something.nss, then compiled to a stack-based bytecode as something.ncs. This is nothing we do, that’s what the original game and the original toolset does. The original Neverwinter Nights game, and all the other Aurora-based games, use this as their scripting language. There’s two exceptions: Sonic Chronicles, which doesn’t do any scripts at all (AFAIK), and The Witcher, which uses NWScript in addition to Lua. All the other games use only NWScript.

    All of them (except Sonic) come with the compiled .ncs files, because that’s what the original game runs, that’s what the original games use for their game logic. Some of the games, particularily NWN and NWN2, also provide the .nss source files for most (or all) of their scripts, to make modding easier. That was a huge selling point for NWN back in the day.

    The later games, however, only come with the compiled bytecode, the .ncs files. This is bad for modding and for figuring out what these scripts do, because they’re not readable by humans. So what we do is take the .ncs file and make it readable again. For the first step, we have created a disassembler.

    This distinction is import. We have a disassembler now, not a decompiler. The disassembler is an easier transform, and a decompiler build upon it. For example, where the raw bytecode, what’s in the .ncs file, would say, in hexadecimal

    0403000000010403000000021420

    the disassembly would be

    CONSTI 1
    CONSTI 2
    ADDII

    The “04” is CONST (push a constant value to the stack), “03” is “I” (it’s an integer value), “00000001” is the value 1. “0403” is again CONSTI (push a constant value to the stack), “00000002” is the value 2. “14” is ADD (pop the two upper-most values from the stack, add them together and push the result back onto the stack) and “20” means “II” (operate on two integer values).

    This is what currently works. In addition, there’s some further analyzing of the stack variables these instructions create and finding of basic control structures. These are the first steps on the road to a decompiler, but the final step has not been taken yet.

    The decompiler, the one we would like to have in the future, would then transform this assembly into

    var_0 = 1;
    var_1 = 2;
    var_2 = var_0 + var_1;

    I.e. the result of a decompiler would be C-like NWScript source code (which commonly has the file extension .nss). This is currently not working. Thanks to the finding of the control structures we already do, this will hopefully not be all to difficult, though.

    Furthermore, this particular example could then be simplified more, by removing those temporary variables. This would result in

    var_0 = 1 + 2;

    The idea is to make the decompiled script as small and readable as possible, and also make it so that it could be modified by a human (to extend some functionality, for example), and compiled into .ncs again for the game.

    You may have noticed the “var_0”, “var_1”, “var_2” variable names. Unfortunately, the compiler, when it transforms the .nss source into the compiled .ncs bytecode, removes all human-readable variable names and all code comments. They are not needed to execute the script, so they’re thrown away and there’s no way to bring them back.

  2. And extending a bit on the “why”: this disassembler (nor a decompiler) is not, strictly speaking, needed to run the game itself.

    xoreos can (and already does) interpret the compiled bytecode, the .ncs files, just like the original games do. There is a lot of functionality connected to this script system missing in xoreos, but that’s not why the disassembler exists.

    Simply put, having the disassembler makes it way easier to debug the script system that’s in xoreos, in the case I made a mistake somewhere. It also provides a way I can double-check my assumptions, making sure what I wrote is correct in the first place. Also also, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II extend the script bytecode a bit, and this helped me figure out the extensions.

    In addition, the disassembler (and moreso a decompiler) is hopefully useful for the modding communities that still exists around those games. So even if xoreos never gets somewhere, at least there’s semi-useful tools that came out of it.

  3. Oh, and yes, the “xoreos Team” is, still, mostly just me. But not entirely! There are a few contributors, and xoreos would be of several improvements poorer without them. I wouldn’t want their contributions dimished or forgotten. See also my 2015 retrospective: https://xoreos.org/blog/2015/11/27/not-thanksgiving-2015/ .

    Nevertheless, more contributors are desperately needed. This is a massive project, and there’s a lot to do: https://wiki.xoreos.org/index.php?title=TODO

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