Steam on Linux: Still not quite there yet.

I recently installed ubuntu linux on my PC to give it a test run. And then I remembered there’s now a linux version of the Steam client, so I decided to give it a go also.

The selection of available games is, as expected, not very large, but there’s a good selection of valve’ s own products, portal, team fortress, etc. So I decided to download Team Fortress.

Unfortunately the game crashes suddenly when opening the advanced options menu and drops you to the desktop with no warning or error messages. So… nice idea but the execution is just not there yet.

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Ingress – augmented reality mobile game

I’ve recently been playing something new, a mobile phone GPS based augmented reality game called Ingress.

The game has a story based around exotic matter portals (Which can be found overlayed over real world features near where you live such as fountains, subway stations or statues) and sets two factions of players to take control and create links between the portals.

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You pick one of the sides in the global campaign and then you set out to explore the surrounding area and the portals you can find there. You can extract energy and items by “hacking” the portals, you can claim ownership of free portals and reinforce them with various shields and defense turrets, and you can link them with other portals belonging to your faction. And of course you can try to damage the defenses of the enemy portals and try to take them over.

I’m playing on an android phone, my Samsung Galaxy S III
,the game is only available for android devices at the moment but it’s expected to release an iOs version for 2014. A data plan connection is required since you need to be constantly in touch with the server, but data use is not too large, about 5 mb per day.

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I go running and I tried the game on my usual route, the portal discovery process is similar to geocaching, as you find the places with the aid of your phone’s GPS on the game map. Distance to the locations is somewhat innacurate compared to other apps, I’m not sure if this is intentional for gameplay reasons or not, the map overlay is also devoid of information other than stylized streets in glowing blue lines, but it’s not too hard to get around. The distance counter seems to undercount severely as google my tracks gave me 17km for Ingress’s 5.

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On the pro side the searching process can be fun, and you discover a lot of new features of an area you may have thought you already knew well. There are a lot of small urban statues I had never noticed in my area. Also I imagine if you get into it the social aspect (There is a full featured chat app bundled in to talk with your faction and coordinate) would probably be fun.

On the con, having to stop and start constantly my run is probably not something I’ll be doing in the future. Although the distraction did make me run more than usual without noticing. Speaking of distractions, the app is VERY distracting, with swirling colours and computery voices and sound effects, and I notice myself less aware as I move along the streets, which is not a good thing. The screen also attracts attention, another possible danger if you end up wandering into the wrong neighborhood in search of a portal.

All in all an interesting experience, only a few years ago with was the province of near future science fiction novels, like Charlie Stross’s Halting State in which Intelligence agencies used augmented reality MMORPGs to get people to do their dirty work for them.

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Walk in the Woods

Walk in the Woods from Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery on Vimeo.

An interesting ipad gameplay video, very nice retro look to this game.

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Mirror’s edge parkour video

Amazing real life recreation of mirror’s edge gameplay!

And for good measure, here’s the trailer for the long awaited Mirror’s Edge 2 (Actually a prequel)

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Halo: Forward into dawn TV series

Part one of the new live action TV series set in the HALO universe, before the covenant war has just been released. It looks pretty good!

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Black Mesa: Source released

The long awaited fan mod that brings the classic Half Life 1 up to date in the source engine has just been released

While the consensus is that they have largely succeeded in a faithful remake that updates the classic Half Life to more modern visual standards, the game is still a tad buggy in this first release, with frequent lag and stuttering problems. All will probably be smoothed out in subsequent releases.

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X-Com remake trailer

It appears firaxis games have made a faithful X-com remake which will be released soon. Looking forward to seeing it!

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Left 4 dead fancomic – 20 car pileup achievement

IsisMasshiro’s created another great L4D fancomic for your enjoyment, see more of IsisMasshiro’s work here

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OUYA – open source, hack friendly console project

OUYA is an open source platform project for console gaming with the following specs

Tegra3 quad-core processor
1GB RAM
8GB of internal flash storage
HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth LE 4.0
USB 2.0 (one)
Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
Android 4.0

See the video for more info and check out the kickstarter project

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The last of us gameplay preview from E3

Another very impressive demonstration of interactive gameplay from naughty dog’s upcoming post apocalyptic game, The last of us. It seems highly realistic in game animation interactions are the in thing this year.

Gameplay wise, the world and graphics are beautiful, but one has to wonder if this is the level of combat that will be sustained throughout the game. From a narrative standpoint, it hurts the realism how our hero seems to shrug off a couple of bullet wounds, possibly less enemies, making damage count more would make it seem more realistic. We shall have to see!

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