What happens when you pour water over lava? You get steam. I think when Q-Games’ Pixeljunk Shooter came out for the PS3 in 2009, where the player manipulates the levels using molten rock, water, and a magnetic fluid that I’m going to call “Polly”, they were dropping a hint that it would eventually end-up on Steam. I told no-one of this supposition, but now I wish I had. The gloopy game of fluid dynamics is landing on the PC in November, and I would have looked amazing.
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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’
RPS Feature Haptically Ever After
Valve? Making its own OS for living rooms? Madness. Pure, coldly calculated and entirely premeditated madness. But SteamOS’ success is far from guaranteed, and it’s got some serious hurdles to overcome before it can establish a New World Order. Last time around, I gathered developers of games like Project Eternity, Gone Home, Mark of the Ninja, The Banner Saga, and Race The Sun to discuss who SteamOS/Steam Boxes are even for and the relative “openness” of Valve’s platform in light of, er, Greenlight. Today, we dig even deeper, into the strange, nebulous guts of Linux and what sorts of challenges and opportunities Valve’s crazy, newfangled controller presents. There are even some hands-on impressions from Dejobaan and Paradox. Read on for THE FUTURE.
Nvidia‘s history of Linux support has been – to put it very, very lightly – rocky at best, but apparently that’s all about to change. The hardware manufacturer is now throwing its considerable weight behind both SteamOS and Linux as a whole, even going so far as to promise it’ll release documentation on its GPUs to the Linux community so as to help ease compatibility issues. Meanwhile, the meaner, greener side of the graphicsability wars boasts of engineers “embedded at Valve” to hammer SteamOS into rip-roaring, console-busting shape. Which, I suppose, makes sense, given that AMD is supplying innards for both Microsoft and Sony.
As the internet held its breath and the countdown reached zero, speculation in the RPS chatroom reached fever pitch. And after the announcement was made, John bellowed, “I PREDICTED THAT!”. He did, you know. Valve are releasing an operating system, SteamOS and this is what we know.
As we’ve been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.
To hear Valve tell it, the mega-developer’s Seattle lair is a boundless, endlessly blossoming field of creativity – not some rigidly structured hive of hirings and firings. People clamber into the top secret treehouse, and then they affix themselves to whatever project strikes their fancy, or so the story goes. But it’s a bit tougher to bite those claims hook, (company) line, and sinker when not-so-good-old-fashioned layoffs strike. Earlier this year, Valve let go of around 30 employees, many of whom were allegedly involved in hardware and Steam Box endeavors. Rumblings suggested the sudden turn of events signaled a change of focus for Valve, but all we got beyond that was the world’s longest “no comment” from Gabe Newell. As it turns out, however, Valve’s Steam Box survived the Great Valve Purge of ’13, and now some sort of reveal is just around the corner.
In recent years, Valve hasn’t proven too terribly consistent when it comes to, well, anything (cases in point: the recent ire-inducing layoffs, allegedly being a videogame company), but it can lay claim to one spotless record: Steam sales. If there’s an occasion, you can bet crazy Newell’s game, productivity software, wearable computing, and probably soon-to-be used car emporium will be on the spot to wheel and deal. Naturally, then, Steam Linux’s triumphant exit from beta is being heralded by a gigantic, Linux-centric sale. March past the break in a manner akin to that of a penguin for details.
The Valve shudders as gears lock into position, a thin jet of Steam erupts from the machine, scalding a penguin’s bum. My latest collection of poetry inspired by climate change, the guffaw-inducingly titled Global Warning, is out in February. In other news, Valve have made the Steam For Linux beta available for everyone. Development news is found on the community site and the beta now supports 39 games, listed here. Even though I don’t use Linux myself, I have now decided that I’m giving it to everyone for Christmas.
This is admittedly a bit of an “ooh a thing may be happening sort of at an unknown point in the possible future”, but I’m frankly quite fascinated by the moves THQ are making as they battle to fend off moneypocalypse. The Humble THQ Bundle was divisive, what with it not involving the DRM-free indie games that Humble has become synonymous with, but one thing it seems to be is a sign of THQ striving to court a PC audience after long years of being very much console-focused. The PC-only Company of Heroes 2 appears to be a very big deal for them (and Metro: Last Light too, a preview of which I’ll bring you later this week), but now they might maybe perhaps possibly be going one further – they’re talking about Linux support for their games. This is not the usual MO of a large publisher.
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With the announcement of Steam’s expansion to the Linux platform, lots of aspects have been highlighted as possibly significant. It could be a strike against Microsoft and their desktop-unfriendly Windows 8. It could be a movement away from closed source systems. It could be a strike against DRM. Or it could be the infestation of GNU/Linux with DRM. But one thing you don’t see often mentioned is the matter of drivers. Because, well, they’re boring – right? But it seems Nvidia have made a big improvement to the ones they offer hungry penguins today.
By way of careful study and hundreds of hours of naturalistic observation, I’ve ascertained that some PC gamers actually don’t like Windows 8 all that much. Which – in retrospect – seems like a pretty tremendous waste of my time, because it was punch-me-in-the-eyeball obvious all along. But while everyone else becomes vocally enraged, outraged, and other directions of rage, Valve’s actually trying to do something about it. The king of swing (and also PC gaming) is pushing to build Linux into a viable gaming platform with Steam for Linux, and now, it’s taken the oh-so-crucial step of, you know, letting said masses use it.