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Posts tagged “Linux

Video Game Review – Killing Floor 2

Wanna get chased around by Zombies on a series of different maps? Thought Killing Floor 1 was too tough for you? Well Killing Floor 2 is here, but it’s no easier! Grab some friends, buy some guns from the trader and get ready for the next wave, as we’re looking towards the last wave, to fight any boss that comes our way – But how does this compare to its predecessor? Our full review is here!

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Mobile Game Review: AdVenture Capitalist

Clicker games kicked off when an innoculous little game called Cookie Clicker hit the internet, to which we all had a good laugh. There were earlier clicker games, the technical genre name called incremental, but most people will cite Cookie Clicker as the first. But since then, the genre has gotten a lot more variety. One of the most popular and well-rounded clicker game is AdVenture Capitalist, which was created on the Browser Game website, Kongregate. It’s been on mobile as well as Steam for a while now, so what can this clicker game offer for us and is it actually any good?

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Video Game Review: Turmoil

There are few things in life more boring than the fluctuating market that is the oil industry. I mean seriously, prices go up, prices go down… And to make a full game out of that concept sounds like a dreadful idea. Or is it? Turmoil is a single-player oil extracting and selling game, which sees you buying the equipment to drill into and suck out all of the oil of a plot of land, then sell it on for a profit to Left Inc or Right Inc. Intrigued about selling oil? Then be prepared to check out Turmoil in this in depth review.

*No, this isn’t Turmoil from the ZX Spectrum.

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Cook, Serve, Delicious

It’s time to put on your chefs hat, some comfortable shoes and sharpen your skills. The hours ahead are long and hard to get ahead in the world of catering and this is beautifully simulated in Cook, Serve, Delicious. It was developed by Vertigo Gaming and originally release back in 2013, currently available for Linux, Windows and OSX via Steam (£6.99) and HumbleBundle (£7.99); there is also are versions for iPhone/iPad (£3.99) and Android via Google Play (£2.57). The sequel is in heavy development at the moment and due to be released sometime in 2017 and I think it’s due to be on all the above platforms plus the Xbox One and PS4.

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Akies Games – Interview

While I was at Play Expo I mentioned that I was able to talk to Duncan and Becca from Akies Games. Their match three style puzzle game called Aenigma OS is currently only available for Wii-U but is at a low price of £4.99 ($6.99 USD, €6.49 EUR). Duncan e-mailed me this week to mention that there might actually be a PC version on the cards as there was a lot of call for it at the show (Mac & Linux too please, Duncan!)

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Tower of Guns – Rogue FPS done right

Tower of Guns logo

I remember saying during my review of One More Dungeon that rogue games may not work for first person shooters, then I reminded myself of the fantastic Heavy Bullets which made me backtrack on this statement a bit. I also forgot about the game which I am going to talk about today and that is Tower Of Guns. The game is available for OSX, Windows and Linux from a number of different online retailers, which can all be found on the developers’ website.

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Action Henk – Buttslide to Victory

Greetings once again from sunny Valencia.

Valencia beach

This is the last time I speak to you from here. I’ve spent the last week getting some well-earned R&R which has given me a bit of time to play a few of the games that I have been meaning to play but never get the time to (there is a lot of them).

So this week we have a look at Action Henk which is available for OSX, Windows and Linux via Humble Bundle and Steam but also available for Xbox One (£11.99) and Playstation (£11.99). I’ll be reviewing the Steam version (for OSX) but don’t expect that the game changes massively between versions.

Overview

With the fantastic tagline of “Buttslide to Victory” you should already know that this game like it could be fun. You play Henk, who is an action figure with incredibly slippery buttocks, his goal is to traverse as fast as he can cross the obstacle course that lies in front of him that looks like it could be a good home for any Hot Wheels vehicle. When you first begin to play Action Henk, developed by the fantastically named RageSquid there is no denying that the game is super simple, it has just three controls (a fourth is introduced later) which are made up of run, jump and slide but it’s the way that these three simple mechanics are woven together that really make the game what it is. It reminds me a little of Splosion Man, a game that utterly frustrated bit enthralled me on the Xbox.

Gameplay

It’s basically a speed running game and bronze, silver, gold and rainbow medals are awarded at the for each level depending on the amount of time that you took to reach the end. Your main strategy should consist of running on the flat bits, time your jump so that you hit the top of any sliding section then carry that momentum forward to take alternative and sometimes quicker paths to the goal. All this takes place racing against a ghost of the time that you have to beat, watching the ghosts will give you some neat little hints as to where you are slowing down but it all comes down to skill in the end. If you mess up the punishment is nominal as the restart is super fast. You can choose to restart at any time from either the last checkpoint you passed or the whole level; a nice touch to practice some of the tricker jumps. I am not a competitive person, the fact that there are several thousand people above me on the Steam leaderboard does not bother me one bit; however, I will state the obvious by saying there is some satisfaction in claiming another rung of the ladder but I have no active desire to beat people. You can also challenge your friends via the online or local multiplayer though so maybe a game we could set up a competition for at our next MeetUp. For me, it’s all about the flow. The feeling you get from getting that magical combo together that shaves off those few valuable microseconds to get you the next medal or beat your own time. As you play more other characters are opened up to you but as far as I know these are just skins with no real benefit but I could be wrong in this one.

Verdict

Action Henk has truckloads of character. The graphics are lush and cartoony, it really feels like you’re a toy running around a kids bedroom; Henk and his comrades (the ones I managed to unlock) feel weighty and react as you would expect to jumps and bumps. The game is totally game controller compatible and really benefits from having one. There is subtlety in the controls too, for instance, if you press down in mid air you can reduce the height of your jump which can shave off a few microseconds. I firmly believe that id Action Henk had a slower restart time then I would not enjoy it as much as I do. For you 60 FPS junkies the game even has an FPS counter built into the options screen that you can see update in real time as you turn on/off options. Being the frugal gamer I picked it up in a recent sale on HumbleBundle but would happily pay full price for it. There are nine different stages to play, each with seven levels which include an evil but highly addictive coin collecting stage so the game has certainly enough replay value to keep you hooked for some time. When you have run out of levels you can always grab more from Steam workshop, take on the daily challenge or spend time and effort in making your own with the simple but very well made level editor. I needed something to replace the hole Splosion Man left when I gave away my Xbox and this just might be it. I’m going to need to either invest in a mechanical keyboard or always play using the controller because I think that the frustration may damage my shiny Mac keyboard.

Have you played Action Henk? Do you think it would be a fun game to play during our MeetUp? Has this review made you want to go and buy it? Let us know what you think of it via our usual channels of the comments section, Reddit, Twitter and of course Facebook

Love and paella
– Chris


BIMP: A Time Saving Tool For Photographers

BIMP stands for the Batch Image Manipulation Program, which is a specific addon for GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s worth noting that BIMP is free and has to be my favourite time saving tool, whether I am creating a GeekOut Bristol Meet gallery like this past Monday, or if I just want to reduce the brightness of an image like I did in my AmeCon Cosplay Masquerade gallery. I have been using BIMP for over a year and I don’t know what I would do without it. It’s become a part of my work life during GeekOut Media activities, so it’s not surprising that I have a lot to say about it.

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Why I both love and hate my Mac

Disclaimer: Although I do own a Mac I am by no means a Mac fanboy. I believe that each OS has its good and bad points but being the owner of a Mac for several years I believe that I am qualified to make a call as to why I love it and why I sometimes hate it.

Apple Logo

I’d like to put one thing to bed before we start with this, a common misconception people think is that when you sign up to Apple then you only really begin to feel the benefits if you always choose to use Apple software. This is really not true, there are some benefits of doing this but not always. I personally have an Android based phone and use online storage like DropBox and Google Drive to store any information I need to access everywhere. The main reason I use these services over Apple’s Cloud system is that I really don’t feel like it’s good value for money at all. I also use Google to store my address book since that can also work across multiple devices and anywhere I have access to the internet. Music wise I have yet to be drawn into Apple Music. Google provide a pretty good service that allows me to keep 50 GB in my music account before they charge me, but my music purchasing platform of choice (right now) is Amazon. The great thing about Amazon Music is that it’s DRM free which means that I own the music that I buy. Not to mention if you already have a Prime account you get streaming music thrown in. Compare this to Apple that has to constantly make calls back to the internet to ensure that the purchase sitting on my internal storage is real. I have yet to be utterly convinced with a service like Spotify or Deezer, yes they provide a good range of music and if you have unlimited data and a good connection it’s a great way to listen to music on the go.

Heart

Love

Being an internet developer, I use a lot of technology that works alongside major web servers. A fair majority of the servers out there use some brand of Linux or another and although it is entirely possible to develop and deliver websites using Microsoft solutions but it’s not where my expertise lies. Now I can use a Windows or Linux machine to put together a development environment, especially if I use something like a Virtual Machine. However, if I had to choose between all three I would choose a Mac or Linux machine, because it is closer to the technology I am working with.

Free OS Updates

Okay, you could argue that Linux updates have been free for a very long time (and you would be right). You could also argue that Windows 10 was the first OS that Microsoft have issued for free but I would argue the massive condition that you need to take advantage of that before a certain time. Since 10.10 updates of Apple’s operating system have been free, no if’s no but’s, just free and thank goodness because their hardware costs so much.

Backlit Keyboard as Standard

Yes, these are becoming more popular and if you spend enough money on any laptop, then it’s likely that this will come as a standard option on yours too. Having one of these as standard means I can still easily type in low light conditions and I love that.

Baby With Mac

It’s essentially Linux but easier

I have used Linux for years, I still would try to choose it over Windows and this is mostly because I do so much web development. My main issue with Linux is that if you don’t quite know what you’re doing then it is very easy to break and then fixing it can be a quite tricky business. I remember a headache I used to have to get certain video or sound boards working in Linux and yes this has improved a great deal but there have been a few times where the OS has just refused to boot and then I am thrown into a very user unfriendly safe mode, using my phone to google what the problem might be and a way to fix it. This may be a very person thing but I want to be able to just use my computer, I don’t want to have to spend hours trying to fix some random thing that has gone wrong in the OS somewhere. I would much rather spend my time developing or writing and OSX gives me exactly this.

Hate tattoo

Hate

The price. It’s no secret that Apple equipment is expensive, their phones and laptops are obviously overpriced. I will say that their screen technology is second to none and maybe that is where most of the price goes. It’s true to say that I have a day job that enables me to be able to spend a little more on a laptop than most people, but that does not take the sting out of tail when I am considering buying a new one. Apple products have generally a good resale value on e-bay so if you look after them, you can still get some of your investment back. I bought my last MacBook Pro back in 2011 as a refurb (I very rarely buy new) and that has been serving me well for the past 5 years and probably has another 4 or more in it before it becomes obsolete.

Play It On Windows

Games

I enjoy playing games, I even write for a website that encourages me to not only play them but write something critical about them, which I enjoy doing. But you know what I don’t enjoy? I don’t enjoy the fact that to get any kind of decent video card on a Mac, you have to shell out a fair amount more than the overpriced nature of the machines anyway. Games that I think should run okay on it often are laggy and unplayable, regardless of how many options I switch off. I had hoped that they would do some deal with either Nvidia or ATI to put some basic graphic accelerator inside their laptops and they did, but only for 15″ machines and upwards. I don’t really want to carry the extra size and the price hike, for me it’s just not worth it.

Apple Fanboy

Being classed as an Apple Fan Boy

As stated in the disclaimer I am no Apple fanboy. I have never and will never queue up overnight in order to get the most recent hardware from them. In fact, I really cannot understand the people that do this, but I have an “each to their own” attitude about the whole thing. When Apple released their last MacBook (the one with the mobile processor in and the USB-C port) I thought that someone at Apple had completely gone mental. I get the fact that they are trying to appeal to a market that uses laptops just to create documents, write e-mails and the sort but I seriously thought that this was a poorly designed bit of hardware. I am sure Apple being Apple have sold a lot of them and people have even paid the extra money to have it with the gold tint (which in my eyes is just weird). I thought (and still think) that the Apple watch is overpriced and not a piece of tech that I have any interest in, but then again I bought and subsequently sold a Pebble Time because I found myself not really benefitting from it as a device. No, I will happily criticise Apple when I see fit, and I will happily listen to other people moan about them and sympathise.

It’s a status symbol

I generally disagree with buying things just to show that I have money. I have known several students that have let their parents buy them a Mac just so that they can look cool in class. These people probably take a lot of notes on their machine, look at Facebook, maybe the odd video which probably rarely (if ever) fires up anything more than a single core. To these people, I say what you should of, bought is a Chromebook or second-hand laptop from someone. I had to work hard to be able to afford my hardware, I feel like I have earned the right to buy one.

Okay.. rant over. So before I work myself into a lather and burst a blood vessel or completely lose my calm exterior I’m going to quit while I am ahead. Now it’s over to you, what do you love/hate about the OS that you choose to run. What makes you irate and what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it just works. Tell us your OS stories via Reddit, Twitter or Facebook.


Meat the Flockers

Available for Linux, OSX and Windows via Humble Bundle and Steam for £14.99, there is also a free PC demo available.

Overview

  • 66 levels (6 hidden)
  • Sheep customisation (17 skins & 6 types of blood)
  • Level editor (PC Only)

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away there was a team of developers who went by the name of Psygnosis. Psygnosis were well known for producing very beautiful and excellent games like the classic Barbarian (1987) and Shadow Of The Beast (1989). Sometime in 1993 Psygnosis were consumed acquired by the mighty Sony and continued to produce quality products like the fantastic futuristic racing game Wipeout. But let’s not forget one of their biggest games, selling in the region of 15 million copies over multiple platforms and that was called Lemmings. Now, like Timlah I too am a big fan of most of the work that Team 17 put out. It takes a very brave bunch of developers to take on a product that has already sold 15 million copies and especially in today’s market where the focus is leaning towards high impact graphics and open worlds, is there room for a classicly animated A to B puzzle game?

Beginning

Gameplay

Flockers was originally released in 2014 and on first glance there really is not denying the similarity between it and Lemmings. You are put in control of a flock of fluffy sheep that are escaping their diabolical masters (the Worms). The sheep aimless walk from left to right only changing direction when the hit something they cannot overcome. You guide them to safety aiming for the exit along the way solving the various puzzles to get over/around obstacles. Points are awarded for every sheep saved, and by using less of the tools that you acquire, finally awarding you up to a total of total three stars. However very unlike Lemmings you pick up tools along the way rather than be given a set number at the start. Sheep can die in a number of ways, first and foremost is the environment which is littered with nefarious contraptions that are set to squish, impale or slice up your sheep. Another way to reduce the numbers is to let your sheep fall too far, this can be counteracted by giving the sheep a soft landing (another sheep). Of course, you can also loose sheep by destroying them yourself; yes, every now and then you will have to sacrifice the life of one of your fluffy little friends for the good of the flock.

ZoomedOut

Controls

The main method of control is the mouse, simply select the tool you want from the bar at the bottom of the screen and then click a sheep to activate that tool for that sheep. Pressing the right mouse button gives you a much wider cursor which is great when you want to make a lot of sheep do the same thing and not have to click 50 times. You also have the ability to zoom in and out of the scenes so that you can see what is up ahead and try to predict what is going to happen. Team17 have also integrated the keyboard a bit to try and help you quickly switch between one tool and another. Numbers 1-0 will select the tool sitting in that slot, letters Q and E will shift the tool that you are on left or right one. You can speed up the movement of the little sheep by pressing the left shift key which is useful for the impatient.

Towards the exit

Looks & Sounds

Team 17 have a huge pedigree for having a great art style to their games and Flockers is no exception to this. The backgrounds are detailed and moody with great use of lighting, spikes implements are suitably covered in blood and make a quite fun squidgy noise when your innocent little sheep happen to wander onto them. Switches make a satisfying click when activated, it’s the kind of quality that you would expect from a seasoned house such as Team 17. Your little sheep are animated well, and lovable but equally fun to see them burst into streams of blood.

Bloody mess

Moans & Verdict

Well, I would like to say that I had no issue with Flockers at all but that is just not the case. There is a bug (at least on the OSX version) that crashes the game as soon as it tries to load the main menu. It turns out that it’s related to the online link and if you turn off your network so that the game cannot connect to the internet then it’s fine. This small bug nearly ruined the game entirely for me, I hate it when I try to load any game and it just crashes. I would expect it on a game that is older perhaps but not 2014. This then also means that I cannot take advantage of user generated levels because as soon as I switch on the internet it crashes. Another annoyance is the fact that the level editor is only available for Windows. Yeah, I get it I own a Mac I am not allowed to have nice things.

If you put those things aside then you have a perfectly good game. Is it just Lemmings? Well yes and no, there is certainly enough in Flockers for them to of made it their own. It looks, sounds and feels professional which is something you would expect from Team 17 and definitely worth investing in; £14.99 for it feels a bit cheeky though. I picked it up in a recent sale for £1.49 but probably would pay up to £10 for it. It has enough puzzle pieces there to keep you occupied for a few hours the difficulty curve is well balanced. Like any game of this type, there is a degree of frustration but that is half the reason to play; if only to yell at the screen when you complete a level a true sign of enjoyment.