Games Archive

You don’t have to play ‘League of Legends’ to enjoy the masterful animation of Netflix’s ‘Arcane’

If you’ve been putting off watching Netflix’s Arcane because you don’t play League of Legends, stop that right now. Friends, you’re missing out on some truly incredible animation. The first TV series from Riot Games and French animation studio Fortiche, created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee, Arcane landed on Netflix on Nov. 6, rolling out three episodes per week until the finale on Nov. 20. And while fans and players of League will find references, Easter eggs, and character signatures aplenty throughout the show, any viewer can jump into it and fully appreciate the series’ compelling story, nuanced characters, and unique, stunning animation style. To be clear: I don’t play League of Legends and I loved it. It’s a bit outside of the usual OSNews content, but Arcane is an absolute milestone in both animation and storytelling. It will be the benchmark all other animation studios will be compared to for years to come, and rightfully so. Yes, my fiancée and I both play League of Legends, but even if you don’t, Arcane is something you simply do not want to miss.

PlayStation 3 architecture: a practical analysis

In 2006, Sony unveiled the long-awaited ‘next generation’ video-game console, a shiny (albeit heavy) machine whose underlying hardware architecture continues the teachings of the Emotion Engine, that is, focus on vector processing to achieve power, even at the cost of complexity. Meanwhile, their new ‘super processor’, the Cell Broadband Engine, is conceived during a crisis of innovation and will have to keep up as trends for multimedia services evolve. This write-up takes a deep look at Sony, IBM, Toshiba and Nvidia’s joint project, along with its execution and effect on the industry. An extremely deep dive into the somewhat unusual architecture of the PlayStation 3. Not for the faint of heart, for sure.

EAC has come to Linux and BattlEye is inbound

The Verge: Valve promised it would work with anti-cheat software makers EAC and BattlEye to ensure some of the most popular games will run on its upcoming Steam Deck Linux-based gaming handheld, and one of those companies is now officially on board — Epic Games announced today that its Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) now supports Linux and Mac. Not only that, it’s specifically set up to work with the Proton and Wine compatibility layers that Valve’s relying on to bring Windows games to the Deck. BattlEye is coming to Linux, too.

Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? Blame Windows

Valve’s “Steam Deck” handheld PC has caused quite a stir among PC gaming geeks, but the biggest shakeup might not be its Nintendo Switch-like form factor. The software running inside of it is the real surprise. Why does the Steam Deck run Linux? Blame Windows. The Steam Deck and the software inside of it are the culmination of a nearly decade-long “hedging strategy” embarked upon by Valve chief Gabe Newell and company many moons ago, when Microsoft tried exerting more control over developers with Windows 8. But it’s also the next phase of Valve’s escape plan. Also, Windows is simply a terrible choice for the Steam Deck. The base model only has 64GB of storage, and Windows 10 will easily take up two-thirds of that.

Valve unveils handheld console running Linux and Steam

Update: It runs Arch Linux, and the Steam Deck interface is built on KDE’s Plasma. The Verge reports: Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. It starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well. The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot. This is an excellent value for money, and what’s awesome is that this is a Linux device (it can run Windows too, if you choose to install it, since it’s just a PC). It runs a new version of SteamOS, using the amazing Proton to run Windows games. This is how I’ve been playing my games for a long time now, and I can’t reiterate enough just how good Proton has become. At this price point, with these features, and with Steam’s massive reach, this device is going to be a massive hit. My fiancée and I have already decided we’re getting one, since it’s just so perfect for what it offers. I’ve been looking at similar offerings from Chinese manufacturers, but they usually come with compatibility problems, far higher prices, and Windows. This new device from Valve seems to fix a lot of these issues, and I can’t wait to see if it’ll hold up in reviews.

Following up an experiment in forced nostalgia and questionable parenting

Back in 2014 OSNews reported on Andy Baio’s experiment raising his son on classic video games and “compressing 25 years of gaming history into about four years”. Somehow the recent lack of activity on OSnews made me think of it. At the time Thom wrote: I sometimes wonder if I ever have kids (god forbid), how would I introduce them to the world of computers? Just hand them a dumb, locked, experimentation-hostile box like a modern smartphone or tablet and be done with it, or hook him up with a textual, CLI-based computer that I grew up with? I’m convinced that the latter would instill a far greater appreciation and understanding of technology than the former. As an avid gamer, I read the original article enthusiastically, but since then I’ve often wondered what the actual outcome of Andy Baio’s experiment was. So I thought it might be worth trying to find out. Happily Andy later gave a presentation in which he summarised some of his own conclusions. So if this was an experiment, what were the results? So without question, I think it’s clear, this affected the kinds of games that Eliot gravitates to now, especially compared to his friends, to start he likes hard games. Really, really hard games. Games that cause me to curl up in a ball and cry, or want to like, pick up my laptop and throw it in the garbage. The second result that I’ve noticed from our experiment: Eliot’s exposure to early games with limited graphics and sound seems to have kind-of inoculated him from the flashy hyper-realistic graphics found in today’s mainstream triple-A games. He can appreciate retro graphics on their own terms and just focus on the gameplay. But the most important outcome as far as Andy was concerned was that it left a deeper appreciation for games in general. My hope is that this experiment instilled a life-long appreciation for smaller, stranger, more intimate games, in my son. And hopefully he’ll continue to think more critically about them, enjoy them more, and maybe someday even make some of his own. But this was only six month’s after the original article. Was it a bit too early to come to that conclusion? Did the long-term effects actually result in a negative reaction, against video games? Well in 2019, five years later, Eliot released his own take on the History of Video Games. I think his words, a decade after Andy’s original experiment, speak for themselves. I highly recommend going and downloading an emulator (from a legitimate site!) and playing some of these classic gems in gaming history. There are many games that I’m sure I even don’t know about that are incredible. You may find overlooked gems that never got attention. Sometimes, people have a hard time playing video games that have a more “primitive” old, or 8-bit style. Try looking past the graphics, after all, there was a time when games didn’t even have graphics. So, for any new parents out there, it seems raising your kids on the classics is not such a crazy idea after all.

Power consumption of Game Boy flash cartridges

In order to research the topic, I tested the power consumption of several commonly available flash carts and some of my own designs. In this blog post I intend to show that there is more variation in flash cart power consumption than people might think, and a flash cart can even be more power efficient than a genuine cart! Everything you ever wanted to know about the power consumption of Game Boy cartridges.

World’s first video game in a font

You read that right! It’s a video game in a font! A font as in “Time New Roman”. The entire game is enclosed in fontemon.otf, no javascript, no html, all font. I don’t even know where to start with this insane work of art. In short, some fonts use scripts to draw complex glyphs, and that’s exactly what this person used to create a game. Amazing.

Proton has enabled 7000 Windows games to run on Linux

That’s one hell of a number of games. Proton has been receiving many updates in the past few months as well, with the introduction of the Soldier Linux runtime container and Proton Experimental on top of the regular Proton releases. We are still getting about 100 new titles working flawlessly (according to user reports) on a monthly basis, which is a very healthy and steady growth. Another point is the percentage of Windows games working out of the box in Proton over time. The number has been close to 50% since for a long time and seems to be fairly stable. Proton is one of the biggest things to happen to desktop Linux in over a decade – or more.

Playstation 2 architecture: a practical analysis

The Playstation 2 was not one of the most powerful consoles of its generation, yet it managed to achieve a level of popularity unthinkable for other companies. This machine is nowhere near as simple as the original Playstation was, but we will see why it didn’t share the same fate of previous complicated consoles. Excellent deep dive into the Playstation 2.

Game Boy Advance architecture: a practical analysis

The internal design of the Game Boy Advance is quite impressive for a portable console that runs on two AA batteries. This console will carry on using Nintendo’s signature GPU. Additionally, it will introduce a relatively new CPU from a UK company that will surge in popularity in years to come. The Game Boy Advance has some of the best Castlevania titles after Symphony of the Night, and I’ve always been amazed that the developers managed to squeeze those impressive games out of this tiny device.

Sega VR revived: emulating an unreleased Genesis/Mega Drive accessory

Until now, most of what we know about Sega VR comes from trade show appearances, marketing materials, patent documents, and firsthand accounts. This has meant that many of unit’s the technical details have remained speculative or completely unknown. When looking back and studying hardware that pushed so many of the technical boundaries of its time, however, those details are important! Whether Sega VR achieved its many ambitious goals or not, it remains a fascinating and notable entry in VR history. In order to study hardware of this nature, if you don’t have access to the hardware or its implementation details, access to the software is often the next best thing. The software will tell you exactly what it expects of the hardware, and given those expectations, you might find that you have enough information to emulate the hardware. At the very least, you’ll have enough information to emulate a version of the hardware that conforms to the software’s expectations, and that’s exactly where we’re headed! Rebuilding the announced, but never shipped Sega VR from the early ’90s. What an effort.

Cyberpunk 2077 publisher orders 6-day weeks ahead of launch

Polish video game developer CD Projekt Red told employees on Monday that six-day work weeks will be mandatory leading up to the November release of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, reneging on an earlier promise to not force overtime on the project. “I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” he wrote. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch. It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back — that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation.” Severely overhyped repetitive walking simulators like The Witcher 3 don’t make themselves, after all. They’re made by harshly overworked and underpaid developers who are replaced faster than Polish judges critical of the Polish government.

Epic offers new direct payment in Fortnite on iOS and Android to get around app store fees

Update 3: Google also kicked Fortnite off the Play Store, but since Android isn’t locked down, you can just get it straight from Epic instead. Update 2: Remember Apple’s iconic 1984 ad for the original Macintosh? Epic sure did. This is some 12D chess being played by Epic – they knew exactly how Apple would respond. Epic is filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. Update: Apple has kicked Fortnite out of the App Store. Original story: Epic, the company behind the Unreal Engine, Jazz Jackrabbit, and Fortnite, has been a vocal critic of Apple’s App Stpre policies. Now, though, with the latest Fortnite update, the company is going straight for the jugular, starting a very intense staring contest with Apple. On both iOS and Android, Epic has introduced a new direct payment option. If you purchase V-bucks or anything else in the game through either the App Store or Google Play Store, it will cost the same as always. But the new direct option comes with the discount; when you select it, the game sends you to a payment screen where you can choose either a credit card or PayPal. “Currently, there are no savings if players use Apple and Google payment options, where Apple and Google collect an exorbitant 30 percent fee on all payments,” Epic says. “If Apple and Google lower their fees on payments, Epic will pass along the savings to players.” (You can check out a list of supported countries here.) The new direct payment option circumvents Apple’s App Store rules, which mandate that you can only use Apple’s payment system and must hand over 30% of revenue to Apple. This breaks various App Store rules, and forces Apple to either accept Epic’s circumvention, which would effectively mean the end of this rule, or kick Fortnite, one of the biggest and most popular games in the world, off iOS, thereby angering dozens of millions of players and giving antitrust regulators a lot of ammo. Combined with Apple blocking Microsoft’s xCloud, that’s easily about 100 million people – mobile Fortnite players and Xbox players – that just rean head-first into Apple’s rules. This is an amazing Mexican standoff, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

Microsoft cuts xCloud iOS testing early as its future on Apple devices remains unclear

Microsoft has ended its xCloud game streaming test for iOS devices today. The software giant had been testing xCloud on iOS in a very limited way over the past few months, but made it clear the service would only be launching on Android earlier this week. Microsoft had informed xCloud testers that the preview would end on September 11th, but only the Android preview will continue until next month. The future of xCloud on iOS remains unclear and potentially out of Microsoft’s hands. The issues appear to be related, in part at least, to Apple’s rules on in-app purchases through its App Store. Apple also has strict limits on “remote desktop clients” that mean apps are only allowed to connect to a user-owned host device or game console owned by the user. Both the host device and client must be connected on a local network, too. While Microsoft could potentially work around the in-app purchase App Store policies, the remote desktop client rules are likely the bigger hurdle. We can’t have third party services competing with Apple Arcade (remember Apple Arcade?) now, can we?

The vigilante hunting down cheaters in video games

What a guy. What a guy. His name is Mohamed Al-Sharifi but he’s best known as GamerDoc. This 24-year-old from London is becoming an important player in the seemingly never-ending and ever-escalating cat-and-mouse game between gaming companies against hackers and cheat developers. All online games today employ advanced anti-cheat systems that monitor gamers’ computers to see if they’re running any cheats. For Valorant, Riot Games developed the Vanguard system, which runs at the kernel level. This is an integral part of the operating system that manages almost every single thing a system does. It should be one of the most highly secure parts of any computer system, and which could completely compromise a user if accessed by a hacker. Riot has drawn criticism for Vanguard for this reason, with security experts saying it’s too intrusive. But even a game with an advanced system like Vanguard has cheaters. The company banned more than 8,000 of them when the game was still in beta. Turns out a 24-year old guy from London is more effective at fighting cheating than a deeply dangerous rootkit. I am so surprised.

The nearly impossible maze in RollerCoaster Tycoon 2

This very easy maze is somehow nearly impossible for the guests in . In this video we find out why. We don’t often link to videos, but this is a fun and interesting one, detailing the AI behaviour and the math behind how this works. This specific video even led to a patch in OpenRCT2 to change the AI behaviour to address this nearly impossible maze.

Fixing Mass Effect black blobs on modern AMD CPUs

Mass Effect is a popular franchise of sci-fi roleplaying games. The first game was initially released by BioWare in late 2007 on Xbox 360 exclusively as a part of a publishing deal with Microsoft. A few months later in mid-2008, the game received PC port developed by Demiurge Studios. It was a decent port with no obvious flaws, that is until 2011 when AMD released their new Bulldozer-based CPUs. When playing the game on PCs with modern AMD processors, two areas in the game (Noveria and Ilos) show severe graphical artifacts. What makes this issue particularly interesting? Vendor-specific bugs are nothing new, and games have had them for decades. However, to my best knowledge, this is the only case where a graphical issue is caused by a processor and not by a graphics card. In the majority of cases, issues happen with a specific vendor of GPU and they don’t care about the CPU, while in this case, it’s the exact opposite. This makes the issue very unique and worth looking into. An extremely detailed look into the analysis and fix for this very specific bug – and a download with the fix, of course.

Proton has brought about 6000 games to Linux so far

Proton has done far more for Linux gaming than any porting company out there, by bringing about 6000 games to us in less than 2 years. There’s about 100 games every month that get a Platinum rating according to ProtonDB. (because of the recent changes on ProtonDB rating, this is now more accurate than it was before). Proton has become better over time: the percentage of games getting a Platinum rating is steadily increasing over time as well – it used to be about 40% of all unique games reported, and now we are closer to 50%. This is cumulative, so the range will vary month by month but the trend is very clear. Proton is one of the biggest contributions to desktop Linux in at least the past ten years. Thanks to Proton, I now play all my games on Linux, and could finally just remove Windows from my desktop altogether. All I do when I want to buy a game that doesn’t support Linux natively is check ProtonDB, and if the rating is platinum (works out of the box) or gold (might need to run a command, move a file around, or select a specific Proton version in Steam), I just buy it without further issues. If it’s rated silver, I’ll take a more detailed look and weigh the work vs. the benefit. It’s been amazing, and I pretty much forget which games in my Steam library use Proton, and which don’t. It’s so seamless and effortless that I don’t have to know – from big, triple-A titles, all the way down to small indie games.