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Unusual Physics Engine Game Ported To Linux 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the three-cheers dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "Halloween has come early for Linux-loving gamers in the form of the scary Penumbra game trilogy, which has just recently been ported natively to GNU-Linux by the manufacturer, Frictional Games. The Penumbra games, named Overture, Black Plague and Requiem, are first-person survival horror and physics puzzle games which challenge the player to survive in a mine in Greenland which has been taken over by a monstrous infection/demon/cthulhu-esque thing. The graphics, sounds, and plot are all admirable in a scary sort of way. The protagonist is an ordinary human with no particular powers at all, who fumbles around in the dark mine fighting zombified dogs or fleeing from infected humans. But the game is remarkable for its physics engine — rather than just bump and acquire, the player must use the mouse to physically turn knobs and open doors; and the player can grab and throw pretty much anything in the environment. The physics engine drives objects to fly and fall exactly as one would expect. The porting of a game with such a deft physics engine natively to Linux might be one of the most noteworthy events for GNU-Linux gamers since the World of Goo Linux port."
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Unusual Physics Engine Game Ported To Linux

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  • It's Only $5 (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:14AM (#28727699) Journal
    I just ordered it and am downloading the install file now (893 MB). All three games are $5 (and the site says for this weekend only) when purchased as one. Normally they are $10 each. And the site accepts Paypal if you're afraid of handing out credit card information to yet another site.

    Dirt cheap compared to most games even on Steam so I'll definitely see how well it runs on my Ubuntu box.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by loki_tiwaz (982852)

      i bought these games on steam, i think i paid the same. good games but i found it incredibly frustrating the lack of object highlighting as you would in some places have to scan your mouse around to find objects of interest, as, not *everything* would be interactive.

      however, given a walkthrough i got to enjoy the very scary events of one of the games but i have to say that solving a puzzle is one thing, but not being able to find the pieces is quite another. i have played dreamfall, and that game is mostly

      • Re:It's Only $5 (Score:4, Informative)

        by Razalhague (1497249) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:32AM (#28728135) Homepage

        lack of object highlighting

        Options -> Game -> Flashing items

        • that doesn't require rollover to activate? i'm pretty sure you still have to roll over...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Razalhague (1497249)
            I don't think so. The help text for the option says:

            If on, items will flash shortly when nearby.

            ...so it could be that they stop flashing after a while (and then you need to roll over), but I can't remember seeing that happen. I guess I just grabbed them before they stopped flashing.

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              I remember there being a Bioshock-style back-lighting to interactive items with that on...

              Me, I turned that off. I didn't have any problems finding things, but then I'm usually pretty observant about these kinds of things.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by redcaboodle (622288)

      Did we slashdot their e-sales partner? I ordered the game a few minutes ago and am still waiting for a confirmation email from the shop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by menkhaura (103150)

      Voted with my pocket and bought my copy, too. I just couldn't find the system requirements on the site.

    • Re:It's Only $5 (Score:5, Informative)

      by tdvaughan (582870) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:16AM (#28728591) Homepage
      Watch out what password you use when you register on their site - they send it back to you as plain text in an email. Sigh...
    • by mahdi13 (660205)

      They also have Mac versions available.
      It's always nice to see when a company acknowledges that not everyone uses Windows

    • by cojoneees (916665)

      I bought them for 5 euros on Steam some weeks ago, they had the same weekend deal :)

      As much as I hate Steam for doing some dubious price changes, most their weekend deals are usually dirt cheap and worth it.

  • Unstoppable (Score:4, Funny)

    by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:16AM (#28727709)

    the player to survive in a mine in Greenland which has been taken over by a monstrous infection/demon/cthulhu-esque thing...and the player can grab and throw pretty much anything in the environment.

    Great, now where was that handbag?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:18AM (#28727719)

    I remember trying the Penumbra... Scariest experience in my life. No other game or movie has gotten anywhere near. (Though I am the kind of person that get scared easily.)

    Sneaking in dark mines, waiting for your eyes to get used to the darkness enough that you see something, hearing that there is something else nearby and staying still... I hoped it - whatever it was - would not see me (if it hadn't already)...

    And you know that though you can escape, you can't outrun anything so you should very slowly sneak towards the door, turn the knob and get yourself to the other side and close the door before anything else gets there... But then again, you have no idea what is on the other side of the door.

    I still don't know what was it that killed me. Perhaps one of such zombie dogs. It was pretty early and I didn't open the game again. Would recommend it, though.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Heh, single dog.

      <SPOILER>If you are good enough, you can grab a rock (or other heavy object) and beat it unconscious... at least long enough to get far enough away). Of course, make sure you barricade that door extremely well, or it will get through and make your life quite tense for a while. </SPOILER>

  • Not recent ports (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rob Seace (21193) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:19AM (#28727725) Homepage

    Actually, they've had the Linux version of these games available for quite some time... The only thing new is the $5 special pricing for the complete collection of all three... But, if you haven't already got them before now, then definitely go get them for $5!

  • Not recently ported (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rynor (1277690)
    This Penumbra trilogy has been on Linux for a while, the first game ran on linux somewhere in 2007 iic, so it's definitely not recently ported... the only news here is that it's perhaps cheaper now, so it's a nice slashvertisement.

    That being said, these games are pretty cool if you like survival horror / adventure games.
  • by zwei2stein (782480) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:40AM (#28727805) Homepage

    ... he player must use the mouse to physically turn knobs and open doors ...

    Oh come on, ain't first rule of game design to throw away "realistic" rubbish and make game comfortable to play?

    • by Razalhague (1497249) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:59AM (#28727917) Homepage
      It's called "immersion". You wouldn't believe the effect this has on simple actions like opening a door. You grab the door and slowly push it open, all the time fearing that there's something on the other side waiting to gnaw your face off. And you know what? It's still comfortable to play.
      • by jipn4 (1367823)

        all the time fearing that there's something on the other side waiting to gnaw your face off. And you know what? It's still comfortable to play.

        This must be some sense of "comfortable" that I'm not familiar with :-)

    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:05AM (#28727947)

      Oh come on, ain't first rule of game design to throw away "realistic" rubbish and make game comfortable to play?

      Generally speaking, you're quite right, so long as you bear in mind that sometimes the physical stuff -- timing your jump and hitting the button at just the right time for instance --- is where the challenge comes from.

      BUT, in a horror game, it may be quite different. Horror is usually about making people uncomfortable -- ESPECIALLY about things like how fast they should open a door, whether they should rethink the action halfway through, whether they've already made a noise and should therefore get out of the room they're currently in ASAP, etc.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:16AM (#28728017)

        My thought exactly. Think of a horror movie where you are sitting on your seat's edge because the protagonist fumbles with reload of his revolver while that zombie dog is dashing towards him. His hand shakes as he peels out the spent cartridges, he tries to load a new cartridge, he fumbles, the bullet drops into the black void below, the metal clanc as it hits the ground while you hear that unearthy bark and growl of the dog sprinting towards him, and only one more bullet in his hand... Then finally he manages to get it in, he raises the gun, tries to aim and just as the dog leaps to him he fires, blindly...

        Way scarier and more suspense building than spitting out a full ammo box of machine gun ammo towards the dog and pretty much tearing it to bloody shreds that splatter down around our hero.

      • Uncomfortable UIs just make me irritated.

        And if I wanted to be irritated, there are plenty of ways I can do that without spending money. For example, I could debate politics, religion, or whether 0.9999999~ = 1 on the internet.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Now, have you actually played the game? Longer than 5 minutes?

          You quickly realize how well done the "UI" is.

          • I tried playing it, but when it was still irritating me fifteen minutes in I figured I had more fun things to do with my time.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Friday July 17, 2009 @06:41AM (#28727813) Homepage Journal

    " The physics engine drives objects to fly and fall exactly as one would expect."

    And that's what breaks the suspense of disbelief. I mean, in real life things never fall where I intend/expect them to fall as I throw them.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by noundi (1044080)

      I mean, in real life things never fall where I intend/expect them to fall as I throw them.

      Are you female by any chance?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CarpetShark (865376)

        Are you female by any chance?

        Yeah, I'm female. Sorry about my aim. How's that bruise now?

        • by noundi (1044080)
          I'm sorry, I didn't intend to offend anyone. It was a harmless joke and I apologize if you were offended. I'll even make up for it. The next international women's day I'll make sure to tell 50 random women that they're excellent drivers. Just to help end these terrible myths once and for all.
          • Just kidding around ;)

          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by Valdrax (32670)

            The next international women's day I'll make sure to tell 50 random women that they're excellent drivers. Just to help end these terrible myths once and for all.

            That men only give compliments when they're trying to impress a chick, and they're often insincere?

      • No, just a Slashdot poster. What's this 'outside' thing I keep hearing about?

        • It's this free demo that everyone has seems to have access to. But I don't see the big deal, it hasn't been upgraded in a long time. You can't jump very far, and the physics engine seems a bit off to me. And the bugs! They can really be a problem, especially when the day/night cycle is changing over. They really need a 2.0 version before I'll play it again. My hardware doesn't seem to run it very well.

  • $5 each platform? (Score:2, Informative)

    by diodegod (70255)

    Poking around the checkouts I see that you buy the game individually for each operating system as opposed to buy once, run anywhere. If my main mac dies (again) I'll have to shell out again to play it on a Windows or Linux machine. Not a huge fan of this sort of arrangement, I liked Braid where I've paid for it once and have access to Windows and OSX copies.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is just fsck'ing $5, not $60. Spend $10 instead of $5 and get both. The price *IS* right here. Geez!

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Checking the price of braid it's $14.95 at the moment. This game is $5. Just buy it for every platform and stop bitching.

    • Is this per OS or per computer? I have 3 computers. 1 runs linux exclusively, the other two dualboot linux and xp. I mainly use xp for gaming and HD media (I haven't tried getting vdpau to work yet) and linux for pretty much everything else. Can I buy the linux version once and use it on all my computers or do I need to buy it 3 times?

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        Technically, I think it's per computer. You need to pay for an actual copy of the other OS version of the game, but there is no DRM or any such nonsense to prevent you from using it as you see fit.

    • Seriously.

      It's so rare to see companies even show interest into porting games to Linux.
      This one has done it and, hell, they deserve to be paid for it. It's not like porting to a minority platform is free.

      Even if they charged extra for the Linux version, they would probably still lose money with the port.

    • Poking around the checkouts I see that you buy the game individually for each operating system as opposed to buy once, run anywhere. If my main mac dies (again) I'll have to shell out again to play it on a Windows or Linux machine. Not a huge fan of this sort of arrangement, I liked Braid where I've paid for it once and have access to Windows and OSX copies.

      I'm inclined to agree with Anonymous Coward:

      It is just fsck'ing $5, not $60. Spend $10 instead of $5 and get both. The price *IS* right here. Geez!

      Isn't Braid $15? Seems like the price is perfect!

    • by Dennola4 (1600393)

      Poking around the checkouts I see that you buy the game individually for each operating system as opposed to buy once, run anywhere. If my main mac dies (again) I'll have to shell out again to play it on a Windows or Linux machine. Not a huge fan of this sort of arrangement, I liked Braid where I've paid for it once and have access to Windows and OSX copies.

      Actually, there's an opportunity to purchase "insurance" or the like for an additional $5. The deal is that you have access to the source and can download as many times as you like from it for a one year period. So three games for $10 and a one year warranty, essentially. Not a bad deal.

  • This p'sses me off! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This company can manage a native port of this great sounding game and engine, but WTF happened to UT3 and when are Bethesda going to port Fallout 3 and DLCs to GNU eh? Never that's when!

    Seems like only the little companies are preapred to dispense with the BS and try something truly original, UT2004 was ported when EPIC was still allowed to, then ATARI got in there and just like the old days of the 80's, they suits decided that they not going to support some Mickey Mouse hippy type O/S!

    Ughh!

    • This company can manage a native port of this great sounding game and engine, but WTF happened to UT3 and when are Bethesda going to port Fallout 3 and DLCs to GNU eh? Never that's when!

      Seems like only the little companies are preapred to dispense with the BS and try something truly original, UT2004 was ported when EPIC was still allowed to, then ATARI got in there and just like the old days of the 80's, they suits decided that they not going to support some Mickey Mouse hippy type O/S!

      Ughh!

      UT3's not even worth porting, there's still countless gameplay bugs that keep any serious teams from competing; you can't even access the server browser from the game (you have to disconnect, wait 8 seconds for loading, navigate through the server browser, then connect), and they've done nothing but alienate players with "additions" like in patch 2.0 counting bots as real players in the server player count (probably so that when people took screenshots of the "new server browser improvements" it would look

  • Is it just me or am I noticing more cites to the Lovecraft mythos?

    This article.
    This one. [slashdot.org]
    Then I head over to this site [mspaintadventures.com] and see this. [mspaintadventures.com]

    Is there a sudden resurgence in Lovecraft as an Internet meme that I'm unaware of?
    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      It's just 42 you, who happen to have an interest 23 in some special thing, and just see it anywhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by $1uck (710826)
      Copyrights recently expired, might have something to do with it. Chaosium has trademarked Call of Cthulhu (not sure how, would love to see someone challenge it). But the stories are copyright free (although I think someone might be fighting this).
      • Lovecraft references have been a staple of geek-conversation for years, just like Monty Python and H2G2.

    • by cptnapalm (120276)

      I presume that the stars are right.

  • purchased. Too bad I'm at work, can't wait to give it a shot on a linux box. Wonder if it will work in freebsd with linux binary compatibility.
    • by Rynor (1277690)
      I tried it quickly at some point, it worked for me with the linux-fc8 binary compatibility port, ymmv.
  • Getting fustrated at /.'s constant missreporting in its headlines and articles these days, its worse than digg and thats saying something. It was ported to linux years ago, the series has always been a multiplatform game. this is just a combination of all three games into one pack. its worth the money easly but still, stop with the missleading headlines.

  • Well, it won't run on any of my systems then.

    Unless I feel like downloading untold megs of 32-bit libraries just to run this one app, just because they won't do a recompile. FFS!

  • Can anyone give an overview of the relative performance in Windows vs Linux? I have both, and if there are going to be issues, I'd hate to have to go back and buy it again to get it running on Windows...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mydots (1598073)
      I just bought the linux version and started playing it and have not had any problems with performance so far. I am running kubuntu 9.04 x86_64 with an Intel core2quad 2.83G with 8G DDR1066 and dual Radeon HD 4550 in crossfirex mode using the latest ati catalyst 9.6 fglrx driver. The movement is very smooth without any hiccups with all the video options at their highest settings. I can't give you a comparison to the windows version since I have no intention on getting it, but I can tell you that it works
  • Windows user here, and I bought my copy. I love adventure games, and the best one I ever played was something called Realms of the Haunting (1997) which combined a creepy story, challenging puzzles, with just enough Doom-style first person action to keep you on the edge of your seat. I'ld like to see how Penumbra stacks up. Thanks for sharing this!

    Now if only someone can convince Gremlin to open source ROTH, that would be great!

  • As a Windows user who has played all three games in the Penumbra series a long time ago (well... two years ago), I was kind of expecting more of a reaction to the actual gameplay from the Linux world. Penumbra took a different approach to the traditional style of first person games and decided that giving you a fighting chance was way less fun than just making you wonder if you're alone in the dark or not. Penumbra: Overture allows some meager defensive tactics, such as swinging a hammer or saw in order t
  • Great games, and worth the ridiculously low price. An incredibly tense blend of survival horror and adventure. Linux advocates are always complaining that they don't get good games - well, here you go. P.
  • ... and although I run NetBSD, for $5 it's worth buying just to see if it runs under Linux emulation.

  • Just for the curious: the game runs on the free (as in free beer) newton physics engine.
  • by KlaymenDK (713149) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @06:06AM (#28746803) Journal

    3 games for a fiver?
    For Linux even?
    In this quality?
    I just can't *not* buy this game, which will be my first game purchase since I fished a copy of Half-Life (1) out of a bargain bin, back when I still had Windows at home.

    But My God, this game is too creepy for me! The game is so dark and moody, it's no use trying to play it in any sort of daylight. Thanks for that, yer bastards. ;-) I cherish the opportunity to run a proper 3d game, in fullscreen resolution, I do appreciate the very nice motion blur effects, and it is kind of fun to learn the somewhat different control method (which, for some reason, reminds me of Alone in the Dark).

    But it's just sneak sneak sneak BOOH! and I don't think my nerves can take this. I mean, that one place within the crawling tunnels of Space Quest was quite enough for me, thank you very much. I'd much rather play something like Day of Defeat (v1.3-ish), ported to Linux.

    Still: if a smallish game company can pull this off, there is just *NO BLOODY EXCUSE* for EA and the rest of 'em to not do the same. True, one might argue that Friction "needs" to do something like this because they need to make a name for themselves, they need an "edge" that the big studios just don't need to bother with, but it does not alter the fact that Linux *can* support great games. Most likely, we will see an influx soon (which is about bloody time, really).

    Kudos to Friction and a friendly nod to my brothers across the strait. I wasn't aware the Copenhagen Post went back that far ;-) (hi San!).

  • I bought Penumbra: Black Plague a long time ago for Linux. This is definitely not new news. The only new news are the sales they have now and then, and that they are making a completely new Linux game of a similar game play apparently (scary + puzzle game) currently not given a title. Here's the link. [nextfrictionalgame.com]

    Personally what I really miss, and sometimes what I feel Penumbra is trying to be, is basically a 3D sneaker, and fantasies of Thief 4 being awesome pop into my head. Not sure if there will be a Linux v
    • by Yfrwlf (998822)
      (P.S., Yes Penumbra is a 3D puzzle game in its own right and all, and isn't trying to be like the Thief series, but I just found myself wanting more interesting puzzles and challenges. Even Silent Hill's puzzles I enjoyed more, so if they can make more interesting and fun physics and other puzzles, that would be awesome.)
  • Missed the weekend $5 deal, but bought it today and it was still only $10 for the 3in1 Linux collection...

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