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Penny Arcade Releases Episodic PC Game 78

CyDharttha writes "Greenhouse Interactive on Wednesday released a RPG titled 'On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One.' The title is available on Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms, as well as XBox Live Arcade. A quick look at the game shows it promises the same great humor frequently displayed at Penny Arcade, and with the help of Hothead Games, intriguing graphics, sound, dialog and game play. Demo and purchase is available online now."
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Penny Arcade Releases Episodic PC Game

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  • by XenoPhage ( 242134 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @09:48AM (#23504434) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our new steampunk, FruitFucker overlords
  • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `171rorecros'> on Thursday May 22, 2008 @09:54AM (#23504510) Homepage
    Despite their past [penny-arcade.com] ambivalence [penny-arcade.com] to the OS and its partisans.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Talonius ( 97106 )
      Not just Linux; it runs on 64 bit Linux. Friend of mine ran it on Ubuntu 64 bit with no issues. (Well, other than he now wants a fruit fucker of his own. Whyfor? Er, I can guess, but I didn't ask..)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        32 bit Linux apps run on Linux 64 anyway as long as either the dependencies are packaged (what happens with most games) or installed in 32 bit form (that comes down to your package manager, but most modern distros dont have problems with sorting this out)
    • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:09AM (#23504740)
      For those that care, it's also on Mac :).

      The game had a simultaneous online release for: PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox 360.

      That's some nice cross-platform support.
      • by XenoPhage ( 242134 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:22AM (#23504900) Homepage

        The game had a simultaneous online release for: PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox 360.
        Not only that, they also support using the same unlock key on all three platforms, for the same person. THAT is just awesome..

        • The game had a simultaneous online release for: PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox 360.

          Not only that, they also support using the same unlock key on all three platforms, for the same person. THAT is just awesome..
          The game is released on 4 platforms not 3. I suppose your unlock key will work on the 3 PC platforms (Mac, Linux, Windows), but not on Xbox360?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MBGMorden ( 803437 )
            From what I noticed the XBLA arcade version is unlocked through the XBLA store, not through a key-code, so I think it would be exception where it is activated separately from the computer versions.

            I played the demo on the 360 last night, and decided I'd purchase it, but I'm still not sure for which platform. I think I'll probably go with the 360 in the end though.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by SoulMan007 ( 1136759 )
            Correct. Only the 'PC' versions share an unlock key. The XBox version is separate.
          • The game is released on 4 platforms not 3. I suppose your unlock key will work on the 3 PC platforms (Mac, Linux, Windows), but not on Xbox360?
            True.. I realized that, but had already submitted my comment. I'll have to contact this guy [slashdot.org] and have him teach me how to edit... :)
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Don't thank them, thank GarageGames. They developed the game using Torque, which is set up to be instantly ported to any of those platforms regardless of which one it was developed on.
      • by The_Noid ( 28819 )
        Even better, the recognise a Linux machine as a Personal Computer!
        From the about page:

        Anyone with a PC (running Linux®, Windows® XP or Windows Vistaâ)
        Now people only need to see that a Mac is also a Personal Computer ;)
    • by Kimos ( 859729 ) <kimos.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:14AM (#23504802) Homepage

      Despite their past [penny-arcade.com] ambivalence [penny-arcade.com] to the OS and its partisans.
      And Mac [penny-arcade.com], but that's not as much of a surprise.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by liquiddark ( 719647 )
      One of those is against the "M$" users of the world, not Linux.
    • by Alari ( 181784 )
      If this comic worked, you could see they poke fun at Windows, using Linux as a better example: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/1999/3/5/ [penny-arcade.com]

      Their archive is messed up. I've tried to let them know.

      The transcript is here: http://pennyarcade.wikia.com/wiki/March_5,_1999 [wikia.com]

      "Rebooting again? What is that the third time today?"
  • by g051051 ( 71145 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @09:58AM (#23504564)
    I'm a fan, so I purchased it immediately. However, there's at least one terribly frustrating thing that I'm pretty shocked is there: a rather long, unskippable intro movie that plays every time you start the game. The graphics look great, and so far the writing and humor have been up to my high expectations, but this one thing makes it feel like Jerry and Mike never actually played the retail version before launch. I can't believe they wouldn't have had that fixed. I hope they release a patch to correct this.
    • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:02AM (#23504620) Homepage
      Eh? I can skip it on the Mac version.

    • by Bandman ( 86149 )
      I'm willing to bet that if enough people write to them (or the designers) they'll fix it in a patch. They're not unreasonable people

      Downloading the demo now to test it
    • Another minor gripe: Inability to switch away from the game under Linux. When playing a game like this sometimes I like to switch out of the game (in Windows Alt+Tab) and maybe respond to a buddy that I'm chatting with -- or even relate how hilarious I find the game to be. Haven't tried the Windows version so I can't say whether or not this gripe is Linux-specific. Otherwise, the game looks great and is very fun so far. A must-have if you're a PA fan. I will definitely be purchasing the full version.
    • It turns out that you have to have a saved game for it to let you skip the opening video and go right to the game menu.
  • It's fun, too! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dolohov ( 114209 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @09:58AM (#23504574)
    Slightly too mouse-driven for my taste, but the demo was great fun. Lots of little asides to spread that PA humor around, good atmosphere, and (so far) pretty solid gameplay. I had probably better wait until after work to buy the full copy, though...
    • by Tragek ( 772040 )
      I think I'm in agreement; I do rather wish the combat had a little less mouse driven; Especialy on a track pad.
  • by Talonius ( 97106 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:01AM (#23504610)
    I played for about an hour last night. It's supposed to have a duration of about 6 hours (it's episodic, remember). The graphics, sound, writing, voices are all terrific; professional, polished, flawless. The humor falls in line with what you'd expect - hilarious and sometimes subtle. (On Desperation Street make sure you look at each house and the contents of their mailbox.)

    Not a single graphics glitch or sound glitch was experienced. Game moves and loads quickly, looks good, has an extremely easy interface to learn.

    I have fundamental issues with the authorization that's required for the license - see Bioware/Mass Effect - but at least it's only one time, and it doesn't appear to be tied to your hardware. (A post on the official forums said someone could use their license key on their laptop and their desktop, different operating systems, with no problem.)

    The only problem that's annoyed me thus far is the pathfinding. It could use some work -- especially when an item falls into the path of the character.

    Still, for $20.00 for 6 hours of laughing my ass off... well worth the cash.
  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:08AM (#23504702) Journal
    I played through the demo last night, and was reasonably well entertained. The artwork is very well stylized in a way that reminds you of the comic, and I think it works pretty well. The art style works really well with the type of mood that they're trying to create in the game, and the narration worked well too.

    Combat in the game is a strange mix of turn-based and sort of real-time clicking, it was different from anything I've played before but I don't have that much experience with those sorts of games. The demo didn't have enough combat for me to become comfortable with the combat system, so I can't give a complete opinion, but it seems like it works well enough.

    If you've read penny arcade over the years, the notion of a character that you created (and which most likely you identify as yourself for the purpose of the game) interacting with characters that you've been watching for years is pretty neat.

    I'll probably buy the game after next week when I'm done with a crunch at work. It's certainly worth at least downloading the demo. I don't think it's the type of game that will appeal to everyone just because of the gameplay, but for what it is it appears to be carefully crafted and generally high quality. Certainly not a cheap cash-in of their PA brand or anything like that.
    • by Narpak ( 961733 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:56AM (#23505460)
      Great fun, if a bit too short. Personally I would have wished for more complex gameplay when it came to clues (like in Discworld Noir if anyone have tried that). Looking for clues and combining them in various ways to advance the case. Of course that's just me. However, if the developers see a steady inflow of cash from this game and upcoming episodes then it stands to reason that the amount of content should increase (one would hope). Especially seeing as they now have an existing engine/platform for witch to great new modules.

      That being said I found the game witty and highly entertaining; with very few drawbacks. Though on notable drawback for me was the fact that each time you traveled to Pelican Bay you got to hear the same piece of music; and that got annoying fairly quick.
  • Linux + Sound = BAD! (Score:3, Informative)

    by revengebomber ( 1080189 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:12AM (#23504770)
    If you're going for the Linux version, be sure to test out the demo. I had to run it through aoss to make it work.
    • by Chuckaluphagus ( 111487 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:28AM (#23504982)
      The technical support forums for the game clearly show some people having sound issues on Linux, but I managed to get away clean.

      For reference, I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 with PulseAudio on an AMD X2 using whatever integrated sound (Realtek, I think) is built into the motherboard. Sound works perfectly well, no stuttering, no lag.
    • Surprisingly, I had no problems running it on a AMD64 / Ubuntu Hardy Heron multi-screen setup. (Usually 32-bit apps need some futzing around to make it work)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MarcoG42 ( 1087205 )
      Yeah, I had some sound stuttering problems and freezing. I enabled hardware acceleration for sound in the in-game menu and the problems disappeared. Ubuntu 8.04/AMD64, here. Realtek onboard audio, but not sure which drivers it's using.
    • I downloaded the linux version also and when I load the game I get an error saying the sound system cannot find an audio driver on my system even though I have sound in other applications. I am running kubuntu 8.04.
      • by DRobson ( 835318 )
        It's a known problem for some people, experienced it myself. Try closing all other applications that could possibly have the audio device open. Failing that, try logging out then back in again and running it first up (essentially just ensures you dont have audio device tied up). I run into this problem with a few other applications, so it's not unique to the game.
        • by roystgnr ( 4015 )

          Try closing all other applications that could possibly have the audio device open.

          Running "lsof | grep dsp" and "lsof | grep snd" as root is a good way to find out which applications those are.

          I'm surprised that a program written in 2008 doesn't support ALSA, but there you go. I had to close up firefox (because of Flash) before the sound device was freed up.

          Not to lay blame solely on the game writers. I'm also surprised that a sound driver for modern hardware doesn't support kernel-level mixing. Yes, I k

          • I'm surprised that a program written in 2008 doesn't support ALSA, but there you go.

            If I have RhythmBox open (not even playing music), VLC will refuse to play back any sound. (This is using ALSA on Ubuntu 8.04 btw.)
            • "Doesn't support ALSA unless you tweak the configuration first" still sucks, don't get me wrong, but it's at least an improvement over "Doesn't support ALSA at all". On Fedora 8, rhythmbox seems to use Alsa by default for me, and VLC tries "Pulse Audio" then falls back automatically to Alsa when it finds I don't have the former configured... but I had to set up Alsa by hand to make it default to software mixing, even though that's supposed to be the default behavior now when hardware mixing isn't available
  • Grabbed this last night on my Mac.

    Gameplay Notes: I kind of wish there was a way to use keyboard/gamepad controls on the computer versions, as there are no real control options. I can deal with the mouse, but my only real complaint is that it feels laggy during gameplay. I tried going back to a wired mouse and ditching my bluetooth, but the lag was still there. I might try out the wacom tablet to see if playing on that reduces the lag or not.

    Aside from the niggling control issues, everything about the ga
  • by MarcoG42 ( 1087205 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @10:31AM (#23505028) Homepage
    I'm a big fan of PA, and aside from the page hits, and occasional ad click, I really haven't had much of a chance to support them. I'm not big enough of a gamer to roll out wearing shirts with D20 or WoW references on them. I probably would have bought this game even if it were merely mediocre, but it's actually very entertaining. I just bought the full version, and won't be able to play it until I get home, but there were several laugh out loud moments in the demo, which is seems very promising to me.

    I'm also very, very pleased with their decision to fully support Linux. There were a few hiccups to start off, but after changing some basic settings in the in-game menu the game ran smoothly. Their forums offer support for every OS and the HotHead staff, for the time being, seem to be on the ball with answering support questions. I give PA two thumbs up and three cheers for their efforts. I will definitely be purchasing the next installments, no questions asked.
  • XBLA edition (Score:2, Interesting)

    I downloaded the game on XBLA and am thoroughly impressed. This is the quality level thaat XBLA needs more of!
  • I saw that this was released on their website - and to be honest, didn't know it was out for PC and Xbox360. I knew there was the Xbox version, but anyways... I downloaded the dmo and played it for a little bit.

    It seems like there are a lot of inventory items that I picked up that I just don't remember what they all do. My mind kind of gets messy like that in Final Fantasy games too, so I guess I shouldn't let that get me down. However, the game seems pretty solid. Running at 1680x1050 gets a little st
  • Wagons really *are* "useful as fuck".
  • Torrents Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @11:11AM (#23505644) Homepage Journal
    Here are the torrents for the Windows [thepiratebay.org] and Linux [thepiratebay.org] versions of the demo.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gknoy ( 899301 )
      I was going to rant about posting a torrent to a crack of the game, and how it was nothing but contemptible to do so.

      HOWEVER -- this isn't that. (thank god for checking the torrent link before I posted! :)) It's a torrent of the demo, apparently the same as you can download from their website. Kudos to you for posting that, then. =)
      • Yeah, if it was a torrent of a crack, that wouldn't be good.

        I am kind of surprised they just posted a link to a 200MB file without having a torrent version be an option.

        I didn't see a torrent of the MacOS version of the demo.
        • by Leto-II ( 1509 )
          I just downloaded the demo at over 4 megabytes/second (yah, MB not Mb) so I don't think they are lacking bandwidth.
          • by Rallion ( 711805 )
            That may be, but on release day, 6AM, I was pulling about 6KB/s from their servers. I was real glad for the torrent links on the forums that let me download the whole thing in about 8 minutes. An 'official' torrent probably wouldn't have been a terrible idea.

            Still, for Greenhouse's very first game, it wasn't bad. Apparently it was only that slow for a very short period of time.
          • by Kalak ( 260968 )

            I just downloaded the demo at over 4 megabytes/second (yah, MB not Mb) so I don't think they are lacking bandwidth.
            That depends on your location and congestion between you and their servers. Work pulled this down at about 1MB/sec, but home was a measly 22kb/sec. This is where a torrent helps, especially for legal files. A peer that is closer to my ISP would add to the speed.
      • Really? What happens if a key is suddenly posted in the comments section? I hope someone at Hothead is looking out for warez'd keys.
        • by zoward ( 188110 )

          Really? What happens if a key is suddenly posted in the comments section? I hope someone at Hothead is looking out for warez'd keys.

          According to their website, a key is good for up to three registrations, so a warez'd key is going to become useless very quickly.

          • don't worry, they've already posted a crack, still vindicating my feelings on how posting torrent links to shit that's already available easily is a STUPID IDEA.
    • by mqduck ( 232646 )
      List of trackers to add to your download:

      http://tpb.tracker.thepiratebay.org/announce [thepiratebay.org]

      http://tracker.ip-cloak.com/announce [ip-cloak.com]

      http://track.sextorrent.to:2710/announce [sextorrent.to]

      http://tk.comicat.com/announce [comicat.com]

      http://tpb.tracker.prq.to/announce [tracker.prq.to]

      http://torrent-download.to:5869/announce.php [torrent-download.to]

      http://eztv.tracker.thepiratebay.org/announce [thepiratebay.org]

      http://tracker.bitnova.info:6969/announce [bitnova.info]
  • Innovative (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Avatar8 ( 748465 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @11:45AM (#23506284)
    I find it fascinating that an online comic can bridge the gap to a game. Keeping the game episodic and using the original artwork keeps the comic feel.

    I haven't followed PA consistently, so I don't have much of an opinion on their content. An online comic I think that would translate well to a game is Girl Genius (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/index.php). Heck, I think that whole universe would translate well to a MMO, though the female characters wouldn't be able to see the ground or run without toppling over. :-)

    If this process is easily mass produced, I could see past and current comic books becoming games.

    • by fbjon ( 692006 )
      Coincidentally, the noir style and mechanical old-fashioned setting in this PA game reminds me very much of Girl Genius, even though the usual setting of the comics is more real life-ish.
  • I love the concept of a block/counterattack system (a 'perfect' block takes no damage AND performs a counterattack) - it just seems like I've never counterattacked except by accident. When I *try* I usually miss, and mashing the spacebar randomly isn't working as well as it did in the beginning. ^.^; Does anyone have any tips/suggestions on how to block effectively?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CrashPoint ( 564165 )

      The tutorial help mentions it only fleetingly, but the enemy's lifebar flashes right at the moment you need to block. If you hit the block button quickly enough after that (I'd guess 1/10th of a second leeway), you'll get a counterattack.

      I also found it a little easier to start by holding the button partially down, then complete the press on cue. But that was on the 360 using the triggers; it might not work as well on a keyboard.

  • Ahh well, PC/Linux version here I come...
    • by Pazy ( 1169639 )
      They adressed this before, not that I can remember it word for word. They were saying they would bring the game anywhere where there was a full develpment version of the tourque engine but unfortunately PSN dosent have one. Too bad PS owners, maybe it works on PS3Linux install :P
  • Ratings (Score:5, Informative)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduckNO@SPAMmqduck.net> on Thursday May 22, 2008 @05:24PM (#23511478)
  • Well, I don't see anyone else here who actually bought the game yet, so I guess I'll comment on that! I've played through just about the full contents of the episode now, on the last boss (quite a difficult one, but I think I've got a handle on it, perhaps I'll beat it next time), and unlocked the highest weapons, killed all the robots, and am about through all the content. Took me about 6 hours, so the reviews were right on that note. The humor is about what you'd expect from PA (a very good thing, if you

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"