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The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are You Afraid? You Will Be...

Hey folks, these people took a big chance on us by re-porting this great game set to Linux...let's get them some publicity. Vote for it on slashdot here. Thanks - h

In the deepest, blackest parts of us, bad things exist...

Things that we cannot touch, but we see...in a momentary flicker of peripheral vision...in the dark room that takes its only light from the moon...shadows that move...that take shape.

Sometimes they speak to you...in whispers not understood. CandleFlame that dances in a room with no breeze...

And low laughter in a place where you know you are alone. And always...the whispers.

Sometimes they cry. But beware, their sorrow is only a ruse. Their grief will morph into rage and drag you into That Black Place.

Never to return.

This is the gameworld that Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson have created in the Frictional Games trilogy, Penumbra. The Trilogy of:

Overture

Black Plague

Requiem

OK helios...big deal. Another game to get second-rate gameplay in Cedega or Wine...no thanks.

Ahem...I beg your pardon?

This game is now written for Linux. And here is what makes this blog newsworthy. Not only has Frictional taken the leap of faith to re-port to Linux... For this weekend only, beginning Friday the 17th, Linux Users can purchase the entire trilogy for five single dollar bills.

That's absolutely unheard of...until now. Until Frictional decided they want to give us what everyone else is enjoying. At five bucks for the entire trilogy, they ain't exactly focusing on profit motive.

The link below will take you where you want to go. Linux users as well are being given this as a way of re-introducing Penumbra to the Linux Community. And holy freakin' cow, what games.

Understand, these are not games where you have an arsenal of weapons to blow bloody chunks off of Sauerbraten monsters. This is a world where you exist or perish by your own natural wit, awareness and reflexes. Think quickly and correctly or become part of the shadowworld that awaits its next victim. You physically build your own survival. You actually hand-make the barricades, the weapons, the ladders and escape routes that you will need to survive...and you do it with movements and manipulations just like in the physical world.

Not simulations...oh no...this takes gameplay to a whole new level. That old stack of lumber against the wall in other games?

Eye filler.

Not in here. You might just need one of those boards so your body will remain above room temperature a while longer.

In this realm, things exist that you pray do not. This is a game that will make you look behind you every now and then.

When you are alone...

And you will be frightened.

Play it with the lights off. Play it with your back to the door...maybe with only the light of the monitor...I dare you.

I don't want to give anything away but there were several places in all three games that I physically jumped in my chair and yelled...I would say "screamed" but that elicits images of a ditsy blond falling down while being chased by the monster then screaming with a fade to black...

I look like crap in heels anyway. Why do they always try to run away in heels?

Yeah you read it right...five bucks US...the whole three game set.

Or paypal/credit card. I am guessing that would be quicker than mailing them five one dollar bills. Now...please...

Go spend five dollars and support those who support us.

And get the Holy Crap scared out of you for your troubles.

This game was well received in the Windows world. You can see a full and representative review of the entire trilogy here.

This game differs from all others by the virtue of the way you interact with items in gameplay. The detail is stunning. You actually use the mouse and buttons to pick items up, move them to your advantage, turn them around in your hand and inspect them...throw them across the room, carry them, push them or turn a door knob and open a drawer.

It isn't the old "bump and acquire" engines that dominate games today. This takes physical manipulation in games to a place never seen. While these games are not "new" the fact that they have just been ported to the Linux world merits their discussion here. This opens a whole new dimension to gameplay for us.

Oh, and did I mention you can get the entire trilogy for five dollars for this weekend only?

So helios, is this game really different?

Ya think? Watch the film clip. Oh, and DO turn the volume up a bit and watch it fullscreen.

I want you to see what these folks have done with their revolutionary gaming engine...and I quote from a review posted on the internet:

"Using one of the most realistic and impressive physics engines ever created, the player can grab, maneuver, push and throw pretty much anything in the environment and have it react exactly as one would expect it to. The mouse-only object manipulation has a wonderfully tactile feel to it; in order to open a locker door, you have to click on the handle and then pull the mouse back to physically open the door. Similarly, if you wanna spin a wheel or pull a level, you have to use the mouse to replicate the exact movements you'd make in real life. Thanks to the fact that there's no all-purpose "use" button, Black Plague has the most tactile controls you'll ever find outside of a Wii title. Unlike its predecessor, Black Plague utilizes these physics far more when it comes to puzzle solving (being forced to open a door using leverage was, to my mind, one of the most enjoyable parts of the game)."

Or, more succinctly put:

"Black Plague
is moody as hell, and it's got one absolutely incredible plot moment about 3/4 of the way through the game (I'm tempted to call it the indie equivalent of BioShock's "a man chooses, a slave obeys" scene)"

Are you a blogger with an established blog? Want to save the bankrupting price of five bucks? Write about this release and the folks at Frictional have authorized me to get you a set of the games free. Just email me the link to the blog and I will take care of it. I have 10 full sets to give away.

Dude...you've never played a game like this...

I will follow this entry with a more personal introduction of the people that make this trilogy...but until then...go play this game.

And Sleep Well....

Yeah, right.

All-Righty Then

66 comments:

David said...

I can't wait until games can truly stop being an excuse for using Windows.

Anonymous said...

If helios can do for Frictional what he did for 2dboy, I believe we have some strong evidence for the other game houses. This is getting to big to ignore for much longer.

Anonymous said...

Helios what can I say. This has got to be a classic blog. It's articles like this that make me follow you. Hell, I dispise games but I am going to buy this one. Not only to support Frictional but to actually play it. Your description and color in writing won't let me do anything else.

Randy Meyers

Anonymous said...

"This has got to be a classic blog."

The bloody signature alone is brilliant.
Have blog, will collect. Emailing you now.

Anonymous said...

Just when I think you have written your best Ken, you write something like this. What a great blog. I am not a gamer either but I will buy this one. What is it that makes us WANT to be frightened?

You are well on your way to killing another myth helios, the one about no games in Linux. I don't have a blog but you can be sure I will be spreading this around Dell all day tomorrow.

It is an honor to say that I know the number one Microsoft wrecking ball. Thanks for taking another whack.

J

Blog of helios said...

If helios can do for Frictional what he did for 2dboy

No, we cannot take credit for all of that. We did have an extremely positive impact on spreading the word about the port. It still ranks as the fourth most-read blog of helios. However, we need to give slashdot the credit for the success 2dboy enjoyed. Their article drove the traffic to our blog which in turn racked up some fairly significant referring URL numbers for blog of helios. If the article had not been submitted to slashdot...I doubt if they would have enjoyed the success they did for that three day period. Linux users shattered their all-time one day sales record. Shattered as iin surpassed it by 40 percent.

Let's hope we can duplicate that success for Frictional.

einfeldt said...

You can vote for this blog on Penumbra here on Free Software Daily! Here is the compressed URL

http://is.gd/1BNB7

Here is the uncompressed URL:

http://www.fsdaily.com/EndUser/Unusual_physics_engine_game_ported_to_Linux_The_Penumbra_Trilogy

Thanks either way for considering a vote!

Christian Einfeldt

Anonymous said...

Ken, I am SO tempted to purchase these games at the regular price. It is Friday morning here in the EU. I guess I have to wait a few more hours until the US gets out of bed. Just like you lazy Americans to sleep away the day ;-)

I love horror and suspense games. The trailers you picked are what sold me. These games look wild. I am ready to play. Oh, does the offer for blogging stand for us across the water?

Andreas

Reece Dunn said...

0 A.D. (http://wildfiregames.com/0ad/) - a real-time strategy game that is in development - has also recently Open Sourced their work. It is using SDL and OpenGL, so should be supportable on Linux and in theory other OSes like Mac, the BSDs and OpenSolaris.

The game itself is not very complete at the moment according to their website. But that is just because it is still under development.

Two different announcements in a week ^_^.

Patrik said...

Consider this post stumbled! :)

Anonymous said...

Ken, I've often meant to ask you...how do you get these scoops? You seem to be every where at every time for the past year. Have you figured out how to beat that pesky space-time continuum thing?

It would seem so.

libervisco said...

Bought. :)

rapha said...

Read that post and bought the game immediately. Ever considered becoming a salesman instead of a software guy? :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Helios, I purchased the trilogy for a grand total of £3.24GBP!!

AmblestonDack

Rich C said...

Ken, with reference to your offer to bloggers, here you go!
http://www.linuxquestions.org/blog/richc-403594/2009/7/17/linux-compatible-game-news-2118/

Rich.

Andy B said...

Wow, I'd forgotten about Penumbra - I played the demo they released years ago and loved it.

I'm going to buy them tonight, and it's just a bonus that there are Linux native versions.

What a week for me, just found the remake of Monkey Island was released two days ago (on Steam only which is a pain, but not a show stopper for me) as well as the first of the new Monkey Island instalments from Telltale games!

Thanks for the heads up on this game Ken.

Jim March said...

Why did I have to google for the system requirements? It's just basic to list them when you're selling a game.

Good thing I did: my laptop has an Intel video card which ain't supported. See also:

http://support.frictionalgames.com/entry/39/

Apparently either they don't want to make sales, or they want to sell games to people who can't run them. Not slick.

Anonymous said...

Helios, it is broad daylight, I purchase and download the game, get 15 minutes into it and have to get up and walk away for a while.

This game scared the B'Jesus out of me. I know you said it was scary but for the love of pete man...

Anonymous said...

Hope you make some money from the referrals as well.. benefits should go all around!

Blog of helios said...

I never accept a dime for stuff like this. You will never see paid advertisement on my blog either. If I carry a banner or mention of a firm or company, it is because I believe in them and what they do.

My sole reason for doing this is to build an evidence trail that Linux Users do pay for and play games. Recent reports from frictional tell me that they are scrambling to find ways to shore up their servers from the onslaught.

If I am ever offered recompense, I turn it down BUT, if the company or group cares to donate to The HeliOS Project, they are welcome to do so. That money goes straight to kids who need computers.

h

Anonymous said...

"If helios can do for Frictional what he did for 2dboy"

Looks like you are well on your way to doing exactly that old boy. Congratulations. This firm should compensate you for this. I know...you won't accept it. Still, again you have done good things that will ultimately benefit the Linux Community.

You are one in a batch helios...truly you are.

Anonymous said...

Grabbed it! Thanks Helios. Always love your blog.

Andy B said...

@Jim March

You had to google for them? They're on the bottom of the purchase page. http://www.penumbragame.com/buy.php

They could be a bit more explicit though, with maybe a full list. However I'd be surprised if a recent-ish laptop graphics chipset wouldn't exceed GeForce 3 specifications and run the game. Might be worth downloading and trying the demo.

Blog of helios said...

@ Rich C

Email me Rich...I got's sumpin' for u

helios att fixedbylinux dottt kom

Blog of helios said...

David,

Thank you extremely muches. This is indeed a nugget of gold and I will not let it go to waste. Thank you for being part of what we do.

h

Blog of helios said...

@ rapha

I would imagine the five dollar price tag had as much or more to do with your purchase than my prose...

All the pretty words in the world won't eject a wallet from one's backside if there isn't money within it to navigate.

Thank you very much though...I appreciate your comment.

h

Anonymous said...

Congratulations helios, it appears you have done it again. You really ought to get paid for what you do.

I mean, I don't know who would pay you, but someone should.:-)

Anonymous said...

Hey I just went to buy this but didn't because you ask for all those personal details. Why do you need my phone number when I'm using paypal?

Anonymous said...

the blogger isn't asking you for anything...that is the company that sells the game. Just put something bogus in there and tell them to pound sand. Hell use mine I don't care.

You can always wait until monday when the price goes back up to 20 bucks.

Anonymous said...

I just went out and got it.

All those personal details are used to help prevent fraudulent credit card use.

Anonymous said...

telling them to "pound sand" might make you feel better but it won't get you the game. The phone number you put in the field has to match the phone number on your credit card information. If it doesn't it will not allow the transaction. I agree that companies are asking way too much information but in this case, I actually appreciate the security feature. It's there for your protection...like they are gonna call you in the middle of the night or something.

"Hello Is your refrigerator running..."

JHardin said...

Bought. Now I just need to (finally) upgrade my video card...

And if you pay via paypal you can put "n/a" in the phone number field

Don il said...

Hi Ken!

I Just got it.

I purchased a copy for my son (he's over twenty and he enjoys games a lot), though I'll have to wait until I get home to download it.

I only eventually play card games: Pysol, Aisleriot, Same. Some years ago I was very good at Windmil's Digger on the IBM PC (sigh...)

Glad to help.

Don il said...

@anonymous:
Quote "Congratulations helios, it appears you have done it again. You really ought to get paid for what you do.
I mean, I don't know who would pay you, but someone should.:-)"

Money is not what Ken is doing all this for. Not that he doesn't need it for living, but the goals are higher here.

Regards.

Don il said...

@anonymous:

"Congratulations helios, it appears you have done it again. You really ought to get paid for what you do.
I mean, I don't know who would pay you, but someone should.:-)"

Money is not what Ken is doing all this for. Not that he doesn't need it for living, but the goals are higher here.

Daniel said...

Just purchased a copy... We need to support companies who support Linux!!

Regards,

Daniel Vanzo
Argentina
Ubuntu 9.04

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post! Just bought my copy!

Justin Hall said...

Great, I am in, I'll buy them. I have an Nvidia 8800GT and I would like to do more then have wobbly windows and spinning cubes!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I currently don't have a system that will run these games but it was worth $5 to show support.

ejraka32 said...

Helios, thanks for the tip.
Just bought mine, and now downloading it.
ejraka32

Scott said...

Got the Mac AND Linux one. Downloading now, can't wait to play. I'm moving cross country next week, but the machine might have to be the last thing packed.

Anonymous said...

This sounds really cool, and I'll have to check it out this weekend.I really enjoyed Doom 3 because of the dark and spooky environment. This game reminds me of Doom 3.

Anonymous said...

Actually, this game (as far as I remember) has had a Linux version since they released the first part of the trilogy. I just recently purchased the trilogy (at a higher price) but I think I'll grab a second copy for my son at this price. :)

Oh, and you may want to check out S2 Games and they're in beta for Heroes of Newerth (RTS) with a native Linux client. I bet if you asked them they get you a beta key.

Might as well keep this ball rolling :)

Beemer

Jason said...

Here is my little write-up on the release of the Penumbra Trilogy:
http://jaymansrealm.com/?p=351
I'm glad to see companies porting games over to Linux and helping to make one less reason not to ditch Windows.

Anonymous said...

At that price, I just picked up 2 licenses.

Doug

Kyin said...

Bought and downloading as we type. I tried the demo of one of them and loved it. I am only too happy to support these guys. And at only 5 bucks even I can afford these games. Thanks for the link Helios.

I will be off enjoying my new games. In about 2 hours, man, I need to switch to cable internet.

WE ARE *NIXED! said...

I'm probably too late on the offer, but I did blog and Tweet about it anyway. I also went ahead and bought a copy. This would be another great way of testing out the various distros and hardware.

Blog of helios said...

Oh Yeah, those things went quick...three of them are waiting until Sunday or monday to publish to see if they cannot produce some residual interest after the rush.

These games do rock. I refuse to play them at night.

h

Ryan said...

When the game was in beta, it was a free download (available for Linux at the time!) and I tried it out. It scared me out of my chair and my friends and I would take turns at the hotseat until we got too unnerved. This comes from a guy who can generally watch scary movies and play Resident Evil without jumping -- this game is real thing.

I'm so glad they've decided to do a Linux re-release, and this is a bundle priced to sell. Thanks, Frictional Games.

Anonymous said...

Epic fail, Helios.

You do the Linux world no favors by encouraging people to drag such obnoxious Windows-world behavior as activation codes into it. I now have a set of programs that I will probably never bother with as they cannot be trusted to behave due to an intentionally constructed failure mode.

I think it is now safe to stop trying to make the World of Goo demo work.

Michelle Minkin said...

I think it is now safe to stop trying to make the World of Goo demo work.

You gotta be kidding me. I've installed the World of Goo on over 100 Linux machines and only two have had problems that could not be fixed. Compare that to the two I have in my own house running windows that puke every time I try to play it.

You do the Linux world no favors by encouraging people to drag such obnoxious Windows-world behavior as activation codes into it.

What the hell do you want pal? You want everything free? People have to eat. And I am not a big fan of "IP" but I also recognize that a person's work on the market must be compensated. Wonder how you would like it if your employer decided that you just were not worth the salary and made you work for free. Oh...I should have asked...you are not a full time student are you? You sound like some of the bubble-headed leftists I taught with at NYU.

There's a lot wrong with the Windows/Microsoft model but to malign a company trying to make some money is plain stupid. They have a right to assign license keys to their individual games. It's how they pay their employees and put a roof over their families heads.

I notice you did not congratulate them for not ladening them with DRM or Regions coding.

Funny how that got by you.

Chelle Minkin

Lance K. Forrester - Flint MI said...

"Epic fail, Helios."

I spoke with Ken about 10 PM and at last count, there are just over 3800 people who disagree with you. Those were direct download hits from the blog of helios. And a bit over twice that which downloaded from Slashdot.

"I now have a set of programs that I will probably never bother with as they cannot be trusted to behave due to an intentionally constructed failure mode."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, at least you supported the effort. At five bucks, there really isn't any excuse not to...

Hell, you could have gotten it for free if you had mentioned it in a forum or blog. Ken had 10 sets to give away.

Watch for the black helicopters...they are everywhere.

Lance Forrester

Velmont said...

I do agree, I don't like license keys. I don't believe in proprietary software. Even less license keys. And east DRM (which isn't a problem with this game). I do however believe in paying for real work (as this game surely has been).

I want more people developing for Linux, so out of the two wrongs (proprietary, people say linux-desktop-users won't pay) i'd say the second is most important at this time, and since I'm already a hypocrite (having Adobe Flash on my computer although I normally use Gnash), I'll go on and buy the game.

A bit sad that I probably won't be able to play it though... :/

Anonymous said...

I linked from German Ubuntuforums to your post, Helios, also recommending to support native game development for Linux.

My forum entry was deleted over night without comment.

So much for gaming on Linux / Ubuntu.

For the games: I also bought them, they run great on Ubuntu Jaunty on a Ati 9850 grafics. Thank you a lot for the hint - 1.17 Euros a game is really a good price.

Anonymous said...

Was very excited about this game. Previously bought and downloaded World of Goo and liked it, though it wasn't quite as interesting as I had hoped. Had even greater expectations for this game and paid for two copies.

Imagine my disappointment when the game failed to install. Maybe I missed something, but it looks like it may have been ported specifically to Ubuntu as I got a bunch of Gtk "critical" errors.

(I'm running KDE/Lenny which uses Qt rather than Gtk.)

Blog of helios said...

My forum entry was deleted over night without comment.


One of the reasons my non profit stopped putting the official Ubuntu distro on the hundreds of computers we give away is the seeming black-armband mentality in those forums. You may have been caught in a political crossfire as well because I am not liked there. Most anyone who links to my blog in a Ubuntu forum is struck from the record.

I had the audacity to point out a problem or two and mentioned that those problems have been present for three release cycles.

Seems some people are more sensitive to well-meaning criticism than others.

Thanks for the attempt.

h

Miki said...

Probably soon the platform will not be important and any game from any platform will run on any other platform.

Streaming of course :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-w56hQxmnY

dr. Hannibal Lecter said...

Wow. $5?? Just...wow.

Let me tell you this: I just bought the game. Now this by itself wouldn't mean much if it weren't for the two facts:

1. I (normally) hate horror games.
2. I have NEVER EVER purchased ANYTHING with my card. I like cash-n-carry.

So, you've just made me break two things in my life. One of which I was really proud of. But I guess if I really must break the tradition, this is probably the best way there is. For that I am grateful.

Hopefully, Penumbra will continue to be profitable and more companies will make native games for Linux. It's about damn time.

Best of luck to the makers of Penumbra!

Anonymous said...

@Michelle Minkin:

My reference to the World of Goo is due to two things, I haven't been able to make it run fast enough to be playable, and if this is an example of what Helios considers acceptable behavior from a software company, I probably would have gotten a similar nasty surprise had I been able to make it run and be impressed enough by it to buy the game.

"What the hell do you want pal? You want everything free? People have to eat. And I am not a big fan of "IP" but I also recognize that a person's work on the market must be compensated. Wonder how you would like it if your employer decided that you just were not worth the salary and made you work for free. Oh...I should have asked...you are not a full time student are you? You sound like some of the bubble-headed leftists I taught with at NYU."

I bought the game under the obviously mistaken assumption that an organization supporting Linux knew not to do the software sabotage thing. There are no justifications for an intentional failure mode in software. I paid for it, and now I can't trust it to behave because if their logic is so defective that this is considered acceptable, I'm not going to risk any portion of my system to what their computer logic must be like.

"There's a lot wrong with the Windows/Microsoft model but to malign a company trying to make some money is plain stupid. They have a right to assign license keys to their individual games. It's how they pay their employees and put a roof over their families heads."

I don't consider anyone to have the right to sell designed-defective software (and that is what any form of key system is) at all. They could have at least put up a large notice before the purchase was committed to.

"I notice you did not congratulate them for not ladening them with DRM or Regions coding."

You cannot region code software for a generic platform, otherwise I might have expected to see that, and a key is a form of DRM, simple, but DRM nonetheless.

I expected to be disagreed with by some people, the Windows world has conditioned people to accept all sorts of bad behavior. Fine, I can now expect the state of software in the Linux world to deteriorate now that this sort of thing has passed muster.

@Lance K. Forrester

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? Well, at least you supported the effort. At five bucks, there really isn't any excuse not to..."

They considered it acceptable to design the software to fail under specific circumstances, it they think that is OK, there is no telling what other rubbish is lurking in there. And had Helios had the minimal decency to warn everyone about the license key issue, I would not have wasted my money supporting behavior that I regard as nothing short of criminal.

I've said my bit, Helios having destroyed his credibility with me I will now go away and not bother this forum again. The responses tell me that there is no further purpose to commenting here. (I am sure that this will raise some cheers. Quite sad, really.)

Lance K. Forrester - Flint MI said...

@ anonymous.

Dude, I don't even know how to talk to someone like you. Since when does a license key represent "sabotage"?

"And had Helios had the minimal decency to warn everyone about the license key issue, I would not have wasted my money supporting behavior that I regard as nothing short of criminal."

Uh...if you read any part of the download page and instructions, it is made obvious that you will be receiving a license key. Maybe, just maybe helios gave his readers enough credit to trust them to read before they downloaded. Not sure about that but that's my guess.

Over 3000 people have downloaded the game set from this website according to helios. And that was as of yesterday. Lord knows what it is today. As the comments show, you are the only one out of thousands that think helios took part in criminal behavior.

Besides that, if something this so very insignificant can make you lose respect for a man that builds hundreds of computers for poor kids a year...

I personally am not sure he's gonna miss you.

Anonymous said...

"And had Helios had the minimal decency to warn everyone about the license key issue"

@ Lance. No I think anonymous has a point. I mean, helios failed to take into account that he alone out of several thousand people voiced outrage over the games having licensing triggers.

Helios is indeed pure trash.

While we're playing games, he's out delivering hand-built computers to needy kids.

What a total piece of gargage.

Anonymous said...

"And had Helios had the minimal decency to warn everyone about the license key issue"

@ Lance. No I think anonymous has a point. I mean, helios failed to take into account that he alone out of several thousand people voiced outrage over the games having licensing triggers.

Helios is indeed pure trash.

While we're playing games, he's out delivering hand-built computers to needy kids.

What a piece of total garbage.

Simon Haynes said...

Just bought my copy, altered others via Twitter.

Marky B said...

$5 for not just one but THREE whole games that look awesome, and running natively on Linux!!! Win. Purchase made. Even if I can't get them to run on my machine (which I will), $5 is token support for a forward-thinking company.

Re: licence key. This is the case with pretty much every game on Windows. Expecting it to be different in Linux is just daft.

Brett Alton said...

Is there an updated, reliable list of games for Ubuntu, including ones you can purchase?

I'd find that EXTREMELY handy.

Blog of helios said...

Brett, let me work on it. We just lost our delivery vehicle for The HeliOS Project so we are busy trying to find a way to replace her...give me a day or two and I will see what we can put together.

h