No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #14

As of late, I've repeatedly posted links about the current generation of consoles and their woes. (Of which every generation seems to have plenty.) So it's funny that just now a friend would point me at this older (from December 2013) video doing a first look at SteamOS.

As someone who's been using Linux for nearly 15 years, I think I know what's going on here. And it's not very flattering for Valve.

You see, different operating systems are optimized for different tasks, and it's no secret that Linux leans towards servers. That it's also good for workstations these days is due to a number of compromises in addition to the raw performance of modern desktop hardware. But games have even more stringent requirements... which Linux can meet if configured correctly. But that pretty much means a custom kernel, system services reduced to a minimum and so on. Whereas SteamOS seems to be a stock Debian with a media center-style interface tacked on. Which is, and I speak from experience, trivial to make at home for fun.

I'd have to try it out myself to be certain, not that I have (or want) a Steam account. But if I'm right, then SteamOS isn't a revolution in the small, but simply a money grab from a company that was supposed to be better than that. Too bad.

In more amusing news, a modern gamer tries out a classic game and is turned off not so much by the user interface as hunger timers and utter lack of direction in a wide-open world. Both of which, I might add, were already solved problems in text adventure design by 1992. Memo to game designers: get out of your comfort zone sometimes. Play board games, card games, word games, game books... You never know where you might find inspiration.

In even more amusing news, we have an art blog treating us to classic video games reimagined as romance novels. They're all great... well-made, very funny, and one is a very pleasant surprise.

And because I still like to pretend this is a blog for game developers, here's a very basic primer about shaders, as well as some excellent advice on finishing your game, which I would like to see applied to web development as well, to be honest.

But that's pretty much it for today. See you!