July 26, 2011

Humble Indie Bundle 3: Pay What You Want for Linux Games

Looking for Linux games? On a tight budget? Want to support "indie" developers? Then you should take a look at the Humble Indie Bundle #3 that's on sale for two more weeks. Did we mention that Linux users are putting up twice as much money on average than Mac users, or three times the average for Mac users?

One of the common complaints about Linux is that the platform just doesn't have the game selection that you'll find on Windows. While true, the gap is not as great as it once was. And if the Humble Bundle sales are any indication, we'll keep seeing even more interesting games for Linux.

What's the Humble Bundle?

The Humble Bundle sales, and Humble Indie Bundle sales, are an experiment in letting users set their own price for games. Yes, you read that right — users can set their own price for games. Better yet, the games are DRM-free, so you can download and install them without worrying about managing a key or having the DVD in the drive to play a game.

The concept goes back to 2010 when a group of independent game developers decided to sell a "pay what you want" bundle of games. The first round included games like World of Goo, Gish, and Aquaria. (World of Goo had its own experiment with "pay what you want" before the bundle.)

The Bundle sale allows you to choose any price and decide how the contribution is split. You decide between the developers and charities, or go all to developers or all to charity. You can also tweak the percentages between the charities, so if you like EFF more than Child's Play (or vice-versa) you can opt to give the bulk to EFF. You can also choose to donate to (or cut out) "Humble Tip" to help offset the bandwidth and development costs that go with the promotion.

How much to pay? Well, you're supposed to be able to go as low as $0.01, but it looks like the average overall is about $4.25. According to the current stats on the site, the bundle has made just a bit more than $109,000.

What's very interesting is that Linux users seem to be dipping much deeper into their pockets than Windows or Mc users. By platform, Linux users are averaging $10.40, while Windows users are averaging just $3.49. Mac users are in the middle, with an average of $5.47. So if you want to do a good deed and fly the Linux flag, a hefty donation to the Humble Bundle 3 can go to charity and boost the average amount for Linux users.

By the way, if you're a multi-platform gamer, you can specify the platform you'd like your contributions counted for. The Humble Bundle settings page allows you to choose which platform or platforms are counted as part of your donation and whether you'd like to be publicly acknowledged.

Games Included

Like previous bundles, the HIB3 includes five games: Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, Hammerfight, And Yet It Moves, and (this isn't a typo) VVVVVV.

VVVVVV is a 80's style side-scroller that is deceptively fun. At first glance, it may not look like a game that would hold your attention but I found it pretty addictive. Cogs is a puzzle game that's also popular on the iPad and iPhone.

Crayon Physics Deluxe lets you solve puzzles by drawing items that have the properties of real physical objects (in the game, of course). It looks like a pretty good game for kids, and might be fun for adults as well. Hammerfight is a 2D game with flying machines that battle using all kinds of nasty weaponry. (Unfortunately, the site for Hammerfight doesn't do much to sell the game, check out the Steam page for a better description.

Finally, there's And Yet It Moves, a physics based puzzle game that has users navigate through a paper collage world. It sort of looks like a Dave McKean creation come to life. (Sort of.)

It should be noted that, bought separately, the games would run you about $80. The sale only runs two more weeks, so if you want to save a few bucks, support indie game development on Linux, and support worthy charities, this is a great opportunity.

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