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, respectively, 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, given that 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.
The Penumbra games are remarkable for its physics engine — rather than just bump and acquire, the player must use the mouse to 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
It is always a big deal for GNU-Linux when a cool new game like this is created for GNU-Linux. It creates new buzz for Linux. People use operating systems not for the operating system itself, but for the things that they can do with the operating system.
Also, what makes Microsoft powerful is not their operating system itself, but all of the hundreds of thousands of applications that are written for Microsoft Windows. Again, people get Linux or the Mac or Microsoft Windows for what they can do with it.
And it’s good that a company is actually charging for something that runs on top of GNU-Linux. People value stuff that they pay for. If someone pays for the Penumbra games, then people will tend to put more esteem into GNU-Linux, because they have paid for a game that will run on top of it.
For this weekend only, from July 17 through July 20, you can buy a copy of the game for only $5.00 by going to the Frictional Games home page