Linux Blog

Running dual boot for gaming or using Virtual Machines

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — Owen at 12:01 am on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This is a guest post by Fredrick Cameron and Parking Games 365!

VM

Being a hardcore gamer is not an easy “job” – you have to invest large amounts of money into cutting-edge hardware, and just when you think you have the best gaming rig, something better pops up. As if that’s not enough, you might find yourself in the situation of having to use multiple operating systems, which will lead you to one crucial question: what’s the best approach for getting everything working just right? When it comes to using multiple operating systems and gaming on a single machine, is dual-booting the better choice, or will virtual machines get the job done just as good?
Convenience vs. Performance
Dual-boot and virtualization are both use for the same final purpose: being able to run multiple operating systems on a single machine. However, each approach works differently, and thus they’re not both appropriate for all tasks.
VM1

Virtual machines are exactly what their name suggests – virtual computers that run inside your own real computer. The main advantage of virtual machines is that they run inside the main operating system, and as long as your hardware can keep up the pace, you can have multiple virtual machines running simultaneously, each machine being able to run a different operating system. By running inside the operating system, virtual machines are easy to manage, configure and deploy, thus being very convenient if you need to quickly switch between operating systems, as you don’t have to restart your PC and wait for everything to load over and over again.
VM2

Dual-booting implies installing two operating systems on a PC. Unlike the case of running virtual machines, in a dual-boot system you have to restart the PC every time you want to switch between operating systems. Installing the two operating systems also requires considerably more work and configuration. So far all these aspects seem to indicate that dual-boot is far less convenient than running virtual machines, so you might expect there’s a catch, and there is: dual-booting means that each system gets exclusive access to the hardware in your PC. In other usage scenarios, this might not mean much, but when it comes to gaming, it’s a complete game-changer. Literally.

Virtual machines get limited access to hardware, as they run as “guests” inside the main operating system. For example, if you’re running a PC with a dual-core processor and 4GB of RAM, one core of the processor and 2GB of RAM might be used by the host operating system, leaving the guest operating system with just one core and the other 2GB of RAM. This basically cuts down the performance of both the host and the guest operating systems to 50%. When you’re running a powerful gaming machine, with quad-core, hexa-core or even octa-core processors and tons of RAM, having the host operating system consume a chunk of those resources might not seem like such a big deal, but gamers tend to hold on to every bit of computing power, as recent games are power-hungry.

However, the key factor that prevent virtual machines from being adequate solutions is the fact that they can’t access and use the hardware as efficiently as a separate operating system does. Ironically, the main component that can’t be fully taken advantage of via a virtual machine is the graphics card, which also happens to be the most important component when it comes to gaming. There is a VGA pass-through procedure that should allow you to give the virtual machine direct access to the video card, but setting it up is a lengthy and complicated process.

Dual-boot may seem a bit inconvenient at first, requiring you to install and configure two separate operating systems, and have to go through “the pain” of a system reboot every time you want to switch, but it’s still far better than having to go through the pain of seeing your games shutter or lag.

Apotheon: A heroic action game set released for Linux

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:18 am on Friday, May 22, 2015

This is the guest post by Fredrick Cameron and Makeover Games 365!

Apotheon

It has taken four years of development but has it been worth the wait? Apotheon, a heroic action game is now available to play on Linux systems. Originally accessible through Steam for Windows and by opting into the Beta section for Linux, it is now available and fully functional for the Linux user.

The game

The setting is ancient Greek mythology and all the Greek Gods are present. The player takes charge of the character Nikandreos, and his mission is to save humankind from the wrath of the Gods; you will need to ascend to the realm of the Gods and return with many battles along the way. The ultimate confrontation is with Zeus, who is surrounded by many of the deities you will have heard of from Greek mythology. The challenge is to strip the old Gods of their powers and take control of the elements yourself – no easy feat. The game characters appear almost like puppets with the setting appearing realistic and the fighting fluid. This creates a very smooth game to play.

Is this just another hero action game?

In short, the answer is no. The developers have worked hard to keep the game true to its subject matter; they have successfully merged classic culture with modern entertainment. Nikanderos is a typical hero of this period, very masculine but without any deeper affliction. He is forced into a world on the throes of massive change, constantly fighting for his life whilst looking for redemption. The game is unique in the way it merges art and game play.

Something New

Apotheon is a 2D side scrolling game like so many before it. It literally delights a player and draws you into the game, and somehow makes you feel like you are there. A player can take pleasure in steering his character into battle and taken on the most powerful Greek Gods. Each realm needs to be explored and challenges solved before you can rise to the realm of the Gods. The fact that all this has to be done with the traditional weapons of the time simple adds to the experience.

Greek Mythology

Apotheon1

The game in many respects looks like you’re looking at the side of a Greek vase. Figures and scenery is directly lifted from pottery between the fourth and sixth century. The result is a fully rendered, authentic Greek setting. Thanks to the open world design you are able to explore each level. Your character is the centre of the story, but the story is not set in stone. You are in control of where your character goes and how the story unfolds; it can be different each time. All these elements combine to make the player feel as though they are part of the Greek myth, not just looking in the window.

Apotheon2

Every game has an atmosphere although some are better at creating it than others. In many games it is set by the music, whether sound tracks or background noise. In Apotheon the answer lies in humankinds continuing obsession with Greek Mythology. Many have debated whether there is any truth to the stories, but few would dismiss them without further thought. This time period holds a fascination and the game capitalises on that.

It is impossible to say which parts of the mythology are true or truth based. The confusion this creates allows us to ponder, and perhaps dream every time we are confronted with the subject. It is this that creates the atmosphere in Apotheon. It is this atmosphere that makes the game so enjoyable to play, especially on Linux.