Dune: Spice Wars is out in Early Access, works on Linux and Steam Deck

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The battle for Spice has begun on the sandy planet, with Dune: Spice Wars from Shiro Games and Funcom officially out on Steam in Early Access. Good news for fans of 4x RTS games, as it appears to work great with Steam Play Proton out of the box with no additional tweaking needed. This has been tested on both my desktop with NVIDIA and my Steam Deck with AMD.

"Conquer Arrakis through political maneuvering, military dominance, sabotage, and wise resource allocation. The spice must flow, but as you struggle to wrest it from the grip of opposing factions, the planet itself threatens with coriolis storms and colossal sandworms. Lead the honorable Atreides, brutal Harkonnen, opportunistic Smugglers, or survivalist Fremen, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Specialize your faction by appointing various iconic characters as your councilors."

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I personally grew up with Dune 2 as one of my first strategy games, so I simply could not pass up the opportunity to play this one (personal purchase). First impressions count of course and so far, so good. It definitely looks and feels a bit like a sci-fi Northgard, with a few of the mechanics being quite similar and the UI also feels close there too. Not a bad thing though, Northgard is great and Shiro clearly learned a lot from it.

On the Steam Deck, it works well and performs quite nicely from my initial test. The interface even looks okay, although the problem is the text size (which a lot of games suffer with on Deck) being in many places too small. Playable on Deck for sure but not overly comfortable due to that. No issues with that on my Linux desktop of course.

Not a big surprise that it works out of the box, especially since it has options for OpenGL or DirectX. Both appear to work on Steam Deck and desktop Linux. Screenshots from desktop (click pictures to enlarge):

Performance on Steam Deck appears to be far better if you use the OpenGL option. I saw a good 10-15FPS improvement on Deck by using OpenGL. Steam Deck screenshot on High settings:

Sebastien Vidal, Shiro games CEO says, “We’re all very proud of the current state of the game as we enter Early Access. It's the beginning of a journey, and the game is only going to keep expanding from here, with the help of valuable player feedback."

Through Early Access they have plans to add in a full story campaign, multiplayer and more.

You can buy from Humble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Wookietiddy 27 Apr
Quoting: kokoko3kPerformances seem really bad from the screenshot I see, with almost nothing on the screen and gpu (and battery!) struggling at 99% with a mere 40fps.

Nah those screenshots are on high settings which for this kind of game you really don't need. Putting everything on low gets 60+fps solidly. But also for a 4x game, 30+fps is more than enough.
kokoko3k 27 Apr
Quoting: Wookietiddy
Quoting: kokoko3kPerformances seem really bad from the screenshot I see, with almost nothing on the screen and gpu (and battery!) struggling at 99% with a mere 40fps.

Nah those screenshots are on high settings which for this kind of game you really don't need. Putting everything on low gets 60+fps solidly. But also for a 4x game, 30+fps is more than enough.
The fact that putting everything to low improves the refresh is nothing new and does not imply that the performace are good.
The fact that a 4x game does not need high frame rates is also not an excuse for draining power due to not being performant/efficient.
This is always true, but particullary concerning for battery powered devices.
Shmerl 28 Apr
That's pretty cool that they are using an open source engine for a high profile game. But I wonder why that one specifically. Is it better than let's say Godot?

By the way, animation sequences in the game trailer look pretty good! Surely not small budget.


Last edited by Shmerl on 28 April 2022 at 4:21 am UTC
LNX 28 Apr
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelija
Quoting: mirvFrom a couple of months ago on an AMA:
From that wording, GNU/Linux won't have a native release (no surprises there).
I say disappointment, since Northgard did have a Linux native version,
Early Access yet. Time will tell. There's a hope.
mirv 28 Apr
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Quoting: LNX
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelija
Quoting: mirvFrom a couple of months ago on an AMA:
From that wording, GNU/Linux won't have a native release (no surprises there).
I say disappointment, since Northgard did have a Linux native version,
Early Access yet. Time will tell. There's a hope.

It was mentioned somewhere in the AMA that they're looking to get the game "Deck Verified", so there's really no reason for them to be doing a native version for GNU/Linux, particularly as the only storefront they're targeting right now is Steam.
eldaking 28 Apr
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelija
Quoting: mirvFrom a couple of months ago on an AMA:

From that wording, GNU/Linux won't have a native release (no surprises there).

It's a bit of a surprise there, or should I say disappointment, since Northgard did have a Linux native version, in which one could play-through the whole campaign, and also multiplayer, in what seems, from my own experience, fully cross-platform multiplayer, with pretty decent amount of players online to play with.

And there are not many other games out there, which check all those points.

Yes, Northgard works perfectly natively (and it is ridiculously light - look at the requirements, 1GB of RAM). Multiplayer works cross-platform with Windows, but not with console or mobile afaik. And they are using the same engine, which they make, so they have the know-how and at least some old code they could use.

Honestly, considering how they were willing to port Northgard to absolutely every platform they could, how they work hard on keeping system reqs low, how they open-sourced their engine and created their own language, and how chill they seem to be... I think they will at least give some actual, serious consideration to the native port in the future. (As opposed to the canned, non-committal response most studios give). No surprise that Linux native isn't available during Early Access, and with Proton how it is might not be worth their time to do a whole new version for such an ambitious project... but then, if/when they are working on other ports it might just be worth it anyway.
Cyril 28 Apr
Quoting: eldaking
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelija
Quoting: mirvFrom a couple of months ago on an AMA:

From that wording, GNU/Linux won't have a native release (no surprises there).

It's a bit of a surprise there, or should I say disappointment, since Northgard did have a Linux native version, in which one could play-through the whole campaign, and also multiplayer, in what seems, from my own experience, fully cross-platform multiplayer, with pretty decent amount of players online to play with.

And there are not many other games out there, which check all those points.

Yes, Northgard works perfectly natively (and it is ridiculously light - look at the requirements, 1GB of RAM). Multiplayer works cross-platform with Windows, but not with console or mobile afaik. And they are using the same engine, which they make, so they have the know-how and at least some old code they could use.

Honestly, considering how they were willing to port Northgard to absolutely every platform they could, how they work hard on keeping system reqs low, how they open-sourced their engine and created their own language, and how chill they seem to be... I think they will at least give some actual, serious consideration to the native port in the future. (As opposed to the canned, non-committal response most studios give). No surprise that Linux native isn't available during Early Access, and with Proton how it is might not be worth their time to do a whole new version for such an ambitious project... but then, if/when they are working on other ports it might just be worth it anyway.

Yeah cool, sure, but don't forget the Linux version of Northgard on GOG is single player only, too bad they rely on Galaxy for it.
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Not so long time has passed, and Steam charts already tell the tale: despite the novelty and the Dune brand, the fact is Northgard plays in a whole different league than Spice Wars.
Which is, in my opinion, a positive thing: no game needs to fade away, if it's good and people like it.
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