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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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28 comments
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Csokis 26 Apr
I don't understand why they still use OpenGL instead of Vulkan?! Why?
Theodis 26 Apr
Hmm... For me the screen goes blue after I build a harvester. I ran the game under proton experimental with the default in game graphical settings using OpenGl with a Radeon 5700XT and using mesa 21.3.7 .
Alzarath 26 Apr
I got a little excited when I saw this article pop up. I was always a bit interested in trying the original Dune RTSes but never got around to it. Turns out it's a 4X game, though. It makes sense considering the themes of the series, but it's not for me.
STiAT 26 Apr
Maybe once it releases, I'm not buying early access anymore :D.
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I wonder if the folks at Shiro got way too excited with Northgard, and are now trying to bite more than they can chew...
Dune is a pretty important franchise, there are predecessors (games) from good old Westwood studios, and there's also Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.
I am worried about how are they going to cover basic issues like performance. If we see already 40 FPS in a situation like that, what will happen in a decent battle with big armies.
Also I don't see a minimap in there, so I assume we are dealing with an attempt to cover all functionality with zoom in/out. Again, maybe too ambitious?
Liam Dawe 26 Apr
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelijaI wonder if the folks at Shiro got way too excited with Northgard, and are now trying to bite more than they can chew...
Dune is a pretty important franchise, there are predecessors (games) from good old Westwood studios, and there's also Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.
I am worried about how are they going to cover basic issues like performance. If we see already 40 FPS in a situation like that, what will happen in a decent battle with big armies.
Also I don't see a minimap in there, so I assume we are dealing with an attempt to cover all functionality with zoom in/out. Again, maybe too ambitious?
That 40FPS was on the Steam Deck, something they don't actually directly support on Day 1 of Early Access. I can get it to around 60FPS by turning settings down.
TimeFreeze 26 Apr
Quoting: CsokisI don't understand why they still use OpenGL instead of Vulkan?! Why?

Well maybe because there are (probably) still a lot of users who have a GPU which does not support Vulkan? I mean it makes (kinda) sense to rather support an "older" API rather than a "new" one you know the more ppl who can play the game the better. Not like some other games/devs who slap an DX12 requirement on it because screw all of you who only own an DX11 GPU.
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: ElamanOpiskelijaI wonder if the folks at Shiro got way too excited with Northgard, and are now trying to bite more than they can chew...
Dune is a pretty important franchise, there are predecessors (games) from good old Westwood studios, and there's also Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.
I am worried about how are they going to cover basic issues like performance. If we see already 40 FPS in a situation like that, what will happen in a decent battle with big armies.
Also I don't see a minimap in there, so I assume we are dealing with an attempt to cover all functionality with zoom in/out. Again, maybe too ambitious?
That 40FPS was on the Steam Deck, something they don't actually directly support on Day 1 of Early Access. I can get it to around 60FPS by turning settings down.

OK, but do you understand what I mean, though? Yes, we can get 130 FPS from most strategy games, on a situation like that of the screenshot, but some will scale down to less-than-half FPS, only with a medium size army.
eldaking 26 Apr
Very nice, I hoped it would work but great to have confirmation.

Quoting: CsokisI don't understand why they still use OpenGL instead of Vulkan?! Why?

Because for this kind of game, it doesn't make a big difference? Graphics are rarely the performance bottleneck for strategy games, OpenGL is often more than good enough. Considering they maintain their own engine (and their own language, it's pretty cool), over using Unity or Unreal or an engine that has built-in Vulkan support, porting everything over might be quite a lot of work with little impact.
This is taking me back to the old Dune board game. Six players, no more no less--Atreides, Fremen, Harkonnen, Bene Gesserit, Guild, Emperor. Not perfectly balanced, but surprisingly well considering, and did a beautiful job conveying the atmosphere and the different powers and strengths of the different groups. For instance, everyone except the Fremen have to pay spice to get troops to the surface. Who do they have to pay? The Guild, which ends up with obscene amounts of money, partly making up for their lousy combat ability.
A friend of mine made up a sort of special edition version, with a wooden board etched using some kind of digital thingie, and "spice" tokens made of actual chunks of cinnamon. Every couple of years we manage to get a group together and have some fun hours with it.
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