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Don't Sink, a sandbox adventure pirate RPG now has Linux support

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Here's one we missed, Don't Sink [Official Site, Steam] a sandbox adventure pirate RPG that's currently in Early Access added Linux support last month.

Linux support arrived with the December 24th update, which you can read here. Since Steam's newly released list doesn't update when a game has a new platform (like Linux), it's up to us to make sure you know it's on Linux!

Don't Sink takes inspiration from Pirates of the Carribean (2003 game), FTL: Faster Than Light, and Sid Meier's Pirates although the style of it and the gameplay does seem like they're trying to stay as unique as possible. Check out the trailer below:

Reading through their updates, I like the fact that they're being careful to include certain graphical options to enable lower-end computers to play it smoothly, which is fantastic to see.

They say it's easy to pick up and play, but naturally it has challenges to it that will require a bit of thought. You can chat to people and discover the history of each island, there's cut-scenes to help bring the world to life and plenty of random events while you're travelling at sea.

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14 comments
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Purple Library Guy 29 January 2018 at 6:24 pm UTC
Frankly, looking at the graphics in that trailer I find it kind of bemusing that it needs any options to let lower-end computers play it smoothly.
liamdawe 29 January 2018 at 8:41 pm UTC
Purple Library GuyFrankly, looking at the graphics in that trailer I find it kind of bemusing that it needs any options to let lower-end computers play it smoothly.
This line of thinking always makes me laugh. A graphical style doesn't really have that much to do with how much computing resources a game needs
Purple Library Guy 29 January 2018 at 9:46 pm UTC
liamdawe
Purple Library GuyFrankly, looking at the graphics in that trailer I find it kind of bemusing that it needs any options to let lower-end computers play it smoothly.
This line of thinking always makes me laugh. A graphical style doesn't really have that much to do with how much computing resources a game needs
That strikes me as weird. No doubt true, but weird. The history of computer game graphics is marked by a tendency to use increased power to reach for more and more photorealistic and "busy" (eg explosions, lots of light sources, many moving things) environments rendered faster and faster.
So then if you have a game whose graphics are simplified with mostly static environments, in short a game whose look could have been readily produced 15+ years ago with the computing resources available then, why does it not imply using less computing resources? It's distinctly counterintuitive.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 29 January 2018 at 9:48 pm UTC
lagh 30 January 2018 at 1:06 am UTC
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liamdawe
Purple Library GuyFrankly, looking at the graphics in that trailer I find it kind of bemusing that it needs any options to let lower-end computers play it smoothly.
This line of thinking always makes me laugh. A graphical style doesn't really have that much to do with how much computing resources a game needs

Aehh... as a general statement I would absolutely agree liam... but in case of this particular game... I also don't understand where all the "graphics computing power" of my gtx (or even of my integrated graphics chip) would be used in this example.
Shmerl 30 January 2018 at 4:44 am UTC
Purple Library GuySo then if you have a game whose graphics are simplified with mostly static environments, in short a game whose look could have been readily produced 15+ years ago with the computing resources available then, why does it not imply using less computing resources? It's distinctly counterintuitive.

The reason old games could use less resources is that their engines were carefully crafted to use less to achieve more. I.e. they used every trick they could to make things look better within limitations of available hardware. That required quite a lot of effort and ingenuity.

Today developers use common bloated engines that do nothing of the sort. So unless they design their engine from scratch to be actually minimalistic, don't expect their games to be less demanding. There are exceptions of course. Such as Pico-8, or LÖVE which are made to be minimalistic to begin with: https://love2d.org


Last edited by Shmerl at 30 January 2018 at 4:49 am UTC. Edited 6 times.
SebastianNigro 30 January 2018 at 5:27 am UTC
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First off, dev here! (Seabass, team lead on Don't Sink)

Thanks so much for spreading awareness about Don't Sink. You are all awesome. We work really hard to support as many users as possible and to create the best game we can.

Purple Library Guy
liamdawe
Purple Library GuyFrankly, looking at the graphics in that trailer I find it kind of bemusing that it needs any options to let lower-end computers play it smoothly.
This line of thinking always makes me laugh. A graphical style doesn't really have that much to do with how much computing resources a game needs
That strikes me as weird. No doubt true, but weird. The history of computer game graphics is marked by a tendency to use increased power to reach for more and more photorealistic and "busy" (eg explosions, lots of light sources, many moving things) environments rendered faster and faster.
So then if you have a game whose graphics are simplified with mostly static environments, in short a game whose look could have been readily produced 15+ years ago with the computing resources available then, why does it not imply using less computing resources? It's distinctly counterintuitive.

Once you delve into programming and game engines it's quick to see that most developers aren't complete idiots and that instead they are relying on tools they require to create the product with the manpower available.

We use GameMaker Studio 2 because of the following reasons:
  • I'm the only programmer and with a game of this scale, it would take at least a year to do it with a library like SDL. But GameMaker Studio 2 can compile to native code (C++) so the difference in performance is negligible.
  • It has a workflow that allows us to create/test our ideas very quickly
  • GMS2 can compile to a huge list of platforms including LINUX thanks to OpenGL. Most games on Linux rely on OpenGL but here's the kicker! OpenGL is extremely slow when compared to DirectX 11 and later. So a lot of the performance issues on Linux/Mac are the result of compatible libraries such as OpenGL.
  • I learned GML (game maker language) very young and am now very comfortable with it so I very rarely feel limited by the tools given.

Our code is VERY optimized. I live stream the development daily (as of recently) and you'll often see me fighting for the guy running an IntelHD 2500 but to no avail. We batch sprites to prevent texture swaps, I avoid using shaders (GPU focused effects) unless necessary, and the logic-side of the game is extremely lightweight.

If you play the game for yourself and experience some of the late-game combat, you'll understand why the minimum specs are what they are.

One last note regarding older games...
Don't Sink uses 4k (4096x40096) texture pages which aren't even supported on extremely old GPUs. Games from 15 years ago couldn't run at 720p (1280x720) with water reflections, LUTs, Scaling shaders, or anything else like that. Especially not at 60 fps.
tuubi 30 January 2018 at 6:33 am UTC
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If you watch the trailer, you'll notice the zooms, transparencies and smooth scrolling and realise that it isn't so much pixel graphics as low-resolution art on a modern engine. A stylistic choice if you will. And the wavy, blurred reflections in the water weren't made with old-school blitter magic. The style might seem retro, but the game isn't.


Anyway, I'm keeping my eye on this. I like three fourths of "sandbox adventure pirate RPG". It's just the "sandbox" part that turns me off a bit. Sandbox is like open-world but without proper goals and story progression.
Purple Library Guy 30 January 2018 at 7:30 am UTC
Graphics questions aside, I wonder about this. Maybe it's just a lousy trailer, but it doesn't look like there's a ton going on. You go into shops, you sail off to not obviously do anything in particular, you find yourself in combat for reasons that are unclear but with no obvious tactical options--your ship just stays at one edge of the screen lobbing cannonballs at the other ship which lobs them back. No maneuvering, no boarding, no nothing. And there's no real indication that you loot any fat merchant ships, seek any buried treasure, maroon anybody, fall victim to any black treachery by piratical rivals (or commit any) . . . in general, do anything piratical.
Hopefully this bland feeling is just the trailer giving the wrong impression.
Cheeseness 30 January 2018 at 7:52 am UTC
SebastianNigroFirst off, dev here! (Seabass, team lead on Don't Sink)
Since there were a couple of posts since, I wanted to highlight that the developer has dropped by to respond to comments here (it'd been sitting in the moderation queue).
tuubi 30 January 2018 at 3:38 pm UTC
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SebastianNigroOpenGL is extremely slow when compared to DirectX 11 and later.
Might want to give a trigger warning before whoppers like this.

It's probably true for GameMaker's OpenGL backend though.
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