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Overlord and the Overlord: Raising Hell expansion have been ported to Linux thanks to Virtual Programming. I was able to get advanced access yesterday and here are some thoughts.

Note: The Linux release is not yet on Steam. This is a DRM free release from their own store. It's using MojoSetup, so you can install it wherever you please.

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I was only sent it late yesterday, so you will forgive me if this isn’t as in-depth as I would have hoped it would be.

While I do have issues with previous ports from VP, I always take each game with a fresh mind as some are really are fantastic (like Bioshock and DiRT Showdown) and some not so (Saints Row series ports).

I’m pretty damn happy that Overlord is now on Linux, as I’m pretty sure a good 90% of games see you being some sort of hero and rarely the bad guy. Somehow being the bad guy in games just seems more exciting.

Port report
I’m really impressed. First of all it has a decent launcher to pick resolution and game options before loading. I always like being able to do this before a game ends up giving me some wonky resolution:
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So I started off impressed right away, great start.

It also appears on the correct monitor with my dual-monitor setup. The amount of games that utterly fall over themselves at trying to accomplish that one task is amazing, but Overlord gets it right first time without any messing about.

I haven’t had a single crash in multiple hours of testing, so it seems to be very stable.

The only issue I have encountered is the audio seems to be a little buggy. The speech is always fine, but the background music and other audio seem to vanish at random. Relaunching it seems to fix it. This has been reported to the developer.

Performance wise, with max settings at 1080p it’s constantly staying above 100FPS with not a single dip below it. It only dipped just below 100FPS while I was recording.

You can see how it performs with this Linux gameplay video I did, I left the GLXOSD overlay on so you can see all the gritty details:
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They also removed the "Exit to Windows" text (yeah I know, it’s an old game), so it just says "Quit" in the Linux port. Funny, because I noticed people whining about that on another website. Goes to show that VP do have a nice attention to the small details for us Linux gamers.

Gameplay
The gameplay is actually quite interesting and amusing. Not only do you control your movement, but you control the movement of your minions too. So you can send your minions in to fight, while you kick back and let off some spells, or you can join them with your sharpened axe.

It plays a bit like an action RPG, with a sort of strategy element too it with the minion control.

The minion control is a little wonky though, as it is an older title, but you get the hang of it after a while. Took me a good few minutes to get it right during the tutorial and I keep messing it up during gameplay so I have a while to go before I properly master it. You control your minions with the left and right mouse buttons, while your character uses the keyboard, it feels quite odd but it works.

It’s a little like the game Pikmin if anyone has ever played it, only you’re completely evil.

Sending my minions around destroying everything in their path feels pretty good, watching them smash crates, kill sheep and so on is pretty funny. One thing I didn’t realize until later on is your minions can actually pick up weapons and items if you direct them to walk over to them, so having minions geared up certainly makes it easier. I have to admit I let off an audible chuckle when some of them decided pumpkins make good helmets—idiots.

What is really cool is that it has a skirmish arena mode where you can pick any minions you have unlocked and battle with them against any enemies you have defeated. It’s a nice practice mode that sits nicely alongside the campaign to restore your tower to its former glory.

It’s quite hilarious, performs rather well and generally a fun experience. Do check it out it’s an easy recommendation.

You can grab it now from VP’s official store. No word on when it will be available on Steam yet.
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73 comments
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Xpander 21 July 2016 at 4:06 pm UTC
Will it be redeemable in steam when i buy from VP store?
i just don't want to have games from different places and deal with manual updates.
WienerWuerstel 21 July 2016 at 4:14 pm UTC
It's great to see a DRM free release but it's also a shame that I can't play it (for now) even though I own it on Steam.
TheGZeus 21 July 2016 at 4:20 pm UTC
I already have it on Steam. I guess I'll wait :\
qchto 21 July 2016 at 4:21 pm UTC
XpanderWill it be redeemable in steam when i buy from VP store?
i just don't want to have games from different places and deal with manual updates.

Same here..

And what's even more worrying: Will I be able to download the game at all?

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That little "All digital products are delivered via the Deliver2Mac client." message don't give me a good vibe, considering the client is Mac exclusive..

Edit:

Ok, for anyone interested, the download of a ".run" file (around 3.2GB) is active from their site:

image

I don't think they will offer a digital Steam key however.


Last edited by qchto at 21 July 2016 at 4:52 pm UTC
dmantione 21 July 2016 at 4:23 pm UTC
QuoteThey also removed the "Exit to Windows" text (yeah I know, it’s an old game), so it just says "Quit" in the Linux port. Funny, because I noticed people whining about that on another website. Goes to show that VP do have a nice attention to the small details for us Linux gamers.

This is because in many peoples eyes, Eon does the same thing as Wine. While there are details on Eon exactly works, from the data that I have, I suspect Eon differs quite a bit from Wine.

What is similar about both technologies is that they load the original Windows executable in memory. However, while Wine is generic and makes no assumptions about the game in question, I believe Eon needs actual porting works on the game.

What is the difference. A good example would be the filesystem. Wine needs to emulate a full Windows filesystem with C: drives letters. I believe Eon is much more smilare to:

function OpenFile(namechar):HFILE;winapi;

begin
if string(name)='settings.txt' then
OpenFile:=open(homedir+'/.config/Virtual Programming/Overlord/settings.txt';
end;

... the result is that VP ports behave like native Linux applications and don't need a filesystem with Dos drives letters.

Much more fundamental is that Wine needs to emulate DirectX shaders with low level OpenGL shaders. Because Eon knows what shaders to expect, native GLSL shaders can be used (Peter Mulholland from VP once said that they use native shaders).

Another thing that I belive Eon does, is runtime patching: Consider the machine code of the game in memory the "source code" and modify it at runtime. I believe this way, you can replace "Exit to Windows" with "Quit".

So yes, there are similarities between Wine and Eon, but I believe the VP ports are a lot closer to native applications than what some people believe. It certainly doesn't look VP just wraps the game and work is done.
adolson 21 July 2016 at 4:24 pm UTC
XpanderWill it be redeemable in steam when i buy from VP store?
i just don't want to have games from different places and deal with manual updates.

Ditto.
leillo1975 21 July 2016 at 4:45 pm UTC
I have all overlord games bought in Steam years ago, it's a pity that I can't play it If I own the game. I think that this circumstance is a big error from VP. A lot of people wants to have all the games in the same place. When I buy a game (in Humble Bundle, Bundle Stars, Games Republic, Greenmangaming..) I only have two premises: the game can be activated in Steam, and of course, can be played in Linux natively.
rkfg 21 July 2016 at 4:48 pm UTC
qchtoThat little "All digital products are delivered via the Deliver2Mac client." message don't give me a good vibe, considering the client is Mac exclusive..
Don't fret, I've just bought it and here's what the order screen looks like:
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What's funnier is that the URL isn't bound to the purchase/account/session in any way, it's just a direct link to the cloudfront.net CDN and you can download with wget or whatever. So if you have that URL you technically don't need to pay (I don't encourage you to share it of course).


Last edited by rkfg at 21 July 2016 at 4:56 pm UTC
qchto 21 July 2016 at 5:12 pm UTC
rkfgDon't fret, I've just bought it and here's what the order screen looks like:..

I did discover that a while later after purchasing, but thanks for the feedback!


Last edited by qchto at 21 July 2016 at 5:13 pm UTC
Shmerl 21 July 2016 at 5:20 pm UTC
Are they already using GTK3 for the launcher? They used GTK2 for TW2.
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