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The Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now open for voting

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Get ready to cast your votes, as the Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now open for business. After some time to let people nominate games, we've done a bit of cleaning up and it's ready.

This is a simple way to show off to other Linux gamers what's really good, it shows developers their games are appreciated on Linux and it's supposed to be a bit of community fun.

We're going to keep it open for voting for a full week, so you can come back to a category if you can't yet make up your mind. It will close around 8PM UTC on Saturday 8th February.

Head on over to the GOTY Page now to cast your votes.

Notes:

- We removed the "Biggest step up for Linux support" category because it just didn't make sense. No one really understood it.

- Next year it's going to be smaller, simpler and more fun. It's too many categories as it is and it became a nightmare to admin it. We will decide on a few fun categories for next time!

- We know it's 2020, we run it when 2019 is actually finished to be fair to all games.

- Two votes per category - so you can vote for your favourite and then your runner-up.

- You can reset your votes in each category any time before it ends.

- Nothing is perfect, sometimes really good stuff gets missed.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: GOTY
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56 comments
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Smoke39 3 February 2020 at 11:27 pm UTC
BeamboomI miss the layer of polish that high budget games have. They are simply more professionally made, created by experienced designers and it obviously makes a difference.

And no, I do not now talk about graphics (in fact there's plenty indie games with great visuals - I'm not one that demand "realistic" graphics at all, and rate artistic style much higher than the number of polygons or the visual effects).
No, the polish I talk about is on all the other things. The hundreds of little components that makes out a game. Everything from an intuitive interface to a well thought out tutorial to fluid mechanics, responsiveness, camera control, map design, every other little thing that isolated doesn't mean all, but each on their own adds up.
This is just straight up bullshit, and disrespectful of the skill demonstrated by some indies. Just because a game has a larger budget doesn't make it more "professional" or more polished.

As a random example off the top of my head: Shovel Knight. Anyone can cobble together a basic 2D platformer, but designing a game of Shovel Knight's quality takes genuine skill. Coming up with novel obstacles that one might take for granted as a player is not easy, nor is designing levels that are challenging but fair. It takes real creativity, and real design skill.

I would argue that Shovel Knight is actually better than a lot of the games that inspired it, and that's because Yacht Club didn't just haphazardly throw down tiles or blindly mimic what came before. They're not just quaint hobbyists dicking around. They're skilled professionals with a deep understanding of game design, who applied that knowledge to create a product that was highly polished.

It's fine if games like Shovel Knight don't interest you, but it is undeniably exceptionally well-crafted, and just as "professional" and polished as any AAA game.

BeamboomAnd THEN, on top of THAT, we can start talking about content: Voice acting, scripting, story line, animations, cut scenes, visuals, audio, network play, size of player base (in multi-player), freedom of movement, character creation, etc.
You said your issue wasn't with indies being "too small/basic," but you're talking about scope here. And again, it's totally fine if you prefer games with more to them. But just because a game has a larger scope doesn't mean it's better, or more professional, or more polished. It just means it's bigger.
Beamboom 4 February 2020 at 8:42 am UTC
Smoke39This is just straight up bullshit, and disrespectful of the skill demonstrated by some indies. [...]As a random example off the top of my head: Shovel Knight.

(my bolds)

Sigh. I had a feeling this would come. I was about to write one more disclaimer but felt I'd written a long enough post as it were. But here goes:

I am obviously now talking about the big picture. The general situation. There's always exceptions, the world is not black/white.
It's very easy to come up with examples of small games that does a particular thing well. There's also plenty, plenty!, examples of big budget productions gone horribly wrong on pretty much every single aspect of the game. Oh good grief, the examples stand in line.

It's also quite symptomatic that an indie game does some parts well, but are very weak on others. A direct consequence of being so few on the project. But the small scope concepts, like puzzlers, platformers, are often done well. Perfect genre for a small developer to create.
And you got the ultra rare exceptions that turns out to be pure pieces of interactive art. Like Flower from Thatgamecompany. But those are few and far between.

I purchased The Pedestrian yesterday. A real charmer of a game. Excellent visual idea. Smooth execution. Will be fun for an hour or two. All good. But at the core of this game lies a very small scope. It's just another small puzzler. It just looks really good.

Generally speaking, the tendency is that the bigger the scope of the game is the harder the small developers will fail. Because, at the end of the day a large scale game totally depends on having enough competence and manpower behind it.
And that, inevitably, costs.

But yes, of course there exist small games that does what it does well. I mean... Come on.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4 February 2020 at 11:27 am UTC
TheSHEEEP 4 February 2020 at 12:36 pm UTC
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I think it is fair to say that in general, the majority of games are not well done.
No matter what industry or kind of skill you talk about, people who are truly good at what they do, the top of the class if you will, are in the minority. Thus, it is only natural that the majority of products in any sector is not good - while the few that are good crystallize and become apparent over time.

The thing is just that there are a lot more indie than AAA games, and with that naturally also comes a larger number of good indie games compared to very few good AAA games.

AAA games have the advantage of being shiny on the surface level - and many players rarely look further than the surface when it comes to games.

I'd compare it to cinema - are all the movies that are most successful also the best movies? Certainly not.
They are just good popcorn cinema. Won't demand much from your audience, will show quite a spectacle on the screen, people leave with a good feeling (well, if the movie wasn't downright terrible) while not really being richer in any meaningful way and having no thought provoked.
Truly great movies rarely achieve a high level of success, even though some certainly do, often over time.

I don't think there's anything wrong with popcorn cinema, and I'm definitely mostly a popcorn cinema viewer.
My standards when it comes to cinema or movies in general are a lot lower than when it comes to games.
But I'd never even get the idea of saying that large scale cinema movies are better than their lower-budget counterparts in any way other than surface-level bling.
Quite the opposite, actually. In true artistic value, not a single movie by Marvel comes close to anything put out by Von Trier, for example. I watched Antichrist once and it still finds its way into my thoughts every now and then - that sure won't happen with a Marvel movie.

It is very, very similar with gaming.
Just that indie games are a lot easier to access and consume than indie movies and therefore can find a potential audience more easily.

BeamboomIt's also quite symptomatic that an indie game does some parts well, but are very weak on others. A direct consequence of being so few on the project.
The parts that indie games do well are the parts most important to any game, those related to gameplay, to whatever the core of the game is.

The parts that they don't usually do well in are art and, to some degree, audio. And I'm not talking about high-end effects or models here, those have nothing to do with art quality. What's important about quality game art is its consistency and (usually) variance. That's where many indies fail to various degrees, and not always because of budget.

Just to make it clear, I'm talking about good indie games here; that bad ones fail at what they do is kind of a given.

AAA on the other hand focuses on high-end art and audio - because that's what will rake the cash in big time, with the casual audience. While gameplay, if things went well, is serviceable at best. Which is kind of funny, because great gameplay can be achieved by very few people and is thus actually much cheaper than high-end art which requires lots of manpower.
A AAA game that is also truly good or even great in gameplay and not just a boring rehash of things devoid of challenge and creativity?
Dark Souls comes to mind. I'm struggling to name more.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 4 February 2020 at 12:58 pm UTC
Patola 5 February 2020 at 12:38 am UTC
[quote=scaine]
PatolaI guess I'm the counter point. I'm also from that era - I'll be fifty soon, but still gaming anywhere between 10 and 40 or so hours a week (...)

Look at the candidates this year! Sure, we only have maybe four titles in that AAA bucket, but then there is:
SteamWorld Quest (beautiful hand-drawn graphics with intense card-based mechanic)
Supraland (stunning UE4 FPS)
Iron Marines (IronHide's usual high quality cartoon graphics and voice-acting)
Slay the Spire (hand-drawn cards, insane replayability)
Indivisible (fantastic animation work)
Pine (could almost be a Nintendo title, it's so pretty)
X4 Foundations (Massive, brave open galaxy sim/fighter)

Almost half of the games you mentioned here are definitely what I like: big, deep, immersive experiences: X4: Foundations (my favorite game ever), Pine and Supraland. The other are like medium-sized games, enjoyable but not as appealing to me as the former. But indeed, the latter definitely do not try and mess with things like immersion, realism, contemplation which is a big part of what I want from a game (and I suspect Beamboom too). They seem too concentrated in the mechanics to try and be convincing; they're just games, they are meant to be played, not "lived", not deeply enjoyed.

Also, I wouldn't even dislike pixel graphics or other more limited games if there were not an avalanche of them. There are just too many!

scaine...and I haven't even mentioned Streets of Rogue!

So I just don't get the negativity. I really don't!

Yeah, Streets of Rogue is definitely one of the games I dislike because of thrusting artificially limited graphics to the player. Like Undertale, Terraria, Celeste, Baba Is You, Enter the Gungeon, Shovel Knight, etc. To me they are disparagingly different this from what I associate with "games": they might be brain-tickling, mind-bending addictive puzzly thingies, not the same deep experience stuff where you feel taken to another world, another universe, living other lives.


Last edited by Patola on 5 February 2020 at 12:40 am UTC
Patola 5 February 2020 at 1:04 am UTC
TheSHEEEPThis is so incredibly sad to read.
You were never interested in what games are actually about: Gameplay.
Nope. Experience!

TheSHEEEPYou just went running after the currently best possible method to lull your brain to sleep that was one step above just being a movie, weren't you?
Well, you finally got what you always wanted. Just not on Linux.
It's not a method to lull our brain to sleep. Is to make things believable. Ever heard of suspension of disbelief? How are you going to feel like the character if you see bright squares and cartoonish lines instead of realistic stuff? When you finally put your brain in this state, THEN you can entertain it with meaningful things like good plot, ambientation, "art" etc. How are you going to be scared in a survival horror game if you don't feel the threat is real? 2D survival horrors know that they cannot convince with graphics, so they go with realism in the audio side, and usually minimal (dark) graphics as to not distract the player from the sounds he's supposed to be focusing on.

TheSHEEEPIf you want to lull your brain to sleep with AAA graphics - because that is exactly what happens, your brain got nothing to do there as it doesn't need to fill any blanks, the more realistic the graphics get - well, that's your choice.
So, making the brain tired with artificial, non-believable graphics is something you enjoy? Curious. I'd think they get in the way of enjoyment, not somehow improve it.

TheSHEEEPBut then why not just watch movies and series (or read books)?
Because you don't have control, because you don't make a difference, because you do not really feel threatened or must measure the risks, because you are not mechanically active, because you are not even first-person (except for Hardcore Henry, a truly amazing flick).

TheSheepThey spark the imagination, they are just more interesting to look at than "realistic plant and rock number 67632487", they make your brain go into (or stay in) active mode.
If I wanted high-end realism, I could spend my time hiking through the forest. No PC could beat that. Yet.
There is so much more a title like Ion Fury or Dusk offer to you (single-player-wise, anyway) than something like the last 10 Call Of Duties or abominations like the latest Wolfenstein would. It's a damn shame you are declining the offer.
Simple graphics do not spark the imagination. They instead offer you a simplified, flat version of what you would be supposedly interacting with -- a token of an entity, and not by any means an attempt at a convincing exposition. At no time you have to really imagine something, but if you really had -- like in those games made for blind people, with sounds alone, where you have to use the imagination all the time -- it would likely be a bad, tiresome game, at some point you would really demand to see the monster, or whatever that is it should offer.

Sorry if I sound too aggressive, but retro-whorism always get to me!
TheSHEEEP 5 February 2020 at 6:50 am UTC
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PatolaIt's not a method to lull our brain to sleep. Is to make things believable. Ever heard of suspension of disbelief?
Absolutely.
And there is absolutely no problem in suspending my disbelief if the graphics are consistent and well implemented. If they are realistic or not is rather irrelevant.
Because I'm actually using my imagination. Not actively, mind you, like most things mind-related, it happens "in the background".

Patola
TheSHEEEPIf you want to lull your brain to sleep with AAA graphics - because that is exactly what happens, your brain got nothing to do there as it doesn't need to fill any blanks, the more realistic the graphics get - well, that's your choice.
So, making the brain tired with artificial, non-believable graphics is something you enjoy? Curious. I'd think they get in the way of enjoyment, not somehow improve it.
You're not painting a very optimistic picture of your brain if a bit of imagination is already tiring it.
The brain is like a muscle, excercise it. It is not too late (assuming you are not 60-70+ and the cells are actually decaying).

I continually use it from working to learning a language to playing games that require actual thought and imagination - and I'm not having tiredness problems with any of it.
Of course I rest it, too. Rest is important. I usually do it before going to bed, helps with sleeping.

Patolabecause you are not even first-person (except for Hardcore Henry, a truly amazing flick).
I see a pattern forming here.
First person makes immersion a lot easier, no doubt about it.
But it isn't the only thing allowing it, it can be done with pretty much any perspective.

Though I do agree that was maybe not the best example. Series and movies are almost exclusive watching someone else do stuff, you are not the protagonist.

PatolaSimple graphics .... They instead offer you a simplified, flat version of what you would be supposedly interacting with -- a token of an entity, and not by any means an attempt at a convincing exposition.
Exactly. And everything they do not show you, every thing lacking to complete the "picture" and form a non-flat version of what you are seeing, all of that is done by your imagination.

PatolaAt no time you have to really imagine something, but if you really had -- like in those games made for blind people, with sounds alone, where you have to use the imagination all the time -- it would likely be a bad, tiresome game, at some point you would really demand to see the monster, or whatever that is it should offer.
So you acknowledge that your brain goes active if it is presented with a lack of information.
Good, that is correct. That's how brains work, filling the gaps and completing patterns is what we're really good at. Especially if trained correctly.
But retro graphics are full of a lack of information. The only difference between something like an audio-only game and something with a simple graphical style is the amount of information lacking.
Your brain doesn't care, it becomes active either way, the only difference is in how active it has to become.

You don't have to take my word for it. I would seriously recommend reading some books about how brains work, or at least what we know so far.
We got recommended these two in a completely random course at my "vocational school" (not sure what the correct translation would be) years ago, or at least older printing of these:
https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Mind-How-Brain-Works/dp/0393974464

Though I didn't finish the latter, to be honest, it was a bit "out there" with its excourses into psychology.
Edit: The latter one says it was released in 2019. Uhm... I'm either mixing it up with another one with a similar name or they got the dates wrong.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 5 February 2020 at 6:55 am UTC
scaine 5 February 2020 at 3:49 pm UTC
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I can see both sides of the discussion here. But honestly, you're both arguing from extremes. There's no way that TheSheeeep could defend the appalling, muddy, messy graphics of something like Teleglitch (despite its fun gameplay), and meanwhile Beamboom has already admitted that there are plenty of indies that have coherent, absorbing worlds.

And reading a book on how the brain works isn't going to change that. Teleglitch could have been amazing. Instead it was headache inducing (when you die, it tells you what enemies you killed and I was surprised to discover that I'd killed four different types of zombie... they were all indinstinguisable blobs). Drake 4 could have been a stunning, memorable, interactive movie, and instead it was simply dull and reinforced the limits of its gameplay over and over (you can climb up THIS WALL, but definitely not THIS WALL).

Counterpoint to Teleglitch? Noita (windows-only). Or Chasm (linux native).
Counterpoint to Drake 4? The Last of Us (PS4), Witcher 3 (windows-only), or for linux-native, look no further than the Life is Strange series, or the latest Tomb Raider.


Last edited by scaine on 5 February 2020 at 3:53 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 5 February 2020 at 4:38 pm UTC
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scaineThere's no way that TheSheeeep could defend the appalling, muddy, messy graphics of something like Teleglitch (despite its fun gameplay),
While I personally don't like the Teleglitch style, either, from screenshots and gameplay videos, the style seems to be very consistently done and applied throughout the game - nothing seems unfitting or out of place at a first glance.
So I would still say its graphics are well done - if I (or anyone else) personally enjoy them or not doesn't matter in judging their quality.

Don't know if telling different zombie types apart is even relevant in a game like that (it sure wasn't in good old Alien Shooter) - if it was important, then yeah, you would be right about it.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 5 February 2020 at 4:39 pm UTC
scaine 5 February 2020 at 4:49 pm UTC
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TheSHEEEPSo I would still say its graphics are well done - if I (or anyone else) personally enjoy them or not doesn't matter in judging their quality.

The graphical effects were well done. But it's a great example of where pixel graphics appear to be more reflection of lack of resources than "artistic style". Because if it were latter, then I don't understand why the game would bother with the distinction between, say, a zombie, and a mutant human.

It did make that distinction, but god knows why. You couldn't actually distinguish between them because the graphics were a pixelly, muddy mess.
WorMzy 6 February 2020 at 11:01 am UTC
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Liam Dawe

Unrelated to the on-going discussion, please could the GotY page be added to the Sections dropdown menu at the top of the website? I've seen that there's a notification about it, but it only seems to appear once every three or four page visits, and you can dismiss it, so there isn't an easy, consistent way of getting to the page*.


* You can search for the article and get the link that way, but that only seems to show up in the results if you explicitly search for "GOTY", and I can't seem to add "Game of the Year" or "Awards" to the tags (presumably because they aren't tags you've used before).
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