Monday, November 7, 2011

Desura For Linux - Stop Waiting For Steam

So Steam is probably never coming to Linux, despite whatever Phoronix said. That's ok, Desura for Linux is out and you can redeem all your Humble Bundle games (except the ones from the first bundle) on it. There's also a bunch of indie games you can purchase direct from Desura. This is probably the closest we'll ever get to a Steam-style commercial game service for Linux and while the library isn't as large as Steam's simply having most of the Humble Bundle games I bought in one place makes this worthwhile for me. I recommend you check it out, if you've already bought some of the Humble Bundles you have no reason not to.

Installing the client is simple, you can place the installer in your home folder and it'll create a directory for Desura and your games once you run the installer, or you can place it somewhere else like /usr/local/games if you want.

Once you've logged in to the client you'll be able to download and install all your registered games. I created my Desura account after I downloaded the client, and had no games registered so the list was empty.

The Desura Linux client is still clearly rough around the edges, since I wasn't able to redeem my Humble Bundle codes and get my games within the client itself. I had to go to the website and put in the Desura codes I got off my Humble Bundle download pages there. Then the games showed up in the desktop client after I logged out and back in again. Once that was out of the way it was smooth sailing.

Downloading and installing my games worked perfectly, I got Osmos and VVVVVV installed very quickly on my new install of Lubuntu 11.10 on my laptop. I'm still kicking myself for buying Osmos twice, once when the Linux version was first released and again when it showed up in a Humble Bundle. I guess it was worth it though, Osmos is a lot of fun, so long as you avoid the late stage levels when everything gets uber frustrating.

One thing I'd like to see implemented, that I couldn't find in the current release, is the ability to add non-Desura games to the Desura games list. Steam allows something like this, and it's a nice way to have a list of all your games in one app. If that can't be done then I'd like to see Desura games added to the main menu of whatever the desktop environment is. That would allow me to see all my games at a glance.

I was surprised to see that Dungeons of Dredmore, a game that was reviewed on Good Game, was available on Desura but I guess I shouldn't have been since it is an indie game. There's a bunch of gems in the Desura store that are Linux-native, many of them have been featured in Humble Bundles already and I expect more will show up in later bundles, so if you're cheap like I am I'd suggest waiting for the next bundle.

I've given up waiting on a native version of Steam and Valve games coming out for Linux, but I'm glad Desura exists to make buying and managing a library of Linux native indie games easier and simpler. Definitely go check it out.

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