Steam just changed the gaming industry. Again.

Steam just changed the gaming industry. Again.

This week, there has been massive news in the free and open source gaming world. There are new details with the Orange Pi Neo and a new Manjaro Gaming laptop? We'll look into it. Plus, Star Wars: Battlefront... this time, it's got nothing to do with EA. All this and more today! That's right, it's Steam Deck and Linux news time!

Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection

So at this week's Nintendo Direct, Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection was announced. It's coming out March 14th and it's Steam Deck Verified!

And of course it is. I mean, it's developed and published by Aspyr. They've got a long history of publishing games for Linux and MacOS. This collection includes the original Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront II alongside bonus content for both games including Jabba's Palace, Bespin, and Yavin 4.

I played the heck out of the Battlefront games as a kid and I am really stoked to play this. Especially since EA is not involved as far as I can tell. Remember: the original games were developed by Pandemic Studios and published by LucasArts. And EA lost the exclusive Star Wars license a few years ago. So at this point? It's all Aspyr.

Now, one other exciting feature of the game? Split screen multiplayer. I'm a sucker for any game with local multiplayer support since that's the only fun way to play games with friends in my book. It even supports Steam's Remote Play Together.

I've added this to my wishlist and I'm excited to play this classic on my Steam Deck!

SanDisk 1.5 TB microSD card on sale

SanDisk's 1.5TB microSD card is on sale right now! It's 20% off. Folks have tested it and have reported that it works great on Steam Deck and other Linux-power machines.

Steam Deck Academy

So, Steam Deck Academy has launched over on Rock Paper Shotgun, it's a page that acts as a repository of all of RPS's Steam Deck knowledge. They've got guides like how to use Lutris or or PC Game Pass on Steam Deck. They also have reviews and accessories. And they even have the listicles about the Steam Deck.

It's nice to see mainstream coverage of the Deck and I'd love to see more.

But you're a Steam Deck fan, what would you like to see me talk about more? Sound off in the comments below. And while you're down there, why not like that smash button and get subscribed?

Humble Fan Fest

The IGN FanFest bundle is underway over on the Humble store. $12 nets you 7 games and these are some excellent titles.

First, we have A Little to the Left which a game about stacking, sorting and organizing to solve puzzles. Then there's Loop Hero, an infinite loop of gameplay where you place enemies, buildings, and terrain along your heroes journey. And there's also Shantae and the Seven Sirens, a new adventure in the Shantae franchise.

You can use my affiliate link below to pick up the FanFest bundle and help support charities!

$80 million in physical wallet sales

Steam made

Orange Pi Neo

A few weeks ago we talked about the Orange Pi Neo, a gaming handheld from Manjaro and Orange Pi that will ship the new, immutable Manjaro Gaming Edition. Interestingly, only Manjaro announced the details back at FOSDEM this year. But now we have a little more info.

First, Manjaro project lead Phillip Muller said that they've been working on this handheld since May of 2023. But Manjaro Gaming Edition is going to ship with a specially-patched version of gamescope which is Valve's desktop environment (for lack of a better term) for Big Picture Mode. But it also will come with handygccs, a handheld game controller mapping utility, OpenGamepadUI an open source Big Picture Mode-like frontend for managing your games, and hhd or Handheld Daemon which is a utility to expose full controller emulation, gyros, paddles, LEDs and a quick access menu across Steam, Yuzu, Dolphin, and other applications.

Manjaro are still working on completing a few things for the release of this hardware. Namely, the RGB controls, TDP management in OpenGamepadUI, controller support, fan curves and battery optimization, audio equalizer improvements, and sleep and standby need work on the firmware end.

They say in their post that they're shooting for a Q2 2024 release date and that they don't have an exact price for the device. However, they're expecting the price to fall on the lower end of the Steam Deck's pricing.

I have to say, Manjaro is my absolute favorite OS and if they can pull off everything they're aiming for with MGE, I will be installing it on my Steam Deck.

Manjaro's Slimbook

And speaking of gaming on Manjaro, the Manjaro team has partnered with Slimbook to create the Slimbook Hero; a new gaming laptop that ships with their desktop OS!

It comes with an Intel Core i7-13620H with 10 cores, 16 threads at 4.9 GHz, an 8 GB RTX 4060, 5200MHz DDR5 RAM, two 2TB NVMe drives, a 15.6" 1440p screen at 165Hz, quote "Exceptional Sound Blaster experience", and a 14 day trial of CrossOver 24.

I've gotta say, this looks like a decent package. The pricing starts at 1,399€, and--for what you get--I'd say it makes sense. Now, that 1,399€ includes European taxes. If you want to pick one of these up, you're gonna need to talk with customs as you'll have to pay more to import this. But if you're in Europe, this seems like a good deal!

Steam Audio Open Sourced

What is Steam Audio?

Well, it's Valve in-house immersive audio solution. It's a game development tool that accurately simulates spatial audio, sound occlusion, and head-related transfer functions.

With Steam Audio, sound appears to flow and wrap its way around mazes and corridors accurately, and adapts to changes in geometry and materials on the fly.

It's pretty great.
Emily Ridgway, totally unbiased Valve employee

So why am I talking about Steam Audio? Well, in a trend that I hope continues, Valve have released Steam Audio as an open source project. That's right. And seeing as this channel is as much about Steam Deck as it is about Free Software, I thought "hell yeah I'm gonna talk about this."

Not only does it include support for PC, MacOS, and Linux... but it also includes Android support. And they have integrations for Unity Engine, Unreal Engine 4,  Fmod Studio, as well as having a C API!

This is incredible and has the potential to upset the industry. A dynamic, powerful and OPEN SOURCE audio engine that's fit not only for traditional flat screen games, but also high-end AAA VR experiences? Yes, please.

Now, if Godot could support this, that'd be even more awesome.

Steam Audio is released under the permission Apache license and I think this is a good move as a copyleft license wouldn't be suitable for video game development.

-- Chapters --
00:00 - Intro
00:21 - STAR WARS: Battlefront Classic Collection
01:50 - SanDisk 1.5 TB SD Card
03:07 - Steam Deck Academy
04:38 - FanFest Humble Bundle
05:10 - Orange Pi Neo update
06:53 - Manjaro's Slimbook Hero gaming laptop
08:01 - Steam Audio