No, not vaporised water, I mean the games distribution platform. The Linux version has been in Beta for a while, but was officially released back on Valentine’s Day. I’ve been using my free time to
play test some of the games available, which explains the gap between then and me posting this.
I used the Beta for a while, though I only had two games to play on it, Team Fortress 2, which is free-to-play, and FTL: Faster Than Light, which someone gifted me. But my laptop couldn’t really handle TF2, except on the lowest settings, so I spent a lot of time playing FTL, which is a great game about managing a spaceship.
Once it was officially released there was a sale (there’s been a few more offers since then too), so I picked up a few more games. I got SpaceChem, a great, and quite tough, puzzle game. And Yet It Moves, a puzzle-platformer where you have to rotate the level around you to progress, and also World of Goo, which is another puzzle game. All have fairly modest system requirements, and run well even on my ageing laptop, probably because they’re fairly old too.
None of these games are new to Linux, being available from the developers’ sites or in things like the Humble Indie Bundle for some time. But being on Steam brings a number of advantages, the main one being that it’s easy to download the games on another computer, whether it’s running Windows, Ubuntu, or even OS X.
If I’d bought them individually, direct from the developer, then reinstalling them would require visiting each in turn, downloading the correct installer for the OS, and then installing them individually. And who has time for that? Probably the same type of person who finds the time to write about games on their own personal website.
Whether Steam coming to Linux means more big budget games will be ported to the platform remains to be seen, but for indie titles it’s already got quite a good range; things can only improve as time goes on. Valve themselves have already ported the aforementioned Team Fortress 2, plus Half Life 1, Counter Strike, and Counter Strike: Source.
All those games have been around for a while, but it looks like they are going to be just as dedicated with their new titles, as there is strong evidence to suggest Dota 2 is already on the way too. With the biggest digital distribution platform adding support for it, gaming on Linux has surely entered a new era, though the long-term impact remains to be seen.