Platforms for game vendors

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Desura [2] is similar to Steam, except it has two clients and a much smaller focus. It targets indie games and so-called mods (modifications) – that is, games developed by players themselves and add-ons for certain games. Desura waives DRM (Digital Rights Management) but allows game developers to use their own form of copyright protection. Connected to and used by Desura are the well-known ModDB [3] and IndieDB [4] databases.

The client development model follows that of Google Chrome and Chromium. A working open source client named Desurium is the template for the almost unaltered official version that the project publishes on its website. You can install the open source Desurium client from an unofficial PPA:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:makson96/desurium-stable
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install desurium

To install the official Desura client (which still bears the company branding) instead, you can download the tar.gz archive for your Linux architecture from the website and unpack it somewhere in your home directory. Then, navigate to the folder in the file manager and double-click desura to download and install the client. You also need the libssl0.9.8 package from Software Center. Only then should you start the client. Note that this doesn't work in the Dash – only if you double-click the Desura executable file.

Other Clients

IndieCity [5] is yet another game distribution platform and specializes in independent games and modifications. Created in 2011, it's still pretty young, and the Linux client is under development. As the magazine went to press, I still couldn't get a test version of the client; it was being revised because of a download bug.

Browser game shops often also have small games and apps for Linux users. This includes the Chrome Web Store (Figure 2), which you can access when you install the Chrome or Chromium browser and click the link to the shop on the start page. Many of the games are based on Flash, Shockwave, or Microsoft's Silverlight, so whether they will run in the browser or not is hit or miss. Angry Birds ran successfully, although the five-year-old computer staggered a bit, and some games required the newest Flash version before running, as described in the Steam section.

Figure 2: Forge of Empires is one of the games available from the Chrome web store.

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