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Lessons For Developers In Porting Games To Linux

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  • Lessons For Developers In Porting Games To Linux

    Phoronix: Lessons For Developers In Porting Games To Linux

    A programmer from The Farm 51, the game studio responsible for Painkiller: Hell and Damnation and other games, has shared their experiences in porting games to Linux. It's a technical presentation of interest to both game developers and Linux enthusiasts...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTM5Mjk

  • #2
    Would have been fun to waste some time on watching if only I could understand more then a couple of the words he said.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by qlum View Post
      Would have been fun to waste some time on watching if only I could understand more then a couple of the words he said.
      You could always learn Polish

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      • #4
        One can argue with some points in the slides:

        "When in doubt - use Ubuntu". It would be better to take Debian as a base, rather than Ubuntu. Betting on Ubuntu can become a problem long term considering current developments with Mir and co.

        "When in doubt - do whatever Valve does". Not really, since Valve focuses on their DRMed approach, and uses their Steam runtime for that. Those who aim for DRM free method won't find this the good option. So for DRM free games the best approach is bundling libs. And in general, promoting dependency on Steam runtime sounds bad, since it means developers won't make an effort to release their games without Steam and DRM free. So if you are a developer - no Steam please, or if you want to distribute with Steam - give an option to buy and play the game without it.
        Last edited by shmerl; 06-21-2013, 02:01 PM.

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        • #5
          Considering the use of SDL is adviced (which in turn abstracts the display server), Mir becomes irrelevant.
          And about the DRM, AFAIK you need to explicitly introduce them to your game, if not shipping with Steam. And if shipping with Steam, there's no need to "look at Valve", since you are already making it compliant, so it obviously refers to the case where your game ships alone.

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          • #6
            mrugiero: What I mean is that I don't want any games with DRM. And even if developers aren't interested in DRM, but using Steam out of convenience, they are not allowing DRM free option, if they rely on a hard dependency on Steam runtime. So I'd say - no dependency on Steam runtime please. And promoting it is bad. Unless this runtime can be fully open source and distributed outside Steam and DRM free.
            Last edited by shmerl; 06-21-2013, 02:59 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by riklaunim View Post
              You could always learn Polish
              Heh. I come from Poland and I have to say it won't be an easy task for him.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by shmerl View Post
                mrugiero: What I mean is that I don't want any games with DRM. And even if developers aren't interested in DRM, but using Steam out of convenience, they are not allowing DRM free option, if they rely on a hard dependency on Steam runtime. So I'd say - no dependency on Steam runtime please. And promoting it is bad. Unless this runtime can be fully open source and distributed outside Steam and DRM free.
                I didn't really look in depth, but I didn't see anything in the repo that is closed source, but just frozen binaries of open (and pretty common) projects, for example GNU-binutils and SDL. I think this runtime is just the runtime Steam uses, not Steam's proprietary API. If so, then you can have a DRM free game targeting them, just without having to open source your game (which IMO is up to the dev to decide, not us) and without having to either recompile for every distro/version or add extra bloat when other games need the same version of the libraries.

                EDIT: Also, what is recommended in the slides (I don't know the videos, I prefer the written version) isn't using Steam, but just the same version of the libraries, that's why there is a sample script to check if it's already installed and to install those libraries if it isn't.

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                • #9
                  If this runtime is fully open source, has no DRM and can be installed without being Steam user - then I'm OK with developers using it (regardless if their games are open source or closed source ones), since it means they don't push DRM on their users. But in general I think it's better not to single out Steam is a preferred runtime. Simply because Steam isn't reliable in DRM free aspect so far.

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                  • #10
                    I'd like to clear out some stuff about this news.

                    First of all the title is quite misleading - this presentation ain't a lesson, its just tech talk for other devs from the game industry. It ain't walk in the park so knowing polish won't be enough

                    Secondly Leszek won't tell how to port unreal engine powered games to linux because he is bound by Epic's NDA. So the talk is quite about everything out there that showing off won't violate the NDA.

                    About Ubuntu - I assure all of you - Leszek ain't the ubuntu guy, he's more of a debian power user, but there's quite a lot of stuff thats still not stable enough for debian that can be done faster or works out of box on Ubuntu. And getting it to work on other distros isn't worth the time spent on it at the moment. Its a race about getting linux attention through steam and ubuntu ASAP, not full compatibility for every geek out there. And thats what the talk is about.
                    Last edited by kacperpl1; 06-21-2013, 03:22 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mrugiero View Post
                      I didn't really look in depth, but I didn't see anything in the repo that is closed source, but just frozen binaries of open (and pretty common) projects, for example GNU-binutils and SDL. I think this runtime is just the runtime Steam uses, not Steam's proprietary API. If so, then you can have a DRM free game targeting them, just without having to open source your game (which IMO is up to the dev to decide, not us) and without having to either recompile for every distro/version or add extra bloat when other games need the same version of the libraries.

                      EDIT: Also, what is recommended in the slides (I don't know the videos, I prefer the written version) isn't using Steam, but just the same version of the libraries, that's why there is a sample script to check if it's already installed and to install those libraries if it isn't.
                      Thats what it looked like to me too, just frozen versions so that there's a steady target to base off of.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kacperpl1 View Post
                        About Ubuntu - I assure all of you - Leszek ain't the ubuntu guy, he's more of a debian power user, but there's quite a lot of stuff thats still not stable enough for debian that can be done faster or works out of box on Ubuntu....
                        Its a race about getting linux attention through steam and ubuntu ASAP.

                        Ubuntu point is arguable. What is more stable there than on Debian? I'd be interested if you could elaborate, since I'm not aware of such thing.

                        About using Steam to gain attention - as I said, this is bad as well (because of promoting DRMed runtime). If developers can't come up with DRM free alternative solidified runtime - let them just use bundles libs, but not Steam.

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                        • #13
                          As I said - there's stuff newly introduced to ubuntu that ain't stable enough for debian yet, that is used by steam and valve games. So Leszek says to go with Ubuntu as Valve does, at least for some time. The whole talk is about getting it done fast for the mainstream.

                          OK, my first post might be interpreted sideway, I see it now. I said not stable enough for debian meaning its not stable to get into debian yet its already alive and kicking in ubuntu.
                          Last edited by kacperpl1; 06-21-2013, 03:36 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I think Humble Bundle do a good job. They don't jump on Steam+Ubuntu wagon, and still sell games. Mainstream or not - they are successful enough. There can be issues, but they work on them if people report bugs. Valve of course PRs their approach, but I don't think it's good long term for gaming, if developers don't want to pollute Linux gaming market with DRM. If Valve will show signs of abandoning DRM - I can change my mind. But I don't see this happening so far, since they are entangled with lot's of DRMed games on Steam. I'd sooner expect GOG to enter the DRM free Linux gaming scene with whatever approach they come up, rather than Steam drop all DRM.
                            Last edited by shmerl; 06-21-2013, 03:50 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shmerl View Post
                              If this runtime is fully open source, has no DRM and can be installed without being Steam user - then I'm OK with developers using it (regardless if their games are open source or closed source ones), since it means they don't push DRM on their users. But in general I think it's better not to single out Steam is a preferred runtime. Simply because Steam isn't reliable in DRM free aspect so far.
                              You didn't understand a word he said. What is meant by "steam runtime" isn't a steam developed library, just a bundle of commonly used libraries (that steam needs) which the games would otherwise have to ship themselves. It has nothing to do with DRM whatsoever.

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