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  • Linux Gaming Thoughts

    From a reader...

    Originally posted by Scott
    When will we have real gaming on Linux?

    This is, I suppose, a rhetorical question, but if there is any new news, I'd love to hear it. I've been a Windows user for years, solely because of games. If Linux could just gather its forces and address this one issue, I could cross over.

    However, to the best of my knowledge, Linux isn't getting anywhere with gaming, and that's due to Linux's main undermining flaws: 1) lack of focused effort, and 2) lack of desire on the part of developers to be a mainstream solution. (The whole Cedega/Wine affair is not a proper solution, by the way. It's baling wire and duct tape.)

    It would seem that the present time would be excellent for a concerted effort to supply game developers with a tool package that would facilitate the dual development of games for Linux and DirectX 10. I know that AMD/ATI has contributed one part that might help, a HLSL2GLSL tool, but I imagine a lot more has to be done, including hand-holding of developers.

    I believe that if Linux could get games running natively, with push-button installation / de-installation and all the bells and whistles, then Linux could really take off. It seems to me that with online retailing, broadband connections for downloads, automatic updates, dual core computing, virtualization (?), better graphics drivers on Linux, and so on, this must be the best time there has ever been for this type of endeavor.

    And if the Linux community isn't interested in this, I wish they would just pack up and go home. I know that sounds harsh, but by chronically doing nothing they are doing more harm than good. People think Linux is going to provide an alternative to MS - I hear it all the time - but if it won't address the concerns of the mainstream, then it isn't ever going to be a credible alternative. All it is doing is reinforcing the MS monopoly by sucking up the time and interest of people who do want a credible alternative.

    Sorry if that sounded a bit like a rant.

    There's no need to answer this email, but if the idea sparks an article, editorial, or a good remark in the right ear, then I've fulfilled my purpose.
    Michael Larabel
    http://www.michaellarabel.com/

  • #2
    Although I admire the person's intent, I highly doubt things will change. I have very extreme views about the gaming industry regardless of the platform and the one thing Linux never seems to have is some top quality games. Sure you have the minesweeper things and sokoban, etc. But you don't have original titles that are highlights of the system. You do get Linux ports that are often than not extremely delayed which is still appreciated, but does have a dilluted impact overall.

    I'd like to see Linux gaming go beyond the emulation rings and Wind-nux ports. SDL is a great step forward. Wind-nux ports are very good steps towards recognition. Those aren't enough.

    We need original content. And content that will have heads turning. That's the solution I see. Easier said than done.

    Comment


    • #3
      What about Sauerbraten, Warsow, Nexuiz, Enemy Territory,etc.

      All have native Linux ports.

      It isn't the Linux community or MS Employees that creates Windows games. They are made by gaming houses and this is where he/she needs to send that email and not to the Linux community.

      There is still a fairly small percentage of overall users that game, even in Windows. This is why you don't see many gaming computers sold in retail stores. You could hardly play any decent games on the off-the-shelf hardware you can buy today.

      I'm actually starting to reserve my game playing to consoles these days. I've almost completely stopped playing games on the PC altogether.

      Just because gaming is important to someone who games, doesn't mean there is enough market share to warrant the money required by the gaming houses to employ developers to port or create for linux.

      The entire Linux community still doesn't have enough clout to get hardware manufacturers to create gpl'd drivers for their stuff. Sure some of them provide specs to kernel devs and such but those are not the actions of a company who seriously considers Linux as an important share of their sales.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sauerbraten, Warsow, Nexuiz, Enemy Territory,etc.
        I know those games. They don't exactly make me thrilled. Enemy Territory from that list is id Soft's Linux port and I appreciate their effort, but it does not change the picture by a whole lot. It is also because of id Soft's more open stance when it comes to GPL-ing code and giving out Linux SDKs that help bring a lot of first person shooters into Linux. Too many, if you ask me. id Soft helps and I applaud their efforts.

        On the appeal to the Linux community on gaming, the Linux community needs to get things right. Firstly, it should have a good API development platform. In my opinion, that's SDL. Secondly, good drivers are also necessary and that is somewhat provided. Thirdly, is to not give people a difficult time developing. Too many OS flavours, too many drastic kernel changes and you could have a very unpredictable platform to work with. I've heard quite some complaints about this in the past, although I cannot draw something concrete.

        The whole call for more games on Linux is a chicken-and-egg problem, but that's why I think the Linux open source developers should step up and really make significant effort. I'll be frank, I tried VDrift and I wasn't exactly thrilled with how the game worked. I also test drove Trigger Rally and while I thought it might work, at its current state, I'm not impressed. The last game I played from start to end on Linux was Doom 3 and I really forced myself to wait for the Linux client. We can't have that. And furthermore, it's just a port. We need native Linux games. We need good content. We need originality.

        Comment


        • #5
          Unreal Tournament 3 is the only thing I'm waiting on right now. All other games are worthless to me. I will do whatever it takes to get that thing to work under GNU/Linux. UT3 shall be the best thing since sliced bread!

          Comment


          • #6
            Unreal Tournament 3 and Quake Wars may get me back into gaming (at least for a while).
            Michael Larabel
            http://www.michaellarabel.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              The PS3 has done it for me, even if mostly for the hardware it has. Quake Wars is the next PC game I'm looking forward to, and I'm not positive but I would think that it will be running on Linux.

              I feel pretty good about Linux gaming in general... it's way ahead of what it was even two years ago, and it continues to get better every month. There's no way to know what gaming options we will have after this year.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by joshuapurcell View Post
                There's no way to know what gaming options we will have after this year.
                I totally agree here. Concerning Linux and Open Source in general I have the feeling that this year could become very interesting. And concerning Linux and games- well, I think there's still some work that has to be done before Linux becomes a serious gaming platform. But who knows where we are at the end of this year-

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael View Post
                  Unreal Tournament 3 and Quake Wars may get me back into gaming (at least for a while).
                  Yeah depends on the quality of the games and if they run at least par. Oh and if the drivers at least work. If it runs better, drivers are good, then it will be like a fresh start all over again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    However, to the best of my knowledge, Linux isn't getting anywhere with gaming, and that's due to Linux's main undermining flaws: 1) lack of focused effort,
                    there are lots of frameworks and opensource 3d engines for linux. go ahead and pick one. some of them are even crossplatform.

                    single focused effort is just so not-linux. linux is all about diversity. there are almost always a couple of software solutions for a certain problem, be it kernel, libc, editor, desktop, graphics system, or something else. they compete with each other, and at some time they gain a following and eventually set a standard.

                    lack of desire on the part of developers to be a mainstream solution.
                    that's just so wrong, i won't even bother with a response.

                    It would seem that the present time would be excellent for a concerted effort to supply game developers with a tool package that would facilitate the dual development of games for Linux and DirectX 10. I know that AMD/ATI has contributed one part that might help, a HLSL2GLSL tool, but I imagine a lot more has to be done, including hand-holding of developers.
                    rewriting a game from DirectX into other platform independent solution is no easy task. it's an expensive undertaking.

                    since the linux gamers community is small, it just does not pay off. besides you have to maintain two codebases if you port a game from directx to ... someting else that also does not pay off.

                    if you write it to use something crossplatform from the very beginning - that's a different story.

                    as for that crossplatform game development package - ever been to http://www.ogre3d.org/ ? there ARE commercial games developed on top of this tool. it has at least an opengl and directx backend.

                    I believe that if Linux could get games running natively, with push-button installation / de-installation and all the bells and whistles, then Linux could really take off. It seems to me that with online retailing, broadband connections for downloads, automatic updates, dual core computing, virtualization (?), better graphics drivers on Linux, and so on, this must be the best time there has ever been for this type of endeavor.
                    let's start with better graphics drivers first. the rest is mostly ready. this one problem is mainly out of the reach of the community. for now.

                    And if the Linux community isn't interested in this, I wish they would just pack up and go home.
                    i wish people who think linux is/should be a 1:1 windows clone would "just pack up and leave". i hate that. why does everyone expect linux to become a windows clone?

                    I know that sounds harsh, but by chronically doing nothing they are doing more harm than good.
                    i'd like to see some proof of that "doing nothing". and doing "more harm than good".

                    People think Linux is going to provide an alternative to MS - I hear it all the time - but if it won't address the concerns of the mainstream, then it isn't ever going to be a credible alternative. All it is doing is reinforcing the MS monopoly by sucking up the time and interest of people who do want a credible alternative.
                    linux is trying to get into the mainstream. just when it catches up, new problems arise. mostly in the form of closed source drm-ish solutions, which are supposed to help certain vendor gain more market share. that's pretty unfair, don't you agree?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yoshi314 View Post
                      there are lots of frameworks and opensource 3d engines for linux. go ahead and pick one. some of them are even crossplatform.

                      single focused effort is just so not-linux. linux is all about diversity. there are almost always a couple of software solutions for a certain problem, be it kernel, libc, editor, desktop, graphics system, or something else. they compete with each other, and at some time they gain a following and eventually set a standard.

                      that's just so wrong, i won't even bother with a response.

                      rewriting a game from DirectX into other platform independent solution is no easy task. it's an expensive undertaking.

                      since the linux gamers community is small, it just does not pay off. besides you have to maintain two codebases if you port a game from directx to ... someting else that also does not pay off.

                      if you write it to use something crossplatform from the very beginning - that's a different story.

                      as for that crossplatform game development package - ever been to http://www.ogre3d.org/ ? there ARE commercial games developed on top of this tool. it has at least an opengl and directx backend.

                      let's start with better graphics drivers first. the rest is mostly ready. this one problem is mainly out of the reach of the community. for now.

                      i wish people who think linux is/should be a 1:1 windows clone would "just pack up and leave". i hate that. why does everyone expect linux to become a windows clone?

                      i'd like to see some proof of that "doing nothing". and doing "more harm than good".

                      Linux is trying to get into the mainstream. just when it catches up, new problems arise. mostly in the form of closed source drm-ish solutions, which are supposed to help certain vendor gain more market share. that's pretty unfair, don't you agree?
                      Yeah pack up and leave how dare you expect to play something current in Linux! If you want to game go to the "true" Gaming OS, XP or Vista right? I mean thats what you are saying, Linux cant do what Windows can and it shouldn't even try. Wow, people actually are looking to Linux because they want something better and we have people slamming them for being honest about wanting to do the things they could do in the other os.

                      Why cant Linux play games, real games, current games?

                      Oh by the way consoles suck. I look forward to a FPS that will allow me to play against Console users. That would be a hoot.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah pack up and leave how dare you expect to play something current in Linux! If you want to game go to the "true" Gaming OS, XP or Vista right? I mean thats what you are saying, Linux cant do what Windows can and it shouldn't even try. Wow, people actually are looking to Linux because they want something better and we have people slamming them for being honest about wanting to do the things they could do in the other os.
                        It's a heated debate. I would argue that even if I am a Linux native user and a hardcore gamer, that I would never make a compromise regardless. Since I know that it would never cure the real problem, only fix the symptom.

                        Oh by the way consoles suck. I look forward to a FPS that will allow me to play against Console users. That would be a hoot.
                        Same with racing games. Imagine a day when we get to play a racing game that doesn't slow down in FPS due to more gfx popping up in certain parts of map. I believe Linux is the key, as we don't have to worry about virus checkers or any evilware running in the background that we don't want running in the first place. Just PC with an OS and Games. The way it should have always been.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I mean thats what you are saying, Linux cant do what Windows can and it shouldn't even try.
                          that actually goes both ways. both os's have things that each other can't do. at least yet. the difference is - linux will eventually learn to do it. windows won't.

                          Wow, people actually are looking to Linux because they want something better and we have people slamming them for being honest about wanting to do the things they could do in the other os.
                          if you mean me - i just got annoyed by those "i'm going back to windows" threats. if you can't live without windows - use windows.

                          And if the Linux community isn't interested in this, I wish they would just pack up and go home.
                          that is one annoying response (from initial post). from my point of view it means "if linux has no games - it has to roll over and die. people should avoid it. there is no place in the world for such system."

                          i got carried away, i know. i apologize. it's just that i'm living in a neighborhood full of annoying-gamer-boy mentality people who can't fix a single problem with their computer.

                          gamers (mostly) say that linux sucks because it has no games. well, i don't think that linux community is to be held responsible for that - what did we do wrong? after all we're the people who use linux, promote it, help with advocating its strengths. and the gamers usually don't do any of that. they come in, look for games, and yell "i'm gonna go back to windows if i don't see xyz game on linux". is that our fault?

                          it's the people that decide stick with linux against all odds that make the difference to the software developers. not the ones that will go to linux "when it has more games". because the game developer will think "if i don't make a linux port - they won't consider going for linux, and start demanding linux ports for more of my games". simple as that.

                          of course the gamers prefer to go around throwing the blame on everyone but themselves. they always do. if they just sit and wait until "linux has more games" - that won't happen. because they won't do anything to help.

                          that was a bit offensive and rude, but i had no better idea how to put it into words. it's just annoying - i use linux everyday. i help people with their problems, i convinced more than 50 people to use various linux distributions (and they didn't go back to windows). i report bugs in software, i help with translations of opensource apps.

                          and after all that i'm being told to "pack up and leave" because i can't make big companies release newest games for liunx. i'm doing my best as a member of community (hopefully).

                          oh well. i got carried away again. feel free to disregard that.

                          I look forward to a FPS that will allow me to play against Console users.
                          a couple of months and a couple of opensource fps games will be eventually ported to ps3, running on linux.
                          even if ps3 does not provide hardware acceleration for linux systems, the software emulation of mesa library is extremely fast (yellow dog linux devs claimed that Cell-optimized mesa library got about 80 times faster, which is simply impressive [ http://ps3.qj.net/GDC-2007-Terra-Sof...g/49/aid/86065 ] )

                          as for that "i'm going back to windows attitude" - that sums it up pretty well :
                          http://www.pthree.org/2007/04/04/im-...ck-to-windows/
                          Last edited by yoshi314; 04-04-2007, 06:57 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yoshi314 View Post
                            rewriting a game from DirectX into other platform independent solution is no easy task. it's an expensive undertaking.
                            In reality, it's not the work to move the rendering, sound, networking, and input device interface code over to something other than DirectX- that's all pretty straightforward as they've typically abstracted it all anyhow and while it's not 1:1 from OpenGL/OpenAL/SDL to DirectX, it's close enough that it's not as bad as one would think. What's time consuming/expensive is when you rely on "clever" crap that VC++ allows you to do to "save time" (Which in reality, for most cases, ended up wasting more time and effort than you thought it saved you- and made the damn game unstable in some odd ways at the very least...)- the DirectX stuff doesn't usually take all that long for LGP to get re-worked. It's all the quirks brought about by insisting on using all the "nice" features of C++ or twisted tricks that only VC++ allows (like altering string or other constants as if they were variables...) that end up making it an expensive proposition in the first place.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree

                              I like linux, except for gaming. I am in IT and have a few certs mostly microsoft and Comp. I just hate windows and would LOVE to make a total switch to Linux. It is so frustrating to be stuck in a Microsoft world because of games. To play the upcoming game crysis you Have to Have Vista to get all the graphics goodies. This sucks major. I JUST PRAY that one day all the Linux users and devs and companies will in some way unite towards the common goal of at least making these gaming companies take notice that we are more than a few. Could the day ever come when a game like crysis would come out with a native Linux client and on the same say as the windows release...

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