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Thread: An Interview With A Linux Game Porter

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  1. #1
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    Default An Interview With A Linux Game Porter

    Phoronix: An Interview With A Linux Game Porter

    Recently on our forums, Frank Earl (who goes by the synonym Svartalf), has been seeking the input of Linux gamers as to what games they would like to see ported to Linux. Frank has been working for Linux Game Publishing for a few years porting various titles to Linux and has done work independently on bringing new software from Windows to Linux. Frank was overwhelmed by the response on our forums and it has even led to new Linux games with many other possible ports being looked into. To get his view as where Linux gaming is currently at, he has answered a few of our questions about Linux game porting, Linux gaming in general, and other questions that may be of interest to gamers and Linux enthusiasts.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=14014

  2. #2
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    Great interview, thanks. ^^

    I was especially interested in how plausible it is to port certain games, as well as how easy the GNU/Linux OS makes porting games and creating games for it to begin with. It needs to be made as attractive to game development as possible, and for all software in general of course.

    The state of sound on Linux *sounds* pretty bad indeed. Teehee.

    PulseAudio still has issues.

  3. #3
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    If Frank is reading this, I would suggest setting up an ideatorrent (ideatorrent.org) at LGP so that linux gamers could vote on what games they would like to be ported to linux. That would serve two functions: LGP devs could find out easily what games have the highest demand, and the site would also show the game studios demand for their titles on linux.

    On a side note a more professional web site design might also improve the image of LGP as professionals, the web site now resembles those of 10 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eugene2k View Post
    If Frank is reading this, I would suggest setting up an ideatorrent (ideatorrent.org) at LGP so that linux gamers could vote on what games they would like to be ported to linux. That would serve two functions: LGP devs could find out easily what games have the highest demand, and the site would also show the game studios demand for their titles on linux.
    Great idea, somthing like the Wishlist for Porting Projects thread but in a poll form...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yfrwlf View Post
    Great interview, thanks. ^^

    I was especially interested in how plausible it is to port certain games, as well as how easy the GNU/Linux OS makes porting games and creating games for it to begin with. It needs to be made as attractive to game development as possible, and for all software in general of course.
    I think you're reading more into my remarks than you probably ought to. It's actually quite easy in most respects. It's nothing like what most people presume- things like "oh it's based out of DirectX, it's going to be difficult to port"...which isn't something you can actually infer from what it was "based off of".

    The state of sound on Linux *sounds* pretty bad indeed. Teehee.
    Heh... You're reading my remarks wrong there. It's the middleware that's the problem, not sound support on Linux. There's no way I'm going to be able to cough up $5k to pay for the license when someone uses Miles on a game I'd like to port. FMOD's got similar gotchas and IrrKlang only provides binaries for x86 and no real source code access (so you can't make IrrKlang work on Pandora, Beagleboard, Android, PRE, or Maemo- all of which could be targets now.

    PulseAudio still has issues.
    No kidding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    Heh... You're reading my remarks wrong there. It's the middleware that's the problem, not sound support on Linux. There's no way I'm going to be able to cough up $5k to pay for the license when someone uses Miles on a game I'd like to port. FMOD's got similar gotchas and IrrKlang only provides binaries for x86 and no real source code access (so you can't make IrrKlang work on Pandora, Beagleboard, Android, PRE, or Maemo- all of which could be targets now.
    Developers are using these middleware systems because they are apparently easier to program for. They wouldn't want to pay the license for them either for the original game's platform, but they are, so apparently there is some kind of appeal. This appeal should be implemented in free software as well to make Linux more attractive for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yfrwlf View Post
    Developers are using these middleware systems because they are apparently easier to program for. They wouldn't want to pay the license for them either for the original game's platform, but they are, so apparently there is some kind of appeal. This appeal should be implemented in free software as well to make Linux more attractive for them.
    Coding for DirectSound is an evil mess. Same with DirectPlay.

    Miles/FMOD/IrrKlang/etc. get rid of the complexity and allow you to transparently target other platforms. $5k is chump change when you consider the willingness of the MacOS community to buy MacOS titles or if you're talking Wii or PS3. You'll make that back over it all. Most indies pick FMOD or IrrKlang right at the moment because the API's really easy to pick up, has reasonably painless licensing (IrrKlang's a pay once sort of affair depending on what licensing set you choose- it's only real drawback is that they typically don't provide source for it to you, so you're stuck with what they provide. I'm targeting more than just X86 or the sound would have been IrrKlang on Caster.).

    There's some FOSS solutions beginning to shape up to the same sort of thing and if needs be, I'll help make them happen. You're right on that score, we kind of need something more than what's out there.

    But to characterize it as being "bad" is overstating the problem, really.

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    What an interesting coincidence. There's a conversation about the same subjects (viability of direct3d to opengl porting, etc) over at one thread at the official Bohemia Interactive forums, (http://forums.bistudio.com/showthrea...t=73279&page=6), which incidentally, I helped revitalize thanks to me. Over there, with the aid of one of their moderators, I started an online petition targetted at getting the most signatures as possible from the ArmA playing communities across the globe asking for a linux port of the BiA games. The petition is right here:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/saf3509/petition.html

    if anyone is interested in seeing ArmA 1 and 2, and maybe OpFlaspoint 1 native clients.

    But going back on topic, I think Svartalf and many others here like DragonLord would like to comment on the remarks being said on that thread, specially from members Hoak and miyalrdo.

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    Default PS3 as the Linux gaming platform of choice

    Microsofts dominance on the PC is very much due to games. Most families still go for the gaming side of it. "Why should I buy a computer that cannot play the latest games". I know, I have been there too...

    Still, I also have a PS3, but no XBOX360. One of the reasons is its theoretical chance of being a gaming platform for Linux. If, and that's a big IF, if someone can persuade Sony that Linux would be ideal for the PS3 for gaming too, then Microsoft would be in really big trouble.

    Is it too unrealistic? I don't know, but I believe that Microsoft's investments in DirectX/XBox has sadly enough paid off in keeping gamers away from Linux.


    .

  10. #10
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    Very interesting interview.
    I also believe that the raising linux handled market can be a lunching pad for linux gaming.
    Dematerialized distribution may also help linux gaming to rise (cf. World Of Goo).
    I've started to learn Android for a student project, and I strongly consider making small games with it.

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